Thanks, Mario

Thanks, Mario…

Mr. Batali saved me a trip to the grocery. And he can save you too if you have a head of cauliflower, pasta and a handful of pantry/fridge staples. I'll tell you flat out I reduced the pasta by 25% and could have done with even less. I also added 3 pinches of pepper flakes (much less) and had a free hand with the cheese (atrophied piave in my case but perfect for grating.).

Btw the recipe uses the whole head of cauliflower, stems included. Leave an hour for slow cooking. It's worth it. Vegetarian! Can be gluten free. Click here for the recipe.

 

Eat -B

 

Birthday Biscuits

It wasn't breakfast in bed as promised, but I did deliver the biscuits with bacon and eggs to the birthday child. This recipe is virtually idiot proof. Opt for lightly rolling out the biscuits and not too thin! You may get fewer but they'll rise higher.

I used a pastry cutter to blend the butter. Do not wait until later to eat them. They're better warm from the oven. This may be a Thanksgiving addition!

http://www.marthastewart.com/316713/flaky-buttery-biscuits

(Butter) and eat – B

 

 

Polar Vortex Cake

 

Baby boy asked for pound cake (and I don't mean the dog). And because I'm cocooning, or stress cooking, I made it.

I've had this Gourmet recipe calling for browned butter in the file folder a few years. I'm not gifted in the pound cake department. Plus I have a vivid memory of my sister (now expert food writer) attempting a dismal version in a big hair decade. But I am determined to master it. This version is worth the struggle. (Click here for the recipe)

One cooking caveat – after browning the butter, 15 minutes in the freezer is supposed to solidify it for the mixer. Mine took at least half an hour, but it was worth the wait. And your freezer might be superior to mine.

Eat – B

 

EZ Savory Scones

Oh no! I just remembered – book club tonight! …or PTA meeting…or a last minute office bribe. That's how fast I made these tasty tidbits. If you don't have scallions, try chives, or bacon!

The ingredients are mostly pantry staples. I used cream instead of milk and cut them into two bite nibbles. That means you've got to watch the time – mine were done in 15 minutes.

Click here for the recipe from King Arthur flour.

For the record, the King Arthur test kitchen always has my back!

Eat – B

 

New Year’s Day Ribs…or Any Day!

Sticking with a theme that packaged food is better than mom's food, my son asked that the ribs I was making to welcome 2014 be smothered with bottled sauce. And I almost did it! But with my hand poised on 2 (!) overpriced condiments, I figured out a last minute compromise.

A good friend gave me Ina Garten's “Barefoot Contessa Foolproof”. The barbecue sauce recipe (click here for recipe) uses a combination of pantry staples and fave bottled condiments. It is now a family favorite. As suggested by Ina, I used St. Louis ribs – I think they're meatier anyway. I also had no desire to start a midwinter grill, so I cooked them covered, and smothered in sauce, at 350 for 1 3/4 hours. Then mopped and broiled for a nice crunch.

Eat – B

(The recipe makes plenty of sauce for dipping and making BBQ chicken at a later date!)

 

Picking the Dessert…with guidance

Back to the potluck pasta of the other night. We needed a dessert. I let my guy pick the dessert…with guidance.

Spinning through recipes over Sunday toast I offered up a choice. German Apple cake, apple pandowdy or apple cranberry oat crumble cake. I personally was sold by the high proportion of crust to filling. He probably just heard most of the same ingredients he eats in his daily granola.

Either way, I will get to the first two recipes without question. That's because “Rustic Fruit Desserts” has never let me down. And it never will. It's like a baking bible for seasonal fruit. But click here for the third recipe, the apple cranberry oat cobbler.

Set this one aside for Thanksgiving! The topping calls for melted butter, making it super simple to assemble and/or make ahead to keep in fridge or freezer. Put it in the oven when you take the turkey out. It will save you the trouble of making pie.

Eat, a la mode if you wish – B

 

Veggie Zoup

In my house we call it zesty zoup, not necessarily because it's zesty (although it can be) but because we like saying zesty zoup. This vegan big batch recipe is a late summer staple. Mid winter veggies work just as well. The addition of barley gives a whole grain chewiness. Try adding quinoa if you'd prefer a hit of protein instead.

Non vegans feel free to sprinkle your fave grated Italian cheese. Even better cook this baby with that dried out rind of Parmesan lingering in your fridge 🙂

Use what veggies you have and feel free to sub. Making soup uses up pieces and bits you would otherwise toss. Feel free to use you processor for slicing, chopping & dicing – no judgement!

Ingredients

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 carrots, sliced thin

1 larger zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced

1 larger yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and sliced

2 ears of corn from cob or freezer

1/2 cup puréed tomatoes, fresh, boxed, jarred or canned

1/2 cup barley

Olive or veg oil

In large stockpot over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon oil of choice. Cook onions 5-10 minutes until soft. Add garlic for last 2 minutes. Stirring and seasoning with salt & pepper. Add carrots, zucchini, yellow squash & corn. Add barley and toss the whole mess together. Combine with tomatoes & 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook 20-30 minutes, until barley is cooked through. Check seasonings. Eat.

Eat – B

*note: Zoup can be made zesty with red pepper flakes, fresh herbs or pistou (blended garlic, basil, olive oil). Beans can be added for a heartier dish – jarred, canned or previously hydrated.