Cognac Raspberry Chocolate Lava Cakes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Cognac
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 & Sausage Empanadas
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.
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)
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!
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.
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.
I admit, I have been totally delinquent in my blogging, BUT! there has been good reason. Mama Kitchen had surgery this week — everything went smoothly, but I wanted to be here to help take care of her and to help out during the recuperation. So yes, delinquent blogger, but, also, good daughter. I think these things even out. Apparently, the universe has seen fit to reward me today and I couldn’t be happier. You see, I just won a gift certificate to Williams Sonoma. (Did anyone else just hear a choir of angels? Cause I sure did.) And who, you might ask, is the fairy godmother who hath bestowed this unbelievably good fortune? It’s Merci New York, this fantastic resource for chic, sophisticated stylish brides. And while Merci can plan any sort of event, their blog (Merci New York Blog) is an absolute must-read for brides.
Now – on to the recipes! Mama Kitchen chose this next one, but it’s really a perfect fit with our recent focus on fall produce. It’s getting chilly down here in South Carolina and the perfect cure for that? Chowder. Specifically — Chicken and corn chowder.
2 chicken breast cutlets (I’m sorry, I forgot to weigh them), cut into cubes
6 cups chicken stock
2 15.25 oz cans of corn, strained
3 celery stalks, diced
6 small russet potatoes, chopped into chunks
1/2 medium onion or 1 small onion, diced
2 green bell peppers, roughly chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp dill
1 1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp flour
In a large soup pot, heat the oil and saute the diced onions until soft (about 3-4 minutes). Then add chicken and cook together with onions over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. Add celery, green peppers and spices. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring soup to a boil. Let cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Ladle out 1 cup of the boiling broth into a bowl (or measuring cup). Slowly stir in the 2 tbsp of flour. This will help to thicken your soup. After the flour has been completely incorporated into the broth, return the mixture to the soup pot and stir in and mix completely. Add potatoes and corn. Let cook for another 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Add heavy cream, and mix into broth. Let soup simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes. (Note, you can also use corn starch in place of flour to thicken the soup.)
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.
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.
As the size of my butt can attest, I love food. Some of my fondest memories of when I first began dating Mr. Kitchen, my almost-husband, involve cooking for him. He swears the first thing I made for him was Empanadas, but I think it was sausage and peppers. In either case, I do remember he always asked for seconds. He still does. I think I did, in some way, cook my way into his heart. He says that my cooking showed him I cared for him — that I wanted to take care of him. I think that’s likely true for a lot of people, but let’s face it — the cliche “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” exists for a reason. I know lots of women who agonize over cooking for their would-be boyfriend for the first-time. They want to bring their A-game, to somehow make their guy all weak-kneed in their domestic goddess presence. For any of you who might be searching for that perfect, but not terribly hard “wow” recipe, I present “You’re Gonna Remember Me Berry Brown Bettys.”
This recipe is great for two reasons: you can prep much of this beforehand; and it’s super fast to make. I can’t imagine any man who would turn this down, when served warm with fresh whipped cream. It’s got a magical mixture of Challah bread, berries, butter, sugar…. really could anything be better? Plus, that leftover Challah? Well I’ve got another recipe for you in case the date goes really well and he’s there for breakfast.
Adapted from Gourmet and Smitten Kitchen
Makes six individual desserts
3/4 stick salted butter
1/8 cup light brown sugar
4 tbsp All-purpose flour
1/2 cup Japanese bread crumbs (Panko)
1/2 cup blueberries, rinsed
1 cup strawberries, rinsed, stemmed and sliced
1 teaspoon lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Whipped cream (this can be refrigerated for a couple of hours beforehand if you’re making it fresh)
A muffin tin (preferably holding six muffins, but 12 will do)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat until golden. Remove from heat. Use a brush to coat the muffin tin. (Note: If you’re using a 12-muffin tin, only coat six of the spaces unless you are doubling this recipe.) Slice six pieces off Challah loaf and gently cut crusts off. Roll the bread with a rolling pin until flattened. Brush both sides of the bread with butter and gently press slices into muffin tin (one slice in each space). Stir together brown sugar, flour and Panko. If using zest, incorporate into dry ingredients, otherwise, incorporate lemon juice into strawberries and blueberries. Add remaining butter to mixture. Toss ingredients gently to coat berries in flour/Panko/sugar mixture. Spoon heaping spoonfuls into muffin tin, pressing down gently to pack mixture in.
Note: If you are using a 12 muffin tin and are only making six Brown Bettys, be sure to fill the empty spaces about halfway full with water. This will prevent scorching in the pan and burning your Bettys!
Cover the pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then remove foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until strawberries are tender. (Some of the blueberries may burst — don’t worry, they taste better that way!) Let stand for 5-7 minutes and top with whipped cream. These are best when served warm.