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:
Easter is coming up soon, and this week's recipe for Easter Swiss Chard and Ricotta Pie could bring a uniquely Italian element to your holiday menu. The perfect combination of savory, flaky and creamy, this pie comes from Michele Scicolone's latest release, The Italian Vegetable Cookbook. Not sure where to find Swiss chard? Try it with other leafy greens like spinach or arugula!
Easter Swiss Chard and Ricotta Pie
At Easter time, this savory tart is traditional in Liguria, but it has become so popular that you can now find it year-round. Some cooks make it with just one vegetable, while others use a mix like chard, spinach, arugula, beet greens and/or artichoke hearts. Originally the tart was made with 33 layers of dough, representing the years of Jesus’ life, but this is a streamlined, contemporary version with just two layers enclosing the vegetable and cheese filling. The crust for the pie is made with olive oil instead of butter or shortening, which gives it a melt-in-your mouth tenderness and great flavor. A vegan friend taught me a great trick: Freezing the oil to a slushy consistency makes the crust easier to handle.
To make the crust
Place the olive oil in a small container in the freezer until it is slushy around the edges, 30 to 60 minutes.
In a food processor, pulse the flour, baking powder, and salt. (The dough can also be made with an electric mixer.) Add the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the water and pulse to blend, adding the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to make a smooth, soft dough.
Remove the dough from the machine and cut it into 2 pieces, one twice as large as the other. Shape the pieces into disks. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
To make the filling
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the Swiss chard and 2 teaspoons salt and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the chard is tender. Drain in a colander and cool under cold running water. Let cool completely. Wrap the chard in a kitchen towel and squeeze well to extract as much liquid as possible. Place the chard on a cutting board and chop into ½-inch pieces.
In a medium skillet, cook the onion in the olive oil until tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chard and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the ricotta, marjoram, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the Parmigiano and the chard mixture until blended.
To assemble and bake
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil a 9-inch tart pan.
Roll out the larger piece of dough on a lightly floured surface to a 14-inch circle. Transfer the dough to the pan and fit it into the bottom and up against the sides. Trim off all but ½ inch of dough around the rim.
Scrape the filling into the pan.
Roll out the smaller disk of dough to a 10-inch circle and place it over the filling.
Roll the edge of the bottom crust up over the top and pinch together to seal. With a small knife, cut 6 small slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape.
Place the pan on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the pastry is browned. Cool the tart in the pan for 10 minutes.
Remove the rim of the pan and cut the tart into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Jeff Koehler, a proud Barcelona resident for over 15 years, offers "an expert guide" to the intriguing and sophisticated flavors of Spanish cuisine in his cookbook, Spain: Recipes and Traditions from the Verdant Hills of the Basque Country to the Coastal Waters of Andalucía. Koehler tells a well-informed story of the country itself through his collection of 200 recipes, highlighting the most essential ingredients along with their cultural significance. This recipe for Chicken with Shallots and Orange and Cinnamon Sauce is a great introduction to the combination of sweet and savory so prominent in Valencia.
Chicken with Shallots and Orange and Cinnamon Sauce
The central market in Valencia is one of the most spectacular in the country, with soaring cupolas, ceilings that reach 100 feet/30 m, and ample windows that infuse it with Mediterranean light. And that is only the architecture! Nearly 1,000 food stalls offer the spectacular makings of Valencia's rather baroque cuisine. The city was under Muslim rule for five centuries (until 1238), and that legacy can clearly be tasted. One prominent influence is the frequent combination of sweet and savory. This chicken dish is one such example, and is adapted from a small book that the stall holders put together a few years ago.
1. Remove the skin and trim the excess fat from the chicken. Rinse and pat dry. Season with salt and white pepper.
2. Peel the shallots. Finely chop two of them and set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C/gas mark 5.
4. In a cazuela, heavy casserole, large saute pan or deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Lightly dredge the chicken in flour and brown in single-layer batches that don’t crowd the pan, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter.
5. Add the whole shallots to the cazuela and cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes, and then transfer with a slotted spoon to the platter with the chicken. Add the chopped shallots and cook until tender and golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in the 1 teaspoon flour and then add the orange juice and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring continually. Remove the pan from the heat.
6. In a large baking dish or roasting pan, arrange the chicken without overlapping the pieces, scatter around the whole shallots and pour over the sauce. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is done and just starting to separate from the bone.
7. Spoon the sauce into a saucepan and reduce by about ¼ over high heat into a thickish glaze, about 3 minutes. To serve, place a drumstick and a thigh with some whole shallots on each plate and ladle over some sauce.
This divinely simple pasta recipe comes from The Italian Vegetable Cookbook by Michele Scicolone. The mostly meatless cookbook focuses on the vibrant use of fresh fruits and veggies in the tradition of la cucina Italiana, and Scicolone's Orecchiette with Potatoes and Arugula makes for a stunning one-pot supper.
Orecchiette with Potatoes and Arugula
Arugula is ideal as a salad green, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good cooked. In Puglia, it is used in soups and pasta sauces and sauteed as a side dish. This recipe pairs orecchiette, little ear-shaped pasta, with arugula and potatoes. For the sauce, the potatoes turn creamy as they cook in the same pot with the pasta, and the pasta and vegetables get an added lift from sauteed garlic and a hint of hot pepper.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a skillet large enough to hold all of the ingredients, cook the garlic and red pepper in the oil over medium heat until the garlic is golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Add the potatoes to the boiling water. When the water is boiling again, stir in the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and the pasta is al dente. Stir in the arugula. Scoop out some of the cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta.
Place the skillet over medium heat, add the pasta and vegetables and toss well. Add a little of the cooking water if the pasta seems dry. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve immediately.
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
In the spirit of Valentine's Day, we're sharing a recipe for a beautiful, rich and chocolately dessert that is so good, you won't even mind that it's not heart-shaped. This Warm Mocha Tart comes from Alice Medrich's swoon-worthy cookbook, Seriously Bitter Sweet: The Ultimate Dessert Maker's Guide to Chocolate, which has more than 150 decadent recipes. Who needs flowers?
Warm Mocha Tart
Serves 8 to 10
Two weeks of nonstop shortbread testing produced an unorthodox surprise: perfect shortbread made with melted butter. That shortbread became an exquisitely crunchy and flavorful base for lemon bars, a crust for cheesecake and, ultimately, my favorite sweet tart crust. I even bake brownie batter on top of it. This remarkable crust barely shrinks in the pan, so there is no need to weight or even prick it before baking. To ensure that the bottom remains crunchy, bake the crust fully, to a deep golden brown, before pouring in the filling.
At the same time I was playing with the new tart crust, I was experimenting with different cocoas, tasting and comparing natural and Dutch-process in all kinds of recipes. Voilà, rich warm cocoa custard in the simplest crust.
9½-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom
For the Crust
For the Filling
1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. To make the tart crust: Mix the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add the flour and mix just until well blended. Don’t worry if the dough seems too soft. Press all of the dough very thinly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan.
3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown.
4. Meanwhile, make the filling: Place the butter, sugar, cocoa powder and cream in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture is blended and smooth and begins to simmer around the edges. Remove from the heat and stir in the espresso powder and vanilla.
5. Just before the crust is ready, whisk the egg thoroughly into the hot chocolate mixture.
6. Pour the filling into the hot crust and turn off the oven. Leave the tart in the oven until it quivers like tender Jell-O in the center when the pan is nudged, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a rack.
7. Serve the tart warm or at room temperature.
Espresso Walnut Tart: The same tart in a walnut cookie crust produces a subtler but still delicious effect. You could also make it with toasted skinned hazelnuts—then I would omit the espresso powder.
Reduce the butter to 6 tablespoons (85 grams) and add 2 teaspoons brandy and 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (or a heaping teaspoon instant coffee powder or crystals) with the sugar, salt, and vanilla. In a food processor, pulverize ⅓ cup (35 grams) walnut pieces with ¾ cup (105 grams) flour until fine. Substitute this mixture for the flour. Proceed as directed.
Either natural or Dutch-process cocoa works well here. The former has a livelier, more complex, fruity flavor, while the latter has a cozy old-fashioned flavor reminiscent of chocolate pudding. You choose.
You may recognize Ellie Krieger from her popular Food Network show, Healthy Appetite. She's back with her fifth cookbook, Weeknight Wonders, and she's ready to further prove that quick and healthy aren't necessarily mutually exclusive terms in the world of food. A registered dietitian with an impressive Ivy-League education in nutrition, Krieger's collection includes 150 recipes that focus on "fresh, minimally processed, additive-free [and] low-fat" ingredients, and each can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. If you love the combination of sweet and savory as much as I do, then this chicken is a must-try.
Peach Chicken with Crispy Bread Crumbs
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
This dish has the savory, crispy-coated appeal of breaded chicken cutlets, minus the messy, unhealthy frying and with the added bonus of a sweet peach topping. The chicken is dipped in a homemade Italian dressing, then coated in freshly toasted seasoned bread crumbs, topped with the peaches and baked until delightfully browned and crisp but still lusciously moist from the fruit. Toss some asparagus with a little olive oil and salt and pop it in the oven for a few minutes before you put the chicken in for a roasted asparagus side, or try it with Asparagus “Pasta” (page 246) or Pan-Steamed Broccoli with Lemon, Garlic, and Parsley Gremolata (page 253).
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
If using fresh peaches, pit them and slice each one into 8 slices. Otherwise, thaw frozen peaches in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove.
Place the bread in the bowl of a food processor and process until fine crumbs form. Place them in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until they are crisp and toasted, 3 to 4 minutes.
Combine the bread crumbs, sesame seeds, ½ teaspoon of the paprika, and ¼ teaspoon each of the salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Mince the garlic and place it in a small bowl along with the oil, vinegar, oregano, sugar, onion powder, and remaining ¼ teaspoon each paprika, salt, and pepper. Whisk well to combine.
Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Dip the chicken in the vinaigrette, then press it into the bread crumb mixture and place it in the baking dish. Sprinkle any remaining bread crumbs into the pan, on and around the chicken, then drizzle the remaining vinaigrette on top to moisten the crumbs.
Distribute the peaches evenly across the top of the chicken and drizzle with any accumulated peach juices. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and begins to brown, 12 to 13 minutes.
SERVING SIZE: 1 chicken breast, ½ cup peaches, and ¼ cup additional crumb mixture
CALORIES: 480; Total Fat 20g (Sat Fat 3g, Mono Fat 12.2g, Poly Fat 3.0g); Protein 42g; Carb 32g; Fiber 5g; Cholesterol 110mg; Sodium 620mg
EXCELLENT SOURCE OF: Fiber, Magnesium, Manganese, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Potassium, Protein, Selenium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K
GOOD SOURCE OF: Copper, Iron, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Vitamin A, Zinc