Easter Recipes

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Oven-Roasted Asparagus

Post  justmecookin on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:23 pm

Oven-Roasted Asparagus

3 pounds fresh asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus; place asparagus on a lightly greased baking sheet. Drizzle evenly with olive oil; sprinkle evenly with garlic, salt, and pepper.

Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or to desired degree of tenderness. Transfer asparagus to a serving dish; sprinkle with almonds. Makes 8 to 10 servings

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Spinach-and-Strawberry Salad

Post  justmecookin on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:31 pm

Spinach-and-Strawberry Salad

2 (6-ounce) packages fresh baby spinach
2 pints fresh strawberries, sliced
Sesame-Poppy Seed Dressing
Toppings: chopped cooked bacon, chopped fresh broccoli, blanched sugar snap peas, sliced red onion

Combine baby spinach and strawberries in a large bowl; toss with 1/2 cup Sesame-Poppy Seed Dressing just before serving. Serve with remaining dressing and desired toppings. Makes 8 to 10 servings

Sesame-Poppy Seed Dressing
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Pulse first 5 ingredients in a blender 2 or 3 times or until smooth. With blender running, add oil in a slow, steady stream; process until smooth. Stir in seeds; chill 24 hours. Makes about 2 1/2 cups

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Three-Cheese Pasta Bake

Post  justmecookin on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:35 pm

Three-Cheese Pasta Bake

1 (16-ounce) package ziti
2 (10-ounce) containers refrigerated Alfredo sauce
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

Prepare ziti according to package directions; drain and return to pot. Stir together Alfredo sauce and sour cream; toss with ziti until evenly coated. Spoon half of mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

Stir together ricotta cheese and next 3 ingredients; spread evenly over pasta mixture in baking dish. Spoon remaining pasta mixture evenly over ricotta cheese layer; sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Makes 8 to 10 servings

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White Layer Cake with Raspberry Jam

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:13 am

White Layer Cake with Raspberry Jam

Cake:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks (3/8 lb.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar

Frosting:
1 stick (1/4 lb.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

Preheat
oven to 350°. Butter 3 8-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms of pans
with parchment paper, then butter parchment. Spoon a small amount of
flour into pans, swirl to coat sides and bottom, then tap out and
discard excess flour.

Make cake: Combine flour, baking powder
and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together milk, egg whites and vanilla
in a medium glass measuring cup or bowl.

In a large bowl,
using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar
until well combined and light. Reduce speed to low and add 1/3 of flour
mixture. Add 1/2 of milk mixture, beating constantly and scraping down
sides of bowl as necessary.

Beat in another 1/3 of flour, then
remaining milk, beating just until blended. Mix in remaining flour just
until blended. Divide batter evenly among pans and smooth tops with a
rubber spatula (don't worry if batter looks curdled).

Bake
cakes for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center of
each cake comes out clean. Transfer cakes to wire racks; cool in pans
for 10 minutes. Run a knife around sides of pans, invert cakes onto
wire racks and remove parchment. Let cool completely.

Make
frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer on
medium-high speed in a large, deep bowl until light and fluffy. Reduce
speed to low and gradually beat in confectioners' sugar in 2 batches
until smooth and creamy. Beat in vanilla just until combined.

Assemble
cake: Using a serrated knife, gently slice horizontally across top of
each cake layer to make level. Place 1 cake layer on serving plate.
Spread 1/4 cup jam evenly over layer. Add another cake layer and spread
with 1/4 cup jam. Top with final cake layer. Frost top and sides of
cake. Cut into wedges and serve. Makes 10 servings

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Roast Boneless Leg of Lamb

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:52 pm

Roast Boneless Leg of Lamb with Potatoes, Lemon, and Marjoram

1 boneless leg of lamb (about 4 pounds; not tied), trimmed of excess fat
4 garlic cloves (2 thinly sliced, 2 crushed)
Juice of 2 lemons (about 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh marjoram, plus sprigs for garnish
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 russet potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)

Place lamb in a large, shallow, nonreactive dish. Using a paring knife, make 1/2-inch-deep slits all over lamb, spacing 2 inches apart; insert 1 garlic slice into each slit. Pour lemon juice over top. Add marjoram, crushed garlic, and 3 tablespoons oil to dish. Turn lamb to coat.

Place 3 long pieces of kitchen twine parallel to one another on a cutting board, about 3 inches apart. Fold lamb, and place on top of twine. Tie each piece around lamb to secure. Return to dish. Cover, and refrigerate at least 12 hours (up to 1 day), turning once.

Remove lamb from marinade; reserve marinade. Season lamb with salt and pepper; transfer to a roasting pan. Let stand at room temperature 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425. Peel potatoes; quarter lengthwise, and halve crosswise. Arrange potatoes around lamb; season with salt and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Toss to coat.

Pour marinade over lamb and potatoes. Roast 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 400 degrees, and roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 130 degrees for medium-rare, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Tent with foil; let rest 10 minutes. Serve garnished with marjoram. Makes 8 servings

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Marmalade-Glazed Ham

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:54 pm

Marmalade-Glazed Ham

1 smoked bone-in ham (10 pounds)
1/2 cup orange marmalade (5 ounces)
3 tablespoons Madeira or dry sherry
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 navel orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover ham with a large piece of parchment and then foil. Place ham, widest side down, on a heavy rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour.

Heat marmalade, Madeira or sherry, lemon juice, and juice of 1/2 orange in a saucepan over medium heat until runny, about 5 minutes.

Remove ham from oven, and uncover. Score ham all over in a diamond pattern. Brush 1/2 of the glaze over ham. Thinly slice remaining 1/2 orange, and arrange slices over glaze, covering the ham.

Increase temperature to 425 degrees. Bake ham, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Brush with remaining glaze, and bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let rest for 15 to 30 minutes before slicing. Top with orange slices, and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

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Whole Poached Salmon

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:56 pm

Whole Poached Salmon

1 whole salmon, (8-pound), scaled, gutted, and cleaned (gills removed)
Court-Bouillon
6 large egg whites
2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
Fennel fronds, for garnish
1 lemon, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, for garnish
1 orange, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, for garnish
2 or 3 kumquats, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, for garnish (optional)

Rinse fish under cold running water, washing away any blood around the gills, which would cloud the stock. Pat the fish dry inside and out with paper towels; place on a clean work surface. Trim the fins from the back, belly, and near the gills with a pair of kitchen scissors. If the fish is too long to fit in the poacher, remove the head and tail with a sharp knife; cut off the tail right below the tail fins.

Cut a double thickness of cheesecloth 17 inches wide and 8 inches longer than salmon. Place the cheesecloth on a clean work surface. Lay the fish lengthwise on the cloth, and wrap the cloth around the fish. Tie the ends of the cheesecloth with kitchen twine.

Place the rack in the bottom of the poacher, and fill with the cooled court bouillon. Using the ends of the cloth as handles, lower salmon into the poacher, adding water if necessary to cover the fish. Cover, and set the poacher over two burners. Bring the liquid to a simmer; reduce heat to very low. Cook at a bare simmer for 25 minutes (the water should not be boiling).

Slide a wooden spoon through each handle of the poaching rack; lift out the rack, and prop the spoons on the edges of the poacher so the fish is elevated. Raise one of the spoons to lift the side of the rack that supports the head end, and expose the widest part of the fish's back.

Insert an instant-read thermometer near where the fin was. The fish is fully cooked when the temperature registers 135 degrees. (For a larger salmon this may take up to an hour.) If the temperature is too low, return the fish to the liquid, and continue poaching, checking the temperature every 10 minutes.

Using two wooden spoons to remove the rack from the liquid, and prop it on top of poacher at an angle to drain, reserving court bouillon. When salmon is cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes, transfer to a clean work surface; let cool completely, about 45 minutes.

To make the aspic glaze, pour the court bouillon through a fine sieve. Place 6 cups of the bouillon in a stockpot. In a separate bowl, whisk 6 egg whites until frothy, then whisk the whites into the bouillon.

Whisk the mixture over medium heat until it comes to a simmer, about 10 minutes. The egg whites will draw all the cloudy particles out of the stock and begin to coagulate on top. Stop whisking, and simmer until all the foam has risen to the surface and the broth below is clear, about 15 minutes

Using a slotted spoon, carefully lift out the foam. Soak a 12-by-12-inch piece of cheesecloth in ice water. Squeeze out any excess water, and line the sieve with the cold cheesecloth. Pour the broth through the sieve. Repeat, using fresh cheesecloth each time, until all the foam has been removed from the stock.

Place 1/3 cup cold water in a small bowl, and evenly sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let sit until gelatin is softened, about 10 minutes. Add the gelatin mixture to the clarified stock, and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until all the gelatin has dissolved; do not boil. Remove from the heat.

Unwrap the fish, leaving the cheesecloth in place underneath. If the head and tail are still attached and are in good shape, you may want to leave them on for decoration. If not, remove the tail with kitchen scissors. The head will pull off easily. Turn the fish over, so that the side that was on the rack faces up. Peel the skin off using a paring knife and your fingers.

Using cheesecloth to support the fish, flip it onto a serving platter, skin side up. Remove the skin from the top of fish. Using the back of a paring knife, gently scrape off any brown fat.

Decorate the salmon with your choice of garnishes. Arrange the garnishes on top of the fish; temporarily secure with toothpicks. Pour the aspic into a large bowl set over an ice-water bath. Stir the aspic until it begins to thicken, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the aspic from the ice bath, and ladle a coating over the salmon.

Refrigerate the salmon 20 minutes. Repeat the glazing process, if desired. If the aspic becomes too thick to ladle, warm in a double boiler until liquid again. Remove the toothpicks. Keep the salmon in the refrigerator, uncovered, up to 24 hours, or until your guests arrive. (The aspic coating keeps the fish from drying out.)

When ready to serve, clean away any collected aspic around the bottom of the fish; cut with a fish server. Start at the wide end of the fish; slide the server under or between the garnishes, rather than cutting through them. Cut down to the bone, working the server gently between the flakes. Lift a section of the fish with the garnishes on top, and transfer to a dinner plate. Continue cutting and serving as needed. Serves 10 to 12.

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Glazed Ham with Apricot-Mustard Sauce

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:58 pm

Glazed Ham with Apricot-Mustard Sauce

7 pounds (about half of a bone-in) cured smoked ham, (butt end), room temperature
2 cups apricot jam
1/4 cup mustard powder
Butter for aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, with rack in lowest position. Line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil; place roasting rack in pan. With a sharp knife, trim fat, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick layer. Lightly score fat in a diamond pattern (do not cut into meat). Place ham, fat side up, on rack; roast 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine jam and mustard (they can be mixed and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead). Transfer 1/2 cup mixture to a small bowl to glaze ham. Set aside saucepan with remaining mixture.

After 1 hour, brush ham with glaze. Repeat every 15 minutes until brown and shiny, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part, avoiding bone, registers 130 degrees, about 1 hour more (if glaze starts to burn, tent ham with buttered foil). Discard unused glaze.

Remove ham from oven; cover loosely with buttered foil to keep warm. Temperature will then rise another 5 to 10 degrees. Bring jam mixture in saucepan to a boil. Carve ham, reserving bone and 2 cups of meat for Split Pea Soup. Serve with sauce. Serves 8.

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Herb Crusted Leg of Lamb

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:59 pm

Herb Crusted Leg of Lamb

2 legs of lamb (9 pounds each), bone in, trimmed of excess fat
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium head garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brandy
1 1/2 cups Homemade Chicken Stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat

Let lamb stand at room temperature for one hour. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Remove all but a thin layer of fat from the lamb. Rub lamb with 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place on a rack in a heavy roasting pan.

Meanwhile, rub head of garlic with 1/4 teaspoon oil; wrap loosely in foil. Bake until garlic is very soft, about 1 hour. Let cool.

Cut off top of garlic head; squeeze roasted garlic into a bowl. Using a fork, mash garlic to a paste. Add extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, parsley, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; mix well.

Rotate pan after lamb has roasted 1 1/4 hours. After 30 minutes more, slather lamb with roasted-garlic paste. Roast an additional hour (for a total roasting time of about 2 3/4 hours), or until an instant-read thermometer inserted at the thickest part reads 160 degrees. Remove from oven, and let rest 20 minutes.

Transfer lamb to a carving board. Pour off fat from roasting pan; place over medium-high heat. Sprinkle with flour, and stir with a wooden spoon. Pour in brandy; scrape up brown bits from bottom of pan. Lower heat to medium; let liquid reduce by half. Add stock, stirring until incorporated. Add rosemary and salt and pepper to taste. Slice lamb; serve with sauce on the side. Serves 8 to 10.

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Baked Easter Ham

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:02 pm

Baked Easter Ham

1 (12 to 14 pound) uncooked smoked ham, bone-in
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup Cognac
Watercress, for garnish
Parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wrap ham completely with parchment-lined foil and place on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Transfer ham to oven and bake 1 1/2 hours.

Unwrap ham; discard parchment and foil. With a large, sharp knife score fat in a diamond pattern, making the lines about 3/4 inch apart. Transfer ham to a large roasting pan.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and Cognac. Brush ham evenly with 3/4 of the brown sugar mixture and return to oven; cook ham 1 hour. Brush ham with remaining brown sugar mixture and continue cooking 30 minutes more. Transfer to a serving platter until ready to carve; garnish with watercress and parsley. Serves 20.

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Easter Pizza Piena

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:24 pm

Easter Pizza Piena

Pizza Piena Dough
8 large eggs
2 pounds fresh ricotta cheese
7 ounces sweet Italian dry sausage, very finely chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound fresh unsalted mozzarella cheese, chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large egg yolk, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out larger disk of dough into an 1/8-inch thick rectangle about 19 by 15 inches. Fit into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish leaving a 1-inch overhang; set aside.

Roll out second smaller disk of dough to about 1/8 inch thick and cut four 15-by-1-inch strips; set aside. Cut remaining dough into three 11-by-1-inch strips; set aside.

Place eggs and ricotta in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix until well combined. Add sausage, parmesan, mozzarella, pepper, and parsley; continue mixing until well combined. Pour mixture over dough in baking dish.

With the long end of the baking dish facing you, place the three 11-inch strips of dough vertically over the top of the filling, spacing evenly apart. Starting in the middle, weave one of the 15-inch strips over and under the vertical strips (folding back every other vertical strip makes this easier).

Continue weaving the remaining three 15-inch strips until lattice is complete. Fold over the overhanging pieces of dough and press with a fork to seal. Brush dough with egg yolk and transfer to oven. Bake until golden brown, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Serve warm. Makes enough for one 13 3/4-by-9 1/2-inch pie.

Pizza Piena Dough
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
4 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in shortening and butter until combined.

Make a well in the center of flour mixture and add eggs; stir until just combined. Slowly stir in water until a dough begins to form. Turn dough out onto work surface and knead slightly until dough is smooth.

Form dough into 2 disks, one slightly larger than the other, and wrap each with plastic wrap. Let dough stand at least 20 minutes before rolling out.

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Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting and Truffle-Egg Nest

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:59 pm

Rich Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting and Truffle-Egg Nest

Vegetable-oil cooking spray
1/2 cup cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
3/4 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Whipped Ganache Frosting
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 pound bar of milk chocolate
Truffle Eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 3-inch-high, 7-inch-round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms with parchment paper. Coat parchment with cooking spray, and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out excess.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa and espresso powders and water; whisk until dissolved. Whisk in sugar until smooth. Remove from heat, and whisk in eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda, and salt; whisk until combined.

Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes. Unmold, and remove parchment; let cool.

Trim tops of cake layers level. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Spread with 1/2 cup ganache frosting. Place remaining layer, cut side down, on top. Coat top and sides with remaining cup frosting. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Put semisweet chocolate, cream, and corn syrup into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, and stir until smooth. Let cool 5 minutes. Pour over cake, and then refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Using a chef's knife, scrape milk chocolate bar at a 90-degree angle, forming enough curls and shards to measure 1 1/2 cups. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate until ready to use. Transfer cake to serving dish; form a nest with chocolate shavings on top, and fill with truffle eggs. Serves 8.

Whipped Ganache Frosting
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream

Put chocolate and cream into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until the consistency of stiff cream cheese, 10 to 15 minutes. Whisk until fluffy and smooth. Makes about 1 1/2 cups, enough for a 7-inch layer cake.

Truffle Eggs
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 61 percent cacao), finely chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 to 3 pounds white chocolate
Sky-blue gel-paste food coloring
Teal luster dust (optional)

Put bittersweet chocolate and cream into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth; remove from heat. Stir in butter. Pour into a loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until very cold and set but still pliable, about 2 hours.

Using a 1 1/4-inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, scoop balls of ganache, transferring them to baking sheets lined with parchment paper as you work. Refrigerate 10 minutes. Using your hands, roll each ball into an egg shape. Place in freezer until very firm, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, put 1 1/2 pounds white chocolate into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth; remove from heat. Divide between 2 medium bowls. Add food coloring to 1 bowl until desired blue shade. Add a few drops of food coloring to other bowl, and swirl lightly with a toothpick.

Working with one at a time, dip half of the eggs in blue chocolate, then dip remaining eggs in swirled chocolate, letting excess chocolate drip back into bowl. As you work, transfer eggs to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Truffles can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 weeks. For sparkly truffles, brush luster dust onto blue eggs to coat if desired. Makes 25.

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Hot Cross Buns

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:51 pm

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for bowl, pan, and knife
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons (2 packages) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
5 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/3 cups currants
Bun Crossing Paste
1/2 cup apricot jam

Generously butter a large bowl; set aside. Place 1 cup milk in a small saucepan, over medium heat. Heat until milk reaches 110 degrees on a candy thermometer. Pour milk into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.

With machine on low speed, add granulated sugar, yeast, salt, butter, lemon zest, orange zest, and eggs. Add flour, and mix on low speed until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms around dough hook. Continue kneading, scraping down hook and sides of bowl as necessary, until smooth, about 4 minutes more.

Add currants; knead, with dough hook, to incorporate. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead briefly to evenly distribute currants in dough. Shape into a ball. Place dough in prepared bowl. Turn to coat with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Turn dough out onto work surface. Knead briefly and roll dough into a log. Cut log in half and cut each half into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a tightly formed ball. Place on prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart. Cover baking sheets with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until buns are touching and doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees with racks positioned in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Place bun crossing paste in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip or a paper cornet with a 1/8-inch opening.

Pipe crosses over the surface of each bun. Transfer buns to oven and bake until golden brown, 18 to 25 minutes, rotating baking sheets after 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, place apricot jam in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until heated through; strain through a mesh sieve set over a bowl. Brush heated jam over buns. Makes 2 dozen.

Bun Crossing Paste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup flour
Pinch of salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together oil and 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water. Add flour and salt, and whisk until well combined. Let stand 1 hour before using. Makes enough for 2 dozen buns.

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Almond Macaroon Galette with Strawberries

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:53 pm

Almond Macaroon Galette with Strawberries

3 large egg whites
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cups sliced blanched almonds, toasted and finely ground in a food processor
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
1 1/2 pints strawberries (about 6 cups), hulls on
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kirsch
3 tablespoons strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 325. Put egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Beat in lemon zest. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until whites are glossy and hold a ribbon on surface, 6 to 7 minutes. Fold in almonds.

Coat the inside of an 8 3/4-inch flan ring with cooking spray, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spoon batter into mold, and smooth top. Let stand 10 minutes. Place cake in oven; prop door open about 1/2 inch using a wooden spoon. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven to 300, and close door completely. Bake until pale golden and set, about 25 minutes. Unmold, and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Halve 8 to 10 strawberries lengthwise; set aside. Hull remaining strawberries, and cut each lengthwise into 4 slices. Toss slices with granulated sugar, kirsch, and lemon juice in a medium bowl; let stand at least 30 minutes (up to 2 hours), stirring occasionally.

Heat jam in a small saucepan until thin. Brush over top of galette. Arrange reserved strawberry halves around edge, with hulls facing out. Working inward, arrange sliced strawberries in a circular pattern, with bottoms facing out, reserving smallest slices for center. Drizzle liquid from strawberries over top. Serve immediately, or let stand up to 2 hours to allow juices to soak into cake. Serves 12.

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Lemon Cake

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:57 pm

Lemon Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Grated zest of 2 lemons
3 cups Lemon Curd
Sweetened Whipped Cream
12 ounces assorted fresh berries
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Heat oven to 350 degrees.arrange two racks in center of oven. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper. Dust bottoms and sides of pans with flour; tap out any excess.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed until softened, 1 to 2 minutes.

Gradually add granulated sugar, beating on medium speed until lightened, 3 to 4 minutes; scrape down sides once or twice. Drizzle in eggs, a little at a time, beating after each addition until batter is no longer slick, about 5 minutes; stop once or twice to scrape down sides.

On low speed, alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, a little of each at a time, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat in vanilla and lemon zest.

Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake 25 minutes, then rotate the pans in the oven for even browning. Continue baking until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, 10 to 20 minutes more. Transfer pans to wire racks to cool, 15 minutes. Turn out cakes; set on racks, tops up, until completely cool.

Remove the parchment from bottom of each cake. Using a serrated knife, slice each layer in half horizontally. Set aside the prettiest domed layer for the top of cake. Place another domed layer, dome-side down, on a serving platter.

Spread 1 cup lemon curd over surface to within 1/2 inch from edges. Place second cake layer over the first, and spread another 1 cup curd over top. Repeat with third cake layer and remaining cup curd. Transfer partially assembled cake to the refrigerator.

Just before serving, place reserved dome on top of cake. Spoon sweetened whipped cream over the top. Sprinkle with mixed berries, and dust with confectioners’ sugar through a fine sieve. Makes 1 eight-inch-round layer cake.

Lemon Curd
3 large egg yolks, strained
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces

Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine. Set over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir sides and bottom of pan. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon, 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter, one piece at a time, stirring with the wooden spoon until consistency is smooth. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to avoid a skin from forming; wrap tightly. Let cool; refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour. Store refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days. Makes 1 1/2 cups

Sweetened Whipped Cream
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and confectioners' sugar; continue whipping on medium speed until the soft peaks return, 2 to 3 minutes. Use immediately. Makes 1 1/3 cups

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Scalloped Potatoes with Leeks

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:07 pm

Scalloped Potatoes with Leeks

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish
2 leeks, trimmed, thinly sliced, and rinsed well (about 1 cup)
6 russet potatoes (2 1/2 pounds), peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 12-cup baking dish. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add leeks, and cook until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.

Arrange 1/3 of the potatoes in dish, slightly overlapping slices. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the salt, 1/2 of the nutmeg, and pepper, followed by 1/2 of the leeks and 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat.

Top with remaining potatoes in a spiral. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Combine cream and stock. Pour over cheese and potatoes. Cover with parchment and foil. (Mixture can be refrigerated overnight.)

Bake for 30 minutes. Increase temperature to 425 degrees, uncover, and cook until top is golden brown and potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. Let rest for 15 to 30 minutes before serving. Serves 6 to 8

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Easter Salad

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:09 pm

Easter Salad

4 ounces mache, roots trimmed
8 ounces assorted baby lettuces, such as oak, Lolla Rossa, and bibb
1 bunch watercress, stems removed
1 large pink grapefruit
1 small avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 red small papaya, peeled and cut in half
Papaya Citrus Vinaigrette
1 small red onion, skin removed and sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rounds

Place mache, all the baby lettuces, and watercress in a large bowl, and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving platter. Cut both ends from the grapefruit.

Starting at one cut end, slide a paring knife between the peel and the pulp, removing the entire skin and the outer membrane. Use the knife to lift out the sections. Arrange the sections down the middle of the greens in a row. Place the avocado cubes to one side of the grapefruit sections.

Remove the seeds from the papaya, and reserve for vinaigrette. Cut papaya into 1/2-inch-thick slices, and arrange slices on other side of the grapefruit sections. Top with onion rounds. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the entire salad, and serve immediately. Serves 6

Papaya Citrus Vinaigrette
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
Seeds from 1 small red papaya

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Whisk in lemon juice. Whisk in another tablespoon olive oil. Whisk in orange juice and another tablespoon olive oil. Whisk in vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Gently stir reserved papaya seeds into salad dressing. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Makes about 3/4 cup

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Honey-Orange Baked Ham

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:11 pm

Honey-Orange Baked Ham

1 whole smoked ham (14 to 18 pounds), bone in and rind on
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 large onion, cut into six wedges
1 large orange, cut into six wedges
4 sprigs rosemary
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3 1/2 cups homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Rinse ham with cool water; dry with paper towels. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature one hour. Meanwhile, whisk together honey, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, and mustard; set aside.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees, with rack in lower third. Fit a roasting pan with a rack, and place ham, with the thicker rind on top, on rack. Scatter onion and orange wedges and rosemary around ham on rack. Transfer to oven, and cook one hour.

Remove pan from oven, and let ham cool slightly. Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Trim fat all over the ham to a layer of about 1/4 inch (it does not need to be perfectly even; the bottom will have less fat and more skin).

Turn ham, bottom side down. Score fat on top of ham in a diamond pattern, each one to two inches, cutting about 1/4 to 1/2 inch through the fat and into meat. Baste with honey mixture. Add enough water to roasting pan to fill the bottom by about 1/4 inch.

Return ham to oven, and cook one hour more, basting often with remaining marinade (do not baste with pan juices). If necessary, add water to pan to keep juices from burning. Remove from oven; transfer ham to a serving platter; discard orange, onion, and rosemary. Let stand 30 minutes before carving ham.

Meanwhile, make gravy: Strain liquid from roasting pan into a liquid measuring cup or bowl, and skim off fat from surface with a large spoon. Place roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add cider vinegar, and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. Return defatted juices to pan along with two cups stock. Bring to a boil, and let simmer.

In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1 1/2 cups stock and the flour; whisk into sauce. Continue simmering until liquid is reduced by half and slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with ham. Serves 10 plus plenty of leftovers

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Spinach and Ham Pie

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:13 pm

Spinach and Ham Pie

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3 ten-ounce bags spinach, stemmed and well washed, but not dried
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 large eggs
1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 ounces boiled ham, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (optional)

Make the pastry: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the butter and cream cheese. Process until combined. Add cream, and pulse to combine. Add the flour and salt, and pulse just until a ball forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few times. Divide dough in half, pat each half into a disc, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the filling: Place the spinach in a very large pot over medium-high heat. Cover, and cook, stirring once or twice, until spinach wilts, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from pot, and set aside to cool. Squeeze dry, wringing out the cooked spinach in cheesecloth (there should be 2 cups), and coarsely chop.

Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add oil and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent but not brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat to cool briefly.

In a large bowl, lightly beat 2 eggs. Add ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper; mix to combine. Stir in the spinach and onions. Add ham; stir to combine.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of dough to a 13-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch glass pie plate, allowing the excess dough to hang over the edge of the plate. Trim edges to 1/2 inch. Spread spinach mixture evenly into pie plate. On a lightly floured surface, roll out second disc of dough to a 13-inch circle.

Transfer to top of the pie. Trim top crust to overlap the bottom by 1/4 inch. Fold top crust over bottom, and crimp edges together with your fingers. Cut a few small vents. Beat the remaining egg with a few drops of water, and brush over surface of pie. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 1 hour. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8

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Whole Roasted Salmon with Orange Butter Glaze

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:15 pm

Whole Roasted Salmon with Orange Butter Glaze

4 leeks, trimmed of dark-green stem, sliced in half lengthwise
4 oranges
1 whole salmon, about 8 pounds, head and tail on, scaled, cleaned
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 red onion, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
6 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup dry white wine

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Strew bottom of 12-by-18-inch jelly-roll pan or 12-by-16-inch half-sheet pan with leeks; set aside. With a sharp knife, cut away the peel, pith, and outer membranes from 2 oranges; slice orange flesh into 1/4-inch-thick rounds; set aside.

Rinse salmon under cold water, making sure cavity of fish is completely clean. Pat fish dry with paper towel. Cut 3 shallow slits through salmonâ??s skin, about 3 inches apart, on each side of fish. Season salmon cavity with salt and pepper.

Stuff cavity with cilantro sprigs, reserved orange rounds, and onion rounds. Drape a large piece of cheesecloth over leeks in bottom of roasting pan. Place salmon on top of cheesecloth.

Squeeze juice from remaining 2 oranges into small saucepan; place pan over medium-high heat, and bring juice to a boil. Add butter, and stir until melted; remove pan from heat. Brush salmon with orange-juice mixture.

Place roasting pan in oven, and roast salmon, basting every 10 minutes with orange-juice mixture, until skin is crispy and dark golden brown and meat is pink and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. If head or tail of fish become too dark, gently fold aluminum foil over them.

Remove pan from oven; pour wine into pan to help loosen salmon. Using cheesecloth to help lift fish, carefully transfer to serving platter. Gently remove cheesecloth from under fish, and serve. Serves 12

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Frisee and Baby-Spinach Salad

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:17 pm

Frisee and Baby-Spinach Salad

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
1 small head frisee, torn into small pieces (about 2 cups)
2 cups baby spinach (about 1 1/2 ounces)
2 radishes, trimmed and very thinly sliced
2 scallions (green parts only), cut on a bias into 1/2-inch-thick pieces

Whisk together lemon juice, parsley, mustard, and sugar in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified; set aside.

Toss together frisee, spinach, radishes, and scallions on a large platter. Just before serving, drizzle with some of the dressing. Serve remaining dressing on the side. Serves 4

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Arugula, Potato, and Green-Bean Salad

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:18 pm

Arugula, Potato, and Green-Bean Salad with Creamy Walnut Dressing

1 ounce walnuts (about 1/3 cup)
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
6 ounces haricots, verts, or other green beans, trimmed
3 ounces baby arugula

Preheat oven to 375. Place walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in oven until fragrant, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly. Finely chop, and set aside.

Whisk together vinegar, yogurt, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the toasted nuts in a small bowl; season with pepper. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Set dressing aside.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add potatoes, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to a colander to drain. Set aside.

Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Return pan of water to a boil. Add green beans, and cook until tender and bright green, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to ice-water bath to stop the cooking. Transfer to a cutting board, and cut into 2-inch pieces.

Arrange arugula, potatoes, and green beans on a platter. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat. Serves 8

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Roast Rack of Lamb with Mint

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:20 pm

Roast Rack of Lamb with Mint

1 medium shallot, peeled, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves, (no stems)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 half-rack rib lamb chops, (about 1 3/4 pounds)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, combine shallot, garlic, mustard, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and mint; season with salt and pepper. Pulse until a medium-textured paste forms, about 30 seconds; set aside.

Heat a cast-iron skillet large enough to accommodate the half-rack of ribs, over medium-high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon olive oil. Season lamb with salt and pepper, and place in the skillet, fat side down. Sear meat on both sides until well browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, and transfer the lamb to a clean surface.

Spread the reserved mint paste on the meaty side of the lamb, and place the lamb in a shallow baking pan. Transfer to the oven, and roast until the lamb is medium rare, or until the internal temperature is 130 degrees. 18 to 22 minutes. Remove from the oven, and place lamb on a cutting board; let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Slice between the bones, and serve. Serves 4

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Ricotta Cake

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:22 pm

Ricotta Cake

1 quart whole milk
3/4 cup arborio rice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
Unsalted butter, for pan
All-purpose flour, for pan
3 pounds fresh ricotta cheese, drained 3 hours or preferably overnight
3 large whole eggs plus 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Strawberry Sauce

Bring milk to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in rice, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla bean. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until rice is very tender and has absorbed all liquid, about 30 minutes.

Remove pan from heat. Stir in 3/4 cup granulated sugar. Cover; let cool, stirring occasionally. Discard vanilla bean. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, combine the rice mixture, ricotta, whole eggs and egg yolks, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Pour into prepared pan. Bake until golden on top and almost set in the center, 65 to 70 minutes; cover with foil if starting to brown too much. Transfer pan to a cooling rack.

When cake has completely cooled, run a knife around edge to loosen. Gently remove ring; transfer cake to a serving platter. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, and serve with sauce. Serves 8

Strawberry Sauce
1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a medium nonreactive saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until strawberries are soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Kale, White Bean, and Prosciutto Crostini

Post  justmecookin on Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:23 pm

Kale, White Bean, and Prosciutto Crostini

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 bunch kale (about 8 ounces), stems removed, leaves torn into 1-inch pieces
1/2 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices

Whisk together 2 tablespoons oil, the vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Add beans, and toss to coat. Arrange prosciutto in a single layer in a large saute pan. Cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Add remaining tablespoon oil, the garlic, and red-pepper flakes to pan, and cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Add wine and kale. Cover and cook, stirring once, until wilted. Stir in bean mixture and prosciutto, and season with salt and pepper. Spoon onto baguette slices, and drizzle with oil. Serves 4

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Re: Easter Recipes

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