|Portrait of Natalie Walker l Jason Frank Rothenberg||All food photos l Michael Persico|
Fans of electronic music know Natalie Walker for her powerful, haunting voice that emerges from a sweet and childishly beautiful face.ï¿½ Walker got her start as the lead singer of Daughter Darling, and released her first solo album, Urban Angel, in 2006 to critical acclaim from Billboard, Urb, Trace and All Music Guide.ï¿½ National exposure came in the form of a Thievery Corporation remix of her song "Quicksand", featured in Sofia Coppola's film Marie Antoinette. Walker's second effort, With You, stirs a few poppy singles into the album of ethereal, textured sounds and layered songwriting.
What fans of her sound don't know is that Natalie is as accomplished a cook and hostess as she is a musician. "I'd love to start a catering business," she said.ï¿½ Natalie invited Meal Ticket into her Fishtown home for a pitcher of white sangria and a few tastes of her culinary talent.
Tender scallops got a light sear on both sides and were dressed with a simple salad of sectioned grapefruit, fennel and red onion.ï¿½ Once the guests arrived, Natalie put them to work dipping summer roll wrappers in warm water to soften, then rolling them up with a filling of shredded cabbage and carrots, sauteed mushrooms and vermicelli.ï¿½ The fan favorite, however, were the silver dollar potato pancakes topped with Korean-style shredded short ribs.ï¿½ Check out Natalie Walker's recipe for Korean-ish Short Ribs over Potato Pancakes, after the jump.
Now Do This:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Season the meat with plenty of salt and pepper and then sear on medium high in large oven safe pan or dutch oven in a bit of canola oil until brown on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
In same pan with heat lowered to medium, cook garlic for a few seconds and then build your sauce by adding sriracha, pineapple, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, orange zest, applesauce, soy sauce and cook together for a few minutes until bubbly.
Place short ribs back into the pan and then add your water and bring to a simmer. Once the liquid is simmering, cover with tight lid (or foil if you don't have a lid) and place in preheated oven.
Cook for 2-2.5 hours turning short ribs in the sauce every half hour. Cook them until they are very tender and easily pull apart with a fork. Let them rest on the stove top once they are finished cooking for 30 minutes and then pull them apart and stir the shredded short ribs into the sauce.
If you want to eat them as a main course, I would serve them over jasmine rice with some steamed broccoli or sweet peas. As an appetizer, though, I served the shredded meat on my potato pancakes.
|Photo l Michael Persico|
|Spinach, onion, turkey sausage, local gruyere and thyme.|
Taking your midday meal to work can save you thousands of dollars over the course of your lunch-eating career. The brown bag need not always have the same sandwich and Diet Coke stashed in it, either. Below, a simple method for a fritatta to take with you.
One thousand years ago, the Italians must have eyed up the delicate curds of a French omelette and thought, we can make that bigger. Fritattas are the easiest way to turn almost any random foodstuff into a hearty and healthy meal. You can use anything you have on hand ï¿½ the only requirement is eggs.
To fill an 8-inch pan about 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep, whisk together six large eggs in a bowl and set aside. Heat your pan over medium-high heat. First brown any meat you'd like to include, then caramelize some onions and any cooked vegetables lying around, chopped small.
Pour the eggs into the pan and cook gently over medium heat. Cheese can be added to the mix at this point. Lift up the cooked edges of the fritatta with a rubber spatula, and tilt the pan to allow the uncooked egg to run to the bottom and get a chance to feel the heat. When the bottom is set, remove the pan to the broiler preheated on low. Place about 6 inches from the heat source, and allow the top to cook through until browned and puffy, about 6 minutes.ï¿½ Slice and serve hot, room temp or straight from the fridge with a green salad.
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Foodie-ism is a condition both pleasurable and perilous.ï¿½ The more interested you get in food, the more you eat.ï¿½ The more you eat, the more you realize you eat way too much.ï¿½ Though everyone in my family is a great cook and I was always well fed, I didn't think much about food until I began working in restaurants.
In a few short months, I went from being pleased with my daily lunch of dry turkey Wawa hoagies to begging the garde manger for the ends of rare tuna loins, hoovering up the scraps of torchon of foie gras and asking if the staff meal potatoes could be cooked off in duck fat.
In other words, I transformed from an indifferent American teenager into a fat-crazed foodie.ï¿½ Though I'll always be mad for butter and amorous to the egg, I will admit you can't eat so richly without ending up working a late-stage Marlon Brando look.
The best thing to cut through the jiggle is a massive heap of raw vegetables.ï¿½ In the same way just a scrap of clothing is sexier than the full monty, just a touch of dressing brings out the best in raw, crunchy red cabbage and daikon sprouts.ï¿½ A fast gastrique of apple cider vinegar, sugar and red chili flakes punches up the flavor factor without adding major calories.
Simple recipe for Red Cabbage and Sprouts in the Raw, after the jump.
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Red Cabbage and Sprouts in the Raw
(makes 6 servings)
Go Get This:
Half a head of red cabbage, sliced thin
Two or three handfuls daikon sprouts
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
Sea salt, to taste
Now Do This:
In a small, heavy saucepan, dissolve the sugar in a tablespoon of water. Turn the heat to medium, and bring the syrup to a boil, without stirring. Brush down the sides of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush. DO NOT STIR. Boil for five minutes, until the sugar is amber-colored.
Add the apple cider vinegar all at once. DO NOT INHALE VAPORS.ï¿½ Mixture will bubble wildly.ï¿½ Add chili flakes.ï¿½ Stir mixture until all crystallized sugar bits are dissolved back into mixture.ï¿½ Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Slice the root end off the cabbage head.ï¿½ Slice in half and then quarter.ï¿½ With a long, serrated knife (or on a mandolin) slice the cabbage as thin as you can.
Place sliced cabbage and sprouts in a large bowl.ï¿½ Pour gastrique over vegetables, season with sea salt.ï¿½ Toss to coat.ï¿½ Taste for seasoning.ï¿½ Add more salt if desired.
In this week's food section, I wrote about my experience recreating the famous roast chicken recipe from Zuni Cafï¿½ in San Francisco. Thanks to some sage advice from Zuni chef/owner Judy Rodgers, the results were extremely successful. Above, check out step-by-step photos of the entire process, from the beginning dry brine to the triumphant finished product. After the jump, read the full recipe from Rodgers' Zuni Cafe Cookbook.
UPDATE: Here's what Zuni bird looked like right as I pulled it out of the oven. "Kittens Inspired by Kittens" quotes courtesy of Michelle and Kibby:
Zuni Roast Chicken with Bread Salad
From the Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers
Recipe source: msnbc.com
Serves 2 to 4
For the chicken:
- One small chicken, 2-3/4 to 3-1/2-pounds
- 4 tender sprigs fresh thyme, marjoram, rosemary or sage, about 1/2 inch long
- About 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- A little water
For the salad:
- Generous 8 ounces slightly stale open-crumbed, chewy, peasant-style bread (not sourdough)
- 6 to 8 tablespoons mild-tasting olive oil
- 1-1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried currants
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, or as needed
- 1 tablespoon warm water
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, slivered
- 1/4 cup slivered scallions (about 4 scallions), including a little of the green part
- 2 tablespoons lightly salted Chicken Stock or lightly salted water
- A few handfuls of arugula, frisï¿½e, or red mustard greens, carefully washed and dried
Seasoning the chicken (Can be done 1 to 3 days before serving; for 3-1/4- to 3-1/2-pound chickens, at least 2 days)
Remove and discard the lump of fat inside the chicken. Rinse the chicken and pat very dry inside and out. Be thorough ï¿½ a wet chicken will spend too much time steaming before it begins to turn golden brown.
Approaching from the edge of the cavity, slide a finger under the skin of each of the breasts, making 2 little pockets. Now use the tip of your finger to gently loosen a pocket of skin on the outside of the thickest section of each thigh. Using your finger, shove and herb sprig into each of the 4 pockets.
Season the chicken liberally all over with salt and pepper )we use 3/4 teaspoon of sea salt per pound of chicken). Season the thick sections a little more heavily than the skinny ankles and wings. Sprinkle a little of the salt just inside the cavity, on the backbone, but donï¿½t otherwise worry about seasoning the inside. Twist and tuck the wing tips behind the shoulders. Cover loosely and refrigerate.
Starting the bread salad (Can be done up to several hours in advance)
Preheat the broiler.
Cut the bread into a couple of large chunks. Carve off all of the bottom crust and most of the top and side crust. Reserve the top and side crusts to use as croutons in salads or soups. Brush the bread all over with olive oil. Broil very briefly, to crisp and lightly color the surface. Turn the bread chunks over and crisp the other side. Trim off any badly charred tips, then tear the chunks into a combination of irregular 2- to 3-inch wads, bite-sized bits, and fat crumbs. You should get about 4 cups.
Combine about 1/4 cup of the olive oil with the Champagne or white wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Toss about 1/4 cup of this tart vinaigrette with the torn bread in a wide salad bowl; the bread will be unevenly dressed. Taste one of the more saturated pieces. If it is bland, add a little salt and pepper and toss again.
Place the currants in a small bowl and moisten with the red wine vinegar and warm water. Set aside.
Roasting the chicken and assembling the salad
Preheat the oven to 475. Depending on the size, efficiency and accuracy of your oven, and the size of your bird, you may need to adjust the heat to as high as 500 or as low as 450 during the course of roasting the chicken to get it to brown properly. If that proves to be the case, begin at that temperature the next time you roast a chicken. If you have a convection function on your oven, use it for the first 30 minutes; it will enhance browning, and may reduce overall cooking by 5 to 10 minutes.
Choose a shallow flameproof roasting pan or dish barely larger than the chicken, or use a 10-inch skillet with an all-metal handle. Preheat the pan over medium heat. Wipe the chicken dry and set it breast side up in the pan. It should sizzle.
Place the center of the oven and listen and watch for it to start browning within 20 minutes. If it doesnï¿½t, raise the temperature progressively until it does. The skin should blister, but if the chicken begins to char, or the fat is smoking, reduce temperature by 25 degrees. After about 30 minutes, turn the bird over ï¿½ drying the bird and preheating the pan should keep the skin from sticking. Roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, depending on size, then flip back over to recrisp the breast skin, another 5 to 10 minutes. Total oven time will be 45 minutes to an hour. [NOTE: Even though it's in the original instructions, Rodgers tells us she doesn't think it's necessary for home cooks to flip the bird like this anymore. We didn't and our chicken turned out just fine.]
While the chicken is roasting, place the pine nuts in a small baking dish and set in the hot oven for a minute or two, just to warm though. Add them to the bowl of bread.
Place a spoonful of the olive oil in a small skillet, add the garlic and scallions, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until softened. Donï¿½t let them color. Scrape into the bread and fold to combine. Drain the plumped currants and fold in. Dribble the chicken stock or lightly salted water over the salad and fold again. Taste a few pieces of bread-a fairly saturated one and a dryish one. If it is bland, add salt, pepper, and/or a few drops of vinegar, then toss well. Since the basic character of the bread salad depends on the bread you use, these adjustments can be essential.
Pile the bread salad in a 1-quart baking dish and tent with foil; set the salad bowl aside. Place the salad in the oven after you flip the chicken the final time.
Finishing and serving the chicken and bread salad
Remove the chicken from the oven and turn off the heat. Leave the bread salad to continue warming for another 5 minutes of so.
Lift the chicken from the roasting pan and set on a plate. Carefully pour the clear fat from the roasting oven, leaving the lean drippings behind. Add about a tablespoon of water to the hot pan and swirl it.
Slash the stretched skin between the thighs and breasts of the chicken, then tilt the bird and plate over the roasting pan to drain the juice into the drippings.
Set the chicken in a warm spot and leave to rest while you finish the bread salad. The meat will become more tender and uniformly succulent as it cools.
Set a platter in the oven to warm for a minute or two.
Tilt the roasting pan and skim the last of the fat. Place over medium-low heat, add any juice that has collected under the chicken, and bring to a simmer. Stir and scrape to soften any hard golden drippings. Taste-the juices will be extremely flavorful.
Tip the bread salad into the salad bowl. It will be steamy-hot, a mixture of soft, moist wads, crispy-on-the-outside-but-moist-in-the-middle-wads, and a few downright crispy ones. Drizzle and toss with a spoonful of the pan juices. Add the greens, a drizzle of vinaigrette, and fold well. Taste again.
Cut the chicken into pieces, spread the bread salad on the warm platter, and nestle the chicken in the salad.
Capitalizing on leftovers: Strain and save the drippings you donï¿½t use, they are delicious tossed with spatzle or egg noodles, or stirred into beans or risotto. You can also use them, plus leftover scraps of roast chicken, for the chicken salad which follows.
|A little tequila, then a little blood.|
... and you've got the limited-time Benito Juarez dinner at Xochitl, ending tomorrow night.ï¿½ Chef/owner Dionicio Jimenez's pre-Hispanic menu honors the guy who kicked the French out and became united Mexico's first president. Meal Ticket previewed the menu in February, and it knocked our gringo socks off.
The $45 prix-fixe gives you choices, including grasshopper tacos, breaded and fried veal brains and frog legs, among other, more familiar options.ï¿½ General Manager Sergio Ruiz created coursed cocktails that harmonize with each item, but one of Xochitl's staple drinks, tequila chased with sangrita, works brilliantly as well.
Sangrita, which means "a little blood," is a blend of fresh tomato, orange, lemon and lime juices spiked with hot chilies. A sip of sangrita follows a sip of tequila, the spicy, refreshing juice smoothing the liquor's way.
Sangrita can also be blended with tequila, ice and a bit more lime juice to create a Vampiro, the bastard baby of Bloody Mary and Margarita.
Ruiz takes a precise approach to bartending ï¿½ he always uses jiggers to ensure his cocktails are perfectly balanced -ï¿½but Meal Ticket works in a more offhand style.ï¿½ A splash of this, a dash of that; it's all about modifying things to your own taste. Easy recipe after the jump.
Xochitl, 408 S. Second St., 215-238-7280, xochitlphilly.com
Meal Ticket's Take on Sangrita
Go Get This:
Three parts tomato juice
One part lemon juice
One part lime juice
One part orange juice
Lots of your hot sauce of choice
Then Do This:
Blend well in a pitcher. Taste after the first addition of hot sauce, add more if desired, and add cayenne pepper a tiny dash at a time. That stuff is powerful. Rim shot glasses in a mixture of salt and cayenne, if desired. Serve with neat shots of good tequila. We like Siembra Azul Blanco.
Last week, I was treated to a dinner at Union Trust, Ed Doherty and Terry White's new steakhouse at Seventh and Chestnut. Everything I tried was lovely, but many of the dishes I ordered were so rich/so big I wussed out and opted to haul a hell of a lot of the food home.
The next night, I was jonesing for some leftovers but wasn't sure what route to take. I wasn't even going to attempt to properly reheat the beautifully marbled Allen Brothers 18-ounce ribeye I was only able to finish halfway, lest White kick in my door and place me under chef's arrest for desecrating such a beautiful cut of meat. I realized that I needed some sort of vessel for the food ... something that not only tasted good, but would allow me to heat up my UT takeaway without mucking up the flavors.
My sister bought me a one-pound sack of King Arthur Flour's Classic Crepe Mix for Christmas, and it had been chilling in my cupboard for a sec. I followed the super-easy instructions on the package, combining half the mix with two eggs and gradually pouring in 1 1/4 cups of water as I beat that ish up with a whisk.
I cubed up the meat, along with the Crab Louie-type topper, and rough-chopped the broccoli casserole we took to go along with it. Dropped a CD-size portion of crepe mix in the middle of a medium-heat pan, rolled it around just a bit to spread the love, and let it soldify for a minute or two. After that, I flipped the guy over, tossed a few generous heaps of meat and broc onto one side of the crepe, and let the other side set for a few before folding it over. Another minute or so helped heat up the crepe's contents; no need for cheese or anything, as the creamy sauce in the broccoli did well as a binder.
After this, I grubbed. Please look to crepes the next time you want to respectfully rehash beautiful restaurant leftovers.
I've been discussing this project in hushed tones for the past few months due to my irrational fear that it'll get ruthlessly co-opted by a global pizza conglomerate, but I just can't wait any longer. The world needs to know about this.
The world needs to know about The Stuffalo Crust Pizza.
Codenamed "Project X," The Stuffalo is the brainchild of my friend Jason Fetz. It's a riff on the Pizza Hut stuffed crust, the novelty that inspired an entire generation of Sega-playing indoor kids (and Ringo Starr) to consume slices backwards. A rope of mozzarella was rolled up into the edges of the dough to produce a gooey, sinful and clearly unnecessary eating experience. As you might've surmised, The Stuffalo takes this idea and poultryfies it — buffalo chicken, not cheese, is what's being crammed into crusts in 2009.
I recently assembled some friends, including Jason, in my home kitchen to make the Stuffalo — up to that point just a fun topic to bring up while shamefully drunk at the P.O.P.E. — a tangible, scarfable reality.
How'd it turn out?
Just as I expected.
Since this was our first attempt at baking The Stuffalo, no one was sure where to begin. So we decided to experiment with several different techniques and fillers to determine which approach made for maximum Stuffalology.
A heated debate arose when discussing what type of buffalo chicken would produce the best results. An alcohol-fueled faceoff promptly developed between the breaded, already-nuggeted chicken and raw meat contingents. We decided to bake three separate Stuffalos — one featuring pre-cooked popcorn chicken simmered in a homemade buffalo sauce, another built around skinless chicken breast sautéed with the sauce in a pan, and a third option featuring Morning Star Farms fake buffalo wings in lieu of real-person pollo.
We began by prepping ingredients, most notably the buffalo sauce — nothing more than Crystal, melted butter and a few dashes of salt and pepper. Various cheeses were grated. Onions and mushrooms were chopped. Sauce cans were popped. Crappy Ikea pizza pans were lightly oiled because it seemed like the proper thing to do.
Then came the task of prepping the pie base itself. We acquired sacks of ready-to-go dough from Shop-Rite, but having minimal experience with the squishy stuff made stretching and pan-fitting a challenge. (No one attempted to throw it.) My buddy Ryan Beck, who you can see in the first set of photos above, succeeded in making the dough his lady, getting it ready for the most critical moment of the experiment — the stuffing of the uffalo.
Stretching the dough out so it hung over the edge of the pan helped create a foldable lip for our first attempt, which involved that rough-chopped popcorn chicken. But this didn't mean that the process went smoothly. Arranging the chicken and folding the dough over the cargo was easy — getting that dough to stay put like good dough should, however, was much more difficult. There was much cursing and pinching and thumb-thrusting, which eventually led to the demented result in Set 2 of the photos. No matter, though — after applying our sauce and cheese, our first-ever Stuffalo Crust Pizza went into a 450-degree oven for about 12 minutes.
I know you're supposed to wait when it comes to these things, but as soon as we removed piping-hot Stuffalo #1 from the oven, we cut it up, dumped some Ken's bleu cheese dressing into a ramekin (for dipping!) and dug in with little to no regard for the welfare of our tongues. Verdict? Thing was ugly as hell, but it tasted like heaven. There was a noticeable sogginess to the breading of the chicken in the crust, but aside from that, the conceptual Stuffalo was a success — the signature zesty kick of buffalo sauce was properly encapsulated, and in many ways intensified, by its chewy crust blanket.
The cheese/sauce part of the pizza was good, too.
Stuffalo #2, which featured raw skinless chicken marinated in sauce and sautéed in a pan prior to stuffage, had the distinction of featuring additional toppings — pepperoni, mushrooms and onions got the scatter treatment for this round. Another difference here was the decision to spread the tomato sauce prior to folding the dough over the chicken, which resulted in a bit of it leaking into the crust itself. That lent to the overall tenderness of the stuffing, but found myself wishing there was more breaded crispiness in each bite.
Then there was Stuffalo #3 — the fake chicken one. I personally prefer my buffalo flavor delivered doused as opposed to baked in, but I have to give it to the Morning Star pizza for featuring the most inside-the-crust crunch of all our attempts.
This was our first foray into the dangerous, glamorous world of The Stuffalo Crust Pizza, but definitely not our last. I've already drawn up a strategy combining all the best aspects of each pizza by preparing my own breaded chicken at home — I think it'll alleviate any sogginess and provide the elusive crunch I so long for. Maybe we'll drizzle the pie itself in blue cheese dressing next time — or maybe we'll even use crumbled bleu instead of shredded mozz/cheddar on top. We can really go in any direction with this — and knowing as much fills my heart with radioactive levels of joy.
|Soda bread with raisins becomes Spotted Dog|
|Irish Dance & Music|
On Saturday night, a herd of green-clad young professionals went carousing across Third Street, blocking traffic and inspiring much angry honking. As I watched the intoxicated inexpertly attempt to gain entrance to Ansill, of all places, I realized what was going on.
It's the Erin Express, Philadelphia'sï¿½ sodden bus tour of heroic drunkenness, now in its 35th year. The party is ostensibly in honor of one St. Patrick,ï¿½ a long-dead European who never once drank a green beer or passionately slobbered all over a complete stranger. I know the way of the Erin Express because I've been on it ï¿½ just once! But once was enough to gather enough data about wasted white people to last me my entire life. Some of these white people are, on some level, Irish Catholics.
This makes them authentic Irish drinkers, they will shout at you, proudly wearing the dregs of a Carbomb all over their shirt. Authentic!
Around this time of year, claims of authentic Irish whatever proliferate like mushrooms after a spring rain. Irish Soda Bread is one of the most hotly contested. The first exposure I had to the seasonal bread was from an Irish friend, a Dubliner, who brought a loaf to work one day. Dense, faintly sweet and studded with raisins, it was toasted and spread thickly with Irish Kerrygold butter for a heavenly breakfast.
That wasn't Irish Soda Bread. According to the inflexible standards of the Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread (SPISB), what we ate was called Spotted Dog; really a tea cake modified with raisins, sugar or caraway seeds. Their Web site states that true soda bread, a daily bread eaten in Ireland since the mid-19th century, contains only flour, baking soda, buttermilk and salt.
It makes sense. Surely our impoverished Irish ancestors could not have afforded (on a daily basis) the eggs, sugar, candied fruit and whiskey called for in many "authentic" Irish recipes. The SPISB explains that in the first part of the 20th century, American newspapers would often publish "authentic" Irish recipes in conjunction with St. Patrick's Day, modified to appeal to American tastes for sugar.
No matter which side of the authenticity debate you stand on, both sweet, raisin-filled tea cakes and traditional, unsweetened soda bread make a brill brekkie. Check out three different recipes, both traditional and modified, after the jump.
Alton Brown provides an excellent recipe for Spotted Dog (which he calls Irish Soda Bread) on the Food Network Site.
Bobby Flay's show did "Tasting Ireland," where he visited a bakery that turns out hundreds of loaves of traditional soda bread every day. Irish food writer Darina Allen contributed her recipe here.
The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread provides the traditional, absolutely no-frills recipes for both soft white and wheat soda bread on their site.
|A blank canvas|
|Photo l Michael Persico|
The comedian Jim Gaffiagan once said, "A muffin is nothing more than a bald cupcake."
It's so true. Though every muffin has the potential to be a hand-held panoply of breakfast flavors, too often they succumb to overgrown size and sugar and end up little more than a.m. dessert. The healthy-sounding apple bran muffin at Starbucks weighs in at 310 calories and 30 grams of sugar. If you want a doughnut, why not ditch the charade and just eat a doughnut?
I've lately been craving a muffin with more substance than sugar. A savory muffin complements an eggy breakfast, but also fits in with the dinner crowd. The best muffin recipe I've ever used is from Mom's ancient copy of the red Betty Crocker Cookbook, complete with photo illustrations on orangey '70s film stock. The basic recipe allows for additions of any flavoring element you like, from virtuous veggies to crumbled bacon.
- Chop half a fresh fennel bulb and one large onion into a quarter-inch dice. Toss with two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25 minutes, until soft and sweet. Mix into muffin batter.
-Chop three sprigs of fresh rosemary as small as you can, or measure out 1 1/2 tablespoons of dry rosemary. Add to muffin batter, along with 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
-Peel and dice two apples. Add to muffin batter, along with 3/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese.
-Cook three strips of bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels, then crumble. Add to muffin batter, along with 3/4 cup grated smoked Gouda cheese and a three sprigs of picked-over thyme.
Recipe for Basic Muffin Batter from the 1978 edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook, after the jump.
Betty Crocker's Basic Muffin Batter (p. 199)
Go Get This:
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Now Do This:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease bottoms only of about 12 medium muffin cups, 2 1/2 X 1 1/4 inches. Beat egg; stir in milk and oil. Stir in remaining ingredients all at once, just until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy). Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Immediately remove from pans. Yields about one dozen muffins.
|Just fifteen minutes under the broiler produces a dish worthy of linen tablecloths.|
|Photo l Michael Persico|
A quickly roasted (under the broiler) leg of lamb is a frequent dinner at my boyfriend's parents house. His mom is Lebanese, and she uses a variety of spices and flavor combinations in her cooking that are unfamiliar but wonderfully satisfying. Here, a boneless leg of lamb is rubbed with salt, garlic and Syrian brown pepper blend called da'a, which can be found at Bitar's Market. Da'a is a blend of allspice, black and white pepper, nutmeg, cloves and ginger; it plays nicely with the gamey flavor of lamb.
Once the sinew and fat is cut away from this inexpensive piece of meat, it rests in a marinade of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and seasoning. A fast broil six inches from the heat source produces meat that is nicely crisped on the outside and a melting medium-rare inside. Serve with simply roasted potatoes and eggplant and a green salad. The roasting pan will collect natural jus from the lamb, you can reduce this into a thicker sauce if you're feeling fancy. Otherwise, just use a spoon to apply some jus to your dish, and dinner is served.
Look for Syrian Pepper (da'a) at Bitar's Market, 947 Federal St., 215-755-1121
Quick-Roasted Leg of Lamb with Syrian Pepper
Go Get This:
5 lb. boneless leg of lamb
7-10 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thin
1/3 cup Extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
Now Do This:
Unroll the leg of lamb. Assemble a sharp chef's knife and paring knife near to hand. Using both knives, cut away all of the fat and sinew from the leg. Be patient; this takes a little while. Leave enough of the fascia that holds the muscles together so the roast does not fall apart.
With the paring knife, cut about ten small slits in one side of the roast. Insert the sliced garlic into each slit. Season the leg generously with salt and da'a. Pour over extra-virgin olive oil to coat, then a smaller amount of balsamic vinegar. Rub the seasonings and liquids all over the leg. Turn the leg over and repeat on the other side with just garlic, salt and da'a. Rub marinade in thoroughly.
Cover with foil or plastic wrap and rest in refrigerator for two hours, then turn the leg over, rubbing marinade in again. Rest at least one more hour in the fridge, or overnight.
Preheat oven to Broil. Place flattened, uncovered leg of lamb in broiler, no less than six inches from the heat source, for fifteen minutes, flipping over halfway through, until thickest section of leg is medium-rare. Serve hot or room temperature with jus spooned over.
Preheat a gas grill to low. Spread the leg out to make it as flat as possible, and grill until medium-rare, turning once. Thicker sections can be butterflied to make the leg approximately the same thickness throughout.
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