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Archive for October, 2012

by Sarah Steimer

I’m not the wonton-frying master that Caitlin is, but these turned out really nice and crisp – and reminded me almost exactly of apple dumplings.

  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple or another tart apple, cut into 1-inch-by-1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 15 wonton wrappers
  • vegetable oil

Toss the apple cubes in the cinnamon and brown sugar. Working one at a time, wet the edges of the wontons and place one apple cube in each. Seal the wrapper tightly. I folded my square wontons in half and then just wrapped the “wings” around the apple a bit more.

Add enough vegetable oil (or canola oil or another frying oil) to fill the pan about 1/2-inch deep. Heat the oil, checking it by flicking water at the oil. If the water pops in the oil, it should be hot enough.

Frying the wontons softens the apples to a really perfect texture: somewhere between not too crunchy and not too mushy.

Place only as many wontons in the pan as can sit comfortably. Flip after about 10-15 seconds with either a slotted spoon or tongs. When both sides have turned golden brown, transfer the wontons to a paper towel to drain.

For the salted caramel sauce:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

Heat the sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar melts, whisking constantly. Once the sugar has liquefied and begins to boil, stop whisking and add the butter. Whisk until the butter has melted then remove from heat. Add the sour cream and salt, mixing until smooth.

Let the sauce cool before transferring it to a container. The sauce can be refrigerated for up to two weeks and heated before use.

Makes 15 wontons and about 3/4 cup of caramel sauce.

Sauce recipe adapted from: The Chew

* Want One? is our October guide that pays homage to the wonton, a traditionally steamed, fried, baked or boiled dumpling that can be filled with an array of goodies. We’ll feature meatless, meat-full and dessert renditions.

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by Caitlin Saniga

I took the extra minutes to grate each ingredient separately so I could arrange each color on the plate. If you want to save time, just grate the ingredients one after the other and serve as a mixed batch.

Salad:

  • 2 raw medium beets, trimmed, scrubbed and quartered
  • 1/4 red cabbage, quartered
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and trimmed
  • 1 pear, core removed and quartered
  • 1 apple, core removed and quartered
  • 1 cup walnut halves, roughly bashed
  • 2 handfuls fresh parsley, chopped

Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • salt and pepper

The best part about this salad is mixing all the little shreds of color together. Oh, and the dressing ties for the best part about this salad. Have I mentioned how much I love vinaigrettes?

To make the salad:

Put a coarse grater attachment into a food processor and push ingredients through, one at a time, transferring them to a serving dish after each turn: pear, apple, carrots, cabbage, beets.

To make the dressing:

Whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, oil, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the salad with the dressing, walnuts and parsley. Toss each serving so it’s a mass of rainbow colors.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from: MarthaStewart.com

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by Sarah Steimer

This dish is basically a much easier version of pasta (gnocchi, specifically). If you can’t find mustard greens — I got mine at the farmer’s market — you could definitely substitute another green, although I would suggest a more peppery green such as arugula.

  • 1 cup semolina flour (pasta flour)
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • about 3 cups mustard greens center ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into pieces
  • pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino

Spread semolina flour in an even layer in an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Fill a small bowl with 1/2 cup water and set next to dish. Working in 4-5 batches, gather your fingertips and thumb together and dip into bowl of water, lift hand from bowl and splatter water over semolina. Repeat several times until the surface of the flour is dotted with ragged wet patches about the size of a nickel.

Use a fish spatula or slotted spoon to toss the dumplings you created in the flour to coat. Move the dumplings to a sieve or strainer, shaking gently to remove the excess flour. Place the dumplings on a baking sheet. Continue to make more dumplings until you run out of flour or water.

Bring a medium-sized pot of salted water to a low boil (you do not want a rolling boil). Add about half of the dumplings to the water and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, for about 30 seconds. Remove the dumplings from the water with a slotted spoon and place onto another baking sheet or plate. Cook the other half of the batch.

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until butter is foamy and browned bits form on the bottom of pan. Add the cooked frascatelli (the dumplings) and toss gently to coat. Add the mustard greens to the pan, tossing with the frascatelli lightly and letting the greens wilt a bit. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the frascatelli topped with grated Parmesan.

Makes two servings.

Recipe adapted from: Bon Appetit

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by Caitlin Saniga

I love how simple this cake is. I told myself, “I want cinnamon cake,” (had never had such a cake before), opened my cupboards and found all of the ingredients I needed.

Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk

Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Just a note: I use a 6-cup/8-inch Bundt pan, so that’s why my cake looks a bit small. If you follow the recipe, you’ll end up with with a regular 10-inch size.

To make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 10- inch Bundt pan. Stir together the flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butterg, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for at least 1 minute after each egg. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk. Pour the batter into a prepared pan.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let it cool in a pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack.

To make the frosting:

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an upright mixer. Using the paddle attachment, soften the cream cheese. Gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Add the confectioners’ sugar a bit at a time, and continue beating until smooth. Add the vanilla, and stir to combine.

Transfer the frosting to an oven-safe dish and place in the warmed oven to soften further, about 5 minutes.

To assemble the cake:

Transfer the cake to a serving plate. Pour the frosting over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Serve immediately, or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Cake recipe adapted from: AllRecipes.com

Frosting recipe adapted from: MarthaStewart.com

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by Sarah Steimer

These aren’t burnt! It was just a bit dark out when I took the photo. These are a pretty great thrown-together meal when you just have a bunch of odds and ends in the fridge.

  • about 1/2 log of precooked polenta, cut into 12, 1/2-inch slices or larger
  • 2/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced into 12 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped tomato
  • 1 banana pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • crushed red pepper, optional

Place the polenta slices on a parchment paper-covered cooking sheet.

These are the precooked pizzas. This recipe is pretty loose, you can really use whatever is in your fridge or pantry. It’s sort of a healthier alternative to Bagel Bites, I suppose.

Whisk together the tomato paste, vinegar, 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, sugar, oregano, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. If the mixture still seems a bit thick, thin it out with additional olive oil.

Distribute the sauce over the polenta slices evenly. Top each with a slice of mozzarella.

Combine the onions, tomato and peppers in a bowl. Toss with the balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and salt and pepper. Distribute the mixture over the polenta slices. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper, if using.

Bake the mini pizzas at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until the toppings have browned and the cheese has melted.

Makes 12 mini pizzas.

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by Caitlin Saniga

This recipe was inspired by some leftover cream cheese icing and a sweet potato I didn’t know what to do with. Don’t you love using what you have?

Wontons:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest, from 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice, from 1 orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • canola oil

Cream cheese frosting sauce:

  • 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

For these fried wontons, I decided to go with the simple one-fold method. When they were finished, they almost looked like little empenadas. Heyyy… maybe there’s a guide idea there.

To make the wontons:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Prick the sweet potato all over with a fork, and place it on the baking sheet. Bake the sweet potato for 30 minutes or until it has softened and the skin starts to pull away. Let the sweet potato cool for 5 to 10 minutes before pulling away the peel. Cut it into pieces and add it to the bowl of a food processor.

Add the orange zest, orange juice, vanilla, cinnamon and honey to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until there aren’t any bumps in the mixture. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

Assemble the wontons by placing a rounded teaspoonful of the sweet potato mixture in the center of each wonton wrapper. Use a wet fingertip to trace the edge of the wonton wrapper, fold the wonton as desired and press the wet edges to seal. Repeat this process with the remaining wrappers.

Pour canola oil into a large pan so that it’s about 1/2 inch thick. Place the pan over medium heat and let it sit until it’s hot, about 5 minutes. In the meantime, prepare a cooling rack by covering it with paper towels.

To check whether the oil is hot enough, you can carefully flick a few drops of water at the oil. If they sizzle and pop immediately, the oil’s ready.

Add 6 of the wontons to the pan, and allow them to cook until they bubble up and turn-golden brown on the bottoms, no more than 20 seconds. Flip the wontons and cook for no more than 20 seconds longer. Using a pair of metal tongs, transfer the wontons to the cooling racks. Repeat these steps to finish the wontons.

If you can’t tell by now, I’m a big fan of frying wontons. I’m not super into deep-fried vegetables or fried chicken, but I love a good crispy wonton.

To make the cream cheese frosting sauce:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and vanilla until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the butter, beating until incorporated.

Reduce the mixer speed to low. Gradually add the sugar, beating until incorporated. Transfer the frosting to a small microwave-safe container and warm it in the microwave 10-30 seconds, until it’s soft and somewhat runny.

Serve warm alongside wontons.

Makes 24.

* Want One? is our October guide that pays homage to the wonton, a traditionally steamed, fried, baked or boiled dumpling that can be filled with an array of goodies. We’ll feature meatless, meat-full and dessert renditions.

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by Sarah Steimer

Frisée, also known as curly endive, is quite bitter and often paired with other greens to cut that bitterness. The warmth and richness of both the bacon and the vinaigrette really help cut the bitterness as well. You could, of course, use other greens. The original recipe calls for escarole.

  • 1 head of frisée, washed and torn into large bite-size pieces
  • 2 bacon slices (I used thick-cut bacon)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped (need a how-to?)
  • 1/4 cup or less soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled

Cook the bacon until crispy and let drain on a paper towel before chopping. Do not get rid of the fat drippings in the pan.

In a small bowl, slowly add the vinegar to the oil while whisking quickly so the two emulsify properly.

Warm the pan drippings back up and add the shallots to the pan. Cook until the shallots are soft. Add the oil and vinegar mixture and warm for about 1 minute. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Drizzle the warm dressing mixture over the greens and sprinkle with the bacon, eggs and cheese. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings as a side or 2-3 servings as a main dish.

Recipe adapted from: Bon Appetit

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by Caitlin Saniga

The tomatoes and olives are optional in this recipe. Use seasonal vegetables to fill out the salad. Perhaps some steamed sweet potato this time of year?

  • 1 1/2 pound beets, peeled and cooked
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1/4 cup kalamatta olives
  • 1/2 large red onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 medium heirloom tomatoes, sliced into wedges

Cut the beets into quarters or sixths. Whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, herbs, coriander, salt, pepper to taste, and the oil in a small bowl. Taste the dressing on a beet and correct the seasonings if needed. Toss the beets with enough dressing to coat lightly. Toss the greens in the remaining mixture and arrange on salad plates. Add the beets, olives, onion and tomatoes, and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

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by Sarah Steimer

The original recipe was for loaves, but this is just better.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 cups), mashed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon (plus a shot for you)
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Using a mixer, combine the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the bananas, lemon juice and bourbon, mixing until well combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat until just incorporated. Mix in the nuts and chocolate chips.

Grease your mini muffin pans (I use butter and flour). Fill the pans almost full, about three-quarters of the way or more (just don’t go over the edge). Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean and the tops are golden.

Makes about 36 mini muffins.

Recipe adapted from: Pixelated Crumb

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by Caitlin Saniga

Can I tell you a story that has very little to do with this recipe and very much to do with the kindness of strangers? I was going through a bit of a rough spell when I headed out to my local grocery store to pick up the week’s necessities. On my stop at the deli counter, I requested, with a hopeful smile, a few thick slices of salami for this recipe. The man who took my order had a few questions: “This thick?” he asked, holding up the first circle of salami. “Yes, that’s perfect!” I said with another smile. He continued slicing and then started to pack up my order, taking a little longer than usual, I noticed. But I was in no rush. When he returned to the counter where I stood, he handed me two deli bags: one with chopped turkey and one with a few slices of Muenster cheese (one of my favorites!). A yellow “paid” sticker was attached to the front of each bag. “What’s this?” I asked him. “They’re for you,” he said, passing me the bag of salami. “Thanks for smiling,” he said. “Keep it up.” And I did.

  • 2 pounds small red new potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 tablespoons cider vinegar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound hard salami, sliced in 1/2-inch-thick rounds and sliced into pieces
  • 1/4 cup coarse-grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh curly-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onions

In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan combine the potatoes, 3 tablespoons cider vinegar, and 1 tablespoon salt. Add water (about 4 cups) to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, just until potatoes are tender when gently pierced with a fork. Drain well. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes before adding dressing.

Meanwhile, cook the salami in a pan over medium heat until the edges brown, 3 or 4 minutes. Set aside.

To make the dressing, whisk together the mustard, 3 tablespoons vinegar, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a steady stream, whisk in the oil until well blended.

Transfer the potatoes to a mixing bowl. Add the dressing all at once. Mix gently to avoid breaking the potatoes. Gently mix in  the salami. Season with a generous pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Add parsley and green onions. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens

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