Monday, April 26, 2010

Orecchiette with chorizo, goat cheese and mushrooms

This weeks market meal is inspired by the wonderful chorizo that Isabel Mendez, who sells those great tamales at the market, is selling.  I love chorizo, so smoky and spicy.  And to counter act the spice of the chorizo I purchased some shiitake mushrooms from Mississippi Natural products and to balance out the low tones of the chorizo and the mushrooms I used some goat cheese form the Royals.  The goat cheese gives it a little kick.

I used orechiette because they sort of mimic the shapes of the mushroom caps and the sliced chrizo.  I also like it because the sauce gets in the little scoops.   

So here we go....

1 pound chriozo, sliced
2 pints shiitake mushrooms
1 pk goat cheese
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 pound orecchiette

In a large skillet, saute the chrizo in the olive oil until nicely caramelized 
add the mushrooms. While this is cooking boil your pasta.  Follow directions on pkg.  Just remember to really season the water with salt and not to over cook it.  You want a nice texture to the pasta you don't want it to turn to mush.  

Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the chorizo and mushrooms. Add a little pasta water also, this helps create a sauce. 

And to finish it all off, break up the goat cheese into chunks. The goat cheese will melt and coat the pasta with creamy yummy-ness. 


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Honey whole wheat bread

I love this recipe. It's simple and delish.  I sell these at the Farmers Market and I always hope that I will have one left over to bring home but it never happens so I decided that I would just make a couple of loaves for the house.

This is not a 100 percent whole wheat.  It is half whole wheat and half bread flour.  I have not mastered the art of making a 100 percent bread that has a texture that I am happy with.  If anyone out there has a recipe they like please share because I would love one.

 (yields 2 9x5 loaves)

3 cups warm water
5 teaspoons dry active yeast
1/4 cup honey
5 cups whole wheat flour
5 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the water, yeast and honey. Let set for five minutes to develop the yeast. Add the flours and the salt to the bowl and with the dough hook attachment, need the dough for five minutes until a smooth dough forms.

Place the dough in an oiled container and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size. 

After the first rise, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and pat out to form a rectangle.  Cut in half into two smaller rectangles. 
Roll each half like a jelly roll. Place each into a oiled 9x5 loaf pan, seam side down. 

let rise until double in size.  Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. 
Once the dough has doubled, brush it with egg wash (one egg beaten with a teaspoon of water) and with a sharp knife, slash the bread down the middle about 1/2 inch deep.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until the bread sounds hallow when tapped on the bottom.

Remove form the pans and place on a wire rack to cool.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Strawberry "Sue"

I call this "Strawberry Sue" because it is inspired by the Italian dessert, Tiramisu.  I used to make this as a cake when I was pastry chef at Mr B's but on the day I made this I thought I would make it into a trifle.  A little simpler and a little more
"Martha Stewart-ish" 

Here in Louisiana, we are in full strawberry swing, and this is the perfect spring dessert.  Hope you try it because I know you will enjoy it.

First you will need to get all the components together for easy assembly. 
"The cake layer"
I used the White velvet butter cake recipe from the The Cake bible. I love this cake because it is buttery, light and so tender.  I use it for a lot of cakes and it is a great partner for fruit.

4 oz egg whites
1 cup milk
2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 TBS plus 1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
6 oz softened butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 9-inch by 1 1/2 inch cake pans, bottoms lined with parchment paper and then greased again and floured.

In a medium bowl lightly combine the egg whites, 1/4 cup of the milk and vanilla. 

In a large mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, combine the dry ingredients  and mix on a low speed for 30 seconds to blend.  Add the butter and remaining 3/4 cup milk.  Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Increase to medium speed and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cakes structure.  Scrape down the sides.  Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches. Scrape down the sides after each addition. 

Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a spatula.  The pans will be about 1/2 full.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs ack when pressed lightly in the center.

let the cakes cool in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes.  Loosen the side with a small metal spatula and invert onto greased wire racks. To prevent splitting, reinvert so that the tops are up and cool. When cool, cut each layer in half.

While the cakes are in the oven I like to get the syrup, I use to moisten the cakes with, going. 

"Strawberry Syrup"
 I like to add a little orange liqueur to the syrup. It adds a nice orange kick, but you can by pass this and just add a little orange extract.

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
3/4 cup orange liqueur
2 pints strawberries

Place the sugar and water in a medium pot and mix so that the sugar is evenly moist.  Place on the stove over medium heat and heat until it just comes to a simmer and all the sugar is melted.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Place the strawberries  in a food processor or a blender and puree until liquid.  Strain through a fine strainer to remove all the seeds and pulp.  When the syrup is cool add the strawberry liquid and the orange liqueur. Set aside. 

"The filling"
Now here you could use the traditional Tiramisu filling of sweetened marscapone  which would work great if making this as a trifle, but if you are inclined to make this as a cake you will want a more stable filling. I also like the addition of cream cheese in this recipe.  It gives the filling a little bite that acts great against the syrup.

16 oz marscarpone, room temperature
12 oz cream cheese, roomtemperature
12 oz butter, roomtemperature
2 tablespoons heavy cream

In the bowl of a mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, Beat the cream cheese and the butter together. Remove the bowl and fold the marscapone cheese into the mix. Then the heavy cream. Use Immediately because it will set up if placed in refrigeration.

Clean and halve two pints of strawberries. Set aside.
"The finally" 
Now all that is left is to take all of our components and layer them.

Place a small amount of of the strawberry liquid on the bottom of the trifle dish.  Place on of the cake halves down cut side up. Take a pastry brush and moisten the cake layer with the strawberry syrup. Nice and saturated.

Now take 1/4 of the filling and layer on top of the cake with a spatula to smooth it out. Place a layer of the halved strawberries on the filling.


Now repeat this with the remaining ingredients. Top the final layer with whole strawberries.  

If you are making this ahead, which you can, cover before topping with whole strawberries. Let set out for one hour before you plan to serve. 
Now all that is left is to .....