Claudia Lucero's One-Hour Cheese takes the mystery out of curds and whey and "distills thousands of years of cheese-making know-how into a foolproof, simple-to-follow manual." With step-by-step photos and more than 16 recipes and variations, Lucero proves that at-home cheese making really can be easy!
MEYER LEMON RICOTTA
Historically speaking, ricotta is made with whey—it’s actually a by-product of other cheesemaking. But our batch uses less than a gallon of milk to make ricotta—versus the more typical 500 gallons—so if we used whey, we would only get a few measly teaspoons. Like many smaller operations, we will add milk for a larger yield! This whole milk and cream version will give the traditional whey recipe a run for its money. Further, we will use sweeter Meyer lemons for our acid, imparting a faint, sweet essence that will leave folks guessing.
Its delicate flavor and texture make this ricotta especially wonderful for desserts (cheesecake!) and breakfast favorites (blintzes!) but it also blends nicely in savory dishes with rich sauces. Experiment with half of your batch and add tidbits like herbs, cracked pepper, seeds, dried fruit, and so on, to create a snacking cheese that goes well with crisp veggies or crostini.
HOW EASY IS IT?
Ready to Eat In: 50 minutes
Makes: 12 ounces
Biggest Pain: Waiting for the curds to drain slowly
Uses: Include in sweet or savory recipes in need of a mild, semispreadable cheese, like cannoli and lasagna.
Recommended Milk: 1 quart whole cow’s milk and 1 pint cow’s milk cream (also called heavy cream or whipping cream)—very flexible; see variations.
Worth Mentioning: This cheese will be very loose when warm and freshly made—chill it in the freezer for 15 minutes to cool it quickly.
VARIATIONS & SUBSTITUTIONS:
Note: Your ricotta may firm up significantly after chilling overnight in the fridge, like all cheeses and fatty foods do. It should become spreadable again with a light stir. If you want a super-rich texture, add a splash of cream just before serving.
How do I love thee, Thai food? Let me count the ways.
Thai food has enjoyed an immense surge in popularity in the U.S. over the past few years, and Leela Punyaratabandhu—a Bangkok native—shares her favorite recipes in her new cookbook, Simple Thai Food. Punyaratabandhu's simple instructions and information on special Thai ingredients (and easy-to-find substitutions) can give any home cook the tools for tackling "Thai make-in instead of Thai take-out."
CRISPY DUMPLINGS (Gold Purses)
MAKES 18 DUMPLINGS
Trim off and discard the roots of the green onions. Cut each onion into 2 pieces, separating the white bulb end from the green blades. Slice the white parts crosswise ¼-inch thick and reserve for the filling. Set the green blades aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or a 14-inch skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sliced onions, aromatic paste and mushrooms and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, until the onions and mushrooms have softened. Add the chicken, soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar and water chestnuts and stir with a spatula, breaking up the chicken as finely as you can with the blunt end of the spatula. Continue to stir-fry for 5 to 8 minutes, until all of the chicken is cooked through and all of the liquid has evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat and let the filling cool to room temperature.
To blanch the “strings” for tying the bags, fill a 1-quart saucepan half full with water and bring the water to a boil. Place a bowl of iced water next to the stove. When the water is boiling, add the green onion blades, pushing them down gently with a spoon to submerge them in the water. After 30 seconds, transfer the onion blades to the iced water. Within 1 minute, the onions should be cool enough to handle. Remove them from the water and, with your fingers or the tip of a paring knife, split each blade in half lengthwise; set aside.
To assemble the dumplings, lay a spring roll skin flat on a work surface and put 1½ tablespoons of the cooled filling in the center. Gather together the corners of the skin and adjust the dumpling so it takes on a round, rather than flat, profile. Using 1 piece of onion blade, tie it around the gathered corners twice to secure them. With a pair of kitchen shears, trim off the dangling blade ends. Repeat with the remaining spring roll skins and filling.
To fry the dumplings, pour the oil to a depth of 3 inches into a wok, Dutch oven or deep fryer and heat to 325°F. To test if the oil is ready without a thermometer, stick an unvarnished wooden chopstick into the oil; when the oil is hot enough, a steady stream of tiny bubbles will rise from the tip of the chopstick. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place it next to the stove.
Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower 3 or 4 filled pouches into the hot oil and deepfry for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown all over. Using the slotted spoon, transfer the dumplings to the towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all of the dumplings are cooked.
Do not serve the dumplings right out of the oil, as the filling will be much too hot to eat. Let them cool down to slightly warmer than room temperature, then arrange them on a platter and serve with the sweet chile sauce.
We're ringing in the month of May with Marc Forgione's recipe for one of his signature "multicomponent masterpieces" from our Top Pick in Cookbooks, Marc Forgione: Recipes and Stories from the Acclaimed Chef and Restaurant. The acclaimed New York chef and star of "Iron Chef America" offers a lineup of his most spectacular dishes alongside details of his rise in the culinary world and the challenges he faced along the way. Are you ready to take Forgione's dare to become fearless in the kitchen? Then roll up your sleeves and take on this Chili Lobster + Texas Toast.
CHILI LOBSTER + TEXAS TOAST
This has become a dish that, along with the Chicken Under a Brick (see page 213), we’ve sort of become known for. But it didn’t become wildly popular until Sam Sifton, the dining critic for the New York Times at the time, wrote his review of the restaurant, devoting a whole paragraph to Chili Lobster, and adding it to his list of recommended dishes. After that, Chili Lobster got on everyone’s radar and has since remained one of our most popular offerings on the menu. On any given night, we go through anywhere from 30 to 50 lobsters, and when you’re doing 130 covers, 30 to 50 is quite a big chunk!
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Remove the tails from the lobster bodies and cut the tails into 1-inch pieces while they are still in their shells. Remove the claws and place them in the pot of boiling water. Simmer for 4 minutes. Transfer the claws to an ice bath. Once cool, remove the meat from the claws and knuckles and set the meat aside. (See page 134 for instructions.)
2. Bring the Lobster Stock to a simmer and add the sriracha and soy sauce. Piece by piece, using a hand blender or a whisk, whisk in 6 tablespoons of the butter until emulsified. Finish with the lime juice and season with salt. This sauce may seem too spicy at first but the sweetness from the lobster will help balance it out.
3. Season the lobster tails with salt on both sides. In a wok or a large sauté pan set over high heat, heat just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Just before it starts to smoke, add the lobster tails, turn the heat down to medium and cook for 1 minute, undisturbed. Add the ginger and onion and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add the lobster stock emulsion and deglaze the pan, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 1 more minute or until the lobster is cooked through. Remove the lobster meat from the sauce and distribute it among 4 plates.
4. Add the claw and knuckle meat and reduce the remaining sauce until it thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. While the sauce is reducing, butter the bread slices with the remaining 6 tablespoons butter and season with salt and pepper. Cut each bread slice diagonally—you should wind up with 8 triangular slices. Toast the bread in a toaster oven until toasted and golden brown.
5. Taste the lobster sauce and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Add the claw and knuckle meat to each bowl. Finish with the mint chiffonade and sliced scallions. Divide the sauce evenly among the four bowls and serve the lobster with Texas toast on the side—you will want it all to mop up the sauce afterward.
MAKES ABOUT 4½ CUPS
This recipe will also work to make crab or shrimp stock; just substitute the respective shells for the lobster shells.
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF; position the rack in the middle. Add enough oil to a roasting pan to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the lobster heads and toss to coat them in the oil. Roast for about 20 minutes or until the bones are well caramelized.
2. Place the roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Crush the bones with a wooden spoon. Add the onions, celery, and fennel, and deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomato paste, and then add the wine and 4 cups of cold water.
3. Transfer everything to a large stockpot set over medium heat, and skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour and 40 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat, add the thyme, tarragon, and bay leaf, and allow the stock to infuse for 20 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl and let cool slightly. Transfer to an airtight container or containers and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. The stock will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Prolific writer, food critic and chef Michael Ruhlman's latest cookbook uniquely centers around a single key ingredient: the egg, or as he so poetically describes it, a “singularity with a thousand ends." Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient contains more than 100 egg-cellent recipes ranging from Aged Eggnog to Eggs in Puttanesca Sauce, and Ruhlman provides easy to understand instructions along with a practiced chef's eye for precision. This bright and citrusy Key Lime Tart with Almond Crust and Meringue Topping looks stunning, and it uses eggs in three different ways.
Key Lime Tart with Almond Crust and Meringue Topping
Makes 1 (9-inch) tart
I was planning to do a yolk-based lemon tart but had recently been in Key West, so I decided to do a lime version. I love this preparation because it uses the egg in three different ways. The yolks enrich and help set the custard, while the white both helps bind the crust and is the basis for the meringue garnish. You can use a standard pie plate if you don’t have a tart mold.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F/180˚C. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
To make the crust, combine the almond flour and all-purpose flour in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, lightly whip 2 of the egg whites with 3 tablespoons of the sugar to dissolve the sugar. Add the egg white mixture and the melted butter to the flour mixture. Stir till it all comes together. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch/23-centimeter tart pan.
Bake the crust till it looks appealingly golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
For the filling, whisk together all 5 egg yolks, the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and lime zest in a medium bowl. Pour the mixture into the cooled tart crust.
Bake until the center is set but still moves a bit when the pan is nudged, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and allow it to cool completely.
Before serving, make an Italian meringue with the remaining 3 egg whites (equal parts egg white and sugar by weight, cooking the sugar to 250˚F/120˚C). Pipe or spread the meringue onto the cooled pie and broil the top to brown it lightly or hit it with a blowtorch for color. Serve.
Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby want to help home cooks achieve "big flavor without big effort" with their new cookbook, The Big-Flavor Grill: No-Marinade, No-Hassle Recipes. Today's recipe is for Grilled Corn with Basil and Parmesan, a super quick and flavorful side dish that just might steal the show at your next outdoor BBQ.
Super-Basic Grilled Corn
Build a two-level fire in your grill, which means you put all the coals on one side of the grill and leave the other side free of coals. When the flames have died down, all the coals are covered with gray ash and the temperature is medium (you can hold your hand 6 inches above the grill for 4 to 5 seconds), you’re ready to cook.
Rub the corn ears all over with the oil and sprinkle them with the salt and pepper. Put the ears on the grill directly over the coals and cook, rolling them around to ensure all of the sides are getting some attention from the fire, until they are golden brown all over, which should take 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the corn from the grill, place the ears in a large bowl (along with some butter if you like) and serve.
| Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish |
Grilled Corn with Basil and Parmesan
With super fresh corn and basil right out of the garden, this dish has the unmistakable flavor of summer—but then we throw in some cheese, because after all, why not get that complexity and richness?
While the fire heats up, get these ingredients ready but keep them separate in small individual containers:
Follow the recipe for Super-Basic Grilled Corn on page 206.
When the corn comes off the grill, put it in a big bowl, add all the other ingredients one after another and toss so the corn gets well coated.
For those of us pining away for a Parisian vacation, Greg Marchand's first cookbook of nouvelle vague bistro fare may be the next best thing. Frenchie is our April Top Pick in cookbooks, and Marchand's recipe for this light and sophisticated dessert is the perfect example of why his innovative, light-handed French fusion is garnering international attention.
Chamomile Panna Cotta and Citrus Soup
4 servings / Wine pairing: Sake
This delicate panna cotta is made with less gelatin than many recipes call for, so be sure to allow enough time for it to set. Infusing the cream with chamomile gives it slight notes of hay, and the panna cotta and citrus fruit soup are an exciting combination, both floral and wild, acidic and sweet. I like to serve this dessert with a good sake.
For the panna cotta
For the citrus soup
The panna cotta
1. With a small knife, split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds; reserve the pod and seeds.
Combine the cream, sugar, chamomile, and vanilla seeds and pod in a small nonreactive saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let infuse for 20 to 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl.
2. Meanwhile, put the gelatin in a bowl of cold water and let stand for 10 minutes, or until softened.
Drain the gelatin and squeeze out the excess water. Heat the milk in a small saucepan, just until warm, then add the gelatin and stir to dissolve it. Pour the milk into the infused cream and stir well. Pour into four 4-ounce timbale molds (about 2 inches high and 2 inches wide) or 4-ounce ramekins.
3. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
The citrus soup
1. Juice one of the grapefruits and both oranges; reserve ½ cup of each type of fruit juice.
Quarter the kumquats lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place them in a saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water.
2. With a sharp knife, peel the remaining grapefruit and the clementines, removing the skin and all the bitter white pith. Then cut between the membranes to remove the citrus segments. Combine with the kumquats in a bowl.
3. Put the gelatin sheet in a bowl of cold water and let stand for 10 minutes, or until softened.
4. Combine the orange and grapefruit juice, cinnamon and honey in a small nonreactive saucepan and heat until warm. Drain the gelatin, squeeze out the excess water and add to the juice, stirring to dissolve it. Let cool to room temperature.
5. Pour the cooled juice over the fruit segments and refrigerate until chilled.
To unmold the panna cottas, briefly place each one in hot water, then invert into a shallow bowl. Pour the citrus soup around (discard the cinnamon stick) and garnish with mint leaves.
Springtime is officially here! The sun is shining and the weather is finally warming up, so it's time to drag your grill out of the garage and show it some love. This two-part recipe for Grilled Steak Tips with Homemade Korean Barbecue Sauce comes from The Big Flavor Grill: No-Marinade, No-Hassle Recipes by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, who make grilling "radically easy, without marinating, brining or using fancy equipment."
Super-Basic Grilled Steak Tips
| Serves 4 to 6 |
Build a two-level fire in your grill, which means you put all the coals on one side of the grill and leave the other side free of coals. When the flames have died down, all the coals are covered with gray ash, and the temperature is medium-hot (you can hold your hand 6 inches above the coals for 3 to 4 seconds), you’re ready to cook.
Put the steak tips in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper and mix until the tips are evenly coated.
Put the tips on the grill directly over the coals and cook, rolling them around frequently so they get well browned on all sides, until done to your liking, about 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare. To check for doneness, cut into one of the chunks and see if it’s done just a bit less than the way you like it. (Remember that it will continue to cook after being taken off the heat.) Remove the steak tips from the grill, cover them with foil and allow them to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Grilled Steak Tips with Homemade Korean Barbecue Sauce
Check out your local Asian store, and you’ll likely find prepared ingredients that you’re not familiar with but which can quickly and easily add a ton of flavor to your food. The fermented red pepper paste known as gochujang, essential to many Korean dishes, is a perfect example.
While the fire heats up, combine in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring frequently, for about 12 minutes—you just want it heated up and well combined:
Now take it off the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Follow the recipe for Super-Basic Grilled Steak Tips on page 33 (listed above).
When the steak tips come off the grill, put them into a large bowl, add the barbecue sauce and toss well.
Toss together in a bowl and then sprinkle the steak tips with:
Today's hearty recipe for Italian Sausage and Mushroom Breakfast Casserole comes from The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook by Alexe van Beuren and Dixie Grimes. Van Beuren's story of unexpected Main Street revival in her town of Water Valley, Mississippi, is captivating, and our cooking columnist calls Grimes' collection of Southern recipes, "Creative comfort at its best."
Italian Sausage and Mushroom Breakfast Casserole
Reasons to make a breakfast casserole: Your in-laws are in town, and you need to spend the early morning vacuuming. High school boys are spending the night, and it’s better to serve them something contained rather than getting roped into standing next to the stove for a solid hour making pancakes to order. Someone needs sustenance in the way of food and the whole neighborhood knows it, which means the recipients of largesse might have 18 lasagnas and nothing for breakfast.
This particular casserole is savory enough for dinner, but the eggs make it breakfasty. Teenage boy approved.
Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 × 13-inch baking dish with butter. In a skillet set over medium heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon, until browned throughout—10 to 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Discard all but 1½ tablespoons of the grease in the pan. Add the fennel and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until the fennel is soft, 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, vermouth, oregano, nutmeg, salt and pepper. In the bottom of the prepared baking dish, spread half of the bread, and top with half of the cooked sausage, half of the fennel mixture, and half of the grated cheese; repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the plastic from the dish and bake until the casserole is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Excerpted from The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook by Alexe van Beuren and Dixie Grimes. Copyright © 2014 by Alexe van Beuren. Photographs by Ed Anderson. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter Publishers, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Read our review of this book.
Chocolate enthusiasts take note: Our cooking columnist describes Alice Medrich's cookbook, Seriously Bitter Sweet: The Ultimate Dessert Maker’s Guide to Chocolate, as "the perfect love letter to this dark, dense, divinely delicious delicacy." This recipe for Bittersweet Decadence Cookies yields soft, ultra-rich cookies and can be modified to use up to 72% chocolate.
Bittersweet Decadence Cookies
Makes 36 cookies
Ultra-chocolatey and richer than sin, slightly crunchy on the outside with a divinely soft center, these are not delicate or subtle, but the jolt of bittersweet is irresistible. I reorganized and revised the original recipe from one in a newspaper—to make the cookies more chocolatey and intense—by reducing the sugar and butter. Now I’ve revised it again so that I can make it with higher-percentage chocolates without compromising that perfect contrast of textures. For the best cookies of all, chop your own chocolate for the chunks, or use a premium brand of chocolate chunks rather than ordinary chocolate chips. You can choose a chocolate for the chunks that contrasts in sweetness with the chocolate in the cookie batter.
Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets (see Note) with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together thoroughly; set aside.
Place the 8 ounces (225 grams) of chocolate and the butter in a large stainless steel bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water and stir frequently just until melted and smooth. Remove the chocolate from the skillet and set it aside. Leave the heat on under the skillet.
In a large heatproof bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla together thoroughly. Set the bowl in the skillet and stir until the mixture is lukewarm to the touch. Stir the egg mixture into the warm (not hot) chocolate. Stir in the flour mixture, then the nuts and chocolate chunks.
Drop slightly rounded tablespoons of batter 1½ inches apart onto the lined cookie sheets. Bake until the surface of the cookies looks dry and set but the center is still gooey, 12 to 14 minutes. Slide the cookies, still on the parchment, onto racks, or set the pans on the racks. Let cool completely. Store in a tightly sealed container.
Note: I am fussy about cookie sheets. These cookies will have the best flavor and texture if they are baked on sheets lined with parchment paper, which insulates them just enough but still allows the cookies to be a little crusty on the outside and soft within. Cushioned pans and silicone liners make the texture of the cookies too uniform for my taste. Pans with dark surfaces (even if they are nonstick) tend to scorch rich chocolate cookie bottoms before the centers are cooked.
To use higher-percentage chocolate to make cookies that are increasingly bittersweet, without sacrificing the texture or the pretty gloss on the surface of the cookies, adjust the recipe as follows.
To use 61% to 64% chocolate:
Use 7 ounces (200 grams) chocolate. Increase the sugar to ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (110 grams).
To use 66% chocolate:
Use 6½ ounces (185 grams) chocolate. Increase the butter to 3 tablespoons (45 grams) and the sugar to ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (125 grams).
To use 70% to 72% chocolate:
Use 5½ ounces (155 grams) chocolate. Increase the butter to 3 tablespoons (45 grams) and the sugar to ¾ cup (150 grams).
For the chunks, use any chocolate you like, the same as or different from the batter. No alterations are necessary.
Popular nutritionist and Food Network host Ellie Krieger's latest cookbook, Weeknight Wonders, is perfect for health-conscious foodies with little free time to spend in the kitchen. This quick and easy shrimp recipe is packed with smoky Spanish flavor, and unlike most take-out, it's guilt-free!
Shrimp with Spinach, Garlic and Smoked Paprika
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
If you have yet to discover the glory of smoked paprika, this is your official invitation. Made from smoked red peppers, it is a key ingredient in Spanish cooking (where it is called pimentón). It imparts a deep ruby color and distinctive smoky flavor and aroma, instantly giving the simplest foods, like eggs, potatoes or grilled chicken, a huge wow factor. In this dish, it teams up with golden toasted garlic for doubly exciting seasoning for sautéed shrimp and spinach. You can buy smoked paprika in sweet or hot varieties, but I buy the sweet because I figure you can always add some heat if you want it—and I do add a touch here.
Rinse the shrimp and pat dry with a paper towel. Thinly slice the garlic. Coarsely chop the spinach.
Place the oil in a large nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low, add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Watch closely so the garlic does not burn. Transfer the garlic to a small dish using a slotted spoon, leaving the oil in the skillet.
Raise the heat to medium-high, add the shrimp, paprika, salt and cayenne to the skillet and cook until the shrimp turns pink and is nearly cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in the spinach, return the garlic to the pan, and cook until the shrimp is opaque throughout and the spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes more.
SERVING SIZE 1 ¼ cups (6 or 7 shrimp)
CALORIES 260; Total Fat 13g (Sat Fat 2g, Mono Fat 7.8g, Poly Fat 2.1g); Protein 30g; Carb 6g; Fiber 2g; Cholesterol 215mg; Sodium 410mg
EXCELLENT SOURCE OF Iron, Phosphorus, Protein, Selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12
GOOD SOURCE OF Calcium, Copper, Magnesium, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Zinc