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Entries in kate cooks (22)

Thursday
May072009

Lost and FOUND

So I finally found the missing memory card.
The night in question we drank a lot of this:
souffle night

After the B&B at dinner party part I we decided we need to try new after-dinner liqueurs. Brilliant, no? The Farigoule was sweet definitely, strong and intensely floral (it's made out of sage and other Herbs de Provence) and gives people intense hangovers (I was NOT the only one drinking this 375mL bottle so that does not explain the day from hell I suffered after this evening).

So! Back to the food. That night I made a savory souffle. It was pretty basic as I didn't want to get too crazy on our dinner guests, but it was also incredible if I do say so myself.

Kyle also made some incredible baguettes, because what is a french dinner without a fresh baguette?
souffle night

The recipe (courtesy of http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Gruyere-and-Parmesan-Cheese-Souffle-103223)

(Hint, if you have an iPhone, Epicurious now has a magical app that you can view all 25,000+ recipes on your phone, which is incredibly easy to use while cooking in the kitchen or at the store... and no they did not pay me to pitch it (I can't say I wouldn't accept if they asked). I just really like epicurious as a resource especially in our limited counter top kitchen)

Ingredients:
* Grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
* 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
* Pinch of cayenne pepper
* Pinch of ground nutmeg
* 1 1/4 cups whole milk
* 1/4 cup dry white wine
* 6 large egg yolks
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (6 oz)
* 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
* 8 large egg whites

Prep:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Generously butter one 10-cup soufflé dish or six 1 1/4-cup soufflé dishes; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to coat. (If using 1 1/4-cup dishes, place all 6 on rimmed baking sheet.) Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, cayenne pepper and nutmeg.

souffle night

Cook without browning until mixture begins to bubble, whisking constantly, about 1 minute.

souffle night

Gradually whisk in milk, then wine. Cook until smooth, thick and beginning to boil, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix yolks, salt and pepper in small bowl. Add yolk mixture all at once to sauce and whisk quickly to blend. Fold in 1 1/4 cups Gruyère cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (cheeses do not need to melt).

souffle night

Using electric mixer, beat whites in large bowl until stiff but not dry.
souffle night
Fold 1/4 of whites into lukewarm soufflé base to lighten.

(Rae approves)
souffle night
Fold in remaining whites.
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Transfer soufflé mixture to prepared dish.

Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Gruyère cheese.

souffle night

Place soufflé in oven; reduce heat to 375°F. Bake soufflé until puffed, golden and gently set in center, about 40 minutes for large soufflé (or 25 minutes for small soufflés). Using oven mitts, transfer soufflé to platter and serve immediately.

souffle night

Tuesday
May052009

Wowzers

So, apparently this is my 200th post. I have no idea how that snuck up on me, and perhaps I will revisit it and celebrate the accomplishment another day. But today is cinco de mayo and if any one knows what a gringa likes to celebrate, it's a holiday people native to the culture don't even really pay homage to. Hence, I devoted part of my day to making tosadas de tinga de pollo.



This is one of my all time favorite Mexican foods, and is actually authentic enough that most people don't know what it is (fortunately I was exposed to it in my short lived time as a server at Masa in Minneapolis). Tinga is a preparation of shredded chicken which is then sauteed in a tomato onion and adobo sauce. It's really very easy and is a Mexican equivalent to pulled pork sandwiches. The adobo and chipotle make the chicken spicy and smokey, and it's easily defined as comfort food.



It's also easy to make:



Since my Mexican reference gave me no specific quantities, I won't either. You can probably guess based on pictures, and comment if you have a question.





1) Get your husband (or wife, roommate, domestic partner, or friend) involved and make some queso fresco. It's just like paneer but you add salt. Easy and delicious. We made the whole milk variety this time... so sinfully good

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2) Boil some chicken until cooked. I was specifically told to use split breasts, but you can use whatever you want probably. These were kosher (for whatever reason) and this turned out phenomenally. (Side note: I never knew anyone to boil meat until I was good friends with an Irishman. We made a thanksgiving dinner in Italy and he brought the turkey, which he had boiled. Kind of a strange practice, but leads to evenly cooked and tender meat).

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While the chicken is cooking make your sauce out of the following ingredients:

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Do this to these (and the garlic):

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Run to the front porch to investigate the noise. Turns out it was just these:

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looking at this:

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Get back in the kitchen, your chicken is done:

cinqo de mayo



Do this to that stuff from before:

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and add some water if its too thick



Make this:



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look like this:



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and then put it in this like so:

cinqo de mayo



Add the adobo sauce, one chipotle and about a cup of water and simmer until it looks like this, but cooked down a bit more:



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Then assemble your tostadas like so:



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Your end result should look something like this (plus cheese, which I was too hungry to remember to put on for this picture... maybe I'll replicate it tomorrow.)



cinqo de mayo





Happy Cinco de Mayo!





Monday
May042009

Palak Paneer, Part Two: Palak

A bit late, but here is the palak (spinach) part of palak paneer. This was actually more intimidating to me than the paneer, mostly because I haven't done a lot of Indian cooking in my kitchen, aside from using easy spices like garam masala and ghee (though I have made naan by hand. I should do that again and blog about it, right?)

I made this when I got home from work last Monday night, and the food wasn't done until 12:30 (I got home at 10:30pm) Anyway, the pictures are NOT up to par and do not in anyway demonstrate how amazing my new camera is. Those types of pictures will hopefully be posted tomorrow.

When it comes to recipes like palak paneer, I really have a difficult time dedicating myself to only one recipe, as I like the components of many. This way I get to label it as my own for my soon to be published cook book (ha ha... maybe in 20 years). I don't have any Indian cookbooks (though I may add this one to my bookshelves eventually as I've read good things about it) so I hit the Internet and complied what I thought looked the most authentic and appetizing. It's kind of hard to make pureed spinach look appetizing (my old boss always said Palak paneer looked like baby poop) but I'm convinced it can be done.

Ingredients:
One big bunch of spinach plus two bags of baby spinach (yeah, just buy twice as much as you think you'll need)
Paneer~10 to 15 cubes (browned in butter or fresh, we chose to brown them)
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Canola oil
One medium sized ripe tomato
4 green chilies (we could only find Jalapenos, so those had to suffice) Stem removed
1 half onion~ chopped finely into small pieces
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp of fresh ginger
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 cup roasted salted cashews
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter)
1/2-1c. water

Pulverize cashews in a mortar and pestle until only small bits remain. Set aside.
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Pulverize garlic, ginger, coriander and cumin in a mortar and pestle until a thick paste forms. Set aside.

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Wash the spinach, tearing into pieces and removing tough stems.

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Heat a tsp of canola oil in a heavy bottomed large skillet. Add whole chilies and cook on medium until tender. Add spinach and saute until wilted. Meanwhile blanch the tomato in a small pan until the skin splits.

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Shock the tomato in an ice bath and remove the skin. Mash remaining tomato into a pulp.

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Once the spinach is wilted, remove from heat and blend spinach and chilies together with an immersion blender (you can certainly add this to a blender or food processor if you don't have an immersion blender) and set aside.

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Heat ghee in a large skillet and fry the onions until translucent.

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Add your garlic paste mixture and saute for another 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the spinach, tomato and cashew with a pinch of salt.

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Mix thoroughly and add water, stirring as you go until desired consistency is met. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add paneer cubes simmer for 2 more minutes

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Serve immediately with rice, naan or chiapati.

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Tuesday
Apr212009

Two birds, one stone: Part 2

I just remembered I hadn't yet blogged about my rabbit experience. I have never been squeamish about eating rabbit (aside from when I was 12 and a vegetarian. Foolish child) and ate it all the time when living in Italy. They actually served ragu alle coniglie at the university cafeteria. I think UDS has something to learn from the Italians. But having never prepared the little guys myself I figured it would be a good learning experience. At first I thought we might roast a whole rabbit, as I know I've seen them available at Holy Land but we are terrible at eating leftovers and a whole rabbit would surely result in leftovers. I found frozen rabbit thighs at The Wedge and decided it would be the best to make a smaller meal

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I was mostly inspired by this recipe though we used celeriac instead of the potatoes (and thus omitted the celery) , marjoram instead of thyme and used less of everything else since the recipe called for a whole rabbit.

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Sometimes accidental photographs turn out cool looking
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Preparing rabbit isn't unlike preparing any other small animal (ie, chicken). I'm guessing you could pretty much replace any chicken recipe with rabbit and be equally satisfied. Unless you overcook it. Then you'll have a nice piece of leather to choke down.
rabbitthighs

Other big news from the Sommers' kitchen:
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Notice that this stove is not almond colored! In fact, it is a beautiful stainless steel! We're in the process of removing all things almond from the family kitchen, unless it is in the form of food.

Mmm, I love all things pickled... as long as they are vegetable based (eggs are a rare exception to this rule)
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Kyle squashing the olives

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Final product:
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All in all this was a good meal though I'm not sure the price point would encourage me to make rabbit again anytime soon. It was fun addition to repertoire anyway.

Monday
Apr132009

Two birds, one stone: Part 1

I did actually make something I've never made before LAST weekend (that would have been the weekend of the 3rd). I made souffle. And then I lost my memory card. Why THAT memory card? And where the hell is it? I don't know, but I have gotten mad about it every hour or so for the past week. So I am declaring myself over it, and will be happy when I find it 10 years from now when we move out of our house.



To make up for it, I made TWO things I've never made before this past weekend). Rabbit and Chicken livers. I figured if I made them together it wouldn't count, so I made two separate dishes. Rabbit ragout and chicken liver pate. Today we'll focus on the Pate.





To see the original recipe on google books go here



I love pate, and Kassie declared her deep love for chicken livers on twitter, so in honor of you Kassie:



Chicken Liver Spread

(adapted from Fat: An appreciation of a misunderstood ingredient, with recipes)



Ingredients:

1 lb chicken livers

6-8 tbsp chicken fat (substitute duck fat if desired... or butter if you can't get your hands on either)

1 spring marjoram

sea salt and black pepper

2 1/2 tbsp brandy

pinch of ground nutmeg



This has to be one of the cheapest sources of animal protein in the world. The pound of chicken livers I purchased came to under $2 at the wedge





Separate the livers into lobes of equal size and cut away any green discoloration (ew, didn't see any of that "discoloration... and am glad for that fact). Remove the connecting threads and any large bits of blood (I did have a few of those) and pat them dry

livers



In a large frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of chicken fat over high heat (I used butter, I tried to find duck fat and Surdyk's was out... fat is fat though right?). When hot, add the livers and marjoram, season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook until the livers are just pink in the middle, about 3 minutes per side.





Experiments in cooking volume III



Tip the livers and juices into a bowl and discard the marjoram. Return the pan to heat and add 2 tbsp of brandy deglazing the pan. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits and pour the deglazing liquid into the bowl with the livers. Cool slightly.



Experiments in cooking volume III



This next part I didn't take pictures of, for two reasons



1) My food mill requires muscles and attention and I didn't have an extra hand to take a picture

2) It was not a pretty sight





Press the livers through a food mill or medium-mesh sieve to remove the sinew. Add remaining chicken fat to make a soft paste (again, I used butter). Add the nutmeg and remaining brandy if (obviously!) desired.



Experiments in cooking volume III


Pack into a small dish and refrigerate.



Experiments in cooking volume III