Who's the Baketard?

Why Baketard? Love to cook, hate to bake. Despite having gone to cooking school and working in some top kitchens, I never learned the baking side of things. I'm building my baking and photography skills, while sharing recipes that rock my world in the mean time.

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Friday
Apr132012

Grilled Asparagus with Hazelnut Aioli and Pinot Noir Syrup

With the weather hitting 70-degrees this week (What? In Seattle? Are you insane?), teasing us with the summer we’re unlikely to get until the middle of July, I’m sick of this winter comfort food bullshit. I want morels, asparagus, outdoor drunken barbecues…and a pony. 

One of my favorite grill recipes (and absolutely my favorite asparagus recipe) is this one. Smoky grilled asparagus, rich and creamy hazelnut aioli and a tart, sweet pinot syrup. There are a million variations on this recipe today, but this is the one to which I always return.  

Yes, there are a couple of sub-recipes. Wah. They're EASY. Everything can be done well in advance, making this a perfect add to the menu when your drunk ass decides to go outside, take a chance on the sun sticking around for a few more minutes, and fire up the grill. (You can do it in a grill pan too, but that’s just douchey.)

You’re gonna love this one!

BTW, Thanks to Jackie Baisa for delaying the shoveling of asparagus into her yawning maw long enough to take the pretty pictures for me!

Grilled Asparagus with Hazelnut Aioli and Pinot Noir Syrup

Ingredients:

2 bunches asparagus, stems snapped to where tender and cleaned

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt to taste

Hazelnut Aioli (recipe follows)

Pinot Noir Syrup (recipe follows)

Preparation:

Toss asparagus in olive oil and salt to taste.  Place on well-heated grill and cook until just tender, about 3-6 minutes, depending on heat.  Place in serving bowl or individual plates.  Drizzle with Hazelnut Aioli and Pinot Noir Syrup.

For the Hazelnut Aioli:

1 shallot, minced

1 Tbsp whole grain mustard

1 Tbsp lemon juice

3 Tbsp sherry vinegar

2 oz hazelnut oil

3 oz olive oil

Salt, to taste

Hazelnuts, toasted, finely chopped, to taste

Vinaigrette will easily emulsify, so this may be made in a food processor or vigorously by hand.  Finish the sauce with finely chopped toasted hazelnuts, saving some to put over the top of asparagus when plated.

For the Pinot Noir Syrup:

1 bottle Pinot Noir, or your favorite red varietal (Note: I used my favorite local Syrah, and it was superb)

5 Tbsp sugar, preferably organic

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt sugar.  When sugar begins to turn golden, add wine.  Cook down on medium heat until syrupy.  This should take 10 minutes or so, depending on heat.  Turn sauce down when it begins to thicken because it goes very quickly from that point on.  Let cool and reserve.  This is good indefinitely.  Do not refrigerate.

 

Monday
Apr092012

Porchetta

Everyone has their Easter traditions. For us, it’s a Heathen Brunch with a combination of good food and questionable taste with regard to the themes surrounding the foods on the table. This year, I threw away the traditional ham idea and instead worked on making my first Porchetta. Porchetta is an Italian skin-on pork belly, generally wrapped around something else – sometimes a pork tenderloin, other times sausage or another savory filling. I was thrilled to see that Tasting Table published the Porchetta recipe from Olympic Provisions in Portland a couple of weeks ago. If you’ve never been to Olympic Provisions, you’re missing out. Their charcuterie is brilliant, and they have a small restaurant setup, where you can dive into more meat than you can possibly consume. This dish is one of my favorites from their repertoire, and it turned out great.

I made minimal substitutions and modifications to this recipe— First, I scored the skin to make it crispier.  Also, when I sliced and seared it Easter Morning, I simmered the maple syrup used for brushing with a few cinnamon sticks and some star anise to add a little more character. Finally, the belly I procured was only about 8lbs, so I didn’t bother cutting it into two roasts. Besides, with the sausage stuffing it’s a feat to roll the damned thing and I didn’t want to do it twice!

The measurements here are a combination of Imperial and metric, and it’s good to use a scale for the sausage prep.

Enjoy. This dish will send everyone running back for more.

Italian Sausage-Stuffed Porchetta

Executive Chef Erin Williams 

Olympic Provisions - Portland, Ore., USA

Yield: 20 servings

Cold water, 1 gal

Kosher salt, 1 C

Sugar, 1/2 C

Pork belly, 10- to 12-Lb  1 each

Olive oil, as needed

Italian sausage  4 Lb (Recipe Below)

Maple syrup (optional)  as needed

Sea salt as needed

Eggs, as needed

Toast, as needed

Instructions:

1. Combine water, salt and sugar. Submerge belly in brine, top with a weight so it stays submerged and refrigerate 24 hours.

2. Remove belly from brine, pat dry, then halve belly crosswise. For each porchetta roast, turn belly skin-side down. Pack 2 pounds sausage down middle of each belly half lengthwise and roll up tightly to form a log. Tie with butcher’s twine. Sear porchetta in olive oil until brown on all sides. Roast in a rotisserie or 375-degree F oven until internal temperature registers 135 degrees F, about 2 hours. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate overnight.

3. To serve, slice porchetta crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Heat olive oil in a cast-iron pan. Brown porchetta on both sides until crispy and thoroughly warmed through. Glaze with maple syrup (if using), season with sea salt, and serve with eggs and toast.

 

Hey, I want some!

ITALIAN SAUSAGE     

Executive Chef Erin Williams 

Olympic Provisions - Portland, Ore., USA

Yield: 2 kg

Pork shoulder, cubed, 1360 4/5 g

Pork fatback, cubed, 583 1/5 g

Sea salt, fine, 29 1/5 g

Freshly ground black pepper, 9.7 g

Fennel seed, ground, 5 4/5 g

Chili flakes, ground, 4.9 g

Garlic, minced, 3.9 g

Oregano, dried, 3.9 g

Coriander, ground, 9.7 g

Instructions:

1. Combine pork and fatback with salt and spices and marinate overnight. Grind mixture with a coarse-grind die, transfer to a mixer fitted with paddle attachment and mix for 1 to 2 minutes until mixture feels tacky. Refrigerate until needed.

Thursday
Apr052012

Inappropriate Easter Cocktails

Every Easter I channel my frustration with my fundamentalist upbringing and ultra-conservative parochial schooling by hosting a Burn-In-Hell Easter brunch. The food is always something that redeems the theme, which might leave something to be desired with those who are devout.  Any good brunch involves good drinks, and lots of them.  A couple of years ago, when soliciting ideas from friends for the right cocktails to go with inappropriate foods like Fallen Angel hair pasta, the Cheeses of Nazareth, etc. someone showed up with the makings for Rusty Nails. What’s better for an inappropriate Easter theme than a good old-fashioned Rusty Nail or two?

For those who aren’t ready to hit the hard stuff *quite* that hard in the morning, we balance it out with Bloody Mary Magdalenes.

Try these recipes for your own party—I guarantee they will satisfy. But if you laughed at this, you’re going to hell too.

I’ll post the Easter Brunch recipes this weekend, after we get a chance to test and photograph the results.

Rusty Nails

INGREDIENTS

2 ounces Scotch

1 ounce Drambuie

INSTRUCTIONS

Pour the Scotch and Drambuie over ice in a heavy old-fashioned glass, and stir.

Bloody Mary Magdalenes

INGREDIENTS

4 cups tomato juice

Juice of 2 large lemons

3 to 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

3 heaping tablespoons prepared horseradish

3 cloves garlic, passed through a garlic press

1 Tablespoon coarsely ground pepper

1 tsp hot sauce (Tabasco doesn’t pack the kick we like, so we opt for hotter sauces)

1 ½ tsp celery seeds

Unflavored vodka, to taste (for us, to taste is a LOT)

Lemon wedges, for serving

Celery sticks, pickled asparagus and hot pickled green beans for serving and munching

INSTRUCTIONS

Place tomato juice in a large container with a tight-fitting lid. Add lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, garlic, pepper, celery seeds, and hot sauce; shake vigorously. Taste, and adjust for seasoning; the mixture should be quite spicy.

Pour 1-2 parts vodka and 3 parts Bloody Mary mix over ice in a shaker. Shake well. Pour into glasses. Squeeze a wedge of lemon over drink (do not subsequently stir or shake drink), discard used wedge. Garnish with a large stick of celery (reserve extra stalks for munching), pickled green beans and asparagus and a large lemon wedge.

Sunday
Apr012012

Banoffee Pie

Yesterday I joined a bunch of friends attending a dessert party. My friend who invited me extended the invitation along with instant mockery along the lines of, "We know you can't bake, so if you want to bring a savory dish, you can."  I know, right? WHAT A BITCH!

Gauntlet dropped, I considered a few REALLY fussy recipes, thinking I'd show HER.  As the date approached, the dread of baking anything that would take me hours increased so I went through my recipe file for things I know I love and that I've not made for this group of friends before. I stumbled upon a note I'd sent myself a couple of years ago when I was on business in the UK and discovered Banoffee Pie for the first time.  My friends over there were incredulous that Id never heard of it, and were smugly unsurprised when I tried it and wanted to rub it all over my body.

Banoffee Pie is an orgasm in a pie shell. (Yes, ladies…that means you can have 2 or 3). Graham crackery type of shell (made with Digestive Biscuits, actually), chewy toffee, whipped cream and bananas. It ended up being little fuss, other than having to plan in advance to make the pie shell the night before to allow for cooling time. (You could do it all in the same day with little effort, but my morning before the party was full. You want to allow time for the crust and toffee to cool before you add the whipped cream mixture.)

This recipe was one I found on the Today Show website when I did a Banoffee search. The only change I've incorporated is one I learned from making one of Nancy Silverton's desserts—adding crème fraiche to the whipping cream at the end. Crème fraiche stabilizes the whipped cream and adds a slight tangy note.

Hope you guys enjoy this pie as much as we did. The Baketard baked. Suck it, Kairu! (And after sucking it, please accept my thanks for the ipad photo and the photo of the completed slice.)

Banoffee Pie

Ingredients

For biscuit base

2 1/4 cups digestive biscuit crumbs (pulse biscuits in food processor)

1/2 cup melted butter

3 tbsp sugar

For toffee filling

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 10 oz (300 ml) can sweetened condensed milk

Banana cream topping

2 cups whipping cream

7.5oz Crème Fraiche

3 tbsp icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 ripe bananas, sliced

Preparation

For biscuit base:
Mix together ingredients for the biscuit base. Press into the bottom and sides of a lightly greased 9 inch springform pan, about an inch and a half up the sides of the pan will do. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 10 -12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack.

For toffee filling:
In a small saucepan combine melted butter, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Bring to a slow boil until foamy, then add condensed milk. Bring back to a slow boil over medium low heat. and cook stirring continuously for another 3 or 4 minutes until the mixture darkens slightly. Remove from heat and pour into the prepared cookie crumb crust. Chill for 2 hours or more until thoroughly cooled.

For banana cream topping:
Add whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat together until soft peaks form, then whip in crème fraiche. Once incorporated, gently fold in bananas.

Spread the banana cream topping over the toffee filling and garnish the top of the pie with chocolate shavings if desired. Chill for about another hour before serving.

 

 

Saturday
Mar312012

Braised Lamb Cheek Vol Au Vents with Creamed Mustard Greens and Gremolata

Mary had a little lamb. It was DELICIOUS

I’ve been going through my recipe files and trying to organize them into a cookbook for the iPad so that I have easy, portable access when I want to find something. This is all for my personal use, because most of my go-tos are recipes I’ve found online over the years, created by someone else and thrown into an email folder, never again to see the light of day. When I make a recipe and love it, it goes into a different folder and gets sent out to the recipe mailing list I’ve grown over the years. (Today, if you’re on that list, you get an update when I throw a new recipe up to Baketard, which is intended to replace that list.)

Digging through old files I found this recipe, which was one we made a while back when we had a friend coming to town. I was lucky enough to score some lamb cheeks at the farmers’ market, and this recipe was just pretty and fussy enough for me to want to give it a go. I mean, let’s be serious—who doesn’t love ANYTHING surrounded by a vol au vent of puff pastry? Looks fancy, but it is really easy to prepare. You just need to plan for some braising time.

If you can’t get lamb cheeks (and let’s be honest, they’re not easy to acquire), this recipe would also work well with shanks. The cooking time would need to be a little bit longer—just check the meat after 3 hours and see if it’s ready to fall off the bone. That’s what you’re going for here.

I’m looking forward to light, delicious spring foods soon. Right now, with our overcast skies and constant rain, I’m still craving this kind of grub.

Enjoy!

Braised Lamb Cheek Vol Au Vents with Creamed Mustard Greens and Gremolata

Adapted from a recipe by Michael Thurman, Martini House, St. Helena

Serves 6

6 4 oz. lamb cheeks

2 carrots, cut up

3 large onions, cut up

1 head garlic, minced

2 large cans chicken broth

1 bunch thyme

1 bay leaf

2 T black peppercorns

6 T whole mustard seed

Puff Pastry

Creamed Mustard Greens

4 bunches mustard greens

3 shallots thinly sliced

2 T butter

1 qt heavy cream

3 T whole grain mustard

2 T fresh ground

mustard seed

1 T fresh ground

nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

Gremolata

1 lemon

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

 

Lamb Cheeks

Season lamb cheeks with salt and pepper. Brown both sides on medium/high in 3 tablespoons vegetable oil. Set aside. Add 2 more tablespoons oil to pan, add vegetables, and sauté until golden brown. Transfer cheeks and vegetables to stock pot and cover with chicken broth.

Add thyme, garlic, and spices and bring to a boil. Cover with lid or foil and place in preheated 375 degree oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove cheeks from liquid and cover with plastic; set aside. Strain liquid and discard vegetables and herbs. Reserve braising liquid.

Creamed Mustard Greens

In 2 quart saucepan sweat shallots in melted butter until translucent. Add cream and whole grain mustard. Bring to a slow simmer on medium heat (cream will scald and boil over if too hot.) Reduce cream by half; set aside and keep warm. Skim any skin that continues to form and discard.

Bring 2 gallons of salted water to a boil and add mustard greens. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes (until tender) and remove and plunge into cold water. Remove greens and

squeeze out excess water. Place in food processor and puree while slowly adding cream mixture. When desired consistency is met add nutmeg and mustard seed. Set aside.

Gremolata

Combine garlic, lemon zest, and parsley in mixing bowl. Add olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Vol au Vent (Puff Pastry)

Puff Pastry sheets can be purchased in the freezer section of the grocery store. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Allow pastry to thaw for about 20 minutes. Cut into 2-inch squares and place on heavily buttered cookie sheet. In small bowl, whisk egg and milk together. Brush egg mixture lightly over pastry squares.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Once removed from oven, cut 1/2" x 1/2" in the middle of each pastry square, remove and set aside

Plating

Warm Vol au Vent in oven and place lamb cheeks in hot braising liquid until warmed through. Place pastry on middle of plate and fill with greens. Place cheek on the greens and spoon one tablespoon of gremolata on top of cheek. Garnish plate with any extra gremolata.

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