Dining at Disney – Sanaa

Time for another disclosure, this is my second favorite restaurant at Disney World and there are days I have difficulty making that ranking decision between Sanaa and California Grill. They are dramatically different restaurants both in food and price, but the quality shines through in both locations. The food is so unique here that we verify all of our dishes are nut and fish free so that we all can share bites of everything.

I remember our first visit to Sanaa and encouraging my husband and boys to try the bread service with all of the toppings, they weren’t sure about it, but I had visited India and knew how good this could be. Sanaa executes this perfectly and we now order it every time we visit; yesterday was no exception and it vanished quickly.


We ordered a South African wine to pair with our food; most of the menu is African and Indian flavors and my husband and I learned long ago that a wine local to the type of food will pair well.


All of our dishes were amazing, and I have sincere compliments to the chef; that original visit inspired me to bring lamb into my own cooking. My eldest ordered the lamb shank, on our original trip it was the youngest, and I tought them both to make sure they get the marrow from inside the bone as well as the meat from outside. After the duration of cooking it’s perfect. The meat simply falls off of the bone when you pick it up: perfection.


I selected the duck; I can’t get it fresh and I haven’t had success reproducing recipes with frozen so this has not made it into my repertoire. It was served a perfect medium rare, with very crispy skin and duck confit (made from the legs and thighs) on the side. Like the lamb and other red meats, when cooked correctly it simply melts in your mouth.


My husband opted for the Braaivleis, a trio of grilled meats; the meats aren’t ever listed on the menu as they are subject to change. His came with pork tenderloin, lamb chops, and a boar meat sausage. All were perfect and flavorful, with the sausage as a clear favorite of my husband and boys due to the unique flavor profile.


My youngest selected the Spicy Durban Shrimp with Aloo Masala after researching all of the terms so that he knew what he was ordering. Again, another amazing dish, the shrimp were full of flavor, and we may have to start ordering extra bread to soak up the sauces.


When it comes to nuts, the desserts are different story and my eldest made sure he ate enough that he didn’t want dessert. My youngest got the Spice Trade Candy Bar and my husband and I split the Kenyan Coffee Petit Entremet. Both were amazing.

  

If you are willing to be a bit more daring in food options, definitely try Sanaa.


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Mmm… Paella

I originally published this last year and realized it is one of the many that the images were lost. Paella is a process and picture help if you haven’t made it before. So I have added them back and reposted for everyone to enjoy while the weather is beautiful. 

Original post…

Happy belated Mother’s Day to all of you that are Moms. Instead of my regular Sunday dinner, I was watching my son’s soccer game scheduled for 6PM. Sometimes that happens.

Our spring is always busy and this week was no exception. Last Sunday, I had a soccer game in the middle of the day so I had to do some creative work with the timing.

My boys also had a 5k run early last week so I selected a dessert that I could make quickly before they got home starving. Chocolate mousse. It’s quick, delicious, and needs at least 8 hours in the refrigerator.

The amazing taste of chocolate mousse has an inversely proportional relationship with the amount of work needed to make it. In brief, it’s really easy even though it tastes like it took hours to make.

I got up at 8, as my boys were starting the run, I lolly-gagged a bit, and still managed to have the mousse in ramekins in the fridge by 9. While the recipe states to finely chop the chocolate, I tend to use chips or just beat the candy bar on the counter; or in this case I used a mix of both.

Once the butter, chocolate, and liquor (bourbon this time) melt together, allow it to cool before stirring in the egg yolks. This is a good time to beat the cream and the egg whites with the sugar.

  

                    
Once those are ready to go, the chocolate will be cool enough to stir in the yolks and then the egg whites and cream (alternating).

        
From this point they go into the ramekins and into the fridge.


After we got back from the game at 3, I started on my prep work so that I could get the stock started. The stock used some of the scraps from the prep for the paella. I also had some leftover chorizo from another use, so that went in too. I started with the shrimp, reserving the shells for the stock. I doubled everything to so that I could use it for a couple of meals. Since everything get strained from the stock, there is no need to peel the garlic or carrots.

      

Everything goes into the pot.


Once the shells gain their pink color and the vegetables start to become tender, the water goes in and you bring it to a boil and then let it simmer.

  
This gave me the time to do my other prep for the paella. The key is a good soffrito: onions, garlic, celery, and then ultimately tomato.

  
My market had 3 different brands of Spanish chorizo, so I used them all.


I also made a spice blend with sugar, salt, and smoked paprika.


I cleaned my micro greens and rinsed my olives.

  
My favorite pan for paella is my 17″ cast iron skillet, and the easiest place to use it is my grill.


By this time, the stock is done and you pour it through a fine strainer and press the solids for this beautiful stock.

    

So once with everything prepped and the grill hot, I brought it all out to my bar height table next to the grill.


The chorizo goes in first and the aroma begins.


And when they are done, set them off to the side and add the shrimp to the pan.

  
They cook quickly in the hot skillet and it’s important to not overcook them. When they are done set them off to the side wth the chorizo and keep them warm.


The soffrito goes into the hot skillet until it cooks down with the wine being added in the middle.

  

Then add the stock and once it’s hot, the saffron. When it returns to a boil, the rice.

  

After the rice goes in, stir until it comes back to a boil, and then only turn the pan so that the rice cooks evenly. I also squeezed a couple of loaves of garlic bread onto the grill from our local bakery on the market and my MIL made a fabulous salad.

When I brought it inside, I added in the zest and juice of a lemon.

  
And I served it with a rosé Sancerre.


Dessert was accompanied with whipped cream and Baileys.

  
And as mentioned much earlier in this post, this meal did become a second; I put it in a wrap with queso fresco and grilled it. It also reheated VERY well in our lunch!


Back-Burner Stock

Makes About 3½ cups ∙ Source Bonappetit.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 ounces charcuterie trimmings (such as ham, bacon, and/or sausage ends)
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro stems
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped mixed vegetables (such as carrots, celery, and/or fennel)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander or fennel seeds
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Shrimp shells (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add charcuterie, onion, cilantro stems, garlic, bay leaves, vegetables, coriander seeds, red pepper flakes, and shrimp shells (if using) and cook, stirring occasionally, until shells turn bright pink and vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add 5 cups cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes.

Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, pressing on solids; discard solids.

Do Ahead: Stock can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill, or freeze up to 3 months.

Chorizo and Shrimp Paella

Makes Servings: 4 ∙ Source Bonappetit.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons plus ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 pound Spanish chorizo, casings and ends removed, sliced into rounds
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
  • ¾ cup dry white or rose wine
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Back-Burner Stock
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1½ cups bomba rice
  • 1 cup green olives (such as Castelvetrano), pitted, torn into large pieces
  • 1 lemon, plus wedges for serving
  • Radish sprouts (for serving)
  • Flaky sea salt

DIRECTIONS

Process onion, celery, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped; transfer to a small bowl. Add tomatoes to processor and process until smooth; set soffritto aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a 12″–14″ paella pan or skillet over medium-high. Add chorizo and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add shrimp to same skillet, season with salt, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to plate with chorizo.

Heat remaining ½ cup oil in same skillet over medium-high. Add reserved soffritto and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8–10 minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until mixture is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add paprika, sugar, and 2 tsp. salt. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick, about 3 minutes. Add stock and saffron and bring to a boil.

Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid starts to simmer, about 5 minutes. Quit stirring; a film will form on the surface (this will trap steam, making a gooey cover over the rice, helping it cook evenly). Reduce heat to low and simmer, moving pan around every few minutes so the entire bottom gets equal time over the hottest part of flame, until liquid evaporates, 12–15 minutes.

Top with olives and reserved chorizo and shrimp. Finely grate lemon zest and squeeze lemon juice over paella, top with sprouts, and season with sea salt. Let paella rest 5 minutes before you dig in; serve with lemon wedges.

Paprika File

Dark Chocolate Mousse

Desserts, Ice Cream and Custards, Tested and Approved!

Makes 6 Servings ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Epicurious | 2004

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 Tbsp Kahlua, or other favorite alcohol (i.e., Bourbon)
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 Tbsp sugar

DIRECTIONS

Combine the chocolate, butter, and kahlua in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not simmering, water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool until the chocolate is just slightly warmer than body temperature. To test, dab some chocolate on your bottom lip. It should feel warm. If it is too cool, the mixture will seize when the other ingredients are added.

Meanwhile, whip the cream to soft peaks, then refrigerate. Once the melted chocolate has cooled slightly, whip the egg whites in a medium bowl until they are foamy and beginning to hold a shape. Sprinkle in the sugar and beat until soft peaks form.

When the chocolate has reached the proper temperature, stir in the yolks. Gently stir in about one-third of the whipped cream. Fold in half the whites just until incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites, and finally the remaining whipped cream.

Spoon or pipe the mousse into a serving bowl or individual dishes. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours. (The mousse can be refrigerated for up to a day.)

Paprika File

Cheesy Artichoke Tarts

Happy New Year!

We are so close to starting off a new year which for us, will include a lot of changes. We are headed off to a dressy party with good friends and I’ll be taking over an appetizer as I did last year. This year I selected a recipe that I have made before, one I found years ago on a box of Land O’Lakes butter.

It’s VERY easy, and good as written, even though, as you will see in the pictures, today I substituted roasted red peppers and marinated artichoke hearts.

As always, I got out my ingredients:


And then I prepped my pans. It says to use a non-stick spray (which is fine), but I’m not a fan of propellants in my food, so I use a light olive oil in a Pampered Chef spray bottle for this task.


Then the cheeses, pepper, and mustard go into the mixer, followed by the chopped artichoke hearts and bell peppers.

  

  

  

  
Just like making chocolate chip cookies, two spoons are the best tools for the job of filling the wonton cups.


I’m baking them just before we head out and topping them with chopped parsley.

Have a great evening and a wonderful start to the new year!


Cheesy Artichoke Tarts

Paprika Recipe File

Cook 18-20 minutes ∙ Makes 32 appetizers ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Land o’Lakes
INGREDIENTS

  • 36 won ton wrappers, 3½” squares
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 14 ounces artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
  • parsley, fresh, chopped (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 36 miniature muffin cups with no-stick cooking spray. Gently press 1 won ton wrapper into each muffin cup, allowing ends to extend above cups. Spray edges of wrappers with no-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine cheese, cream cheese, ground red pepper and mustard in medium bowl; mix well. Stir in bell pepper and artichoke hearts. Spoon about 1 tablespoon cheese mixture into each cup.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until cheese mixture is set and edges of wrappers are lightly browned. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve warm.

Christmas Dinner

Merry Christmas to you and yours! I hope you had a wonderful day and dinner. 

Or Happy Holidays if you don’t celebrate Christmas, but are enjoying other festivities. 

As you likely know from reading my blog, I strongly believe that all food should be good and good food is real food. I try to hit an even higher standard for Christmas Eve dinner and this year I decided on individual Beef Wellingtons. It’s not something I have made before. 

I looked at several recipes for inspiration and ended using the recipe at the bottom. The ingredients are simple even though the taste is complex. 

Since I wanted them to be sized as individual portions I had to start with filet mignon, which you can buy at the meat counter for $18-25/lb. depending on the current market. I cannot fathom this price so I start with the whole tenderloin and trim it well then cut my own steaks. At $9/lb. the effort is worth it. 

I like my steak lean, but the most important part is removing the tendon. Overall, I ended up with 6 steaks (4-6 oz. each), three bags of extra steak (1 lb. each) including a chateaubriand that can be a small roast later, and only ½ lb. of scraps. I also had ~4 oz. of small pieces that I used to make the red wine sauce. 

    

  

I kept the steaks in the fridge overnight; no wrap needed.

I also started dessert, a Martha Stewart recipe, on the eve of Christmas Eve by making the sponge cakes. The ingredients were incredibly simple.

Any time you make a cake, it’s always best to prep the pans first.

With this recipe the butter was a close second, as it needed to be melted and cooled.

From there, I sifted my dry ingredients, and then beat the eggs and sugar. 

  
  

When they were very light I folded in the dry ingredients, followed by the butter. 

  

Baking them was very quick – 6 minutes.

   

On Christmas Eve, I returned to the steaks first, very quickly searing them in batches on high heat, then they went back in the fridge.

  

Then I washed and chopped my mushrooms, mostly baby bellas with a few wild mushrooms mixed in. 

    

All of the mushrooms went into a large skillet with oil, a few sprigs of thyme, and a healthy helping of fresh ground pepper to make the duxelle. (I love new words!) After a few minutes they release their moisture then dry and begin to brown. 

  

  

  

The next step of the beef was to set their shape. I laid out 6 pieces of Saran Wrap, each with 2 slices of Prosciutto, and then spread the Prosciutto with the duxelle, evenly divided. 

  

After seasoning the beef with salt and pepper I placed each one on a piece of Saran Wrap and folded, then tightly sealed them, and then returned them to the fridge. 

  

  

I returned to the cake by making the filling, again an easy set of ingredients. I started by separating my eggs. 

  

The mascarpone, powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt go right on top of the yolks, and then the mix is beaten until thick and creamy. 

  

The egg whites are whipped with a dash of salt and then folded into the chocolate mix. 

  
 

Each of the two cakes are cut into 3 equally sized rectangles. Place one on your serving tray and brush it with brandy and spread about a cup of the filling evenly over it. 

  

Continue in this manner until you reach the top layer, ending with a brandy-brushed cake layer. This goes into the fridge too.

  

I have prepared brussel sprouts fairly frequently lately so I won’t bore you with the details. At this point I was simply cleaning them. 

  

And then I made the glaze for the cake: chocolate and hot cream. 

  

  

I also cleaned and seasoned my redskins while the chocolate melted. 

    

  

Once the chocolate was melted, I whisked it to smooth and then glazed the cake. 

  

About an hour before I wanted to serve dinner, I put the potatoes in the oven and started the red wine sauce (aka, gravy) I used the trimmings I mentioned earlier, a few more sprigs of thyme, a bay leaf, several peppercorns, and 3 sliced shallots. 

  

When the shallots were golden I added in a splash of red wine vinegar, let it reduce to almost dry and then add 2 cups of wine. I brought the wine to a boil and then simmered it until it was reduced to about ½ cup. 

  

Then I wrapped my beef in puff pastry, I recommend an 8-9″ square per filet, and only 2 per sheet – yes you will have some scrap, but they won’t be too thin at the end. I brushed the edges and the tops with an egg wash. 

  

  

  

  

At this point (about 30 minutes before dinner) the wine was reduced and I added in the broth to reduce again, ultimately to  about 1 cup. And I put the brussel sprouts in the oven. I roasted them with crispy red onions, salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. 

  

  

At 15 minutes before dinner, I put the steaks in the oven and strained the gravy. I returned most the gravy to the pan. I kept ~¼ cup into which I whisked about 1 teaspoon of corn starch and then whisked this into the rest of the gravy and returned it to a boil to thicken it. Take the beef, and everything else out of the oven when the internal temp of the beef is 135F (assuming you appreciate medium rare).

  

  

Dinner is served. 







Beef Wellington

Paprika Recipe File

Beef and Lamb, Christmas, Entrées, Season, Tested and Approved!

Makes Serves 6 ∙ Difficulty Hard ∙ Source Inspired by Gordon Ramsey

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 filet mignon steaks (4-6 oz. each)
  • Olive oil
  • 1½ lb. mushrooms, mixed
  • 4-6 thyme sprigs
  • 3 sheets puff pastry
  • 12 slices prosciutto
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the red wine sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • 4-6 oz. beef trimmings
  • 3 large shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ~4-6 thyme sprigs
  • Splash of red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 15 oz. beef stock
  • 1 tsp. corn starch

DIRECTIONS

Quickly sear the beef in a hot pan with a little olive oil for 30-60 seconds until browned all over and very rare in the middle. Remove from the pan and leave to cool, then return to the fridge.

Finely chop the mushrooms and fry in a hot pan with a little olive oil, the thyme sprigs, and pepper. When the mushrooms begin to release their juices, continue to cook over a high heat for about 10-15 minutes until all the excess moisture has evaporated and you are left with a mushroom paste just beginning to brown (known as a duxelle). Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.

Lay 6 squares of saran wrap on a work surface and arrange 2 slices of prosciutto on each, slightly overlapping. With a palette knife, spread the mushroom paste over the prosciutto. Season each filet with salt and pepper then place one in the middle of each square. Neatly wrap the proscuitto and mushrooms, then the saran wrap around the beef to form a tight package. Chill for at least 30 minutes to allow the beef to keep its shape.

Cut each sheet of pastry in half, place on a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle large enough to envelop one of the beef fillets (~8-9″ square).

Remove the saran wrap from the beef, brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash, then wrap the pastry around each filet. Brush the outside with the egg wash. Allow to rest for at leat 15 minutes before baking, if more than 30 chill in the fridge.

Meanwhile, make the red wine sauce. Heat the oil in a large pan, then fry the beef trimmings for a few minutes until browned on all sides. Stir in the shallots with the peppercorns, bay leaf, and thyme then continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shallots turn golden brown.

Pour in the vinegar and let it bubble for a few minutes until almost dry. Then add the wine and boil until reduced to ~½ cup. Add the stock and bring to the boil again. Lower the heat and simmer gently until reduced to ~1½ cups. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve. Check for seasoning and return to the pan, reserve ¼ cup and whisk in the corn starch. Whisk the reserved liquid back into the pan and bring to a boil until the sauce reaches the desired consistency, then set aside.

When you are ready to cook the beef wellingtons, score the pastry lightly then bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and cooked. The internal temperature should be 135°F for medium rare. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve the beef wellingtons, with the sauce as an accompaniment.
Glazed Chocolate Layer Cake

Paprika Recipe File

Cakes, Cheesecakes, Desserts

Prep 45 mins ∙ Cook 55 mins ∙ Makes Servings: 10 ∙ Source Marthastewart.com

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CAKE

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for baking pans
  • Coarse salt
  • 5 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

FOR THE FILLING AND GLAZE

  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 2 cups mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • Chocolate Glaze

DIRECTIONS

Make cake: Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Coat two 10 1/2-by-15 1/2-inch jelly-roll baking pans with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper; coat with cooking spray. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a bowl, whisk together flour and teaspoon salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs, yolks, and sugar on medium-high, 2 minutes; increase speed to high and beat until pale and thick, 5 minutes. Sift flour mixture over egg mixture; with a large rubber spatula, fold together until almost blended. Pour butter down side of bowl, folding to combine. Divide batter between pans; smooth with a table knife. Immediately transfer pans to oven and bake until cakes are golden brown and springy when pressed, 6 to 7 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Let cool completely.

Make filling: In a large bowl, stir together egg yolks, mascarpone, sugar, cocoa, and pinch of salt. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and pinch of salt until soft peaks form. With a large rubber spatula, fold one-third whites into mascarpone mixture; fold in remainder.

Invert cakes onto a work surface and gently peel off parchment. Using a serrated knife, trim cakes to measure 10 by 15 inches, then cut each crosswise into thirds. Place 1 cake layer, golden side up, on a platter; brush with brandy and spread with 1 cup filling. Repeat with remaining cake, brandy, and filling, ending with a layer of brandy-brushed cake. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

Make Chocolate Glaze. Pour over top of cake and spread so it drips down sides (or spread along sides). Cover and refrigerate 1 hour (or up to 2 days).
Chocolate Glaze

Paprika Recipe File 

Makes 1 1/4 cups ∙ Source Marthastewart.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS

Place bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream over medium-high; when bubbling around edge, pour over chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes, then whisk until shiny and smooth.

Linguine with Garlicky Shrimp

I am so thankful to have the best Guinea pigs on the planet, my husband, kids, and in-laws never complain and they eat everything. Granted I think it’s practically impossible to say no to good food, or any food…but I’m very thankful anyway. My understanding from friends is that my kids, who do try everything I put in front of them, are the exception.

Sunday, I made a treat, another homemade pasta. I was not in the slightest bit concerned: garlic and shrimp are always a perfect combination. I have had this on my list for 3 weeks, but with the activities associated with the end of the school year and spring sports, I needed to find the right day to make pasta.

This is another from the pasta cookbook I got for Christmas and it was another win.

Although, as is fairly typical, I started with dessert when I got back from the grocery store. A couple of weeks ago you may have noticed Bailey’s Cream Cheese Brownies on the list, I was not happy, they were cake-like instead of fudge-like even though the flavor was perfect. I threw a large chunk in the freezer to give it new life. Homemade ice cream is a wonderful treat, and even better with Bailey’s and brownies.

My favorite go-to book for ice cream is Ben and Jerry’s cookbook. There are lots of ideas in there, but the most important item is the sweet cream base.

Start with the eggs and whip them until they are light and foamy. Then add the sugar slowly and they become thick and creamy. For ice cream, I always use my vanilla sugar; every time I use a vanilla bean it goes in this container of sugar, until I use the next one and swap it out.

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Last add the milk, heavy cream, and in this case Bailey’s to create your base. After that follow your if cream maker’s instructions.

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While it froze, I chopped my chuck of brownie and with a few minutes left I added in the chopped pieces.

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From there I moved onto the pasta. The recipe said it served four so I increased it accordingly, I need not have bothered, with the increase I could have served 10-12.

I used a food processor recipe (still in my broken food processor). Starting with the flour and salt, then the eggs and oil all together.

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Although it appears to be a sticky mess when I turned it out on the floured pastry board, after kneading for several minutes it is a beautiful soft and smooth dough.

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Per the instructions I let it rest under a bowl while I began my preparations for rolling the pasta.

I divided it into six pieces and only worked with one piece at a time, leaving the others under the bowl while I rolled them out to thin sheets. (Thoroughly flour between the sheets so that they don’t stick together!)

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Then they went through the the linguine blade and I spread them out and hung them everywhere.

While it dried I moved onto my sauce, starting by rinsing and cleaning the shrimp.

I blanched my tomatoes in the boiling pasta water so that the skin came off easily.


I then proceeded to my chopping work before starting anything on the stove.

While the water was coming to a boil I started the sauce; the pasta went in about the same time as the shrimp.

The shrimp is added once the garlic is fragrant, once they are just opaque, the tomatoes, salt, and white wine are added. Once the wine had reduced off, the pasta was done and I tossed it all in a large bowl with the fresh parsley.

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As usual, my MIL made a wonderful salad (spinach, sprouts, and water chestnuts). And we had a garlic bread to round out the meal before serving the brownie ice cream for dessert with freshly sliced strawberries.

Linguine with Garlicky Shrimp

★★★★★

Entrées, Shellfish, Tested and Approved!

Makes 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ red pepper flakes
  • 2 roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • sea salt
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. linguine

DIRECTIONS

In a large pot, bring 5 qt. water to a boil. While the water is heating, make the sauce.

In a frying pan large enough to accomodate the pasta later, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is softened but not browned, about 2 minutes.

Add the shrimp to the pan and sauté, turing once, until opaque, about 2 minutes on each side. Add the tomatoes, season with ~½ tsp. Sea salt, and stir to mix. Stir in the wine and cook until most of the alcohol has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. of the parsley, taste and adjust the seasoning, remove from the heat, and cover to keep warm.

When the water is boiling, check the package directions for the cooking time, then add 2 Tbsp. Kosher salt and the pasta to the boiling water, stir well, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is just shy of being al dente.

Return the sauce to low heat. Drain the pasta, add to the sauce in the pan, and toss until the strands are well coated with the sauce. Transfer to a warmed large, shallow serving bowl, or individual shallow bowls, top with the remaining parsley, and serve immediately.

Paprika Recipe File

Egg Pasta

★★★★★

Entrées, Pastas, Tested and Approved!

Prep 30 minutes ∙ Cook 0 minutes ∙ Makes Servings: 6 ∙ Source Williams-Sonoma | The Pasta Book, by Julia della Croce (Weldon Owen, 2010)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose or “00” flour (see note above), plus more as needed
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. olive oil

DIRECTIONS

To make the dough by hand, measure the flour onto a work surface, mix in the salt and shape the flour into a mound. Using your fingertips, make a well in the center. Break the eggs into the center of the well and add the olive oil. Using a fork, beat until the eggs and oil are blended, making sure the liquid does not breach the walls of the well

Using the fork, gradually draw the flour from the sides of the well into the egg mixture and beat gently, always in the same direction, to combine the flour with the liquid. Secure the wall of the well with your other hand until the liquid has absorbed enough flour that it will not flow over the wall.

When the mixture is too stiff to use the fork, begin using both hands, gradually drawing in the flour from the bottom of the wall, until you have a soft, moist, but not sticky ball of dough. If the dough will not absorb more flour without becoming stiff, do not use it all. If it is too soft, add more flour, a spoonful at a time. Clean the work surface, dust it lightly with flour and flatten the ball of dough into a disk.

To make the dough with a food processor, fit a food processor with the metal blade. Add all but 1/2 cup of the flour and the salt to the work bowl and pulse to mix. You will use the reserved 1/2 cup flour later to adjust the consistency of the dough.
Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and remove any stray shells. Add the olive oil; there is no need to stir. Pour the eggs and oil into the work bowl. Process until the flour is evenly moistened and crumbly, about 10 seconds. Test the dough by pinching it; if it is very sticky, add more flour, 1 Tbs. at a time, processing until it is incorporated. After about 30 seconds total, the dough should come together in a loose ball and feel moist but not sticky

Dust a clean work surface with flour. Remove the ball of dough from the food processor and place it in the center of the floured surface. Using your hands, flatten the dough into a disk.

For both methods: Using the heel of your hand, push the dough down and away from you, fold it in half back toward you, rotate a quarter turn and repeat the kneading motion. After about 10 minutes, the dough should be smooth and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball, cover with an overturned bowl and let rest for 15 minutes before you roll it out. The gluten in the flour will relax, making the dough easier to roll. Do not let it rest longer or it will be too dry. Makes 1 lb. dough.

Paprika Recipe File

Ice Cream (Sweet Cream Base)

★★★★★

Desserts, Ice Cream and Custards, Tested and Approved!

Cook 30 minutes ∙ Makes ~1 quart ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature

DIRECTIONS

Use an electric mixer and whisk the eggs, until they turn light and fluffy (1-2 minutes).

Slowly, add the sugar while whisking the eggs. I usually use an electric mixer in one hand and then use the other hand to pour the sugar in a little bit at a time. Slower is better. When it’s all in there, mix it a minute or so more.

Then pour in the rest of the cream and milk and mix it all together.

  • Vanilla Ice Cream: Add 2 teaspoons of good vanilla extract.
  • Alcohol Flavored: Add ½ cup of liqour(s).

Chill the mix (either covered in the fridge, or using the double-bowl and ice method) until it’s below 40°F (5°C). It helps to chill the mix before it’s run through the machine, so it freezes faster. The faster the mix freezes, the smaller the ice crystals will be, and the smoother the texture.

If you have a machine with a built-in freezer, turn it on and let it get good and cold. Then turn on the motor so the dasher starts spinning, and pour in the mix.

It’ll take about 30 minutes, more or less, to churn. You’ll probably be able to hear the motor slowing down when it gets close, and you should probably stop it before it really starts having trouble, just so you don’t damage it. It’ll come out like stiff soft-serve ice cream.

Speed counts now. Get all the ice cream out of the machine, into containers, and into the freezer, as quickly as possible. After a few hours in the freezer, the ice cream will harden and be like what you buy in the store. Smaller, pre-chilled containers allow the ice cream to freeze faster, which is what you want to keep it from getting icy.

Paprika Recipe File

Quick Cake

So we decided this evening to get together with some friends. I offered to bring something and was assigned dessert. My mind quickly went to my Raspberry Buttermilk Cake when I remembered that one of my good friends in this group doesn’t believe that a dessert is actually dessert if it has fruit in it. We’ll continue this debate personally, but I switched my brain to chocolate.

I recently came across this chocolate cake to make a treat for another friend who is gluten free. Aside from baking time it’s about 15-20 minutes to put it together and that includes the time to get out the ingredients and make the superfine sugar.

IMG_4279

This is how I have taken to “sifting”, it’s way easier!IMG_4280IMG_4281

And I still boil my water in a teapot.IMG_4282

The boiling water goes into the cocoa and then the vanilla, it shouldn’t be runny, but it isn’t thick.IMG_4283

In a separate bowl mix the almond flour, baking soda, and salt.
IMG_4284IMG_4286

I never buy superfine sugar, if you have a food processor, you shouldn’t either.

IMG_4287

The mixer gets the eggs, olive oil, and the sugar.

IMG_4288

They get whipped together until they are very thick.

IMG_4289IMG_4290

Add the chocolate while it stirs slowly.

IMG_4291IMG_4292

And then the almond flour mix.

IMG_4293IMG_4294

Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl so that you don’t miss any good stuff.

IMG_4296IMG_4297

And then pour it into your prepared pan.

IMG_4298IMG_4299

After it’s baked it’s beautiful, moist, and delicious. 

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Cakes, Cheesecakes, Desserts, Not Shared, Tested and Approved!

Makes 8-12 slices ∙ Source Nigella.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 tablespoons good-quality unsweetened cocoa (sifted)
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons best vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups almond meal (or ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • ⅔ cup regular olive oil (plus more for greasing)
  • 3 large eggs

1. Preheat your oven to 325ºF. Grease a 9″ springform tin with a little oil and line the base with baking parchment.

2. Measure and sift the unsweetened cocoa into a bowl or jug and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny (but only just) paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little.

3. In another smallish bowl, combine the almond meal (or flour) with the baking soda and pinch of salt.

4. Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into the bowl of a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment (or other bowl and whisk arrangement of your choice) and beat together vigorously for about 3 minutes until you have a pale-primrose, aerated and thickened cream.

5. Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in you can slowly tip in the ground almond (or flour) mixture.

6. Scrape down, and stir a little with a spatula, then pour this dark, liquid batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very centre, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it.

7. Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in its tin, and then ease the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the tin. Leave to cool completely or eat while still warm with some ice cream, as a pudding.

NOTES

Not extra virgin olive oil.

Paprika Recipe File

Snow in April = Stew and Soup

As I watched flurries outside the window this weekend (grr) and viewed my parents posts from warm beaches (grr) I decided that the only positive thing I could do was to warm us all up from the inside. As I prepared my menu for the week on Saturday, I decided on a stew for Sunday and a soup for Monday; both could easily be made on Sunday. As an added bonus I had meat in my freezer which I could use for the effort.

A soccer game for my eldest on Sunday provided the motivation for an early start to the day. As soon as I got back I started making broth for Monday’s Chicken and Mushroom Soup. This is one of the first recipes I learned from my MIL and although I continue to play with it, the core recipe remains and it is a household favorite. It calls for chicken broth, which you can buy, but I prefer to make my own. Whenever I have leftovers from a roasted chicken that I’m not going to use, it goes into the freezer. When I checked on Sunday, I had parts from about 4 chickens and they all went into my largest stock pot. I then filled the pan with water until the chicken was just covered, brought it to a boil, and then covered and simmered for 2 hours. I scooped out the chicken and stripped off all of the good meat onto a plate.

I then strained the broth into containers for freezing, I ended up with ~27 cups! 6 containers of 4 cups each into the fridge and I set the remaining ~3 cups aside for the soup.

I’ll return to the soup later, but my next focus was Sunday dinner, Beer, Beef, and Onions. The easiest way to start is by getting out all of the ingredients. 

 Although after taking the picture I realized the beer I grabbed was an IPA (too bitter) so I swapped it for a fairly basic home brew. 

 There are a lot of onions in this recipe, which are sweet and caramelized by the time you serve them. They cook 30 minutes before anything else even goes in the pot. 

 The recipe calls for a chuck roast (which works very well in the recipe), but among my freezer findings were the trimmings of beef tenderloin (Remember waste not, want not… Rather than buy filet for special occasions, I normally opt for the whole tenderloin which is usually half the price or less. I cut the steaks and then freeze the ends and other chunks.) I had about 3 lbs. of these trimmings which I cut into large chunks, dried well with paper towels, and then seasoned well with salt and pepper. 

 Rather than add the flour all at once it works best to sprinkle on a little bit, stir it in, and then repeat until all of the pieces are coated. 

   
By this time the onions were happy and I stirred in the garlic (6 for us, we love garlic). 

 The next step is to brown the meat, (don’t try to crowd the pan, it cooks better in batches) and then move the browned cubes on top of the onions. 

    
 The other ingredients go in EXCEPT the beer and brown sugar and you stir to combine. 

   
Then the beer, just enough to cover the meat and then put it in the oven for 2 hours, stirring in the brown sugar halfway through. 

   
On to dessert and a new set of ingredients for a Rhubarb Almond Cake. 

 I was intrigued because it’s made in a tart pan, as I expected from that simple fact, it doesn’t rise much and remains a dense, moist delicious cake. 

   
Cream the soft butter, vanilla bean, and sugar in one bowl. And process the almonds, flour, salt, and baking powder. 

   
(P.S. – When a recipe says reserve the pod for another use – my favorite is vanilla sugar. It’s perfect for making vanilla ice cream. or even coffee.) 

 After adding the eggs, and then the dry ingredients you have a very thick batter and the rhubarb is folded in. 

   
Once it’s in the pan, the topping is strips of rhubarb and sugar and then I popped it in the oven with the stew. 

 I also started boiling some redskins for mashed potatoes. 

   
Back to the soup…it calls for 1 lb. of mixed mushrooms. You should use what you like and know that anywhere between 1-1½ lbs. will work. I used to make it with just white mushrooms now it depends on what looks good and what I’m in the mood to eat. For this meal, it had dried morels (reconstituted), baby bellas, white, and shiitake, in total closer to the 1½ lbs.  

  I reserve the “broth” from the reconstituted dried mushrooms after filtering out the silt. 

 The caps are cooked first in butter and lemon juice. 

 After setting those aside, the stems go in with the onion until they are soft. I also tend to start adding pepper here so that the flavor is throughout the soup. 

    
   

  After stirring in the flour the broth (chicken and mushroom) is added slowly to form a thick broth. 

    
   
 Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and blend it with an immersion blender until it’s smooth. Since I wasn’t serving until Monday, I let it cool at this point and then stirred in the mushroom caps, cream, and chicken. When I was ready to serve it on Monday I brought it to a boil and then reduced the temp to keep it warm. 

  

I then started to sear diced red onions and added in the green beans when they were crispy, seasoning well with salt and pepper. 

   
And I mashed the potatoes with about a ½ stick of butter, the remaining Greek yogurt from the cake, a bit of heavy cream, and salt and pepper.  

  

  Beer Beef And Onions

Beef and Lamb, Entrées, Tested and Approved!
Prep 2 hours ∙ Cook 3 hours ∙ Makes Makes 6 To 8 Servings ∙ Difficulty Medium ∙ Source Shannon Stacey

INGREDIENTS

  • 2½ pounds onions, sliced
  • ½ cup canola oil, divided
  • 2-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 pounds beef chuck roast, boneless, cut in 1½” cubes
  • 1½ Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1½ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ Tbsp steak sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves, dried
  • 18-24 ounces beer, bottled, not dark
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar

DIRECTIONS

Cook onions in 2T. oil in a a 6-8 quart oven-proof pot over moderate heat, stirring frequently until lightly browned (~30 minutes). Add garlic, stir and cook 5 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in middle.

Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Pat beef dry then toss with flour. Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown beef in batches then add to onions as done (add additional oil to skillet if necessary.

Add all remaining ingredients except beer and sugar and stir to mix. Add beer until it just covers beef and onions. Bring to a simmer then braise in the oven for 2 hours. After 1 hour add brown sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve with egg noodles or mashed potatoes.  

Rhubarb-Almond Cake

Cakes, Cheesecakes, Desserts

Prep 40 minutes ∙ Cook 2 hours ∙ Makes Yield 8 servings ∙ Source Epicurious.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for pan
  • 1 pound rhubarb stalks, trimmed
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup blanched almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Special equipment:
  • One 11×8″ tart pan or one 9″-diameter tart pan with removable bottom.

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter tart pan and sprinkle with sugar, tapping out excess. Slice rhubarb in half lengthwise (quarter if very large). Set 8 of the prettiest pieces aside for the top of the cake; chop remaining rhubarb into 1/2″ pieces. Pulse flour, almonds, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until almonds are finely ground (texture should be sandy).

Place 1 cup butter and 3/4 cup sugar in a large bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; reserve pod for another use. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to blend first egg before adding second. Beat until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients, followed by yogurt. Beat, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed, just to combine (batter will be thick). Fold in chopped rhubarb and scrape batter into prepared pan. Smooth batter and arrange reserved rhubarb over top; sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons sugar.

Place tart pan on a large rimmed baking sheet (to catch any rogue juices) and bake, rotating once, until cake is golden brown and rhubarb on top is soft and beginning to brown, 70–80 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cake cool before removing from pan.

Do ahead: Cake can be baked 3 days ahead. Keep tightly wrapped at room temperature.

Cream of Mushroom and Chicken Soup

Entrées, Poultry, Soups Stews etc., Tested and Approved!

Cook 35 to 40 minutes ∙ Difficulty Medium

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-2 pounds chicken, shredded
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 onion, small, sliced thinly (or 1 leek)
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound mushrooms , white is delicious, add morels or others for a twist
  • 1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

DIRECTIONS

Trim tough stems of mushrooms; remove stems and set aside. Slice mushroom caps thinly.

In a 4 quart saucepan over medium heat, in hot butter, cook sliced mushrooms and lemon juice until mushrooms are just tender, stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low; with a slotted spoon, remove mushrooms to a bowl.

In the same pan, cook onion and stems until onion is tender. Stir in flour until blended; cook 1 minute stirring the mixture constantly. Gradually stir in broth and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened.

With an immersion blender, blend until smooth and then stir in salt, pepper, cream, shredded chicken, and mushroom slices; reheat until soup is boiling. 

  
NOTES

This recipe is best if you have leftovers on a roasted chicken. Boil it for broth and strip the chicken.

If not, use 2 whole breasts, just cover with water to cook the chicken and reserve the broth. If using this method add enough water (and bouillon) to the broth at the end to make 3½ cups.

If an immersion blender is not available, a traditional blender can be used, but it is necessary to do it in 2 batches.

 

Beef and Guinness Pies (with Chocolate?)

I have mentioned before that we are suckers for pot pies around here. With me having time this weekend and about to embark on three weeks of work travel and college visits that overlap St. Patrick’s Day and well beyond, I had to do my honorary cooking with beer in advance of the holiday. This recipe caught my husbands eye, mainly because it was pot pie, but also because of the chocolate. I made a few edits before I even got started and I’ve made another below. 

Skip the chocolate. Such words never uttered in this house; I’ll modify. Eat the chocolate while you cook and don’t put it in the stew. 

Ultimately these are really good and one of the advantages is you don’t need an expensive cut of meat. With the amount of time to make the stew the meat literally falls apart. 

I also had time to make dinner for Tuesday, but I’ll leave that for another day. 

I started with my prep work. I got all of my ingredients out and then started in on the veggies. 

    

And then  moved onto the beef; it’s really important to trim it well. This was about 1¾ lbs. and I trimmed off just under ½ lb.  

  

I also prepped the ingredients for the Green beans with dill; pretty easy, rinse both and chop the dill.  

With 5 minutes left on the pot pies, I heated up the pan for the green beans, warmed some olive oil in the pan, and then added the beans seasoning them well with salt and pepper. 

  

I turned them with tongs regularly and after the pot pies were out and resting, I added in the dill. 

Time for dinner.  

 

Ok, each of these pot pies fed two people – yes including male teenagers. Depending on your crowd you could make 6 of these in smaller pie pans, you would need an extra sheet of puff pastry. 

And for dessert Ina Garten’s lemon bars – perfect (do not alter). 

Beef and Guinness Pies (with Chocolate?)

Beef and Lamb, Entrées, Not Shared, Recipes To Try

Prep 45 minutes ∙ Cook 3 hours 45 minutes ∙ Makes 4 pies ∙ Source Detroit Free Press | March 13, 2016

INGREDIENTS

  • 1½ lbs. beef chuck, trimmed cut into 1′ cubes
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 shallots, peeled chopped
  • 12-16 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1⅔ cups Guinness Draught or extra stout
  • 1-2 cups unsalted beef stock or low-sodium beef broth
  • 1½ tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped or grated bittersweet chocolate or dark chocolate (optional)
  • 1 package (17.3 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Special Equipment:

  • Four 6″ pie tins or 10 oz. ramekins

DIRECTIONS

Pat the beef cubes dry with paper towel. In a large bowl, toss the beef with 2 tablespoons flour, kosher salt and black pepper. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat.  

Working in batches, brown the beef on all sides; transfer to a plate. Repeat, using another tablespoon of oil and remaining beef. 

 
 

If needed, add another tablespoon oil to the pot. Add the shallots, mushrooms, carrots, garlic, and celery.  

Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme sprigs. 

Return the beef to the pot. 

Add the Guinness and enough beef broth so the entire mixture is completely covered.  

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beef is tender, about 1½ to 2 hours.

Once the beef is done, strain the cooking liquid into a large glass measuring cup. You should have 2-3 cups. Return the beef and vegetables to the pot, discarding the thyme.

  

In a saucepan melt the butter. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons flour to form a smooth paste. Whisk in ½ cup cooking liquid over medium heat.  

Gradually whisk in the rest of the strained cooking liquid and simmer until slightly thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes. If using, add the chocolate and stir to melt.  

If the sauce is too thick add more stock or Guinness. Pour the sauce over the beef and vegetables and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one sheet of the thawed puff pastry into about a 14″ square. Cut to two circles large enough to fit in the bottom and up the sides of the pie tin or ramekin, about 8-inches. Cut out two circles that will fit the top. Repeat with the remaining puff pastry sheet. Evenly spoon the beef mixture into the pastry-lined pie tins or ramekins using about 1¼ cups each.  

Top with the 6-inch circle and pinch the edges together to seal. 

Cut 2 diagonal slits in the top center. Brush the pastry with the egg. Place the pies directly on the lower oven rack. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Let rest a few minutes. Serve directly in the pie tin or invert onto a plate. 

NOTES

Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

The chocolate adds nothing and takes away from the pepper – SKIP IT!


Lemon Bars

Cookies, Desserts, Recipes To Try

Cook 30-35 minutes ∙ Makes 9x13x2 inch pan ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Ina Garten | Food Network

INGREDIENTS

For the crust:

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter , room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt

For the filling:

  • 6 eggs, extra-large, at room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon zest, grated, from ~3 lemons
  • 1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

DIRECTIONS

Preparation: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make crust: Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and creamy. 

  

  

Add in flour and salt and mix on low until just combined. Gather into a ball and flatten the dough with floured hands (or cover and press with plastic wrap) and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides.

 

Chill for at least 30 minutes. Bake crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.To make filling: In a bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. 

  

  

 Pour mixture over crust and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

 

Dust with confectioner sugar and cut to squares to preferred size.

Simple Scallops

I have finished the book for the book club I have recently joined so now I can allow myself to write. For those of you that are interested, the book is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and it weaves a beautiful tale. I wish that I could write so beautifully that the words bring you in. 

In the meantime I will stick to making food. On Saturday, when making my menu for the week I knew that I wanted scallops for Sunday dinner. When I skimmed my saved recipes for ideas I noticed one for scallops with a blood orange sauce; citrus and scallops are perfect match. Although I frequently use lemons, blood oranges are still around at the grocery store. 

The most important thing when cooking scallops is ensure that they are dry so that they brown rather than simmer, so after I rinse them and remove the side muscle, I dry them on paper towels and then I replace the paper towels and flip them over so that the other side is also dry. I always season them with salt and pepper before I cook them.

 
In addition to this I also did all of my prep work and measuring for this meal in advance, once you start cooking it only takes 10 minutes so it is much easier to have all of your ingredients ready. I also had all of my dessert ingredients ready, but since it also only took 10 minutes to cook, I didn’t bake it until after we had all eaten and cleaned up the kitchen; I’ll get to that after the meal. 

For the scallops the prep also included chopping the shallot and squeezing the oranges (they were small so I ended up using 2). I rinsed the beans, measured my couscous and water, and minced a handful of mint. 

  
When I was ready to cook, I started the water for the couscous first with a bit of butter and salt while I heated my cast iron skillet for the scallops and my skillet for the green beans. When the water boiled, I added the couscous and reduced it to a simmer and put the green beans in my skillet with a bit of tangerine olive oil, salt, and pepper over medium high heat. 

  
Once the cast iron was hot I set in the scallops, it’s important not to move them while they cook, they should take about 3 minutes to get that nice brown color; in the meantime I stirred the beans to make sure that none overcooked.  

   
After flipping the scallops and letting them cook 2 more minutes I set them aside and added the additional butter and shallots to the pan. While this shallots softened I turned off the heat on the beans and couscous and stirred the mint into the couscous. 

  
Just before serving I added the orange juice to the hot cast iron skillet, deglazed the pan, and poured the sauce into a small bowl for serving. 

  
Dessert was just as simple. Before dinner I set the butter and chocolate in my double boiler on the stove, I didn’t heat it, but with the other cooking going on they softened well. I also prepped my ramekins measured my sugar, broke the eggs into my mixer bowl, and measured the remaining ingredients into a small bowl so that I could add it to the mixer when the time came. 

   
 After we cleaned up the dishes, I started creaming the eggs and sugar and finished melting the butter and chocolate together.    

 After mixing the remaining ingredients in, I scooped the very thick batter into the ramekins. They do only take about 8 minutes to cook and are best served warm with vanilla ice cream.   

  
Seared Scallops with Blood Orange-Shallot Sauce
Makes Serves 4 ∙ Source Finecooking.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1½ lb. sea scallops, side muscles removed
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (~¼ cup)
  • 1-2 blood oranges, squeezed to yield at least ¼ cup juice

DIRECTIONS

Pat the scallops dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp. of the butter and the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until the foam from the butter subsides.

Add the scallops and cook, undisturbed, until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook the second side until browned and just barely firm to the touch, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 Tbsp. butter to the skillet. Add the shallot and a touch of salt; cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the scallops drizzled with the sauce and sprinkled with a little black pepper.

Chili-spiced Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

INGREDIENTS

  • Butter for greasing ramekins
  • Regular or dark cocoa powder (for dusting ramekins)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • Pinch of cayenne

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Butter four 4-ounce ramekins and lightly dust the inside of each ramekin with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess; set aside.

Place the butter and chocolate in a double boiler, melt over hot water until almost completely melted. Stir until the chocolate is smooth.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until light and thick. Slowly add butter mixture to mixer; add flour, cinnamon, chili powder, cayenne, and mix until well combined. Divide batter between prepared ramekins. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake until sides are set and center is soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and let stand about 1 minute. Invert each mold onto a plate and let stand for about 10 seconds. Gently tap the tops of ramekins and carefully lift to remove. Serve with ice cream if desired and berries.

Fresh Herb Pappardelle with Veal and Lemon

For Christmas my niece gave me The Pasta Book, by Julia Della Croce, printed by Williams Sonoma. I have been exited to enjoy it, but I had not yet attempted fresh pasta. 

It’s a serious confession, growing up my mother always made homemade egg noodles for chicken noodle soup and over the last couple of years has been making other pastas. The chicken noodle soup is one of my fondest memories and her other pastas have been wonderful.

I had given myself the excuse that I have access to such good dried pasta, I didn’t need to make it fresh. 

But…today this recipe caught my eye. The sauce was not complicated, dessert was going to be easy, and my neighbors were bringing the Caesar salad. 

I made dessert first, then the pasta, and finally the sauce. 

I could not have been more delighted with the results, I should have made fresh pasta sooner. Everyone was delighted with the results. I still don’t have a full size food processor, and I don’t have a pasta roller, so I followed the “by hand” instructions. I may be making some new investments for the kitchen. I don’t have pictures throughout making the pasta, my hands were too covered to touch the camera.  

   

 WS Egg Pasta I

Pastas
Prep 45 mins ∙ Cook 0 minutes ∙ Makes Servings: 6 ∙ Source Williams Sonoma | The Pasta Book, Julia Della Croce, 2010

INGREDIENTS

  • 2½ cups unbleached all-purpose or “00” flour, plus more as needed
  • ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. olive oil

DIRECTIONS

To make the dough by hand:

Measure the flour onto a work surface, mix in the salt and shape the flour into a mound. Using your fingertips, make a well in the center.  

 

 Break the eggs into the center of the well and add the olive oil. Using a fork, beat until the eggs and oil are blended, making sure the liquid does not breach the walls of the well.

Using the fork, gradually draw the flour from the sides of the well into the egg mixture and beat gently, always in the same direction, to combine the flour with the liquid. Secure the wall of the well with your other hand until the liquid has absorbed enough flour that it will not flow over the wall.

When the mixture is too stiff to use the fork, begin using both hands, gradually drawing in the flour from the bottom of the wall, until you have a soft, moist, but not sticky ball of dough. If the dough will not absorb more flour without becoming stiff, do not use it all. If it is too soft, add more flour, a spoonful at a time. Clean the work surface, dust it lightly with flour and flatten the ball of dough into a disk.

To make the dough with a food processor: 

Fit a food processor with the metal blade. Add all but 1/2 cup of the flour and the salt to the work bowl and pulse to mix. You will use the reserved 1/2 cup flour later to adjust the consistency of the dough.

Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and remove any stray shells. Add the olive oil; there is no need to stir. Pour the eggs and oil into the work bowl. Process until the flour is evenly moistened and crumbly, about 10 seconds. Test the dough by pinching it; if it is very sticky, add more flour, 1 Tbs. at a time, processing until it is incorporated. After about 30 seconds total, the dough should come together in a loose ball and feel moist but not sticky.

Dust a clean work surface with flour. Remove the ball of dough from the food processor and place it in the center of the floured surface. Using your hands, flatten the dough into a disk.

For both methods: 

Using the heel of your hand, push the dough down and away from you, fold it in half back toward you, rotate a quarter turn and repeat the kneading motion. After about 10 minutes, the dough should be smooth and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball, cover with an overturned bowl and let rest for 15 minutes before you roll it out. The gluten in the flour will relax, making the dough easier to roll. Do not let it rest longer or it will be too dry. Makes 1 lb. dough.

  
Rolling with a Machine:

Set up the pasta machine according to the manufacturer’s directions. Set the rollers at the widest setting and dust with flour to prevent sticking. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and slip 3 pieces back under the bowl.

Flatten the remaining piece into a disk and dust with flour. Turning the crank, feed the dough through the rollers. Fold the dough into thirds like aletter. Lightly flour both sides and feed it through again; this process further kneads the dough. Repeat the folding and rolling twice dusting with flour as needed.

Narrow the rollers to the next notch dust the dough with flour and pass it through the rollers again. Catch the sheet with your hand and carefully guide it onto the work surface. Narrow the rollers to the next notch and feed the dough through again. If the dough tears, start again at the widest setting.

Continue in this fashion, dusting with frour and repairing holes as needed. 

Rolling by Hand:

Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and slip 3 pieces back under the bowl. Flatten the remainin piece into a disk and dust with flour. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough away from you Lift the dough, flour the work surface again, if necessary, and turn the dough 90°. Roll out again.

Continue rolling the dough until you can see your hand through it (see thickness below). Allow to rest for 10-20 minutes. 

  
For both methods:

Place the rolled out pasta onto clean work surface and fold into a loose flat cylinder. Using a chef’s knife or pizza cutter cut appropriate width for pasta. 

  

Thickness (Width):

  • 1/32″ thick – Tagliatelle (¼”), Papparadelle (¾-1″), Maltagliati, Stuffed Pastas, Cannelloni, Lasagne
  • 1/16″ thick – Fettucine (¼”), Trenette (3/8″)

Fresh Herb Pappardelle with Veal and Lemon

Beef and Lamb, Entrées, Pastas, Tested and Approved!

Prep 30 mins ∙ Cook 40 mins ∙ Makes 4-6 ∙ Source Williams-Sonoma | The Pasta Book, Julia Della Croce, 2010

INGREDIENTS

Herb Pasta

  • WS Egg Pasta I Recipe
  • 3 tbsp. Italian Parsley, freshly chopped

Veal-Lemon Sauce

  • 1 lb. veal, partially frozen and cut into thin (¼” thick) strips 1″ long and ¼” wide
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • ½ lb. fresh white mushrooms, brushed clean and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • 1½ cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. freshly chopped thyme
  • 1 lemon zest strip, three inches long and one inch wide
  • 2 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Kosher salt for cooking pasta

   
 

    DIRECTIONS

    To make the herb pasta dough, follow the Egg Pasta 1 dough as directed and incorporate the parsley with flour when mixing in the salt. Let dry for 30 minutes to 3 hours.

    Pat veal dry with paper towels and set aside. In a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the shallots and sauté until tender, about two minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the mushrooms. Sauté gently until softened, about two minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallot and mushroom mixture to a plate and set aside.  

     Raise the heat to high and add the veal to the pan. Sauté until the meat colours on the surface, about two minutes.  
    Add the sherry and reduce the heat to medium. Sauté until most of the alcohol evaporates, about three minutes. Add the broth, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the thyme and immediately reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover, add the lemon zest and chopped parsley, and return the mushroom mixture to the pan. Season with sea salt and pepper and simmer, uncovered, until the veal is tender and the liquid is reduced to about 1
    ¼ cups, about 15 minutes longer. Remove and discard the lemon zest. Add the cream and heat, stirring, just until small bubbles begin to forma
    round the edges of the pan.  
    Do not let the cream boil. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.In a large pot, bring five quarts of water to a rapid boil. Add two tablespoons kosher salt and the pasta and cover the pot.

      
    When the water returns to a boil, uncover, cook for about a minute or until tender and then drain. Add the pasta to the sauce in the pan and toss until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. Transfer to a warmed large, shallow serving bowl or individual shallow bowls and serve right away.

      
    Double Ginger Sticky Toffee Pudding

    Makes Servings: 8 ∙ Source Bonappetit.com

    INGREDIENTS

    Cake

    • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
    • 10 ounces Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (about 2 cups)
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
    • 3 large eggs, room temperature
    • ½ cup chopped crystallized ginger

    Toffee Sauce And Assembly

    • 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • Demerara sugar (for serving)

    Special Equipment

    • A 9-cup Bundt pan

    DIRECTIONS

    Cake
    Preheat oven to 350˚. Thoroughly butter and flour pan, making sure to get into all curved or detailed places. 

     Toss dates and baking soda in a small bowl to coat, then pour in 1 cup boiling water. 

       

      


      
     Let mixture sit until dates are very soft, 10–15 minutes. Mash dates lightly with a fork (mixture will be thick but not smooth and homogenous).

    While dates are soaking, whisk baking powder, salt, and remaining 2 cups flour in a medium bowl.

    Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat brown sugar, fresh ginger, and remaining ½ cup butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend after each addition before adding the next.  

     Then alternating, add dry ingredients and date mixture in 2 additions each, starting with dry ingredients and ending with date mixture. Fold in crystallized ginger. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth surface.  

    Bake cake until top is firm and springs back when gently pressed with your fingers and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35–45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Let cake cool in pan 10 minutes before turning out onto rack, then let cool another 20 minutes (cake should still be warm).

      
    Toffee Sauce And Assembly

    Bring brown sugar, cream, butter, salt, and 2 Tbsp. water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to melt butter. Cook, stirring, until mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon, 5–8 minutes. Let cool slightly.

      
    Poke holes all over warm cake with a toothpick. Wipe out Bundt pan; pour a third of sauce into pan. Carefully invert cake back into pan. Poke holes in bottom of cake and pour more sauce over. Let sit until cake absorbs sauce, 15–20 minutes.

    Turn cake out onto rack (it may not come out at first but will eventually release) and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Serve cake with remaining toffee sauce. If the sauce has cooled by the time you’re ready to serve, gently reheat just to warm through.

      
    Do Ahead: Cake can be made 1 day ahead; store tightly covered at room temperature. Cover and chill leftover sauce. Gently reheat before serving.