Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bailey's peppermint chocolate cheesecake

based on this, makes one 9" springform and one 9" pie pan

2.5 c crumbs from cookie parts of 1 box TJ's peppermint Jo-Jos (insides saved)
3 T sugar
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F. Crush cookie crumbs in small batches in the food processor. Stir in sugar, then stir in melted butter. Press into bottom and sides of pans. Bake for 8 min, and cool before filling with cheesecake.

5 8-oz packs cream cheese
1.5 c sugar
2 t vanilla
5 eggs
1/2 t salt
1.5 c sour cream
3/4 c Bailey's

Preheat oven to 325F. Put the whisk attachment on the Kitchenaid. Beat cream cheese until smooth, then beat in other ingredients one at a time (eggs a couple at a time). This pretty much fills up the Kitchenaid, so be careful, and scrape down the sides from time to time. When the crusts are cool, divide cheesecake between the pans; both will be very full! Place in the oven on a baking sheet and bake for a good long while (about 1 hr for pie pan, 1 hr 20 min for springform) until browning on top and reasonably set. They will rise tremendously while baking and crack a bit, and some pieces may even fall off the sides---it's quite a sight! Cool on the counter for half an hour, during which time the cheesecakes should collapse back on themselves somewhat, then cover with buttered foil and stick in the fridge to set (overnight if it's bedtime, or presumably one could chill for just an hour or two before topping with ganache).

8 oz dark chocolate from TJ's Pound Plus bar
6 cookie insides
1/2 stick butter
1 c cream

Get the cheesecakes out of the fridge and set them on the counter. Chop up chocolate, butter, and minty insides into cubes and put in a large bowl. Bring cream to boil, pour over chocolate, and stir until melted and smooth. Let stand for a few minutes if it seems too hot, then pour over the cheesecakes. Stick in the fridge until serving time. Decorate with more cookie insides and serve for Christmas dessert.

Dad's salmon mousse

from the Silver Palate cookbook

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 c cold water
1/2 c boiling water
1/2 c mayonnaise
1 T lemon juice
1 finely minced shallot (1 T)
1/4 t chili powder
1/4 t sweet paprika
1 t salt
2 T finely chopped dill
2 c finely flaked canned salmon, skins and bones removed (one 15 oz can with bones + one 6 oz can without bones)
1 c heavy cream

Soften the gelatin in the cold water in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the boiling water slowly until the gelatin dissolves. Cool to room temperature but un-gelled. Whisk in the mayonnaise, lemon juice, shallot, chili powder, paprika, salt, and dill. If it's still not gelling, refrigerate for a few minutes until the mixture begins to thicken slightly. Fold in the salmon. In a separate bowl, whip the cream, and fold it gently into salmon mixture. Transfer the mixture to a 6- to 8-cup bowl or decorative mold. Cover and put in the fridge overnight. Serve with ciabatta and crackers as an appetizer on Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sourdough rye pancakes

1 c rye starter
1 egg
1 T sugar
1/2 c flour
1.5 t baking powder

Mix starter, egg, and sugar well. Mix in flour and baking powder until just combined. Fry in butter until browned and a little crispy. A quick and easy way to use up starter, with the added bonus of having pancakes when you're done.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fruit and nut rye bread

After dinner, put in your Kitchenaid:

1 c rye starter
1 1/4 c warm water
1 T barley malt syrup
3 c white bread flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1/3 c wheat bran
2 t cherry brandy
1 T salt

Mix together with the dough hook on low or medium-low for 6-8 minutes, then mix in:

zest of one large orange
2 c pecan halves, broken up a bit
3/4 c currants
1 c raisins
1 c craisins

Knead on a floured surface for a few minutes. Put in a greased bowl, cover with a cloth, and put in the oven with a pan of boiling water and the pilot light on overnight.

The next morning, lift the dough onto a floured surface. Cut in half, then cut one half into 16 little pieces for rolls and leave the other half intact for a boule (or whatever combination of loaf sizes you desire). Press the big dough piece into a rectangle, fold in thirds like a letter, press out, then fold in thirds like a letter the other way, to get a cubic loaf. Roll around a bit to round out the corners, then place in a floured metal cake pan. Roll each little dough piece into a little ball, and place on floured parchment paper on a cookie sheet or two. Put pans in the oven, cover with a cloth, and let rise for 6-8 hours.

When you come back from a short day at work, remove loaves from the oven and preheat to 450F. If the bread looks dangerously dry, brush with a bit of oil. When the oven is nice and hot, put in the loaves, lower heat to 400F, and bake for 40 min until top is brown and bottom is not burnt. Mine came out drier than I'd prefer, so adding some oil or butter to the dough would be a good choice in the future.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sharon's peanut butter slice

These are bar cookies, but a bar cookie is called a "slice" in New Zealand from whence this recipe came, so slice it is. This is technically a half batch, which is far more manageable than a full batch because these are pretty rich. For full batch authenticity, just double everything and put it in a 9x13" pan.

1/2 c peanut butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1/3 c corn syrup (Karo)
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 t vanilla
1 c flour (can be half whole wheat) (can also add an extra 1/2 c oats)
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 c chocolate chips (optional: reserve 1/4 c)

Preheat oven to 350F. Make like cookies: cream together wet ingredients (everything up to vanilla), stir in dry ingredients until just combined, stir in chocolate chips. Spread batter in an ungreased 8x8" square pan and bake for 20-25 min until golden. Optional: only add 3/4 of the chocolate chips to the batter, and melt the rest to drizzle on top of baked slice. Cut into little squares and give to a very happy Pat.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Persimmon cake bars

based on this

2 squishy Hachiya persimmons
1.5 t lemon juice (will need 2 T more later, together this was about half a lemon for me)
1 t baking soda

1 egg
1/2 c melted butter
1/2 c sugar
1 T molasses
1 3/4 c flour
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t cloves
1/2 c currants
1 c pecans, chopped
5 cubes crystallized ginger, chopped

1 c powdered sugar
2 T lemon juice
zest from one lemon

Preheat oven to 350F and butter and flour a 9x13" pan.

Cut persimmons in half, scoop out the goopy insides into a small bowl, and mush up with a potato masher. Whisk in 1.5 t lemon and baking soda as it foams up. Let sit for a bit; it will gel up and be pretty cool.

Stir together egg, butter, sugar, and molasses in a large bowl, and combine flour and spices in a pyrex. Add dry ingredients in batches to the wet ingredients, alternating with the persimmon gel. Stir in currants, pecans, and ginger. Spread evenly in the pan and bake for 20 min.

For glaze, stir together powdered sugar, 2 T lemon, and zest. Drizzle or spread on cooled cake.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Eggplant pastitsio

A veggi-fied version of this. Takes as long as two normal dinners, but makes as much food as two normal dinners!

2 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 t cinnamon
2 t spicy Italian mix
1 medium-large eggplant, in 1 cm dice
1 t salt
2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes, not drained
1/4 c red wine
pepper to taste

1 T olive oil
6 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 arugula, packed

3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T butter
2 T flour
2 c 1% milk (more fat probably equals better)
1/4 t ground cloves
1/2 - 3/4 c each small-curd cottage cheese and grated Toscano cheese (1 - 1.5 c crumbled feta would be more authentic)
pepper to taste
2 eggs

16-oz pack fusilli

In a large pot, saute onion with spices until soft. Stir in eggplant and salt and saute for a couple minutes, then stir in tomatoes and wine. Cover and simmer for 45 min, stirring every 5-10 min, then simmer uncovered for another 15 min. Salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, saute mushrooms in oil until cooked through, then stir in arugula and cook until wilted.

Also meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan and saute garlic for a couple minutes. Add flour and whisk for a couple minutes. Whisk in milk and cloves until smooth, then whisk constantly while bringing to a boil. Turn down heat to simmer and cook for 7 min, stirring occasionally (mine never really came back to a simmer and didn't thicken much). Whisk in cheese(s) and pepper until relatively smooth and turn off heat. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, then slowly drizzle in cheese sauce while whisking constantly to prevent cooking the eggs.

Preheat oven to 400F. Boil water and cook pasta to al dente. Drain, then add half to the eggplant sauce and half to the cheese sauce. Spread eggplant pasta in the bottom of a 9x13" pan, then distribute mushrooms+arugula over that, then pour cheese pasta over that. Bake for 15 min uncovered, then 15 min covered, then 8 min uncovered, until bubbling and fairly set (the covered time wouldn't be necessary if it wasn't browning too much early on). Serve with the rest of the bottle of red wine.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday rugelach

2/3 c small-curd cottage cheese
2/3 c earth balance, softened
1 1/3 c flour

Mix together thoroughly to form a soft dough. Split into 2 balls, wrap each in plastic wrap, and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.

6 candy cane joe-joes (Trader Joe's oreos)
1/3 c white chocolate chips
2 T butter

Remove minty insides from cookie outsides. Put the cookies in the food processor and process into crumbs. Add white chocolate chips and process, then add cookie insides and butter and process some more. The final product should have the consistency of graham cracker crumbs for pie crust, or even a bit more cohesive.

Preheat oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment. Remove each ball of dough from the freezer and roll out on a floured surface into a 10" circle. Distribute the filling evenly on the dough circles, pressing the filling into the dough a bit so it'll all stick together. Cut each circle into 12 or 16 wedges, roll each wedge into a cookie (edge to center), and place each cookie on a sheet.

1 egg
1 T milk
pink sprinkles

Beat together egg and milk to make a glaze, and brush on the tops of the cookies. Sprinkle with sprinkles and bake for 25 min.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pomegranate liqueur, part III

jar of liqueur from day II, undisturbed
6 ft or so clean thin tubing
bowl or two
coffee filters (optional)
cute little bottles with tight-fitting lids (eg from Depot for Creative Reuse)

Move the liqueur jar to someplace at least as high as the kitchen counter, being careful not to shake up the layer of gunk that should have sedimented out. Place a bowl on the ground below the jar, and use the tubing to siphon the nice clear liqueur into the bowl, leaving the gunk in the bottom of the jar (you have to suck some up the tube with your mouth to get it started). Discard any gunk left in the jar. Lester did a great job of only siphoning the good stuff; I decided to run the siphoned liqueur through coffee filters anyway, but I think it didn't do anything, so you can use your judgement. Transfer the liqueur into your cute little bottles, seal tightly, and give to folks for Christmas.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cinnamon raisin bread

2 t yeast
1 t sugar
2 c warm water
1 egg
1/2 c canola
1/2 c powdered milk
1 c whole wheat flour
3/4 t cinnamon
3/4 t allspice
1.5 t salt
4.5 c bread flour

1 c raisins
3/4 c TJs spiced apple cider
1/2 c brown sugar
3 T butter
1 T marmalade

a bit more butter

Dissolve yeast and sugar in water and let yeast start to bubble. Stir in egg, canola, and powdered milk until well mixed. Stir in whole wheat flour and spices, and knead in bread flour a cup at a time to make a medium dough (not too soft, not too firm). Spray bowl with spray grease, roll the ball of dough around in the bowl to coat, cover with a clean cloth, and put in the oven with a pan of boiling water and the pilot light on for 2 hr until at least doubled.

Meanwhile, combine the filling ingredients in a little saucepan, and simmer for 1.5 hr until cider is reduced from liquidy to caramely. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm (as cool as possible while still spreadable).

Punch the dough to deflate and cut it in half, and butter two loaf pans. Check on the filling; if it's cooled into a solid sticky unspreadable mass, heat it briefly with another tablespoon of butter, stirring until it's workable. Roll out the first half of dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle that's as wide as your loaf pan is long (9") and as long as it can easily stretch (around 18" or a bit longer). Spread half of the filling on the dough, distributing the raisins and caramel as evenly as you can, up to almost the edge of the dough on all sides. Roll up the loaf from one short end to the other, pinch the ends and seams to seal, and place seam-side-down in a loaf pan. Repeat with the other loaf. Cover both loaves with a cloth, put back in the oven with fresh boiling water and the pilot light on, and let rise until the loaves at least fill the pans.

Transfer cloth-covered loaves to counter, remove the pan of water, and preheat the oven to 400F. Brush with a little melted butter and bake for 30 min.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Eggnog cookies

TJs had tasty eggnog cookies for their sample the other day, so I bought the eggnog and made the cookies. Pretty much this; the coffee-for-vanilla substitution was accidental but I like it.

1.5 sticks butter, softened
1 c sugar
1/2 c eggnog
2 egg yolks
1 t coffee extract
2.5 c flour
1 t baking powder
3/4 t each cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom

1/2 c powdered sugar
1 t nutmeg
3-5 t eggnog

Preheat oven to 325F. Cream together butter and sugar, then beat in other wet ingredients, then mix in dry ingredients. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased airbake cookie sheets to make about 4 dozen little cookies. Bake for 25 min until barely browning, and transfer immediately to a cooling rack. The next morning, whisk together powdered sugar, nutmeg, and eggnog to make a glaze, and drizzle a bit on each cookie (using the whisk as a drizzling device worked well for me). Let set while working from a coffeeshop for the morning, then bring into work for group meeting in the afternoon.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cauliflower latkes with beet slaw

Happy Hanukkah! Beets and yogurt substitute deliciously for applesauce and sour cream, but you may want to look up your favorite latke recipe before proceeding with mine.

3 beets
1 carrot
2-3 t lemon juice (or more)
several sprigs dill, chopped

1/2 head cauliflower, broken into florets
5 small potatoes
1 shallot
3 cloves garlic
1/2 t celery seeds
1/2 t mustard powder
n eggs and n T flour (what I did was apparently incorrect so I won't lead you astray)
salt and pepper

canola oil
plain greek yogurt

Start the beets boiling and the cauliflower steaming. Meanwhile, grate the potatoes into a large bowl and the carrot into a medium bowl. Add the lemon and dill to the carrot. Mince the shallot and garlic and add it to the potatoes, along with the celery seeds, mustard powder, salt, and pepper. Also add the correct amount of eggs, flour, and whatever else makes latkes stick together. When the cauliflower is very soft, mash it up a bit and add it to the latke mix.

When the beets are soft enough, peel (by rubbing under cold running water), grate, and add to the carrots along with the lemon and dill.

Heat some oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and fry latkes for several minutes on each side until crispy and browned. If yours fall apart too, don't ask me, go find a Jewish grandmother! Drain on paper towels and keep warm while cooking the rest, eg in a 200F oven. To eat, pile some beet slaw on each latke, and dab some greek yogurt on top.