Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pre-Thanksgiving Tuesday Dinner

Tuesday before Thanksgiving was a very special night for us.  It's not very often that we can have so many of our very best friends together: Kerry and Isaac, Leon and Heather, and Geri and Kathy.  We had a great night of introductions, socializing, and fun.

The Bishop’s Wife
3/4 to 1 oz. of Spiced Simple Syrup or Falernum-- we used John D. Taylor's Falernum
1/4″ lemon slice
1 oz. white rum
red wine (zin or a cab, but really any will do)

In the bottom of a shaker, muddle the lemon slice with the Spiced Simple Syrup.
Add the rum and fill the shaker with ice. Shake madly.
Place a few ice cubes in a goblet or double-old fashioned glass. Strain the contents of shaker
into the glass. Top with red wine. Stir and garnish with lemon.

Prepared madly by Lisa Kohli

Champange + Liquor
We have been exploring adding liquor to champagne.  Some of our current favorites are: Koval Rose Hip and St. Germain.  Take 1 oz liquor add to a champagne flute and then top with brut champagne.

Deviled Eggs
Isaac and Lisa collaborated on this substituting wasabi mayo for regular mayo, and topping with super tasty smoked paprika. They were a big hit.

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad
This is one of our favorite fall go-to dishes.  Mainly because it's super easy, universally liked, and can be made for almost any number of people.

Carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes (and parsnips if you like) cut into thick matchsticks then oven roasted with some olive oil and salt (400° for ~40 min- the carrots may need longer and can be started first, or cut smaller). 

Dress with a good olive oil (Olave is great), pepper, and finishing salt.  Top each portion with good goat cheese (Capriole) and broil for ~1 min to soften the cheese.

Anyone who has had more than one dinner at the Kohli household has probably had a risotto.  It's one of Lisa's signature dishes.  It's one of those things that most cooks avoid, but Lisa has become so goood at preparing them that they are always perfectly cooked.  Perfect texture, never gritty or over mushy is a given.  This one however was a disappointment for several reasons, so we'll just leave it out.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Browned Butter Icing
These were one of my favorites, but Lisa seemed to think that they were just alright.

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel

1. Preheat the oven to 350
2. Whisk the first 9 ingredients together
3. In a separate bowl for electric mixer mix the pumpkin, oil, and sugar together. Beat the eggs in one by one.
4. Add the flour-spice mixture until just combined then stir in orange peel
5.  Divide batter into cupcake papers and bake for 20- 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Brown Butter Icing
(Martha Stewart)
1 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 to 4 tbsp milk

1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Once it has melted turn the heat down to medium low and continue to cook the butter swirling the pan occasionally.The butter will develop brown flecks and slows turn a golden colour. When this happens remove the pan from the heat and pour the butter into a bowl.Set the warm pan aside (its helpful if the icing separates)
2. Stir the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 2 tbsp of milk into the butter. If it needs to be thinned out further then add 1 to 2 tbsp more. If the icing separates then pour it into the warm pan and whisk until it comes together again. Use immediately.

Pictures of the delectables are coming soon with an updated post.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sunday Brunch Out

We didn't have a home-cooked meal for Sunday Dinner this week - we had brunch out at one of our favorite brunch places in town - Taste.

My favorite dish is the Truffle Egg Toast - a simple dish - thick slice of bread topped with a sunny side up egg, covered in a thick slice of swiss cheese and broiled. To add to the madness, top with asparagus, truffle oil and salt and pepper.

Lisa had the most beautiful waffle. It was light and fluffy with a fantastic texture, and of course it was buried in syrup, cinnamon, bananas, strawberries and toasted pecans - yum!

Geri had a pretty quiche and the cheddar biscuits and gravy (cbg) - one of Taste's specialties.

Kathy had an egg-sandwich that was so fantastically huge that it was almost impossible to eat.

We all shared an order of their classic pomme frites with basil aioli as well as a new treat - the sweet potato fries with chipotle aioli. Despite the delicate balance of the slightly spicy aioli with the sweet potato fries, the classic frites with their classic unbeatable crunch were the hands-down winners.

The dinner schedule is running amok with the holidays, updates will be sporadic :-(

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pears, Beans, and Soup oh my!

The Bishop’s Wife

3/4 to 1 oz. of Spiced Simple Syrup or Fee Brothers Falernum
1/4″ lemon slice
1 oz. white rum
red wine (I prefer a zin or a cab, but really any will do)

In the bottom of a shaker, muddle the lemon slice with the Spiced Simple Syrup.
Add the rum and fill the shaker with ice. Shake madly.
Place a few ice cubes in a goblet or double-old fashioned glass. Strain the contents of shaker
into the glass. Top with red wine. Stir and garnish with lemon.

Prepared madly by Lisa Kohli

Cheesy Pear Goodness

  • 1 d'anjou pear sliced thin
  • 2 baby bartlett pears - cut in half and cored
  • Candied walnuts
  • Spinach
Dressing - Pear Vinegrette from
  • 1 (4-ounce) firm-ripe pear, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons green onions
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 
Combine the pear, Champagne vinegar, shallots, sugar, rosemary and black pepper in a skillet and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the pears are tender, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a blender or food processor.

Add the mustard, soy sauce, kosher salt, and green onions, and puree on high speed. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream and process until emulsified. Remove from the blender and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve. (The vinaigrette will keep for up to 1 week refrigerated.)

Yield: 1 generous cup 

Prepared by Geri and Kathy

Navy Bean and Winter Squash Soup with Sage Breadcrumbs

The Beans
1 cup navy or cannellini beans, soaked
3 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 onion, peeled, halved, and studded with 2 cloves
Aromatics: 1 bay leaf, several sage leaves, a thyme spring, 4 parsley branches
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

The Vegetables
2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound, more or less, butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and flesh diced
1 large onion, diced
3 to 4 small turnips (about 3/4 pound), thickly peeled and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon chopped sage
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 plump garlic clove, chopped
Aromatics: 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, pinch of dried thyme, 2 bay leaves
1/2 pound Savoy cabbage, chopped into squares

To finish
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped sage
1 garlic clove, minced

1. Drain and rinse the beans and put them in a pot with 2 quarts water, the garlic, onion, aromatics, and 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for an hour.  Add 1 teaspoon salt and continue cooking until the beans are tender, another half hour or so- cooking times vary according to altitude, age of beans, and hardness of water.  Drain the beans, leaving them in just enough liquid so that they don't dry out, then strain and reserve the cooking water.  You should have 6 to 7 cups.

2. Warm the oil in a soup pot.  Add the squash, onion, turnips, sage, parsley, garlic, aromatics and 1 teaspoon salt.  Give a stir then cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have state to brown a bit here and there and caramelize, about 15 minutes.  Add the cabbage and let it wilt, then add the bean broth or equivalent amount of vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the squash is tender but still intact, 15 to 20 minutes depending on size.  Add the beans and continue cooking until heated through.  Tase for salt and season with pepper.

3. Toss the breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons oil and sage to moisten them, and put them in a skillet and cook slowly over medium heat until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic during the last few minutes so that it doesn't burn. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the soup and add a generous helping of hot crumbs to each bowl.

Yield: 2 quarts
From Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen

Caramel shortbread bars take #3.  Will post the new recipe when it's finally completed.  This time the caramel was a little burned :-(

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

2011-10-30 Sunday Dinner *updated*

We decided to start sharing the wonderful things that people make for our weekly sunday dinners regularly on the blog.  We'll include pictures from time to time.

We start off with our appetizers

Endive boats to heaven
<recipe coming soon>
Made by Diane Janowicz

Goat Cheese wonderfulness

(makes 12)
melted butter, for greasing
14-oz/400-g package prepared and rolled puff pastry
all-purpose flour, for dusting
1 egg, beaten

about 3 tbsp fig and ginger jam
12 oz/350 g goat cheese logs, sliced into circles
olive oil, for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Grease 1-2 baking sheets with melted butter.
Transfer the pastry sheet to a lightly floured counter and roll out lightly to remove any creases.
Use a 3-inch pastry cutter to stamp out as many circles as possible.
Place the circles on the prepared baking sheets and press gently about 1 inch from the edge of each with a 2 inch pastry cutter.
Brush the circles with the beaten egg and prick with a fork.  Top each circle with a teaspoon of jam and a slice of goat cheese.
Drizzle with oil and sprinkle over a little pepper
Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and the cheese is bubbling.
Serve warm.

Made by Geri Johnson and Kathy Edwards

Parmesan-Crusted Green Tomato Gratin

Slow roasting gives tart-tasting green tomatoes a smooth, mellow flavor. The Parmesan topping
offers a nice contrast to the mellow tomatoes and sweet onions. Serves four as a side dish.

1/4 lb. bacon, chopped
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
5 Tbs. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
5 Tbs. breadcrumbs
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
4 green tomatoes (about 1/2 lb. each), sliced 1/4 inch thick
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves

Lightly brown the bacon in a skillet over medium heat, about 4 min. Pour off all but 2 Tbs. of the
fat. Add the onion and cook over low heat until caramelized, about 20 min. Meanwhile, combine
the Parmigiano-Reggiano, breadcrumbs, and oil and set aside.

Heat the oven to 350°F. On one side of a round or oval shallow baking dish, arrange 4 or 5
tomato slices, overlapping them slightly. Spoon some of the bacon-onion mixture on the lower
half of each tomato slice, and then lay another row of tomatoes across the first row. Layer the
tomatoes at a slight angle against one another, topping each slice with the bacon-onion mixture.
Repeat until the dish is full. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, fresh thyme, and the Parmigiano-
breadcrumb mixture.

Cover the dish with foil and cook for 30 min. Remove the foil and continue cooking until the
tomatoes are very tender and the top of the gratin is browned, about another 30 min.

 Made by Lisa Kohli

Green Cabbage Soup
with potatoes and sour cream.

1 small green cabbage, preferably Savoy (about 1 pound)
2 to 3 tablespoons butter
1 large leek, white part only, quartered lengthwise, chopped, and rinsed
1 hefty yukon gold or russet potoato, peeled and roughly cubed
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

to finish
sour cream or yoguyrt
minced parsley or dill

1. Quarter the cabbage, remove the cores, and thinly slice the wedges crosswise.  You should have 5 to 6 cups.  Bring 3 quarts water to a biol, add the cabbage, cook for 1 minute then drain.

2. Melt the butter in a soup pot.  Add the leek and potato, give them a stir, and cook for a minute or two, then add the cabbage and 1 teaspoon salt.  Pour over 5 cups water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered for 20 imnutes or until the potato is tender. Taste for salt and season with pepper.

3. Ladle the soup into bowls, then add to each a dollop of sour cream, and a springkling of parsley, and a final grinding of pepper.

Lisa's notes - last time we added some kale with the leek and potato which gave a beautiful color.  Napa cabbage works too.  Impressive flavor for a recipe without stock.

from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen

Gooey Caramel Butter Bars*
for the crust:
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

for the filling:
1 bag caramel candies
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons dark rum
pinch of salt

1 cup pecans, walnuts or cashews (optional)

To make the crust: in a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars.  Using an electric mixter set at medium speed, beat together until creamy.  Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined.  Sift the flour into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until a smooth, soft dough forms.

Cover a 9x13" baking pan with parchment (or cooking spray) and press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the pan.  Pat the remaining dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325F.  Bake until firm and edges are a pale golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. 

While the bottom crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling: place the unwrapped caramels in a microwave-safe bowl.  add the cream vanilla, run, and salt.  Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth.  If caramels are not completely melted, microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval until smooth.

Sprinkle the nuts over the bottom crust.  Pour the caramel filling over the nuts, using a small metal spatula to nudge the filling evenly over the crust.  Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel.  Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 30 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cook completely.

being adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth

*Works in progress because you know Kohlis don't use bag caramel.  We're still working out caramel kinks.  Will post back the real recipe when it's final.