Sunday, September 27, 2009

Peanut butter and Concord grape tart

Luscious Concord grapes beckon to me at the farmers market. Let their musky magnetism draw you in too! Pick up enough to make this crumbly, cookie-like tart (great for adults and kids alike) AND to munch on some straight-up. Go now, before it's too late!

Just-sweet-enough Concords are amazingly juicy and refreshing, and the super healthy seed adds a nice bitter bite. They make a great palette cleanser. Serve a couple of the gorgeous globes alongside the tart. Top it all off with a nice dollop of whipped cream or serve with a tall glass of ice cold milk. Either way, this is a happy treat!

Peanut butter and Concord grape tart

serves 8

For the crust:
adapted from Martha Stewart

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for fingers and measuring cup
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
  • In the bowl of the food processor, pulse flour, butter, sugar, and salt until moist crumbs form. Alternatively, use your fingers or a pastry cutter to combine.
  • Transfer dough to a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom. With floured fingers, press evenly into bottom and up side of pan. With a floured dry-measuring cup, press edge of dough firmly against side of pan, pushing down with opposite thumb to level top of crust flush with rim.
  • Freeze until firm, 10 to 15 minutes; prick all over with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees, until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Half way through cooking time, use the floured measuring cup to press down the puffed up crust. Check the crust again about five minutes before it's finished and press down again, if necessary. Cool crust completely.


2 1/2 cups Concord grapes
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 t. apple cider vinegar
pinch salt
1 T tapioca starch

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 t. salt
  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Using your fingers, pinch the pulp out of grape skins into a small saucepan. Reserve skins.
  • Bring pulp to a boil over medium heat and cook 5-6 minutes, or until grapes have softened. Pour hot pulp through a medium mesh sieve over the reserved skins. Discard seeds. Stir pulp and skins until combined. Add sugar, vinegar, salt and starch; mix well. Set aside
  • Beat together butter, peanut butter, sugar and salt until smooth.
  • Spoon peanut butter mixture into tart shell and spread evenly.
  • Pour grape jelly over peanut butter and spread gently until it barely reaches the edges (I like to be able to see that there's a layer of peanut butter underneath).
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the grape jelly has just set. Allow to cool completely.
  • Enjoy!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

turkey burgers

This is Sara Moulton's recipe. It's one of my staples. Not that I eat turkey burgers every week, or even every month, but I've been making these sliders for upwards of nine years. Holy potato that makes me feel old!

I learned to love food and the joys that come with it from my family. I took my first steps learning to cook watching the Food Network (it's a bit different now, no?). Watch, shop, experiment and repeat.... I also channeled Julia Child's make no apologies mentality. (Admittedly, I still struggle with that.) Emboldened by a few successes, I made my first ever Thanksgiving dinner. It was a full spread for ten hobbled together in a teeny weeny kitchen in London. Luckily, I had done my research, learned to chop an onion from Sara on the hugely educational (and fun!) Cooking Live and had someone who was psyched to grill the second turkey outside on the teeny weeny balcony. Oh, and most of the guests were Brits who had no real connection to Thanksgiving and, thus, had no real expectations. Bring on the Champagne!

Whatever you do, get your bad self into the kitchen and start cookin'! Try these burgers. My guess is that you too will make them for years to come.

turkey burgers
adapted from Sara Moulton Cooks at Home

serves 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound ground turkey
Freshly ground black pepper
  • Preheat the oven to 400.
  • Heat 1 T oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper and cook, until softened, about 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
  • Combine the onion, pepper, salt, and turkey in a large bowl. Season with pepper. Mix well and form into 4 large patties.
  • Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Place the burgers in the skillet and cook until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to the oven and cook until firm to the touch, about 6 minutes. Serve with peach jalapeno salsa.
  • Enjoy!
Note: Sara adds 1 T Creole spice mix with the salt and serves the burgers with tomato and corn salsa.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

peach jalapeno "salsa"

This really isn't salsa at all. It's basically sliced peaches, sliced jalapeno and a squeeze of lime. Savor the last-of-the-season peaches with a little bit of bite. (If you don't like it hot, dice the pepper and use sparingly.) Serve alongside turkey burgers or grilled chicken. Dinner is served.

peach jalapeno salsa

2 ripe peaches, sliced
1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds discarded; thinly sliced
juice of 1 lime
pinch sugar
  • Combine all ingredients and allow to rest for 20 minutes-ish so the flavas meld.
  • Enjoy!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

David Lebovitz's Cheesecake Brownies

These disappeared before I had a chance to take a photo of the cut brownies. Visualize rich chocolatey goodness and you'll have a pretty good picture.

Cheesecake Brownies

6 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup flour
1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
5 T sugar
1/8 t. vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil or parchment paper, leaving an overhang; grease lightly.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat in the 2/3 cup sugar, then the eggs.
  • Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and salt, then the vanilla and chocolate chips. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
  • In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, the yolk, 5 T sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Using a dull knife of spatula, swirl the cream cheese mixture with the chocolate batter.
  • Bake for 35-37 minutes, or until the batter in the center of the pan is just set.
  • Cool brownies completely in pan.
  • Cut into square and Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

Oh my goodness, I am so lame. I'm gonna cop the "Almost Wordless Wednesday" yet again. More time to cook, right! But your thinking, "I just started school," or, "Catering season is upon us and I have LESS time to cook." All the more reason to use a free hour or two to make these enchiladas; they keep in the fridge or freezer until you're ready to use them. Just make sure to keep the enchiladas and the sauce separate until you bake them. This is great comfort food... perfect for the end-of-summer blues.

Chicken enchiladas with red chili sauce

1 1/2 T canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3 T chili powder
2 t. cumin
2 t. ground coriander
1/2 t. salt
2 t. sugar
12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/4-inch strips
15 oz. plain tomato sauce
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (4 oz.) can pickled jalapenos, drained and chopped
12 oz. cheddar cheese, grated and divided

10 (6-inch ) corn tortillas, removed from plastic, stacked and wrapped in foil
  • In medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, heat oil until hot and shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic through sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add chicken and stir until coated with the spices, 30 seconds.
  • Add tomato sauce and water and stir until combined. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
  • Pour mixture through a sieve or a colander into a bowl, pressing on mixture to extract as much sauce as possible. Set aside.
  • Transfer chicken to a medium bowl and freeze for ten minutes to cool, then combine with cilantro, jalapenos and all but 3/4 cup cheese.
  • While chicken is cooling, preheat oven to 400 and place rack in lower-middle position. Place foil wrapped tortillas in oven and warm for 10 minutes, or until soft enough to roll.
  • Assemble enchiladas:
  • Spoon 3/4 cup sauce into a baking dish and spread evenly.
  • A few at a time, place warmed tortillas on counter top or cutting board. Place a heaping 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture closer to an edge of each tortilla.
  • Roll each tortilla tightly and place in baking dish, seam-side down.
  • Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas. Make sure each one is well coated.
  • Sprinkle remaining cheese down the center of the enchiladas.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
  • Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Creamed corn

I've noticed a bunch of food bloggers workin' the "Wordless Wednesday"; I'm adopting the quietude today because this straight-forward and delish side dish requires no introduction. Just eat it!

Creamed corn
serves 12

16 ears corn, shucked and brake in half (I find braking the cobs easier than cutting them)
2 cups water
2 T butter
1 T flour
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • Cut corn from cobs.

  • In a large saucepan, combine corn, water, 1 1/2 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper. Simmer over medium heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 7 minutes.
  • In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Increase the heat to medium and whisk in the cream. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and continue to whisk 1 minute after thickened mixture boils.
  • Transfer cream and 2 cups cooked corn to a blender or food processor; puree until smooth-ish.
  • Stir cream mixture into corn and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in chives and season with salt and pepper.
  • Enjoy!