Easy-peasy drop biscuits

I’m not going to tell you that I like drop biscuits better than regular roll and cut biscuits. Drop biscuits are less evenly shaped, making them more difficult to use with things like sausage biscuits or whatever, and they are a teeny bit less flaky. BUT, they are a whole lot easier to make. Like way easier. If that means that I occasionally get biscuits on a Sunday-morning whim, well then…I am game. They are also a great topping for a quick “pot pie” over some chicken stew.

They don’t exactly look gross, do they?

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup very cold buttermilk
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted and then cooled just slightly (plus 2 tablespoons melted for brushing the tops after baking)
  1. Heat oven to 475 with rack in middle. Spray a 1/4 cup measuring cup with oil and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients in large bowl. Stir 8 T melted butter into cold buttermilk. The liquid will clump up a bit…that is very good. It’s what makes these biscuits fluffy and yummy
  3. Add wet ingredients into dry and fold together with rubber spatula. Fill measuring cup with batter and tap onto sheet. Space evenly across sheet- you should have 10 – 12.
  4. Bake in oven for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Brush cooked biscuits with melted butter and serve!!

Green chile sauce

In honor of my recent trip to New Mexico, I am posting my recipe for green chile sauce. Some stores roast fresh green chiles during the season and I’ll just buy a few pounds, process them (de-seed and slice or dice) and freeze them. The heat of the sauce depends almost entirely on how well you de-seed the chiles. A few grocery stores also sell frozen, processed chile, usually Bueno brand, in the freezer section. Or, you can order them online here.

Basically, this sauce is delicious. I used it in green chile enchiladas, with breakfast tacos, on turkey burgers. You get the picture. It’s just plain good.

Here it is on a cheese omelet with a side salad of tomatoes and avocado:

Here it is with a breakfast taco made of scrambled eggs,  sauteed potatoes and sliced avocado:

Anyway, here’s how it goes….

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 T flour
  • 1 C roasted green chile, diced
  • 1 garlic toe, minced
  • 1 C low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 t honey
  • 1/2 t Mexican oregano (not 100% required, but good)
  • Salt to taste
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat, add the onion and saute until soft. Add the garlic and, if using, the Mexican oregano, and saute for 30 seconds to bloom. Add the flour and cook for another 30 seconds to remove the flour flavor.
  2. Slowly whisk in chicken stock. When fully incorporated, stir in green chile. Simmer on medium until you reach desired thickness. I like mine a little runny, but not liquid.
  3. Stir in honey and salt to taste.

Lazy, lazy Christmas, baby

Here’s what I have done over the last 2 weeks:

  • Built uncountable fires
  • Basked in the glow of aforementioned fires
  • Read 2 Vanity Fairs cover-to-cover
  • Read 2.5 novels and listened to 1 book on tape
  • Cooked some delicious grub
  • Slept 8-10 hours a night
  • Driven ~800 miles

Here’s what I did not do over the last 2 weeks…

  • Post anything new

I promise to change my wicked ways and catch up, or at least get back on track, before the new year.

 

The very best applesauce

It’s apple season, people. Please don’t let it pass without making some delicious apple dishes. This is one of my favorites to just have in the fridge. Great on it’s own, mixed with yogurt, served with potato pancakes or pork. You can also sub it for oil in a lot of baking recipes.

Served here with a dollop of Greek yogurt and local honey….

One thing about this recipe that’s really different from most apple recipes, is that I strongly prefer it with just one variety of apples, as opposed to a mix. I usually prefer mixes because you get more complex flavors. With this, it’s best to really let one variety shine. My fav is pink lady.

  • 4 lbs apples, unpeeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup sugar (your call…I prefer less. You can always add honey later)
  • 3/4 C water
  • pinch salt
  • 1 T butter, cut into 4 pieces

Optional flavorings to stir in at end: Cinnamon,  candied ginger, lemon zest, nutmeg

  1. Place apples, sugar, salt and water in heavy-bottomed pot. Toss to combine, cover and cook until apples are tender and just beginning to break down (but not falling apart). About 20 min
  2. Transfer to food processor, add butter, optional seasoning and pulse until broken down. Do not over process! You want it smooth, but not liquid.

I also love it mixed with Greek yogurt and served with homemade granola and chopped apples

Lemon-glazed sweet potatoes

I got this recipe from a Bobby Flay cookbook that my sister gave me. Actually, I gave it to her and then she re-gifted it to me. I don’t think she noticed the note I left her on the front page, but I sure did! Whatever…I wanted it anyway.

The potatoes are roasted and then tossed with a sweet/tart lemon glaze.  I served them here with Parmesan kale and tilapia with habanero sauce. Really interesting flavor combination …earthy, sweet, puckery sour. Yum. I’d give them a B+, but my honey gave them an A. I’ll definitely make them again.

  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced to 1/2 inch
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Combine zest, sugar and juice in a small pot. Reduce on medium heat until thick and ~1/4 cup
  3. Meanwhile, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil in an oven-safe pan. Roast until golden and cooked through (~20 min)
  4. Remove from oven and pour lemon glaze over potatoes. [NOTE: don’t just dump the whole amount. Pour half or so, toss and see what you think. I ended up with leftover lemon glaze that was great in cocktails]. Sautee until coated, tossing or stirring gently, season with S&P. Serve!!

Random goodness

Here are some random meals we’ve had (somewhat) recently that I really liked and don’t want to forget….

Leftover pot roast on egg noodles: Pretty self-explanatory, no? When my mom visited, she bought me my beloved crock pot and made an introductory pot roast for me. I popped about 1/2 of it in the freezer and resuscitated it 2 months later for a delicious dinner.

A scrumptious salad: Arugula with chopped cherries, Marcona almonds, grated Parrano cheese and balsamic vinaigrette

Pollo Rico! This is one of my favorite local spots. 1/2 a delicious roasted chicken, Mexican rice, GREAT beans, 1/2 a roasted onion, corn tortillas, fire-roasted tomato salsa and creamy jalapeno salsa…all for about $7. Seriously?

Veggie curry: This is now my go-to pantry/freezer/leftover dish. Yum. Basically onions, garlic, ginger and chickpeas + any veggies I have around, all simmered in a sauce of diced tomatoes, curry, coriander and turmeric. Served with a raita made of shredded cucs, garlic, yogurt and a pinch of salt. Super easy. Super healthy. Super supper

Cobb salad: Your basic composed salad. Romaine + bacon + hard boiled egg + tomatoes + feta + avocado + light, lemony vinaigrette

Homemade pasta

This is going to be a long post. Long like luscious strands of tagliatelle, as opposed to long like a self-indulgent rambling. Hopefully.

I got a pasta machine last year for Christmas and have absolutely loved it. It’s so insanely delicious and fun, and nowhere near as difficult as I thought it would be. I know you can do it without a pasta machine, but I have no idea how. Assuming you have one of these suckers, here’s how it works….

First you make the pasta. I use this recipe:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

On a clean surface make a well with the flour. In a measuring cup mix the eggs, water and oil and salt. Pour the wet mixture slowly into the flour and mix with a fork (or your fingers) until all of the wet is incorporated. Do not force the dough to take all of the flour. Form the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for an hour.

At this point, you’ll start kneading the dough with the pasta machine.

  1. Set up your pasta machine, clamping it to a table or countertop, and turning the dial to the widest setting (usually setting number 1 on the dial). Initially, I divide the pasta dough into two pieces. Working with the first piece (keep remaining piece covered with plastic wrap), flatten it into a rectangle shape. Starting with one of the shorter sides of the rectangle, feed it through the rollers at the fattest setting.
  2. Once passed through, Fold one side of the piece of dough into the middle, then fold the other side over that to form 3 layers (like a letter) pressing lightly on the top of the piece of dough to seal it. Pass this new pasta letter through the fattest setting (#1) again.  Repeat this step 2 times
  3. Now, keep passing the pasta through the machine, at successively skinnier settings until you reach the desired thickness. At this point, it’s best to work with a helper, so one person can turn the crank and the other person can guide the dough into the machine with one hand and catch it with the other hand, being careful not to stretch or tear the sheet. You may also want to cut it half a few times if it gets too long or fat. It benefits from kneading, so don’t worry if you have to manipulate it a bit.
  4. At this point, check out a real cookbook. 🙂 If you’re making ravioli or lasagne, you may want thin sheets. If you want fresh pasta, your machine has an add-on that cuts the sheets into lovely strips of pasta.

Here’s some pics of stuff I did….

Butternut squash Ravioli with brown butter & sage

Fresh linguine with mushroom sauce


 

Shortcake

OK, so this post isn’t exactly “seasonal” or “timely.” So, I’m a bad “blogger” and “person.” You might take all that sass talk back when you try these shortcakes. They are really different from what I grew up with- impossibly tender and delicate, instead of biscuity and sturdy. I love both types, but I think they just go with different fruits. This recipe would be perfect with raspberries or blueberries. The other would be better with strawberries or peaches. Fair enough?

There’s one super nutty step in this that I loved. You add a pulverized cooked egg yolk. That way, you get the fat and richness, but not the moisture. Kooky.

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 hard-boiled egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 teaspoons lemon or orange zest (optional)
2/3 cup  plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, egg yolks, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and zest, if using, and pulse until the flour resembles coarse meal. Add 2/3 cup of cream and pulse until the dough comes together.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather into a shaggy mass. Knead a couple times to make it into a cohesive mass and then pat it into a rough circle about 6 to 7 inches in diameter, and 3/4 to 1-inch thick.
  3. Use a cookie cutter to make shapes of your choice. Chill for 20 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush the tops of the shortcakes very lightly with heavy cream and sprinkle lightly with  sugar (course/decorative if you have it). Bake until risen and golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Turn the pan around halfway through to ensure even cooking.
  5. While the shortcakes are baking, toss the berries with a little sugar and lemon juice. Let stand several minutes. The sugar pulls out moisture from the berries and the lemon balances the sweetness and prevents browning.
  6. Split the shortcakes in half horizontally and set the tops aside. Place the bottoms on dessert plates and heap strawberries over them. Spoon whipped cream generously over the strawberries and replace the shortcake tops. Serve immediately with any remaining whipped cream on the side.

Roasted Broccoli

This is my favorite way to cook broccoli. It’s easy, delicious and beautiful. Plus, I’m always looking for ways to get my food into the oven and off of the stovetop. Oven-roasting is so much easier and cleaner, no?

It’s great as-is, but also delicious with some grated parm. In this picture, I’ve tossed it with toasted pinenuts, grated Parmesan and lemon zest. YUM

  • One large head broccoli
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t sugar (I know, it’s weird. But it really helps it caramelize)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Lemon wedges to serve
  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place large rimmed sheet pan on rack and preheat oven to 500. It’s important to preheat your pan with the oven, so that the broccoli is seared when you put it in the pan.
  2. Cut broccoli at head of. Peel from stalk and cut stalk into 2- to 3-inch lengths, then cut each stalk piece into 1/2-inch-thick slices.  Cut crowns into 4-6 wedges, depending on size of crowns. Note that you are not trying to create individual little “trees” like you might normally. Ideally, each piece you cut will have a flat section of exposed stalk.
  3. Place broccoli in large bowl; drizzle with oil and toss well until evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt, sugar, and pepper to taste and toss to combine.
  4. Working very quickly, remove baking sheet from oven. Carefully transfer broccoli to baking sheet and spread into even layer, placing flat sides down. Return baking sheet to oven and roast until stalks are well browned and tender and florets are lightly browned, 9 to 11 minutes.
  5. Transfer to serving dish. Serve immediately with lemon wedges. Or toss with basically anything you like.

Here it is again on the plate with some de-licious lemon-glazed sweet potatoes and a simple arugula salad:

 

Birthday dinner

Well, the birthday dinner was a big success. The table was covered with candles, bright colors and little toys. I hung old pics (mostly Polaroids) from the chandelier and got these great balloons that say “Happy Dumb Birthday.”

It all started off with my spicy acorn squash soup, topped with some crispy caramelized shallots:

You can see the carrot cake in the foreground, but here’s a better picture of its insane deliciousness:

In between those scrumptious bookends, I serves roasted asparagus (I should add that recipe) and this Tuscan chicken dish I made up a million years ago. Basically, you serve chicken cutlets with crisped prosciutto and a mushroom Madeira sauce on creamed spinach.  I came up with it when I was on that Devil Atkins diet. It was a keeper, though. Here’s a pic…