To make caramel brown butter:
Place 1/4 cup butter on medium heat, cook until golden brown. Add sugar and stir until it dissolves.
Add cream. Caramel may seize, so stir continuously until it dissolves. Add salt to taste; then set aside to cool.
Once cooled down, in a mason jar or small sealable container add half of the plain unsalted butter; then layer the entire amount of caramel brown butter. Add the rest of the plain butter and place in a refrigerator to set. Can be done at least a few days in advance.
To serve, brew coffee using a French press and dollop a heaping tablespoon of the caramel brown butter, making sure to capture every layer.
Start by making your fillings first, as they need time to cool off. If you so choose, a store-bought pie crust will suffice. If you go that route, remember to roll the dough out very thin. But you owe it to yourself and those whom you love to make these fillings.
For the bacon jam:
1/2 pound bacon
1 medium red onion, diced
1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee
Juice and zest of an orange
1/8 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup sugar
2 tablespoons malt vinegar
Fry bacon on medium heat until crispy, about 10-15 minutes. Set aside. Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon grease in pan and store remainder for future use.
Sauté onion in bacon fat until translucent. Add coffee, syrup, sugar, juice, zest, and vinegar. Cook for 5 minutes. Reintroduce bacon. Lower heat and reduce until it thickens to the consistency of syrup.
For stovetop peach preserves:
3 ripe peaches, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Combine ingredients in sauté pan on medium-high heat. Bring to boil; then lower heat to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes or until mixture coats the back of a spoon.
For the dough:
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup organic oil (I’ve used vegetable,
canola, and sunflower. They all turn out great.)
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
Whisk the oil and milk together in a separate container. Make a well in your dry ingredients for the liquid to go into; then pour said wet ingredients in well. You can use a fork to mix everything together or just use your fingers because you’ll need those shortly anyway. Once the dough starts to make a crumbly biscuit-like texture, form it into a ball. Start squashing the dough down with your fingers or roll out with a pin until the dough is just about as thin as you can get it. Maybe 1/16-inch thick.
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
You can either make 4-5 large pastries or 16-20 bite-sized ones. Cut dough into equal-sized squares. Spread desired filling onto half of the pieces, leaving room away from the edges to seal. Place a piece of dough over the top and crimp with a fork. Line onto a buttered cookie sheet and bake 18-22 minutes. Remove and cool. If inclined, top with a simple glaze of 1/3 cup confectioners sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice.
into 3×5-inch rectangles and bake, then skip to the assembly. For those devoted to scratch made, the recipe follows.
To make the dough:
Combine flour and salt together in a mixing bowl. Add one cup of hot water in small amounts, mixing gently with a fork or your hands until a rough ball begins to form. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until a smooth ball is formed, making sure not to add too much flour, about 5 minutes. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly sesame-oiled mixing bowl,
rotating to coat all surfaces. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting, make a roux by placing 1/2 cup butter with 1/2 cup flour in a medium saucepan. Heat the butter and flour over medium heat, stirring until the mixture turns a nutty brown color, gives off that same nutty aroma, and the flour has cooked through. About 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Once the dough has rested, roll it out on a floured surface, into a rectangular piece approximately 8×15 inches. With a pastry brush or spatula, spread about one-third of the roux evenly over the surface to within one inch of the edge. There should be just a light even coating.
Starting with the long side, roll the rectangle up by folding the bottom end toward the center; then bring the top end to overlap. Pinch each end of the roll and along the seam to seal in the roux. Then fold widthwise to form a squarer piece. Flatten the dough slightly with the palm, and cut into 6 to 8 equal-sized pieces. Pinch the end of each dough segment to seal.
Roll out each dough segment to a rectangle approximately 1/8-inch thick, ration out another third of the roux over the individual pieces, then fold the bottom sealed end to the center, bringing the top sealed end over the first fold and overlap. Roll out once more, making half the length thinner to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Repeat two times for each piece, but do not use more at this time.
With the seam side up, spread the remaining roux over each piece; then dip the dough segment into a shallow bowl of sesame seeds, rolling slightly from side to side to coat. Flatten gently with the palm; then roll dough once more, sesame side up into a rectangle about 3×5 inches or 1/4- inch thick. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, sesame side up. Let dough rest 5 more minutes.
Just before baking, brush the top surface of each roll lightly with melted butter. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 15- 20 minutes, depending on the temperature of the dough.
As the bread puffs, it will create a space inside which is an ideal locale for your favorite sandwich toppings. It is best eaten fresh, within a day. You can bake these the night before your outing, along with a simple roast chicken. Or if you’re looking to save time, another easy and effective shortcut is to purchase a preroasted, seasoned chicken from your favorite
grocery, pulling apart the meat and skin, then placing in a sealed storage container for use the next day.
1 pulled roasted chicken
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 bunch chives snipped into 2-inch
1 cup homemade mayo (see previous
recipe in Jan/Feb 2013 issue)
1 cup tomato jam (1 14-ounce container crushed strained tomatoes, 1 small diced sweet onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon oregano, 1/4 teaspoon basil, squeeze of lemon. Place all ingredients on medium/ low heat in a small saucepan and cook for 1 hour or until thickened)
PARM SLAW FOR SANDWICH
Two large leaves of green cabbage very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons canola oil or enough to coat cabbage
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Combine mixture in medium bowl. Let sit 15 minutes so cabbage can soften. To assemble, slice Shao Bing in half lengthwise, add a layer of mayo on the bottom layer, then chicken, tomato, slaw, chives, and tomato jam. Serve with hot soup to dip your sandwich in.
Makes about six 1-cup servings.
This soup was a seemingly happy accident. A true testament to improvisation and making the most with what you actually have. When you’re deep in the middle of nowhere, you don’t have the luxury to head to the market for anything at all. What we thought was going to be made was instantly replaced with something that ended up better and even more authentic than previously hoped for. The same goes for home cookery. Sometimes you just don’t feel like leaving the house. So throw what you’ve got in a big pot and make something wonderful.
2 quarts purified water
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 cup tomato jam or 1 6-ounce can of
4 slices bacon
1 package sliced cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 bay leaves
Salt to taste
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Heat oil on medium-high. Add carrots, celery, garlic, and bacon. Cook until vegetables are caramelized; then add tomato paste or tomato jam. Once tomato paste has heated through, lower the temperature. Add water and herbs. Lower heat to medium-low and reduce for 20 minutes. Add mushrooms and reduce for an additional 10 minutes. To serve, stir in heavy whipping cream (1 ounce per serving) to add body.
2 pounds beef short ribs
2 pounds beef back ribs
2 pounds oxtail
1 ring kielbasa sausage cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped into 1-inch slices
2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped into 1-inch slices
2 leeks, sliced into 1/2-inch rings, then soaked in cold water
4 small turnips, peeled then quartered
1 medium sweet onion, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick chunks
1 head of peeled garlic
5 fresh sprigs of each: thyme, rosemary, oregano
5 whole bay leaves
1 teaspoon each: dried marjoram and tarragon
Salt and pepper
In a shallow bowl, pour in flour, add about 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and stir with a fork thoroughly. Dredge the short ribs, back ribs, and oxtail in flour, and then set aside.
Heat a large, heavy stock pot on medium-high with olive oil until hot. Place short ribs in pot and brown all sides, about 1 minute per side. Remove and set aside. Repeat steps for back ribs and oxtail. Add garlic, carrot, celery, leeks, and onion to pot and let cook for about 5-7 minutes or until vegetables begin to caramelize. Add all herbs, as well as plenty of salt and pepper to taste, and fry another 2 minutes to release oils. Lower heat to medium and transfer meat back into pot. Fill with water until all ingredients are submerged, about 1/2 gallon. Bring to boil, constantly removing film and excessive fat as it rises to the top. Lower heat to simmer, cooking uncovered until ribs are fork tender, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Add sausage and turnips, and cook for another 20 minutes.
Remember to check the broth every once in a while for flavoring, adding more salt or more herbs if needed. Transfer meat and bones onto a serving platter. Ladle broth and vegetables separately into individual bowls to serve as a dip for the meat. Serve alongside marrow bones, condiments, toasted bread, and raclettes.
The marrow bones were yet another completely wonderful unplanned triumph. When planning dinner we thought we didn’t bring enough to dump in the pot. In all actuality, marrow bones had their invitation to the beefy pool party revoked. This cooking method easily trumped their planned usage. If you’ve never had marrow before and you enjoy the taste and feel of well-made butter, you really have no choice in the matter but to try this simple-to-prepare dish. If you have any leftover bacon jam, now is the time to empty the jar, as it serves as a worthy supporting role in texture and in flavor contrast to the unctuous marrow.
3 pounds marrow bones cut crosswise
Salt and pepper to taste
Toasted baguette slices
Leftover bacon jam (to make, follow recipe given in conjunction with pop-tarts)
Salsa verde (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place bones with the thickest cut side down in a cast-iron skillet or rimmed baking sheet. Season each bone with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-18 minutes, depending on the size of the bones. Use a narrow spoon or the back end of a fork to scoop out all of the contents. Serve with toast, bacon jam, and a vibrant salsa verde.
To make salsa:
1/4 cup finely chopped basil
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/8 cup olive oil
Juice and zest from half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Pinch of dried red-pepper flakes
Combine all ingredients in a small serving bowl and let sit for about 15 minutes before serving.
Think of it as a warm French/Swiss potato salad. Another entry in our series of dishes that shouldn’t make sense when the sum is divided from its parts, but it ended up tasting spectacular in the end. The name “raclette” is taken from the cheese that is supposed to be the top layer; however our attempts to harvest this fromage proved to not bear fruit.
Instead we went with a suitable replacement. To make this a true one-pot meal, we boiled the potatoes in the pot au feu while it cooked and then retained about half a cup of the broth to use a binder for the “salad.” If you choose to make this separately, a quart of chicken or beef stock will suffice to act as your boiling liquid.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2-pound bag of baby Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 pound sliced raclette, gruyere, or emmentaler
4 ounces genoa salami, sliced thin, then cut into small strips
1/2 cup kosher-dill petite gherkins, chopped
1/2 cup reserved broth
Place potatoes in boiling liquid and cook 20 minutes. When they are tender enough to slice through with ease, remove and transfer to a shallow baking dish. Using a fork, gently smash
down the potatoes until they break open but are still somewhat intact. Pour broth over potatoes. Sprinkle the salami and pickles over the top. Give one or two light stirs; then layer cheese over the whole surface. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Then remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately so that the cheese stays melted.
Combine blueberries, sugar, juice, and zest in a pan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly for about two minutes. Lower heat to a simmer, and cook until sauce thickens and sticks to the back of spoon.
Whip cream until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, whip room-temperature cream cheese with 1/4 cup of sugar. Fold cream cheese into whipped cream in thirds, paying attention not to overmix. Refrigerate.
Spread blueberry preserves evenly onto each croissant half, then place on an ungreased cookie sheet or a layer of aluminum foil at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Remove and serve warm with whipped topping cascading over the edge of the pastry.