08.31.09

Poached salmon

Posted in fish, food, home cooking at 2:00 am by wingerz

poachedsalmon

Ah, delicious, delicious salmon. I normally sear it but was looking to mix it up a bit. This is a pretty straightforward recipe, and quite good. Do NOT let the salmon overcook. 125 deg F gets you to medium (110 for rare); it’s better to pull it out earlier rather than later.

Served alongside roasted red bliss potatoes (tossed with a drizzle of truffle oil) and a salad with sour cream and dill dressing.

Poached Salmon with Dill and Sour Cream Sauce
from Cook’s Illustrated

2 lemons
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill fronds , plus 8-12 dill stems
2 small shallots , minced (about 4 tablespoons)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
1 skinless salmon fillet (1 3/4 to 2 pounds), about 1 1/2 inches at thickest part, white membrane removed, fillet cut crosswise into 4 equal pieces (see note)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Cut top and bottom off 1 lemon; cut into 8 to ten 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cut remaining lemon into 8 wedges and set aside. Arrange lemon slices in single layer across bottom of 12-inch skillet. Scatter dill stems and 2 tablespoons minced shallots evenly over lemon slices. Add wine and water.
2. Place salmon fillets in skillet, skinned-side down, on top of lemon slices. Set pan over high heat and bring liquid to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until sides are opaque but center of thickest part is still translucent (or until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 125 degrees), 11 to 16 minutes. Remove pan from heat and, using spatula, carefully transfer salmon and lemon slices to paper towel-lined plate and tent loosely with foil.
3. Return pan to high heat and simmer cooking liquid until slightly thickened and reduced to 2 tablespoons, 4 to 5 minutes. Strain cooking liquid through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl; discard solids. Return strained liquid to skillet; whisk in Dijon mustard and remaining 2 tablespoons shallot. Simmer over high heat until slightly thickened and reduced to 2 tablespoons, 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk in sour cream and juice from 1 reserved lemon wedge; simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat; whisk in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill fronds. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Season salmon lightly with salt and pepper. Using spatula, carefully lift and tilt salmon fillets to remove lemon slices. Place salmon on serving platter or individual plates and spoon sauce over top. Serve, passing reserved lemon wedges separately.

08.17.09

Roasted rack of lamb

Posted in food, home cooking, meat at 2:35 am by wingerz

lambchops

It’s been a while since I posted something meaty. I was inspired by our Costco run to try out this recipe (only made a half-portion). Got a really nice crust going on it. I could have been a bit more patient with the sauce, but I was getting hungry.

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Red Wine Pan Sauce and Rosemary
from Cook’s Illustrated

Lamb
2 racks of lamb (each 8 to 9 ribs, weighing 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds), rib bones frenched, and meat trimmed of fat and silver skin (see illustrations below)
Table salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Sauce
2 medium shallots , minced
1 cup dry red wine
2 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (canned)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
Table salt and ground black pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, place shallow roasting pan or jelly-roll pan on oven rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over high heat until shimmering. Place racks of lamb in skillet, meat-side down in the center of the pan, with ribs facing outwards; cook until well-browned and nice crust has formed on surface, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, stand racks up in skillet, leaning them against each other to brown the bottoms; cook until bottom sides have browned, about 2 minutes longer.
3. Transfer lamb to preheated roasting pan. (Begin pan sauce). Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of each rack registers about 135 degrees, 12 to 15 minutes, depending on size of rack. Cover meat loosely with foil and let rest about 10 minutes. Carve, slicing between each rib into individual chops, and serve immediately with the sauce.
4. Pour off all but 1 1/2 tablespoons fat from skillet used to brown lamb; place skillet over medium heat. Sauté shallots until softened, about 1 minute. Add red wine and rosemary; increase heat to medium-high and simmer until dark and syrupy, about 7 minutes. Add chicken broth; simmer until reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes longer. Off heat, swirl in butter; season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with lamb.

08.10.09

Fruit tart

Posted in baking, dessert, food, home cooking at 12:56 am by wingerz

fruittart

I haven’t even eaten this yet, but I don’t have to. It looks amazing. Random thoughts:

* I may have let the cream cook for a few seconds too long. Hopefully it’s ok.
* Forming the tart crust is a bit easier than doing a pie, since you can patch up mistakes pretty easily.
* One small package of pie weights is not nearly enough; I’ll have to pick up a few more.
* This is a multi-step recipe with lots of downtime so plan accordingly. No part of it is particularly difficult.
* I didn’t glaze it.

Hopefully it’ll taste good too.

Fresh fruit tart
from ATK Family Baking

Pastry Cream
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch table salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold), cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Tart Pastry (Pâte Sucrée)
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar (about 3 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), very cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Fruit and Glaze
fruit , unwashed
1/2 cup red currant jelly or apple jelly

1. For the Pastry Cream: Heat half-and-half, 6 tablespoons sugar, and salt in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.
2. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks in medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until sugar has begun to dissolve and mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. Whisk in cornstarch until combined and mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
3. When half-and-half mixture reaches full simmer, gradually whisk simmering half-and-half into yolk mixture to temper. Return mixture to saucepan, scraping bowl with rubber spatula; return to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until 3 or 4 bubbles burst on surface and mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla. Transfer mixture to medium bowl, press plastic wrap directly on surface, and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 48 hours.
4. For the Tart Pastry: While pastry cream is chilling, whisk together yolk, cream, and vanilla in small bowl; set aside. Pulse to combine flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; pulse to cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. With machine running, add egg mixture and process until dough just comes together, about 25 seconds. Turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and press into 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours.
5. Remove dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Unwrap and roll out between lightly floured large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to 13-inch round. (If dough is soft and sticky, slip onto baking sheet and refrigerate until workable, 20 to 30 minutes.) Transfer dough to tart pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling pin and unrolling over 9- to 9 1/2-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Working around circumference of pan, ease dough into pan corners by gently lifting dough with one hand while pressing dough into corners with other hand. Press dough into fluted sides of pan. (If some edges are too thin, reinforce sides by folding excess dough back on itself.) Run rolling pin over top of tart pan to remove excess dough. Set dough-lined tart pan on large plate and freeze 30 minutes (can be sealed in gallon-sized zipper-lock plastic bag and frozen up to 1 month).
6. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Set dough-lined tart pan on baking sheet, press 12-inch square of foil inside frozen tart shell and over edges and fill with metal or ceramic pie weights. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Remove from oven and carefully remove foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out. Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Set baking sheet with tart shell on wire rack to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
7. To Assemble and Glaze the Tart: When tart shell is completely cool, spread cold pastry cream over bottom, using offset spatula or large spoon. (Can press plastic wrap directly on surface of pastry cream and refrigerate up to 30 minutes.) Arrange fruit on top of pastry cream
8. Bring jelly to boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to smooth out lumps. When boiling and completely melted, apply by dabbing and flicking onto fruit with pastry brush; add 1 teaspoon water and return jelly to boil if it becomes too thick to drizzle. (Tart can be refrigerated, uncovered, up to 30 minutes.) Remove outer metal ring of tart pan, slide thin metal spatula between bottom of crust and tart pan bottom to release, then slip tart onto cardboard round or serving platter; serve.

08.08.09

Freeform Fruit Tart

Posted in baking, dessert, food, home cooking at 12:44 am by wingerz

freeformtart

The summer of peach desserts continues. I made this one twice. The first one was all-around disastrous. I had to roll out the pastry dough twice because the first time I wasn’t able to form it without breaking it. After it came out of the oven, it slipped off the cooling rack and right onto my kitchen table. It was still tasty, but I had much better luck with the second one.

This tart looks pretty impressive and doesn’t require a tart tin. I made mine with peaches (unpeeled) and blackberries.

Freeform Fruit Tart
from Cook’s Illustrated

Dough
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces), plus additional for work surface
1/2 teaspoon table salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 – 6 tablespoons water (ice cold)

Fruit Filling
1 pound peaches , nectarines, apricots, or plums
1 cup berries (about 1/2 dry pint)
3-5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar for sprinkling

1. Note: The amount of water that the dough will require depends on the ambient humidity; in a dry environment, it may need more water, in a humid environment, less. The dough can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight or tightly wrapped in two sheets of plastic wrap and frozen for up to one week. If at any point the dough becomes soft, sticky, and dificult to work with during rolling, chill it until it becomes workable.
2. For the dough: In food processor, pulse flour and salt to combine, about three 1-second pulses. Scatter butter pieces over flour, then pulse until texture resembles coarse bread crumbs and butter pieces about the size of small peas remain, ten to twelve 1-second pulses. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over mixture and process 1 second; repeat until dough begins to form small curds and holds together when pinched with fingers. Empty dough onto work surface; dough will be crumbly (if dough has large dry areas, sprinkle additional 2 teaspoons water over dry areas and incorporate by gently fluffing entire amount of dough with fingers). Using bench scraper, gather dough into rough mound about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide (mound should be perpendicular to edge of counter). Beginning from farthest end, use heel of a hand to smear about one sixth of dough against work surface away from you. Repeat until all dough has been worked. Using bench scraper, gather dough again and repeat. Dough should now be cohesive. Form dough into 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until cold and firm but malleable, about 1 hour.
3. For the filling: During last 30 minutes of chilling, prepare fruit. Halve and pit stone fruit and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Gently wash and dry berries. Combine fruit in medium bowl (you should have about 3 cups); set aside. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
4. To assemble and bake: (If dough has chilled longer than 1 hour and is cold and hard, let stand at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes before proceeding.) On large sheet of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour, roll dough to 12-inch round about 3/16 inch thick, dusting with flour as needed. (If dough sticks to parchment, gently loosen and lift sticky area with bench scraper and dust parchment with additional flour.) Slide parchment and dough onto baking sheet and refrigerate until cool and firm yet pliant, 15 to 30 minutes (if refrigerated longer and dough is hard and brittle, let stand at room temperature until pliant).
5. Sprinkle fruit with sugar and toss gently to combine. Remove baking sheet with dough from refrigerator. Mound fruit in center of dough, leaving 2 1/2-inch border around edge. Carefully grasp one edge of dough and fold up outer 2 inches over fruit, leaving 1/2-inch area of dough just inside of fold free of fruit. Repeat around circumference of tart, overlapping dough every 2 to 3 inches; gently pinch pleated dough to secure, but do not press dough into fruit. Working quickly, brush dough with water and sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake until crust is deep golden brown and fruit is bubbling, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool tart on baking sheet on wire rack 10 minutes. Using offset or wide metal spatula, loosen tart from parchment and carefully slide tart off parchment onto wire rack; cool until warm, about 30 minutes, or to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cut into wedges and serve.

08.03.09

Peach-blueberry crisp

Posted in baking, dessert, food, home cooking at 2:17 am by wingerz

peachcrisp

My exploration of peach-based desserts continues. This one’s really easy and tasty. As with most of my desserts, I cut the amount of sugar. I also added some blackberries to the mix because they’re so good right now.

I’ve made this one twice. I brought the second one to our friends’ barbecue, where it was called a pie (despite not having a bottom crust) and a cobbler (despite not having a biscuit-y topping). Anyway, the entire thing was consumed and complimented, which is the important part.

I’m pretty excited because my 9″ tart tin should be arriving this week!

Peach-Blueberry Crisp
from Cook’s Illustrated

6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar , packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon table salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
3/4 cups pecans or whole almonds, chopped coarse (or chopped fine if mixing topping by hand)

5 cups peaches , (peaches have been peeled, pitted, and cut into half-inch wedges), about 5 medium peaches
1 cup fresh blueberries , rinsed
1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest from 1 lemon

1. For the Topping: Place flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade. Add chilled butter and pulse until mixture moves from dry sand-like appearance with large lumps of butter to a coarse cornmeal texture, about three 4-second bursts. Add nuts and pulse until mixture resembles crumbly sand, about five 1-second bursts. Do not overprocess or mixture will take on a smooth, cookie-dough-like texture. (To mix by hand, allow butter pieces to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in medium bowl. Add butter; toss to coat. Pinch butter chunks and dry mixture between fingertips until mixture looks like crumbly wet sand. Add nuts and toss to distribute evenly. Do not overmix.) Refrigerate mixture while preparing fruit, at least 15 minutes.
2. Toss peaches, blueberries, tapioca, sugar, lemon juice, and zest in medium bowl.
3. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Scrape fruit mixture with rubber spatula into 8-inch square (2 quart) baking pan or 9-inch round deep dish pie plate. Distribute chilled topping evenly over fruit; bake for 40 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees; bake until fruit is bubbling and topping is deep golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature.