Saturday, February 28, 2009

(21) Basque Cake with Cherry Preserves

I am the suckiest baker EVER. Really, it's the truth. But at our cooking club I somehow got the job of the cake. And guess what? I didn't screw it up! So that means this recipe is easy! Even more exciting than the fact that I made it is that it is a really flavorful cake! It was light, but delicious. I will definitely be making this one again!! Oh and I used 1/2 cup of preserves because I wanted more coverage in the middle! Definitely use more than 1/3 cup!

Basque Cake with Cherry Preserves

Source: Food Network
Yield: 10 servings

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/3 cup sour cherry preserves
1/4 cup sliced almonds, optional
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

1) Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 10-inch cake pan or spring-form pan. In a mixer with a whip attachment, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

2) Sift the cake flour, salt, and baking powder together and use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into this butter mixture until a soft dough forms and no white streaks of flour remain. Spread half the batter evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Stir the almond extract into the cherry preserves. Spoon the cherry preserves over the batter, spreading it within 2 inches of the border.

3) Drop the remaining batter by large spoonfuls or pipe it with a plain tip over the preserves. Spread the batter carefully over the jam to the edge of the pan. Sprinkle with sliced almonds, if using.

4) Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a bamboo skewer inserted into the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Unmold the cake and dust with confectioners' sugar.

(20) Mocha Coffee Basque

This was like hopped up hot chocolate. VERY rich but VERY delicious!!

Mocha Coffee Basque

1 ounce chocolate (one square)
4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups brewed coffee
1 cup evaporated milk
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
salt (just a few grains)
vanilla extract, to taste (you'll only need a few drops)

1. Melt chocolate over hot water.
2. Add condensed milk.
3. Add coffee slowly, stirring constantly.
4. Add evaporated milk, salt and cinnamon; heat almost to the boiling point, whisking all the time.
5. Add vanilla and serve while hot.

(19) Basque Vegetable Rice

This rice was a real treat. Sligthly spicy, very creamy, chock full of good stuff! It was like risotto or even jambalaya. Worth repeating!

Basque Vegetable Rice

Serves: 6
Source: Recipezaar

This is a versatile rice. You can add all sorts of vegetables or spicy Italian sausage for a heartier dish. Use Arborio rice for a creamier dish or short-grain paella rice, such as Valencia rice.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small dried red chili pepper, broken (can substitute crushed red pepper flakes)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon paprika, preferably Spanish
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups short-grain white rice, Valencia or arborio rice
3 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
2 tablespoons parsley, fresh minced for garnish

1. Heat oil in 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat.

2. Add chile pepper, onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until onion is soft but not browned, about 6 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

4. Add rice; stir to coat well with the tomato mixture.

5. Add broth; bring to boil.

6. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the rice is tender, 25-30 minutes.

7. Serve hot directly from pan; garnish with parsley.

(18) Basque Chicken with Sweet Peppers and Tomatoes

We all loved this! Easy and very flavorful (the veggies and sauce were AWESOME and the chicken was really tender).

Basque Chicken with Sweet Peppers and Tomatoes

Yield: 4 servings
Source: Food and Wine Magazine, January 2007

Camdeborde is from the Béarn, the southwestern French region bordering Basque Country, and he grew up eating Basque dishes like this chicken simmered with tomatoes, onions and peppers. Camde­borde updates the recipe, using cherry tomatoes instead of big ones and red onions instead of yellow. He also shortens the usual cooking time so the vegetables keep more of their texture and flavor, plus he sometimes adds potatoes to the dish.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 chicken drumsticks
4 chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 jarred piquillo peppers, drained
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
2 ounces serrano ham or prosciutto, sliced 1/16 inch thick and cut into thin strips

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large, deep ovenproof skillet, heat the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet, skin side down. Cook over moderately high heat until richly browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a large plate, skin side up.

2. Add the onion, red and green bell peppers and garlic to the skillet and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes, piquillo peppers and thyme; once the tomatoes are hot, pour in the wine and simmer over moderately high heat for 1 minute. Stir in the water and bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up. Cover tightly and braise in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

3. Transfer the chicken to a large, shallow serving dish. With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables in the skillet to the baking dish and cover with foil to keep warm. Boil the cooking juices over high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Add the serrano ham and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Pour the juices over the chicken and vegetables and serve.

(17) Basque Salad

I don't think I realized this didn't have lettuce in it until we started making it! HA! (yes, I'm blonde!) Anyway, I wasn't sure what it would be like, but it was REALLY tasty. It was a great, cool compliment to our main meal. There were 8 of us and we had leftovers - big salad!

Basque Salad

Yield: 6 (big!) servings

"Inspired by a salad served at a Basque restaurant in Bakersfield, this sensational summer salad features fresh tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and colorful bell peppers. The dressing combines olive oil, red wine vinegar, with oregano, basil, and marjoram."

1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 medium fresh tomatoes - cored, quartered,
and sliced as thin as possible
1 large cucumber - peeled, seeded, and thinly
1 Spanish onion - peeled, cut in half, and
thinly sliced

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
chopped fresh parsley

1) In a large bowl, toss together the green, red, and yellow peppers with the tomatoes, cucumber, and onion.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar. Whisk in oregano, basil, and marjoram. Continue whisking until ingredients are well blended and the oil and vinegar are emulsified.

3) Pour dressing over vegetables, and toss gently with a wooden spoon. Cover, and marinate at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, stirring frequently. Refrigerate until 1 hour before serving; then remove from the refrigerator, and let sit at room temperature. Garnish with chopped parsley.

(16) The Columbia's Red Sangria

We love going to the Columbia Restaurant. It's really close to where we live, but for whatever reason, we only go when we have company. They make the most INCREDIBLE sangria. I love the white (check out the recipe here) but tonight called for red! I like my sangria a little sweeter, so I added some Sprite to help out with the sweetness factor!

The Columbia's Red Sangria

Serves: 4

1 bottle Spanish red wine
1/4 cup Spanish brandy
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup club soda
1 sliced lemon
1 sliced orange
2-3 whole cherries

Mix all ingredients in a large pitcher. Stir with a wooden spoon until well mixed. Pour into large wine glasses. Garnish with orange slices and cherries. Add ice to pitcher.

(15) Basque Mushroom Toasts

When we made this, we made the recipe to serve 8. It ended up being like mushroom soup, so we just used a slotted spoon to dish out the mushrooms. What a great garlic and sherry flavor!!

Basque Mushroom Toasts

Yield: Serves 2
Source: Bon Appetit Magazine, May 1992

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/4 cup dry Sherry
1/2 small fried red chili
1 cup canned beef broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 large 1/2-inch-thick French or sourdough bread slices
Olive oil

1) Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add flour; stir 1 minute. Mix Sherry and chili; simmer 3 minutes. Add broth; cook until mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in parsley.

2) Meanwhile preheat broiler. Brush bread with olive oil. Broil until golden.

3) Arrange 1 toast slice on each plate. Spoon mushroom sauce over and serve.

(14) Spanish Ham Croquettes

This was part of our Basque/Spanish night with the cooking club! I was skeptical - BIG TIME about this recipe, but they turned out great! They feel like they've GOT to have cheese in them, but they don't! I'll make these again.

Spanish Ham Croquettes

Spanish Ham Croquettes are a common sight on bar counters and in homes across Spain, served as a tapa, light lunch, or a dinner along with a salad. The jamon serrano in this recipe could be replaced with chopped hard-boiled eggs, shredded salt cod, minced shrimp, chopped chorizo, cheese, or just about any vegetable. Start the preparation the previous day to allow the bechamel time to set. It will make the mixture easier to handle when shaping the croquetas.

Serves: 6 (it made about 24 croquettes I think?!)

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for deep-frying
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk, heated
3 ounces jamon serrano or other dry-cured ham, finely chopped (I used prosciutto)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons fine dried bread crumbs (I used WAY more than 2 Tbsp!!)

1) Lightly oil a shallow 8-inch square dish.

2) In a saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the flour and, using a wooden spoon or whisk, mix well. Continue to stir or whisk for about 2 minutes, or until the flour is well blended.

3) Add 1/2 cup of the milk and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the remaining cup of milk. Cook, stirring constantly with the spoon or whisk, for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken. Decrease the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming, for about 10 minutes, or until thickened.

4) Add the jamon serrano, season lightly with salt (remember, the ham is already salty), and stir until evenly distributed. Cook for 1 minute longer and then pour the contents of the pan into the prepared dish. Spread the mixture evenly. Let cool down for a bit and then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight to allow the mixture to set.

5) Break the eggs into a bowl and beat lightly until blended. Spread the bread crumbs on a dinner plate. With 2 spoons, shape the bechamel-ham mixture into walnut-sized croquettes. Roll each croquette in the bread crumbs, shaking off any excess crumbs, and then dip into the beaten egg. Lift each croquette from the egg and roll it again in the bread crumbs, coating it evenly. Lay the croquettes in a single layer on a platter. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before frying.

6) Pour the olive oil to a depth of about 2 inches into a wide, deep, heavy pot and heat over high heat. When the oil is almost smoking, slip 5 or 6 croquettes into the oil, pressing on them gently with a slotted spoon to submerge them, and fry, turning them gently, for about 2 minutes, or until they are golden on all sides. Using the slotted spoon, lift out the croquettes, holding them briefly over the pot to allow the excess oil to drain, and transfer to an ovenproof platter lined with paper towels to drain further. Keep the croquettes warm in a low oven. Fry the rest of the croquettes in the same way, always making sure the oil is very hot before adding more croquettes.

7) When all the croquettes are fried, arrange on a platter and serve immediately.

Original Recipe Source

Friday, February 27, 2009

(13) Kung Pao Chicken

Another winning recipe! This was a perfect weeknight dinner. It was easy, made from things I had on hand in my pantry, and it was pretty quick to put together (about 30 minutes including chopping!). We served over basic white rice and added some mini eggrolls from the freezer. A definite keeper!

Kung Pao Chicken

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup chicken mixture and 1 1/2 teaspoons peanuts)
Source: Cooking Light Magazine, December 2005

CL Comments: Serve a delicately-spiced Asian dish on a bed of rice pilaf for a festive meal in about 30 minutes.

1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
4 cups broccoli florets
1 tablespoon ground fresh ginger (such as Spice World), divided
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped salted peanuts

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccoli and 2 teaspoons ginger to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add water. Cover; cook 2 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender. Remove broccoli from pan; keep warm.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in pan; add remaining 1 teaspoon ginger, crushed red pepper, and chicken. Cook 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned, stirring frequently.

Combine broth and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl, and stir with a whisk. Add broth mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Return broccoli mixture to pan; toss to coat. Sprinkle with peanuts.

Calories: 239 (30% from fat), Fat: 7.9g (sat 1.1g,mono 3.7g,poly 2.3g), Protein: 30.9g, Carbohydrate: 11.4g, Fiber: 3g, Cholesterol: 66mg, Iron: 1.8mg, Sodium: 589mg, Calcium: 60mg

Monday, February 23, 2009

(12) Jambalaya with Shrimp and Andouille Sausage

Recovery from the stinker of last week! Redemption! This recipe is a definite keeper. 5 stars in my book. It was on the table in under and hour, super filling, and DELICIOUS. It was spicy, but not burn-your-mouth spicy.

For whatever reason, our Publix didn't have andouille so I bought sausage they had labeled as 'cajun'. I took it out of the casing and browned it up in the crumbled form and that worked fine! As always, I did not use the bay leaf *spit*. I failed to use the parsley and it was fine without it.

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Andouille Sausage

Source: Cooking Light Magazine, April 2005
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

CL Comments: Using both andouille sasuage and juicy pink shrimp, jambalaya is like a spicy surf-and-turf. To save time, buy frozen peeled shrimp and thaw in the refrigerator or under cold, running water.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
6 ounces andouille sausage, sliced
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 bay leaf
2 cups fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 (14.5 ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, minced garlic, and sausage; saute 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add rice to the next 7 ingredients (through bay leaf); cook 2 minutes. Add broth, water, tomato paste, hot pepper sauce, and diced tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Add shrimp; cook 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Stir in parsley.

Calories: 426, Fat 12.7g, Iron 5.1mg, Cholesterol 117mg, Calcium 99mg, Carbohydrate 52.7g, Sodium 763mg, Protein 25g, Fiber 4.9g

Friday, February 20, 2009

(11) A stinker!

Blah. I haven't been in the kitchen much because we've been sick and germy since the beginning of February. Sinus infections, ear infections, bronchitis, and the stomach flu among the 3 of us. Fun times! Anyway, so I decided to cook dinner the other night and came up with this stinker. I HATE STINKERS.

I'm not even going to type the recipe out, but it's Cooking Light's Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp recipe from 2006. The shrimp was like rubber, the tofu was floppy (should have gone for the extra firm) and it just had an overall weird shrimpy flavor. I'm bummed because I wanted it to be good but alas, it wasn't! Oh well! Onward and upward!