Heartland by Judith Fertig, one of our cookbooks from the August cooking column, celebrates good, down-home American Midwest cooking. Whoever sits at your table -- whether friends, family or just you -- will find bread made from fresh dough to be out-of-this-world. The following recipe is keeping with the spirit of Heartland: a good all-American recipe in half the time, with half the work!
Can bread dough be a pantry staple? Yes, if you consider your refrigerator as “pantry.” With a bowl of this versatile made-ahead dough on hand, you’ll be already halfway to yeasty breads, rolls, and coffee cakes. Busy Heartland farm wives in the early part of the twentieth century had two yeast dough recipes they used regularly. One was for bread and one was for dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, and coffee cakes. This streamlined approach made life easier for them, and it can still make things easier for us today. Plus, there’s also another way to streamline bread baking.
Adding more liquid to a dough eliminates the need to knead. You can simply stir the dough together, keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, and bake when you’re ready. So why not have a baking day, and then wrap and freeze your wares for up to 3 months?
A Danish dough whisk features a mitten-shaped metal mixing end on a wooden handle and makes short work of mixing any dough. Measuring is an important step to assure that your bread turns out right, so follow the directions exactly.
Spoon the flour into a measuring cup, level with a knife or your finger, then dump the flour into a 16-cup mixing bowl.
Add the yeast and salt to the flour. Stir together with a wooden spoon or a Danish dough whisk. Mix the honey, oil, and eggs together in a 4-cup measuring cup. Add enough warm water to reach the 4-cup mark and stir together. Pour the honey mixture into the flour mixture, stir to combine, then beat for 40 strokes, scraping the bottom and the sides of the bowl, until the dough forms a lumpy, sticky mass.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature (72°F) for 2 hours, or until the dough has risen to about 2 inches below the rim of the bowl and has a spongelike appearance.
Use that day in your favorite recipe for sweet bread or rolls, or place the dough, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before baking. If you like, write the date on the plastic wrap so you know the bake-by date for your dough.
We have been excited about Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home (our Cookbook of the Month for August) since May—and one of our editors had some Jeni's ice cream at Hot N Cold the day before the "rapture" (just in case). Making Jeni's delicious ice cream at home takes some careful reading and "a modicum of self-control to keep from becoming a hopeless but happy ice-creamaholic," but it's worth it. The following recipe is for Jeni's signature ice cream flavor.
Danger! This is the dry-burn technique. I don’t add water to the sugar before putting it on the heat, as some chefs do. Caramelizing sugar dry means it goes faster, but you have to watch it more closely and be ready with your cream. Here is an overview of what you are going to do:
Stand over the pan of sugar with a heatproof spatula ready, but do not touch the sugar until there is a full layer of melted and browning liquid sugar on the bottom with a smaller layer of unmelted white sugar on the top. When the edges of the melted sugar begin to darken, use the spatula to bring them into the center to help melt the unmelted sugar. Continue stirring and pushing the sugar around until it is all melted and evenly amber in color—like an old penny. When little bubbles begin to explode with dark smoke, give the sugar another moment and then remove from the heat. Immediately but slowly pour about 14 cup of the cream and corn syrup mixture into the burning-hot sugar. Be careful! It will pop and spit! Stir until it is incorporated, then add a bit more cream and stir, then continue until it is all in.
Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
Mix the cream with the corn syrup in a measuring cup with a spout.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the milk. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
Bring back to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. If any caramel flecks remain, pour the mixture through a sieve.
Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid.
Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
Reduce the salt in the ice cream to 1/4 teaspoon, then make and freeze the ice cream. Pack it into the storage container, layering it with 1 cup coarsely chopped smoked almonds.
One of our cookbooks from our August cooking column combines an appreciation for the amber waves of grain with being super time-friendly. Heartland by Judith Fertig "celebrates its farm-to-table traditions, grounded in the bounty of the land and laced with the ethnic accents and pioneering spirit of the settlers." Read: you'll be cooking up the soul of America in a 2011 minute.
In a large bowl, whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt together. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and milk together. Stir the egg mixture into the dry mixture until well blended. Set aside.
Fry the bacon in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain and add the scallions to the skillet. Sauté the scallions for 1 minute, then transfer to the cornmeal batter. Crumble the bacon into fine pieces. Stir the crumbled bacon and melted butter into the batter, then spoon the batter into the hot skillet.
Immediately, wearing oven mitts, place the skillet on the middle rack of the oven. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting.
Note: Turn leftover cornbread into croutons for Prairie Panzanella (page 147) or other salads. Cut the cornbread into ¾-inch cubes, spread on a baking sheet, and toast in a 350°F oven until the edges turn golden, about 10 minutes. Let cool, and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.
Summer afternoons are perfect for hitting the local farmer's market and perusing fresh veggies, and Barbara Scott-Goodman's Eat Greens -- the Cookbook of the Month in our July cooking column -- is perfect for matching any of 29 vegetables with one of 120 recipes. It's simple cooking for simply delicious, healthy meals.
makes 4 to 6 servings
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the corn, scallions, snap peas, red pepper strips, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, shaking and stirring the skillet, for about 2 minutes. Add the chives, stir, and serve at once.
Salad as a Meal by Patricia Wells, featured in our July cooking column, has us looking at salads in a whole new light. Hailing from southeastern France, this recipe looks nothing like what is expected of a salad. Suggestion: don't ask questions, just enjoy!
Toss the shrimp with just enough sauce to lightly and evenly coat the ingredients. Add the chives and toss to blend. Taste for seasoning. Mound the shrimp salad on plates, and serve.
WINE SUGGESTION: Raoul’s wife, Flora, is the hostess and sommelier at Le Grand Pré. She introduced us to one of our favorite local white wines— Domaine Chaume- Arnaud’s La Cadène Vinsobres Blanc, an atypical blend of 50% Viognier and 50% Marsanne. This white wine has the vivacity and complexity to stand up to the pungent flavors in this dish.
The books in our July cooking column all have great summer recipes -- but what about soup? This recipe from Eat Greens by Barbara Scott-Goodman and Liz Trovato has a special tartness that makes it summer-friendly. It's the perfect meal to bring to work to enjoy for lunch, especially on a rainy summer day.
Add the broccoli and broth. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes, celery seeds, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to let cool.
Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. This will have to be done in batches. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. (The soup can be made ahead of time and will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for a day.)
Reheat the soup. Cut the remaining apple into small pieces or thin strips. Spoon the soup into soup bowls and garnish each serving with the apples and chives and serve at once.
Our July cooking column features three fantastic summery cookbooks, including Patricia Wells' 12th book, Salad as a Meal. It includes over 150 recipes that each challenge and expand the definition of a salad, and this recipe is a great example of her creativity and the heartiness of her dishes. For those of us who are trying to eat healthier but finding it leaves tummies a little empty, this book is just great.
Fill the pasta pot with 8 quarts of water and bring it to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the salt and beans and cook until crisp- tender, about 5 minutes. (Cooking time will vary according to the size and tenderness of the beans.) Immediately remove the colander from the water, allowing the water to drain from the beans. Plunge the beans into the ice water so they cool down as quickly as possible. (The beans will cool in 1 to 2 minutes. If you leave them longer, they will become soggy and begin to lose flavor.) Drain the beans and wrap them in a thick towel to dry. (Store the beans in the towel in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.)
Prepare a wood or charcoal fire. Set the grill rack about 5 inches from the heat. The fire is ready when the coals glow red and are covered with ash.
Scrub the potatoes but do not peel them. Bring 1 quart of water to a simmer in the bottom of a steamer. Place the potatoes on the steaming rack. Place the rack over the simmering water, cover, and steam just until the potatoes are fully cooked, about 25 minutes. While still warm, place the potatoes in a small bowl and toss with just enough dressing to lightly and evenly coat them.
Season the tuna lightly with salt and pepper. Place the tuna at the 10 o’clock position on the hot grill rack. After 1 minute, rotate the tuna a quarter- turn to the right, to 2 o’clock. One minute later, flip the tuna over to the uncooked side, grill marks up, pointing to 10 o’clock. Grill for 1 minute and rotate to 2 o’clock again, cooking until the tuna is done to your liking. Transfer the tuna to a platter, season again with salt and pepper, and cover loosely with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Place the lettuce in a large bowl. Toss with just enough dressing to lightly and evenly coat the lettuce. Place the tomatoes in another bowl and toss with just enough dressing to lightly and evenly coat them. Place the green beans in another bowl and toss with just enough dressing to lightly and evenly coat them.
Set a tuna steak at the edge of a large dinner plate. Arrange the lettuce, green beans, potatoes, eggs, and tomatoes alongside. Arrange the anchovies in a crisscross pattern on top and sprinkle with the chives. Serve.
WINE SUGGESTION: I never tire of one of our longtime favorite rosés, the legendary Bandol Rosé from the Domaine Tempier, a mineral- scented wine that is as versatile, and pleasing, as they come.
There's something truly awesome about cooking a meal that looks and tastes as if it came from some fancy restaurant. The recipes from DK's Seafood, as seen in our June cooking column, seem to specialize in both ease and style, and this next recipe could make it easy to fool your friends and family into thinking you had hired a toque-topped chef.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Sit the salmon fillets in a nonstick roasting pan, drizzle with the olive oil, and season. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.
Meanwhile, cook the Swiss chard in a large pan of boiling salted water for 5-8 minutes, until it still has a bite to it. Drain well, and transfer to a serving dish. Squeeze over the lemon juice, and stir in the chili flakes. Divide between 4 warmed plates.
Place the roasted salmon on top of the Swiss chard, lay a slice of herb butter on each piece, and serve immediately.
Cut 4 sheets of foil about 20 inches long - fold each sheet in half. Drizzle a little oil on the center of each folded sheet, then add the fish. Season with salt and pepper.
Combine the tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic, and thyme in a small bowl.
Top each piece of fish with some of the tomato mixture. Drizzle with the remaining oil.
Fold the foil over the fish, closing up and pinching the edges to seal tightly.
Place the packets on the grill and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the fish is opaque in the middle—which you won’t see since they’re sealed up, so you’ll have to trust me on the time, and if it’s wrong for your grill, adjust it next time.
Put them on plates and let your guests open the packets themselves - just warn them of potential steam.
BTW: You can have these all prepped, sealed, and ready to grill, waiting in your fridge. Just remember to take them out about 30 minutes before you plan on grilling them, okay?
Whether it's a block party, family night, or a summery evening with just you and your grill (it's true love), this lamb steak recipe from Andrew Schloss and David Joachim's Fire It Up, featured in our June cooking column, will seriously redefine your idea of throwing a little meat on the grill. It's tough to pick from the 400 recipes listed in Fire It Up, but this is a good one.
Guinness-Brined BBQ Lamb Steaks
Guinness, the Irish stout, gives the brine for these simple barbecued lamb steaks much of its punch. Like most dark beers, Guinness has a bittersweet molasses flavor, which is great with lamb. But the hidden power of a Guinness brine is its alcohol content (about 4 percent). Alcohol accelerates the absorption of flavorful components directly into the protein structure of meat, yielding a steak that not only retains about 10 percent more moisture, but also is able to deliver a hit of seasoning with every bite. The flavors of chipotle chiles and cumin in the brine are reinforced with a smoky rub and a dark, pungent Guinness BBQ sauce. A word of warning: the sauce burns easily, so only brush it on the meat at the very end of grilling. In fact it is more flavorful served as a table sauce, although the steaks do look nice varnished with glaze.
Light a grill for direct medium-high heat, about 425°F.
Remove the lamb from the brine and pat dry. Discard the brine. Coat the lamb with the oil and season with the rub. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Brush the grill grate and rub with oil. Grill the steaks for about 7 minutes per side for medium-rare (135°F on an instant-read thermometer). Baste with a thin layer of the sauce during the last minute of grilling.
Rest the meat for 5 minutes before serving. Serve the steaks with the remaining sauce on the side.