Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rosemary and Parmesan Buttermilk Biscuits


parmesan buttermilk biscuits
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (1 1/2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup buttermilk (cold)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly (about 5 minutes), plus 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing biscuits

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, Parmesan, and rosemary in large bowl. Combine buttermilk and 8 tablespoons melted butter in medium bowl, stirring until butter forms small clumps (see photo below).

2. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated and batter pulls away from sides of bowl. Using greased 1/4-cup dry measure, scoop level amount of batter and drop onto parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet (biscuits should measure about 2 1/4 inches in diameter and 1 1/4 inches high - there will be about 12). Repeat with remaining batter, spacing biscuits about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, 12 to 14 minutes.

3. Brush biscuit tops with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

4. Have a heart attack

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

This was a perfect complement to the grilled lobster since it was white on the outside and red on the inside. Anne, the secret ingredient is more than red food coloring. Mixing vinegar with baking soda makes this cake like an 8th grade science fair experiment, without the acne.

red velvet cake

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
3 oz. red food coloring
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and cut pieces of parchment paper to fit into bottom.
2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
4. Make sure you have cake pans nearby. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Yes, it will fizz! Add it to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Working quickly, divide batter evenly between the 2 cake pans and place them in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. But check earlier than that to see if done.
5. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. To remove the cakes from the pan, place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, then gently lift the pan. Peel away the parchment paper. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting with cream cheese icing (recipe below).

NOTE: *Sift cake flour once before measuring, then sift again with the other dry ingredients per recipe instructions.

Cream Cheese Icing

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter room temperature
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl. With a handheld electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla. Beat, on low speed to combine. If too soft, put in the fridge for about 10 minutes before using.

cream cheese icing

The Big Z's special ribs

I would post this recipe, but I don't want to be buried under the apple tree.

beef ribs

Grilled Lobster

Apparently, you can grill lobster. We bought some frozen tails and treated ourselves to an extravagant Valentine's Day. We would eat this every day if we could, but we aren't millionaires yet.

grilled lobster tail

2 lobster tails
3/4 of a stick of unsalted butter
3 tablespoons chopped chives
sea salt

Prepare the lobster as the charcoal heats up. Use kitchen shears to cut the lobster shells in half lengthwise through the upper and lower shells. Use a knife to slice through the meat. Don't remove the meat from the shell. Insert metal skewers through the lobster and sprinkle with salt. Melt the butter and add the chives. Brush the meat with the butter.

Season the grill grate with some oil and place the lobster (meat side down) on the grill over medium/high heat. Grill for 3 minutes. Tend to the meat carefully because the dripping butter will cause flare ups. Turn the lobster over and grill (shell side down) for about 6 minutes until the meat is opaque, basting with more butter occasionally.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Distract the Neighbors" Grilled Chicken

This recipe is from The Language of Baklava. The aromas from the rosemary and hardwood charcoal really go well together. We like to pick up the pieces of chicken with torn up pita bread and top them with plain yogurt.

chicken kabobs

4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
juice of 1 lemon
3 teaspoons brown sugar
3 sprigs rosemary, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast

Mix the oil, garlic, lemon, sugar, rosemary, and spices. Cut up the chicken into cubes for skewers and mix with the marinade in a ziploc bag. Refrigerate for 3 hours or longer, turning occasionally.

Skewer the chicken and cook over hot charcoal. Tear the chicken off the skewers with pieces of pita and top with plain yogurt. This would be great with some roasted tomatoes and onions.

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