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EntertainmentFood & Dining

October 23

Arable FarmingCooking

'Jack-B-Little' Risotto

Makes 10 stuffed pumpkins

PUMPKINS:

10 mini pumpkins

salt to taste

butter, optional

RISOTTO:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup small-diced onion

1/4 cup small-diced leeks

1 teaspoon garlic, chopped

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup small-diced roasted pumpkin pulp

2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

pumpkin-pie spice to taste

5 fresh sage leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon butter

salt and pepper to taste

toasted pumpkin seeds, optional

Wash mini pumpkins. With a paring knife, cut around the stem by about an inch, making a 2-inch diameter top to be removed. Trim any seed pulp from top and reserve. With a small ice-cream scoop, scrap out seed pulp of cavity.

Season cavity with a bit of salt and butter (small amount of butter optional), replace lids, and bake in 350-degree oven approximately 20 minutes, or until slightly softened, and slightly browned (do not overbake, making too soft).

For risotto: Heat oil in a heavy-bottom saucepan. Add onion, leeks and garlic, and sweat 5 minutes. Add rice and coat with oil and onions. Add roasted pumpkin pulp, and about half the broth. Stir periodically and add more broth in increments until risotto is just about done and the broth in mostly absorbed. Finish with parmesan, spice, chopped sage, butter, salt and pepper. Stuff each pumpkin with the mixture. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, if desired.
--Recipe from chef Dan Lewis, Sutton Place Gourmet

Angel-Hair Pasta With Shrimp-and-Grape Topping

Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 ounces uncooked shrimp, shells removed

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 cup halved seedless grapes

1 tablespoon flour

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

3/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup water

8 ounces angel-hair pasta, cooked to al-dente stage and kept warm

sprigs of tarragon

Brown butter over medium heat in large shallow skillet. Add oil and saute shrimp and onion until shrimp is barely cooked. Do not overcook.

Add grapes, flour, tarragon, lemon peel, salt and pepper; mix thoroughly and remove from skillet. Add wine to skillet and reduce by half. Add water to reduced wine.

Return shrimp mixture to skillet and mix well; heat thoroughly but do not overcook. Serve over pasta. Garnish with sprigs of tarragon.

Per serving: 389 calories; 20 grams protein; 10 grams fat; 47 grams carbohydrate; 2 grams fiber; 148 milligrams cholesterol; 529 milligrams sodium

Preparation time: 25 minutes; add 10 to 15 minutes to peel shrimp

--From California Table Grape Commission

Cauliflower Frito

Serves 6

1 head cauliflower (broken into 1-inch to 1 1/2 -inch flowerets)

2 cups all-purpose flour (seasoned with salt and pepper)

4 eggs

1/4 cup water

3 cups plain bread crumbs

2 ounces flat-leaf parsley

1 ounce fresh oregano (finely chopped)

1 ounce fresh garlic (minced)

2 ounces grated parmesan cheese, plus more, if desired, for dusting

kosher salt to taste

black pepper to taste

6 cups peanut oil

fresh lemon, optional

Clean cauliflower and break into 1-inch to 1 1/2 -inch pieces. Place flour into a shallow pan or bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Crack eggs into a shallow pan or bowl. Add water; whisk until eggs are mixed thoroughly. Place bread crumbs into a shallow pan or bowl. Add the fresh herbs, garlic, 2 ounces cheese, salt and pepper. Mix by hand until all of the seasonings are combined.

Put cauliflower pieces into flour mixture. Remove, shake off any excess flour and submerge into the egg wash. Remove from the egg wash and dredge cauliflower pieces thoroughly in the bread crumbs.

Place separated pieces on a shallow pan in a single layer. Set aside. Put the peanut oil in a high-sided heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place on a burner and adjust the heat to medium. Slowly heat the oil to about 350 degrees to 365 degrees. When the oil is hot, add breaded cauliflower pieces in small batches.

Agitate the pieces with a long spoon so they don't stick together. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until

Chocolate Shake Syrup

Makes enough for about 20 servings

7 ounces chocolate

15 ounces sweetened condensed milk

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup sugar

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot water. Stir the condensed milk and water slowly into the melted chocolate. Stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Cool the syrup and store in the refrigerator.
--"The Joy of Cooking" by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, the Bobbs-Merrill Co. Inc., 1975

Handy Hot Chocolate

Makes one 8-ounce serving

2 tablespoons chocolate shake syrup

3/4 cup scalding milk

Stir the syrup slowly into the milk and heat thoroughly before serving.

Jim Graham's Spiced Hot Chocolate

Makes 1 serving

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup milk

1 scant teaspoon aniseeds, coarsely crushed in a mortar

1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

one 2-inch length vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out

1 quarter-sized slice fresh ginger

1 ounce Valrhona Pur Caraibe dark chocolate (66 percent cocoa), finely chopped (see note)

very small pinch of salt

In a heavy saucepan set over medium heat, combine the cream, milk, aniseeds, orange zest, vanilla bean and seeds, and ginger. Bring just to a boil.

Cover, reduce the heat to very low, and keep at a bare simmer for 10 minutes. Place the chocolate in a small bowl. Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain a few spoonfuls of the hot-cream mixture over the chocolate and whisk with a small wire whisk until the chocolate is completely melted. Strain the rest of the cream mixture over the chocolate, add the salt, and whisk to combine thoroughly before pouring into a serving cup.

Note: A list of sales outlets for Valrhona, a French chocolate, can be found online at www.valrhona.com.
--"The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Cocoa With Recipes" by Maricel E. Presilla

Macaroni and Cheese

8 to 10 servings

one 8-ounce package macaroni

1 teaspoon vegetable shortening

3/4 cup plus 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/2 cup Cheese Whiz

3/4 cup milk

2 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard

salt and pepper to taste

Cook the macaroni according to the package, adding the shortening to the water, and then drain. Do not overcook. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the macaroni with 3/4 cup cheese, Cheese Whiz, milk, eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.

Bake uncovered in a 9-inch by 12-inch casserole (do not grease casserole) for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and top with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Return to the oven only long enough for the cheese to melt.

Pasta With Cauliflower

Serves 6

1 head cauliflower (rough-cut with the core removed)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

crushed red pepper flakes to taste

1/2 head fresh garlic (peeled, sliced thin)

1 quart chicken stock or water

No. 1 spaghetti (broken into 2 or 3 sections)

1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley (rough-chopped)

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup grated pecorino-Romano cheese

Clean cauliflower and saute it in the olive oil for a couple of minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Stir this mixture for a couple of minutes, mainly to cook the garlic and to excite the pepper flakes.

Add the stock or water and cook the cauliflower mixture until the cauliflower pieces are tender and almost falling apart. Bring to a boil. Add the broken pieces of spaghetti, stirring frequently so the pasta doesn't stick together (as the pasta cooks, you may have to add more liquid from time to time). The mixture should have the consistency of chili when the pasta is cooked.

When finished, add the chopped parsley, adjust the seasonings and top with cheese.

Pineapple Squares

Makes 48 squares

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)

1 envelope Fleishmann's active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm milk (100 to 110 degrees)

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

3 3/4 to 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

4 egg yolks

In a large, warm bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add warm milk, butter and 1 cup flour. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add egg yolks and 1/2 cup flour. Beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough.

Divide dough in half. Roll each half on floured surface to fit a 15 1/2 -inch by 10 1/2 -inch by 1-inch jellyroll pan. Transfer one layer to ungreased jellyroll pan. Spread with pineapple filling (see below). Top with remaining layer of dough. Seal edges together. Snip surface of dough with scissors to let steam escape. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Bake at 375 about 35 to 40 minutes, or until done. Let cool in pan. Drizzle with powdered sugar glaze (see below) while warm. Cut into squares to serve. Pineapple Filling

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg yolk, slightly beaten

1 can (1 pound, 4 ounces) undrained crushed pineapple in heavy syrup

In a saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in egg yolk and pineapple. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Cool.

Powdered Sugar Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

In a bowl, combine sugar and milk, stir until smooth.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "This is a lot of work, so it's best to reserve it for a big brunch crowd. The result is a soft, yeasty, flaky sweet bread filled with an unexpected sweet/tangy pineapple filling. If you make the snips on top in a decorative pattern, the resulting whole bread is very attractive with its drizzles of glaze. It would look nice on a buffet table before it is cut. I baked mine a little longer than 40 minutes; it star

Pumpkin Flan

Makes about 1 dozen

CARAMEL:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

CUSTARD:

2 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream

6 whole eggs

3 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup roasted pumpkin pulp, pureed smooth

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice

whipped cream, grated nutmeg for garnish

Heat sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan until it caramelizes into a thick, dark syrup. Blend all custard ingredients until smooth; strain as necessary to ensure a perfectly smooth texture.

To assemble: Place about 1/2 teaspoon of caramel in bottom of each 4-ounce baking dish/custard cup (aluminum will do). Fill each with custard mixture. Place cups in a roasting pan; fill pan with water, about two-thirds of the way up to cups.

Bake in a 300-degree oven approximately 50 minutes, or until custard sets. Remove from water bath and chill. Turn out cups onto serving plates to serve; garnish with a touch of whipped cream and grated nutmeg.
--Recipes from chef Dan Lewis, Sutton Place Gourmet

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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