Saturday, November 25, 2017

Pasta Schmaltz-Ey-Hindi

Inspiration This is a dish was inspired by another recipes method of preparation. The recipe I'm talking about is none other than my version of Pasta Carbonara. The simplicity and the haste at which this dish can be made is what made me decide to add it to my blog. My approach is simple and easy to execute and all you have to do is add or subtract a few ingredients based on that days inclination.

 Technique  I don't know about you but busy lifestyles and our ever changing schedules sometimes prevents us from having the finer things in life. I'm here to tell you we don't have to give up on good food anymore. Mastering your schedule and a few techniques is all you need to do. You may think you don't have time to cook but this versatile pasta sauce makes it easy to prepare something tasty and fast. If you can master a few culinary techniques one can put together tasty meals in a matter of minutes. What's really nice about this sauce is it's versatility. Change out a few ingredients and you have a new recipe. 

Yiddish So what's up with the funky name of the dish? Yes it's a rhetorical question but still needs to be answered. I love the Yiddish language and anytime there's a hint of Jewishness to a dish I have to use a few Yiddish words. My Bubbe spoke Yiddish and it's kind of cool and reminiscent of her memory. Pasta Schmaltz-Ey-Hindi is simply Pasta, Schmaltz = Chicken Fat, Ey = Eggs and Hindi = Chicken. Why not use the Yiddish words Makaronen for Pasta? Well for one thing no one would ever click on the link to this post. 

So with that let's begin. Like I said this is not exactly a recipe but a technique that will allow you to make many creative pasta dishes. 


Let's talk about the Modus Operandi first.

Transforming a bunch of eggs into a creamy sauce is easy to do if you know how. Obviously we want to cook the eggs in such a fashion that we avoid scrambling or curdling. This is known as Tempering. The goal is to slowly bring up the temperature of the eggs without scrambling them. 


The only way to pull this off is with a double boiler. If you were to add the eggs directly to a hot pan you would run the risk of scrambled eggs instead of creating a creamy sauce. I know I repeated myself but it's imperative that we don't scramble the eggs.

 What do I do? After the Pasta has reached al dente I remove a couple of cups of the starchy water and set aside. The starchy water will aid in building the egg sauce. We're going to use the pot the pasta was cooked in as our double boiler. Make sure that after you drain your pasta you leave a few inches of the hot water in the pot. The the large metal bowl above the pasta pot contains Eggs etc etc and Pasta. More on this later. 


You can use whichever pasta you want but just make sure it's good quality and will be able to hold on to a lot of sauce. I chose Bowtie for this excursion. Who doesn't like leftovers so I made 2 lbs. 
For 2 lbs of Pasta I used 4 whole eggs and 10 egg yolks. 
The next part is all about personal preference just like the pasta was. You have to decide what you want to add to this egg sauce. I kept mine relatively easy and just used what I had on hand. What kind of annoys me after the fact was I had peas in the freezer and wanted to add them but I forgot.



I chose chicken thighs as my protein. You can't screw up thighs and it's hard to overcook them. I used about 14 of them. Season them anyway you want. I had some Bruschetta Seasoning laying around so I used this as my spice and some others. I knew I would be grilling them off so I added olive oil to the bowl and greased them up. Grill them and cut them into bite size pieces.



I just love sun-dried Tomatoes. Not only are they delicious with pasta but the texture matches up nicely with this dish. Make sure to dice them up small. I think I used about 1.5 cups.


No dish like this would be complete without pine-nuts. Give them a quick toasting in a dry skillet.... I used 1.5 cups. 



Adding peas to this dish would have been great!!! Yea I missed the bus on that one. Note: Use any green veggie you want. I like peas, spinach, broccoli rabe and asparagus. 




About 3-4 cups of sliced cherry tomatoes.......






I used the zest of two lemons and the juice of one. Any citrus will work.





Piece De Resistance....Schmaltz and Gribenes are the stars of this dish. Rendered chicken fat and the cracklings. The Schmaltz will be used to fry everything up and the Gribenes will be used to enhance the dish. If you don't have any don't worry..... use your favorite fat. These are my two favorite ingredients of all times. My Mom & Bubbe made/used them in many dishes. 


Not sure I have to go into a lot of details here but you'll need to fry everything up based on how long you think it will take to cook. Obviously I started out with the Onions, seasoned with salt and pepper. After I started smelling the aroma of the onions I added the garlic. Don't burn the garlic!!! Toss in the sliced tomatoes and saute for a few minutes before adding additional stuff. 



Everything in the pool!!!! Add the remaining ingredients and saute for a few minutes and adjust seasoning. I also added green onions. Now add the lemon juice..... to taste... I only used one lemon. Don't add the pine nuts yet.

NOTE on Timing: Before I began frying I had a pot of boiling water going. Look at the cooking time for the pasta and plan accordingly. Right after I put up the pot of water up I got my egg mixture ready too. Last thing you want to do at the end is scramble (pun intended) to get everything in order. 




In my original Carbonara dish I used 2 whole eggs to 7 egg yolks to one pound of pasta. Since I am using a 2 lbs of pasta I needed to up everything. I used 4 whole eggs and 10 yolks. it seems like a waste of egg whites but it's not if you set them aside for breakfast. To the egg mixture I added a ton of cheese (pecorino romano or parmigiano reggiano cheese is the best). Add a lot pepper and add the zest of two lemons. Using a whisk or big ass fork scramble everything up and set aside.


Note: a really nice cheese to use in addition to the ones listed above would be mascarpone cheese.  


This is an important part. I've already covered this part but it's worth mentioning again. Before draining the pasta reserve a few cups of the pasta water. This starchy water will help you build your sauce and temper  your eggs. 

Turn off the heat source ( I have gas.... thank goodness) to pan with the tomato mixture. Drain the pasta (keep some water in the pot so you can use it as a double boiler) and pour into pan. Mix the pasta thoroughly making sure everything is coated evenly. Add the pine nuts. 



This is the part where you start tempering the eggs and building the sauce. Add all the pasta (the picture only shows a little bit of the pasta in the bowl) to the egg mixture and toss and fold coating the pasta thoroughly with the eggs. Add some italian parsley. Mix thoroughly and add little pasta water. 



Place the bowl on top of the simmering pasta pot. Start mixing until a creamy sauce is created. Add more pasta water if needed, add more cheese.....and of course lots of pepper. You'll know when it's done. I like a very creamy sauce sauce so I use a lot of pasta water and extra cheese. The whole goal here is to heat the eggs up without scrambling them. All done!!!





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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Eggnog Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

A dear friend of mine was nice enough to share this delectable Cheesecake with me and it’s most worthy of my blog.  

This recipe is for a 6” cake that is cooked in an Instant Pot 6QT Pressure Cooker. I use a 6”x3” Fat Daddio Adonized Round Cheesecake Pan with Removable bottom. 
By Temperance B.



  

Serves 6

Ingredients

Crust

1 cup Gingersnap Cookies, crushed to fine crumb
3 tsp. granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon (or more per your taste)
3 tbsp. butter, melted

Filling

2 (8 oz.) bricks cream cheese, softened to room temp.
2 large eggs, at room temp
3/4 cups eggnog
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. dark rum
1/2– 1 tsp. cinnamon (to taste)
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg, preferable fresh (to taste)


Topping

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup eggnog
Freshly grated nutmeg


Instructions


Crust

1.  Grease your 6” pan and then place a parchment round (the size of the entire bottom of the pan) into the pan.  Grease the parchment round. (If you don’t have parchment, don’t worry. It just might be a little more difficult to separate the cake from the bottom of the pan.)

2.   Add cookies, sugar and cinnamon to the bowl of food processor or blender and pulse until small crumbs form.

3.  Melt butter in microwave or on stove top and add to graham cracker mixture. Pulse until just combined.

4.  Pour cookie mixture into bottom of greased 6-inch cheesecake pan and press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan and one inch up along the sides. (I use a small Pyrex glass bowl with a straight side edge to help press crust into the corners of the pan.)

5.  Place pan with crust into freezer for while preparing the filling.

Filling

1.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until very light and fluffy. Then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition and scraping down the sides as needed.

2.  Next you’ll need to add in the eggnog and mix until smooth. After that, add the sugar, flour, rum extract, and cinnamon. And yes… mix again until smooth and creamy.

3.  Now pour the mixture into your crust and you’re ready to cook it.


Cook (oven baking directions at the bottom of the recipe)


1.  Add 1.5 cups of water to the bottom of your pressure cooker and then place a trivet inside the pot.

2.  Cover the cheesecake first with a paper towel and then with a piece of aluminum foil and loosely secure the foil.

3.  Place cheesecake into pressure cooker using a foil sling. (You can make your own sling by cutting off a two foot piece of aluminum foil and folding it twice, the long way, so that it will be sturdy.) Fold down the sling sides so it doesn’t interfere with the pressure cooker lid.

4.  Lock on lid and close Pressure Valve.

5.  Cook at High Pressure for 37-43 minutes. Allow a 15-minute natural release. (I use the higher cooking time for a denser center.)

6.  After all the pressure has been released, open pressure cooker and gently remove the pan using your sling. Remove the foil and paper towel and dab off any liquid that may have accumulated.

7.  The center will be a bit jiggly, but don't worry. The heat that is trapped inside will continue to cook the center while the cheesecake cools.

8.  Allow cheesecake to cool on wire rack on counter for 1-2 hours.

9.  Place cheesecake on top of a jar or something small enough to help remove the pan’s ring by gently pulling down on the pan. Keep the cake on the pan’s base and chill in refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours, preferably overnight.


Serving

1.  Remove cheesecake from fridge about 30 minutes prior to serving.

2.  At this point, you should be able to remove the pan’s base from the cheesecake by gently pulling the parchment round from the base and onto your serving platter. You may need to use a tin knife to help with this.

3.  Make the topping: Beat whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form; fold in remaining 1/2 cup eggnog.

4.  Spread about half of the mixture evenly over top of chilled cheesecake, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg, if desired. (The remaining topping can be served on the side or to top other deserts. Whipped cream topping should hold in refrigerator for about 2 days.)

5.  To slice your cheesecake: Get a pitcher of hot water and a thin knife (carving or filet knife). Place blade of knife into the hot water and let warm up for about 30 seconds. Remove knife, dry with clean paper towel, slice, repeat this knife process. A clean, hot knife will produce clean cuts in your cake.



Oven Baking Method

1.  Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. 

2.  Bring about 4 quarts water to simmer in stockpot.

3.  Bake above prepared crust until fragrant and browned about the edges, about 9 minutes or so. (I would cake this on a cookie sheet to prevent leaking). Cool on wire rack while making filling.

4. Set pan with cooled crust on 18-inch-square doubled layer heavy-duty foil and wrap bottom and sides with foil; set wrapped pan in roasting pan. Pour filling into pan with the crust; set roasting pan in oven and pour enough boiling water to come about halfway up side of cake pan.

5.  Bake until center of cake is slightly wobbly when pan is shaken, and center of cake registers 145 to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour. (Start checking the cakes’ internal temp around 45 minutes and monitor from there.)

6.  Set roasting pan on wire rack and use paring knife to loosen cake from sides of pan. Cool until water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove cake pan from water bath, discard foil, and set on wire rack; continue to cool until barely warm, about 3 hours. 

Notes

Any kind of Crispy Cookie Crumbs can be used, such as Nilla Wafers, Shortbread, Ginger Snaps, Chocolate Thins, Biscoff, Oreo, Lorna Dune, etc.

Use extra flour if you want a denser filling and/or add 5 minutes to your cook time.

Only a 6" or 7" pan will fit in a 6 qt. Pressure Cooker. If you want a cheesecake that is not as tall as the recipe for the 6" pan, use the 7" pan and reduce the cooking time to 32 minutes

If you want a taller cheesecake in the 7" pan, increase the original recipe by half and increase the cooking time to 40 minutes, with a 15 minute Natural Pressure Release.

If using the mini 4 inch pans, divide into three mini pans and cook for 12 minutes, with a 15 minute Natural Pressure Release.

For Single Serving Jar Cheesecake
8 oz Wide Mouth Glass Jar - cook 7 minutes
4 oz Wide Mouth Glass Jar - cook 4 minutes
16 oz Glass Jars - DON'T DO IT!
15 minute Natural Pressure Release

This recipe was adapted from the following recipes and adjusted to my tastes: http://thisoldgal.com/pressure-cooker-new-york-cheesecake/, http://rosebakes.com/eggnog-cheesecake-gingersnap-crust/, http://www.southernliving.com/food/entertaining/creamy-cheesecake-recipes/eggnog-c https://www.americastestkitchen.com 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Blood Orange Paste

I had this idea about serving my Duckcetta as an appetizer but needed an appropriate canvas. When you make something as good as this your want to showcase it in many different ways. I have already made Pasta Carbonara  and a few others but now I needed to serve it as an appetizer. I came up with the idea for Blood Orange Paste because I knew that Orange pairs well with Duck. Oh Blood Orange Paste just sounds cool too. I made this other dish called "Duck a la me" aka Salami Duck à l'orange Fettuccine and it came out so good that I just knew I had to pair my Duckcetta with Orange. 

Ingredients 

3 Blood Oranges
1 cup of Orange Juice (Blood Orange juice is preferred)
1/2 tsp of salt
2 cups of Sugar (or other sweetener such as Agave to taste)
1/2 tsp of Xanthan Gum
Optional- add some red food coloring if you really want this bright red.I did not add any coloring.



Cut into wedges
Squeeze as much juice out into a  sauce pan
Add Orange Juice, salt and simmer for 90 min....on very low flame
Add Sugar
Simmer until sugar is  completely disolved
Using a VitaMix or something equally powerful process with Xanthan Gum until smooth 
Place in Bowl and refrigerate until ready to use
I placed it in a bag for easy spreading

USES

  • As is.....
  • Mix with BBQ sauce for an orange flavor sauce
  • Mix with your favorite hot sauce and butter for hot wings
  • Also great in stir-frys 
  • Great is desserts
DUCK BRUSCHETTA
(make sure to toast bread)
Herb Goat Cheese spread ,Duckcetta, Orange paste, Sliver of Sun-dried Tom with a little sprinkle of Dill.




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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Pasta Carbonara With Duckcetta

Growing up in NYC and eating (PORK) was normal for me. Having a Sicilian Grandfather turned me on too many many different Italians foods which I miss and love. That being said I have not eaten any Treif in almost 18 years. About 8 months ago I saw a recipe being made on T.V. called, yup you guessed it Pasta Carbonara. I remembered eating this many times as a young man. Traditional Carbonara like the one my grandfather cooked was made with Pancetta or Guanciale. So with that I needed a meat that was high in fat and tasted divine. Well we all know that's Duck. Hence my creation of Duckcetta was born. 

Recipe 
2 whole eggs and 7 yolks
35 grams each of Pecorino Romano and Parmesano Reggiano cheese
200 grams of Duckcetta chopped up
28 grams to toasted finely chopped/grounded up pine nuts
50 grams of Pureeed Sundried Tom packs in olive oil
2 tsp of pepper 
1 lb of Spaghetti
6 Tbl or more of Duck fat or Olive oil

Although this is my recipe I decided to use Serious Eats technique for making the Pasta Carbonara. Their technique is far superior and easier than I was doing. Oh and they have a video too. 


Toast the Pinenuts and grind them up too. I forgot to take a picture of this. Ground Pine nuts give this dish a great texture. 






Measure out the Sun-Dried Tomatoes and puree using a sharp knife or a food processor. 



Measure out the cheese too.....Why two different cheeses? Pecorino Romano Cheese is made from sheep's milk and is salty, tangy and has a umami punch. Whereas Parmigiano Reggiano which comes from Cows Milk is nuttier and is a bit milder. Both cheeses together take this dish over the top. 


These are the end Pieces of the Duckcetta. As you can see in the picture to the right I sliced/chopped them up into about 3/8's of an inch.










Get the eggs ready.......







Toss in the pepper...






Toss in the cheese, Ground up Pine Nuts and cheese. Mix thoroughly. 




Add about 3 Tbl. of Duck fat to the pan and saute the Duckcetta on a very low flame. The Goal is render as much fat as possible without over cooking the Duckcetta.




Mean while.... You should have had the pot of salted water boiling already. Cook the pasta right to the point before al-Dente. Toss the al-dente pasta into pan with the Duckcetta and toss until all the pasta is coated with the duck fat. You might need to add some more so have some on hand. 



Almost done.... Reserve about 2 cups of starchy water and set aside. Add about a 1/2 of water to the pasta and toss with tongs. Using the pasta pot you just used as a double boiler (keep it on simmer) place the bowl on top and keep folding the pasta using tongs. The goal is to thicken the sauce ever so gently without breaking the eggs. keep adding water until you achieve the desired sauce consistency. 

REVIEW- AMAZING!!!