Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cheesy Dip Fondue


I recently was inspired to have a fondue party and made a non-traditional cheese fondue that is made with cream cheese, which made it more like a cheesy dip.  It stayed smooth and creamy and never separated or got gloppy, delicious to the end.  I got the idea from Epicurious here.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup whipping cream
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup (packed) grated Gruyère cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add cream, cream cheese, Parmesan, and Gruyère. Whisk until smooth, about 3 minutes. Stir in nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. You don't even really need to put this in a fondue pot and can reheat in the microwave if it needs remelting.

Things to dip in a Cheese fondue:

pretzel, tatertots, meatballs, cubes of olive and walnut breads
slices of apples, pears or grapes

steamed or roasted broccoli and cauliflower, or mushrooms.
Be sure to include a few palate-cleansing pickles, like cornichons, gherkins or olives to help cut the richness.

I found this brilliant idea from Jaden's Steamy Kitchen.  Mini pigs in a blanket (1 can/tube of crescent dough + Lil’ Smokies baby sausage links. Unroll the dough, cut into strips – wrap each Lil’ Smokie and bake 375F for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.)

a cured meats plate, cubes of salami

Sliced Louisiana Hot Link

Chocolate Fondue


12 ounces of dark chocolate (chips or roughly chopped if from a block), I used a mixture of good quality dark and milk chocolate

8 ounces of heavy cream
A pinch of salt
a good swig of a liquer, such as Frangelico (hazelnut) or cognac
Warm the cream over moderate heat until tiny bubbles show and begins to lightly and slowly boil. Add the chocolate and whisk until smooth and full incorporated.

Immediately transfer to a fondue pot heated at low or with a low flame, or serve straight from the pot.

Things to dip:

Fruits: pineapple, kiwi, banana, strawberries, grapes, fresh coconut pieces, cherries, raspberries, blueberries
Frozen banana slcies
Dried fruits, candied ginger, candied orange peel
Bits of sweets:  brownie bits, marshmallows, cookie, rice crispy treats, pound cake, angel food cake,
blondies, macaroons, biscotti
pretzel rods, graham crackers, lady fingers, cookies, peanut butter and fluff sandwiches

or potato chips!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Roy Choi's really good spaghetti sauce

I'm back after a long lazy silence...  I've been cooking but not taking pictures, it seemed just wrong to post without pictures!  Anyways, I was inspired to try making this recipe $4 Spaghetti that's almost as good as $24 Spaghetti, from the Food & Wine website which caught my eye with its brilliant claim.  Fortunately I had all of the ingredients at hand.  It's full of flavor and made quite a lot for leftovers or to freeze and was so good that I wanted to share it with you.  

The recipe is by Roy Choi of L.A.’s Kogi empire (read more about him here) who loves the $24 spaghetti from Scott Conant’s Scarpetta in NYC but says, “my $4 version tastes almost as good.”  His trick: flavoring tomato sauce with a quick mushroom broth and slow-cooked garlic.

4 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced ( I had 2 cups of old and tired crimini)
3/4 cup peeled garlic cloves (4 ounces, from about 4 heads)
 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used 1/2 cup)
Two 28-ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes with their juices
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup torn basil leaves
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving

  1. In a saucepan, bring the mushrooms and 3 cups of water to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the broth is reduced to 1 cup, 1 hour. Strain and discard the mushrooms. 
  2.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the garlic and olive oil to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring, until the garlic is very tender and golden, about 30 minutes.

  3.  In a large enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven, bring the tomatoes and the garlic and oil to a boil. Add the mushroom broth and, using an immersion blender, puree the sauce until smooth. Bring the sauce back to a boil, then simmer over moderately low heat until thickened, about 1 hour. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain the spaghetti and return to the pot. Add 2 cups of the sauce and cook, tossing, for 1 minute. Transfer the spaghetti to bowls, top with the basil and serve with grated cheese. 
Make Ahead The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Suggested Pairing Fruit-forward, medium-bodied Italian red.

I finally used the pasta from Flour + Water that I bought at the Salumeria next door to Central Kitchen.  It made a very fine plate of pasta with the Kogi sauce.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Momofuku's Crack Pie

Momofuku Milkbar CRACK PIE!!!

I am quite delinquent in posting this recipe for the pie I made last Thanksgiving!  You can read the post here.  The infamously named pie does have a sinister addictive quality, everyone who took a bite was unable to stop.  And later, we wanted to go back for more...  The recipe is from the Momofuku Milkbar Cookbook and has been published online, so I'm not breaking any laws by posting it up here.

Total time: 1 1/2 hours, plus cooling and chilling times
Servings: Makes 2 pies (6 to 8 servings each)

Note: Adapted from Momofuku. This pie calls for 2 (10-inch) pie tins. You can substitute 9-inch pie tins, but note that the pies will require additional baking time, about 5 minutes, due to the increased thickness of the filling.

Cookie for crust

2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3 ounces) flour
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) sugar
1 egg
Scant 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) rolled oats


1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Whisk the egg into the butter mixture until fully incorporated.

5. With the mixer running, beat in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until fully combined. Stir in the oats until incorporated.

6. Spread the mixture onto a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking sheet and bake until golden brown and set, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to the touch on a rack. Crumble the cooled cookie to use in the crust.


Crumbled cookie for crust
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine the crumbled cookie, butter, brown sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until evenly combined and blended (a little of the mixture clumped between your fingers should hold together). Divide the crust between 2 (10-inch) pie tins. Press the crust into each shell to form a thin, even layer along the bottom and sides of the tins. Set the prepared crusts aside while you prepare the filling.


1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
3/4 cup plus a scant 3 tablespoons (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon (3/4 ounce) milk powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
3/4 cup plus a scant 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 egg yolks
2 prepared crusts
Powdered sugar, garnish

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, salt and milk powder. Whisk in the melted butter, then whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla.

3. Gently whisk in the egg yolks, being careful not to add too much air.

4. Divide the filling evenly between the 2 prepared pie shells.

5. Bake the pies, one at a time, for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until the filling is slightly jiggly and golden brown (similar to a pecan pie), about 10 minutes.  I made this recipe twice and both times the filling had a runny center,  but my oven at the time (I have upgraded to a convection, so I think I should try this again).  Remove the pies and cool on a rack.

6. Refrigerate the cooled pies until well chilled. The pies are meant to be served cold, and the filling will be gooey. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Each of 16 servings: 432 calories; 4 grams protein; 45 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 27 grams fat; 16 grams saturated fat; 187 mg. cholesterol; 36 grams sugar; 125 mg. sodium.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

A very simple Kale Salad

Kale Salad
This is my latest obsession, an uber simple salad made of raw kale and onions tossed with a dressing made from soy sauce, lemon juice and olive oil.  It's absurdly easy to make and pretty good for you.

Kale is packed with nutrients, and most recipes have you boiling or sauteing until soft, but not this one!  Most salads eventually become limp once tossed with the dressing, but the kale just relaxes, losing its tough fibrous texture, becoming soft and crunchy and almost sweet.  This recipe is from the Esalen Cookbook, a legendary workshop and retreat center in Big Sur, California.  Note:  you can get a kindle version for under $10, looks amazing on the ipad...

The original recipe includes toasted sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds which give the salad additional texture and crunch, but the salad is awesome without them.

Serves 4-6

35 minutes

1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium red onion
1 pound fresh kale

¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
½ cup sunflower sprouts ½ cup alfalfa sprouts
1 avocado diced

Whisk the soy sauce and lemon juice in bowl. Slowly dribble in the oil as you whisk vigorously. Slice the onion into half moons and marinate in the dressing as you prepare the rest of the salad.

De stem the kale. Slice kale leaves into ¼ inch ribbons (very important!)

If using seeds, toast in a heavy-bottomed pan (cast iron is the best) over medium heat until seeds are just golden and fragrant.  Toast each seed type separately as their size requires varying roasting times.  Cool to room temperature.

Toss everything with the onions, and as much dressing as necessary to lightly but completely dress the kale.  A few grinds of fresh ground black pepper is good

From the Esalen Cookbook