Monday, August 12, 2013

Clafoutis, The French Dessert for Grown Ups, Mais Oui!

Listen Here:

Grab the cherries and throw them into a hot buttered pie pan.  Tell the children that they can't have this one until they are older.  Yes! You can make it easily after work with no fuss or muss.  In fact, you will have to do like the old commercial and throw some flour on your face to make it look like the work was hard.

Cherry Clafoutis (Inspired by this thread over at LTH Forum with "Best Practices"/Inspiration taken from there, Julia Child, Dorie Greenspan, Craig Claiborne, and Christopher Kimball)

1 lb of fresh cherries, washed, stemmed, but pits left intact
3 eggs
1/3 c. sugar
3/4 c. cream
1/2 c. whole milk
1 t. vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1/2 c. all purpose flour

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and make sure there is a rack in the middle of the oven.
Butter a pie pan.  Arrange cherries in a single layer of the buttered pie pan.
Whisk the eggs until they are bubbly.  Then whisk in the sugar until there are no granules present and the mix is a smidge thick.  This should take about 2 minutes total whisking time.  Keep whisking and add in the pinch of salt and the vanilla.  Keep whisking and add the flour.  Keep whisking until smooth.  Now whisk in your milk and cream to combine.   Knock bowl on counter to dissipate any visible bubbles in your batter. 
This batter moves quickly, so be aware as you pour it over the cherries.  Bake until it's airy, puffy, and browned.  This will be about 45 minutes.  But before you remove it from the oven, treat it like a cake and insert a skewer in the center and make sure it comes out clean.  

Et voilĂ !  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Yes, you can add powdered sugar, but I loathe that stuff.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fried Olives Are Delicious and Easy to Prepare in Advance for the Super Bowl Party

It is hard to believe that this Sunday will be the Super Bowl.   It's also hard to believe that today's high in Chicago is over 60 degrees.  What's not hard? This recipe that will be a boon to your Super Bowl gathering.  It's from The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser.  I will later post about why this cookbook is essential to add to your collection but for now I give you a delicious, and easy, recipe.

Fried Olives

Makes about 30, and can be prepared eight hours in advance
Marcona almonds
30 olives, I used home-cured Barouni, pitted
3/4 c flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 c Panko bread crumbs, these are my default for bread crumbs
Approximately 2 quarts of Mild oil for deep frying, I used a mix of
olive and grape seed

Stuff the olives with the almonds.

Set up a small bowl and place your flour in it. Then use another small bowl for your eggs. Finally, a third bowl should house the Panko.  Next,designate one hand for your dry ingredients and the other hand for the eggs. Using your designated "dry hand", coat an olive in flour. Second, drop the flour-coated olive into the egg, and roll it in the egg with your designated "wet hand".  Finally, roll the coated egg, with your " dry hand" in the Panko.  Set aside on a plate and repeat with the remaining olives.  You can fry them now or set them aside in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap until you are ready to fry them.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat.  The oil will be hot enough once it reaches 375°. Add a handful of olives at a time to the pan but please don't crowd the pan.  Watch carefully, fry the olives until golden brown; this won't take very long.  Remove the olives with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

This year, like last year, it's all about the food at the party and not the teams if you are a Bears' fan, but then again the $64,000 question is whether Beyonce will sing or lip-sync her half-time performance?