RECIPE 0: A new feature on the site

Last year, we took a look at all the dinners I ate — each and every night of the year — and that experiment seemed to go very well.

This year, I’m going to post a recipe each-and-every week. The recipes will come from different sources, and will be all over the map.

The recipe software I’m using to manage this project is called BigOven and you can get your own trial copy from this link. Registering BigOven isn’t expensive, and it’s a really wonderful recipe managment solution. One nice feature of the recipes on this site is that they’re immediately importable into BigOven — just paste them in without retyping.

Enjoy these recipes, and if you get inspired and decide to make any of them yourself, please consider sending a digital picture of the result — I’ll post it with the recipe!

The recipes start below (or click here)… Let’s get started!

RECIPE 1: Hollandaise Sauce — Bittman

Our very first recipe for 2007 is for a very easy, tasty Hollandaise Sauce from Mark Bittman. His method turns the difficult classical preparation of this sauce on its ear. This is the fool-proof way to prepare Hollandaise!

-= Exported from BigOven =-

Hollandaise Sauce — Bittman

Once a challenging sauce to make, hollandaise became a breeze with the invention of the blender; there’s little reason to make it any other way. Note that hollandaise and mayonnaise are very similar; only the fats differ. If you like, stir in one teaspoon or more of minced fresh herbs — especially tarragon or dill — into the sauce after making it.

Recipe By: HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING, page 790
Serving Size: 1
Main Ingredient:
Categories: Easy, Sauces

-= Ingredients =-
1 stick Butter
3 ea Egg Yolks
1/2 teaspoon Salt
pinch Dry Mustard Or Cayenne
1 tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice ; or More To Taste

-= Instructions =-
If making asparagus, allow 1 1/2 pounds of asparagus for 4 people. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Trim the asparagus. Place the trimmed asparagus in the water and blanch for 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the asparagus from the water and season with salt & pepper. While the asparagus is blanching, prepare the sauce.

1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave. Do not let it brown.

2. Combine all the other ingredients in the blender and turn on the machine. Drizzle in the butter. The mixture will thicken. Taste and add more lemon juice or other seasonings if necessary.

Transfer to a container and serve or keep warm by placing the hollandaise in a bowl and nesting the bowl in a bowl filled with very hot water, stirring occasionally, for up to 30 minutes.

** This recipe can be pasted into BigOven without retyping. **
** Easy recipe software. Try it free at: **

RECIPE 2: African Peanut Soup


-= Exported from BigOven =-African Peanut Soup

A spicy-sweet contrast make this soup a special treat. A good use for leftover pumpkin. Canned puree of sweet potato or yams can be substituted. Increase the heat by adding more red pepper or red pepper sauce.

Recipe By:
Serving Size: 8
Cuisine: African
Main Ingredient: Peanut
Categories: Soup

-= Ingredients =-
2 teaspoons peanut oil
1 cup onion ; chopped
2 cloves garlic ; crushed
1/2 cup mushrooms ; chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ginger ; or 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cups Chicken broth ; (or vegetable broth)
14 ounces tomatoes, crushed ; from 1 can
1/2 cup Pumpkin ; cooked & mashed
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 medium scallion ; sliced for garnish

-= Instructions =-
In a medium sauce pan, heat peanut oil over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms and saute slowly until vegetables are soft and golden colored. Add red pepper flakes, paprika and ginger and saute for another minute. Add broth and tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes.Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Puree vegetables and broth in a blender. Add pumpkin and peanut butter. Blend until smooth.

Reheat carefully over low heat, adding more broth or water as needed.

Garnish each serving with sliced scallions (green onions). You may also pour a tablespoon of buttermilk or half-and-half (in a swirl) into the bowl for a nice visual contrast.

** This recipe can be pasted into BigOven without retyping. ID= 161124 **
** Easy recipe software. Try it free at: **

RECIPE 3: Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake with Hazelnut Crunch Crust


                      -= Exported from BigOven =-

        Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake with Hazelnut Crunch Crust

Layers of chocolate mousse made with gianduja, the luscious Italian hazelnut-flavored milk chocolate, and chocolate genoise top a base of hazelnut crunch. DO-AHEADS: Cake layer, 1 day; assembled cake, 2 days.

Recipe By:
Serving Size: 12
Cuisine: American
Main Ingredient: Chocolate
Categories: Bon Appetit Magazine, Desserts

-= Ingredients =-
~~ CAKE ~~
1/4 cup Unsalted Butter ; (1/2 stick)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/3 cup All Purpose Flour ; Sifted Then Measured
1/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder ; preferred Dutch
4 ea Large Eggs
2/3 cup Sugar
5 ounces Gianduja Bars ; Hazelnut-flavor chocolate like Callebaut brand, chopped
Chocolate Like Callebaut Brand
1 cup Rice Krispies
1/3 cup Hazelnuts ; Toasted Husked Finely Chopped
see Note Below
~~ MOUSSE ~~
10 ounces Gianduja Bars ; Chopped
1 1/4 cups Heavy Whipping Cream ; Chilled
1/8 teaspoon Salt
3 tablespoon Water
3 tablespoon Tuaca ; sweet Citrus-Flavored Liqueur
for garnish Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
for garnish Powdered Sugar

-= Instructions =-
1. Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line bottom of a 9-inch diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides with parchment paper. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Spoon off foam from top of butter and discard. Spoon clear yellow butter into small metal bowl, leaving water and milk solids; discard water and milk solids. Add vanilla to butter in bowl; set clarified butter aside.

2. Sift flour and cocoa powder together 3 times into medium bowl. Whisk eggs and sugar in large metal bowl to blend. Place bowl with egg mixture in large skillet of barely simmering water, whisk constantly until egg mixture is lukewarm (105°F), about 2 minutes. Remove bowl from water. Place bowl with clarified butter in hot water in same skillet over low heat to keep warm.

3. Using electric mixer, beat egg mixture until cool and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Sift 1/3 of the flour-cocoa mixture over egg mixture and gently fold in with rubber spatula. Fold in remaining flour-cocoa mixture in 2 more additions. Fold 1 cup of cake batter into warm clarified butter until incorporated. Using rubber spatula, gently fold butter-cake batter mixture into remaining cake batter.

4. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean and top springs back slightly when gently pressed, about 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; store at room temperature.)

5. Run knife between pan sides and cake to loosen. Invert cake onto rack; remove parchment. Using long serrated knife, trim top of cake horizontally, forming 3/4″ high cake layer. Using bottom of 8″ diameter springform pan as guide, trim around sides of cake to form 8″ round cake. Set cake aside.

1. Line bottom of 8″ diameter springform pan with parchment paper. Pour enough water into large skillet to reach depth of 1″; bring to simmer. Remove skillet from heat. Place gianduja in medium metal bowl, set bowl in hot water in skillet. Stir until gianduja is melted and smooth. Stir in cereal and nuts. Spread crunch evenly over parchment in pan. Place cake atop crunch layer, pressing to adhere. Chill until crunch is firm, about 1 hour.

1. Place gianduja in metal bowl. Pour enough water into large skillet to reach depth of 1″; bring to simmer. Remove from heat; place bowl with gianduja in hot water in skillet. Stir until gianduja is smooth. Remove bowl from water; cool gianduja to lukewarm.

2. Using electric mixer, beat cream and salt in another bowl until very soft peaks form (when bowl is tilted, cream should be fluffy but still pourable and flow to one side). Mix 3 T water into melted gianduja. Pour whipped cream over and fold into gianduja just until incorporated (mousse will be very soft).

3. Brush top of chilled cake with liqueur. Spread mousse over cake in pan. Cover and chill overnight. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.)

4. Run knife between cake and pan sides to loosen. Soak kitchen towel in hot water; wring out water. Wrap hot wet towel around pan sides and hold 30 seconds. Carefully remove pan sides from cake; smooth mousse with knife if necessary. Place cake on pan bottom on rack set over baking sheet. Sift cocoa powder lightly over top of cake. Using stencils such as snowflakes or stars, sift powdered sugar over top of cake. Transfer to platter and serve.

Scatter nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast at 350°F until skins darken, 12 to 15 minutes. Wrap warm hazelnuts in kitchen towel and rub together to remove skins. To finely grind husked hazelnuts, pulse them in a food processor. Take care not to process them into hazelnut butter.
** This recipe can be pasted into BigOven without retyping. ID= 161317 **
** Easy recipe software.  Try it free at:    **

No-Knead Bread

THE MINIMALIST; The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work
By MARK BITTMAN, originally published in the New York Times on November 8, 2006.

INNOVATIONS in bread baking are rare. In fact, the 6,000-year-old process hasn’t changed much since Pasteur made the commercial production of standardized yeast possible in 1859. The introduction of the gas stove, the electric mixer and the food processor made the process easier, faster and more reliable.

I’m not counting sliced bread as a positive step, but Jim Lahey’s method may be the greatest thing since.

This story began in late September when Mr. Lahey sent an e-mail message inviting me to attend a session of a class he was giving at Sullivan Street Bakery, which he owns, at 533 West 47th Street in Manhattan. His wording was irresistible: ”I’ll be teaching a truly minimalist breadmaking technique that allows people to make excellent bread at home with very little effort. The method is surprisingly simple — I think a 4-year-old could master it — and the results are fantastic.”

I set up a time to visit Mr. Lahey, and we baked together, and the only bad news is that you cannot put your 4-year-old to work producing bread for you. The method is complicated enough that you would need a very ambitious 8-year-old. But the results are indeed fantastic.

Continue reading “No-Knead Bread”

1/16/07 Wine Dinner at IRON HORSE INN

Tonight we attended a Wine Dinner at the IRON HORSE INN. Wendy and I have been attending most of the wine dinners there for the last four years or so, and this was a particularly enjoyable one, as it contained one of the best single courses & pairings we’ve had there.

First Course:
Baby arugula salad, pomegranate vinaigrette, almond crusted goat cheese, roasted beets
2005 First Love White Wine
I am a fan of goat cheese, and this course highlighted the ingredient well. Chef Chris loosened the goat cheese with some cream to make it softer. The roasted beets were beautiful and delicious. The wine, a white blend, was decent on its own and improved with the food.

Second Course:
Blue cornmeal fried lobster tail, dueling sweet & spicy pear puree
2005 Mallee-Sands Chardonnay
The fried lobster tail with two colors of sauce around it was a simple, dramatic presentation. The lobster was tender and flavorful.

Third Course:
Candied Bing cherry duck breast, sweet potato puree, maraschino cherry drizzle
2005 Pure Love Meritage
Truly a highlight of this meal and of the wine dinners at the IRON HORSE. A lovely duck breast was properly prepared to get rid of most of the thick fat layer, then roasted and candied before being set atop sweet potato puree. A maraschino reduction was drizzled around. The Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”) wine was perfect with this course. This one, I hope, is destined for the regular menu.

Fourth Course:
Char-grilled Ribeye, wild mushroom citrus compote, asparagus, black tea Concord grape reduction
2004 Mothers Milk Shiraz
As difficult as it was to follow the superior duck course, this course made a good attempt. I thought the flavors of the compote weren’t as unified as they could be, but I understood where Chris was heading. The Shiraz was wonderful.

Banana Fosters Crème Brulee
2004 Carol Shelton Late Harvest Trousseau Gris
Chef Chris is exploring brulees of different types (a fact that Wendy is very happy about). These desserts tend away from my preferred dessert styles (fruit tarts and the like), but they’re still very good. The Trousseau Gris was really good without being overly sweet.

The IRON HORSE INN present Wine Dinners at 7:00pm on the third Tuesday of most months (usually not in December). Five courses with paired wines are $60 per person. Vegetarian menus available with advanced notice. Reservations strongly recommended.