December 21, 2010 § Leave a comment
One: the ingredient list is minimal.
Two: the recipe is (almost) idiot proof.
Three: the flavor does not reveal statement one or two.
I like to make this soup with a wide range of flavors. Sometimes it is gingerly sweet, sometimes it is savory and herbed. This last batch revealed warm curry notes in the silky coconut broth. But what ever flavor the bubbling pot may unveil, the backbone of the soup is, for the most part, unwavering.
One squash will generally make four servings, so increase the number of squashes and other ingredients accordingly. Many times I use two varieties of winter squash for a more interesting flavor.
1 kabocha squash split in half length wise
1 apple chopped
2 onions chopped (or 4 shallots)
1 cup coconut milk (or vegetable broth)
3 tablespoons red curry paste (or seasonings of your choice)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Rub down the orange flesh of the squash halves with olive oil and sea salt and place on a baking sheet. Roast until the skin feels like butter upon being pierced, usually 30 minutes. This is just enough time to caramelize the apple and onions. In a medium/large pot heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil on medium low heat, you don’t want the oil to smoke. Now add the chopped apple and onion and some salt. If you are making a herby soup add some of the herbs. Cover the pot. Check on the onions periodically and give them a stir. After about 20 minutes remove the lid and let the steam escape for the last 10 minutes. At this point everything in the pot should be a lovely golden color and have a silken glow, the squash should be emitting a deeply honeyed aroma and may even be sitting in a puddle of juice. When the above criteria have been satisfied, remove the squash from the oven and let it cool for a moment. (I would now remove some of the caramelized mix and reserve as a topping). Then remove the skin by either peeling it off or scooping out the flesh and adding it to the pot of apple and onion with a pinch of salt. Give everything a stir and add the coconut milk/broth and curry/herbs. Add more water or broth to bring the consistency to your liking. Top with caramelized onions or toasted nuts or maybe croutons for some texture.
December 16, 2010 § Leave a comment
Kids may have a simple and refined (think sugar not sophistication) palette but there is something to be said about a basic colorful mass of sugar and butter which even the most pretentious of eaters could not turn their fork away from. Take the rice crispy treat for example. The fundamental concept is hardly any different from a cake , with a few substitutions: crackling cereal for white flour, pillows of sugar rather than granulated, and browned butter in place of the standard unsalted. The last switcheroo is really the kicker. Upon first nibble of this cake you will know that something is wonderfully different about it, and yet I dare you to pin the gorgeous nutty notes on the extra 3 minutes the butter needs to transform from simply melted to luxuriously brown.
Browning butter is my favorite thing right now. After eating browned butter that is. Once I learned how simple it is to melt butter past the point of liquidation but before the point of charring I began to make pie crusts and cookies with this liquid gold and have even spread it straight on my toast after letting it solidify and come to room temperature. I am still working out how to bake with it as the fabulous flavor can sometimes be masked by spices or sugars. Any excuse to bake more, I suppose.
Fortunately this crispy cake lets the nutty tang shine right through and tastes much more appetizing than it looks (unless you are four years old or the idea of eating florescent colors seems appealing). I made it in the shape of a cake because we were celebrating a birthday for a wheat sensitive friend, but I think that I have found my new go to goodie for all kinds of eaters.
Brown Butter Rice Crispy Cake
Deb from Smitten Kitchen inspired rice crispy recipe. She has a thing for brown butter too. Or just follow the instructions on the box of Rice Crispy Cereal (but dont forget to brown the butter, seriously).
1 stick ( 1/4 pound) unsalted butter
6 cups rice crispy cereal plus 1 cup sprinkles for effect
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
10 oz bag marshmallows
sprinkles and icing
How to brown butter
Melt the butter in a lage pot on medium heat. Once the butter melts continue cooking it until it foams and the settles and then foams again, do not walk away, stir frequently to see when dark solids begin to form beneath the foamy butter. When the butter begins to emit a lovely nutty aroma and you can see brown particles forming, get ready to remove the butter from the heat.
Rice Crispy Cake
Once the butter has browned stir in the bag of marshmallows. If the pot has cooled down and the marshmallow is slow to melt move the pot back to the warm burner or a low flame. Once everything has melded into a glorious puddle of butter and sugar add the cereal speckled with sprinkles and stir until each grain of puffed rice has been equally coated in a healthy amount the melted marshmallow/butter mix. Be quick. Now pour half of the warm mixture into a cake pan and the other half into another cake pan and allow them to cool for about 45 minutes. Remove the cooled treats and spread a nice layer of icing upon the uneven (top) side of one of the cakes. For aesthetic purposes place the other half of the cooled treat uneven side down atop the iced layer. Now be creative and decorate this scrumptious mass in any manor you feel suitable.