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Posts Tagged ‘something substantial’

Celebrate Spring: Chantarelle and Foraged Fiddlehead Pizza

Posted on: March 19th, 2020 by Ellen Swandiak

At this month’s party, foraged ingredients make an artistic statement on fiddlehead pizza. Take advantage of the season—and the subtle taste of fiddleheads (which are immature ferns) and have a light asparagus taste—and match them with bright orange chanterelle mushrooms.

For the base, some puff pastry and a combination of ricotta and scharfe maxx cheeses creates a luxe pairing, plus a creamy bed for these earthy ingredients. This pizza will surely make a statement at your gathering, and celebrate Spring’s wild bounty.

MAKES 12 MINI PIZZAS

MAKE THE BASE… THAW PASTRY 40 MIN

1/2 box Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry (makes 3 long pieces)

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Unfold thawed pastry and cut into thirds to achieve long sections. Bake for 15 min. While still hot, push gently down on the tops of the puff with a spatula to create the valleys for toppings.

PREPARE FIDDLEHEADS & CHANTERELLES

1/4 LB fiddleheads
1/4 LB chanterelles

3 TB EV olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
sprinkle of red pepper flakes

Triple-wash fiddleheads thoroughly. Trim brown parts. Blanche for four min and move to an ice bath. Drain and set aside. Clean mushrooms with a soft brush to remove all dirt. Cut mushrooms decoratively, keeping in mind how you they will look on the pizza.

Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to the fiddleheads and chantarelles, saute for 3 min.

PREPARE THE CHEESE

1/2 LB fresh ricotta cheese
s + p
1/4 LB scharfe maxx cheese

In a bowl, season ricotta with s + p to taste. Shred the scharfe maxx cheese and place in a separate bowl.

PREHEAT OVEN 400º… CREATE THE FIDDLEHEAD PIZZAS

puff pastry
ricotta cheese
scharfe maxx cheese
ramps, cut in half vertically (optional)
dandelion leaves, cut into small bits, for garnish

When puff pastry has slightly cooled, add 3 dollops of the ricotta, spread evenly over the entire surface of each pastry, then sprinkle the scharfe maxx. If using, place 1-2 ramps lengthwise on the cheese, then spot the fiddleheads and chantarelles around the entire surface. Bake for 5 min on the oven’s top shelf. Remove from oven and toss on the dandelion leaves. Cut each long piece into 4 minis.

A Colorful and Festive Scallop Ceviche with Blood Orange Sauce

Posted on: February 12th, 2020 by Ellen Swandiak

A Valentine’s Day dish. Winter is the season for blood oranges, and the brightness of their juice makes for a festive scallop ceviche indeed. Add the sprinkling of jalapeño pepper bits and pomegranate for an extra happy touch.

I included this recipe in our Aphrodisiac party menu specifically to create a stir. The color red is purported to arouse passion. So I’ve included not only the blood orange juice, but a sprinkling of pomegranate arils—which also adds a nice crunch. Let’s get the night going! The goddess Aphrodite is credited with planting the first pomegranate tree which has since been associated with fertility.

If serving for a crowd, plate individually in clear plastic glasses, with diced ingredients as a topping.

MAKES ENOUGH FOR 4

PREPARE THE SCALLOPS

1/2 LB bay scallops
1/4 CUP lime juice, freshly squeezed (about 2 limes)
1/4 CUP pink grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed (about 1/2 grapefruit)

Cut scallops horizontally into 3 pieces. Toss ingredients together in a nonreactive bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

HOBNOBMAG scallops CEVICHE marinade

MAKE THE BLOOD ORANGE SAUCE

1/2 CUP blood orange juice (about 1-2 oranges)
juice from 1/2 lime
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 TB EV olive oil
1/2 tsp soy sauce
squirt of sriracha
s +p

Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl or pitcher. Cover and refrigerate till ready to use.

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

1 pink grapefruit, cut into supremes
2 TB cucumber, diced
1/2 jalapeño, diced
garnish:
1 TB fresh mint, cut into thin strips
pomegranate arils
1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced (optional)

Remove scallops from refrigerator, drain excess liquid. Set up your plating dishes. Arrange scallops, alternating citrus in between. Spoon the blood orange sauce over a little at a time, do not drown. Sprinkle cucumber and jalapeño. Garnish with mint, pomegranate, and radish.

Spicy Baked Buffalo Wings

Posted on: February 1st, 2020 by Ellen Swandiak

Touchdown this SuperBowl Sunday with these Spicy Baked Buffalo Wings that even the fittest athletes can’t say no to. This recipe is courtesy of Gozney, a company that makes the coolest and most powerful mini pizza ovens for your backyard (see more on the ovens at this link). Instead of deep-frying the wings, try Gozney’s technique for creating crispy skin while keeping the meat to remain incredibly moist inside. You can learn the tricks to crispy skin and more in this educational and entertaining step by step video here.

SERVES 4

See more recipes for watching the game, like Sirloin Steak Toasts with Zesty Crumbs, at Hobnob’s Party #18 Classy Sports: An Upscale Menu for Watching the Big Game

PREPARE CHICKEN A DAY AHEAD

2-3 TB plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 TB salt

12-16 chicken wings, a mix of wingettes and drumettes

This step allows for the chicken skin to get crisp, by removing all the moisture: Toss first three ingredients together in a bowl. Separate the wings from drumettes by cutting through the knuckle if they are still attached. First remove excess moisture from the skins by placing chicken between two paper towels and pressing down, then dredge in the flour mixture, shake. Set on a cooling rack and refrigerate overnight, uncovered.

MAKE THE BLUE CHEESE DIP

1 CUP sour cream
1/2 CUP buttermilk
4 oz blue cheese (gorgonzola or other soft blue)

Mix thoroughly in a bowl. Season to taste, if needed. This can be made a day ahead, and would allow the flavors to really meld.

MAKE THE SAUCE

6 TB Unsalted Butter
8 TB Franks Hot Sauce

While the chicken is cooking, melt ingredients together and keep warm.

PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF…COOK THE WINGS

Lightly heat a cast iron grill pan in the oven, about 5 min. Add chicken and cook for about 30-35 mins, rotating and flipping a few times. When skin in nice and browned, remove from oven and use tongs to dip the wings in warm hot sauce, transfer to a plate. Serve with blue cheese dip in a bowl alongside the wings.

Chicken Tacos with Green Harissa

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Go green! These chicken tacos are a welcome party mini-bite with personality. I developed this recipe to add to a buffet made up of the colors of the rainbow. Upon discovery of these adorable, green mini taco shells, I knew this had to be the dish that took the GREEN spot on the rainbow buffet. To add to the green effect, I mixed up a green harissa—parsley, cilantro, mint, and spices— to “dye” the shredded chicken. To complete the taco, I topped with slices of of avocado, sprigs of cilantro, and skinny jalapeño ribbons.

Shortcut: instead of cooking the chicken, purchase a rotisserie chicken from your local market and shred, then you just have to make the harissa.

Other green foods to consider: spinach wraps, pesto, avocado, pea and mint soup, green salad served in cups. See our picks on PINTEREST for more fantastic rainbow party ideas and recipes.

MAKES 28 TACOS

MAKE THE CHICKEN

1 1/4 LB chicken breasts
1 bay leaf
1 tsp pink peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt

In a large saucepan, place chicken breasts and cover with water. Add herbs and spices. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then simmer 10 – 12 min. Remove breasts to a bowl. When cool, shred completely.

GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR… MAKE THE GREEN HARISSA

1/2 CUP parsley
1/2 CUP cilantro (save some for garnish)
1/2 CUP mint
1/4 CUP lemon juice
3 jalapeños, seeded, sliced
1 TB ground cumin
1 TB ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1/2 CUP EV olive oil
1 clove garlic

Process all ingredients till fully combined, but with some texture, about 1 min. Combine the shredded chicken with the green harissa.

ASSEMBLE THE CHICKEN TACOS

spinach mini taco shells
chicken mixture
avocado, cut into thin slices
2 jalapeños, cut into thin ribbons
cilantro, for garnish

Fills shells about halfway with chicken. Top with avocado slice, then garnish with jalapeños strips and cilantro.

A Romantic Look at Outdoor Cooking—the Australian Way—in Wild: Adventure Cooking

Posted on: October 1st, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

The gorgeous photos in this book absoutely take you away—to isolated beaches and rugged camping spots all over Australia. Author Sarah Glover, who grew up eating in the great outdoors,  shows you how to cook gourmet meals over a bonfire. How cool is that? She makes everything from pizza to pancakes to full dinners featuring fresh-caught fish, whole chickens suspended over an open fire, or sausages intertwined with branches of an apple tree laded with fruit. It’s a totally romantic look at experiencing the outdoors while maintaining gourmet standards.

Recommended equipment ranges from area-sourced logs and branches with accompanying camping grills, large pots, and frying pans that can take the heat. Imagine being beachside with a roaring bonfire while you scour the area for driftwood and the perfect branch for tying the fish you just caught, wrapped with spring onions and kaffir leaves. It’s a style of glamping that respects nature in all its glory. Glover explains how to determine the temperature of the fire, and how long cooking will take. This is the epitome of slow cooking, and using what’s available to gourmet heights. Local ingredients like pine needles, saltwater and hay factor into some of the recipes, which are truly unique in their approach.

HOBNOBMAG outdoor cooking

Here are some of the recipes that caught my eye:

—Hung Snags and Apple which takes lengths of attached sausages and pairs them with branches of apples, just picked off a tree. The recommended sides are a Burnt Tomato Relish and Walnut Cabbage.

—Hot Chicks are chicken wings coated in polenta, grilled, then tossed in crumbled feta and cilantro.

—Fish on Log calls for hammer and nails, thus attaching it securely to a log stripped of its bark, and set aside raging coals to cook.

—I think this might be my favorite recipes, Mustard Beef with ‘Shrooms & Black Lettuce. The mushrooms sound absolutely heavenly cooked in butter, garlic, and heavy cream, while the beef tenderloin gets coated in peppercorn and mustard seeds. Grilled lettuces complete the meal perfectly.

—Smashing Pumpkin takes pumpkin eating to a work of art—after a few hours in the coals, the pumpkin is ready to be smashed and dressed in tahini and chopped pecans.

HOBNOBMAG outdoor cooking

Of course, many of these recipes can be made on an ordinary barbecue on your deck, which is a bit more tame, but delicious nonetheless. Or, if you have some space for a bonfire at your weekend house, I encourage reading this book for inspirational dinners that will remain unforgettable in your guests’ minds.

Enjoy this recipe from the book, which douses a crustacean in two lively sauces: one with sesame seeds, the other with lemon verbena, one of my favorite herbs.

recipe

THAT BE CRAY CRAY

Feeds 2

EQUIPMENT: Camping grill

SESAME SEED DRESSING

MAKES ABOUT 1 1/2 CUPS

1 cup (150 g) sesame seeds

1∕3 cup (80 ml) rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 cup (240 ml) grapeseed oil

Heat the sesame seeds in a frying pan until they become golden brown. Pour the seeds into a mortar and pound with a pestle until the seeds start to release their oils.

Add the rice wine vinegar and soy sauce and continue to pound. Slowly add the grapeseed oil – it will slightly emulsify. Store in a glass jar with an airtight lid until it is ready to be used. It will keep for a month.

LEMON VERBENA OIL

MAKES 1 CUP

Bunch of lemon verbena
1 bush lemon or regular lemon

1 cup (240 ml) good-quality olive oil

Pick the lemon verbena leaves from the stalks and slice them very thinly with a sharp knife (if it’s not good and sharp you will bruise the leaves). Remove the rind from the lemon and slice it as thinly as you can.

Put the lemon verbena leaves and lemon rind in a small jar, pour the olive oil over and allow to infuse for at least 2 hours. Eat within 48 hours.

THAT BE CRAY CRAY

1 live Australian crayfish (or small lobster or langoustine)
3 tablespoons lemon verbena oil (see below)
dollop of anchovy aioli (see below)
1 teaspoon crushed dried wakame seaweed

Light your fire and let it burn down until you obtain a medium heat. Put the camping grill about 8 inches (20 cm) over the coals. Just before you are ready to cook, use a sharp knife to cut through the middle of the crayfish head between the eyes, then cut down towards the face. Halve the cray from nose to tail, and remove the digestive tract and clean the guts out. Rinse in saltwater.

Place the clean crayfish on the wire part of the camping grill, flesh-side down, and cook for about 4 minutes. It will char a little, which is a good thing as this will help the flesh come away from the wire grill easily. Flip the crayfish over so it’s shell-side down and drizzle the lemon oil over the flesh.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until the flesh goes white and the shell turns bright red-orange. I like to add a little aioli to the flesh while it is still on the grill so that it gets a nice smoky flavor, too. Garnish with wakame and eat immediately, straight out of the shell.

Reprinted with permission from Prestel Publishing.

Wild: Adventure Cooking by Sarah Glover

Umami Cookbook: Flavor Bombs Showcases the Fifth Taste with Aplomb

Posted on: October 1st, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

Founder of Umami Burger, Adam Fleischman takes the elements of umami and creates combinations that will have your taste buds dancing in his new cookbook. The meaty leanings of umami carry through many foods: tomatoes, mushrooms, parmesan cheese, asparagus, and much more. Fleischman loves to stack these foods together for extra spectacular results.

It all started with his analysis of the typical American burger, one with melted cheese, caramelized onions, tomatoes, and ketchup. All those ingredients are umami-based, and together really add up to much more than a sum of their parts. Same idea with pizza—tomato sauce plus melted mozzarella cheese plus mushrooms plus sausage makes it that much more special. Hence, the Flavor Bombs.

HOBNOBMAG Umami Cookbook2

The term “umami” is a Japanese word that roughly translates to “tasty,” or “delicious.” Coined by Dr. Kikunae Ikeda who was amazed by the meat-like flavor in a bowl of dashi. It got him wondering why his soup had a distinctly savory, meaty flavor even though there was no meat in it. He would later link the taste to tomatoes, cheeses, asparagus, and meats.

Fleischman even looks at the chemicals compounds found in many umami which falls into three categories: glutamate, inosinate, guanylate. Each of these groups have a phenomenal tastes on their own, but when combined the flavor amplifies exponentially. Then Fleischman offers up the techniques for amplifying umami: searing, salting, long-cooking, fermenting, and curing in his recipes to create his Flavor Bombs.

The section on stocking your pantry to get even more impact, includes anchovies, duck fat, dried mushrooms, miso, and—are you catching my drift?

To start your umami journey, you might want to try his master recipes that can be used for many purposes. Umami Master Dust can be sprinkled on foods or used as a rub. Umami Master Sauce is perfect for use in extended cooking, like stews or braised meats. Umami Ketchup is guaranteed to wow. There are seven other basic condiments that he has designed to umami-up your cooking gauge, so you will be set.

Please enjoy this recipe for a Veggie Burger from the book, and see if it doesn’t hit the spot.

recipe

Veggie Burger

I use mushrooms as the primary component for my veggie burger and infuse them with miso, a bit of Umami Master Sauce, and egg yolks—all from the Umami Pantry—to bump up the flavor even more.

Because the patties need a few hours to set, prep them the night before and they’ll be ready to go when it’s time to start cooking.

Note: Textured vegetable protein (TVP), also sold as textured soy protein, is available at Whole Foods, health food stores, or online at Amazon.

MAKES 2 BURGERS

UMAMI MASTER SAUCE

MAKES ABOUT 3 CUPS

2 cups top-quality tamari or soy sauce
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sherry wine
1/4 cup dried wild mushrooms, like porcini
1/4 cup red or white miso
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon Marmite
1 tablespoon shio koji
Hot sauce
1 (4-by-4-inch) piece dried kombu

Start with the tamari or soy sauce, in a pan over medium heat; do not let boil. Add the sherry wine, dried wild mushrooms, and miso. Stir.

Add the honey, Marmite, shio koji, some hot sauce, and the dried kombu. Stir for a minute, remove from the heat, and strain. Add water to taste to dilute its intensity, then cool.

Store, covered, in glass jars for up to around 6 months in your pantry.

VEGGIE BURGER

4 dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup medium-dry sherry, like amontillado
1 tablespoon white miso
Splash of Umami Master Sauce (see above)
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs or textured vegetable protein (see headnote)
2 tablespoons toasted or regular sesame oil
1 cup stemmed and sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 potato buns or white hamburger buns, split
unsalted butter

OPTIONAL CONDIMENTS AND TOPPINGS
Mayonnaise
Ketchup
Mustard
Lettuce
Tomato

MAKE THE VEGGIE BURGER

Place the dried porcinis, sherry, miso, and master sauce in a small saucepan. Set the heat to medium-low and simmer until the liquid is almost gone, rehydrating the mushrooms, about 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, cool, then add the egg yolks and panko (or textured vegetable protein). Pulse the mixture in a food processor to incorporate. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over high heat for a few minutes—you want it to get superhot. Add 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil, wait a minute, then throw in the shiitakes, being careful not to crowd the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté until they’re nicely caramelized, about 6 minutes. Remove the mushrooms to a large bowl and let cool.

When the mushrooms have cooled, add the egg yolk mixture and stir to incorporate. I use a 3-inch ring mold to press out the patties, but if you don’t have a mold, free-form 2 patties with your hands. Be sure to pack the patties fairly tight so they don’t fall apart when you cook them. Refrigerate the patties at least 6 hours or overnight, to set.

You can also place the patties side by side on a baking sheet or dish and stick them in the freezer; when they’re frozen, place the patties in an airtight bag and keep them in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw completely before cooking.

When you’re ready to cook, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil and sauté the patties for 3 minutes on each side. Remove the patties and set aside. Place the Koji-Porcini Resting Sauce or butter in the pan and place the buns cut side down in the pan for a few minutes, just until they’re toasted and warmed through.

Place the patties in the buns and serve with the condiments and toppings of your choice.

Flavor Bombs: The Umami Ingredients That Make Taste Explode by Adam Fleischman

Excerpted from FLAVOR BOMBS © 2018 by Adam Fleischman. Photographs © 2018 by Wendy Sue Lamm.  Used by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Quinoa Salad with Grilled Peaches & Corn in Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Posted on: August 31st, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

This salad’s notes definitely lean to the sweet end of the spectrum. Grilled ripe peaches and corn lend their summery flavors. The vinaigrette has two special ingredients. One is a drinking vinegar from Olitalia, with prominent pomegranate sweetness, and the other is a super-artisanal honey from upstate New York, Catskill Provisions. They harvest their honey twice annually, and the fall version comes with a nice complexity. (they also produce a lively honey-rye, see Hobnob’s post with cocktail recipe—would make a great accompaniment to the buffet)

The quinoa in this recipe is also quite special. The size of Pereg Baby Quinoa is tinier that the usual, has a great crunchy-ish texture, and mixes in nicely with the greens without taking over. It’s a nice healthy addition.

MAKE THE QUINOA

2 CUPS water
1 CUP  Pereg Baby Quinoa

salt

Boil water. Add quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover loosely and simmer 15-20 min, until all water is absorbed. Turn off heat, and let sit for 5 min. Add a little salt, to taste

GRILL THE PEACHES

2 peaches, sliced

coconut oil

Grease grill with coconut oil. Grill peaches about a 1-2 min on each side.

MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE

1/4 CUP Olitalia Drinking Vinegar Pomegranate
1 tsp Catskill Provisions Fall Honey
1 clove garlic, squeezed in a garlic press
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

3/4 CUP olive oil

Whisk first 6 ingredient together well. Slowly add in olive oil to incorporate. Funnel into a squeeze bottle.

ASSEMBLE THE SALAD

quinoa
peaches
2 CUPS Cascadian Organic frozen corn, defrosted
3/4 CUP sugar snap peas, cut into half-inch pieces, (save some cut in half lengthwise to expose the peas inside for garnish)
1/4 CUP red onion, sliced thinly
manchego cheese, cut into small cubes
2 pkgs (5 oz) Super Greens mix

pomegranate honey vinaigrette

Toss all ingredients together with the dressing. Save a few grilled peaches and sugar snap peas to put on the top for garnish.

Sirloin Steak Toasts with Zesty Crumbs

Posted on: February 4th, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

Generally speaking, men love sports just as much as they love steak, which is why these sirloin steak toasts had to be incorporated into this party theme of recipes to watch the game with (see more recipes here). This recipe provides a simple way to get steak into your guest’s hands, sans utensils. Just broil or grill the steak, set out on sliced bread and sprinkle the lemon and parsley crumb mixture, which gives the dish a dotted effect and an extra zip of flavor. (See this recipe made with sardines, to offer along with the steak for fish lovers, A Canape with Pizazz.)

MAKES 14 TOASTS

MAKE THE ZESTY CRUMBS

zest and juice 1 lemon
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 CUP breadcrumbs
3 TB olive oil

Mix together in a bowl. Crumbs should be kind of sticky.

SEAR THE STEAK

1 LB sirloin steak
s + p

Right before cooking, season steak with s + p. Grill the steak or broil in the oven. Let rest. Slice thinly.

MAKE THE SIRLOIN STEAK TOASTS

semolina bread, cut loaf into 1/2-inch rounds
olive oil
orange or cherry tomatoes, sliced thinly (horizontal slices)
seared steak
zesty crumbs
2 TB capers
1 small onion, cut into very thin rings

On each slice of bread, drizzle a little olive oil. Line with slices of tomato, top with steak. Sprinkle crumb mixture over the steak, add a couple of capers, and a ring or two of the onion.

Turkey Patties Topped with Cucumber Basil Pesto

Posted on: September 20th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

For those following a paleo diet, there are lots of options for party fare. These turkey patties have a nice crunchiness via onion and jalapeño bits, which adds a bit of texture and flavor to the meat. Tip: When cooking the patties, take note. They are a little fragile, so make sure oil covers the bottom of the pan to ensure they don’t stick. Patties should be white halfway up the side before flipping. Run a spatula or fork under the patties while cooking for extra insurance.

As for the pesto, prepare the cucumbers ahead of time, but don’t make the pesto till ready to serve. I made mine the night before and it did not keep its pretty green color, though it still tasted mighty fine.

These turkey patties are just one of the recipes from my paleo party theme. Click the link to see more veg and meat dishes. 

MAKES 24 BITES

MAKE THE TURKEY PATTIES

1 LB ground turkey breast
1 egg
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 small red onion, minced
1/2 jalapeño, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 TB parsley, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 TB nutritional yeast

almond oil

With a fork combine all ingredients, except oil, in a large bowl. With wet hands (the mix may be kind of sticky) take a small amount that fits in the palm of your hand, make a ball, then flatten. Size should be roughly 2 inches x 1/2-inch thick (two bites). Get a big skillet hot, add 1/8-inch oil to the pan, then add patties. Cook for 2 1/2 min, till nice and brown, then flip and brown other side. Let drain on a paper towel.

hobnobmag recipe Turkey Patties Topped with Cucumber Basil Pesto

GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR… PREPARE THE CUCUMBER

2 cucumbers, peeled
1 tsp salt

Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon. Cut these in half and grate in the food processor. Move to a platter, sprinkle with salt and let it sit for about one hour. Transfer to a strainer and squeeze out as much liquid as possible, then place in a bowl. (If doing this part ahead of time, place cucumbers in an airtight container in the fridge till ready to use)

MAKE THE PESTO

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 CUPS basil leaves
3/4 CUP mint leaves
1/2 CUP pine nuts, toasted on a hot skillet
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 CUP EV olive oil

cucumbers

Pulse together in a food processor. Add to the cucumbers and mix thoroughly.

Chicken Paillard Salad with Garlic-Parsley Mayo + Chorizo Butter

Posted on: July 18th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Sometimes when eating out, you find a simple dish that just wows. How many times have you had a salad with grilled chicken? In this case, the chicken paillard salad prompted me to inquire about its secrets, which I will share with you here. All the elements play so wonderfully together, I can still taste it in my mind. Thank you, Chef Gordon Watton for coming to our table and sharing the secrets to this extraordinary dish.

This recipe is truly a labor of love, and has touches that only the most ambitious will create for themselves. But, perhaps, if you are entertaining guests, you might want to create all the elements. (for the lazy, in London, be sure to order this at Berners Tavern.)  Even if you do some of the components, you will have the makings of an absolutely superb salad.

MAKE THE CHICKEN PAILLARD

Pound chicken breasts thinly, and grill. (They use a Spanish Grill with charcoal.)

MAKE THE CHORIZO BUTTER

Dice chorizo and caramelize. Let cool. Incorporate into butter. Smother on top of chicken after grilling.

MAKE THE GARLIC PARSLEY MAYO

Chop garlic and parsley and combine with mayo. Dollop 3 spoons onto chicken.

MAKE THE SALAD

Combine arugula, roasted piquillo peppers, manchego shavings, and thinly sliced red onion rings.

ADD THE DRESSING

oil, mustard, lemon, lime, vinegar

THE GARNISH: CRISPY SHALLOTS

Fry thinly sliced shallots in cold pan of oil, cook slowly until golden brown, then dehydrate.

Summer Grilling Sensation: Lemony Oregano Fish Skewers

Posted on: July 17th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

One of the joys of the hot season is summer grilling. There’s nothing like being outside with a hot grill, a drink in your hand, and all your favorite friends gathered around. Once you have marinated and skewered the fish, you can just sit these on the grill for 2-3 minutes, and serve something healthy and sensational.

The yellowy-orange tomatoes and lemon wedges give skewers a uniform look. Tip: When developing this recipe, the first thought was to get swordfish for the dish, but it was not available, so I substituted paiche fillets, which had the same firm consistency, and took on the marinade flavors very well. See more recipes for Summer Entertaining.

MAKES ABOUT 39 PIECES OF FISH, 13 SKEWERS

Fish Kebabs

MAKE THE MARINADE

3/4 CUP olive oil
zest and juice from 1 lemon
2 TB mint, cut into ribbons
1 TB thyme, minced
2 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press
2 tsp dried oregano
3 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and lightly crushed in a spice grinder
2 scallion tops, cut into thin rings
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne

Combine all ingredients in a bowl

MARINATE THE FISH

2 1/2 LB paiche fillet, 1-inch thick

Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Place fish and marinade in a zip lock bag. Let marinate for an hour in the refrigerator.

GRILL THE FISH

5 lemons, cut into 8 wedges
yellow cherry tomatoes

Onto wooden skewers thread a lemon wedge, 2 to 3 pieces of fish, and end with tomato. Grease and preheat grill. Cook fish for 2 –3 min on both sides.

Taco Bar: Grilled Mole-Marinated Pork with Salsa and Pickled Jalapeño

Posted on: June 10th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

When you are cooking for a crowd, shortcuts are very welcome. That’s why we always have an eye peeled for helpers that are chemical-free, and are made with love. The magic behind the pork lies in the marinade. Hernán Mole Poblano paste comes in a concentrated form which can be used to create a rich, authentic mole sauce, or be used as a marinade. And if you’ve ever tried making mole, you know that it is a labor of love that takes several days to accomplish. So, having pre-made mole flavors is a fantastic time-saver. This jar can offer up those intense flavors because they put the time into it.

The joy of the make-your-own-taco buffet are the toppings. Suggested taco bar pairing: Grilled Mole-Marinated Pork with White Peach Salsa, pickled jalapeño, cilantro, and dijon mayo. Find more recipes for the Taco Bar here  that cover all culinary leanings: beef, fish, and vegetarian recipes included.

MAKES ENOUGH FOR 8 TACOS

MARINATE THE PORK

4 TB Hernan Mole Poblano paste
2 LB pork loin, cut into 1-inch chops
1 tsp salt

Scoop paste and spread evenly over the pork with your hands, or a spoon. Marinate covered or in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

GRILL THE PORK

On a heated bbq or grill pan, cook the pork about 5 min on each side.

You can cook this ahead of time and keep the chops intact. If you do, when you are ready to serve the tacos reheat the pork on the top shelf of your bbq or in a microwave. Cut into thin slices and place in a serving bowl on your taco buffet. Suggested taco bar pairing: Grilled Mole-Marinated Pork with White Peach Salsa, pickled jalapeño, dijon mayo, cilantro.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Taco Bar Grilled Pork

Cooking Elk Medallion Sliders: Like Steak but Better

Posted on: May 4th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Here is an ingredient you may not have come across: elk. I chose to use it in developing a party menu of WILD ingredients, and though unfamiliar, it turned to be somewhat familiar. Cooking elk is quite simple. Elk tenderloin medallions can be treated just like filet mignon. Do not overcook it! This recipe calls for a quick grill then a slicing of the meat for sliders—with accoutrement: bacon, a gouda-style cheese from Ireland, and bitter radicchio and topped with Creamy Old-Style Mustard Dip (also seen in our exotic sausage recipe). To preserve all the wonderful juices, be sure to flip the tenderloins with tongs, instead of a fork.

You can order elk, and other exotic meats from Fossil Farms, where we purchased the sausages as well. See more at this link.   And if you are intrigued at the idea of using wild and foraged ingredients, see our entire party menu, Exotic & Foraged.

MAKES 24 SLIDERS

MAKE THE CREAMY OLD-STYLE MUSTARD DIP

1/2 CUP sour cream
1/2 CUP Maille Dijon Old-Style mustard
4 TB Maille Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Breitsamer Honig Forest Honey

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.

COOK THE BACON

8 slices bacon

In the microwave, place 4 slices of bacon between paper towels. Cook for about 1 min per slice (start with 3 min to see if crispy). Cut (or snap!)  each slice into 3 parts.

cooking elk tenderloins

GRILL THE ELK

4 elk medallions
s + p

Let meat come to room temperature before cooking elk. Generously season with s + p. Grill 1 1/2 min on each side. Let meat rest before cutting into 1/4-inch slices.

cooking elk sliders with bacon, cheese, and radicchio

ASSEMBLE THE elk medallion SLIDERS

24 Martin’s Party Size Potato Rolls
Kerrygold Blarney Castle gouda-style cheese


mustard cream sauce
sliced elk
radicchio castillo franco, trimmed to fit on the rolls

Slice rolls in half and add a slice of cheese to the bottom. Place under broiler for 1 min (or less, watch!) to melt the cheese.

Slather mustard onto top of the roll. On top of the cheese, add bacon, two slices of elk, and 3 radicchio leaves. Close roll, and push together.

Tequila Spiked Guacamole: Best of Both Worlds

Posted on: February 22nd, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Tequila spiked guacamole combines the best of two Mexican culinary masterpieces: the Margarita, and the homage to the avocado: guacamole. Lime enhances the flavors, and cream cheese makes it thick and rich. Make sure to use a better tequila, if you are looking for some better brands, see our other posts Exotic Tequila Tasting, and one brand created by a father and son team.

Be sure to serve with a side of better chips. Que Pasa organic and gluten-free tortilla chips are made with organic whole kernel corn, organic canola and sunflower oil, sea salt, and hydrated lime. They are available in various colors throughout the year (yellow, blue, red, and white) so you can create some pretty combinations, depending on the season.

See more booze-infused recipes in our party theme Alcohol Infusion, which includes a nut mix, baby back ribs, and filet mignon sliders.

MAKES ONE LARGE BOWL

MAKE THE GUACAMOLE

4 large avocados, mashed with a potato masher
1/4 CUP cilantro, chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded, diced
zest and juice of 1 lime
6 oz cream cheese, softened
big pinch of salt
3 TB tequila (blanco)

Maldon sea salt

In a large bowl, add the cilantro and jalapeños to the mashed avocados. Zest lime, then cut in half and squeeze all the juice into the bowl. Add cream cheese, salt, and mash thoroughly. Add tequila, mash some more.

Transfer to small serving bowl that you can fill to the very top. Using a spoon, even and flatten the top. Sprinkle sea salt all over.

Serve with tortilla or plantain chips. Replenish the guacamole bowl as the night goes on, sprinkling the salt on top each time. Keep the surplus covered in the fridge with avocado pit inside to keep it from turning brown.

Instant Success: Dinner Party Shortcuts

Posted on: December 21st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

With weekend guests, you need to have stuff on hand. HOBNOB suggests stocking your pantry and freezer with these sophisticated flavors and dinner party shortcuts—so you come off as a hosting pro.

As part of the plan for hosting weekend guests, we found some fab ingredient to have on hand: a sensational American caviar in two price ranges, a collection of intense sophisticated sauces to accent your cooking, a line of instant cheesecakes and for the purists, the taste of just picked herbs from the freezer.

[1] Kelley’s Katch Kaviar This company produces caviar that rivals its Russian counterparts. Kelley’s Katch, a small producer based out of Savannah, Tennessee, harvests roe from wild fish from throughout the American South. The Kelleys, a husband and wife team, have been in the caviar business for over twenty years, and they own their own boats and processing and packing facilities, cutting out the middleman and passing savings along to their customers. Choose from their most popular paddlefish roe ($30 for 2 oz tin) or an even more luxurious option, American sturgeon ($99 for 2 oz tin) , seen in the photo. kelleyskatch.com

[2] La Maison Signature Sauces Whipping up dinner for weekend guests without sacrificing flavor and quality is easy with these sauces. La Maison’s line is made with fresh, flavorful ingredients, that can be used as a sauce on pan-seared steaks and chops; a glaze for roasts or vegetables; or as a creamy base for casseroles and pastas. Choose from a range of flavors, including red-wine based Burgundy Peppercorn, smoky Chipotle cream, spicy Thai Coconut Curry, herbaceous Pesto Cream, and rich Sherried Mushroom. $8 for 9 oz jars. vermontsigsauces.appspot.com

HOBNOBMAG Dinner Party Shortcuts

[3] Just in Time Gourmet: Key Lime Cheesecake Just in Time Gourmet’s dessert mixes are perfect for busy weekenders with a sweet tooth. So easy to put together that guests can get in on the cooking action too, their mixes only require a few additional ingredients like cream cheese and a graham cracker crust. Luscious and not too sweet, their cheesecake line, which includes Lemonade, Key Lime Cheesecake, Pumpkin Pie, and Caramel Apple flavors, is our favorite for family gatherings. About $9. phoenixfoodco.com Get it online at amazon.com

[4] Daregal Frozen Fresh Herbs Daregal’s frozen fresh herbs are the next best thing to picking herbs straight from your garden. Their herbs are harvested, washed, chopped (only the tender leaves are used), and frozen within three hours, maximizing freshness and flavor. Stored conveniently in your freezer for use all year, they can be used straight from the container, no thawing necessary. With more flavor than dried herbs, and more convenience than fresh herbs (no spoilage, no prep), stock your kitchen with chopped basil, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, chives, and more (organic varieties also available). About $3. Darengal

Massimiliano Eandi of Mulino a Vino’s Pasta Stuffed Tomato

Posted on: November 29th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

A most unusual and special stuffed tomato recipe comes from a up-and-coming Italian chef. His choice of stuffing: spaghetti.

Chef Eandi brings his Michelin-trained talent to this sweet, cozy Italian hideaway near Meatpacking in NYC (SORRY, THIS RESTAURANT HAS CLOSED, BUT YOU CAN ENJOY CHEF EANDI’S FANTASTIC RECIPE BELOW). The menu at this place is so wine-driven that guests are first asked to choose from the 100-bottle wine list before selecting their food, so that a perfect match can be made. For our holiday issue, Eandi shares a recipe for a traditional pasta served in an untraditional way. He confits a tomato, then stuffs it with spaghetti, and sets it atop a parmesan crisp. HOBNOB suggests this recipe would make a wonderful first course for a glamorous sit-down dinner. (see our plan for hosting weekend guests for the holidays here)

HOBNOBMAG Stuffed Tomato

Chef Eandi’s enthusiasm for cooking pushed him to start his career early, at the age of 14, and by the age of 16 was already working at a Michelin-status kitchen in Combal.Zero, in Rivoli, Italy, under the tutelage of Davide Scabin. He then went on to London to work at ARBUTUS, before joining 3-Michelin-starred Gordon Ramsey. Just before his move to the New York, he returned to Combal.Zero as Chef de Partie when it was awarded 28th place out of the top 50 restaurants in the world. “…my mind was opened to new ways of seeing food through constant experimentation…and really grasped what rules needed to be respected and where freedom could come into play.”

HOBNOBMAG Stuffed Tomato

The wine list has been carefully curated by wine aficionado and owner Paolo Meregalli, who has assembled selections of both esoteric and more-known Italian wines. All wines are available by the glass, thanks to the Coravin system, and are poured at the table. Offerings range from $13 up to $500, for some very hard to come by vintages from their special collection. Meregalli has traveled extensively—London, Paris, Bejing, Geneva, Dubai, and chose NYC as the spot to open this intimate venue. “It was my move to the States that truly invigorated me… I found the energy, open-mindedness and diversity amongst the people living here inspiring.” Wines are categorized by their flavor profiles ‘Bright & Lively’ or ‘Clean & Earthy’ to help with the decision making, and dishes can be ordered in small, medium, and large portions to match appetites.

HOBNOBMAG Stuffed Tomato

The cozy space, is designed by SGS Architetti Associati, and lends an industrial feel with soft lighting throughout. There is a private dining room in the back which houses a wine cellar, plus an adjacent lounge outfitted with comfortable leather chairs, for those interested in having events. mulinoavino.com

recipe

PASTA+POMODORO 2

Here’s how you can make Mulino a Vino’s PASTA+POMODORO 2 at home.

hobnobmag pasta stuffed tomato

SERVES 4

FOR THE TOMATO CONFIT

4 nice heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup EV olive oil
1 oz granulated salt
1 oz granulated sugar
1 sprig rosemary
1 clove garlic

Preheat oven to 280ºF. Cut off the top of the tomato, and scoop out the pulp with a spoon, taking care not to break the skin of tomato. Set the pulp aside for the sauce.

Season tomato shells and tops with oil, salt, and sugar. Break up the rosemary sprig and clove and sprinkle across a baking sheet. Place tomato shell and tops on the baking tray, leaving about 2-3 inches between each tomato. Place in the oven and bake for 20 min.

FOR THE SAUCE

pulp of 4 tomatoes (from above), blended
1 oz soy sauce
2 oz concentrated tomato paste
1/2 cup EV olive oil
1 pinch sugar
20 basil leaves
4 oz tomato puree (canned or fresh)

Blend all ingredients together in a blender, and then pour sauce into a big pot. Cook for 20 minutes on medium fire.

FOR THE PASTA

7 oz spaghetti
3 oz parmesan, grated
1 oz butter
salt, to preference

Bring an abundant amount of salt water to a boil. (I recommend about 2 teaspoons of salt for every quart of water.) Cook spaghetti for 8-10 min until it is al dente. When the pasta is done, remove from water with tongs, put in the pot with tomato sauce and stir.

Continue to cook tomato sauce and pasta on medium heat for two min. After 2 min, add parmesan cheese and butter. Stir for 1 min. With tongs, place the pasta and sauce inside the confit tomato and close with the tomato top.

FOR THE PARMESAN CHIP

To make parmesan chips: grate parmesan cheese on a sheet of baking paper the size of plate. Microwave on high for about two min. Place tomato on top.

Easy Bang Bang Chicken from Sasha Wilkins Author of Friends, Food, Family

Posted on: November 28th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

A cookbook that makes entertaining easy, fun, relaxed. See the recipe for Bang Bang Chicken, a buffet-style dinner that allows guests to fill their own rice pancakes as they please.

Fashion editor and founder of LibertyLondonGirl.com, Sasha Wilkins knows a thing or two about being a modern hostess. Wilkins has traveled the world, feeding friends and family everywhere she goes. To her, being a modern hostess means nixing the fuss without sacrificing style and quality. Her tips and recipes allow you to spend more time talking to your friends and family, and less time sweating over the stove. This is why we chose to include this cookbook as part of Hobnob’s plan for hosting weekend guests.

The ideas in FRIENDS FOOD FAMILY apply to all sorts of gatherings, from impromptu guests to perfect picnics and long weekend brunches. Including influences from her treks around the globe, Wilkins’s hope is help readers “rustle up a meal anywhere from a beach house in Cornwall to a youth hostel kitchen somewhere idyllic via the tiniest of Manhattan apartments, whether using food from the back of the fridge or from a fancy food market.”

hobnobmag Bang Bang Chicken

In thinking about your weekend guests, recipes like Bang Bang Chicken, a dish of DIY chicken wraps with tons of fresh vegetables and a spicy peanut sauce, or her puff pastry-topped Giant Chicken Pie will be sure crowd pleasers. Breakfast is a breeze with tips for poaching eggs for a crowd and no-brainer dishes like a granola parfait, a layering of fruit, yogurt, and granola, topped with eye- and mouth-popping pomegranate seeds in pretty water glasses. You can make them ahead of time and chill overnight. Wilkins also embraces the great outdoors with hot, comforting dishes you can make ahead and reheat, perfect for ravenous guests coming in from the ski slopes, or perfectly packaged sandwiches and salads-in-jars to take with you on hikes. Whether you’re feeding friends at an afternoon tea, a traditional Sunday lunch, or a warm weather picnic, Wilkins has your group covered.

recipe

BANG BANG CHICKEN

I don’t just love this dish because of its name (which is irresistibly good and comes from the noise made when cooks would tenderize the chicken by banging it with a mallet) but because it is as finger-lickin’ good as it is easy. It’s so simple that it would be a great recipe to make with children, although there is nothing childish about it. It originates from Sichuan, where the inclusion of Sichuan peppercorns makes it a much fierier dish than we eat in the West. (Feel free to add 1 or 2 tsp if you crave the burn.)

hobnobmag bang bang chicken

Bang bang chicken is usually served with its sauce over noodles—either rice or mung bean—but I like to serve mine as a DIY version with all the ingredients separated, so the eaters can choose their favorite combination to roll up in a pancake. I first made this for a Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) supper party, which I didn’t want to feel like a one-note meal, so I used a different kind of pancake for each course. The ones I use to wrap the chicken in are the thin, rice versions that you can find in any Asian supermarket, often in the freezer section. They are inexpensive and are packaged so that you can just remove what you need, and put the others back in the freezer. (I find them very useful for last-minute suppers.)

SERVES 6

FOR THE CHICKEN & NOODLES

6 chicken breasts (on the bone)
7 oz rice noodles
sesame oil

Rinse the chicken breasts under a running faucet. Put them in a saucepan, cover with cold water, and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and poach gently for 15 minutes. Check the inside of a breast, and if there is any hint of pinkness, simmer for another 5 minutes, or until cooked through.

When the chicken is cooked, remove from the water, take off the skin, and discard. Reserve the poaching liquid. Pull the meat from the bone and shred neatly—you can use a fork or your fingers.

Plunge the rice noodles into a pan of boiling water. They should cook almost immediately, but do check package instructions. Drain, then add a drop of sesame oil to stop them sticking together.

FOR THE SAUCE

8 TB peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
6 TB sweet chili sauce
2 tsp lime juice
2 TB soy sauce
2 TB rice vinegar
2 TB sesame oil

Dump the sauce ingredients in another pan with 1 cup of the reserved poaching liquid. Mix thoroughly and heat over gentle heat to warm through. (Do not to let it burn—burnt peanuts smell revolting.)

FOR THE TABLE

30 rice pancakes (4 per head, plus a few extra)
3 TB sesame seeds
2 cups bean sprouts
2 carrots (optional)
2 romaine lettuces
Bunch scallions
1 to 2 cucumbers
1/2 bunch cilantro

If you have a steamer, place it over a pan of simmering water, and add the pancakes to the basket to warm through. Otherwise, they can be wrapped in foil and warmed in the oven.

Heat a frying pan and pour in the sesame seeds to toast for 30 seconds. (This is optional, but they taste better toasted.)

For the table, rinse the bean sprouts, grate the carrots, if using, separate the lettuce leaves, shred the onions, and cut the cucumber into matchsticks.

TO SERVE

Arrange the chicken, noodles, pancakes, vegetables, and cilantro on a series of plates. Pour the sauce into 2 bowls. Put the sesame seeds in a little bowl. Let everyone assemble their own pancakes at the table. Don’t forget lots of napkins, as the sauce drips down chins and fingers.

(If you are making this on a hot summer day, don’t heat the sauce and allow the chicken and the noodles to cool to room temperature.)

Excerpted from Friends, Food, Family: Essential Recipes, Tips and Secrets for the Modern Hostess, from Liberty London Girl by Sasha Wilkins by arrangement with Quadrille Publishing, distributed by Chronicle Books, Copyright © 2015 by Sasha Wilkins.

Segedin Goulash Served Over Steamed Slovak Dumplings

Posted on: November 13th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

The first time I tasted Segedin Goulash I fell in love with its unusual flavors and rich, creamy sauce. If you like pork, think about it served in a spiced paprika pool, and finished in butter and sour cream. It’s a rich dish, that will be especially appreciated in cold weather to warm the soul. Traditionally, the goulash is served over dumplings, or if you are not so inclined, boil some basmati rice to use as a base.

We created this recipe as part of a menu for hosting guests over the weekend. The plan is full of ideas for filling up guests, but not spending too much time in the kitchen. So, if you are following our plan for Hosting Weekend Guests, you will be making extra so it can be transformed into Mini Pot Pies the following day for lunch. This dish will last, and only gets better with after a day or two.

SERVES 4 WITH EXTRA FOR MINI POT PIES

PREPARE THE GOULASH

2 medium onions, chopped
4 TB butter

3 LB pork shoulder, cut into cubes
2 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp caraway seeds

2 LB sauerkraut
water

2 TB butter
5 TB flour
2 CUP sour cream

In a large, deep saucepan, saute onions in butter, until they are a nice brown, about 5 min. Add cubed pork, along with spices. Saute about 15 min till pork is cooked through. Add sauerkraut, plus enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hr till thick and reduced.

In a separate pan, melt butter and add flour. Add this mix into the stew to thicken it. Stir in sour cream, and let cook gently for 2 min.

TO SERVE SEGEDIN GOULASH

Steamed Dumplings, recipe follows, sliced (or rice)

Put 2 or 3 dumplings onto a plate and pour the goulash over it.

SUNDAY LUNCH: MINI POT PIES

leftover goulash
puff pastry, thawed at room temp for 40 min

heirloom tomatoes, sliced
EV olive oil
salt

Fill ramekins just shy of the top with goulash. Cut pastry sheets to size of the ramekins, and fit around the top using your fingers to seal. Bake in preheated 400ºF oven for 20-25 min till puff pastry is cooked through and golden brown. Serve with sliced heirlooms on the side, drizzled with olive oil and salt.

recipe

STEAMED DUMPLINGS

Slovak-style dumplings are not your usual noodle-type fare. They are huge, sponge-y bread-sized morsels that do their job of soaking up the sauces and juices of many dishes. These go hand in hand with the Segedin Goulash, and make it that much better. Make these ahead if you don’t want to spend the time while guests are in attendance, or alternatively, involve guests in the prep if they love to cook.

MAKES 22 SLICES

PREPARE THE YEAST

1 CUP milk
1 teaspoon of sugar
packet of yeast

Heat milk in the microwave for about 45 seconds so it’s lukewarm. Then put 3 TB of the milk into a small bowl. Vigorously whisk in sugar and yeast and let sit for about 10 min, to allow the yeast to rise.

MAKE THE DOUGH

2 CUPS all-purpose flour
1 egg
salt
yeast mixture
remaining milk

slice of stale bread (optional), cubed

In a large bowl, combine ingredients well. Then knead for about 10 min with a mixer. Dough should be smooth and unsticky, add flour if necessary.

LET THE DOUGH RISE

Cover the bowl with a towel and let sit 2 hrs.

Dust a wooden cutting board with flour and divide the mixture into 2 parts. Dumplings will increase in size when you steam them, so start with a size that will accommodate the pot you have. Cover these with a towel, and let sit another 20 min.

MAKE THE DUMPLINGS

Set up a double boiler, and get water to boil. Place dough inside pot and cover. Steam for 20 min without opening the lid. Remove from pot, and poke the dumplings to let any steam out.

Allow to cool slightly. Slice into dumplings about a half-inch thick. Set 2 on a plate and cover with goulash to serve.

Butternut Squash Soup with Red Curry Coconut Milk

Posted on: November 13th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

This soup can be made very quickly, once you have an already roasted squash. We upped the ante on this butternut squash soup with the addition of curry paste and coconut milk—the Indian and Thai spices make it rich, and the coconut milk gives it an appealing creaminess.

We created this dish as part of a plan for hosting weekend guests. If you are following the weekend guest plan, then you would have the roasted butternut squash you made the night before.  Make this soup while creating the Veggie Crepes, and serve together.

MAKES 12 SMALL MUG SERVINGS OR 4 LARGE BOWLS

START THE SOUP

2 TB olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander

20 oz vegetable stock

Heat oil. Saute onion and spices 5 min. Add broth and cook for 10 min.

INCORPORATE THE ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

1 butternut squash, roasted

10 oz unsweetened coconut milk
3 tsp red curry paste
1 tsp salt

squeeze of lime for garnish (optional)

Cut squashes in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and skin, then cut into cubes. Spoon out the flesh and add to the pot, stir to incorporate. Add coconut milk, curry paste, and cook for 10 min.

Process in blender or food processor in batches (or use an immersion blender). Season with salt.

Offer the lime at the table for those who would like to add a squeeze to their soup.

Creative Crepes for Breakfast & Lunch: Palacinky (Slovak Crepes)

Posted on: November 13th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

I have such fond memories of eating these for breakfast hot off the pan with strawberry preserves and a light sprinkling of salt on the top. But you can put most anything into these crepes. To make creative crepes: add vegetables, creamy sauces, or even ground meat. They are a great leftover reviver!

If you are following our weekend guest hosting plan, make a large batch for breakfast, then parlay the surplus batter into the Veggie Crepes for lunch. The batter gets better with time. For the lunch filling, use the vegetables you roasted the night before, along with a choice of sauces: the Lemon Beurre Blanc from the cod recipe and Black Truffle Dip from the brussels sprouts recipe .

MAKES 9 NINE-INCH CREPES

MAKE THE BATTER

2 CUPS flour, sifted
1/2 tsp salt

4 eggs
2 CUPS milk

Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk together, then add to flour mix. Beat until smooth. The batter should be thick enough to hold together, yet be able to spread out on the heated skillet quickly, to create thin crepes. Use the first crepe as a test—if it comes out too thick, stir in a little milk to the batter to thin it out.

COOK THE SLOVAK CREPES

1 tsp butter for each crepe
1 tsp strawberry preserves (or your favorite flavor) for each crepe

Heat skillet over medium heat, enough to melt the butter quickly, but not brown it. Melt butter and pour one ladel-full of batter and immediately tilt the skillet to cover the entire bottom of pan.

When crepe is brown on one side, flip with spatula. Move to a plate, and with a spoon spread preserves thinly all over one side. Roll, and serve immediately to each guest.

SATURDAY LUNCH: VEGGIE CREPES

grilled vegetables
Lemon Beurre Blanc sauce
Black Truffle Dip

Reheat the grilled vegetables from dinner the night before in the oven or in a skillet. Let guests choose which sauce they prefer to spread over the crepes before adding the veggies, and rolling. Serve with Red Curry Coconut Butternut Squash Soup (see recipe).