Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving with "The New Southwest"

Thanksgiving is all about tradition. Buying a turkey, watching the parade or the big game, preparing the same dishes, and eating as much food as possible. This year we hope to inspire you to mix it up! The New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi (of Scarlettabakes.com fame) has some great variations for iconic Thanksgiving dishes. Here's what we think you might enjoy 
this year:

Vinegar Biscuits

This recipe adds a little twist to your average biscuits.  The vinegar makes the biscuit extremely moist, and pairs well with the buttermilk. Ideal for not just Thanksgiving dinners, but also great with breakfast and leftovers on Friday!

2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
3 teaspoons vegetable shortening
3/4 cup chilled buttermilk
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

Note: The key to yielding the best biscuit here has everything to do with the way you handle the dough. Actually, it has most to do with how little you handle the dough. I strongly recommend cutting your butter and shortening in by hand, eschewing a rolling pin, and cutting straight down with your cutter so as to avoid sealing the edges of each biscuit and preventing a complete rise.

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Working as quickly as possible and using clean hands, cut the chilled butter and vegetable shortening into the dry ingredients, mixing the fats into the flour mixture until you have a coarse, chunky meal. Pour in the buttermilk and vinegar, and again using clean hands, mix the ingredients together until you have a solid mass of dough.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat into a flat disk approximately ½-inch thick. Using a 2-inch cutter, press straight down into the dough to cut out each biscuit (keep your biscuit cutting as tight as possible so as to avoid residual scraps). 
4. Remove cut biscuits to a parchment-lined baking sheet—I find that these biscuits bake better when they are arranged in rows with their edges just touching each other. Pat remaining scraps together and cut out additional biscuits. Once all biscuits have been cut out, bake for approximately 12 to 15 minutes, until they are puffed and golden brown on the tops and bottoms. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

YIELD: approximately 24 to 26 biscuits

Fried Sage Mashed Potatoes

 A family favorite amongst many households, mashed potatoes are a dish that can be served up in a variety of styles. These mashed potatoes offer an exciting mouthful of crispy flavor. Who doesn't like a new spin on a classic potato recipe?

2 pounds small red potatoes
2 cups peanut oil*
6 large sage leaves
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons garlic powder
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

*Canola or vegetable oil may be substituted here, but I find that, especially when working with ingredients as delicate as sage leaves, peanut oil is the best for heating and frying evenly.

1. Place the potatoes in a heavy-bottomed stockpot with enough water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork-tender, approximately 20 to 30 minutes. 
2. Drain the potatoes in a large colander and set aside to cool.

3. Meanwhile, heat the peanut oil over high heat in a large heavy-bottomed pan. Once the oil is shimmering, add the sage leaves (the leaves should bubble immediately on contact with the oil) and fry until crispy, approximately 10 to 15 seconds. Carefully remove the fried leaves with a slotted spoon and place on a papertowel-lined surface to drain.

4. While the sage leaves drain, stir the ricotta cheese, milk, butter, and garlic powder together in a medium bowl and set aside.

5. Place the cooled cooked potatoes in a large bowl and using a potato masher smash to a chunky consistency, taking care not to overwork your potatoes. Once the potatoes have been mashed but are still quite chunky, stir in the ricotta mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then crumble the fried sage leaves over top and gently fold into the potatoes. Serve immediately.

YIELD: approximately 4 to 6 servings

Grilled Caramel Apple Pie

See the recipe for Grilled Apple Pie on a previous post!

If you'd like to purchase The New Southwest, check it out on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound!

Happy Thanksgiving from Hippocrene Books! 


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Get Ready for Diwali 2013

Diwali 2013
Light decorations before upcoming Diwali celebrations are pictured in Kuala Lumpur October 27, 2013. Reuters via International Business Times.
We hope you are enjoying "the festival of lights" known as Diwali or Deepavalli!

If you're not familiar with the holiday, this explanation from India: A Culinary Journey by Prem Souri Kishore may illuminate:

The festival of lights, called Deepavalli in the South of India and Diwali in the North, is perhaps the most widely celebrated festival in India and marks the return of Lord Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana, to Ayodhya after a fourteen-year exile in the forest. The name of the festival is derived from the Sanskrit word "deepavalli" which means a row of lamps. Thousands of lights illumine every city and village across India in the month of November. Fireworks are set off to guide Lord Rama home. There is much feasting, card games are played, gifts are exchanged, new clothes are worn, and gold is bought. Residents renovate, paint, remodel, or buy new property, while business houses give every employee a special bonus; and the day is regarded as the beginning of the financial year. It is almost like New Year. This festival is noted for the preparation of every kind of sweet dish. Sweet shops sell or give away sweets to customers. Every household delights in making specific Deepavalli sweet preparations, while every woman firmly believes that buying new clothes and jewelry during this time is auspicious. 

Hippocrene Books publishes many cookbooks that celebrate the Diwali holiday. Here are just a few recipes you could use in your feast this year. 

Fish in Ginger-Garlic Sauce from Indian Inspired Gluten-Free Cooking

Most types of fish lend themselves beautifully to Indian spices. Here the flavors of garlic, chili, ginger, and a range of spices make the fish irresistible. Use any firm fish such as halibut, red snapper, striped bass, catfish, haddock, pollock, salmon, tilapia, or whitefish.

2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped tomato
6 garlic cloves, quartered
1/2 fresh green chili pepper, chopped (more or less to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper Cumin Powder (page XX)
1/4 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
1 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 pound boneless skinless fish fillets, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat (the oil should be hot but not smoking). Add fennel seeds and cumin seeds and stir until seeds change color from light brown to semi-dark brown.

2. Add onion, tomato, garlic, chili pepper, and turmeric. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes while stirring.

3. Add cayenne pepper, ground cumin, garam masala, Black Pepper Cumin Powder, and salt. Add tomato sauce and warm water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add ginger. Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

4. Add fish pieces and cook over medium-low heat, spooning sauce over fish occasionally, until fish is opaque in the center, about 5 to 7 minutes.

5. Serve garnished with cilantro.

Yield: 3 cups
Serving size: 3/4 cup

Nutrition per serving:
310 calories
17 g fat
2 g saturated fat
55 mg cholesterol
376 mg sodium
17 g carbohydrate
4 g fiber
26 g protein
976 mg potassium

Roasted Vegetables from Indian Inspired Gluten-Free Cooking

Nothing beats the simple appeal of a colorful blend of roasted vegetables in a light seasoning.

4 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1/4 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
5 cups raw vegetables, cut into pieces, such as:
1 cup broccoli florets, cut in half
1 cup cauliflower florets, cut in half
1 cup brussels sprouts, stem ends sliced off and cut in half
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut in cubes (about 1 cup)
1 cup peeled and cubed butternut squash

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. In large bowl, combine oil, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, and salt.

3. Add vegetables and toss to coat. Spread out in a single layer on a dark baking sheet. If they are too close to each other, they will steam instead of roasting. Dark baking sheets work best to brown vegetables.

4. Place in oven and roast 10 minutes. Check to see if they are starting to brown. If not, return to oven for 5 minutes. When edges are browned, stir and bake 10 minutes longer or until vegetables reach desired softness. Cooking time will vary based on your individual oven and how well done you like your vegetables.

Yield: 3 1/2 cups

Serving size: 1/2 cup

Nutrition per serving:

120 calories

8 g fat
0.5 g saturated fat
0 mg cholesterol
110 mg sodium
10 g carbohydrate
3 g fiber
2 g protein
266 mg potassium

 Soan Papdi (Flaky Sweet Squares) from India: A Culinary Journey

These treats are boxed in Indian stores everywhere and are perfect gifts for the festival. 

1 1/4 cups gram flour
1 1/4 cups maida (fine white flour)
1/2 pound ghee
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 

1. Sift flours together. Heat ghee in deep pan. Add flour mixture and roast on low heat until golden brown. Set aside, stirring occasionally. 

2. Mix sugar, water, and milk together in a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it forms a syrup, about 10 minutes.

3. Pour syrup onto flour mixture. Beat well with fork until you get threadlike flakes. Pour onto greased surface and roll to one-ince thickness.

4. Sprinkle ground cardamom on top and press down with palm. Coll and cut into one-inch squares. 

Kueh Tat Pineapple Tarts from Flavors of Malaysia

For the Pastry
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted chilled butter
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Pineapple Jam Filling
1/4 to 1/3 cup (depending on desired sweetness) firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 to 3/4 cup (depending on desired sweetness) white granulated sugar
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, or 1-inch cinnamon stick
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, or 3 to 4 whole cloves
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground star anise or 4 segments of whole stare anise
3 cups (about 1 pound) canned pineapple chunks, drained, or fresh pineapple chunks

Directions for Pastry: 
1. In a bowl, sift flour and add salt and mix well. Slice chilled butter into pieces and add to flour. Mix with fingers till dough has a crumbly texture.

2. In a small bowl, beat egg with lemon juice and vanilla. Ad this mixture to the crumbly dough and knead till dough gets soft and pliable. (Chill dough, if desired.)

3. Roll on a floured board into 1/8-ince thickness.

4. Cut dough into 2-inch diameter circles using a cookie or tart cutter or mold. Shape the dough into cup-like forms, or place dough circles in greased mini cupcake pans, and flute edges with fork. Set aside or refrigerate till ready to use.

Directions for Filling:
1. In a small bowl, mix sugars and spices and mix well.

2. Grate or coarsely process pineapple chunks.

3. Place pineapple in a saucepan, add the sugar mixture and stir.

4. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly so mixture does not burn, till all the liquid evaporates and mixture thickens and becomes a golden brown color.

5. Remove whole spices if used. Cool of chill jam filling for about 30 minutes before filling pastry. (You can prepare pineapple jam filling ahead of time and keep refrigerated or frozen. When ready to use, add some water and blend the filling well before use.)

 To Assemble Tarts:
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Add about 1 heaping teaspoon pineapple filling in center of each pastry cup. Flute rims with fingers or fork.

2. Optional: decorate or criss-cross top of filling with 2 or 3 strips of dough about 1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide, or roll tiny balls of dough and place one on top of filling.

3. Brush top and sides of pastry with eggs whites before baking. 

4. Bake tarts at 350 F for 25-30 minutes, till crust turns golden. Cool before serving.

Hippocrene titles to consider using in your Diwali prep!


 Have a happy Diwali!  

Friday, November 1, 2013

Celebrate Day of the Dead with some of these Fall Favorites!

Day of the Dead is upon us! For those who don't know, Day of the Dead (or Dia de los Muertos) is a time for family and friends to get together and remember lost loved ones. If you're looking for a couple of different fall recipes for your family and friends, try these Hippocrene Books favorites!

The new hardcover edition of Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor has much to choose from including the La Llorona and Tres Leches Pumpkin Flan. The La Llorona looks and tastes amazing. The dry ice effect is also one that coincides with the haunting, but spirtual element to the day. As for the Tres Leches, well, what can we say? Pumpkin and comfort food. It just makes sense.

Learn more about the traditions of Day of the Dead with this beautiful video from Yvette of Muy Bueno

La Llorona

Makes 1 drink

This intoxicating drink was inspired by a Halloween night when I was using dry ice in a punch bowl. The eerie trail of wispy smoke created by the dry ice looked like the long, flowing gown worn by La Llorona. La Llorona, according to ancient Mexican folklore, was a beautiful woman who drowned her children to be with a man and when he wanted nothing to do with her, she lost her mind. In the afterlife, she walks up and down bodies of water, wailing and looking for her children. It’s a conversation starter for a Halloween party, but you can skip the dry ice for a yummy drink year-round.

3 ounces Pisco Brandy
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1½ tablespoons granulated sugar
Crushed ice
Dash of Angostoria bitters
Dry ice (optional) (see note)

In a cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice, combine brandy, juices, and sugar. Cover, shake vigorously for 15 seconds, and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with a few drops of bitters. Add some dry ice for a spooky effect.

Note: Dry ice is quite safe to use in drinks, but you should not touch it. Wait for the ice to melt before actually drinking it as it can burn your skin. 

Tres Leches Pumpkin Flan

Flan de Calabaza y Tres Leches

8 to 10 Servings
½ cup granulated sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs, room temperature
2 egg yolks, room temperature
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1½ cups milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup fresh pumpkin puree or organic pumpkin puree from a can
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 10-inch bundt pan with cooking spray.
2. Cook sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 5 to 7 minutes or until melted and medium-brown in color. Drizzle the sugar mixture into the bundt pan and then swirl the caramelized sugar around to coat the bottom of the pan. (Because of the temperature change when coating the bundt pan, the sugar may harden quickly, don’t worry, once the flan is added and baked it will liquefy into a beautiful golden syrup.)
3. Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer in a large bowl for 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add eggs and egg yolks and beat until well blended. Slowly add all three milks and the vanilla, and beat at low speed for 1 minute.
4. Add pumpkin puree and spices and continue to mix for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour mixture into prepared bundt pan. (Mixture may be slightly lumpy. If you want a smooth flan then strain the mixture before you pour it into the bundt pan.)
5. Place bundt pan in a roasting pan. Place roasting pan on the center rack of oven and add hot water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until edges are set (the center will not be set).
6. Remove roasting pan from oven and remove bundt pan from water. Place on a wire rack and let cool completely for at least 1 hour.
7. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.
8. Carefully run a butter knife around edges to loosen, and invert flan onto a serving platter. 

You can also try something from The New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi. We recommend the Grilled Apple Pie. Between the grilled apples inside and the warm, flaky crust on the outside, this dish will have you come back for more.

Grilled Apple Pie

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
4 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:
1/2 cup light agave nectar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground canela (cinnamon can be substituted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large, tart apples, such as Granny Smiths, peeled, cored and sliced into ½-inch thick rounds
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup canola oil

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and the grill to medium heat.

2. Line a 9-inch pie plate with parchment paper and set aside.

3. To prepare the crust, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse-process just to combine. Add the cold pieces of butter and process to a coarse meal. With the motor running, add the cold water through the feed tube and process just until a solid mass of dough forms. Remove the dough, divide in two, and wrap each piece tightly in wax or parchment paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

4. Meanwhile, to prepare the filling, stir the agave nectar, brown sugar, canela, and salt together in a large bowl and set aside. Toss the apple slices with the lemon juice and oil in a separate bowl. Grill the apple slices until just tender and lightly marked, turning once, approximately 8 minutes total. Remove grilled apple slices to the large bowl with the brown sugar mixture and immediately toss well to coat. Set aside to macerate and cool slightly.

5. Once the dough has chilled through, use a well-floured rolling pin to roll out one piece of the dough on a well-floured surface to a thickness of approximately ¼ inch. Carefully drape the rolled dough over the prepared pie plate, pressing it gently into place and trimming the edges to fit the rim of the plate. Layer the apple slices in the crust until all are used. Pour any remaining brown sugar mixture in the bowl over the stacked apples. Roll out the second piece of dough the same way and drape over the apples. Trim excess and pinch top and bottom crust edges together, crimping as desired. Slash 6 small vents in the top of the pie.

6. Bake for 30 minutes or until the edges are deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly before serving. This pie is especially delicious when served warm with cajeta generously ladled over top.

YIELD: approximately 8 servings