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.

Advertisements

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.


How to make an ice bowl

February 27, 2008

Ice Bowl
Creative Commons photo by EuphoriaLand

At an ice hotel, everything is made of ice, including the furniture and even the dishes. While you might not be able to make your own frozen bedroom suite at home, how about trying your hand at making a beautiful ice bowl? – Almostgotit

You will need:

  • Two stainless steel (best) or plastic bowls. (Don’t use glass. One bowl should fit inside the other with a gap of at least ¾ inch between the two.)
  • Flowers or other decorations (optional)
  • Heavy duty packaging tape
  • Water
  • Aluminum foil

To make your bowl:

Center the smaller bowl inside the larger one. Put two strips of heavy duty tape across the top rims of the bowl to make a cross, to hold the smaller bowl in place. You can also put a few ice cubes in the bottom of the larger bowl first to support the smaller bowl.

Place flowers or other decorations in the space between the two bowls. A chopstick may help with positioning, as may the judicious use of crushed ice or ice cubes to hold the items in place.

Carefully fill the larger bowl with water to within a ½ inch of the rim of the larger bowl (water will expand some as it freezes, so leave room). Put a little water, a rock, or other weight in the smaller bowl if necessary to keep it from floating up. Place your mold into the freezer overnight.

The next morning, lay the whole thing out for ten minutes or so at room temperature. If the ice bowl doesn’t come out easily, you may gently help it along by filling the smaller bowl with warm water and wrapping a hot towel around the larger bowl for another minute or so. Wrap your newly created ice bowl in aluminum foil and store it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it. Be sure to put your bowl on a beautiful platter when you use it, to catch the water as it slowly melts!

Lovely things to decorate an ice bowl: fresh or dried flowers or flower petals, fresh mint leaves or other herbs, sliced star fruit, (mini plastic fish?!)

Lovely things to serve in an ice bowl: sushi, sashimi, shrimp, strawberries, sorbet, granita, fresh fruit or vegetables, fruit punch

Ice Hotels (links):

The world’s first Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
Hôtel de Glace Ice hotel in Quebec, Canada 
Lainio Snow Hotel in Ylläsjärvi, Finland
Kemi Snow Castle in Kemi, Finland 
Bjorli Ice Lodge in Norway
Alta Igloo Hotel in Norway
Hotel gheata at Bâlea Lake
Article: Designing an Ice Hotel


Creative Commons photo by Etolane


Bobotie Casserole

February 21, 2008


Image: Impala African Safaris

First stop is a lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve , a home base from which our two lovers may spend several days venturing out to see an enormous range of exotic wild game.  Later, if feeling luxurious, they must spend an additional night or two at The Palace of the Lost City, a five-star hotel set in the middle of its own tropical jungle and featuring a fine restaurant, where they can enjoy the multi-cultural riches of South African cuisine before flying home out of Johannesburg.

Bobotie is long-time favorite South African dish, and there are many variations of this minced meat and egg casserole which is traditionally flavored with spices, fruit, and almonds. –Almostgotit

1 slice bread
3 cups milk
1 lb very lean ground beef
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon curry paste or powder
½ cup chopped almonds or unsweetened coconut
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon apricot jam
3 eggs
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Dash each of salt, pepper,
Parsley

Soak bread in half the milk, squeeze out excess milk WITHOUT DISCARDING IT and mash the bread with a fork.  Set bread aside. Pour the reserved milk back into remaining milk, and set milk aside.

Cook the ground beef.  Add salt, pepper, tomato paste and a little parsley. Set aside.

Fry the onions in butter and add curry – allow to darken slightly. Beat the eggs and milk together. Add lemon juice to onion mixture, then add apricot jam, almonds, bread & vinegar.  Stir in the beef, then add one third of the milk & egg mixture. Pour into a casserole dish and bake for ten minutes at 325° F.   Carefully pour the remaining milk & egg mixure over the casserole and continue baking until brown, approximately 30 minutes.  Serve with steamed rice (traditionally seasoned with yellow saffron) and chutney.

  • Don’t miss this recipe for Elephant Stew  included on the South African website FunkyMunky (it “takes 2 months to prepare” and calls for “1 heaping wheelbarrow of onions.” But it’s for reading pleasure only: we don’t REALLY want Sam & Harry to kill any elephants!)

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


Chocolate Milk

September 23, 2007

Remember chocolate milk in those little waxed-paper cartons at school? Well, that treat, tasty though it might have been at the time, was nothing like this fabulous Chocolate Milk. This is basically a design-your-own chocolate drink. Add whatever syrups and flavorings you fancy. If you’re making it for children or don’t want alcohol, substitute flavored syrups like raspberry or caramel for the liqueur and extract. You can serve it cold or hot, with whipped cream or marshmallows. But however you serve it … Enjoy! SAM

8 ounces milk
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon liqueur: hazelnut, almond, orange, etc.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

In a tall glass, combine the milk, chocolate syrup, liqueur, and extract, stirring until smooth. Serve cold or hot.
Makes 1 glass.