Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sand Torte

This elegant recipe makes the perfect dessert when you are in the mood to indulge but know that you have to squeeze into a bathing suit the next day. Light as a feather, the recipe was originally published in the July 1977 issue of Gourmet magazine. The ground almonds give the cake a somewhat grainy texture - hence the name "Sand Torte". It is a classic in our family as was the tradition of reading Gourmet. Even though the magazine is no longer in publication, we will continue to cook from its many phenomenal recipes. (Thanks to my broski for sharing these photos with us!)

3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup blanched almonds
4 eggs
2 yolks
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons clarified butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Powdered sugar, for sprinkling

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. In a skillet over medium heat, lightly toast almonds. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until finely ground.
2. Sift flour and blanched almonds together and set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine eggs, yolks, and sugar. Set the bowl over a saucepan containing 2 inches of hot but not boiling water. Stir occasionally until it is lukewarm.
4. Transfer the bowl to the machine, and whip on medium high speed for 10 minutes, or until it is light and tripled in volume.
5. Sift in the flour mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time, folding gently.
6. Gently fold in clarified butter, vanilla, and lemon zest one tablespoon at a time.
7. Pour batter into a buttered and floured 1 1/2 quart kugelhupf pan (or a bundt pan).
8. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted into the center and comes out clean.
9. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sausage & Peppers To Dirty Rice

Italian sausages and peppers
August 4, 2010

Italian sausage and bell peppers make a hearty pair, no matter how you do them — grilled and lightly charred, braised in beer, slow cooked, served on a bun, or tossed with pasta.

Another great way to present the satisfying duo is to cook them in a skillet and spoon them over soft polenta. Brown the sausages and remove them from the pan, then cook the onions and peppers in the meaty bits. Simmer them together in beer. Stir a potful of golden polenta while they cook. Slowly stream polenta flour into boiling water and keep stirring until it thickens. Season with butter and cheese.

The following day, leftover sausages, peppers, and onions become dirty rice, a Cajun specialty in which ground meat muddies (in a good way) white grains. The mixture is cooked pilaf style, typically with chicken livers. Cooking the livers separately guarantees a crispy exterior and pleasant flavor. Chop them finely and stir them into the cooked rice with a classic New Orleans garnish of scallions and parsley. Serve with a splash of Louisiana hot sauce. Beads optional.

Serves 4, with leftovers


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
10 Italian sausage links (mixture of hot and sweet), pricked well all over
5 bell peppers (red, yellow, green), cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
2 large red onions, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh oregano
12 ounces lager beer
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large flameproof casserole with a tight fitting lid, heat the oil over high heat. Add sausages and cook, turning several times, for 5 to 7 minutes or until nicely browned. Transfer to a plate.

2. Add peppers and onions. Cook, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Return sausages to pan. Add bay leaf, oregano, beer, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove lid, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes more.

3. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper, if you like. (Reserve 4 sausages and 1 1/2 cups peppers and onions for dirty rice.)


3 1/3 cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup coarse polenta flour
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup freshly grated asiago or Parmesan cheese

1. In a large saucepan, bring the water and a large pinch of salt to a boil. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, add the polenta in a slow, steady stream. Reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer, stirring often, for 20 minutes or until the polenta is thick and smooth.

2. Stir in butter, cheese, and pepper. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

Dirty rice

Serves 4

Cajun seasoning is a ready-made mixture of ground peppers, usually including garlic powder. You can make your own combination of ground chili powder, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cooked Italian sausages, crumbled
1 1/2 cups cooked peppers and onions
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (available at specialty markets)
1 1/2 cups basmati or other long-grain white rice, rinsed
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
Salt, to taste
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 pound chicken livers (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
3 scallions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Hot sauce (for serving)

1. In a large flameproof casserole over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil. Cook the celery and garlic, stirring often, for 3 minutes.

2. Add the sausage and pepper mixture, and 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

3. Stir in the rice, chicken stock, and salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. In a shallow bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, flour, and salt.

5. Pat the chicken livers dry with paper towels. Toss chicken livers in flour mixture to coat them.

6. In a skillet over medium high heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. When it is hot, add the butter. Cook the chicken livers 3 to 5 minutes on a side until they are firm and golden. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. When livers are cool enough to handle, chop roughly.

7. Stir livers into the rice mixture. Add scallions and parsley. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt, if you like. Serve with hot sauce.

Spicy Melon Salad

Spicy melon salad
From the Boston Globe on August 4, 2010

Serves 6

Popularized by street carts in Mexico and Latin neighborhoods throughout the United States, this versatile dish can be served any time of day. Vendors sell zip-top bags filled with diced fruit. They add salt, lime juice, and dried chili powder to order. Bring these fresh flavors to your table, replacing chili powder with sliced jalapeno and chopped mint. Mix it up with pineapple, papaya, jicama, or mango. Season with salt just before serving, as it quickly leeches juices from the fruits.

2 cantaloupe, honeydew, or other ripe melons (about 6 pounds total), halved, seeded, peeled, and chopped
Grated rind of 1 lime
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. In a large bowl, combine melon, lime rind and juice, jalapeno, and mint.

2. Stir well, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Sprinkle with salt and stir gently.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Tomato Pie

Tomato Pie from the Boston Globe 8.11.10
Serves 6

There are many variations of tomato pie, using an old-fashioned lard crust, as North Carolina resident Mindy Fitzpatrick does, or adding different cheeses, spices, vegetables, even meat. This version uses onion, cheddar, mozzarella, mayonnaise, fresh basil, and crushed Ritz crackers. Use your favorite pastry recipe or a ready-made frozen crust. You can also use 10 plum tomatoes for this pie.

4 large ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced medium-thick
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
Deep 9-inch pie pan lined with pastry
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup mayonnaise
Handful of fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers

1. In a colander, layer the tomatoes with salt; set aside for 10 minutes to drain. Press the tomatoes with your hand to release excess liquid.

2. Set the oven to 375 degrees.

3. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes.

4. Prick the pastry well all over. Dust the pastry with half the nutmeg. Press a piece of foil into the pastry. Fill it with rice or beans and bake the dough for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and rice or beans. Continue baking for 5 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Remove from oven.

5. Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees.

6. Layer half the tomatoes in the pastry. Add a layer of onions and sprinkle with pepper.

7. In a bowl, mix the cheddar and mozzarella. Set aside 1 cup of the cheese.

8. In another bowl, mix together the 1 cup of cheese, mayonnaise, and remaining nutmeg. Spread the mixture over the tomatoes.

9. Add another layer of tomatoes, pepper, and onions.

10. Sprinkle with basil and the remaining cheese.

11. Bake the pie for 50 minutes until the cheese forms a golden crust.

12. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. In a bowl, toss the crackers and butter. Sprinkle the mixture on the pie and continue baking for 10 minutes more. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Adapted from the Friendly Market

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fishing For A Feast

I'm not much of a fisherwoman, although I do enjoy the idea of catch-your-own. Destin's charter boats make it easy for you. Despite the ginormous BP disaster, the waters here are cleared for swimming and fishing. After a whole day on the water, we went away with a collection of almost 40 snappers and trigger fish. Back at the condo and safe on land, we have carefully prepped and frozen everything that we won't eat this week. My parents will be taking it home for future good times. Until then, we plan to cook up grilled trigger fish tacos (with Kenny's Uncle Ivan's Special 7 chili blend) and pan fried snapper with green tomatoes. We're still thinking of more ways to prepare it. Stay tuned. And, a huge thank you to the guys at Sweet Jody Fishing for helping us to reel in such a fantastic catch!