Monday, February 8, 2010

Go to Sweet Paul to get this Honey Baked Ricotta Recipe for your sweetie pie. I just made this for the first time and we absolutely love it! Make sure you get really good bread, and we used raspberry's blackberries and strawberries. For me the perfect start to any day and especially Valentines day!

Photo taken by Ellen Silverman via Sweet Paul

Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy
In an uncertain world, everybody needs a truly excellent recipe for roast chicken, one that will never, ever fail you. This is it.

2 whole chickens (about 3 1/2 lb each)
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, divided
6 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 lemons, halved
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups water
kitchen string
For roast chicken:
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.

Pull off excess fat around cavities of chickens and discard, then rinse chickens and pat dry. Melt 4 Tbsp butter with garlic and brush butter all over chickens. Season both chickens inside and out with 2 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper (total). Put half of garlic and 1 lemon half in each cavity and loosely tie legs together with string. Roast chickens in a large (17- by 11-inch) flameproof roasting pan, basting with pan juices using a spoon (remove pan from oven and tilt if necessary) every 20 minutes, rotating pan, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into fleshy part of a thigh of each chicken (do not touch bone) registers 170°F, 50 to 60 minutes total. Baste chickens once more, then carefully tilt them so juices from cavities run into roasting pan. Transfer chickens to a cutting board (reserve pan) and let rest 15 minutes before carving.
Make gravy while chickens rest:
Pour off all but 2 Tbsp fat from pan, then cook remaining drippings over medium-high heat until deep golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in water and simmer, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in remaining 4 Tbsp butter and lemon juice to taste (from remaining lemon halves). Season with salt and pepper. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a gravy boat.

If desired, you can also add herbs such as thyme or rosemary to cavities before roasting.
Recipe courtesy Gourmet Magazine, Image courtesy Romulo Yanes

Creamy Potato Gratin
4 1/2 pounds all-purpose potatoes
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 onion, peeled
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt
Approximately 1/4 cup unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into slices, neither especially thin nor especially thick (approximately 1/2-inch) and put them into a large saucepan with the milk, cream, onion, minced garlic and salt. Bring to the boil and cook at a robust simmer or gentle boil (however you like to think of it) until verging on tender, but not dissolving into mush. The pan might be hell to clean afterward, but any excuse for long, lazy soaking rather than brisk pre-or postprandial scrubbing always appeals to me. And, for what it's worth, I find that when pans are really, dauntingly, stuck with cooked-on gunge, it's more effective to soak them in hot water and detergent (i.e., the stuff you put in the washing machine, though I haven't tried, and don't think I would, with tablets) rather than dish liquid.
Use some of the butter to grease a large roasting pan (15 by 12-inches) and then pour the almost sludgy milk and potato mixture into it. Dot with remaining butter and cook in the oven for 15 minutes or until the potato is bubbly and browned on top. Remove, let stand for 10 to 20 minutes and then serve.
This is not the most labor saving way of cooking potatoes, to be sure, but one of the most seductive. And it reheats well as an accompaniment to cold roast pork, or indeed anything in the days that follow.

Recipe courtesy Nigella Lawson

Sauteed Green Beans
1 1/2 pound green beans, stem ends trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Diagonally halve the beans crosswise. Blanch beans in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain beans in a colander and transfer to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain well.
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then
sautee beans, stirring, until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Creme Brulee
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
8 egg yolks
3 generous tablespoons granulated sugar
Approximately 6 tablespoons Demerara or granulated brown sugar
Put a pie dish of about 8-inches in diameter in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. Half-fill the sink with cold water. This is just a precaution in case the custard looks as if it's about to split, in which case you should plunge the pan into the water and whisk the custard. I'm not saying it will - with so many egg yolks in the rich cream, it thickens quickly and easily enough - but I always feel better if I've done this.
Put the cream and vanilla bean into a saucepan and bring to the boiling point, but do not let boil. Beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl, and, still beating, pour the flavored cream over it, bean and all. Rinse and dry the pan and pour the custard mix back in. Cook over medium heat (or low, if you're scared) until the custard thickens, whisking almost constantly: about 10 to 12 minutes should do it. You do not want this to be a good, voluptuous creme, so don't err on the side of runny caution. Remember, you've got your sinkful of cold water to plunge the pan into should it really look as if it's about to split.

When the cream's thick enough, take out the vanilla bean, retrieve the pie dish and pour the creme into the severely chilled container. Leave to cool, then put in the refrigerator until truly cold. Sprinkle with Demerara sugar, spoonful by spoonful, and burn with a blowtorch until you have a blistered tortoiseshell covering on top.
Put back in the refrigerator if you want, but remember to take it out a good 20 minutes before serving. At which stage, put the bowl on the table and, with a large spoon and unchecked greed, crack through the sugary carapace and delve into the satin-velvet, vanilla-speckled cream beneath. No more talking: just eat.

Recipe courtesy Nigella Lawson
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