Monday, February 28, 2011

Wild Mushroom and Leek Soup

Sense of Home

Wild Mushroom and Leek Soup
~adapted from Bon Appetit, September 1985~
Makes about 8 cups

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups finely diced leeks, about 3 small, white part only
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 small baking potato, peeled and finely diced
2 pounds fresh wild mushrooms (such as cepes, chanterelles, shiitake),* sliced
4 cups (or more) chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup half and half
salt and pepper to taste
4 wild mushrooms, thinly sliced
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Minced fresh parsley

Melt 6 tablespoons butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add leeks, celery and potato.  Cover and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.

Add 2 pounds mushrooms to skillet and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Add 4 cups stock and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.  Reserve 2 cups of stock and mushroom mixture and transfer the rest to a blender (in batches if necessary) or use a hand blender and puree.  Return reserved stock to the pot as well as puree.  Add remaining butter and cream and heat gently until butter melts.  (If thinner consistency is desired, add more stock.)  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Ladle soup into bowls.  Garnish with mushrooms, cheese and parsley.

*If the wild are unavailable, regular white mushrooms can be substituted. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Stills

Friday, February 25, 2011

Chocolate Coeur A La Creme

Sense of Home

Chocolate Coeur A La Creme
~Bon Appetit, February 1984~
6 to 8 servings

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla

Raspberry Sauce
Chocolate-dipped Strawberries (optional)

Melt chocolate in top of double boiler over hot (but not simmering) water; cool.  Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Gradually add 1/4 cup cream and beat until smooth.  Mix in sugar, vanilla and chocolate.  Whip remaining 1 cup cream to soft peaks in another bowl.  Gently fold into cream cheese mixture.  Line 4-cup coeur a la creme mold with dampened cheesecloth, extending enough beyond edges to overlap filled mold.  Spoon cheese mixture into mold.  Fold cheesecloth over top.  Place mold on rack set over pan.  Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Just before serving, pull back cheesecloth and invert mold onto platter.  Carefully remove all cheesecloth.  Surround mold with dipped strawberries if using.  Pass Raspberry Sauce separately.

Raspberry Sauce
Makes about 1 cup

1 10-ounce package frozen raspberries, thawed (undrained)
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 tablespoon kirsch

Puree raspberries in processor.  Strain through fine sieve, pressing on pulp to extract as much juice as possible.  Stir in superfine sugar and kirsch.

Sense of Home / Recipes / Desserts

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cheese and Shrimp Stuffed Roasted Poblanos

Sense of Home

Cheese and Shrimp Stuffed Roasted Poblanos
~adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2002~
8 servings

8 large poblano chilies (each about 3 ounces)

8 ounces peeled deveined cooked shrimp, coarsely chopped
1 cup packed grated Fontina cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped red or green bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Fresh or cooked chunky salsa

Char poblano chilies over gas flame or in a broiler until blackened on all sides.  Enclose in paper bag 10 minutes. Peel chilies.  Using small sharp knife, carefully slit chilies open along one side.  Remove seeds, leaving stems attached.

Mix shrimp and next 5 ingredients in medium bowl.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Fill chilies with shrimp mixture, dividing equally.  Pull up sides of chilies to enclose filling.  Place stuffed chilies on baking sheet.  (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.  Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake chilies uncovered until heated through and cheese melts, about 15 minutes.

Serve with salsa.

Sense of Home / Recipes / Main Dishes

Monday, February 21, 2011

Moroccan-Style Chicken and Root Vegetable Stew

Sense of Home

Moroccan-Style Chicken and Root Vegetable Stew
~adapted from Bon Appetit, January 1998~
Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled yams
2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled parsnips
2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled potatoes
1 cup 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup dried currants or raisins
1 cup drained canned diced tomatoes
Chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Add chicken to pot and saute until light golden but not cooked through, about 1 minute.  Transfer chicken to bowl.

Add onion to pot and saute until golden, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and stir 1 minute.  Add curry powder, cumin and cinnamon stick and stir 30 seconds.  Add yams, parsnips, potatoes, carrots, stock, and currants.  Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.  Add tomatoes and chicken with any accumulated juices to pot.  Simmer until chicken is cooked through and flavors blend, about 5 minutes longer.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Also good served over couscous.

Sense of Home Kitchen / Recipes / Stews

Friday, February 18, 2011

Broccoli Garlic Quiche

Broccoli Garlic Quiche
~adapted from Gourmet, September 2009~

Serves 6 - 8

butter pie crust
10 ounces (1-inch-wide) broccoli florets (with 1 to 2 inches of stem attached)
2 large garlic cloves
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
1 cup grated Fontina cheese
1 cup grated Sharp Provolone cheese
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
salt and sweet paprika

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. with rack in the middle.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round.  Fit dough into pie plate, letting excess hang over edge.  Flute edges of the pie crust.  Prick bottom all over with a fork.  Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Line pie shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dry beans.  Bake until pastry is set and edge is pale golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Carefully remove foil and weights, then bake shell until deep golden all over, approximately 15 minutes.

While shell bakes, steam broccoli until tender, rinse under cold water to stop cooking, pat dry.

Mince and mash garlic to a paste with a generous pinch of salt.

Whisk together garlic paste, eggs, half-and-half, nutmeg, cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl until smooth.

Pour filling into pie shell and add broccoli, then sprinkle with cheeses.  Sprinkle sweet paprika over the top for color.

Bake quiche until custard is just set, 45 to 50 minutes.  (Center will tremble slightly; filling will continue to set as it cools.)  Cool 10 to 15 minutes.

Quiche can be baked 1 day ahead and chilled.  Reheat, uncovered, in a 325 degree F. oven, about 25 minutes.

Sense of Home / Recipes / Eggs

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Slow Food

Sense of Home

With life being so busy, everyone rushing here and there, deadlines, stressful meetings at work, and an overflowing "in box", we need a time during the day that is deliberately slow.  A time when we can slow down and prepare a meal with our hands.  There are so many fast food choices, everything from frozen meals, to drive-thru, to delivery, but what we put in our bodies should not be rushed.  Slow Food USA describes slow food as "an idea, a way of living and a way of eating."  USA Today said "Slow Food aims to be everything fast food is not."  Slow food has made its way into some of the schools improving lunches and establishing school gardens. 

I own and have read "Slow Food Nation" by Carlo Petrini and "The Art of Simple Food" by Alice Waters; I think of these two as pioneers of the slow food movement.  However, this slow way of producing food, by growing our own vegetables and fruits, making our own food from scratch, and sitting down to dinner around a table with our families is really how people have eaten for centuries.  It is only recently that the balance of food and life have gotten so off kilter.  I received a free bumper sticker with a recent Penzys order that simply reads "Love people.  Cook them tasty food."  I like that, I tacked it on the side of my refrigerator with magnets.  Taking the time to prepare a homemade meal is a demonstration of love, even if we are the only one eating.

There needs to be a time during the day when we come together to slowly prepare and eat our food.  We should be sitting around the dinner table enjoying homemade dishes rather than popping something into the microwave and sitting in front of the TV to consume our nourishment.  When we sit at the dinner table to eat, even if we are eating alone, we are consciously eating, we look at our food, taste our food, and are aware of how much we are eating.  We also slow down and thoughtfully eat, being more aware that we are getting full, thus less likely to over eat.

In order to properly digest our food and get the most nutrition out of it we need to eat slowly and chew thoroughly. Something so simple as this can be a challenge when we are rushing out the door to get to work, eating while driving, or at our desk while we type that report.  Eating on the run and then taking an antacid for our upset stomach makes little sense; we need to allow time for our meals.  To carry the slow food over to my work day, I bring left-overs in a bag to work, or I go home and warm them up; taking time out of the middle of the day to sit down, eat and relax, even if it is a brief lunch break.

The deliberately slow attitude can creep into the rest of our life as well.  I began bicycling to work a couple years ago during the warmer months. It is only about 3 miles to work so it isn't a big effort, but slowly peddling to work uses most of my senses, making me more aware of my surroundings.  It was a calming part of my day and I look forward to getting back on the bicycle, and on Wednesdays, stopping at the farmer's market on the way home.

Growing a vegetable garden, gathering wild foods, preserving food in jars during times of bounty helps carry that slow food way of life throughout the year.  These apricot preserves help to make a delicious apricot kefir smoothie.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bran and Fruit Muffins

Sense of Home

Bran and Fruit Muffins
~adapted from Bon Appetit, 1978~

Makes 1 dozen

1 cup wheat bran
1 cup buttermilk

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped dates

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line muffin pan with 12 paper baking cups.

Combine bran and buttermilk

Mix together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add all at once to bran mixture, stirring just to mix.

Cream butter brown sugar, egg and molasses thoroughly.  Blend into bran mixture.  Stir in raisins and dates.  Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes.

Sense of Home / Recipes / Muffins

Monday, February 14, 2011

Garlic Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Garlic Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

2  whole chickens, approximately 3 pounds each
8  medium-sized potatoes, skin on, quartered
3 sweet bell peppers, various colors, roughly chopped
12 cloves of garlic, whole, peeled
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 lemon, quartered and seeded
several sprigs of fresh thyme
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Place quartered potatoes, chopped peppers, 8 whole cloves of garlic, and chopped onion in a large roasting pan. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.

Rinse and pat dry the chicken.  Rub butter all over the chicken, rubbing some of it under the skin around the breast meat.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper in both the cavity and outside of the bird.  Place a pat of butter in each cavity, add sprigs of fresh thyme, two quarters of lemon and two cloves of garlic in each chicken cavity.

Roast in a preheated 400 degree F. oven for approximately 70 to 80 minutes.  Basting occasionally.  Roast until chicken juices run clear, meat is cooked through, and potatoes are tender.

Sense of Home / Recipes / Main Dishes

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Sense of Home

Chocolate Cherry Cookies
~adapted from Gourmet 2003~
Makes approximately 24 cookies

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup dried cherries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in eggs and almond extract until combined.  Add flour mixture and mix just until combined.  Stir in dried cherries.

Drop level tablespoons of dough about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets and bake in batches in middle of oven until puffed and set, about 12 minutes.  Transfer cookies to a rack to cool.

Sense of Home / Recipes / Cookies

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Thyme-Honey Glazed Ham

Sense of Home

Thyme-Honey Glazed Ham
~Gourmet April 2009~
Serves 12 to 16

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped thyme
1 (12- to 14-pound) boneless or semi-boneless fully cooked ham at room temperature 1 hour
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup mild honey
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Melt butter with thyme and let stand until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. with rack in lower third.

Peel off and discard any rind or skin from ham, leaving 1/4 inch of fat on ham.  Score fat on top of ham in a crosshatch pattern without cutting into meat.  Put ham on a rack in a large roasting pan.  Cover ham with parchment paper, then cover roasting pan with foil.  Bake 1 3/4 hours.

Meanwhile, boil vinegar in a small saucepan until reduced to about 1 tablespoon.  Remove from heat and whisk in honey, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme butter.  Let honey glaze stand until ham has baked 1 3/4 hours.

Discard foil and parchment from ham.  If there is no liquid in roasting pan, add 1 cup water (liquid will prevent glaze from burning in pan).  Brush ham with half of honey glaze, then bake, uncovered, 30 minutes.

Brush with remaining glaze and bake until glaze is deep golden-brown and ham is heated through, about 30 minutes more.

Sense of Home / Recipes / Main Dishes

Monday, February 7, 2011

Banana-Oat Pancakes

Sense of Home

Banana-Oat Pancakes
~adapted from Bon Appetit, July 1997~
4 servings

1 cup whole grain oat flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Maple Syrup
Sliced Banana, optional
Walnuts, optional

Combine first 5 ingredients in medium-sized bowl.  Mix in buttermilk, mashed bananas, eggs, and cinnamon.  Let batter sit for approximately 5 minutes to soften oatmeal.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Melt 1/2 to 1 tablespoon butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Ladle a generous portion of batter into the hot non-stick skillet and swirl to form a round pancake; the batter and pancake will be thick.  Cook pancakes until brown on bottom and some bubbles begin to break around edges, then flip and cook until brown on the bottom and firm to touch in center.  Transfer pancakes to baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.  Repeat with remaining batter.  Serve pancakes with warm maple syrup and, if desired, sliced bananas and walnuts.

Sense of Home / Recipes / Breakfast

Friday, February 4, 2011

Maple Oatmeal Muffins

Sense of Home

Maple Oatmeal Muffins
~adapted from Bon Appetit~
Makes 12

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup regular oatmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup dried fruit, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line twelve 1/3 cup muffin cups with paper liners.  Combine first 6 ingredients in large bowl and stir to blend.  Whisk buttermilk, applesauce, maple syrup, brown sugar, butter, egg and vanilla in medium bowl until well blended.  Add to dry ingredients and stir just to incorporate (do not over mix).  Add dried fruit, if using, and stir until just mixed.

Divide batter equally among muffin cups (batter will reach top of cups).  Bake until muffin tops are golden brown and tester inserted into center of muffins comes out clean, about 28 minutes.  Transfer to rack and cool.

Sense of Home / Recipes / Muffins

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Orecchiette with Pulled-Pork Sugo

Sense of Home

Orecchiette with Pulled-Pork Sugo
~adapted from Gourmet~
Serves 8 to 10

2 pounds boneless pork butt roast
1 pound dried orecchiette
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
6 ounces tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 15 ounce can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup grated Grana Padano plus additional for serving
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. with rack in middle.

Pat pork dry and sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt.  Roast in a small flameproof roasting pan tightly covered with foil, covered, 2 hours.  Uncover and continue roasting until some of the meat begins to pull apart easily, 1 to 2 hours more Transfer pork to a cutting board and cool slightly.  Pull pork into small pieces and coarsely chop.

Cook orecchiette in a large pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts of water) 8 minutes (pasta will not be fully cooked).  Reserving 2 cups pasta-cooking liquid, drain pasta in a colander.

Pour off all but 3 tablespoons fat from roasting pan and place pan over medium-high heat.  Add onion, celery, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Add garlic and oregano and cook, stirring, 3 minutes.  Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 3 minutes.  Stir in wine, stock, beans, vinegar, and pork.  Transfer to pasta pot and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add 1 cup reserved cooking liquid and bring to a simmer, then add orecchiette and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente.  Remove from heat and stir in cheese and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and thin sauce with additional cooking liquid if necessary.  Serve with additional cheese.

Sense of Home / Recipes / Main Dishes