It's me, the Silliest

This is my blog of recipes. I like "eating the rainbow" as well as globe-trotting through food. I totally dig heady local produce and local fresh meats.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nigerian Stew

My brother has a friend from NYIT who is from Nigeria. His name is Lucas and he came over on the weekend and cooked a recipe from his childhood in Nigeria. Being in the US, we had to improvise with American spices, but the end result is still wonderful! It's also a great dish to feed a crowd - we fed 10! I am going to scale it down a bit here to make it more user-friendly. I am also cutting and pasting most of this from an email I received from Lucas with the recipe.

I would recommend cooking the rice, potatoes and veggies ahead of time (just boil or steam everything) and keep them warm in the oven for when it comes time to serve.

1 1/2 lbs stewing beef, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 onion plus another onion to cook with the meat
2 large tomatoes
2 bell peppers (one green and one red)
Habenero peppers (optional, use for spice)
8 oz tomato paste
1 tsp thyme, curry powder and powdered ginger (two batches of this mixture)
2 Maggi bouillon cubes
Olive oil

Cooked rice
Cooked small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and halved
1 lb string beans
1 package frozen corn

Puree the onion, tomatoes and peppers in a blender until smooth. Set aside.

Slice the second onion into small strings. Add some olive oil to a pan and brown the meet with the sliced onion and the dried herb mixture. Make sure to reserve the all the juices!

In a medium pot, heat 6 TBSP of oil over medium heat. Add the tomato paste to the oil and cook for about 3 mins, then slowly mix in the blend of onions, tomatoes and peppers. Then cook the mixture for about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add about half a cup of water to the mixture and leave to cook at slightly more than medium heat for about 15 mins.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl with a tiny amount of warm water, mix the dried herbs. Add the mixture to the stew and mix thoroughly. Cook lidded for about 3 minutes and then add 2 large cubes of Maggi seasoning dissolved in a very small amount of hot water. You can also add the juices from cooking the meat at this point.

** This is a good time to taste the stew to see if it's turning out as it should. Also, at any time while cooking the stew, go ahead and add a bit of hot water if you feel it needs some.

Pan-fry the cooked meat in some olive oil until nice and golden brown, add to the stew and cook, lidded, for an additional 20 minutes.

Serve with the rice, potatoes, beans and corn.

Note: Lucas also recommends doing this with salmon!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fruit Cobbler

There isn't really anything comparable to a warm fruit cobbler after burgers on the grill on a warm summer night out on the deck. Oh, and the vanilla ice cream is a must! The smooth coolness with the crispy warmth is a match made in heavy. Gosh - this sounds almost pornographic! I did a bunch of research on cobbler recipes and I really like this one as a basic go-to as I believe you can throw any fruit into it and perfection is almost guaranteed. It's an elegant hodgepodge, which is unlikely but magnificent!

1/2 C flour
1/4 C white sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Small pinch of ground cloves (optional)
Pinch of salt
6 TBSP cold butter, cut into little pieces
1/3 C oats
1/3 C chopped pecans

3 lbs fruit of choice
3 TBSP granulated sugar (more if you think your fruit is very bitter)
Lemon zest and juice (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix ingredients A together with your fingers until pea-sized balls form. Put in fridge while preparing your fruit.

Peel and chop fruit (if necessary) and toss with the rest of ingredients from B.

In a dish of your choice (I used a 9" round 3" deep glass dish), pour in Mixture B and top with Mixture A.

Cook for about 35 - 45 mins or until the top is slightly golden and the fruit is bubbling out.

Serve with ice cream!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

English Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Frozen Custard

This completed the Mother's Day brunch. MAN was this delicious. My mom is British and I found this under the "English Comfort Food" section of Food & Wine. The sauce and technique is something to try because I can only imagine you could use this technique over and over again!

4 eggs
2 1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 C milk
3 C evaporated milk
2 TBSP vanilla
1 C milk

2 1/2 C cream
1 stick butter
1/2 C corn syrup
1 C sugar

6 oz dates
3/4 C water
3/4 C + 2 TBSP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
4 TBSP butter, room temp
3/4 C packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

The night before, bring all ingredients in A to a slow simmer and cook for about 10 minutes (you NEVER want this to boil). Pour into a bowl and let it come to room temp. Then refrigerate over night. The next morning you can run it in the ice cream maker and then hard freeze it.

For the sauce, combine half of the cream, the butter, sugar and corn syrup in a heavy bottom pan and let boil for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 40 minutes, add the rest of the cream and turn off heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil the dates in the water for 15 minutes or until the water is almost all gone. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until smooth.

Mix the dry ingredients and set aside. Beat the brown sugar and butter in your Kitchenaid for about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and egg and then the dry ingredients until just combined. Spoon the batter into 6 well buttered ramekins and bake for 20 minutes or until a pic comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes.

After they have cooled, remove from ramekins, cut in half horizontally and wipe the ramekins clean.

When you're ready to serve, put 1 TBSP sauce into bottom of ramekin, put the top half of the cake in the ramekin, add another TBSP of sauce and put the second half on top. Bake for another 10 minutes. Serve w the extra sauce and ice cream!!!!

Lemon Poppy Biscuits with Early Grey Honey-Butter

This is another Mother's Day recipe. The biscuits were light and flaky and then the honey butter had an unbelievable flavor coming from the tea and it paired beautifully w the sweet sweet honey. yummm!

1 stick room-temp butter
2 TBSP honey
Contents from one Earl Grey tea bag

2 1/4 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp salt
10 TBSP butter, chilled and chopped finely
2 TBSP melted butter
Lemon zest from one lemon
1 TBSP poppy seeds
1 C butter

For the Earl Grey Honey-Butter, whip the butter with the tea and honey. Transfer this to a sheet of saran wrap and twirl the ends to form a log with the butter. Refrigerate overnight.

For the biscuits, mix the dry ingredients and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425.

Cut the chilled butter into the dry ingredients with two knives until the dough is pea sized. Stir in the zest, poppy seeds and buttermilk. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and kneed just a couple of times until combined. Roll out to 1/2" thick and cut biscuit shapes out (I used a mini-cutter to yield about 16 biscuits). Brush the tops with the melted butter. Chill for 20 minutes and then bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden and flaky looking.

Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches

I made these for Mother's Day and they were super quick and easy and delicious! I served them on a silver platter, arranged nicely, with some fresh watercress as garnish.

1 loaf thin sliced white bread
12 oz smoked salmon, cut finely
1 jar capers
1 tub creme fraiche
Watercress (optional garnish)

Spread both sides of sandwich with creme fraiche and sprinkle capers on both sides as well. I took time here to make the spreading neat and even. Place a few slices of smoked salmon on one side and place the other piece of bread on top. Make sure to not over-stuff the sandwiches. At this point, stack high and refrigerate until the creme fraiche is nice and cold and firm. Remove from fridge, slice off the crusts and arrange on a nice platter with the watercress.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cheese Cake

After making this you really understand how awful this is for you. Which, as I think we've all learned by now, means that it tastes wonderful!! This is just the basic plain cheesecake recipe and I plan to make many more variations (cannoli cheese cake will come)!

2 C ground graham cracker crumbs
2 TBSP sugar
7 TBSP butter, melted

4 packages (8 oz.) of cream cheese (hey - I wasn't lying when I said it was bad for you!)
2 TBSP flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/4 C sugar
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take the eggs and cream cheese out of the fridge.

Mix the crumbs and sugar and then add the butter. Once it is mixed and clumping slightly, press it into a 9" springform pan and make sure it comes up the pan 2 inches all around. Bake this for about 10 minutes and then let it cool completely.

Reduce oven to 300 degrees.

Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese, flour and salt for about 1 minute (using your paddle attachment). Add the sugar and beat on high for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix ONLY to combine (do not over mix the eggs). Pour the mixture into the springform pan over the COOLED crust and bake on 300 degrees for one hour. Cool completely before putting it in the fridge and then refrigerate overnight. Worth the wait!