Last weekend I made fried chicken (3 whole chickens). I can’t find the recipe for the brine, but it was about 4 cups of buttermilk, 1/2 cup of Tobasco sauce, and 1/2 cup of Worcestershire sauce, soaked overnight. Then I followed the technique from this good ol’ Mom’s recipe, which is a really fun read (especially since I’ve had the Thomas Keller fried chicken several times, both home-cooked and at Ad Hoc.
I’d recommend cutting up the larger breast pieces in half so that they cook faster. Also, since we had all that oil lying around we made some shrimp tempera too.
I’m a bit embarrassed to say that after all these years I haven’t really had a go-to hamburger recipe. I think I finally found one – this one is a bit more forgiving than others since the burger stays tender even when you cook it to a well-done temperature.
Well-done Hamburgers from More Best Recipes
1 large slice high-quality white sandwich bread , crust removed and discarded, bread chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons whole milk
3/4 teaspoon table salt
3/4teaspoon ground black pepper
1 medium clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons steak sauce, such as A-1
1 1/2pounds 80 percent lean ground chuck
Vegetable oil for cooking grate
6 ounces cheese, sliced (optional)
4 hamburger buns or rolls
1. Turn all burners to high, close lid, and heat until very hot, about 15 minutes. Use grill brush to scrape cooking grate clean. Lightly dip wad of paper towels in vegetable oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate. Leave primary burner on high, turn other burner(s) to low.
2. Meanwhile, mash bread and milk in large bowl with fork until homogeneous (you should have about 1/4 cup). Stir in salt, pepper, garlic, and steak sauce.
3. Break up beef into small pieces over bread mixture. Using fork or hands, lightly mix together until mixture forms cohesive mass. Divide meat into 4 equal portions. Gently toss one portion of meat back and forth between hands to form loose ball. Gently flatten into 3/4-inch-thick patty that measures about 4 1/2 inches in diameter. Press center of patty down with fingertips until it is about 1/2 inch thick, creating a slight depression in each patty. Repeat with remaining portions of meat.
4. Lightly dip wad of paper towels in vegetable oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate. Grill burgers on hot side of grill, covered, until well seared on first side, 2 to 4 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, flip burgers and continue grilling, about 3 minutes for medium-well or 4 minutes for well-done. Distribute equal portions of cheese (if using) on burgers about 2 minutes before they reach desired doneness, covering burgers with disposable aluminum pan to melt cheese. While burgers grill, toast buns on cooler side of grill, rotating buns as necessary to toast evenly. Serve burgers on toasted buns.
Served with fresh pasta, and super-garlicky. Pretty fast to make too.
Garlicky Shrimp Pasta from More Best Recipes
5 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 teaspoons), plus 4 medium cloves, smashed
1 pound large shrimp (21-25), peeled, deveined, each shrimp cut into 3 pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound pasta in short, tubular shapes, such as fusilli, campanelle, or mezze rigatoni
2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine
3/4 cup clam juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice plus 1 lemon, cut into wedges
Ground black pepper
1. Toss 2 teaspoons minced garlic, shrimp, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Let shrimp marinate at room temperature 20 minutes.
2. Heat 4 smashed garlic cloves and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is light golden brown, 4 to 7 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and use slotted spoon to remove garlic from skillet; discard garlic. Set skillet aside.
3. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta. Cook until just al dente, then drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water, and transfer pasta back to Dutch oven.
4. While pasta cooks, return skillet with oil to medium heat; add shrimp with marinade to skillet in single layer. Cook shrimp, undisturbed, until oil starts to bubble gently, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir shrimp and continue to cook until almost cooked through, about 1 minute longer. Using slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to medium bowl. Add remaining 3 teaspoons minced garlic and pepper flakes to skillet and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute; stir in vermouth and cook for 1 minute. Add clam juice and parsley; cook until mixture starts to thicken, 1 to 2 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter and lemon juice. Add shrimp and sauce to pasta, adding reserved cooking water if sauce is too thick. Season with black pepper. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately.
While I haven’t been posting much lately, we’ve definitely been cooking and eating well. I made this one a few times over the winter, once in a Dutch oven in the oven (as specified here) and once in the slow cooker. It freezes really well. Also, not surprisingly, it tastes better if you use twice the specified amount of pancetta.
Hearty Tuscan Bean Stew from Cook’s Illustrated.
1 pound dried cannellini beans (about 2 cups), rinsed and picked over
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil , plus extra for drizzling
6 ounces pancetta , cut into 1/4-inch pieces (see note)
1 large onion , chopped medium (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium celery ribs , cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
2 medium carrots , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
8 medium garlic cloves , peeled and crushed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 bunch kale or collard greens (about 1 pound), stems trimmed and leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups loosely packed)
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes , drained and rinsed
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Ground black pepper
1. Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large bowl or container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Heat oil and pancetta in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pancetta is lightly browned and fat has rendered, 6 to 10 minutes. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 10 to 16 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, water, bay leaves, and soaked beans. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook until beans are almost tender (very center of beans will still be firm), 45 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Remove pot from oven and stir in greens and tomatoes. Return pot to oven and continue to cook until beans and greens are fully tender, 30 to 40 minutes longer.
4. Remove pot from oven and submerge rosemary sprig in stew. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves and rosemary sprig and season stew with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, use back of spoon to press some beans against side of pot to thicken stew. Serve over toasted bread, if desired, and drizzle with olive oil.
This year I’d like to:
Eat more whole grains and vegetables. Going to have to wean myself off of white bread.
Try more new recipes. I’ve been kind of stuck in a rut where I make the same dozen things for ourselves and for dinner guests. The good news is that I’m good at making those things now.
Waste less. Need to control myself at the market. We let food hang out for too long in the fridge sometimes.
Keep the kitchen clean/organized as I cook. This one is really tough when I’m cooking alone. I think I’m doing better though, especially when it’s a small group for dinner.
Be more creative. I think I do an ok job of putting together menus and doing variations of recipes that I really like.
Post more recipes. Whoops, kind of dropped the ball on this one. Another thing to blame on Camille!
This is a really nice accompaniment to roasted salmon.
from Cook’s Illustrated
1/3 cup almonds , toasted
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 medium shallot , minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon cold water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
Table salt and ground black pepper
Place almonds in zipper-lock bag and, using rolling pin, pound until no pieces larger than 1/2 inch remain. Combine pounded almonds, honey, mustard, vinegar, and shallot in medium bowl. Whisking constantly, drizzle in olive oil until emulsion forms. Add water and tarragon and whisk to combine, then season with salt and pepper. Serve.
I’m always on the lookout for really good fish recipes, and this one is phenomenal. Quick and simple preparation, colorful, flavorful, and succulent.
Notes: I used one 1 lb halibut filet and grape tomatoes and stuck a thermometer into the fish before putting in the oven (took it out when it was a shade under 120 since it was really fresh fish).
Halibut en Cocotte with Roasted Garlic and Cherry Tomatoes
from More Best Recipes
1/4 cup evoo
2 medium garlic cloves, sliced thin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups (12 ounces) cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 1 1/4 lb halibut steaks, each about 1 1/4 inches thick and 10 to 12 inches long
ground black pepper
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 250 degrees. Cook 2 tablespoons of the oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt together in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat until the garlic is light golden, 2 to 4 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the tomatoes, capers, and thyme.
2. Pay the halibut dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Lay the halibut on top of the tomatoes. Place a large sheet of foil over the pot and press to seal, then cover tightly with the lid. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until the halibut is opaque and flakes apart when gently prodded with a paring knife, 35 to 40 minutes.
3. Transfer the halibut to a serving platter and tent loosely with foil. Bring the tomato mixture in the pot to a simmer over medium-high heat until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the halibut and serve.
These scones are awesome. They’re more work than the cream scones but it’s definitely worth it. I made these for our day care teachers when they came over for a home visit. I hope they bought Camille a few extra hugs.
from ATK’s Family Baking Book
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), frozen whole (you’ll “only” use 10 tablespoons of butter total)
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (about 7 1/2 ounces), picked over (see note)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces), plus additional for work surface
1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces), plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Score and remove half of wrapper from each stick of frozen butter. Grate unwrapped ends on large holes of box grater (you should grate total of 8 tablespoons). Place grated butter in freezer until needed. Melt 2 tablespoons of remaining ungrated butter and set aside. Save remaining 6 tablespoons butter for another use. Place blueberries in freezer until needed.
2. Whisk together milk and sour cream in medium bowl; refrigerate until needed. Whisk flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest in medium bowl. Add frozen butter to flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.
3. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; fold with spatula until just combined. With rubber spatula, transfer dough to liberally floured work surface. Dust surface of dough with flour; with floured hands, knead dough 6 to 8 times, until it just holds together in ragged ball, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.
4. Roll dough into approximate 12-inch square. Following illustrations, fold dough into thirds like a business letter, using bench scraper or metal spatula to release dough if it sticks to countertop. Lift short ends of dough and fold into thirds again to form approximate 4-inch square. Transfer dough to plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in freezer 5 minutes.
5. Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll into approximate 12-inch square again. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over surface of dough, then press down so they are slightly embedded in dough. Using bench scraper or thin metal spatula, loosen dough from work surface. Roll dough, pressing to form tight log. Lay seam-side down and press log into 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using sharp, floured knife, cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet.
6. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving.
As some of you know, Jen gave birth to our beautiful Camille two weeks ago. I’ve still been trying to keep Jen (and, transitively, the baby) well-nourished. The number of ingredients has gone way down; basically everything (lamb, salmon, zucchini, red peppers, asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes) gets a sprinkle of olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. The slow-cooker has also gotten some use – chicken soup and “barbecued” beef brisket.
Yesterday Joy came to visit so we were a bit more ambitious – made a delicious blueberry pie. The new oven is way better than our old one – baked goods come out with a better brown. The pie was amazing.
Best Blueberry Pie
from Cook’s Illustrated
Make a double crust according to this recipe.
6 cups fresh blueberries (about 30 ounces) (see note)
1 Granny Smith apple , peeled and grated on large holes of box grater
2 teaspoons grated zest and 2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca , ground (see note)
Pinch table salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large egg , lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1. Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs plate in place; refrigerate while preparing filling until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
2. For The Filling: Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees. Place 3 cups berries in medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Using potato masher, mash berries several times to release juices. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and mashing occasionally, until about half of berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly.
3. Place grated apple in clean kitchen towel and wring dry. Transfer apple to large bowl. Add cooked berries, remaining 3 cups uncooked berries, lemon zest, juice, sugar, tapioca, and salt; toss to combine. Transfer mixture to dough-lined pie plate and scatter butter pieces over filling.
4. Roll out second disk of dough on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 11-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Using 1 1/4-inch round biscuit cutter, cut round from center of dough. Cut another 6 rounds from dough, 1 1/2 inches from edge of center hole and equally spaced around center hole. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over pie, leaving at least 1/2-inch overhang on each side.
5. Using kitchen shears, trim bottom layer of overhanging dough, leaving 1/2-inch overhang. Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with tines of fork to seal. Brush top and edges of pie with egg mixture. If dough is very soft, chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
6. Place pie on heated baking sheet and bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.
For the past eighteen months I’ve had to make do with quite a small kitchen. It’s got a tiny dishwasher, a small fridge, a basic stove, and not a ton of counter space. A lot of our favorite appliances (even the stand mixer) get hidden away in closets or cabinets when they aren’t in use. It’s a far cry from the granite countertops and island in our old condo. But it’s most definitely been serviceable, and I’ve learned to be more efficient with my space and dish usage.
Sunday dinners have been the highlight of the week thanks to the year-long farmer’s market (as opposed to the June-October one in Somerville). One completely new skill that I’ve picked up over the past year is baking – from bread to fruit desserts to pastries. To celebrate our last weekend here I made four dozen cinnamon rolls today. I’m just now realizing that my upstairs neighbors probably hate me for running the oven all last summer too.
This recipe is from the ATK Family Baking Book. It’s actually a pretty easy recipe; the stand mixer and yeast do most of the work for you. Mine deserves a break after running non-stop for about an hour.
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