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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Julia Child's Kitchen in the Smithsonian

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No TuesdaysWithDorie today as my 4 month old granddaughter is having heart surgery tomorrow. My post today has some photos of Julia Child's kitchen that I took on a recent trip to Washington DC. Julia donated her kitchen to the Smithsonian's American History Museum back in 2001 just before she moved to California. For more info on Julia Child's Kitchen, visit the AmericanHistoryMuseum.

Indelibly imprinted in my memory is one of Julia Child's cooking programs in 1979 where she holds up to the camera a huge and very ugly fish known as a monkfish. Roger Berkowitz, owner of Legal Seafoods, along with co-author Jane Doerfer, writes in "The New Legal Seafoods Cookbook" that while buying fish on the pier in the early seventies, he came upon a box labeled "monkey tails". His curiosity piqued when the vendor told him the fish brought big money in France so bought a few boxes to take back to his Inman Square store.

Later that day when Julia Child walked into his store, he asked if she knew the name of the fish he had just bought. She very excitedly told him that it was Lotte,also known as an anglerfish, a very prized fish in France and could he get her some. It took Berkowitz a few weeks to get the fish and when he asked about the delay was told that the fish were extremely ugly so the fisherman cut off their heads at sea and only saved the tails. After paying a little extra, he managed to get a whole one for Julia Child who used the whole fish on her cooking show, "The French Chef". Culinary history was made! The firm texture of the monkfish is similar to the texture of lobster and is often called "poor man's lobster".


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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ginger Honey Nectarine Ice Cream

Print Friendly and PDF "My love for ice cream emerged at an early age--and has never left!

Ginger Rogers"



Both nectarines and peaches came in my CSA box this past Friday. It was a no-brainer which one to use for the Honey Peach Ice Cream-peaches needed peeling,nectarines didn't. That out of the way, I began looking at my honey stash. To top my homemade granola and yogurt, I use a dollop of honey so I'm always looking for different flavors to use. Ginger honey from Braswell's is my newest acquisition. Topping the finished ice cream with crystallized ginger bits adds an extra jolt of ginger flavor.

Tommi of browninterior chose the Honey Peach Ice Cream from Dorie Greenspan's book, "Baking From My Home to Yours" for this edition of TWD, a blog dedicated to completing every recipe in the Greenspan book. My book is dog-eared and scribbled with notes reminding me of little changes I made in the original recipe. The "playing around" section of each recipe gives options of other ingredients, but maintains the integrity of the original recipe while allowing for creativity. If you enjoy baking for your family, you'll want to add this book to your collection.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chinese Dumplings-Daring Cooks Challenge

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Jen of userealbutter chose a very challenging dish for second edition of the Daring Cooks, but the first one I have been able to participate in. Daring Bakers has become The Daring Kitchen with the advent of the newly formed Daring Cooks.

Making Chinese dumplings or potstickers is a labor of love. The next time I make the them, I'm going to invite some of my avid cooking friends and throw a big party. Time will fly when you have many hands to help roll out the dough, fill the dumplings and neatly pleat the tasty little bundles before steaming or pan frying them. Cooking is, after all, a social occasion, right?

The recipe is quite long, but the filling can be made earlier in the day and refrigerated until you are ready to roll out the dough. Below is Jen's recipe.

Time: Prep for the filling takes about 30 minutes - longer if peeling and de-veining shrimp.

Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers

pork filling:
1 lb (450g) ground pork
4 large napa cabbage leaves, minced
3 stalks green onions, minced
7 shitake mushrooms, minced (if dried - rehydrated and rinsed carefully)
1/2 cup (75g) bamboo shoots, minced
1/4 (55g) cup ginger root, minced
3 tbsp (40g) soy sauce
2 tbsp (28g) sesame oil
2 tbsp (16g) corn starch

OR

shrimp filling:
1/2 lb (225g) raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/2 lb (225g) ground pork
3 stalks green onions, minced
1/4 cup (55g) ginger root, minced
1 cup (142g) water chestnuts, minced
1 tsp (5g) salt
3 tbsp (40g) sesame oil
2 tbsp (16g) corn starch

dough: (double this for the amount of filling, but easier to make it in 2 batches - or just halve the filling recipe)
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (113g) warm water
flour for worksurface

dipping sauce:
2 parts soy sauce
1 part vinegar (red wine or black)
a few drops of sesame oil
chili garlic paste (optional)
minced ginger (optional)
minced garlic (optional)
minced green onion (optional)
sugar (optional)

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by clean hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to a day, but preferably within an hour or two).

Make the dough. Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade. Run the processor and pour the warm water in until incorporated. Pour the contents into a sturdy bowl or onto a work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky to the touch and not sticky.[Note: it’s better to have a moist dough and have to incorporate more flour than to have a dry and pilling dough and have to incorporate more water).

Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking - about 1/16th inch. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side (see images in post for how to fold pleats). Keep all unused dough under damp cloth.

To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.

To steam: Place dumplings on a single layer of napa cabbage leaves or on a well-greased surface in a steamer basket with lid. Steam covered for about 6 minutes.

To pan fry (potstickers): Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.

To freeze: Assemble dumplings on a baking sheet so they are not touching. It helps to rub the base of the dumpling in a little flour before setting on the baking sheet for ease of release. Freeze for 20-30 minutes until dumplings are no longer soft. Place in ziploc bag and freeze for up to a couple of months. Prepare per the above instructions, but allow extra time to ensure the filling is thoroughly cooked.

To serve: Serve dumplings or potstickers hot with your choice of dipping sauce combinations.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Plum Tartlets

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Some days you just try to do everything and in the end, you totally screw up! That's what happened to me yesterday. The tartlet looked so easy that I put it off until the end of the day. Furthermore, I had bought the apples specifically for the tart, but saw in the "playing around" section that other fruits could also be used. In my CSA box this past week, I had some gorgeous
prune plums which would be perfect for the tartlet. "The best laid plans of men and mice oft go awry"-which is exactly what happened! My puff pastry didn't puff enough and the plums lost their shape. Maybe cutting the puff pastry in a 4-inch square instead of the circle was my downfall?

Jessica of mybakingheart has beautiful tartlets for you to see. Check out her blog for the recipe from "Baking From My Home to Yours" and also, the TWD blogroll to see some great photos and variations of the Parisian Apple Tartlet.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Asian Peanut Butter Pesto Grilled Chicken Skewers

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I was hoping to enter this dish in the Great Peanut Butter Exhibition, but just realized that the deadline was today at noon! Whether or not it gets in that blog event, you will love these easy grilled chicken skewers, great for quick barbecues. The pesto only takes minutes in the food processor and the chicken marinates for a few hours in the fridge.

Update!
I would also like to enter this photo into the "Click" photography contest created by Bee and Jai of Jugalbandi. The theme for June is "Stacks".

Asian Peanut Butter Pesto Grilled Chicken

1 whole boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut into thick strips
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, chopped
pinch of sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
bamboo skewers, soaked for about an hour in cold water

Thread the chicken strips lengthwise onto the bamboo skewers. Season with salt and pepper.

In a food processor, combine mint and cilantro leaves, garlic cloves, peanut butter, ginger root, sugar and vegetable oil. Process until coarsely chopped. Spread half over chicken skewers. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. Refrigerate remaining pesto.

Preheat a gas grill on medium for 10 minutes, or a cast iron grill pan on the stove over medium heat for 5 minutes. Oil grill or if using a cast iron grill on the stove, add about a tablespoon of oil. Either way, grill chicken, turning frequently for 5-7 minutes.

Arrange on dish and serve with remaining pesto.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Cinnamon Squares

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Gosh, what an easy recipe? The cinnamon squares were in the oven in less than 20 minutes which gave me ample time to bake them before my high maintenance Yorkshire Terrier, Razzle Dazzle (see photo) woke up and began nipping at my heels to play. He loves to sleep in, but makes up for it throughout the day. Thanks to Tracey for picking not only an easy recipe, but one which has loads of flavors. What hits my taste buds first is the smooth, dark chocolate frosting, then the heady cinnamon in the cake and in the middle comes the jolt of espresso, cinnamon, and chocolate. A nice surprise!


Check out Tracey's blog to see the cinnamon squares and the cupcakes she made using the "playing around" alternative next to the recipe. If you don't have Dorie's book, you can find the recipe at Tracey's, also. However, Dorie Greenspan's book, "Baking From My Home to Yours" has a wealth of baking recipes that your family and friends will love you for.

Cinnamon on Foodista

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