Sunday, May 12, 2013

cheese puffs

a few months ago my mom and i submitted a recipe to a contest in food and wine magazine. it was for the kerrygold company, and the requirement was a recipe that featured both butter and cheese.

certain that we might win i was excited to be traveling to a food and wine extravaganza in austin, texas, but with no word yet dear readers; i will be sharing this adaptation of a family recipe with you.

a while ago my dad reminded me of how extraordinary my mom is, with the example that she is "so quiet" that he has to look around the house to determine whether or not she is home.

there are so many other things: lynne stevens started her career using a manual typewriter and was soon in high demand for her shorthand and dictaphone skills. she has worked at magazines and in advertising doing cut and paste production and is now literate in several design programs. she is fluent in both mac and PC. an avid gardener and cook she believes "by hand" is usually the best way. she works at a women's literary club in san francisco that will remain nameless.

she typeset both of my cookbooks. she always made ten or more different varieties of cookies at christmas time. she stayed home. she went to work. she drove me places and picked me up late at night. she taught me how to drive. once, when i was inconsolably heartbroken somewhere around age 30 she offered to wash my hair and i accepted.

i know how to cook because of my mom. prodigious herself, i grew up with recipes from mastering the art of french cooking. she took me to hear julia child speak. i had a child sized pasta machine and would make pasta until all of the chairs and broom handles were put into use as drying racks or until we ran out of flour. whatever came first. i rolled out a lot of fondant. and i think the main thing was that she never attempted to steered me in some other direction.

these puffs make an elegant spring nibble. something to have with a cocktail. something nice to have ready in the freezer. you and your guests are worth any trouble. thank you for teaching me everything i know.

cheese puffs 
makes about four dozen

1 loaf pullman bread or other firm un-sliced white bread 

4 oz kerrygold butter
3 oz natural cream cheese
4 oz. kerrygold dubliner cheese, grated
1 tsp. dijon mustard

2 egg whites

1. trim crust from bread and cut loaf into 1-inch cubes.

2.  using a double boiler combine butter, cream cheese, dubliner cheese and dijon and beat until smooth.  

3. beat egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into melted cheese mixture. 

4. dip bread cubes into cheese mixture and place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze solid.

5. to finish bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until browned. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

peanut-sesame noodles

todays recipe is based very closely on a recipe from the ny times by sam sifton. when i originally saw this recipe i had never had, or heard of take-out sesame noodles. this recipe so intrigued me that it made it's way into my most sacred hand written recipe book. note the little stains on the paper.

there are a lot of differences between the east and west coasts. during my brief time living in new york, working there, and when i was in cooking school i noticed fewer vegetables on the plate.

this recipe is fabulous as written; the kind of thing you might scarf down straight from the fridge. but as a california girl, a west coast person, this is how i adapted this classic warm weather recipe.

i bought the egg noodles and cucumbers at the berkeley bowl, and the radishes and scallions at the new tuesday farmers market near sweet adeline. everything else was already in our pantry.
peanut-sesame noodles

1 pound fresh chinese egg noodles

3 1/2 T. soy sauce
3 T. toasted sesame oil
2 T. seasoned rice vinegar
2 T. tahini
1-2 T. chunky peanut butter
1 T. grated ginger
2 tsp. grated garlic
2 tsp. chili-garlic paste

6 scallions cut into 2" lengths
2-3 persian cucumbers cut into fine batons to match the size of the noodles
1 bunch radishes, cut in half, and then into wedges

black or blonde sesame seeds and/or chopped roasted peanuts

1. cook the noodles until just done in well salted boiling water. rinse well with cold water and drain thoroughly.

2. in a large bowl whisk together all dressing ingredients. i use a microplane for both the ginger and garlic. add noodles and combine.

3. fold in vegetables reserving a few scallions and radish wedges to garnish the top. sesame seeds and/or peanuts add texture and are a nice touch as well. serve chilled.