Sunday, March 24, 2019

COOKIE TURNED CANDY BAR!

When does a cookie become candy? I made these "Millionaire Shortbreads" for a festive St. Patrick's Day party our friends, Steve and Debby Vis were throwing. I wanted to bring an Irish dessert so when I Googled Irish desserts this one popped up. I am not sure what is Irish about it, but according to what I read they are mad for these cookies in Ireland. I have been traveling to Ireland annually for nearly 30 years and have never seen these cookies or heard of them, but the recipe sounded delicious so I decided to give them a go! They do taste more like a candy bar and the combination of sweet and salty is very satisfying.
DECADENT SHORTBREAD COOKIES

As you can see I have changed the name!

Ingredients:
SHORTBREAD LAYER:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

CARAMEL LAYER:
2 (11 oz.) packages caramel squares*
1/2 cup heavy cream

CHOCOLATE LAYER:
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli.)

Flaky sea salt for garnish (I used Maldon salt.)

*Of course you can make your own caramel, but using these candies sure did make this recipe fast and easy.

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a 13 x 9" pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. I was out of parchment so used waxed paper and it worked fine.

Make shortbread layer: Cream softened butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour and vanilla until a bread crumb texture forms. Press mixture into the prepared pan and prick all over with a fork. Take care when pricking as the shortbread is very crumbly. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack. Once cooled, invert pan, give a small tap on bottom to release the shortbread. Remove the parchment or waxed paper. Flip the shortbread over and place on a large cutting board to finish the cookies.

Make caramel layer: In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stir the caramels and cream together until melted, about 10 minutes. Pour over shortbread crust. The most difficult part of this step is removing the caramels from their cellophane wrappers.

Make chocolate layer: Melt the chocolate chips in microwave in 30 second intervals and stir until smooth and shiny. Pour over caramel layer.
Place in refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up. Remove from fridge. Score the bars marking the cuts you will eventually make and top with the flaky sea salt. This step is important as the bars are still pliable. Return to the fridge for another 10 minutes. Remove and cut completely through. Place on a serving tray and return to the refrigerator until 15 minutes before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers. These cookies freeze well, too.

THAT'S IT FOR TODAY!
TUNE IN AGAIN FOR ANOTHER EPISODE OF:
My big brother, Skip, and his beautiful
wife, Esther were just here for a visit.
We did lots of fun cooking and eating!
Loved having them here in sunny Airzona!



Thursday, March 14, 2019

MISO GLAZED SALMON!

Recently I made a garlicky Miso Glazed Salmon that was really satisfying and delicious. I found different recipes online and then tweaked them into the following. I use the web for recipes now almost as often as my own massive cook book collection, and of course, I refer to COOK WITH CINDY!...my favorite source for recipes!
MISO GLAZED SALMON
 

Ingredients:
1 lb. wild salmon filet
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried ginger (I would've used fresh ginger root if I had it.)
1 Tbsp. miso paste
4 Tbsp. honey
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. peanut oil

Preparation:
Combine soy sauce, honey, miso, ginger and garlic in a bowl and whisk well. Place marinade and salmon filet in a zip-lock bag and refrigerate in marinade for 1 hour or overnight.
 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove salmon from marinade and bring to room temperature. Pour marinade in a heavy-bottomed skillet and heat until the sauce is somewhat reduced and thickened. It will be almost sticky. Remove the sauce from the pan with a rubber spatula.


In the same pan, add 1 Tbsp. of peanut oil and return to high heat. Once the oil is smoking hot, sear the skin side of salmon for about 3-4 minutes until you have a nice crispy crust. Turn and cook the other side for about 2 minutes. Remove to foil-lined pan, skin-side up. Place in oven for about 10 minutes until salmon is cooked through. Serve with the reduced sauce.

I served the Miso Glazed Salmon with Shishito Peppers marinated in a similar Asian sauce. Shisitos are a sweet, East Asian pepper, which I occasionally find in my local grocery store, but am sure specialty Asian markets carry them regularly. They are also grown and very popular in Mexico.

ASIAN SHISHITO PEPPERS
 
Ingredients:
2 rounded cups Shishito Peppers
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. Hoisin

Preparation:
Marinate the peppers in the sauce for at least an hour or overnight. Add about 1 Tbsp. of peanut oil to a heavy-bottomed pan over high heat until smoking. Add the peppers and sear until slightly blackened; about 10 minutes. Add the marinade, which will spatter and steam up. Reduce heat and cook peppers over medium heat for another 5 minutes.

I also steamed broccoli in dark sesame oil and avocado-coconut oil with some chopped garlic until the broccoli was crisp-tender. Top with sesame seeds as a garnish if you like. And finally, I served with a bit of roasted sweet potato. Simple, healthy, and delicious meal!

That's going to do it for today,
but there is plenty more cooking ahead!
Stay tuned for another episode of:
 


Thursday, February 21, 2019

DELICIOUS DIP AND SATISFYING SPAGHETTI!

My good friend JoJo had our tennis group over for a festive cocktail party a couple weeks ago. Everyone brought hors d'oeuvres and we had the nicest time enjoying each other's company. JoJo's friend, Dorine, was visiting from New Hampshire, which was the inspiration for the party! This is a fabulous group of women who are passionate about both tennis and food!

The Shrimp Dip is in the center.
Doreen on the left and JoJo to the right.
I brought an old-fashioned Shrimp Dip that I found in my home-made Cookbook collection of recipes clipped over the years from magazines, newspapers, and old recipe files. I don't have a clue where it came from, but it sure was yummy!
SHRIMP DIP
Ingredients:
1/4 cup packed fresh flat-leafed parsley, chopped (I used curly as that's what I have growing.)
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 scallions, both white and green parts sliced
3/4 lb. cleaned, cooked shrimp, roughly chopped
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream (I used Greek style yogurt.)
2 Tbsp. bottled chili sauce, such as Heinz
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. drained bottled Horseradish
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
3/4 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
Couple dashes Tabasco sauce
Salt/Pepper
Optional garnish: one whole shrimp and smoked paprika


Preparation:
Finely chop the onion and parsley. Thinly slice scallions. Coarsely chop the shrimp. In a medium bowl stir together cream cheese, sour cream (or yogurt), and mayo until smooth. Stir in parsley, onion, scallions, shrimp, and remaining ingredients until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with one whole shrimp if you like and smoked paprika. Cover and let the flavors marinate in the fridge for a couple hours or overnight. Dip keeps for up to a week.


SPAGHETTI CARBONARA


Spaghetti Carbonara was my sister Cathy's "signature" dish. It was her go-to dish when she needed something fast, yet elegant.
Cathy's on the left and I'm on the right.
We used to spend hours together planning
menus and that is what we're doing here.
2004
I saw Marc Murhpy make Carbonara on 'Chopped' the other night so decided to try his version. Did you know Marc Murphy was born in Milan Italy?


I happened to have a nice piece of guanciale from my friend Jay Bileti so used that instead of the bacon. Guanciale is cured pork from the pigs jowl or cheek. It is rich with a deep porky flavor. Pancetta works well, too, and is a bit more mild. Pancetta comes from the pigs belly. Both are fatty cuts and are great in Carbonara. Because bacon is both cured and smoked it provides a completely different flavor. Bacon was Cathy's choice of meat in Carbonara and it seems it is Marc Murphy's too! I LOVED the guanciale because it is such a rare and unique flavor.
Jay displaying his guanciale.
Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 pound slab bacon, cut into small dice (or guanciale or pancetta)
1 pound spaghetti (I like to use Bucatini as it is thicker and holds up well to the sauce.)
3 whole eggs, at room temperature
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
Guanciale rendering.


Preparation:
Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil. Add 2 Tbsp. salt. Add pasta and cook 10-12 minutes or until just al dente. Render the bacon or guanciale until crisp. Do not drain fat. Add 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Combine eggs, cheese and black pepper in a large bowl. Drain the pasta and add to the egg mixture. Add a couple Tbsp. of pasta water, which thickens the sauce. Add bacon/guanciale and fat. Stir until eggs are cooked and pasta is well coated and creamy.




That's it for today!
I'm going to pop a chicken in the oven
stuffed with lots of fresh herbs, lemon
and garlic. In about 1/2 hour the
house will smell great!
Keep Loving in your Kitchen!









Sunday, February 10, 2019

MISO SOUP!

I've been on a Miso kick and have made Miso Soup twice in two weeks. Mine is not a classic recipe, but it's quite yummy. Miso is fermented soy bean paste, which sounds pretty disgusting, but is salty deliciousness! Traditionally Miso Soup is made from a Dashi broth.

Dashi is a Japanese stock. It's a fundamental ingredient in many Japanese dishes. Dashi can be made from kombu (dried kelp), katsuobushi (dried and smoked bonito/skipjack tuna that is shaved into thin flakes), iriko or nibosh (anchovies/sardine), or a combination of all. I did have a can of both sardines and anchovies, but decided to try it with the chicken broth. It tasted surprisingly authentic!
MISO SOUP
I generally have a quart of chicken broth in the freezer so putting this soup together was fast and easy.

Ingredients:
1 qt. chicken stock or Dashi broth
1 clove garlic, minced
1" knob of fresh ginger root, grated
1 large scallion, both white and green parts
1/2 cup firm tofu, cubed
3 Tbsp. White Miso paste*
1 sheet Nori seaweed, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 pieces Nori chips (optional, but if not using add more regular Nori)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Oyster (or fish) sauce

If you are using Dashi broth I don't think you will need the soy sauce or Oyster sauce. I added those ingredients to bring out the umami flavor.

* Miso comes in many different colors (red, brown, white, etc.) and flavors. Its uses vary regionally throughout Japan.
 
I bought these chips at my local Safeway.
They are not that good on their own,
but worked well in the Miso Soup.
 
Preparation:
Bring 4 cups of chicken (or Dashi) broth to a boil. Add minced garlic, the white portion of the scallion sliced thinly, grated ginger root, soy sauce, oyster or fish sauce. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add miso and stir until completely dissolved. Taste. Add more miso if needed. Drop in tofu cubes, and seaweed. Gently simmer 5 more minutes. Serve topped with the sliced greens of the scallion.

Miso Soup is commonly eaten for breakfast in Japan, often served with rice, eggs, fish or pickles. When my husband, Jerry and I were in Hawaii we had it every day for breakfast. It's salty, but very satisfying and if you like a savory breakfast it's a great way to start the day.

Next, I am going to experiment with Miso Glazed Pork Tenderloin and Crispy Garlic Miso Glazed Salmon.

All for today!
 
Until next time, thanks for tuning in
for another episode of:



Sunday, February 3, 2019

PIZZA!

Making your own pizza dough is easy. It just takes a little time. Last week I made pizza dough with my good friend Dorita Pina. She is a fabulous home chef, but had not made pizza so we did it together. Seems to be a trend of late, which I enjoy tremendously. Cooking with friends is fun, especially when they share the same passion for food as I do...and Dorita definitely does!

Dorita punching down the first rising.
This recipe is from Giada DeLaurentis. I've made it before. Find the recipe here:
http://cookwithcindy.blogspot.com/search?q=pizza
One of the things I like about pizza dough is the simplicity of ingredients: flour, yeast, water, salt, a little oil for drizzling. That's it!

This recipe makes 3 very thin pizza pies. This time I doubled the recipe, but still made only 3 pizza pies. The pizza was more like a thick-crust Chicago-style pizza. I prefer a thinner dough so next time would make 5 pizzas from the doubled recipe. Once cooked, they freeze well. The day before Dorita and her husband Rudy arrived I made a pizza sauce.
 
TRADITIONAL PIZZA SAUCE
This was enough for 3 pizzas.

Ingredients:
1 12-oz. can tomato paste
2 Tbsp. Sun-dried tomato paste (optional)
12 ounces warm water (110 degrees or warm to the touch, but not scalding)
6 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot)
1/8 tsp. dried red pepper flakes (ditto)
Salt to taste. I used 2 tsp.

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Heat until cheese starts to melt. Will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Our appetizer was an antipasti platter featuring
the homemade Tuscan and Calabrese salami
I made with Jay Bileti and the homemade
pepperoni (top left).
Rudy and Jerry solving the world's problems.
Once your dough has risen a second time, using your hands spread it evenly over a pizza pan.
Dorita is a pro, instinctively
knowing just how to spread the dough.


I had also prepared a bunch of different toppings ahead of time so everyone could 'weigh in' on what they wanted.
Toppings included:
Pre-cooked Italian sausage
Pre-cooked Ground Beef
Pepperoni
Green Pepper, cooked slightly
Mushrooms, cooked slightly
Roasted Red Peppers
Caramelized Onion
Raw Onion
Red Pizza sauce
Basil Pesto Sauce
Various grated cheeses: Mozzarella; Parmesan; Provolone


 

 
 
DESSERT WAS A  BIG HIT, TOO!
TARTUFO!
This is Brian Boitano's recipe. He served his
Tartufo with a caramel sauce and also cut
the Tartufo's in half exposing the cherry.
I left them whole so the cherry would be a surprise!
 
 
Tartufo is an Italian ice cream dessert originating from Calabria. It usually consists of 2 or more flavors of ice cream, fruit or fruit preserve all wrapped in a chocolate shell. The shell is either formed by molding melted chocolate or you can simply crush chocolate cookies, which is what I did. 
You could also make this dish with homemade ice cream, but I used Haagen Dazs Vanilla Bean and for the fruit...these fabulous Amerena cherries.
For the chocolate crust I mixed a whole bag of Pepperidge Farm chocolate, chocolate chip crispy cookies with 1/2 of a Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet chocolate bar. Blend together in a mini-food processor until fine crumbs form.

Slightly soften the ice cream so it is easily scoopable. Fill the scoop and then carefully punch a hole into the scoop of ice cream using the handle of a wooden spoon and insert the cherry. Cover over with ice cream and gently roll in the chocolate crumbs. Refreeze until ready to serve.

What a fun dinner party we had! Jerry Vale was serenading us throughout the evening and we almost felt like we were in Italy.

Until next time...
 
BUONA MANGIATA!
 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

ICE CREAM!...ICE CREAM!...AND MORE ICE CREAM!

I love ice cream. Next to Cheesecake, of any flavor, it is one of my favorite desserts. On New Year's Eve I helped my good friend Debby Vis make ice cream for the first time. She is such an accomplished home chef that making ice cream was easy for her. Deb made the custard base night before we arrived.

Here's Deb slowly adding toasted pecans
into the ice cream mixture as it churns.
BUTTER PECAN ICE CREAM
I found this recipe on the 'Taste of Home' site. I use this site a lot and have never been let down, and this recipe is no exception!

I nabbed this photo from the 'Taste of Home' site.
Our New Year's Eve celebration got wild and crazy...
No time for food photos!
Ours looked as good, if not better!
Ingredients:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preparation:
In a small skillet, toast the pecans in butter for 5-6 minutes until lightly browned. Cool.

In a heavy saucepan, heat half and half to 170 degrees, whisking occasionally. Stir in brown sugar until dissolved. Whisk a small amount of hot cream mixture into the eggs; return to the pan, whisking constantly. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches at least 160 degrees (no more than 170) and coats the back of a metal spoon.

Remove from the heat. Cool quickly by placing pan in a bowl of ice water; stir for 2 minutes to cool it down. Stir in heavy whipping cream and vanilla. At this point if you have any lumps, because a little of the egg "cooked" when adding the hot half and half into the eggs, strain into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve pressing the custard through, but leaving the lumps behind. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the custard so a crust does not form and refrigerate several hours or overnight. I prefer to make the custard the day before for 2 reasons: 1) you know it is perfectly chilled when time to churn and, 2) it helps by having this entire step done ahead of time.

Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. As you begin to freeze the ice cream pour in the toasted pecans. My Cuisinart Ice Cream maker usually takes between 20-30 minutes to freeze, but everyone is different. After churned, remove from the ice cream maker and pour into a freezer-proof bowl and freeze for 2-4 hours before serving.

VANILLA ICE CREAM

Since a kid, one of my all-time favorites is Vanilla Ice Cream. From this basic, but delicious recipe you can add all kinds of fruit or other flavorings to change it up, but I like it just like this--creamy, eggy and delicious!

Ingredients:
2 cups half and half
5 large egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 vanilla bean or 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract*

* I have never used a vanilla bean and the ice cream is delicious using plain old vanilla extract.

Preparation:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the half and half and vanilla bean (if using) to the scalding point (the milk begins to foam up). Remove from heat, take out the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds from the bean with the back of a knife, and mix the seeds back into the half and half.

Meanwhile, in a stainless steel bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy; about 2 minutes. I use a hand mixer, but you can also do this with a wire whisk. It will take much longer. Gradually pour the scalding half and half into the whipped egg yolk mixture, making sure you keep whisking constantly so the eggs don't curdle or "cook". If any lumps do form, strain through a fine mesh sieve before re-heating.

Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (double-boiler effect), and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook until the custard thickens enough that it coats the back of a spoon; or until custard reaches 170 degrees.

Immediately remove the custard from the heat and continue to stir for a few minutes so it does not overcook. The stirring helps cool it down. At this point stir in the vanilla extract (if using). Cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the top of custard and cool until reaches room temp and then place in refrigerator for several hours, or overnight.

Transfer the cold custard to the chilled container of your ice cream machine and process according to manufacturer's instructions. Once made, transfer the ice cream to a container and store in freezer until ready to serve. If the ice cream becomes too hard, place in refrigerator until softened--15-20 minutes.

Nothing as pure, simple and
scrumptious as Vanilla Ice Cream!
Next, I'm giving you a recipe I found on another excellent food blog, Allrecipes. When our good friends Joe and JoJo Hammond came for dinner I served this ice cream for dessert. Turns out JoJo's favorite is Maple Walnut, as was my dear Mom's. I've tried a lot of different Maple Walnut recipes, but this is my  favorite. We always got our maple syrup from Putnam's farm in Charlestown, NH; absolutely the best, and a beautifully run, multi-generational, owned and operated family farm.
MAPLE WALNUT ICE CREAM

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups milk
2 Tbsp. white sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Sticky Walnuts:
1 1/2 cups walnut halves
1/2 (fat) cup maple syrup
Pinch of salt

Preparation:
Pour heavy cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the bowl. Whisk egg yolks together in a separate bowl.

Heat milk and sugar together in a saucepan over medium-low heat until milk begins to steam, about 5 minutes. Slowly pour about 1/2 cup heated milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Scrape egg yolk mixture into the saucepan with a heatproof spatula.

Cook and stir milk mixture constantly with the spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the saucepan often, until mixture thickens and coats spatula; about 10 minutes or until it reaches 170 degrees. Remove saucepan from heat; pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the heavy cream.

Stir 3/4 cup maple syrup, coarse salt, and vanilla into cream mixture, then place the bowl over a larger bowl of ice water; stir to cool to room temperature. Press plastic wrap on the surface and chill the mixture in the fridge, about 2 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Spread walnuts onto a baking sheet. Toast walnuts in the preheated oven until they turn golden brown and become fragrant, about 15 minutes. Set nuts aside to cool to room temp. Chop nuts coarsely.

Heat the (fat) 1/2 cup plus maple syrup in a saucepan until it comes to a boil. (This reminds me of days visiting the Putnam's Sugar House with my Dad...the sweet smell of sap boiling!) Stir in walnuts and return to a boil. Stir nuts for 10 seconds or so, remove from heat; set aside to cool completely. This can also be done ahead. The nuts will be wet and sticky when cooled.

Remove custard mixture from refrigerator; pour into ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturers instructions. During the last few minutes of churning, stir in wet walnuts.

Keep in freezer until ready to serve.

Now, I'm going to turn to some Ice Cream recipes I've made over the years...

PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY ICE CREAM

and

STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE ICE CREAM

http://cookwithcindy.blogspot.com/search?q=ice+cream

Very peanut buttery and I served with
Peanut Butter and Strawberry cookies. Oh my!
 
This Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream
was really fun for me as it was my
first-ever ice cream creation.
Having goats milk on hand made it easy!
Next, the first ice cream I ever made...which happens to be my husband, Jerry's favorite:

PEPPERMINT STICK ICE CREAM

http://cookwithcindy.blogspot.com/2017/01/peppermint-ice-cream-and-italian-cookies.html

I've made this Peppermint Stick Ice Cream many times
over the years. For me, a little too sweet,
but if you like those sweet pepperminty flavors,
you'll love this one.

CLASSIC STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM

http://cookwithcindy.blogspot.com/2013/02/lets-start-with-dessert.html

I made this one for my husband's birthday one year.
How can you go wrong with fresh strawberries, cream and eggs?

And, this year's special birthday ice cream...

SALTED CARAMEL ICE CREAM

http://cookwithcindy.blogspot.com/2018/11/thanksgiving-menu-2018.html


AND FINALLY...
This last recipe is a "cheating" Ice Cream, but so delicious and nobody has to know.

PUMPKIN ICE CREAM

http://cookwithcindy.blogspot.com/2013/12/turkey-tales.html

Scroll down to the bottom to find this recipe. Really fun way to add a festive and easy treat to Thanksgiving dessert.

This is the Pumpkin Cheesecake I served
that year with the Pumpkin Ice Cream.

I think that is enough Ice Cream for today,
but before we close...

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
 
Until next time, keep indulging, keep experimenting, keep cooking, and keep on having fun in your own kitchen!
 
 
Jerry ALWAYS enjoys a little ice cream!