Tag Archives: Voulez vous diner avec moi ce soir?

Cardamom Muffin Tin Rolls

January 2013

When menu planning, I often like to have a pervading ingredient. For this dinner gathering, the curry of the entrée inspired notes of cardamom in all the accompanying dishes. Rather than make a traditional flatbread, I spiced these whole-wheat, muffin-tin rolls with cardamom.

Cardamom Roll

I sprinkled the tops with Himalayan pink sea salt for a dash of color to channel the colorful and flavorful experience of walking through an Indian street scene. The final touch was a browned butter with honey and cardamom (recipe to come), making this roll ideal for dinner or breakfast or any snacking point in between the two!

Cardamom Rolls in Muffin Tin

Cardamom Muffin Tin Rolls
Adapted from Muffin Tin Mania

Ingredients

2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast (1 package)
1 cup warm milk, not boiling

3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, plus more for kneading
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 large egg

Garnish

browned butter
Himalayan pink sea salt
poppy seeds

Directions 

Dissolve yeast in milk in a large bowl and let stand 5 minutes.

Add 1 cup flour, 2 tablespoons olive oil, sugar, salt, cardamom and egg. Mix until combined.

Add 2 cups flour and mix until all the flour is moist.

Turn batter out onto a floured work surface and knead for 3 to 4 minutes, or until smooth and elastic, adding more flour to the work surface and hands as needed.

Place dough in a large greased bowl, turning to coat.

Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Punch dough down dough which means pushing down the centre of the dough with your fist and then pushing the edges of the dough into the centre using your fingertips.

Form dough into 36 equal sized balls and place 3 balls in each of 12 greased muffin cups.

Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush tops of dough with browned butter. Sprinkle with salt and poppy seeds.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until browned.

Elephants Were Hungry

Here’s to cardamom spiced luck & longevity!

Thai Chicken Curry

January 2013

With the sights, smells, sounds and whirling traffic patterns of India still whirling inside me, I was drawn to the curry element of this one-pot wonder from Bon Appétit (albeit a Thai chicken curry). In an effort to make the recipes of my monthly subscription, rather than just admire the beautiful food photography, I prepared this recipe for friends who had similar journeys still whirling inside them.

Thai Chicken Curry 01

An inexplicable potato-peeling zeal led me to overshoot the quantity of potatoes in this recipe, making my version thicker than the magazine photo I had admired, so choose your fancy. To potato or not to potato? One potato, two potato, three potato, four (pounds and then some)? Whatever your potato fancy, I do highly recommend sharing your version with good friends and the type of cocktails that improve as conversation flows and flavors come together!

Thai Chicken Curry 03

Thai Chicken Curry
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Makes 8-10 servings

Ingredients

2 teaspoons olive oil
4-6 ounces red curry paste (I used mild)
1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 pounds organic russet potatoes (1 bag), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I may have gone a little overboard on potatoes)
1.5 pounds organic, skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can (13.5-ounce or 15-ounce) unsweetened coconut milk
Chopped fresh basil
1 cup cashews, chopped

Directions

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat.

Add curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add carrots, onion, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add potatoes, chicken, coconut milk, and 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Divide curry among bowls, and top with basil and chopped cashews.

Cold & Crisp Carrot Salad

January 2013

This has happened to you. Somewhere in your kitchen or craft room or garage, you’ve had a tool, which though useful, went unused. At some point, you accepted this lack of use, made your peace and sent that tool to a new home. A year later, your January Bon Appétit subscription arrives, and nearly every page of that issue suggests you use that tool which is now just a void in your home. Do you go buy a new mandoline? No, don’t be ridiculous. You use a vegetable peeler and call it an “adapted” version (plus you make a few other changes because that’s how you roll with recipes). Then you set the table and enjoy the adapted version with lovely friends

Carrot and Radish Salad

Carrot Salad with Yogurt & Coriander
Adapted from Bon Appétit

Ingredients

1 cup pecans
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons raw cane sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 Tablespoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1 pound small carrots, scrubbed, sliced lengthwise very thinly on a mandoline (or with a peeler)
6-8 medium radishes, cut into thin slices
1 small beet, roasted and sliced thin
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced

Himalayan pink sea salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°.

Toss walnuts and oil on a rimmed baking sheet or in a skillet. Bake until walnuts are lightly toasted and fragrant, 6-8 minutes. Immediately sprinkle with sugar and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Let cool.

DO AHEAD: Walnuts can be toasted 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Whisk yogurt, vinegar, honey, orange zest and coriander in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

DO AHEAD: Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Place carrots in a colander set in a bowl of ice water. Let sit until carrots start to curl, about 2 minutes. Lift colander from water and drain carrots well; pat dry.

Combine carrots, radishes, beet, scallions and dressing in a large bowl and toss to coat.

Sprinkle with pecans and garnish with Himalayan pink sea salt.

A Table By Day & A Table By Night

January 2013

The table was poised beautifully in the reflections of the bright white snow, but it wasn’t until the glow of city lights against a night sky that the table truly came to be appreciated.

The Table Was Set

It was then the friends gathered around the table. It was then the candles flickered and wine glasses clanked. It was then plates were passed, and stories shared. It was then that winter became warmer and brighter than reflections from snow.

Better With Friends

(and it will be soon that recipes will be shared)

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.

~Helen Keller

An Ode To A Cabin In Autumn: A Fall Flavored Lasagna

September 2012

“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” -George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)

I do find autumn to be quite delicious, especially when fall’s flavors are layered between noodles and cheese! The original Bon Appétit recipe called for broccoli rabe, which I replaced with brussels sprouts. Firstly, I associate those mini cabbages with fall more than broccoli rabe, and secondly, that’s what was available at my grocery store. I also used a brown rice noodle for the health and flavor merits, and this recipe could easily become a gluten free staple if you use an alternative flour (I only had whole-wheat pastry on hand). Extra dashes of red pepper flakes, added to the squash roasting stage, made for a kick of spice, contrasted by hints of cinnamon and nutmeg in the béchamel sauce.  Enjoy with hot cider or hard cider before your migration to successive autumns!

Squash and Brussels Lasagna

Adapted from my food publication deity, Bon Appétit.

Ingredients

Filling

1 local butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 tablespoons olive oil plus more
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes

Fresh brussels sprouts (the typical grocery store sized bundle), rinsed, stalk removed and pulled apart into leaves

8oz fresh mozzarella, chopped
1/2 lb whole-milk ricotta
1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan
coarsely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

Preparation

For the Filling

Preheat oven to 400°.

Place squash and 3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl; season generously with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Toss to coat squash evenly.

Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, spreading out in a single layer, overlapping slightly.

Roast until tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Mix mozzarella and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.

*DO AHEAD Squash and cheese mixture can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill.

Béchamel and Assembly

1/8 cup organic unsalted butter
1/8 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
2 1/2 cups (or more) organic half-and-half
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon
1 fresh bay leaf
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

10 oz Brown Rice Lasagna Noodles (Tinkyada)
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

Béchamel and Assembly

Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.

Add flour; stir until slightly thickened (do not allow mixture to turn brown), 2–3 minutes. Increase heat slightly.

Slowly whisk in 2 1/2 cups half-and-half, 1/2-cupful at a time, allowing béchamel to thicken between additions (adding half-and-half gradually will help to prevent lumps from forming).

Add 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and cinnamon and bay leaf.

Reduce heat to low and cook, thinning with more half-and-half if too thick, until sauce is a milkshake–like consistency, about 10 minutes longer.

Cook lasagna noodles in a pot of well-salted boiling water until still quite al dente, 8–9 minutes. Transfer immediately to a large bowl of ice water to cool. Drain; spread out noodles on a kitchen towel or baking sheets lined with parchment paper, placing a kitchen towel or parchment between layers.

Ladle about 1/4 cup béchamel into a 11x9x2-inch baking dish; spread evenly over bottom. Line dish with a single layer of noodles, cutting as needed to fit (use large scraps in subsequent layers).

Layer 1/3 of squash over.

Scatter brussels sprouts leaves over the previous layer.

Dollop 1/3 of ricotta mixture randomly over greens.

Drizzle 1/2 cup béchamel evenly over ricotta mixture.

Repeat process 2 more times for a Total of 3 layers, finishing with a layer of noodles. Spread remaining béchamel over; top with Parmesan. Leftover noodles can be used for a freeform version with any leftover components.

*DO AHEAD Lasagna can be assembled 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Return to room temperature before continuing.

Preheat oven to 375°. Bake lasagna uncovered until bubbly and starting to brown, about 45 minutes.

Turn oven to broil. Cook until browned and golden, 4–7 minutes.

Let rest for 20–30 minutes before serving.

No man can taste the fruits of autumn while he is delighting his scent with the flowers of spring. 
-Samuel Johnson

May you taste the fruits of delicious autumn! Bon appétit!

My Special’s One’s Birthday: A Most Memorable Main Course (Lamb Shank)

April 2012

After enjoying my fair share of lamb shanks, I added “prepare a lamb entree” to my mental list of New Year’s food resolutions. My special one’s birthday proved to be the worthy occasion and proved I’m clearly not the type of kitchen adventurer who practices and fine tunes a recipe before serving it on a special occasion.  I embrace the risk and take the plunge!  The birthday boy said this was one of the top dinners I’ve made him so far which sounds a lot like “goal accomplished!”

In the realm of slow cooked meats, this recipe felt like cheating.  Less than three hours for tender, flavorful lamb that fell off the bone?  Don’t question it.  Just make it!

Lamb Shanks Fit For A Birthday
Adapted from Bon Appétit 

Ingredients

Black Forest Bacon Fat (I happened to have this in my skillet, but olive oil will work if you don’t have bacon fat)
1 large red onion, chopped (about 1 ¼ cups)
3 large whole garlic cloves

1 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
3 large lamb shanks (about 3-4lbs total)
Whole-wheat pastry flour (or AP flour)
2 cups dry red wine
1 can (14 oz) cherry tomatoes in sauce
.1 lbs dried porcini mushrooms
1 Tablespoons dried herbes de Provence
~1 pound organic carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-long pieces

Directions

Heat bacon fat in a skillet over medium heat.

Add red onion and garlic; sauté until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to small bowl.

Sprinkle lamb shanks with salt and pepper; dust with flour to coat.

Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

Add lamb and cook until brown, turning occasionally, about 12 minutes.

Add red onion mixture, wine, tomatoes with sauce, mushrooms, herbes de Provence, and carrots.

Stir to coat lamb with vegetable mixture.

Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until lamb is very tender, turning twice, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

Uncover and continue to simmer until sauce reduces slightly, about 10 minutes longer. Spoon off fat from pan juices. Season lamb to taste with salt and pepper.

DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm, covered, over low heat before serving.

Voila!

My Special One’s Birthday!

April 2012

Why would two crazies display such antics around a dining room table?  It doesn’t take all that much to motivate a little silliness around these parts, but this was indeed an extra special occasion and an extra call for antics!  It was my special one’s birthday!!!  More importantly, it was the first time we’d celebrated his birthday as a couple!

Those who know me, embrace [have learned to accept] my birthday gluttony.  My special one really set the bar for my birthday [month].  First there was the Birthday Eve meal.  Then there was a birthday bruncha snowventure, the official birthday meal at my favorite marble table top, and finally, there was A LOT of help making this crazy, beautiful, memorable gathering happen! On top of all that, he changed my life when he gave me a projector!  Friends, when you own a projector, you watch everything at an impressive scale.  EVERYTHING!  In short, he did really, really well, and I wanted him to feel ever so special on his day(s) in April.

In my obsessive preparations, I may even have outdone myself!  Jono said his birthday meal ranked as one of the best I have made him yet!  As such, I’m going to share the components of the meal and memories over the course of a few posts.  Stay tuned!

Happy Birthday Jono!

PS:  I swear our haircuts are not identical.  Must be a gif induced optical illusion.