Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bon Appetit Cook the Cover: Fried Chicken Sandwich with Jalapeno Slaw and Spicy Mayo

Bon Appetit's April issue reminded me how much I love a good sandwich, even for dinner! April's Cook the Cover sandwich is simple, tasty, and open to variations. I know because I made it three times, three different ways.

Fried Pork Cutlet Sandwich
with Slaw and Spicy Mayo

The original features a skinless, boneless chicken breast dredged in flour, dipped in buttermilk, dredged in flour a second time, and fried in oil. The crunch comes from thinly sliced cabbage, red onion and jalapeno tossed with bread-and-butter pickle slices and a trickle of pickle juice. The mayo gets its kick from Louisiana-style hot sauce and finely grated garlic.

Jalapeno Coleslaw with Bread-and-Butter Pickles
(I used a serrano chile)

The sidebar note, Why the Bread Matters, says: "Saucy sandwiches demand a roll with a hearty crust that won't fall to pieces..." For my first sandwich, I used a nice sesame seed Kaiser roll, but it was too soft and fell apart half way through. I don't think this was due to the sauce, but due to the size of the chicken breast. I felt the chicken breast could have used some pounding to make it more like a cutlet and then the roll would have held together and it would have been easier to eat. I also felt the full-size Kaiser Roll was too big for the halved chicken breast (again, with pounding it thinner, it would have fit perfectly).

Fried Chicken (Breast) Sandwich
with Jalapeno Slaw and Spicy Mayo

Spicy Mayo

For round two, I tried chicken thighs, and I also used a smaller slider roll. Again, it was a little hard to eat because the chicken was still too thick and there was too much chicken for the roll.

Fried Chicken (Thigh) Sandwich
with Jalapeno Slaw and Spicy Mayo

The ciabatta roll I used for my third sandwich of the week (first photo with the pork cutlet) was the right thickness, but the roll was a tad too firm. I flavored that mayo with chipotle Tabasco in lieu of the Louisiana-style hot sauce and it paired perfectly with the pork. I also added some Panko to the flour.

You can find Bon Appetit's Fried Chicken Sandwich recipe here, or you can join me in trying the Pressed Coppa Sandwich with Broccoli Rabe Pesto next, which also looks and sounds amazing.

Trapper and Lucy Play-Date

Friday, March 22, 2013

French Fridays with Dorie - The Final Rose...Cake

When I first read the line up for this month's French Fridays with Dorie recipes and saw this week's Ispahan Loaf Cake, the "cake" part didn't quite register. I just saw Ispahan Loaf and envisioned some kind of meatloaf. Dorie enlightened me with an introduction to Pierre Hermé's Ispahan Collection of sweets (Ispahan is the name of a fragrant rose and the once-capital of Persia) and the resulting rose fever that spread throughout France after he created his most famous macaron. The Picasso of Pastry's Ispahan Macaron consists of rose-colored almond-meringue disks sandwiching rose-flavored cream studded with lychees and raspberries, and topped with a fresh rose petal fastened to the macaron by a tiny drop of sugar syrup. Rather than challenging her readers with temperamental macarons (thank you), Dorie chose one of the easier recipes from the Ispahan family.

Ispahan Loaf Cake

Dorie's description of the cake lured me in...

"-all the surprises are in the finished cake; the color is pink, the flavor is haunting,
and the crumb is soft, tight, and pleasantly springy...
And then there are the fresh raspberries - they dot the interior of the cake
and permeate it with both their distinctive flavor and their perfume. It's a remarkable cake."

Playing with my food again

The cake must be made with rose syrup, not rose water, another reason I chose to participate this week. I enjoy trying new ingredients and was easily able to locate the syrup at North Park Produce, an ethnic market with Middle Eastern products. They don't carry Monin, Pierre's recommended brand ($16.54 on Amazon for a 750 ml bottle), but they have another brand for $4.25. The syrup has a beautiful rose color and very intense rose perfume but I now wonder, after using it in my cake, if the quality had anything to do with my opinion of the cake.

First rose of spring and gorgeous red raspberries

The batter is made with almond flour, a small amount of all-purpose flour, confectioner's sugar, eggs, butter, rose syrup, milk, and rose extract. The egg whites are beaten and folded into the batter to lighten it. A third of the batter goes into the loaf pan, followed by three rows of raspberries, another layer batter, three more rows of raspberries, and the remaining batter.

Rows of red raspberries

To me, the cake was nothing special and it didn't meet my expectations, or Dorie's alluring description. When I took it out of the oven, it was tall, golden brown, springy to the touch, and had pulled away from the sides of the pan - exactly as described. After it cooled, it sliced nicely, but it wanted to fall apart. It tasted slightly under baked - it was too moist, almost wet. Of course, the raspberries were mushy after being cooked. I didn't taste the "haunting" flavor, and my batter or cake wasn't pink. In short, I would have been happier with a plain ol' slice of pound cake topped with fresh raspberries and whipped cream.

Pretty, but not pink

Baking of the cake did coincide with the first day of spring and the first rose to bloom in my new garden. After using the rose for the photograph with the raspberries above, and admiring it in a vase on the dining room table for another day, I rounded up Trapper for a photo shoot. Unfortunately, the rose was harmed beyond recognition by the inevitable drool and game of keep-away. This won't be the final rose in my garden this season, but it may be the final rose cake in my kitchen for a while. I'll be searching for other recipes calling for rose syrup now that I have an entire bottle. So far, I like the idea of Turkish Delight and/or adding a drop or two in my Champagne (see Le Sirop de Rose de Pierre Hermé, Clotilde Dusoulier, Chocolate & Zucchini).

Trapper supplies all the sweetness I need

French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group, dedicated to Dorie Greenspan‘s Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. As members of the group, we have purchased the cookbook and cook along as much as we can. There is a new recipe each week, and we post about that recipe on Friday. We are asked to refrain from posting the actual recipes on our blog. The book is filled with stunning photography, and personal stories about each recipe, which makes it that much more intriguing. I highly recommend adding it to your cookbook collection if you haven't already!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Finishing Touches

Macaroni & Cheese and Chocolate Chip Cookies sounded like a pretty good plan when I had an unexpected afternoon off work last week. Maybe I was in need of some comforting, but these two recipes from Bon Appetit's January issue caught my attention because they were simple and incorporated finishing touches that elevated simple to gourmet.

For the cookies, a sprinkling of flaky sea salt over the cookie dough balls before baking; for the Mac & Cheese, a panko-butter-garlic-parsley topping. I personalized my Mac & Cheese a bit more with the use of orecchiette instead of macaroni and the addition of some sauteed pancetta to the topping mixture. Another bonus of this Mac & Cheese recipe is that it doesn't require boiling the macaroni. Instead, the dried pasta is tossed with the cheese and then covered with a thinner-than-usual bèchamel sauce. The pasta absorbs the extra sauce and bakes perfectly in just 30 minutes.

I started with the cookies...and never made it to preparing the Mac & Cheese that afternoon (see cookie dough dilemma, below). A few days later, when in need of a quick dinner, I was happy to have the ingredients on hand for the Mac & Cheese. Leftover Mac & Cheese saved me again on St. Paddy's Day, after spending the afternoon at Coronado's infamous McP's Irish Pub. Good thing I used Irish cheddar!

Salted cookie dough balls

Of course, there's the inevitable cookie dough dilemma. Both baking sheets are full and there's just enough cookie dough left for a few cookies. Do you wait until the others are baked and then bake just two or three cookies? Do you make yourself sick by eating too much raw cookie dough because you can't stop yourself? Or do you quickly put the bowl in the sink and fill it with hot, soapy water before you're tempted? The overwhelming response on Newf in My Soup's Facebook page was to eat the dough! Well, that's what I did. And, of course, I had to try one of the cookies when they came out of the oven, all warm and gooey and salty and sweet. By then, I wasn't hungry enough to make the Mac & Cheese so that had to wait a few more days.

Leftover cookie dough dilemma 

Got milk?

Salty Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Bon Appetit, January 2013
Makes 2 dozen cookies


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 72% cacao), coarsely chopped (I used 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips)
Maldon or other flaky sea salt


Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 375° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, kosher salt, and baking.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, sugar, and powdered sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add egg yolks, egg, and vanilla and beat, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl, until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just to blend. Fold in chocolate chips or chunks with a rubber spatula.

Using a small ice cream scoop or spoon, spoon rounded tablespoonfuls of cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 1-inch apart. Sprinkle cookies with sea salt.

Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until just golden brown around the edges, about 10-12 minutes. Let cool slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks; let cool completely.

Cookie Monster  


Here's the No-Boil Mac & Cheese...I'll borrow my mom's quote, after she enjoyed some of the leftovers -  "That was about the best Mac & Cheese I've ever had!  Seriously good stuff.  Never cared for the sharp cheddar cheesy stuff, but liked to pick at the dryer, crustier corners and this is sort of like the whole thing is kind of crunchy.  It certainly is blog worthy!  Thanks for sharing.  Enjoyed it a lot."

Beautiful, golden brown panko crust 

Just the right amount of creaminess and crunch

No Boil Mac & Cheese
Bon Appetit, January 2013
Serves 6-8


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more
1 pound elbow macaroni (I used orecchiette)
2 cups shredded cheddar, divided (I used Irish white cheddar)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


Preheat oven to 400°. Melt 1/4 cup of the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in milk and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, whisking often, until a very thin, glossy sauce forms, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Remove sauce from heat.

Toss pasta and 1 1/2 cups cheese in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch or other shallow 3-quart baking dish. Pour sauce over (pasta should be submerged; do not stir) and cover with foil. Bake until pasta is almost tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 1/4 cup butter in a large skillet over medium heat (at this point, I sauteed about 1/4 cup chopped pancetta for a few minutes before adding the remaining ingredients). Add garlic, panko, and parsley and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove foil from dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, then panko mixture. Bake until pasta is tender, edges are bubbling, and top is golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Bon Appetit Cook the Cover: Chicken Khao Soi

Each month, Bon Appetit welcomes readers to Cook the Cover - prepare the dish featured on the magazine's current cover and submit a photo and review. The editors share the photos in a Cook the Cover Facebook album and feature their favorites on The Feed. This may be my new monthly challenge for myself. In the past, I've enjoyed participating in The Daring Kitchen's monthly Daring Bakers and Daring Cooks challenges, and French Fridays with Dorie, but I like new challenges - especially those that will help me improve my food styling and photography.

Bon Appetit's March cover features three bowls of Chicken Khao Soi, a northern Thai inspired soup. When craving Thai food, I usually go to a Thai restaurant rather than preparing it in my own kitchen. I have made variations of Thai chicken or shrimp curry at home, but don't think I've ever made my own curry paste. The Khao Soi paste in this recipe is simple to prepare and has wonderful depth of flavor. In the future, I will use this paste in chicken or shrimp curry recipes in place of a store-bought red curry paste. The toppings add more flavor and texture. I loved the crunch of the bean sprouts and tang of the lime juice (I might even add the juice of a lime directly to the soup when adding the fish sauce and brown sugar). For extra garnish and crunch, I threw on some chopped roasted peanuts. I didn't use chili oil, but that would have added some extra spice to the fairly mild soup. I also like the idea of crispy fried onions or shallots for next time.

Can't wait to see April's cover photo and recipe!

Cook the Cover!
Steelite Craft Collection Bowls and Platter

A simple curry paste gives this northern Thai-inspired soup surprising depth of flavor - Bon Appetit

Ingredients for the Khao Soi Paste

Chiles stemmed and seeded; softening in boiling water

Paste ingredients ready to puree

Vibrant chiles and spices

Khao Soi Paste

Garnishes - I also added some chopped peanuts.

Chicken Khao Soi
Bon Appetit, March 2013
Serves 6-8


Khao Soi Paste

4 large dried New Mexico or guajillo chiles, stemmed, halved, seeded
2 medium shallots, halved
8 garlic cloves
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro stems
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, halved lengthwise
1 pound Chinese egg noodles
3 tablespoons (or more) fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
1 tablespoon (packed) palm sugar or light brown sugar
Kosher salt
Sliced red onion, bean sprouts, cilantro sprigs, crispy fried onions or shallots, chili oil, and lime wedges (for serving)


Khao Soi Paste

Place chiles in a small heatproof bowl, add boiling water to cover, and let soak until softened, 25-30 minutes.

Drain chiles, reserving soaking liquid. Purée chiles, shallots, garlic, ginger, cilantro stems, coriander, turmeric, curry powder, and 2 tablespoons soaking liquid in a food processor (I used a Vita-Mix), adding more soaking liquid by tablespoonfuls, if needed (I needed about 6 tablespoons total), until smooth.


Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add khao soi paste; cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened, 4-6 minutes. Add coconut milk and broth. Bring to a boil; add chicken. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is fork-tender, 20-25 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. Let cool slightly; shred meat.

Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions.

Add chicken, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, and sugar to soup. Season with salt or more fish sauce, if needed. Divide soup and noodles among bowls and serve with toppings.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Easing Back with Blueberry-Pumpkin Seed Energy Bars

There's a Newf in My Soup! is happy to announce Denise and Trapper have moved into a new cottage in Coronado. It was touch and go there for quite a few months trying to find the perfect cottage and yard, but things always seem to work out. We had to downsize quite a bit and it has been challenging finding a place for the things we chose to keep. Charming, cozy, and little bit of rustic make our 600-square-foot house feel like home. Best of all, we're happy to be able to stay in Coronado. I have a nice kitchen with a gas stove and dishwasher again, and Trapper is thrilled with his large yard. It's peaceful with lots of grass, big shady trees, rose bushes and citrus trees...and alley cats and fence-walking possums to scare away with his big Newfy bark.

We're in a quiet corner of the island, and only 1/2 block from the bay. Picnics at I Street Park, which is also prime viewing for the Parade of Lights and fireworks, and walks along bay are all pluses. For weekday morning coffee, we now frequent Tartine, a little French bistro and bakery, and save Starbucks for the weekend.

I've neglected the blog for over a month - in part due to packing and unpacking, but mostly due to lack of energy and motivation. Transitions are difficult.  I haven't been cooking or eating right, and haven't felt much like writing. I did cook a few blog-worthy dishes in the past month, and even took the time to photograph them, but the blog posts remain unfinished, in draft. One was Mike Isabella's Eggplant Caponata and the other was Tasting Table's Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Oyster Mushrooms and Sunchokes with Creamy Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Pan-Roasted Local Sea Bass and Eggplant Caponata

Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Oyster Mushrooms and Sunchokes

Both of those dishes truly deserve to have their own blog posts.  The Eggplant Caponata is sure to make an appearance at Concert in the Park this summer. If you haven't tried Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes), you need to do so. They're one of the "trendy" foods right now. I enjoyed a sunchoke soup while in Yosemite and they are fabulous roasted in this side dish as well.


To ease back into cooking and blogging, I decided to start with something simple and healthy. While sitting at Tartine one morning and browsing through the cooking magazines from the magazine rack, I came across several recipes, including this one, in the February issue of Food & Wine. I am in need of some energy to begin this new chapter in my life and while Tartine's warm scones are tempting, they are best resisted on most mornings.

These honey-flavored cereal bars with puffed rice and toasted oats, from Real Snacks by Lara Ferroni, make a great substitute for store-bought energy bars. They can be made with almost any mix of nuts and dried fruit. - Food & Wine

I chose to adapt the recipe to use the dried blueberries and sliced almonds I had on hand. I added lemon zest and cinnamon to intensify the flavor of the blueberries. I was unable to find puffed rice in two stores and used Kashi 7 Whole Grain Honey Puffs - a combination of buckwheat, triticale, rye, hard red wheat, barley, oats, brown rice and sesame seeds.

Toast the sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and rolled oats

After toasting, transfer to a large bowl

Make a caramel with butter, brown sugar, honey and salt

Add vanilla and cinnamon

Drizzle caramel over nut and oat mixture

Stir to evenly incorporate

Puffed rice or 7-Grain Kashi, blueberries and lemon zest

Stir in the puffed rice, blueberries and lemon zest until evenly coated

Scrape the cereal mixture into the parchment lined pan

Spread evenly, cover with another sheet of parchment and press down to compress

After a few hours, remove from pan and cut into bars

Blueberry-Pumpkin Seed Energy Bars
Adapted from Cranberry-Pumpkin Seed Energy Bars
Food & Wine, February 2013

1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup flaxseeds
2/3 cup muscovado or dark brown sugar
½ cup honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups puffed rice cereal (I used Kashi 7 Whole Grain Honey Puffs)
½ cup dried blueberries
½ teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Spread the almonds, oats, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds on the sheet and bake until fragrant, about 8 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, honey, butter and salt to a boil over moderate heat. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved and a light brown caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and cinnamon.

Drizzle the caramel all over the nut-and-oat mixture. Stir in the puffed rice, blueberries and lemon zest until evenly coated.

Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, extending the paper over the side. Scrape the cereal mixture into the dish and spread into an even layer. Cover the mixture with a second sheet of parchment and press down to compress it. Let stand until firm, about 2 hours. Discard the top piece of parchment. Using the overhanging paper, lift out the cereal square and transfer it to a work surface. Cut into 12 bars and serve.

To store, wrap bars individually in plastic wrap and eat within a few days or freeze.

We promise to cook and blog more