Friday, September 30, 2011

Emeril's Chuck Wagon Chili for the Slow Cooker: One-Pot Wonders

This is my second-to-last post for the One-Pot Blogger Party sponsored by Morrow Books. The last one will show up tomorrow. And then it's over. Sort of. I've still got leftovers in the fridge and freezer.

This recipe was a big one - a big pot of beefy chili. No beans, just lots of beef. And tomatoes, chili powder cayenne, chocolate, beer, onions, celery, cilantro, garlic, cinnamon ... most of the kitchen, it seems.

It wasn't a complicated recipe, except that I bought whole pieces of meat and cut it up myself. The meat gets browned in a skillet, the vegetables get cooked for a while after the meat, then the spices go in and get cooked for a little while before the tomatoes and beer go in.

And then it all gets combined in the crockpot where it cooks for about 6 hours for people who aren't at high altitude. I knew it probably wouldn't be done in that time up here at a mile high, so I pressure cooked it for a while and slow-cooked for a while. It came out perfectly tender.

This was another recipe that my husband chose for me to cook from Emeril's new book (which is now on sale, by way), and he was pretty happy with it. Three weeks ago, he didn't really know who Emeril was. Now he's a fan. Perhaps too big of a fan.

His comment was that it was just spicy enough, and not too spicy, and he particularly liked how thick the sauce was - because of the addition of masa harina. I agree. We'll be keeping this recipe.

For serving, it's suggested that you have shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, and sour cream as toppings for the chili.

I got these bowls for participating in the party.

I can't say that I've ever picked those three things to serve with chili. But again, it worked. As my husband says, "this guy knows how to cook." Yep, he does.

For my part in this party, I've been given a copy of the cookbook, a jar of Emeril's Essence and serving bowls made by Zak! I also had several items to give away, courtesy of Morrow Books.

Bloggers who participate in this party and complete the 3-week assignment will receive some additional books by Emeril as well as a small cash reimbursement. One blogger will be chosen to receive a 6-quart Emeril-branded crockpot made by T-Fal.

For more information on Morrow's cooking blog, see The Secret Ingredient. Want to order the book? Clicky-clicky right here.

Are you on Facebook? The Secret Ingredient and Emeril have pages there. Or if you prefer Twitter, you can find Morrow Books and Emeril there as well.

Whole Food Friday: Pizza, Pizza, Pizza ... Salad

Pizza is arguably one of America's favorite foods. You can eat it at a restaurant, have it delivered, buy it frozen, or even (gasp!) make your own.

For many people, making pizza is intimidating because it requires making a yeast dough. But you can make it a whole lot easier buy purchasing the dough already made.

I'm not one of those people who is afraid of yeast dough, but I decided to try the premade dough at Whole Foods anyway. I mean, if you're at the store shopping, you can't be at home making dough.

And then I needed toppings. Right by the pizza dough, I found fresh pizza sauce, basil pesto, and some handy little packs of toppings. I picked up some shredded cheese as well, then changed my mind and bought some fresh mozzarella.

By getting pretty much everything pre-prepped, home made pizza became a super-fast meal. Now, don't get me wrong. I don't mind prepping vegetables. I usually don't buy anything pre-cut. But I thought this would be an interesting experiment. And besides the time-saving component, there's also the portion component. You can buy a topping kit and not end up with bits and pieces of leftover components. For me, not a big deal because I'm always cooking and could find a use for leftovers. But someone else might not have a good use for all the odd bits and pieces that would be left.

If you've got the time to do the prep work, go for it. If you prefer to buy the individual ingredients, that's great, too. But if you're short on time ... well, I'm going to say that this is a whole lot better than buying a frozen meal or stopping at a fast-food drive-through. When I got home, getting this on the table was incredibly fast. And easy. Not a whole lot to think about.

But first, salad. 

One of the nice things about the remodel of the local whole foods is the bulk section, which now includes a number of different vinegars, oils, sweeteners, and other liquidy things. I picked up some peach balsamic vinegar there. If you can't find peach balsamic, then any white balsamic or white wine vinegar would do.

For the chopped nuts, I bought mixed nuts - you know, the type with cashews, almonds, hazelnuts ... you could use all one type of nut if you prefer. Or use bread crumbs. To do the chopping, you can use a small food processor, but be careful not to over-process. You want finely chopped nuts, not a nut butter. I chopped by hand. And it's perfectly fine if there are some slightly larger bits. They add some crunch.

Salad with Warm Nut-Crusted Goat Cheese

per salad:
1 small romaine heart (or half of a larger one)
1 small cooked beet, diced
1/4 cup shredded radicchio
2 tablespoons diced red bell pepper
1/2-inch slice chevre
2 tablespoons finely chopped nuts
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon peach balsamic vinegar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar
Several grinds white pepper

Assemble the salad - you can toss the ingredients (romaine, raddichio, beets, bell pepper) together, or arrange them on a plate, but either way make sure some of the colorful peppers and beets are on top of the greens.

Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a small skillet. Coat the slice of chevre with the chopped nuts. When the oil in the pan is hot, fry the chevre briefly on both sides. You're just looking to brown the nuts slightly and warm the chevre. Don't cook it too long, or it will be too soft.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining oil along with the vinegar, salt, sugar, and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. If you've got left over crumbs from the nuts, add them as well. Shake to combine. Taste for seasoning and correct if necessary.

Place the warmed chevre on top of the greens and dress with the salad dressing. Serve while the chevre is still warm.

Savory Pizza - Two Ways

The pizza assembly and baking is pretty much the same, no matter what toppings you use. I made two different pizzas, one using the Italian topping kit (cooked Italian sausage, red bell peppers, thinly sliced red onions, and sliced mushrooms) and one using the Greek topping kit (feta cheese, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and black olives). If I was picking ingredients myself, I might have used kalamata olives instead of the black olives, but maybe not.

I prefer a fairly thin crust pizza with ample toppings, and I think that smaller pizzas are a lot easier to work with, particularly if you're trying to wrangle a pizza off of a peel and onto a baking stone. So, I used a 1-pound piece of dough to make two pizzas. Each one used most of the ingredients in the topping kits - I had a few red onions left, and I'll confess to nibbling some of the artichokes hearts before they made it onto the pizza.

Sausage, Mushroom, Onion, and Red Pepper Pizza

1/2 pound pizza dough (half of one portion of the Whole Foods dough)
Pizza Sauce - 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Italian pizza topper kit
Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
Cormeal

Preheat your oven to 550 degrees (or as high as it will go) will a pizza stone on the rack. If you don't have a pizza stone, you can use a cast iron griddle, a large cast iron frying pan turned upside down, or a standard baking sheet.

On a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a ball, then flatten the ball into a disk shape. With a rolling pin (or, if you don't have a rolling pin, a clean, empty wine bottle will do) roll the dough into a circle about 10 inches in diameter. Sprinkle some cornmeal on a pizza peel (or, if you don't have one, sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom of a baking sheet.) You're going to use this to transfer the pizza to the stone, and the cornmeal keeps the dough from sticking.

Transfer the dough to your cornmeal-sprinkled peel. Add a thin layer of sauce - not too much or the pizza will be soggy and gummy. Add the toppings, as desired. I used the whole kit for my small pizza, except for some onions. (If you don't have the kit, figure about 1/2 to 3/4 cup, loosely filled, for each item.) Top with slices of cheese, as desired.

Give the pizza a few shakes to make sure it's moving freely on the peel, then transfer it to your preheated pizza stone in the oven. Bake until it's nice browned, about 8 minutes.

Remove it from the oven, slice, and serve.

Roasted Pepper, Olive, Feta, and Artichoke Pizza

1/2 pound pizza dough (half of one portion of the Whole Foods dough)
Pesto - 1/4 cup, or to taste
Greek pizza topper kit
Olive oil
Cormeal

Preheat your oven to 550 degrees (or as high as it will go) will a pizza stone on the rack. If you don't have a pizza stone, you can use a cast iron griddle, a large cast iron frying pan turned upside down, or a standard baking sheet.

On a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a ball, then flatten the ball into a disk shape. With a rolling pin (or, if you don't have a rolling pin, a clean, empty wine bottle will do) roll the dough into a circle about 10 inches in diameter. Sprinkle some cornmeal on a pizza peel (or, if you don't have one, sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom of a baking sheet.) You're going to use this to transfer the pizza to the stone, and the cornmeal keeps the dough from sticking.

Transfer the dough to your cornmeal-sprinkled peel. Add a drizzle of olive oil, then add your toppings. I used the whole kit for my small pizza, except for a sample of the artichoke hearts that I accidentally ate. (If you don't have the kit, figure about 1/2 to 3/4 cup, loosely filled, for each item.) Drizzle with a little more olive oil.

Give the pizza a few shakes to make sure it's moving freely on the peel, then transfer it to your preheated pizza stone in the oven. Bake until it's nice browned, about 8 minutes.

Remove it from the oven, add some dollops of the pesto, slice, and serve.

Dessert Pizza

Since I was buying pizza crust dough, I decided to make some dessert pizzas. I used the whole grain crust for mine, but you could use the regular dough, if you prefer. For this, I used Ave Agave raspberry fruit spread, but you could use your favorite jam or jelly.

1 pound whole grain pizza dough
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
3 large nectarines
Ave Agave raspberry fruit spread
Cornmeal

Cut the nectarines in half and remove the pits. Slice the nectarines into thin wedges.

Preheat your oven to 550 degrees (or as high as it will go) will a pizza stone on the rack. If you don't have a pizza stone, you can use a cast iron griddle, a large cast iron frying pan turned upside down, or a standard baking sheet.

On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball, then flatten the balls into a disk shape. With a rolling pin (or, if you don't have a rolling pin, a clean, empty wine bottle will do) roll the dough into circles about 10 inches in diameter. Sprinkle some cornmeal on a pizza peel (or, if you don't have one, sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom of a baking sheet.) You're going to use this to transfer the pizza to the stone, and the cornmeal keeps the dough from sticking.

Transfer one piece of dough to your cornmeal-sprinkled peel. Stir and smash the cream cheese to soften it, then spread half of it onto the dough. Arrange half of the nectarines on top of the cheese, then dollop some of the fruit spread on top of the nectarines - as much as you like.

Give the pizza a few shakes to make sure it's moving freely on the peel, then transfer it to your preheated pizza stone in the oven. Bake until it's nice browned, about 8 minutes.

Remove it from the oven, slice, and serve.

Repeat with the second piece of dough.


This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Braciole: One-Pot Wonders

Braciole must not be too common. Most people I mention it to have never heard of it. It's actually pretty simple - thin beef with a stuffing of bread crumbs, cheese, herbs and other things, simmered in a tomato sauce and served with pasta.

One interesting item in the stuffing in Emeril Lagasse's recipe in Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders was chopped hard boiled eggs along with the usual ingredients.

When my husband and I lived in Chicago, we had a favorite Italian restaurant that served braciole. I've tried making it several times over the years, but I've never been impressed with the recipes I tried. Some of them make a huge roll - like a roast - but I prefer the small, individual-serving rolls. That's what Emeril's recipe is, and that's one reason I was interested in trying it.

The other is that I knew my husband would appreciate the effort. So, yes, this is another husband-chosen recipe. Sort of. I picked it because I knew he'd pick it. And when I told him there was a recipe for braciole, he agreed that we had to try it.

On the other hand, I was just a little bit nervous about it. He'd been talking about how great that restaurant braciole was, and I was worried that this one wouldn't measure up to his memories. But I had already committed to making it.

Previous recipes I made have used a variety of cuts of meat. Flank steak is common. Or skirt steak. This recipe called for bottom round, sliced 1/4 thick, and then pounded thinner. It seemed pretty impossible that I'd find 1/4-inch slices of bottom round, so I bought a bottom round roast and sliced it myself.

This wasn't an easy-peasy recipe. The prep work takes a bit of time, even if you're not slicing a roast. In fact, slicing the roast wasn't a big deal. But then it had to be pounded thin. The stuffing had to be assembled and then put on the meat and then the meat was rolled and secured with toothpicks.

While there was quite a bit of prep work, after that it just simmers for a couple hours. Here at high altitude, it simmered for a bit longer. But I expected that. The great thing, though, is that like any braised tough meat, it's actually better the next day, So you can make this whole recipe the day before you want to serve it, and right before dinner, cook some pasta to go with the meat, and then reheat the meat and sauce.

There was one oddity with this recipe. It called for 2 cups of water, but it wasn't listed in the instructions. I think it might have been intended to go into the simmering liquid along with the tomatoes. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the need for that water would depend on how loose your tomato mixture is. The thickness of canned tomato products varies from brand to brand. So if you're making this one, add the water at your discretion. Maybe you'll need it, maybe you won't.

I made this in a dutch oven on the stove, as the recipe suggested, but it would convert easily to a crockpot.

So ... the result?

Another winner! Yep, we like this one. The sauce was great, too. I served it with spaghetti, and I could have been happy with just the sauce and noodles. My husband declared it "excellent." Good enough for me. I'll be making this one again, but I might add just a bit more cheese to the filling next time.

For my part in this party, I've been given a copy of the cookbook, a jar of Emeril's Essence and serving bowls made by Zak! I also had several items to give away, courtesy of Morrow Books. Check the sidebar for giveaways that are still running.

Bloggers who participate in this party and complete the 3-week assignment will receive some additional books by Emeril as well as a small cash reimbursement. One blogger will be chosen to receive a 6-quart Emeril-branded crockpot made by T-Fal.

For more information on Morrow's cooking blog, see The Secret Ingredient. Want to pre-order the book? Clicky-clicky right here.

Are you on Facebook? The Secret Ingredient and Emeril have pages there. Or if you prefer Twitter, you can find Morrow Books and Emeril there as well.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chicken Paprikash: One-Pot Wonders

The One-Pot Blogger Party is winding down, and I've got just a few posts to go. Next on the husband-chosen list was Chicken Paprikash, loaded with red and green bell peppers, onions, and paprika.

And since it's an Emeril Lagasse recipe, there was also a kick of cayenne pepper and a generous "poof!" of black pepper as well.

I made a couple changes to the recipe. It called for white wine, but I used red because I had a bottle open for another recipe. That was a conscious decision. I've substituted white wine for red and red for white in plenty of recipes. Unless the color is critical, it works well enough.

The second change was accidental. This recipe uses quite a bit of paprika. I accidentally grabbed the wrong one.

Yes, I stock a few different kinds of paprika - sweet, half-sharp, sharp, and smoked. The recipe called for sweet paprika, but I grabbed the smoked instead. Oops. I don't know if I'd recommend that substitution - it depends on whether you like the flavor of smoked paprika or not - but it was good nevertheless.

The third change wasn't much of a change, really. The recipe calls for one red bell pepper and one green bell pepper. I had an average-sized red bell pepper and a rather small green one. I rooted around in the fridge and found half of another red bell and used that to make up for the size of the little green fella.

So the amount was close to what was needed, but the color scheme was skewed a little towards the red.

There was one teeny problem with the recipe as it was written though. This is supposed to fit in a 12" skillet. Maybe my cookware is freakishly small, but I'd suggest using a larger skillet or even a dutch oven.

This recipe was pretty easy - slice some peppers and onions, measure some spices, brown the chicken, cook the vegetables for a while, combine it all with canned tomatoes, slap the cover on and let it cook until it's done. Then it's just a matter of cooking some noodles, adding sour cream and a few fresh herbs, and maybe making a salad to go with.

The dish has sour cream added to it at the end of cooking, but you can serve it with a little extra sour cream on the side so people can add as much as they like. Besides adding richness to the sauce, the sour cream helps to cut the heat a bit. But it's still got a decent kick, and it would be even spicier if you used a sharp paprika rather than a sweet (or smoky) one.

This was another winner for us, but for people who don't like spicy food, you might want to dial back the cayenne just a little bit. Sorry I can't give you the recipe for this - we're only allowed to publish a limited number of them, But the book is now for sale, or check my giveaway that ends Oct. 1.

For my part in this party, I've been given a copy of the cookbook, a jar of Emeril's Essence and serving bowls made by Zak! I also had several items to give away, courtesy of Morrow Books. Check the sidebar (upper right) for giveaways that are still running. 

(Note: I'm also giving away some non-Emeril items that aren't related to this blogger party.)

Bloggers who participate in this party and complete the 3-week assignment will receive some additional books by Emeril as well as a small cash reimbursement. One blogger will be chosen to receive a 6-quart Emeril-branded crockpot made by T-Fal.

For more information on Morrow's cooking blog, see The Secret Ingredient. Want to pre-order the book? Clicky-clicky right here.

Are you on Facebook? The Secret Ingredient and Emeril have pages there. Or if you prefer Twitter, you can stalk find Morrow Books and Emeril there as well.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cinnamon Apple Sweet Rolls

Recently I tested a Panasonic bread machine. First, I tried a few of the recipes that came with the machine. then I tried a few of my standard recipes. Then the fun really began as I started experimenting with the different kneading cycles and features.

I particularly liked the kneading function that was designed for pizza. Unlike the kneading sequence for standard bread that has a rest-knead-rise sequence with a long final rise, the pizza dough function does a knead-rise-knead-rise that's finished in 45 minutes. I really, really, liked the texture of the dough after that process.

Since it goes through 2 kneads with a rest in between, it's a very elastic dough. But since it doesn't have a long warm rise at the end, it's perfect for doughs that you want to cold ferment. Or, for doughs that you want to knead now and chuck into the fridge to be ready when you're ready. Same thing, really. One just sounds better planned than the other.

You certainly don't need to use a bread machine to make this bread. You can use a stand mixer, food processor, or knead by hand. You don't even have to do the long, cold rest either, but I think it enhances the flavor. If you're NOT doing the long, cold rest, I'd suggest increasing the yeast, or you'll be waiting a long time for it to rise.

You also don't need to use exactly the same bread machine I used. This just happens to be one that I was lent for testing, and it was the first machine that produced what I'd consider a decent loaf of bread. I tried two other machines prior to this, and the loaves were less than stellar. I also tried using one of those machines for kneading, and the dough was lumpy and not particularly well kneaded. I had to finish kneading by hand, so why bother. But this model not only produced decent loaves of bread, it did a nice job kneading, as well.

If you've got a bread maker that you like, there's no reason to keep shopping. If you're shopping for one, consider this one.

In the future, I'm hoping to test more bread machines, if the opportunity comes up. I might even consider buying one, now that I know that it's possible to get a good loaf out of a good machine. We'll see.

Cinnamon Apple Sweet Rolls

These dough for these rolls aren't overly sweet, which is what I intended. Too much sugar in a dough can result in a poor rise, so I kept the dough just slightly sweeter than usual. It was light and fluffy and perfect for pulling off little bits to nibble on. The sweetness came from the sugar and cinnamon, while the apple I chose added just a bit of tartness and interesting texture to the party.

There were a few chewy caramelized bits of sugar around the outside edges of the rolls - a little bonus.

1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 1/2 cups (11 1/4 ounces) bread flour
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup cold water
Drizzle of olive oil
1 apple(use an apple variety that's good for baking)
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Put the yeast, flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 teaspoon of almond extract and 1 cup of cold water into your bread machine. (This is the order I filled mine, but I've noticed that the proper order depends on the machine. Follow your manufacturer's instructions)

Set the bread machine to a knead-only setting. On this model, I used the kneading setting for pizza. If there's a long final rise on your machine, consider taking the dough out sooner (unless you're planning on baking right away).

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil into a zip-top bag and transfer the dough to the bag. Squeeze out the air and refrigerate the dough overnight.

Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small frying pan. Peel, core, and slice the apples thinly, and drop them into the frying pan. Cook, stirring as needed, until the apple is fork-tender. Transfer the apple to a storage container and refrigerate until needed. You can cook the apples the next day, but you want them to be fully chilled before you use them.

When you're ready to assemble, take the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter of out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Spray a square Pyrex baking pan with baking spray (if you want a little extra insurance against sticking - or you can use a metal pan if you like, but I prefer the Pyrex for this.

Flour your work surface and turn out the dough. Knead it briefly, then roll it out to a rectangle about 10 x 15 inches.

With one of the long sides facing you, spread the softened butter on the dough starting at the edge closest to you and to within an inch or two of the far edge. It's fine if there are gaps and blobs of butter, as long as it's somewhat evenly distributed from side to side.

Top the butter with the sugar, again leaving an inch or two at the far end uncovered. Do the same with the cinnamon. Again, it's fine if it's not perfectly even.

Remove the apples from the refrigerator and place a row of them across the dough on the edge closest to you. Leave a gap of about two inches and place another row of apples. (this leaves space for making the first turn of the spiral. Depending on how thin your slices are, and how you arrange your apples, this might use them all up. If not, place another row right above the second row, and continue until all the apples are used up.

Starting at the edge closest to you, begin rolling the dough up, jelly-roll style, until you reach the far end. Seal the seam.

Arrange the log you've created so it's somewhat evenly thick from one end to the other. Slice the log into thirds, then slice each of those into thirds again, so you have 9 pieces.

Place the pieces, spiral sides up, in the prepared pan. Press down on the rolls so they're all the same height. You don't want to mash them to death, just gently press down. It's fine if they're touching each other. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled. Depending on how much your dough has warmed up, it might take as much as an hour to rise. It's better to let it rise fully than to bake it before it has time to get fluffy, so if it needs more time, be patient.


About 20-30 minutes before the rolls have risen fully (or sooner, if you prefer) preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

When the rolls have doubled in size and feel puffy when you touch them, remove the plastic wrap and bake them at 325 degrees until the are cooked through and nicely browned, about 45 minutes.



There's likely to be some sugary goo on the bottom of the pan, so turn the rolls out and let them rest upside down first, before you flip them over to finish cooling.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash strands might look like pasta, but they don't act like pasta. The biggest difference is that they don't absorb moisture. Meanwhile the sauce doesn’t cling to the squash, so you’re left with a watery sauce and strings of squash that don’t taste like pasta, no matter how good your imagination.

After a couple more failed attempts at making spaghetti squash behave like spaghetti, I ignored it  - even avoided it. I saw no reason to keep wasting good spaghetti sauce.

It took a lot of years before I changed my opinion, and it all started with a change of attitude. I finally realized that spaghetti squash isn't a sub-par substitute for spaghetti - it's a unique vegetable. It's got a texture that's not like any other squash, and when treated with the respect it's due, it can be very interesting.


Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms

1 small spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 small green pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon dried sage or several fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
6 small tomatoes, halved or quartered

Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds and stringy bits from the center. Put the squash cut-side down on a microwaveable baking dish. Add about an inch of water. Microwave on high until it has softened, about 15 minutes.

While the squash is cooking, heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large pan. Add the onions and peppers. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften add the salt, garlic, sage, and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms lose their moisture and it is mostly evaporates.

When the squash is done cooking, use a fork to scrape out and separate squash strands. Add them to the pan with the other vegetables. Add the butter (if using) and cook briefly, stirring to break up mix the squash with the vegetables.

Transfer the squash to a serving dish and garnish with the tomatoes.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders (Giveaway)

So, you've been reading all these posts about Emeril Lagasse's cookbook, Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders, and hopefully I've whetted your appetite for trying some of the recipes.

And I've teased you a little bit about giveaways. The skillet giveaway is over; the contest for the Zak! bowls started last week, and I've still got a cookbook to hand out. You want it? Of course, you could order it here.

Or you could win one. Keep reading.

My husband was kind of skeptical about eating meals from one cookbook for three weeks. I mean, I like to get all creative in the kitchen, and one day it might be Mexican and the next day might be Italian and the next day might be German. Or barbecue. Or anything else you can think of.

Which makes use-up-the-leftovers night sort of interesting. Pierogi and tacos and wings, anyone?

So when I said it was going to be three recipes from the cookbook each week for three weeks, he gave that little resigned sigh and hoped for the best. I mean, what if it was three weeks of bland food? What if it was a cuisine he didn't like? You see, he only vaguely knew who Emeril was. "He's the guy who says 'poof!' all the time, right? Or what is it he says?"

For some reason, hubby never remembers the "BAM!" And he had no idea what kind of food Emeril cooks. He recognized him on the cover of the book because he'd seen him on TV, but other than that, hubby had no idea what I was getting us into.

But now for sure he knows who Emeril is. "This guy knows how to cook," he says. And he's even more impressed that Emeril isn't stuck on one cuisine. And to be honest, he's also pleased that Emeril isn't stingy with the spices. A little kick of heat is always welcome in our house, but at the same time, the spicy dishes have some restraint. You can taste what you're eating.

So, maybe you want this cookbook now? Would you like to win a copy for yourself? This is a nice book, so I'm going to make you work just a little bit for this one.

Here we go: Contest is now CLOSED
and the winner is  ... mjskit!


So far, I've made 10 posts about this book, and included recipes or descriptions of dishes in 8 posts.

In chronological order, the 10 posts are:

Emeril's One-Pot Cooking Blogger Party
Mushroom, Squash and Barley Risotto: One-Pot Wonders
Introducing Emeril's One-Pot Bloggers
Tuscan White Bean Soup: One-Pot Wonders
Chicken Two Ways: One-Pot Wonders
Chicken Two Ways (part two): One-Pot Wonders
Quesadillas (and a giveaway): One-Pot Wonders
Cajun Shrimp Stew: One-Pot Wonders
Rich Shrimp Stock: One-Pot Wonders
Ancho-Rubbed Flap Steak: One-Pot Wonders

For your first entry, tell me which of those recipes you would make first, and why you chose it.

The first entry is the only mandatory one. The rest are optional, and you can do them in any order, and skip any that don't appeal to you.

For an extra entry, tweet a link to this contest. Include @dbcurrie and @morrowcooks in the tweet. Come back here and leave a comment telling me that you tweeted.

For an extra entry, tell me which OTHER BLOGGER in the party you discovered through my posts, tweets or links. If you haven't discovered anyone new yet, there is a link to all of them in one of my posts, and also over on the right sidebar. Post a nice comment on that blogger's site, then come back here and tell me that you've done so. (Some of those other bloggers are also currently running contests, so you might win something there, too!)

For an extra entry, go to The Secret Ingredient blog and then come back here tell me which Morrow cookbook, besides Emeril's, you would like to own.

For an extra entry, go the Emeril product page on the Zak! Designs website and then come back here and tell me which Emeril-branded Zak product you like best.

For an extra entry, COME BACK ON A DIFFERENT DAY and tweet a link to this contest, this time including @dbcurrie and @emeril in the tweet. Leave a comment here letting me know that you tweeted.

For an extra entry, like Cookistry on Facebook. Come back here and tell me that you've done so.

See, it wasn't that hard. Good luck!

This contest is open to US residents only, and will be open from the time this posts through midnight, mountain time, on October 1. Winner will be chosen randomly from all valid entries.

And now for the ever-popular disclaimer: Bloggers who participate in this party and complete the 3-week assignment will receive some additional books by Emeril as well as a small cash reimbursement. One blogger will be chosen to receive a 6-quart Emeril-branded crockpot made by T-Fal.

Are you on Facebook? The Secret Ingredient and Emeril have pages there. Or if you prefer Twitter, you can find Morrow Books and Emeril there as well.

Ancho-Rubbed Flap Steak: One-Pot Wonders

I let my husband browse through Emeril's cookbook, Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders, to help me pick out some recipes to make for the one-pot blogger party.

This is one of the recipes he chose.

We've been eating a lot of Emeril recipes. Most of them make a lot, and even when I've been cutting them in half - or less- it's enough food for a couple days - or the freezer.

Fortunately, the recipes aren't all on one theme. Okay, the one-pot theme is there, but they're different pots, different cooking methods, and most important, they're different cuisines. So even though we've eaten a number of recipes from this book, they've all been very, very different.

The Ancho-Rubbed Flap Steak with a warm Black Bean and Relish  that I made most recently was packed with southwestern flavor. Before it's browned, the meat is rubbed with a mixture of chili powder, cocoa powder, spices, and brown sugar and left to rest for a while.

The "relish" is a heck of a lot more than a relish - there's a lot of it, it's a hearty component with the beans and corn and tomatoes. If it wasn't cooked in the pan that the meat was seared in, it might even work as a vegetarian chili.

When it's all done, the relish goes on the bottom of the plate and the sliced steak goes on top.

If you've never had flap meat, it's worth a try. If you can't find it, skirt steak or flank steak would be good substitutes.

I'd love to give you the recipe for this one, but we've been given a limited number of recipes we're allowed to publish during this party. Don't worry, I will have more recipes for you before this is over. Then you can decide for yourself what you think of this cookbook.

Meanwhile, my husband is pretty happy with the results. As he said over dinner the other night, "I don't know who this guy is, but it seems like he knows how to cook."

For my part in this party, I've been given a copy of the cookbook, a jar of Emeril's Essence and serving bowls made by Zak! My post about quesadillas has a giveway for that same set of bowls. But that's not all. I'll also have a book to give away soon (stay tuned for that).

Bloggers who participate in this party and complete the 3-week assignment will receive some additional books by Emeril as well as a small cash reimbursement. One blogger will be chosen to receive a 6-quart Emeril-branded crockpot made by T-Fal.

For more information on Morrow's cooking blog, see The Secret Ingredient. Want to pre-order the book? Clicky-clicky right here.

Are you on Facebook? The Secret Ingredient and Emeril have pages there. Or if you prefer Twitter, you can find Morrow Books and Emeril there as well.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Me vs. the breadmaker

It's a darned good thing that sound doesn't spontaneously travel through email, because when Erin at Serious Eats forwarded an email from Panasonic to me, she probably would have been frightened by the demonic laughter that spontaneously erupted.

You see, the email from Panasonic was asking if we wanted to review a breadmaker, and Erin wanted to know if I wanted to give it a try.

After the guffaws ceased, I very calmly typed. "Sure, I'll give it a try." I had to restrain myself from adding on "Bwah ha ha" in an evil font. I sent the email and erupted into fits of giggles. Breadmaker-offering guy, you have no idea what you're getting yourself into...

Now, it's not just bread snobbishness that prompted my evil glee. You see, I'd tried using a breadmaker before. A while back, I thought it would be nice of me to adapt some of my recipes to breadmaker use. So I borrowed one from a friend.

Following the instructions carefully, this was the result:


I don't have a photo of the interior, but it was weird and gummy. There's a word for it ... let me think. Oh, yeah! Completely inedible. That's it.

I decided that my friend's old and very basic machine was probably too old and basic, so I made the rounds of the local thrift shops. There are ALWAYS breadmakers at thrift shops. And I brought home a newer model with more buttons and settings.

Once again, I very carefully followed the instructions. I muttered to myself because the manual pointed out how important it was to accurately measure the flour. Measure? Yes, measure. Because there were no weights given for any of the recipes.

Oddly, this machine required the ingredients to go into the breadmaker in almost the opposite order of the first one. Okay, whatever.

The first loaf wasn't as complete a disaster as the other machine, so I tried tweaking the recipe. This was as good as it got:


And here's a photo of it sliced.


The giant gaping hole is from the paddle, which was a pain to remove from the bread. It required quite a bit of digging and gouging.


And just for the fun of it, here's a shot of the top of the loaf. If you stare at it long enough, you might see mystical visions or something.

So yeah, that's my breadmaker experience. I thought it might have something to do with being at high altitude, but the second breadmaker had instructions specifically written for high-altitude baking. But no matter what I tweaked, the bread was pretty darned sad. I got it to the point where it was edible, but it wasn't any version of good.

That's why I was guffawing about the offer of a new breadmaker. I was really skeptical about it, but at the same time I was curious whether a new - and more expensive - machine would be able to make bread that I'd be happy with. And I was darned happy that I wasn't going to be shelling out any money for the experiment.

So I sat by the door and waited for it to arrive, wagging my tail. Oh, no that was the dog. Sometimes the FedEx guy brings dog treats.

In no time at all, it arrived, well-packed in multiple boxes:

 

The breadmaker is the Panasonic SD-RD250. Not a very sexy name, but I guess it could be the name of a Star Wars robot or something. That's good enough.

I unpacked it, read the instructions, and got another good laugh. It's got a raisin dispenser. Ha. I strongly dislike raisins. I used to say that I hated raisins, but I've recently downgraded to strongly dislike. But that's okay, the dispenser works for any non-sticky add-ins like nuts or seeds. That works for me.

I washed the washable parts and had a loaf of bread in process within 20 minutes of the box landing on the doorstep. I opted for the standard loaf.

The hard part was waiting. The previous breadmaker had a window on top. This didn't. And the instructions said that it was important to leave the lid closed for the whole process. Verrrrrry mysterious.

When the machine beeped, I lifted the lid, expecting to see another collapsed bread. Let's see... oooohhh...


Damn. It looked like bread. Now what could I complain about? Oh yeah, the stupid paddle.

I turned the bread pan over and the bread slid right out. The paddle stayed in the pan. Hmmmm...

I waited for the bread to cool and sliced it. It was a nice sandwich-style bread. Not the most brilliant bread I've ever made, but it was perfectly acceptable.

Next, I tried the rapid bake option. I figured that one had to fail for sure. Instead of a 4-hour process, the rapid bake produces a loaf of bread in 1 hour, 55 minutes. To my great surprise, it made bread again. No failure. It had less flavor than the first loaf, but that's to be expected with a shorter rise. But still, if I needed a bread to slather some peanut butter on, or to make some sandwiches, it would be fine.

Well, okay, those were bread machine recipes. I decided to use one of my own recipes. The only adjustment I made was the amount of yeast. All of the bread machine recipes used a small amount of yeast, so I adjusted my recipe accordingly.

And gee. Surprise. It worked. I was astonished.


For this shot, I cut through the center of the bread, intending to show the small slash from the paddle. Coincidentally, the paddle stopped inside this one single slice of bread. You can barely see it on either side of this slice, unless you poke at it. Of course, you do see the round hole from the shaft of the paddle, but it's not huge.

This machine can also be used to bake cakes, and I downloaded extra recipes for things like meatloaf and rice pilaf. I haven't tried those yet ... I'm still working my way through all the different kneading options to see what sort of results they produce.

And of course, there are options for just plain kneading without baking.

Overall, I'm pretty darned pleased with this machine.

*clunk*

That was the sound of my father-in-law falling to the floor in a dead faint. We've discussed bread machines before, and at that time I was pretty well convinced that I'd never want one. Now that I have one that works, I can see the usefulness of it.

I'm not going to throw out my trusty KitchenAid mixer and my oven, but I can see how this can be very handy for days when babysitting dough is impractical. If I'm going to be out of the house for a long time, I can come back to a baked loaf. If I'm going to be gone for a couple hours I can dump in the ingredients and come back to a dough that has been kneaded and risen, so it just needs shaping, rising, and baking.

If I could change one thing about this machine, it would be the beeping that signals that the process is done. I wouldn't mind if it was a little - or a lot - louder. Then again, if it was loud enough for me, other people would probably complain that it was shrieking at them, banshee like.

That's why I have a timer that I can take with me. I never hear the stove timer, either, if I'm not in the kitchen.

I'll probably be working on some bread machine recipes once I've run this thing through every possible setting. But so far, the only necessary adaptation (besides not trying to bake too much bread) is to cut back on the yeast. This breadmaker starts with a long ferment that gets the yeast happily multiplying, so if you use too much yeast you end up with .... well, too much yeast.

Stay tuned for more.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Whole Foods Friday: Apple Crumb Tart

Okay, so I made dinner for $20, but what about dessert?

I used more of the flour I already paid for as part of the dinner expense. So that's, like, free.

Specifically for this recipe, I bought 5 Granny Smith apples for $4.28 and butter for $2.69, so just under $7 for a dessert that ought to feed eight people. Or four people who each have two servings. Or two people for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snack. Whatever works for you.

Everything else I used in the recipe I'd consider pantry items: salt, cornstarch, sugar, and vanilla. Okay, vanilla can be a little expensive, but you could eliminate it from this recipe without dire consequences. The other ingredients are fairly inexpensive as well. Okay, a whole big bag of sugar is a couple bucks, but we didn't use much of it at all. And that butter didn't all get used up in this recipe, either, so there's plenty left for another recipe. Or toast. The leftover butter probably makes up for the cost of the vanilla, so I'm putting the total cost on this at around $7.

And look, there's still plenty of flour left.

The very first pie I ever made was an apple crumb pie. I was probably still in grade school, and for some reason, I was led to believe that the top crust on a pie was difficult. So when I found a recipe for a pie with a crumb topping, I latched onto it like a dog with a bone. I made so many pies with crumb toppings that I could make the crumb part without measuring.

Eventually, I realized that double-crusted pies weren't that scary. But in the meantime, I developed a fondness for crumb toppings. Even though I like flaky pastry, there's something about having two different crusts in one pie that I find appealing.

This tart is an homage to those first pies I made. But of course, I've changed everything. Because that's how I roll.

Apple Crumb Tart

Pastry:
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1 tablespoon vanilla combined with 1 tablespoon water, chilled
1 tablespoon additional cold water

Filling:
1 tablespoon butter
5 granny smith apples
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon corn starch

Crumb topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Pastry:
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of your food processor and pulse a few times. Add the butter and pulse again to break up the pieces until the largest bits are no larger than a lima bean.

With the processor running, add the water/vanilla mixture as fast as the flour will absorb it, then add as much extra water as needed so the dough begins to gather together. You don't need it to form a ball - just so that it can come together.

Remove the dough from the food processor, form it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Filling:
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a frying pan on low heat. Peel and core the apples, and slice them thinly. I find that it's easiest to work on one apple at a time. Cut in half, remove core with a melon baller, then cut the half in half, then peel and slice it directly into the frying pan. After each addition of apple, give the pan a shake (or stir) to move the new additions to the bottom of the pan.

Add the salt and sugar and cook for a short time, just until the apples become a little bit pliant. Combine the vanilla and cornstarch and add it to the pan. Stir to coat all the apples, then turn off the heat. Transfer the apples to a storage container and let cool, then refrigerate until needed.

Crumb topping:
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut the butter into chunks, and then, working with a fork or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until it's like wet sand. Set aside until needed. If it's warm in your kitchen or you're working ahead, refrigerate it.

To assemble and bake the pie:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Have a 9-inch tart pan ready

Flour your work surface and roll the pie dough to slightly larger than the tart pan. Transfer the dough to the pan, and press it into the sides of the pan. Trim the top evenly. You can use the left over bits to shore up any thin spots on the sides, if needed.

Dump the apples into the prepared crust and spread them evenly. You don't have to arrange them in a pretty pattern, since the crumb crust will cover them.

If the crumb crust has big clumps, break them up. It's fine if there are some pea-sized pieces, but you don't want boulders on top of the pie. Spread the crumbs evenly over the apples, all the way to the edges of the pie.

Bake the pie at 425 degrees until the crumb topping is lightly browned, about 45 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and place it on a rack to cool completely before removing the tart from the pan.

Whole Foods Friday is what I'm calling my new partnership with the local Whole Foods stores in Boulder County. Whole Foods lets me shop for what I need for any recipe I want to make, and I post the results here. Whole Foods also posts my recipes on their Boulder blog, and at Cooking Boulder. It's a fun project.

Whole Foods Friday: The $20 Meal

The recent deal on Social Living that offered a $20 Whole Foods gift certificate for $10 spawned a whole lot of comments about what someone could buy at Whole Foods for a measly $20. Some were sarcastic, some were serious, and most were amusing.

I started thinking about what I could do with a $20 budget at Whole Foods. Well, I could buy a pretty nice hunk of cheese. Or a fancy steak. Or some expensive condiments.

But could I buy enough to make a meal? I decided to make it a challenge. Make a meal for $20. For at least two people.

I set a couple ground rules for myself. Anything that was a major component of the dish, I had to buy. Minor things that you'd expect someone might have in the pantry or fridge, I didn't buy. I used a couple optional ingredients that I happened to have on hand and that anyone else might happen to have as well. And if not, well, they're optional.

I spent a total of $20.77. So, a little over budget. But ... I also didn't use everything I bought. That should make up for the spare change. I mean, really, I bought a bag of flour, but I had plenty left over. And I could have bought a smaller amount in bulk and been under budget.

Obviously, prices vary, and it probably would be impossible to buy items that weigh exactly the same thing ever again. But maybe next time it would be a little bit less, right?

Here's the shopping list:

1 chicken $7
2 parsnips (.37 lbs) $1.48
Couple hands full of sugar snap peas (.38 lbs) $1.90
1 large onion (.77 lbs) $.77
1 large yukon gold potato (.87 lbs) $1.73
5 carrots (1.28 lbs) $1.91
1 package fresh marjoram $2.99
5-pound bag all purpose flour $2.99

The pantry ingredients I added were olive oil, salt, baking powder, milk, and vegetable oil. The optional ingredients I added were celery and parsley.

You could cut the expenses by skipping the fresh marjoram and using your favorite dried spice from your pantry instead. The parnips were also just a tad expensive, but I included them because they're an under-used vegetable. You could easily eliminate those. And the snow peas? Yes, an indulgence. You could use frozen English peas instead, probably for less money. Or substitute green beans, and cook them along with the rest of the vegetables.

Of course you could customize this until doomsday, but this is what I made:

Chicken and Dumplings

1 chicken, cut up, breasts reserved for another recipe.
2 celery stalks
5 large carrots
2 parsnips
1 large onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yukon gold potato
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
Couple hands full of sugar snap peas
1/4 cup loosely packed parsley
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

I bought the chicken whole and cut it up myself, but you can ask the butcher to cut it up for you. For this recipe, I only used the legs, thighs, wings, and the back. I didn't use the breast, and I kept it whole for use in another recipe.

Put the chicken backs and wing tips in a crockpot (or you can use a dutch oven, but then you need to keep an eye on it). Wash and peel the carrots. Put the peels and the ends of the carrots into the crockpot with the chicken. Peel the onion and chop roughly. Put the peels (if they're clean) and other scrap bits into the crockpot with the chicken. Chop the celery stalks and add them to the crockpot. Add water to just barely cover the items in the crockpot. Set the crockpot to low and cook for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

Remove the solid bits from the crockpot and strain the rest of it though a fine strainer to catch the odd pieces and set the liquid aside for a moment.

Peel the parsnips and slice them into pieces about the same size as the carrots. Peel the potato and cut it into bite-size cubes.

Heat large, heavy-bottomed pot (a Dutch oven is ideal) over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot - not smoking, just hot - add the legs, thighs, and wings from the chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides, then remove it from the pot.

Add the carrots, onion, parnips, potato, and 1 teaspoon of salt to the pan, and cook, stirring as needed, until the vegetables soften a bit - about 10 minutes. Add the marjoram leaves and the chicken, with any juices that have collected. Add the liquid you reserved earlier (that you made in the crockpot) to just under the level of the chicken and vegetables. If you don't have enough liquid, add water. If you've got too much liquid, refrigerate it - you might need it later, or you can use it for another recipe. Stir to combine and bring to a boil, then lower to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and cook until the vegetables and chicken are tender - about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the pea pods diagonally into 1/2 pieces. Roughly chop the parsley.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine, then add the milk and vegetable oil. Stir until you've got a soft, wet dough.

Oooh! Fluffy dumpling!
Remove the chicken and vegetables from the pot and keep warm. Add the peas and parsley to the liquid remaining in the pot. You should have at least 2-3 inches of liquid in the bottom of the pot. If you don't have enough, add any left over liquid from the crockpot, or add water. Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.

Dip a large spoon into the hot liquid, then use it to dollop the dough mixture onto the top of your boiling liquid (keeping it hot helps release the dough.) You should have 8-10 lumps of dough on top of the liquid.

Reduce the heat so the liquid is simmering, cover the pot, and let it simmer, undisturbed, until the dumplings are fluffy and cooked through, about 13-15 minutes.

For family-style presentation remove the dumplings from the pot, then add the liquid - now nicely thickened to a gravy consistency thanks to the dumplings - along with the peas, to the other vegetables and chicken. Arrange that in a serving bowl or platter, then place the dumplings on top.

So there we go - dinner for at least two, with lots of vegetables and pillowy dumplings for just about $20, and left over flour, chicken and herbs for another day.

Whole Foods Friday is what I'm calling my new partnership with the local Whole Foods stores in Boulder County. Whole Foods lets me shop for what I need for any recipe I want to make, and I post the results here. Whole Foods also posts my recipes on their Boulder blog, and at Cooking Boulder. It's a fun project.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rich Shrimp Stock: One-Pot Wonders

If you don't know what the One-Pot Wonder posts are about, check out this post for the details.The short version is that I'm playing with Emeril's upcoming cookbook, Sizzling Skillets and other One-Pot Wonders.

I've made a number of recipes from the book, and the previous one was Cajun Shrimp Stew, which requires a shrimp stock. I didn't make the stock, since I had seafood stock in the freezer. But just in case, here's the stock recipe for you.

Even if you're not going to make the shrimp stew recipe, it's good to have a recipe like this on-hand. Whenever you've got shrimp shells, put them in the freezer until you've got enough to make stock. Those shells have a lot of flavor - why waste them?

The intro to the recipe in the book says:

"This stock is so easy to make, yet so flavorful—make a batch every time you have shells and heads from fresh shrimp and you’ll never have to worry about where to get shrimp stock again. You’ll find that toasting the shells in oil before adding the water gives added depth to this stock, which can be used in countless ways."

Rich Shrimp Stock

1 to 1 1/2 pounds shrimp shells and heads
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
14 cups water
1 large onion, unpeeled, roughly chopped (the onion peel deepens the color of the stock)
½ cup roughly chopped celery
2 small carrots, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large sprigs fresh parsley

Rinse the shrimp shells and heads in a large colander under cold running water and allow to drain.

In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the shrimp shells and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shells are pink and toasty-fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the water and all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming any foam that comes to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook at a slow simmer until the stock is flavorful, 45 to 60 minutes.

Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large heatproof bowl and allow it to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days before using. (The stock may also be placed in airtight containers and frozen for up to several months.)

About 12 cups

Note: You can easily double the ingredient amounts to make a larger batch of stock. To save space in the freezer, you can reduce the stock further after straining and discarding the solids. Just add water to the defrosted stock to reconstitute as needed.

For my part in this party, I've been given a copy of the cookbook, a jar of Emeril's Essence and serving bowls made by Zak! Yesterday's post has a giveway for that same set of bowls. But that's not all. I'll also have a book to give away soon (stay tuned for that).  

Bloggers who participate in this party and complete the 3-week assignment will receive some additional books by Emeril as well as a small cash reimbursement. One blogger will be chosen to receive a 6-quart Emeril-branded crockpot made by T-Fal.

For more information on Morrow's cooking blog, see The Secret Ingredient. Want to pre-order the book? Clicky-clicky right here.

Are you on Facebook? The Secret Ingredient and Emeril have pages there. Or if you prefer Twitter, you can find Morrow Books and Emeril there as well.

Cajun Shrimp Stew: One-Pot Wonders

For some reason, when I think of cooking shrimp in a sauce, I think of tomatoes. The Cajun Shrimp Stew in Emeril Lagasse's book, Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders has no tomatoes. But it does have potatoes. Verrrrry interesting.

I always like trying recipes that are different from what I usually make.

Several other bloggers involved in the One-Pot Blogger party sponsored by Morrow books have already made the same recipe - for good reason. It's one of the recipes we're allowed to publish. But every one of them said they liked it. Even more reason for me to be interested.

I made a couple teeny changes to the recipe. First, I didn't make the shrimp stock. I had some seafood stock in the freezer, so I didn't need to make any. And the shrimp I bought were a little larger than the "medium" shrimp called for in the recipe. So, to make them available in every bite of stew, I cut them in half, lengthwise. they cooked very quickly - almost as soon as they hit the hot stew. And they curled up in pretty shapes.

Served over rice, this made a nice dinner. Like all the recipes in the book, the serving sizes are large. Or maybe we just don't eat as much as the average person. But that's okay. Leftovers are good. Despite the finickyness of shrimp, this reheated well.

My husband is starting to look forward to the new recipes in this book, and even more so now that I've let him choose the next few. I was going to be all strategic about picking recipes, but then I decided that maybe it makes mores sense to simply make recipes that we most want to eat. I mean, after all, that's how I'd pick recipes from any other cookbook.

So, you want to make your very own shrimp stew? Here you go:

Cajun Shrimp Stew

1 cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups finely chopped onion
¼ cup minced garlic (about 12 cloves)
10 cups Rich Shrimp Stock (page 173)
2 bay leaves
1 ¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
3 large baking potatoes (2 ½ to 3 pounds), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 pounds small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup chopped green onion, green part only
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Steamed long-grain white rice, for serving

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat and, when hot, add the flour. Whisk to combine and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until a medium roux is formed (it should look a bit darker than peanut butter), about 10 minutes. (If the roux begins to brown too quickly, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and take your time—it is important that the roux not be burned at all or the stew will have a bitter taste.)

As soon as the roux is the right color, add the chopped onion and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, little by little, and bring the sauce to a gentle boil.

Add the bay leaves, black pepper, cayenne, thyme, and 4 teaspoons of the salt and reduce the heat so that the sauce just simmers.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the floury taste is gone, 30 to 45 minutes.

Add the potatoes and continue to cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are very tender and the sauce is thick and flavorful, 30 to 40 minutes longer. (Add a bit of water or chicken broth to thin the gravy should the stew get too thick during the cook time. The sauce is meant to be thick and rich but not pasty.)

Toss the shrimp with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Stir the shrimp, green onion, and parsley into the stew and continue to cook until the shrimp are just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Remove the bay leaves.

Serve the stew in shallow bowls over hot white rice.
6 to 8 servings

For the recipe for the Rich Shrimp Stock, see the next post

For my part in this party, I've been given a copy of the cookbook, a jar of Emeril's Essence and serving bowls made by Zak! Yesterday's post has a giveway for that same set of bowls. But that's not all. I'll also have a book to give away soon (stay tuned for that).  

Bloggers who participate in this party and complete the 3-week assignment will receive some additional books by Emeril as well as a small cash reimbursement. One blogger will be chosen to receive a 6-quart Emeril-branded crockpot made by T-Fal.

For more information on Morrow's cooking blog, see The Secret Ingredient. Want to pre-order the book? Clicky-clicky right here.

Are you on Facebook? The Secret Ingredient and Emeril have pages there. Or if you prefer Twitter, you can find Morrow Books and Emeril there as well.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Quesadillas (and a giveaway): One-Pot Wonders

As soon as I got Emeril Lagasse's cookbook, Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders, (a preview copy since I was selected for a blogging party) I browsed through the book and bookmarked the recipes I wanted to make first.

Those first few choices were based partially on what supplies I had on hand.

Then I picked a couple recipes that sounded really good to me, and went shopping for needed ingredients.

Then threw caution to the wind and handed the cookbook to my husband so he could pick out a few recipes.

After he made his choices, he told me that it was tough and he would have liked any of them. I think I need to hand him cookbooks more often. I liked everything he picked.

The first husband-chosen recipe I decided to make was Chorizo and Potato Quesadillas with a Cilantro Chile Crema. Long title, but the recipe was fairly easy. The crema just needed to be blitzed in the blender.

The quesadilla filling also came together easily, and the great thing is that it can be made ahead of time and assembled and cooked quickly later. So you can have the filling and crema in the fridge, and make the quesadillas for lunch, dinner, or a quick snack whenever you want them.

The quesadilla filling includes chorizo and potatoes, like the title says, and of course, cheese. That's pretty common.

The pretty green crema puts it over the top, though. Not only does it add a splash of color, but it also adds richness from the sour cream, freshness from the cilantro, and heat from the peppers.

Sliced avocados make a nice accent for the dish, as well.  Of course, quesadillas can support a whole lot of garnishes. Tomatoes, salsa, cilantro, sour cream, onions ... the sky is the limit.

As much as I'd love to hand over the recipes for every one of the recipes I make from the book, we're only allowed to publish a limited number of them. It makes sense. There are 20 bloggers participating, so if we all made different choices, we could publish the whole book. But don't worry, there will be a chance to win a book here soon, so check back for that. Or, if you're not feeling lucky, you can order one here.

For my part in this party, I've been given a copy of the cookbook, a jar of Emeril's Essence and serving bowls made by Zak! And if you keep reading just a bit more, you can win your very own set of bowls. Oh, but that's not all. I'll also have a book to give away soon (stay tuned for that).  

Bloggers who participate in this party and complete the 3-week assignment will receive some additional books by Emeril as well as a small cash reimbursement. One blogger will be chosen to receive a 6-quart Emeril-branded crockpot made by T-Fal.

For more information on Morrow's cooking blog, see The Secret Ingredient. Want to pre-order the book? Clicky-clicky right here.

Are you on Facebook? The Secret Ingredient and Emeril have pages there. Or if you prefer Twitter, you can find Morrow Books and Emeril there as well.

And now for the GIVEAWAY! (Contest is now CLOSED)
and the winner was ... Yuri!

One of the things we bloggers received for our part in this party was a set of Emeril by zak! Table Art 7-piece Flame-Shaped Serving Bowls. Big title, cute bowls.


They're nice for serving toppings, small side dishes, little nibbles, or whatever you want.


They nest together for storage, and you can arrange them in a flower-like shape, which is kind of cool.


They're dishwasher-safe, but not microwave safe. They look pretty sturdy, too. Some kind of hard plastic material. When I first saw them, I was a bit skeptical that I'd like them, but they're actually kind of neat-looking, and they look nice in photos, which is always a plus.



And heck, on taco night, I can put all the darned components in matching bowls, instead of grabbing my usual mix-and-match mess.

You want to WIN your own bowls? It's EASY!

For your first entry, leave a comment on this post. Tell me what you'd use these bowls for.

For your second entry, tweet a link to this contest and include @dbcurrie @emeril and @morrowcooks in the tweet. Leave a comment here telling me that you've tweeted

For the third entry, tweet a link to this contest and include @cookistry and @Zak_Designs in the tweet. Leave a comment telling me that you've tweeted.

This contest is open only to those with US shipping addresses. Contest starts as soon as this post goes up and ends on Sept 28 at midnight, mountain time. Winner will be chosen randomly.

Good luck! I think I'll go munch a quesadilla now.
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