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Archive for January, 2012

by Sarah Steimer

Because the chorizo itself is fairly spicy and salty, make sure not to add much (if any) additional salt. You could also use less than a pound of the meat if you'd rather have more vegetables or beans.

  • 1 pound ground chorizo – OR – 1 pound chorizo sausages, cases removed
  • olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, sliced in half and cut into half-moons
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • dried oregano
  • bay leaf

Cook the chorizo in a sauté pan until fully cooked. The meat may appear a little pink, but that’s likely from the chorizo seasoning. Drain the fat/oil from the pan.

In a dutch oven or sturdy pot, heat a few teaspoons of olive oil. Once hot, add the carrots, onion and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the chorizo, chickpeas, tomatoes and oregano, stirring to incorporate. Add the 2 cups of water and stir, adding the bay leaf to the water (keep it where you can see it).

Bring the stew to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover for 30 minutes.

Before serving, remove the bay leaf from the soup.

Makes 6 servings.

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by Sarah Steimer

Not nearly as flavorful as a basil pesto, but it's a nice winter alternative. This pesto will show you why salt is so important for accentuating an ingredient's flavor.

  •  1 bunch broccoli, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 10 ounces short pasta, such as fusilli
  • 5 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • salt and pepper

Steam broccoli until tender and bright green, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli, olive oil, Parmesan, lemon zest and juice, parsley and garlic to a food processor. Puree until smooth, adding salt and pepper while it mixes. Taste and season more if necessary.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the liquid. Mix in the pesto and beans, adding water if necessary to increase the pesto’s creaminess. Season again if desired.

Serve sprinkled with additional Parmesan.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe: Everyday Food

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by Sarah Steimer

I didn't know what to expect with this soup, but I ended up loving it. I'm not sure of the best way to explain it, but it's earthy without tasting like - well - dirt, thanks to the sun-dried tomatoes.

  • olive oil
  • 4 large or 6 smaller parsnips (4 cups) cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 5 medium-sized carrots (2 cups) cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 large onion (1 cup) diced
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil), roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • balsamic vinegar (optional)

Heat oil in a dutch oven or sturdy pot over medium-high heat. Add parsnips, carrots and onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Ad 3/4 cup broth and cook for 10 minutes, or until the broth is evaporated. Add the remaining 5 1/4 cups broth, along with 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, oregano and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a brisk boil. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Puree in a blender or food processor a few cups at a time until smooth.

Add remaining chopped tomatoes. Serve immediately, drizzled with balsamic vinegar if desired and served with a crusty bread. We had it with a great whole-wheat baguette.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Vegetarian Times

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by Caitlin Saniga

There's all sorts of ways to dress up Kahlua — pour it over ice cream, serve it with ice, etc. — but this mocha will keep you warm and buzzy. And homemade Kahlua makes a great gift. My mom saves glass bottles throughout the year, and then fills them with Kahlua to pass out.

To make your own Kahlua, or coffee-flavored liquor, you’ll need:

  • 1 quart water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup instant coffee
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups vodka
  • small glass bottles

In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the sugar and coffee, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer down for one hour with the lid cracked partway. Remove the liquid from the heat, and let cool completely. (Mom usually sets the pot on the snowy porch for an hour or so.)

Add the vanilla and vodka, and stir to combine. Use a funnel to pour the Kahlua into the bottles to store. The alcohol should keep in the bottles for a long time.

Makes about 5 cups.

Recipe adapted from: my mom’s recipe

To make the frothy Kahlua mocha, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup milk
  • chocolate syrup
  • 1 cup Kahlua (If you don’t want to make your own, you can buy this stuff at the liquor store.)
  • chocolate shavings

Back when I was a barista, I learned that milk begins to burn beyond 160 degrees. The best temperature to froth the milk to is between 140 and 160. I've found that 150 and higher tends to burn my tastebuds, though.

If you have an espresso machine (like me), use the milk steamer attachment to froth and heat the milk to a maximum temperature of 160 degree (about 145 is best, though). If you plan to froth the milk sans machine, pour the milk into a jar. Be sure to fill the jar only halfway to reserve room for the foam. Tightly screw on the lid, and shake the jar of milk about 30 seconds, or until the milk had doubled in size and become frothy. Remove the lid and place the jar in the microwave for 30 seconds. Repeat this process until you have enough milk for your drink. Set aside.

Pour enough chocolate syrup into a serving glass to cover the bottom of the glass. Fill the glass halfway with Kahlua. Microwave for 30 to 40 seconds, or until the Kahlua is hot.

Using a spoon to hold back the froth, pour the milk over the Kahlua, and then stir the mixture. Spoon the froth on top of the drink, and top with chocolate shavings.

Serve immediately.

Makes 1 drink.

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by Sarah Steimer

One batch of biscotti will take care of breakfast for about two or three weeks - provided you only eat about two each day.

  •  2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (or whatever chocolate you have lying around – chop it up)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

    I tried to make these at least a bit healthy with the flax and cranberries, but you can gussy them up just about any way you would like. Just follow the basic recipe up to the last three ingredients.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Add the flaxseed, chocolate and cranberries, mixing just enough to incorporate.

Divide the dough in half. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet – I was able to fit both on one, you may need to use two sheets. Form the two pieces of dough into logs that are about 3 to 4 inches wide and about 3/4-inch thick.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes (rotating halfway through), or until the dough is firm but gives slightly when pressed. Remove from the oven and let cool until you can touch the dough comfortably.

Using a sharp knife, cut logs into 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch slices. Lay these pieces flat (cut-side down) back on the lined cookie sheet(s). Bake for another 15 minutes, or until the biscotti is crisp and golden. The dough may still be a little soft to the touch, but they firm up completely when cooled.

Store in an airtight container – they should stay for up to 3 months if frozen.

Recipe adapted from: Everyday Food

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by Caitlin Saniga

My Baboo would be proud of these mashed potatoes. She believed that everything is infinitely better with butter and onions. Unlike olive oil, butter really preserves the onions' sweetness. She used to buy both ingredients in bulk and make pan after pan of butter-caramelized onions. She'd save her old butter and cottage cheese containers for this task, and then she'd dole out the little vats of butter and onions to anyone who showed even the mildest approval of the combination. Her instructions: Freeze it, and add a spoonful (or more) to anything (scrambled eggs, sauteed cabbage, noodles, potato salad etc.).

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 8 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup milk (or more if you prefer creamier mashed potatoes)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat (about 8 o’clock on your dial). Add the onion and let cook for about 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, and more often toward the end of the cook time. When the onions are finished cooking, they will be golden brown and transparent with brown edges (If you’ve lost all of the transparency, you’ve cooked ‘em too long, and they will be bitter). Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, and set aside

In the meantime, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. When the water is at a rolling boil, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the potatoes. Cook uncovered and on medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce and break apart the potato. Drain the potatoes and transfer to the bowl of an upright mixer or another large bowl. Add the milk, and use an electric mixer (fitted with a whisk if using an upright) to whip the potatoes until they are smooth. Add the butter and onion mixture and stir to combine.

Serve immediately.

Makes 8 side dish servings.

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by Caitlin Saniga

Radicchio can have a sharply bitter flavor, but paired with the rest of these ingredients — the salty Parmesan, peppery arugula and sweet balsamic vinaigrette — the red leafy vegetable really shines.

  • 5 ounces fresh arugula (4 1/2 cups), stems removed
  • 2 ounces radicchio, halved crosswise and cut into this strips (3/4 cup)
  • 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler (1/4 cup) … or more
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

This salad would go nicely with a clementine or pear on the side for a light, detoxifying lunch.

Put the arugula, radicchio and Parmesan cheese in a serving bowl, and set aside.

Whisk the vinegar with salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Whisking constantly, pour in the oil in a slow, steady stream, and whisk until emulsified. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette. Serve immediately (or reserve the dressing separately, and toss with salad later).

Makes 2 lunch-size servings.

Recipe adapted from: The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook – The New Classics

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by Sarah Steimer

The recipe is really easy, you probably already have all the ingredients. It just takes a bit of time and expect to burn your finger prints off.

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 tablespoons flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar (stick with granulated, nothing larger grained)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 3 teaspoons water
  • fortunes (optional, of course)

    It's easier to illustrate the folding than to explain it. Note: Seam at the top.

Beat the egg whites, vanilla and almond extracts, and vegetable oil in a medium bowl until frothy.

Sift together the flour, sugar and cornstarch. Add the water to the dry mixture, then add everything to the egg mixture. Whisk until completely smooth.

Grease a baking sheet (I went with cooking spray). On your first try, only make two cookies. Place 1 1/2 teaspoons on the sheet for each cookie. Using the back of a spoon, smooth the batter into a circle that is as thin as possible.

Bake at 300 degrees for about 14 minutes, turning the pan halfway through, until the cookies are golden.

Immediately when the cookies come out, place one fortune on each circle. Bring the edges together over the fortune (not folding the fortune in half). Place the flat edge of the half circle on the rim of a glass and press the sides down over the edge (see photo).

To hold the cookie’s shape, place each in a muffin tin. Once you’ve mastered the fold, you can work with more circles on the pan at a time – although I only went as far as four at a time.

Perfect size.

The cookies harden VERY fast so it’s important not to let them cool – basically at all. It hurts the fingertips a bit, but not too bad. Work quickly or the cookies will break.

Makes about 20-24, depending on how large or thin the cookies are.

Recipe adapted from: hungrygnomes

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by Sarah Steimer

An Old Fashioned is such a velvety, old lounge drink and adding spice and warmth plays right into that.

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cardamom pods (or a sprinkle of cardamom powder)
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 12 ounces sweet bourbon (or whiskey)
  • 1 orange, cut into 8 wedges
  • 8 maraschino cherries

Place the water, sugar, cardamom, star anise and cinnamon in a small sauce pan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, being sure to mix occasionally.

Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, then remove from heat. Strain the whole spices from the simple syrup mixture.

Divide the cherries and oranges between four cups and muddle (no muddler? Just use the end of a wooden spoon or another blunt-ended object). Mix the bourbon into the simple syrup mixture and whisk. Ladle the drink into each cup.

If you want to dress the drink up even a little more, mix about 2 tablespoons of sugar with 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon on a small plate. Wet the edges of you glasses before adding any ingredients and rim with the sugar-cinnamon mix.

Makes four Old Fashioneds.

Recipe adapted from: spoon fork bacon

**For the month of January, we’re offering a few recipes for warm alcoholic drinks to take into cold winter nights. All “Warm and Buzzy” recipes can be found here.

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by Sarah Steimer

You can use only all-purpose flour for these cloverleaf rolls, or substitute a little wheat flour like I did.

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (sub 1 1/4 cup wheat flour if you so choose)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 eggs

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour and the yeast in a mixing bowl. Heat milk, sugar butter and salt in a saucepan until just warm, about 115-120 degrees, stirring constantly.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, along with the egg. beat on low speed of an electric mixer (or by hand with a whisk) for 30 seconds, then scrape the bowl. Mix on high speed for 3 minutes. Stir in remaining flour by hand to make a soft dough. Form into a ball.

The butter is sooo good. If you still have leftover rolls, splash a little water on them and microwave for maybe 15 seconds. They'll taste fresh out the oven and the butter will melt.

Place the dough in a slightly greased bowl – I use olive oil – turning to grease the dough. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Punch the dough down and turn out onto a floured surface. Cover again with a towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Split the dough into. Cover with a towel and let rise for another 30 to 45 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

For the butter:

  • 4 sage leaves, chopped as small as possible
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey – depending on how sweet you want it
  • 1/2 stick salted butter – if using unsalted, add about 1/2 teaspoon salt

Let butter soften. Combine with honey and sage leaves, serve with the rolls.

Roll recipe: Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook circa 19

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