Thursday, September 15, 2016

All-Purpose Cornbread

All-Purpose Cornbread
(ounces) = weight

1. Set 3/4 cup frozen corn kernels on the counter to thaw. Melt 8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter and set aside to cool. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400°F. Generously grease an 8-inch square glass baking dish with vegetable shortening. Whisk 1½ cups (7½ ounces) all-purpose flour,
1 cup (5 ounces) finely ground cornmeal, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and
 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl until combined; set aside.

2. In a food processor or blender, process 1/4 cup (1¾ ounces) packed light brown sugar, 1 cup buttermilk, and thawed corn until combined, about 5 seconds. Add 2 large eggs and process until well combined (corn lumps will remain), about 5 seconds longer.

3. Using rubber spatula, make well in center of dry ingredients; pour buttermilk mixture into well. Begin folding dry ingredients into wet, giving mixture only a few turns to barely combine. Add melted butter and continue folding until dry ingredients are just moistened. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and smooth surface.

4. Bake until cornbread is deep golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25-35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire rack; turn right side up and let cool until warm, about 10 minutes longer, and serve. (Leftover cornbread can be wrapped in aluminum foil and reheated in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

North Carolina Lemon Pie

aka Atlantic Beach Pie

North Carolina Lemon Pie

1. For the crust, adjust an oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Melt
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter. Combine 6 ounces saltine crackers and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a food processor and pulse to coarse crumbs (~15 pulses). Add melted butter and 1/4 cup light corn syrup to processor and pulse until crumbs are broken down into oatmeal-size pieces (~15 pulses). 

2. Transfer saltine mixture to a greased 9-inch pie plate.  Using bottom of a dry measuring cup, press crumbs into an even layer on bottom and sides of plate, using your hand to keep crumbs from spilling over plate edge. Place plate on baking sheet and bake until light golden brown and fragrant, 17 to 19 minutes.

3. For the filling, whisk 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk, 4 large egg yolks1/4 cup heavy cream,
1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in bowl until fully combined. Whisk in
1/2 cup lemon juice (from ~3 lemons) until fully incorporated.

4. With pie plate still on baking sheet, pour filling into crust (crust needn't be cool). Bake pie until edges are beginning to set but center still jiggles when shaken, 15 to 17 minutes. Place pie on wire rack and let cool completely. Refrigerate until fully chilled, about 4 hours.

5. For the topping, use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, on medium-low speed, to whip
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream with 2 Tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract until foamy (~1 minute). Increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Spread whipped cream over top of pie. If you want to pipe on the whipped cream, as in the above photo, quadruple the whipped cream ingredients.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Chewy Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Sugar Cookies
from America's Test Kitchen
(ounces) = weight

1. Adjust oven to middle position and heat to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Microwave 4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter in a medium bowl until melted. Add 
½ cup (1½ ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder and 2 Tablespoons molasses and whisk until combined. Whisk 1½ cups (7½ ounces) all-purpose flour, 1½ teaspoons baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt together in a bowl.  Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat 8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) softened unsalted butter and
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes.  Add cocoa mixture and beat until combined. Add 1 large room-temperature egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Reduce speed to low, slowly add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.

3. Spread ¼ cup (1¾ ounces) sugar in a shallow dish. Working with 1 Tablespoon (7/8 ounce) dough at a time, roll into balls, then roll balls in sugar and space 1½ inches apart on prepared sheets. Bake one sheet at a time, until cookies have puffed and cracked, and centers are just set, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Beef, Green Bean, and Scallion Stir-Fry

Beef, Green Bean, and Scallion Stir-Fry
from America's Test Kitchen

1. Whisk 1/3 cup chicken broth, 1/4 cup oyster sauce, 2 Tablespoons coconut aminos (or soy sauce),
 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes in a small bowl.

2. Prep stir-fry ingredients: Halve a 1-pound flank steak lengthwise, then slice thinly against the grain;
trim 1-pound green beans and cut into 2-inch pieces; cut 1 bunch of scallions into 2-inch pieces;
mince 6 cloves of garlic; and mince or grate 1 Tablespoon of fresh ginger.

3. Heat 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add green beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown, 4-6 minutes; transfer to a large bowl.

4. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in now-empty skillet. Add half of beef and cook, about 1 minute per side, until browned. Transfer beef to bowl with green beans and repeat with additional 2 teaspoons oil and remaining beef.

5. Add 2 teaspoons oil and scallions to skillet and cook until scallions are browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return green beans, beef, and any accumulated juices to pan. Add broth mixture and cook until thickened. Serve with rice.

Corn and Bean Salsa

Corn and Bean Salsa
from Grandma Suzie

1.  For the vinaigrette*, mix 1/2 cup red-wine vinegar and 1/4 cup dijon mustard in a blender.  Add 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a slow stream with the blender on, mixing until emulsified.  Pour into a large container and whisk in an additional 1 cup oil.  Stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

2.  In a large bowl, stir together 1 15-oz can kidney beans (rinsed), 1 15-oz can corn (rinsed)**1/2 of a red onion (minced), 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper (minced), 1 jalapeno (seeded and minced), 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (minced), and the zest and juice of 1 lime.  This can be prepared a day or two in advance.

3.  Just before serving, add in a diced avocado and as much of the vinaigrette as desired.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with Tostitos Scoops.

*This vinaigrette is very versatile.  If I make it for salad, I like to add 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh basil and 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh thyme.  Switch out different oils and vinegars to your heart's content.

**You could probably cook up some fresh corn when it's in season and use that.  I've never tried it that way, but I bet it's delicious!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sesame-Lemon Cucumber Salad

Sesame-Lemon Cucumber Salad
from America's Test Kitchen

1. Peel, halve lengthwise, and remove seeds from 3 cucumbers. slice 1/4-inch thick on bias (diagonally).

2. Toss cucumbers with 1 tablespoon salt in a colander set over a bowl.  Weight cucumbers with a water-filled 1-gallon zipper-lock bag for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 hours. Rinse cucumbers under cold running water and drain well. Transfer cucumbers to a medium bowl.

3. Whisk 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice,
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes together in a  medium bowl.  Add to cucumbers and toss to coat. Refrigerate until chilled.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli

1. Cook 4 slices bacon (chopped medium) in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 
8 minutes.  Stir in 1 finely chopped onion, 4 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and 
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes.  Cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in 
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juice, 2 14.5-ounce cans cannellini beans (rinsed)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, 2 cups water, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 
10 minutes.

2. Stir in 8 ounces ditalini (salad macaroni) and cook until just slightly underdone.  Off the heat, stir in 
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle individual bowls with freshly grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil before serving.

Make-Ahead:  This soup can be prepared through step 1, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.  Reheat over low heat before proceeding with step 2.