Monday, June 30, 2014
The older I become, the more I find that I try not to eat red meat more than once a week-- sometimes, even less. But, every so often, I crave a juicy steak on the grill.
flap meat. Flap meat? "That doesn't sound very good", I thought to myself. I was dubious (and had to squelch my dissappointment that I didn't get the skirt steak that I wanted), but the butcher convinced Craig that it's pretty much the same thing. Now, what do I do? Risk it or...
Friday, June 27, 2014
Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie or Fruit Crisps. The strawberries give a sweet contrast to the tartness of the rhubarb, in a good way. It's even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
One of the reasons I was anxious to make this coffee cake is that rhubarb is the star of the show-- and I thought that the caramelized rhubarb looks really pretty, once the cake is inverted on a platter.
The cake has sour cream added, which pretty much guarantees plenty of moisture. The third element is a layer of crumb topping, which becomes the bottom once the cake is inverted!
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
I realize that not everyone has even heard of olallieberries. That's because they are primarily grown on the Central Coast of California. This is also "home" for us, and my husband planted olallies a few years ago. Olallies have a very short season-- typically mid to late May, lasting for about a month. Before we know it, the season is over and so I try to freeze enough to last for the rest of the year. Sadly, this year, the season didn't yield as much as last year-- most likely, because of our severe drought. Phooey.
They have a sweet-tart flavor, resembling a raspberry. My husband is crazy about them! When Craig presented me with a large bowl of freshly picked olallies, I knew it wouldn't be enough to make a large batch of jam. (Fortunately, I make a lot of olallieberry jam, to last all year.)
I immediately thought of Olallieberry Pie. I reconsidered, thinking that hand pies would be a fun way to go. A few years ago, I made my first "Blitz Pastry" and I loved it. Think of Blitz Pastry as a faster and easier version of making your own puff pastry (and I have never made my own classic puff pastry, and seriously doubt I ever will). Don't quote me, but somehow all that folding and layering of butter-- I'll leave it to the pros.
Let's make Blitz Puff Pastry, shall we? Most of the ingredients are the same as a classic all-butter pie crust. We do add baking powder, however. Oh, and salt. The butter should be very cold. You can use a pastry cutter, but I prefer to use my food processor. Just pulse the butter into coarse and crumbly pieces.
Next, we add sour cream and pulse until you can still see pea-sized chunks of butter. (Overworking the dough means that we are building gluten-- and this leads to a very tough crust. We don't want that.) I dumped the dough onto a generously floured surface (wishing I had granite counter tops). I had to compress the dough with my fingers, so it would all stick together (again, not kneading it, just squeezing it until everything stuck together.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
I think I can count on one hand, how many times I've eaten macaroni salad. I've never been too impressed with it, is all I can say.
Until I made this Hawaiian Macaroni Salad.
America's Test Kitchen video (which requires a paid subscription) on how to make Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken. The suggested side dish, for the chicken was to serve it with sticky rice and Hawaiian macaroni salad. So, why not? I was game to make this, because I know that my men love anything with pasta-- and I was feelin' a relapse of Island Fever.
I love it when I have all of the ingredients to make a recipe, and this salad is pretty simple. Large elbow macaroni, sliced green onion, chopped celery and freshly grated carrots.
That sounds pretty healthy, right?
Well, except...maybe, for the mayo. Like one cup of mayonnaise for the whole salad. We'll see about that!
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Back to Basics" (which is one of my favorites).
Back to Basics", and I still have a few more I am anxious to try. I discovered this recipe the same day that I decided to make her Tomato and Goat Cheese tart.
The first time I made this, I prepared the fresh blueberry sauce the day before.
This is my updated version, in an 8x8 baking pan. Half the batter is baked for ten minutes. Then, the cheese filling is poured on top. The remaining batter is gently spooned on top...
Sunday, June 1, 2014
Alas, we never did find Huli Huli chicken, while visiting on Maui though we ate some fabulous food. I was reminiscing about our Hawaiian vacation, and got to thinking about this Hawaiian chicken dish. As always, I found a few recipes for Huli Huli chicken. I chose one of my most trusted sources, "Cook's Illustrated" and found a video and recipe on their sister website "Cook's Country".
Cook's Country's twist on making Huli Huli chicken is to marinate the chicken with many of the flavors found in Huli Huli sauce. Here's Cook's Country's explanation of why they adapted their recipe this way: To mimic a Hawaiian rotisserie, we used a moderate number of coals spread in a single layer over the entire grill. The direct heat rendered the fat and crisped the skin, but the chicken was far enough from the coals to avoid burning. Most Huli Huli Chicken recipes instruct cooks to marinate the chicken in the sauce, but with so much sugar, it burned every time we grilled the chicken. Our solution was to use only soy sauce, water, and sautéed garlic and ginger as a brine. We grilled the chicken skin-side up to render the fat, and then turned it skin-side down to finish cooking and to crisp the skin (just one turn sufficed). Makes sense to me!