Ruhlman's Twenty is one of those cookbooks that should be in every kitchen. Michael Ruhlman distills the art of cooking down to 20 fundamental techniques that "all cooks, regardless of their skill or station, need and use." Whether you're making a multi-course meal or some mac'n'cheese, this book will take you from cook to chef.
In this recipe, the grits are cooked with bacon and onion, and the shrimp is gently poached in butter, which then enriches the grits.
If you haven’t had grits in a while, make these, and you’ll ask yourself why they aren’t part of your pantry and cooking routine. They require at least the 30 minutes of cooking called for in this recipe, but can be cooked longer; in fact, they’re best cooked over very, very low heat for hours and hours so that they fully hydrate. The grits can also be cooked all day in a slow cooker, if you have one.
Add the grits and stir. If using milk or stock, add it along with 2 cups/480 milliliters water. If not using milk, add 4 cups/960 ml water. Raise the heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook the grits, stirring, for about 30 minutes. Give the grits several grinds of black pepper. Add more milk or water as needed (about 2 cups/480 milliliters) to keep the mixture fluid. You should use enough water so that the grits don’t stick to the pan and they can absorb the moisture they need. You can cook off additional moisture, so err on the side of using too much liquid. Keep the pan covered on low heat over a heat diffuser for up to 12 hours; monitor the moisture level, adding milk or water as needed. (You can also put the grits in a slow cooker on low or in a covered pan in a low oven, 150° to 200°F/65° to 95°C, for up to 12 hours.)
When the grits are ready, put 2 tablespoons water in a saucepan that is just large enough to hold the butter and shrimp/prawns. Bring the water just to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add a chunk of butter and whisk continuously as the butter melts. When the butter has begun to melt and emulsify into the water, add three more chunks and continue to whisk. (Or you can swirl the butter in the pan; it needs to keep moving—how you do it is up to you.) When all the butter is incorporated, add the shellfish and stir. Keep the pan on medium-high heat until the butter gets hot again. Use an instant-read thermometer to maintain a temperature just below a simmer, 170° to 180°F/77° to 82°C. Don’t let the butter to boil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove a shrimp, cut it open, and check that it’s just cooked through. It should be white at the center, not translucent gray, and tender and juicy.
Put the grits over medium-high heat to get them up to temperature. They should be loose but thick. Taste and add more salt if needed. Stir about a third of the poaching butter into the grits.
Spoon the grits onto plates, and arrange the shellfish on or beside the grits as desired. Garnish with more butter, freshly ground pepper, and a squeeze of lemon.
From the world-renowned chef of elBulli comes a cooking guide unlike any other--The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adrià. BookPage cookbook columnist Sybil Pratt calls it "manna from the maestro for home cooks, both novice and notable."
It's our November Cookbook of the Month, and whether you're bringing gourmet to a table of two or 75(!), it has you covered. Check out one of the truly elegant dishes:
(You can use fresh or unsweetened dried coconut)
(You can also make the flan in small individual molds or timbales, in which case reduce the cooking time to 15-20 minutes)
For the caramel:
Put the water and sugar into a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and boil to make a dark caramel. Divide the caramel among individual or large molds and set aside to cool.
Break the eggs into a large bowl, then whisk until frothy.
Put the coconut milk, grated coconut, and sugar into another large bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Save any leftover coconut milk for serving later. Add the eggs and whisk until even.
Pour the mixture into the caramel-filled molds. Cover the tops of the molds with foil, then transfer to a roasting pan. Pour enough cold water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the side of the molds.
When ready to serve, loosen the flan with a round-bladed knife. Carefully turn over the crème caramel out of the molds. Slice into ¾-inch slices. Serve the slices surrounded with a few spoons of coconut milk.
As the holidays approach, it is the perfect time to dive into a Hannah Swensen culinary whodunit, and Joanne Fluke's Lake Eden Cookbook couples the sweet Minnesota tales with scrumptious recipes from Hannah's shop, The Cookie Jar!
Here's an excerpt from Chapter 1:
Hannah had just re-stacked the cookie boxes in a safe corner of the kitchen when the phone rang. She grabbed the phone on the wall so that Lisa wouldn't have to leave the customers to answer it. "The Cookie Jar," she said. "Hannah spreading."
"Hello, Hannah. It's Bertie." Hannah could hear the high-pitched whine of hair dryers in the background and she knew that Bertie was calling from her beauty shop, the Cut n' Curl. "You'll be at your mother's cookie exchange, won't you?"
"I'll be there. Lisa and I are catering the luncheon."
"Perfect! I was wondering if you'd share something with me."
"Share what, Bertie?"
Hannah began to smile. To her, share meant dividing something tangible into pieces, and she couldn't help forming a mental picture of Bertie grasping one side of a printed recipe while she held on to the other and awaited the signal to tear it in half. Of course that's not what Bertie meant, and Hannah didn't mind giving out her recipes to anyone who asked. The chances of Bertie refusing to order something Hannah sold at The Cookie Jar just because she could go home and bake it herself were negligible. "Which recipe would you like?" she asked.
"The one for that appetizer you made for the film shoot. It was on a round cracker and you said it had cream cheese in it."
"Cream Cheese Puffs?"
"That's it. I'd like that one. You said it was easy."
"It is, but you have to serve it hot out of the oven."
"I can do that. Will you bring the recipe to your mother's luncheon?"
"Sure," Hannah promised. "I'll see you there, Bertie."
Enjoy this recipe for some real-life Cookie Jar cookies!
Melt the jam in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat. Once it’s the consistency of syrup, mix it in with the butter and sugar.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition.
Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir until they’re thoroughly incorporated.
Add the flour in one-cup increments, mixing after each addi- tion. Give a final stir, cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours. (Overnight’s even better.)
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.,
rack in the middle position.
Place 1?3 cup sugar in a small bowl on the counter. You’ll use it to coat your cookies.
Roll the chilled dough into walnut-sized balls with your impeccably clean hands. Roll the balls in the bowl with the sugar, and then place them on a greased standard-sized cookie sheet, 12 cookies to a sheet. (Alternatively, you can spray your cookie sheets with Pam or another nonstick cooking spray instead of greasing them, or simply line them with parchment paper.)
Flatten the dough balls with a greased spatula. Make a small indentation with your thumb or index finger in the center of each cookie. Fill the indentation with a small bit of jam (about 1?8 teaspoon.)
Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees F. Let them cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet, and then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling. (If you used parchment paper, all you have to do is pull the cookie-laden paper onto the wire rack.)
These cookies freeze well. Roll them up in foil, put them in a freezer bag. You may want to be sneaky about labeling the cook- ies or the kids will find them and eat them frozen. (If you write “Pork Kidneys” on the freezer bag, the kids will probably leave them alone.)
Yield: 8 to 10 dozen pretty and tasty cookies, depending on cookie size.
The Slow Cook Book by Heather Whinney is all about the thrifty and the nifty. Any of the 200 recipes in this collection can be done in a traditional oven or in a slow cooker. Sounds like a real staple for those of us who cook every day! Read more in our October cooking column.
The following recipe is seasonal deliciousness at its best. Enjoy!
Pour in a little of the stock, increase the heat, and scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Transfer everything to the slow cooker. Add the remaining stock, cover with the lid, and cook on auto/low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
Remove the cinnamon stick and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth, or transfer in batches to a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a clean pan to heat through, taste, and season as required. Serve with some chunky whole grain bread or some rye bread.
Pour in a little of the stock, increase the heat, and scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining stock, boil for 1 minute, then reduce the heat to barely a simmer, cover with the lid, and cook for about 45 minutes until the pumpkin is soft and the flavors have developed.
Remove the cinnamon stick and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth, or transfer in batches to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add a ladleful of hot water as you go if it is too thick. Transfer to a clean pan to heat through, taste, and season as required. Serve with some chunky whole grain bread or rye bread.
"Melissa Clark’s effervescent, inexhaustible enthusiasm for all things edible is wonderfully infectious. She really makes you want to drop everything, head for the kitchen and whip up an Upside-Down Polenta Plum Cake or Carroty Mac and Cheese."
That's what our BookPage cookbook columnist Sybil Pratt had to say about Cook This Now. These season-friendly recipes, arranged by Clark (food writer and columnist for the New York Times Dining Section), are the type of delicious meals you can't wait to make.
This is one of both our favorites. It’s comforting, crusty topped, soft centered, and very cheesy—but not at all sophisticated. Just simple, kid-friendly, homemade food with the added grown-up appeal of lots of healthful carrots tossed into the mix.
I got the idea from a chef’s recipe in a glossy food magazine. The chef called for cooking carrots in butter and orange juice, pureeing them, and using the puree as a sauce for mac and cheese. I tried the recipe as written and was disappointed. It was a lot of work, and I didn’t like the sweetness of the citrus fruit interfering with my cheesy goodness.
So I decided to come up with my own simplified and ultra-Cheddary version. It was a huge hit with the under-three crowd and their parents, too.
It’s a straightforward recipe that comes together without much fuss, other than having to grate some carrots. But to make up for that, I’ve eliminated the need to make a cheese sauce on the top of the stove. Instead, I toss the hot pasta with grated cheddar, butter, sour cream for creaminess, and eggs to hold it all together. The grated carrots get boiled along with the pasta, so cooking them isn’t an extra step. And the tiny orange shreds look so much like the cheddar that your kids might not even notice they are there. Dahlia certainly hasn’t, and while I’ve never lied to her about their inclusion, I might have left out the word carrot in the dish description—accidentally, of course.
Makes 6 servings
2. Cook macaroni according to package instructions in a large pot of salted boiling water; add carrot 3 minutes before pasta is finished cooking; drain well.
3. While pasta is hot, stir in all but 1/2 cup of the cheddar and the butter. In a bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, salt, mustard powder, and pepper. Fold mixture into the pasta.
4. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar and the parmesan over the top. Bake until the casserole is firm to the touch and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Our Cookbook of the Month celebrates one of the great chefs of our time--Jacques Pepin! Essential Pepin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food honors Pepin's 60 years in the kitchen with the best recipes.
BookPage cookbook columnist Sybil Pratt had only good things to say: "From golden oldies to the here-and-now, from the classic French to the all-American, everything in Jacques’ repertoire carries his unique stamp and approach—unpretentious yet elegant, pragmatic yet sophisticated."
The following recipe is exactly that:
I cook the apples with the skins on to give a chewier texture. Dried currants (raisins can be substituted), slivered almonds, and dried apricots fill the gaps between the apple chunks and additional apples on top create a flat surface for the pastry to sit on, which gives the tart a nicer shape when it is unmolded.
The tart should be served at room temperature or slightly warm. If you make it ahead, keep it in the skillet. The caramel may stick to the bottom, but the dough on top will stay dry. Then, at serving time, put the tart on the stove over medium heat for a couple of minutes, shaking the pan to melt the caramel, so the tart will unmold easily.
Combine the sugar, 2 tablespoons of the water, and the lemon juice in a 12-inch ovenproof non- stick skillet and cook until the mixture becomes a caramel, about 4 minutes. Add the almonds and cook for 10 seconds. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes, so the caramel hardens. Arrange the apple quarters on top of the set caramel, placing them side by side and skin side down in one layer, making two concentric circles, with a piece of apple in the center. Sprinkle the butter, apricots, and currants on top.
Slice the remainder of the apples thin. (You should have about 3 cups.) Arrange on top of the circles of apples to fill the skillet completely. Add the remaining 1?2 cup water, bring to a boil, cover, and boil gently for 10 minutes. The object here is to soften the apples so they sink down and form a flat surface. Remove the lid and continue cooking over medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes, until there is no liquid visible when you incline the pan slightly. This indicates that most of the water and juices have boiled away and what remains is the sugar and butter, which are beginning to caramelize again. Set aside. (The apples can be made several hours ahead.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, with a rack in the center.
Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and place it on a board. Sprinkle with a little flour and roll out to a very thin circle (no more than J inch thick). Trim the edges and then fold the dough in on itself to form an edge that is a little thicker all around.
Place the circle of dough on top of the apples. Press it down with your hands so it lies completely flat. Pierce all over with a fork and sprinkle with the 2 teaspoons sugar, which will caramelize and glaze the dough during cooking.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until nicely browned. Let cool until warm or at room temperature.
At serving time, if the tart has cooled beyond lukewarm, place the skillet back on medium heat and cook, shaking the pan lightly, until the caramel melts. To unmold the tart, place a flat serving dish on top of the skillet and turn the tart out onto the plate.
Beat the heavy cream until firm but not too stiff (no sugar is needed, since the apples are sweet).
Cut the tart into wedges and serve with a good spoonful of whipped cream per serving.
Louis Lambert, owner of five successful restaurants, couples West Texan flavor with high-end sophistication to create "haute ranch cooking" in his newest cookbook, Big Ranch, Big City Cookbook. The result is hearty and unique meals that seem to truly celebrate their ingredients. Read more in our September Cooking column and try the following recipe for a preview of what Big Ranch, Big City has in store:
If using a hot smoker, start your fire and build the temperature to 275ºF. Place the pork butt on the rack with the fat side up. Hot smoke the pork for 6 hours, maintaining the temperature at 275ºF to 300ºF. After 6 hours, increase the temperature to 325ºF and continue cooking until the meat is fork-tender and begins to fall apart, about another 2 hours.
If you are using your barbecue pit, start a small fire to one side of the pit. Bring the temperature in the pit to 300ºF and place the pork, fat side up, on the opposite side of the pit from the fire.
Maintain the temperature in the pit at 300ºF by slowly adding more chunks of wood. After about 2 hours, preheat your oven to 325ºF. Remove the pork from the pit and wrap in aluminum foil. Place the pork in the oven for 4 hours. Increase the temperature to 325ºF and continue cooking until the meat is fork-tender and begins to fall apart, about another 2 hours.
Our Cookbook of the Month for September comes from the Loveless Cafe. If you're not as lucky as we are and can't take a drive down Highway 100--or simply want to bring it home for the family—Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe by Alisa Huntsman is a must. Classic Southern desserts belong on every table.
Be sure to check out our front porch interview with Hunstman, then try your hand at this peachy-keen recipe. Yum!
2. In a medium bowl, toss the peaches with the granulated sugar, flour, and pumpkin pie spice.
3. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll out one piece on a lightly floured board or parchment paper into a 10-inch circle. Carefully invert the dough onto one of the lined baking sheets. Scoop 2 cups of the peach filling into a mound in the center of the circle of dough, leaving a 11?2- to 2-inch margin all around. Fold the edges of the dough in toward the center, pleating as necessary; do this all the way around so that the peaches are visible in the middle.
4. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the coarse sugar. Repeat with the remaining dough, peach filling, egg wash, and coarse sugar.
5. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling.
The American casserole is back on center stage "with a healthy helping of retro-chic and gourmet flair," thanks to The Casserole Queens Cookbook by Crystal Cook and Sandy Pollock! Featured in our September Cooking column, the cookbook by two Austin gals shares recipes for "one-dish wonders" for weeknight cooking.
2. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the chicken, bell pepper, and shallots, and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, salt, tarragon, and black pepper. Add the milk and cream, and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Add the wine, peas, carrots, and potatoes and stir until heated thoroughly, about 5 minutes.
3. Transfer the hot chicken mixture to a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Place the puff pastry over the top of the casserole dish. Brush the edges of the puff pastry with the egg wash and press against the side of the casserole dish, then cut slits in the pastry to allow steam to escape. Brush the top of the puff pastry with egg wash—this will help the puff pastry brown evenly. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve immediately.
Here are two other great ways to make our chicken pot pie:
Make individual pot pies! Portion out the filling into 6-ounce ramekins. Top each ramekin with some puff pastry and freeze. Cook at 425°F for 20 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown. So cute!
Use store-bought pie dough and make empanadas! Using a 3-inch circle pastry cutter, cut 12 circles out of the dough. Place a large spoonful of filling on one half of each circle. Brush the edge of the pastry with egg wash, then fold in half to make a half-moon shape. Press the edges together firmly and crimp with a fork. Put the empanada on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
One of our September cookbooks comes from West Texas--but these aren't your everyday ranch-style meals. Louis Lambert shares "haute ranch cooking" in Big Ranch, Big City Cookbook, which "blends the bold, simple flavors of his cattle-ranching heritage with sophisticated cooking techniques, a rustic repertoire touched with elegance."
If you enjoy this recipe, you'll love the rest Big Ranch, Big City has to offer. It's out today! Enjoy!
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream, 3/4 cup of the Parmesan, the salt, white pepper, thyme, and nutmeg. Evenly slice the potatoes 1/8 inch thick and place in the bowl with the seasoned cream, stirring to coat the potatoes.
Arrange the potato slices in the casserole dish, overlapping them like shingles on a roof. Pour the cream mixture remaining in the bowl evenly over the potatoes; the cream should come almost to the top layer of potatoes. Press down on the potatoes to evenly compact them into the cream.
Sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan over the potatoes and then dot the top of the cheese with small pieces of the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Bake the gratin, uncovered, in the middle of the oven until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let the gratin rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.