Sunday, January 18, 2009

Buttermilk Biscuits

Dead easy. Best fresh; they don't keep long or well.

10-12 biscuits

biscuit ingredients:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp double-acting baking powder (they're pretty much all double-acting these days, apparently)
1 tbsp sugar; could probably use less
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter cut into ¼-inch cubes
1½ cups cold buttermilk, preferably low-fat

for forming biscuits:
approx 1 cup flour spread over a rimmed baking sheet

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray; also spray inside and outside of a ¼-cup measuring cup.

Pulse dry ingredients in food processor to combine. Scatter butter cubes over and pulse again (about 10 times) to form a crumby mix.

Transfer to a bowl and add buttermilk; stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. It will be lumpy and sticky; don't worry.

Scoop out biscuits with the sprayed measuring cup and drop them into the floured baking sheet. with your fingers, roll them a little so they are lightly but evenly coated; form gently into rounds; shake off excess flour; and arrange in cake pan, about 9 around the outside and 3 in the middle. It's OK for them to be lightly touching or even smushed hard against each other; and it's OK if it comes out as less than 12. The mixture may start sticking to the cup, in which case scrape it out with a spoon; don't worry, it'll all work out OK.

Bake 5 minutes at 500°F then reduce heat to 450°F and bake another 15 minutes until golden brown. They will have spread and merged together, but the flour coating means they will break apart again easily.

Remove from oven and cool in pan 2 minutes; invert onto a clean kitchen towel and then back onto a plate; break apart; cool 5 minutes covered with the towel.

(From The Amateur Gourmet's Impulsive Late Night Biscuit Ecstacy, originally from Cook's Illustrated (behind a paywall; a version on Serious Eats appears heavier on the butter, lighter on the buttermilk). He brushes with melted butter before baking, but I don't think they need it.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Vegetarian Chili

About 6 servings.

1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 green pepper, chopped
1 large can diced/crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
2 ½ tbsp chili powder
2 tsp red chili flakes (or to taste)
¼ cup soft brown sugar
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can golden corn, drained

Saute onions and garlic over medium heat until translucent. Add green pepper, tomatoes, seasoning, cook 2-3 minutes. Add brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Add beans and corn and simmer 6-7 minutes.

Also good with:
2 ears corn, stripped, instead of the canned corn
soaked and cooked dried beans instead of the canned beans

Spicy Asian Eggplant with Tofu and Red Pepper

For 2.

Chili-garlic paste and Asian eggplants are best from Chinese supermarkets; we often omit the red pepper.

3 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp chili-garlic paste

½ 16-oz pack firm tofu, cut into cubes
1 red pepper, cut into squares
2 Asian eggplants, cubed

Mix sauce ingredients.

Fry tofu over medium heat until browned on all sides. Set aside.
Stir-fry pepper a few minutes; add eggplant and fry until soft. It sucks up oil so cook on one side, flip, add a little more oil.
Add tofu back to pan.
Add sauce and stir; add extra water if it becomes too thick.

(Modified from Katie and Leeann Chin's recipe in SELF magazine.)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Enchilada Lasagna

For approx. 6 -- 13-by-9 baking dish or two smaller dishes.

2 dried chipotles, stems and seeds removed, diced (or two fresh jalapenos)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2½ tsp chili powder
1½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground (or use ground cumin)
2 cups chicken broth
3 cups tomato sauce
pinch salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper

1 pound boneless chicken, cubed
1 large onion, diced
pinch salt
1 larg clove garlic, minced
½ tsp dried oregano

12-18 corn tortillas
3 cups Monterey Jack, shredded

Combine sauce ingredients, bring to a boil, simmer 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F

Saute chicken in skillet until cooked through. Remove. Saute onions with salt on medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, cook 3 minutes more. Mix in chicken and remove from heat.

Grease glass baking dish(es) and assemble:
1 cup sauce spread over bottom
Dip 4 tortillas into remaining sauce and form a layer -- cut into halves as necessary.
Half the chicken mixture.
1 cup cheese.
Repeat tortillas, chicken, cheese.
Repeat tortillas.
Pour remaining sauce over, and top with cheese.

Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes covered with foil; uncover and bake 10 more minutes.

(From Alton Brown's Good Eats. GEFP summary; GEFP transcript)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Stir-Fried Szechuan Tofu, Broccoli, and Mushrooms

For 4.

For the sauce:

2 teaspoons cornstarch
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon chili paste with garlic
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup sherry
1 teaspoon brown sugar

For the stir-fry:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound extra-firm tofu, cut into ½ inch slices and patted dry with paper towel, then cut into smaller cubes, about ½ inch, and pat dry again
3 cups sliced mushrooms
5-6 cups tiny broccoli florets
2 carrots, thinly sliced
¼ cup water

Combine the sauce ingredients; set aside.

Heat the oil in large pan on a medium-high setting. Add the tofu and turn occasionally, until browned on all (or most) sides. Remove and drain on paper towel.

Toss the mushrooms into the pan and fry for a few minutes; add broccoli and carrots and water. Cover and cook about 5 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender.

Return tofu to the pan and mix-in. Stir in the sauce until it thickens. Serve over hot rice.

(From Jeanne Lemlin’s Vegetarian Classics.)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Wilted Spinach with Garlic and Oil

Easy and very tasty. The spinach really cooks down so don't be alarmed by how much the recipe calls for.

For 4.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound washed spinach, stems removed
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Using a fairly large and deep skillet with a lid, let it warm up on a medium heat setting. Add the garlic and the oil; let it cook for five minutes or so. Dump the spinach in - you may have to dump a handful and let it cook down before adding some more, depending on your pan's capacity.

(From Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals Food Network show.)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Onion Smothered Eggs

Amy calls this recipe “a definite comfort food,” likes it “with copious amounts of fried onions and a bit of Parmesan cheese,” and notes that “there is no way to make it look beautiful.” I’d say she’s right on all counts.

For 2.

4 eggs
1 large onion, cut into rings
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
2 tbsp parmesan, grated

Hard-boil the eggs.

Meanwhile, saute the onions in the butter until soft and light brown. Add flour and stir until toasted. Add milk and stir until thickened. Add parmesan.

Shell and slice the eggs and pour over the glop.

Good on toast; we had it on buttermilk biscuits.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Papaya, Red Pepper, and Pecan Salad with Chicken

Fruity, but the lime in the dressing cuts the sweetness.

For 4.

8 cups torn romaine leaves; about 2 heads
2 ripe papaya, peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 large or 2 small red bell pepper, diced into ¼-inch pieces
4 green onions, sliced finely
¾ lb boneless, skinnless chicken, cooked and cubed
¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted

3 cloves garlic, pressed
¼ cup fresh lime juice (1 lime)
2 tbsp chicken broth
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Mix salad; whisk dressing ingredients together; dress.

Papayas were fiendishly expensive ($2.99 each!) and poor-looking today; I substituted with the remains of a bag of Trader Joe’s frozen mango and half a can of pineapple. It worked out very nicely.

I also substituted leftover turkey for the chicken, which also worked out, making this a good post-Thanksgiving or post-Christmas recipe.

I’m not convinced the broth adds anything much to the dressing; I wouldn’t bother unless you happen to have some handy.

(From the American Institute for Cancer Research’s The New American Plate Cookbook.)

Spaghetti Squash Burrito

An off-the-cuff use for leftover spaghetti squash which worked out surprisingly well.

For 2—4.

½ spaghetti squash, cooked
½ cup tbsp sour cream
1 cup medium fresh salsa (homemade, or we like the La Mexicana from Albertsons)
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
flour tortillas

Mix squash, sour cream, salsa, and most of the cheese. Roll burritos into a oiled baking dish, top with the remaining cheese, and bake approx 15 minutes at 350°F or until heated through.

Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce

Spaghetti squash is weird; but good. It's pretty mild so needs other flavours to accompany it.

I cooked my squash by halving it, removing the seeds, and roasting at 375°F for about an hour. You can also roast whole for about the same time or in a microwave for 15–20 minutes; in both cases, pierce it a few times with a knife first to avoid explosion. Or boil it whole for 20–30 minutes; but you'll need a pot bigger than my biggest…

For 2–3.

½ medium spaghetti squash
2 tsp olive oil
½ medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 28oz can chopped tomatoes
(1 tsp dried thyme)
(½ tsp dried rosemary)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
¼ cup grated parmesan

Cook the squash.

Saute onions and garlic until translucent; add tomatoes, thyme, and rosemary, and season; being to a boil; simmer 10m. Remove from heat and stir in basil.

Remove seeds from squash and scrape out flesh with a fork in spaghetti-like strands. Mix with sauce, top with Parmesan.

(Omitting the thyme and rosemary seems to work out OK, too.)

(From the American Institute for Cancer Research’s The New American Plate Cookbook.)