Thursday, December 30, 2010

White Turkey Chili

This is one of those recipes that you look at the list of ingredients and think you know how it's going to taste, but you don''s so much better!

And for that I'm very happy because even though I've been remiss in regular posting, Marthe still let me pick the recipe for Craving Ellie in My Belly this week! For inspiration, I turned to the Food Network website, and this recipe was one of Ellie Krieger's 10 most highly rated recipes. When I saw hominy, I almost kept going. But then I read some of the reviews and to say they are overwhelmingly positive is an understatement. People LOVED this recipe. Like me, many had never cooked with hominy. I didn't even know what it was...I thought hominy was a can of solidified grits. Really. After consulting Wikipedia, I still wasn't sure what it was. Wikipedia says:

"Hominy or nixtamal is dried maize kernels which have been treated with an alkali in a process called nixtamalization."

Well, OK.

The recipe calls for a mirepoix of celery, onion and poblano peppers, some spices, ground turkey, white beans, broth and the canned hominy. I opened the can like there was an alien underneath the lid, and regarded the hominy with suspicion before rinsing it and tossing it in the pot. I needn't have worried. The hominy gave the chili a subtle corn flavor.

This was an easy recipe that made tons of chili, and I thought it was delicious. In fact, I wish I still had some to have for lunch today! I hope my fellow CEiMB cooks liked it as much as I did. If you'd like to make it, you can find the recipe in So Easy, below or here. I plan to make it again, but adapt it for my slow cooker.

White Turkey Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
3 medium poblano peppers (about 4 ounces each), seeded and white ribs removed, finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more to taste
1 pound ground white meat turkey
2 (15.5-ounce) cans white beans such as cannelini, drained and rinsed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (15.5-ounce) can hominy, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek-style yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges

Heat the oil in large pot or Dutch oven over moderate heat. Add the onion, celery, poblanos, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the ground turkey and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink about 2 minutes. Add the white beans, broth and oregano. Cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes.

Add the hominy and salt and more cayenne pepper, to taste, and continue cooking, partially covered, 10 minutes longer. Ladle into individual bowls and top each serving with 1 tablespoon of yogurt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cilantro. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Serves 6

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

Before we start thinking about the new year, and returning to a modicum of restraint in the butter and sugar department, behold:

Nothing healthy about these babies. Loads of butter and sugar and oh-so-delicious as a result.

I had planned to make the Brioche Raisin Snails for the Tuesdays with Dorie rewind this week, but I ran out of time and made these instead. I still have 1/2 recipe of Dorie's brioche in the freezer, so the snails may make an appearance soon.

I made these over a couple of days: the brioche dough on Saturday, rolled them out and made the topping Monday night, and rose and baked them Tuesday morning. There weren't many people at work today, so there were just enough to go around. Warm, soft, ooey gooey with honeyed pecans clinging to them, these could be the best part of my work week!

This is a great do-ahead recipe. You could even make the glaze, roll and cut the rolls and freeze them in the pan ready to proof. Perfect when you want to make a little something special for breakfast, or to reward yourself for all the closets you plan to clean out on January 1st.

Lots of TWD bakers are making recipes they've missed or really loved this week. Check out what they made here.

Monday, December 27, 2010


The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

I love being a Daring Baker, and one of the things I love most about it is we make recipes that might seem daunting but usually are broken up into steps that are totally doable. I didn't know what a stollen was, so this was a fun recipe for me to tackle. I love making bread, and this is just a fancier loaf of bread.

Penny very kindly gave us suggestions for making our own candied zest, but I just didn't have the time, so I bought dreadful citron at Safeway. Ugh. I'm sure bakers who made their own (and I know there will be many) will have a much tastier stollen than I. Later, I thought of substituting crystallized ginger for the citron, and I may go back and try it with that. 

Stollen is a lot of fun to make. The recipe Penny shared with us was detailed and easy to follow. After my dough stayed in the fridge overnight, it took more than the specified 2 hours to be malleable, so I gave it an extra hour. It rolled up like a champ, and I loved her suggestion of forming it around a bowl. When mine went into the oven, it was a perfect circle as a result, but it grew so much in the oven that the sheet pan's sides confined it and it ended up shaped more like an ellipse.

See, gorgeous going into the oven...

...not so gorgeous out of the oven

I gave it one coating of melted butter and powdered sugar, and after it cooled, I wrapped it in foil for the next day.

This was a hit at work, and for a change, there was enough for everyone who wanted a piece. Redolent of orange, it was dense but fluffy at the same time. Everyone loved how it smelled. It was so good, and pretty easy, so I started thinking about other versions...I haven't had time to make them but I've been bitten by the stollen bug.

If you'd like to try your hand at stollen, here's the recipe Penny shared with us with my modifications. Penny very generously gave us permission to use her photos, some of which I've included if I think it will help you conceptualize what the recipe is asking for.

Stollen Wreath

Makes one large wreath. Serves 10+ people

¼ cup (60ml) lukewarm water (110º F / 43º C)
2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) (22 ml) (14 grams) (1/2 oz) active dry yeast (I used 3 1/2 teaspoons of instant yeast)
1 cup (240 ml) milk
10 tablespoons (150 ml) (140 grams) unsalted butter (can use salted butter)
5½ cups (1320 ml) (27 ozs) (770 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour (Measure flour first - then sift- plus extra for dusting)
½ cup (120 ml) (115 gms) sugar
¾ teaspoon (3 ¾ ml) (4 ½ grams) salt (if using salted butter there is no need to alter this salt measurement)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 grams) cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (very good) vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) orange extract
¾ cup (180 ml) (4 ¾ ozs) (135 grams) mixed peel
1 cup (240 ml) (6 ozs) (170 gms) firmly packed golden raisins
3 tablespoons (45ml) orange juice
1 cup (240 ml) (3 ½ ozs) (100 grams) sliced almonds
Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath
Confectioners’ (icing) (powdered) sugar for dusting wreath

In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the orange juice and set aside.
To make the dough
Pour ¼ cup (60 ml) warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.
In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup (240 ml) milk and 10 tablespoons (150 ml) butter over medium - low heat until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.
Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add orange and vanilla extracts.
In a large mixing bowl (4 qt) (4 liters) (or in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment), stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests.
Then stir in (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) the yeast/water mixture, eggs and the lukewarm milk/butter mixture. This should take about 2 minutes. It should be a soft, but not sticky ball. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl with either plastic or a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.
Add in the mixed peel, soaked raisins and almonds and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate. 
Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing with the dough hook) to distribute the fruit evenly, adding additional flour if needed. The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 8 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The full six minutes of kneading is needed to distribute the dried fruit and other ingredients and to make the dough have a reasonable bread-dough consistency. You can tell when the dough is kneaded enough – a few raisins will start to fall off the dough onto the counter because at the beginning of the kneading process the dough is very sticky and the raisins will be held into the dough but when the dough is done it is tacky which isn't enough to bind the outside raisins onto the dough ball.
Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough becomes very firm in the fridge (since the butter goes firm) but it does rise slowly… the raw dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week and then baked on the day you want.
Shaping the Dough and Baking the Wreath
1. Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.
2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
3. Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches (40 x 61 cms) and ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.
Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder.
Daring Baker's  Stollen
Transfer the cylinder roll to the sheet pan. Join the ends together, trying to overlap the layers to make the seam stronger and pinch with your fingers to make it stick, forming a large circle. You can form it around a bowl to keep the shape.
Daring Baker's  Stollen
This was before I pinched it together
Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch (5 cm) intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough.
Twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ times its original size.
Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
Bake the stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The bread will bake to a dark mahogany color, should register 190°F/88°C in the center of the loaf, and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.
Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the top with melted butter while still hot.
Immediately tap a layer of powdered sugar over the top through a sieve or sifter.
Wait for 1 minute, then tap another layer over the first.
The bread should be coated generously with the powdered sugar.
Let cool at least an hour before serving. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cardamom Crumb Cake

Two days ago, it hit me.

This is not the last week of the month.

I know, I know, at this time of the year it's kind of a "duh!" that I don't have a better grasp of the calendar, but I don't celebrate Christmas so I don't have that great an awareness that the clock is ticking down to Saturday. I thought this week was the week we could do a rewind for Tuesdays with Dorie, and I looked forward to the relaxed posting deadline for the...that I plan to make. No, I'm not telling you what it is. You'll have to come back next week.

Two days ago, I was checking the TWD website and was startled to see the P&Q for Cardamom Crumb Cake. What?!? Oh yeah, it's NOT the last week of the year. Bummer.

Frankly, the recipe didn't thrill me. Cardamom, walnuts, coffee and orange are all things I like, but I couldn't imagine how they would work together. But I trust Dorie and I know she has a terrific palate, so I went with it. And I expanded the panoply of flavors by using some leftover crumb topping from this fruit crumble. That crumb topping is decidedly cinnamon, but cinnamon plays well with the other flavors. Plus, I'm lazy. But you already knew that.

Fortunately, this is a really easy recipe to throw together, and Dorie has thoughtfully arranged it in such a way to minimize dirty dishes. I added chopped walnuts to my leftover crumb topping and sprinkled it over the batter. Dorie gives perhaps the best piece of advice about crumb toppings that I've even seen: lightly press the crumbs into the batter. Brilliant! No more crumbless crumb cake.

Please excuse my iPhone photo. We've had practically zero natural light in the Bay area recently as a series of storms marches through, and I couldn't wait any longer to head into work this morning.

This cake was liked by my tasters, but wasn't wildly popular. I thought the flavor combination was interesting and tasty, and a crumb topping is hard to beat. It was fun to be able to throw it together at the last minute.

Our host this week was Jill of Jill's Blog. I love Jill, she is unusually funny and still visits me even if I can't visit her, like for the past month while I've been trying to get over tendonitis in my right wrist. Jill has the recipe for you here.

Find out how the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers liked this one, too. You can find them here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cinnamon Cookies for Grown Ups

The best cookie exchange you can do is with dear friends, and that's what makes this one so special.

Di of Di's Kitchen Notebook conceived this cookie exchange among several of us who Twitter bake. We often wish we lived closer: I live in California and Marthe lives in the Netherlands, and the rest of the bakers live in between (Di will post a round up in a few days). Yet we often get together virtually and bake and share notes through our tweets.

Normally, I would have selected another recipe but I'm still hampered by tendonitis in my right wrist, so chopping was out of the question. Inspired by a recent post by Katrina, I revamped this recipe to include cinnamon chips. Brown butter + cinnamon = delicious. Perhaps not as delicious as brown butter served by itself, but still yummy.

Cinnamon Cookies for Grown Ups
Printer friendly recipe

1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (7 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
3/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups cinnamon chips

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. 

2.  Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

3. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in a deep 10-inch skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma and the milk solids are very brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large, deep heatproof bowl. Immediately stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

4. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in cinnamon chips and give dough a final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

5. Portion out dough: 1 tablespoon will give you 2" cookies and 2 tablespoons of dough yields 3-3 1/2" cookies. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

6. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 9 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

Makes about 3 dozen 2" cookies

Thanks, Di, for coming up with this fun idea. You're the best! XOXO

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Translucent Maple Tuiles

I have a tenacious case of tendonitis in my wrist, which has brought my blogging, commenting and tweeting to a screeching halt. Fortunately, I made these tuiles before the doctor knew how much my wrist hurt (I deliberately waited to see the doctor until after Thanksgiving). I would have been so sad to miss them since they're delicious and were picked by my blogging friend, Clivia of Bubie's Little Baker. Tasty, beautiful and easy, all in one delicate cookie.

The only tricky part of this recipe (other than not eating all of them by myself) could be scraping them off the sheet pan and transferring them to your rolling pin. I baked them in small batches so they wouldn't cool too much to flex on the rolling pin. Then I got lazy and decreed the rest would be flat. None of my tasters seemed to care if they were flat or curved because they're so amazingly yummy.

Thanks, Clivia, for picking a real winner. If you'd like to see what the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers did with this one, you'll find them here. And Clivia has the recipe for you here.

You only have a few days left to enter my giveaway! BlogHer and Ghirardelli chocolate teamed up and they're offering a $100 Visa gift card to one lucky person who leaves a comment here. And maybe less enticing than a $100 gift card is my recipe for double chocolate scones. In a word...dangerous. Check them out while you're entering the giveaway.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Porcini Ravioli Spinach Soup

After the excesses of Thanksgiving, this week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe was a welcome return of sanity to the dinner table. Like many Americans, I had leftover turkey from the big dinner, and I had porcini cheese ravioli in the freezer. So like so many of Ellie's recipes, it had morphed greatly by the time it hit my dinner table.

Try this delicious soup, but do make it your own. I don't usually have a leftover turkey breast in the fridge, but I could just as easily have used rotisserie chicken, tofu or canned beans.

Many thanks to Bri of Yoshimi vs. Motherhood for picking this week's recipe. You can find the original recipe on her post.

Porcini Ravioli Spinach Soup (adapted from So Easy)
Printer friendly recipe

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced (1 1/2 cups)
2 ribs celery, sliced (1 cup)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 ounces baby spinach, sliced into ribbons (3 cups)
1 package fresh store-bought porcini ravioli (2 cups)
6 ounces cooked turkey breast, cubed or shredded
1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent and the garlic is softened, another 3 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until softened, 5 to 6 minutes.

Add the tomatoes with their juices and the broth and bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the tortellini and cook until the tortellini are almost cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey breast (if using) and the spinach. Cook for another minute or two. Squeeze the lemon and stir the juice into the soup, season to taste and serve with the parmesan cheese.

Serves 4