September 2011

If there is one thing I love, it is any type of seafood. If there is one thing I don’t love, it is cooking for one. Just me. Alone. By myself. But that is where I find myself right now. Not for long, but long enough.

What’s the easiest thing to cook just for one that is quick – PASTA!! And since I’m not getting home until later I really have to rummage to find something to cook with pasta. I was excited to find a single Salmon fillet in the freezer which meant I could make this….

    Farfalle with Fresh Salmon.

Since I only had one 4 oz salmon fillet I made about 1/3 of the recipe. And it was super simple. Saute garlic with red pepper flakes. Add chopped fresh tomatoes (which I did not have so used some frozen whole blanched I had put up early this summer) Add sliced salmon and fresh basil. throw in some cream and toss with the pasta. Super Simple and Super Tasty.

And if you want to know what pasta for one looks like –

A litle pile of pasta. Dang but I’ll be glad when The Hubs is home again.

Check out what Kayte made for 30 Minute Thursdays. Why don’t you join us? The recipe is from Hazans 30 Minute Pastas on page 118. If you like super simple you will LOVE this book.


Cocoa Shortbread Cookies with a Twist.

The twist is that they are actually SALT and PEPPER Cocoa Shortbread Cookies.

These are super simple to put together. And they are slice and bake. In a matter of minutes the dough came together. After 4 hours or so in the fridge they are ready to slice and bake. Super Simple!!

While they make good chocolate cookies I really couldn’t taste the pepper much (and I put in what was called for). I made 1/2 the recipe which gave me 11 cookies. And we liked the chocolate cookie partso I will probably make them again ’cause they are so simple to make.

Thanks to Tia of Buttercream Barbie. These were actually last week’s pick but I am running a week behind again. The recipe is on her blog and on page 128 of Dorie’s Baking From My Home to Yours.

First of all, I know this is NOT what is on the schedule for today for French Friday’s with Dorie. Second, I don’t own a Madeleine pan — yet!! So making the honey-spiced mads was out for me. The last time I made them in a really CHEAP pan they looked like little piles of pooh. Did NOT want that to happen again!! Better to skip altogether!!

So let’s step back 2 weeks….

    …to what was ‘assigned’.

To what I have been meaning to make for the last 2.5 weeks.

Just a simple rice dish, or is it…? Is it risotto?

It doesn’t have to be stirred for hours without stopping yet it is creamy.

You don’t have to watch it continuously, yet it doesn’t burn!!

Boil broth, add arborio, simmer on low heat until ALMOST done {NO STIRRING}, off of heat and let finish cooking.

    Yep, THAT easy!!

      THAT easy!!

Add in sauteed onions and garlic, wilted spinach, cream, and cheese…

…and you end up with such a creamy delicious dish one helping is not enough!!

I have to admit I didn’t follow the recipe EXACTLY (YEAH YEAH!!). Dorie sugested Gruyère, Emmenthal or Swiss cheese. None of which I had. So I used White sharp Cheddar. It was like a yummy mac/cheese made with rice! And I am not trying to insult risotto. Delicious!! But I will make it next time with the ‘right’ cheese. Maybe!!

Find this recipe on page 380 of Dorie’s around my french table.

And check out the other FFwD cooks and their madeleines for this weeek. And past weeks’ dishes as well.

    Linguine with Classic Basil Pesto

I have to admit I have had pasta with pesto before. I often make it as a simple meal for lunch. But I have used ‘store-bought’ pesto and not home made. I have even made Basil Pesto before but I included the cheese in the pesto it self. But when Hazan made the pesto he didn’t put the cheese in the pesto, he put it the pasta. It made a BIG different. Actually, you put the pesto in the bowl the pasta will be mixed in THEN you grate the cheese over the pesto and THEN you add the pasta. What I ended up with was a lovely pasta dish where the cheese melted in the pata making it melty and ‘creamy’.

If you have Hazan’s 30 Minute PASTA you can find the recipe on page 54.

And check out Kayte’s 30 Minute Thursday entry.

And if you have the book, or you are getting the book, please join us.

What’s the old saying,

    A Day Late and A Dollar Short?

How about a week late and a brownie short? While everyone else was enjoying Dorie’s Classic Brownie last week, we were enjoying……NADA. I thought last week was the **** Cake and since we aren’t big fans of ****s in baked goods I didn’t even bake it.
But THIS week???
And they are chocolatey, delicious fudgey treats.

They may be small in stature but they are big in taste. Chocked full of chocolate – bittersweet {actually I used semisweet} and unsweetened – and walnuts they are sweet and crunchy. Dorie also suggests espresso, but I still don’t have any, so…..

THESE were good!!!
Thanks to Anne of Anne Strawberry for this delicious brownie!! You can find the recipe on Anne’s delicious Blog! Not only that – she made FOUR DIFFERENT TYPES!! Oh.My!! So scoot over and visit with Anne for a bit!!
You can also find the Classic Brownies in Dorie’s Baking From My Home To Yours. (page 88)

And visit the other

I know what you are thinking! Why is there a picture of a SPIDER on the blog? I was wonderfing that myself. Oh, wait. That’s not a spider, it’s Malagieri’s Deep-Dish Peach Pie. What looks like a large arachnid crawling out of a dish is actually the pieces of the Puff Pastry Lattice Crust on top of some delicious sweet, nutmeggy sliced peaches. Malgieri said only to perss the lattice to the edge of the baking pan. I did. And this is what happened. The pieces rose up and … well you can see!! But it did not affect the taste one whit!!

Malgieri explained how to make the lattice work and then transfer it onto the pie. As hard as I tried I finally had just fix the lattice crust on the pie itself. But since I made two mini pies it was quite simple to do it ‘the old fashioned’ way. I cut the strips with a scalloped knife and only 1/4 inch rather than the 1/2 inch suggested because the pies were small.

Sprinkled with a little sugar they were sweet, but not too sweet and perfect one serving.

And the Ice Cream on top? That is…..

Chez Panisse Vanilla Ice Cream
(via Nancy who adapted it from Chez Panisse Desserts by Lindsey Remolif Shere)
Makes: 1 quart

1 vanilla bean
1 cup half and half ( I actually used 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk since I was out of half and half)
2 cups whipping cream
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
6 egg yolks (I used about 105 grams of yolk)
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sugar, rubbing the mixture between your fingers until the sugar is fragrant.

2. Add the vanilla, sugar, vanilla pod, half and half, or milk and all the cream to a sauce pan. Warm the mixture, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.

3. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl until just mixed. Gradually pour the hot mixture into the egg yolks in a steady stream, whisking constantly.

4. Pour all back into the sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring, until the mixture thickens slightly into a custard and coats the back of the spoon.

5. Strain the custard into a storage container, add back the pod to the custard, and chill in the fridge until cold.

6. Add the vanilla extract, remove the vanilla pod, and freeze in an ice cream maker.

If you like a rich vanilla laden IC this is the one. And perfect to top my Peach Pie Spider!!!!

Other members of the Modern Baker Challenge have already made the pie. And there are process pictures on The Puff Pastry Page. And take a look at Phyl’s.

Now that the month is almost 1/2 over I am finally changing my Twitter Avatar. This week’s food celebrity was Nigella Lawson chosen by our friend Marthe of The Baking Bluefinger. Actually I changed my Avatar the first of the month, but it wasn’t very pretty and the dish really wasn’t that good. Now I have the right dish and the better picture.

    Hassleback Potatoes

I had made these before but I didn’t like the way they came out. Nigella’s were perfect. Just basted in a little EVOO and butter.

    •18 medium oval-shaped potatoes, about 125g each, or 36 new potatoes, approx. 60g each
    •45g butter
    •5 tablespoons olive oil
    • Maldon salt {I used regular salt}

Serves: 6.

1.If you’re using the larger potatoes, preheat the oven to 400°F/210°C/gas mark 7; for roasting new potatoes, preheat to 395°F/200°C/gas mark 6. Put each potato, in turn, in the bowl of a wooden spoon, like you would carry an egg in an egg-and-spoon race, and cut across at about 3mm intervals.{This is a GREAT tip. You won’t cut them all the way thru’ and you don’t have to worry about it!!}
2. When you’ve cut them all, put the baking tin on the hob (don’t you love that word: stove} with the butter and oil and heat up till sizzling. Turn the potatoes well, putting them in upside down (ie, cut side down) first, then the right side up, and spoon the fat over them.
3.Sprinkle each potato well with salt and put in the oven: cook the large potatoes for about an hour and 10 minutes, testing to see whether the flesh is soft (you may need another 10 minutes for this); 40 minutes should be fine for the new potatoes.
4.Transfer to a warmed plate, and serve. {I sprinkled a little dried parsley over the top.}

Althought just a little variation on a good ol’ baked potato they look so elegant and are fun to make.

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