Posts tagged ‘recipe’

The Biggest Cookbook in the Universe: The Internet

I spend a lot of time Google Reader, bookmarking DIY projects and recipes I’d like to try myself. Sounds like an exciting Tuesday night, eh? It is!  Over the past few weeks, sheer busy-ness has brought me back to old favorite recipes. I thought I share a few with you to so that maybe they’ll become old favorites too. Since these recipes are culled from other blogs, you just get the delicious pre- and post finished product pictures. Bonus! My take on the recipes.

Alice Water’s Apple Tart on the Smitten Kitchen

I should’ve know such an absolute doll of a recipe would come from the impeccable and never-faltering Smitten Kitchen. The original recipe includes a glaze, made by simmering the apple peels with sugar and water. Don’t bother. This recipe is absolute perfection as-is. The crust is the bees knees. The apples melt in your mouth. If you don’t have a tart pan like me, it always comes out looking “refreshingly rustic”. (ahem)

Ina Garten’s Butternut Squash Risotto

One of the only things I enjoy making with butternut squash is risotto. Actually butternut squash is the only reason I tried my hand at risotto in the first place.  The original recipe I made a few months ago was vegetarian. The next version was vegan. This Ina Garten recipe is the DEAD OPPOSITE. Stick of butter, bacon, cheese, saffron, the works. I really did enjoy the new take on risotto that this provided but I think I’ll stick with the guilt free vegetarian version! If you do go ahead with Ina’s recipe, this is best served to 5-6 other people to avoid leftovers (which are awesomely tasty.)

Lemon Poppyseed Shortbread Cookies from Lottie and Doof

For a few weeks, the Mr. has been craving French Laundry shortbread cookies. Since we had lemons, I pulled out a recipe waiting in the wings from Lottie + Doof. These were a lot easier to make than their French Laundry friends but that’s probably because they use more ingredients than butter, flour, sugar and a vanilla bean. Verdict: completely tasty. I got to use one of my new cookie cutters for these! I figured that a heart would be more appetizing than a dog bone (purchased for doggie biscuits.)

That’s it for now, y’all. If you’ve got some old winter favorites, send them my way, why don’t you?

Looking for a Good Duck

One Thing I’ve learned in my 20+ years on this planet is that when someone excitedly sends you a recipe and asks if you want to make it, you say YES. Such things cannot be ignored. To be truthful, I’d never envisioned myself cooking duck or having anything to do with that particular meat outside of a restaurant. THH guest blogger, Juliette Melton, had sent a link to a New York Times recipe for Really Easy Duck Confit. A time and date was set and ho’boy, we ate well. Lesson learned: duck confit is really fricken tasty. Double points for serving it with a duck fat veggie mix and a simple dino kale.

The hard part (it seemed to me) was finding where to buy 8 duck legs. Julie was up to the task and I was lucky enough to have her bring over the pre-chilled salt/pepper/bay leaf/thymed bird legs. That’s step 1. Let’s just jump right into an adjusted recipe…

Really Easy Duck Confit

adapted from a New York Times recipe by Melissa Clark

  • 1 1/2 teaspsoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 8 duck legs, rinsed and patted dry

Combine the salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf in a bowl. Sprinkle over the duck. (The original recipe didn’t specify but Julie says she only had enough mixture to sprinkle on the top of the duck legs. Top being the opposite of the fat side which there is NO mistaking. Eww, fatty! The duck legs should lay in a single layer on a baking pan. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.

The next day, preheat your oven to 325 F.

You’ll first need to render most of the fat off the fatty side of the meat. Heat one well-seasoned skillet (or two as we needed) over medium-high heat. If you’ve got splatter screens, bust those guys out. If you don’t, beware a mess.

Place the 8 duck legs in the hot pans and allow to cook for approximately 20 minutes. You’re looking for a 1/4 inch deep fat pool. Once they’ve cooked at least 10 minutes, you may want to check the browning process and rotate the legs around the skillet to cook evenly. If you try to pick one up and the skin sticks, let it keep cooking!

Since we used two pans, we placed the duck legs upside down in one large roasting pan. Pour the duck fat from each skillet into the pan. Cover the pan with foil and set in your pre-heated oven. Roast for 2 hours. (*see veggie recipe below*) Remove the foil and roast for 1 more hour until browned and lovely.

Remove the duck legs from the fat, place on a paper towel and tent with foil until the rest of your dinner is ready. Reserve the duck fat for more delicious projects at a later date!

During the foil removal, we snagged a few spoonfuls of duck fat to use on top of an improvised hearty veggie roast. How does one make a veggie roast? Easy!

A Duck Fat Veggie Roast

recipe created by Laura Brunow Miner & Co.

  • 1 leek, well rinsed and cut into 1/2 inch segments
  • 2 potatoes, cubed
  • 3 large carrots, cut into 1/2 inch segments
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp+ rosemary
  • 2 tsp+ thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the prepared vegetables and herbs in a roasting pan while the duck is cooking at 325 F and covered in foil. When the time comes to take the foil of the duck after 2 hours, remove the duck pan out of the oven and ladle 4-5 spoonfuls of excess duck fat into the vegetable roasting pan. Stir the veggies around until evenly coated with fat. When you put the duck back in to cook, uncovered, for 1 hour, add the pan of vegetables to the oven as well. Continute to cook until the duck is finished and the veggies are soft and caramelized.

Serve the duck with veggies, some simply prepared dino kale and crusty bread. Presto! You’ve got a fantastic meal for you and a few friends.

Now for the next fun task: what does one do with a jar full of duck fat in their refrigerator?? Cooking tips? Suggestions?

Chicken Pot Pie and I Don’t Care

Remember this guy?
Chicken Pot PIe
This is the post where I tell you how/why I made chicken pot pies. Prepare to salivate.

I will admit to having not one but TWO cookbooks in my possession recently that prominently feature chicken pot pies. While I never got around to making the recipe found in Cooking for Two: Perfect Meals for Pairs, I did finally squelch my obsession by making the recipe from New Classic Family Dinners. Does it seem like a lot of work? Yes. Is it enormously satisfying? Absolutely.

Think about this: how do you really make a pot pie? Blanch some veggies, cook some chicken, make some sauce, top with pre-made puff pastry, bake.  SIMPLE!

Now all of that really does add up to a lot of work. But dang it, if I, a food styling dunce, can take some freakin fantastic pictures of the finished product, you too can make a jaw-dropping meal. Impress your lady or man (or lady man?) and GET LAID! This meal will do it. But don’t call it a chicken pot pie. Call it something sexier. How about… the butter-topped chick bake. How’s that?

Let’s get to the real recipe…

Chicken Pot Pie

Adapted from New Classic Family Dinners by Mark Peel

  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 1/3 cups thawed frozen peas
  • 1 fat handful trimmed green beans, cut in 1 inch pieces, steamed
  • 1 cup peeled and quartered small onions
  • 3/4 pound cooked chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage leaves
  • 1/4 creme fraiche
  • 1 8 oz sheet puff pastry, thawed if frozen
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 425 F.

In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the carrots, reduce the heat and simmer for 4 minutes. Remove the carrots with a straining spoon and transfer to a bowl with the peas and green beans. You won’t need this again until later so set it aside.

Take out another saucepan and add salted water. Once boiling, drop the onion bits into it. Allow to cook for 10 minutes or until tender. It’s ok if the segments break apart while cooking. When soft, remove and cool in a bowl of ice water. Add the drained onions to the peas, green beans, and carrots. Dump in the chicken and mix together. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Now you’ve got the main filling. Sauce time!

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and add the flour. This is a roux. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture starts to brown. Remove from the heat and whisk in the chicken stock. Put the pot back on the heat and simmer, whisking constantly. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, taking care to mix so that the sauce doesn’t char on the bottom. Add salt and pepper to taste and add the sage. Allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes, then whisk in the creme fraiche. Pour the sauce over the meat and veggies, mixing well. Presto, saucetastical filling.

Butter 4 ramekins. Distribute the filling between the ramekins and prepare the puff pastry by cutting it into 4 pieces that will amply cover the top of the ramekins. (An aside: at this point in the unadulterated recipe, Mark Peel recommends refrigerating the filling and then popping the pot pies in the freezer for 20 minutes. I didn’t do that. He doesn’t say why he does it and my pot pies came out fine without the extra waiting time.)

Whisk together the egg and water to use for puff pastry sealant. Brush it over the edges of the ramekins then place the puff pastry pieces over the top. Press, seal and crimp the puff pastry around the edge of the ramekin. Pierce the pot pies in the top to allow steam to escape. Brush the top with the egg mixture and place on a cookie tray. Bake until a lovely shade of golden brown, around 20 minutes. Eat. Enjoy! YUM.

DANG IT. Now all I want to eat right  now is some buttery crust dipped in pot pie sauce with a nice piece of chicken in the bite. Oh man, ecstasy.

Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Poopy Diaper?

I don’t know what it is about orange soup that is so damn unappetizing. Everyone loves a good pumpkin, orange or carrot. Why can’t you then cook, partly puree and deliciously present ANY of those thing?? Such seems to be my burden and orange soup curse. The good news is that the knock-your-beanie-off flavor of this soup totally makes up for the fact it looks like something that came out of a baby diaper.

Sweet potatoes
(Let’s take a moment to admire the deep pink-red color of freshly scrubbed sweet potatoes. How lovely!)

What’s the name of the soup that inspired this rant? What is so delicious and yet photographically grotesque?

Sweet Potato- Leek and Spicy Sausage Soup

adapted from Eatwell member Josiah Bragdon’s recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed in 1” pieces
  • 2 leeks, thoroughly washed, tough green leaves removed, cut into 1/2” pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 cups+ chicken broth
  • 2 large spicy Italian sausage, remove casing and cut into medallions then quarter

In a stock pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, leeks and garlic. Saute until the leeks are soft. 7 minutes? More or less.

Add the sweet potato cubes to the cooked leeks and pour in the chicken broth.

Simmer for approximately 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are soft. If at any point your broth is running low, feel free to add a dash more.

While the sweet potatoes stew, cook the sausage. In a skillet, brown the sausage nuggets in oil. When finished, let them drain on a paper towel.

Time to gross-ify your soup! Use a Cuisinart wand hand blender to puree parts of the soup. You can make it as smooth or chunky as you want. You could also remove parts of the soup and use a blender.

Add the sausage to the soup and salt/pepper to taste. Allow your soup to simmer, with a lid, for 10-15 minutes and then serve. Enjoy!


I hereby decree yesterday’s CSA recipe iou NULL and VOID! This great recipe used not uno but dos items from last week’s box. Celebration! Now to find a way to eat two whole winter squashes.

Seriously San Francisco (internet?), I DARE YOU to try and take a tasty looking picture of this stuff. Can’t be done. I’ll definitely keep trying… just as long as I get to eat the completed soup attempts.

An Illustrated Guide to French Laundry Shortbread

This is a hard recipe. It is incredibly simple but also probably the most light-handed recipe I’ve ever made. The problem is it’s simplicity and delicacy, which is also what makes the end result so amazing.

Behold: Thomas Keller‘s French Laundry Shortbread. If you’d just like to full recipe, go to Chef’s Blade (if you have a baking scale) or Epicurious (if you don’t). Or you can follow along below…

An aside: thanks to the Mr. for allowing me to spend his Williams-Sonoma gift card to buy a baking scale. Which I use all the time!


To start, measure out:

  • 8 oz. all purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 oz.  caster sugar
  • 5 1/2 oz. ROOM TEMP unsalted butter, chopped into pieces

You’ll also need a vanilla pod*.

THAT’S IT. 4 ingredients, seriously. You will also want some coarse see salt to add that special magical kick. So I guess 5 ingredients.


First you’ll want to pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Then dump the flour and sugar into a sifter of some sort and shake. One pass works great to make a fluffy base.

Vanilla Bean

Take out that ole vanilla bean and slice through one side of it just enough to expose the seedy center. Use the back of your knife to scrap out the black seeds. Add the insides to the flour/sugar mixture.


Here comes the tricky part: add the butter. You’ll want to massage it in, “rub the flour into the butter until incorporated” says Chef’s Blade. But don’t over do it! It should make some loose ball-y clumps. Then you have the joy of trying to make some sort of a ball out of it in the bowl. I’ve had the most success pressing it together then adding the remainder, pressed clump by pressed clump down on a lightly floured surface.

The Chef’s Blade recipe says to not overwork the dough, but that’s a tough call. How do you know it’s overworked? It’s almost impossible to make a cohesive ball out of this stuff so have patience and don’t be afraid to keep shaping and pressing it together.

Once you get it all out on that floured surface, roll it out. Using a heavy rolling pin, it definitely starts to come together even more. So keep up with that patience. When you get to a half-inch thick, stop. I used my blunt knife edge to press together the ragged edges.


Cut into longish rectangles and gently place on a baking sheet using a spatula. Sparingly sprinkle some coarse sea salt onto the tops. Put into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. I like mine toasty golden, so I flip the pan around and bake for another 10 minutes.


We brought these to a family Thanksgiving and they turned out great! I packed the perfect cookies on the bottom so pay no attention to the few wonky ones on top in this pic. I’ll have to purchase more vanilla beans and try, try, try again but man, this a simple recipe that pays off in spades.

*PRO TIP: If you live in San Francisco’s Mission district, the people that opened the newish ice cream shop Xanath Ice Cream are also heavy into vanilla and saffron import/export. They’ve been handing out whole vanilla bean pods as a promotion for the ice cream shop. If you see them handing something out in front of the store at 20th and Valencia, STOP AND TAKE IT. You will not be sorry. And presto, you automatically have all ingredients for this recipe!

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