Jan 24 2015
I’ve made many recipes in the last few months. A few stick out as ones that I’d like to keep in my online memory.
First is a recipe that I made for Rosh Hashanah, many moons ago. I was looking for an appetizer recipe that could be served with meat and was on the healthy side. I found a recipe for “Sephardic Spinach Patties” on Epicurious that looked very promising. Lots of stars, great comments, etc. I chose to make the “Italian” version that included dried currants and pine nuts. It was a hit. And, because J would be a participant in the festivities, I made them gluten free (using freshly made breadcrumbs with GF bread). I also made them bite sized. Somehow, the sweetness of the currants was offset by the flavors of the spinach, garlic and pine nuts so that it was just a hint of something delicious without being over-powering. I’m putting this recipe in the rotation for dinner parties at any time of year.
Next up, kabocha squash. Why have I not eaten this delicious, creamy, velvety squash before this year? We have put kabocha on our permanent must have list for soups. Again, turning to Epicurious, I found an amazing, easy recipe for Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup with Pancetta and Sage. I was crazy about the soup, but did not totally follow the recipe. Here is what I did differently in order to lighten it up (no frying the sage in a vat of oil): wash and dry sage leaves. Melt 2-3 Tbsp butter in a small saucepan and add the sage leaves. Continue to cook the sage in the butter, stirring frequently, until the butter is browned and the sage leaves are crispy. Remove the sage leaves with a slotted spoon. Reserve the sage infused brown butter for another use (brushed on roasted chicken, perhaps?) These buttery, crispy sage leaves are completely addictive. Make extra.
Recently, a good friend of mine encouraged me to make a recipe that she had seen on the new New York Times Cooking section online. This one is also easy, though, very worthwhile to prep a bit beforehand – mis-en-place – because the dish comes together in just a few minutes. It is a chicken dish called “Sauteed Chicken with Meyer Lemon”. I made the recipe exactly as directed. It was divine. I would serve it next with a little rice and spinach. I actually served it with quinoa and brussel sprouts. That was fine, but I think rice and spinach would be better. It is currently Meyer Lemon season, but I bet this recipe would work beautifully with regular lemons.
Finally, I made some traditional whoopie pies using GF flour. The recipe worked very well – I used a cookie scoop to make sure the cookies came out in matched pairs. They did not have the smooth top of a regular whoopie pie – whether it is the recipe or the GF flour, I’m not sure. But, the texture and taste were very good (S said, “this tastes just like a devil dog”…mission accomplished). And, while I didn’t use the marshmallow filling called for in the recipe, I did try a buttercream that I’ve been wanting to make for a while. Years ago, I went to a baby shower and the cake was so beautiful and memorable and the frosting so delicious that I spoke to the talented hostess about the frosting. She said that she made it with sweetened condensed milk. Hmmm. Never heard of that before. After some hunting and finally circling back with the hostess, I actually made a facsimile of the frosting that I do think went well with the whoopie pies. Now, looking for the recipe, I can’t find it. Luckily, I remember how I made it (I did tweak the one online). It is almost the same as regular, back-of-the-box confectioner’s sugar buttercream, but it uses some sweetened condensed milk instead of regular milk. The sweetened condensed milk adds a fabulous texture to a regular buttercream.
My New Favorite Frosting
4 cups (about 1 lb.) confectioner’s sugar
1 stick softened butter
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. milk (more as needed)
Place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix, starting at low speed, then increasing to high when all the sugar is incorporated. Continue to mix at high speed for about 5 minutes, or until the frosting is very creamy. Add milk, by the teaspoon, as necessary, to get the right consistency.