Sunday, October 30, 2011

Turkey Meatball Slithering Snakewich

I wish I could take credit for dreaming up the slithering snakewich, but that esteemed honor goes to Better Homes and Gardens. Only theirs was made with pepperoni and some other stuff that didn't really interest me. So I turned mine into a turkey meatball sub. Obviously, you can fill yours with anything you want. Except for head cheese - that's just nasty and wrong. In fact, I forbid it (by the power vested in me by the state of good taste).

Makes: 6-8 servings

1 lb. baguette dough (or 1 16-oz. loaf frozen bread dough, thawed)
5 turkey meatballs (see recipe below)
1/2 cup homemade tomato sauce
4 oz. grated or sliced mozzarella cheese
1 strip roasted red pepper
2 pimiento-stuffed olives

1.      Roll the bread dough into a 22-inch long rope. Place on a large greased baking sheet and form into a "snaky S" shape. Let rise and bake according to the recipe (or package directions). Cool to room temperature. 

2.      Preheat oven to 350º F.

3.      Hollow out the center portion of the loaf about 1-inch deep and 1 ½-inches wide, leaving about 2-inches on each end of the loaf. 

4.      Stuff bread with meatballs, cutting if necessary to fit. Top with sauce and cheese.

5.      Place on a greased or foil lined baking sheet and bake until heated through and cheese is melted, about 10-15 minutes.

6.      Cut the red pepper strip into a “V” shape at one end (to resemble a snake’s tongue). Make a slit in the front of the loaf (for the mouth) and insert the tongue. Insert 2 toothpicks above the mouth, where the eyes should be. Place olives on the toothpicks for the eyes.

concept robbed from Better Homes and Gardens
dough shaped like a snake

1 lb. of dough is 1/4 of the almost no-knead baguette recipe.
dough baked
dough hollowed in the middle (I probably should
have hollowed it more so I could fit more meatballs).
I cut the meatballs to fit.
stuffed with meatballs

It's a little light on the meatballs, but you can
always serve more on the side (I mean really, if
you're making a snakewich, it's mostly for show).
sauce on top
sprinkled with grated cheese
cheese melted

I did realize it could use more cheese, so I added it.

Yield: approx. 12-15

6 cups homemade tomato sauce
1 (20.8 oz.) package ground turkey (93/7)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup 2% milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 grinds fresh black pepper
olive oil for frying

1.      Heat the tomato sauce in a large sauce pot (or slow cooker). Keep at a low simmer while you make the meatballs.

2.      In a large bowl combine the ground turkey, eggs, milk and garlic. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together thoroughly.

3.      Heat about 1/4-inch olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, start rolling your meatballs (about 2” in diameter) and place them directly into the hot pan. Brown on all sides, then transfer them one at a time (using a slotted spoon) to the hot sauce to finish cooking.

4.      Let the meatballs simmer for 2 hours (or all day in a slow cooker).

from Elizabeth Errico, Foodie, Formerly Fat
turkey, eggs, milk and garlic
adding the breadcrumbs, parmesan and spices
mixed and ready to roll
rolled and in the pan

If you're actually making these into a snakewich,
you don't need to worry about them getting a little
flat (that actually makes it easier to stuff the snake).
adding to the simmering sauce
(I used the sauce from spaghetti & meatballs)
turkey meatball

I had dinner at my friend Elizabeth's house once and she made
these meatballs. I didn't think I would like turkey meatballs (because
I'm not a big turkey fan), but I loved these. Juicy and delicious!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Scottish Sharp Cheddar Shortbread

I thought it would be nice for a change to make a savory "cookie" as a Halloween treat. Something to help bring the kids down when they're running around in circles, begging for just one more candy corn. These are really tasty and obviously very cheddary - like cheez-its, only better. It's probably the love (who knows what those cheez-it factory workers are thinking while the machines crank out more crackers - I've never felt all that loved when I ate one).

Makes about 30 savory cookies

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
8 oz. extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1.      Using electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat together butter, salt, black pepper, and cayenne at low speed just until blended. Add cheddar and flour and mix at low speed just until smooth (do not overmix). Shape dough into disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
2.      Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350° F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
3.      On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4- to 1/8-inch-thick round. Using 1 1/2- to 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out rounds and arrange 1-inch apart on baking sheets. Reroll scraps if desired (rerolled scraps will be tougher).
4.      Bake shortbread until lightly golden and beginning to brown on edges, about 13 to 15 minutes. Cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

from Epicurious, December 2006 by Tracey Seaman
butter, salt, pepper and cayenne
adding flour and cheese

I realized about halfway through grating the cheese that
I should have been grating it finely, so half my cheese was
more coarsely grated. I'm thinking the shortbread probably
would have looked less lumpy, but I don't think the taste suffered.
(This is a double batch.)
dough mixed
dough disk
dough rolled; cutting into shapes
raw dough on sheet pan

They do puff a little and lose some of their definition (then
again, they're not meant to be jack-o-lanterns and ghosts). I still
think they look cute. Definitely good enough for first graders.
pumpkin up close
spider web up close


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tomato Sauce Tart

As you can imagine, when I was a pastry student, we ate plenty of sweets. I won't go so far as to say that we got sick of them, but when our teacher pulled out this recipe and said we were making a tomato tart, we were pretty damn excited. My guess is the oompa loompas would feel the same way if Willy Wonka threw them a pizza party.

I decided to go ahead and rename this a tomato sauce tart because you're basically making a tomato sauce with lots of parmesan and eggs added so it will set up and be sliceable. It's great for fall and winter when the fresh summer tomatoes are long gone.

Yield: 1 (9” to 10”) tart

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons ice water, more if needed
2 tablespoons chilled heavy cream

1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
8 basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 large eggs, beaten
1 cup grated parmesan

1.      Blend flour and salt in food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 3 tablespoons ice water and cream. Process just until moist clumps form (add more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry). Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill 1 hour. Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.
2.      Roll dough to ¼-inch thickness and transfer to a 9- or 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Trim overhang to ½-inch. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3.      Preheat oven to 375° F.
4.      Using a fork, pierce dough all over the bottom. Line with parchment paper and pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the weights/parchment. Bake until pale golden, about another 10 minutes (crust may shrink slightly). Set aside while you make the filling.
5.      Reduce oven temperature to 350° F.
6.      Saute onion, garlic and basil in olive oil and butter until onions are soft, about 6-8 minutes.
7.      Add tomatoes (with their juices), bring to a steady simmer and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened (about 20 minutes). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
8.      Add eggs and cheese; mix well.
9.      Pour tomato mixture into tart shell and bake for 35-40 minutes or until set in the center.

crust from "Easy Tart Crust" Bon Appétit, March 2004 (filling slightly adapted from FCI handout)
flour, salt and butter
adding cream (water already added)
dough disk
dough rolled
dough in tart pan
onion, garlic and basil
I found these petit diced tomatoes that are nice
for times when you want the tomato chunks
smaller, and you're not planning to blend.
adding tomatoes to the pan
mixed and thickened

If you don't use the petit diced tomatoes and you
want your tomato sauce smoother, you could
always blend it at this point and then proceed.
adding parmesan
mixing in the eggs
filling in the blind baked tart shell
slicing baked tart
tomato tart slice

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sauerkraut with Apples

Apples are just so good right now, I wanted to find something a little interesting or unusual to do with them. This makes a really nice side dish for pork or turkey (maybe for Thanksgiving if you're in a rut and want to surprise your family with something new on the plate). I hear sauerkraut is also good for aiding digestion (which is great if unbuckling your pants doesn't do the job). This is also tasty on sandwiches and hot dogs, but then you're back to being predictable (deliciously predictable).

Makes 6-8 servings

1 small (or ½ large) onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
2 medium apples (Gala, Fuji, or Red Delicious), thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar or maple sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1.      Cook onion in butter in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes. Stir in sauerkraut, apples, and wine and bring to a simmer.
2.      Cover pot and reduce heat, then simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauerkraut is very tender, about 2 hours.
3.      Stir in sugar, salt and pepper; add more to taste. Can be made 3 days ahead and chilled. Reheat before serving.

slightly adapted from Gourmet, November 2009 by Ian Knauer

onions in the pan
onions, 6 minutes later
fuji apples
sliced apple

I think I sliced mine too thin. Next time I would
go a little thicker so they don't break down quite
as much once they're cooked.
sauerkraut, apples and wine added to the pan
adding the sugar, salt and pepper