Thursday, May 28, 2009

Filipino Chicken Adobo

Funny how things can change so quickly. A couple months ago, I used to walk home from work daydreaming of the perfect, mile-high meringue pie emerging from my little oven. Now, it’s all about mile-high wedding cakes, fall color schemes, bridal flowers, and hand-written vows. I just can’t stop feeling all dreamy and fuzzy and happy. I’ve become one of those bridal nerds right before my very eyes, with no plans of stopping. Gasp!

That said, I didn’t really prepare anything spectacular this week for that package of skinless drumsticks and thighs in my fridge, as I was busy picturing myself on a moped, wind blowing through my hair, in some exotic honeymoon location with my new husband. I think I also happened to be about 6 feet tall and 100 pounds with shiny, flaxen hair down to my hips...Do you think this might be a good time to set aside those bridal mags? Yeah, me too.

Thank god for this recipe I found I’d tucked away a few months ago. Pantry-friendly, easy, cheap and yummy! I served this over brown rice and a side of steamed greens, then poured the yummy juices all over the top. The lovely thing about this recipe, is that the outside of the chicken darkens to a deep, rich golden brown in the soy sauce, but when you cut into it, the meat is light-hued and tender-juicy.

So I know some of my Filipino friends will be reading this, and I hope you will please chime in and let me know if the ingredient list resembles anything your mamas made growing up.

Now, where was I? Ah yes….bridesmaids dresses in October...honeymoons...Paris...Italy... I wonder if mopeds come with seat belts...

FILIPINO CHICKEN ADOBO

Ingredients:


4 chicken drumsticks
4 chicken thighs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup white onion, chopped
1 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon peppercorn, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon brown sugar (more or less depending on your taste preference)

Directions:

1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat.
2. Add garlic and onions to pot, saute.
3. Place chicken in with the garlic and onions and slightly sear the chicken on all sides.
4. Add vinegar, soy sauce, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Cover and allow to cook over medium heat for about half an hour.
5. Add brown sugar and stir well.
6. Replace cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Serve over rice.
7. Eat it up as you daydream of something wonderful. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chewy Sugar-Crusted Spice Cookies

There are so many cookie recipes that claim to be chewy, but they end up drying out in a day or two. I have nothing against crunchy cookies, but I like a cookie to be dependable like an old friend: if they say they are gonna do something, like be chewy, then I count on that chewiness like I count on a good friend to be happy about, say, my upcoming wedding, ya know?

I wanted to make some big, spicy, soft cookies that would remind my boyfriend of his childhood. These fit the bill! Remember Archway spice cookies? That’s what these are, but better because all the ingredients are pure—no partially hydrogenated, artificial D&C number whatever. These are just nice, big, yummy, dependable, old-fashioned homemade cookies!

Chewy Sugar-Crusted Spice Cookies

Adapted from Big Fat Cookies by Elinor Klivans

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (or whole wheat flour or combo of both)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar (see homemade sugar recipe below!)
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
about 1/2 cup turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)

Directions:
Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar and spices until smoothly blended, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Add the egg and molasses and mix until blended and an even light color, about 1 minute. On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just to incorporate it.

NOTE: I find if you cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for 20 minutes or so, the next step of rolling the cookies in sugar will be easier, but this is an optional step.

Spread the turbinado sugar into a small bowl. Roll 2 Tablespoons of dough between the palms of your hands into a ball, toss the ball in sugar to coat and place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue making cookies, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm but they are still soft in the center and there are several large cracks on top, about 12-14 minutes.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days and will remain SOFT!

HOMEMADE BROWN SUGAR

NOTE:
I recently ran out of brown sugar and decided to try making my own. Now I’m hooked—I doubt I’ll ever buy brown sugar again. Homemade brown sugar comes out so moist and soft and luxurious. It doesn’t dry out as quickly as pre-packaged brown sugar and is a lot cheaper. All you need is molasses and granulated sugar, and you’re all set.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoon molasses
1 cup granulated sugar

Directions:
Add molasses to sugar and stir with a fork. Store brown sugar in an airtight container to keep it soft. To make dark brown sugar, increase the molasses to two tablespoons.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Shrimp & Pasta in Creamy Tomato Sauce

Frozen shrimp are amazing little guys to have on hand. I always keep a bag in my freezer for quick weeknight meals. The secret to amazing frozen shrimp is this: don’t buy pre-cooked frozen shrimp. It's soooo easy to cook them yourself, and pre-cooked shrimp are almost always waterlogged and flavorless when defrosted (and rubbery when cooked. Erf). DO buy frozen, RAW shrimp with the shells still on (heads are already removed and they’ve been cleaned and deveined). The shells actually protect the delicate shrimp meat's texture through the freezing and defrosting process. You can get a huge bag for about 11 bucks which will last you 3 or 4 few meals. Cheap 'n' cheerful if you ask me!

Defrost the shrimp right when you are ready to cook them. It’s so easy: place the frozen shrimp in a bowl of cool tap water and let them sit for 10 minutes or so. Peel them in the sink and discard the shells into a little plastic bag (the shells dry to a pretty stinky state so take out the garbage right after dinner!). Rinse the shrimp and pat dry with a paper towel. Easy-peasy! And they taste as fresh as fresh!

This meal is quick and scrumptious. As long as it takes for the pasta to boil is as long as it takes to prepare this dish. Beats ordering in from the diner! Have a loaf of crusty bread and a little salad to complete the meal…oh yes, and a nice chilled glass of pinot grigio. ;)
Shrimp & Pasta in Creamy Tomato Sauce

Serves 4 (or 2 with lunch leftovers :)

Ingredients:

1 pound pasta (Whole grain pasta is Flappery :))
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, and deveined
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup white wine
1/3 cup clam juice (optional)
1/4 cup half & half (or more or less)
grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until the shrimp turn pink and is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp and set aside.

Add the tomatoes, 1/4 cup basil and/or oregano, and the red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine, clam juice if using, and half & half. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add the cooked shrimp, the cooked pasta, and the remaining herbs. Grate some parmesean over the top and toss together until all ingredients are coated. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese and a couple fresh oregano or basil leaves and serve immediately.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pan-Seared Veal Chops with Rosemary


Last night was the two-year anniversary of the day I met my husband to be! (I will go from Flappergirl to Flapperwife in about 5 months!) So...we were going to have dinner out, but seeing as it was a Monday night, we decided to stay in and have a romantic dinner at home, complete with wine and dessert. And romantic it was!

This is a very quick dinner to prepare. My big note to all you cooks is to be sure to brown the chops really well first. Why? Because in the words of one of my favorite crazy-genius chefs Anne Burell, “Brown food tastes GOOD!


MENU
Pan-Seared Veal Chops with Rosemary
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Steamed Mustard Greens with Olive Oil
Blueberry & Blackberry Shortcake Parfait


Pan-Seared Veal Chops with Rosemary


INGREDIENTS:
2 veal chops (about 3/- inch thick)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock or broth

DIRECTIONS:
Rub the chops with the garlic, rosemary, 1 tablespoon oil, salt and
pepper and let sit on a plate for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat a large cast iron or heavy skillet over medium high heat and add remaining oil. Add chops to pan and cook until golden brown and on both sides. Remove chops from pan to a baking dish and roast in oven for 10 minutes.

Add wine, stock any drippings from baking dish to cast iron skillet and stir up brown bits from bottom.

Reduce sauce by half. Serve with the veal chops.

MASHED SWEET POTATOES
NOTE: Heating the milk first before adding the hot potatoes will ensure the texture is smooth and not grainy.

INGREDIENTS:
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons butter (I like Soy Garden)
1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons half-and-half or milk

DIRECTIONS:
Cook sweet potatoes in boiling water until fork tender and drain into a bowl.

In the same cooking pot, add milk, butter, brown sugar and salt. Heat gently and stir until melted and combined. Add potatoes and mash with a potato masher. Check seasonings and adjust with more salt/sugar or butter if necessary.

BLUEBERRY & BLACKBERRY SHORTCAKE PARFAIT

I wish I had a picture of dessert! After a couple glasses of wine I forgot about my camera...The fun thing about this recipe is that I just winged it with what I had on hand. Remember when I made Tiramisu for that Tofu Takedown a short while back? Well, I had an extra sheet of homemade ladyfinger , and it was taking up space as if I'd put a bathmat in my poor little freezer. So I decided to take a pretty cookie cutter to my bathmat, and make lovely little flower shapes. But you can just buy prepackaged Savoiardi (Italian lady fingers) or mini sponge cakes, which will work just as well!

INGREDIENTS:
1 pint of blueberries and black berries
3 Tbs. white or red wine
1 Tbs. water
1 sprig of thyme, leaves on
1 Tbs. sugar or honey
A pinch of cinnamon
4 ladyfingers (or 4 flower discs from a bathmat ;))
Whipped cream

DIRECTIONS:
In a small saucepan, add wine, sugar, water, thyme and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat, reducing wine by half. Add the berries and cook 2-3 minutes, until they break apart a little bit from the heat.

Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

To assemble:

Line the bottom of a wine glass with lady finger. Drizzle some berries and juices on top to soak the ladyfingers. Add a dollop of whipped cream. Add another layer of ladyfingers, then another layer of berries and juice, and another dollop of whipped cream. Repeat this step as many times as you like to make a parfait as tall as you like.

Finish the top with a dollop of whipped cream and eat 'er up!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies...and Pomegranate Molasses??

What's on the menu this weekend? Are you guys cooking? I have this amazing bottle of Pomegranate Molasses that I bought because I liked the way it looked, though I've never cooked with it. Any ideas?? I know it's used a lot in Middle Eastern cuisine, and I'm thinking there is a fun brunch idea in there somewhere as well...What do you think I should do with this stuff??? Cookies, pancakes, lentil stew, meat marinade?

So while I'm figuring out what to do with my new mystery ingredient (any and all suggestions are welcome -- please!!!), I'm putting up a link to some Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies (<--just click here), because that is one recipe that needs no tweaking, no jazzing up, and no re-inventing. :) Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies are perfect just the way they are. Besides, I had some new pics of a recent batch of flapper food from my etsy shoppe that I wanted to share... makes me wanna jump up and lick my computer screen.

Wishing a Happy-Flip-Flappity Friday to you!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cherry Cloud Pancakes with Warm Maple Cherry Syrup

If any fruit could be considered glamorous, I’d have to go with the cherry. I’d even go so far as to call cherries sexy.

The other night, the fresh bing cherries looked so pretty and shiny at the produce stand, so juicy and bulbous, that I was completely seduced by them and took them back to my apartment.

In my enamored state, I came up with a new pancake recipe, which is an adaptation of an old apple-cottage cheese pancake recipe. The whipped egg whites and fluffy ricotta create a glamorous, cloud-like texture. Drizzle the top with some warm maple berry syrup and you’ve got some seriously sensual snacks on hand. And I guarantee you won't regret this one in the morning.


CHERRY CLOUD PANCAKES WITH WARM MAPLE CHERRY SYRUP

Pancake Batter Ingredients:

4 Eggs; separated, see note
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup pitted, chopped cherries (the cherries should equal 1 cup after they are chopped)
¾ cup all-purpose flour or whole wheat or combo of both
1-3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
Oil or butter for frying

Maple Cherry Syrup Ingredients:

1 handful of pitted, chopped cherries
1 ½ cups real maple syrup

MAKE THE SYRUP:

Pit cherries, slice them into quarters, and place them into a small saucepan with the maple syrup. Witha fork, stir and press the cherries just a bit to extract some of their color and juices.

Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

MAKE THE PANCAKES:
Pit and finely chop cherries on a cutting board or place in food processor, and pulse till grated. The fully chopped cherries should equal a one-cup measurement.

With a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff in a small bowl. Combine all other ingredients (except maple syrup topping and frying oil) in a medium-sized bowl and mix well. Fold in the egg whites.

Heat oil or melt butter in a skillet on just-below-medium-low heat. When it is hot enough to sizzle a drop of batter on contact, add spoonfuls of batter. Fry on both sides until firm and lightly browned.

Serve right away, topped with soft butter and warm maple cherry syrup. Eat it up. Smile. Have seconds. Smile again.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Flapper Food Wins a Prize at the NYC TOFU TAKEDOWN!



Flapper Food came, tofu-fied and flapper-fied...and received a prize for my recipe "MR. T-Ramisu (T Stands for TOFU, Fool!)" at the 2009 TOFU TAKEDOWN at the Highline Ballroom in NYC.

I had a fantastic time yesterday, and walked home with the "Best Texture" Award YEE-HAW!! The judges (Cathy Erway and Ariko Moorman) announced that it was "so light and fluffy, you couldn't even tell there was tofu in it." MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

THE VILLAGE VOICE COVERED IT!

TIME OUT NY COVERED IT!

CLICK HERE FOR MY OFFICIAL TIRAMISU RECIPE!

METROMIX COVERED IT!

Here is a dramatic, Oscar night-esque acceptance speech in blog form. ;)

"First...I want to thank God and all the little animals and flowers.... I want to thank Julia Child, Sting, and Mr. Rogers...ok ok...
FOR REAL: I want to thank Matt Timms, the host and founder of the Takedown, for being so amazingly responsive and cool and friendly! I also want to thank my nephews Tom Callahan and Tony Spoto. Tom designed the Flapper Food business card, Tony designed the Mr. T sign, and they both have been invaluable sources of support and answers for all things Flapper Food design and technology. Some amazing talent in the family--love you guys! Thanks also to my brother Ron of B2B Printing for printing up some gorgeous cards for me. Thanks bro! And of course huge thanks to my ever-supportive husband-to-be, Brad, for eating taste after taste of tofu for weeks, even when he wasn't hungry. You are a sexy guinea pig and I love you."

[bring in the orchestra and drag me off the stage...go to commercial.]

Here is a photo summary of the fun!


















MR. T-Ramisu (T Stands for TOFU, Fool!)


Here is the recipe for my version of Tiramisu that I entered in the 2009 TOFU TAKEDOWN in NYC. I won the prize for "Best Texture." Yeah!! It took over the course of a couple days, but in the end I was really happy with how it turned out, considering I made everything from scratch. And when the judges announced that "it was so light and fluffy, you couldn't even tell there was tofu in it," I felt my mission was accomplished!

I hope you try it and enjoy the process of making it as much as I did.

MR. T-Ramisu
(The “T” Stands for Tofu, Fool!)


Serves 8-12

Ladyfingers:

6 eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
1 cup cake flour, sifted
Melted butter, for brushing pan

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 12 by 16-inch baking tray. Line with parchment paper and brush again with butter.

2. In a mixing bowl, whip the egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar until ribbony and light in color. Reserve.

3. In another mixing bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue to whip to medium peaks.

4. Sift the flour again. With a rubber spatula, fold half of the flour mixture into the yolk mixture. Fold in 1/2 of the egg white mixture. Then fold in the remaining 1/2 flour mixture. Lastly, fold in the remaining 1/2 egg white mixture.

5. Pour the batter into prepared baking tray and with an offset spatula, carefully spreading the batter to fill the tray. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until done and golden in color. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Use as needed. This can be made up to 2 weeks in advanced, wrapped in plastic wrap and foil and stored in the freezer.

Espresso Syrup:

1/3 Cup water
1/4 -1/2 Cup sugar
2/3 -1 Cup strong brewed espresso coffee (or double-strength coffee)
1/4 Cup Kahlua

Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, cool and add coffee and Kahlua.

Mascarpone Filling:

1 1/2 Cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 Cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature

1 16-ounce block of extra firm silken tofu, drained
¾ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
T Tbs. vegetable oil

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into ¼ inch pieces

Topping: 3 ounces milk chocolate, grated or shaved

1. Place drained tofu in a coffee filter-lined strainer over a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Allow to drain over night in the fridge.

2. For the filling, in a medium bowl, whip cream with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.

3. In a separate large bowl, whip the drained tofu, oil, salt, sugar and lemon juice till creamy and smooth. Taste it (look for a cream cheese-type flavor) and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Blend this with the softened mascarpone cheese.

4. Into the large bowl of cheese/tofu mixture, gently fold in the whipped cream.

Assembly:

1. Divide the sheet of ladyfinger into 2 (8 x 10 inch) sheets. Divide espresso syrup into two portions. Divide the mascarpone-tofu mix into 2 portions.

2. Lay one layer of the ladyfinger sheet into an 8 x 10-inch baking dish. Brush the top with half the espresso syrup until soaked.

3. Spoon half the cream mixture over the top and spread evenly with a rubber spatula.

4. Sprinkle on all of the broken bittersweet chocolate pieces.

5. Lay down the second layer of ladyfinger. Brush evenly with remaining half of espresso syrup.

6. Top with remaining whipped cream mixture.

7. Sprinkle with shaved milk chocolate.

REFRIGERATE TO SET 6 TO 24 HOURS BEFORE SERVING.

 
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