Mock Lattice Pie

How’s this for an easy Thanksgiving dessert? (Use apples or pears instead of berries.)

Posted in Baking

Baked Curried Rice with Apples and Coconut

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By Freya Bellin

This dish is wonderfully flavorful, blending sweet-tart apples, nutty brown rice, and spicy coconut curry.  As promised, it really is hands-off, and the results are fantastic.  By cooking the dry rice before adding liquid it becomes extra nutty, plus it gets well coated with the curry- and ginger-infused oil.   The coconut milk is subtle but crucial to the creaminess of the dish, and the shredded coconut adds a nice toasty element throughout.  Once mixed in, give the apples some time to soften up—they will cook significantly and taste best when warmed all the way through.  You can certainly play around with variations on this recipe, maybe swapping out the apples for raisins or pineapple, or some combination.  Try topping it with plain Greek yogurt for extra creaminess.

I did some improvising with the cooking technique in this recipe, and instead of using an oven-proof pan, I cooked everything in a large skillet up until it was ready for the oven.  At that point, I transferred it to a small glass Pyrex dish and covered it with aluminum foil.  The dish still came out great, so don’t be deterred if you don’t have the right cookware.  Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

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Posted in Baking, Produce

This Week’s Minimalist: Profiteroles

Profiteroles are not nearly as hard to make as you might think, and they’re pretty fun too.

Posted in Baking

Less-Meat Mondays: Cardamom-Scented Pear Crisp

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By Freya Bellin

Now that the weather has finally cooled down enough to use the oven again, I’ve been in the mood to bake.  With apples and pears coming into season, choosing a dessert wasn’t very difficult.  Apples may be the standard fruit for a crisp, but pears are a particularly good candidate because they tend to get a little beaten up between the market and home, and this is a great use for any that become mushy. 

This was my first time cooking with cardamom, which is a really unique spice, as it turns out.  It isn’t sweet like cinnamon is, but still gives off that warm, comforting aroma.  I actually sprinkled in about ½ teaspoon of cinnamon with the pears too, for some extra flavor and sweetness.  The crisp topping is perfect as is, and as noted in the instructions, it certainly can be made without an electric mixer if you don’t have one.  I creamed the butter and sugar with a fork, and, though a bit labor-intensive, it worked well.

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Posted in Baking

Dinner with Bittman: Quick Whole Wheat and Molasses Bread

Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Quick Whole Wheat and Molasses Bread

Makes: 1 loaf

Time: About 1 1/4 hours, largely unattended

A super all-purpose bread that’s heartier and more flavorful than most, and relatively light for a 100 percent whole grain bread. It also makes excellent sandwiches, especially when toasted.

Oil or butter for the pan

1 2/3 cups buttermilk or yogurt or 1 1/2 cups milk and 2 tablespoons white vinegar (see Step 2)

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup molasses

1. Heat the oven to 325°F. Grease an 8- × 4-inch or 9- × 5-inch loaf pan.

2. If you’re using buttermilk or yogurt, ignore this step. Otherwise, make soured milk: Warm the milk gently to take the chill off—1 minute in the microwave is sufficient—and add the vinegar. Let it rest while you prepare the other ingredients.

3. Mix together the dry ingredients. Stir the molasses into the buttermilk. Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients (just enough to combine), then pour into the loaf pan. Bake until firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

 

Posted in Baking

This Week’s Minimalist: Cheddar Biscotti

When it comes to biscotti, the process always stays the same, but the flavors never, ever, have to.

Posted in Baking

Sunday Supper: Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Seems like mac’ and cheese weather (more or less). Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

Time: About 45 minutes

One of the most popular recipes in the original How to Cook Everything, which I attribute to too many people growing up with what the Canadians call “Kraft dinner.” The real thing is rich, filling, delicious, and dead easy. You can change the type of cheese you use: Try blue cheese, goat cheese, smoked Gouda, or even mascarpone. Or mix in some crisp-cooked chunks of thick-cut bacon or pancetta, about 1/2cup.

Salt

2 1/2 cups milk (low-fat is fine)

2 bay leaves

1 pound elbow, shell, ziti, or other cut pasta

4 tablespoons (1/2stick) butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

11/2cups grated cheese, like sharp cheddar or Emmental

1 /2cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Freshly ground black pepper

1 /2cup or more bread crumbs, preferably fresh

1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.

2. Heat the milk with the bay leaves in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. When small bubbles appear along the sides, about 5 minutes later, turn off the heat and let stand. Cook the pasta in the boiling water to the point where you would still think it needed another minute or two to become tender. Drain it, rinse it quickly to stop the cooking, and put it in a large bowl.

3. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter; when it is foamy, add the flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture browns, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves from the milk and add about 1/4cup of the milk to the hot flour mixture, stirring with a wire whisk all the while. As soon as the mixture becomes smooth, add a little more milk, and continue to do so until all the milk is used up and the mixture is thick and smooth. Add the cheddar or Emmental and stir.

4. Pour the sauce over the pasta, toss in the Parmesan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to grease a 9 ×13-inch or like-size baking pan and turn the pasta mixture into it. (You can make the dish to this point, cover, and refrigerate for up to a day; return to room temperature before proceeding.) Top liberally with bread crumbs and bake until bubbling and the crumbs turn brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve piping hot.

 

Posted in American, Baking