April 2013

herb-crusted rack of lamb and potatoes anna

Posted on April 30, 2013

I made this dish for Jordan’s birthday, which was over two months ago (!!!) making this post terribly delayed and me a horrendous blogger. But, lamb is always good, so why not share. This lamb turns out beautifully. The crust is delicious and compliments the perfectly medium rare and oh so tender lamb. For us, this is a special occasion dish—rack of lamb is pricey. But when you love food like Jordan loves food, birthday splurges are in order.

Don’t be scared off by the anchovies in the recipe. They compliment the slight gaminess of lamb and don’t add a fishy taste.

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Herb-Crusted Lamb Chops, adapted from Ad Hoc at Home
1 frenched 8-bone rack of lamb
kosher salt and pepper
canola oil
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 cloves garlic confit
3 anchovy fillets (rinsed and patted dry)
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsely, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped

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Score the fat covering the lamb in a 1/2 inch crosshatch pattern with the tip of a sharp knife. Take care to not cut into the meat. Season the rack of lamb on all sides with salt and pepper.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and position one oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Line a roasting pan or baking sheet with foil and set a cooling rack in the center.  Heat some canola oil in a large pan over medium heat. Put the lamb fat side down and sear until golden brown. Transfer the lamb to the cooling rack fat side up.

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Combine mustard and honey in a small bowl; set aside. Combine butter, garlic and anchovies in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer the puree into a medium bowl and add the bread crumbs and herbs. Stir until just combined.

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Brush the fat side of the lamb with the mustard mixture. Spread the bread crumbs evenly over the lamb, pressing gently to adhere the crumbs.  Put the lamb in the oven with the meat side toward the back and cook for 25-35 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 128 degrees. Let the racks rest in a warm place for 15 – 20 minutes for medium rare lamb. Carve into two bone chops and serve.

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Potatoes Anna
1 pound yukon gold potatoes, peeled
4 tablespoons butter, cut into thin slivers
salt

I’m not really sure why these are called potatoes anna, but that is what Jordan calls them and so that is what we’ll call them here. They are his favorite way to eat potatoes and for good reason. Crispy and soft at the same time and oh so buttery—perfection in a side dish.

Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Peel and slice the potatoes unto 1/4-inch thick slices. I use a mandolin to make this faster and easier.  Arrange the potatoes in rows, slightly overlapping. Scatter thinly sliced pats of butter over the potatoes and season liberally with salt. Bake 35 – 45 minutes in a 425 degree oven, until parts of the potatoes are crispy and golden brown. Serve with roasted meats, sautéed fish, a fried egg, whatever protein you can get your hands on.

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-Emily

garlic confit, the key to sautéed greens

Posted on April 25, 2013

This right here is how to make any leafy green more palatable. Before garlic confit, I was a very reluctant eater of cooked leafy greens. I’d pretty much avoided them since childhood—terrifying brick of spinach microwaved directly from the freezer, anyone?—and only occasionally ate them as an adult because I know they’re good for me. But since our discovery of garlic confit, I’ll happily eat them alongside any main course.

Garlic confit has all the delicious flavor of garlic without the harsh bite. It’s ridiculously easy to make and delicious in pretty much anything – vegetables, pasta, mashed potatoes, spread on bread.  Do yourself a favor, make a big batch, keep it in your fridge and bust it out anytime you’ve got a bunch of kale, spinach, chard, or mustard greens languishing. Because of our CSA, we usually have several bunches of greens on hand and make this once or twice a week.

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Garlic Confit, from Ad Hoc at Home
2 heads of garlic, peeled
1 cup flavorless oil, like grapeseed or safflower

Peel the cloves of garlic and put them in a small saucepan. Cover completely with oil, about 1 cup. Turn the heat on to very low and let the garlic simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the cloves. When the cloves are soft, it’s done. Pour garlic and garlic oil into a glass jar and store in the fridge.

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Sauteed Greens with Garlic Confit
4 cups leafy greens and stems (this will cook down significantly)
several cloves of garlic confit and its oil
salt and pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced

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Put several cloves of garlic and some of the oil in a large saute pan. Turn the heat to medium. Add your greens and let the begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. Once they’ve released some of their water and shrunken some, use tongs to stir them around. Cook another 2 minutes and turn the heat off. Season well with salt and pepper, finish with a squeeze of lemon.

-Emily

a few photos from bolinas

Posted on April 14, 2013

We’ve been spending quite a bit of time in Bolinas these days. Bolinas is mellow and quiet and adorable. The air smells like eucalyptus, the surf is gentle, the people are friendly.  It reminds me of Arnold, where my grandparents have a cabin and we spent many summers as kids, just swap the eucalyptus for redwoods. I don’t have a recipe to share, just a few photos from the weekend—though the People’s Community Market does serve a damn good chai.

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middle class brioche

Posted on April 5, 2013

At the end of the spectrum opposite spelt bread, there is brioche—lest you worry our dedication to butter had wavered. For Mardi Gras a few weeks ago, our friend Kelly made an amazing King Cake. Buttery, airy, just slightly sweet, it was perfection. I enjoyed it for dessert, and then again for breakfast the next day. It took a lot of self-control to not eat Jordan’s piece while he slept. Obviously, I asked for the recipe.

What I received in return was 6 pages of instructions with different classes of brioche, each with different amounts of butter and egg, and each with different baking techniques. The recipe titles were pretty great. Rich Man’s Brioche, featuring a whole pound of butter. Middle Class Brioche, a moderate 8 ounces or two sticks. And Poor Man’s Brioche, a modest 4 ounces of butter. Kelly recommended Middle Class and that is what I bring you today.

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This was my first time making brioche. Working with brioche dough is very different from most other bread doughs I’ve made. Because of all the butter, you shape it when it is very cold, which was much more similar to cookies than bread. The shaping was actually much easier for a first timer than a sourdough hearth bread or baguette. It gives me confidence for future croissants!

Middle Class Brioche Buns 

Sponge
1/2 cup (2.25 oz) unbleached bread flour
2 teaspoons (0.22 oz, 1 packet) instant yeast
1/2 cup (4 oz) whole milk, lukewarm (I used 2% without incident)

Dough
4 (8.25 oz) large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups (13.75 oz) unbleached bread flour
2 tablespoons (1 oz) granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons (0.35 oz) salt
1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg, whisked until frothy for egg wash

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Make the sponge. Stir together flour and yeast in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the milk and stir until just combined. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes in a warm place.

Make the dough. Add the eggs to the sponge and whisk or beat with the paddle attachment until smooth.  In a separate bowl, stir together flour, sugar and salt. Add the flour mixture to the sponge mixture. Stir until all the ingredients are combined. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Add the butter, one quarter at a time, stirring the dough well after each addition. This should take a few minutes. Continue mixing for another six minutes on medium speed. You’ll have to scrape down the bowl from time to time. The dough should be smooth and soft.

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Refrigerate the dough. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Mist lightly with oil or coat lightly with oil using a brush or paper towel. Transfer the dough to the pan, spreading it into a rectangle about 6 inches by 8 inches. Coat the dough lightly with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, or for at least four hours.

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Shape the dough. Line two baking sheets with parchment  Coat lightly with oil. Remove the dough from the fridge and immediately shape. I was making hamburger buns so I used a pizza cutter to divide the dough into 12 equal squares. I then used my hands to roll each square into a ball. I spaced the balls evenly on each sheet, six per baking sheet. They’ll about double in size so you’ll want to keep that in mind. Coat each ball lightly with oil and cover with plastic wrap.

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Proof the dough. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about 2 hours. It will just about double in size. After about two hours, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Coat the dough balls throughly with the egg wash. This is what gives them their beautiful shine. Let them proof for another 15 – 20 minutes.

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Bake the buns for 15 – 20 minutes. They should be golden brown and 180 degrees internal temperature. Baking brioche with make your house smell like heaven. You’ll probably want to have the scent of baking brioche as a perfume and you’ll likely text that exact thing to several friends. Sit on your kitchen counter while your brioche bakes and savor it.

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Cool on a rack for 20 minutes before serving, or until cool before glazing. I turned half of the brioche into dessert brioche and left half plain for hamburger buns. The dessert brioche I glazed with a grapefruit glaze. I’d highly recommend it.

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GrapeFruit Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
grapefruit zest
2 tablespoons grapefruit juice

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Sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Add the grapefruit zest and juice. Whisk to combine. Once the brioche buns have cooled, spoon the glaze over them. Let the glaze set. If you have extra glaze, feel free to do a second coat.

-Emily

chicken pot pie

Posted on April 1, 2013

The chicken pot pie of my childhood was made by Marie Callender’s. It was a personal pot pie, and it baked in the oven for what seemed like an eternity. My favorite part was the crust coated in that creamy pot pie sauce. Well, this chicken pot pie a thousand times better, though it’s a time commitment. Between making the pie crust, roasting chicken, blanching vegetables, making a bechamel, you’re in it for the long haul. But it’s worth it.

I’d recommend making chicken pot pie when you have left over meat from roasting a chicken and chicken enchiladas or chicken soup don’t sound appealing. I’d also recommend it for a crowd – a single slice will fill you up. You could very easily make this ahead of time, freeze it and bake it straight from the freezer, adding 20 – 30 minutes of additional bake time.

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Chicken Pot Pie, adapted from Ad Hoc at Home
Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
about 5 tablespoons ice water

Filling
1 cup red skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
12 pearl onions, peeled
1 cup celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs
1/2 tablespoon peppercorns
1/2 cup peas
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Bechamel
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
black pepper
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
pinch of cayenne

Make the pie crust the night before. In a food processor, combine flour and salt. Remove the butter from the fridge and cut into 1 inch cubes. Add them to the flour mixture. Process until the butter chunks are about the size of peas. Add the water and pulse a few times to combine. Divide into two equal balls, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

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Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Remove the dough from the fridge and let it warm just slightly. Roll out the dough and place one piece in a 9 inch pie pan. Cut around the edges and put it back in the fridge. Roll out the second piece of dough into a 12 inch round. Place on a baking sheet and put it back in the fridge.

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Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the bay leaves, thyme and pepper corns. Salt the water until it tastes like sea water. Blanche the potatoes, carrots and onions for 8 minutes. Add the celery and cook for another two. Strain the vegetables from water, pour them onto a sheet pan and discard the spices.

In a medium pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is light brown. Whisk in the milk. Let the sauce come to a boil to thicken, stirring often. Remove from the heat. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, parsley and cayenne. Make sure you’re happy with the seasoning.

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Remove the bottom crust from the fridge. Scatter the blanched vegetables, frozen peas and chicken in the pie shell. Pour the bechamel over the pie. Beat an egg in a small bowl. Moisten the rim of the shell with some of the egg. Top it with the other crust. Pinch around the edges and cut off the excess. Brush the top with the egg. Cut a small vent in the top crust to allow steam to escape.

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Bake on the lower rack of 375 degree oven until the crust is golden brown, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the pie and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

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-Emily