Archive | December, 2010

Prosciutto Flatbread

17 Dec

I’m finally back to cooking again after the Chaos that was the last two weeks. There’s no big grocery stores near us, so it looks like this year I am going to be doing a lot of shopping at Farmer’s Markets or small specialty shops, which I think will be fun! We are also going to join a CSA when June rolls around. My friend Zoe used to work at Hearty Roots and recommended that one to me (who better to trust that a trusty farmer friend!). Others I’ve been looking into are Southside CSA and Greenpoint-Williamsburg CSA. Anybody who has experience with any of these, I would love to hear your feedback!

As you know, I was somewhat-recently gifted “New American Table” with recipes by Marcus Samuelsson. I love this cookbook so much. First of all, he organizes it in such a cook-friendly way, making separate sections for ‘Everyday’ and ‘Weekend’. There’s an amazing section of sauces and rubs. And I absolutely love the photographs he uses. Photos of restaurants and scenes around small towns in America and images of his family cooking various dishes give you a feeling of really being part of a great food culture and also tell the story of his personal journey. He was actually born in Ethiopia, his mother passed away from tuberculosis when he was 3 years old, and he and his older sister were adopted by a Swedish couple.  The book includes everything from comfort food and Southern cooking to new twists on Middle Eastern and Japanese. Its an amazingly eclectic collection of recipes and you can find something in there for almost any occasion. I haven’t had a failed recipe yet. Marcus Samuelsson has 3 restaurants in New York: AquavitRiingo, and Red Rooster . He was named Best Chef: New York City by the James Beard Foundation in 2003.

So the other night I flipped through his cookbook to make my grocery list for the week. And the other night, I made his Prosciutto Flatbread. This is like PIZZA times WHOA. The crust itself its shoved with spices. And the topping is a mixture of cooked and raw ingredients. Almost every time I follow a recipe, I use more of everything that adds flavor. One clove of garlic means 2-3. 2 shallots means 3. A pinch of paprika often means a large pinch, or a couple small pinches. I just generally find a lot of recipes to be on the bland side, and its better to add some extra zing with spices than to pile it with some condiment or sauce or salt and pepper later.

I never have to do that with these recipes. Marcus really knows how to make a dish that is full of flavor, and doesn’t skimp on anything. This recipe is absolutely no exception. It’s great for both dinner or cutting up into little bite-size pieces and serving as an hors d’oeuvre.

Prosciutto Flatbread

Adapted (just slightly) from New American Table

 

For the topping

Ingredients

3/4 pint mixed cherry tomatoes, sliced thinly

2 garlic cloves

4 shallots

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup olive oil

1 Flatbread recipe (see below)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lb fresh mozzarella, cut into 12 slices

5 basil leaves, chopped

1/4 cup baby arugula, chopped

1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped

8 thin slices prosciutto

Preheat the oven to 400°. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, shallots, 1 teaspoons of the red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a bowl. Spread the mixture over the baked flatbread. Season with salt and pepper and top with 6 slices of the mozzarella. Place on a baking sheet and bake until the cheese is golden and bubbly, about 10 minutes.

While the pizza is baking, toss the basil, arugula, and olives with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Remove the pizza from the oven. Place the remaining 6 slices of mozzarella on the baked pizza and top with the basil-arugula mixture, then the prosciutto slices.

Flatbread

(makes 1 flatbread)

Ingredients

2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed

2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup olive oil

2 large egg yolks

1 large egg

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons salt

Preheat the oven to 400°. Heat a small saute pan over low heat. Add the coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and oregano and toast until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk, olive oil, and 2 tablespoons water. Let cool slightly.

Lightly whisk the egg yolks and egg in a medium bowl. Stir in the spiced milk and set aside.

Combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the egg mixture into the center. Using a fork or your hands, slowly gather the flour into the liquid, adding more flour as needed, until a dough forms.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for another 10 minutes.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 10-inch round. Using a fork, prick holes all over the surface of the dough. If using a baking stone, place the dough directly on the stone. Otherwise, place the dough on an ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

 

 

 

Simmer Shutter Holiday Gift Guide

13 Dec

Need a last minute gift for one of your foodie friends? Check out my holiday gift guide.

Magnetic Timer

Peugeot Laquered Salt and Papper Mills in Dijon

Fog Linen Napkin

Hot Spot Rolling Pin

Angela Adams Dishtowels

Tuscan Evening Spoon Rest

Extra Long Muddler

Maple Rooster Cutting Board

A Day at El Bulli

 

Pumpkin Muffins

7 Dec

A few weeks ago some friends of ours were in town from DC running the NYC Marathon. They are both supporters/fans of my blog (Thanks Cole + Larissa!) and Larissa asked me, “So, when you are done with your apple phase are you going to do a lot of pumpkin recipes?”

YES.

Pumpkins are one of the most versatile vegetables. I personally love me a good sweet pumpkin soup with some salty crunchy toasted pumpkin seeds on top. And, I’ve already shared my favorite Pumpkin Scones recipe with you.  And then there’s breads and muffins and pumpkin pie milkshakes which I recently discovered while perusing AmyBlogsChow Stupidly Simple Snacks (who I recently met at this Foodspotting event), which I have yet to try but its on my list of top five things to do when I get settled in our new apartment.

So, the next pumpkin recipe I’m going to share with you is Pumpkin muffins! Perfect pumpkin muffins! Amazingly moist and topped with a bit of cinnamon sugar! And I made them mini, which makes it hard for anyone to stop eating them, especially when Jay has two hungry male poker friends in town from Canada. They were gone…very quickly.

 

Pumpkin Muffins

via Muffintop from Gourmet

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

pinch of cloves

pinch of allspice

1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°. Put liners in muffins cups or grease them.

Whisk together flour and baking powder in a small bowl.

Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, spices, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.

Stir together cinnamon and remaining tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl.

Divide batter among muffins cups (each should be 3/4 full), then sprinkle the tops with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and a wooden pick stuck into the center of the muffins comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.

Let cool for 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack and let them cool some more or eat ’em while they’re hot!!

…And we’re back (with Mini Mincemeat Pies)

4 Dec

 

 

Hello friends! Please ‘scuse my lack of post for the past…how long has it been? Twelve days? Unacceptable. The dog ate my recipes.

 

Actually, my real excuse is that I am in the process of moving. Moving is already hell on earth, and just to take it to the next level, we [long story short(er)] also could not find a place we liked by the time our lease was up, and have been staying at a Hotel Toshi sublet(s) in Williamsburg for the past week. So, we’ve been moving around a lot and our stuff is split between two different locations and a million different boxes and bags right now, but I am thrilled to say that we (fingers crossed) will be moving into a great place we found in a condo-style building next week.

Oh yeah, and then there was Thanksgiving. The first one I ever cooked on my own since I was in NYC instead of with family this year due to see above. Rather than having the time to blog about my Thanksgiving recipes, I found myself quickly understanding what my mother talks about when she claims to be “cooking up a storm” or “slaving over a hot stove”.

I cooked for 36 hours straight, with an 8 hour sleep break. The Final Menu:


Rosemary + Sage Turkey with Gravy

Chestnut, Apple + Cranberry Stuffing with Fennel

Slow-Cooked Cranberry Chutney with Mandarin Oranges

Harvest Hash with Butternut Squash + Parsnips

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon  + Shallots

Buttermilk + Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

 

Dessert:

Mini Mincemeat Pies

Molasses Pumpkin Pie

Apple Pie

Pecan Pie

 

As you can see, I went with a pretty traditional menu this year, unlike the love of my life Samantha of Krauted Haus, whose amazing Thanksgiving menu you should check out here. I also wanted to keep it as close to what I usually eat on Thanksgiving as possible (my mom’s menu was relatively similar to mine). Everything came out really good, with only a few changes I would make next time, which I will share as I share my recipes.  Maybe stuffing is not a dish for non-Thanksgiving occasions, but hopefully you can use some of these other recipes over the holidays! And, there’s always next year…

And now: Holiday recipe #1. Mincemeat Pies. This is a love it or hate it kind of thing. I love it. My grandparents are (were?) British, and although I never got used to Christmas Pudding (I only ever ate it as a kid for the dimes, which I always thought were for heat retention when you light it, but I guess its because it is believed to bring wealth in the coming year), I did develop a taste for mincemeat, which is made of similar ingredients but minus the booze and the lighting it on fire, which is really what gives Christmas pudding it’s distinct taste. Plus mincemeat is super sweet, which helps.

Originally, mincemeat was composed of 13 ingredients, including minced meat, suet, fruits and spices. The standard version you’d find in North America today contains no meat. Interestingly enough, mincemeat has a bit of controversial history due to its strong connection with Catholicism in England. Puritans were opposed to eating it, and it was banned during the English Civil War along with various other Catholic traditions. In fact, the reason it contained 13 ingredients initially was to represent Jesus and his 12 apostles.

 

Luckily its 2010.

 

Mini Mincemeat Pies

From The Joy of Baking

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/8 cup to 1/4 cup ice water

1 cup mincemeat

1 egg mixed with one teaspoon water for egg wash

 

In a food processor, place the flour, salt and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 15 seconds. Pour 1/8 cup ice water in a slow, steady stream into mixture until the dough just sticks together when pinched. If necessary, add more ice water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.

Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather it into a ball. Cut the ball in half and flatten each half into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour to chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Have redy 24 mini muffin tins. After the dough has chilled, place one of the disks of pastry on a lightly flour surface. Roll out the pastry dough until about 1/8 inch thick and cut into 24 rounds that are slightly bigger than the muffin tins. To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll, and always roll from the center of the dough outwards.Gently place the rounds into the muffin tins and form them to the tin. Place a teaspoon of mincemeat into each cup and set aside.

Next, roll out the second piece of pastry to 1/8 thick. If you have cookie cutters, you can cut them into a shape of your choice such as stars or leafs, but I didn’t have any, so I just cut into strips and latticed it.

Finally, brush the pastries with a bit of egg wash and sprinkle them with granulated sugar. Bake about 10-15 minutes or until the pastry turns amber brown. Remove and cool on wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.