Rosemary Pecans

November 9, 2008

rrpecans
Easy and so, so good you’d better have carryout bags for your guests. The basic recipe works with just about any kind of nuts. Just make sure you don’t burn them. Use your nose. When they start to smell toasty, they’re roasted.

PS You can get Szechuan peppers from mail-order houses like Penzys. Trust me, they’re worth the extra effort.

8 ounces unsalted pecan halves [or English walnuts]
1 T melted sweet butter
1 tsp sweet curry powder
1/4 tsp Szechuan peppers, crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 tsp honey
2 T finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp sea salt or to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degree F. Spread the nuts in one layer in a 9- by 13-inch baking pan and roast until fragrant and beginning to change color, 8 to 10 minutes. In a small saucier over very low heat, melt the butter. Add the curry powder, peppers, honey, and rosemary. Add the warm nuts and salt and toss until thoroughly coated.
Makes 1 1/2 cups.

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Baked Roasted Pepper Pasta

May 28, 2008

2 ounces log chevre
2 ounces water
1 bay leaf
2 ounces uncooked small pasta
1 large roasted red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1/8 cup plain breadcrumbs plus 2 teaspoons, divided
2 teaspoons grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons olive oil
sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees (325 F convection). Lightly grease a small, 7-inch gratin dish and set aside.

In a small sancier over very low heat, melt the chèvre with the water and bay leaf. Remove the bay leaf. Add the pasta, pepper, 1/8 cup breadcrumbs, and salt. Pour into the prepared dish and sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and olive oil. Tent with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes (40 convection). Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer or until browned.
Makes 2 servings.


Blond Brownies

April 17, 2008

No chocolate? That’s right. With these ‘blondies,’ you may never crave chocolate again! SAM

1/4 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans or English walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the sugar, egg, and vanilla. In a medium bowl, mix the flour baking powder, and salt and add to the egg mixture. Add the pecans. Spread into the pan and bake for 30 minutes. Cool slightly in the pan before cutting into squares.
Makes 16 brownies.


Peanut Butter Cookies 2

October 14, 2007

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You thought Peanut Butter Cookies 1 were easy? For this PBC2 double version—also from almostgotit—you won’t even need a measuring cup! How cool is that? HARRY

1 (18-ounce) jar peanut butter
1 (almost full) 18-ounce jar sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, sugar, and eggs. Drop onto a lightly greased baking sheet, crisscross with a fork, and bake for 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from the pan to a wire rack to cool.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.


Frozen Aztec Mocha

September 30, 2007

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Who says coffee has to be always the same? Surprise someone you love with this classic frozen espresso from John the Vienna Coffee guy. Who knows what will happen? SAM

2 ounces freshly brewed espresso or double strength coffee
2 ounces Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa Sauce
5 ounces fresh water (more or less to adjust consistency)
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
2 ounces orange juice
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of cayenne
16 ounces ice
Whipped cream and cocoa powder for garnish

Combine the coffee, cocoa sauce, water, and ice cream, blending for several seconds until smooth. Add the orange juice, cinnamon, cayenne, and ice. Garnish with whipped cream and a dash of cocoa powder.
Makes 1 glass.


Eggplant-Pepper Tapenade

September 25, 2007

This tapenade is so good, I eat leftovers for breakfast. Make it as hot as you like but don’t forget to wear plastic gloves or sandwich bags while seeding and slicing the hot peppers. SAM

1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound peppers: poblano, chipotle, banana, or jalapeña, trimmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound Italian eggplant
2 tablespoons water
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 to 2 teaspoons hot curry powder, or to taste
1/4 cup tahini
Juice of 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
Sea salt to taste

In a medium chef’s pan over low heat, sweat the onion and peppers in 1 tablespoon oil until soft, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the eggplant in half and place cut-side down in a glass baking dish. Add the water, cover with plastic wrap leaving one corner open for steam, and microwave on high for 8 to 9 minutes or until the skin is slightly wrinkled and begins to collapse. Microwave longer in 1- or 2-minute intervals, if necessary. Cool, still under the plastic, then gently squeeze out any excess juice and scrap the flesh into a medium mixing bowl. Add the sweated onions and peppers, garlic, curry, 2 tablespoons olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, and salt. Pulse with an immersion blender until well blended or use a food processor or blender. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Serve with pita or flatbread.
Makes 2 cups.


Corn-on-the-Cob

September 24, 2007

Okay, after an entire summer of fabulous sweet corn from farmers’ markets, here’s the scoop on preparing Corn-on-the-Cob:

BOILED
Shuck and clean the corn, brushing away all silks. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the corn and boil until tender, 5 minutes for 1 to 2 ears, 10 minutes for 3 to 4 ears. Boiled corn is quite good. The disadvantages of boiling are that it steams up your kitchen and it leeches away some of the flavor.

Steaming, though, does seem to preserve more flavor.

STEAMING ON THE STOVE
On the stovetop, you can steam corn in a basket over boiling water. Shuck and clean the corn and place it in a steamer basket over boiling water. 10 to 15 minutes will make it tender and sweet. Again, though, you’re filling your kitchen with steam—not so good in hot climates.

Or, you can microwave corn-on-the-cob.

MICROWAVE STEAMING 1: Naked Corn
Shuck and clean 2 ears of corn and place them in a microwave-safe container twice as large as the volume of corn. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cover with plastic wrap, leaving one corner open for escaping steam. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Tilt the dish so that the corn rolls over. Microwave for an additional 3 minutes. For greater numbers of ears, check your microwave manual for times. The steamy water makes corn cooked this way very moist and tasty.

You can also microwave corn in the husks.

MICROWAVE STEAMING 2: Husked Corn
Trim the silks and any loose husks and place 2 ears in the microwave oven on top of a paper towel. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn the ears over and microwave for an additional 2 minutes. Remove to a wire rack until cool enough to handle. This method makes the corn drier than steaming under plastic.

MICROWAVE STEAMING 3: Husked Corn, Wrapped
Wrap 2 individual ears still in the husks in plastic wrap and place in the microwave oven. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Using tongs, turn the ears over and microwave for an additional 3 minutes. Remove to a wire rack until cool enough to handle. This method makes the corn more moist than husked corn without the wrap, but less moist than naked corn.

It seems so easy to toss husked corn into the microwave, but the truth is I like naked steamed corn best. SAM