Archive for the 'The Food Network' Category

21
Jan
11

Oyfn Pripetchik… – In the Fireplace…


It snowed overnight, after most of the snow and ice on the ground had just about melted away…

This morning's view from my apartment window

Oyfn pripetchik brent a fayerl
Un in shtub is heys.
Un der rebbe lernt kleyne kinderlekh
Dem alef-beys.

A fire is burning in the fireplace
and its warm in the house,
as the Rabbi is teaching little children
the aleph-beys.

Street view...

It’s cold and Shabbos is coming and as we recharge our batteries from the week’s harsh realities, or we contemplate on the week’s successes, there is that special Shabbos food to warm us, to comfort us. Cholent, kugel (whether potato or lokshen – noodles) and more.

As we sing Shabbos zmiros, as we tell over divrey Torah there is a warmth that permeates the heart’s own hearth – the tiny inner pripetchik where the pintele yid is always burning, always reminding one who and what he or she is. Regardless of the weather outside, whether cold, freezing, warm or hot, the heart’s temperature is perfect, as the mind feels uplifted by the niggunim, by the words of ancient wisdom, by the stories that touch one’s soul and the body enjoys those special flavors of the Shabbos food (the same food, prepared the exact same way, just tastes so different during the week).

[..]Gliklekh iz der yid vos lernt toyre,
Vos darfn mir nokh mer?

Happy is the Jew who learns Torah
What more do we need?

(Oyfn Pripetchik - Old Yiddish song)

Talking about the special taste of Shabbos food, I came across this easy recipe, on The Food Network, by Joan Nathan, it is different and very good:

Vegetable and Fruit Kugel Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 apples, grated
  • 1 large sweet potato, grated
  • 4 carrots, grated
  • 1 cup matzoh meal
  • 1 stick pareve margarine, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 24 paper muffin cups
  • 2 (12) cavity muffin tins

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.
  2. Place the paper muffin cups in the muffin tins.
  3. Pour the batter into the cups. They should be two-thirds full.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until done in a preheated 350 degree oven.

A gutten Shabbos – Shabbat shalom umevorach, gentle reader.

CS

11
Jan
11

Salt… – Part 1


As we are on the verge of a blizzard again (starting sometime this afternoon) and since salt will be used to melt the snow, it reminded me that we should look at its various types and their role in cooking. Salt is the oldest known spice, its flavor is versatile, it is a staple of cooks and bakers.

What’s Cooking America describes its uses:

Enhancing almost every dish, salt is added to breads, meats, fruits and vegetables to sauces and desserts.

Additionally, salt aids foods in a variety of ways like:

Preservation – helps protect against microorganisms, bacteria through dehydration and preventing growth of bacteria, which slows or prevents spoilage.

Texture Aid – in bread making, allows the dough to rise by giving helping the gluten hold more water and carbon dioxide. In meats it improves tenderness and in cheeses it aids in consistency of the cheese and the hardness of the rind.

Binder – in processed meats it helps retain water which reduces the loss of meat when cooking.

Color Developer – in processed meats it helps obtain the desired color. It also helps create a golden crust for breads.

Fermentation Control – slows and controls the fermentation process in:

  • Pickling
  • Cheese production
  • Sauerkraut production
  • Summer sausage production

The Food Network, talks about the three main types:

Photo from: virtualweberbullet.com

What is the difference between kosher salt, sea salt, and table salt?

For the cook’s purposes, the main difference between salts is in their texture. Table salt’s fine granules dissolve quickly, making it the preferred salt of bakers. Sea salt and kosher salt possess larger, irregular grains that add a delightful crunch and hit of briny flavor when sprinkled on food at the last minute. Generally, savvy cooks prefer kosher salt when cooking, since its coarse texture is easier to take a pinch of when seasoning savory dishes.

Chemically there is little difference between kitchen salts. All are at least 97 1/2 percent sodium chloride. But there are significant differences in the provenance and processing of these salts.

Table salt is mined from underground salt deposits, and includes a small portion of calcium silicate, an anti-caking agent added to prevent clumping. It possesses very fine crystals and a sharp taste. Because of its fine grain a single teaspoon of table salt contains more salt than a tablespoon of kosher or sea salt.

Sea salt is harvested from evaporated seawater and receives little or no processing, leaving intact the minerals from the water it came from. These minerals flavor and color the salt slightly. However, because these salts are usually expensive, it is worth keeping in mind that they lose their unique flavor when cooked or dissolved.

Kosher salt takes its name from its use in the koshering process. It contains no preservatives and can be derived from either seawater or underground sources. Aside from being a great salt to keep within arm’s reach when you are cooking, it is particularly useful in preserving, because its large crystals draw moisture out of meats and other foods more effectively than other salts.

Since lately we’ve talking about cheese, I thought I should post here one of my favorite adapted Foodista pasta recipes, Potato Gnocchi with Walnut Sauce:

Potato Gnocchi with Walnut Sauce (Photo from: foodista.com)

Gnocchi Di Patate Con Salsa Di Noci (adapted)

Ingredients

  • 7 ozs walnuts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 handful parsley leaves
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cracked black pepper
  • 1 dinner roll or slice of bread, crust removed
  • 1 cup milk
  • olive oil
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored yogurt
  • cream or half and half

Directions

  1. Put 7 ozs of walnuts, a clove of garlic a handful of parsley, a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper in a food processor. Process until you have a rough paste. Then add a dinner roll or thick slice of bread, with the crust removed, soaked in milk and squeezed dry, olive oil, grated parmesan cheese and tablespoon of unflavored yogurt. Start processing and, as the you process, add either milk, cream or ‘half-and-half’ through the funnel until the mixture forms a fairly smooth sauce.
  2. Take your gnocchi and boil them in well salted water until they come to the surface of the water. Transfer them from the water with a slotted spoon into a large bowl, add a generous dollop of the walnut sauce, some more grated cheese and, if you like–although some sources call it heresy–a nut of butter. Mix gently with a spatula, adding a bit of the pasta water to thin out the sauce if need be. Serve immediately with additional grated cheese for those who want it.

I’ve made this a few times and I can assure you it is absolutely delicious!

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

07
Nov
10

Little Lemon Meringue Pie


I’m constantly looking for delicious desserts, I confess, I have a sweet tooth… While scouring the web, for something decadent but fairly easy to prepare, I came across the following on The Food Network:

My mother (a"h) used to make something very similar... ahh, the memories!

 

Little Lemon Meringue Pies

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch fine salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sour cream or yogurt

Lemon Filling:

  • 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

Meringue:

  • 1/4 cup egg whites (about 2 large eggs)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch fine salt
  • 1 (6-cup) standard non-stick muffin tin

Directions

Crust:
Beat the butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high until smooth. Add the sugar and salt and continue to beat until evenly combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the egg yolk. Add half of the flour, beating until just crumbly. Scrape down the bowl again; add the remaining flour and then the sour cream or yogurt, beating just until the dough is evenly moistened. Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly to bring it together.

Roll the dough between 2 generously floured sheets of waxed or parchment paper into a circle about 1/4-inch thick with a rolling pin. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Cut out 6 (4 1/2-inch) rounds using an inverted bowl or round cookie cutter. Place rounds in the muffin tins and, using a small shot glass or your fingers, press into the corners and about halfway up the sides for a snug fit (see photo). Freeze dough in the muffin tin for 30 minutes.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Spray the outside of 6 standard muffin liners with cooking spray and place in the crusts. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake crusts until just brown around the edges, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for about 1 minute; then carefully remove the muffin liners and baking beans. Return pan to the oven and continue to bake until crusts are cooked through and evenly browned (see photo), about 15 to 20 minutes more. Cool slightly. Then carefully remove crusts from the muffin tin and cool completely on a rack.

Lemon Filling:

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and yolks in a nonreactive saucepan. Whisk constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture is smooth and sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Add the lemon and lime juice and zest and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is as thick as sour cream and is just about to simmer, 3 to 4 minutes. (Take care to stir into the sides of the pot so that all curd thickens evenly.)

Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Whisk in the butter a little at a time, until smooth. Stir occasionally until cooled. (Setting the bowl in a larger bowl of ice will speed this up.). Fill each tartlet with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cool lemon filling.

Meringue:

Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a saucepan that can hold a standing mixer’s bowl above the water. Whisk together the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and salt in the bowl by hand. Set the bowl above the boiling water and continue whisking until the mixture is hot to the touch (135 degrees F) and the sugar dissolves, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the whites at medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Increase speed to high and continue to beat to make a stiff, cool meringue, about 10 minutes. Dollop or pipe on top of the filling.

Just before serving, preheat the broiler to high. Set the pies on a baking sheet, and place under the broiler until the meringue is evenly toasted, about 2 minutes. (Alternatively, brown meringue with a blowtorch.) Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

For Busy Bakers:

They can be refrigerated for up to 2 days These also freeze wonderfully! They can be assembled and frozen up to 1 week in advance. Defrost for 20 minutes before broiling the tops and serving.

To make ahead in stages:

- The crusts can be made, baked and frozen up to 2 weeks.

- The curd can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated.

- The meringue can be made up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS




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