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TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Ice Cream & Berries Shortcake

Ice Cream Shortcake is an easy dessert, simply combining berry ice cream, fresh berries on refrigerator biscuits. It’s easier to put together than an ice cream cake, and even easier than conventional shortcake since you don’t have to whip the cream.

We adapted this recipe from the Chefs Collaborative Cookbook.

  • If you prefer, you can use only one biscuit half per person; or spread the usually plain top biscuit half with jam.
  • Use whichever berries you prefer, or a mixture of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and/or strawberries.
  •  
    Because today is National Raspberries & Cream Day, we’re making our shortcake with raspberries.
     
    RECIPE: EASY BERRY SHORTCAKE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • Refrigerator buttermilk biscuits
  • Ice cream of choice (suggested: strawberry, other berry or vanilla)
  • Fresh berries
  • Optional: berry jam or preserves
  • Optional garnish: mint sprig, rosemary sprig, or other decorative herb you have on hand
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BAKE the biscuits and let cool.

    2. SPLIT the biscuits and spread the bottom half with the optional jam. If using the top biscuit half, spread with jam as desired.

    3. TOP with a scoop of ice cream and sprinkle with berries. Place the top biscuit half on the plate (jam side up if using, otherwise top side up) and serve.

    CHEFS COLLABORATIVE COOKBOOK

     

    rhubarb-ice-cream-shortcake-TheChefsCollaborativeCookbook-230

    The-Chefs-Collaborative-Cookbook-230

    How easy is this? Refrigerator biscuits + ice cream + berries = an impressive dessert. Photos courtesy The Chef’s Collaborative.

     
    More than 20 years ago, some of the most revered chefs in the world—including John Ash, Rick Bayless, Susan Feniger, Nobu Matsuhita, Nora Pouillon, Michael Romano and Alice Waters—looked at the way Americans were eating and decided that they had to help change it.

  • They had watched while processed foods replaced fresh food in our supermarkets.
  • They saw family farms disappear and huge agribusiness corporations take over.
  • They worried about obesity in children and adults, and the associated illnesses.
  • And they realized that Americans were losing the joy of cooking and eating fresh food.
  •  
    In 1993, these visionary chefs founded Chefs Collaborative and vowed to use their influence to educate us, the public, about a better way to nourish ourselves that is also better for the planet.

    Their stated goal: Support small farms, healthy food and sustainable agriculture for everyone. They’ve been a significant force in the food revolution that’s improved the way Americans eat.

    Chefs Collaborative members contributed more than 115 recipes to creating a cookbook: recipes that can be made by the home cook.

    Each section (fruits, meats, vegetables, etc.) also provides information about the principles of sustainability around the ingredient, with information provided farmers, artisan producers, breeders, environmentalists, and activists.

    Get your copy of The Chefs Collaborative Cookbook: Local, Sustainable, Delicious Recipes from America’s Great Chefs.

    It’s also a great gift for anyone interested in these issues.

      

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    RECIPE: Raspberry & Cream Croissants

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/raspberry cream croissant truwhip 230sq

    Whipped Cream & Berries

    [1] For breakfast, snack or dessert, here’s how to celebrate National Raspberries & Cream Day (photo courtesy TruWip). [2] No time to hand-whip cream? Try Reddi-Wip in Original or Chocolate (photo courtesy Reddi-Wip).

     

    This year for National Raspberries and Cream Day (August 7th), we had Raspberries and Cream Croissants for breakfast.

    You can also enjoy them for a snack or dessert.

    The first time we made this recipe, we used hand-whipped cream; the texture is just perfect for spreading. This morning, hungry for breakfast, we defaulted to our stand-by, Reddi-Wip.

    We had a can of Original Reddi-Wip and a can of Chocolate Reddi-Wip. Take your choice: Both were delish. And we admit to adding some chocolate chips with both.

    The winner, however, was mascarpone and raspberries.

    RECIPE: RASPBERRIES & CREAM CROISSANTS

    Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 fresh croissants
  • 3 cups whipped cream or other topping*
  • 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1-1/4 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds (substitute pistachios)
  • Optional chocolate chips (ideally mini chips)
  • __________________
    *A can of Reddi-Wip does the job.

     
    Preparation

    1. MIX the TruWhip and almond extract in a large mixing bowl. Gently fold in the raspberry jam until slightly marbled.

    2. SLICE the croissants horizontally and generously spread with the cream. Top with the fresh raspberries and a scattering of slivered almonds and optional chips.

     
    TIP: If the raspberries are too plump such that you can’t easily eat the croissant, first cut them in half.

    We adapted this recipe from TruWhip, a dairy-free whipped topping.
     
    NO FRESH RASPBERRIES?

    Try these variations:

  • For the whipped cream: clotted cream/Devon cream, cream cheese, crème fraîche, mascarpone, sour cream, Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla) (more about these products)
  • For a snack or dessert: vanilla ice cream
  • For the raspberries: a layer of raspberry jam or preserves, frozen raspberries
  •  
    NO CROISSANTS?

    Substitute biscuits or toast. Or top pancakes, French toast or waffles with the raspberries and cream.

    The toppings also work as a cookie spread.
     
    NO RASPBERRY JAM?

    You can fold puréed raspberries into the whipped cream, or just use plain whipped cream.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Frittata For Dinner

    For breakfast, lunch or dinner, make a frittata (frizz-TA-ta).

    A frittata is an Italian-style omelet, set in the frying pan in the oven*—no folding required. We’ve been making them for years, because our omelets never looked neat enough and we had no patience to work on our technique.

  • With an omelet, the filling ingredients are placed on the beaten eggs that are setting in the pan. As the omelet continues to cook, it is folded with a spatula to envelop the ingredients (that’s the part that requires practice, practice, practice).
  • With a frittata—the name comes from the Italian friggere, to fry—the eggs and other ingredients are mixed together, then cooked more slowly than an omelet. The egg mixture completely fills a round skillet: no folding. The result looks like a crustless quiche. The name derives from the Italian friggere, to fry.
  • As with a quiche, a frittata can be served at room temperature
  •  
    WHAT TO PUT IN A FRITTATA

    Sometimes we add so many vegetables that we end up with “veggies bound with some egg.” You can added anything else you have, from beans, to leftover grains and potatoes.

    There are countless frittata recipes online, with oven, stove top or stove top/broiler cooking techniques. We prefer the oven—it’s the easiest for us—but try them all to see which works best for you.

    Consider:

  • Cheese: any kind, crumbled, cubed or shredded as appropriate
  • Fresh herbs: basil, chives, cilantro, dill, parsley or other favorite
  • Heat: fresh or dried chile, hot sauce
  • Meats: bacon, ham, sausage
  • Miscellany: canned artichoke hearts, capers, olives
  • Seafood: crab, scallops, shrimp (great when there aren’t enough left over for a main dish)
  • Vegetables: Anything goes (see list† below)—pre-steam as necessary
  •  
    National Farmers Market Week begins tomorrow, so head for yours and make a selection.

    RECIPE: KITCHEN SINK FRITTATA

    This “kitchen sink” frittata shows that you can take whatever you have in the fridge or pantry and toss it together for delicious results. We once had a “Surprise BYO” brunch with friends; everyone brought a favorite ingredient (we had extra ingredients in the fridge in case everyone brought the same thing).

    If you don’t have or like any of the ingredients, substitute what you do have.

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 4 eggs
  • Pinch salt (more saltiness comes with the feta)
  • 1 cup feta, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 ear of corn, shucked and kernels removed
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • Handful of basil leaves, torn
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
  • Optional: a shake of red pepper flakes or other heat
  •  
    Plus

  • Side salad
  • Toast or bread and butter
  •  

    Potato & Sausage Frittata

    Avocado Arugula Frittata

    Frittata Recipe

    [1] Use boiled potatoes and sausage for this family favorite. Here’s the recipe from Applegate. [2] You can top a frittata with fresh ingredients (photo courtesy Avocados From Mexico). [3] You can put anything into a frittata. This “kitchen sink” recipe is below (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    _______________________
    *You can also use the stove top and broiler, but in the oven no flipping is required.

    †Try any blend: avocado, asparagus, bell pepper, broccoli, carrot, chard, eggplant, kale, mushrooms, onion/leek/green onion, potatoes (boiled/roasted), spinach, zucchini and so on.
     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Beat together the eggs and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Add the feta and whisk together.

    2. HEAT the olive oil in a 6” cast iron pan. When hot, add the garlic and onions and cook until they start to color, about 3 mintues. Add the corn, tomatoes and basil. Lower the heat to medium and cook together for about 5 minutes until the onions are how you like them. Then scrape the contents into a bowl and let cool.

    3. REGREASE the bottom and sides of the pan. Mix the egg mixture with the corn and tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake until the center of the frittata is just set and no longer jiggling, about 15 to 20 minutes.

      

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    RECIPES: Top Rum Cocktails For A Party

    Daiquiri Cocktail

    Dark & Stormy Cocktail

    Daiquiri

    [1] The Daiquiri, invented by an American engineer in Cuba (photo courtesy TemperedSpirits.com). [2] The Sidecar, made with dark rum (photo courtesy Hyatt Regency| LA). [3] Our favorite rum cocktail is the Banana Daiquiri. Here’s a recipe from CookingWithCurls.com*.

     

    August 16th is National Rum Day. This year it’s on a Tuesday, but that’s not stopping us.

    We’re having a rum cocktail party the weekend before and the weekend after, to try and compare as many rum drinks as we can.

    If you like this idea, here are the top rum cocktails (although there are scores and scores of them).

    Since rum is distilled from sugar cane (actually, the molasses left over from refining the cane juice into sugar crystals), it’s not surprising that these are sweet drinks.

    All have added sugar and many have variations (e.g. Banana Daiquiri, Pomegranate Mojito).

    All have their traditional garnishes, from lime wedges and mint sprigs to a pineapple wedge and gardenia†.

    For your consideration, here are recipes for the top rum cocktails (don’t get mad if some links make you sign into the website, to verify that you are 21 or older):

  • Bacardi Cocktail: rum, lime juice, pomegranate grenadine.
  • Bacardi Rum Punch: two rums, grenadine, orange juice, pineapple juice, cranberry juice.
  • Blue Hawaii: rum, vodka, blue curaçao, pineapple juice, sweet and sour mix.
  • Coquito: super creamy with coconut milk, cream of coconut, condensed and evaporated milks.
  • Cuba Libre: rum, Coca-Cola, lime (a.k.a. Rum & Coke).
  • Daiquiri: rum, lime and sugar over ice.
  • Dark ‘N’ Stormy: dark rum and ginger beer.
  • Hot Buttered Rum (Rum Toddy): dark rum, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spices, butter.
  • Hurricane: two rums, orange juice, lime juice, passion fruit syrup, grenadine.
  • Long Island Iced Tea: rum, gin, tequila, vodka, triple sec, Coca-Cola
  • Mai Tai: two types of rum, curaçao, lime juice
  • Mojito: rum, lime, mint, soda water
  • Pina Colada: rum, coconut cream, heavy cream, pineapple juice
  • Planter’s Punch: dark rum, lime juice, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine
  • Scorpion: rum, cognac, orange juice, lemon, mint
  • Sidecar: rum, triple sec, lime juice
  • Zombie: two rums, triple sec, orange juice, lime juice, grenadine
  •  
    …not to mention the Bahama Mama, Beach Bum, Brass Monkey, Bushewacker, Flaming Volcano.
     
    We could have a party that just includes rum drinks with evocative names!

    FINAL TIP: Drink responsibly, unless you’re hosting a sleepover party.
     
    __________________
    *Our own recipe per drink: Toss in the blender 1 very ripe banana, 3 tablespoons ounces white rum, 2 tablespoons banana liqueur (it delivers a richer banana flavor), 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice.

     
    †As far as anyone can tell, the Scorpion was first served 1930s at Honolulu bar called The Hut. “Trader Vic” Bergeron (“Trader Vic”) picked up the recipe a decade or so later at his bar in Oakland, tweaked it a bunch and multiplied it by about four, and thus birthed the Scorpion Bowl, a large-format cocktail now served in Tiki bars and seedy Chinese joints around the world.The Scorpion, when served in a bowl large enough to float the flower.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Celebrate National Sandwich Month & National Panini Month

    August is National Sandwich Month, time to move beyond your standard choices and try something different.

    Since August is also National Panini Month, we dragged the panini press out of the closet (no room on the counter!) and invited a group of friends to a “Panini Brunch.” They asked what they could bring, and we told them: whatever you want to drink with your panini.
     
    FOR A PANINI BRUNCH

    Starting with ciabatta bread, everyone picks his/her sandwich ingredients from a selection of:

  • Cheeses: brie, cheddar, gruyère
  • Meats: ham, turkey
  • Condiments: fresh basil and dill, cherry preserves, fig jam
  • Fresh herbs: basil, chives, cilantro, dill, parsley
  • Veggies: arugula, avocado, caramelized onions, grilled vegetables, pickled jalapeños, sliced tomatoes
  • Garnishes: olives, cucumber pickles, other pickled vegetables
  •  
    We added a mixed green salad with a Dijon vinaigrette. For dessert: biscotti and Italian dessert wine (look for Moscato d’Asti or Vin Santo).

     
    PANINI HISTORY

    A panini press is an electric sandwich grill consisting of two metal plates hinged together. The hot plates are clamped down on a prepared sandwich, pressing it into a dense sandwich while toasting the outsides of the bread with the signature grill marks and warming the filling (in the case of cheese, melting it).

    Before sandwich grills, toasters or griddles were used to make toasted sandwiches. Thomas Edison invented an early sandwich grill in the 1920s, but it didn’t take off commercially.

    Fast forward: Sandwiches toasted in a panini press became popular in Italian bars and cafés in the 1970s and 1980s. The trend spread internationally, and in another decade, panini presses could be found in appliance departments across the U.S.

    The sandwich grill—the panini press is the Italian version— made it possible to brown two slices of bread at the same time.

    Panino means “little bread” in Italian, and literally refers to a roll (a “little loaf”). Panino imbottito. “stuffed panino,” refers to the sandwich, but the word panino is also often used alone in context to refer to the sandwich.

    In Italian, panino is singular, panini is plural. English speakers adapted the words: panini for singular, panini for plural.
     
    PANINI TIPS

  • The bread is important. It needs to be bread sturdy like ciabatta, yet soft enough to allow grill marks (crisp-crust baguette doesn’t work). Ciabatta isn’t an “accessory” bread: It adds flavor to the sandwich.
  • Reconsider buying standard deli meats and cheeses that are thinly sliced. You need more substantial slices of meat in order to give the best texture to the panini the best texture. Use “dinner slices.”
  • Use other condiments. Save the everyday mustard and mayo for untoasted sandwiches. Consider flavored mayo (jalapeño, wasabi), along with chutney, majo-jam mixtures, honey mustard (make your own by blending Dijon and honey) and preserves.
  •  
    MORE SANDWICH IDEAS

    Don’t want panini? How about:

  • Award-Winning Peanut Butter Sandwich Recipes
  • Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipes
  • Lamb Sandwich Recipe
  • Naan Bread Sandwiches
  •  
    And don’t overlook:

  • The history of sandwiches
  • The different types of sandwiches
  •  

    Turkey Panini

    caramelized-onion-green-tom-panini-RICKS-230

    Grilled Vegetable Panini

    breville-panini-press-SLT-230

    [1] A panino of turkey, cheddar and sliced apple (photo courtesy USApple.org).[2] One of our favorites: turkey, gruyère, caramelized onions and tomato (photo courtesy Rick’s Picks). [3] Grilled veggies (photo courtesy PotsAndPans.com). [4] A panini press (photo courtesy Breville).

     

      

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    OLYMPICS COCKTAIL RECIPE: The Caipirinha

    What’s your weekend cocktail?

    For the next three weeks, when watching the Olympics, it could be the Caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil. It’s made with the national’s official spirit, cachaça.

    In the U.S., cachaça is considered “Brazilian rum,” but don’t call it that in front of a Brazilian!

  • Rum is distilled from molasses, the residue that remains after the sugar crystals are extracted from the sugar cane juice.
  • Cachaça is made from fresh cane juice, the purest product of sugar cane.
  • According to Wikipedia, cachaça is the third most consumed spirit in the world, although it doesn’t appear in this analysis from The Economist.
     
    CAIPIRINHA HISTORY

    Although the exact origins of caipirinha are not known, it is said that it began around 1918 in the state of São Paulo as a tonic for the Spanish Flu: cachaca, lime, garlic and honey. It is still used as a palliative for the common cold.

    Along the line, someone replaced the honey and garlic with sugar and ice as a cocktail, and the modern caipirinha was born.

    The name caipirinha is the diminutive of the caipira, Brazilian Portuguese for a peasant. Caipirinha is a “little peasant.”

    According to CaipirinhaRecipes.com, sugarcane plantations and cachaça production were established in rural areas where land and the labor of the caipiras were cheap. The spirit they made was what people drank, and a novelty variation emerged sweeting the spirit sugar and lime.

    When the cocktail traveled to the larger port-town of Santos, it was given the name of “Caipirinha.”
     
    RECIPE: THE CLASSIC CAIPIRINHA

    The traditional drink is made in an Old Fashioned glass. Many varieties have proliferated in recent years, from expected fruit versions like berries or pineapple, and sophisticated flavor combinations like rose and pink pepper.
     

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 lime, cut into eight wedges
  • 2 teaspoons superfine sugar or 1 tablespoon simple syrup
  • 1½ ounces cachaça
  • Crushed ice
  • Optional garnish: lime wheel, mint sprig, sugar cane stick
  •  

    Caipirinha Cocktail

    Cacacha

    [1] The national cocktail of Brazil: the Caipirinha (photo courtesy JamieOliver.com). [2] A leading brand of cachaça, Leblon is named after the most affluent neighborhood in Rio.

     
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE the lime and sugar into glass; then add ice to the top of the glass.

    2. ADD the cachaça, stir, garnish and serve.
     
    MORE CACHACA RECIPES

  • Read more about the History of Cachaça
  • Try some of The Nibble’s Cachaça-Based Cocktail Recipes
  •  
    THE OLD-FASHIONED GLASS

    The Old Fashioned glass, also called lowball glass, or rocks glass, is a short tumbler used for serving an alcoholic beverage with ice cubes (“on the rocks”). It gets its name from the Old Fashioned cocktail, invented in the 1860s in New York City.

    Old Fashioned glasses are made with a wide brim and a thick base for muddling (source).

    Bottoms up!

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Build-Your-Own No-Cook Summer Dessert Bowl

    Easy Ricotta Summer Dessert

    Sheep's Milk Ricotta

    Wasa Sesame Sea Salt Thins

    Wasa Thins

    [1] Lay out the ingredients for the easiest DIY dessert. [2] Ricotta salata, made in a mold, is salted. It’s better for a DIY with savory toppings (photos courtesy Good Eggs). [3] and [4] Crunchy Wasa Thins in Sesame & Sea Salt, also available in Sea Salt & Rosemary (photos courtesy Wasa).

     

    You may know ricotta from cannoli and cheesecake. They’re delicious desserts, but require some preparation.

    For summer, there’s another option: The 5 Minute Ricotta Dessert Bowl, as created by Good Eggs, a top-quality online grocer in San Francisco.

    Yes, in just five minutes you can set ingredients on the table, DIY-style, and everyone can have fun (and good nutrition!) customizing their bowls.

  • In addition to dessert, you can set out the spread for breakfast, light lunch or a sophisticated snack.
  • You can make a savory version, for breakfast, light lunch, snack or a first course at dinner.
  •  
    RECIPE: DIY RICOTTA BOWLS

    Ricotta is actually not a cheese but a by-product of cheese-making which uses the whey drained from other cheeses. Whey is the watery part of milk that remains after the formation of the curds. In fact, the name means “re-cooked.” Here’s more ricotta information.

    You can even make your own ricotta at home. Here’a a recipe from Williams-Sonoma.

    Turn it into a build-your-own dessert—no cooking, no heat, cool comfort food.

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • Ricotta (the best you can find, 4 ounces per person)
  • Berries or other fruits
  • Nuts and seeds of choice; granola
  • Sweetness: agave or honey for drizzling
  • Optional: crème fraîche, yogurt, sour cream; for dessert, mascarpone
  • Bonus: chocolate chips, candied orange peel, dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, raisins)
  • Crackers: flatbread (we used the new Sesame Sea Salt Thins from WASA), or other cracker of choice.
  •  
    Savory Ingredient Options

    Use the same nuts/seeds, yogurt/sour cream and crackers, plus:

  • Ricotta and/or ricotta salata (photo #2)
  • Carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, green onions, radishes and/or other vegetables of choice, sliced
  • Fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, parsley)
  • Hot sauce
  • Shichimi togarashi or other spice blend
  • More: capers, sliced olives, roasted red peppers, etc.
  •  
    HAVE A RICOTTA TASTING

    Set out different brands, from big commercial brands or the store brand, to freshly-made ricotta from the cheese department.

    Taste each type plain: just a spoonful.

     
    Sheep’s Milk Ricotta

    Good Eggs uses Bellwether Farms Sheep’s Milk Ricotta in this recipe. In Italy, Sheep’s milk ricotta is preferred over any other for its delicate flavor and texture. If you can find it, grab it.
     
    MORE WAYS TO USE RICOTTA

    Use it both sweet and savory dishes, including stuffed pasta (lasagna, manicotti, ravioli, shells, etc.).

  • Ricotta For Breakfast
  • Ricotta For Lunch, Dinner & Dessert
  •   

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    RECIPE: Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe?

    Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Violet Bakery Cookbook

    [1] The best cookies use jumbo chunks of top-quality chocolate (photo courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco). [2] Here’s the cookbook
    (photo courtesy Ten Speed Press).

     

    May 15th is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day…and so is August 4th.

    It may be that one is simply Chocolate Chip Day, and the other Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Emails for clarification have not been answered.

    But who would complain about a second Chocolate Chip Cookie Day?
     
    WHAT IS “THE BEST?”

    In subjective areas (as opposed to who crossed the finish line first), “the best” is in the eye of the beholder…or more accurately, on the palate.

    You know what you like. If you’re still searching for CCC* perfection, consider this recipe. The only challenge: finding room in the freezer for the cookie sheet!

    RECIPE: VIOLET BAKERY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

    Ingredients For 16 Large Cookies

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups dark chocolate chips†
  • Parchment paper
  • __________________
    *Chocolate Chip Cookie!

    †We use Callebaut or Trader Joe’s chocolate chunks.
     
    Preparation

    1. LINE a small baking sheet or pan—one that will fit inside your freezer—with parchment paper.

    2. BEAT the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer until combined but not too creamy. You are not aiming for light and fluffy; that would make the cookies too cakey. Add the vanilla and the egg yolks and mix well.

     
    3. COMBINE the flour, salt and baking soda in another bowl and whisk together well. Add to the butter and egg mixture along with the chocolate; mix until combined.

    4. SCOOP individual portions of cookie dough onto the lined baking sheet or pan; or use spoons to pat each portion into a little ball. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1 hour, or up to a month. You can bake them right away, but the cookies will be slightly flatter and less even. When ready to bake…

    5. PREHEAT the oven to 355°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the cookies evenly on the pan, leaving enough space between each one so they have room to expand during baking: They will almost double in size! Rest the frozen dough on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes before placing in the oven.

    6. BAKE for 18 minutes, until the center of each cookie is slightly soft and under-baked, but the edges are crispy and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before serving. These cookies will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

    TIP: If your cookies aren’t as crisp the nest day, place them on a piece of parchment on a cookie sheet and warm them in the oven. The heat will drive out the extra moisture, making them crisp again.
     
    THE VIOLET BAKERY COOKBOOK

    While the chocolate chip cookie was born in the U.S.A., this recipe comes from London’s popular Violet Bakery. Alice Waters calls it “a little corner of Northern California in east London.”

    Get your copy at Amazon.com.

     
      

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    FOOD FUN: Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie Recipe

    Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

    Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

    [1] The skillet cookie made by Michelle of HummingbirdHigh.com. [2] Lindsay of PinchOfYum.com adds a layer of caramel and a sprinkle of sea salt to her recipe.

     

    August 4th is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day—and just this week, we found this fun chocolate chip cookie recipe in Cook It in Cast Iron: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for the One Pan That Does It All, by Cook’s Country.

    Beyond eggs, steak, cornbread and other popular skillet dishes, you can make skillet apple pie, cinnamon swirl bread, even pizza.

    But today, it’s all about the cookie. The recipe was baked in a 12″ diameter skillet, if yours is 10 inches, you’ll get a taller cookie (increase the baking time another 5 to 10 minutes).

    You can make it your own, with a mix of dark, milk and white chocolate chips; next time we might toss in some dried cherries. We substituted pecans for the hazelnuts.
     
    RECIPE: SKILLET CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE

    Ingredients For A 12-Inch Cookie

  • 3/4 cup (5.25 ounces) dark brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1-3/4 cups (8.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • Optional: 3/4 cup (4 ounces) whole raw hazelnuts
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ADJUST an oven rack to the upper-middle position and preheat the oven to 375°F. Melt 9 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat.

    Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until butter is dark golden brown, has a nutty aroma, and the bubbling has subsided some, about 5 minutes.

    Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons until completely melted.

     

    2. WHISK the dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract and salt into the melted butter until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the egg and the egg yolk until smooth, about 3 seconds.

    Let the mixture sit for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat the process of resting and whisking 2 more times, until the mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny.

    3. WHISK the flour and baking soda in a separate bowl. Stir flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in the chocolate chips and optional nuts, making sure no flour pockets remain.

    4. WIPE the skillet clean with paper towels. Transfer the cookie dough to the empty, cleaned skillet and press it into an even layer with a spatula.

    Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake until cookie is golden brown and edges are set, about 20 minutes.

    5. USE potholders to transfer the skillet to a wire rack; let cookie cool for 30 minutes. Slice the cookie into wedges or diagonals and serve.

     

    Cook It In Cast Iron Cookbook

    what you can cook in a cast iron skillet (photo courtesy Cook’s Country). You can purchase the book online.

     
    THE HISTORY OF THE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE

    It was an accident. Here’s the scoop.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Feijoada For The Olympics

    Feijoada Recipe

    Feijoada Light

    [1] Feijoada at Sushi Samba, a Brazilian-Japanese restaurant with locations in New York City, Florida, Las Vegas and London. [2] A lighter version of feijoada from SimplyRecipes.com.

     

    To get into the grove of the Rio Olympics, we turn to Brazilian fare, beginning with its national dish, feijoada (fay-ZHWA-dah).

    A hearty, smoky stew of beans and salted, smoked and fresh meats, it is served with white rice and sautéed collard greens are served, along with a set of garnishes that including orange slices and farofa, a toasted cassava flour mixture (think of cornmeal made from cassava and see photo #5 below).

    It’s a one-bowl dish of comfort food, and is the traditionally Sunday dinner in Brazil (as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding is in England).
     
    WHAT IS A NATIONAL FOOD

    A national food is a popular dish made from local ingredients prepared in a particular way. It’s part of the country’s sense of identity, like Austria’s wiener schnitzel and Hungary’s goulash, Korea’s bulgogi (hibachi-grilled beef wrapped in lettuce leaves) and the U.K.’s roast beef with yorkshire pudding.

    According to Wikipedia, during the age of European empire-building, nations would develop an entire national cuisine to distinguish themselves from their rivals.

    The U.S. has no declared national food; nor do countries such as India. There are too many diverse ethnic groups with specialized cuisines to choose a single national dish.

    In Latin America, however, dishes may be designated as a “plato nacional” (national dish).

     
    In addition to feijoada, examples include:

  • Argentina’s locro, a hearty stew of beef or pork or tripe and red chorizo, corn and other vegetables.
  • Colombian’s ajiaco, a soup that includes chicken, three varieties of potatoes and a local herb, guanaco.
  • Dominican Republic’s and Panama’s sancocho, a heavy soup/light stew.
  • Peru’s ceviche, made from any combination of fresh seafood and a variety of marinades (here’s a recipe template).
  •  
    Whatever the national dish, there are as many versions as there are cooks.

    Feijoada, for example, can be spicy for mild, eaten with a spoon or so thick, you can eat it with a fork.

     

    RECIPE: FEIJOADA, BLACK BEAN STEW

    This recipe was developed for American cooks buy Hank Shaw of SimplyRecipes.com.

    (It’s hard to find fresh pig ears, tails and preserved malagueta chiles in many American supermarkets, but if you want a truly authentic recipe, here it is from the Centro Cultural Brasil USA. Not to mention, the traditional recipe is a two-day preparation.)

    You can make it for own; for example, top the greens with bacon, or lighten the meats and smokiness by substituting chicken sausage and/or thighs.

    Pair it with iced tea, beer, red wine, or red sangria.

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry black beans
  • Boiling water to cover
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound pork shoulder, cut into chunks
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound carne seca (dried beef) or corned beef, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 pound fresh chorizo or Italian sausage
  • 1 pound kielbasa, linguica or other smoked sausage
  • 1 smoked ham hock or shank
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • Water to cover
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • Salt
  •  
    Sides & Condiments

  • White rice
  • Collards, kale or other greens, sautéed with onions and garlic
  • Orange slices
  • Farofa
  • Pork rinds
  • Fresh parsley and/or green onions
  • Hot sauce
  •  

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    Feijoada Garnishes

    Farofa With Raisins

    [3] Feijoada is served family-style, scooped from a pot with passed garnishes (photo courtesy CookDiary.net). [4] Feijoada and its traditional accompaniments (photo courtesy Centro Cultural Brasil USA). [5] Farofa, a dish of toasted cassava flour, can be layered with ingredients from herbs and olives to peas and raisins. In feijoada, however, it is served plain (photo courtesy Blog Da Mimis).

     
    Preparation

    1. COVER the beans with boiling water and set aside.

    2. HEAT the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and brown the pork shoulder. When browned, remove the meat from the pot and set aside.

    3. PLACE the onions in the pot and brown, stirring occasionally. Be sure to scrape up the fond (the tasty browned bits on the bottom). Sprinkle with a bit of salt and add the garlic. Stir to combine and sauté for two minutes more.

    4. RETURN the pork shoulder to the pot, along with the other meats, bay leaves and enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.

    5. DRAIN the beans and add them to the stew pot. Simmer covered, until the beans are tender, about 90 minutes.

    6. ADD the tomatoes, stir well and taste. Add salt as desired. Simmer uncovered, until the ham begins to fall off the hock, 2-3 hours.

    7. SERVE with sides and condiments.

      

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