for those who burn to learn

21

Nov 2016

Spicy Pork Sausage and Chestnut Dressing for Thanksgiving

Posted by / in Holidays, Recipes, WCSH6 /

I know these are fighting words, (my mother always argues with me about this topic) but I don’t ever stuff my bird. Stuffing insulates the turkey, thereby slowing down its cooking. It also almost guarantees that the turkey will be cooked unevenly. To eliminate this headache and to have the most control over the temperature of my turkey and my savory treat, I cook the bird separately and the stuffing separately. When you cook the stuffing outside the bird, in a shallow casserole pan, it is called “dressing”.

This Italian American recipe is one of my Thanksgiving favorites. It is adapted from the recipe of Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis who received the ingredient list and method from her Aunt Raffy. I love the flavors of the original dish, but I made several changes. Giada uses only cornbread. I prefer a mixture of challah bread and cornbread. The texture is softer and more luscious with the addition of egg bread. Giada likes turkey sausage. I find it too dry so I substituted fatty pork sausage. I’ve also adjusted the seasonings and added organic pine nuts which I crave. This recipe is greatly enhanced if you use your own homemade stock rather than canned broth. Of course, stuffing recipes are easily adaptable and, you may add or omit most things in this recipe to suit your needs and preferences.

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25

Jul 2016

Buckle Up for Blueberry Cake

Posted by / in Into the Fire Blog, Recipes, WCSH6 /

Recently, I served this blueberry buckle to my students who arrived in the morning for a long Neapolitan Pizza Making Intensive. They loved this coffee cake so much that they devoured it for breakfast and, after making and eating several pizzas for lunch, the pizzaiolos pleaded for another slice for dessert. Even my Republican and Democratic friends, who do not see eye to eye on election issues or candidates, can agree wholeheartedly on one thing: this summery delight is a winner.

Like most “buckles” this coffeecake is loaded with fruit that is just held together with cake dough. The dough is scented with lemon rind and tenderized with buttermilk. Then the streusel topping is scattered over the whole thing and when the cake has baked in the oven for awhile, you can see the crisp crust start to buckle (hence the name). The last thing you do to this dessert, after you remove it from the oven, is drizzle the top with warm lemon syrup. I wish I was the genius who came up with this idea, but alas, I must give credit for this recipe to Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson and to David Leibovitz for his adaptation. The syrup does not make the cake too sweet, in my opinion. It does add moisture and it really brighten the taste of the blueberries. I prefer to use the large Maine blueberries for this dish. They tend not to crush as easily as the small ones and they were in abundance at the farmer’s market this past week-end.

Just a few tips: Try to use organic lemons as you will be grating the rind into your sugar. Make sure all your cake dough ingredients are at room temperature before you begin. If you don’t have fresh blueberries you can substitute frozen ones. Just don’t thaw the blueberries before you add them to the mix. The cake is best served the day you make it, but you can leave the cake out at room temperature for two days and, though the top will not be as crisp, the cake will still be delicious.

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    01

    Jun 2016

    Crispy Salmon in Fraiche Sauce with Spinach

    Posted by / in Into the Fire Blog, Recipes, WCSH6 /

    I love the flesh color, the high oil content, the delicate taste and texture of Alaskan King Salmon. The cost of the wild fish is high right now since the season has just begun. Two weeks ago this fantastic salmon cost a whopping $29.99 per pound at Sanders Fish Market in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Then I noticed that Harbor Fish in Portland, Maine offered the Copper River King as a Memorial Day Week-end special at $20.00 per pound. Not a bad price, relatively speaking, so I splurged and prepared a special spring dinner: crispy salmon with a sauce made of butter, white wine, lemon and creme fraiche.

    The sauce was inspired by a Pierre Troisgros classic that includes fish fumet, but the sauce is delicious and much faster to prepare without the splash of fish stock. Troisgros also used sorrel in his sauce. This lemony green is lovely with salmon, but if, like me, your sorrel supplier is nowhere in site, you can substitute baby spinach. Spinach is everywhere.

    Valerie, my darling guinea pig, is not enamored with the smell of sizzling salmon and she had never eaten crisped salmon skin before I presented it to her–so to see her lapping up the sauce and enjoying the crackling skin gave me a thrill. The recipe I present to you does not require that you use Alaskan King Salmon. A responsibly raised, antibiotic free Scottish Salmon will do. In fact, some people prefer the taste of farmed salmon. Here are a few important tips to remember when making this dish:

    1. Crispy skin is easy to create if you have an extemely sharp knife and are willing to score the skin of your fish. Remember to create parrallel and superficial slashes in your skin. Then your seasoning will really penetrate your fish and the fish skin will not curl. Be very careful not to cut too deeply into the delicate flesh!

    2 .Make sure you use a lightly oiled nonstick pan and get the pan smoking hot before you add your fish, skin side-down. Once the fish is in the pan, turn the heat down to medium and don’t touch the fish until three-quarters of the fish has turned white. Then gently flip the fish onto the fleshy side and let it cook for another minute or so. Refrain from overcooking your fish.

    3. While the fish is resting, create your sauce. If you let most of the wine evaporate and allow the sauce to thicken slightly it will be luxurious.

    4. Creme fraiche is richer, fatter, more buttery tasting than sour cream. It also will not curdle when you raise the heat.

    5. Most experts agree that a refreshing Sancerre is the perfect wine for salmon. Use some in the sauce and then serve it with your meal. 

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