Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New Best Friend

I have been addicted to my Cooks Illustrated cookbooks and magazines lately. So many good recipes. These are my favourites right now. I am not sure what their policy is for copying their recipes so don't tell. Sorry about all the weird spacing and random sized type. There are all these tabs and lines and stuff from copying the recipe from the Cooks Illustrated site and I can't seem to get rid of them. I will have Micah fix it when he comes back from playing D & D with his buddies tonight.

Penne alla Vodka...This is my absolute favourite new recipe. When I went to the liquor store to buy the vodka for this dish I got carded. Everyone who doesn't look 60 probably gets carded but it still made me happy.

So that the sauce and pasta finish cooking at the same time, drop the pasta into boiling water just after adding the vodka to the sauce. If possible, use premium vodka; inexpensive brands will taste harsh in this sauce. Pepper vodka imparts a pleasant flavor and can be substituted for plain.
Serves 4

1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes , drained, liquid reserved

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 small onion , minced (about 1/4 cup)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)

1/4-1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

Table salt

1/3 cup vodka

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 pound penne pasta

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves

Grated Parmesan cheese , for serving

1. Puree half of tomatoes in food processor until smooth. Dice remaining tomatoes into 1/2-inch pieces, discarding cores. Combine pureed and diced tomatoes in liquid measuring cup (you should have about 1 2/3 cups). Add reserved liquid to equal 2 cups.

2. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are light golden around edges, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Remove pan from heat and add vodka. Return pan to medium-high heat and simmer briskly until alcohol flavor is cooked off, 8 to 10 minutes; stir frequently and lower heat to medium if simmering becomes too vigorous. Stir in cream and cook until hot, about 1 minute.

4. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta. Cook until just shy of al dente, then drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water, and transfer pasta back to Dutch oven. Add sauce to pasta and toss over medium heat until pasta absorbs some of sauce, 1 to 2 minutes, adding reserved cooking water if sauce is too thick. Stir in basil and adjust seasoning with salt. Divide among pasta bowls and serve immediately, passing Parmesan separately.

Chicken Tikka Masala... For all the Provo people past and present...this is not quite the same as Bombay House Tikka Masala (what could be?) but it is still super yummy. I add some veggies in the simmer stage of the recipe.

This dish is best when prepared with whole-milk yogurt, but low-fat yogurt can be substituted. For a spicier dish, do not remove the ribs and seeds from the chile. If you prefer, substitute 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper for the garam masala. The sauce can be made ahead, refrigerated for up to 4 days in an airtight container, and gently reheated before adding the hot chicken. Serve with basmati rice.

Serves 4 to 6

Chicken Tikka

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (see note above)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Masala Sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chile , ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced (see note above)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala (see note above)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.

2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

STEP BY STEP: Chicken Tikka Masala

1. RUB: Coat chicken in salt and spice mixture and refrigerate.

2. MAKE SAUCE: Prepare creamy tomato-masala sauce.

3. DIP: Dunk chicken in protective coating of yogurt and oil.

4. BROIL: Broil chicken, then allow to rest.

German Apple Pancake... This isn't as sweet as it sounds. Also I use a 12 inch skillet and add another half recipe of the batter .

A 10-inch ovenproof skillet is necessary for this recipe; we highly recommend using a nonstick skillet for the sake of easy cleanup, but a regular skillet will work as well. You can also use a cast-iron pan; if you do, set the oven temperature to 425 degrees in step 1, and when cooking the apples in step 3, cook them only until just barely golden, about 6 minutes. Cast iron retains heat better than stainless steel, making the higher oven temperature unnecessary. If you prefer tart apples, use Granny Smiths; if you prefer sweet ones, use Braeburns. For serving, dust the apple pancake with confectioners' sugar and pass warm maple syrup or caramel sauce (recipe linked) separately, if desired.
Serves 4
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (2 1/2 ounces)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 pounds Granny Smith apples or Braeburn apples (3 to 4 large apples), peeled, quartered, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/4 cup light brown sugar or dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice

confectioners' sugar for dusting

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position; heat oven to 500 degrees.

2. Whisk to combine flour, granulated sugar, and salt in medium bowl. In second medium bowl, whisk eggs, half-and-half, and vanilla until combined. Add liquid ingredients to dry and whisk until no lumps remain, about 20 seconds; set batter aside.

3. Heat butter in 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon; cook, stirring frequently with heatproof rubber spatula, until apples are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in lemon juice.

4. Working quickly, pour batter around and over apples (see illustration 1 from "Step by Step: Preparing the Pancake). Place skillet in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees; bake until pancake edges are brown and puffy and have risen above edges of skillet, about 18 minutes.

5. Using oven mitts to protect hands, remove hot skillet from oven and loosen pancake edges with heatproof rubber spatula; invert pancake onto serving platter (see illustrations 2 and 3 from "Step by Step: Preparing the Pancake"). Dust with confectioners’ sugar, cut into wedges, and serve.


Jenny May said...

The Penne alla Vodka
was a total hit when I made it.
I did not even cook it with the
onions as they make me sick and it
still tasted yummy. I also made it
again adding Chicken at the end
cooked in some fresh garlic, and was
more than delicious. I also on another time added whole button
mushrooms and it was a great addition. Wonderful yummy dish..

Anonymous said...

I can hook you up with some garam masala. My Indian friend, Sabiha, gifted me every Indian spice known to man... a fabulous gift but way more than I will ever need. Leah
P.S. I'm sorry to hear you're not feeling well again.

Noelle Olpin said...

Alright, you've inspired me. I've been getting Cook's Illustrated for over a year, but the still making the same stupid things for dinner every night. I'm going to get organized and peruse the magazine again... with purpose.

Adrienne said...

Thanks for these recipes! I love Cooks' Illustrated. Do you have the America's Test Kitchen cookbook? (THe big red one?) That is the greatest, my reference book in the kitchen. Of course, I say that, and then when I "make" Indian food I totally and completely cheat by using the jarred sauce they carry at Williams-Sonoma. Not as expensive as eating at Bombay, that's how I justify it.

SandyKay said...

Yum. I really must try those recipes. I have loved Cook's Illustrated ever since I saw Christopher Kimball in Boston doing demonstrations and imparting his kitchen wisdom. I recommend the cookbook Baking Illustrated. I wish I baked from it as much as I drool over it.

I got carded for buying cooking wine at the grocery store. I don't think the checker was very bright. But it still made me feel good.

Does Micah really play D&D? Like, the old school D&D from 3 decades ago?