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! **Note I have just remade Ina’s Shrimp Bisque and find it just as good if not better IF you strain it through a sieve. I use a rubber spatula to push the soup through the strainer-do not get discouraged as it will all go through (patience!) except for about 1/4 cup of mass. We love a floater of sherry on top of the soup after it is served into a bowl!
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.