Saturday, February 28, 2009

Turkey-Mushroom Stroganoff

5-6 medium shallots
7-10 cloves of garlic (oh yes)
1 1/2 - 2 lbs mushrooms, coarsely sliced or chopped
3 teaspoons thyme
3/4 cup dry white wine*
2 lbs ground turkey
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 to 3/4 cup broth (mushroom or beef are good options)
1 container (1 lb?) sour cream

-Sautee shallots and garlic (in olive oil or butter, whatever your preference) until soft.
-Add mushrooms, season with salt, pepper, and thyme
-Once the mushrooms soften, release their liquid and start to reduce, add the wine and cook until reduced by half
-Add the ground turkey with some salt and pepper, and brown; stir in the tomato paste and paprika
-Once the turkey is browned and the spices incorporated, stir in the Dijon mustard, add the broth and simmer until the meat is cooked through and tender, and most of the liquid reduced
-Stir in the sour cream and let simmer until heated through and the desired consistency is achieved. Adjust the salt and pepper, and serve over egg noodles or rice.

*The last time I made this it had excess liquid, so here I have reduced the amounts of wine and broth.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Meat and Potatoes!

London Broil: David Crane introduced me to this cut of meat; I eyeball about 1/4 lb or slightly less per person, since it's a dense, filling meat--so a little goes a long way, making it awesome for big gatherings. Marinate in a ziploc bag for as long as possible (overnight/all day in the fridge, or a few hours out of the fridge) with: 

balsamic vinegar (at least 1 1/2 cups)
dijon mustard
smashed garlic
salt and pepper
(other possibilities I've used are soy sauce, worcestershire, ketchup, red wine, any sort of dried herbs or spices--just make sure you have plenty of acid in the mixture)

Broil for 5-7 minutes per side, let rest for 10ish minutes, and slice very thinly on the diagonal against the grain.

Potatoes: I'm not a gigant0rz fan of mashed potatoes, but I really like this approach. These measures are approximate, and will feed maybe 12ish people:

Boil until tender in salted water:
8ish medium red potatoes (washed and scrubbed clean but not peeled)
4 garlic cloves

Drain and return to pot; mash! (The garlic will be soft and sweet and easily mashable.)

While you mash, add in approximately:
1, um, regular-size container of sour cream  (I think it's 16 oz)
1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk
4 scallions, sliced thinly (white and green parts)
salt and pepper to taste

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Macaroni and Cheese

For Marilyn, a pretty damn good macaroni and cheese recipe from the March 2008 issue of Fine Cooking. The author gives the serrano chiles and the crushed red pepper additions as separate suggested variations (along with pancetta, something I might try next time), but I liked it enough with both that I wouldn't consider leaving them out.

kosher salt
6 tbs unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
a few fresh serrano chiles, minced (~3 tbs)
6 tbs flour
1 tbs dijon mustard
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 quart whole milk, heated
1 large sprig fresh thyme, plus 1 tsp chopped thyme leaves [I suggest more thyme]
1 bay leaf
8 oz (2 packed cups) grated extra-sharp white cheddar (sharpest you can find)
4 0z (1 packed cup) grated Monterey Jack
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. Tobasco sauce
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb elbow macaroni [I used penne because it was what we had]
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil; more for the baking dish
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs [do make your own breadcrumbs; this is crucial]
1 1/2 oz (1/2 lightly packed cup) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Heat the oven to 400 F and put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil over high heat. Brush a 9x13 inch baking pan lightly with olive oil.

Melt the butter over high heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onion, serranos, and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until softened, 4-5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until slightly darker, 1-2 min. Stir in the mustard and crushed red pepper flakes. Switch to a whisk and gradually add the milk, whisking constantly.

When all the milk is in, switch back to the spoon and stir in the thyme sprig, bay leaf, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Let come to a bare simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes to meld the flavors (reduce the heat to medium low or low as needed to maintain the bare simmer).

Discard the thyme sprig and bay leaf. Add the cheddar and jack cheese, stirring until melted, and then add the Worcestershire and Tabasco. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm, stirring occasionally. [better yet, time the sauce to finish at the same time the pasta is ready]

Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente [the chewy side of al dente, in my opinion, since you're going to bake it in cheese sauce]. Drain well and add to cheese sauce, stirring. Generously season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta into baking dish.

In a medium bowl, toss the breadcrumbs with the Parmigiano, olive oil, chopped thyme, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Scatter evenly over pasta and bake until top is golden, about 15 minutes. Let rest 5-10 min before serving.

Apple bars

For Nandini, another recipe from the amazing Dorie Greenspan.

For the bars:
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp dark rum, applejack, or brandy
1 baking apple, peeled, cored and chopped fine
1/2 cup plump, moist raisins (dark or golden)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

For the glaze:
2 1/2 tbsp heavy cream
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper, butter the paper, and dust the inside of the pan with flour.

Make the bars:

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir with a whisk until it is melted and the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

Still working in the saucepan, whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing until well blended. Add the applesauce, vanilla, and the brandy, and whisk until incorporated and mixture is smooth. Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear, then mix in the apple, raisins, and nuts. Transfer to baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until the bars just start to pull away from the sides of the pan [NB; this didn't happen when I made these] and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer baking pan to a rack to cool while you make the glaze.

Make the glaze:

In a small saucepan, whisk together the cream, sugar, butter and corn syrup. Put the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently. Adjust the heat so that the glaze simmers, and cook, whisking frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Turn the bars out onto a rack, remove the paper, and invert onto another rack so they are right side up. Pour on the glaze and spread it evenly with an icing knife. Let the bars cool before cutting.