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Posts Tagged ‘milk’


Baccala alla Vicentina - Meatballs&Milkshakes

This year’s Feast of the Seven Fishes is probably going to be reduced by a couple courses to maybe 5 or even just 3. The important part of the Feast is that it’s an odd number of courses. The most traditional of my courses is the baccala alla vicentina, which is one of my favorites. After a long soak in water, the rock-hard dried cod is magically transformed back into fish and then gets cooked with potatoes and blended into an amazing spread. It’s not pretty while it’s cooking and the whole process is pretty smelly, but it turns into an amazing dish.

Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Next up, bay scallop crudo with tangerine and sea salt and a bowl of shrimp bisque. The sweet bay scallops are slurped down with a tangerine juice reduction and some fruity extra virgin olive oil with a sprinkle of sea salt over the top. The bisque gets it’s flavor from sherry or marsala and if possible, homemade shrimp or seafood stock.

Spicy Crab Pasta - Meatballs&Milkshakes

I will most likely round out my Feast of the Seven (or Five) Fishes with some baked clams and a spicy crab pasta that has become a favorite. I’m hoping to get some really delicious dungeness or some other special crab to really take this one over the top for the holidays. Maybe I’ll even experiment with some lobster. Happy holidays!

For more Feast of the Seven Fishes ideas, check out last year’s menu.

And just to let you know, I’ve started a new Facebook page for Meatballs&Milkshakes, so you can follow the blog there! “Like” Meatballs&Milkshakes to keep up to date with recipes in your feed!

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Gratins make anything better. A nice cheesy, crunchy crust on top of any vegetable is an improvement. I also love that you can make gratins ahead of time and finish the cooking in the oven, so you can leave the kitchen and entertain guests. And of course this makes them perfect for the holidays, when half my meal is made ahead of time so it’s no stress and I can focus on a few key things that require attention.

Parsnip Gratin

1 pound parsnips, sliced into thin discs

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1 strip bacon, cut into small batons (optional)

1 shallot, minced

2 tablespoons thyme

1 cup milk

1/2 cup grated gruyere

1/2 cup grated cheddar

2 tablespoons grated parmesan

1 slice bread, crumbled or ground into big breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons butter

If using bacon, render it in a frying pan until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the shallots to the pan and soften, about 2 minutes. Remove to a bowl and combine with the parsnips, half the hazelnuts, most of the cheddar and gruyere, milk, bacon, and the thyme. Stir together and pour into a baking dish.

Combine the parmesan, remaining gruyere and cheddar, and breadcrumbs in a separate bowl and drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil. Sprinkle over the top of the parsnips along with the remaining hazelnuts. Dot the top with little pieces of the butter.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the top gets brown and crispy. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

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The big tip with boozy milkshakes is to chill the alcohol if you are using something you don’t already keep cold. In this one, I use bourbon and a hint of Kahlua along with good vanilla ice cream. Always a good end to a meal.

Boozy Bourbon Milkshake

2 cups vanilla ice cream

2 ounces bourbon

1 ounce Kahlua

1/4 cup milk

chocolate covered coffee beans to garnish

Combine the vanilla, bourbon, Kahlua, and milk in a big glass and stir to combine. You can also use a blender, but I prefer making these by hand. Garnish with chocolate covered coffee beans.

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The best part about this cake is that it’s incredibly easy and done in half an hour. It’s part clafouti (which is a french pancake-like tart), part cake, and you can make it with any kind of fruit. I think next time I would cut the fruit smaller and try to squeeze in more, but it was an excellent quick dessert.

Plum Skillet Cake

1 pint small plums, halved

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 stick butter

2/3 cup milk

zest of 1 orange

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons sugar

Stir flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Brown butter in a skillet for a couple minutes, until it smells nutty. Remove to a bowl and combine with the orange zest, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine.

If you’re using a non-stick skillet, the residual butter left in the pan should be enough. If you are using a cast-iron skillet, grease the pan with a little more butter. Pour the batter into the skillet and arrange the plums in a layer on top, pushing in a little. Sprinkle with the sugar. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 until it starts to brown a little and a tester comes out clean.

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Strawberries are probably my favorite fruit. Or maybe blueberries. Either way, I overdose on all things strawberry when I see huge spreads of them at the farmers market.

At some point, I decided I wanted to try them in some cake and I found a recipe on Smitten Kitchen that I edited a bit. This one combined juicy strawberries with a light yellow cake, and my favorite parts were the slightly browned and crispy edges.

I imagine you could substitute all kinds of fruit for the strawberries, and I might just try it again with some peaches or nectarines.

Strawberry Cake

1 stick butter

1 1/2 cups (188 grams) flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1 egg

zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

1 carton strawberries, hulled and halved (or quartered depending on the size of your strawberries)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line bottom of 10″ round pan with a circle of parchment paper.

Combine flour, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt in a bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar (reserving a tablespoon or two) until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the egg, milk, and vanilla and combine. Add the dry ingredients slowly, until just combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Arrange the strawberries cut side down around the pan, pushing into the batter slightly. Sprinkle with reserved sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean and the edges have started to brown. Let it cool completely before trying to flip and remove from pan.

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Fruit tarts are probably my favorite dessert ever. I remember birthdays when I wanted a fruit tart instead of cake. This one has a flaky crust and pastry cream that isn’t too heavy. Plus, I found some delicious strawberries at the farmers market. I thought about just strewing them on top stems and all because they were so beautiful, but who wants to de-stem strawberries as they eat a tart? It’s one thing to create beautiful pictures, but my goal is to make food I want to eat above all. So, standard strawberry formation.

I love when the summer fruit starts coming in, there are endless desserts to make. When they look this pretty, you can’t go wrong!

Strawberry Tart

1 quart strawberries, hulled and halved

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 9-inch pie crust from this recipe

Roll out the dough into a round large enough to fit into your tart shell with some excess. Don’t pull it because it will shrink more, just coax it into the corners and cut off any excess. Place a piece of buttered foil into the shell and put dry beans or rice into it to hold the shape while it bakes (it’s called blind baking). Bake at 375 for 10 minutes and then remove the beans and prick with a fork to allow air out if it puffs up. Bake for another 20 minutes until it starts to brown. Remove and cool.

For the pastry cream, bring the milk to a boil. In a bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, and cornstarch with a whisk. Slowly add a bit of the hot milk and whisk vigorously to temper the eggs. Pour into the remaining milk in the pan and continue to whisk until it thickens, about 10 minutes. Pour through a strainer if you wish, and add the vanilla and any additional flavorings you wish (cognac or brandy are nice). Add the butter and whisk until incorporated and melted. Refrigerate until cool.

Pour the pastry cream into the cooled shell. Arrange the strawberries however you want on top. Optional, you can heat some apricot jam with a little water until a little runny and brush it over the top.

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I’m a big fan of panna cotta– you can make it ahead, you don’t have to bake it, and it’s creamy and delicious. There’s an infinite variety of ways you can make it, and this version layers a vanilla bean panna cotta with a pomegranate gelatin (homemade jello, of you will). The original recipe I used for the panna cotta made it a little too….gelatinous….so I’ve reduced the amount of gelatin to make it a creamier consistency. Nothing better than vanilla creamy custard! (I know it’s not a custard because it doesn’t have eggs, but it feels the same to me…)

Vanilla Panna Cotta

1 packet unflavored gelatin

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups milk

1 vanilla bean

1/2 cup sugar

Over a double boiler, dissolve the sugar in the milk and heavy cream. Slice the vanilla bean along the length and scrape out the vanilla. Put the vanilla and the pod in the milk mixture and let steep for 10 minutes. The double boiler should be just barely on, you want to keep the mixture warm but not simmering. Add the gelatin, making sure it dissolves and then remove from heat. Strain through a sieve to remove the vanilla pod and any lumps. Pour into your vessels, preferably glass so you can see the layers! Refrigerate for several hours, until they have solidified.

Pomegranate Gelatin

1 packet gelatin

2 cups pomegranate juice, room temperature

2 tablespoons sugar, to taste

Combine the ingredients, making sure the sugar dissolves. Depending on your pomegranate juice, you may need more or less sugar. This is the time to get creative, if you want to add other flavors, go ahead!

Pour the pomegranate gelatin over the panna cotta, creating two layers. Place in the refrigerator again for a couple hours and it will solidify.

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