Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pluck it cake, WANT!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cornflake "Fried" Chicken

3 lbs (or so) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 cups corn flakes

4 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp chili powder or 1/4 tsp cayenne and 1/4 tsp red pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper]

2 eggs
Dash of milk
Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Crush the corn flakes and seasoning in a bag with a rolling pin. Lightly whisk the egg and milk and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mist a wire rack with olive oil. Coat the chicken evenly first with the egg mixture then the cornflake mixture. Arrange on the rack and lightly mist with olive oil. Bake in the oven for about 1 hour, until juices run clear.

Personal Note: Trash-simple good eats. Yum! I'm making stock with the bones (cue lotsa jokes about boning!) as we speak. Can be done with thighs too.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sour Cream Coffee Cake


1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

8 tbsp (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.

Make the filling: in a small bowl, mix together the walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon.

Make the batter: in a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and creamy using an electric mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter in two additions, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until the batter is smooth.

Spoon one-third of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it. Sprinkle the batter with half of the walnut filling. Next, cover the filling with another third of the batter and smooth it. Top with the remaining filling. Spoon the remaining batter on top and smooth it.

Bake until the top of the cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out dry, 40 to 45 minutes. Let the cake cool slightly in the pan. Remove it from the pan by inverting it onto a wire cooling rack. When completely cool, dust with confectioners' sugar.

Personal Note: I never dust with sugar, myself. Yum yum yum. Now that I've finally, after like a decade, figured out how to properly cream butter and sugar, cakes come out better. Sheepish! This is from that Jewish cookbook I mentioned earlier. My aunt and grandma used to make sour cream coffee cakes and kuchen...makes me miss them. And it really is the perfect partner for coffee--as a treaty breakfast it's sublime.

Laurie's Pear Tart/Cake

4 or so ripe, juicy pears, peeled, cored, and cut into sixths or eighths
1 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray an 8-inch (important) spring form pan with Pam.

In a large bowl cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Incorporate it into the wet mixture.

Spread the batter into the pan. Now, in a pinwheel pattern, press the slices of pear, peeled side up, into the batter. Cram in as many as you can; since the batter rises and covers the pears, there's no points given for style here. The more pears, the moister the cake will be.

Bake until a skewer comes out clean, about an hour. If you have any doubts, UNDERBAKE. This is a whole different animal if it dries out. Then it's just a cake. Correctly done, you'll love it. It's just one of those recipes that is greater than the sum of its parts. really.

Personal Note: From Chowhound Forums. Really yummy, especially when you reheat it. Light and moist and a little spongy, and delicately sweet in that wonderful pear way.

Sangkhaya Mak Eu (Coconut Squash Custard)

In this dessert, sweet coconut custard is baked inside a hollowed-out kabocha squash. It is a popular afternoon treat sold at markets in Laos. For the best results, use squash that's within the size range suggested below; otherwise the cavity won't properly accommodate the custard.

1 1/2 to 2 lb. kabocha squash
1/2 cup canned coconut cream
1/2 cup semi-moist Thai palm sugar
1/2 cup fine salt
6 egg yolks

1. Using a long, sharp knife, cut off the top of the squash, about 1" from the stem end. Discard top. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds and the fibers to make a hollow cavity. Set aside.

2. In a 1-qt saucepan, whisk together the coconut cream and 1/4 cup of the palm sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, while whisking occasionally; remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes to cool slightly. In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining palm sugar with the salt and egg yolks until yolks are smooth and pale yellow. While whisking the yolks, slowly drizzle in the hot coconut cream mixture. Transfer mixture to top of a double boiler set over simmering water and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon, about 4 minutes.

3. Heat oven to 325 F. Pour custard into the reserved squash and set on rack in the bottom of an 8" x 8" baking dish. Pour 1 cup boiling water into dish. Bake until a knife inserted into center of custard comes out clean, about 2 hours. Let cool; slice into 6 wedges. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Personal Note: From Saveur.

Jessica's Spiced Pecans

These fragrant, skillet-roasted pecans—based on a version that author Harris makes—get their earthy, spicy bite from rosemary, Spanish smoked paprika, and chili powder.

Makes 2 cups.

4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cups pecan halves
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
2 tbsp. roughly chopped rosemary leaves
2 tsp. Worcestershire
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. Tabasco
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1. Heat butter in a 12" skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and cook, swirling skillet constantly, until nuts are toasted, about 5 minutes.

2. Add brown sugar, rosemary, worcestershire, paprika, chili powder, salt, Tabasco, black pepper, and cinnamon and stir until pecans are evenly coated. Continue cooking pecans, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 1–2 minutes.

3. Transfer pecans to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet, spread into a single layer, and let cool, stirring pecans and breaking up sugar and spices occasionally.

Personal Note: This recipe was first published in Saveur in Issue #115.

Garlic Dumplings with Emmentaler (Käsespätzle)

Spätzle means little sparrows in German.

Serves 4.

2 heads of garlic
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup milk
1⁄4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf
parsley leaves
1⁄4 cup finely chopped basil leaves
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
1 cup grated emmentaler cheese

1. Heat oven to 450°. Halve garlic crosswise with a knife and brush with olive oil; wrap with foil. Roast until soft, 1 hour. Let cool and squeeze roasted garlic cloves from their skins into a bowl; mash with a fork to a paste.

2. Melt 2 tbsp. of the butter and add to paste. Then add milk, parsley, basil, salt, and eggs; stir until smooth.

3. Put flour into a large bowl; form a well in center. Slowly pour in the garlic–milk mixture, stirring with a fork to form a smooth batter.

4. Bring a 5-qt. saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Set a perforated spätzle-making disk over the pot. Working in batches, scrape batter through holes into water. Cook until dumplings rise to surface, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer dumplings to a baking sheet.

5. Heat remaining 4 tbsp. of butter in a 12" ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add dumplings; cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 6–8 minutes. Meanwhile, heat broiler; put rack 5" from heating element. Sprinkle dumplings with cheese; broil until melted, about 2 minutes.

Personal Note: Apparently this isn't actually käsespätzle. I'm not sure I'll make my spaetzle using this recipe; I have my own, and it works pretty well. But I was interested in collecting recipes for it that include other flavors. Mine are plain, with just butter.