Avgolemono Soup

This is a Greek lemon, rice and egg soup that is so comforting. You probably already have the ingredients and it comes together in 20 minutes. I used rice but will try orzo next time I make it.
avgolemono-soup
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup uncooked orzo (or rice or pastina)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 eggs
3 tablespoons lemon juice

In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil.
Add the orzo, rice, or pastina and cook until tender but still al dente, about 7 minutes (20, if using rice). Season with the salt and pepper and reduce heat to low; simmer.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice until smooth.
Ladle about 1 cup of the hot broth into the egg-and-lemon mixture, then whisk to combine.
Add the mixture back to the simmering saucepan. Stir just until the soup becomes opaque and thickens as the eggs cook, 1 to 2 minutes. Add more salt and pepper, if desired, and serve.

Ultimate Chocolate Brownie

After reading this article in the WSJ, I was hooked. I ordered the Belgian chocolate mentioned in the article from Amazon and made the brownies. I used a half sheet pan that is a tad larger than the measurements the recipe called for but needed the extra room. I had never made a brownie recipe quite like this where you add the eggs at the very end. My brownies overflowed a little but the taste is over the top.
ultimate-chocolate-brownie
Vegetable oil spray
2 cups cake flour
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
12 ounces dark chocolate, preferably Belcolade 60% cacao, coarsely chopped
2 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ¾ cups granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat bottom and sides of a 12-by-16-inch baking pan with vegetable oil spray. Line bottom with parchment paper, then spray parchment.
Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a large bowl. In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk eggs, vanilla and salt until combined.
Set a metal bowl over a pot to create a double boiler. Add enough water to pot to reach just below bottom of bowl. Heat water in double boiler to a steady simmer. Place chocolate and butter in bowl of double boiler, and cook, stirring to prevent chocolate from burning, until melted. (Alternatively, microwave them together in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until melted.) Whisk chocolate and butter briskly until combined.
Place sugar in a large bowl, then pour melted chocolate mixture over top. Whisk to combine. Add half of flour mixture to chocolate, whisking gently. Repeat with remaining flour mixture. Add egg mixture to bowl. Use a rubber spatula to carefully fold all ingredients together, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl, until combined.
Pour batter into prepared sheet pan. If there are streaks of egg visible on top of batter, use spatula to smooth them into batter using a circular motion. Smooth top with a small offset spatula or a rubber spatula.
Bake brownies until batter has risen a bit, crust is even and slightly bubbling, and edges are starting to dry out and break, 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely in pan, on a wire rack, before serving.

Perfect Peach Pie

This is a wonderful recipe from the NY Times, that is absolutely perfect as the title states! I did not use all of the liquid in the pie crust, but I should have.
perfect-peach-pie I only used half of the amount of sugar as I knew I would be serving it with Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream!
FOR THE PIE DOUGH:
2 ½ cups or 300 grams all-purpose flour
12 tablespoons or 169 grams unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Yolk of 1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
¼ cup water, from 3/4 cup ice water
White of 1 egg, beaten
Pinch granulated sugar
FOR THE FILLING:
6 or 7 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced, approximately 5 cups
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup or 30 grams all-purpose flour
Pinch of ground nutmeg
half-eaten-peach-pie
Make the pie dough. Using your fingertips or the pulse function of a food processor, blend together the flour, butter and salt until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. There should be pebbles of butter throughout the mixture.
Add egg yolk and vinegar to 1/4 cup ice water, and stir to combine. Drizzle 4 tablespoons of this mixture over the dough, and gently stir or pulse to combine. Gather a golf-ball-size bit of dough, and squeeze to combine. If it does not hold together, add a little more of the liquid, and stir or pulse, then check again. Repeat as necessary.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and gather together into a rough ball. Divide the ball in half with a knife or a pastry scraper, then divide each portion in half again, and again, to create 8 portions. Using the heel of your hand, flatten each portion of dough once or twice to expand the pebbles of butter, then gather the dough together again in one ball. Divide this ball in half.
Flatten each ball into a 5- or 6-inch disc, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least 60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425. Make the pie filling: Combine sliced peaches, lemon juice, sugar and flour in a large bowl, and gently mix to combine. Set aside.
Take the larger of the pastry discs out of the refrigerator, roll it out on a lightly floured surface and place in a 9-inch pie plate. Add the peaches. Sprinkle them with the ground nutmeg.
Roll out second disc of pastry. Place on top of filling. Wet edges of the bottom pastry disc with some cold water. Trim pastry, pinch bottom and top edges together and cut a few slits to allow steam to escape from the pie. Brush the egg white on the top, particularly around the edges, and sprinkle with a pinch of granulated sugar.
Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375. Cook until peaches bubble and pastry is golden, approximately 45 minutes to an hour.

Herbed Marinated Pork Tenderloin

A super easy recipe that is full of flavor-I only make one pork tenderloin at a time and adjust the recipe. The marinade is so full of flavor! I also like that Ina cuts the tenderloin in 1/4″ slices. Foolproof and absolutely delicious! She served it with a Greek Panzanella Salad and a Fruit Crumble for dessert!
Herb pork tender
1 lemon, zest grated
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 to 6 lemons)
Good olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Kosher salt
3 pork tenderloins (about 1 pound each)
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard, and 2 teaspoons salt in a sturdy 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the pork tenderloins and turn to coat with the marinade. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Marinate the pork in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove the tenderloins from the marinade and discard the marinade but leave the herbs that cling to the meat. Sprinkle the tenderloins generously with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large oven-proof saute pan over medium-high heat. Sear the pork tenderloins on all sides until golden brown. Place the saute pan in the oven and roast the tenderloins for 10 to 15 minutes or until the meat registers 137 degrees F at the thickest part. Transfer the tenderloins to a platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Carve in 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices. The thickest part of the tenderloin will be quite pink (it’s just fine!) and the thinnest part will be well done. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm, or at room temperature with the juices that collect in the platter.

Easy Caponata

From David Leibowitz’s blog-one of my favorite end of the summer dishes!
Caponata is meant to be a touch sweet, a tad vinegary. I added more than Fabrizia but since vinegars can vary in strength, you can taste and add more later in the game. The original recipe made quite a bit of caponata and and I reduced the recipe by half. (Some might say you can never have enough caponata, but because of the concentrated flavors, a little goes a long way.) It keeps very well in the refrigerator, so if you wish you can double the recipe.
Easy caponata
3 branches celery (tough outer strings removed, if necessary)
Vegetable oil (or olive oil), about 1 cup (250ml), for frying
1 pound (450g) eggplant
salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup (60g) green olives, pitted and very coarsely chopped (about in thirds)
2 tablespoons (30g) capers, rinsed and squeezed dry
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225ml) best-quality tomato sauce
3 tablespoons (40ml) wine vinegar, red or white
1/2 tablespoon honey (or sugar)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Chopped flat-leaf parsley or mint, for serving
1. Remove the leaves from the celery branches and cut the branches into 1/2-inch (1,25cm) thick slices. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a low boil and simmer the celery until crisp-tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and rinse well in cold water. Set aside.

2. Trim the stems off eggplant and cut into 1-inch (3cm) pieces.

3. In a large, heavy-duty skillet (I used cast iron) heat 3/4-inch (2cm) of vegetable or olive oil. Cook the eggplant in batches, not crowding too many into the pan at once, turning them occasionally, until they are browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Season with salt, then fry the rest of the eggplant in batches, seasoning them with salt as you remove them from the oil. You’ll likely need to add more oil to the pan as you go. (I ended up using a total of 1 cup/250ml.)

4. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently until wilted and starting to turn golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the parboiled celery, olives, capers, tomato sauce, vinegar, honey, and red pepper flakes. Let come to a low boil then add the eggplant.

5. Cook the mixture at a simmer, stirring carefully so as not to mash up the eggplant pieces, for 3 to 4 minutes. Taste, and add additional salt if desired, and perhaps another splash of vinegar. Remove from heat and transfer the caponata to a large, shallow serving platter or bowl and cool.

Serving and storage: Caponata is best served the next day, so the ingredients and flavors have time to meld. Top with chopped flat leaf parsley or fresh mint. It also makes a nice topping for crostini: Pile it atop grilled bread that’s been brushed with olive oil before grilling,