Sunday, July 31, 2005

"Shake and Bake" style coating mix

This makes enough for several dinners, so the salt content per serving isn't as high as you think and is definitely less sodium than the store bought brand. Use 1/2 to 1 cup per roaster or package of chicken pieces. The remainder freezes well. I freeze servings of it in gallon zip lock bags, remove, let thaw a bit, then add chicken and I'm done!

Dried bread crumbs, crushed Ritz crackers or corn flakes, enough to equal four cups
1/3 cup vegetable or Extra Virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons celery salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon minced onion
dash of white pepper
1 pinch dried basil leaves
1 pinch dried parsley
2 pinches dried marjoram (or one pinch oregano)
small pinch or two of cayenne (optional)

Handy HOTR Hints:

(1) To make your own bread crumbs - 4 slices bread - bake at 275-300 F. for 25 minutes till completely dry and lightly brown. Break up and put in food processor till all fine crumbs. Makes about 1 cup.

(2) Brigid - what's the difference between a pinch, a small pinch and a dash?

To add a pinch of something as a cooking ingredient. Use your thumb, index finger and middle finger to grab the spice.

To add a small pinch. Use your thumb and index finger only to grab some spice, then add it.

A dash is at least 1/16 but less than 1/8 teaspoon. For me, I just shake one shake of whatever it is into the dish (provided it has the top with little holes, otherwise you don't have a dash of spice you have a dirigible of spice)

(3) you can reduce the salt in this and it's still good, My Dad does a low salt diet since his stroke a few years ago. I reduce the salt by half and replace the celery salt with celery seed and he still loves it.


Pulverize the crumb source in a food processor or blender til you get the consistency you want (not powder but small enough to adhere). Add in oil and spices with a few quick pulses at the end. If using previously prepared crumbs, just add it all to the bag in the next step and shake well.

Place desired amount to be used in a large plastic food storage bag. Seal bag and shake a couple more times.. Open and add chicken (with the oil you don't need to moisten the chicken) and shake until well coated. (one piece at a time). Place on a lightly greased cooking sheet and bake at 375 for 40 minutes or until golden brown and an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Boston Cream Donuts

Boston Cream donuts

Vanilla Cream Filling

4 large egg yolks (save the whites for something else)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 and 1/2 teaspoon Penzey's vanilla

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick and light yellow. Gently stir in flour and cornstarch until mixture is smooth.

In a medium sized saucepan, heat milk, cream, and vanilla bean over medium until almost, but not actually, boiling. Take a 1/4 cup of the hot liquid and, whisking rapidly, stream it into the egg/sugar mixture. Add another 1/4 and whisk well, finally pouring the entire mixture in.(this keeps the eggs from curdling from the heat). When all blended, put back in the saucepan on the stove. Remove the vanilla bean.

Whisk and cook this mixture constantly over medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil, whisking constantly for a minute or two (the mixture should be thick and become harder to stir). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool. When cook, store in fridge until you are ready to use.


1/4 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast (one small package)
4 and 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup plus 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1 cup warm milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
5 tablespoons melted butter (unsalted)
1 teaspoon salt
8 cups oil for frying

In a small cup measure, combine 1/4 cup warm water with yeast and a pinch of sugar. Let dissolve and set aside. Gently heat the milk in a pan or small bowl, adding the butter to it to melt. Add to the yeast mixture to the milk/butter mixture when the yeast is ready (bubbles form on the surface).

In an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine cups of the flour, sugar, the liquid yeast mixture eggs, butter, and salt. Let it run onlow for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for a minute more by hand, adding the extra half cup of flour to keep it from sticking to the board (if neede). Please dough in a clean oiled bowl and cover with a towel until doubled in bulk (about an hour)

Once it has doubled in size, dump it onto a well floured surface, roll and cut it into plain rounds. Arrange them on a lightly flouring chopping board, cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Heat about 3 inches of oil to 330-350 degrees (180 C). Gently lower into the hot oil and fry on both sides until light golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove to paper towels to cool

When doughnuts are cool, fill a large pastry bag fitted with a Bismark tip (the long skinny one) with the pastry cream Insert the tip into the side of the doughnuts, and fill with pastry cream. Top with chocolate glaze and serve at room temperature.

Chocolate Glaze
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Penzey's vanilla extract

In a medium sized cereal bowl, bring heavy cream to a boil in the microwave, about 30 seconds. Pour in chocolate chips, honey, and vanilla. Let sit for five minutes.

Whisk everything with a fork until smooth. Store leftovers in refrigerator (good on ice cream).

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Shiver Me Timbers - Brandied Hot Chocolate

h/t Terry Border's Bent Objects

Brandied Hot Chocolate

The thickness and taste varies on the chocolate’s level of cacao. Ghirardelli is great, and produced a full-bodied cocoa. Lindt is also good but needs a tad more cornstarch for thickening. Avoid chocolate with more than 60 percent cacao. It will be too bitter.

2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup water
10 oz fine-quality bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsweetened Ghirardelli cocoa
2 to 3 tablespoons brandy
1 drop of lemon juice per serving.

Make cornstarch slurry. Whisk together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons milk and set aside.

Bring water to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat to moderately low and add chopped chocolate and a pinch of salt, whisking until smooth.

Add cream and remaining milk (1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons) and increase heat to moderate, then cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and heated through.

Whisk cornstarch slurry again, then add half to chocolate mixture and simmer, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

Add brandy, remaining cornstarch mixture to thicken if desired, then simmer, whisking, 1 minute. Just before serving add ONE drop of lemon juice to each serving. The recipe makes about 3 cups, enough for 3 nice mugs. The lemon juice will bring out the aromatics in the chocolate without lending any citrus taste to it.

Perhaps better without pirate marshmallows, but whatever floats your boat.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Lasagna Bites - Range Version

2-3 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pound ground turkey breast
dash of salt
dash of pepper
1 medium chopped sweet onion
a heaping cup of chopped mushrooms
14.5 oz can Muir Glen organic crushed tomatoes (best of all the brands)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
a pinch each of:
(or use your favorite blended Italian seasoning, a very full teaspoon)
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
splash of red wine
1/2 teaspoon wild honey

Note: If you are making this with sauce already prepared, use about 2 and a half cups.

Ricotta filling:

1 and 1/2 cups part skim ricotta mixed with a pinch or two each of salt and two or three of grinds of fresh cracked pepper and 1/2 teaspoon basil

The Presentation: 24 small square wonton wrappers (found near the tofu in the refrigerated section of the produce dept)


1 and 1/2 cups of Parmesan, Asiago, Romano, Fontina and Mozzarella mixed

Topping: Parsley or dried red pepper and chives

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the onions in olive oil until starting to soften, add mushrooms and cook a few more minutes Add the turkey and cook over medium until turkey is cooked through. In the last minute or so of cooking add the garlic. Drain off any moisture and add the crushed tomatoes, wine, honey and seasoning, simmer on low until liquid thickened. About 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, a pinch of salt and pepper, and basil. Stir to mix well. Set aside.

Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1 wonton wrapper into each of the 12 cups, pressing firmly in the bottom of the cup and up the sides.

Using half of the meat mixture, divide it among the 12 muffin cups. Next, using half of the ricotta mixture, spoon it evenly over each of the meat filled cups. Sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons of the cheese blend.

Gently press another wonton wrapper on top of the first meat/cheese layer, pressing down into the sides of the tin to form a shallow bowl shape.

Repeat the process by distributing the remaining sauce and ricotta and finally the rest of the shredded cheeses.

Bake for 11-14 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the wonton edges are brown and crispy all around. For my oven, and as much as I stuffed them it was 14 and a half minutes.

Let the cups cool slightly, remove them from the pan ( a fork helps lift them out) and serve!

Monday, July 4, 2005

Beef Tenderloin In Madeira Wine Sauce

This sounds really detailed, but it's easier than it looks. Have your ingredients all measured a head of time.

Beef Tenderloin Recipe
1 whole beef tenderloin, about5-6 pounds before trimming
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Penzey's Roast Beef Seasoning, or salt and pepper with a dash of Italian seasoning and sweet paprika
4-5 Vidalia cut into slices 1/4 inch thick
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (I use this 25 year old stuff that's amazing, don't go for the cheap)

To Make the Tenderloin
Using a sharp, thin-bladed knife, remove the chain muscle from the beef tenderloin. (The chain muscle is the long, thin muscle, connective tissue, and fat that runs almost the length of the beef tenderloin.) Reserve it for something like stir fry. Then remove the silver skin and most of the surface fat from the tenderloin.

Five to Six inches from the narrow end of the beef tenderloin, make a shallow cut crosswise across the tenderloin, cutting about halfway through the meat. Fold this narrow end piece under so that the tenderloin is uniformly thick from one end to the other. Secure the tenderloin with kitchen string, tying it at 1 1/2-inch intervals along the length of the tenderloin.

Place the tenderloin on a platter. Brush or rub the meat on all sides with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper, paprika/herb mix or the Penzey's beef seasoning. firmly pressing the seasonings in with your fingertips. Let stand at room temperature for an hour. Find someone to do something with for an hour. If it's not housework they will probably be more willing, or if they didn't watch you first with the giant knife and the tenderloin.

In a large skillet over low heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions, stirring to coat with the oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then add 1/4 cup water, the thyme, and the balsamic vinegar. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft (but not brown!), about 15 minutes. Uncover. If any liquid remains in the pan, increase the heat to medium and cook just until the liquid evaporates. Again, do not let the onions get brown.

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Arrange the onions along the center of a shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold the tenderloin and place it on top.

Roast the tenderloin until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 125°F (52°C) for medium-rare, about 45 minutes. The roast will vary somewhat in doneness depending on the thickness of its sections. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the meat to a platter, and tent with aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing while you make the sauce.

Madeira Wine sauce
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 oz. Butter (1/4 stick)
1/2 pound white or crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon. cracked peppercorn
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. dried thyme (or one sprig)
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
splash or two of red wine (about 3 Tablespoons)
3/4 cup Madeira wine
1 cup Demi-Glace (Specialty grocers often carry this pre- made)
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

In a medium sized saucepan, sauté shallots in butter for 1-2 minutes or until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are tender. (about 3 minutes). Remove mushrooms and set aside.

Add peppercorns, thyme, and bay leaf and cook 30 seconds. to pan. Add splash of red wine and balsamic vinegar and stir until just a tiny bit left in the pan. Add Madeira wine and bring to boil.

Add Demi-Glace and whisk until incorporated into the sauce. Return mushrooms to pan and add heavy cream and reduce briefly.

Try and not lick your fingers. The heavy cream is strictly optional and gives the sauce a richer color and flavor

Transfer the tenderloin to a carving board. Remove the strings and carve the roast into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Place a spoonful of the reserved onions onto individual plates and top with a slice of tenderloin. Spoon a little of the sauce over the meat and pass the remaining sauce at the table.