Music: Would I lie to you – The Eurythmics
This was made with love for my dear friend Brian on his birthday. He made a similar torte for James many years ago and I thought I would return the favor. It’s a Martha Stewart recipe (and one I could actually follow!). I’m not a baker, we know this – but this came out soooo well! (and it was really pretty, although you’d never know that from the pictures).
What you’ll need for the Torte:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
3/4 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
What you’ll need for the Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
Make cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan; line bottom with parchment or waxed paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, melt butter and chocolate, stirring frequently, 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove bowl from pan. Whisk in sugar and vanilla, then eggs, buttermilk, and pistachios. Fold in flour mixture just until combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 60 to 70 minutes.
Let cool in pan 5 minutes; run a knife around edge, and invert onto a wire rack.
Remove paper, and let cool completely, about 3 hours. (To store, wrap in plastic, and keep at room temperature, up to 3 days).
Make ganache: In a small saucepan, bring cream to a simmer; remove from heat.
Add chocolate, and let stand 5 minutes; whisk until smooth. Let cool until mixture falls back in ribbons when lifted with a spoon, 2 to 6 minutes.
Set cake on a serving platter; tuck strips of parchment paper under edge of cake to prevent ganache from dripping on platter.
Pour ganache onto center of cake; using a table knife, spread evenly over the top and down the sides. Let set, about 30 minutes.
Remove paper from under cake; sprinkle top with pistachios.
We made some Christmas treats yesterday…our salted caramels but with Espresso Salt from The Filling Station (that Alex so kindly brought us from Chelsea Market for Christmas – Danke!). Here is a little picture to show what a sweet gift they will make! Happy Christmas!
Music: On Melancholy Hill – Gorillaz
We held our annual Holiday party this last weekend. The usual suspects attended with some new additions. Next year I’m going to need more chairs! (or a bigger apartment?). I spent some time with older Bon Appetit magazines and created a really lovely meal. We made Cocoa and Spice Slow-Roasted Pork with Onions, Green beans with Pancetta and a Mushroom Potato Gratin.
What you’ll need for the spice rub:
1/2 tablespoon whole white peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt (preferably gray crystals
1 tablespoon plus 2 1/4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- Stir peppercorns and coriander in small skillet over medium heat until spices are darker in color, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer toasted spices to mortar and pestle and grind finely.
- Place in small bowl; mix in remaining ingredients.
- This can be made 1 week ahead.
What you’ll need for the Pork:
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds onions plus 2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 cup of water
1 7-pound pork shoulder butt with bone
Add water; cover and cook until onions are soft, about 15 minutes.
Uncover; continue to cook until onions are beginning to brown and water has evaporated, about 15 minutes.
Roast pork and onions until onions are deep brown, stirring occasionally, about 3 hours.
Transfer onions from pan to medium bowl.
Flip pork and continue to roast pork until very tender and thermometer inserted into center registers 165°F, about 2 1/2 hours longer.
- Transfer pork to platter. Keep onions aside and add to green beans.
Green Beans with Sage and Pancetta
What you’ll need:
2 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
10 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh sage
Fleur de sel
- Line baking sheet with several layers of paper towels.
- Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes depending on size of beans. Drain.
- Spread beans out on paper towels.
- Cut pancetta into small cubes.
- Combine pancetta and 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet. Sauté over medium heat until pancetta is crisp, separating pieces with 2 forks, about 10 minutes.
- Add sage and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to plate.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add beans and sauté until heated through, about 5 minutes.
- Add pancetta mixture and toss to blend. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to large bowl.
What you’ll need for the Gratin:
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt plus additional for mushrooms
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus additional for mushrooms
1 1/4 cups (or more) heavy whipping cream, divided
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces), divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
12 ounces fresh crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Brush 13x9x2-inch glass or oval ceramic baking dish with 2 tablespoons oil.
Cut potatoes into 1/8″ pieces.
Arrange 1/3 of potatoes, slightly overlapping, in dish.
Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour 1/3 cup cream over; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layering 1/3 of potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/3 cup cream, and 1/4 cup cheese 2 more times.
Bake uncovered until potatoes are tender, adding cream by tablespoonfuls if dry, about 45 minutes.
Remove from oven; maintain oven temperature.
Sprinkle thyme and garlic slices over gratin.
Toss mushrooms in medium bowl with 3 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper.
Arrange mushroom slices atop gratin around edge of dish.
Drizzle with 1/4 cup cream; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese.
Continue to bake uncovered until mushrooms are tender and potato edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes longer.
Music: Little Miss Queen of Darkness – The Kinks
Here we go! Back to Ina…and the fall. Love me some butternut squash! This was a flavor bomb in my mouth. To be honest, it might have been a little rich and, next time, I would take out half the butter. I’d also remove the bacon after it was cooked and add it back in at the end.
What you’ll need:
1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
3 ounces bacon, diced
1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
4 sprigs of fresh sage
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender.
- Heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.
- In a heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and saute the bacon and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned.
- Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter.
- Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock.
- Continue until the rice is cooked through about 30 minutes total.
- Add sage and cook for 2 minutes.
- Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan cheese.
- Mix well and serve.
Whatever is an oyster crab? Once in a long while one discovers a tiny little crab living in an oyster. Due to ocean patterns and filtration systems, sometimes tiny crabs lodge themselves into other oyster shells. They are affectionately called “lodgers”. Apparently it is a rarity to find one. Recently, when home shucking some oysters, we found two! What better way to enjoy this delicacy than to fry it up and chomp on it. To explain in a bit more depth, we found this fun article from December 15, 1907 published in the New York Times.
Music: Big Wave – Jenny and Johnny
You know what I did this week? I catered my first movie! It was lots of work in our tiny kitchen and I felt like a train conductor on the cooking line (that was terrible) but I think I liked it! I didn’t take lots of pictures because, as I mentioned, I was on a tight schedule. It was pretty satisfying knowing that 10 people somewhere in Queens were eating Plated food…and hopefully enjoying it. Did I mention they were all vegetarians? Have you seen my posting on Duck Confit where we actually cook meat in duck fat? Needless to say, vegetarian cooking is a challenge. I made a lot of standards but a few new things…here was one:
1 tablespoon butter
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 pounds mushrooms, sliced (I used a combo of portabello, button and shitake)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brandy
2 tsp. of thyme
1 cup nonfat sour cream
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
12 ounces egg noodles
- Melt butter in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high-heat.
- Add onion and shallot and sauté for 10 minutes until soft.
- Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
- Wash the mushrooms with water. I know you aren’t really supposed to do this but the liquid that cooks off will help with this recipe.
- Add mushrooms and sauté until tender and most liquid in pot evaporates, about 10 minutes.
These pictures are terrible...
- Reduce heat to medium. Add flour and stir 1 minute.
- Add brandy and cook until mixture thickens, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. You’ll smell when the alcohol cooks off.
- Add thyme
- Mix in sour cream, then nutmeg. Season mushroom mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Add egg noodles to pot; toss to blend well and serve.
I mean, wow.
If you want to know more about the movie, visit Lambsgrove Productions and see their upcoming projects page. There you can find a link for their trailer on Kickstarter.
Also, I know we’ve been posting slowly lately but as the holiday season nears I know we’ll be entertaining more and more so look out for new recipes soon!
Music: Acid Tongue – Jenny Lewis
Growing up on the Great South Bay of Long Island, nothing defined my childhood more than the beach, the boat and the waterways of my home. In the summers when I was young one of my favorite culinary adventures was to go clamming with my cousin off Squaw Island. For anyone who does not know what Squaw Island is, well it is essentially a little mound of earth that is only visible during low tide about a ten-minute ride southwest from the Amityville Cut just past Snake Channel. For anyone who doesn’t know where Snake Channel is, well it’s just west of the Tobay Beach marina. Hang a right at The Four Corners and…OK, none of you know where any of this is but I can attest that is some of the most beautiful stretches of local beaches, marshes and bay I have ever seen.