Posts Tagged ‘Kitchen’

Kitchen Intel, Number Three!

May 16, 2019

Do you know how to prevent your sauces from dripping down the outside of your pan?  Well, here is a painter’s trick that works equally well in this situation.  First tilt your pan to pour out the contents, then continue turning the pan in the same direction (basically just flipping it) until it is right side up again.  The drips then get caught in the pan and do not roll down the side.  Voila!

Source: How to Break an Egg, by the editors, contributors, and readers of Fine Cooking magazine, p. 9, Perry Weddle.

Cheesy Taters!

May 6, 2019

Here is a very yummy recipe that I ran across while home in Michigan over the holidays.

The Ultimate Up North Cheesy Potatoes

4 Tablespoons of butter (plus extra for greasing the skillet)
1 teaspoon of ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of thyme
2 cloves of minced garlic
1/4 cup of flour
2 cups of milk
2 cups of grated sharp Pinconning OR cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups of grated mild Pinconning OR cheddar cheese
3 pounds of russet potatoes (peeled and thinly sliced)
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese1/4 cup of crushed potato chips
Minced chives
Additional thyme

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large pot (or Dutch oven) melt butter over medium heat; add spices and garlic and cook one (1) minute or until fragrant.  Whisk in the flour and cook while whisking for about three minutes.

Whisk in the milk and smooth out any lumps; bring mixture to a boil.  Immediately reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened (about five (5) minutes).  Gradually stir in 2 cups of sharp Pinconning (or sharp cheddar) and 1 cup of mild Pinconning (or mild cheddar).  Add the potatoes and toss to coat.  Simmer in this sauce for about five (5) minutes).

Pour the potatoes into a well-buttered 23-inch cast-iron skillet.  Top with the remaining 1/2 cup of mild cheese and the 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and bake, loosely covered with foil, for about 25 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes (until the cheese is bubbly and the potatoes are tender.  Carefully remove from the oven and sprinkle with the crushed potato chips, chives, and thyme.

Kitchen Intel, Number Two!

April 14, 2019

Convection ovens have been around for years now and I have always wondered what the guidelines were for using a convection oven . . . now I know.

  • use a temperature that is 25 degree F lower than the recipe suggests.
  • expect food to be cooked in less time (25%) even with the lower temperature.
  • pans with lower sides will reap the full benefit of a convection oven.
  • you can use all of the racks, but keep an eye on how they brown, you may have to rotate your pans to compensate for any over-browning that may occur.
  • you can usually turn the convection on and off at will, so play with it; you can force browning by using the convection at either the beginning or the end of cooking while normal cooking during the rest of the time.
  • if you are in the habit of using parchment paper when baking, be aware that the fan from the convection feature can sometimes blow the paper around.

Source: How to Break an Egg, by the editors, contributors, and readers of Fine Cooking magazine, p. 14, Susie Middleton.

Don’t Be “Chicken” To Try This One!

April 4, 2019

Here is yet another simple and delicious recipe for chicken (yes, garlic is involved).  Enjoy!

Garlic Mushroom Chicken Thighs

For the chicken
1-1/2 pounds of boneless/skinless chicken thighs (6-8 fillets)
1 teaspoon each of onion powder and garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon each of dried thyme and rosemary
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
2 Tablespoons of olive oil

For the sauce
1 Tablespoon of butter
8 ounces of sliced mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic, minced (or 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic)
1 Tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley
1/2 – 1 teaspoon each of dried thyme and dried rosemary (to taste)

1.  Pat chicken thighs dry with a paper towel and trim off any excess fat.  Combine the onion powder, garlic powder, herbs, salt and pepper.  Coat the chicken evenly with the combined seasoning.

2.  Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat and sear the chicken thighs in batches until browned on each side and no longer pink in the center (about 8 minutes each side depending on the thickness).  Add the remaining oil if needed for additional batches.  Transfer the seared chicked to a plate; set aside and keep warm.

3.  To the same pan or skillet, melt the butter and add the mushrooms (I’d add some white wine [1/3 cup?] as well).  Season with salt and pepper and cook until soft and volume is reduced by one-half.  Add the garlic, parsley, thyme, and rosemary and saute until fragrant (about one minute more).

4.  Return the chicken to the pan and heat through.  Add additional salt/pepper to taste and garnish with the fresh parsley.

Kitchen Intel, Number One!

March 14, 2019

When looking to purchase a baking sheet, what factors into your decision?   Well, there are three main factors you should look for:

  • heavy-duty/durable
  • aluminum sheet pan (aka half sheet pan)
  • with a rim/lip

Additionally, you will want to stay away from any inexpensive versions that you are apt to find at your local grocery store/supermarket (these inexpensive sheets will start warping at the 300 degree mark).  The heavy-duty pans conduct the heat well and evenly.  And always measure your racks in advance to ensure you get the right size sheet.  For the best results when baking, you will want to have two inches of room on all sides to allow for air circulation.  But if you are strictly going to be using your sheets for cookies, then getting the ones without the rim/lip will yield better air circulation.

Source: How to Break an Egg, by the editors, contributors, and readers of Fine Cooking magazine, p. 10, Susie Middleton.


Cheesecake of the Month – September 2018!

September 15, 2018

Here is a recipe for a Turtle Cheesecake that I ran across the other day . . . I’ve never made this form of “pastry crust” for a cheesecake before and am anxious to see how it turns out.

Turtle Cheesecake

1 cup of flour
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of finely chopped pecans
6 Tablespoons of cold butter, cubed

4 packages (8-ounces each) of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup, plus 1 teaspoon, of flour, divided
2 Tablespoons of heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup of milk chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1/4 cup of caramel ice cream topping
1/3 cup of chopped pecans

1/2 cup of milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons of chopped pecans
Additional caramel ice cream topping

1. Securely wrap the outside and bottom of a greased 9″ springform pan in heavy-duty aluminum foil.

2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and pecans; cut in the butter until crumbly.  Press onto the bottom of your prepared pan.  Place your pan on a baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until set.  Cool on a wire rack.

3. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugars until smooth.  Beat in the 1/4 cup of flour, the cream, and the vanilla.  Add the eggs and beat on low speed just until blended.  Remove one cup of the batter and combine with the melted chocolate.  Pour this mixture over your crust.

4.  In another bowl, mix the caramel topping, remaining flour, and the pecans.  Drop by Tablespoonfuls over the chocolate batter.  Top with the remaining batter.  Place the springform pan in a large baking pan and add an inch of hot water to this larger pan.

5.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours, or until the center is just set and the top appears dull.  Remove the springform pan from your water bath and remove the foil.  Cool the cheesecake on a wire rack for about ten minutes before attempting to loosen the sides of the pan from the cheesecake with a knife.  Cool for one hour longer before refrigerating overnight.

6.  For the ganache, place the milk chocolate chips in a small bowl.  In a small saucepan, bring the cream just to a boil before pouring over the chips; whisk this combination until smooth.  Allow this mixture to cool slightly; continue stirring occasionally.

7.  Remove the sides of your pan.  Spread the ganache over the cheesecake and sprinkle with the pecans.  Refrigerate until set.  Add additional caramel topping (if you so desire) prior to serving.


Not Your Standard Meatball!

July 5, 2018

Are you tired of the same, old, boring meatball recipe (ground beef, salt, pepper, egg, bread crumbs, parsley . . . )?  Then have I got a treat for you!  I found this divine recipe that will really shake up (spice up?) how you look at meatballs.

Lamb Meatballs

1 large egg
1/2 cup of panko crumbs (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon of ground tumeric
1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley (plus 1 cup of parsley leaves with stems)
2 Tablespoons plus 1 cup of olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons of salt
2 cloves of garlic, divided
1 pound of ground lamb
2 cups of mint leaves
3 Tablespoons of golden raisins
Plain whole-milk Greek yogurt (for serving)

1. Place a rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the egg, panko, cumin, red pepper flakes, tumeric, parsley (finely chopped), 2 Tablespoons of oil, and 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt.  Finely grate 1 garlic clove into the bowl and then add the lamb and mix thoroughly with your hands.

2.  Gently roll the lamb mixture into small balls (about the size of a golf ball — 1-1/2″ diameter).  Place the meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet  (space them evenly apart) and bake them until they are browned and cooked through (about 8-10 minutes).

3.  While the meatballs are cooking, in your blender, purée the mint, raisins, parsley leaves and stems, remaining garlic clove, remaining 1/2 cup of the oil, and a big pinch of salt to create your pesto.  Taste the pesto and add more salt (if required).

4.  Spread the yogurt on the plates and divide the pesto and meatballs on top of the yogurt.


Cheesecake of the Month — June 2018!

June 16, 2018

This month I discovered a really easy sounding mini-cheesecake recipe that does not require a springform pan.  You make these in your standard muffin cups (paper-lined of course) to create the perfect individual-sized servings.  Enjoy!

Lemon-White Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes

1 package (4-ounce) of Baker’s white chocolate, divided
28 square shortbread cookies (1-1/2 inch), divided
2 Tablespoons of butter, melted
1/2 cup (plus 2 Tablespoons) of sugar, divided
2 packages (8-ounce each), cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/4 cup of lemon juice
2 eggs

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

2. Melt  two (2) ounces of chocolate and set aside for use later.

3. Grind sixteen (16) cookies in food processor until finely crushed and place in a medium-sized bowl.  To this bowl, add the butter and two (2) Tablespoons of sugar; mix well.  Press about 1 Tablespoon-full of this mixture onto the bottoms of your 12 paper-lined muffin cups

4.  Beat the cream cheese, vanilla, and remaining sugar in a large bowl. until blended.    Add the lemon zest, the lemon juice, and the melted chocolate and mix well.  Add the eggs (one at a time) and mix on low speed just until blended (do not overbeat).  Then simply spoon this mixture over the prepared crusts.

5.  Bake for 17-20 minutes (or until the centers are almost set) then cool completely.

6.  Melt the remaining chocolate and chop (coarsely) the remaining cookies.  Sprinkle the cookie pieces over the cheesecakes and drizzle with the melted chocolate.

Don’t Knock It Until You’ve Tried It!

April 5, 2018

I will be the first to admit that when I heard of this soup recipe, I was a bit reluctant to give it a try.  But following the glowing reviews from friends who had had the opportunity to taste it, I was glad I kept an open mind.  This is a super easy and quick to prepare recipe that I plan to keep handy throughout the soup season known as winter. And this recipe makes a lot, so be prepared to eat soup a lot . . . or freeze the leftovers.  Enjoy!

Sauerkraut Soup

1 pound of smoked Polish sausage, cut into pieces
5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
3 cans (14-1/2-ounces each) of chicken broth
1 or 2 cans of sauerkraut (24-36 ounces) drained and rinsed
2 cans (11-1/2-ounces each) of V8 juice

In a large soup opt, combine the sausage, potatoes onions, carrots, and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cook until the potatoes are tender.  Add the sauerkraut and the V8.  Return to a boil to heat through.

Get Your Ramekins Ready!

March 20, 2018

Next time you are cooking for a crowd and are looking for a seemingly easy dessert, give this deliciously sounding recipe (chocolate) a try.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Pot de Crème

1 quart of heavy cream
1 cup of sugar
A pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons of vanilla
12-13 egg yolks (10 ounces)
3 ounces of chocolate (64% cacao)

1.  Combine the cream, half the sugar, the salt, and the vanilla in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.

2.  Combine the other half of the sugar with the egg yolks and whisk to combine.

3.  Once the cream mixture boils, temper the egg mixture by slowly adding the hot cream to the chocolate and whisk.  Then add the egg yolk mixture and chocolate to the cream mixture.

4.  Strain and pour into your molds and bake at 225 degrees until set.

Recipe courtesy of Pastry Chef Katie Ianni, Aerie Restaurant (Grand Traverse Resort)