Tuesday, January 17, 2012

bittersweet chocolate truffles

This is an adapted Martha Stewart recipe. It's super easy and there's endless variations on what you can coat these super rich and decadent truffles in. I used a hawaiian sea salt that has a lovely rose colored hue with a bit of cracked black pepper, as well as chopped crystalized ginger and pistachios. 

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
Five strips 1-inch-wide orange peel, pith removed
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup mix of chopped pistachios, coarse sea salt, freshly ground pepper, chopped crystalized ginger or any other coating you please

In a small saucepan, whisk together cream and cardamom. Add orange peel; bring just to a boil. Remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes. Line a baking pan with parchment; set it and another pan aside.
Return cream mixture to heat; bring to a boil. Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Remove cream mixture from heat. Pour through a sieve set over chocolate; discard solids. Stir until melted and smooth.

Pour chocolate mixture onto the unlined baking pan, and spread in an even layer with an offset spatula. Transfer baking pan to freezer; chill chocolate until hardened but malleable, 15 to 20 minutes.

Using a tablespoon, scrape enough chocolate from pan to form a roughly shaped 1-inch ball. Repeat. Transfer balls to the parchment-lined pan; chill truffles in the refrigerator 10 minutes.

Place pistachios, chopped ginger, salt and pepper in three separate bowls. Roll the truffles in desired coatings.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

white chocolate cookies

This cookie is delicious. That's all I need to say, really. I used white chocolate for something a little different. Lots of butter. They're so good. 

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon  baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 1/4 cups packed dark-brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla until combined. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in two batches, beating until just combined. Stir in the white chocolate. 

Drop two tablespoons of dough at a time about two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until light golden brown around the edges, about 15 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheets for two minutes, then transfer parchment and cookies to a wire rack to cool 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

red lentil dal with sauteed rainbow swiss chard

Here's a quick little recipe for dal, which is a simple and classic staple of Indian cuisine. It can be insanely flavorful and creamy depending on what you add and how long you cook it for. I added massive amounts of garlic, ginger, ground cardamon, mustard seeds, cloves and butter to make it even more hefty on this freezing NYC day. Top with rainbow swiss chard sauteed with (even more!) garlic in a cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with some good crusty bread or toasted pita.

1 cup dried red lentils, washed and picked over
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced and peeled ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon cardamon
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 cloves
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 or five large rainbow swiss chards, stems and leaves chopped thinly

Combine the butter, lentils, ginger, one tablespoon garlic, cardamon, mustard seeds, cloves, salt and pepper in a saucepan and add water to cover by about 1 inch. Cook at a steady simmer until the lentils are quite soft, 20 to 30 minutes.

In the meantime, add olive oil to a cast iron skillet saute pan. Wait about thirty seconds, then add the other tablespoon of minced garlic. Next, add the swiss chard stems and a sprinkling of sea salt. Saute for a couple minutes, then add the leaves and cook for about 7 to 10 minutes or until chard is thoroughly wilted.

Remove the cloves from the dal. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Ladle into bowls and top with swiss chard and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Gougeres and Herbed Chard and Collard Green Soup with Feta

It's a cold winter's day here. And a good day for soup. Particularly a healthy green soup brimming with cilantro and mint and topped with a large dollop of greek yogurt, and sprinkled with feta. Accompanied with gougeres, which is a fancy term for savory cheese puffs, makes this a filling lunch. I used a combination of parmesan and gruyere cheese, as well as fresh chives to the mix.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion or 4-5 shallots, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
About 10 cups swiss chard leaves or a mix of spinach or collard greens (center ribs and stems removed), coarsely chopped
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup mixed fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, mint)
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
fresh lemon juice
drizzing of olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until translucent and soft (do not brown), 7-8 minutes. Stir in chard, collards, broth, cilantro and mint. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally until greens are tender. About 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Puree soup with a handheld immersion blender. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with about a tablespoon of yogurt and feta and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil.

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
4 large whole eggs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line three large baking sheets with nonstick baking mats, such as Silpats, or parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup water with the butter, salt, sugar, paprika and pepper over medium high heat.  Bring mixture to a boil, and immediately remove from heat. Using a wooden spoon, add flour, stirring until flour is no longer visible. Stir in both cheeses and mix til cheese is just melted.

Let sit for a couple minutes for the dough mixture to cool. Slowly add one egg at a time, making sure flour mixture is cool enough to not cook the eggs. The dough should be light and shiny. Test the batter by touching it with your finger and lifting- it should form a soft peak. If a soft peak does not form, the batter needs more egg. If you have added all the egg and the batter still won't form a soft peak, add an egg white, a little at a time, until it does.

Transfer dough to a pastry pag fitted with a 5/8 inch plain tip. Pipe puffs into swirls about 1 1/2 inch wide. Sprinkle each with parmesan. Bake, rotating halfway through, until puffs are golden, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately or keep tightly wrapped.