Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fig Preserves

4 pounds fresh figs
4 pounds sugar
2 lemons, sliced thin and seeded
3/4 cup water

Wash, drain and stem figs. Bring water and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes. Add figs and lemon slices. Cook about an hour on medium heat, stirring occasionally to keep mixture from sticking to bottom of pot. Pour into clean, hot jars, seal and process 15 minutes in a water bath.Makes about 3 pints.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blue Cornmeal, Dried Blueberry and Piñon Biscotti

2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar (4 3/4 oz)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup blue cornmeal
1 cup piñon (pine nuts) (4 1/4 oz)
1 cup dried blueberries (5 oz)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet (18x 13-inch) with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, baking powder, and vanilla until creamy looking. When properly beaten, the egg/sugar mixture will be thick and lemon colored and drop in a ribbon from the beater.

Lower the mixer speed and add the flour and blue cornmeal, beating gently until incorporated. Stir in dried blueberries and pine nuts. Dough will be very wet. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and shape into a rough log about 14 inches long, 2 1/2 inches wide and about 3/4 inch thick. Smooth the top of the dough with a wet dough scraper.

Bake the dough for 25 minutes. With dried fruit and nuts, it may be necessary to bake an additional 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on pan from 5-25 minutes. I let mine cool about 15 minutes. Spray with the water as in pointer step 1 (below). Let stand 5 minutes. This will soften the crust to make slicing easier.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Wait 5 minutes, then cut the biscotti on the diagonal into 3/4 inch slices using a serrated knife and straight up and down motions.(Pointer Step 2) If you slice the biscotti wider at the top than the bottom, they will topple over while baking the second time.

Set the biscotti upright on the prepared baking sheet 1/2 inch apart so the air can circulate.(Pointer Step 3) Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container to preserve their texture. If the biscotti aren't as hard as you like, store uncovered overnight to continue drying. Biscotti can be stored at room temperature for two weeks; for longer storage, wrap airtight and freeze. Yield 14-16.

Here are three important steps to guarantee success in baking and cutting the biscotti-

1. To keep the biscotti from crumbling after the first baking, spritz the baked dough lightly, but thoroughly with water taking care to cover the sides and the top. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. This is an important step especially if your biscotti contains nuts and fruits.

2. When cutting the biscotti for the second bake, use a serrated knife and cut with a straight up and down motion. This steps ensures that the biscotti will stand up for the second bake.

3. Instead of flipping the biscotti over to bake a third time, stand them up on the prepared baking sheet so the air can circulate around them as they bake.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Applesauce Spice Bars

from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan

For the Bars:
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp applejack, brandy, or dark rum (optional)
1 baking apple, such as Rome or Cortland, peeled, cored and finely diced or chopped
1/2 cup plump, moist raisins (dark or golden)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

For the Glaze: (Double this for a thicker icing)
2-1/2 tbsp heavy cream
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2-1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Getting Ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper and dust the inside of the pan with flour. Tap out the excess flour and put the pan on a baking sheet.

To Make the Bars:
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir with a whisk until it is melted and the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

Still working in the saucepan, whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing until they are well blended. Add the applesauce, vanilla and applejack, if you're using it, and whisk until the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is once again smooth. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear, then mix in the apple, raisins and nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until the bars just start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the baking pan to a rack and let the cake cool while you make the glaze.

To Make the Glaze:
In a small saucepan, whisk together the cream, sugar, butter and corn syrup. Put the man over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently. Adjust the heat so that the glaze simmers, and cook, whisking frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Turn the bars out onto a rack, remove the paper and invert the bars onto another rack, so they are right side up. Slide the parchment paper under the rack to serve as a drip catcher, grab a long metal icing spatula and pour the hot glaze over the bars, using the spatula to spread it evenly over the cake. Let them cool to room temperature before you cut them.

Cut into 32 rectangles, each about 2-1/4 x 1-1/2 inches.

Yield: 32 Bars

Storing: These will keep for about 3 days at room temperature. Because of the glaze, they cannot be frozen.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pasta with Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Toasted Almonds

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated linguine or fettuccine
1 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini (about 1/2 pound)
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow squash (about 1/2 pound)
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

Combine cherry tomatoes, shallots,thyme lime juice, salt, pepper and sugar in a medium bowl. Add 2 teaspoons oil, toss to coat.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining one tablespoon oil to pan. Add garlic to pan, saute 30 seconds. Add zucchini and yellow squash, saute 3 minutes or until crisp tender. Add broth, bring to a simmer. Stir in pasta and 1 1/2 tablespoons basil. Toss well.

Remove from heat, stir in tomato mixture. Place 1 1/2 cups pasta mixture in each bowl, top with remaining basil. Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 tablespoons basil, top with cheese and toasted almonds.

Back to Cafe LynnyLu

Monday, August 3, 2009

Skidaway Island Shrimp and Grits

Serves 4.

4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup stone ground grits, such as Bob's Red Mill brand.

Shrimp Topping
1 1/2 links(about 8 ounces) andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4 ounces smoked ham, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons mild tomato salsa
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

To Garnish
1/2 cup sliced green onions
Pinch of Southwest seasoning, purchased or recipe below

Make Grits
Bring chicken broth, salt and butter to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Whisk in grits and simmer on low, covered, stirring frequently, until grits have thickened, about one hour. Stir in cream and remove from heat.

Make Topping

Cook andouille and ham in 1/2 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring until ham is golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to plate with slotted spoon. Add 1/2 tablespoon butter to skillet and heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet and cook shrimp, turning until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in sausage, ham and 2 tablespoons salsa. Cook, scraping up brown bits, until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To Serve

Divide grits among 4 bowls, top with shrimp mixture. Garnish with sliced green onion and a pinch of Southwest seasoning.

Southwest Seasoning

Makes 1/2 cup.
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Back to Cafe Lynnylu

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Bread Machine Pizza Dough
Makes one 12-14 inch crust

3/4 cup water (80-90ºF)
2 tablespoons oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

In order of ingredients, add ingredients to bread machine pan. Process on the dough cycle. When finished, remove dough from machine and place on lightly floured surface. Knead one minute and let rest, covered 15 minutes.

Roll dough into desired shape. One hour before baking pizza, place pizza stone in oven and preheat oven to 500°F.

Pizza Ingredients
1 1/2 cups leftover roast chicken
1/3 cup barbecue sauce plus 2 tablespoons
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large jalapeno pepper, sliced
2 ripe plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

For Garnish
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
2 tablespoons sour cream

Combine roast chicken and 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce. Spread the remaining barbecue sauce over rolled out pizza dough. Distribute 1/2 cup cheese over dough. Lay chicken over the cheese. Distribute the black beans over the chicken. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the pizza. Lay tomato and jalapeno slices over the top. Place pizza on stone and cook until cheese is bubbling and crust is crisp, 10-15 minutes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vanilla Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 moist, plump vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar

Bring milk and cream to a boil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. If you are using a vanilla bean, put the seeds and pod into the pan, cover and set aside for 30 minutes, then bring the milk and cream back to a boil before continuing. If you are using vanilla extract, wait until later to add it.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar together until very well blended and just slightly thickened. Still whisking, drizzle in about one third of the hot liquid-this will temper, or warm the eggs so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remaining liquid. Pour the custard back into the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring without stopping, until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon; if you run your finger down the bowl of the spoon, the custard should not run into the track. The custard should reach at least 170°F, but no more than 180°F, on an instant-read thermometer. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and strain the custard into a2-quart measuring cup or clean heatproof bowl. Discard the vanilla pod or if you are using vanilla extract, stir it in now.

Refrigerate the custard until chilled before churning it into the ice cream.

Scrape the chilled custard in the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Pack the ice cream into a container and freeze it for at least 2 hours, until it is firm enough to scoop.

Makes about 1 quart.

Serving: If the ice cream is very firm, allow it to sit on the counter for a few minutes before scooping or warm it in a microwave oven using 5-second spurts of heat.

Storing: Packed tightly in a covered container, the ice cream will keep in the freezer about 2 weeks

Playing Around

You can flavor the custard before it gets churned into ice cream and/or toss crunchies and other goodies into the ice cream a minute or so before it fully churned.

Mint Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

Before you refrigerate the custard, stir in 3/4-1-1/2 teaspoons pure mint extract or oil. Start with 3/4 teaspoon of extract(or just a few drops of oil), taste and then add more a little at a time, remembering that freezing will tone down the flavor. Just before you finish churning the ice cream, toss in up to 6 ounces of semi-or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or use up to 1 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips.

Honey-Vanilla Ice Cream

Heat 1/3 cup honey with the milk and cream, reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup.

Cinnamon Ice Cream

Reduce the vanilla to 1/2 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon extract and whisk 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon in with the yolks and sugar. Or, if you'd like to use stick cinnamon, toss 2 cinnamon sticks into the milk and cream and infuse for 30 minutes.

Crunchy Ice Cream

You can add up to 1 cup chocolate chips, caramel bits, chopped-up candy bars, chopped toasted nuts, candied nuts, buttered pecans or liqueur-flamed or steeped dried fruits. The dried fruits must be steeped in liqueur or at least plumped in some liquid or the fruits will freeze too hard.

Swirled Ice Cream

After the ice cream has been churned, you can spoon it into a big bowl, pour over swirlables-for instance, jam, chocolate syrup or dulce de leche-and marble them into the ice cream with a sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon.