Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Years dinner

Turkey from Honeybaked Ham
Mashed butternut squash with dried orange peel, butter, white pepper and salt and parmesan
Green beans
Spinach salad with feta, pecans, granny smith apples, pomegranate seeds, croutons and creamy Balsamic vinegrette dressing
Dill rolls
Bread (no-knead variety)
Apple crumble pie

The pie was the big hit, as well as the turkey. The turkey got good comments from people like "I don't usually like turkey but this is good."

The pie - the result of a year or two of experimentation, included the following:
granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
chopped pecans (a handful)
cinnamon, dried ground ginger, allspice (a tiny bit)
1 T coarse-grain sugar
crumble topping of with butter/sugar/flour/oatmeal combination
bottom crust by pillsbury
Served with blue bell vanilla ice cream
Baked at 350-425 for about 45 minutes or so, until crust browned. I'm impatient and kept raising the temperature while cooking (after an initial 30 min at 350).
The only flaw in the pie is that it doesn't produce much juice, so it needs something creamy to go with it. next time I might add a T of water to see if it juices the apples up a bit more. or a top crust to contain the steam they lose in cooking.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Shrimp Barbeque Dish
Tonight was dinner from stuff in the pantry and freezer, with no new shopping. It looks like chili but tasted closer to barbecue sauce. The mango helped enhance that, I think.
  • Shrimp! frozen (about 15 medium sized)
  • Half a red onion, thinly sliced then chopped into about 1" pieces
  • A little minced garlic
  • Canned corn (1/2 of regular size can)
  • Canned tomato sauce (small can)
  • Rice
  • Frozen mango
  • Spices - chili powder, cumin, oregano
  • Balsamic vinegar, and a little sugar
  • Cheese - capricho de cabra, a tangy goat cheese. Feta would probably be good, too.
Prepare rice in the usual way. 1 c was more than enough for this.

Sautee the onion and garlic with a bit of olive oil. I used a nonstick pan. Add 1/2 t cumin and 3/4 t chili powder, toasting them before adding the tomato sauce and corn, diced mango (1/2" dice), a bit of water, a dash of vinegar, pinch of sugar and maybe 1/3 t oregano. Reduce heat, simmer, until only about 3 minutes remain until the rice is done. At the appropriate time, add the shrimp and cook until done. Serve over rice, sprinkle with a little cheese.

I think a little cilantro would not go amiss here. And lime juice. And spiciness - a bit of chipotle or ancho powder would be good to spice it up, as it was VERY mild. But quite tasty and well-balanced.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Quince marmalade

With 1-2 quinces left over from my tart below, I chopped them to tiny pieces and cooked in enough water to barely cover, until soft. During that time I added a couple of squeezed lime wedges but then feared they would be bitter so took out the wedges after a few minutes. I added 3/4 of the measure of the quinces of sugar. I cooked 20 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. I also added some vanilla extract, since I had no vanilla bean piece to use. Due to the high pectin of the quince, this gelled slightly. This is a good toast-topper. I don't know if it would work with any other fruit, though - maybe apples? But then they'd turn all brown, and not golden-pink like the quinces.
No Knead Bread

Just like everyone else on the foodblogosphere, I made the bread, the bread was good, I want to save the recipe for the next time I remember to do it. This bread is very easy, tastes good, great crust due to baking process (the time with lid on is super-important), but does take a long time. Timing is the primary issue for me. One day I mixed up the dough before work (7:30a), came home and started the rest of the process (6p) and had bread by 9 or 10. A LONG time later, if what I wanted was bread for dinner. But if I mix it up at 10 the night before, then 18 hours later is 4pm, and what happens if I leave it until 6 when I get home? Probably nothing, and I'll try that next time. Or make it on a weekend.

3 c flour (all-purpose or bread)
1/4 t yeast
1 1/4 t salt
cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

Combine flour, yeast and salt in large bowl. Add 1 5/8 c water, stir until blended. Dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover with plastic wrap, let stand 12-18 hours at warm room temperature (70F).

Dough is ready when surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it. Sprinkle with more flour and fold over itself 1-2x. cover with plastic wrap, let rest 15 mins.

Using a little flour to keep from sticking to you or to work surface, shape dough into a ball. Coat a cotton towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal (not too much!), put dough seam-side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another towel, let rise 2 hours. When ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not spring back when poked with a finger.

30 minutes before dough is ready, preheat oven to 450, and place a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot in oven as well. When dough is ready, remove pot from oven, slide hand under dough and turn into pot (seam-side up). Shake pan a little to distribute dough evenly. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15-30 mins (until browned). Cool on rack.

Yields 1 1.5lb loaf.
Quince Tarte Tatin

From The Serendipitious Chef ( Mine did not turn out as beautifully red as theirs, but tasted good to C and me. Not as much to the rest of the family, as it was pretty tart and not very sweet, and even to me the crust was a bit...wholesome. As in, not much flavor. Also mine was too thick, so that was part of the problem. But also not enough flavor. I'd do it again if I found quinces for a low enough price. Or had a better pan for the job.

2 c whole wheat flour (or half whole wheat, half allpurpose unbleached)
1/4 t salt (could've used more)
3/4 c cold butter, tiny cubes (I used less - 1 stick plus a little)
1/3 c very cold water
4 whole quince, peeled, cored, sliced
1/4 c butter
1/2 c sugar

combine salt and sugar, massage in butter until resembles very coarse meal with pea-sized lumps of butter. Add cold water, quickly mix and form into a ball. Form into a disk on counter (with flour), and cover with plastic wrap, chill 30 mins.

combine butter and sugar in heavy-bottomed pan with short sides. Heat until sugar turns golden amber color (5-7 min). Swirl pan to combine butter. Add quince slices, toss to cover completely, sautee over medium heat until the slices start to soften, stirring frequently.

Turn off heat. Remove slices to a plate, arrange into pan, starting at outer edge, circular pattern, packing slices close together and interlocking. Cover bottom of pan entirely and evenly. Return pan to medium high heat, and without stirring, cook quince slices a few more minutes, until caramel is fully bubbling and boiling and deep brown. Remove from heat.

Roll out crust while quinces are cooking, to 1/4" thick and about 1" larger than the pan with the quince. Place dough over surface of quince, tuck edges underneath to cover. Bake 20-40 minutes or until crust is golden (or like forever, b/c the crust takes really long time to brown). Remove and let stand 15 minutes, then flip onto serving plate or wooden board.
Yogurt biscuits

1 c flour (I used 3/4 white 1/4 wheat)
1.5 t b powder
0.5 t salt
0.25 t b soda
2 T butter
1 c lowfat plain yogurt
1 t sugar
0.5 t milk (skim)

combine dry. cut in butter. stir together yogurt and sugar. add to dry mix just til moistened. knead on floured surface 4-5 times. pat into rectangle on baking sheet, cut into 6 square biscuits (don't separate). brush with milk. Bake 450 F 12-15 minutes until brown.


These tasted great, and were much more moist than the buttermilk biscuit recipe below. The dough was very moist, somewhat sticky. I baked for long enough to develop a nice golden brown on top, then removed. Once semi-cool I cut into them and found the insides were still a little doughy. Either I need to cook longer at a slightly lower temperature, or add more flour. Since they were very tender and moist, I think they can support a little more flour and keep the same temperature.