October 31, 2004
Professorial Cocktails

I was looking for an excuse to make some tasty new food and mix up some tasty new cocktails. The tail-end of my vacation seemed as good a time as any, so I threw out an invitation and pulled together the recipes. I wound up selecting four cocktails from the last two years of Gary Regan's "The Cocktailian" column from the Chron, and plumbed through my copy of Nancy Silverton's Sandwich Book. This fall, I'm in love with my panini grill all over again. A few folks came over, and we had a lovely evening! Even Ely liked the proscuitto.

The Professor's Cocktails
21 Hayes
Hoskin’s Cocktail
Dreamy Dorini Smoking Martini
Applejack Rabbit

Wild Rice & Porcini

Cucumbers, Carrots & Feta with fig balsamic
Bee Stings (parmegian with truffled honey and black pepper)

Cauliflower & Hazelnut
Proscuitto, Arugula, Manchego Cheese
Gorgonzola, Radicchio, Honey & Walnuts
Grilled Cheese with Marinated Onions and Mustard

Posted by shock on October 31, 2004
beef daube provençal

Did I mention it was stew weather? I found this recipe for Beef Daube Provençal in the November 2004 issue of Cooking Light, and like much classic French cooking I have tried in my own kitchen it is simple but absolutely delicious. All it really consists of is braised beef, red wine, and vegetables, and methinks it would do well in a crock pot should you need to keep it warm for indeterminate-arrival guests. Carol and Dan and I rounded out the meal with a light salad with vinaigrette and an Adult Brownie for dessert.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a small Dutch oven over low heat. Add 12 garlic cloves, crushed; cook 5 minutes or until garlic is fragrant, stirring occasionally. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add 1 (2-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes, to pan; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef from pan. Add 1 cup red wine to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add garlic, beef, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 2 cups chopped carrot, 1 1/2 cups chopped onion, 1/2 cup less-sodium beef broth, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, dash of ground cloves, 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, and 1 bay leaf, and bring to a boil.

Cover and bake at 300 degrees for 2 1/2 hours or until beef is tender. Discard bay leaf. Serve over 3 cups cooked medium egg noodles (about 4 cups uncooked noodles). Yield: 6 servings.

Posted by astraea on October 31, 2004
October 30, 2004

Inspired by meriko's latest fall-y confection, I dug out a recipe for gingersnaps that to me taste like the season: warm and spicy, sweet and peppery.

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Granulated white sugar or coarse white sugar for dusting the cookies

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

Place the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and cream until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the molasses, egg, and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add to the butter mixture and mix until well combined.

Form the dough into 1 inch balls, 2 inches apart, on the baking sheets. Place on the baking sheet and, with the bottom of a glass that has been lightly dusted with flour, flatten the cookies slightly. Sprinkle the cookies with granulated white sugar. Bake about 10 minutes or until the cookies feel dry and firm on top. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Posted by rebecca on October 30, 2004
October 29, 2004
hazelnut-coriander cake
godzillacakeflog.jpg.... aka, Mo & Patrick's wedding cake.

This ia hazelnut-coriander layer cake, with praline ganache filling and a chocolate glaze over the top. When you get the glaze exactly right, it almost looks like a fondant - so smooth and shiny. The goal was to get a moist cake with the tiniest hint of spice - one you can detect, but not identify. The cake was adapted from the Hazelnut Torte in Claudia Fleming's The Last Course (and in turn, hers was adapted from Lindsey Shere's almond torte). (Truthfully, I just added the coriander. The rest of the recipe is hers.) The ganache and the glaze are from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible.

For each layer of the cake:
1 cup (2 sticks unsalted butter)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
8 oz unsweetened hazelnut paste (I ordered mine from Sugarcraft. Search for filbert paste or praline paste.)
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground coriander

1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Butter a 9" cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, and then butter the paper and flour the entire pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and smooth. Add the hazelnut paste and beat until just incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and coriander. Sift a third of it into the wet ingredients and gently fold to combine. Sift in the remaining dry ingredients in two additions, folding gently after each.

3. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean when inserted in the center. The torte should be puffy in the center ans should spring back when lightly pressed.

4. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before serving.

my notes: in my convection oven, I baked 2 layers for 45 minutes at 300. You can do two layers at once in a Kitchenaid if you're careful, but you run the risk of different layer heights that way.

Whipped Praline Ganache
Makes enough to fill a 9" 2 layer cake, with some left over.

8 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used 70% Scharffenberger.)
2 liquid cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup hazelnut paste

Break the choclate into pieces and process ina food processer until very fine. Add the hazelnut paste, and process until combined.

Heat the cream to the boiling point, and with the motor running, pour it through the feed tube in a steady stream. Process a few seconds until smooth.

Transfer mixture to a large bowl of an electric mixer and refrigerate until cold, stirring once or twice. Don't let it get too cold, or it will be too stiff to incorporate air.

Add the vanilla and beat the mixture just until very soft peaks form when the beater is raised. It will continue to thicken after a few minutes at room temperature.

If the mixture gets overbeaten and grainy, it can be resotred by remelting, chilling, and rebeating.

Chocolate Cream Glaze
Makes 2 full cups, enough to glaze a 1-layer 9" cake (with some leftover).
Note: I found I needed 1.5x the recipe to glaze a 2 layer 9" cake.

9oz bittersweet chocolate (I used 7oz 60% Scharffenberger with 2oz of their milk chocolate)
1 liquid cup heavy cream

To prepare cake for glazing: brush all crumbs from the surface and place on a cardboard round the same size as the cake. Suspend the cake on a rack set on a baking sheet to catch the exceess glaze. It's best to have enough glaze to cover with one application: touch-ups don't produce as flawless a surface. (Trust her on this one.)

To prepare the glaze: Break the chocolate into pieces and process in a food processor until very fine. Remove the chocolate to a small heavy saucepan.

Heat the cream to the boiling point and pour three quarters of it over the chocolate. Cover for five minutes to allow chocolate to melt. Gently stir together until smooth, trying not to create air bubbles. Pass through a fine strainer, and allow to cool until just tepid.

Check for consistency: At a tepid temperature a small amount of glaze should mound a bit when dropped from a spoon before smoothly disappearing. If the glaze is too thick and the mound remains on the surface or if the glaze seems curdled, add some of the remaining warm cream by the teaspoon. If the glaze is too thin, gently stir in a small amount of melted chocolate. When the consistency is correct, use at once or store and reheat.

The glaze should be poured onto the center of the cake, allowing the excess to flow down the sides. Smooth quickly and evenly with a large metal spatula, moving it lightly back and forth across the top until smooth.

Allow the cake to set for at least 3 hours at room temperature. Don't refridgerate.

Posted by shock on October 29, 2004
October 28, 2004
Skip me

This is a thing. It exists to say hello, and it's existence is prompted by the imminent move of Gastronome, which move has brought my password to my attention.

More introductory stuff after the break, if I understand correctly.

So, my name is Damien, and I live in Australia. To be more precise, I live in an inner suburb of Adelaide, South Australia. It has what is called a "mediterranean climate", and in some ways it's like a less-dramatic version of the Bay Area. It's nearly summer here: stone fruit have just started to appear in the markets, but they're not at their best yet. It's no longer raining every night, so we can start to think about grilling outdoors again, but it's not really what you'd call hot yet. On the other hand, hot is not less than 95F; you may have a different personal standard.

For no very good reason we've not been eating at home much, so there's not a lot of cooking happening, but I have been collecting fotos of various meals. I should figure out how to post them somewhere.

Posted by damien on October 28, 2004
October 17, 2004
Cheddar corn chowder with bacon

Because the Bacon of the Month Club demands more than a mere salad, here's the perfect thing for a cold fall night with some artisan bacon - and some last corn of the season.o

(Taken from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook)

4 oz. bacon, chopped
2 Tbl olive oil
3 cups chopped yellow onion (about one really big one)
2 Tbl unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
6 cups chicken stock
3 cups white boiling potatoes, diced
5 cups yellow corn kernels (about 5 ears).
1 cup half-n-half (I used Silk Soy Creamer)
1/4 lb sharp yellow cheddar, grated

1) If using fresh corn, cut the kernels from the cob and blanch in boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Frozen corn also works - just add it directly in step 6.

2) Cook bacon in olive oil until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon, set aside.

3) Add onions & butter, cook until onions are translucent, about 10 mins.

4) Add flour, turmeric, salt & pepper, cook 3 minutes.

5) Add stock & potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer until potatoes are tender.

6) Add corn to the soup, then the cream and cheddar. Cook 5 mins, until cheese is melted. Season to taste.

7) Served topped with bacon!

Vegetarian variation: I whipped up a batch with veggie stock and the results were still good, though I might do the broth as half-veggie and half garlic broth to keep it from getting overwhelming. The bacon may of course be omitted as well - you could substitute roasted red pepper instead.

Serves 5-6

Posted by patrick on October 17, 2004
Spinach Salad with Apples, Bacon, and Honey Mustard Dressing

In honor of our first installment from the Bacon of the Month Club.

A salad perfectly paired with some real bacon. Beware: this is a Bacos-free zone.

For the dressing:

3 Tbl honey
2 Tbl prepared mustard (I used Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale & Honey Spice Mustard)
2 Tbl red vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
up to 1/4 cup oil

Whisk together first four ingredients - adjust the honey/mustard balance to taste. While whisking quickly, drizzle in the oil to the desired consistency. I like it kinda thick, with maybe just half of the oil.

For the salad:

10oz. baby spinach, rinsed & dried
1 Golden Delicious Apple, finely diced
4 oz. bacon, cooked crisp, drained, and crumbled
(optional) 1 avocado, sliced thinly

Toss spinach with dressing, then toss in apple & bacon & avocado.

Serves 6

Vegetarian variation: this works perfectly well without the bacon, too. You could leave it out, or replace it with something else salty like roasted walnuts.

Posted by patrick on October 17, 2004
October 16, 2004
brunswick stew with smoked paprika

Suddenly, it's stew weather. This recipe for Brunswick Stew with Smoked Paprika from the October 2004 Cooking Light is said to have originated in Brunswick County, Virginia, (a place with stew weather if ever there was one) in the 1800s. They spiced it up with a little smoked Spanish paprika, which I couldn't find at Andronico's and couldn't be bothered to trawl specialty stores for...but regular paprika seemed to do the trick just fine. I used rotisserie chicken to speed up prep time. The stew comes out very strong and smoky, and if I was fixing this for a hot date I'd pair it with Champagne or sparkling wine. It's super yummy and super easy to make and I can't wait to eat the leftovers for the rest of the week.

Combine 2 cups (3/4-inch) cubed Yukon gold potatoes, 2 cups thinly sliced yellow onion, 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed, 1 cup frozen baby lima beans, thawed, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 2 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, and 2 bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips, in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in 3 cups shredded cooked chicken breast, 1/2 teaspoon sweet Spanish smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper; simmer 15 minutes. Yield: 6 servings.

Posted by astraea on October 16, 2004
October 15, 2004
bonny doon & bernal heights

Neat ! We'll miss it by a day, but you should all go!
Randall Graham of Bonny Doon Vineyards (one of the founders of the Rhone Rangers) will be at the Good Life Grocery from 4-6pm on Sunday, October 24.

A little later (at 7pm), The Liberty Cafe is hosting a paired Bonny Doon wine menu. Call for reservations soon - I'm sure the seatings will fill up quickly. (415-695-8777)

Posted by shock on October 15, 2004
October 10, 2004
insert 4 star restaurant

Bruce Cole was brilliant this week. (Swallow your coffee before you start to read.)

Posted by shock on October 10, 2004