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Cheddar Bay Biscuits {Recipe}

1 Sep

463

I recently discovered putting together cheddar, flour, and garlic powder makes for a delicious way to spend a lazy Sunday.

These biscuits, inspired by the cult-classic favourite from Red Lobster, are most definitely going in my permanent recipe file. I’ve tried a few biscuit recipes before and this is my new go-to. It is not for those seeking a light accompaniment to an entree—the amount of butter is, shall we say, festive. But it feels light going down, which now that I think of it, makes the whole experience into somewhat a sadistic test in self-control.

However, as far as ideal biscuits go, this one is perfectly salted, tender-crumbed, and flaky.

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INGREDIENTS

Biscuits:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 tbsp grated parmesan
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tbsp chopped chives

Garlic butter :

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, grated parmesan, garlic powder, salt and, and cayenne pepper.

3. Add cold, cubed butter to dry ingredients with dough cutter or hands until some clumps remain.

4. Add butter milk, and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist. Gently fold in cheese and chives.

5. Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, scoop the batter evenly onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

6. For the garlic butter, whisk together butter, parsley and garlic powder in a small bowl. Working one at a time, brush the tops of the biscuits with the butter mixture. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Damn Delicious 

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Meringues at midnight

21 Aug

 

photoAugust 15th marks the annual National Lemon Meringue Day. I usually don’t jump on the bandwagon with these pseudo-holidays but lemon meringue just so happened to be Rey’s favourite desserts and something we’ve both been craving.

I got a late start to the day and didn’t begin until after dinner. Between the dough making, dough chilling, and custard-making, meringue pies take more than several hour to cook.  So although I wanted to make it happen before National Lemon Meringue Pie day was officially over, most of the “meringuing” happened after midnight. Since I was cooking in a man’s kitchen, and therefore without electric beaters, the meringue was the most daunting task. In the end though, meringue happened somehow and I now have a disproportionately strong right arm. I’ve never so badly appreciated simple modern kitchen tools or resented the concept of “medium peaks.” Rey also helped me whisk the egg whites to submission in between games of DoTA. Watching a muscular man beat egg whites to help you bake was one of the most pleasant and oddest things I’ve ever seen.
INGREDIENTS 

Dough 

1 cup + 2 tbsp cake and pastry flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 tbsp cold water
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice or white vinegar
1 egg white, lightly whisked

Lemon Curd Filling

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup water
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp unsalted butter

Meringue 

4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3/10 cup sugar
3 tbsp icing sugar, sifted

DIRECTIONS 

Dough

1. Sift the flour, sugar and salt to combine in a bowl or using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cut in the butter by hand with a pastry cutter or on low speed until just small pieces of butter are visible and the mixture as a whole just begins to take on a pale yellow colour (indicating that the butter has been worked in sufficiently).

2. Stir the water and lemon juice together and add this to the dough all at once, mixing until the dough just comes together. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before rolling. Alternatively, the dough can be frozen for up to 3 months and thawed in the fridge before rolling.

3. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface until it is in a circle that is just under ¼ inch thick. Lightly dust a 9” pie plate with flour. Press the dough into the pie plate and trim away any excess dough, pinch the edges to create a fluted pattern and chill for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line the chilled pie shell with tin foil and fill the foil with dried beans, raw rice or pie weights. Bake the pie shell for 20 minutes, then carefully remove the foil and weights and bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes more, until the centre of the pie shell is dry-looking and just starts to brown a little. Immediately after removing the pie shell from the oven, brush the hot crust with a little of the whisked egg white. This will create a barrier to keep the crust crispy once filled. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F.

Lemon Curd Filling 

1. For the filling, whisk the sugar and cornstarch together in a medium saucepot, then whisk in the cold water. Have the other ingredients measured and nearby. Bring the sugar mixture up to a full simmer over medium-high heat, whisking as it cooks, until the mixture is thick and glossy.

2. Pour about a cup of this thickened filling into the egg yolks while whisking, then return this to the pot and whisk just one minute more. Whisk in the lemon juice and cook until the filling just returns to a simmer. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the butter then immediately pour the hot filling into the cooled pie shell (the filling will seem very fluid, but it will set up once chilled). Cover the surface of the filling with plastic wrap to keep it hot. Immediately prepare the meringue topping.

3. Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy, then increase the speed to high and gradually pour in the granulated sugar and icing sugar and continue whipping just until the whites hold a medium peak when the beaters are lifted.

Meringue

1. Remove the plastic wrap from the hot lemon filling, then dollop half of the meringue directly onto the filling (the filling will still be very soft, so work gently). Be sure to spread the meringue so that it completely covers the lemon filling and connects with the outside crust, then use a bamboo skewer or paring knife to swirl the meringue just a touch (this will secure it to the lemon curd). Dollop the remaining meringue onto the pie and use the back of your spatula to lift up the meringue and creates spikes. Bake the pie for about 20 minutes at 325 F, until the meringue is nicely browned. Cool the meringue completely to room temperature before chilling for at least 4 hours.

Recipe adapted from Anna Olson.

Chicken and Biscuits

8 Jan

Chicken and Biscuits

All good things must come to an end, and so it was that our whirlwind season of feasts and gluttonous repasts was over. Yet we resist and fought bravely to the end, carrying into January our still-vivid dreams of rich gravies and sauces—not to mention a newly cultivated appreciation for post-meal naps. But even so, ringing in the New Year always produces that mysterious effect of switching on a heart-achingly enthusiastic resolve to actualize long neglected goals or to just start afresh. For me, I revived the ever perennial resolve to adopt a lifestyle of well-being and fitness; yet good food and taste, those cannot be sacrificed. So this was going to take a bit of creativity. I knew the key was to begin by making small compromises that won’t make you fall off the bandwagon by mid February.

My newfound commitment would  be tested on a particularly cold Monday, the eve before the so-called polar vortex would assail London and when  a particularly daunting evening of legal research loomed. Sure, my first impulse was to order-in greasy Chinese—nothing better than mysteriously non-perishable, battered goodness.

But good choices were made that day. I steered myself towards my well-stocked fridge and tasked myself with putting together something that’s going to be satisfying for my conscience and my stomach.

It starts with a chicken broth—so purifying after the onslaught of flavours from last month which, by the fifth holiday dinner, seemed to run into each other. Fortunately, a typical post-holiday send-off from my family usually includes a jar of chicken or beef broth. So my broth of choice is familiar yet full of taste and goodness, so simple yet still complex. I have chicken thighs in the freezer, and lots of it. So I brown them a little and add them to the broth to make a hearty soup. I like  soups a little on the denser side, toeing into stew territory—so I added a little flour to my aromatics, browning in butter, to make a roux. Then in goes some white wine (the drier the better) and the best chicken stock you can find. Top it off with a few sprigs of thyme and bay leaves.

While all that was getting to know each other in my soup pot, I felt butter biscuits were in order, just to indulge a tiny bit. They turned out really flaky and buttery and complemented the chicken really well. Take a bite between spoonfuls of soup or dunk them in the broth. I’m almost reminded of a really good chicken pot pie.

INGREDIENTS

CHICKEN SOUP

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1½ lb lb. skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 medium carrots (about 1 lb.), peeled, cut into 2” pieces
  • 1 small celery root (about 12 oz.), peeled, cut into ½” pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups peas
  • 1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, chopped
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves

BISCUITS

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour plus more for work surface
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend

CHICKEN SOUP

Preheat oven to 400°. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook skin side down until, 8–10 minutes; transfer to a plate.

Carefully drain all but 2 Tbsp. fat from pot. Add carrots, celery root, onion, peas, and leek; stir frequently until softened and beginning to brown, 8–10 minutes.

Add butter; stir until melted. Add flour and stir constantly until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add wine and ½ cup water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half, 5–8 minutes.

Add chicken, broth, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer until chicken is fork-tender, 35–40 minutes.

Discard herb sprigs and bay leaves. Transfer chicken to a plate. Let cool slightly; shred meat, discarding skin and bones.

Return shredded chicken to soup. Season with salt and pepper

BISCUITS

Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add butter. Using your fingertips, blend until pea-size lumps form. Add buttermilk, sour cream and chives.

Using a fork, mix until just combined. Gather mixture into a ball and knead in bowl just until a shaggy dough forms, 3 or 4 times.

Transfer dough to a floured work surface and pat into a ¾”- to 1”-thick round. Cut out rounds with a 2” biscuit cutter or small glass. Gather dough and repeat patting and cutting. Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet; brush with egg.

Bake biscuits until golden brown, 25–30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Revised from recipe via Bon Appetit

Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

15 May

I might have over 60 batches of chocolate chip cookies under my belt, assuming an average of one every two months for the past decade or so. One of the best calculations I’ve ever had to do in my head.

But what I must have been chasing all this time has waited until now to finally materialize: the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.

I generally have a soft spot for sweet and salty combinations. Ever since I had Momofuku Milk Bar’s pistachio ice cream, I’ve been finding myself sneaking salt into a bunch of different sweets; so you know these cookies never had a chance.

Another thing about me is I find the crunchy type of chocolate chip cookie annoying. They crumble all over my sheets because of course I’m going to consume them  in bed, sometimes horizontally, to complete the gluttonous picture. Why go half way?

On the other hand, a thin crispy outer layer with a soft gooey center is positively dreamy. Finally, a generous chocolate chip-to-cookie ratio is a must.

Recipe

yield 1.5 dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp sea salt 
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted 
1 cup packed brown sugar 
1 cup packed brown sugar 
1/2 cup white granulated sugar 
1 tbsp vanilla extract 
1 egg 
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 
 
Directions: 
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 
2. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt
3. Mix together melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla and egg.
4. Combine dry and wet ingredients until just blended.
5. Stir in chocolate chips until well-distributed 
6. Drop dough 1/4 at a time on ungreased, unlined cookie sheet, slightly help mould dough into circular discs but not over-compacting. 
7. Bake for 15 minutes in oven until edges are lightly toasted. 
 

Candy Apples

21 Oct

I must confess, the idea of covering a perfectly good piece of fruit in pure sugar syrup is very strange. But I have a weakness for all things festive, and these glossy–red beauties make me so pleased to be in the autumn season.

I tried this candy coating recipe in a much smaller batch at first. But candy–coating is a bitch to work with, especially if you’re stopping to wipe it off the tables, floors, walls, or your own person every couple of minutes. It can also harden on you in less than 5 minutes so I found that making it in a greater quantity than you actually require to coat the apples will buy you more time to work with it, since the syrup hardens faster in smaller amounts. And this way, coating is easier too because you can fully cover those apples in one go.

Ingredients

6 Granny Smiths (small to medium sized)

5 cups white sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 1/2 cups water

Red food colouring

Other: popsicle sticks, candy thermometer

Directions

Place popsicle sticks into each apple at the stem end.

In a saucepan on medium high heat, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until mixture reaches 300-310 F. Approximately 25 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in 4-6 drops of red food colouring. Dip apples, holding them by the stick and let cool on parchment paper.

The trickiest part of the process is probably gauging when your syrup concoction is ready to come off the burner. Most recipes will suggest using a candy thermometer and waiting until the syrup reaches 300-310 F. If you don’t have a candy thermometer on hand, try a simple test: drip a bit of the mixture into a bowl of cold water, if it hardens immediately into a brittle glob, it’s good. Mine took about 25 minutes to become ready.  And when it begins to smell fragrantly of caramel, start doing the test every couple of minutes.

Now for the best part—digging in. I didn’t cut mine, didn’t think it was possible in fact. I like to begin with a part of the apple that isn’t coated (a point of weakness, if you will) and go to town.

Northern Chinese Pork and Sauerkraut Dumplings

9 Apr
Growing up, dumpling making was the closest thing to making chocolate chip cookies with your mom or grandmother on weekend afternoon. Except when my family made dumplings, it would involve pretty much the entire extended family. My favourite memories associated with dumplings include impromptu family reunions that resulted from my Grandma’s deciding of “what to have for dinner tonight?” Dumplings meant having my seven aunt and uncles and grandparents sit around the dinner table, talking loudly and over each other while I try to keep up with their fast hands.  When I was really little, I could always tell which ones were self-made by the way their contorted appearance stood out like a sore thumb in a field of immaculate milky ingots.

Here with my little nuclear family you’d imagine we would go for store-brought and call it a day; because dumplings are as much about family as nourishment. We however, still keep up the tradition between the three of us. This spring, my Grandmother, the rock and matriarch of the family, passed away. I have so many memories of her in the kitchen, not just making these dumplings but virtually everything that raised me into a person. Cooking makes me think of her.

I hope this recipe will inspire many of you who know what I’m talking about to keep up your own traditions, or try this for the first time with your loved ones and start a new one.
Dumpling dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold water
¼ tsp salt
Mix well with clean hands and knead into a smooth ball. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes or more.
To form into wrappers, work with half portions of the dough at a time; roll out into a long rope about 1 inch in diameter. Cut rope in to 1 inch segments; each segment will make 1 wrapper. Press down the segment with your flat palm and roll out on to a floured surface with rolling pin, until wrapper is as thin as depicted and about the palm of your hand in size.
Mix ingredients below in a sizeable bowl until mixture appears uniform
2 lb. lean ground pork
1 cup. finely chopped green onion
½ cup soy sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. grated ginger
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. chicken stock powder
Blend 500 g Chinese Sauerkraut and 300 g Bok choi in food processor and squeeze out moisture in cheesecloth or strainer before incorporating into previous mixture.
Makes about 2 dozen
To fold dumplings, place about 1 level tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper. Fold the dough over the filling as if it were a taco, and pinch the edges tightly to seal. How to fold a dumpling
To cook, bring a large pot of water to boil and add half the dumplings ata time, giving a gentle stir occasionally. Done in approximately 10 minutes per batch. Alternatively, boil water with steaming basket. Place dumplings on muslin cloth or cheesecloth lined steaming basket and steam for 15-20 minutes per batch.

Serve with anything from Chinese vinegar, sesame oil, minced garlic and soy sauce !

Valentine’s Day V :: Jay Z and Beyonce’s Baby Blue Valentine Cookies

15 Feb



  • 1/2 c. butter, room, unsalted
  • 1 egg
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • ½  tsp. baking powder
  • ½  tsp. salt
  • blue jolly ranchers or other blue hard candy, crushed.
  • Optional ingredients: icing, sprinklesfor decoration
Quick royal icing recipe: beat 2 large egg whites with 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice with electric mixer until combined. Gradually add 3 cups of confectioners sugar until desired consistency.
Directions: cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla and egg. Combine with flour, baking powder, and salt. Chill dough overnight or for at least 45 min. before baking, crush blue jolly ranchers with a sharp knife or smash while wrapped in tea towel with hammer. Preheat oven to 400 F, roll out onto floured surface to a quarter inch thickness. Cut out heart shapes with cookie cutter and place 1 inch apart on ungreased parchment paper on cookie sheet. Bake for 6 minutes. Take out cookies and immediately cut out desired shape into the cookies while still soft. Place enough crushed jolly ranchers in the cutouts to cover the area and pop cookies back in oven at 200F for approximately 5 minutes. Surface of candy should come out glossy and cookies should now be completely done, with golden edges. Let sit for 15 minutes, or until candy surface is hard to the touch, carefully peel off from parchment paper and decorate if desired .

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