Sunday, November 27, 2011

Market food

lovely Satsumas....fresh from the tree. I eat these like candy they're so sweet.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Food and Wine and Buick Invite You to a rather tasteful event.

 
BUICK DISCOVERY TOUR TO BRING CELEBRITY CHEF MING TSAI TO ATLANTA DEC. 3-4
Culinary event to feature renowned chefs Hugh Acheson and Ben Roche and wine expert Michael Green

WHAT:
Atlanta natives and visitors alike will have the opportunity to savor gourmet cuisine, taste fine wine and test drive luxury vehicles – for free – at The Loews Atlanta Hotel on Dec. 3-4. Buick has partnered with FOOD & WINE magazine to bring The Buick Discovery Tour to Atlanta. Consumers will have the opportunity to mingle with celebrity chefs, attend cooking demonstrations, participate in a wine tasting and get a first-hand look at Buick’s 2012 line.

The festivities include:
•             Cooking demonstration with Chef Hugh Acheson, FOOD & WINE Best New Chef, judge on Bravo’s “Top Chef Texas” and owner/chef at Empire State South
•             Pastry demonstration with Chef Ben Roche, executive pastry chef of Moto in Chicago and co-host of “Future Foods” on Discovery’s Planet Green Network
•             Buick test-drives featuring the new Regal Turbo, Lacrosse and Enclave
•             Wine tasting with wine expert Michael Green
•             Cooking demonstration featuring Chef Ming Tsai, producer of the Emmy-nominated public television cooking show, “Simply Ming”

For every guest that registers, Buick will also make a donation to The FEED Foundation in support of their efforts to create products to help feed the world’s hungry.

WHEN:
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011
•             11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
•             2:30 – 5:30 p.m.
•             6 – 9 p.m.
Ming Tsai will be available for interviews from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011
•             Noon – 3 p.m.
•             3:30 – 6:30 p.m.

WHERE:
Loews Atlanta Hotel
1065 Peachtree St. NE
Atlanta, GA 30309

PRICE:
Free

REGISTRATION:
Attendees can join any of the three-hour sessions and must register at www.buickdiscoverytour.com. The reservation code is ATPRBUICK.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

was hungry...

I made a one egg omelet filled with caramelized onions and finished it with a sprinkle of Maldon salt.






You can see I didn't like it.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

4th & Swift

Several years ago I was sitting in Chef Jay Swift's cramped office off the kitchen of the former Rainwater Restaurant. "I'm going to have my own place...I need my own place." he insisted. I remember smiling to myself and thinking, all Chefs say that.

I should have had more faith. Chef Jay got his own place and 4th and Swift is most certainly a culinary “Aha!”

The menu is fabulous...American, seasonal, creative. I wanted to try everything. We opted for several small plates rather than the usual courses.

Crisp Brussels Sprouts
First up was a plate of crisply grilled Brussel sprouts that gave me the first foodgasm of the night. It was like eating lovely green candy. We followed the sprouts with smoky grilled octopus paired with charred red onions. The sweet octopus was cooked perfectly; I loved the smooth luscious mouth feel it had with the smokiness of the onion.

Duck confit---which I jumped at when I saw it on the menu---was an over salted disappointment. I sensed that it could have been really good if the seasonings were correct. However, lamb ragu tossed with tiny pasta is braised deliciousness and the pork belly is tender melt in my mouth perfection.

We should have wrapped up the meal with something sweet but we were just too full. A good reason to go back, I'd say. Congratulations Chef Jay. You've raised that culinary bar to dizzying heights.

621 North Avenue NE Atlanta GA 30308
678-904-0160


Notes:
The former dairy building 4th and Swift occupies still shows its lovely old bones and is set off by a muted color palate, white washed brick, comfortable, well spaced seating, crispy linen and candle light.

Service and staff are professional and friendly; our server, Clarissa, was well informed and very accommodating and we were seated promptly...a minor miracle on a Saturday night in Atlanta.

Prices are reasonable. Small plates run from $9 - $13 and are not so small that you couldn't share. The wine list is beautifully balanced and also well priced. We drank a lovely fruity Argentine Malbec (Camino del Inca $44).

Complimentary valet parking; all major credit cards.

4th & Swift on Urbanspoon

Friendly Food

One of the delights of my life is when my dear friend Jean arrives for a visit. On our own for a few days, we get to spend lots of girlie time indulging in our favorite things. We yak, we read, we just hang out, we may watch a movie or two. But top of our list is at least one evening on the couch with bottles of wine and a snacking dinner of fruit, cheese, cold meats, crackers, bread and any other charcuterie that may strike our fancy



This visit was no different. Can you tell that we enjoyed what we had? An Argentine Malbec was our drink for the evening.
5 grain bread, Bosc pears, double cream brie, nicoise olives, goat cheese with chives and lemon zest, salmon pate
 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Are you a Master Chef?

Fox TV's Master Chef is holding open casting calls in Atlanta on Nov 12th. In Savannah on Nov 19th. Do you have what it takes? Check out their web site for details and casting in other cities: Master Chef Casting

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sweet!

Peppermint marshmallows...they turned my mouth pink.

ser·en·dip·i·ty

ser·en·dip·i·ty

“The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: a fortunate stroke of serendipity.”

I went to the Buckhead Diner yesterday to meet fellow bloggers and enjoy a delicious afternoon tasting Chef Charlie’s new menu (more about that later).

I came away with a special new friend and a personal commitment to talk about a condition we realized that we both suffer from, a condition few discuss or admit to and a condition---since it is mostly peculiar to middle aged women---doctors frequently over look, chalking symptoms up to female hormones, the time of the month, menopause.

Hashimoto’s Disease is essentially a failure of the thyroid gland. Our immune systems attack our thyroid gland. It expresses itself in a series of apparently unconnected, disparate symptoms. It is difficult to diagnose and often leaves the sufferer feeling like there is something wrong in their head rather than their body.

We sleep too much and even then, we are constantly tired. We are always hungry. We have random joint and muscle aches and pains. Our faces look puffy and pale and our hair thins. We are frequently cold, anxious or depressed, nervous, restless and irritable.

So, here’s the Question: along with medication, can diet make a difference for my new friend and me? Can certain foods help us feel better?

Well, yes and no---the research is mixed. There is some evidence that eating or avoiding certain foods can have a limited affect on thyroid function and the diets that some say do help are high in fiber. And, that can’t hurt any of us.

So here’s the deal:

                                                        **take your thyroid medication
            **talk to your doctor, ask questions until you get the answers you need
                               **eat a healthy diet that is high in fiber
        **avoid---as much as possible---overly processed foods like refined sugar and white flour     
                                **take a good B-complex vitamin
                                                         **exercise, exercise, exercise
**until better research comes along, (just) limit your intake of broccoli, cauliflower, kale, soy and walnuts
     

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"Take what you need, leave your fair share."

 This is a reprint from an article published by The Responsibility Project.
 Leave a comment...let us know what you think.

“Take what you need, leave your fair share.”  

That’s the new policy at a Panera Bread café in suburban St. Louis, where diners are asked to pay what they want for their food, leaving the money in a donation box—and leaving some wondering if a restaurant can successfully serve up a side order of responsibility.
“Some will call it a hot trend, others a pipe dream, but the notion of letting diners choose what they pay for their meals has been gaining traction over the last decade,” The New York Times reports, fueled in part by social entrepreneurs “who believe that making a profit and doing good are not mutually exclusive.” The goal of such non-profit restaurants is to cover expenses, using any remaining money to provide food and jobs for people in need. At Panera, customers who can’t pay for their meals are asked to volunteer at the restaurant.

Panera CEO and founder and Ron Shaich told USA Today that he’s “trying to find out what human nature is all about” by placing the honor system at the top of the menu. “There’s no pressure on anyone to leave anything. But if no one left anything, we wouldn’t be open long.”

Critics, however, question whether charity can be a restaurant’s bread and butter. “I don’t think the honor bar system will work nationally,” says trends consultant Marian Salzman. “While young people are very much attuned to helping out and making a difference, if they find themselves sitting next to other customers with whom they don’t feel comfortable, they’re not coming back.”

If you were one of the haves subsidizing the have-nots at a non-profit restaurant, would you contribute the full cost of your meal? I certainly would.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Eyes Have It...Eat Your Carrots!


We've all heard the expression, we eat with our eyes. It's true. Nothing will reach our mouth if the eyes don't register approval first. However, did we ever hear the reverse.....our eyes are what we eat?

I know, yes, all our Mothers told us, "Eat your carrots, they're good for your eyes." But do we eat enough of those sweet orange roots?  And, are those carrots really all our healthy eyes need?

Well, for most of us, no and no again. Our pretty blues, browns, greens and hazels also need sardines, cod, mackerel, tuna, spinach, kale, eggs, garlic, onions, shallots, capers, soy, blueberries, grapes, nuts and ta-dah............wine! Yep, wine. (Of course, moderation with wine is always important. Of course!)

We need to feed our eyes well. Here's a treat for the eyes compliments of my Nana who never wore glasses (except for the sun).

NUT CAKE FROM NANA 
 
Buy walnuts in their shells, they're fresher that way
9 egg yolks lightly beaten
9 egg whites beaten until stiff
½ lb powdered sugar, extra for garnish
2 tablespoons matzo meal -or- 2 tablespoons flour
pinch salt
2 teaspoons of real vanilla extract
1 lb ground walnuts, extra whole nuts for garnish
1 jigger good red wine

Method:
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Lightly butter a spring form pan. Line the bottom with parchment or wax paper and lightly butter the paper also
  • Cream together the egg yolks, sugar and salt
  • Gently stir in the flour or matzo meal and then the vanilla
  • By hand, using a rubber spatula, fold in the beaten egg whites, 1/3 at a time
  • Pour into the prepared pan and place on the center rack of the oven.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the side of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (or with only a few crumbs clinging to it). 

Let the cake rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out on a cookie rack to cool. Carefully peel off the parchment or wax paper.

To serve: dust the top with powdered sugar and garnish with whole walnut halves.
Cake keeps for 2-3 days at room temperature.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Grab-Bag Foodie News From Around the Web







What to eat (or not) at a funeral....







Ready, Set, Open Windows

Every year it happens to me. You could set a clock by it. The weather cools and I start craving the same 5 things:

1. Fireplaces and hot drinks in mugs (in my case it's a fire pit)
2. Soups. Mainly onion, hot and sour and roasted tomato.
3. Dahlias and zinnias.
4. Braises and stews.
5. Reading on the couch under Jean's blanket with Sander socks on my feet. (I'll explain those later)

Numbers 1, 3, and 5 are relatively easy to arrange. I've got the fire pit and the wood and plenty of mugs. The socks and the blanket I can pull out of storage. Flowers I can buy on weekends when the Farmer's Markets open. The rest require cooking. And because I want my food to be as healthy and tasty as I can make it, those braises, stews and soups have to start with Home Made Stock. 

For this blog we'll do the most difficult and the one most of us usually avoid: Beef. Why bother you ask?

I was in the grocery store today. The stock I prefer to buy---if I buy any---is College Inn. It's an old favorite and I like the taste. But....if you turn that carton around you'll find this on the label....

Salt, Monosodium Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Whey Protein (Milk) and Wheat Bran Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Dextrose, Onion Powder, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Caramel Color, Natural Flavor, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate. 

I don't see anything that sounds like beef or cow in there. And, then there's the sodium: 570 mgs for a (1 cup) serving. Now I hear you thinking. Many of the labels are organic, low salt and fat free. That's good. The price is not. At my grocery it's $3.79 for a 32 ounce box of the regular. The organic, salt and fat free is a dollar more and the ingredients are still mysterious.

For about $5 worth of stuff and 30 minutes of my time I can made 3 quarts of salt free, fat free, chemical free stock at home.

Still with me? Here's how to do it. It's easy...don't be afraid. (Smile!)


Very Good Beef Stock
makes 3 quarts
The Veg and the Herbs
  • 3 pounds of beef bones. (Go to your butcher, either in your supermarket or a local guy. Ask him for beef bones. Any kind as long as it comes from a cow (or steer). No goat or lamb. Veal is okay; that's a young cow (or steer). Oh, oxtail is okay too. If the bones have a little meat on them that's good, if not, no worry. If you know your butcher he might just give them to you for free. Other wise they should cost you about $3.)
  • 2 large onions, skin left on, cut in quarters    
  • Vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 carrots, cut in quarters. Don't peel them. Just wash.
  • 3 stalks of celery cut in thirds, leaves left on
  • 1-2 parsnips, cut in quarters. Don't peel them, just wash. (If you don't have parsnips, or forgot to buy them or can't find them, add another carrot.)
  • 1 leek, light green part included, cut in half down the length and well washed. (If you don't have a leek or can't find one or forgot to buy one, just skip it.)
  • 1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, skin on, just smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5-6 stems of fresh flat leaf parsley, use stems and leaves
  • 5-6 stems fresh thyme. Don't use dried thyme on this. Please try to find fresh.
  • 1 teaspoon paprika for color
  • 4 quarts of cold water
Method:
  1.  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Wash the beef bones under cold water and remove any large pieces of fat. Pat dry.
  3. Put the bones and the onions into a shallow roasting pan and toss them with a generous 3-4 tablespoons of oil. Make sure everything is in one layer. Roast, uncovered, for 50 minutes. Turn the bones once after 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
    Bones and onions, nicely roasted
  4. Transfer the bones and the onions (and their skins) to a deep stock pot. Discard all the oil from the roasting pan and set it over medium high heat. Pour in 1/4 cup of the cold water. Bring to a boil, scraping up all the roasted bits from the pan. Pour this into the stock pot.
  5. Add all the vegetables, seasonings and herbs. No salt! Pour in the remaining cold water.
  6. Set your stock pot over high heat, cover it and bring it to a boil.
  7. As it comes to the boil the ingredients will throw off a
      Foamy stuff, discard this
    foamy scum. Try to strain off as much of it as you can. Don't worry if you don't get it all. 
  8. Lower the heat to keep the pot at the gentlest simmer, cover it and walk away....yes, walk away! Let it go, undisturbed for 5-6 hours. Do. Not. Stir.  
  9. After the time is up, remove the lid, take the pot off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  10. Strain it into another clean pot or storage containers and let it cool, uncovered, on your counter. When the stock is cool to the touch, cover and refrigerate it over night.
  11. The next day, skim off and discard the accumulated fat and leave refrigerated for 4-5 days or freeze up to 6 months.
Sander socks.  
Years ago my friend's son gave me a pair of brightly patterned flannel socks. They
Sander socks
were cozy and a little large and fit high up my shin for extra warmth. I loved them for around the house during cold weather months. No shoes or slippers required. I dubbed them Sander socks. I now have several pairs in different colors and patterns but the original will always be my sentimental favorite.

Thank you Sander!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cookbook Heaven

There are a lot of cookbooks out there and more keep coming. For me most are a great disappointment offering little new past gorgeous food-porn shots promising results that the recipes don't deliver.

Yet we keep wishing on our foodie stars that one day a winner will be published. And ouila! It has come to pass. Welcome please, The Geometry of Pasta. This is one really fascinating book. It is cool enough for the most accomplished cook and simple enough for  uncertain beginners.

It is a certainly a pasta lovers dream as it cleverly walks us through the process of matching pasta shapes to sauces, why one enhances the other and the recipes are flawless. The recipes are also adaptable....go ahead and substitute crimini for morel.

Now, no cookbook is completely perfect, there may be a few things you will not like: no glossary photographs and ingredients are metric. Get past it. The purpose is the subtle art of combining pasta shapes with sauces. That they've gotten absolutely right.

Click here and have a smile: Farfalle



 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Offering Chicken Soup

There will be few of us who will not take pause this weekend to remember the unspeakable horror of September 11, 2001. We will all note where we were and recall the overwhelming revulsion for such a hideous attack.

Much has changed in our country and in our lives in the decade that has ensued. We have learned to live with an underpinning of fear. We continue to suffer through unresolved conflicts overseas and divisiveness at home. Our economy is skidding and more than half our citizens are teetering on financial ruin. The American Dream is lost for many, at risk for many more.

Our souls crave nurturing in these trying times and there is nothing more satisfying than the nourishing comfort of favorite foods. Comfort foods. They have made a comeback in a big way. There is little wonder why.

Mashed potatoes, meatloaf and gravy. Mama's pasta and homemade sauce. Tomato soup and grilled cheese. Ice cream, warm Toll House cookies, peanut butter and jelly. Hot chocolate, rice pudding. And what is it about a hot bowl of home made chicken soup that will calm us, soothe us, ease our troubles and smooth our brow? 

Why do certain foods make us peaceful, make us smile? Is it just because they carry the memories of home? Because they're familiar and traditional? Are they tangled with the happy ignorance of our youth?

Exactly why do we crave comfort foods when we are in need of comfort? There is a scientific reason and it's pretty easy to understand:

Many of these foods are loaded with carbohydrates. During stressful times our bodies crave carbohydrates because stress breaks down serotonin, a neurotransmitter in our brains needed to regulate sleep, reduce pain, control appetite and calm nerves. Eating foods high in carbohydrates triggers the body to release insulin, which then allows the brain to produce more serotonin which in turn, makes us happy again.*

Do not fight that bowl of pasta or the scoop of ice-cream with chocolate fudge. Your body and soul are talking to you when those cravings hit. Indulge them...in moderation of course. It will truly make you feel much much better.


What do I eat for comfort? Ah, I knew you'd ask. For me it's always a four minute poached egg (in well salted water) on buttered rye bread toast. Oh, and extra toast for mopping up the yolk.  Mother always made that when I wasn't feeling well. Sometimes applesauce with raisins would follow for dessert.



*from an article by Nutritionist Maria Karalis, MBA, RD, LDN

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cheesy Gougères and Champagne

I love these cheesy, lightly salted little bites. Treat yourself and enjoy them with a chilled glass of Champagne. The bubbly sharpness of the Champagne cuts nicely with the richness of the gougères.

“Come quickly, I am tasting stars,” ........Dom Perignon


Gougères

1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (½ stick)
¼ Tsp Kosher salt
Dash cayenne pepper or white pepper
1 Tsp fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
½ Tsp paprika   

1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
½+ ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 ½ cups grated Swiss, Emmenthaler or Gruyere

Egg wash: 1 egg lightly beaten with 1 TBS of cold water
Coarse salt (fleur de sel or kosher salt) to sprinkle on top

·              Bring the milk, butter, salt, pepper or cayenne, paprika and thyme to a gentle boil in a 2 QT saucepan over medium high heat.
·              Remove from the heat, add the flour all at once and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball.
·               Return the pan to the heat and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 1 minute or until the bottom of the pan looks coated.
·               Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle or a food processor fitted with a plastic blade. Let it cool for 5 minutes, then mix on low speed for about 5 seconds.
·               Add the eggs 1 at a time. Mix each egg in well before adding another egg, then mix on low speed for 10 to 15 seconds. Let the paste cool for 10 minutes.
·               Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a cookie sheet with Silpat or parchment paper.
·               Reserve the ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese. Add the remainder of the Parmesan and all the Swiss cheese to the paste. Stir on low speed just enough to incorporate.
·               Using a piping bag with a wide tip, pipe the gougères onto the prepared baking sheets about 2” apart.   
           Brush each gougère
with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt and top each with a good pinch of the reserved Parmesan cheese.
·                 Bake for about 30 minutes, rotating the pans from front to back and top to bottom about ½ way through, until nicely browned and crisp.  
·                Turn off the oven, open the oven door and prick each gougères on its side with a toothpick or the point of a paring knife.  
           Leave the baked gougères in the oven until they cool.
·          
Serve lukewarm or at room temperature.

Yield: 2 ½ to 3 dozen.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fractally Speaking

Math is not my favorite subject. It was the only subject I ever failed and I had to go to summer school because of it. You could say, math is not my friend. So it came as quite a surprise when I found out that a branch of my least favorite subject, geometry, had much to do with my favorite thing, food.

Fractals. Fractals are in food. No they have  nothing to do with taste (as far as I can tell) and also nothing to do with nutrition (I think). No. Fractals have to do with the incredible, amazing design ability of the Mother we call Nature.

A fractal is a geometeric pattern within a pattern within a pattern, decreasing in size, ad infinitum. Trees are a classic example of fractal design. Start with the big trunk and main bottom branches and that design repeats itself as the tree grows, the pattern growing smaller as the tree grows out.

But I thinks fractals in food are a lot more fun. Some grow that way. Others we can create ourselves.

The Artichoke as a fractal
Take the artichoke with it's layers of leaves. It's the perfect vegetable fractal. Or how about romanesco (green cauliflower)? I love the design on that.

Romanesco as a fractal...look closely as the repeating design & how it grows smaller












We can also create a fractal in food and have some fun doing it. I found this picture of fractal eggs on line. It really made me giggle.

Fractal sunny side funny eggs




And you ask, what is the point of all this? Absolutely nothing. The subject just struck me as fun. It also ended my life long grudge with that subject called math.

Curly Fractal Cabbage



Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summertime Chili

Look at this beautiful chard...isn't it pretty?
I find it nearly impossible to visit a summer farmer's market and resist the gorgeous arrays of produce. I always come home with more than I need and then spend the rest of the day trashing my kitchen as I cook and prepare it all before that freshly picked goodnessness is lost.

But my repertoire of great warm weather recipes are getting boring as summer dances on and I use them over and over. I wanted something new today so I made something up. I'm calling it Summertime Chili and wow was it good!

 My Summertime Chili
serves 4

Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut in large dice
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 generous rounded tablespoons chili seasoning (see below)
1/2  tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar

http://www.bocaburger.com/
1/2 package of Boca crumbles
1 can of your favorite beans---low salt if available----well rinsed and drained. (I used cannellini, the red color matched the chard)
2 large (or 3 medium) roughly chopped Roma tomatoes (include skin and seeds) 

1 cup fresh unsalted tomato sauce
1 cup unsalted chicken or vegetable stock

2 cobs of fresh corn grilled, ‘corn milk’ and corn kernels scraped off. Break cobs in 1/2 and reserve.
1/2  red, green or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1” cubes
1 small cubanel pepper cut in 1” cubes

3 stalks of red chard, stems removed and sliced, greens cut in half lengthwise, rolled and cut into chiffonade 
1 small zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 disc (1.5 oz) Ibarra Mexican Chocolate      

In a 3 quart pot set over medium heat, sauté onions in 2-3 TBS extra virgin olive oil until soft. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant.  Add oregano, cumin, chili powder and cook 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients (including the cobs) except the zucchini and chard greens. Bring to a simmer and partially cover. Simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Add chard greens & zucchini, stir and simmer a further 15 minutes.

Remove cobs and serve with dollops of sour cream and thinly sliced green onions.

CHILI SEASONING
3 dried Ancho peppers, stemmed and seeded
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons whole coriander
1 tablespoon cumin seed
1 tablespoon chili powder
Put everything in a dry skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and the chilis have softened, about 3 minutes. Put the spices into a spice mill or food processor and grind until they are powdered. Makes about ½ cup. Store tightly covered in a cool dry place

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cookies and Milk

Sometimes a day is just a day. And sometimes a day needs home-made-fresh-from-the-oven cookies with icy cold milk. My oven fresh fav is spicy oatmeal raisin. I made a bunch today and then ate 6 (yikes!).
Still cooling....waiting, waiting
Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
makes about 3 dozen
7 TBS unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 2 TBS brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 Tsp real vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 Tsp baking soda
1/2 Tsp cinnamon
1/4 Tsp allspice
1/8 Tsp ground clove
1/8 Tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 Tsp Kosher salt
1/2 cup of golden raisins
1 1/2 cups uncooked oats

Method:
  • Beat together softened butter and sugars until smooth and creamy
  • Add egg and vanilla; beat well
  • Add flour, salt, spices and baking soda
  • Mix well, but do not beat
  • Mix oats and raisins together and add. Mix well.
  • Cover cookie mix and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  • Preheat over to 350 degrees while dough is chilling
Line heavy duty cookie pans with silpat or parchment paper. Using a 1" ice cream scoop, drop cookies about 2" apart onto prepared pans.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden. Rotate pans (front to back) half way through. Cool, eat and don't forget the milk.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Funny, Clever, Insighful!

It's not often that I read something where I get the feeling the writer was conjuring me. And, not only was she conjuring, she was also putting my very thoughts down on paper---or in this case into a blog---with such great cleverness, humor and aplomb. 

The Saucy Server is written by a talented lady who reports that she's been a server in Atlanta---in places high and low---for ten years. I laughed out loud the first time I read this blog. I immediately recognized the surly customers, oddball characters and ".....the strange and wonderful idiosyncrasies in our industry of serving people."  

Check it out...... The Saucy Server

Monday, August 1, 2011

Time To Make The Biscuits

Something came over me the other morning. I was craving fresh flaky hot biscuits covered in oozing melty butter and a good drizzle of honey. I decided to make some, not from a mix, from scratch.  Flour, water, milk, a little sugar and baking powder. The recipe I found seemed easy enough and it was, sort of.... until it came time to scrape the batter out of the bowl.

Someone please clean up this mess
Will they be edible?

Baked, golden, not so pretty
It was a sticky gooey mess. I plowed ahead anyway. Dusted in more flour, tried not to man-handle the dough too much. Cut and on the cookie sheet, the biscuits were looking a little ragged. I baked them anyway and they were---surprise, surprise!---flaky, light and surprisingly good. Just the same, I will definitely need more practice.

Ready for eating


Flaky Biscuits
 makes about 8

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
5 tablespoons cold, good quality unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk.

Method
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
*Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Transfer to a food processor. 
*Cut butter into pats and add to flour, then pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture resembles rough crumbs.
*Add milk and pulse until it forms a rough ball.
*Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and pat it down into a rough rectangle, about an inch thick. Fold it over and gently pat it down again. Repeat. 
*Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
*Gently pat out the dough some more, so that the rectangle is roughly 10 inches by 6 inches. Cut dough into biscuits using a floured glass or biscuit cutter. Do not twist cutter when cutting; this crimps the edges of the biscuit and impedes its rise.
*Place biscuits on a parchment (or silpat) covered sheet pan and bake until golden brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. 
*Serve warm.

Southern Biscuits Need Southern Honey