Sunday, January 29, 2012

Biscuit Brunch

Since I spent the last few days in Georgia, it seems only right that I make little biscuit brunch. (And I had leftover buttermilk from a crème fraîche experiment. More on that later.) OK yes, I've made biscuits before, but that recipe called for cake flour and let's be honest, most people don't have cake flour in their cupboards. And this recipe let's you cut the biscuits into perfect circles, thereby creating the perfect sandwich shape with which to create a breakfast treat. Sadly I was out of bacon and cheddar but hello, how good does that sound? Bacon, egg and cheese on a biscuit? Yes, please!

Buttermilk Biscuits
Adapted from Martha Stewart

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk, plus more for brushing
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and cream. Stir to combine.

2. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and pat into a 6 1/2-inch round (about 1 inch high). Using a lightly floured 2 1/2-inch cutter, cut out rounds. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing about 1 inch apart. Gather the scraps, reshape, and cut out. Brush the tops with buttermilk. Bake until the tops are golden, 22 to 24 minutes. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack, and cool. Makes about 8 biscuits.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Milk Bath

Apparently I am the only person who hasn't made this Jamie Oliver chicken recipe before. Granted, my friend David did tell me about it about at least two years ago, but I was like, "Gross. I'm not roasting a chicken in milk." Then when I mentioned it to my friend Karen this past weekend she was like, "Oh, I make that all the time. I told you about it!" OK OK I have a faulty memory, obvs! (Funny though, because Karen and David know each other. Clearly a conspiracy!)

I have to say, I really like this alternative to a plain roasted chicken. The very subtle cinnamon with the lemon and sage provides a really interesting flavor profile that makes me want to serve it with a jasmine or basmati rice rather than the mashed potatoes that Jamie suggests. But that's just me. I was skeptical of the milk bath to begin with, so what do I know?

Chicken Roasted in Milk
Adapted from Jamie Oliver

1 (4 pound) organic chicken
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cinnamon stick (about a 1-inch piece)
1 handful of fresh sage leaves (about 12 - 15)
Zest of 2 lemons
10 whole garlic cloves, skin left on
2 cups whole milk

1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Place a medium, heavy pot over medium heat (just large enough to fit the chicken) and add the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the chicken generously all over with salt and pepper.

2. When the butter is melted and the pot is hot, add the chicken, breast side down, and cook until golden, about 6 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook for 6 minutes more. Remove from the pot from the heat and remove the chicken to a plate. Discard the oil and butter that is left in the pot. Keep the sticky browned bits at the bottom of the pan as they will provide additional flavor to the sauce.

3. Return the chicken to the pot with the rest of the ingredients and cook in the preheated oven for 1½ hours. Baste with the cooking juices about every 30 minutes. (Don't be alarmed if the sauce looks curdled. It's fine and tastes great.)

4. To serve, cut the meat from the bones and divide it onto plates. Spoon over plenty of juice and the little curds. Serve with wilted spinach or greens and mashed potato or basmati rice. Serves four.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I say toe-mah-toe

Apparently my new year's resolution is to blog less. Not to be blogless, just to blog less. I mean, ten days have already gone by and I've already managed to watch two all-new episodes each of Mob Wives (three words: full body surgery...and Big Ang! 5 words!) and It's a Brad Brad World, not to mention countless other shows, and I haven't posted a single recipe or anecdote. I guess I'm still trying to get back into the swing of things after taking a week off from my regular work routine. Plus, with all of the holiday insanity, I had been going out like crazy (like to the Highline Ballroom and Indochine with WendyB) rather than cooking anything for myself.

Now that the holidays are over and it's time to get on a hard core austerity regime, I think I'm going to be making a lot of tofu and salad recipes. Eventually. For now, I have a superbly simple tomato soup recipe (from The Ski House Cookbook). For some reason I am reminded of a time when my mother attempted to make homemade bean with bacon soup for her unappreciative children, who responded with an irritating chorus of, "We like Campbell's better!!" I'm sure that my mom's soup was actually better, but it probably lacked the sodium content of a canned soup that we were familiar with. Well, I don't think it is possible to like Campbell's watery tomato soup better than this one (hello! heavy cream makes toe-MAH-toe soup très elegant!) and the few extra minutes that it takes to make it is well worth it.

Hopefully I'll remember that the few extra minutes (hours!) that it takes me to write future blog posts will be well worth it too. And I might just start incorporating more of my illness that is reality TV and TV watching in general. (The first step is admitting there is a problem, right Dr. Drew?) How I have the time to actually go to work is beyond me...

Creamy Tomato Soup

1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium carrot, diced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/3 cup cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1. Preheat the broiler. Strain the tomatoes, reserving the juices. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and spread on a small, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil until the tomatoes begin to brown, about 10 minutes.

2. In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and carrot and cook until softened, 7 – 10 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes, reserved juices and red pepper flakes and simmer for 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Stir in the cream. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.