The Sensitive Kitchen

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Pear Cardamom Streusel Coffeecake

Sweden is one of the world's top consumers of cardamom. This fragrant coffeecake is an homage to Nordic baking.

1/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 c (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 1/4 c flour
1 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 c (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1/3 c sour cream
2 eggs
2 large pears, cored, peeled and thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 9" square baking pan.

In a small mixing bowl, combine first 4 ingredients. Add butter, mixing until combined, then work in flour until mixture is crumbly but holds together when squeezed. Add additional flour by tablespoons as necessary, taking care not to let the mixture get too dry. Set streusel aside.

In the work bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom, ginger and salt. Mix briefly to combine. Add butter; mix until crumbly. Add sour cream and eggs; beat on medium speed until mixture comes together into a batter. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds or until batter looks cohesive.

Scrape batter into prepared pan. Fan pears evenly over batter, leaving a small margin around edges. Sprinkle streusel atop cake, shaking pan gently to distribute into corners. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 35-45 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

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Sunday, December 02, 2018

Big Batch Pizza Dough

This recipe makes enough for four 14" pizzas. The dough is hearty without being heavy, and stretches well due to its long, slow rise in the fridge. Serve all four to company, or make two for dinner (with a few leftovers) and refrigerate or freeze two for another night. 

1 3/4 c water
2 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 c white whole wheat flour
3 c unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil

Combine water, yeast and sugar in the work bowl of your stand mixer. Let stand 2 minutes. Add olive oil, salt and flour, reserving 1 c unbleached flour. Mix with paddle until flour is incorporated. Add unbleached flour, switch to dough hook, and process until dough forms. Continue to knead until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes, adding just enough flour as necessary so that dough doesn't stick to hook and sides of bowl.

Place in a gallon zip-top bag or a large container at least triple the volume of dough. Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight. Dough can be also cut right away into 4 equal pieces, about 10 oz each; each piece formed into a smooth, firm ball; and refrigerated or frozen as needed. (Defrost frozen dough at room temperature for several hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.)

When ready to use, cover balls of dough loosely with a cloth or parchment and leave in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Roll out between sheets of parchment. Let stand 5 minutes, then roll out again until each ball of dough has reached a thin 14" round. Top as desired.

Bake at 500° for 8 minutes or until crust is browned, cheese is melted and pizza looks done. 

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

North Indian Okra Curry

This North Indian-style dry curry tastes great with chapatis.

3 Tbsp sunflower oil, divided
1 pound small okra, ends removed, cut in 1/2" slices
1/2 yellow onion, chopped, to yield about 3/4 cup
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced very finely
1 large tomato, chopped, to yield about 1 cup
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp amchur (green mango powder)
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp cayenne, or to taste
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large skillet. Add okra in a single layer, cut sides down. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until soft but still bright green. (Cooking the cut sides helps dry out the okra.) Remove to a serving dish; set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in the same skillet. Add onions; cook until translucent. Add ginger and garlic. When fragrant, add tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes begin to fall apart, at least 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon or two of water if it starts drying out. Stir in spices; when incorporated, add okra back to skillet. Cook, stirring, until well mixed and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Top with chopped cilantro. Serves 6.

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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Wild Mushroom Risotto

This dish is a Thanksgiving tradition in my household. I usually make the mushroom mixture ahead so that it comes together with no stirring in the last few minutes before dinner is ready. I also often double the recipe and use the leftovers to make risotto cakes – simply pat the mixture into patties, dredge in panko, and pan-fry until golden.

1 oz dried wild mushrooms (porcini, shiitake or a combination)
1 c boiling water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 c minced onions
4 c sliced cremini mushrooms
several sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper
1 1/2 c Arborio rice
1/3 to 1/2 c white wine
3 1/2 - 4 c broth
1/2 c grated Parmesan, more to taste
3 Tbsp minced Italian parsley

Pour boiling water over dried mushrooms. Stir to coat. Soak 20-30 minutes or until rehydrated. Remove mushrooms to a cutting board; chop finely. Reserve soaking water, passing through a coffee filter if needed to remove grit. 

Heat butter and oil over medium heat in pressure cooker. Saute onions until soft but not browned. Add fresh mushrooms in a single layer, working in batches if needed. Cook until greatly reduced and beginning to brown. Stir in wild mushrooms and fresh thyme leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Mixture can be set aside at this point and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

Add rice, stirring to coat thoroughly with oil. Add wine; when liquid looks mostly absorbed, add mushroom soaking liquid and 3 1/2 c broth. Bring to high pressure. Cook 4 minutes. 

Release pressure using the quick release method (cold running water on the lid). Return to stovetop; stir uncovered over medium heat 3-5 minutes until risotto thickens and rice is al dente. Add broth as needed for consistency. 

Stir in Parmesan, reserving some for top. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with reserved Parmesan and fresh parsley. Serves 6. 

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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Harvest Lasagna

This elaborate showstopper, a delicate layering of handmade paper-thin noodles and fresh roasted vegetables, bears little resemblance to the lasagnas of old. The bechamel and cheeses make it rich and filling but not heavy; it's beautiful enough for the main-dish pride of place at any Thanksgiving table. (If you prefer a more traditional gooey lasagna, add some shredded mozzarella in between the layers.)

Pasta:
2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil

Squash:
a 1 1/2 lb butternut squash
Olive oil
Salt

Mushrooms:
1 Tbsp olive oil, butter, or a combination
1/2 red onion, diced
1 1/2 lbs cremini mushrooms, washed and sliced
several sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bechamel:
1/2 stick (4 Tbsp) butter
1/3 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 c milk
3/4 c grated Pecorino cheese

Cheese filling:
2 c ricotta cheese
5 ozs soft goat cheese
1 egg
2 Tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley
1/4 tsp salt

Make the pasta: Process the ingredients in a food processor, pulsing until just blended, 15-20 seconds. Add a tablespoon or two of water if needed for proper consistency. Remove to a stand mixer with dough hook. Knead, sprinkling on flour by tablespoonfuls as needed to achieve proper consistency, for 10 minutes. Divide into 4 pieces. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let stand 60 minutes.

Roast the squash: Preheat oven to 400°. Peel, seed and cube the squash. Toss with olive oil and salt. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer; roast until squash is tender and lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside.

Cook the mushrooms: Heat oil and/or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; saute until softened and translucent. Add mushrooms in a single layer, working in batches if needed. Saute until mushrooms have given up their liquid, are greatly reduced in volume and beginning to brown. Stir in fresh thyme leaves; season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Roll out pasta: Lightly flour one ball of dough; flatten into a disc with your palm. Set your pasta machine's rollers at their widest setting. Pass through rollers, guiding it flat with your palm and flouring sparingly as needed to prevent sticking. Continue, notching rollers closer together with every other pass and stretching the dough gently as it emerges from the rollers, until pasta is paper-thin. Cut the sheets in half lengthwise; trim edges. Allow to stand for 60 minutes at room temperature if there is time.

Make the bechamel: Melt butter in a large saucepan. Stir in flour and salt. Whisk in milk, stirring constantly, until all milk is added and no lumps remain. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in 3/4 c Pecorino. Set aside.

Make the cheese mixture: Stir together all ingredients. Set aside.

Assemble the lasagna: In a 9"x13" baking dish, layer ingredients as follows: 1 c sauce in the bottom, then layer noodles, squash, noodles, sauce; ricotta, noodles, sauce; mushrooms, noodles, the remaining sauce; and sprinkle with 3/4 c grated Pecorino. Cover with foil. (Can be refrigerated for 2 days before baking.)

Bake covered at 375° for 45 minutes, then uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until the top is nicely browned. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Serves 12 to 16.

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