January 2 – January 8
*The weekly recipe submission is being restructured and will return next week. The Recipe Archives pages have been rebuilt as well in an attempt to provide more visibility to the submissions prior to scrolling. Thank you for your interest in our recipes. See you next week.
January 16 – January 22
This week’s recipe ended up being a personal treat for me. The air has been quite chilly lately, so to combat the elements and satisfy the requirement of a recipe submission, my wife set her sights on soup. She’s never made soup before, but with purpose in her eyes she began flipping pages of her new Barefoot Contessa cookbook. To my delight, she stopped on Onion and Fennel Soup Gratin.
French onion soup is always in my top three soups, jockeying for position with lobster bisque and classic tomato, so I was intrigued by her selection and eager for the finished product. Despite the typical presentation of onion soup and the time/difficulty I thought would be involved, it didn’t take all day or night to make and turned out amazing. The fennel added a beautiful bit of texture and brightness to the rich broth, contrasting wonderfully with the velvety onions. In the name of our Weekly Recipes, a souper first timer pulled off a perceived challenging soup with relative ease, leaving the results to our enjoyment. Gives a little hope to the rest of us when it comes to tackling a new recipe.
Onion and Fennel Soup Gratin
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/4 good olive oil
- 3 pounds Spanish onions, halved and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 2 pounds fennel, top and cores removed, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1/2 cup good dry sherry
- 1/2 cup Cognac or brandy
- 1 1/2 cups good dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 8 cups canned beef broth
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small sourdough or white French boule, crusts removed, sliced 1/2-inch thick, and toasted
- 4 to 6 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
Heat the butter and oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and fennel, and cook over medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn a golden brown. If the onions aren’t browning, turn the heat up. Add the sherry and Cognac, scraping up the brown bits in the pan, and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the white wine and simmer uncovered for 15 more minutes. Add the beef broth, bay leaves, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and taste for seasoning.
Preheat the boiler and position a rack 5 inches below the heat source. Ladle the soup into heat-proof serving bowls, top with the toasted bread, sprinkle generously with grated Gruyère, and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
The original recipe is listed in “Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That?” by Ina Garten
January 23 – January 29
Rather than easing in and allowing a grace period to enjoy a fresh start, 2012 has launched with a smattering of highs, lows and a busy energy that all at once is exciting and challenging. Fitting in quality meals and allocating time to make good decisions about what’s on the dining table is at risk of deprioritization and a back seat during windows of fervor similiar to this. Our solution this week? A return to simplicity and a classic favorite; the BLT.
Our bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwich reaches the table with a maturity and unique ingredients that enhance the original comfort of the classic combination. We use quality, thick-cut cherrywood smoked bacon from The Ventura Meat Company. Spicy arugula has replaced the typical iceberg lettuce. Crispy yet soft slices of whole grain flax seed toast keep all the ingredients in. Even the tangy mayo used to cut through all the other earthy and salty ingredients has grown up with additional ingredients like lemon juice, crushed garlic, cracked black pepper and a dash of worcestshire sauce.
The finished sandwich is as tasty and comforting as the classic we remember as kids, but with adult flavors that please the palatte. Experiment with the original concept and see what types of flavor combinations you can come up with.
- 2 slices of your favorite artisan or sliced bread, toasted
- 4-6 slices of cooked, thick-cut bacon w/ a unique cure or smoke to it
- 1/2 cup of mixed greens, micro greens or chopped bibb lettuce
- a couple slices of hot house, heirloom or Roma tomatoes
- a smear of mayo, enhanced with your favorite seasonings, sauce or juices
Start with a slice of bread. Spread on a generous dollup of the mayo. Layer on the tomato slices, followed bacon. Top the layers with greens. The next step is up to you.
Are you feeling hungry? Repeat the previous steps. Ready to just dig in? Cap with the other slice of bread and dig in. Kinda hungry but don’t want to appear ravenous? Cut your sandwich in half at an angle before digging in. Either way, enjoy the classic BLT with your own personal twist.
January 30 – February 5
Work has been busy, and occasionally stressful, with energy levels subsequently being a little low. With that acknowledgement, the past couple weeks have consisted of fast recipes and simple prep. This week is no exception. Feeling adventurous, but not in the mood for a complex recipe, I decided to grab duck fat from my local butcher in hopes of using up some potatoes on the verge of being too old. I had never used duck fat before, so I was a little anxious at botching the process.
Thankfully, with some guidance from the butcher’s wife, the experience went smoothly and left me with a tasty side dish for my poached chicken dinner. The fries were hot, crispy and had the subtle flavor of crispy duck. Just another great example of what can happen when you toss aside the anxiety and have a little fun in the kitchen.
Duck Fat Fries
- Basic Russet potatoes or any hearty, firm potato that will fry well, cut into a basic fry shape
- Approximately 1 lb. of duck fat
Prepare a medium-sized sauce pan on low to medium heat. Place the duck fat down in the pan and allow it to render. Do not turn up the heat. The first step is to blanch the fries in the duck fat to cook the inside of the fry without burning the outside.
Let the fries sit for 15-20 minutes on layered paper towel while you prepare other components of your meal.
Crank up the duck fat to high heat and drop your fries back in. Cook until golden and crispy. Drain on fresh paper towel. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
February 13 – February 19
The days have been flying by over the past couple weeks and everything seems to be in a blur. In order to help our vision and bring some clarity, we decided to cook up some glazed carrots. Rich in vitamin A and bright color, carrots are enjoyed at our house raw with hummus, steamed and simple, and sometimes glazed for the beautiful contrast of sweet and sour.
If you want a little extra tang or a depth in the sweetness, try lime instead of lemon and add in a spoonful of agave syrup to the mixture when you boiling down the glaze.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 lb carrots, cut into 2- by 1/4-inch sticks
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley (optional)
Bring brown sugar, butter, broth, water, and salt to a boil in a 10-inch heavy skillet, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add carrots and simmer, covered, until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
Transfer carrots with a slotted spoon to a bowl and boil liquid until reduced to a glaze (about 1 1/2 tablespoons). Return carrots to skillet and cook over low heat, stirring, until heated through and coated with glaze. Stir in lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and pepper.
February 20 – February 26
For this week’s recipe we’re breaking from our tag line just a bit. Rather than “We made it. We endorse it.”, the catch phrase is “We attempted it. We learned from it.”
I had procured some really wonderful strips of flap meat from The Ventura Meat Company over the weekend with visions of marinated fajitas. But you can’t have fajitas without a warm, soft tortilla to act as the delivery vehicle for the meat and peppers. That’s when my mind raced to the opportunity for the first use of our tortilla press and the blue corn flour pancake mix lying in wait in the cupboard back home. After scouring for tortilla recipes on the web and comparing the ingredient list on the pancake mix, I felt like I could use it for a unique tortilla to encase the tender beef.
Unfortunately they were a disaster. The dough ended up being too glutonous and sticky, making it virtually impossible to use the metal press. I switched to the wooden roller and got some tortillas cooking in the pan, but dry cooking yielded a cracker and olive oil made them flimsy. What ended up being the final result? A trip to the store for some pre-made flour tortillas and a determination to try again. Next time I’ll follow the recipe religiously.
March 19 – March 25
Bringing the recipe feature back into play, we decided to try our hand at a holiday family favorite. Irish soda bread makes an appearance at most of the my wife’s family holidays, but was most appropriate for this past St. Paddy’s Day.
The bread is a fairly dense, hearty bread with a great sweet, earthy and slightly nutty flavor profile. I like mine best a thick slab, toasted to the point of dark edges, and topped with a cool slab of real butter. It’s also good as a thinner slice toasted and blanketed by a couple of over-easy eggs. Partner with a hot cup of coffee and you got a meal.
Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
Makes 1 loaf.
1. Preheat the oven to 450oF. Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk.
2. Using one hand, slowly incorporate the flour into the milk to give a soft, but not sticky, dough.
3. Turn onto a floured board and knead lightly for 1 minute until smooth. Smooth and shape to a round about 1 1/2in high. Cut a deep cross from one edge to the other. Place on a floured baking tray. Gently pour the melted butter down the cross for a golden, buttery accent.
4. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400oF and bake for a further 15 minutes. To test if the bread is cooked, tap the underside of the bread which should sound hollow. Cool on a wire rack.
For good soda bread, it’s important to use buttermilk, as its reaction with the bicarbonate of soda helps the bread rise. If you can’t buy buttermilk, use sour milk or sour your own fresh milk with a few teaspoons of lemon juice.
*The original recipe can be found in the cookbook Classic Irish by Matthew Drennan, available through many methods, including online via Google Books.
March 26 – April 1
There seems to be a theme this week. Either I have a sweet tooth, or the excitement of Spring has inspired people to bake. Cupcakes and brownies are appearing on tabletops and in ovens all around me. This week’s recipe submission is a sweet and vibrant combination of tart lemon and coconut. Pour a glass of crisp sauvignon blanc or champagne and indulge.
About the Bakers:
My wife Bree and her friend Kate sometimes cut through the work week with a bit of baking, wine and laughs. Using 500 Cupcakes, The Cupcake Deck and our expanding library of cooking magazines, they whip up flavorful desserts and fun memories. Try the kitchen the next time you’re trying to figure out where to meet friends on a Friday night. It can be a great gathering and bonding location.
Lemon Coconut Snowballs
- 1 1/3 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 large egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons corn starch, dissolved in 1/4 cup of water
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
SEVEN MINUTE FROSTING
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
Makes 12 cupcakes.
1. Preheat the oven to 350oF. Line 12 muffin tin cups with paper cupcake liners.
2. MAKE THE CUPCAKES:
Sift flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the milk and vanilla and almond extracts.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar about 2 minutes. On low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions and the milk mixture in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating until each addition is incorporated before adding the next. Set aside.
In another large bowl, using clean beaters. beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on low speed until the whites are foamy, about 1 minute. Beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Use a umber spatula to fold in one-third of the egg whites, then fold in the remaining whites until no streak of egg white remain.
Fill each paper liner with 1/3 cup of batter, to about 1/4 inch below the top of the liner. Bake just until the top feels firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 23 minutes. The tops should remain pale. Cool the cupcakes for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove the cupcakes from the pan onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
3. MAKE THE FILLING:
In a saucepan, heat the butter and lemon juice on medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture is hot, about 130 degrees F on a thermometer.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar together, then whisk in the dissolved cornstarch. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the hot butter mixture into the yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cool over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until it comes to a boil and thickens. about 6 minutes. The sauce should look clear rather than cloudily. Remove from the heat, strain into a small bowl and stir in the lemon zest. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the sauce us a toothpick to poke a few holes in the plastic wrap to let steam escape, and refrigerate until cold.
4. FILL THE CUPCAKES:
Remove the paper liners. Cut a cone-shaped piece, about 1 inch across and 1 inch deep, out of the middle of the top of each cupcake; set the pieces aside. Spoon 1 tablespoon of lemon filling into each hole and replace the cone shaped pieces.
5. MAKE THE FROSTING:
Put the sugar, water, egg whites, and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl on the top of a double boiler with at least a 2-quart capacity. Beat with a handheld mixer on high speed until opaque, white, and foamy, about 1 minute. Put the bowl over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water on the bottom of the double boiler. The top container should sit firmly over the pan of hot water; be sure to keep the cord of the electric mixer away from the burner. Beat on high speed until the frosting forms a soft peak that stands straight up if you stop the beaters and lift them up, about 7 minutes. The frosting should register 160 degrees F on a thermometer. Remove the container of frosting from the water, add the vanilla and almond extracts, and continue beating for 2 minutes to further thicken the frosting. Use a small spatula to speed about 1/2 cup of frosting over the top and sides of each cupcakes.
Sprinkle coconut generously over the frosting. Serve, or cover carefully and refrigerate to serve cold.
These snowballs can also become “snowcaps.” Rather than covering the top and sides of the cupcake with frosting and coconut, frost just the top of the cupcake with a generous amount of frosting, then dip the tip in coconut.
*The original recipe can be found in the cards of The Cupcake Deck by Elinor Klivans, available through many methods, including online via Google Books. We have our card deck readily accessible on a shelf in the kitchen. You never know when a tasty cupcake is needed to brighten the mood.
April 9 – April 15
This week’s recipe is a special request based upon an impromptu rub that I put together for top sirloin that we grilled at a recent BBQ at the Jolly Oyster. I was a little worried about the rub before we got there, because I didn’t want the coffee to leave a bitter, soil type of finish after griling. Thankfully it got good reviews.
It ended up being another great example of grabbing items out of the cupboard that have potential in terms of flavors and crossing fingers that it ends up tasty. If all else failed, we would have just grilled more oysters.
Off-the-Cuff Coffee Rub
- 2 c. of your favorite coffee*
- 1/8 c. ground fennel seed
- Ground cardamom (to taste)
- Chili powder (to taste)
- Ground black lava salt (n0tice a theme)
1. Fresh grind the coffee beans and toss into a bowl.
2. Fresh grind the dried fennel seeds and hold to the side.
3. Add 1/3 of the fennel seed to the coffee and slowly begin adding the remaining ingredients small portions at a time, check the aroma and taste as you go. You should end up with a rub that has a nice balance (in the nose and on the palate) between earthy, floral, salty and a hint of sweetness. The chili powder will supply a hint of sweet heat in the finish.
4. Rub on your favorite cut of red meat and grill to temp.
*We used a hazlenut roast from one of our local roasters, Beacon Coffee Company, which helped with the mild sweetness. We endorse local, small-batch roasting whenever possible, as the freshness and care is amazing and the local support is always appreciated.
Our latest submission is a recipe that we’ve been holding in our pocket, but are excited to release. Roast chicken may not seem like a summertime option, but with all the barbecues and gatherings, it may be just perfect. You can roast ahead of time and convert the chicken to a refreshing batch of chicken salad with celery and grapes, summer salad with fresh greens and sweet red strawberries, or simply display it on the picnic table and let attendees tear into. However you serve it, it’s hard to deny the simplicity and comfort of a good, juicy, flavorful roast chicken. We deviated from the recipe just a pinch and stuffed our bird with fresh herbs and drizzled a bit of olive oil in addition to the butter. We also used a no soy/no corn chicken, coming in a little undersized than typical grocery store chickens, but packed with just as much flavor.
Simplistic Roast Chicken
- 1Tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 whole 4-lb. chicken, giblets reserved for another use
- 1/2 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Rub or pat salt onto breast, legs, and thighs of chicken. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag. Set open bag in a large bowl, keeping chicken breast side up. Chill for at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.
Arrange a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 500°. Set a wire rack in a large heavy roasting pan. Remove chicken from bag. Pat dry with paper towels (do not rinse). Place chicken, breast side up, on prepared rack. Loosely tie legs together with kitchen twine and tuck wing tips under. Brush chicken all over with some of the butter. Pour 1 cup water into pan.
Roast chicken, brushing with butter after 15 minutes, until skin is light golden brown and taut, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Remove chicken from oven and brush with more butter. Let rest for 15–20 minutes.
Return chicken to oven; roast, basting with butter every 10 minutes, until skin is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°, 40–45 minutes. Let rest for 20 minutes. Carve and serve with pan juices.
Original recipe available from Bon Appetit by clicking here.