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Archive for the ‘potatoes’ Category

this is a good alternative to regular mashed potatoes and is super duper easy.

peel, halve, and boil until tender, 4 russet potatoes. don’t use waxy- skinned potatoes like redskins, they can get gluey when mashed.

mash the potatoes along with 2T of butter, and enough half and half to make them a good consistency. they should not be too dry or too moist. add salt and pepper to taste, a grating of nutmeg, and 1/2 cup of whole- milk ricotta cheese.

spoon into a flat dish [don’t pat them down, leave them fluffy], sprinkle with cheese
[i used reggiano] and put into a preheated 400 degree oven until the top begins to brown. when it begins to bake on top, turn the oven to broil and broil until the top is well- browned or just how you like it.

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i made this for my 40th birthday. i had a few friends over for a small get together.
my friend michelle always makes an amazing birthday cake, and this year was no exception; chestnut cake from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Cake Bible. i don’t bake a lot, but michelle does. she turns out many stellar cakes, year after year from
The Cake Bible.

LAMB

the lamb stew is a variation on a stew i have done before with ethiopian spices.
the berbere spices are such a great mixture for any stew or chile, and other ingredients
can be added to it to give it more dimension. this recipe will serve about ten people.

trim and cube [about 1″ cubes] a medium- sized leg of lamb. dredge in flour and brown. brown them a few at a time, not allowing them to touch. scoot cubes over to the side of the pan and add more until they are all browned. add two large yellow onions, diced.

after the onion has softened a bit, add about 1/4 cup of the berbere spices. if you do not have access to a blend, you can make your own from ground chile [ancho works well], coriander, fenugreek, a little cumin and cardamom. in addition to the berbere spices add 1 T dried mustard, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 T unsweetened cocoa, ground pepper and
1 t salt. add 6-8 cloves of peeled garlic, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 small can of tomato paste, 2 cans of fire- roasted chopped tomatoes, and 1 cup dry red wine. fill the pot with water until the lamb is covered. put the pot, with a lid, in a 325 degree oven for about 3 hours. taste and season if necessary. you should not need much salt, the spices are intense enough.

GNOCCHI

i love gnocchi, but had never attempted to make it fearing complete failure. i’ve had amazing gnocchi, and i’ve had horrible gnocchi, it seems like something that could so easily go wrong. so i did my homework. many recipes use eggs, but traditionally there is no egg; it’s used as a binder and supposedly makes it easier to make. i made mine without and it was easy. adding egg can make it tough. i originally wanted to make sweet potato gnocchi, but sweet potatoes are so wet that i thought it might not have the texture i wanted. this recipe is kind of a an adaptation of a few recipes and techniques i read about, and it turned out great.

bake 3 large russet potatoes, and one medium sweet potato. allow to cool completely, then peel off the dark skin with a knife. there will be kind of a tough outer layer of potato left, leave it on and remove the pieces left at the end, it will help you grate the potato without it totally falling apart. the sweet potato will just come right out of it’s skin; just do your best pushing it through the grater. grate the potatoes with the coarse side of a grater.

after the potatoes are grated, add 1/2 lb grated grano pedano cheese, 28 oz whole milk ricotta, 1 1/2 t salt, 3 1/3 cups flour [all purpose is fine], ground white pepper, and a generous grating of fresh nutmeg. mix with a large fork until the ingredients are combined. try to be gentle, the dough will form large chunks in the bowl.

pour the dough out and knead it briefly until it forms a solid mass. this took about 30 seconds. handling the dough too much develops the gluten and will make the gnocchi tough.

take a bench scraper or a knife and cut off a chunk. form it into a sausage shape, then roll out into a rope. many people roll into a small, 1/2″ size rope, which is fine, but i wanted mine bigger. once they have butter and grated cheese on them, i didn’t want them to be too rich. cut each rope with the bench scraper into 3/4″-1″ lengths. arrange on a cookie sheet or somewhere to rest. we made layers on the cookie sheet separated with plastic wrap. parchment or a cloth would work just as well i think, but this being my first attempt, i wanted to make sure they did not stick to stuff.

boil the gnocchi in salted water in batches. make sure they do not initially stick to the bottom. they will float to the top after a minute or so and puff up a bit. treat them gently. if you are making smaller gnocchi, poach for about 3-4 minutes; for larger, about 5 minutes. don’t let them overcook, they will fall apart. drain with a large slotted spoon, and transfer to a baking dish that has been greased lightly with melted butter. you will need two large dishes, this makes a lot of gnocchi. once they are closely arranged on the dish, brush with butter, sprinkle with 1/2 pound of grano padano cheese [split between dishes], and drizzle in a little cream, about 1/3 cup all together. put under the broiler on high until it is bubbling and brown. congratulations… you just made gnocchi, easy.

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cooking 101: fries.

the perfect snack at 2 a.m.

heat oil until it’s REALLY hot. add potatoes until they get brownish. remove with tongs or some utensil that allows for drainage. drain on paper towels, salt, eat. QUICK! they cool off fast.

remember to turn off stove before you go to bed. seriously.

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