Monthly Archives: April 2013

Baked Maple Espresso Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal

I made this recipe because I signed up to be a tester for the weekly recipe contest on Food 52.com. The entry for Maple Espresso Baked Oatmeal sounded delightful and the perfect accompaniment to my morning greek yogurt so I decided to volunteer to test it. I really enjoyed the results of the recipe and I would suggest it to anyone wanting a quick and tasty addition to their breakfast.

I followed the recipe pretty much to the T the only changes were I used dried cranberries and cold eggs I did not see why the eggs needed to be at room temperature and it turned out just fine with the cold eggs. I also used a half and half mixture of Syrup and Honey since I ran out of syrup which still yielded a just sweet enough final product.

Baked Oatmeal

I really enjoyed the results of this recipe and will defiantly be making it again with a few modifications and additions. I plan on adding some Flax Seed, Wheat Bran, and Sunflower Seeds to make it extra nutritious and tasty.

In mine I used the following:

2oz Butter

1Tsp Salt

1Tbsp Powdered Espresso

1/4 Cup Agave Maple Syrup

1/4 Cup Honey

2/3 Cups Milk

3 Eggs

1 cup Chopped Pecans

3/4 Cranberries

Baked Oatmeal

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The Road Diverged

The Seine

Off I go today for a short trip in Europe. Before I left I was hoping to get a few post written of some things I made recently but alas life happens and I will have to finish those when I return from my travels. While I am gone I hope to post at least one of the entrys I was working on but we will see. I am hoping to make some small city guides while I am away so stay tuned for those!

If you want to see some images from my trip while I am away I will be posting them to my traveling Tumblr The Road Diverged. I also will be posting updates and travel tips to twitter while I am away so stay connected and follow me @grahamandcook!

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The Mysterious and Delicious Dragonfruit

Dragonfruit

I used to love the Dried Dragonfruit that Trader Joe’s stocked a few years back and I was so disappointed when it was discontinued. Since their discontinuation I have been meaning to try a fresh one from chinatown but have never gotten around to buying one until recently.

Dragon Fruit

Dragonfruit have a very unique hard to describe taste. When I first had tried the dried variety I did not immediately like them because it was different than other things I have had before but after a little bit the taste grew on me. It is a bit sweet and sour and has notes of kiwi. There are a few varieties out there the most common one I have seen in Chinatown being the pink skin and white flesh variety. If you can find a pink skinned one with red flesh those are sweeter.

Eating Dragonfruit plain is great but it would also be great as an addition to a tropical fruit salad, mixed with some Mango, Kiwi, Starfruit, and Papaya it would be a great addition to a summer barbeque spread or a Sunday brunch (see how to prepare below).

So if you can get your hands on a fresh dragon fruit pick one up and try it out who knows you just might like it.

Dragon FruitDragon Fruit
Dragon FruitDragon Fruit

To prepare to a dragonfruit you basically treat it like an avocado.

First you cut the fruit in half, then scoop out the flesh with a spoon and cut into cubes.

Serve in the shell of the dragonfruit or serve in another vessel.

Dragon Fruit

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Spring Time Weekend Grooves

Beach and water

With Spring here more or less I thought I would share the playlist I made and have been grooving to over the past week.

Check out the playlist APRIL 2013 on Spotify!

1. Abra Cadaver ; The Hives

2. Get Free; The Vines

3. Fiction Romance; Buzzcocks

4. Teenage Disease; Black Rebel Motorcycle

5. No Fun; The Stooges

6. Veni Vidi Vici; Black Lips

7. Where Eagles Have Been; Wolfmother

8. Slow Cruel Hands Of Time; Band of Horses

9. No Time; The Heavy

10. West Coast; Coconut Records

11. Spiderwebs; No Doubt

12. Between Love & Hate; The Strokes

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Bookshelf of Cookbooks: Bouchon Bakery – Plain Scones

scones

This past weekend I went to my friend’s apartment for a lovely little brunch. I was in charge of bringing bread and cheese as we were having a spread of starters and some other food for the main. Since I wanted to bake something but did not feel like making bread I decided to make scones. While looking for recipes I found the recipe for Plain Scones in the Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller & Sebastien Rouxel cookbook. I love the book everything looks amazing but of course since it is such an elevated cookbook a lot of the recipes take more time and effort than I usually have for baking. But as everything is so lovely looking I always go back to the book which is why I found the scone recipe and while it was different than every other scone recipe I have seen it was not so complicated/ labor intensive that I decided to try it. I thought the method was very intriguing and now that I have tried it I am very happy with the results. You make a rather wet dough which you refrigerate until it it is hard enough to cut into scones and then you freeze them at least overnight and then cook from frozen.

Scones

I defiantly plan on making these again maybe with basil and sun-dried tomato… I am really interested in making more savory scones but I am sure I will make some traditional and my favorite cranberry orange scones too.
scones

I followed the recipe to almost a T but when I was at the grocery store buying supplies I did not buy enough Heavy Cream to make Creme Fraiche and use in the dough so I subbed buttermilk for Creme Fraiche. This made the scones a bit more tangy than I think they would have been otherwise but they were still good. I also think that since I used so much buttermilk I should have added a bit more baking soda to balance out the acid but otherwise they were the most moist and perfect scones I have ever made. The recipe takes longer to make than a regular scone recipe because you  freeze (as I talk about above) but is so worth it. Because you freeze it though it makes the scones great for making ahead of time and cooking right before eating and you can keep the dough frozen uncooked for up to a month.

Scones

If you want the recipe check out the book but for reference this is the ingredient list:

152 Grams All Purpose Flour

304 Grams Pastry Flour

12.5 Grams Baking Powder

2.5 Grams Baking Soda

91 Grams Sugar

227 Grams Cold Unsalted Butter (8oz)

135 Grams Heavy Cream

135 Grams Buttermilk

I think they are great just served plain or with butter, honey, and preserves.

Scones

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On the Kale Train

Kale Chips

I have friends that love love love kale. I have never really understood the obsession, I am not really a fan of bitter things and in a salad there is something about it that I do not enjoy about it. I like though to keep healthy snacks around the apartment to eat and Kale chips are something that fit the bill. So this past weekend I decided to try out making some kale chips to see what all the hype was and if I could get into the kale thing.

While the kale chips turned out well and they were kale fanatic approved it is taking me a while to get into them. I am slowly starting to get the kale chip love and I am interested in making them with some other spices in addition to the salt next time. Only time will tell what happens with my relationship with Kale but for now I am curious and willing to try some more.

Kale Chips

KALE CHIPS

If you have seen one Kale Chip recipe you have seen pretty much all of them but regardless here is mine.

1 bunch of curly leaf kale

1-3 Tbsp Olive Oil

Salt to Taste

Any other spices

Large bowl

Parchment Paper or Silpat

Sheet Pan(s)

TO ASSEMBLE

Wash and Dry Kale, tear into larger than chip sized pieces (they will shrink while cooking when the water is evaporating) removing and discarding the rib

Pre heat oven to 350F degrees

In a large bowl mix the kale pieces and olive oil making sure that the kale is fully coated with the olive oil

On your parchment/ silpat lined Sheet Pan lay out the kale pieces single layer (per the first picture) and salt and spice to your taste

Bake for about 10-20 minutes until the kale is crispy, it is best to bake only one tray at a time even if you are using multiple pans

Let cool and serve

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Ouefs en Cocotte (Eggs in Ramekins)

Oeufs en Cocotte_08

I was inspired to make Ouefs en Cocotte ( Eggs in Ramekins) this weekend by the post on Sassy Early Grey’s blog. I absolutely love eggs for breakfast and usually make my some sort of fried egg sandwich on the weekends and mornings where I give myself more time to get ready for work. Since the eggs are cooked in a water bath it is hard to over cook them

Oeufs en Cocotte_06

QUICK AND EASY OUEFS EN COCOTTE

Serves 1

2 Eggs

2-3 Tbsp Grated Cheese ( I used Monterey Jack)

1 Tsp Heavy Cream

Salt and Pepper to taste

Any other spices you want ( I used Sumac, read about it here, which I had not used until I bought it this weekend at whole foods. I had read about it so when I saw it at WF for a reasonable price I had to get it, it has a really nice taste that is not quite like any one more spice)

Toasted Bread, Bagel, or crackers

Ramekin

Cake pan (small if cooking just one larger if cooking multiple cups)

Enough hot/ boiling water to reach 3/4 inch up the side of the ramekin(s) (Place all Ramekins in pan before adding the water)

Oeufs en Cocotte_05

TO ASSEMBLE

Preheat oven to 375F degrees

Place about 1 tbsp of the grated cheese into the bottom of the ramekin

Crack both eggs into the ramekin

Pour the cream in and then top with the rest of the grated cheese

Top with salt, pepper, and any other spices you wish

Place ramekin(s) in the cake pan and pour in hot water until it reaches 3/4″ up on the Ramekin(s) and put the pan in the oven

Cook for 8-10 minutes until the egg white is set

Serve with toast and enjoy

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Mini Mexican Chicken Pot Pie

Yesterday's dinner of mini chicken pot pies = today's lunch #recipecomingsoon

I always fine that my best ideas come to me at the most random of times, like this one for Mini Mexican Chicken Pot Pies. I had been fixated on pot pies for a while for some reason which I thought was weird because I have never been a big fan but one day, probably while browsing the internet, the idea popped into my head to make Mexican chicken style pot pies. Since my go to chicken prep is some version of my Taco Truck Chicken I thought it would be great to use some version of that as the filling for the pot pie, I jotted this idea down in my notebook and that was that I figured I would get around to making them you know someday… So this past weekend when I was going through my cookbooks looking for some pulled pork inspiration and came across the pot pie recipe in Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller and decided that I was going to try out my chicken pot pie idea right there and then. I set off to the grocery store which is were the mini idea came about. I was looking for small pie pans, because I was only cooking for my self I did not want to make a giant pot pie that would be too much for one serving and would not save very well and of course the grocery store did not have small pie tins (I was basically looking for tart pans) but they did have muffin pans which is when it hit me that making mini pot pies would be perfect (which they were). Using the muffin pans meant that the pies could easily be portion controlled and the leftovers can be frozen for a quick dinner or lunch for another day.

While the inspiration for this recipe came from Ad Hoc in the end I did not use any part of the recipe from the book, I only used it as a guide for the parts needed in the final pies. All in all I think these Mini Pot Pies turned out great and while amazing as a main dish they would be also be a super great appetizer for a dinner party!

MINI MEXICAN CHICKEN POT PIES

Makes 12 Mini Pies, Serves 12 as an appetizer and 4-6 as a main dish

1 Recipe Chicken (see recipe below)

1 Recipe Pie Crust prepped into rounds for pan (see recipe below)

1 Recipe of Bechamel Sauce (see recipe below, the recipe will yield a bit more sauce than you need, the leftovers would be great as a quick pasta sauce)

1/2 Cup Corn Kernels (either fresh cooked or frozen defrosted)

1 x 12- Muffin Tin or 2 x 6- Muffin Tin

1 Egg and water for egg wash (optional)

Mini Chicken Pot Pie

TO ASSEMBLE

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees

Take the disks of your pie dough that you rolled out for the bottom of the pies out of the refrigerator leaving the rounds for the top

In each of the muffin cups place in one of the rounds, centering it with the pan and press down the center and out so that the round fits the cup just like making a pie, repeat for all the muffin cups

In each mini pie put about a Tablespoon of corn you can put more or less to your taste.

On top of the corn add in your chicken mix to each cup until the cup is filled to the top.

Pour or spoon over the chicken enough of the bechamel so that it comes almost to the top of the cup, making sure that it does not over flow.

Take the rounds for the tops of the pies out of the refrigerator and place one on each cup.

Crimp the lid to the bottom pie crust as best you can (as you can see mine were kind of messy but it worked)

Slice the top of each pie with a knife so that the steam can escape when they are cooking

If you want a crust that is more golden brown in color make an egg wash with an egg and some water and brush over the top of each pie (I did not do this because I did not have an egg on hand but it would have been nice for color)

Put the pies in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, cooking until the crust is golden brown

Remove from the oven and cool slightly and serve! You can store any left overs in a plastic bag in the refrigerator or freeze them for another day!

Mini Chicken Pot Pie

MEXICAN CHICKEN POT PIE FILLING

This recipe is a modified version of my basic Taco Truck Chicken which is my go to chicken preparation it is easy and so versatile. This version is not as spicy as the basic version, in fact is not really spicy at all the poblano pepper adds a lot of flavor but is not spicy pepper.

1/2 Medium Onion Sliced

2 Cloves Garlic Minced

1 Large Poblano Pepper Diced

1 Medium Tomato Diced

1/4 Cup Cilantro Chiffonaded

1 Whole Chicken Thigh or 3 Thigh pieces

1 Tbsp Valentino Hot Sauce (Franks Red Hot would work too)

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 12oz Lager Beer (I used Yuengling)

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Medium Sauce Pan

Lid to fit Sauce Pan

Cutting Board

Fork

Mini Chicken Pot Pie

TO PREPARE

Place chicken on a clean plate and salt vigorously

In your medium sauce pan over low heat enough olive oil to lightly coat the pan, once the oil is heated add onion and garlic and salt thoroughly and sweat for about 5 minutes keeping the heat low, stirring occasionally to keep the onion from burning

Add in the diced poblano pepper and sweat with the onion mix for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally

Add the tomato, hot sauce, cilantro, and salt + pepper to taste

Stir everything together and cook another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally

Add chicken on top of the vegetable mix and add beer

Cover the pot with the lid and simmer until the chicken is cooked through

Once the chicken is cooked remove the chicken from the pot and place on a cutting board

Leave the sauce pan on the stove and turn up the heat to high and reduce the liquid down down to about a quarter of the current volume, stirring occasionally to keep the sauce from burning

While the liquid is reducing, shred the chicken using your fork.

Once the liquid has reduced down to about a quarter of the original volume add the chicken back in and mix together.

Turn off the heat and use as needed

PIE DOUGH

This is a basic 3:2:1 pie dough from Ratio by Michael Ruhlman

12 oz All Purpose Flour (about 2 3/4 cups)

8 oz Butter (make sure it is very very cold)

About 3 oz Ice Cold Water (amount needed will depend on the butter and flour)

about 1/2 Teaspoon of salt

Mixing Bowl

2-3″ Biscuit Cutter

Rolling Pin

TO PREPARE

In the mixing bowl combine Flour and Butter with your hands, breaking the butter into small pea sized pieces

Once the butter and flour are mixed together add salt and pour in a little bit of water at a time until the dough comes together, do not mix the dough to much so that it does not get too tough

Split the dough in half and shape into disks, put the dough in the refrigerator for it to cool back down

Once the dough is cold again take out one of the disks and roll out until it is about 3/8″ thick.

Take your biscuit cutter and cut as many rounds as you can get out of the dough. Re Roll out the scraps and Cut as many more Circles as you can get. The one disk should yield about 12-13 rounds.

Place the rounds back in the refrigerator and repeat with the second disk.

Take the first 12-13 rounds and roll each one out a bit more until they are about 1/4″ in thickness. These will be the bottom of the pot pies. Return to the refrigerator until ready to use.

Take the second set of rounds and roll out just so they are big enough to cover the top of the muffin tin for the pies. Once rolled out return to the refrigerator.

Mini Chicken Pot Pie

SAUCE BECHAMEL

I followed the recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking and while I could never do as good as a job of explaining how to make a bechamel as Julia Child and crew can I have given my own version of the directions below but If you really want a through and complete explanation defiantly check out the book.

2 Tbsp Butter

3 Tbsp Flour

2 Cups Milk

1/4 Tsp Salt

Salt & Pepper to taste

Medium Sauce Pan

Wooden Spoon

Small Sauce Pan

Whisk

TO PREPARE

Heat milk and salt in small sauce pan until hot and set aside

In the medium sauce pan over medium low heat melt butter and mix in flour

Cook over low heat stirring until the butter and flour start to bubble and froth

Cook for another 2 minutes while stirring making sure to not let the mixture does not darken

One the mix stops bubbling remove from the heat and you now have a Blond Roux

Pour in all the hot milk and whisk vigorously

Put sauce pan back over medium heat and stir with whisk until the sauce comes to a boil

Once it is boiling cook for 1 minute longer while stirring continuously

Take off the heat and salt and pepper to taste, use right away or cover with plastic

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Spring Interlude

Butterfly

Nothing beats the warm breeze on your face from that first real spring day. The sun shining down instantly washing away the cold and grey of the winter months.

Beach

The desire to be outside grows and grows making you anxious and antsy all day to leave the walls which confine you. Your concentration wanes until you finally step outside again to soak in all the spring time glory.

Chinese Gardens

Spring has sprung and hopefully it is here to stay….

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Almond Cream Crepe Cake

Crepe Cake

My sister’s friend was hosting dinner for Easter at her apartment and since she was cooking I felt like I needed to bring something because I always feel so weird if I am not the one cooking. Since I had left over Frangipane (Almond Cream Filling) from my Matcha Macarons I made the other day I thought it would be a great and delicate dessert to make a crepe cake with it. It was a great hit at the dinner and I will defiantly be working on more flavor combinations and layers in the future. I defiantly recommend making a crepe cake for your next social function it makes for a fantastic presentation and takes much less effort than you would think!

ALMOND CREAM CREPE CAKE

1 Recipe of Frangipane (Almond Cream Filling)

1 Recipe of Crepes (see below)

Some Powdered Sugar and Almond Flour for finishing

Sifter

Decorative serving plate or tray

Offset spatula

Crepe Cake

TO ASSEMBLE

On your serving vessel place one crepe down and take about 2-3 tbsp of the Frangipane with the offset spatula and spread out the almond cream on the crepe.

Lay another crepe down and spread out another 2-3 tbsp of the Frangipane with the offset spatula, continue with all the layers of crepe until you get to the last layer.

On the last layer use your sifter and cover the crepe cake with some powdered sugar and almond flour.

Cut into slices and serve, or store in the refrigerator until later.

Crepe Cake

CREPES

Makes 6 Crepes

This crepe recipe is based on my two favorite crepe recipes the one in Ratio by Michael Ruhlman and the Crepe Recipe from the Good Eats Episode ‘Crepe Expectations‘.

4oz Egg (2 Large)

3oz Almond Milk

1oz Water

3oz Flour

3 Tbsp Melted Butter

1/4 Tsp Salt

TO ASSEMBLE

As I live in a small New York apartment I don’t have a lot of appliances like a blender since I don’t have room for them but this batter can be made quickly in a blender if you have one.

Mix the eggs, milk, water, butter, and salt together very well with a whisk. If whisking by hand sift the flour into the wet mix if using the blender just mix everything together.

Let the batter rest for about an hour in the refrigerator. It is important to let the bubbles settle so the crepes do not gain any volume while cooking.

After the batter has rested set up your crepe making station.  I keep my mixing bowl with the batter right on the stove with my measuring cup for transferring my batter to the pan near by.

Start by preheating your oven to about 200 degrees F and prepare your sheet pan by laying a piece of parchment down and having a clean kitchen towel near by. This is how the crepes will be stored while you are cooking the rest.

Right before making the crepes I gently mix the batter with a spoon to make sure that anything that settled to the bottom of the bowl is mixed in. Be careful to not introduce a lot of bubbles when doing this.

Grease your pan with some oil or butter and let it heat up on a medium high burner once it is warm (not too hot as it is non stick and you should not let it heat to a high temperature with out something on it) take your pan off the heat in and hold in one and take your scoop of batter (for my pan almost a 1/3 of a cup is the perfect amount) and pour in the middle of the pan and swirl around to coat the whole pan in a thin layer. Just remember the first crepe will always be funny due to too much oil or to cool/ hot of a pan.

Place your pan back on the heat and let cook for about a minute depending on the heat of your pan, when you start seeing the edges brown you know you are ready to flip.

To flip your crepe there are many ways to do it, as advised in Mastering the Art of French Cooking they suggest 2 spatulas or using your fingers. I failed at both these methods, for me it is just easier to give the pan a good shake and flip the crepe, it takes a little practice by the showmanship of it is fun too.

Cook the crepe for about 30 seconds on the second side just until it starts to be a bit spotty brown.

Then take your crepe and put it on your sheet pan, cover with the kitchen towel and put in the oven to keep warm (as my oven gets too hot this is when I usually turn it off as the radiant heat will keep it plenty warm. Do what works best for your particular kitchen set up)

Continue until you are out of batter, keeping all the crepes warm in the oven until you are ready to use.

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