Category: way gourmet
Wednesday, December 2
I’m just gonna say it. I make the perfect turkey. After years of researching various methods and trying many of those methods, I finally have the definitive answer for how to cook the perfect turkey.
Photo credit: Anne Wallin
My mom and I have had so many Thanksgiving conversations over the years that go something like this. “Our white meat this year was delicious. I have no idea why!” Or,”Our white meat this year was just so-so. I have no idea why.”
Those conversations are a thing of the past. From now on this is what I’ll be saying to my mom the day after Thanksgiving. “Our white meat and our dark meat and everything about our turkey was perfect this year and I know exactly why.”
And I’m going to share the magic formula with all of you, of course. There are several steps to the process, each of which on their own would make for a good turkey. But combine them all together and you end up with a great turkey. Here’s the formula:
SPATCHCOCK + DRY BRINE + SLATHERED IN MAYONNAISE + ROAST AT HIGH HEAT = PERFECT TURKEY
I will never use another method. This is it. I’m done. Turkey perfected. And I’m going to explain the process in great detail so that, A) I know how to do it again, and B) you can do it, too.
BUY A FRESH, UNFROZEN TURKEY.
Buy a fresh, unfrozen turkey so that you can spatchcock it easily. Buy the turkey 3 days before you’re going to cook it. So, if you’re cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving, buy the turkey Sunday night or Monday morning and prep that baby Monday morning. (You can dry brine for just 1 or 2 days, but 3 is optimal, and this post is all about making the perfect turkey. So, go with 3 days.)
HOW TO SPATCHCOCK A TURKEY:
What is spatchcocking, you say? When you spatchcock a turkey, you cut out the backbone and then roast the turkey flat. It looks crazy, but the bird cooks faster and more evenly. The dark meat portions are more exposed to heat, so they finish cooking not long after the breast meat finishes cooking. “But I want to stuff my bird!” you may be thinking. Never fear, you can still “stuff” the turkey. I mean, it’s totally different, but you can do it and I’ll explain that in the roasting section below. But first, how to spatchcock.
- Remove the neck and giblets from inside the turkey if they came with the bird. Place them in a large pot.
- Place your raw, fresh turkey on a large cutting board, breast down. With large kitchen shears or scissors, cut out the back bone. This requires some serious hand strength. I was spatchcocking two turkeys, so I had to take a little break, my hand was starting to hurt. But, if I can do it, anyone can. (This post on Serious Eats has good pictures that show how to cut out the backbone. If you Google “how to spatchcock a turkey” there are tons of videos out there, too.)
- Once the backbone is removed, hack it in two and throw it in the pot with the neck and giblets. Fill the pot with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes. Voila! AWESOME turkey stock for your gravy! You’re welcome. Note: You can add other aromatics to the broth while it cooks, such as onions, carrots, parsnips, celery, and herbs. Not necessary but certainly delicious!
- Back to the turkey. Now, flip the turkey over and place it on a large rimmed cookie sheet. Press the turkey firmly on the breastbone to flatten it out. Use your muscles!
Now it’s time to move on to the dry brine. Oh, how I love the dry brine.
HOW TO DRY BRINE A TURKEY:
Now that your turkey is all flattened out and ready to go, it’s time to dry brine. This is exactly what it sounds like. You are brining the turkey and there is no water involved. It’s way easier than a water-based brine (trust me) and the results are fantastic.
- You need 1 tablespoon KOSHER salt for every 5 pounds of turkey. You can add 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of dried herbs (like sage and/or thyme) per each tablespoon of salt, but it’s not necessary.
- Evenly rub the salt all over the turkey. You do not need to go under the skin, right on top works just fine. And you do not need to put salt in the cavity of the turkey (which, at this point, is the underside). Once you’ve used up all the salt, lightly cover the turkey with plastic wrap, place in the fridge and walk away. You can leave the turkey uncovered while it dry brines, but since there is other stuff in my fridge, I like to have a little protection so nothing touches the turkey directly. Let the turkey brine in the fridge for 1-3 days (3 days is optimal).
- That’s it! You have successfully brined your turkey!
HOW TO ROAST THE SPATCHCOCKED, DRY BRINED TURKEY…DON’T FORGET THE MAYO!
Now it’s time to roast the turkey. You ready? Let’s go!
- Preheat the oven to 450º F.
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (optional but makes for easier clean up).
- IF YOU WANT TO “STUFF” THE TURKEY: Place a layer of stuffing on the baking sheet, concentrating the stuffing at the center where it will be directly under the turkey. Place an oven-safe cooling rack on top of the stuffing, then lay the turkey on the rack.
- Slather about 1 to 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise all over the turkey. You can add pepper and herbs to the mayonnaise if you like (I added about a teaspoon of dry sage and thyme, along with some black pepper, to the mayo).
- Roast for about 45-60 minutes, take the turkey out of the oven, have one person lift the turkey straight up while the other person scoops the stuffing off of the pan. Replace with vegetables as described in the next step (the “non-stuffing” step). Mix the “stuffed” stuffing with the rest of your stuffing and bake as usual for your stuffing recipe.
- IF YOU DON’T WANT TO “STUFF” THE TURKEY: Place roughly chopped celery, onion, carrots and parsnips on the foil of the baking sheet. Place an oven-safe cooling rack over the veggies then place the turkey on the rack. (If you “stuffed,” you’ll simply put the turkey back down.)
- Slather about 1 to 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise all over the turkey. You can add pepper and herbs to the mayonnaise if you like (I added about a teaspoon of dry sage and thyme, along with some black pepper, to the mayo).
- FOR BOTH “STUFFED” and “UNSTUFFED”: Roast the turkey with an oven-safe thermometer placed deep in the breast. When the breast reaches 150º F, move the thermometer to the deepest part of the thigh and cook the turkey until the thigh temperature reaches 165º F, which will take about another 20 minutes. Total cooking time will be around 2 hours for a 15 pound turkey. Note: if you are not using an oven safe thermometer that just beeps when the temperature is reached, check the temperature earlier than you think you have to. Our 2016 15-pound turkey was fully done at 1 1/2 hours.
- Take turkey out of the oven and let it rest for about 30 minutes before carving.
- The veggies in the pan are great for snacking while you make the rest of dinner, and be sure to add the pan drippings to your turkey broth for making gravy!
CARVING THE TURKEY:
When it was time to carve the turkey, I did something I’ve never done before: I cut the entire breast off at once, then cut slices on a bias (see photos on Serious Eats). I carved all the meat off the wings, things and drumsticks. The turkey serving platter with all the carved meat was gorgeous. Sadly I didn’t get a photo, but my sister Instagrammed the carving process, which is the photo at the top of this post, so you can at least get an idea of how awesome the turkey platter was!
When my sister Anne and I started carving the turkey and taking bites, we could not believe how good the meat was. The breast meat was moist and flavorful all the way to the center. It was heavenly. It was miraculous. Oh, and the skin was awesome. This was the best turkey I’ve ever cooked (actually, turkeyS…I made 2!), and it might even be the best turkey I’ve ever eaten. Period.
PHEW. That’s it! I know it seems complicated and involved, but I promise it is not hard. You just have to follow the formula. And the formula is magical.
Please note: In the photos the turkey is not on sitting on a rack and there are no veggies below it. This is because I moved the turkey to a new tray to rest. I really did cook it on a tray over veggies!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 10:19 pm 8 Comments
Categories: fab faves, featured recipes, Kitchen Tips, main dishes, thanksgiving prep, way gourmet Tags: dry brine, roast turkey, spatchcocked turkey, thanksgiving turkey, turkey |
Thursday, October 1
It’s October, which means many things. Halloween. Pumpkins. Apple picking. And Fair Trade Month!
I absolutely LOVE working with the folks at Fair Trade USA and I am so happy to help them celebrate Fair Trade Month once again! Today we have a Ugandan farmer’s story to share, a giveaway and a FANTASTIC recipe, one that I’ve been meaning to share with you for years. I also have a super simple request, which I’ll get to when we start talking about the giveaway. Are you ready? Let’s go!
I have always loved the opportunities that Fair Trade provides for farmers, but after visiting Malawi earlier this year, it holds an even stronger hold on my heart. Fair Trade works with farmers in Malawi and I love knowing that the good people of that country are benefiting from what Fair Trade has to offer. One of my biggest takeaways from that trip was that we need to find sustainable ways to help people and advance development. Fair Trade is one of the tools that can help us do just that.
Click on the infographic above to zoom in.
The Fair Trade farmer I would like to share with you today is Chelimo Annet, an inspirational coffee farmer & member of the Coffee A Cup Cooperative Society in Uganda. Chelimo has been farming coffee since 1994 and has 500 coffee trees. She supplements her income by growing bananas & eggplant.
Chelimo says that one of the primary benefits of being in a Fair Trade cooperative is that she is able to get coffee seedlings. Some of her trees are very old and don’t yield as much coffee as they used to, so raising young coffee trees is important. Another big benefit has been the additional income she receives for her coffee, which has enabled her 6 children to attend school. EVERY SINGLE PERSON I met in Africa used increased income to send their children to school before anything else. Participating in Fair Trade co-ops gives people the chance to give their children the one thing they want more than anything else – an education. It’s powerful stuff. When I read how she was able to send her children to school, oh man, my heart.
Now that we’ve met Chelimo,
I think it’s time for a giveaway! Fair Trade would like to share some of the fruits of their farmers’ labors with you! Today one lucky commenter will get a package of wonderful Fair Trade goodies, including products from:
- Cascadian Farm
- Lake Champlain Chocolates
- Numi Organic Tea
- Frontier Natural Products Co-Op
- Barefoot & Chocolate
- Alter Eco
- Pura Vida by S&D Coffee
- Spectrum Essentials
To enter the giveaway, please do the following by Midnight, PT on October 31, 2015 (prize must be shipped within the U.S.): Leave a comment on this post! Easy peasy! Bonus Entry: Please pretty please repin this pin by clicking here. Be sure to leave a separate comment on this post letting us know you did! My recipe is part of a Fair Trade USA recipe rally and the two recipes with the most repins on the Fair Trade pin board will earn the winning bloggers a trip to visit Fair Trade farms in the Dominican Republic. Honestly, I would write about Fair Trade no matter what and it’s totally fine if I don’t win, but it would be fun! 😉 Bonus Entry: Like Fair Trade USA on Facebook and leave a separate comment letting us know you did!
This giveaway is now closed. Comment #26 Kim was the randomly-selected winner. Congrats, Kim!
Last but not least, today’s recipe. I have been making these Mini Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes since long before the blog existed. It was sort of my crowning glory recipe. I found it in the Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book, a cookbook I received as a wedding gift. I’ve had it on my “blog post topics to write about” list for years because these little cakes deserve a big blog post. I was actually having a hard time figuring out what recipe I wanted to make with the Fair Trade goodies I received and then it hit me: lava cakes! What better way to use a bag of fair trade chocolate chips than to create molten lava chocolate. NONE, I tell you.
This chocolate lava cake is the real deal. No cheating by putting a piece of candy in the middle. No chocolate chips mixed in the dough to make it seem gooey. This cake is naturally volcanic and wonderful and rich and chocolatey and gourmet and wonderful. The cakes are not hard to make, I promise. I mean, you are gonna get a few dishes dirty and figuring out when to take them out of the oven is tricky, but the recipe is straightforward and uses ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen. And you have the chance to use several fair trade ingredients, from chocolate chips to cocoa to vanilla, all common fair trade products.
That’s it for today! An awesome fair trade farmer, a delicious giveaway, and one of my favorite recipes EVER. Happy Fair Trade Month! And good luck on the giveaway!Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes (a.k.a. Chocolate Lava Cakes)Prep timeCook timeTotal timeAdapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Baking BookAuthor: Jane MaynardServes: 9Ingredients
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1¼ cup good quality semisweet chocolate chips (you can use bittersweet, too, but it will be CRAZY rich)
- 4 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- ½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- In a small heavy saucepan, melt butter and chocolate chips over medium-low heat. Once melted, set aside to cool.
- Add the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl. Beat on high with a stand mixer or hand mixer for 5 minutes. Mixture should be pale yellow and thickened.
- While eggs are mixing, grease 9 5-oz. ramekins then coat with granulated sugar. Set aside.
- Add chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat on medium speed until just mixed, about 30 seconds total.
- Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt into the bowl. Beat on low speed, just until blended, about 15 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with a spatula and give it one more quick stir by hand.
- Spoon batter into prepared dishes, dividing evenly. Ramekins should be about ⅔ full.
- Bake for 10-14 minutes, until the cakes have risen slightly, feel firm at the edges and are softer in the center when pressed gently with your finger. The hardest part of this recipe is taking the cakes out at the right moment! Too soon and there is too much lava, too late and there is no lava. The cakes will have risen about a ¼ inch and look cooked on the top surface. The center should feel softer than the edges and be a dimple. Rest assured these cakes are still gooey goodness even if you pass the lava stage, so don't stress.
- Cool in dishes for 5 minutes, then, using pot holders, invert each cake onto a serving plate. Cool 15 minutes before serving. I personally just keep the lava cakes in the ramekins - I think it's prettier this way, it's easier, and it's just as delicious!
- Optional: serve sprinkled with sifted powdered sugar and chocolate spirals and raspberries. I never do this. I just care about eating the cake as quickly as possible.
Thursday, September 17
Today’s recipe has been a long time coming. It’s been in my head forEVER and today I finally took it out of my head and made it reality. And boy-oh-boy am I glad I did. I never say “boy-oh-boy,” so that should tell you how good this recipe is.
For quite some time I’ve been thinking that Indian food would be good filler for a burrito. After all, flour tortillas are a really excellent blank canvas for all kinds of flavors. Including Indian flavors.
I used my homemade tandoori chicken as the base for the burrito, then just piled on all kinds of other wonderful ingredients. The result was delectable. In fact, I had an Indian burrito for lunch today and then couldn’t wait to have it again for dinner.
If I wanted to start a food truck (which I don’t), this burrito is what I would serve. Since I’m never going to start a food truck, I’ll just spill all my secrets.
In case you are wondering, our kids ate their burritos, although they each had a different variation, from Owen with just tandoori chicken and rice to Anna who used about half of the ingredients to Cate who went for the whole enchilada, or burrito, actually!
I think it’s time to get right down to the recipe. Enjoy!Indian BurritosIf Mexican food is good in a burrito, why wouldn't Indian food be good, too? The answer: it is!Author: Jane MaynardIngredients
- Large flour tortillas
- Tandoori chicken (click here for recipe)
- Grilled onions
- Grilled bell peppers
- Jasmine or basmati rice, cooked in salted water
- Canned chickpeas
- Masala sauce (see recipe below)
- Raita sauce (see recipe below)
- Lentils (you can look for a recipe for "dal" online, or just buy the boxed, cooked lentils at Trader Joe's!)
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Make sure your tandoori chicken, onions, peppers, rice, chickpeas and masala sauce are all warm/hot.
- Warm the tortilla on both side on the stove in a large, dry frying pan.
- Pile on all of the ingredients above and wrap the tortilla up burrito style!
Masala SaucePrep timeCook timeTotal timeThis chunky tomato-based masala sauce is a perfect topper for Indian burritos!Author: Jane MaynardIngredients
- 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 1 clove fresh garlic, pressed through a garlic press
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, most of the fluid drained off
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cardamom
- In a small sauce pan heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent.
- Add garlic, stir and cook about 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Bring sauce to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium low, maintaining a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Blend about ⅔ of the mixture in a blender, then add back into the pan and stir. Serve warm.
Raita Sauce (Indian Yogurt Sauce)Prep timeTotal timeBasic recipe for raita, an Indian yogurt-based sauce with cucumber.Author: Jane MaynardIngredients
- 1 cup plain yogurt (you can use whatever kind of yogurt you want - if you use Greek, the sauce will be thicker)
- ½ cup shredded cucumber (peel and core the cucumber before shredding)
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- ¼ teaspoon lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- ⅛ teaspoon cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 shakes cardamom
- Mix everything together! Serve cold.
Wednesday, March 4
I am SUPER excited about today’s post. First off, I get to brag about one of my very lovely food blogging friends. Second, I get to share an AMAZING recipe with you. Third, I get to do a giveaway. So much goodness in one place!
Aimée Wimbush-Bourque is a friend I met through blogging that I am beyond grateful to know. She is lovely and talented and I am lucky to have her as one of my people. Her blog Simple Bites is wonderful and she is truly an inspiration to me. The woman pretty much makes everything from scratch. When you grow up on a homestead AND you’re a professional chef you tend to do that sort of thing. I know I will never be an “Aimée” myself, but one can always dream…and at least I try!
Aimée just published Brown Eggs and Jam Jars and I am so happy to share this beautiful cookbook with you today! (Congratulations, Aimée!) My friend Allison came over this morning and we made a couple of Aimée’s recipes from the book. It was such a lovely morning, spending time with a friend making recipes written by another friend. I’m feeling all aglow with cheesy friend-i-ness!
Today I get to share Aimée’s recipe for Crispy Rosemary Roast Potatoes with you. Holy HANNAH, people. So good. Allison and I basically ate the entire batch. (We won’t talk about how many potatoes that was!) The technique for cooking the potatoes coupled with a cornmeal coating made for truly perfect roast potatoes. Perfect and dangerous. I wasn’t kidding when I said Allison and I ate an ENTIRE BATCH. At 10:30 in the morning, mind you. SO GOOD.
Anyway, Aimée’s book is filled with similarly wonderful recipes and I highly recommend you buy the book immediately! Right after you enter today’s giveaway, of course!
We are giving away a copy of Aimée’s beautiful book to one lucky, randomly-selected winner! Simply leave a comment telling us your favorite thing to make from scratch and you’re entered! Aimée is all about going homemade, so I think chatting about our favorite from-scratch recipes is the perfect way to celebrate her book launch! So, to recap, to enter the giveaway please leave a comment telling us your favorite thing to cook/make/bake from scratch by Midnight PT on Wednesday 3/11/15. Prize needs to be shipped to a U.S. or Canadian address.
And with that I give you Aimée’s recipe for some of the best potatoes you’ll ever eat. Enjoy!Crispy Rosemary Roast PotatoesThis recipe is from the book "Brown Eggs and Jam Jars" by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque and makes some of the best roast potatoes this side of anywhere!Author: Aimée Wimbush-BourqueServes: 6Ingredients
- 2 pounds red potatoes (about 6-7 medium), peeled (Please note that I totally did NOT peel the potatoes, whoops! Sorry, Aimée! They still came out perfectly)
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ cup olive oil
- Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced, plus more chopped for garnish (I also forgot to mince the rosemary leaves...can you tell Allison and I were chatting while making the recipe? Again, everything tasted great.)
- 8 fresh garlic cloves, peeled
- Position a rack on the lowest level of the oven and preheat oven to 425ºF (220ºC).
- Cut each potato in half, then in half again, until you have 4 evenly sized chunks per potato. Place in a medium pot with 1 teaspoon of the salt, cover with cold water and set over high heat. Bring potatoes to a boil, then reduce heat slightly and boil for 2 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix together cornmeal, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Drain potatoes, then transfer to the bowl with cornmeal and toss gently to coat.
- In a 12-inch cast-iron pan or heavy skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. When small bubbles begin to rise (but before oil is smoking) and oil is very hot, add rosemary and garlic. Stir carefully with tongs for a minute to infuse the oil.
- Carefully add the cornmeal-crusted potatoes all at once to the hot oil and arrange them with your tongs so that they are evenly distributed around the pan. Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Carefully remove pan from oven and turn each potato so the crispy side faces up. Roast for another 20-25 minutes or until golden all over.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to a serving platter. Sprinkle with chopped fresh rosemary and a sprinkling of sea slat if desired. Serve at once.
Posted by Jane Maynard at 3:49 pm 72 Comments
Categories: fab faves, featured recipes, Giveaways, Recipes, side dishes, the goods, way gourmet Tags: brown eggs and jam jars, cookbook review, cookbooks, potatoes, roast potatoes |
Sunday, July 20
Hello! We are home from vacation and I am getting back into the cooking groove! After such a long break I am actually really looking forward to it.
Before we get to this week’s dinner plans, I need to tell you about the dinner that Nate and I had last night. Today is our 15th wedding anniversary (TIME FLIES! Happy anniversary, Nate!). Last night Veladora at the Rancho Valencia hotel in Rancho Santa Fe hosted us for dinner to celebrate. There are no words for how wonderful our evening was, but I’m going to give it a try! (Seriously, in the time it took for us to drive off the hotel property we must have said, “That dinner was awesome!” twenty times.) First of all, the food. Ahhh, the food. Nate ordered prime rib cap and I was treated to scallops. Both dishes were unreal. The rib cap was a beautiful cut of meat cooked to perfection, and my scallops were paired with three different corn sides that complemented the scallops beautifully. All of the food we had was wonderful, right down to the 18-year old balsamic vinegar for dipping the focaccia. Chef Matt came out to meet us at the end of our meal and it was so interesting talking with him about the food, how the menu is developed and modified with the seasons, as well as his own career path. Beyond the food, the serving staff was stellar and the restaurant itself was beautiful. The best part was that, despite the high caliber of the restaurant, we felt comfortable and relaxed, thanks to both the setting and the staff. Oh, and they gave us a little gift on the way out the door that was, of course, a tasty treat. It was truly the perfect way to celebrate our latest life milestone. Thank you, Veladora, for a night we will not soon forget.
Despite the fact that I pretty much don’t want to eat any other food ever after Veladora, real life dictates that I still have to feed my family. So, back to the weekly menu!
– Caprese salad with crusty bread
– Stewed green beans
– Taco night
– Grammy’s Orange Chicken
– Rice and veggie
– Takeout night
– Chicken on the grill
– Corn on the cob and watermelon
– Spinach and strawberry salad
Big THANKS to all of you who continued posting menus the last few weeks while I took a break. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!
As usual, please share your menu for the week! Plain or fancy, we want to see it all!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 1:39 pm 20 Comments
Categories: fab faves, way gourmet, weekly menus Tags: dinner plans, free printable, meal plan, menu plan, PRINTABLE MEAL PLAN, rancho valencia, restaurants, shopping list, veladora, weekly menu, weekly menu planning |
Tuesday, April 1
Years ago my friend Liz hosted a cheese party at her home. If you showed up with a bottle of wine, she gave you a plate of cheese! Okay, so it was actually a little fancier and more involved than that. She had gone to who knows how many cheese shops and gathered who knows how many cheeses and had them set up at different tables, organized by strength. Have you ever been to a cheese tasting? It’s really fun! You start with the mildest cheeses and work your way up. And you JUST EAT THE CHEESE. Leave the bread and crackers at home, this experience is about really tasting the cheeses, appreciating the nuanced differences of each type. It was a delicious, educational and fun night that obviously left an impression on me and changed the way I looked at cheese.
There truly is an art to cheese, one that I am woefully uneducated about but also very much appreciate. Nate lived in Paris for a few years back in the day, so we have a bias towards French cheeses. When I had the chance to work on a post for Président, trying out one of their recipes and sharing it with you, I jumped. We love brie and camembert and love to buy Président when we indulge!
A few years ago, Nate and I went to Paris together. We ate so many wonderful foods, including cheese of course! As I was looking through Paris photos this morning to include in this post, I laughed when I discovered the very first photo I took in Paris was of a small round of Président camembert we bought on our first day in that marvelous city! No wonder that’s the cheese I always buy – we can enjoy a bit of France right here in California!
By the way, les crèmeries are to Paris what Dunkin’ Donuts are to Boston. I couldn’t believe how many cheese shops there were, and they all looked like this. No wonder the French have mastered the art of cheese.
The recipe I am sharing with you today comes from Président’s website, where you can find all kinds of easy gourmet recipes. I chose this particular recipe because it not only sounded delicious but it was downright pretty. This beautiful torte would be perfect to serve at any party, but a cheese party would be especially lovely. It can serve as a nice alternative to the straight-up cheese tasting but still fit into the theme of the evening. Also, even though the torte might look intimidating to make, it actually is quite easy to throw together. You can totally impress without the stress!
Also, this food looked gorgeous at every step of the cooking process. Sorry for all the pictures, but I just couldn’t help myself.
Wednesday, March 19
I grew up in New Jersey, just a couple hours from Amish country in Pennsylvania. Amish country was one of the spots we would frequently take visitors, as well as New York City. About the only thing those two places had in common was that they both served giant pretzels! And, you know what, the pretzels in Amish country were 10,000 times better than the ones in New York (sorry, street vendors).
Those Amish pretzels really were to die for. Warm, soft, buttery, with a nice slightly crisp exterior. Heaven. Needless to say I am perfectly fine with the explosion of Auntie Anne’s and Wetzels Pretzels in every mall in America – saves me a trip to Pennsylvania when I get a craving.
My kids also love Amish-style pretzels, so I decided we should try making them at home. We made the recipe below for my column 3 Kids, a Mom & a Kitchen on Babble and it was a great success! Not only were the pretzels soooooo good, but this is a really fun and painless cooking project to do with kids. Check out my post on Babble for details on how to get children of all ages involved with this recipe.
A few notes on the recipe. First, I basically cobbled together a bunch of different recipes to make this one, with most of the best tips coming from this video series by Jay Stewart of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. Second, I used a mix of bread flour and self-rising flour and really like how the texture came out. I give instructions in the recipe below for how to make self-rising flour (which is a combination of cake or pastry flour with baking powder and salt). I’m sure some of you will ask if you can use all-purpose flour – you probably can, but then you’d need to figure out how much baking powder and salt to add to the recipe and also the protein levels will be different. So, basically, you’re on your own if you go that route! 😉
Posted by Jane Maynard at 12:37 pm 39 Comments
Categories: featured recipes, Recipes, side dishes, way gourmet Tags: amish pretzels, copycat auntie anne's pretzels, copycat wetzel's pretzels, homemade pretzels |
Thursday, August 29
When I was in Salt Lake a few years ago, I met up with some friends at Bruges Waffles & Frites. It was the first time I had eaten a Liege Belgian waffle and I instantly fell in love. The sweetness and the texture come together to create waffle magic. (P.S. Bruges’ fries are amazing, too! Here is my post about our visit to Bruges if you’re interested.)
Not too long after that, my Aunt Sue posted a recipe for Liege waffles on our family Facebook page. I’ve had that recipe tucked away for two years waiting for the moment I finally got around to purchasing Belgian pearl sugar so I could make the waffles.
That still hasn’t happened, BUT…when we moved away from Menlo Park earlier this year, our Swedish friends the Montags gave us a box of Swedish pearl sugar as a going away gift. They know how obsessed I am with bulle and Swedish pearl sugar is what you traditionally top the bread with. It was such a great gift, they know me too well!
These waffles are a dream, best eaten at brunch or even as dessert. They are CRAZY sweet. As Sue points out in the recipe, you sort of feel like you had sugar shot straight into your veins! But in a good way, of course.
I highly recommend this recipe and Liege waffles in general. Such a delectable treat! And, yes, cleaning your waffle iron afterwards is a big pain, but it’s worth it!Liege Belgian WafflesAuthor: Jane Maynard (as given to me by Aunt Sue)Recipe type: BreakfastIngredients
- 2 C flour
- 1 C Belgian pearl sugar*
- 1 C melted butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 package yeast (2 T)
- ⅓ C lukewarm water
- 1½ T granulated sugar (vanilla sugar if you have it)
- ⅛ t salt
NotesSue's notes: I can’t find the original website to credit the brilliant person who wrote this recipe. Also, you need to think of the batter as a ball, almost like picking up a blob and being able to chuck it at someone across the room. It does not pour AT ALL! You will press the iron down over the dough to flatten it out to bake. Also, when the waffles are cooked, they will need to be prodded out of the waffle iron. They seem kind of floppy when first baked. Place them on a cooling rack and as they cool a bit, they become crispy as the caramelized sugar needs to cool to get hard. They are crispy and amazingly delicious. I could only eat a quarter of a waffle without feeling like I had literally shot sugar straight into my veins. BEWARE OF SUGAR SHOCK! P.S. I only use the Waring Pro Waffle Baker that you flip once you place the batter in the baker.
- Mix yeast, 1½ T sugar and salt into the lukewarm water. Let yeast dissolve and sit for 15 minutes (it should get foamy). In the meantime, melt the butter.
- Put flour in a large bowl. Make a hole in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture. Whisk together the eggs and melted butter and add to the flour as well. Knead until you get a nice, even dough. Let it rest and rise until dough doubles.
- Gently mix in the pearl sugar.
- Let dough rest for another 15 minutes. Preheat Belgian waffle iron.
- Place waffle dough into the waffle maker (see Sue’s notes below for a tip on this part) and bake for 3-5 minutes. Because the sugar was mixed into the dough later in the process, it will melt and caramelize and give you that special Liege waffle taste. Be careful when removing waffles from the iron as the sugar can be hot and sticky. Place on a cooling rack so the waffles can crisp up.
Jane's note: I don't have a fancy Waring Pro Belgian waffle iron. Mine is a simple iron, but it IS a Belgian maker - you want the thicker waffle plates for this recipe.3.2.2265
*Here is a website where you can Belgian pearl sugar straight from a town called Tienen in Belgium. You can also get Belgian pearl sugar on Amazon. Sue has also used turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw) and says you get a similar effect. Liege waffle purists don’t even like using the Swedish pearl sugar, but you can do whatever you want as far as I’m concerned! 😉
Thursday, August 22
I don’t normally “celebrate” National Doughnut Day because, well, it’s sort of silly, right? BUT…this past June 7 I kept seeing Facebook status updates and Instagram photos of people eating lots and lots of doughnuts and, wouldn’t you know it, I found myself wanting doughnuts! The house we were living in at the time was nowhere near a decent doughnut shop, plus dragging all the kids in and out of the car seemed like too much work. So, I hit the computer and started looking for recipes.
You need to know two other things leading up to today’s recipe.
1) Dan’s grocery stores in Utah used to carry Dunford’s Chocolate Cake Donuts. The latest I heard is that Dan’s no longer carries the donuts and that they are impossible to find (Update: Harmon’s apparently sells them and the Dunford’s in South Jordan is still around). Dunford’s were the greatest chocolate cake donuts of all time. I have never had a chocolate cake donut that compares. I am on a constant quest to find a Dunford’s replacement and I am constantly disappointed.
2) A doughnut is not a doughnut if it is not fried. Yes, there are a lot of good recipes for “baked doughnuts” out there but, if you ask me, they’re basically muffins in a doughnut shape. They aren’t really doughnuts.
With these two thoughts in mind, I decided that since I can’t buy Dunford’s donuts I was going to have to make them. I read through a lot of recipes and finally decided to use a Chocolate Cake Doughnut recipe from Sunset Magazine.
I made a few batches and the final final product was MIGHTY FINE. Still no Dunford’s, but close! And they were better than any other store-bought chocolate cake doughnuts I’ve had, so this recipe was a winner!Chocolate Cake Doughnuts (Almost) Like Dunford Used To MakeFrom Sunset Magazine, but I changed a few things up based on my experience with the recipeAuthor: Jane MaynardIngredients
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1½ cups sugar
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 6 to 8 cups vegetable oil for frying
- Chocolate Doughnut Frosting (See recipe below)
3.2.2646Chocolate Doughnut FrostingSunset’s recipe was more of a glaze, I changed mine to match the Dunford’s frosting moreAuthor: Jane MaynardIngredients
- In a bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, buttermilk, and melted butter to blend. Stir into dry ingredients until well blended. Chill until cold, at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
- Scrape dough onto a generously floured surface.
- If you have a doughnut cutter: With floured hands, pat dough out to about ½ inch thick. With a 3-inch doughnut cutter, cut out doughnuts. Pat together scraps of dough and cut again.
- If you do not have a doughnut cutter, this is what I did and it worked wonderfully: Roll dough out into a rectangle that is about 5 inches wide and ½-inch thick. Cut into strips about 1 inch wide (so you end up with pieces 1″ wide and 5″ long). Shape the strips into circles. With a little bit of water wet the ends with your fingertips and then seal the ends. Trust me, it actually works really well and made about 16 doughnuts.
- Place doughnuts on a well-floured baking sheet or back on your floured surface.
- Add about 4 inches of oil into a 5- to 6-quart pan; heat to 375° (I have an instant read thermometer that I use throughout the entire cooking process – it’s important!). Place one doughnut at a time onto a wide spatula and gently slide into oil, frying three at a time. Cook, turning once, until puffy and cooked through. The original recipe says to cook 3 to 4 minutes total, but that was WAY too long. I cooked each donut 1 minute per side and that was perfect – cooked through completely but also not burned or dried out. With a slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain. Test temperature of oil, reheat to 375 if needed. Repeat process to fry remaining doughnuts.
- Let cool on a wire rack. Dip top half of each doughnut in the chocolate frosting and place back on wire rack to set for about 5 minutes (or longer).
- 6 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate
- ½ cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons corn syrup
- Powdered sugar (amount TBD)
- In a heatproof bowl, combine semisweet chocolate, whipping cream, butter and corn syrup. Place bowl over simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar until the frosting thickens but is still of a consistency where you can dip the doughnuts into the frosting.
These doughnuts come Owen Approved!
Posted by Jane Maynard at 12:31 pm 24 Comments
Categories: featured recipes, Recipes, sweet things, way gourmet Tags: chocolate cake donuts, chocolate cake doughnuts, donuts, doughnuts, dunford's donuts, homemade donuts, homemade doughnuts |
Tuesday, July 30
I have an incredibly high tolerance for rich chocolate. I may have eaten two lava cakes in one sitting before, but who’s keeping track?
When we first moved back to San Diego, my friend Nikki brought us a homemade chocolate ganache cake and it was PERFECTION. I immediately called and begged for the recipe, ’cause that’s what I do.
I finally got around to making the cake myself a few weeks ago, for Nate’s birthday. I love this recipe. It worked really well and the ganache was really easy to work with (as long as you follow Nikki’s detailed directions below).
But here’s the thing with this cake – it seriously might kill you. Remember me? The one who can eat any amount of rich chocolate she wants? Even this cake stops me in my tracks. It is SO RICH. But it is SO GOOD. The cake itself has great texture and the ganache is smooth and wonderful.
Quick update as of April 2016: I’ve made this cake a few times and each time I read the recipe I think, “It’s not that hard!” And then each time I make it I go, “Oh yeah, this is a labor of love.” But it is absolutely 100% worth it. It’s not that any one step is all that difficult, and Nikki and I have spelled out each step in great detail to set you up for success. But it does take a little time and patience to get it right. But I know you can do it, and you’ll be happy you did.SoNo Chocolate Ganache Cake...It Just Might Kill YouAuthor: From the SoNo Baking Company Book, with notes by Jane Maynard based on advice from friend NikkiRecipe type: DessertIngredients
- 1 pound semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped (for ganache)
- 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped (for ganache)
- 4 cups heavy cream (for ganache)
- ¼ cup good-quality honey (for ganache)
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt (for ganache)
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (for ganache)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1⅓ cups good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
- 2⅔ cups granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 11 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- 1⅓ cups buttermilk
- 1⅓ cups brewed American coffee (If you don't drink coffee, get a Tall 12-ounce black coffee at Starbucks)
NotesClick here for an excerpt from the cookbook that tells you a bit about the history of the cake3.2.2265
- To make the ganache: Place all the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl (1 pound semisweet, 1 pound bittersweet); set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, honey, and salt. Scrape the tiny black seeds from the vanilla bean pod, if using, into the cream, and add the pod. Bring the cream to a boil, pour over the chocolate, and let stand for 5 minutes to melt the chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Strain through a fine strainer into a bowl. Discard the vanilla bean. Stir in the vanilla extract, if using instead of the vanilla bean. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until the ganache stiffens, at least 6 hours or overnight. Alternatively, place in the refrigerator and chill, stirring every 20 to 30 minutes, until the ganache stiffens. (IMPORTANT NOTE FROM JANE AND NIKKI: Nikki said that the ganache never gets hard enough if you just leave it at room temperature. She recommended making the ganache the day before and refrigerating overnight. This is what I did and it worked perfectly. I refrigerated overnight and then took the ganache out a couple hours before I was going to assemble the cake. It was the PERFECT consistency for spreading at that point and super easy to work with.)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter two 9 by 2-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with a round of parchment paper and dust with a little bit of cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. (JANE NOTE: I buttered the pan, placed the parchment round and then buttered again. Then I dusted with flour instead of cocoa because it's easier to work with.) (JANE AND NIKKI NOTE: Nikki uses three 8-inch pans and does a 3-layer cake and this works really well. I didn't have 3 8-inch pans, so I did 2 9-inch pans and split them as directed for a 4-layer cake. BE WARNED: The batter will overflow when the cake bakes, it's just a bit too much batter for 2 9-inch pans, so make sure you cook it on a baking sheet as directed in the recipe.)
- To make the cake: In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift in the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low speed to combine.
- Add the eggs, vanilla, melted butter, buttermilk, and coffee. Mix on low speed until fully combined. (JANE AND NIKKI NOTE: I mixed the eggs, vanilla, melted butter, buttermilk and coffee together BEFORE adding to the flour mixture. Also, Nikki said that if you mix just until combined, the cake sometimes falls when baking. She has found the cake doesn't fall when she mixes the batter a bit longer than is called for. I followed her advice and the cake rose beautifully when baking. So, mix until fully combined and then a little bit longer than that.)
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake on a baking sheet until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then carefully remove the cakes onto the rack and let cool completely.
- Jane note: Freeze your cakes at this point. This will make the cutting and frosting much easier.
- Using a long serrated knife, slice the top ⅛ to ¼ inch off each cake to level it, if necessary. Discard the top pieces. (JANE NOTE: If you use cake strips, you won't need to do this!)
- Splice each cake horizontally into two layers for a total of four layers. (Jane note: If you use 3 8-inch pans, you will skip the splicing step.) Place the bottom layer on a 9-inch cake round, a turntable, or a platter, and using an offset spatula, spread thickly with about 1½ cups of the ganache. Repeat with the second and third layers, spreading another 1½ cups ganache over each layer. (Jane: Use a bit more for each level if only doing three layers.)
- Add the final cake layer and spread it with a very thin layer of ganache (this is your crumb layer). Place the cake in the refrigerator until the crumb layer is set, about 30 minutes.
- Original recipe: Remove the cake from the refrigerator and place it on a wire rack set over a sheet pan. In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, heat the reserved ganache just until liquid. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake, allowing it to run down the sides. Using a large offset spatula, help spread the ganache from the center to the edges so the cake is completely covered. Smooth the top and sides. Refrigerate to set, about 30 minutes.
- What I did: Instead of melting the ganache and pouring it over the cake, I spread the ganache with an offset spatula on the tops and sides. As I mentioned earlier, the ganache was a fabulous consistency and really easy to work with. It was no problem spreading it on the cake and making it look beautiful!
- Serve at room temperature.
- Technique tip: When cutting a cake into horizontal layers, be sure to use a twelve-inch serrated bread knife. To achieve even layers, keep the knife perpendicular to your body, cutting back and forth while rotating the cake plate.