Saturday, October 30, 2010
The ‘dough’ is more like a pancake batter – and even more interesting, you don’t pour it into a frying pan – you actually bake it.
When I looked at it just before I added the 2nd helping of cheddar cheese and the tomato, it reminded me kind of like a cheesy Yorkshire pudding. It bubbled up in places and looked so inviting.
And although the final result was very good, I was not too sure about its consistency. The batter never seemed cooked enough, but it could have been just that it was melted cheese in the dough, not uncooked batter. Plus, you can’t eat this like a Brooklyn pizza. You can’t slice it up, cup it in your hand and go to town. It’s more of a proper knife and fork type of thing, which is ok I guess, but I suppose I was just in the mood for an easy pizza, not a cheesy dough pancake. So not sure if it is a recipe I’ll try again… And this is when I really started questioning myself, and worse, questioning Nigella. I mean, I’ve been waiting for years for this book – she even told us about it in its infancy (and by the way, used a cool verb to describe what she was doing with it, but mommy brain/sieve can’t remember). A homebaked crustless cheese pizza to the person that can!
Posted by Ilana at 9:47 PM
I made these the first time my baby turned 6 months. I had a mini-half birthday for him, and the brownies were definitely overcooked. I took them out about 20 minutes after they went into the oven, which is the minimum time in the book, but they were still overdone. Hey, chocolate is chocolate, so we still ate them (read, I still ate them) and they were good, but they missed the crispy top/fudgy bottom we all know and love. So I had to make them again – and they were a success! Rich and fudgy. Even after 15 minutes they were almost cooked through, so next time I will dare to do 12 minutes and let it continue baking outside the oven in its own heat. I also seriously do not recommend using foil. It just sticks to the bottom of the brownies. I just buttered the bottom of the brownie pan and added parchment paper to it so it stuck, and that was the perfect vehicle for these brown beauties.
Posted by Ilana at 9:39 PM
You get a nice leg quarter or thighs or drumsticks – whatever. Get organic, because since chicken is the leading actor in this play, you want it to be Oscar-caliber. You add water to the chicken till it covers it and put on a high flame so it starts boiling. Then you have to skim for a bit – that’s what the schmaltz is – and you are instantly Jewish, by the way, by saying schmaltz. Once you are done skimming, you add the veggies. Carrots, parsnips, an onion cut into quarters but not all the way through. Read the original blog entry to see a picture of what I mean. You add a tablespoon or to taste of vegetable bouillon powder or cubes or concentrate, whatever you got going, put it to simmer with a lid and let it cook for a good hour. Then you taste the darn thing. Add the dill or parsley or both at the end and let that cook another 15 minutes. And that’s it!! Jewish penicillin. When I made this last, I added dried chickpeas (which I soaked overnight, thank you very much) about halfway through. I was inspired by my m-i-l, that served us chicken soup with chickpeas on our last trip to Spain. Very good and good for you!
Posted by Ilana at 9:35 PM
Friday, October 29, 2010
I feel like life is a series of digressions, so here I am coming back from yet another one. Shepherd’s Pie. Pretty simple. Ground lamb cooked with carrots and other lovely things. It’s inauthentic to add tomato paste but Tom does. And he’s a Brit, so I am fine with doing it too. You kind of get a Bolognese type of sauce which goes in the bottom of the pie dish. Then, you top it with one of my favorite carbs, mashed potatoes! Gotta love the Brits for thinking this up. One of those rib-sticking meals on cold nights. Very comforting and very good, and Tom’s recipe really does hit the spot. Some people make the mash with parsnips or add cheese. I like the part of his recipe where he adds little hits of butter. I added it to the ridges that I made with a fork and it made the mash nice and crispy there. Fabulous recipe!
Posted by Ilana at 4:58 PM
So back to Ina. She had a friend over for one of her shows, and they make a chicken tagine with olives. I just love anything stew-like – meat or vegetables cooking for hours on a low flame – and I just love olives too. I had to make this. I made some minor changes, for instance, for the life of me I couldn’t find a necessary ingredient to Moroccan cooking – preserved lemons. Ok, so I didn’t make the best effort, I admit, by going to the Russian monstrosity also known as Net Cost Market in Brooklyn. They have an entire aisle of preserves and jams. An entire aisle! I know that preserved lemons aren’t really meant to be put on bread, but I took a shot. One that failed! Anyhoo, I made it without the preserved lemons.
The dish was taaaasty! Chicken thighs work so well in this recipe. They really pick up so much flavor, and I did it the easy way by marinating out of the fridge for just a couple of hours. I also went boneless and skinless to make it easier to eat. I hate fiddly food.
Moroccan Chicken Tajine
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large Spanish onion, grated (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons canola, grapeseed or olive oil (not a heavy olive oil)
1 to 2 preserved lemons, depending on size
8 chicken thighs, with bone and skin
Stems from the parsley and cilantro, tied with twine
1/4 teaspoon powdered saffron or 1/4 teaspoon powdered turmeric and 4 strands saffron
1 cup pitted green Moroccan or Greek olives
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, about 1/4 cup chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, about 1/4 cup chopped
In a large bowl, mix the garlic, cumin, ginger, paprika, salt and pepper, 1/2 cup grated onion, and the oil.
Rinse the preserved lemons, and remove the pulp. RESERVE the lemon peel for later use.
Add the lemon pulp to the mixing bowl. Add the chicken. Mix everything together and place in a large plastic bag to marinate overnight in the refrigerator. (Twenty-four hours really gives the chicken the best flavor.)
In a large Dutch oven or casserole, place the chicken and marinade; add the stems of the parsley and cilantro, the rest of the grated onion, the powdered saffron and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, turn down to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 30 minutes.
Remove the cover, stir the chicken and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
Remove the chicken to a serving dish and cover with foil to keep warm. Keep sauce on stove and begin to reduce.
Slice the preserved lemon peel into thin slices and add to the sauce along with the olives, parsley and cilantro. Reduce until the sauce is just a little thick. This shouldn't take more than 5 minutes at most.
Uncover the chicken and remove the skin from the chicken. (It doesn't look pretty and who needs the extra fat.) Pour sauce over chicken and serve.
Posted by Ilana at 4:41 PM
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Posted by Ilana at 2:22 PM
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Posted by Ilana at 6:28 PM
Monday, August 09, 2010
Posted by Ilana at 8:13 PM
Posted by Ilana at 7:57 PM
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Whatever Rosa wants, Rosa gets.
I made my friend, Rosa, ‘mad’ a few months ago because I had mentioned off-handedly that I would make red velvet cake for her birthday… and I never followed through. There was something about the stories of needing three bottles of food coloring per cake. I am very Jekyll and Hyde when it comes to food. Sometimes I’m a purist that just needs to use organic sugar, and other times I’m trashy and all I want to eat is fried chicken and mashed potatoes.
But since Rosa went on vacation to Italy for two weeks, I thought I’d follow through on my promise by making red velvet cupcakes for her return.
I have to admit – I haven’t had this much fun baking in a long, long time. The amount of red food coloring WAS scary, truthfully – a tablespoon for the batter, and that is halving the recipe. But it turned the batter a shockingly blood-red color… It was truly mesmerizing.
Since I followed a cake recipe, I guessed at amounts and time for baking cupcakes. Half of the cake batter recipe comes to about 10 cupcakes, and 20 minutes is just enough time to bake all the way through but still be beautifully soft within.
The cream cheese icing didn’t go as planned, but I blame our heat wave on that. I used Nigella’s cream cheese recipe from her Guinness cake, which I have made countless times – the cake and the icing – but for some reason it would just not thicken. I finally gave up and decided to go for a hobo-chic look to the cupcakes. Trying hard to look like you’re not trying at all…
I think they turned out beautifully, and most importantly, the belated birthday girl was both surprised by them and thought them to be absolutely delicious. I tasted one; it was good… f***ing good! Definitely a recipe to make and make again.
Posted by Ilana at 8:24 PM
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Posted by Ilana at 8:19 PM