Monday, February 28, 2011
You take Boston by storm and despite rain, snow, and an irritating cold you can't seem to shake, you manage to eat your weight in perfect sandwiches and lobster rolls, get a peek at the most coveted kitchen in the country, tear through tasting menus and three-course dinners, road trip up the coast to Ipswich, brunch at home and in the South End, play Scrabble, and tackle the MFA on a bustling Sunday afternoon. I am so thankful for these moments and these people. Thank you Channing and Brooke for such a wonderful weekend.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
Can we just contemplate for a moment the wonderful perfection of citrus being at the peak of season in the chilly winter months? This is no accident my friends. The cheery grapefruit above and a handful of others spilled out of our co-op box this week into welcome hands. This in addition to temperatures in Chicago skyrocketing to the 60s, has given us a taste of spring I can't seem to shake. While we wait for spring's official arrival, I will be enjoying the recent splurge of grapefruits, clementines, cava cava oranges, and lemons. This Heidi Swanson recipe has been one of my favorites for years and is really more of a formula than a recipe. Sub in the greens, citrus, and nuts of your choice and you have the perfect lunchtime salad or dinner paired alongside some chicken or a lovely piece of fish. The dressing is super versatile and great over steamed vegetables or used as a marinade for the protein of your choice. Enjoy and happy weekend to you!
Special thanks to Michelle for organizing the latest recipe exchange on her fantastic blog. Pretty Mommy readers, welcome!
Adapted from Heidi Swanson
6 to 8 handfuls mixed salad greens or butter lettuce, washed and dried well (I used a combination of mizuna and arugula last night.)
1 or 2 medium oranges, torn into pieces, pith removed (I used a grapefruit.)
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1/2 cup or so toasted nuts (walnuts or slivered almonds work best here)
1/2 cup sliced green onions
About 1/3 cup Citrus Parmesan Dressing (below)
Wash and dry your salad greens well and place them in a large bowl. Add the oranges, nuts, and onion. Toss well with the Citrus Parmesan Dressing (below). Add the avocado and give the salad one last light toss, be gentle, you don't want the avocado to disintegrate.
Sprinkle with a few shavings of Parmesan - you can make nice thick curls using a vegetable peeler.
Citrus Parmesan Dressing
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Zest and juice of 2 oranges (I used another grapefruit)
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2T white wine vinegar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pinches of both salt + pepper
In a medium bowl (or Mason jar) combine the grated Parmesan, orange zest and juice, and the shallots. Whisk in the white wine vinegar. Whisk in the olive oil and finish by seasoning with salt and pepper. Keeps well in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
So I figure if I shared kale recipes with you last week we should probably cover cinnamon rolls this week. Everything in balance, right?
I think everyone should have a cinnamon roll recipe in their repertoire. There really is nothing better than a lazy Saturday morning with a pot of coffee to share, a paper to read, a great record on the turntable, and a pan of these baking away in the oven. These rolls are also perfect when you're hosting brunch because you can do most of the work in advance.
I should note that the original recipe was written with the idea that if you wanted these on your table around 9, you'd have to rise around 4 to get them ready in time. Is there anyone who really does that? Over the years, I have modified this recipe so you can complete most of the work a day or two in advance. Then you simply allow them to rise on the counter while you take a shower, make some coffee, and then pop them in the oven. Or do like I do and set the alarm for 6:30, hop out of bed, take the rolls out of the fridge, and crawl back into bed to snuggle up until 8.
Belated celebration with your Valentine this weekend? A lovely brunch sounds just about right. Go to it!
Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze
Adapted from Bon Appetit
- 1 cup milk (I wouldn't recommend skim, but 1%, 2%, or whole will work)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 Days before you plan to bake the rolls:
Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. I usually end up adding 2-3 more tablespoons of flour. Take off the paddle attachment and place the dough hook on the machine. Knead for 4 minutes on low-medium speed. (If you don't have a mixer, turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes). Form into ball.
Lightly oil a large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. You can press the dough with your finger and if it doesn't spring back immediately, it's ready to go.
Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.
Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15x11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at one long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide). I use a serrated knife and slowly slice the rolls.
Spray a 13 x 9 glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Arrange the rolls cut side up. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
When ready to bake the rolls:
Take the pan out of the refrigerator and place in a warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 60-90 minutes.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 3-5 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.
Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Store rolls in the refrigerator. To serve leftovers, simply heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.
I'm fairly certain these cinnamon rolls will freeze very well. After slicing the dough, place the rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment and place in the freezer. After frozen, drop the rolls into a Ziploc bag. When ready to bake, place desired amount of frozen rolls in baking dish, defrost overnight in refrigerator and then follow the instructions for the second rise, baking, and making the glaze.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Since we've been on a crossword puzzle kick, I thought it would be fun to make a crossword puzzle about our (almost) ten years together. Then I read a note from Charlie and cried into my dessert. Then there was Scrabble and more wine.
I know a lot of people scoff at Valentine's Day, but I kind of love it. It's not about the cards, the flowers, and the candy, but a great chance to tell the people in your life you love them. Thanks Valentine for such a special night.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Grammy & Gramps, leaving for honeymoon, 1949
I have shared this before, but I thought it particularly fitting for Valentine's Day.
Two years ago, Charlie and I interviewed his grandfather, Gramps. In this clip, one of my favorites, Gramps speaks about meeting Grammy and the early days of their life together. It will melt your heart.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Do you like greens? I really do. Before I continue, if you haven't seen The Up Series, you should probably go rent it this weekend.
Back to greens. We eat a lot of them in our house. Swiss chard, mustard greens, collards, baby bok choy, and our favorite, kale. Kale is the perfect vegetable. It's healthy, it cooks up fast, and works well with nearly every meal.
Today marked the coldest day of the year in Chicago. It's snowy and bitterly cold out. Luckily warmer temperatures are around the corner. No matter, the recipe I'm about to share will brighten even the most frigid of winter days.
This salad is my favorite, favorite, favorite. You only need a couple of ingredients and few minutes to throw it together while the other components of your meal come together. This recipe is remarkable for its simplicity and bright flavor. I could eat the entire bowl myself.
Note: The recipe calls for black kale, but any kind of kale will do. If you don't want to bother with the breadcrumbs, you can throw in a few homemade croutons, or tear up a bit of a baguette. Parmesan also works just as well as Pecorino.
Raw Tuscan Kale Salad wtih Chiles and Pecorino
via In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite by Melissa Clark
1 bunch Tuscan Kale (aka black or lacinato)
1 thin slice country bread (part whole wheat or rye is nice), or 1/4 c. good, homemade coarse bread crumbs
1/2 garlic clove
1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus a pinch
1/4 c. finely grated Pecorino cheese, plus additional for garnish
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Trim the bottom two inches off the kale stems and discard. Slice the kale into 3/4-inch ribbons. You should have 4-5 cups. Place the kale in a large bowl.
If using the bread, toast it until golden on both sides. Tear it into small pieces and grind in a food processor until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.
Pound or mince the garlic and combine with 1/4 tsp. salt into a paste. Transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add cheese, oil, lemon juice, a pinch of salt, pepper flakes, and black pepper and whisk to combine.Pour the dressing over the kale and toss very well to combine thoroughly (the dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat the leaves). Let the salad sit for 5 minutes (or up to an hour), then serve topped with the bread crumbs, additional cheese, and a drizzle of oil.
Want more recipes? I've included two more favorites below.
Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans
Adapted from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson
Plan ahead for this recipe, as you need to soak the uncooked beans overnight. (You can use canned, drained, and rinsed beans, but limit how much you stir them to avoid them getting mushy. The freshly cooked dried beans maintain their structure much better during sautéing.) Giant corona beans, cellini beans, or white cannellini beans are the best choice here.
3 tablespoons olive oil
Fine-grain sea salt
1 onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
One bunch of kale, leaves cut into wide ribbons
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
Add salt to taste, then add the onion and garlic and cook for 1 or 2 minutes, until the onion softens. Stir in the greens and cook until just beginning to wilt. Remove from the heat and season to taste with a generous dose of salt and pepper. Drizzle with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with freshly grated cheese.
If you haven't had crispy kale, you have to make some. It is addicting and dare I say, almost as good as a bowl of popcorn. This is our go-to quick side for a weeknight dinner.
Adapted from the Strawbery Banke Museum
1 bunch of kale, (about 1 pound), cored, leaves rinsed and thoroughly dried
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
Kosher salt, to taste.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and dry kale thoroughly. Meanwhile, flatten kale leaves and use the point of a knife to remove tough center ribs. Stack leaves and roll them together, then slice crosswise into chiffonade strips 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch wide.
Place kale in a medium bowl. Toss with olive oil, garlic and salt, making sure leaves are well coated with oil. Spread evenly across a large baking sheet.
Bake, tossing once or twice, until leaves are crispy but not burned, about 10-15 minutes. Serve as is as a finger food or snack, or top with poached eggs as a breakfast or lunch dish.