Friday, January 25, 2013

Random Cookbook of the Week: In My Kitchen

This year for Christmas I got two Ted Allen cookbooks, In My Kitchen and The Food You Want to Eat. When I drew the former as my random cookbook last week, I liked so many of the recipes I couldn't limit myself to just one. So on Saturday I made...

Herbed Edamame Canapes

1 1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 lb. frozen, shelled edamame, thawed
1 t. unsalted butter
2 large shallots, halved and sliced into thin half moons
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 small garlic clove, smashed and peeled
3 T. fresh ricotta
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 t. grated lemon zest
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. chopped tarragon leaves
Endive leaves, cucumber or jicama slices, or toasted baguette slices

1. Put a medium saucepan half full of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add 1 t. of the salt and the edamame, bring the water back to a boil, and cook for one minute. Drain and transfer to a bowl filled with ice water to stop cooking. Once cool, drain well.

2. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Season with the remaining 1/2 t. of salt and the pepper.

3. Combine the edamame, shallots, garlic, ricotta, olive oil, lemon zest, and juice in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to make a thick, slightly chunky puree. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and mix in the tarragon. Spoon onto endive leaves, cucumber slices, toasts, or what-have-you, and serve.

It came out looking like this:

I added a sprinkling of parmesan because I felt like it needed it, then realized as I was cleaning up the kitchen that night that I'd left out the tarragon. Oops. Anyway, this had a nice fresh, bright taste, and I can see myself making it again, maybe for a party appetizer.

Then Sunday was soup time:

Bourbon Squash Soup with Parmesan Frico

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 acorn or butternut squash, halved and seeded
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 med. yellow onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 med. carrots, chopped
1/2 hot red chile, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 t. fresh thyme or 1 t. dried
1/4 c. bourbon whiskey
4 c. chicken stock, preferably homemade, or low-sodium store-bought

1 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 t. all-purpose flour
2 T pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) - I couldn't find these and therefore left them out.
1 t. finely chopped rosemary or thyme leaves (optional) - I left out
A grind of black pepper (optional) - included
1/4 t. cayenne (optional) - included

1. Make the soup: Preheat the oven to 375.

2. Brush olive oil on the cut sides of the squash and season with salt. Put the squash cut side down on a baking sheet, cover with foil, and roast for one hour, until tender. Remove from oven, turn the squash over, and let cool. Scoop the squash out of the rind and set aside the flesh.

3. Lower the oven temperature to 350.

4. In a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat, warm the olive oil, then add the onion, celery, and carrots, and cook until soft, 8 minutes. Add the chile, garlic, and thyme, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Then, add the squash, whiskey, stock, 1 t. salt, and 1/2 t. pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until slightly thickened, 20 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, make the frico: Mix together in a small bowl the Parmesan, flour, pepitas, and any of the optional add-ins. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, make 1-tablespoon piles of the mixture with a couple inches between each, and spread them out into ovals about 4 inches long and 2 wide. Bake in the oven until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Let them cool on the baking sheet.

6. If you have time, first allow the soup to cool, and then puree in batches or with an immersion blender; reheat before serving. If not, be aware that hot liquids can explode out of food processors and blenders; hold on to the lid with a kitchen towel and proceed carefully. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

7. Tuck a frico into each bowl of hot soup, and serve.


I know, it's very orange. And my fricos look kinda sloppy. But they tasted AMAZING. I'm already trying to think what else that I cook could be made all the better with a nice parm cracker or two on the side. The soup was delicious too--the small amount of chile and Bourbon came through powerfully and made for a spicy, rich, boozey dinner for a cold Sunday night.

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