Friday, December 16, 2005

Fennel and Goat Cheese Omelet

I'm off to Argentina for Christmas. I'll be giving some cooking lessons down there and seeing lots of family. Not to mention getting delicious Argentine recipes and gorging myself on Dulce de Leche. Mmmmmmm.... On a very random note, I'll leave you all with an omelet I made yesterday.

Fennel and Goat Cheese Omelet
Olive oil
.5 bulb fennel
.5 small onion
2 Tbs goat cheese
2 eggs
1 Tbs half and half, cream or milk

Sauté onion and fennel in a little olive oil until browned and soft (10-15 min) Add a Tbs of water if it starts to get dry. Remove from pan. Whisk two eggs with some salt, pepper and half and half and add pour in to hot, buttered omelet pan. Mix around until it starts to set and then add onions, fennel and goat cheese to one side of the omelet. Flip it over, cook 30 sec to one min more and then flip on to plate. That's good.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Caramel Ganache

Happy holidays! I was in the mood for some holiday baking and made these dark chocolate crackle cookies, sugar cookies and cranberry coconut chocolate chip. The cupcakes have a dark chocolate caramel buttercream frosting that is amazing. I also used it last weekend at a party I catered. It went between layers of a chestnut torte recipe from Bon Appetite and was really spectacular. I didn't use the cinnanmon stick, but I'm sure it's nice.

Caramel ganache
9 ounces high-quality milk chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), finely chopped
3 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (21/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

Combine milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate in medium bowl. Stir sugar, 2 tablespoons water, and cinnamon stick in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 6 minutes (time will vary depending on size of pan). Add cream and salt (mixture will bubble vigorously). Bring caramel to boil, whisking until smooth and caramel bits dissolve, about 1 minute. Discard cinnamon stick. Pour hot caramel over chocolate; stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Let stand until completely cool, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.
Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in chocolate mixture in 4 additions. Cover and refrigerate ganache overnight.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Cranberry Lime Salsa

I bought three pounds of cranberries. I love cranberries; they always remind me of the holidays. I made a ton of traditional cranberry and orange zest jelly with some of them, but added some heat with grated ginger. It's great on toast, but also goes really well with meats. I had it last night with some grilled tenderloin and I bet it would go really well with pork too (and turkey, of course.)
With the rest of the cranberries, I made one of my favorite holiday dishes. Cranberry salsa. It goes with just about everything. Chips, crudités (endive leaves make perfect scoops), pork, I've even put it on a grilled tuna steak, and it was excellent. And it's one of the few holiday dishes that tastes great and is totally healthy. I was given this recipe by a Texan, so of course there's a jalepeño in it. I think it adds some nice heat, but you can leave it out if that's not your thing.

Cranberry Salsa

2.5 c cranberries (rinsed and picked through)
1 small onion, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
.5 c cilantro
2 Tbs lime juice
3 Tbs sugar (to taste)
.5 tsp salt

Pulse the cranberries in a cuisinart until roughly chopped. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. You might want to add more or less sugar, depending on your tastes.

Friday, December 09, 2005

New Cookbook Translation

If anyone has a cook on their Christmas shopping list, and is looking for an interesting cook book to give them, try La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange. It is an old French cookbook that was recently translated by my uncle Paul Aratow, an amazing chef in his own right, and the original chef de cuisine at Chez Pannise. It's a huge book, and it covers everything you'd ever want to know about French cooking and then some. It's been getting AMAZING reviews and I think there will be an article about it in the New York Times this Sunday.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Tarte Tatin

I had some homemade puff pastry dough left in my freezer and a couple apples on hand, so I decided to make miniature Tarte Tatins. Tarte Tatin is a delicious French dessert -- a caramelized apple tart baked with the crust on the top instead of the bottom. After baking, it is turned upside-down and served, usually with whipped cream or créme fraiche. It was invented during a cooking mishap in 1898 by two sisters named Stephanie and Caroline Tatin who ran a family hotel in the rural town of Lamotte-Beuvron in the Loire Valley. In a hurry, she dumped her apples and sugar in a baking pan but forgot to line it with pastry. She then put the pastry dough on top, baked it anyway, and a culinary wonder was born. Big or small, it's delicious, especially at this time of year.

Tarte Tatin Recipe: (makes one large or 8 small)

Peeled, core and quarter 8 apples. Put them in a heavy pan with about a half a stick of unsalted butter and 3/4 cup sugar. I cut my apples in to thinner pieces so I could arrange them in a muffin tin. If you are doing a large one and have a cast iron pan, cook them in that and use that pan the whole way through the recipe. Other wise, a large skillet will do. When the apples start to turn golden brown and the sugar and butter get thick and caramel colored (it could take 40 minutes to an hour), dump the apples in a cake pan, arranging nicely if you like. I like to line the bottom of the pan with a circle of buttered parchment paper, the same goes for a muffin tin if you're making minis, but you won't need anything if you're using cast iron. Then lay a rolled out circle (1/4" thick) of puff pastry on top, cut to leave about an inch of overhang. Tuck the edges in to the pan and bake for 35-40 minutes at 400 F. Let it rest for about 5 minutes and then flip it out onto a plate. Serve warm with whipped cream or crème fraiche. Bon appetite!