Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Saturdays are the best days

Why go out to dinner and endure the stressed masses when you can have a luxurious leisurely Saturday at home? Sleeping, eating, fucking...what else does someone need out of a holiday centered around coupledom?

He bought me roses from a Polish florist down the street in Greenpoint. Much to his dismay they were sprayed with glitter. It was hilarious.

I made soup for the first time in my life. It was butternut squash/apple and it was garnished with bacon and charred brussel sprout leaves.

I had to restrain myself from eating the entire bowl of garnish minus the soup. Mmmm...

Sean made chicken in a saffron white wine cream sauce and broccoli rabe with roasted garlic and anchovies. Soooooo good. I seriously this was the best recipe for broccoli rabe I've ever had. Perfection. My favorite thing of the night.

I made black sesame panna cotta with a soy caramel sauce and whole wheat cacao nib sables from Alice Medrich's recipe. The cookies were perfect, some of the best I've ever made. And the panna cotta wasn't pretty for a picture but shocking easy. I had to use bowls because we didn't have the proper size dish/ramekins so they were a little wide and flat and the caramel sauce proved to be unnecessary and overly sweet so next time I'll leave it out.


After a delicious and filling dinner we rounded out the night by playing Super Mario World and listening to Steely Dan. You gotta love it.

Here are the recipes from the night. Everything ruled. I don't have Sean's recipe for the chicken but I've got everything else.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Bacon
Originally from Gourmet but throughly changed by Me!

4 slices bacon
3 shallots, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
Ancho chili powder to taste
1 1/4 pounds butternut squash, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 medium Granny Smith or other tart apple
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup water plus additional for thinning soup
2 T maple syrup
Heavy cream to taste
4 brussel sprouts, trimmed and cored then peeled leaving individual leaves

1. In a skillet cook 2 strips bacon until crisp and drain, reserving 1 1/2 tablespoons fat. Crumble bacon.

2. In a heavy saucepan cook shallot and garlic with salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste in reserved fat over moderate heat, stirring, until softened.

3. Add squash, apple, peeled and chopped, broth, and 1/2 cup water. Simmer mixture, covered, until squash is very tender, about 15 minutes.

4. In a blender purée mixture in batches, transferring as puréed to a clean saucepan, and add enough additional water to thin soup to desired consistency.

5. Whisk in heavy cream, salt and pepper, and maple syrup to taste and heat soup over moderately low heat until hot (do not boil).

6. Cook remaining bacon in pan. Remove bacon and cook brussel sprouts until charred and almost blackened on medium-high heat in remaining bacon fat.

7. Serve soup topped with crumbled bacon and charred brussel sprout leaves

Broccoli Rabe with roasted garlic
From Mario Batali's The Babbo Cookbook

Serves 4 as a side dish (I think it's more like 2)

1 head of Garlic
2 tbsp plus 1/4 cup of extra virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and freshly Ground Pepper
3 salt packed Anchovy Fillets, rinsed and drained
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Remove the first few papery layers form the garlic. Drizzle the garlic with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Roast until the garlic is very soft, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and, once cool enough to handle, separate the cloves and squeeze half of them from their skins into a small bowl. Set aside the remaining unpeeled cloves. Add the anchovy fillets to the squeezed garlic and gently mash together. Set aside.

3. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Set up an ice bath nearby. Blanch the broccoli rabe in the boiling water for 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and immediately refresh in the ice bath. Once cooled, drain and squeeze dry in a clean kitchen towel. Roughly chop the broccoli rabe and set aside.

4. In a 12 to 14 inch saute pan, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil over high heat and stir in the garlic and anchovy mixture. Cook over high heat and stir in the garlic and anchovy mixture. Cook over high heat for 2 minutes, then add the broccoli rabe, remaining cloves of roasted garlic, and red pepper flakes. Saute over high heat until the broccoli rabe starts to brown at the edges. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Nibby whole-wheat sablés
Adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich

Servings: Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies

1 cup (4.5 ounces) flour
Scant 1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup cacao nibs

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and whole wheat flour and set aside.

2. In another medium bowl, using the back of a large spoon or with an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth and creamy but not fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the cacao nibs and mix to incorporate. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated. Scrape the dough into a mass and, if necessary, knead with your hands a bit, just until smooth.

3. Form the dough into a 12-by-2-inch log. Wrap the log tightly in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.

4. Position the oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Using a sharp knife, cut the cold dough log into one-fourth-inch slices. Place the cookies at least 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown at the edges, 12 to 16 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Allow the cookies to rest on the sheets about 1 minute to firm up, then transfer them to a rack using a metal spatula. Let them cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container.

Black Sesame Panna Cotta
From Dessert First but with a few tweaks from me
Makes 2 servings

1 teaspoons powdered gelatin
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

1. Grind black sesame seeds in mortar and pestle.

2. Fill a small bowl with about 6 teaspoons of cold water. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it turn into a gummy paste.

3. Combine the cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring just to a simmer on the stove over medium heat. Do not let it come to a boil; it should be steaming hot and just starting to bubble.

4. Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin, stirring until it dissolves fully.

5. Stir in the ground sesame seeds. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

6. Pour the mixture into individual glass dishes or ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

7. When you are ready to serve the panna cotta, dip the dishes briefly in hot water to loosen the panna cotta and invert onto a plate.

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