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Monday, January 30

Brown-butter layer cake

Butter, unsalted
12 ounces +
greasing pans
Flour, all-purpose
2 ¼ cups +
dusting pans
Baking powder
2 ¼ teaspoons
1 teaspoon
1 2/3 cups
Vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
3 yolks +
2 large
Milk, whole, room temperature
1 ¼ cups
  1. Start with the filling as it takes the most time to set; recipe follows.
  2. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter two 9-inch cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper, butter the paper, and then dust with flour, tapping out any excess.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt the 3 sticks of butter over low heat, stirring occasionally, until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  4. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the milk solids turn brown, and the butter smells nutty, about 4 minutes longer.
  5. Scrape the melted butter and browned bits into a large heatproof bowl.
  6. Set the bowl in an ice water bath until the butter begins to set around the edges, about 8 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
  8. Remove the bowl from the ice water, and scrape up the hardened butter.
  9. Transfer the butter to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, and beat until creamy.
  10. Add the sugar and vanilla seeds, and beat at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  11. Beat in the egg yolks, followed by the whole eggs.
  12. Beat in the dry ingredients and milk in three alternating additions, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
  13. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, and bake in the center of the oven for about 40 minutes (rotating the pans halfway through baking, if you lack a nice convection oven), until the cakes are golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  14. Cool in pans on a rack for 20 minutes, and then invert them onto a rack to cool completely.
  15. Peel off the parchment paper!
Loving my new Wolf double ovens! These are the best looking fresh-from-the-oven cakes I've ever made (and, yes, they taste great: crusty outside, with a perfect spongy, moist center).
    Dark chocolate mousse filling
    Gelatin, unflavored
    ½ teaspoon
    ½ tablespoon
    Cream, heavy, chilled
    ½ cup
    Coffee (or hazelnut) liqueur
    2 tablespoons
    2 yolks
    2 tablespoons
    Chocolate, bittersweet,
    melted, cooled
    4 ounces
    1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water, and let stand until softened.
    2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the cream until softly whipped.
    3. Refrigerate until chilled, about 10 minutes.
    4. In a small bowl, heat the liqueur until hot, about 45 seconds.
    5. Stir in the softened gelatin until dissolved.
    6. In another medium bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar and salt at high speed until pale and thickened, about 5 minutes.
    7. While beating the yolks, beat in the liqueur-gelatin mix; scrape the side and bottom of the bowl.
    8. Beat in the melted chocolate.
    9. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream in two additions.
    10. Scrape the mousse into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
    • Milk chocolate mousse: Substitute milk chocolate for the bittersweet.
    • White chocolate mousse: Substitute white chocolate for the bittersweet, and substitute orange liqueur for the coffee.

    Chocolate buttercream frosting
    1 cup
    3 whites
    ¼ teaspoon
    Vanilla extract
    ½ teaspoon
    Butter, unsalted,
    cut into tablespoon chunks
    1 cup +
    2 tablespoons
    Chocolate, extra bittersweet, melted, cooled
    4 ounces
    1. In a blender or food processor, pulse the sugar until powdery.
    2. Transfer the sugar to a medium heatproof bowl, and whisk in the egg whites and salt.
    3. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, and whisk gently until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes.
    4. Transfer the warm egg mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk.
    5. Add the vanilla, and beat at medium-high until stiff and glossy, about 8 minutes.
    6. Beat in the butter a few pieces at a time, ensuring it's fully incorporated before adding more.
      The buttercream should be light and fluffy; if it appears runny at any time, transfer the bowl to the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes, and then return it to the mixer and continue.
    7. Beat in the melted chocolate until fully incorporated, scrapping down the side and bottom of the bowl.
    8. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and beat with a wooden spoon to remove any air bubbles.
    • Hazelnut buttercream: Substitute 2 tablespoons hazelnut-praline paste for the extra-bittersweet chocolate.
    • White chocolate buttercream: Substitute white chocolate for the extra bittersweet.
    Second attempt on May 29, 2012, which came out even better than the first. Tried the hazelnut-praline buttercream this time.
    Recipe by Tom Douglas, published in the Feb. 2012 Food & Wine.

    Saturday, January 28

    Braised carrots with lamb

    Lamb shank
    1 ½ pounds

    Black pepper, freshly ground

    Olive oil
    2 tablespoons
    Onions, large, coarsely chopped
    Garlic cloves, smashed
    Celery ribs, coarsely chopped
    Dry red wine
    1 cup
    Ruby port
    ½ cup
    Rosemary sprigs
    Carrots, peeled
    ¾ cup
    Parsley, chopped
    2/3 cup
    Mint, chopped
    1/3 cup
    Lemon, freshly grated zest
    1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
    2. Season the lamb with salt and pepper.
    3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over moderately high heat, and then brown the lamb on all sides, about 8 minutes.
    4. Transfer the lamb to a plate, and pour off the oil.
    5. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet, and add the onions, garlic, and celery; cook over moderate heat until browned, 12 minutes.
    6. Add the wine and port, and boil until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 4 minutes.
    7. Transfer to a Dutch oven, add rosemary sprigs, and arrange shanks and carrots on top.
    8. Add water, cover, and bake for 2 hours.
    9. Transfer lamb and carrots to a bowl, and keep warm.
    10. Strain the pan juices into a saucepan, and boil over high heat until reduced to ½ cup, about 7 minutes.
    11. Shred the shank meat, and add it to the pan juices; season with salt and pepper.
    12. Sprinkle one-fourth of the herbs and zest over the carrots.
    Based on a recipe by Dan Barber in the February 2012 issue of Food & Wine.
    Second attempt on May 27, 2013

    Friday, January 20

    Cookin' countdown

    My cookin' countdown has begun for bangin' out my next wave of dishes from the new kitchen! Once the flooring is finished, I'll be making my move.
    The last appliance, Wolf double-ovens, is installed.

    Turkey chili

    Olive oil
    3 tablespoons
    Turkey, ground
    1 ½ pounds
    Taco seasoning mix
    1 ounce pack
    Coriander, ground
    1 teaspoon
    Oregano, dried
    1 teaspoon
    Chili pepper flakes
    1 teaspoon
    Tomato paste
    2 tablespoons
    Beef broth
    14.5 ounces
    7 ounces
    Tomatoes, crushed in puree
    14.5 ounces
    Green chili peppers, chopped
    7 ounces
    Onion, medium, finely chopped
    Bell pepper, green, chopped
    Zucchini, medium, halved, chopped
    Green onions, chopped
    1 bunch
    Sour cream
    1 cup
    Cheddar cheese, shredded
    1 cup
    1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat.
    2. Crumble turkey into the pot, stirring with a wooden spoon to break apart as much as possible.
    3. Add taco season, coriander, oregano, chili flakes, and tomato paste; mix until meat is evenly coated, and continue until turkey is well browned.
    4. Add broth, and simmer to reduce liquid slightly, about 5 minutes.
    5. Add salsa, tomatoes, and green chilies, and continue cooking at a moderate simmer for 10 minutes. Adjust the thickness at any time by adding water.
    6. While chili is simmering, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
    7. Cook onion and bell peppers, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and the bell pepper is lightly browned.
    8. Add to the chili, and reduce to a low simmer.
    9. In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat.
    10. Add zucchini, and cook stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
    11. Add zucchini to the chili, and continue cooking for 15 minutes more, adding water as needed to adjust thickness.
    Ladle chili into serving bowls, and top with sour cream, green onions, and cheese.

    Wednesday, January 18

    Roasted salmon with whole grain mustard crust

    Mustard, whole grain
    ¼ cup
    Olive oil, extra virgin
    1 tablespoon
    Chives, minced
    1 ½ tablespoons
    Salmon fillets, wild, skin-on
    4 8-ounce

    Black pepper, freshly ground

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
    2. In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, olive oil, and chives.
    3. Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper, and place skin-side down on the foil.
    4. Spread the mustard mixture over the tops of the fillets.
    5. Roast for 6 minutes, and remove from oven.
    6. Preheat the broiler.
    7. Broil the salmon 6 inches from the heat for about 4 minutes, until the mustard crust is browned, and the salmon is cooked through.
    8. Using a spatula, carefully slide the salmon fillets off their skins, and transfer to plates.
    Recipe published in Food & Wine, February 2012.

    Garlicky potatoes, green beans, & cauliflower

    Potatoes, fingerling,
    scrubbed, not peeled
    1 pound

    Cauliflower florets
    3 cups
    Green beans
    1 pound
    Olive oil, extra-virgin
    3 tablespoons
    Garlic cloves, finely chopped
    Pimentón de la Vera
    ½ teaspoon
    Sherry vinegar
    1 tablespoon
    1. In a large pot, cover the potatoes with 2 inches of salted water, and bring to a boil.
    2. Reduce the heat to moderate, and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, about 8 minutes.
    3. Add the cauliflower and green beans, and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes.
    4. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil.
    5. Add the garlic, and cook over low heat until browned, about 1 minute.
    6. Add the pimento, and a large pinch of salt, and then remove from the heat.
    7. Sprinkle with vinegar, toss with vegetables, and serve.
    Recipe by José Andrés, published in Food & Wine, February 2012.