25 November 2010

green beans with creamy mushrooms and shallots

well, today is the day and this is my last recipe!

green beans with creamy mushrooms and shallots

prep time: 20 min
total time: 20 min
serves: 8 servings
1 ¾ pounds green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large shallots, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
¾ cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons cornstarch
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/3 cup 2% greek yogurt
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. bring a large pot of water to a boil.  blanch beans until tender, about 6 minutes. drain.
  2. meanwhile, heat 1 ½ teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  cook shallots, stirring occasionally, until tender and just starting to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.  transfer shallots to a small bowl and wipe skillet clean with a paper towel.
  3. whisk together stock and cornstarch.  heat remaining tablespoon oil in skillet over high heat.
  4. cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. reduce heat to low; add shallots.
  5. whisk in stock mixture. cook until thick, about 3 minutes more. remove from heat.
  6. stir in yogurt and 1/2 teaspoon salt; season with pepper. toss in beans. serve warm.

24 November 2010

cranberry sauce with maple syrup & cassis

6 cups (about 1-1/2 lb.) fresh or frozen cranberries, picked over and rinsed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)
1/3 cup crème de cassis (black-currant liqueur)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbs. finely grated orange zest (from 1 orange)

  1. put 3 cups of the cranberries and all the remaining ingredients in a 3- or 4-qt. saucepan. bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have popped and broken down and the juices look slightly syrupy, 5 to 7 minutes. 
  2. stir in the remaining 3 cups cranberries and cook until these have popped, 3 to 5 minutes more. remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. 
  3. cover and refrigerate if not serving right away.
make ahead tips
the cranberry sauce can be made up to one week in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator. return to room temperature before serving.

23 November 2010

mixed mushroom and tarragon gravy

prep time: 45 minutes
total time: 1 hour 45 minutes (includes mushroom-soaking time)
makes: about 7 cups
  • 2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 pound fresh crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced
  • 1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 4 1/4 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 5 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
the technique: make ahead
on thanksgiving, do-aheads are key. this super-savory gravy can be made a day ahead. all you have to do before serving is heat it up and stir in some tarragon. no last-minute pan-scraping and reducing required.

  • place dried porcini in large bowl. pour 2 cups boiling water over. let stand until soft, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. using slotted spoon, transfer porcini to small bowl. cool porcini, then chop. pour porcini soaking liquid into medium bowl, leaving sediment behind.
  • melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. add shallot and garlic. stir 15 seconds. add fresh mushrooms, thyme, and sage. sauté until mushrooms are tender, 6 to 7 minutes. transfer mushrooms to bowl. add vermouth to skillet; boil 3 minutes, scraping up browned bits. add 4 cups stock, fresh-mushroom mixture, porcini, and porcini liquid. boil 10 minutes. whisk in sour cream. stir 1/4 cup stock and cornstarch in bowl to dissolve; mix into gravy. cook until gravy coats spoon, about 5 minutes. season with salt and pepper. do ahead: can be made 1 day ahead. cool, cover, and chill. rewarm before continuing.
  • whisk tarragon into gravy and serve.

22 November 2010

sweet potato pudding with pecan and gingersnap topping

12 servings
  • prep: 45 minutes
  • total: 2 hours 15 minutes

  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped gingersnaps
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 3 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams; about 3 large), scrubbed
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
the technique: pudding
eggs change everything: the yolks add richness and texture, and folding in beaten egg whites elevates the sweet potato casserole to new heights. this is a sophisticated take on the classic marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole.
  • toss first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. add butter; using fingertips, rub in until well blended. cover; chill. do ahead can be made 1 day ahead. keep chilled.
  • preheat oven to 400°f. roast potatoes on baking sheet until tender, 45 to 60 minutes. cool. cut in half lengthwise. scoop flesh into bowl; mash. transfer 4 cups potatoes to large bowl. do ahead can be made 1 day ahead. cover; chill. bring to room temperature before continuing.
  • preheat oven to 350°f. butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. add half and half and next 5 ingredients to potatoes. using mixer, beat on low speed until blended. season with salt and pepper. add yolks 1 at a time, blending after each addition. using clean dry beaters, beat whites in another large bowl until foamy. add salt and cream of tartar. beat until peaks form. fold whites into potatoes; spoon into dish. sprinkle with topping.
  • bake pudding until puffed and brown, about 45 minutes. serve immediately.

21 November 2010

honey challah

I love my challah, but use this recipe sometimes if I'm feeling like something a little different or if I want to make 2 loaves.

honey challah

makes 2 loaves.

3 ½ t active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
pinch of sugar
¼ cup mild honey
¾ cup cold water
2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
¼ cup corn oil, or other vegetable oil, plus additional for the bowl
4 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, as needed
1 ½ t fine sea salt
  1. sprinkle the yeast over the ¼ cup warm water, in a small bowl, with the pinch of sugar.  let stand for 5 minutes to soften the yeast, then stir to dissolve.
  2.  pour into the bowl of a stand mixer.  add the ¾ cup cold water, the honey, the 2 eggs, the yolks, and oil and whisk to combine.
  3. attach the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  on low speed, gradually add half of the flour, and then the salt.  gradually mix enough of the remaining flour to form a soft, rough dough that cleans the bowl.
  4. replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook. knead on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and elastic, about 6 minutes.
  5. transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.  knead briefly to check the dough’s texture.  it should feel slightly sticky, but you can knead  in a little more flour if necessary. 
  6. lightly oil a large bowl.  shape the dough into a ball and place, smooth side down, in the bowl.  turn to coat the ball with oil, ending with the smooth side up.  cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.  let stand in a warm place until doubles in volume, about 1 ½ hours.
  7. working carefully to preserve the dough’s light and puffy texture, turn the dough out onto a clean unfloured work surface.  do not knead the dough.  gently shape the dough into a thick rectangle and cut the dough into 6 equal pieces.  for best results, weigh each piece on a scale.
  8. in order to roll the dough into ropes for braiding, there must be some traction between the dough and the work surface.  the tiniest bit of flour will make the surface too slick.  to remedy this, scrape your work surface completely clean.  using a damp kitchen towel, wipe a very thin film of water on the work surface.
  9. working with one piece of dough at a time, shape into thick cylinder.  starting at the center and working outward, roll the dough back and forth on the work surface, pressing down the dough at the same time, slowly moving your hands apart as you roll until the dough is stretched into a 13-inch-long rope, with the center of the rope plumper than the two ends.  repeat with the other 5 ropes.  as the ropes are formed, cover them loosely with plastic wrap.
  10.  line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper.  vertically line up 3 ropes next to each other.  begin the braid from the center to one bottom end, dropping the ropes loosely into place without stretching them.  when you have finished half the braid, pinch the ends together.  flip the dough over with the unbraided ropes facing you.  braid from the center to the other end, and pinch the ends together.  turn the dough over again, and transfer to a prepared pan.  be sure that the ends of the loaf are pinched and the points are tucked under.  repeat with the other 3 ropes of dough and transfer to a second prepared pan.
  11. choose a warm spot in the kitchen for the proofing.  let stand until the braids look quite puffy and seem a bit more than doubled in volume, 45 to 60 minutes.
  12. meanwhile, position racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to  375.
  13. bake the breads for 15 minutes.  switch the position of the breads from top to bottom and front to back.  reduce the oven temperature to 350. and continue baking until the loaves are golden brown and the bottoms sound hollow when tapped with your knuckles, about 30 minutes.  if the loaves seem to be browning too deeply, cover them loosely with aluminum foil.  transfer the loaves to a wire rack and cool completely.