Posts Tagged ‘milk’

Spaghetti with Sicilian Meatballs

January 13, 2013

IMG_9502When we were in Italy, what struck me most is that there truly isn’t “Italian” food. Rather, their food is identified by the region you are in. Spaghetti and clams in the Italian Riviera. Boar in Tuscany. Pizza in Naples. That is why I was so intrigued when I saw a recipe for Sicilian meatballs in Bon Appetit.

The food of Sicily has a Greek and sometimes African influence, making it have more olives, capers and currants than you would find in the “boot.” So when looking at the meatball recipe, at first glance it seemed very traditional. Sausage meat (which was an interesting twist on the typical beef, veal, pork combo), breadcrumbs in milk, garlic, onion, etc. Yet, then they add pine nuts and currants to make it have a bit of nutty sweetness. They are baked, and then smothered in a traditional Italian red sauce.

This dish has that same warm, comforting result as typical Italian meatballs, but they do have an interesting sweetness to them that makes them have a “hmm, what’s that?” factor. It is a great alternative to a typical bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, and will be making its way to our dinner table as a great Sicilian (not Italian!) dish!

SPAGHETTI WITH SICILIAN MEATBALLS
Serves 4-6

Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Meatballs:
2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 large egg
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons dried currants

1 pound spaghetti

For Sauce:
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion; sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juices and 2 tablespoons basil; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until sauce thickens, breaking up tomatoes with fork, about 1 hour. Mix in 2 tablespoons basil. Season with salt and pepper. Set sauce aside.

For Meatballs:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil baking sheet. Mix crumbs and milk in medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Mix in Parmesan, onion, basil, egg, garlic and pepper. Add sausage, pine nuts and currants; blend well. Using wet hands, form mixture into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place on baking sheet. Bake until meatballs are light brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Add to sauce.

Cook spaghetti in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Mound in dish. Bring sauce and meatballs to simmer. Mix with and spoon over spaghetti.

Squash Apple Turnovers

December 8, 2010

In my butternut squash risotto recipe, I declared that I can finally and confidently cut a butternut squash. Although after demonstrating my Iron Chef knife skills, I realized that I needed to broaden my squash usage beyond dinner that night because butternut squashes are HUGE. It is such a rich, flavorful and fantastic seasonal ingredient, so I knew I couldn’t let any extra go to waste.

I found this recipe in Cooking Light and thought it was a great alternative to the typical dinner, and also was a great vegetarian option for those who say “no” to meat (like my friend Emily!). Serving with a light salad (and using up the rest of the expensive and yummy goat cheese in it) made a light yet comforting cold weather meal.

So don’t dismay when your butternut squash takes over your Tupperware – this recipe will give you a yummy way to utilize one of my favorite vegetables!

SQUASH-APPLE TURNOVERS
8 Servings

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cups (1/4-inch) diced peeled butternut squash
1 cup (1/4-inch) diced peeled Jonagold apple (about 1/2 pound)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled goat cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 (11.3-ounce) can refrigerated dinner roll dough or pie crust dough
1 tablespoon honey mustard
2 teaspoons water
2 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté for 3 minutes. Add squash; sauté for 5 minutes. Add apple; cook 6 minutes or until squash and apple are tender. Stir in salt and pepper. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. Gently stir in cheese and thyme.

Separate dough into 8 pieces. Roll each portion into a 5-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Combine mustard and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl. Lightly brush top sides of dough circles with mustard mixture. Spoon about 2 tablespoons squash mixture onto half of each circle, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Fold dough over filling; press edges together with a fork to seal. Brush milk over dough. Place turnovers 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 19 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Banana Bread

October 10, 2010

Impromptu baking has become somewhat of a new hobby of mine. By impromptu, I don’t mean feeling the desire to bake an apple pie on a Saturday, going to the grocery store to get the necessary ingredients, then turning a food craving into a reality. I mean looking at my kitchen and saying – hmmmm, I have everything I need to make this yummy sweet treat at this very moment – so I will! It started with cookies, because let’s face it, a day doesn’t go by when I don’t have all the necessary ingredients for cookies on hand. It generally happens about 10pm at night in conjunction with a chocolate craving.

But lately, I have had a bit of a banana problem. We eat them weekly, but the bunch doesn’t always get consumed before good old oxygen takes over and turns them brown and mushy. This baking, as you may have guessed, stems from the sick feeling in my stomach I get when perfectly good ingredients go to waste. When I know that if I just add a few eggs, flour, sugar, etc., I can turn those unwanted bananas to a warm and inviting loaf of banana bread.

But, the dilemma that generally follows is the fact that I rarely have milk or buttermilk on hand. So, one day when I was searching for a recipe that didn’t require those two “moistness ingredients” I found this recipe using something else I would hate to have go to waste in my fridge – creme fraiche. I had half a container left, and it was the perfect use for it.

The result was an amazingly moist, flavorful and delicious banana bread. And the best part is, it would be amazing with a few cups of chocolate chips – for those late night cravings.

Thanks to Gourmet for this perfect go-to recipe for when I can’t bear to see overripe bananas and creme fraiche go to waste!

NOTE: The reviews on the Web site show that sour cream is a great substitute for creme fraiche. if you don’t have it on hand. So they seem to be interchangeable!

BANANA BREAD
Makes 2 loaves (can easily be cut in half, which I did)

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
2 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas (6 large)
1/4 cup crème fraîche (or sour cream)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cups walnuts (4 ounces), toasted and chopped (optional)
2 cups chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (9- by 5- by 3-inch) metal loaf pans, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Sift together 3 1/4 cups flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl.

Beat together eggs and sugar in bowl of electric mixer at medium-high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream, mixing, then mix in bananas, crème fraîche, and vanilla. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture and walnuts (if using) and chocolate chips (if using) gently but thoroughly.

Divide batter between loaf pans, spreading evenly, and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Cool loaves in pans on a rack 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack. Turn loaves right side up and cool completely.

Crack Pie

September 7, 2010

My friends in New York City were constantly referring to this culinary delight called “crack pie.” Perhaps because I had never tried it, perhaps because I don’t live in NYC, but “crack pie” seemed like a surreal sweet treat that I wasn’t sure really existed. It is served at Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC, and it is supposedly one of a kind. Chocolate? No. Nuts? No. Fruit? No. Can only have one slice? No. Ok, now I am intrigued.

So, without hesitation, I had made a vow that next time I was in NYC and had a moment (which is rare), I would indulge myself in this so-called, out of this world “crack pie.”

But, to my amazement, I opened my September Bon Appetit to see the infamous “crack pie” recipe from the chef herself! I surely had to try to make it.

I will admit, it takes some time – you make an oatmeal cookie, crumble it, then add butter and brown sugar for the crust. Then, you make the filling, bake it, then let it set overnight in the fridge before having a piece.

The anticipation was killing me – I spent much of my Sunday making this pie and then had to wait until the next day to see what all the fuss was about. Fortunately, it was Labor Day weekend, so Monday I was at my house at lunchtime. Yes, after lunch, my husband and I dug into that pie like nobody’s business.

Oh. My. Goodness. It is like nothing I can describe…almost like a pecan pie without the pecans, but oh so much better. It has a sweet creaminess of the dry milk and cream, then a saltiness and heartiness of the oatmeal crust. Now, I see what all the fuss is about.

This pie is sure to get an amazing response if you bring it to a party, make for friends, or if you are like me – eat the entire thing in your 2-person household minus a few pieces that went to your neighbors!

Thanks Momfuku Milk Bar and Bon Appetit for allowing me to see the light!

CRACK PIE
Makes 10-12 Servings

Oat cookie crust:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
5 1/2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt

Filling:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
6 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (for dusting)

For oat cookie crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper; coat with nonstick spray. Combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy. Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Turn oat mixture out onto prepared baking pan; press out evenly to edges of pan. Bake until light golden on top, 17 to 18 minutes. Transfer baking pan to rack and cool cookie completely.

Using hands, crumble oat cookie into large bowl; add 3 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar. Rub in with fingertips until mixture is moist enough to stick together. Transfer cookie crust mixture to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Using fingers, press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dish. Place pie dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet.

For filling:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Whisk both sugars, milk powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add melted butter and whisk until blended. Add cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Pour filling into crust. Bake pie 30 minutes (filling may begin to bubble). Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Continue to bake pie until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but center still moves slightly when pie dish is gently shaken, about 20 minutes longer. Cool pie 2 hours in pie dish on rack. Chill uncovered overnight. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled.

Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of pie. Cut pie into wedges and serve cold.


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