Welsh Tea Cakes

A wonderful recipe from Saveur This is a very nice dough you roll out to 1/4″ thickness and cut 2-3″ rounds. They cook on a dry griddle inn 6 minutes and are divine. Recipe yields about 3 dozen tea cakes. Delicious with tea or coffee!
Welsh tea cakes
5 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1 tbsp. nutmeg
5 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
2 cups sugar
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
½ cup milk
5 oz. currants
Whisk together flour, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside. Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat on medium-high speed with a hand mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly add dry ingredients and milk; beat on low speed until just combined. Fold in currants. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into a 14″ circle, about ¼”-thick. Using a 3″ round cutter, cut out cookies and place onto baking sheets. Heat a griddle over medium-high and cook cookies, flipping once, until golden, 6 minutes.

Orange Madeleines with glaze

These are wonderful! I have been experimenting with different madeleine recipes since I bought my pans this fall and this is the best. I think the key is to let the dough rest, in this case 90 minutes. I have seen other recipes up to 3 hours. Infusing the orange zest into the butter really gives the little cakes great flavor. The recipe comes from a wonderful blog, The Cook’s Atelier. The measurements are in weight so you must have a small scale. I really enjoying measuring by weight when I bake.
Orange Madeleines
makes about 24

130 grams unsalted butter
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 egg yolk
120 grams granulated sugar
pinch of sea salt
175 grams flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
zest of 2 medium oranges

for the glaze (optional)
150 grams confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat until it just starts to turn golden brown. Be careful not to overheat. Set aside to cool.

Using a pastry brush, generously grease the madeleine tin with a little of the melted butter. Dust with flour and place the tins in the refrigerator to set.

Using a stand mixer, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, sugar and the salt until the batter starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.

Sift the flour and baking powder and use a spatula to fold the flour into the batter mixture.
Add the orange zest to the cooled butter, then slowly drizzle the butter into the batter until you have incorporated all of the butter in the mixture.

Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 1/2 hours. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Drop the batter in the middle of each mold until about three-quarters full without spreading it. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes in the upper third of your oven. Bake until slightly brown or just until they feel set to the touch.

To make the glaze, stir together the confectioner’s sugar and the orange juice.

Remove the madeleines from the oven and place on a cooling rack. When cool, using a pastry brush, apply the glaze on both sides. Leave on the rack until the glaze has set. Or, as another option, you can simply dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Best Shrimp Bisque

This is a recipe from Bon Appetit It takes some time but is worth it! It is better than the Barefoot Contessa recipe because it has a very smooth and silky texture. It is very elegant!
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp (about 45), peeled, deveined, shells reserved
2 bay leaves, divided
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup long-grain white rice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
Shrimp puree for bisque
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add shrimp shells and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add 1 bay leaf and 8 cups water. Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Strain, discarding solids. DO AHEAD Shrimp stock can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool slightly; chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until just opaque in center, 3-4 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to same pot. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until very soft, about 20 minutes.
Remove pot from heat; add brandy. Return pot to heat and stir until almost evaporated, 2-3 minutes. Add rice and tomato paste; stir for 1 minute. Add shrimp stock, remaining bay leaf, parsley, thyme, and ¼ tsp. cayenne. Simmer uncovered until flavors meld and rice is soft, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve 4 shrimp for garnish and stir remaining shrimp into bisque. Remove parsley, thyme, and bay leaf.
Working in batches, purée bisque in a blender until smooth. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer set over a clean pot. Discard solids in strainer. Stir in cream and reheat bisque over medium heat. Add lemon juice. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more cayenne, if desired.
Mince reserved shrimp and mix with chives in a small bowl. Place 1 heaping tablespoon shrimp mixture in the center of large, shallow soup bowls. Ladle bisque around garnish and serve.

NY Style Cheesecake

This is a simple recipe from Cooks.com The only change I made to the original recipe is to prebake the graham cracker crust for ten minutes. The recipe called to just refrigerate it but I prefer it baked.
NY Style Cheesecake
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs-1 1/2 packages
1 c. sugar
4 to 5 tbsp. butter, melted
3 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 c. sugar
4 eggs
16 oz. sour cream
2 tbsp. flour
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 pt. heavy cream
Piece of cheesecake
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.Mix cracker crumbs, 1 cup sugar and the butter. Press in bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake for ten minutes.
Beat cream cheese in large mixing bowl. Add 1 cup sugar gradually. Mix in 1 egg at a time. Then add sour cream, flour then vanilla. Lastly mix in heavy cream.

Pour over crumb mixture and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce to 300 degrees and bake 40 more minutes. Turn off oven and leave cake in oven for 1 hour. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Lentil and Sausage Cassoulet

A wonderful fall dish that will feed a crowd. I am sure you could make a half of the recipe easily. This recipe is adapted from David Tanis’s cassoulet in Bon Appetit. I found the french garlic sausage at my butcher.
Lentil and sausage cassoulet
Lots of notes:
1) You’ll want the liquid in which you cook the lentils to be highly flavorful. The dish is still good if you were to use water—and I offer tips about that in the body of the recipe—but it’s best to use a chicken or vegetable stock, sometimes doctored with a splash of white wine.
2) The quality of the sausage matters here, but the type of sausage, I’ve found, is flexible. The original recipe calls for the gorgeous French-style garlic saucisson or smoked kielbasa, but I can’t get my hands on those very frequently. I’ve used both smoke-cured and fresh sausages to equal success, browning the fresh sausage pieces before adding them to the dish. Just make sure to use a sausage whose flavor profile fits this garlicky, herbal dish: spicy Italian sausage or chorizo doesn’t work best here.
3) You’ll need to chop quite a bit to get the mirepoix (onions, carrots, celery) ready for this dish, which I know is daunting for some both in terms of time and in terms of having celery languishing in your crisper. I recently tried out making mirepoix in a big batch and freezing it ahead of time, and liked the results.
4) I frequently make this dish mostly ahead of time the night before a dinner party; then put the breadcrumbs on and bake the day-of. I’ve indicated where to stop in the recipe.

You’ll need
2-3 ounces bacon, thick-cut preferred, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch pieces
3 medium carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups dried green or French green lentils
8 cups liquid: chicken stock, vegetable broth, water, or any combination (feel free to splash in some white wine)
Several dashes cayenne pepper
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh sage (can substitute 1 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme (can substitute 1 teaspoon dried)
12-16 ounces good quality cured/smoked or fresh sausage with a garlicky or herbed flavor profile, cut into 1-inch pieces (if the sausage is fresh, you may want to brown the pieces first)
3-4 cups breadcrumbs (fresh is best, panko works well in a pinch)
1/4 cup melted butter or olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper
cooked Cassoulet
Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until it renders a bit of fat and begins to turn golden. Do not let the bacon brown too much or begin to crisp.
Add the carrots, onions, and celery. Reduce the heat to medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to become translucent and the vegetables are a tender but not mushy. This can take some time, up to 15 minutes. Season the vegetable mixture with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add the garlic and fresh herbs and cook, stirring, one more minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add the lentils and liquid to a large pot. If you are only using water as your liquid, season your water with some salt and a bay leaf, if you have one. Bring the lentils to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cooking for 15-18 minutes, or until they are tender but not mushy. Drain the lentils, reserving their cooking liquid (it will have turned a bit murky but has that amazing peppery, pebbly lentil taste to it). Remove the bay leaf if you used it.
Add the lentils to the bacon-vegetable mixture and stir to mix. Taste for seasoning and season with more salt and pepper if necessary (I find it’s generally necessary). Transfer the whole thing to a baking dish.
Mix the breadcrumbs with the olive oil or melted butter. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Smooth the lentils in the baking dish and gently scatter the sausage pieces over the surface, pressing them in until they’re flush with the surface of the lentils. Pour the reserved cooking liquid into the baking dish until it just peeks above the top of the lentil mixture. (TO MAKE AHEAD: stop here, cover and refrigerate the lentils, and continue the next day with the breadcrumbs.) Scatter the breadcrumbs over the top evenly.
Cover the dish with foil or a lid and bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the breadcrumb topping is dark golden, anywhere from an additional 10 to 20 minutes.
Allow the cassoulet to rest 15 minutes before serving, if possible.
Serve with a salad of greens in a mustardy, tangy vinaigrette.

Red Lentil Mulligatawny

A wonderful soup from Madhur Jaffrey, the queen of Indian food. I made a half recipe and served it with puppodums, if you can find them. You could also serve it with naan, and mix a little tamarind or mango chutney with yogurt for a garnish. This recipe was in Saveur.
9 T. unsalted butter, divided
1 t. Aleppo pepper, optional
1/2 t. cumin seeds
1/2 t. coriander seeds
1/2 t. black mustard seeds
2 dried chiles de arbol
1 plum tomato, minced
3 T. minced ginger
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, minced
1/2 jalapeño, minced
1/4 c. flour
1 T. ground coriander
2 t. ground cumin
1 1/2 t. ground turmeric
9 c. chicken or vegetable stock
1 3/4 c. red lentils
3 T. minced cilantro
1 c. canned coconut milk
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
plain yogurt to garnish
fresh cilantro to garnish
Cook 5 T. butter Aleppo pepper, cumin, coriander, mustard, chiles, and tomato in an 8″ skillet over high heat until fragrant. Set sauce aside. Heat remaining butter in a 6 quart saucepan over medium high heat. Add ginger, garlic, onion and jalapeño and cook until browned, about 15 minutes. Add flour, coriander, cumin and turmeric, cook until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add stock and lentils, boil. Skim any scum that surfaces. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, covered, until tender, about 45 minutes. Add cilantro, puree, if you like. Add coconut milk, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve garnished with sauce, yogurt and a little fresh cilantro.

Mexican Wedding cookies

A favorite of all and there are so many different versions of this cookie-the Austrian kipfel, Germany has kifle and this Mexican cookie are all very similar. You could vary the nut if you wished. This recipe comes from the California Culinary Academy cookbook that I love.
Mexican wedding cookie
2 1/2 c. flour (2 c. may be enough)
1/4 t. salt
1 c. finely chopped pecans
1 c. softened butter
1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar to coat cookies
Note-if dough is dry, add 2t. water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, salt and pecans together. In a mixer cream the butter and 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar, beat until fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating just until the dough clings together. Shape into 1 1/2″ balls or the size of your choice. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Pork Sugo

This came from a magazine article I read years ago by the wonderful Janet Fletcher.I made this with the leftover slow roasted pork and it is fabulous. Will be delicious on polenta or pasta! I used a little over a pound of cooked pork and added it after I sautéed the vegetables. Of course, you can make it with fresh boneless pork shoulder. I used the porcini broth but not the porcinis even though the recipe called for it. I have a problem with dehydrated dried mushroom’s texture!
Pork Sugo
!/2 oz. dried porcini
1# boneless pork shoulder, excess fat and membrane removed, diced
1 can 28 oz. Italian San Marzano tomatoes (WFds carries)
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 oz. pancetta, diced
1/2 large onion, minced
1 large carrot, minced
1 large celery rib, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. minced Italian parsley
1 T minced fresh sage
1 bay leaf
1/4 t. hot pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 c. dry red wine
Soak porcini in 1 c. of warm water for 30 minutes. Lift the porcini out of the liquid and chop medium fine. Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with a damp paper towel and reserve.
Cut meat into a 1/2-1″ dice. Heat a 4 qt. Dutch oven over high heat. When hot, add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the meat and season with salt and pepper, stirring occasionally until the meat is browned and a crust begins to form on the bottom of the pot, 6-7 minutes. Reduce heat if necessary to prevent burning. Add the pancetta and cook stirring for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley, sage, bay leaf and hot pepper flakes. Cooking stirring constantly for 10 minutes. Add the red wine and loosen the brown bits from the bottom of the pan (if using raw meat)and simmer until the wine evaporates. Add the tomatoes, porcini*(see my note above) and porcini broth. Simmer 1 1/2 -2 hours until the meat is tender. If using precooked roast pork, you only need to cook one hour. Remove bay leaf. Taste and adjust seasonings. Makes enough for 2# of pasta or for 6-8 over polenta.

Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder

This recipe comes from The Kitchen I first ate it there many years ago and it is one of my favorite recipes to make at home in my huge Le Creuset roasting pan. You can make it ahead and shred it for pulled pork or serve it hot out of the oven with a salsa verde or the strained juices that it cooked in. It cooks all day at 250 degrees however I have made smaller shoulders and they are done in less time. It is the perfect dish to make on a snowy day as it perfumes your house with wonderful aromas!

1 5-6lb Pork Shoulder
2 tbsp coriander seeds,
1 tbsp fennel seeds
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp each salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
3 apples, quartered
3 branches fennel tops
1 cup onions, chopped
3 cups dry white wine
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
If pork shoulder has skin, score it in a criss cross pattern. Grind spices together and moisten with olive oil. Rub on pork. Cover bottom of a deep lidded roasting pan with apples, fennel and onions. Pour wine over fruit and place pork on top. Roast covered 10 hours or overnight. Strain liquid and reduce.
Serve with salsa verde.

Salted Butter Pecan Shortbread Squares with Rosemary

This recipe comes from the wonderful blog The Yellow Table I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of The Yellow Table cookbook, coming any day!
I love Anna’s ingenious idea of adding rosemary to this recipe and I can’t wait to taste it. I can tell it is a perfect combination! **Update-they are fabulous-I cut the pan into 8 by 4 and they are a nice size bar.
Salted Butter Pecan Shortbread
Shortbread Base: 2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) salted butter, cut into cubes
Pecan Topping: 8 ounces pecans (about 2 cups)
1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter 1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 t. fresh rosemary, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. For the shortbread base, combine the flour, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the consistency of bread crumbs. Pour the mixture into a 9x12x2-inch metal baking pan and spread evenly, pressing down gently with your hands or a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly while you prepare the topping. Pulse the pecans in a food processor until roughly chopped. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar, honey, and cream and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Let simmer for 1 minute and stir in pecans. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture over the shortbread, spreading evenly. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, until bubbling. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Loosen the sides with a knife and turn the entire pan out onto a cutting board. (This makes cutting much easier, and won’t destroy your pan!) Using a sharp knife, cut into 1-inch squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.