Friday, October 26, 2007

warm spiced apples a la mode

This is a real gem of a recipe, and totally perfect for fall. It smells and tastes like all the best parts of apple pie, but no fuss. As a bonus, you might have everything you need in your kitchen already!

Warm Spiced Apples a la Mode
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 6 minutes
Serves: 4

You'll need:
  • 4 apples
  • 1 T. cinnamon
  • 1 t. nutmeg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 C. light brown sugar
  • Juice from 1/2 small lemon
  • 3 T. butter
  • 3 T. dark rum
  • Pint of Ice Cream (dulce de leche, creme brulee, or a good vanilla bean)

1) Juice 1/2 lemon into a bowl, and combine with sugar, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

2) Core the apples, and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Toss well in sugar mixture. (You can peel the apples, but I didn't, and they turned out great!)

3) Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, and add the apples.

4) Cook the apples for 5-6 minutes, until soft, then carefully add the rum.

5) Cook 1 more minute, stirring constantly. Turn off heat, and let the apples cool for 10 minutes.

6) Scoop ice cream into 4 bowls, and top with the warm spiced apples. If you like, add some crumbled granola.

Enjoy with company or alone, and be sure to take all the credit for this brilliant, delicious, and simple dessert.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

soup season

We covered the ubiquitous kitchen staple, broccoli cheddar soup, in the last post. Let's move on to a new hearty fall vegetable...cauliflower!

Cauliflower Soup
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6

You'll need:

2 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
1 lg. head cauliflower
1 lg. onion
2 cloves garlic
3 C. chicken stock
1 C. whole milk
+/- 1/2 C. shredded parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

1) Chop the cauliflower (including stem, but not grean leaves) into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

2) Slice the onion, and smash the garlic.

3) In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat and combine with 2 T. olive oil. Add the onions and the garlic, cover, and let them "sweat" - until they are translucent, but not browned. (~5-6 minutes).

4) Add the chopped cauliflower to the soup pot. Then add all three cups of chicken stock. Stir, then cover and let cook over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft and falling apart.

5) When the cauliflower is very soft, turn the heat off, and let the mixture cool for 5-10 minutes. Then, put the cauliflower mixture in the blender** in batches, and blend over low speed until smooth.
**When putting hot liquids in a blender, be very careful. Make sure the blender is no more than half-full, and if possible, leave one corner of the lid loose, and cover with a kitchen towel. If you don't the hot liquid will create a small combustion.

6) After the cauliflower, onions, garlic, and chicken stock have been blended together until they are smooth, put it back in a soup pot on low heat. Slowly stir in 1 C. whole milk, and gradually add the parmesan cheese.

7) Taste, and adjust salt and pepper, cheese, as you like. Enjoy with sourdough toasts, and a glass of a thick, chilly, chardonnay.

Buon appetit!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

mmm mmm good

This soup isn't quite Campbell's! Don't get me wrong, I grew up on canned soup. It's getting cooler quickly, and it's getting darker earlier. Nothing can soothe away a long day like a big bowl of hearty soup. One of my favorites, broccoli cheddar soup, couldn't be easier.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Serves: 6
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Special equipment: Blender

You'll need:
  • 2 lbs. fresh broccoli crowns
  • 3 C. chicken stock
  • 4 C. 2% milk
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1/2 C. flour
  • 16 oz. sharp cheddar, grated
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Small sour dough wheels (optional, for serving in a bread bowl).

1. Chop the broccoli crowns (I use the stemps and the florets) into bite-sized pieces.

2. Place the chopped broccoli pieces in a large pot, and cover with water.

3. Cover the pot with a lid, and place pot on high heat for 10 minutes until the broccoli has been par boiled (it will turn bright green).

4. Drain your broccoli in a strainer and run tap water over it to cool.

5. In the same large pot (now, broccoli-free), melt 3 T. butter. Whisk in 1/2 cup flour, gradually, to make a paste. Whisk in 1 C. milk, and make sure everything is blended smoothly. The roux will thicken your soup. Cover, and put over low heat.

6. Place 1/2 of the boiled and chopped broccoli into a blender. Add 2 C. Chicken stock, and blend on low until smooth. Pour into soup pot.

7. Place the other 1/2 of the boiled and chopped broccoli into the blender and add 2 C. milk. Blend until smooth, then add that into the soup pot.

8. Blend the broccoli mixtures well in the soup pot, and add the remaining milk and chicken stock. Add the shredded cheddar and stir constantly until melted.

9. Taste the soup, and season to your liking. I let my soup cook for a while longer (10 mins) to make sure everything is blended together, before serving it in a bread bowl.

Broccoli, Mmm mmm good.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

zuni roll

Craving a taste from one of my favorite spots in Boston, Parish Cafe (known for their award-winning sandwich menu), I ventured out to create one of their masterpieces: the Zuni roll. It's embarassingly simple, but a great crowd pleaser and the perfect alternative to the club sandwich.

Zuni Roll

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Special Equipment: Panini press, or two frying pans (one large, one small).

For each roll, you'll need:

  • 1 Large flour tortilla

  • Dill Havarti

  • Smoked turkey breast (from the deli); +/- 5 slices per roll

  • Bacon (2-3 slices per roll)

For the sauces (if desired):

  • Smoky chipotle salad dressing

  • (1/2 C.) Cranberry sauce (canned whole berries) + (1/2 C.) sour cream, blended well.

1. Cook the bacon to your desired level of done-ness, and set aside.

2. Slice the havarti cheese into 1/8 inch (thin) slices, and put them in a line down the center of the tortilla.

3. Place 4-5 slices of turkey on tortilla.

4. Place 2-3 strips of bacon, lengthwise, on the tortilla.

5. Roll it up!

6. If you have a panini press, place the roll seam-side-down on the press, close it, and wait until you hear a sizzle, or until there are brown grill marks on the tortilla (~5 minutes). If you do not have a panini press, use two frying pans as a "press" by placing the zuni roll in the larger of the two pans (bottom), place the smaller pan on top of the zuni roll, and weight it with a large can of soup or tomatoes. You will need to turn the roll to grill both sides.

7. When the roll is done, cut with a sharp diagonal line, and serve with either (or both!) chipotle dipping sauce or cranberry sauce (*I recommend the cranberry!)

Serve with french potato salad (Recipe in previous post: April 2007, "The French Do It"). Be sure to stop by Parish Cafe next time you're in Boston...and enjoy!