Tag Archives: salt

Pumpkin Delicious

With Thanksgiving coming up, I have been all about the pumpkins.   Completely versatile, pumpkins can go savory or sweet and can be used in ravioli, risotto, pies, cakes, lattes — the list goes on and on.   Last year, for a “Pre-Thanksgiving” dinner with friends, I made a bourbon pumpkin cheesecake that was actually really easy and a fantastic addition to the fabulous spread of desserts we had.   I may make it again this year, perhaps with a salted caramel twist.  (I’ll admit, I’m easy prey for some of the food trends, but salted caramel is really just awesome.)  For our recent winery trip, I thought we might want sweet treats to go with the Empanadas so I made Spiced Pumpkin Doughnuts with a Maple Icing Glaze.  The confectioner sugar-based icing is the perfect complement to a well spiced pumpkin dough.  I’d never made doughnuts before and was pleasantly surprised by how easy they were to make.  The one tricky part was making sure that the shortening remained the right temperature.  Too hot and you burn the doughnuts — too cool and they become soggy and oily.  If you don’t have one, it’s best to invest in a candy/oil thermometer before trying to make the doughnuts.

Mr. Kitchen was my sous-chef on this one — we had a great time trying to make sure neither of us got third degree burns from splattering oil.   As Mr. Kitchen found out — it’s best to gently place the dough in the oil — dropping it in = nasty blisters.  There were the obligatory Dunkin Donuts “Time to make the donuts” references and lots of expletives as I grew impatient and tried rolling out the dough before it had totally chilled.  Don’t try that — it’s an exercise in futility.  Of course we just had to try the doughnuts out — you know, to make sure they were edible.  (I think we probably “tasted” half a dozen each.)  If this keeps up I’ll never fit in my wedding dress.

 

Pumpkin spice doughnuts with maple icing

Pumpkin spice doughnuts with maple icing

Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts With Maple Icing

Doughnuts  (Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)

*This recipe makes over 20 small doughnuts (if you’re re-rolling out the doughnut holes)

2 tablespoons butter (softened)

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup pure pumpkin (canned is fine)

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

Shortening for deep frying  (I think I probably used nearly half a container — you will want your shortening/oil to be at least an inch deep)

You will need a candy/oil thermometer for this for best results.

Maple Icing

2 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

4 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon maple extract

The Doughnuts: In  a large bowl, beat butter with mixer on medium for about 1 minute.  Add the sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.  Beat until combined.  Beat in pumpkin, buttermilk, egg and egg yolk, and vanilla until combined.  Using a wooden spoon or a spatula, stir in flour until well combined.  Cover and chill for about 2-3 hours.  After the dough has chilled, roll it out to about 1/8″ thickness (if you want thicker, bigger doughnuts, roll out the dough to 1/4″ thickness).  Cut with a floured doughnut cutter.  Definitely dip the cutter in flour in between cuts.  Re-roll out the dough as necessary (or reserve the centers for doughnut holes).

Keep a slotted spoon handy.  Clip the thermometer to the side of a deep pan and add shortening and heat until the temperature reaches 365-370º.  Very very carefully place the dough into the hot shortening.  With the slotted spoon, turn over the doughnuts after about 45 seconds to 1 minute and cook for another 45 seconds or so.  With the slotted spoon, remove the doughnuts and let drain on paper towels.  Repeat with remaining doughnuts.

The Icing: As the doughnuts cool, prepare the icing by beating together the confectioner’s sugar, milk and maple extract.  Drizzle over the doughnuts.  Best served warm or at room temperature.

Incorporating the flour into the pumpkin mixture

Incorporating the flour into the pumpkin mixture

Rolling out and cutting the spiced pumpkin doughnuts

Rolling out and cutting the spiced pumpkin doughnuts

Frying the pumpkin spice doughnuts

Frying the pumpkin spice doughnuts

Pumpkin spice doughnuts with maple icing

Pumpkin spice doughnuts with maple icing

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Filed under Baking, Desserts, Party Food, Recipes, Tidbits

Easy Empanadas

A couple of weeks ago, we Kitchens went out on the North Fork of Long Island to take advantage of the lovely not-quite-Fall weather, wineries and pumpkin picking.   Restaurants aren’t exactly plentiful for a good portion of the wine trail on the North Fork, so I thought it might be a good idea to pack snacks.  (Otherwise we’d be two car-fulls of drunks on a Sunday afternoon.)  I decided on empanadas because they pack a pretty filling punch and are fairly easy to make in decent size numbers.  The wineries were super gorgeous! There were pumpkins and delicious looking squash and acres and acres of beautiful vineyards.

 

Now, I know I’m going to catch flack for my recipe.  I don’t use chorizo because I find a lot of it too greasy.  I also buy the dough — I’m sorry, but I’ve tried making it and no amount of kneading or tampering with recipes can get the dough to be like La Fey’s.  So do yourself a favor and just go and buy La Fey discs for these.  Trust me, it’s 10 times easier and they work beautifully in the oven. Goya also makes a decent empanada dough.

Chicken and Sausage Empanadas

Chicken and Sausage Empanadas

Chicken & Sausage Empanadas

The Dough/Discs

2-3 packages of the large La Fey discs.  The filling recipe below makes enough for about 24  (20 if you’re packing it in)  Extras can be frozen.

The Filling

4 chicken breasts (medium/large size), cut into small chunks

5 – 6 Italian sausages (hot), diced/chopped into small pieces

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup Chardonnay or other fairly dry white wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 large Spanish onion (diced)

2 heaping tablespoons garlic cloves (diced)

3 Bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cumin

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup Spanish green olives with pimentos (pitted)

1/8 cup capers

1 green pepper (diced)

Egg Wash

1 egg lightly beaten with a teaspoon of water

 

I find that most of the La Fey discs are pretty well frozen when I buy them, so let these defrost while you’re cooking the mixture.  For the filling, in a large (12-14″ pan), heat the 2 tablespoons of oil and add diced onions and garlic and saute until onions are softened (5 minutes).  Add diced chicken and sausage and cook on medium high heat, stirring, for about 2 minutes.  Add wine, chicken stock, pepper, cumin, bay leaves, green pepper, olives, capers, salt (basically all remaining ingredients).  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered, until meat is cooked and sauce has thickened (about 30 mintues).  After it’s cooked, let the mixture cool uncovered for about 20-30 minutes.

Take this time to pull apart the dough discs.  If you’re using La Fey, they’re generally not separated in the package by wax paper, so be very careful when pulling them apart or the discs will tear.  Preheat the oven to 350°.   Prepare baking trays for cooking — if you’re making 24 empanadas, you’ll likely need three pans.  Lightly lightly grease the pans.   For filling the empanadas — if you’ve got a calzone mold, this will be super easy.  Place the disc in the mold, spoon in about 3 tablespoons filling and close the mold, which will seal the seams.  If you don’t have a mold, it’s really just as simple.  Spoon the mixture on to one side, and fold the other half over so it forms a half-circle.  Use a fork to seal the edges (just like you would a pie dough for a two-crust pie).  Place on baking sheet and repeat for remaining empanadas.  Brush with the egg wash and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the empanadas are golden. You can serve these warm or at room temp, and they freeze beautifully!

Onions for empanadas

Onions for empanadas

Chicken and sausage empanada filling

Chicken and sausage empanada filling

Filling the empanadas

Filling the empanadas

Molded empanadas

Molded empanadas

Empanadas

Chicken and Sausage Empanadas

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Filed under Appetizers, Baking, Chicken, Dinner, Party Food, Pork, Recipes

How to Clog Your Arteries Part 1

For the past couple of years, one of my friends has thrown a Bacon Party.  (She’s evil, but obviously well-loved.)  If you don’t know, a Bacon Party is a potluck party featuring only foods that contain bacon (or fake bacon for the vegetarians).  Each year I gain at least 3 lbs from this party.  Let me tell you – it’s totally worth it.  This year I made a couple of dishes to add to the melee — bacon cheddar knots and a pumpkin pie topped with walnuts, brown sugar and, of course, bacon.   Sadly, Mr. Kitchen had to miss the party because he was working.  Luckily I came home with two giant Tupperware containers filled with treats.  (I know, I’m totally evil, but if I’m not gonna fit in my wedding dress — he’s not fitting into his kilt.)

The cheddar bacon knots were surprisingly easy, though in preparation for that and the pie, Mr. Kitchen and I fried up an entire package of bacon.  I could feel the cholesterol and fat seeping into my pores — kinda gross, but damn tasty!  For any of you who are thinking that a bacon party is a brilliant idea, it is, but I would recommend starting on some sort of cholesterol medicine now, followed by lots of fiber.   On the plus side (like bacon needs another plus side), at least I couldn’t actually feel the presence of my gallbladder after this year’s party.

Bacon Cheddar Knots

Bacon Cheddar Knots

Bacon Cheddar Knots

Knots Dough (Adapted Heavily From Nick Manglieri)

4 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 packet active dry yeast

1 2/3 cups warm water

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus oil to coat a baking (jellyroll) pan

3 baking (jelly roll) pans

Bacon Cheddar Filling

3/4 package bacon, cooked

1 8 oz package cheddar cheese (or any cheese you prefer)

Egg wash (1 egg, mixed with about 1 tablespoon water)

Combine flour and salt in large bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix yeast into water and let stand for a few minutes until the water fizzes a bit (stir if it doesn’t begin to fizz). Whisk oil into water/yeast mixture.  Make a well in the flour and pour water into center.  Using a rubber spatula, begin to fold the flour into the water center, gently incorporating and mixing outwards until all of the flour is combined.  The dough will be very soft.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit until the dough has risen to double its size (approx 2 hours).  After the dough has risen, scrape it into an oiled jelly roll pan.  Lightly oil your hands and press the dough into the pan so that it is evenly filled. Cover the pan with plastic wrap (oiled) and let the dough rise again, approximately 1 hour.  While the dough is rising, cut the 8 oz block of cheddar into approximately 2 dozen pieces.  After the dough has risen for the second time,  use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into approximately 24 squares (6 length wise, four depth wise).

Preheat the oven to 350º. Cover 2 baking pans in foil and lightly grease.

Take a square of the dough and place about half a strip of bacon and 1 piece of cheese in the center.  Fold two of the opposing corners over each other.  With the other two opposing corners, twist them together, forming a knot on top.  Place the piece in the pan.  Repeat with remaining 23 pieces of dough.  Brush all of the knots with the egg was and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden.

Bacon Cheddar Knot Dough

Bacon Cheddar Knot Dough

Bacon cheddar knot dough

Bacon cheddar knot dough

Bacon Cheddar Knots

Bacon Cheddar Knots

Bacon cheddar knot dough

Bacon cheddar knot dough

Finished bacon cheddar knots

Finished bacon cheddar knots

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Filed under Appetizers, Baking, Party Food, Recipes, Tidbits

Stew it up

I won a cookbook giveaway!  Since Mr. Kitchen and I have started planning our wedding, I’ve become a devoted wedding blog reader.  I recently entered a giveaway hosted by OneWed for the Dam Good Sweet Cookbook by Beard nominee David Guas, and I won!  The cookbook features New Orleans-style desserts and I can’t wait to give it a try.  (How I’m going to fit into a wedding dress, I have no idea.)  Mr. Kitchen is in for a yummy fall!  Speaking of yummy, Mr. Kitchen and I have been working tons and tons over the past few weeks, and we are plum tired.  So tired, that I forgot to buy tickets for today’s Vendy Awards.  So instead of spending the afternoon tasting the delicious fare of some of the city’s best food trucks, we’re heading over to Eataly.  Something tells me my bank account is going to be very angry with me later… Hey, some girls shop for shoes — I shop for food!

Anyway, on to fall produce!  Next up: Carrots.  Definitely one of the most versatile of the fall vegetables, carrots can go in, well almost any dish, and one of the easiest fall dishes to prepare is a hearty, stick to your ribs beef stew.  Seriously all you need is the ability to chop, brown and boil to make stew.  I’ve used lots of different cuts of beef for stews but I recently tried giving short ribs a try.  I really liked the way it turned out — the marbled meat was definitely falling off the bone by the time the stew was done and it was absolutely tender.  I’m also a firm believer (and perhaps this is my Irish heritage talking), that you can put in almost any vegetables you’ve got lying around.

Fall Short Rib Stew

Fall Short Rib Stew

Short Rib Stew

7-8 hearty-sized short ribs

3 celery stalk (roughly chopped)

3 shallots (roughly chopped)

2 medium sized carrots (roughly chopped)

2 Yukon Gold potatoes (cut into bite size chunks)

1 sweet potato (or just use 3 Yukons) (cut into bite sized chunks)

1 turnip (roughly chopped)

2 cups beef stock

1 small bottle red wine (I think it’s 375 ml?) (I prefer a cabernet sauvignon for beef stews)

1 tsp salt (to taste)

2 tbsp thyme

1 tbsp tarragon

Flour (for dusting short ribs)

2 tbsp olive oil (for browning ribs)

In a bowl, toss the short ribs with flour, salt and pepper.  In a large pot, heat oil and brown the short ribs on all sides.   Remove short ribs from pot.   In the remaining oil, saute shallots.  Once they are soft, add the meat back in and add the wine.  Cook over medium heat until the wine is halfway reduced, about 10 minutes.  Add beef stock, thyme, tarragon, carrots, turnips and celery and reduce heat, cooking meat until it is very tender (about 1.5 hours).   Add chopped potatoes and cook for an additional 45 minutes to an hour, until all vegetables and meat are completely tender.  Season with additional salt and pepper as desired.

Browned short ribs and shallots

Browned short ribs and shallots

Pour in the vegetables and herbs for short rib stew

Pour in the vegetables and herbs for short rib stew

Short rib stew

Add the potatoes and cook until tender

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Filed under Beef, Dinner, Recipes, Soups and Stews

Lighten Up

As you may have noticed by the photos that accompany the recipes I’ve posted, I cook (and inevitably eat) everything that’s included on the blog.  So, while all the stick to your ribs food I’ve been posting has been an absolute joy to make and eat, my Wii Fit Mii has been looking pretty shameful lately.  Yes, that’s right, I’m being shamed by the Wii Fit.  My Mii has been looking pretty dejected this week and the game system keeps playing that “doh doh doh doh” “you lose” music, so I’m thinking this is a bad sign.  Everything in moderation right?  So next up is a delightful, light and actually good for you Herb Crusted Salmon.

Herb Crusted Salmon.  Is it just me or does that just automatically sound just a bit more sophisticated than your average mid-week meal?  Luckily, this recipe is incredibly easy and takes less than 20 minutes total to prepare.

herb crusted salmon with white asparagus drizzled with a balsamic parmesan vinaigrette

I paired the salmon with a white asparagus drizzled with a balsamic parmesan vinaigrette and dinner rolls

Herb Crusted Salmon

2 Salmon steaks (approx 3/4 lb)

2 tsp basil

2 tsp thyme

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp rosemary

2 tsp flour

pinch salt

pinch pepper

pinch tarragon

Olive oil to drizzle on salmon

Pre-heat oven to 400º

Rinse salmon fillets.  In a bowl, mix the herbs together in along with flour.   Cover a jelly roll pan with foil.  Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on fillets, enough to just coat the top surface of the fillet.  Dip fillets oil-covered surface down into mixture of herbs, pressing gently to coat the surface.  Place fillets on pan.  Drizzle again with a bit of olive oil.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes.

White Asparagus with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Parmesan

Half a bunch of white asparagus, rinsed

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp salt

pinch pepper

2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (shaved)

Rinse and trim asparagus.  In a shallow pot, blanch asparagus spears over medium-high heat for approximately 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  In a bowl, mix together oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and dijon.  Drizzle or toss with asparagus.  Top asparagus with Parmesan.

Pre-cooked salmon topped with herbs

Raw salmon topped with herbs

Mixing the white asparagus with balsamic vinaigrette

Mixing the white asparagus with balsamic vinaigrette

Herb crusted salmon with white asparagus drizzled with Balsamic vinaigrette and Parmesan

Herb crusted salmon with white asparagus drizzled with Balsamic vinaigrette and Parmesan

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Filed under Dinner, Fish, Recipes, Tidbits