Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tuckers



I’d never heard of tuckers before reading this recipe from Bon Appétit. They call it a cookie, but it’s more like a macaroon, as there aren’t any grains in the ingredients. In fact, there are very few ingredients! I used Bob’s Red Mill’s fine macaroon coconut for this, because I thought the texture would work better. I couldn’t find rose extract in stores, so I got it online (and for those of you wondering, rose water is actually rose extract diluted in water, so you really do want the concentrated stuff here); it’s a great touch. I didn’t have sanding sugar, so I used turbinado sugar – the color isn’t great, but it was good! You could also omit the sanding sugar completely if you wanted. As the Engineer points out, the combination of ingredients keep these tuckers moister than if they were just coconut. The recipe yields about 2 dozen; I got 27.

2 ½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
4 large egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. food-grade pure rose extract (not rose water)
red liquid food coloring
white sanding sugar

Cook first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot, dry to the touch, and starts pulling away from sides of pan, about 10 minutes.

Scrape dough into a heatproof bowl. Stir in vanilla and rose extract, if using. Add 1 drop of food coloring; stir well. Press plastic wrap on top of dough. Chill for at least 5 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 300 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and stack it on top of a second sheet (this keeps cookie bottoms from browning too quickly).

Roll 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball. With your fingers, pinch the ball to form a 3-sided pyramid that ends in a point (I made cones instead because I don’t listen). Dip into white sanding sugar.

Bake cookies until lightly golden on top and slightly firm to the touch, 25-30 minutes. Let cool on sheet on a wire rack.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Salade de nouilles au poulet bang bang



Cette recette d’À Bon Verre, Bonne Table m’intimidait depuis longtemps, et à bien y penser, je ne suis plus certaine pourquoi. Peut-être parce qu’il fallait cuire le poulet sur le grill? Bon, je l’ai fait cuire au four et je l’ai coupé en petits morceaux au lieu de l’effilocher. Peut-être aussi parce que je n’avais pas envie de couper des piles de légumes en julienne? En fin de compte, j’ai utilisé le robot culinaire, ça m’a pris deux minutes et un minimum d’efforts. Et je n’ai pas utilisé de racine de coriandre, tant pis. Tellement peu que je vous dirais même que cette salade est facile à faire. La photo n’est pas géniale, parce qu’en fait j’aurais dû mélanger, puis mettre le plat dans une autre assiette, mais j’avais trop faim! C’était excellent.

Pour la sauce à l’arachide
1 tasse de beurre d’arachide crémeux ou croquant (contenant uniquement des arachides)
¼ tasse de vinaigre de riz (ordinaire, non assaisonné) ou de vinaigre de vin blanc
2 grosses gousses d’ail hachées menu
2 c. à thé de sucre granulé
1 à 2 c. à thé de flocons de piment fort, broyés (j’ai plutôt utilisé du piment coréen)
2 c. à soupe de gingembre frais, râpé finement
⅓ tasse de sauce soja ou tamari
1 à 2 c. à soupe de racine de coriandre hachée très finement (si disponible)
½ tasse d’eau
2 c. à soupe de feuilles de coriandre fraîches, hachées

Pour la salade
3 grosses poitrines de poulet
1 c. à thé d’huile d’arachide (j’ai plutôt utilisé de l’huile de sésame et je recommande)
sel, au goût
400 g (13 oz) de vermicelles ou de capellinis
½ concombre anglais
1 à 2 grosses carottes, épluchées
2 petites pousses de pak-choï (je n’en avais pas)
2 oignons verts
2 c. à soupe de menthe fraîche, hachée
¼ tasse de feuilles de coriandre fraîche, hachées très grossièrement

Mélanger le beurre d’arachide, le vinaigre, l’ail, le sucre, 1 c. à thé de piment fort broyé, le gingembre, la sauce soja et les racines de coriandre, si on en a. Incorporer l’eau et les feuilles de coriandre. Couvrir et laisser macérer 1 heure à la température ambiante. Goûter et rajouter du piment fort au besoin. Délayer la sauce en y ajoutant 1 cuillerée à soupe d’eau à la fois, jusqu’à ce que la sauce soit assez liquide pour être arrosée. (On peut la couvrir et la réfrigérer1 semaine. La porter à la température ambiante et la délayer avec de l’eau au besoin.)

Préchauffer le gril à intensité moyenne à moyennement élevée. Ouvrir les poitrines de poulet comme un livre en retournant le filet sur le côté (s’il est là). Frotter le poulet avec un peu d’huile et assaisonner chaque face de quelques pincées de sel. Faire griller chaque face 4 ou 5 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que la poitrine soit cuite à point, mais pas trop cuite ni sèche. Laisser refroidir.

Verser une bonne quantité d’eau bouillante sur les vermicelles dans un bol. Les laisser tremper 5 minutes ou jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient tendres. Si on utilise plutôt des capellinis, les casser en deux et les cuire dans de l’eau bouillante salée selon les directives données sur l’emballage (habituellement de 3 à 5 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que les pâtes soient al dente). Rincer les vermicelles ou les pâtes sous l’eau froide du robinet et les égoutter. (Si les nouilles ou les pâtes sont préparées à l’avance, bien les remuer avec un filet d’huile d’arachide, les couvrir et les conserver au réfrigérateur.)

Mettre les poitrines de poulet entre deux feuilles de pellicule plastique et les marteler légèrement avec un petit marteau à viande ou un rouleau à pâtisserie pour qu’elles commencent à s’effilocher. Les défaire en morceaux. On devrait en obtenir 3 tasses.

Détailler le concombre et la carotte en fine julienne. Émincer les feuilles de pak-choï, y compris les côtes. Couper les oignons verts de biais. On obtient environ 6 tasses de légumes coupés. Remuer tous les légumes avec la menthe. (Si la salade est préparée à l’avance, couvrir le poulet effiloché et les légumes séparément et les conserver au réfrigérateur une demi-journée tout au plus.)

Au moment du service, répartir les nouilles entre des plats rafraîchis. Superposer les légumes en julienne et le poulet. Arroser de sauce à l’arachide et décorer de coriandre hachée grossièrement. Passer le reste de la sauce à l’arachide à table.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup

I had two recipes for this dish, so I decided to compare them. The first is adapted from an African dish and calls for peanut butter. While the result was good, making a thick and hearty soup, we ended up liking the other recipe so much more that that’s the one I’m posting here. It’s from a blog called Healthy Seasonal Recipes, and it blends roasted peanuts with coconut milk for a smooth, creamy soup with the perfect consistency. We all loved this one!

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 medium onions, diced (about 3 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
6 cups vegetable broth
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks
1 tsp. salt
1 13-oz. can coconut milk
¾ cup unsalted roasted peanuts
3 Tbsp. lime juice
chopped cilantro, chopped peanuts and Sriracha for garnish (optional)

Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often until the onion is starting to soften and brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add celery, broth, sweet potato and salt, increase heat to high, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, removing lid to stir occasionally, until the potatoes are very soft and fall apart when tested with a fork or tongs, about 15 minutes.

Purée the soup in a blender in two batches and add back to the pot (I did this with my immersion blender instead). Purée the coconut milk and peanuts in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute (a Vitamix blender does this wonderfully). Stir the coconut mixture and the lime juice into the soup. Gently stir over low heat to warm through (do not boil). Serve garnished with cilantro, chopped peanuts and Sriracha to taste.

Little Aprium Cakes



I wanted to get some more seasonal recipes out of the way, so I decided to make a few things with fresh cherries. Sadly, though, neither the pear cherry crisp nor the cherry almond muffins I made were good enough to share. Related, though: how to remove cherry stains.

So then I decided to turn to another stone fruit, the apricot. I wanted to make Bon Appétit’s Little Apricot Cakes. The Engineer couldn’t find apricots at the store, because apparently I’d just missed the season, but luckily, he didn’t come home empty-handed: he got apriums, an apricot-plum hybrid that tastes like an apricot but looks like a plum. These little stone fruits were perfect for the recipe!

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
6 Tbsp. (¾ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, or cold margarine
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup lactose-free whole milk
2 apricots (or small stone fruit of your choice), halved, pitted, cut into ¼-inch wedges
2 Tbsp. raw sugar

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease muffin tin (the recipe was supposed to yield 12 little cakes, but I only got 9).

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in another medium bowl, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, lemon zest, and vanilla and beat until combined.

With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Divide batter among muffin cups (cups will be only 1/3 full) and smooth tops. Top with apricot slices and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake until cakes are golden and a tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, 20–25 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let pan cool 5 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack and let cool completely.

Shepherd's Pie (or whatever you want to call it)

As I said in my last post, I wanted to share the recipe for Jen’s shepherd’s pie, which she got from America’s Test Kitchen. But first, I can’t help a little terminology.

You see, I’m a francophone from Quebec, so when I hear “shepherd’s pie”, my brain automatically assumes we’re talking about pâté chinois. The latter is basically comprised of three ingredients: ground beef, corn and mashed potatoes, layered in that order, and often served with ketchup. And as any good French Canadian, I will tell you that those are the only ingredients one can put in a pâté chinois (although finely minced onions cooked with the ground beef are acceptable); everyone seems to have a preference for the corn, but take my word for it, the correct ratio is one can of creamed corn and one can of corn nibblets. However, for Anglophones from Quebec, shepherd’s pie is usually meant in the American and/or British sense: meat with gravy (and perhaps some vegetables), topped with mashed potato, sometimes even served with a pie crust. And strictly speaking, shepherd’s pie has mutton or lamb, while cottage pie has beef. All this to say that not everyone would call the recipe below shepherd’s pie, but I believe everyone would love it. I sure did, and it was even better than the pâté chinois I was expecting! It was warm and hearty and homey, and the gravy was fantastic. I’ll definitely be making this again.

Jen has made a few modifications to her dish, using vegan margarine and soy milk instead of dairy, omitting the egg, and I believe she mentioned using beer in the gravy. Sounds delish!

1 ½ lbs. of 93%-lean ground beef
2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. water
salt and pepper
½ tsp. baking soda
2 ½ lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine, melted
½ cup lactose-free milk
1 large egg yolk
8 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
4 oz. white mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. Madeira or ruby port
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups beef broth
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tsp. cornstarch

Toss beef with 2 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and baking soda in bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place potatoes in medium saucepan; add water to just cover and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are soft and tip of paring knife inserted into potato meets no resistance, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to saucepan. Return saucepan to low heat and cook, shaking pot occasionally, until any surface moisture on potatoes has evaporated, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and mash potatoes well. Stir in melted butter. Whisk together milk and egg yolk in small bowl, then stir into potatoes. Stir in scallion greens and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.

Heat oil in broiler-safe 10-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, mushrooms, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just starting to soften and dark bits form on bottom of skillet, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and garlic; cook until bottom of skillet is dark brown, about 2 minutes. Add Madeira and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add broth, Worcestershire, thyme, bay leaf, and carrots; bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low, add beef in 2-inch chunks to broth, and bring to gentle simmer. Cover and cook until beef is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring and breaking up meat chunks with 2 forks halfway through. Stir cornstarch and remaining 2 teaspoons water together in bowl. Stir cornstarch mixture into filling and continue to simmer for 30 seconds. Remove thyme and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Adjust oven rack 5 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Place mashed potatoes in large zipper-lock bag and snip off 1 corner to create 1-inch opening. Pipe potatoes in even layer over filling, making sure to cover entire surface. Smooth potatoes with back of spoon, then use tines of fork to make ridges over surface. Place skillet on rimmed baking sheet and broil until potatoes are golden brown and crusty and filling is bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

SummerFest 2014

And here we are, a post about this year’s edition of SummerFest to wrap up our Canadian vacation. For those of you who have been following this blog long enough, you’ll know we do this every summer (though the Engineer and I were unable to attend last summer because of the Little Prince’s impending arrival). SummerFest (also referred to as SomewhereFest, since the location now varies each year) is an occasion when our group of friends gets together for several days (up to a week) of games, food and spirited debates. Our friend Jen had done all the legwork for accommodations and found a lovely lakeside cottage in Saint-Calixte, right by a lake, with a hot tub and grill and everything. We actually had more cookies than board games this year, which is really saying a lot!



There were two dishes that really stood out for me this year, Jen’s lentil salad and shepherd’s pie (recipes to come). The meal that I tend to prefer, though, is the chicken and roasted vegetables (formerly turkey and roasted vegetables), perhaps because that’s the one everyone can attend, including people driving in from Montreal for the day but unable to stay overnight. This time, Pascal grilled spatchcocked chickens on the barbecue (because really, it’s just so much fun to say “spatchcock”!). We roasted beets, carrots and sweet potatoes, plus potatoes in a separate tray, and there was salad and homemade rolls.



There was a fabulous ice cream bar, courtesy of Jen: she made not only lactose-free vanilla ice cream, but also hot fudge sauce, magic shell, marshmallow sauce, caramel, and strawberry syrup. And we had sprinkles! My modest contribution to that spread was waffle bowls.



New this year: Jen gave me a crash-course in cake decorating with her Wilton tips and a few instructional videos. This came in handy the following week when making cupcakes and a cake for the Little Prince’s first birthday (I made yellow cake with chocolate-caramel frosting, and my mother also made him the traditional almond cake with mocha frosting and whipped cream). Below are some of my practice creations, along with our frosted desserts (all vegan!). I’ve decided I’m going to buy some proper piping tips.



And of course, we had another cookie taste-off. To my embarrassment, I can’t find any mention of the one from SummerFest 2012, in the Eastern Townships… The only reference to a chocolate-chip cookie taste-off I see on my blog is this one, and that same 36-hour cookie had been crowned champion at SummerFest 2012.This year, we pitted three recipes against one another, and I also made curry chocolate chip cookies just for fun, though they weren’t part of the running.
First, a quick word about those curry cookies: I stick to mild curry, but even then, these cookies had a bit more bite than expected, so next time I’d consider reducing the amount of curry a bit. That being said, I really enjoyed them! The recipe makes about 18 cookies, so they’re a good novelty item if you’re afraid of the commitment. For what it’s worth, the 3-year-old present liked them.



As for the three recipes in the taste-off, they were the returning champion (see the recipe for the 36-hour cookie here), new butterscotch pudding triple chip cookies from Two Peas & Their Pod, and J. Kenji López-Alt’s best chocolate chip cookies (and you know when he says they’re the best, he means it). The latter are made with browned butter, so I knew they would be good! It should be noted that I made the 36-hour cookies with margarine, though, so perhaps that put them at a slight disadvantage compared to the butter ones. It’s just that I can’t brown margarine the same way, so it was only fair that I use real butter for Kenji’s, especially considering how much effort he puts into recipe-developing; had I made the 36-hour cookies after that, I would have used butter as well, but by the time I tackled Kenji’s recipe, the margarine 36-hour dough was already in the freezer.

Kenji’s cookies were more complex than the 36-hour ones, surely thanks to the browned butter. That being said, there was less of a difference than I expected, so I think that again, if I had made the 36-hour cookies with butter instead of margarine, they would have been even harder to tell apart. Kenji’s cookies also had a lower chocolate-to-dough ratio compared to the 36-hour ones. As for the butterscotch cookies, they reminded me a bit of Felix & Norton cookies, in a pleasant way. I’ll give you everyone’s impressions below, but I want to first mention that it turns out everyone prefers their cookies when they are sprinkled with salt. I hadn’t added it in the first batch I baked, because I was afraid that it might be an acquired taste, but now I think it’s pretty universal. Go for it! The tasting results were very close, so it might depend on personal taste more than on a formula, but nonetheless, the 36-hour cookies came out with a slight lead! Plus, they’re the ones that disappeared first.


(In the picture above, clockwise from 11 o’clock, are Kenji’s cookie, the 36-hour cookie, and the butterscotch chip cookie.)

I preferred Kenji’s cookie, though the 36-hour cookies came in a close second, and the butterscotch ones were in third place. For the Engineer, the ranking was reversed: his favorites were the butterscotch cookies, followed by the 36-hour cookies and then Kenji’s cookies.
Anna R. was initially in agreement with the Engineer, but once she tasted the cookies again with salt, she changed her vote and put the 36-hour cookies in first place. Her husband, Pascal, said that to him it was a tie between the 36-hour cookies and Kenji’s cookies, but then again, he doesn’t like butterscotch.
Mark liked the 36-hour cookies best because he felt like they had more fat. His wife, Anna M., preferred the butterscotch cookies.
Danny had no preference (weirdo!), but Naomi liked the 36-hour cookies best, followed by the butterscotch (she really enjoyed their white chocolate chips), then Kenji’s cookies.
The Actor favored the 36-hour cookies, which he said had “the best cookie flavor”, followed by Kenji’s cookies and then the butterscotch cookies. His girlfriend, the Actress, had the same ranking, and added that she found the butterscotch cookies too sweet.
Finally, Jen preferred Kenji’s cookies to the butterscotch, with the 36-hour cookies in third place. Her husband, Rob, originally liked the butterscotch best, followed by Kenji’s and lastly the 36-hour cookies, but upon tasting them again with salt, he changed his top pick to Kenji’s cookies!
(The Legal Chef and E. were unable to attend this year, as their daughter was born that week – a pretty good reason, I’d say. I’ll be curious to see what their preferences are next year…)

So, to recap, counting the tie as half a vote: without topping the cookies with salt, we had 4.5 votes for the 36-hour cookies, 4 votes for the butterscotch cookies, and somehow only 2.5 votes for Kenji’s cookies. With salt, however, we’ve got 5.5 votes for the 36-hour cookies, 3.5 votes for Kenji’s cookies and only 2 votes for the butterscotch cookies. Without further ado, here are the two new recipes.


Butterscotch Pudding Triple Chip Cookies
(The pudding should keep the cookies moist for days, but obviously we never got a chance to test that out! The recipe yields about 3 dozen cookies.)
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (or cold margarine)
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 (3.4-oz) package butterscotch instant pudding mix
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat and set aside.

Using a mixer, beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add in butterscotch pudding mix, eggs, and vanilla extract. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips.

Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges and set. Remove cookies from oven and let cool on baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.


Kenji’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
(This recipe yields about 2 dozen cookies, maybe slightly more if you can resist eating raw dough.)
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 standard ice cube (about 2 Tbsp. frozen water)
10 oz. (about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1 tsp. table salt
5 oz. (about ¾ cup) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
5 oz. (about ½ tightly packed cup plus 2 Tbsp.) dark brown sugar
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped with a knife into 1/2- to 1/4-inch chunks
coarse sea salt for garnish

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, gently swirling pan constantly, until particles begin to turn golden brown and butter smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and continue swirling the pan until the butter is a rich brown, about 15 seconds longer. Transfer to a medium bowl, whisk in ice cube, transfer to refrigerator, and allow to cool completely, about 20 minutes, whisking occasionally. (Alternatively, whisk over an ice bath to hasten process).

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Place granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium high speed until mixture is pale brownish-yellow and falls off the whisk in thick ribbons when lifted, about 5 minutes.

Fit paddle attachment onto mixer. When brown butter mixture has cooled (it should be just starting to turn opaque again and firm around the edges), Add brown sugar and cooled brown butter to egg mixture in stand mixer. Mix on medium speed to combine, about 15 seconds. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until just barely combined but some dry flour still remains, about 15 seconds. Add chocolate and mix on low until dough comes together, about 15 seconds longer. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate dough at least overnight and up to three days.

When ready to bake, adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions and preheat oven to 325 °F. Using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop or a spoon, place scoops of cookie dough onto a non-stick or parchment-lined baking sheet. Each ball should measure approximately 3 tablespoons in volume and you should be able to fit 6 to 8 balls on each sheet. Transfer to oven and bake until golden brown around edges but still soft, 13 to 16 minutes, rotating pans back to front and top and bottom half way through baking.

Remove baking sheets from oven. While cookies are still hot, sprinkle very lightly with coarse salt and gently press it down to embed. Let cool for 2 minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat steps 3 and 4 for remaining cookie dough. Allow cookies to cool completely before storing in an airtight container, plastic bag, or cookie jar at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pouding Chômeur

I’m writing this post with much delay, but I’m almost done rounding up recipes I made while I was in Montreal, so bear with me! Pouding chômeur is a typical French Canadian dessert invented during the Great Depression; the name means “pudding of the unemployed” or “poor man’s pudding”, because it’s usually made with inexpensive ingredients fitting of the times: a simple cake batter covered with caramel before being baked. The result is a moist white cake with syrupy, gooey goodness. This particular version, though, is from the restaurant Au Pied de Cochon, where they make the caramel with maple syrup and cream. Obviously, maple syrup is cheaper in Quebec than in the southern United States, but it’s still not the most economical version of the dish! When I had tried it at the restaurant, though, it had been so fantastic that I really wanted to make it myself. For some reason, the francophone blogs I had bookmarked for the recipe all disappeared, but luckily, Lottie and Doof has a great post up, so I was in business. And it was worth every last calorie!

One note: I did not have the correct size of ramekins – actually, I didn’t have any ramekins. I used makeshift individual tins, but they were too small, so my puddings weren’t as saucy as they should have been (I didn’t use all the sauce during baking, or even most of it, because I could see that it was way too much for those tins). On two occasions, however, I remedied that by transferring a serving of cake into a bowl and topping it with some warm sauce, and it was heavenly. For future reference, I would guess that you need 6 ramekins of a little more than 1-cup capacity each (or maybe 8 ramekins of 1-cup capacity). It’s okay if *some* of the sauce spills out, because that happens at the Pied de Cochon too, and it’s part of the charm! Just line your baking sheet with foil before putting the ramekins on it.

6 oz. butter, at room temperature (you could use cold margarine here)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups maple syrup
2 cups lactose-free cream

Combine the butter and sugar in stand mixer until smooth. Add the eggs and beat at medium speed until completely incorporated. Add the flour and baking powder and stir until the flour is completely incorporated. Refrigerate dough for at least 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 °F. Bring the maple syrup and heavy cream to a boil in a saucepan. Turn off heat, add a pinch of salt and set aside to cool. Divide the dough among 6 ramekins or oven-safe bowls and set them on a large rimmed baking sheet (which I suggest lining with foil). Fill each ramekin just over half full with ¾ cup of the maple cream mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the puddings are golden brown and a tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, serve warm.

Mini-tartelettes au chocolat et à la crème

J’avais décidé de ne pas bloguer cette recette de Coup de Pouce, pour la simple raison que je n’ai pas de bonnes photos. J’en ai pris le soir, en me disant que je referais ça à la lumière du jour, et puis le lendemain, j’ai oublié. Bête de même. Mais l’Ingénieur l’a tellement aimée que je me dois de la partager! Il a dit : « Ce sont des pochettes de délice. Elles sont texturellement escitantes; j’aime le contraste de la croûte croustillante et de l’intérieur moelleux et fondant. Ça me permet aussi de vivre mon fantasme de manger le pouding ainsi que son contenant. » Alors voilà, vous comprendrez qu’il fallait mettre ça ici. J’ai adapté pour utiliser de la crème sans lactose; pour faire ça aux États-Unis, j’aurais plutôt utilisé du Kineret, en réduisant le sucre dans la recette.

Pour obtenir les mini-coupes phyllo maison, la recette d’origine recommande d’étendre une feuille de pâte phyllo sur une surface de travail et de la badigeonner de beurre, puis de répéter l’opération jusqu’à avoir 3 feuilles de pâte phyllo en tout. Il faut ensuite couper les feuilles en 4 sur la longueur et en 6 sur la largeur, de manière à obtenir 24 carrés. Ensuite, on presse chaque carré dans un mini-moule à muffin et on fait cuire environ 5 minutes à 400 °F, jusqu’à ce que la pâte soit dorée. À noter que vous pouvez remplacer les coupes en pâte phyllo par de petites croûtes de pâte feuilletée (puisque celles du commerce sont plus grosses que dans la recette, vous en obtiendrez environ une douzaine).

En passant, savez-vous comment fouetter de la crème sans faire de bruit avec le batteur électrique (pour ne pas réveiller votre bébé qui dort de l’autre côté du mur) et sans trop s’user le bras non plus? Il suffit de la mettre dans un pot Masson (idéalement froid; je mets le mien au congélateur 15 minutes d’avance) et de brasser le pot vigoureusement pendant environ 1 minute. Voilà, de la crème fouettée!

3 c. à soupe + 1 c. à soupe de poudre de cacao non sucrée
1/3 tasse + 1 c. à soupe de sucre
4 c. à thé de fécule de maïs
1 ¼ tasse + ½ tasse de crème sans lactose (voir note plus haut)
2 jaunes d'œufs
2 oz de chocolat mi-amer haché finement
¼ tasse de beurre non salé (ou de margarine) coupé en dés
½ c. à thé + ½ c. à thé de vanille
24 mini-coupes en pâte phyllo maison OU 2 boîtes de petites coquilles feuilletées en pâte phyllo (voir note plus haut)
mini-copeaux de chocolat, pour décorer

Dans une casserole à fond épais, à l'aide d'un fouet, mélanger 3 c. à soupe du cacao, 1/3 tasse du sucre, la fécule, 1 ¼ tasse de la crème et les jaunes d'œufs. Cuire à feu moyen, en fouettant, de 5 à 6 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que la préparation commence à bouillonner. Retirer la casserole du feu. Ajouter le chocolat et le beurre en fouettant sans arrêt jusqu'à ce que la préparation soit lisse. Incorporer ½ c. à thé de la vanille. Verser la garniture au chocolat dans un grand bol et couvrir directement la surface d'une pellicule de plastique. Réfrigérer pendant 3 heures ou jusqu'à ce que la garniture soit froide.

Entre-temps, dans un bol, à l'aide d'un batteur électrique, battre le reste de la crème avec le reste du sucre et le reste de la vanille jusqu'à ce que le mélange forme des pics fermes.

Au moment de servir, à l'aide d'une cuillère, répartir la garniture au chocolat refroidie dans les mini-coupes. Garnir de la crème fouettée et des mini-copeaux de chocolat. Saupoudrer du reste du cacao.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tarte aux mûres et au basilic



La recette suivante est tirée du magazine À bon verre, bonne table. Il me fallait de la crème sans lactose pour la faire, alors elle traînait dans ma pile de recettes à essayer depuis deux ans… Je suis bien contente d’avoir pu y goûter, en fin de compte! Le problème a été que ma crème pâtissière était trop liquide, même après réfrigération, mais comme le suggère l’Ingénieur, il suffirait d’y ajouter de la fécule de maïs. J’ai fini par mettre la tarte au congélateur – la crème pâtissière était alors trop dure, mais après être repassée au frigo quelques heures, la garniture tenait! Voilà donc une autre solution si vous avez le même problème… Le morceau dans les photos ci-dessous sortait direct du congélateur. (À noter que vous pouvez tout à fait utiliser une croûte à pâte du commerce, comme je l’ai fait, mais c’est alors plus difficile de décorer le rebord, sans retailles de pâte… À la limite, si vous achetez une boîte de deux croûtes, vous pouvez entailler la deuxième pour faire les décorations, ou laisser tomber, tout simplement.)

Pour la croûte (voir note plus haut)
1½ tasse de farine
¼ c. à thé de sel
10 c. à soupe de beurre froid, coupé en cubes
3 c. à soupe d’eau glacée
½ c. à thé de vinaigre blanc
1 œuf légèrement battu avec 1 c. à soupe d’eau
sucre blanc décoratif

Pour la crème pâtissière
1½ tasse de mûres
4 œufs plus 2 jaunes d’œufs
½ tasse de sucre
½ tasse de crème sans lactose
1 c. à soupe de jus de citron

Pour la garniture
¼ tasse de sucre
¼ tasse de feuilles de basilic tassées, et quelques-unes de plus comme décoration
1 bâton de cannelle d’environ 8 cm (3 po)
1 tasse de crème sans lactose
1 tasse de mûres

Pour la croûte
Combiner dans un robot culinaire la farine et le sel au mode impulsions. Toujours au mode impulsions, incorporer le beurre jusqu’à ce qu’il ait la consistance d’une semoule grossière. Asperger le mélange d’eau et de vinaigre. Combiner les ingrédients au mode impulsions jusqu’à ce que le mélange commence à former des grumeaux. (Si la pâte semble s’émietter et ne se tient pas lorsqu’elle est pressée entre les doigts, ajouter jusqu’à 2 c. à soupe d’eau, 1 c. à soupe à la fois.)

Mettre la pâte sur une surface légèrement farinée et former un disque. Bien l’enrober dans de la pellicule plastique et la réfrigérer au moins 1 heure.

Mettre la pâte réfrigérée sur une surface légèrement farinée et l’abaisser pour lui donner une épaisseur d’environ 5 mm (¼ po). Enrouler délicatement la pâte sur le rouleau à pâtisserie et la dérouler dans un moule à tarte de23 cm (9 po). Lui faire épouser la forme du moule et couper l’excédent de pâte, en laissant pendre du moule une bordure de 2,5 cm (1 po). Replier cette bordure sur elle-même pour qu’elle épouse le pourtour du moule. Au choix, pincer cette bordure.

(Pour créer une croûte décorative losangée, couvrez le moule à tarte de pâte et taillez-en la bordure en suivant le contour du moule. Réunissez la pâte excédentaire et abaissez-la pour lui donner une épaisseur de 5 mm (¼ po). Avec une règle, coupez la pâte en bandes de 1 cm (½ po) de large. Coupez ces bandes en carrés de 1 cm (½ po). Avec le mélange d’œuf, badigeonnez la bordure de la pâte placée dans le moule. Un à un, placez les carrés de pâte le long de la bordure, en faisant pointer un des coins vers le centre de la tarte et en les superposant un peu. Appuyez légèrement sur chaque carré pour qu’il reste en place. Badigeonnez la pâte avec le reste du mélange d’œuf, saupoudrez-la de sucre et cuisez-la au four en suivant la recette.)

Avec une fourchette, piquer la pâte sur toute sa surface dans le fond du moule et la réfrigérer 30 minutes.

Préchauffer le four à 375 °F.

Recouvrir d’un cercle de papier parchemin toute la surface de la pâte, jusqu’au rebord du moule, et remplir le fond de tarte de haricots secs ou de poids à tarte. Badigeonner la bordure avec le mélange d’œuf et d’eau et la saupoudrer de sucre à gros cristaux. Cuire la pâte au four jusqu’à ce que la bordure soit dorée, environ 15 minutes. Retirer soigneusement les haricots et le papier sulfurisé et poursuivre la cuisson de la pâte jusqu’à ce que le fond soit croustillant et doré, de 15 à 20 minutes de plus. Laisser la pâte refroidir complètement sur une grille.

Pour la crème pâtissière
Réduire les mûres en purée dans un mélangeur. Avec une spatule, presser la purée dans une passoire fine placée au-dessus d’un bol de taille moyenne résistant à la chaleur. Jeter les graines. Ajouter les œufs, les jaunes d’œufs, le sucre, la crème et le jus de citron dans le bol. Au fouet, combiner les ingrédients.

Placer le bol au-dessus d’une casserole d’eau frémissante et en faire cuire le contenu en le fouettant constamment, jusqu’à ce que le mélange épaississe, de 8 à 10 minutes. (Ajouter de la fécule de maïs délayée dans de l’eau au besoin.) Beurrer une feuille de papier sulfurisé et la poser directement à la surface de la crème pâtissière; laisser la crème refroidir jusqu’à la température ambiante. Avec une spatule, transférer la crème pâtissière dans la pâte cuite, en lisser la surface et refroidir la tarte au réfrigérateur, environ1 heure.

Pour la garniture
Pendant que la tarte refroidit, préparer la garniture en dissolvant le sucre dans une petite casserole contenant ¼ tasse d’eau. Porter le liquide à ébullition à feu mi-vif. Le retirer du feu et y ajouter le basilic et le bâton de cannelle. Laisser infuser 15 minutes. Passer le sirop et jeter les ingrédients solides. Le laisser refroidir jusqu’à la température ambiante. Fouetter la crème jusqu’à la formation de pointes fermes et y incorporer délicatement 2 c. à soupe du sirop. Dans un petit bol, combiner le reste du sirop et les mûres. Avec une fourchette, écraser 3 ou 4 mûres pour colorer le sirop.

À la cuillère, couvrir la crème pâtissière refroidie de crème fouettée. Tout juste avant de servir, verser les mûres et le sirop sur la crème fouettée à la cuiller et décorer le tout des feuilles de basilic restantes.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Rosemary Garlic Chicken Skillet

I apologize for the delay since my last post. These past weeks, my time and energy have been consumed with our dog recovering from emergency surgery (thankfully, he should be fine, but this cost so much that we’ve put next year’s vacation plans on hold); driving back to Texas with a car packed to the gills; unpacking and cleaning and weeding and settling in; and a now-mobile baby exploring the house he hadn’t seen in two months. I am coming to you with a great recipe, though, so hopefully that makes up for it.

I got this recipe from my friend Jen, who served it as a Shabbat dinner two years ago. It’s a one-pot meal that ends up being more than the sum of its parts. As a matter of fact, it was fabulous. I was afraid it wouldn’t be as good as I remembered, but seriously, it was still fabulous! The reason it took me so long to make it myself is that Jen recommends (rightly) that you use kosher chicken, as it is moister than regular chicken and that is important in this dish. I don’t have easy access to kosher chicken in San Antonio, so I made it over the summer in Montreal. I think that if you wanted to use bone-in, skin-on chicken, you could risk the non-kosher variety, but since I decided to go with skinless, boneless breasts, kosher chicken was a must. Also note that I made this in a (stainless steel?) pot, not a cast-iron skillet, and everything turned out fine.

¾ lb. small red-skinned potatoes, halved, or quartered if large
kosher salt
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 1 ½ Tbsp. leaves
2 cloves garlic, smashed
pinch of red pepper flakes
juice of 2 lemons, squeezed halves reserved
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4-6 skin-on, bone-in kosher chicken thighs (6 to 8 oz. each; see note above)
10 oz. cremini mushrooms, halved

Preheat the oven to 450 °F. Cover the potatoes with cold water in a saucepan and salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until tender, about 8 minutes; drain and set aside.

Pile the rosemary leaves, garlic, 2 tsp. salt and the red pepper flakes on a cutting board, then mince and mash into a paste using a large knife. Transfer the paste to a bowl. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon and the olive oil. Add the chicken and turn to coat.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin-side down, cover and cook until the skin browns, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from pan; add the mushrooms and potatoes to the skillet, place chicken over mushrooms and potatoes and drizzle with any marinade remaining in the bowl and the juice of the remaining lemon.

Add the rosemary sprigs and the squeezed lemon halves to the skillet; transfer to the oven and roast, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.