Creme Brulee

February 17, 2006

This is another recipe from Hip Cooks. We tried to make this at home and we used deep dishes, instead of the shallow ones. And we used whole milk, instead of creme. As a result, our creme brulee never seemed to quite set and was very watery. I was so disappointed because creme brulee is one of my favorite desserts.

This yields 4 – 5 brulees. Remember, they will keep well in the fridge, covered, for date #2. If you do not have ramekins, then teacups or small, shallow bowls will do just fine!

5 eggs
½ cups sugar
1 ½ cup heavy cream or whipping cream (same thing).

Separate the eggs. (Toss the whites, or save them for a wonderful breaky-in-bed omelet for the next morning.) Put the yolks in a bowl with sugar and whisk them together well. Scald the cream (bring it just below boiling point.) At that point you can add 2-3 tbspns packed grated ginger to the cream, if you are making ginger brulee.

Once the cream is almost boiling, stir into the egg mixture with a whisk. (Add Grand Marnier at this point, or other flavored liqueur if you are making that kind of brulee.)

Fill the ramekins. Place in a baking sheet and fill about ½ way with water. (This is called a bain marie.) Bake at 350, for about 30 minutes ( I start checking after 20 minutes) or until just cooked in the center (slightly jiggly) – they may wobble or shake a tiny teeny bit, but will firm up in the fridge. Cool for about 3 hours, or longer, covered with cling film if it will be overnight or more.

When you are ready to serve, sprinkle with sugar (about 1 tablespoon) and torch, or put under broiler (or toaster oven, monitoring carefully!! Wait for the tops to cool and harden, and serve with garnished with raspberries, if you like.

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Butternut Squash Risotto

February 17, 2006

This recipe is courtesy of Hip Cooks. Ben and I attended a Hip Cooks cooking class and made this risotto at home for Valentine’s Day. We made this with veggie stock at home and froze the leftover stock for future risottos.

1 Butternut squash peeled and diced. (Low and behold, TJs has it already diced – check for freshness)
1 packet sage leaves
1 medium onion
Garlic
Cream
Chicken stock if you are non-veggie (or see the note below on veggie stock)
Parmesan, pecorino or asiago cheese to finish your risotto

To prep the squash:
Sauté with oil in plenty of garlic (about 5 or so cloves, diced). Do this over medium heat so as not to brown the squash – the goal is to cook it until soft but not browned. When it is done, add salt and sage to taste. For the sage, make sure you separate the leaves from the stems (the stems are bitter, blechy!). To chiffonade the sage leaves: stack the leaves, and run your knife along the leaves to sliver finely. But this is your show – chop them how you want them!

To cook the risotto:
Practice your knife skills and dice the celery and onions. Sweat the celery and onion in a wide, heavy-bottomed pan with a bit of olive oil and butter (1-2 tbsps of each, but who has time to measure!) Add about 1 and 1/2 cups of rice and stir around until the rice absorbs the liquid that the veggies have given off. Cover the rice in store bought chicken stock or veggie stock* if you prefer. (And the stock does not have to be hot already, as we did in the class – this just makes it go faster.) Gently keep adding liquid, salt and pepper to taste. Careful not to overstir! When the rice is prefect, introduce the squash. Add in more sage, cream and grated cheese (Parmesan, pecorino, romano, asiago – whatever!) at the last minute. Viola!

* A note on making your own veggie stock: reserve the ends of the celery (from one head), & the trimmings from the onion. Add three roughly chopped carrots and the stems from a bunch of parsley. Put these in a large pot (like the kind you use for pasta, and bring to a boil. When it has come to a boil, turn off the heat and let cool until you are ready to strain it. It should be a lovely light brown in color, taste good, and make your kitchen smell fantastic.


Curry Pilaf with Sausage

February 11, 2006

Makes 6 servings

6 sausages
1 small onion
2 sweet red peppers
6 mushrooms
1 T. oil
1-1/2 T. butter
3 cups uncooked rice
1 T. Curry powder
3 cups of stock
salt
pepper
1 T. white wine

  1. Slice sausages on the bias 1/4-inch thick. Dice onion and red peppers into 1/2 inch cubes. Remove mushroom stems and sliced diagonally into 1/4 inch thickness.
  2. Heat oil and stir fry sausage, onion, sweet red peppers and mushrooms.
  3. Add butter and rice and stir-fry for a few minutes, then add curry powder and stir for a few more minutes.
  4. Add soup stock, salt, pepper, and white wine and mix. Cover and bring mixture to a boil.
  5. Turn down heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Mix rice before serving.

Reference:

Takagi, Junko. The Classic Rice Cookbook. Shufunotomo Company Limited: Hong Kong, 1996. p. 26.