Friday, March 26, 2010

Banana Bourbon and Chocolate Flake Ice Cream

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Root Vegetables

We’re approaching spring, I’ve seen crocuses to prove it! I do think it feels wintery, however. Root Vegetables are a winter staple. If you get some great ones, they'll have the greens in tact, like the beets to the right. Radish, turnip and beet greens can all be sautéed with olive oil + garlic, sprinkled with sea salt and served with a squeeze of lemon on a piece of crusty bread. Radish and Butter Sandwiches.

What is a Root Vegetable & How do I Choose One?

Roasted Root Vegetables (pictured above in a salad with a poached egg)
Serves 4 as a side dish
These simple vegetables can be served at room temperature with a salad or mixed with 2 cups cooked quinoa (pronounced: keen-wah) for a great side. Don’t limit yourself to using only these root vegetables, you can substitute beets, carrots or Jerusalem artichokes.

¾ teaspoon flakey maldon sea salt
1 sprig rosemary, roughly chopped(1 ½ t)
1 medium potato, cut in 3/4 inch pieces
1 medium turnip, peeled and cut in ¾ inch pieces
1 medum celeriac, peeled and cut in ¾ inch pieces
1 parsnip, peeled and cut in ¾ inch pieces
1 small onion, sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place all the ingredients except the vinegar on a sheetpan with sides and use clean hands to toss them all together. Once everything is well coated in oil and rosemary bits, spread the mixture in an even layer. Roast for about 1 hour, until the vegetables are cooked through and golden brown at the edges and on the bottom. Toss with vinegar, adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Quinoa

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Meatloaf Madness

The beginning of the week was a big sunny bunch of madness. Now, with the rain and a chill it’s a little sad. Which brings me to the great comfort of meatloaf. If meatloaf were emotion on display, it would be a long warm hug from a big friend.

Meatloaf for me had always been associated with the school cafeteria, but now I’ve grown to appreciate it’s self-basting fatty goodness. It’s really easy to make and above all, satisfying. I like to make it in a loaf pan so it is essentially simmering in its own fat the entire time. The fat drains off at the end, but it is no diet food - it’s a giant loaf of meat, with breadcrumbs.

Serves 8

If you really want to get jiggy with this, add 2 tablespoons of beef marrow fat or bacon fat. Remember, fat equals flavor. It does not equal modeling contracts or the right to wear bikinis in public. Consider your priorities.

1 ½ cups Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or coarse breadrumbs
2/3 cups buttermilk or whole milk
2 ½ pounds ground beef (85% lean is best)
1 large egg
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
½ cup tomato sauce
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 large shallot
½ teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 strips bacon

Use your hands to combine all the ingredients except the bacon in a large bowl until well combined. Place the mixture in an 8 ½ inch by 4 ½ inch by 2 ½ inch loaf pan, form into a loaf shape.

Place the loaf pan on a sheet pan with edges. Lay the bacon over the loaf in a cris-cross pattern, tuck the ends into the pan if they hang over the edge. Bake at 375 degrees until internal temperature is 145 degrees, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Let the meatloaf cool 10 minutes, run a knife between the pan and the loaf to release it. Place the meatloaf on a platter or cutting board, discard the grease that is left in the pan or use it to make a gravy. Cut in 1 inch thick slices.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Bacon

These cookies were recently dubbed "Weirdly Excellent" by my good friend, Dr. Smith. Two of my favorite adjectives, especially when used together.

A good question another friend, Erin Weston, asks when her notions about good food are challenged:"Is it good or is it gross?" a rhetoric, to which she always answers (herself & whoever is nearby) "Well, if you have to ask..."

The idea of Bacon in dessert can often fit snugly into the latter category, but here it actually works, that's a promise.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Bacon
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

If you beat the egg into the batter for the full three minutes, they will have a lighter texture. You can spoon these directly onto a baking sheet once the batter is made, or you may hold onto the dough in the freezer, wrapped in 1 ½ inch diameter roll to bake off as you want to eat them. They’ll keep frozen for about a month, refrigerated for a couple of weeks.

3 strips thick cut organic bacon, cut in half crosswise
2/3 cups sugar
1 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest(optional)

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon, cook until it just begins to brown, strain the fat and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Be careful the sugar and bacon don't burn. Remove to a baking rack to strain (it would stick to paper towel)once the bacon is crisp and golden. Let cool, crumble into tiny pieces, set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda and salt, set aside
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and remaining sugar together until lightened. Add the egg and beat until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the extract. Mix in the flour until just incorporated, stir in the chips and bacon.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two baking sheets. Place 1 tablespoon mounds of dough or ¼ inch thick slices of the log about 2 inches apart on an parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden, rotating pan halfway through baking, about 12 minutes. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to a baking rack to cool completely.

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