Wednesday, 31 March 2010

For Your Intimate Holiday Table - Prime Rib Roast of Beef with Yorkshire Puddings

Is there anything more glorious than a roast of beef with Yorkshire puddings? This is a special and relatively simple meal for your small holiday table. Pair with a special bottle of wine (or two!) and an elegant but light dessert for a special evening. Bon appetit!

Simple Rib Roast
Roasting: A Simple Art by Barbara Kafka

4-1/2-pound short standing rib roast (about 1-2 ribs)
2 to 6 cloves of garlic
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1/2 cup red wine, for deglazing

Remove roast from refrigerator and let come to room temperature, about 1 hour. Place oven rack on second level from the bottom. Heat oven to 500 degrees.
Place roast in a small, shallow roasting pan, bone side down.
Snuggle the garlic into slits in the fat. Season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes. With meat in oven, reduce heat to 325 degrees and roast another 12 minutes. Meat temperature should read 135 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove roast from oven. Transfer to a serving platter. Pour or spoon off excess fat, reserving about 1/8 cup fat. Put pan over high heat and add wine. Deglaze pan well, scraping with wooden spoon. Let reduce by half. Pour liquid into a small sauceboat and reserve.

Yorkshire Pudding

3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup cool milk
1/8, or more, cups fat from roast

Make batter for pudding at least 5 hours ahead of roasting meat so it has time to chill. Put eggs in large bowl and beat with electric beater or whisk for 1 minute. Add salt. Alternating the flour and milk, add to the eggs. Beat only until all ingredients are well-combined. If available, pour batter into a pitcher or large measuring cup for ease in pouring later. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Batter may be made up to 2 days ahead. Pour reserved fat into heated Yorkshire pudding cups or large muffin tin cups and place in the 450-degree oven. Let heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Pour appropriate quantity of cold batter from refrigerator directly into cups - about 1/3 full. Bake 15 minutes. Reverse pan in oven halfway through baking, back to front, so pudding will rise evenly and brown evenly. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Continue to bake approximately 15 to 25 minutes, until pudding is crispy and brown. Serve hot. Makes 6.

Throw a few cute little potatoes in with the roast, oiled and seasoned. They will also help it stand up.
Serve with horseradish.. lots of horseradish!

*A comment-free blogger*

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Cookbook Reviews: Giada at Home and In the Sweet Kitchen

This is a great season for new releases, Giada De Laurentiis has come out with her new book, Giada at Home, released today, and Regan Daley's baking masterpiece In the Sweet Kitchen is now out in paperback.

Giada at Home
Family Recipes from Italy and California
Giada De Laurentiis
240 pages

Giada fans will need no prompting to pick up her latest book, her shows are immensely popular and her last four books were New York Times bestsellers. All for good reason; her style of combining Italian cooking with fresh, California style is appealing in a big way. Her instructions are clear and her dishes are delicious. As we shed our winter fare, Giada guides us through healthy and vibrant dishes to waken and please the palate and the senses. I was already a Giada fan, I was sold before I opened the book. But since cooking from it... even more so.

To toast the early spring we have been enjoying here, we had a Limoncello and Blueberry Cooler from the Brunch chapter. Simple and delicious, muddled mint is kissed with citrusy limoncello and topped with sparkling water as blueberries dance about in the glass. It is as much fun to drink as it is to make.

I could not resist making the Tomato and Basil Tartlets from the Bruschetta & Crostini chapter. Puff pastry, tapenade, fontina cheese, baby tomatoes and basil. These are all words of love to me and I showed my love to them by popping them into my mouth one at a time. These would be great to bring to a small potluck.. providing I can keep myself from eating them all before I get there.

I know, these are not much to look at. Indeed hubby looked none too excited when he saw them. But when he took a bite out of these Crispy Parmesan Biscuits he was amazed. "They are so light! And crispy on the outside! And airy in the inside! These are the best biscuits I have ever had." There you have it. Score another one for Giada. I think she just passed Ina as hubby's favourite chef.

Now that grilling season is here, I sent hubs out to grill some veggies for these Grilled Vegetable, Herb, and Goat Cheese Sandwiches from the Soups and Sandwiches chapter. I love grilled veggie sammies, and the goat cheese is delicious with it, but the real star of the show was the olive oil/sundried tomatoes/garlic/lotsa herbs sauce that is on both sides of the bread. I want to put it on everything I eat from now on.

What to do when you are over-run with zucchini this summer? (Besides give them to me..) How about a crispy and delicious Zucchini and Olive Pizza! I used the mandoline and sliced the zucchini very thin to layer on this pie. The crust and zucchini get pre-baked before the oregano, cheeses and olives go on. Outstanding. Next time I will season the zucchini before topping the pizza with it though.

In the Sweet Kitchen
The Definitive Baker's Companion
A Guide to Ingredients & Techniques with More Than 150 Simple and Seductive Recipes
Regan Daley
704 pages

Many bakers will already be familiar with this great book, it is as much baking encyclopedia as it is recipe book. Very detailed chapters are given to Tools and Techniques, and Ingredients, as well as Recipes. I can't think of any question about sweet baking that can't be answered in this book. No wonder it won Book of the Year and Best Cookbook in 2001. Now that it is in paperback, all that information is all the more affordable.

There are a lot of great cakes that I look forward to baking for birthdays and holidays, but I chose simpler options for this week. These White Chocolate Tropical Chunk Cookies are half way to being a granola bar, they are so packed with delicious and chewy dried apricots, coconut, and mango. The macadamias gave them a great, buttery crunch and reminded me of sunnier climes. Delicious.

Also thinking lunch box fare, I made the Orange, Dried Cranberry and Cornmeal Muffins with Millet. I loved the crunchy nuttiness that these have - they are very good warm with butter and also traveled well for hubby's lunch. Orange juice and orange zest make these muffins like a little burst of sunshine in the morning.

You must know by now that I have a serious love for rice pudding, so I had to make this Warm Sweet Risotto with Saffron and Dried Cherries. Rich adult flavours in a creamy and soothing pudding, there was also an alternative flavour - Moroccan-Spiced Rice Pudding with Dates. For the longest time I couldn't decide which one I wanted to try more, finally I chose the one with the dried cherries. I also learned this week just how expensive dried cherries are! Holy, there must be a national dried cherry shortage for the prices to be so steep. Didn't stop me though, my mind was made up. Brilliant flavours with the earthiness of the saffron, the perfume of the orange zest, and the tart burst from the cherries. It is also good cold.. for breakfast... :)

Saving the best for last, we have the Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream. Deliciously creamy, a little goes a long way. I have never roasted cinnamon before and was thrilled at how rich and deep the flavour gets when properly heated up. Twice strained, this ice cream goes down like rich silk.

I had planned on making the Bananas in Phyllo Pastry with Dates, Pecans and Brown Sugar but I ran out of time. Soon though, I can't get them out of my mind. Maybe even with a scoop of Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream...

Two great books to kick off your spring/summer reading. Happy Cooking!

*A comment-free blogger*

Monday, 29 March 2010

I Have Cute Buns!

Frickin' adorable actually.
For this month's Bread Baking Day, Tangerine's Kitchen chose Buns as the theme. As we all know, everything is better in miniature, including bread. These little guys make excellent canapés as well as accompaniments for mains and salads. I warn you though, once you start eating them you won't be able to stop!

White Dough
adapted from Richard Bertinet

1/3 oz fresh yeast or 1.5 tsp active dry yeast
18 oz bread flour
2 tsp fine sea salt
12.5 oz water

Rub the yeast into the flour using your fingertips as if making a crumble. Add the salt and water. Hold the bowl with one hand and mix hte ingredients around with the other (or use the rounded end of your scraper) for 2-3 minutes until the dough starts to form. Work the dough, without adding flour, on the counter using lift and slap movements for 5 minutes. Lightly flour your counter and shape the dough into a boule. Leave in a bowl, covered, to rise for one hour.

Bread Shots
adapted from Richard Bertinet, Dough

1 batch white dough
Flour for dusting
Olive oil

A selection of 2 or more fillings:
  • Pesto
  • Tomato paste mixed with finely chopped herbs*
  • Olive paste
  • Chunks of mature, hard cheese
  • Walnut halves
  • Kalamata olives, pitted* I also added fresh rosemary
With the help of the rounded end of your plastic scraper, turn the rested dough out onto a clean counter and, with the flat edge, divide it first into 5x6-ounce pieces, roll each piece into a log, cute each log in half, then cut each half into three, making 30 pieces.

Roll each piece into a tight, smooth ball. Place the balls onto a flat-edged baking tray that has been lightly greased with oil (make sure there is space between them or they will touch as they rise) and let them rest for 15 minutes. Dip the handle of a wooden spoon or your index finger into the flour and then push it into the center of the first ball. Put a little of your chosen filling into the well you have made. Repeat with the remaining balls. Let the balls rise for 45 minutes on a baking tray, covered with a lintfree dishtowel. Preheat oven to 475F

Put the tray into the preheated oven and mist the inside with a water spray. Turn down the heat to 425F (220C) and bake for 8-10 minutes until they are light golden brown. Remove and let cool a little, so that they are just warm before serving. Brush with a little olive oil to give a nice sheen and an extra layer of flavour.

*My bread shots took longer in the oven, and I gave them an extra poke before they were finished - to keep the filling down.

These buns have been Yeastspotted!

This blog is now comment-free, to free up both your time and mine. If you have any questions feel free to email me at livinginthekitchenwithpuppies AT hotmail DOT com.
Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

L.O.L.A. Lola

This week at Michael Symon Sundays we made his famous Lola burger! A gorgeous burger is perched on a toasted English muffin (mine is made from Peter Reinhart's BBA recipe) and garnished with spicy ketchup, dill pickles, bacon, melted cheddar, pickled onions, and a sunny-side up egg. Can you say delicious!? This was a treat and fun to make.
Of course if you are going to serve a Lola burger, you will be singing heartily. The same song, over and over. I can't stop.

Lola Burger
Michael Symon


* 8 slices bacon
* 24 ounces ground beef, 75% lean
* Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
* 4 thin slices cheddar cheese
* 4 English muffins, split
* 4 large eggs
* 1 dill pickle, thinly sliced
* 1/2 cup pickled red onion* below
* 4 teaspoons Spicy Ketchup* below


Build a medium-hot fire in your grill or preheat a stovetop grill pan.

Cook the bacon in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, turning once until crisp, 5 minutes. Remove the bacon to paper towels to drain. Reserve the bacon fat in the pan.

Form the ground beef into 4 patties, each about 3 ½ inches in diameter. Season the patties with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Place the burgers on the grill or in the grill pan and cook for 3 minutes. Flip and top each burger with a slice of cheese. Grill for 3 minutes for medium rare. Remove to a plate. Add the English muffins to the grill or grill pan and toast for 1 minute.

Cook the eggs sunny-side up in the bacon fat while the burger rests.

Build the burgers by sandwiching them between the muffin halves along with pickle slices, red onion, bacon, and egg, and some spicy ketchup.

What do you drink with such a burger? Champagne, that tastes just like cherry cola...

Of course it wouldn't be complete without a deep-fried salad. You heard me.

Fried Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Capers
Michael Symon


* Canola oil, for deep-frying
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 4 salt-packed anchovy fillets, rinsed, filleted and minced
* 1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
* 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced on the bias
* 1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted and coarsely chopped
* 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
* 2 cups loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
* 2 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed and patted dry
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Pour enough oil into a medium pot so that the oil comes 3 inches up the sides. Heat the oil to 350 degrees.

While the oil is heating, whisk together the garlic, anchovies, serrano, red wine vinegar, honey, scallions, walnuts and extra-virgin olive oil in a bowl large enough to toss all of the Brussels sprouts. Keep the bowl near the stovetop.

Working in batches, deep-fry the Brussels sprouts until the edges begin to curl and brown, about 3 minutes. To the last batch, add the parsley and capers (stand back-the capers will pop and sputter!). Give the contents of the pot a stir. When the color of the parsley becomes a deeper, more saturated shade of green, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, remove the contents of the pot with a skimmer and place directly in the bowl of dressing. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Michael Symon is some kind of rock and roll foodie god genius. If I ever see him I am totally kissing him on the mouth. You know, until my husband pulls me off of him..

Michael Symon's Master Pickling Recipe Using Red Onions


* 2 pounds red onions, sliced
* White wine vinegar
* Sugar
* Kosher salt
* 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
* 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
* 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
* 4 garlic cloves
* 2 bay leaves


Pack the onions in 2 1-quart jars and cover with water to come within a half inch of the rim. Pour the water out into a measuring cup. Note the volume, pour off half the water, and replace it with vinegar. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons salt for every 3 cups of liquid. Pour the vinegar mixture into a nonreactive saucepan, add the mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, coriander seed, black peppercorns, garlic, and bay leaves and bring to a boil over high heat. Allow the liquid to boil for 2 minutes, and then remove it from the heat.

Pour the hot liquid into the jars to cover the onions and screw on the lids. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Yields: Makes about 2 quarts

Michael Symon's Spicy Ketchup


* 1 small yellow onion, minced
* 3 garlic cloves, chopped
* Kosher salt
* 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
* 5 Fresno chilies, seeded and minced
* 1 ancho chili, seeded and minced
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
* 2 tablespoons cider vinegar


Sweat the onion and garlic with a 3-finger pinch of salt in the olive oil over a medium heat in a nonreactive 2-quart saucepan until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the Fresno chili, ancho chili, and red pepper flakes. Cook for a minute or two. Add the brown sugar, cumin, cinnamon, tomato paste, and vinegar and simmer for 10 minutes. Add 3 cups water, bring to a gentle simmer, and cook over low heat for 2 hours.

Remove from the heat and let cook for 15 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick. Puree the mixture in a blender and strain through a sieve, pushing any solids through. Let cool, then cover, and refrigerator for up to one month.

Yields: Makes 3 - 4 cups

Oddly enough I found all of these recipes on Rachel Ray's website. I have no idea why.
The only thing more fun than carbo-loading is fat-loading. This Lola burger, the ultimate sammie, is for Souper Sundays with Deb of Kahakai Kitchen.


This blog is now comment-free, to free up both your time and mine. If you have any questions feel free to email me at livinginthekitchenwithpuppies AT hotmail DOT com.
Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Nigella's Italian Beetroot Salad

This is the second-to-last week that I Heart Cooking Clubs will be cooking up Nigella Lawson's recipes. In the race to be the next chef - Flay, Oliver, and Bittman have been pretty neck in neck in neck all month. As of this posting there is about 17 hours left to vote. Feel free to cast your vote and join us in the next six months of exploring the winner's dishes.

This week I chose Nigella's Italian Beetroot Salad for Potluck, I had some beautiful beetroot and, as luck would have it, some quick pickled red onions leftover from a Michael Symon burger we made the night before. (Recipe tomorrow) It is fate I tell you. I was destined to make this salad.

Roasted beets are delicious, I make them in my counter-top oven. I like to dice the beets first, that way they caramelize all over. Just toss them in a little olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh black pepper and roast until tender. (I like a little bite left)

Italian Beetroot Salad
Nigella Lawson, Forever Summer
(I made a scaled-down version of this, served on salad greens)


1 red onion
2x15ml tablespoons red wine vinegar
8 large or 16 small cooked beetroot *in my opinion, roasted is the only way to go with beets.
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp chopped mint
Maldon sea salt

Peel the onion and cut it into fine rings, then sit these rings in a shallow bowl and spoon over the red wine vinegar. Cover with clingfilm and leave to steep for at least a quarter of an hour or for up to three.
Slice the beetroot and arrange these rounds on a large plate, top gracefully with the onion rings, pouring over any vinegar from the bowl and then drizzle over the oil and sprinkle with the mint and Maldon salt.


Friday, 26 March 2010

Hot Cross Buns!

Look at them, all shiny and sticky and inviting. Makes one want to sing, between mouthfuls of the soft, scented dough. I try to sing the Hot Cross Buns song but it inevitably turns into Three Blind Mice. Hot Cross Buns... see how they run!
Well, mine didn't run but they sure disappeared in a hurry. So soft and tender the first day you can just shove them in your mouth as-is. The second day they are perfect for toasting. The third day.. there is no third day. We ate all of them in two days. The two of us.

This is the first bread we are baking from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread. The Mellow Bakers is a new bread baking group, baking through this book and other recipes at a gentle pace. Membership is open, if you are interested.

Now, back to the buns. They are fairly easy to make, and have baked-on crosses in the traditional manner - representing the seasons. Since the cross has come to represent Christianity, hot cross buns have become related to Easter.
Hamelman's recipe seems to have an overly generous amount of cross-dough and glaze, but Susan of Wild Yeast has played with his recipe a bit and has it posted here.
Whether to celebrate Easter or the change of seasons, these make for a fun and delicious bread.


This bread has been Yeastspotted!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Simple Mexican-Style Breakfast for Cook The Books

This month's foodie book club selection at Cook the Books was Like Water for Chocolate. A simple tale that reads like fable or mythology, the book recounts the highly emotional life of a girl born into the slavery of her mother. As youngest she is obligated to sacrifice her own wants and needs to attend to the woman who bore her. Forever. That meant giving up the love of her life, indeed watching him marry her sister, and all the grief, rage, and heartbreak attendant. Where does the tidal emotion end up? In the food. As Tita chops, slices, kneads and bakes, all her pent up frustrations and feelings permeate the finished dishes and have remarkable effects on the people who eat them.

I liked the idea of the story but I found that the reader is always kept at a distance. It is hard to identify with the characters and ultimately care about them. The book was made into a movie in 1992 and I would like to see it, just to see how on earth they translated it to the screen. The tale is larger than life, fantastical in its telling.
We were invited to make a dish inspired by the novel, which is situated in Mexico. I have some trouble finding Mexican ingredients in suburban Canada and had no idea what to make until my friend Foodycat made a Mexican style breakfast. Perfect. I can do that!

Mexican-Style Breakfast

Cheese (I used cheddar as that was what I had on hand. Jack would be great)
Eggs - sunnyside-up
Tinned refried beans
Avocados - chopped
Tomatoes - chopped
Green onions - sliced
Sour cream
Puréed chipotle peppers

In the 350F oven, warm up the tortillas. Spread with refried beans and heat through. Top with grated cheese, chopped tomatoes and avocados. Add a sunnyside-up egg and garnish with sliced green onions (and cilantro if you have some). Dot with sour cream mixed to taste with puréed chipotle peppers in adobo. Voila! Tasty and healthy Mexican-style breakfast.

This month's Cook the Books book was chosen by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream Cones!

What brought you here? The bourbon or the vanilla? The ice cream or the cones?
If it was all of the above, that's okay too. A balanced lifestyle leaves room for being a hedonist from time to time.
If you are going to have ice cream it might as well be the good stuff, not the giant containers of "frozen dessert". If they are not even allowed to call it ice cream, it can't be good.
Call it a celebration of Spring if you will - but truly I don't find ice cream to have a season. I will eat it in the dark, frigid dead of Canadian winter. What I do find reminds me of warmer times is the cone. It is ice cream cone weather. Come celebrate.

Real ice cream is very rich, a little goes a long way. Unlike store-bought, you won't feel like you need half a litre to be satisfied. Or is that just me?

Below is the recipe for David Lebovitz's Vanilla Ice Cream, to which I added 2 tbsp of bourbon. He has a variation with 3 tbsp, but I wanted it to be stiff enough to scoop for the cones.
The cones are made in a cone iron or press, like a skinny waffle iron. If you don't have one - don't worry - the recipe link has instructions for making them on a sheet pan.

Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream
David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop


1 cup milk

A pinch of salt

3/4 cups sugar

1 vanilla bean

5 egg yolks

2 cup heavy cream

A few drops of vanilla extract

2 tbsp bourbon* add in just as you are about to churn the ice cream

Click here for the rest of the recipe on David Lebovitz's site.

Ice Cream Cones
David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop


1/4 cup (60ml) egg whites (about 2 large egg whites)

7 tbsp (85 g) sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp salt

2/3 cup (90g) flour

2 tbsp (30g) unsalted butter, melted

Click here for the rest of the recipe on YumSugar