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January 17, 2018 |

Archive for » January 17th, 2018«

Simply Delicious: Cooking just for two

 

We’re finally back to cooking just for two. That doesn’t mean a whole lot less cooking – just less volume.

On Saturday, the Kitchen Genius and I worked side by side with our favorite music playing. I was preparing a puttanesca sauce for our swordfish dinner that night. He was making short ribs for dinner on Sunday.

All stews and soups taste better the next day, but with short ribs the 24-hour wait is crucial. They have a lot of fat. If you refrigerate them overnight, you can just skim the thick layer off the top and be left with a much leaner sauce.

Our oldest daughter Jess bought us a gorgeous lapis 7 1/4-quart Le Creuset Dutch oven for Christmas and I’ve been dying to use it. But KG pointed out that it was much too large for a meal just for the two of us.

Instead he chose to use the 2 3/4-quart lapis Le Creuset Dutch oven he found at a yard sale. He likes to cook stews and soups in the smallest pan possible to concentrate the flavors. It was actually the perfect size for four short ribs.

We’re newbies to Le Creuset, but it didn’t take us long to figure out why people love this cookware. It’s simply amazing. The cast iron pans covered with double porcelain enamel distribute heat slowly and evenly. They brown meat beautifully and go from stove top to oven to finish cooking, which is one of KG’s favorite tricks.

We love cast iron in general, but the enamel on Le Creuset means that is simple to deglaze a pan. Clean up is also a snap.

While he got busy browning the short ribs and layering his flavors of onions, garlic, celery, carrots, tomato paste and beef broth, I put a spaghetti squash in the oven and began chopping onions, red bell peppers and garlic for swordfish puttanesca.

The other nifty kitchen tool we got for Christmas from my mother was a Prepara Herb Saver Pod. It’s slender enough to fit on the refrigerator door and made of BPA-free clear plastic so you can see the herbs inside. You simply open the plastic pod like a book and place your herbs inside of it. Then place the pod in the holder and fill it with water via the handy fill cap.

The device is supposed to keep herbs fresh for up to three weeks. So far, our week-old parsley looks as fresh as if I bought it today. It’s a nifty toy for people who love fresh herbs the way we do. We have rosemary, basil, oregano and a bay leaf tree growing inside, but our parsley was overrun by aphids so we had to ditch it.

The Prepara Herb Pod means that we will always have fresh parsley – and we use fresh parsley in just about every recipe. It brings a pop of bright flavor that enhances everything from eggs to seafood. In this case I used it to garnish my swordfish puttanesca.

Cooking two dinners on Saturday meant we could play all day on Sunday. After church we had brunch at the Piccadilly Café and Deli in Yarmouth. Then we headed to Gray’s Beach to check out the damage to the boardwalk.

We took a long walk on Nauset Beach, where we inexplicably saw a naked girl sitting in the snow right where the water lapped the shore. It was part of a photo shoot, but we couldn’t imagine why anyone would choose a 12-degree day to do such a project.

Next, we stopped by Nickerson State Park and walked across the frozen ice on Little Cliff Pond. We chatted with ice fishermen who were having a great deal of success. A final stop at Linnell Landing ended our adventure as we contemplated ice that seemed to reach as far as Provincetown.

The holidays were wonderful, but it’s nice to have our regular life back.

SWORDFISH PUTTANESCA WITH SPAGHETTI SQUASH

Serves 2

1/2 spaghetti squash 2 swordfish steaks, skin and bloodline trimmed off 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat spaghetti squash half with olive oil and place face down in a baking dish. Add about a half an inch of water and cover pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until squash is tender. To serve, gently run the tines of a fork through the flesh of the squash to create spaghetti like strands.

In the meantime, prepare sauce.

Puttanesca Sauce

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 anchovy filets 1 medium onion, chopped 1/2 cup diced orange or red bell pepper 3 medium cloves garlic, minced 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1/4 cup white wine 1 quarts canned tomatoes 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 6 grinds fresh black pepper 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced 2 teaspoons fresh basil, minced 1/2 teaspoon sugar 2 tablespoons capers 1/2 cup green olives, cut in half 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, cut in half 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and anchovies and sauté stirring constantly until anchovies dissolve. Add onions, red peppers, garlic and crushed red pepper and sauté until soft, about five minutes. Add white wine and cook for 3 to 4 minutes to burn off alcohol. Add tomatoes and crush with the back of a large spoon. Add remaining ingredients, except parsley, and stir well to combine. Turn burner to medium high to bring to a boil. Once sauce is bubbling nicely, turn burner down to medium and cook for 30 to 45 minutes until it is thick. Add parsley and cook for an additional five minutes. Serve over spaghetti squash. When puttanesca sauce and squash are just about finished, lightly season the swordfish steaks with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil. When oil is hot, add swordfish and cook for 4 minutes until golden brown. Flip swordfish and place skillet into the already hot oven. Bake for an additional 4 to 5 minutes until done. Serve fish on top of spaghetti squash and puttanesca. Garnish with more fresh parsley.

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Whirlpool Receives Top Sustainability Rankings

KitchenAid parent company Whirlpool Corporation has risen in the Newsweek Green Rankings to 50 and 82 on the national and global lists, respectively.

According to the company, the rankings assess the environmental performance of the largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. and the world. This year, Whirlpool Corporation was classified as a “top-ranked company,” a designation awarded to fewer than 100 companies on either list.

Earlier this year, Whirlpool Corporation released its 2016 Sustainability Report, that highlighted the company’s sustainability programs. Company officials said Whirlpool exceeded its own objectives to reduce both energy and water intensity from manufacturing by 15%. Those goals were met three years ahead of the original goal of 2020.

The company also completed construction on wind farms at its Ottawa and Marion, OH, plants with future plans to construct additional turbines at the company’s plants throughout the U.S. Once construction at the Ottawa and Marion plants is complete, Whirlpool officials said they expect the company to be one of the largest users of on-site wind energy of any Fortune 500 company in the U.S.

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Ninth Annual Main Street Bazaar and Yard Sale

The ninth annual Main Street Bazaar and Yard Sale is back by popular demand.

Set for Saturday, Jan. 20, the event that began as a small community gathering will open at 8 a.m. with coordinators anticipating another record-high attendance for 2018.

“It’s a fantastic sight with everyone looking all around the streets; it’s a real fun day and the treasures are endless,” said Bill Arendt, bazaar coordinator. “The community comes together all up and down Main Street and Buttonwood Drive and plans for this one day has been all year long.

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“It’s great, as the Main Street businesses, communities and individuals come together for a fun-filled day with bargains galore,” he added. “The nice part is that all of the communities in the neighborhood are coming together, like one big community.”

Bargain-shoppers can stop by most of the communities along Main Street and up through Buttonwood Drive, including Sportsman’s Cove, Ebb Tide and Port Carlos Cove, as residents bring out their items for purchase. Shoppers can find just about anything they are looking for and lots of items you never knew you just can’t live without. Among the typical offerings are clothing, shoes, toys, games, jewelry and accessories to furniture, electronics, books, kitchen gadgets, sporting goods and more.

“You just never know what you’re going to find, plus there will also be other treats and goodies offered within the communities, like soups, full lunches and baked goods to fuel you up for more bargain hunting,” Arendt said. “The other businesses along Main Street who don’t necessarily have merchandise or items for sale have been very supportive of the events taking place, and cheer on the bargain-hunting crowd.”

As all of Main Street is participating, Arendt has some helpful hints for newcomers.

“My top six hints are arrive early (we open at 8 a.m.), carpool and bring your bikes (you can park your car and ride your bike back and forth to the bargains), bring cash, bring your coolers for the shrimp at TRICO Shrimp Company, and have lunch at with us there are lots of good things to eat.”

Be sure and check out the many businesses along Main Street that are also offering something special to treasure-hunters that day.

“I have been coordinating it for nine years, everyone in the different neighborhoods and businesses work together to make this day a success for the sellers and the buyers,” Arendt said. “Our bazar is also a great time for us to connect with our neighbors and the community. So come out, bring your friends and family and have a great time bargain-hunting on the island.”

Guide for the Main Street Bazaar Yard Sale activities on January 20, 2018:

– Ebb Tide RV will have a sale in the club house, next to Main Street.

– Emily Lane will have tables of items for sale by Main Street.

– Gulf Cove will have a sale in their clubhouse plus having coffee and donuts for sale.

– Helen Lane and Oyster Bay Lane West sale at the corner of Helen Lane and Main Street.

– Nancy Lane consolidated sales next to Main Street.

– Oak Street North will have a combined sale at the corner of Oak and Main Street.

– Oyster Bay RV Park and Oyster Bay Lane East, Lots of great bargains in the clubhouse (their storage building is full) along with coffee and donuts. There is plenty of parking available across the street from the park.

– Parrot Key and Shrimp Dock, ready for a cool one, Bloody Mary and Mimosa drink specials plus merchandise discounts. Also take time to enjoy lunch/dinner by the water.

– Port Carlos Cove, sale at the clubhouse and pool area, traditional sale items including furniture and appliances plus homemade soups, pies, baked goods. All available for consumption on site or take home. Also grilled brats and burgers with all the trimmings and chips starting at 10:30.

– Salty Sam’s Ship Store discounts on newer merchandise.

– Sportman’s Cove located on Buttonwood across from the American Legion. Several units 892-898 will have a variety of household items including appliances, furniture and tools in their community area.

– Southern Comfort Storage will have a variety of sales in and around their building. Cars, Boats, Bikes, appliances, furniture, and much more.

– TRICO Shrimp Co., a seafood special for the day, a 5# fresh frozen shrimp pieces for only $35.00. Bring your cooler.

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Doughnut recipes from Ford Fry restaurant pastry director

Whether you consider doughnuts required comfort food or occasional indulgence, you must have noticed the growing number of artisan doughnut shops with their offerings ranging from simple to exotic.

You can seek out these artisan doughnuts, or you can make your own artisan doughnuts at home.

Yes, doughnuts are surprisingly easy to make at home, requiring little specialized equipment. If you’re frying doughnuts, you’ll need something to use for a doughnut cutter and equipment for frying. If you’re baking doughnuts, they’ll turn out much prettier if you bake them in a doughnut pan. All these items are available at your local cookware store.

To get the lowdown on making doughnuts at home, we turned to Chrysta Poulos, creative director for pastry for Ford Fry’s restaurants including King + Duke, BeetleCat, No. 246, JCT Kitchen and St. Cecilia.

At King + Duke, doughnuts are on the Sunday brunch menu and fried to order. BeetleCat hosts “Donuts in the Den” as part of its Saturday and Sunday brunch. “We created the doughnut recipe but (BeetleCat) chef Andrew Isabella makes the decisions about what to do with them and the toppings.”

Poulos has been making doughnuts for many years. Google her and you’ll read about peanut butter crème brûlée doughnuts she paired with oven-roasted Georgia strawberries for Restaurant Eugene or bombolini doughnuts (Italian doughnuts traditionally stuffed with pastry cream) filled with housemade ricotta and served with honey-cinnamon syrup she created for St. Cecilia.



And if you’re truly into exotic doughnuts, you can try the recipe for the Fried Chicken Skin Doughnuts with Maple Glaze she created in 2014 when she and Alissa Mark won the Cooking Channel’s Donut Showdown.

For us, Poulos shared two baked doughnut recipes and one fried classic.

The baked doughnut recipes are simple, closely related to a quick bread like a muffin but baked in a doughnut’s distinctive shape and then either glazed or dipped in butter and flavored sugar. The doughnuts themselves are not very sweet. It’s the toppings and glaze that provide that extra sweetness.

Fried doughnuts are a little more complicated, requiring rising time and then cooking in temperature-controlled oil. But they’re so good they’re worth that extra effort.

Although Poulos doesn’t eat many sweet things at home, she knows that homemade doughnuts hit the right note for many. “There’s just something nostalgic about eating them. I find doughnuts make me feel like a kid at heart.”

Recipes

Yes. You can make doughnuts at home. Try any, or all, of these three doughnut recipes from Chrysta Poulos, creative director of pastry for Ford Fry’s restaurants. You’ll need either a doughnut pan for the baked variety or a doughnut cutter for the fried version, but no other special equipment. And if you go for the baked kind, you’ll have hot doughnuts on the table in about 30 minutes, start to finish.


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 Chocolate-Coffee Donut. STYLING BY CHRYSTA POULOS. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT photo
For the AJC


For the AJC


Chocolate-Coffee Donut. STYLING BY CHRYSTA POULOS. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT

Chocolate-Coffee Mini Doughnuts

In both this and the Red Velvet Doughnuts, Poulos uses Dutch process cocoa because she prefers the color and the deeper flavor.

Hershey’s cocoa, the most widely available cocoa on your grocer’s shelves, is natural cocoa powder, not Dutch process. Hershey’s Special Dark, also available at the grocery, is a mixture of natural and Dutch process. To get full Dutch process cocoa, you’ll need to purchase online. You’ll find all Poulos’ preferred flours and other ingredients at kingarthurflour.com.

We tested the recipe with both natural and Dutch process cocoas and were successful with both, with slightly different results.

Any leftover coffee-sugar would be perfect for sweetening a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.


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 Baked Red Velvet mini doughnuts. STYLING BY CHRYSTA POULOS. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT photo
For the AJC


For the AJC


Baked Red Velvet mini doughnuts. STYLING BY CHRYSTA POULOS. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT


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 Fried Yeast Donuts with Cream Cheese Donut Glaze. STYLING BY CHRYSTA POULOS. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT photo
For the AJC


For the AJC


Fried Yeast Donuts with Cream Cheese Donut Glaze. STYLING BY CHRYSTA POULOS. CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT

Fried Yeast Doughnuts

Poulos uses Sir Galahad flour from King Arthur Flour for artisan breads and yeasted pastries because it’s relatively low in protein. Since it’s only available in 50-pound bags, we substituted King Arthur’s unbleached bread flour.

Only roll out the dough once for doughnuts. Any scraps can be kneaded together, allowed to rest and used to bake dinner rolls. Form the rolls, arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and allow to rise again. Brush with egg wash and top with salt, sesame seeds or poppy seeds and bake at 325 until golden brown.

For the doughnuts or rolls, Poulos likes to have them rise until they’re grown to 1 1/2 times their size, not doubled as most recipes call for. She finds this makes for moister breads.

Cream Cheese Glaze

This is two recipes in one. You can use it as it comes out of the mixer as cream cheese frosting, or heat it and turn it into a glaze. When using it as a glaze that it doesn’t dry hard, but rather is still a bit sticky.

Our recipe calls for using a stand mixer, but if your ingredients are soft enough, you can mix this in a bowl with a wooden spoon.



DOUGHNUT TIPS FROM CHRYSTA POULOS

1. Doughnuts are always best fresh! Bake and fry as close to when you are going to serve them as you can. It will make all the difference.

2. To save time when you’re ready to bake or fry, do everything you can ahead of time. Whisk together dry ingredients or make sugars or glazes that can be made in advance.

3. A piping bag makes short work of filling tins for baked doughnuts. No piping bag? Use a food-safe plastic bag and snip a small piece off one corner.

4. When making baked doughnuts, whether mini or regular size, do not overfill the pans or you’ll lose the center hole. Be sure your pan is well-greased so the doughnuts release easily.

5. No doughnut tin? Bake the batter in a mini muffin tin instead.

6. Be patient and pay attention: don’t try to rush baking or frying. Pay attention to color and texture.

For the baked doughnuts you can touch to see if they are done, and they should “spring” back a little. They will also start to pull away from the pan a bit. Be very careful not to overbake.

The fried doughnuts will start to get color. Flip them over several times to keep that color even. If they are getting dark too fast, turn down the temperature of your oil. Be sure to use a thermometer, and monitor it during the frying, to be sure your oil temperature stays consistent.

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Hestan Cue cooktop talks to your pans to help you cook better

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The Corner Table podcast: Cutting Edge

Nobody really needs a garlic press. A Cuisinart is a convenience; a KitchenAid stand mixer is a comfort.

One thing a cook can’t live without is a chef’s knife with a sharp blade, a comfortable handle and enough weight to make short work of onions, pecans and chives with equal dexterity.


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It takes about 40 hours for Isaiah Schroeder to make a knife like this one, a ktip gyuto with a spalted tamarind handle.


PHOTO BY SUNNY FRANTZ

Isaiah Schroeder is the artist and craftsman behind Isaiah Schroeder Knifeworks. His custom knives are beautiful tools, twisted and stamped to look like a map of the sea floor. The handles combine many shades of wood, inlaid with nickel silver and turquoise.

This week on the podcast, Isaiah describes how he makes his knives, what they’re good for and why they’re different from commercial knives.

For more Corner Table updates, follow host Lindsay on Twitter and Instagram and keep up with The Corner Table on Facebook.

The Corner Table is on iTunes! Subscribe and leave a review here

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