Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Archive for April, 2011

Blueberry Yogurt Scones

Posted by fourclankitchen on April 25, 2011

If you try this scone recipe, you will throw away all others that you previously used and loved.  This is not hyperbole, seriously.  This is the one.  This recipe is adapted just slightly  from the bakery Tartine via Alexandra Cooks (see link here).  This (as written below) makes 12 giant sized scones,  I halved the recipe and cut it into 8 scones.  I froze half of them unbaked.  If they bake well, I will come back and report on how long etc.

Ingredients (for the full recipe):

4 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tbs.  baking powder

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

Zest of 1 lime

1 cup + 1 T. salted butter, very cold, cut into half inch pieces  (if you use unsalted butter, use 1 1/4 tsp. salt)

1 1/2 cups whole milk yogurt (the original recipe calls for the same amount of  butter milk)

2 cups blueberries (washed, drained and dried on a paper towel)
Topping: 3 tbs. butter+ sugar for sprinking  (regular granulated will do)

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Use parchment paper to line a baking sheet if you like.

2. Combine  flour, baking powder and baking soda, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a food processor. Add the cubed butter into 1/2-inch cubes and scatter the cubes over the dry ingredients. Pulse until a pea sized clusters  form. Do not over process.
3. Remove from the food processor into a large bowl.  Add the yogurt/buttermilk along with the blueberries and mix gently with a wooden spoon or with your hands until the dough holds together.  This is a big and clumsy piece of dough, but it will all come out ok.
4.  Turn the dough out onto a dusted surface. If you’ve made the whole recipe, divide the dough into two. Using your hands, pat each portion into a circular disk about 1 1/2 inches thick.  Brush the top with melted butter. Sprinkle with sugar. Cut each disk into 8 wedges (the original instructions say 6, but 8 works just fine and the scones are still large).
5. Transfer the triangles to your baking sheet. Bake until the tops of the scones are lightly browned, about 22 to 25 minutes.

6. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Posted in baked, Breads, Breakfast, Brunch, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Chard and Pea Soup with Cilantro-Mint Pesto

Posted by fourclankitchen on April 17, 2011

Our local farmer’s market is now showcasing early summer greens: chard, cilantro, basil and kale.  I overbought and worked late a couple of nights, resulting in a fridge full of lovely vegetables that needed to be eaten.  So I made soup.  I combined frozen peas with chard for the soup base and made a garlicky  cilantro-mint pesto (minus the chesee and nuts) for an intensely fresh-tasting summer, herby soup  (herbacious if you are a grammer maven).  See for yourself.

Ingredients

For the Soup:

2 tbs. oil ( or butter for a richer taste)

4 cloves garlic (sliced or minced in the food processor)
1 small onion, diced in the food processor
2 cups  peas  (10 oz frozen, use the petite kind, these are sweeter and less starchy)
6 leaves chard,  thick stems removed and coarsely chopped  (these were bought at the farmer’s market, use 4-5 store bought leaves)
1 heaping tbs. better than bullion (or replace with chicken stock and reduce the water)
4-5 cups water

Few grinds of black pepper (optional)

1 tbs. lightly beaten yogurt (optional)

Cilantro-Mint Pesto

2 cups cilantro, tender stems included
1/2 cup spring onions or scallions: green and white parts
1/2 cup mint, stemmed
salt to taste
4 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup olive oil

Method:

1. Set a pot of water to boil and blanch the chard and the peas for 3-5 min. Drain.

2. Add oil in a large soup pot.  When hot, add the cumin and garlic and saute for a few seconds, until fragrant.
3.  Add the onions and saute for about 5 min, then add the chard and peas.
4. Add a heaping tbs. of “better than boullion”, and mix thorughly so that it is fully incorporated, then add the water.  Alternatively, add chicken stock.

5.  Bring the soup to a boil and turn off the heat.

6.  While the soup is coming to a boil, make the pesto.

7. In a food processor, add garlic, cilantro, mint, olive oil, lime juice and salt to taste.

8. Pulse till fully pureed.  Remove to a small bowl.

9.  Scoop out the solids from the soup into the food processor and pulse briefly till it forms a coarse puree.

10. Add this and the pesto back to the soup pot.  Bring to a boil.  Taste and adjust the salt.  Add a few grinds of black pepper.

11. Ladle into bowls and garnish with yogurt if desired.

12. Serve with your favorite bread or with parmesan crackers (what we ate).  Mmmmm…


Posted in Brunch, Main Dishes, Soups, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Home-made Pasta

Posted by fourclankitchen on April 10, 2011

I received a Cucina-Pro 150 Imperia Pasta machine as a belated Christmas gift (see an Amazon Link here).  Despite some of the iffy reviews out there,  making homemade pasta turned out to be a fairly simple undertaking.  And compared to rolling and cutting pasta by hand,  pasta made with this machine produced a less chewy, thinner and considerably superior pasta.  So I will certainly do this again.

I thought I would recount the things that made this relatively simple.  First, I postponed using the pasta dough recipe that came with the machine since it had received mixed reviews (its probably  fine, I just haven’t tried it yet).  Instead, I went with a French Laundry Cookbook pasta dough recipe adapted by Smtten Kitchen.  However, instead of doing it entirely manually as recommended, I  began with the food processor and ended with hand kneading for a less messy process that produced very good pasta dough.

Pasta Dough

1 3/4 cups  all-purpose flour
6 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon milk

Method

1. Lightly beat the egg yolks and the egg with the olive oil and milk in the food processor.

2. Then begin incorporating a few tablespoons of flour at a time into the egg-mix.  This mimics the manual process or incorporating a little flour at a time into the egg mix.

3. Continue to pulse the food processor until the dough holds together into a shaggy ball.

4. Transfer the dough to a well floured surface.  Now knead for 10-15 min by flattening the dough with the heel of your hand, then folding the dough into a ball and repeating the process.  Do not underknead.. When you are done the dough should look silky and just a touch sticky.  Wrap the dough in saran wrap and set aside for at least an hour (counter is fine) or overnight (use a fridge for this).

5.  Allow the dough to come up to room temperature (about half an hour) if possible. Before beginning, set a pot of water to boil.
Flatten the dough into a disc on a well-floured surface and cut into 6 parts with a knife. Square the edges of each portion so that it forms a rectangle (this helps to form a rectangular sheet later).

6. The pasta machine has a dough rolling  and a dough cutting attachment (for making fettucini and tagliatelle). Generously flour all the grooves of your pasta maker that you will use and also both surfaces of the dough.

7. Run the dough through the widest setting of the roller. This will flatten the dough.  Repeat and then move the machine down to the next notch (making the groove narrower).  Pass the pasta dough through the machine again.  Continue to run the dough through the machine, moving to finer and finer settings till the dough is transluscent and you can almost see your fingers through the dough.

8. Now move the crank to the cutter of your choice (I used the fettucini cutter).  Pass the dough sheet through the cutter (well-floured).  Maintaining slight tension on the past sheet as you feed it through the rollers really helps.  Generously flour the emerging fettucini or tagliatelle and proceed until all the dough is used up.

9.  Boil pasta for 3-5 min.  Drain.  Toss with olive oil and salt.

10. Serve with your favorite pasta sauce.  I went with Marcella Hazan’s simple tomato sauce, made with tomatoes, butter and  onions  (see link here).

11. Freeze unused pasta.

Here are things that I though made the process simpler:

a) Knead the dough well and make sure you allow the dough to rest for at least an hour before rolling.

b) Cut the dough into smaller portions for ease of handling.

c) Start with a rectangular block of well-floured dough.

d) If your dough gets too long as you run through the rollers, cut the dough into half for ease of handling.

e) If your dough is sticky, place it on a flat surface and flour both sides.  Then flour the machine. Do this over and over again.

f) Use a fat paint brush to clean the machine after any pasta stuck on it has dried. (It cannot be cleaned with water).  Discard the first batch of dough after you clean the rollers and cutters.

Posted in Main Dishes, pasta, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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