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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Baked Mushroom Custard

Baked Mushroom Custard
Baked Mushroom Custard

MAKES: 4 to 6 servings
TIME: 45 minutes
This custard is pretty basic; see the first variation for an even simpler one. Toss in a bit of cheese or fresh herbs,especially chopped chives, chervil, or a bit of tarragon, to
add flavor.
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot or onion
2 cups chopped shiitake, cremini, or button
mushrooms (about 8 ounces)
2 cups cream, half-and-half, milk, or a combination
1 sprig fresh thyme (optional)
2 eggs plus 2 yolks
Pinch cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt

1- Put the butter in a medium skillet over mediumhigh heat. When it melts, add the shallot and cook until softened, about a minute. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat a bit, pour in the cream, add the thyme if you’re using it,
and cook just until it begins to steam, a couple more minutes.
2- Heat the oven to 300°F and bring a kettle of water to a boil. Put the eggs, cayenne, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk or beat until blended. Remove the thyme and gradually add the cream to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture into a 1-quart dish or into
4 to 6 small ramekins or custard cups.  
3- Put the dish or ramekins in a baking pan and pour in hot water to within about 1 inch of the top of the dish or ramekins. Bake until the mixture is not quite set—it should jiggle a bit in the middle—30 to 40 minutes for ramekins, somewhat longer for a baking dish. Use your judgment; cream sets up faster than milk. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold within a few hours of baking.
Baked Cheesy Custard. A cheese that melts easily is best here: Add 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, Emmental,Gruyère, cheddar, Jack, or goat cheese; stir into the
heated cream until melted. Omit the shallot and mushrooms if you like.
Baked Roasted Garlic Custard. Omit the shallot and mushrooms. Add 4 to 8 cloves Roasted Garlic (page303), peeled and smashed into a paste, to the egg

Simplest Yogurt Sauce

Simplest Yogurt Sauce
Simplest Yogurt Sauce

1 cup
TIME: 3 minutes

Good yogurt is sour and rich, practically a sauce itself; add a little salt and you’re set. The recipe and variations here build on that idea, adding various seasonings or chopped vegetables in the traditions of 
(mostly) India— where yogurt sauces are called raitas—and the Middle East.

You can make your own yogurt (see page 823), but good yogurt is sold in stores too; just avoid those containing gelatin or pectin or lacking live cultures. Good yogurt may be thick or thin, it may have a hard, almost cream cheese layer on top, or it may not, but it always has a fresh, sweet-sour smell and delicious flavor. If you want a slightly thicker sauce, drain the yogurt for 15 minutes or so before starting (see page 824).

1 cup yogurt, preferably whole milk
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly squeezed lemon juice if necessary

1- Combine the yogurt with the garlic, a pinch of salt, and a grinding or two of pepper. Taste and adjust the
seasoning, adding some lemon juice if necessary.
2- Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to a few hours; bring back to near room temperature before serving.
Herbed Yogurt Sauce. Add 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs or to taste. Use mint leaves, parsley, dill, cilantro, or any other tender herb. A teaspoon of dried mint or dill is also acceptable (other dried herbs are not as good).
Onion Yogurt Sauce. Add a tablespoon or more minced onion, shallot, or scallion; you can omit the garlic or not, as you like.
Richer Yogurt Sauce. Top with a tablespoon or so of good extra virgin olive oil, along with a sprinkling of
paprika or cumin if you like.
Avocado Yogurt Sauce. Stir in (or purée in a food processor) 1/2 ripe avocado or more, along with a little extra lemon juice.
Raita (Cucumber Yogurt Sauce). The classic Indian yogurt sauce: Add about 1 cup cucumber, peeled if you like,رseeded, and chopped (and salted if necessary, see page 207); or peeled, seeded, cored, and diced tomato; or any mixture of vegetables, like those you’d use in Chopped Salad, Five Ways (page 204).
Ginger Yogurt Sauce. Stir in a tablespoon or so of minced fresh ginger.                                               
  Fiery Yogurt Sauce. Add hot red pepper flakes, chili powder (to make your own, see page 66), or              minced fresh chile to taste.
Spicy Yogurt Sauce. Add a pinch or more of cumin,paprika, cayenne, dry mustard, saffron (let the sauce
stand for a while before using it or use turmeric for the same color if less flavor), or ground ginger.
Nutty Yogurt Sauce. Or Seedy Yogurt Sauce: Stir in up to 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts or seeds. Shredded
unsweetened coconut is an Indian classic, but anything is fair game. (Poppy seeds look gorgeous.)
Yogurt Sauce with Beans. Add 1 cup drained cooked (orcanned) beans, especially chickpeas.
Sweet Yogurt Sauce. A spoonful of honey—either alone or in combination with any of the above—goes well with heavily seasoned food, and the sweetness helps round out yogurt’s natural acidity.
Blue Cheese Dressing. Good with sour cream or mayonnaise too: Add about 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (Roquefort, for example) along with a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Omit the garlic.

Vinaigrette: The Ultimate Sauce

You could make the argument that vinaigrette—basically,oil and vinegar with seasonings—is not only the mother of all salad dressings, but also of sauces, and marinades for that matter. (See pages 198–202 for a master recipe and tons of flavoring options.) Here’s a handful of ideas for using vinaigrette beyond salads:
1. Toss with finely chopped fruit or vegetables (or both) for an instant salsa.
2. Serve as a dipping sauce for crudités, dumplings, or other finger foods.
3. Use as a base for building other dips by adding yogurt or sour cream.
4. Drizzle on plain roasted, broiled, grilled, or steamed meat or vegetables toward the end of cooking.
5. Use to marinate fish, meat, or poultry before broiling, grilling, or roasting. Just be sure to blot the
food dry before cooking; often I’ll also cover it with a fresh coat of oil to promote browning. If you want
to use the leftover marinade as a sauce, be sure to boil it for several minutes first.
6. Brush on thickly sliced bread before grilling or broiling or use as a condiment to drizzle on sandwiches

7 Uses for Simplest Yogurt Sauce

Any of the previous yogurt sauces can be used in myriad different ways. Some ideas:
1. As a salad dressing (thin with a little lemon juice or sherry vinegar and olive oil)
2. Alongside any simply grilled, broiled, roasted,steamed, or sautéed meat, fish, or poultry3. Atop grilled or steamed vegetables or baked potatoes4. As a dip for raw veggies or chips or any sort of fritter or other fried snack5. Stirred into cooked rice or other grains for extra creaminess, body, flavor, and protein6. Cooked on top of roasted vegetables, poultry, or meat as you might cheese (do not overcook, but add
during the last 5 or 10 minutes of cooking)
during the last 5 or 10 minutes of cooking)during the last 5 or 10 minutes of cooking)7. Stirred into chopped raw fruit and/or nuts for a more complex fruit salad

Spanish Tortilla

Spanish Tortilla
Spanish Tortilla

MAKES: 4 to 6 servings
TIME: About 40 minutes
The classic Spanish omelet, served as a tapa or on sandwiches (don’t laugh; it’s good) that I’ve been making since I first visited Spain 25 years ago. Don’t worry about using so much olive oil; a lot will be poured off. Save it in the fridge if you like: It’s delicious and good for sautéing virtually anything.
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
11/4 pounds waxy potatoes, 3 to 4 medium, peeled
and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch smoked paprika (pimentón), optional
6 to 8 eggs
1- Put the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. About 3 minutes later, add a slice of potato; if bubbles appear, the oil is ready. Add all the potatoes and onion and sprinkle with salt and pepper along with
smoked paprika if you’re using it. Turn the potato mixture in the oil with a wooden spoon and adjust the heat
so that the oil bubbles lazily.
2- Cook, turning the potato mixture gently every few minutes and adjusting the heat so the potatoes do not
brown, until they are tender when pierced with the tip of a small knife. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with some salt and pepper in a large bowl.
3- Drain the potato mixture in a colander, reserving the oil. Wipe out the skillet, return it to medium heat,
and add 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil. Combine the potato mixture with the eggs and add them to the skillet. As soon as the edges firm up—this will only take a minute or so—reduce the heat to medium-low and cook,undisturbed, for 5 minutes.
4- Insert a rubber spatula all around the edges of
the cake to make sure it will slide from the pan. Care fully slide it out—the top will still be quite runny—
onto a plate. Cover with another plate and, holding the plates tightly, invert them (see illustration, page 345).Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet and use a rubber spatula to coax the cake back in. Cook for another 5 minutes, then slide the cake from the skillet to a plate. (Or you can finish the cooking by putting
the tortilla in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.) Serve warm (not hot) or at room temperature. Do not

Spinach Tortilla. Omit the potatoes and onion; reduce the oil to 1/4 cup. Omit the paprika. In Step 1, sauté 1 pound of fresh spinach in the oil with 1 tablespoon minced garlic and a pinch of hot red pepper flakes if you like. Stir and cook until just softened (only a few
minutes). Drain and proceed with the recipe.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Soy Dipping Sauce and Marinade

Soy Dipping Sauce and Marinade
Soy Dipping Sauce and Marinade
MAKES: About 11/2 cups
TIME: 15 minutes
This is an ideal dipping sauce for simply prepared (even steamed) fish, shrimp, chicken, or pork, and of course Fried Wontons or Egg Rolls (page 102); it’s also perfect for drizzling over Sushi Bowls (page 473) or tossing with hot or cold Chinese egg noodles. And you can make it even easier by skipping any or all of the garlic, ginger, or scallion. You also might try substituting 1/4 cup ketchup for the sugar (don’t knock it until you try it) or, in Korean style, adding 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds to the sauce.
If you don’t have rice vinegar or sake, use fruity white wine or a tablespoon of cider or white vinegar mixed
with a tablespoon of water.
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or sake
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup minced scallion
Combine all the ingredients and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Tahini Soy Sauce. Thicker and richer and terrific with anything grilled: Omit the ginger and scallion. Substitute 1/4 cup honey for the vinegar and add 2 tablespoons tahini; sprinkle with hot red pepper flakes if
you like.
Sweet-and-Sour Sauce. Omit the sesame oil. Increase the sugar to 2 tablespoons; increase the vinegar to 3 tablespoons. Cook briefly over low heat, stirring, to dissolve the sugar. Taste and add more vinegar or sugar if necessary. Cool before serving or use warm as a basting sauce for roasted, grilled, or broiled vegetables,
fish, poultry, or meat. You can make this hot-and-sour sauce by adding cayenne to taste

Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

Fresh Tomatillo Salsa
Fresh Tomatillo Salsa
MAKES: About 2 cups
TIME: 10 minutes

Super-fresh and perfect in summer. Look for firm unshriveled tomatillos still covered with tight husks

(after husking, be sure to rinse off the tacky residue). If fresh tomatillos are not available, canned are okay,
though the results will be less crunchy 

Poblanos and some other fresh chiles have tough skins that are best removed. The easiest way to peel them is to char the skin, which has the added benefit of giving the salsa a light smoky flavor. You can, however, skip this step if you’re rushed.

2 medium poblano or other mild fresh green chiles
2 cups chopped husked tomatillos (about 1 pound)
3 scallions, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1-If you like, roast the chiles according to the directions on page 330. Or leave raw. Either way, remove the
stems and seeds from the chiles and either mince them or pulse them a few times in a food processor.
2-Put the remaining ingredients into a medium bowl with the chiles and stir to combine. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve or refrigerate for up to 2 days (bring back to room temperature and adjust the seasoning again before serving).
Green Tomato Salsa. Good in fall, when green tomatoes are plentiful and cheap: Substitute green tomatoes for the tomatillos.

Green Chile Salsa. Stronger: Replace the tomatillos with 2 cups chopped fresh mild green chiles, like more poblano or New Mexican; increase the minced garlic to 2 tablespoons; substitute parsley for the cilantro and lemon for the lime juice.
Pepita Salsa. Easily made from the pantry: Replace half of the tomatillos with toasted pepitas (see page 317). Serve immediately.
Corn Salsa. Distinctive and delicious: Substitute 2 cups corn kernels from Corn on the Cob, Grilled or Roasted (page 289) for the tomatillos.
Jícama Salsa. Very crunchy: Replace the tomatillos with chopped peeled jícama and substitute minced fresh
ginger for the garlic. Add 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves. Let sit for about 30 minutes before

Caramelized Spiced Nuts

Caramelized Spiced Nuts
Caramelized Spiced Nuts
MAKES: 4 to 6 servings
TIME: 15 minutes
A crisp sugar shell and bit of spice make these not too sweet and not too spicy, and they’re only slightly more involved than the roasted nuts in the preceding recipe

Serve a bowl of them with cocktails or other appetizers; they will go quickly, so have backup ready.

Add seeds to the mix as well; sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds all add flavor and texture

2 tablespoons peanut or neutral oil, like grapeseed or
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons garam masala (to make your own,
see page 67)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (about 1 pound) mixed unsalted shelled nuts

1- Heat the oven to 450°F. Grease a baking sheet with the oil. Put a wide pot or deep skillet over high heat and add 2 cups water and the sugar. Bring to a boil and stir in the spices, salt, and nuts. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced to a syrup, 5 to 10 minutes
2-Turn the heat to low and remove the nuts with a slotted spoon, letting the excess syrup drain off a bit and
then spreading the nuts on the baking sheet (be sure to turn off the burner when you’ve finished).
3-Roast the nuts for 10 minutes, tossing once or twice with a spatula. Remove from the oven and let cool
(the sugar coating will be very hot, so resist sampling for a few minutes!); the sugar coating will harden as the nuts cool. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 or 3 days.

Fiery Caramelized Nuts. Substitute a tablespoon or more finely minced canned chipotle chile with the adobo sauce for the garam masala.

Bruschetta and Crostini

Bruschetta and Crostini
Bruschetta and Crostini
MAKES: 4 servings
TIME: About 20 minutes
Grilled bread, doused with olive oil, scented with raw garlic, finished with coarse salt—what can be better than bruschetta (or crostini)? Add toppings and you have a classic starter. Use thick slices of Italian-style bread—or one of the home-baked European-style breads on pages
856 to 859—so that the outside gets crunchy while the inside stays moist.
8 thick slices rustic bread
Extra virgin olive oil as needed
1 to 4 cloves garlic, halved or crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1-Heat a gas or charcoal grill or a broiler to mediumhigh heat and put the rack about 4 inches from the heat
source. Brush both sides of the bread lightly with oil, then grill or broil until lightly browned on both sides.
2- Rub one or both sides of the bread with garlic. Put the bread on a plate, then drizzle it with olive oil (a tablespoon or so per slice is not too much); sprinkle with salt and, if you like, pepper. Serve warm.

Crostini. Until recently, these Italian-style croutons were known in America as “toast points”: Cut the bread
into thinner, smaller slices so you have 16 to 24. Brush them with oil and crisp them on a grill, under
a broiler, or in a 400°F oven until golden on all sides. Rub them with garlic if you like and top them in any
of the ways that follow.
Bruschetta or Crostini with Parmesan. For the broiler instead of the grill, this offers lots of bang for the buck: Omit the garlic, drizzle the bread with oil, and then sprinkle it with grated Parmesan; run under the broiler until the Parmesan just melts and serve immediately.

Bruschetta or Crostini with Tomatoes and Basil. With good tomatoes, there’s nothing better: Core about a pound of ripe tomatoes, squeeze most of the seeds out, and coarsely chop them. If you have time, put them in a strainer for a few minutes to drain the excess water. When the bread is ready to cook, toss
the tomatoes, about a cup of torn basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt together in a
bowl. Top the bread with the mixture after rubbing the garlic on the bread in Step 2, sprinkle with pepper, and serve.

The Basics of Making Soup

The Basics of Making Soup
The Basics of Making Soup
There are a few issues to consider in soup making:
Preparing foods for soup: Cutting vegetables or other ingredients to about the same size allows them to
all cook at pretty much the same rate; you don’t want  your carrots tender while your potatoes are still hard.
And using small pieces allows you to eat soup elegantly, without cutting in the bowl or cramming too-large pieces of food into your mouth.
Using leftovers in soup: One of my first cooking teachers made cream-of-something-or-other almost
every night with leftover vegetables. She rinsed the left

Why Not Use Water?

Stock is flavoring for soups and sauces that you can make in advance. But it is not the only way of flavoring
them. All stocks are basically a combination of water and solids. So it stands to reason that you can begin any soup with water instead of stock, as long as you add sufficient vegetables and other flavorings—wine, extra vegetables, soy sauce, or herbs, for example—and cook the mixture long enough for a flavorful liquid to develop.
overs with boiling water, combined the vegetables with stock and seasonings, puréed, and reheated, sometimes with cream, sometimes with milk or yogurt, sometimes with nothing. Almost any leftover whose flavor does not conflict with the basic seasonings of your soup is fair game: pasta, rice, bread, meat, fish, poultry, vegetables— even mashed potatoes, which can blend in nicely
Heating stock for use in soup: Most soups begin by cooking some meat or vegetables, then adding stock or water. If you heat the stock or water while you prepare the solid ingredients, you will cut your cooking time by as much as ten or fifteen minutes.
Puréeing soup: Upright and immersion blenders can purée almost any soup in an instant. (A hand-cranked
food mill is not a ton of work, but it’s not nearly as fast.) If the purée is too thick, stir in some water or half-andhalf, which will add flavor, enhance texture, and thin the soup all at the same time. If your purée is too thin, see“Giving Soups More Body” (page 132).
Incidentally, guilt factor aside, heavy cream is a sensational thickener, adding wonderful flavor and silken texture. And you don’t need much—1/2 cup or even less is  usually enough for 6 cups of soup.  
Adding pasta or rice to soup: Rice or pasta add body, flavor, and variety to soups, but they’re best cooked in separate water, because they absorb so much water and give off so much starch that cooking them directly in the soup changes the character entirely. (There is nothing wrong with this, of course, but you should be aware of it.)
Storing soup: Many soups can be made in advance, or at least partly so (I’ve noted the best time to interrupt cooking when there is one), and freeze brilliantly for a month or more, so there’s rarely a reason not to double or even quadruple a given recipe to reserve some for another time. Generally, it’s best not to freeze or even refrigerate a soup once you’ve added starches like rice and pasta. Since they continue to absorb water even during storage, they break down, becoming soft and thickening the soup unnecessarily (of course if you like these qualities, go right ahead). Nor should you freeze soups made with dairy, which are likely to curdle when reheated.


An immersion blender lets you purée soup right in the pot. Remove the pot from the heat. Hold the blender upright and make sure the blade is immersed to prevent splattering.


These are not necessarily the “easiest” soups in this chapter (though few of my soup recipes are what you’d call difficult), but rather the most basic, like “Boiled Water” and Puréed Vegetable Soup Without Cream, or those that have become emblematic, like Chicken Soup, Many Ways.

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