Cheddar Biscotti

2 eggs
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste


Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the eggs and cheese in a food processor and process until yellow and thick, about a minute. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne and pulse three or four times, just to integrate the dry ingredients; you don?t want to overwork the gluten in the flour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead it until it holds together ? it may be a bit crumbly at first. Shape the dough into an 8- to 10-inch log, transfer to the prepared baking sheet and gently flatten.

Bake until the log begins to color and is firm to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes, then cut on the bias into half-inch slices. Lay the biscotti flat on the baking sheet and bake until crisp and toasted, 15 minutes; turn and toast the second side for another 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

Yield: About 16 biscotti.

Puy Lentils with Prosciutto

1 cup puy lentils
2 ounces prosciutto, in small dice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
8 stems flat parsley, chopped
4 medium ripe tomatoes, cored, peeled, seeded and chopped, or 1/3 cup tomato puree


Put lentils in medium saucepan with 6 cups cold water over medium high heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 45 minutes, until lentils are tender.

Combine prosciutto and olive oil in heavy casserole and place over medium high heat. Cook about 5 muniutes, until the prosciutto begins to brown. Add onion,garlic, celery, and parsley and cook about 10 minutes more, until the vegetables are tender. Add tomatoes and cook 10 minutes longer. Stir in drained lentils, season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer gently for 10 minutes before serving.

Beans in Tomato Sauce

1 cup dried cannellini beans
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 leaves fresh sage, chopped
1 cup tomato puree
freshly ground black pepper


Soak and drain beans.

Combine beans with 6 cups cold water in saucepan over medium high heat. simmer, uncovered, about 1 hour, until beans are tender. Season with salt and cool to room temperature. Drain.

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sage and cook for 1 minute. Add tomato puree and cook abut 2 minutes longer. Add beans ans simmer 10 -15 minutes. Season to taste.

Sweet-and-Sour Beans

1 cup borlotti, pinto, or cranberry beans
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
anchovy paste to taste
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
flat parsley


Soak and drain beans.

Combine beans with garlic and 6 cups water in medium saucepan over medium high heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 1 hour, until beans are tender. Drain and discard garlic.

heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add anchovy paste and onion and cook 10 minutes, until translucent. stir in vinegar and 1/2 cup and cook 5 minutes. Stir in the beans and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley.

White Beans and Pancetta

1 cup dried cannellini
4 ounces pancetta in 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
5 stems flat parsley, chopped
1 cup canned whole peeled tomatoes, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper


Soak beans and rinse.

Combine beans with pancetta and 6 cups cold water in medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to boil then lower hear and simmer, uncovered about 1 hour, until beans are tender. Drain and reserve cooking water.

Heat olive oil in 4 quart casserole over medium heat.. Add garlic, onion, and parsley and cook 2-3 minutes, until onion begins to soften Add tomatoes, beans and 3 cups of the cooking water. Simmer about 30 minutes. Season to taste.

Basic Grilled Pizza

raw pizza dough
olive oil or cooking spray
toppings of choice


Clean and coat the grill surface with olive oil/cooking spray.

Preheat the grill, on medium high, making sure the heat is even across the cooking surface.

Prepare the dough like you would for a pizza you were going to bake in the oven.

Brush one side of the dough with olive oil (We?ll call it side A).

Place dough, oiled (A) side down, on the grill. Brush the top quickly with oil, and close the grill cover, letting the dough cook for about 2 minutes (just long enough to begin to harden.
Flip dough, using spatula or tongs, and cook on other side (B) for 30-60 seconds.

Take the dough off the grill and, with the ?more cooked? (A) side up, top the pizza with toppings of your choice. You?ll want to make sure that the toppings are going onto the more-cooked side, as the bottom (B) will cook longer).

Place pizza back onto grill, and cook, covered, for about 4-6 more minutes. Bottom should have a nice char, and cheese should be melting.

Looking at it, the process seems a lot more complicated,when it?s written down, but once you?ve made this once or twice, it becomes like second nature. Three tips to keep in mind:

It may take a few tries to figure out how your dough reacts with your grill, and so temperature settings and cooking times may vary.

These days, we use a gas grill for the pizza. You can grill pizza on a charcoal grill, and I think it tastes even better, but it is more tricky for two reasons: variable temperature, and thin grates. Make sure that your cooking grates are clear of burned food bits and are well-oiled before you put the dough on, and stay vigilant and you?ll get a good final product.
When you?re starting out, it?s okay to keep the dough a little thicker, because it will be easier to work with.

If you don?t have the time/inclination to make your own dough, you may be able to buy the dough from a local pizzeria (not a Dominos/Papa Johns, though). They may look at you funny, but many will sell dough for anywhere from $1 to $5, and it?s usually much better than what you?ll get at a supermarket. Make sure to bring the dough to room temperature before tossing/spreading/baking/grilling, though.

See Jacques’s blog: http://jacquesofalltrades.tumblr.com/post/491729212/now-that-spring-has-arrived-its-going-to-be

Peanut Buster Ice Cream Cake

2 cups powdered sugar
12 ounce can of evaporated milk
2 sticks butter
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
16 ounce package of oreos
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream (slightly melted until soft enough to spread)
1 can red skinned Spanish peanuts


Place the Oreos in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin (or use a food processor), and mix in a large bowl with one stick butter, (melted). Pat this mixture flat into the bottom of a greased 9×11 glass baking dish.

Spread the thawed ice cream on top evenly.

Top the ice cream with the Spanish peanuts.

Cover and place dish into the freezer for at least 10 minutes while you make the hot fudge topping.

In a heavy saucepan, bring the powdered sugar, evaporated milk, the
other stick of butter, and the chocolate chips to a rolling boil. Boil
for 8 minutes?stirring constantly. Then, remove immediately from the heat
and add the vanilla, stirring well to mix.

Let the fudge cool for a few minutes, take the cake base out of the
freezer, and pour the hot fudge over the cake.

Place back in the freezer for at least one hour, and then serve later for a delicious dessert!
from Jacques of All Trades

Roasted Potato Stacks

24 Small Mixed Color Potatoes, scrubbed
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Chopped Rosemary
1 1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice, or to taste
Sea Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 Regular-Size Muffin Pan




Preheat the oven to 425??F.

Lightly oil the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan.

Peel the purple color potatoes, if using. Then slice the potatoes thinly with a Mandoline or a sharp knife. Wash the potatoes, drain well and pat dry with a paper towel.

In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with olive oil, rosemary, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Stack the potatoes and lay them sideway in a muffin pan and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the potatoes turn crispy on the outside and the flesh is soft.

Transfer the muffin pan to racks to cool for 2 to 3 minutes before carefully removing the potatoes. Serve warm.

Hasselback Potatoes

6 Medium Size Potatoes
2 – 3 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
30 g Butter
Maldon Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper


Preheat the oven to 425??F. Put the potato on a chopping board, flat side down. Start from one end of the potato, cut almost all the way through, at about 3 to 4 mm intervals.

Arrange the potatoes in a baking tray and insert the garlic in between the slits. Scatter some butter on top of each potato. Then drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bake the potatoes for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes turn crispy and the flesh is soft.

Basic Tomato Sauce

2-3 tbsp of oil (or another delicious fat)
1-2 onions, chopped finely
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
herbs as desired (basil, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and oregano, crushed red pepper flakes
2 big cans of crushed or peeled, whole tomatoes (San Marzano are best)
one small can of tomato paste
additional liquid for thinning(water, stock, or a red wine of choice)
salt and pepper to taste


Start by heating about 2-3 tbsp of oil or fat in a large, heavy pot.

Add onions. Simmer over medium-high heat until softened (about 5-6 minutes).

Add cloves. Simmer for 1 minute (don?t allow to brown).

Add herbs and stir quickly (about 30 seconds) before adding tomatoes.

-Bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally, then turn heat down to low, cover, and simmer as long as you want, at least 20-30 minutes.

-Stir occasionally as the sauce simmers, and if it starts to thicken too much, stir in additional liquid.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

This basic recipe can be adapted to make a wide range of ?red sauce? options:

-Add grated cheese in step 6, to thicken and give it some bite.
-Play around with different types of wine.
-Start out by making meatballs or browning italian sausage. Use the rendered fat as the starter for your sauce, then add the meat as you simmer the sauce in step 6-7.

from Jacques of All Trades

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

6 Small Sweet Potatoes, any variety, peeled
1 Tbsp Canola Oil
Unsalted Butter, divided into 6 portions
1- 1 1/2 Tbsp Demerara Sugar, divided into 6 portions

Method



Preheat the oven to 205??C (400??F).

Put the sweet potato on a chopping board, flat side down. Start from one end of the potato, cut almost all the way through, at about 3 to 4 mm intervals.



Arrange the sweet potatoes in a baking tray. Lightly brush the sweet potatoes with canola oil. Then top the potatoes with butter and sprinkle some demerara sugar. 

Bake the potatoes for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the potatoes turn slightly crispy and the flesh is soft.


Preheat the oven to 400??F.

Put the sweet potato on a chopping board, flat side down. Start from one end of the potato, cut almost all the way through, at about 3 to 4 mm intervals.



Arrange the sweet potatoes in a baking tray. Lightly brush the sweet potatoes with canola oil. Then top the potatoes with butter and sprinkle some demerara sugar. 

Bake the potatoes for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the potatoes turn slightly crispy and the flesh is soft.

Cream of Leek Soup

8 medium leeks (3 pound), trimmed, leaving white and pale green parts only, and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 small boiling potato (6 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth (24 fluid ounces)
3 cups water
1 Turkish bay leaf or 1/2 California
1 1/2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream


Wash sliced leeks in a large bowl of cold water, agitating them, then lift out and drain well in a colander.

Cook leeks, onion, carrot, celery, salt, and pepper in 4 tablespoons butter in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Peel potato and cut into 1/2-inch cubes, then add to onion mixture along with wine, stock, water, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Stir in parsley and simmer soup, uncovered, 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf and keep soup at a bare simmer.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a 1-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, then add flour and cook roux, whisking, until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add 2 cups simmering stock (from soup), whisking vigorously (mixture will be thick), then whisk mixture into remaining soup and return to a simmer, whisking.

Blend soup in 4 batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), about 1 minute per batch, transferring to a 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Reheat if necessary, then season with salt and pepper.

Beat cream in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until it almost forms soft peaks. Serve soup topped with cream.

Cooks? note:
Soup is best when made 1 to 3 days ahead (to allow flavors to develop); do not whip cream ahead. Chill soup, uncovered, until completely cooled, then cover. Reheat, thinning with water if necessary.

Chimichurri

1 large bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, washed, stemmed, and dried
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons minced onion
5 tablespoons distilled white vinegar or more to taste
5 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil


Finely chop the parsley and garlic in a food processor. Add the onion, vinegar, water, salt, oregano, pepper flakes, and black pepper and process in brief bursts until the salt crystals are dissolved. Add the oil in a thin stream. Do not over process; the chimichurri should be fairly coarse. Correct the seasoning, adding salt or vinegar to taste.

Crash Hot Potatoes

new potatoes
olive oil
salt
pepper
rosemary


Boil potatoes until they are fork tender.

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place potatoes on cookie sheet, then gently press with a potato masher until it mashes slightly. Rotate masher 90 degrees and repeat.

Brush each potato with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary.

Bake in a 450 degree over 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Can also be served for breakfast – cook sausage, eggs, and tomatoes in the same pan.

Super Quick Salsa

1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
1/8 to 1/4 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (or lime juice)
1/4 tsp cayenne or crushed red pepper(you can also throw in a jalapeno if you want)
1/2 tsp salt
3 or 4 sprigs of cilantro,


Dump it all in the blender and process until it becomes a harmonious blend of salsa goodness.

Taste and add more salt, cayenne or cilantro if needed.

Serve with grilled avocado — halve avocados and remove pits. Brush cut side with olive oil and lime juice and grill 5-7 minutes.

Uses for Alcohol Preserved Fruit

Boozy Concord Grapes OR
Brandied Plums OR
Rumptopf


FRUIT preserved in alcohol makes a marvelous dessert topping, spooned over ice cream, poundcake, panna cotta or ricotta, and it has other uses:

BOOZY FRUIT TART Line a tart pan with sweet tart dough and fill with frangipane. Top with pieces of fruit and bake until golden.

CAKE GLAZE Mix the liqueur with enough confectioners? sugar to make it thick and creamy, but still runny enough to pour, then spoon it over simple cakes.

CLAFOUTIS Use preserved Concord grapes in place of cherries.

COBBLERS, CRISPS AND PIES Add pieces of boozy fruit to fresh fruit.

DRUNKEN FOOL Pur?e the fruit and gently fold into whipped cream, to taste. Chill before serving.

FRUITY APERITIF Put a piece of fruit and a little of its liqueur in the bottom of a flute and top with sparkling wine.

HAIR OF THE DOG MUFFINS Add diced fruit to your favorite muffin recipe. If you are planning to serve these for breakfast, note that much, but not all, of the alcohol will evaporate.

ROASTS Warm brandied plums or Concord grapes and serve with roasted pork, chicken, duck, quail or venison.

TIPSY TRIFLE Use pieces of fruit in a traditional custard-and-cake trifle.

UPSIDE-DOWN TIPPLE CAKE Sprinkle a well-buttered cake pan with brown sugar, then layer with slices of drained fruit. Cover with your favorite butter cake batter and bake until done. Serve with cream whipped with a little of the fruit liqueur.

Brandied Plums

1 pound small plums
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups brandy
2-inch cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise.


Wash plums and prick them all over with a needle. Place them in a 1-quart jar with a tight lid and stir in the sugar. Pour in brandy, covering plums by at least an inch. Add cinnamon and vanilla, cover and shake a few times.

Let jar sit in a dark, cool place (but not the refrigerator) for at least 6 weeks and preferably 3 months. If the fruit floats to the top, turn the jar over.

Yield: 1 quart.

Rumtopf

1 pint mixed berries (like raspberries, blackberries or strawberries)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 bottle dark rum (1 liter), more as needed
1 pound peaches and nectarines, washed, pitted (pits reserved) and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 pound mixed plums, washed, pitted and sliced 1/2-inch thick.


Place berries in a large jar. Gently toss with 1 cup sugar. Let sit for 2 hours, then top with 1/3 of the rum. Do not stir.

Cover berries with peaches and nectarines. Top with 3/4 cup sugar and another 1/3 of the rum. Do not stir.

Add plums. Top with remaining sugar and cover with rest of rum, leaving room for 1 inch of liquid on top. Do not stir.

Loosely wrap reserved peach and nectarine pits in a thick towel. Use a hammer or kitchen mallet to crack the pits and extract the kernels. Crush the kernels gently and add to the vessel.

Cover and let sit in a dark, cool place (but not the refrigerator) for at least 3 weeks and preferably 12. If the fruit floats to the top, turn the jar upside down so all the fruit falls to the bottom (you may have to do this several times over the weeks).

Boozy Concord Grapes

1 quart (about 1 1/4 pounds) Concord grapes, washed, stems removed and deseeded (optional)
1 cup sugar
2 to 3 cups brandy


Place grapes inside a large jar and, using a wooden spoon, break the skins. Stir in the sugar.

Pour brandy over the grapes to cover by an inch. Cover and store in a dark, cool place (but not the refrigerator) for at least one month.

Yield: 1 quart.