1 pkg. puff pastry shells, thawed
canola oil, for cooking
pure maple syrup
Place the puff pastry shells on a cutting board and cut through their inner circles, removing them. Heat a couple inches of oil in a deep, heavy pot (or use a deep fryer) until about 325F – hot, but not smoking. Carefully drop a few rings and circles of pastry at a time into the pot without crowding it and cook, turning as necessary, until puffed and golden. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Meanwhile, put about 1/2 cup icing sugar into a small bowl and add enough maple syrup to make a runny glaze. Drizzle over the doughnuts while they’re still warm. Serve immediately. Makes 6 croissoughnuts and 6 holes.
Grilled Asparagus with Queso Fresco & Prosciutto
1 bunch thick asparagus
1 pkg. Queso Fresco (I used Fresk-O semi-firm cheese)
1 pkg. thinly sliced prosciutto
Preheat the grill to medium-high.
Snap the tough ends of the asparagus off where they naturally break. (This isn’t necessary when using Edgar Farms asparagus, as they harvest theirs by hand.) Cut the Queso Fresco into 1/4-1/3″ thick slices and place one piece up against each asparagus stalk; wrap a single (or half) slice of prosciutto around it to hold it on.
Grill for 3-4 minutes, turning as necessary, until the asparagus is charred, the prosciutto is crisp on the edges and shrinks tighter around the cheese and asparagus, and the cheese is oozing a bit out each end. Serve immediately.
Pecorino & Black Pepper Hollandaise
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
juice of half a lemon (about 1 1/2 Tbsp.)
1/2 cup butter
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
Place the egg yolk and lemon juice in a blender and pulse to combine. Put the butter into a small saucepan or Pyrex measuring cup and heat on the stovetop or in the microwave until melted and hot. With the motor running, slowly pour the butter into the blender through the feed tube (or hole in the lid) until it’s all incorporated and the mixture is slightly thick. Grind in some black pepper, add the cheese and pulse to combine.
Serve soon (it will solidify once refrigerated). Makes about 1 cup.
Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce
2 large stalks of rhubarb, chopped (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup water
1 onion, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup pure maple or golden syrup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider or rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. grainy mustard
In a small saucepan, bring rhubarb and water to a simmer and cook for 5-6 minutes, until the rhubarb is very soft. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
In the same saucepan, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and cook the onion for 3-4 minutes, until soft; add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer; cook for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Puree with a hand-held immersion blender or cool and puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Use as you would any barbecue sauce – on grilled meats, in baked beans or drizzled on burgers. Makes about 2 cups.
Adapted (with great thanks!) from vinegartart.com.
1 rhubarb stalk, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar (red wine or raspberry vinegar would work well too)
2 tsp. grainy Dijon mustard (or to taste)
1/4 cup canola or mild olive oil
In a small saucepan, simmer the rhubarb with 1/4 – 1/2 cup water for 5 minutes, or until very soft. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. (I’ve done it warm too, and it’s just fine.)
Put the rhubarb into a blender with the honey, vinegar and mustard. Pulse until smooth. With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil. Makes about a cup.
Brioche Burger or Slider Buns
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 large egg
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. butter
additional egg, for brushing, and/or sesame seeds (optional)
In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the water, milk, sugar and yeast. Let it stand for about 5 minutes, until it’s foamy. (If it doesn’t foam, the yeast is kaput – get some fresh yeast and try again!) Crack the egg into it and beat it a little with a fork to break it up.
Meanwhile stir together the flour and salt; add the butter and blend it in with a pastry blender, whisk or your fingers, rubbing it until it’s crumbly, as if you were making pastry. Add the yeast mixture and stir until you have a soft dough; beat it with a dough hook in your stand mixer or knead it on a lightly floured countertop until it’s nice and smooth; 5-10 minutes. It will be stickier than regular dough; resist the urge to add too much flour. Leave it tacky.
Place the ball of dough back into the bowl, cover it with a tea towel and let it sit for an hour or so, until doubled.
Divide the dough into 8-10 pieces (or 20 if you want wee slider buns), shape them into balls, place them a couple inches apart on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray or lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Brush the buns with a little beaten egg if you like, and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Bake for 10-15 minutes (a bit longer if you made larger buns) until golden.
Maple Apple Tarte Tatin
adapted from Canadian Living
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
pastry for a single crust pie or a piece of puff pastry, thawed
Core the apples and cut them into 8 wedges (one of those apple slicers works perfectly) – don’t worry about peeling them. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
In a 9-10? cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat; add sugar and cook, stirring, until bubbly and just turning golden, about 2 minutes. Add maple syrup; cook, stirring, until everything is dissolved. Remove from the heat and arrange apples, flat side down, in concentric circles in the syrup.
Return to medium-low heat and cook, basting with a spoon, until apples the begin to soften and syrup starts to thicken, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, on lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 10? circle; drape over the apples, pressing the edge of the pastry down between the apples and the pan. Cut a few steam vents in the top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around the edge and invert the tarte onto a platter or plate. Replace any apples that may stick to pan and scrape out any leftover sauce, pouring it over the apples. Serve warm.
(from Winners, by the Best of Bridge, page 85)
3 chicken breasts, skinned & boned
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. oil
1 – 10 oz. (280 g) pkg. frozen asparagus or broccoli (fresh is even better – about 3-4 cups florets)
1 – 10 oz. (284 ml) can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup regular or light mayonnaise
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 – 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle with pepper. Saute quickly in oil over medium heat just until opaque (don’t overcook – the chicken will get tough!) Drain. Cook asparagus or broccoli until crunchy. Drain and arrange in bottom of buttered casserole. Place chicken on top. Mix together soup, mayonnaise, curry and lemon juice and pour over chicken. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and bake, uncovered, at 350F for 30-35 minutes. Serves 6.
Classic Parmesan Risotto with Asparagus & Spring Greens
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter (divided)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed or grated
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine or water
5-6 cups chicken or vegetable stock, warmed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
juice of a lemon
a few stalks of asparagus, ends snapped off and cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
1-2 handfuls fresh greens, such as spinach, chard, kale or arugula, torn (optional)
In a large saucepan, heat the oil and 1 T. butter over medium-high heat and saute the onion for 3-4 minutes, until it’s soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then the rice and cook for 1-3 minutes, to coat the grains with oil or to toast them a little bit.
If you like, add a splash of white wine and cook for a minute or two, until it cooks off; then add about a half a cup of stock at a time and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s absorbed. When your spoon leaves a trail through the rice without filling up behind it, it’s time to add more stock.
When you’ve used about 5 cups of stock (it should take about 25 minutes), the mixture should be creamy and the rice soft but still slightly firm to the bite. the grains should be soft. If they still have a crunchy core, add a little more stock or water.
Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter, the lemon juice (and some of its zest too, if you like), and the asparagus and greens, if you’re using them. Stir until greens wilt and the cheese melts. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve immediately.
This basic formula makes a classic, creamy Parmesan risotto – without stirring! Customize your comfort food by sautéing sturdy ingredients (like mushrooms or bits of sausage) along with the onions, or stirring in more fragile ingredients, like spinach, fresh herbs or shrimp, at the end when you open the pot.
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) canola or olive oil
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) butter, divided
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup (250 mL) Arborio or other short-grained rice
1/2 cup (125 mL) white wine (optional)
2 cups (500 mL) low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup (60 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
a squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
In a stovetop pressure cooker, heat the oil and 1 Tbsp. of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for another minute, until the grains are well coated.
If you like, add a splash of wine and cook until it evaporates. Add the stock, cover and lock the lid, and bring the pot up to pressure according to the manufacturer’s directions. Once it’s up to pressure – you can usually tell by the dangly piece on top steaming and spinning – reduce the heat to medium-low, ensuring that the top is still steaming and spinning, and cook for 8-9 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool until the pressure goes down, then remove the lid. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, remaining butter and a squeeze of lemon juice and serve warm.
Beef & Guinness Pie
adapted from Jamie Oliver
canola or olive oil, for cooking
1 large purple onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cups quartered mushrooms
4-5 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
2 lbs. beef brisket or stewing beef, cut into 1-inchcubes
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. flour
1 can or bottle of Guinness
chicken or beef stock or water
1 cup grated old cheddar (optional)
1 pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten with a fork, for brushing on top (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325F. In a large oven-proof casserole or medium pot, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms and garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add another drizzle of oil, sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper and brown it in the pan, turning to get as much colour as possible. Return the veggies to the pan, sprinkle everything with flour and stir to coat.
Pour the Guinness overtop, then add stock or water to come up to the top of the meat. Cover and place in the oven for 2 1/2-3 hours, until the meat is very tender. If you like, cool and refrigerate overnight.
When you’re ready to bake the pie, preheat the oven to 400F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out into a circle, square or rectangle slightly larger than your baking dish. (If you need to, transfer the beef mixture into a casserole or other baking dish.) In a small dish, beat the egg with a spoonful of water with a fork, and brush the edge of your baking dish with it. Drape the puff pastry overtop and cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape. (If you like, cut a crisscross pattern with a sharp knife, without going all the way through the pastry.) Brush with the egg wash and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and deep golden, and the filling is bubbling through. Serves 6.
Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad
Adapted from Bon Appétit
1 bunch leafy green kale
6-10 big Brussels sprouts
1 small chunk of purple onion, thinly sliced or minced
1/3 cup whole roasted, salted, almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp. grainy mustard
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
1 tsp. sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove the ribs and thinly slice the leaves of kale (I do this by stacking or gathering them up in a bunch, then slicing through the stack); cut the Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise and thinly slice them too, holding onto the stem (and then tossing the last bit of stem out). Put them into a bowl with the purple onion.
To make the dressing, shake all the ingredients together in a jar or whisk them in a small bowl. Drizzle generously over the kale and Brussels sprouts and toss to coat. Scatter with almonds and Parmesan and serve. Serves 6.
Shrimp & Cheesy Grits
Inspired by Peels, NYC, via Bon Appétit.
1 cup water
2 cups milk or chicken stock
1 cup yellow grits or cornmeal
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup grated aged white cheddar or Gouda
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and minced (optional)
1/4 cup cream
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. butter
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lb (about 16 large) peeled, raw, tail-on shrimp
1 Tbsp. BBQ spice rub
olive oil, for cooking
chopped fresh Italian parsley, for garnish
Bring the water and milk to a simmer in a large saucepan. Whisk in the grits; turn the heat down to low and simmer until the grits begin to thicken. Stir in the butter, cheese, butter, and jalapeño, then cream. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter; when the foaming subsides, add the shrimp and garlic; sprinkle with spice rub. Cook, flipping the shrimp, for a couple minutes, or until the shrimp are just cooked through. Divide the grits among shallow bowls and top with shrimp.
Add a drizzle of oil to the pan. Crack in the eggs and cook until done to your liking. Place on top of the shrimp and grits and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Paula Deen, via Food Network
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup dry grits or cornmeal
1/2 cup butter, cut into bits
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla or maple extract
unbaked crust for a single 9″ pie
whipped cream and berries, for serving
Preheat oven to 325F.
In a small saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the grits and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until bubbly and thick. Stir in the butter and set aside, off the heat.
In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Stir into the slightly cooled buttery grits. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until pale golden and set. Serve warm or cold topped with whipped cream and berries, if you like. Serves 8.
Beer Battered Fish (for Fish & Chips)
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 lb cod or haddock filets, skinned
1 12 oz. bottle cold beer
canola oil, for cooking
Put 1/4 cup of the flour into a shallow dish. Cut the fish fillets diagonally into 1-inch wide strips.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, a pinch of salt and the beer – you should have a mixture with the consistency of pancake batter.
In a shallow, heavy pot, heat a couple inches of oil until it registers 375°F.
Pat fish dry with paper towels and dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess. Coat a few pieces at a time in the batter and then into the oil. Cook, turning as needed, for 4-5 minutes, until deep golden and cooked through. Transfer to paper towels to drain and cool, then sprinkle with salt. Serves 4-6.
Vietnamese Cilantro Wings
Adapted from Food Network
1 1/2 cups cilantro
1/3 cup melted butter
1 garlic clove
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2-3 lbs. chicken wings
Preheat the oven to 425F. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the cilantro, butter, garlic, fish sauce and lime juice until well blended. Set aside.
Pat the chicken wings dry with paper towel and lay out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet – or set a wire rack on the sheet and spread the wings out on it. Roast for 40-45 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Toss with the cilantro sauce and if you like, return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Serve with extra sauce. Serves lots.
Classic Buffalo Wings
2-3 lbs. chicken wings
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup Frank’s hot sauce
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (optional)
canola oil, for cooking (optional)
salt and pepper
If you’re oven roasting your wings, preheat the oven to 425F. Pat the chicken wings dry with paper towel and lay out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet – or set a wire rack on the sheet and spread the wings out on it. Roast for 40-45 minutes, until golden and cooked through.
If you want to fry them, pat them dry, then season the flour with salt and pepper and place in a plastic bag; add the wings in batches and shake to coat. Heat a couple inches of oil in a heavy saucepan until hot, but not smoking. Cook the wings in batches, without crowding the pot, until golden and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Meanwhile, melt the butter with the hot sauce and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking until smooth. Toss cooked wings with sauce and if you like, return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Serve warm, with extra sauce. Serves lots.
One Hour French Baguettes
adapted from Brooke at Cheeky Kitchen
1 1/2 cups very warm water (it shouldn’t be too hot to touch)
1 pkg. yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp.)
2 Tbsp. sugar
3-4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
Preheat the oven to 425F. Fill a shallow cake pan with water or ice and put it on the bottom rack, and make sure another rack is in the middle. In a large bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Set the bowl on top of your preheating oven for ten minutes. Add half the flour and the salt, then add more flour a half cup at a time until you have a soft dough. Knead it for a few minutes, until it’s smooth and elastic. (You can totally do this with the dough hook on your stand mixer, if you have one.)
Cut the dough into four pieces and roll each into a long, thin rope. Twist two together to make two baguettes and set them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Let it sit for another 15-30 minutes on top of your warm oven.
Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden and crusty.
Makes 2 loaves.
Quick & Rough Puff Pastry Cheese Croissants
Pastry recipe adapted from Canadian Living
1 cup cold unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup cold water
a handful of grated aged cheddar, Gouda and/or Parmesan
Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes; set aside 3/4 cup in refrigerator. Put the flour, salt and remaining butter in the food processor and pulse until the butter is indistinguishable. Sprinkle with reserved butter; pulse 4 or 5 times, until the butter is in pea-size pieces.
Pour water evenly over mixture (not through feed tube) and pulse 6 to 8 times, until it starts to gather together – don’t let it form into a ball of dough. Transfer to floured waxed paper; gather and press into rectangle. Dust with flour; top with waxed paper. Roll out into a rectangle that’s about 10×15 inches.
Remove top paper and fold the dough in thirds, like a letter. Roll out again until it’s the same size it was before. Fold in thirds again, roll, then starting at a short end, fold it up about 5 folds, so that you’re almost rolling it up. Flatten with your hand, wrap and chill for at least an hour, or up to two days, or freeze for up to 6 months.
To make croissants, preheat the oven to 400F. Roll the pastry out into a long rectangle that’s about 6 inches wide. Make a crosswise cut every 4 inches(ish), then cut each rectangle diagonally to make a triangle, like you might unroll Pillsbury crescent rolls. Sprinkle with cheese and roll each up starting from a wide end, with the point ending up in the middle. Place point-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden and set. Serve warm. Makes about 1 dozen croissants.
June 02 2008 10:15 am