I love this instant read thermometer! I use it for everything - meat, fish, poultry, desserts, sauces, etc. It's a little pricey - but it takes all the worry out of "is it done yet?" No more overcooked chicken!
Overnight Cheddar Omelet with Fines Herbs
This makes a great weekend breakfast for two. I love anything that I can make ahead and just pop in the oven the next morning. It’s light and fluffy and a breeze to throw together. “Fines herbes”, or fine herbs, are a staple of French cuisine and almost always found in Parisian omelets.
For the Fines Herbs:
½ tablespoon medium chopped fresh Italian parsley
½ tablespoon medium chopped fresh chervil
¾ tablespoon thin sliced fresh chives
½ teaspoon thin slice fresh tarragon
1. Finely chop all herbs and set aside.
For the Omelet:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing the dish
2-3 slices high-quality white sandwich bread (if it's a large loaf, 2 slices will be enough)
3 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (3/4 cup)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup grated onion
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon finely chopped herbs (save remaining Fine Herbs for garnish)
1. Grease the bottom and sides of a shallow 4 cup baking dish. Spread the remaining butter over one side of each slice of bread, and then cut the bread into 1-inch pieces. Scatter half of the bread evenly into the prepared dish and sprinkle with half of the cheddar. Repeat with the remaining bread and cheddar. Whisk together the eggs, milk, onion, salt, pepper, mustard, fine herbs and Tabasco and pour evenly over the bread. Press lightly on the bread to submerge. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24.
2. When ready to bake, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the dish from the refrigerator and uncover. Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 1 hour. Serve immediately.
Old Fashioned Date Nut Oat Bars
Date Nut Bars are rather old fashioned and pretty common in New England bakeries. This is similar to the Raspberry Squares recipe (click here) but I’ve added some whole wheat flour and a few spices to compliment the dates. On my drives from Los Angeles to Palm Springs I often stop by the famous Hadley Fruit Orchard which sells dried fruits and nuts including large plump Medjool pitted dried dates, which I used in this recipe. You can order them at their site http://www.hadleyfruitorchards.com
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (2.5 ounces)
1 1/4 cups quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 12 pieces and softened but still cool plus 2 additional tablespoons for topping
2 cups pitted dried dates (about 10 ounces)
1/2 cup boiling water
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup walnuts, toasted (toast nuts at 350F for 6-7 minutes and then set aside to cool)
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9-inch-square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Fold two 16-inch pieces of foil lengthwise to measure 8 inches wide. Fit one sheet in bottom of greased pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan (overhang will help in removal of baked squares). Fit second sheet in pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In bowl of standing mixer, mix flour, oats, sugars, baking soda, salt, and nuts at low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. With mixer running at low speed, add butter pieces; continue to beat until mixture is well-blended and resembles wet sand, about 2 minutes.
3. Transfer 2/3 of mixture to prepared pan and use hands to press crumbs evenly into bottom. Bake until starting to brown, about 20 minutes. Work in remaining 2 tablespoons butter into oat mixture by rubbing mixture between fingers until butter is fully incorporated. Pinch mixture with fingers to create hazelnut-sized clumps; set streusel aside.
4. Meanwhile in a medium bowl, add boiling water to dates and stir to combine and soften dates. Add the brown sugar and zest and transfer to a food processor until pureed, about 1 minute. Add remaining cup of walnuts and pulse to chop nuts and combine filling. Spread the filling on top of the hot crust. Sprinkle the reserved streusel on top of the filling. Bake for about 30 minutes until top is golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating pan from front to back halfway through baking time.
5. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 1½ hours, then remove from pan using foil handles. Cut into 1¼- to 1½-inch squares and serve.
I recently watched Mark Bittman make this on the Today show and thought it sounded like a great recipe. It’s so easy to throw together because it all cooks in one roasting pan and does not require pureeing. The apples lend a nice sweetness and the sage works perfectly with the butternut squash. I served it for lunch with whole wheat grilled cheese sandwiches – it would also be a great first course for Thanksgiving.
1 butternut squash, about 1 1/2 pounds, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
1 large onion, chopped
2 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 bacon slices, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
Salt and black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup dry white wine or water
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Spread the squash, onion, apples, bacon and garlic in a deep roasting pan or on a baking sheet.
3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with the oil.
4. Roast, stirring every now and then, until the squash, onion and apples are tender and browned and the bacon is crisp, which takes about 45 minutes.
5. Remove the roasting pan from the oven.
6. Stir in the sage and white wine and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom.
7. If you're using a roasting pan that can be used on the stovetop, position the pan over 2 burners and put both on medium heat. Otherwise, transfer the contents of the pan to a large pot or Dutch oven and set it over medium heat.
8. Add the stock and cook until the squash, onion and apples break apart and thicken and flavor the broth, which takes about 25 minutes. You can help the process along by breaking the mixture up a bit with a spoon.
9. If desired, garnish with crisp sage leaves - just heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Add whole sage leaves and cook for 15-20 seconds, and then transfer to paper towel.
Quick Biscuit Turkey Pot Pie
This is a quick and tasty way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey (also works great with a supermarket rotisserie chicken). You can make homemade biscuits, but the ready-made biscuits make the recipe a breeze to put together. You can serve the pot pie right out of the skillet or transfer the mixture to a large pie plate and top with the baked biscuits.
1 package Pillsbury Refrigerated Grands Homestyle Buttermilk Biscuits
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced
1 rib celery, chopped fine
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or leftover turkey stock)
1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas or carrot and pea medley (or leftover roasted vegetables)
2-3 cups cooked turkey, shredded or 1 whole rotisserie chicken - skin discarded, meat shredded into large bite-sized pieces
4 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and Ground black pepper
Chopped scallion greens or parsley, for garnish
1. Remove biscuits from package, place on baking sheet, and sprinkle with a little salt. Bake according to package instructions.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery thyme and ½ tsp. salt and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in flour and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until incorporated 1-2 minutes.
4. Stir in vermouth and cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in broth and cream and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in vegetables, turkey, and lemon juice and simmer until vegetables and chicken are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Top with biscuits and and garnish with scallions and serve.
Blueberry Streusel Muffins
I saw this recipe in the new holiday issue of Cook’s Illustrated magazine (pick up a copy – it’s full of great recipes) I liked the idea of a thick crumb topping and also liked that it used frozen blueberries – which are much easier to find this time of year. Look for wild frozen berries – they work better here.
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus extra for preparing muffin tin
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for preparing muffin tin
1teaspoon vanilla extract
1cup granulated sugar
1teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups frozen wild blueberries
For the streusel:
1. Combine flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt in bowl. Drizzle with melted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened and mixture forms large chunks with some pea-sized pieces throughout.
For the muffins:
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour 12-cup muffin tin. Whisk egg in medium bowl until pale and evenly combined, about 30 seconds. Add vanilla, sugar, and zest and whisk vigorously until thick, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in melted butter; add buttermilk and whisk until combined.
2 Measure the flour into large bowl and reserve 1 tablespoon to sprinkle over frozen blueberries. Whisk remaining flour with baking powder, and salt. Fold in egg mixture until nearly combined. Toss blueberries with reserved flour and fold into batter until just combined.
3. Divide batter in muffin tin and top evenly with streusel. Bake until light golden brown and toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out with few dry crumbs attached, 23 to 27 minutes. Cool muffins in tin for 20 minutes, then carefully transfer muffins to rack to cool completely. (Muffins can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for 3 days.)