I have an obsession. I love buying cookbooks. And not just the easy-to-make weeknight recipe books but super hard and complicated cookbooks produced by amazing chefs that have some of the best restaurants in the nation (some of them ~ the world). When I buy these cookbooks I read through them with post-it notes flagging countless recipes I want to cook. But I rarely cook them. I’m not even a very good cook. I also have run out of space for them on my bookshelf. So before the cookbooks take over my house I think I should use them… cook with them.
So here’s my project: to cook every recipe in my fancy-smancy cookbooks. And to document them here, as I hope my blog obsession will force me to actually cook these recipes so that I can blog about them.
February 17, 2013
Turnip Gratin with Parmesan from “A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen” cookbook
- 2 T unsalted butter
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 C heavy cream
- 1/2 C milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 3/4 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 lb medium turnips, scrubbed and sliced 1/4 - 1/8 inch thick
- 1/2 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Make sure the oven rack is in the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.
When the foaming subsides, add the garlic and cook just until gragrant, about 1 minute. (Do not let the garlic brown).
Add the cream, milk, bay leaf, salt, several grindings of pepper, and the turnips and stir to coat the turnips with the cream mixture.
Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer, reducing the heat as necessary and turning the turnip slices several times, until the turnips are tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes.
Carefully transfer the turnips and cream mixture to a 1 1/2 quart shallow gratin dish. Don’t bother trying to arrange the turnips slices in any pattern, but distribute them evenly in the dish. Sprinkle the top layer of turnips with the cheese.
Bake until the cream mixture has thickened and the top of the gratin is well browned, about 40 minutes. Remove the gratin from the oven and cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
July 6, 2012
Green Garlic Aioli Recipe
Here’s a recipe that I got in an email from my Farm Share. It is awesome. I used garlic scapes instead of green garlic (and used quite a bit more than what the recipe called for) because that’s what I had on hand.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped green garlic, blanched
1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel or coarse kosher salt
3/4 cup mayonnaise, divided
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Blend olive oil, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel in processor until garlic is minced. Add 2 tablespoons mayonnaise and blend well. Transfer to small bowl; whisk in remaining mayonnaise and lemon juice. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.
December 29, 2010
Fuji Apple Salad with Kimchi, Bacon, Maple Labne
from the Momofuku cookbook.
After 2 days of searching I finally found kim chee (next to the premade sushi) to puree. However, since the spicyness was way too mild for my tastes I added a whole bunch of sriracha sauce. Much much better.
Four apples were peeled and cut into large cubes and then tossed with the kim chee puree.
1 lb of bacon was fried up.
Then a sauce was made by combining greek yogurt (the recipe called for labne - which I couldn’t find anywhere) and 1/4 C maple syrup.
Once everything was plated it was topped with fresh black pepper.
Conquering my fear of the brussel sprout
I dislike brussel sprouts. I also dislike people that dislike food without even trying them. I’ve never eaten brussel sprouts. I am a hypocrite. So I figured if anyone could help me get over my fear of the dreaded brussel sprout, it was David Chang and his Brussel Sprout with Bacon recipe.
For starters, remove and discard loose outer leaves from 1 lb of brussel sprouts and cut the sprouts in half.
Fry up 1/4 lb of chopped, smoky bacon in a skillet over medium heat.
Cook the sprouts in a skillet over the stove until they begin to sizzle. Then put the skillet in the oven to roast until the sprouts are deeply browned (approximately 8 minutes).
Pull the pan from the oven when the sprouts are bright green. And use oven mitts! This may seem obvious to you, but there are the idiots out there like myself who will forget and will totally burn their hand. OWWWWW!!!!
Over heat, stir in 2 T of butter, the bacon, salt, and pepper to the sprouts.
And you know what? It was one of the tastiest vegetables I’ve ever eaten. Go figure.
Poblano Popper Super-Sliders
Another one of Rachel Ray’s recipes: Poblano Popper Super-Sliders.
Thinly slice 1 small red onion into rings and season with the juice of 1 lime, salt, pepper, and a little EVOO.
Broil 2 large poblano chiles to char them all over. Once the chiles are cooled, peel and seed them and then use a food processor to puree them.
In a second bowl, mash together 1 small avocado, sour cream, cilantro, chile, and the juice of 1 lime, and season to taste with salt.
In a large bowl, combine some ground beef, the pureed poblano, ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and worcestershire. Also mix in 1/3 of a beer. I only had pumpkin ale on hand so that was a little interesting.
Form the mixture into little patties and fry them up on the stove (or in our case the George Forman Grill).
Into a hamburger roll goes the beef patty, a slice of pepper jack cheese, the onion mixture and the sauce.
Sea Bass with Green Sauce
This recipe came from Rachel Ray’s magazine, but can also be found online here.
Now the recipe sounded delicious and the pictures in the magazine looked great but I wasn’t a fan of the fact that it included anchovies. Yuck. But since I was too afraid that excluding it would lead to a bland dish, into the grocery basket went these little suckers.
I started off by making the green sauce. In a food processor went 1 shallot, garlic cloves, basil leaves, parsley, dill, capers, and 4 anchovy fillets.
As the sauce was being pureed, I drizzled some EVOO into the food processor to help bind it all together.
And since I didn’t want the remaining anchovies anywhere near me, the kitteh’s got an early Christmas present.
In a large skillet, I cooked up four portions of sea bass (it was supposed to be halibut per the recipe but the sea bass in the grocery store looked better) seasoned with old bay seasoning. I absolutely love old bay seasoning.
After about 7 minutes the fish was taken off the stove and topped with a heap of green sauce. And with that, bon appetit.
Olive Cheese Bread
I tried another recipe by the Pioneer Woman (see her recipe with MUCH better pictures here).
I roughly chopped up black olives, pimiento-stuffed green olives, and 2 stalks of green onions. Then everything was combined with butter, mayo, and grated cheese. Needless to say, I made quite a big mess before it was done.
One loaf of bread was sliced lengthwise.
And the olive cheese mixture was spread on top of the bread and baked (at 325 degrees) for 25 minutes.
Bacon and Shiso Leaf Fried Rice
This recipe called for minced ginger, onions, and shiso leaves. Okay, no problem with the first two but shiso leaves? I’d never seen that in the local grocery store so I hauled my butt up to Whole Foods in Darien in hopes they had a better produce selection but it was still a no go on the Shiso leaves. Fortunately, a quick google search on the iphone showed that mint and basil used in equal parts could be used as a substitute. Phew - I had those! Now on to the recipe.
Chop up half an onion, a tsp of ginger, and 20 or so leaves (a mixture of basil and mint).
Heat a wok over medium heat and cook 4 slices of bacon until almost crispy. Then fry up the chopped onion and ginger for a little while before dumping in some left over rice and mixing it all together.
Once everything is fried up and mixed nicely (add back in the bacon), make a hole in the rice and pour in a mixture of 2 beaten eggs, dashes of sesame oil, and salt and pepper and scramble it up.
To the rice goes some soy sauce and more salt and pepper to taste. The recipe also called for 2 tsp of sake. But thanks to the stupid blue laws of Connecticut I can’t buy alcohol on Sundays (and was too lazy to drive the 10 minutes into NY). So since I had grapeseed oil sitting right next to me I decided to substitute that for the sake instead.
December 7, 2010
Cold Chicken with Ginger
was a recipe in my Hawaii’s Best Local Dishes cookbook but since I always feel that sauce (and lots of it) is a must and I’m determined to like the scallion and ginger sauce dish from Momofuku’s cookbook, I decided to mix up my own sauce by merging the two recipes.
I started by decreasing Momofuku’s instructions to 2 C of green onions and 1/2 C of ginger, along with a couple cloves of garlic.
To that I added 1 tsp of sherry vinegar, 2 tsp of shoyu, 1 T of Hawaiian Salt (coarse sea salt is similar), and ½ C grapeseed oil. And then mix it all together. All in all, and with no disrespect to the amazing David Chang, but I liked my sauce better, though it was a little too salty – perhaps should have tasted that sauce before dumping an entire tablespoon in it.
Once that was done, I just let it sit for awhile so the flavors could mix.
For the Cold Chicken, I boiled a huge vat of water with salt and some ginger slices and added a chicken (mine was about 5 pounds). Once the chicken was in, the stove was turned to the lowest heat and cooked on one side for 30 minutes and then flipped for another 30 minutes. Or that’s what the recipe said to do. According to my thermometer my chicken wasn’t ready yet so after about 75 minutes I cranked up the heat (eventually causing spillage – oops) until the bird reached 185 on the thermometer.
Then the Chicken was cooled in cold water, cut up and chilled.
Since at this point I just wanted to serve dinner I forgot to take a picture, so instead you get to check out my leftovers from lunch the next day.
I also made The Pioneer Woman’s Macaroni and Cheese, which she explains so much better in words and pictures than I ever could. In fact, PW even taught me 1) what tempering was and 2) how to temper and egg. When I read the instructions my initial thoughts were, “this has disaster written all over it!” But it actually worked. Will wonders never cease. So, in case you couldn’t tell, I have a huge crush on the Pioneer Woman!