If you train for a marathon, you can eat anything you want -- Why? Because
(a) you'll burn all the calories you consume,
(b) you deserve it, and
(c) you'll be injured soon and back on a restricted diet anyway.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Martha Stewart's Chocolate Pistachio Cookies

I spent my last afternoon of summer break making these. Be forewarned, there are a lot of steps to these cookies, and your kitchen will be a huge mess by the time you're done making them. I think these are beautiful, impressive, and very tasty---if you're feeling adventurous you should give them a shot. FYI--this makes 10-12 smallish (but very rich) cookies.

I followed her recipe exactly, here's a link: http://www.marthastewart.com/353217/chocolate-pistachio-cookies

Pork Burgers with Homemade Aioli and Romesco

Another recipe from Suzanne Goin's Sunday Supper at Lucques cookbook. I'm running out of new things to make from her cookbook and everything has been spectacular!

These pork burgers were amazing! I almost didn't make them and I'm so happy I changed my mind because this is my new favorite recipe.

The hardest part for me was making the aioli by hand, I didn't use a food processor or kitchen aid--just a whisk! I also made her romesco and slathered some on the burgers too. These were so good I only stopped to take a picture with my cell phone before demolishing my burger. Don't judge the low quality photo as a sign of an average recipe, these are awesome. Taking the time to do her extra steps is really worth it.

  • 1 1/2teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
  • 1/2cup diced shallots
  • 1tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 2chiles de arbol, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 2pounds ground pork
  • 1/4pound fresh Mexican chorizo, casing removed
  • 3ounces applewood-smoked bacon, finely diced
  • 2tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 6slices Manchego cheese
  • 6brioche buns or other good burger buns
  • Aioli (recipe follows)
  • Romesco (recipe follows)
  • 2ounces arugula
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a medium sauté pan, toast the cumin seeds over medium heat a few minutes until the seeds release their aroma and darken slightly. Pound the seeds in a mortar or spice grinder until coarsely ground.
  2. Return the pan to the stove over high heat for 1 minutes. Add the olive oil and shallots. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook for a few minutes, sitrring, once or twice, until the shallots start to soften. Add the garlic, thyme, cumin and sliced chile. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grindings of black peppery, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the shallots become translucent. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, use your hands to combine the ground pork, chorizo, bacon, shallot mixture, and parsley, being careful not to overmix the meat. Season with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Shape the meat into six 6-ounce patties. Chill in the refrigerator if not using right away.
  4. Light the grill 30 to 40 minutes before cooking and remove pork burgers from the refrigerator to come to room temperature (if you made them in advance).
  5. When the coals are broken down, red, and glowing, brush the pork burgers with olive oil and grill them 3 to 4 minutes on the first side, until they're nicely browned. Turn the burgers over, and place a piece of cheese on each one. Cook another 3 minutes or so, until the pork is cooked through. (It should still be slightly pink in the center.)
  6. Slice the buns in half, brush them with olive oil, and toast them on the grill, cut side down, for a minute or so, until they're lightly browned.
  7. Spread both sides of the buns and the aioli. Place a burger on the bottom half of each bun, and dollop with a generous amount of romesco. Place some arugula leaves on top, and finish with the top half of the bun.
For the aioli and the romesco:
  • 1extra-large egg yolk
  • 1/4cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/2cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1small clove garlic
  • 1/4lemon, for juicing
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 5ancho chiles
  • 2tablespoons raw almonds
  • 2tablespoons blanched hazelnuts
  • 1 1/4cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1slice country bread, about 1-inch thick
  • 1/3cup San Marzano canned tomatoes
  • 1clove garlic, chopped
  • 1tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2lemon, for juicing
  • Kosher salt
  1. For the aioli: Place the yolk in a stainless steel bowl. Begin whisking in the grapeseed oil drop by drop. Once the mixture has thickened and emulsified, you can whisk in the remaining grapeseed and olive oils in a slow steady stream. If the mixture gets too thick, add a drop or two of water.
  2. Pound the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon salt with a mortar and pestle. Whisk the garlic paste into the aioli. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, a squeeze of lemon juice, and the cayenne. Taste for balance and seasoning. If the aioli seems thick and gloppy, thin it with a little water. In addition to thinning the aioli, this will also make it creamier.
  3. For romesco: Preheat the oven to 375° F. Remove and discard the stems and seeds from the chiles, and then soak them in warm water for 15 minutes to soften. Strain the chiles, and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Meanwhile, spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8 to 10 minutes, until they smell nutty and are golden brown.
  5. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and wait a minute. Fry the slice of bread on both sides until golden brown. Remove the bread from the pan and cool. Cut it into 1-inch cubes and set aside.
  6. Return the pan to the stove over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the chiles and sauté for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, until the tomato juices have evaporated and the tomato starts to color slightly. Turn off the heat, and leave the mixture in the pan.
  7. In a food processor, pulse together the toasted nuts, garlic, and fried bread until the bread and nuts are coarsely ground. Add the chile-tomato mixture and process for a minute more.
  8. With the machine running, slowly pour in the remaining 1 cup olive oil and process until you have a smooth purée. Don't worry, the romesco will "break" or separate into solids and oil; this is normal. Add the parsley, and season to taste with lemon juice and more salt if you like.

Pecan Pie

What makes this pie special you're wondering? Vanilla bean-browned butter, and a dash of your boyfriend's best scotch.

The basics of this recipe came from the Pioneer Woman.

  • 1 whole Unbaked Pie Crust (I use this recipe in a pinch, *I used goat's milk butter)
  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
  • 1 cup Corn Syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped, pod reserved
  • 1/3 cup Melted Goat Butter (salted)
  • 3 whole Eggs, Beaten
  • A splash of your favorite scotch, whiskey, or bourbon
  • 1 1/2 cups (heaping) Chopped Pecans

Preparation Instructions

First, whip up your pie crust and chill it while assembling the pie filling.
Next, add your butter, vanilla bean seeds, and the seed pod to a saucepan and brown it over low to medium heat. When brown and nutty smelling, remove from heat and set aside to cool. Leave the bean pod in until cool, for the most vanilla flavor.
Mix sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter (when cool/pod removed), eggs, scotch, and vanilla together in a bowl.
Toast your pecans lightly in a saute pan, and set aside. In the meantime, roll out your pie crust and crimp the edges. Pour chopped pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.
Pour syrup mixture over the top. Cover top and crust lightly/gently with foil. Bake pie at 350º for 30 minutes. Remove foil, then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans.
 If the surface shakes a lot, cover with foil and bake for an additional 20 minute or until set. Required baking time seems to vary widely with this recipe. Serve with a glass of scotch!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Suzanne Goin's Marinated Peppers and Eggplant

Suzanne writes, "There are easier ways to make peppers and eggplant, but once you taste this version it's hard to go back". I eat this as a main dish served in a pita pocket, or as a sandwich. I also like to add fava beans.

4 pounds sweet peppers in a variety of colors, excluding green.
2 pounds small eggplants
*1 pound fava beans, unshelled/in husk
1/2 to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup sliced red onion
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
kosher salt and black pepper

*For Fava Beans: Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Shell the fava beans and add to the boiling water. Boil a few minutes until pale green outer husk becomes loose and ready to peal off. Strain the fava beans and peel off the light green husk. You should have a cup or so of bright green fava beans. Set aside.

Directions from Suzanne Goin: "Char the peppers on all sides in the broiler until all the sides are just blackened (you want to char the skin of the peppers without burning the flesh underneath). Place the peppers in a large paper bag, close it tightly and let the peppers steam at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cute the steams form the eggplant and discard. To begin, cut eggplant in 1/4 inch lengthwise slices (don't cut the eggplant in circles). If your eggplants are small you can stop after slicing lengthwise, otherwise, you may want to slice in half again on a diagonal. When satisfied with your slices, score them shallowly on both sides with a knife. Sprinkle generously with salt and let sit 10 minutes until water beads on their surface. Blot of the water with paper towels. Heat a saute pan on high for 2 minutes. Swirl in 2 tablespoons olive oil and wait 1 minute. Add eggplant and cook until golden brown on both sides. Don't crowd the pan . Drain cooked eggplant on paper towels.

Open the bag of peppers and let them cool slightly. Peel each one carefully. Do not run the peppers under water or you'll lose their delicious juices.Work over a bowl with a strainer to catch the juice (*I peeled and seeded mine in a pie plate and let the peppers soak in their juice). Tear the peppers open and remove top, ribs, and seeds. Tear the flesh of the peppers into 1-inch thick strips. Set aside in their juice.

Wipe out the eggplant pan and return to stove over high heat. Cook red onion and thyme with olive oil for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, fava beans, peppers, and juice. Cook 6-8 minutes until slightly caramelized. Transfer pepper mixture and eggplant into a serving dish. In a saucean, add both vinegars and reduce by half. Pour over the peppers and eggplant and toss to combine. Serve as is or in a pita pocket. Suzanne serves her with Sea Bass kabobs with charmoula.

Vanilla Almond Coconut Cake

I used the basic recipe from Ina Garten, and put my spin on it-- adding more coconut products and  vanilla beans and toasted almonds to the cake. This came out fantastic. It even tops my favorite carrot cake!

Vanilla Almond Coconut Cake, makes one 9-inch round cake

1 stick salted butter, at room temperature,

1 can of coconut milk **important** don't buy the "lite" kind, Also, don't shake the can!!

4 T. reserved coconut solids

1 cups sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 vanillla bean, seeds scraped

1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1/4 teaspoons pure almond extract

1 cup all-purpose flour,

1/2 cup pastry flour

1/2 cup coconut liquid"

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the frosting:

1/2 pound cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2  stick butter, at room temperature

4 Tablespoons reserved coconut fat from the can

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract

1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut (**toast half of the coconut in a pan)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 1 (9-inch) round cake pan, then line them

parchment paper. 

Open the can of coconut milk. The solids and liquids are usually separated in the can.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and

 sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the

 eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time
 scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix

 well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the

 mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3

 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4

 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center 

of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out

 clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to

 finish cooling.

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment

, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the

 confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).

To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with

 frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To

 decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the

 sides. Serve at room temperature.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/coconut-cake-