Brioche French Toast

April 20, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Posted in Cooking, What I do: | Leave a comment

One of the many perks of working the food world, is all the free food you inevitably end up bringing home.  The other day I scored a loaf of 2-day old brioche.

2 day old brioche is really only good for one thing: french toast.

This french toast was made with Marshall’s chicken’s eggs.  A bit of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, a splash of vanilla, and enough milk to make it all come together.

Add to that a drizzle of maple syrup, and life is pretty good.

Cheers,

Katie

Love und German Pancakes

April 10, 2010 at 8:22 am | Posted in Baking, Cooking | 1 Comment

Yesterday I woke up craving for blueberry pancakes.  But alas, when I looked in the fridge I only had the smallest smidgen of milk left.  So I went through the fanny farmer cookbook (Ruth Reichl agrees with me, this book has some of the best breakfast recipes) and found a recipe for German Pancakes.

Last fall while I was visiting a friend in Lincoln Square Chicago, I stumbled upon a cute little breakfast restaurant called Panenkoeken.  They make huge dutch pancakes, that are a little more eggy, and filled with delicious things like apples-gruyere-and raisins.  Yum.  German pancakes are a bit more like a souffle than a “pancake”.  Maybe if a chicago deep dish pizza crust made love with a crepe, the outcome would be a German pancake.  Get the visual?  Well then, here’s a real one.

It’s nothing short of  than magical to put an eggy batter into a hot cast iron skillet in the oven, leave it for 25 minutes and come back to this.  Meanwhile, I made a homemade blueberry syrup laced with allspice and a bit of maple syrup.

We added dollops of marscapone.

And drizzled the blueberry syrup over the pancake.  Trying not to get distracted by our drooling…

We then swirled together the marscapone and the blueberry syrup with the back of a spoon and dusted with powdered sugar.  The end results were delicious, and eaten way too quickly.  I can’t wait to try a savory version of this recipe!  Maybe with ramps and gruyere, or with carmelized onions and mushrooms.  The possibilities are endless!

Here is the recipe for Fannie Farmer’s German Pancakes:

-3 eggs

-1/2 cup milk

-1/2 cup flour

-1/2 tsp. salt

-2 Tbs. Melted Butter

Preheat oven to 450

In a small bowl sift together the flower and the salt, set aside.  In a separate bowl, beat and demoralize the eggs until they are light yellow and frothy.  Slowly beat in the milk.  Once the milk is incorporated, slowly, SLOWLY, mix in the flower until the batter is just mixed and has no clumps.  Mix in the melted butter until the batter is fully incorporated.

Pour the batter into a buttered 12″ cast iron skillet that has been warmed for about 5 minutes in the oven.  Return the skillet to the oven and cook at 45o for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, turn the heat down to 350 for another 10 minutes and you are done!

Top with what have you, and enjoy!

Here is my blueberry syrup recipe:

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 allspice (or 1/8 tsp. ground) freshly ground.

1/2 tsp. salt.

3 Tbs. Maple Syrup

In a small saucepan cook the water and sugar over medium high heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Once the sugar has dissolved and the water is simmering, add the blueberries and turn down the heat to medium low.  The blueberries will take a few minutes to cook down, so be patient.  I gently mash the blueberries with a wooden spoon on the side of the saucepan to break them down a bit.  After 5 minutes have passed add the allspice and salt.  Continue to cook until you have a nice jammy-syrupy consistency, and the Maple Syrup to finish.  If the mixture is too thick you can add a few tablespoons of water to thin it out.

Try not to eat it all at once. (we did)

Until next time, Cheers and happy eating!

Katie G

Eggs three ways.

April 9, 2010 at 12:25 am | Posted in Cooking | Leave a comment

I eat a lot of eggs.  For a while I was seriously considering getting a tattoo of a fried egg on my ankle to match Wylie Dufresne’s.  I love the endless variations there are to cook an egg.  And maybe someday when I own land, I’ll be able to raise chickens, and eat fresh eggs every day!  But until that day, I’ll settle with cooking all the delicious permutations of the noble egg.

This was a delicious impromptu dinner at my friend Ji Hye’s house.  Noodles with Korean Chili Sauce, various pickles, and a hard-boiled egg.   Now this is a woman who knows her eggs.  She can soft boil an egg that is so good it will make you feel dirty.  I should mention that it helps that she’s using my coworker Marshall’s eggs.  The chickens get to eat the seeds that fall to the bottom of the bagel case at the Deli.  His chicken’s eggs are rich and delicious.

This is the delicious Easter dinner I made when I was home last weekend.  We had grilled salmon, braised carrots, and sautéed asparagus with a single poached egg on top.  What I love about poached eggs is that you can make a slew of them ahead of time, leave them in chilled water, and when the big moment comes whip them out.  And poof! you’re a genius.

And long at last, we have Oefs en Cocette.  A snobby sounding name for one of the easiest breakfasts to make.  I made these when my friend Sarah came over last week.  We had oefs en cocette, with toasted brioche, smoked salmon, and sauteed bok choy.  It was lovely.

If you dig eggs, you should check out this wonderful book by Michel Roux:

My boyfriend gave it to me for Christmas last year.  He wrote a sweet note in the cover that I just loved, “When you are feeling scrambled, or fried, or hard-boiled, look at this book and remember that to me you are always sunny side up.”  Awww.

Cheers and happy scrambling,

Katie

Keilbasa-Lentil-Kale Soup

April 8, 2010 at 11:42 pm | Posted in Cooking | Leave a comment

A few days ago I looked in the fridge and lo and behold, I found a bunch of kale from the farmers market two weeks ago.  It was looking a bit worse for the wear, I could swear I heard it begging to be reincarnated in to some sort of delicious creation.  So last night on the way home from work I stopped at Copernicus Deli (our local Polish grocery store) and picked up a homemade smoked kielbasa.  The two foot long monstrosity was $2.49.  Wow.

I also happened to have really great Italian lentils that we sell at the deli.  About a year ago I was doing a stock run in the depths of the deli basement and I heard the most beautiful sound in the world.  The sound of dried lentils falling on to a solid concrete floor.  One of the bags had sprung a leak, and so my manager told me to take the salvaged bag home and play with the lentils.  I didn’t want to waste the lentils on anything silly, so they sat in my pantry collecting dust for a while.  Last week when I was cleaning my pantry I resolved to use the lentils as soon as possible.

So there I was, sitting in my kitchen with a massive kielbasa, a bunch of wilted kale, and a pint container full of scavenged of lentils. Oh, and it was a miserable cold rainy gray day.  Fine, soup it is.

And here’s the recipe.  Adapted from a 90’s issue of gourmet I found on epicurious.

  • 1 8″ piece smoked kielbasa, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin
  • 2 carrots cubed
  • 2 potatoes cubed
  • 1/2 cup lentils, picked over
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 small bunch kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves sliced thin (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic or red-wine vinegar

Life Update

March 28, 2010 at 3:38 am | Posted in Cooking | Leave a comment

Hello there, citizens of the world!

A picture is worth a thousand words, and here are just a few.

Using Tartine’s recipe for oatmeal walnut chocolate chip cookies, I hodge-podged together a new recipe for compost cookies, adding in a few tablespoons of coffee grounds, a half cup of dehydrated coconut, and a dusting of my favorite secret ingredient…

Halen Mon Vanilla Salt.  Sadly, we don’t carry this at the deli.  But oh is it amazing.  I sprinkle it on top of cookies, use it in pancakes, sprinkle it on top of grapefruit.  Sadly, at some point in my life I’ll have to kick my salt addiction.  But until my girlish figure begins to retain water in a serious way… I’m keeping the salt.  Plus my coworkers whine whenever I bring in desserts that are “criminally under-salted.”

*I didn’t eat all of those cookies, at least, not in one sitting.  The entire pot of tea however, is another story.

This displays what you can get at the Kerrytown Farmer’s market (in the middle of winter, no less) for $10.  Gingergold apples, blue oyster mushrooms, beautiful hoop-house beets, and the remaining dollars bought delicious Calder dairy milk.  The glass bottle makes me nostalgic, and the milk itself makes me feel rich.

Later that night, my winnings at the farmer’s market led to an impromptu dinner party for five of my friends.  We had a creamy mushroom risotto, a roasted beet salad with beet greens and blue cheese, a few hunks of toasted bread, and for dessert there was a blueberry cobbler made with forgotten blueberries from last summer – laced with a bit of allspice.  I love the thriftiness of hosting a 6 person dinner with $10 of ingredients.  What a wonderful night.

Here’s another weeknight dinner.  I’ve never had bad results from a butterflied roasted chicken. It always comes out juicy, with lovely crisp skin.  After letting the skin sear for twenty minutes, we rubbed on a mixture of pimenton, olive oil, garlic, and sea salt, and then let the chicken finish cooking in the oven for an additional 20 minutes, or until the thighs were at temp.

Here is a cartoon I drew a few years back on how to make this chicken, although I have revised my technique in the last few years.  On a side note, this cartoon was a part of my application to work at Zing’, along with a few articles for a food column I wrote for The Crier (an online publication that sadly is no more).

Along with the sexy chicken we made a salad of braised fennel bulb, crisp apples, Gorgonzola and pine-nuts, tossed in an apple cider vinaigrette.  It was quite the delicious combo.

Et voila!

A few days later the leftover chicken found new life, abed a pizza with ricotta cheese, torn basil, home-made tomato sauce, and a drizzle of thick balsamic.  Here’s a great blog where I got the crazy idea of replacing the pizza stone I don’t have, with my gigantic cast iron pan.

Following the delicious pizza, the leftover tomato sauce was used to make a delicious late-night dinner.  Creamy polenta with tomato sauce and, of course, a fried egg on top.

Which brings me to where I am now.  Tonight I had very reviving gigantic bowl of Caesar salad, with fresh spinach from this morning’s farmers market run, and fresh warm croutons.  I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a list of my culinary “firsts” since I began work at zing’s.  But the real impact has been in my everyday involvement with the food I eat at home.  There are two things that made my everyday salad stand out from what it would have been two years ago.

1) There was a raw egg-yolk  in the salad dressing.  I beat the egg into submission with olive oil until it was on the peak of becoming a mayonnaise, and the seduced it with white wine vinegar, and seasoned with a touch of dijon, salt, and pepper.

2) There was an anchovy in the salad.  While I’ve always been an open-minded eater, cured fish has been my final frontier.  Tasting delicious buttery anchovies from Spain has dramatically altered my perception of the fishy ingredient.

No recipes, no fear.  Just an exhausted cheese-monger coming home, looking for an easy satisfying dinner.

Cheers and happy eating,

Katie

White Chili Recipe

February 25, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Posted in Cooking | Leave a comment

By popular demand, here is the white chili recipe I used for the snow day 101 post.  We couldn’t find Nic’s dad’s recipe, so we improvised using a recipe from our dearly beloved Gourmet Magazine.  It uses a stick of butter, so be forewarned, this isn’t a recipe for the faint of heart. (or weak of heart, literally)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound dried navy beans, picked over (or two cans if you want to cheat)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
  • 1T. Salt – or to taste
  • two 4-ounce cans whole mild green chilies, drained and chopped
  • 5 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds), cooked and cut into 1/2-inch pieces ( I used ground)
  • 1 bag of frozen corn (approx. two cups worth).  Or fresh corn, but that begs to ask the question – who makes chili when corn is in season?
  • Good Cheddar for grating on top
  • Accompaniment: Corn Bread or Tortilla Chips, and sliced avocado if you got it.

Prep

In a large kettle soak beans in cold water to cover by 2 inches overnight. Drain beans in a colander and return to kettle with cold water to cover by 2 inches. Cook beans at a bare simmer until tender, about 1 hour, and drain in colander.

In a skillet cook onion, garlic, bell pepper, and all of the spices in 2 tablespoons butter over moderate heat until softened.

In a 6- to 8-quart heavy kettle melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking constantly, 3 minutes. Stir in sautéed vegetables and gradually add broth and half-and-half, whisking constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until thickened.  Add beans, chilies, chicken, corn, and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

Serve atop a wedge of cornbread with grated cheddar, perhaps with a few slices of avocado on top.

Snow Day 101

February 22, 2010 at 9:26 am | Posted in Cooking | Leave a comment

This morning I woke up to find nearly a foot of freshly accumulated white stuff outside my front door.  And since my boy is a teacher, and since I was sent home after a few slow hours at work – it could only mean one thing… SNOW DAY!

On the way home we picked up the ingredients to make white chili.  What with my mom being a proud Texan and all, I grew up with red chili.  But, my boy comes from humble Yankee roots, where the white chili reigns supreme.  At the very least, he grew up with his Dad’s awesome white chili, so we thought it would be a nice recipe to add to the repertoire.

(my mom gave me these beautiful mise en place bowls for Christmas)

We ground the cumin and fennel fresh, and had them ready to do their thing.

*A tip I learned from one of my friends, is to cook chili the same way you would cook a curry.  Cook the spices first!  By sauteeing your spices with the onions and butter you allow the spices to release their delicious oils!

Et voila!  White bean chili!

Once we had a pot happily bubbling on our stove, it was time to move on to the next order of snow day business.

Popcorn and a board game.  I love popcorn popped on the stove, its something my dad used to make on winter days while we watched Harrison Ford action movies.  This popcorn was an idea I stole from my friend Corinna.  It is popcorn with grated Montgomery’s Cheddar, pimenton la vera, and melted butter.  Delicious.

We are pretty big board game nerds.  The game is Agricola, you pretend to be a 17th century Italian farmer.  And for the first time, he didn’t beat me – we TIED!  HA!

And after a good game, pushing my car out of the snow, and a snowball fight – there’s no better way to wind down than with a stiff drink.

In my case:

A hot toddy for my sore throat with knob creek bourbon, meyer lemon, and buckwheat honey.  And for him:

A bottle of our last homebrew: a chocolate porter fermented with Askinoisie Cacao Nibs.  On a side note, a couple weeks ago I gave a bottle to Shawn Askinoisie while he was visiting the Z!  Have a great weekend folks!

Cheers and happy eating!

Katie

My favorite meal (when cupboards are bare).

February 19, 2010 at 2:47 am | Posted in Cooking | Leave a comment

Q: Is there anything better than fresh pasta topped with a poached egg, parmigiano reggiano, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil?

A: No.

(although Guanciale  might be a nice addition)

A week in food.

February 19, 2010 at 2:31 am | Posted in Cooking | Leave a comment

Well, this week started with Valentine’s day, so naturally, it makes a good segway into the first thing I made.

Traditionally girls get these:

but what do you get for a guy that is the sign of romance and affection?

Answer:

Why yes, that is a bouquet of bacon roses.  I rolled strips of long-pepper-bacon into florets and tied them with cooking twine, then left them under the broiler till they “bloomed”.  Next step, an aluminum foil cone stuffed with paper towels made up the base of the bouquet.  I think he liked it, it was gone in five minutes.

On Tuesday I went to the ZcoB winter huddle, which always gives me the shot in the arm I need to go back to work and do great things.  I heard my friend Sarah give a wonderful presentation on her recent trip to Tunisia, and her food finds there.  (Read her blog)

On Wednesday, I made donuts with my friend Mike.  To be specific, I made meyer lemon creme fraiche donuts with my friend Mike, and we made three dozen of them.

The seasonality of citrus is one of the highlights of winter in gray Michigan.  However, it makes me wish I could have a meyer lemon tree in my backyard.

Kendall Farms Creme Fraiche is the best of the best of the best.

The batter sat for an hour to let the gluten set.  And then we got to the frying!

Mike was nice enough to come over to help, even though his fondue tasting was later that night.  But I think for most of us, cooking is a stress relief.  So we had fun.

Fried rather rustic-ally, a la caste iron skillet.  We had a really hard time maintaining a constaint oil temperature.  So the donuts were extra crispy.  Once cooled, we dipped them in a glaze made of meyer lemon zest and juice.

I wish I had a finished image of the donuts.  But at that point we were too busy eating to have time for photography.  We brought the donuts, still warm,  to our weekly finance meeting (huddle) where they were devoured on-site.

And it was good.

Hope you all have great week!

Cheers and happy eating,

-Katie

So Anyways

Fried Chicken

February 2, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Posted in Cooking | 1 Comment

Three guesses as to what I made last night!

Well, I guess the title gave it away 🙂

Growing up in a health conscious house, we never fried chicken.  Fried chicken was saved for the Colonel himself, when we were completely out of groceries.  But its one of those recipes I’ve been dying to try at least once, and so the other night… I did.

The chicken was given a 48 hour bath in buttermilk, followed by a dusting of paprika, cayenne, and sea salt, a dredge in flour, and a much hotter bath in frying oil.  The other day, Lynn Rosetto Casper told me that if you live north of the Mason Dixon, you live in “hard-flour country,” which means that your A.P. flour has less gluten, which means that its less likely to stick to the chicken once you pull it out of the fryer.

Fortunately, you can enforce the clinging power of the crispy skin (which we all know is the best part) by adding a teaspoon of corn starch to your dredging flour.

Ah, just looking at that is enough to make your heart stop.  By the way, the above picture also shows how Alton Brown wants you to drain fat off of foods – that goes for bacon, chicken, and deep fried candy bars.  The upside down cookie sheet keeps your food from resting in its own fat, resulting in a crisper end product.

When the potatoes were mashed, and the kale was braised, we sat down to eat.  And as we ate, the only audible sound was the crunch of chicken skin, because, it was just too good to waste time talking about it.

On a side note, the dark beer on the table was our second batch of home-brew.  We call it Brewgeois Cacao Porter, it’s a classic porter left to ferment with a pound of Askinoisie Cacao nibs, and one bourbon vanilla bean.

On the off-chance that any of you dear readers are running home to fry a chicken, here is the recipe that I used.

Fried Chicken

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

Ingredients

  • 1 broiler/fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 cups low fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Flour, for dredging
  • Vegetable shortening, for frying

Directions

Place chicken pieces into a plastic container and cover with buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

Melt enough shortening (over low heat) to come just 1/8-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan. Once shortening liquefies raise heat to 325 degrees F. Do not allow oil to go over 325 degrees F.

Drain chicken in a colander. Combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Liberally season chicken with this mixture. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

Place chicken skin side down into the pan. Put thighs in the center, and breast and legs around the edge of the pan. The oil should come half way up the pan. Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 10 to 12 minutes per side. More importantly, the internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees. (Be careful to monitor shortening temperature every few minutes.)

Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan. Don’t drain by setting chicken directly on paper towels or brown paper bags. If you need to hold the chicken before serving, cover loosely with foil but avoid holding in a warm oven, especially if it’s a gas oven.

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