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Monday, December 30

Caramel cranberry-almond tart

Egg
1 yolk
Water, iced
2 tablespoons +
2 tablespoons
Vanilla extract
1 teaspoon
Flour, all purpose
1 ¼ cups
Sugar, granulated
1/3 cup +
1 cup
Salt
¼ teaspoon
Butter, unsalted, cold, cubed
½ cup
Cream, heavy
1 cup
Cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 ½ cups
Almonds, sliced, toasted
1 cup
  1. In a small bowl with a fork, combine the egg yolk, 2 tablespoon water, and vanilla.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
  3. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter in the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse meal, with no butter pieces larger than small peas.
  4. Add the egg mixture, and mix with a fork until the dough pulls together.
    If the dough is too dry, add water a tablespoon at a time.
  5. Roll out the dough to a 12-inch round, and transfer to a 9 1/2-inch tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom.
  6. Trim any excess dough by gently running a rolling pin across the top of the pan.
  7. Press the dough into the sides of the pan so that it extends slightly above the rim.
  8. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat to 375°F; ensure a rack is in the lower-third of the oven.
  10. Place a sheet of parchment paper in the tart shell, and cover bottom with pie weights.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes, cool on rack, and then place in baking sheet.
  12. Reduce to 325°F; place rack in the middle.
  13. In a heavy saucepan, stir together the sugar and 2 tablespoons water.
  14. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, and continue cooking, shaking or tilting the pan but not stirring (which causes the sugar to crystallize), until the sugar dissolves and the syrup turns golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes; remove from heat.
  15. Place a sieve over the top of the saucepan to prevent splattering, and slowly pour in the cream.
    Carefully watch the mixture to ensure it doesn't boil over.
  16. When the bubbling stops, whisk well.
  17. Add the cranberries and almonds, and stir to combine.
  18. Pour the mixture into the tart shell.
  19. Bake until the cranberries have collapsed and the mixture is bubbling, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  20. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely.
  21. Remove from tart pan, and serve.
Recipe from The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book.

Banana, peach, mango & flax seed smoothies

Peaches, unsweetened, frozen
1 cup
Mango, sliced
1 cup
Mango nectar
¼ cup
Yogurt, vanilla
6 ounces
Banana, ripe, peeled, cut up, frozen
1
Milk
¼ cup
Flax seed meal
1 tablespoon
Honey
2 tablespoons
  1. In a blender, combine the peaches, mango, and nectar; cover and blend until smooth. 
  2. Divide among two glasses. 
  3. In the same blender, combine the yogurt, banana, milk, flax seeds, and honey; cover and blend until smooth. 
  4. Divide among the glasses, and swirl with a spoon.

Sunday, December 29

Lemon pudding cakes

Flour, all purpose
½ cup
Salt, fine
½ teaspoon
Eggs, separated
3
Sugar
¾ cup +
¼ cup
Lemon zest, grated
1 teaspoon
Lemon juice
1/3 cup
Milk, whole
1 1/3 cup
Water, hot

  1. Preheat to 350°F; place eight ½-cup ramekins in a large baking dish. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt. 
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the yolks with ¾ cup sugar until pale and thick, about 3 minutes. 
  4. Stir in the flour with a spatula, and beat with mixer for 2 minutes until very thick. 
  5. Stir in the zest, juice, and milk; mush out any large lumps. 
  6. In another large bowl, using a mixer with clean blades, beat the whites until foamy. 
  7. Sprinkle in ¼ cup sugar, and beat until soft peaks form. 
  8. Using a spatula, add ¼ of the whites to the yolk mixture. 
  9. Gently fold in the rest of the whites until no streaks are visible. 
  10. Divide evenly into the ramekins, place in the oven, and fill the baking dish with hot water halfway up the ramekins. 
  11. Bake until the centers are firm to the touch and the edges pull away slightly from the sides of the ramekins, about 40 to 45 minutes. 
  12. Remove from the oven but leave in the water bath for 15 to 20 minutes. 
Recipe adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book.

Friday, December 20

Spicy chicken Milanese

Eggs
2
Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons
Cayenne pepper
1 ½ teaspoons
Salt

Pepper, freshly ground

Panko
1 ½ cups
Chicken cutlet, ¼- to ½-inch thick
4
Olive oil
1/3 cup +
1 tablespoon
Tomatoes, grape or cherry variety, halved
2 cups
Lemon juice
¼ cup
Wine, white
½ cup
Parsley, chopped
¼ cup
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved

Capers

  1. In pie plate, beat the eggs, Dijon, cayenne together, and then season with salt and pepper. 
  2. In another pie plate, spread the panko. 
  3. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, and then dredge in the panko, pressing a little to adhere the coat. 
  4. In a large skillet, heat the 1/3 cup oil until shimmering. 
  5. Add the chicken, and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned on the outside and white throughout the inside, about 5 to 7 minutes depending on the thickness. 
  6. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the 1 tablespoon oil, tomatoes, juice, and wine to a boil. 
  7. Reduce the heat to medium, and let simmer until the liquid is reduce by half. 
  8. Stir in the parsley, and then spoon over the chicken. 
  9. Top with cheese and capers.

Tuesday, December 17

Cheese puffs

Water
1 cup
Salt
½ teaspoon
Butter, unsalted
¼ cup
Flour
1 cup
Dry mustard
½ teaspoon
Cheddar, sharp, grated
1 cup
Eggs, room temperature
4
  1. Preheat 425°F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil.
  3. Add and melt the butter.
  4. In a small bowl, toss the flour, mustard, and cheese together.
  5. When the mixture is close to a boil again, add the cheese mixture.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low, and stir the mixture until it holds together in one mass, the texture is smooth, and it pulls away from the sides easily, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat, and cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the dough has completely incorporated them.
  9. Scoop onto a greased baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes or until they puff up golden brown.

Basic meat pie

Second attempt using a pound of beef cubes instead of chicken.
Pastry
Flour
3 cups
Salt
¾ teaspoon
Butter, unsalted, cold, cubed
½ cup
Leaf lard, cut into small pieces
½ cup
Water
6 to 9 tablespoons
Filling
Butter
2 tablespoons
Chicken thigh, cut into bite-sized pieces
4
Onion, diced
1 large
Bell pepper, green, seeded, chopped
½
Celery, chopped
1 rib
Carrot, sliced
1 large
Mushrooms, quartered
1 ½ cups
Chicken stock
2 cups
Flour
3 to 4 tablespoons
Egg
1
Water
1 tablespoon
Pastry
  1. Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl; whisk a couple of times to incorporate the salt evenly.
  2. Add the butter and lard in small batches, and coat well with flour.
  3. Work with hands or pastry knife to break the fats into pea-sized chunks.
  4. Sprinkle the water into the mixture in small amounts.
  5. Gently kneed until the dough is smooth and not crumbly.
  6. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to maximize flakiness.
Note: This is my first attempt with leaf lard, and I'm still working out the butter-to-lard ratios that make me drool.
Filling
  1. Preheat 475°F; place a baking sheet on a rack in the center.
  2. In a large, hot skillet, melt the butter, and then cook the chicken until browned; transfer to a bowl.
  3. Sauté the vegetables until the begin to brown.
  4. Return the meat to the skillet, and add the chicken stock.
  5. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to medium-low heat to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat, and stir in the flour until the liquid starts to thicken; set aside to cool
  7. Roll the pastry as desired.
  8. Whisk the egg together with water in a small bowl.
  9. Divide the filling into bowls, and cover with pastry
  10. Brush with egg wash, and cut a vent hole in the center.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes, and then reduce the oven to 375°F; continue baking for 10 minutes.
  12. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before consuming.
Yield: 2

Friday, December 6

Chicken, leek & tarragon pie

Chicken thighs
3 pounds
Carrot, chopped
1
Celery, chopped
2 ribs
Onions, finely chopped
1 +
1
Tarragon springs
3 +
1
Salt
¼ teaspoon +
Pepper, freshly ground

Flour
1 ¾ cups +
2 tablespoons
Butter, unsalted, cold, cubed
13 tablespoon +
1 tablespoon
Eggs, beaten
1 +
1
Lemon, juice plus zest
1 teaspoon
Water, chilled
2 tablespoons
Olive oil
1 tablespoon
Leeks, thinly sliced
2
Sherry
2/3 cup
Cream, light
2/3 cup
  1. In a Dutch oven, combine the chicken, carrot, one onion, and three tarragon sprigs. 
  2. Season with salt and pepper, and add enough water to cover. 
  3. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 45 minutes. 
  4. Remove the chicken; set aside. 
  5. Simmer the stock for 30 minutes longer, until reduced in half. 
  6. Meanwhile, sift together the flour and salt, and then add 7 tablespoons butter. 
  7. Gently and swiftly rub the butter into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal. 
  8. Add 6 tablespoons butter, and mix until the size of peas; make a well. 
  9. Combine 1 egg, lemon juice, and water. 
  10. Gradually pour into the well, using a knife to mix.
    (Not all of the liquid is required, depending on the day and the flour.) 
  11. Turn out on a floured surface, and knead until smooth. 
  12. Shape into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling. 
  13. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter with the oil. 
  14. Add the leeks and remaining onion, and gently cook until softened, about 5 minutes. 
  15. Increase the heat to high, add the sherry, and simmer rapidly for 3 to 4 minutes, until reduced by half. 
  16. Stir in the flour, and mix well for 1 minute. 
  17. Pour in the cream, 2/3 cup of the stock (store the remainder for another use), and the lemon zest. 
  18. Season with salt and pepper. 
  19. Shred the chicken into small pieces, and add to the leek mixture with the remaining tarragon sprig. 
  20. Preheat to 350°F with a baking sheet inside. 
  21. Using 2/3 of the pastry, line a 12-by-8 dish, and then fill with the chicken mixture. 
  22. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg. 
  23. Roll out the remaining pastry to create a lid; crimp the edges together to seal. 
  24. Trim away any excess, and brush with egg to glaze. 
  25. Place on the baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden and crisp. 
Recipe adapted from Pie by Angela Boggiano