Monday, May 26, 2008

Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes

4 russet or Idaho potatoes, peeled, cubed and boiled
1/2 cup cream or half & half
1/4 lb. (1 stick) butter
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, softened
salt and white pepper, to taste

Toppings: chopped crisp bacon, crumbled bleu cheese, chopped fresh chives, sour cream with chopped herbs (chives, dill, etc.), sliced and sauteed mushrooms, sauteed shallots or onions (until translucent or caramelized)

Push cooked potatoes through a wieve or whip in electric mixer. Add the butter and cream. Fold in the mascarpone. Season with salt and white pepper. Keep warm in a covered, heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water.

Serve warm, with toppings on the side or sprinkled over top.

Serves 10-12


Friday, May 23, 2008

Focaccia al Gorgonzola

Ingredients for focaccia:
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 T warm water
1 cup plus 2 T water, room temperature
1 T olive oil
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, approximately
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 T cornmeal

Ingredients for topping:
8 ounces gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
olive oil for brushing the top

To prepare dough:
Stir the yeast into the warm water in a large mixing bowl; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining water and oil. Add about 1 cup flour and the salt, stirring well until smooth. Add remaining flour, stirring until dough comes together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 11/2 hours. Sprinkle cornmeal over the bottom of a 10 1/2-by-15 1/2-inch metal pan. Punch dough down and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead for a minute, then put into pan. Shape dough to fit pan – the sides don't need to be completely even. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.

* * * * * * * * * * *

To prepare topping:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mash cheese in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Beat in cream and thyme. Dimple dough with your fingertips, leaving indentations 1/2 inch deep. Spread gorgonzola over top and brush exposed areas with olive oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel; let rise 30 minutes.

Baking the focaccia:
Bake on center oven rack 25 minutes. Spray oven walls and floor with water from a spritzer bottle 3 times during the first 10 minutes of baking. When baked, let sit no more than 5 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack. Serve focaccia warm or at room temperature the same day it's baked.

Makes a 10 1/2-by-15 1/2-inch focaccia


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pumpernickel Bread

1 cup +3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup molasses
2 T vegetable oil
1/2 cup whole wheat
1/2 cup rye flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 T unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon instant coffee
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 T vital wheat gluten
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (about 1 1/2 tsp bread machine or rapid yeast)

Add ingredients to your bread machine according to manufacturer's suggested order. Use medium crust setting.

Makes a 2-pound loaf.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Focaccia With Olives & Onions

Ingredients for the sponge:
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water, 105-115 degrees F
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Ingredients for the dough:
1/2 cup water, room temperature
1/3 cup dry white wine (or additional water)
1/3 cup light extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour, plus 1 to 3 T as needed
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons yellow cornmeal

Ingredients for the topping:
2 T olive oil (divided use)
1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
1/2 cup black olives, pitted
2 T fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

To prepare the sponge:
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large mixing bowl, whisk it in and let stand about 10 minutes, until creamy. Stir in the flour and beat until smooth. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise until puffy and bubbling, about 30 minutes.

To make the dough:
Add water, wine and olive oil to sponge. If making the dough by hand, whisk in 1 cup flour and the salt, then beat in the rest of the flour until you have a dough that is very soft and sticky. Knead on a floured surface 6 to 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth. Use a dough scraper or long, narrow spatula to lift the dough occasionally and sprinkle the surface with 1 to 2 additional tablespoons flour.

If making dough with a mixer, add water, wine and olive oil to sponge. Using paddle attachment, add 21/2 cups flour and the salt and mix until dough comes together. Change to dough hook and knead 3 minutes on medium speed, stopping once or twice to scrape sides of bowl. Add a little extra flour if needed. After dough is mixed, place in a lightly oiled container, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

While dough is rising, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and saute until golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in olives, oregano and sun-dried tomatoes; set aside to cool.

Sprinkle cornmeal into a 10 1/2-by-15 1/2-inch pan. Press dough into pan, dimple it with your fingertips and spread onion mixture over top. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise 45 minutes, until puffy and doubled. About 30 minutes before baking, heat oven to 400 degrees. Just before baking, sprinkle remaining tablespoon olive oil and the salt over topping.

Place pan on bottom oven rack and bake 25 minutes, until golden. Spray oven walls and floor with water from a spritzer bottle three times during first 10 minutes of baking. (If topping begins to brown too much, cover loosely with aluminum foil.) Immediately remove focaccia from pan with a wide spatula and cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes a 10 1/2-by-15 1/2-inch focaccia


Saturday, May 17, 2008


General tips for making lasagna:
Buy ground chuck or lean ground beef. After browning, drain off the fat before adding the seasonings or mixing with the vegetable ingredients.

If using no-boil lasagna noodles or even regular noodles, presoak them in about 1/2 cup arm water to soften. This makes the noodles easier to position in the baking pan.

If boiling lasagna noodles before layering with meat sauce and cheeses, drain the noodles on a clean dish towel. This quickly cools the noodles and keeps them from sticking together.

Balance the layering of the meat sauce with noodles to ensure that there is enough moisture in the meat sauce to steam the noodles as the lasagna bakes.

Bake covered or uncovered at 325 degrees F. Watch for overbrowning or drying out along the edges of the baking dish. If this occurs, cover with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray to prevent its sticking to the cheese on top of the casserole and continue baking.

Let finished lasagna sit for 10-15 minutes before cutting into portions to serve.

Ingredients for lasagna:
2 teaspoons salt
2 T olive oil
1 8-ounce package whole wheat lasagna noodles
4-6 cups of meat sauce (see recipe below)
1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
1 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups freshly grated or shredded parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the salt and olive oil.

Boil for a few seconds before adding the lasagna noodles. Cook lasagna noodles until soft but firm, al dente. Remove noodles and drain individually on a clean dish towel. Spread out the noodles to keep them flat. Pat dry.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch glass baking dish.

Spread 1-2 cups of sauce over the bottom of the dish. Arrange 4 lasagna noodles over the sauce. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta over the pasta, followed by 1/4 of the mozzarella and 1/4 of the parmesan cheeses. Add another layer of the sauce over the cheeses.

Repeat the layers of pasta and cheeses two times. For the final layer, scatter mozzarella, parmesan and the remaining sauce over the pasta. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator for 24 hours to develop the flavors.

When ready to bake, remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before baking. Bake in the 325 degree F oven until bubbly and hot, 25-30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ingredients for meat sauce:
1/2 cup plus 2 T olive oil
3 large yellow onions, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 lbs. ground beef chuck
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar
3 14 1/2-ounce cans of Italian recipe stewed tomatoes (includes Italian seasoning)
1 6-ounce can of tomato paste

Preparing the meat sauce:
In a large stockpot, heat 1/2 cup olive oil over medium heat. When it is hot, add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Push the vegetables to the side a bit, add the garlic, season the vegetables with salt and pepper, and cook for another 2 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat.

When it is very hot, add half of the meat and cook, breaking up the clumps, until browned, about 8 minutes. Drain off the fat. Transfer the meat to the pot with the cooked vegetables. Repeat with the other half of the meat.

Add the bay leaves, oregano, 1 cup water, sugar, tomatoes and their liquid, and tomato paste to the meat and vegetables. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low or medium-low and cook for 45 minutes. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Use meat sauce in making lasagna.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Broccoli Cheese Soup

2 heads of broccoli, coarsely chopped (about 5 cups)
4 cups of chicken stock
2 cups of heavy cream
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups of ale
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
tabasco, to taste

Simmer broccoli in stock, covered, for 20 minutes, or until it is tender.

In a blender or food processor puree the mixture in batches and return to pan.

In a saucepan, scald the cream with the bay leaves, add the ale in a slow stream and bring mixture to a simmer.

Add the cheese a little at a time, stirring, until melted.

Add cheddar mixture to broccoli mixture, and heat over low heat until it is just heated through, but do not let boil.

Season with tabasco, salt and pepper, to taste.

Serves 8.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Braised Beef Brisket & Smoked Black Bean Chili

1 beef brisket, 5-7 lbs.
5 lbs. ground beef
5 lbs. beef tenderloin
5 lbs. black beans
5 red peppers, medium dice
5 yellow peppers, medium dice
5 green peppers, medium dice
2 jalapenos
2 onions, diced
1 bunch scallions, diced
2 Anaheim peppers
2 poblano chilies
6 lager beers
6 cups chili sauce
2 cups tomato paste
2 cups tomato puree
2 cups beef stock
1 bunch cilantro
1 T cayenne pepper
2 T cumin
3 T chili powder
salt and pepper, to taste

Rub the beef brisket with a rub of brown sugar, cayenne, salt and chili powder, all to taste.

Let it sit over night and then smoke the beef brisket for 5-6 hours. Braise the beef with one cup onion, 6 beers and 1 tablespoon chili powder.

The beef will tear apart when nice and tender. Cook black beans until tender. Cook ground beef thoroughly and strain off all the excess fat. Add the vegetables, beers, tomato products, chili sauce, beef stock, beans and spices to the ground beef.

Cook until all the vegetables are tender and then add the beef brisket. Adjust seasonings to taste and let simmer for at least one hour. Dice the beef tenderloin and sear in a separate pan; add to the chili at the last minute.

Makes 4-5 gallons


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mollie's Pizza Dough

1/2 cup lukewarm water or milk
1 teaspoon (1/2 package) active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 T olive oil, plus extra for greasing the container and brushing on the dough
1 1/4 cups unbleached white flour

Place the lukewarm water or milk in a medium-sized bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let stand 5 minutes until foamy.

Add salt, olive oil, and 1/2 cup of flour. Beat for several minutes with a wooden spoon.

Add the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Graduate to mixing with your hand as it gets thicker. The dough will be a bit softer than bread dough, but it should not be sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. If you intend to prepare and bake the pizza immediately, clean and oil the mixing bowl, ad put the dough back in. Put it in a warm place to rise for 1/2 to 3/4 hour, or until doubled in bulk. If you are going to freeze the dough for later use, oil a 1-pound ricotta cheese container and place the dough inside. Cover and freeze.

Before assembling the pizza, get all the toppings ready, and oil a 12-inch pizza pan. Preheat the oven to 500-degrees. If you're using a pizza stone, skip the pan part.

Punch down the risen dough, return to the floured surface, and knead for a few minutes.

Roll out the dough to fit the pan or whatever shape you want for the stone, and press it into place. Brush the top surface of the dough with olive oil, and apply the toppings.

Bake the pizza in the top third of the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the toppings are bubbling.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Best Waffles Ever

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 egg whites

In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center.

In another bowl beat egg yolks slightly. Stir in milk and oil.

Add egg yolk mixture all at once to the dry mixture. Stir just till moistened (should be lumpy).

In a small bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight up).

Gently fold egg whites into flour and egg yolk mixture, leaving a few fluffs of egg white, Do not overmix.

Spoon waffle batter into your waffle iron, making sure not to overfill it.

Serve with real maple syrup and unsalted butter.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bruschetta Topped with Caramelized Balsamic Onions

The simplicity of this dish requires that each ingredient be of the best quality. This is the dish to use those specialty products that you picked up on your travels and have been saving.

2 large onions, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced (2 lbs.)
6 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
sea salt
balsamic vinegar, to taste
4 slices grilled or toasted artisan bread
fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until it trembles, becomes aromatic, and easily coats the bottom of the pan. Add the onions and turn the heat to very low. Sprinkle with salt. Cook the onions uncovered, stirring occasionally, until they are the color of a polished mahogany table, about 1 hour. They will shrink dramatically.

Transfer the onions to a bowl and let them cool. Add balsamic vinegar drop by drop until the flavor of the onions is complex but not vinegary. Sprinkle with fleur de sel if needed. Brush the bread with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

Put a generous pile of onions on each slice of bread. Add a few grindings of pepper and serve.

Serves 4


Friday, May 9, 2008

Cook's Illustrated Waffles

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 T cornmeal (optional)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg , separated
7/8 cup buttermilk
2 T unsalted butter , melted

Heat waffle iron. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Whisk yolk with buttermilk and butter.

Beat egg white until it just holds a 2-inch peak.

Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients in a thin steady stream while gently mixing with a rubber spatula; be careful not to add liquid faster than you can incorporate it. Toward end of mixing, use a folding motion to incorporate ingredients; gently fold egg white into batter.

Spread appropriate amount of batter onto waffle iron. Following manufacturer’s instructions, cook waffle until golden brown, 2 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Keep waffles warm on a wire rack in a 200-degree oven for up to 5 minutes.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bridge Creek' s "Heavenly Hots" (Silver-Dollar-Sized Pancakes)

In Berkeley, California in the 1980s, on the same block as Alice Waters' Chez Panisse, was Bridge Creek, a breakfast-only restaurant in a great reconverted home. Bridge Creek stands as one of two of my all-time favorite places to brunch (The Egg and The Eye Museum in Los Angeles is the other).

Marion Cunningham, who in the 1990s revised The Fanny Farmer Cookbook and brought it into the 21st century, created the menu at Bridge Creek. One of her finest creations,'Heavenly Hots', was a staple on the changing menu along with thick-sliced applewood-smoked bacon, fluffy puffed omelets stuffed with the freshest herbs, vegetables and local artisanal cheeses.

1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 T granulated sugar
4 large eggs -- beaten
1 16-ounces sour cream

Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar until well blended. In another bowl, mix together the eggs and sour cream until well blended. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until all dry ingredients are mixed in. Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat up a large frying pan. Once it's hot add a little oil and lightly coat the bottom of the skillet. Using a TABLESPOON, drop the batter onto hot skillet. Cook on one side until the bubbles on the top start to pop and the edges begin to look dry. Careful that you don't burn them. They puff up when you flip them.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mamie Eisenhower's Million-Dollar Fudge

4 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 T butter
pinch of salt
1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk
12-ounces semisweet chocolate chips
12-ounces German sweet chocolate, chopped
1 pint (2 jars) marshmallow cream
2 cups chopped walnuts

Combine sugar, butter, salt and evaporated milk. Bring to a boil and boil for 6 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking or scorching.

In a large mixing bowl, pour bowling hot mixture over chocolate chips, marshmallow cream and walnuts. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

Pour into a large, buttered jellyroll pan or two buttered 13-inch by 9-inch by 2-inch pans. Let cool 2-3 hours.

Cut and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Note: If you prefer to use a candy thermometer to determine the syrup's doneness, it is ready to be poured over the other ingredients when it's reached the 'soft-crack' stage. Once you pour the hot syrup over the other ingredients, work quickly because it sets up quickly and will make crystals around the edge if you don't immediately pour it into the prepared pans. The marshmallow cream and all that chocolate give this a dense, rich fudge flavor, and the nuts provide textural interest.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Bread Machine Challah

1 1/2 cups water
5 large egg yolks
1 1/8 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup oil
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
1/2 cup sugar (granulated white or brown sugar)
1 T active dry yeast
1 large egg, lightly beaten
sesame seeds or poppy seeds

Place the water, egg yolks, salt oil, flour, sugar and yeast in the bread machine pan, according to the manufacturer's directions.

Process the ingredients in the dough cycle.

Remove immediately when the machine beeps.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Divide the dough in half.

Divide each piece into three sections.

Roll each section into a long strand.

Braid the three strands, pinching the top and bottom ends together.

Place on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet.

Repeat with the remaining dough, making the second challah.

Let the challot rise, covered, for 30 minutes.

Brush the challot with the beaten egg.

Sprinkle with the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or a combination of both.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

On Making Focaccia

Cece Sullivan writes about focaccia:

Italian focaccia is a great introduction to making yeast breads, rewarding the senses with tactile pleasures and yeasty scents. A member of the flatbread family, these rustic peasant breads are made with few ingredients and simple preparations. Because they're thinner and lighter than dome-shaped or loaf breads, the centers will finish cooking faster, avoiding the disappointment of cutting into a denser loaf bread with a gummy, uncooked center.
Carol Field, author and expert in the Italian art of baking, describes the link between focaccia and pizza, its regional sibling. "Both are flat, round breads seasoned with oil and cooked in the oven or over embers. They're called pizza in the south and focaccia in the north."

And just like pizza, focaccia can be finished with a variety of creative toppings both savory and sweet, from a creamy paste of gorgonzola with thyme to a crunchy turban of coarse sugar.

Notes on ingredients

• All-purpose, unbleached flour which blends hard and soft wheat is preferred over bleached flour because it rises more evenly and has a better flavor. Bread flour is also a good choice. With its higher protein and gluten content, bread flour forms a strong web that holds carbon-dioxide gases released by the yeast, so breads will rise higher.

• Focaccia often begins with a starter or sponge made with a small amount of yeast, water and flour. This begins a fermentation process that develops focaccia's tangy flavor and close, even texture. Rising times for the starter can range from 30 minutes to six hours — the longer the fermentation period, the more flavorful it becomes — and it should at least double in volume before other ingredients are added. These doughs are supple and easy to work with because the yeast is distributed evenly.

Field doesn't recommend using fast-rise yeasts in bread. Although they shorten the prep time, "speed is achieved at the noticeable expense of flavor," she says. Before using yeast, check the expiration date on the package. If the starter doesn't begin to bubble and expand within 10 minutes, the yeast is probably dead. If this happens, start over with a new batch of yeast.

• Salt keeps the bread from tasting flat and dull, and its presence also strengthens the flour's gluten strands and controls the activity of the yeast. Sea salt and kosher salt have cleaner, purer flavors. Coarse sea salt sprinkled over the top of the dough before baking provides an irresistible textural contrast.

• The proportion of water in focaccia dough is higher than in other breads, making it softer and more difficult to knead. Flour your hands and kneading surface well and keep a metal dough scraper or long, narrow spatula handy for releasing dough that sticks to the surface.

• Instead of brushing the baking pan with olive oil, sprinkle with cornmeal for a crisper bottom crust that won't stick to the pan.

Making focaccia

Additional flour is mixed into the starter, then the dough is ready to knead. The process activates the gluten in the flour, making the dough stronger and more elastic. Kneading boosts the ability of the dough to rise by trapping air bubbles produced by the yeast.

Knead by hand for 5 to 10 minutes, (see our Cooking School "how-to" above) or use a heavy mixer and dough hook for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.

Once the dough is kneaded, it's ready for its first rise. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled ceramic or plastic bowl. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, which is better for holding moisture in the dough. (A dry, crusted surface will inhibit the rising action.) Let the dough rise to at least double its volume in the warmest place in the kitchen. Or place the covered bowl of dough in the refrigerator overnight, and then set at room temperature about 2 to 3 hours for the dough to finish rising.

When the first rise is complete, gently deflate the dough and knead on a lightly floured surface for about 1 minute. Then cover with a kitchen towel for 10 minutes to relax the gluten in the dough, making it easier to shape.

Focaccia dough is shaped on a shallow, rectangular baking pan. A jelly-roll pan or rimmed baking sheet would be perfect. (We found that pans made of darker steel produced a crisper bottom crust.) The dough should stretch easily, but if it begins to spring back and lose its shape, cover and let it rest 5 minutes. The dough will now go through a second rise.

One of the characteristics of focaccia is its dimpled top. Before the second rise, use the tips of your fingers to make indentations about ½-inch deep, which smoothes out the dough so it rises evenly.

Preheat the oven at least 30 minutes before baking bread. Clay baking stones distribute the oven's heat evenly and form a crisp crust, but they aren't necessary to the success of focaccia. Spraying the oven walls and floor a couple of times with water during the first 10 minutes of baking will keep thinner flatbreads from drying out during baking.

Test the focaccia by inserting a thin metal skewer or toothpick into the center of the bread, which should come out clean. Bake the bread about 5 minutes longer, if necessary.

Once the focaccia is done, remove it from the pan within five minutes to keep the bottom from becoming soggy. Loosen the sides and push a wide metal spatula under the bread, sliding it onto a metal rack. Focaccia tastes best if eaten the same day it's made.


Chili, Award-Winning

5 lbs. ground beef
3 large yellow onions, diced
3 green bell peppers, diced
1 each red, yellow, orange bell pepper, diced
6 heaping T minced garlic
3 minced jalapeno peppers (food processor works well)
1/2 cup ground cumin
3/4 cup dried oregano
1 cup chili powder
1 large can (6.6 pounds) diced tomatoes
4 1-lb. cans light red kidney beans
4 1-lb. cans pinto beans
2 bunches cilantro, chopped

Brown ground beef over medium high heat. (You can customize your chili by using ground turkey for less fat or adding sausage for additional flavor).

Use a slotted spoon to remove cooked meat and set it aside. Use the beef juices to sauté the onions, peppers, garlic and jalapeno. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add spices and tomatoes once onions begin to turn translucent. Stir often to prevent sticking.

Bring vegetables to a simmer while adding beans, continuing to stir often. Add browned beef and reduce heat to medium. Once chili simmers, add chopped cilantro, salt and pepper to taste and turn off the heat.

Makes 3 gallons


Saturday, May 3, 2008

Fanny's Pizza Dough

3/4 cup warm water
1 T milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 T olive oil, plus extra for greasing the container and brushing on the dough
extra flour

Measure water and milk in a bowl, add yeast and stir with a wooden spoon. Stir in flour, salt and olive oil.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. If you intend to prepare and bake the pizza immediately, clean and oil the mixing bowl, ad put the dough back in. Put it in a warm place to rise for 1/2 to 3/4 hour, or until doubled in bulk. If you are going to freeze the dough for later use, oil a 1-pound ricotta cheese container and place the dough inside. Cover and freeze.

Before assembling the pizza, get all the toppings ready, and oil a 12-inch pizza pan. Preheat the oven to 500-degrees. If you're using a pizza stone, skip the pan part.

Punch down the risen dough, return to the floured surface, and knead for a few minutes.

Roll out the dough to fit the pan or whatever shape you want for the stone, and press it into place. Brush the top surface of the dough with olive oil, and apply the toppings.

Bake the pizza in the top third of the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the toppings are bubbling.


Fresh Corn Pancakes With Maple Syrup

kernels from 1 ear of corn (to yield 1 cup)
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
6 T unsalted butter, melted (more for serving)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda, sifted to remove lumps
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the corn kernels and blanch for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and butter. In a larger bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and salt to thoroughly blend. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined -- there will still be lumps. Gently fold in the corn kernels.

Lightly oil a griddle or cast iron skillet and heat until it's medium hot; a few droplets of water will dance on the surface for a few seconds before disappearing. For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle and spread into a circle. When a few bubbles break on the top and the bottom is lightly golden, gently flip each pancake and cook until golden on the bottom, about 1 to 3 minutes per side. Cook the remaining batter in batches, as necessary. Serve right away with butter and maple syrup.

Makes 16 4-inch pancakes


Friday, May 2, 2008

Black Angus Chili

20 pounds ground Black Angus beef
30 pounds Black Angus tenderloin tips, small dice
10 onions, small dice
5 red peppers, small dice
5 yellow, small dice
5 green, small dice
1 16-ounce can of chipotle peppers, chopped
2 No. 10 cans chili sauce (each No. 10 can is 13 cups, about 7 pounds)
2 No. 10 cans diced tomatoes
2 No. 10 cans tomato puree
5 pounds cooked black beans
30 ounces chopped, canned, roasted chili peppers
5 pounds cooked pinto beans
1/2 gallon strong beef stock
8 ounces Worchestershire
10 bunches chopped scallions
6 bunches chopped cilantro
4 to 6 bottles dark lager beer

chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, all to taste

Preparing the chili:
Sear ground beef and beef tips. Drain any excess fat. Add all vegetables and canned ingredients.

Cook beans separately until tender. Add the beans, stock, beer and seasonings to the meat and vegetables. Simmer one hour or until the meat is tender.

Makes 12 gallons


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