11/25/09

The Stinking Rose



You can just about imagine my reaction when I learned that Kim Alexis’ diet regimen included garlic. It was, "Who?" "What?"

Well, I heard it from a friend of a friend, of a friend's cousin, twice removed...so it must be true. Apparently, the 80s supermodel is a big advocate of the Italian perfume, and routinely consumes copious amounts of garlic.

If I had only known that garlic was the crucial component in Alexis’ perfect face and body, I would’ve grown my own stinking garden 30 years ago.

Of course, I’m only kidding. It's a well-known fact that, I too, could’ve been a thupermodel...if I had longer legs, flawless features, and the appetite of a fruit bat.

But no. Instead, I opted to be a work in progress.
But I will never denounce garlic! And this creamy, garlicky soup with just a gentle kick from the cayenne pepper is one way I procure my intake of the pungent lily.
I urge you to make it, soon.




Roasted-Garlic and Gorgonzola Bisque
Serves 6.

2 tablespoons olive oil
30 whole cloves garlic, about 3 bulbs
¾ cup dry sherry
¼ cup brandy
4 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 quart chicken stock
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup heavy whipping cream
6 ounces Gorgonzola
Salt & Freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the whole garlic cloves to the pan, decrease the heat to low, and cook until cloves are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Carefully add the sherry and brandy, increase the heat to high, and reduce the liquid by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the diced potatoes and chicken stock. Cook until the potatoes are tender.

Purée with a handheld blender, or in batches in a blender or food processor. Return soup to the pan, and add the cayenne pepper and heavy cream. Cook over low heat until the cream almost comes to a boil. Whisk 4 ounces of the cheese into the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve the soup, topped with the remaining Gorgonzola. The one pictured below was my serving, which I topped with hot sauce. I like heat.
Adapted from Caprial's Bistro-Style Cuisine.



I sometimes serve this soup with plain crostini, or bread sticks, using a basic pizza dough for the latter. I used kitchen scissors to snip Vs at one end of the breadsticks to create the "wheat sheaf."



But hey, this time of year, the Bread Leaves would also be a nice touch.


I'd like to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
May your turkey be plump and your waistline plumper, if only for one day.
It is Thanksgiving, after all.

11/10/09

I Heart Oatmeal



T
he experts agree. A bowl of cooked oatmeal is a healthy, fiber-rich and cholesterol-lowering way to start your day.
The experts have also concluded that dark chocolate (as opposed to that icky, solid white substance that tries to pass itself off as chocolate) is loaded with powerful antioxidants.
It is instrumental in decreasing bad LDL cholesterol. And flavonol-rich dark chocolate promotes healthy blood flow, similar in effect to a low dose aspirin.

Got a headache? Have a chocolate chip cookie.
Got high cholesterol? Have an oatmeal, chocolate chip cookie.

And now—by the power infested in me—by the commonwealth of (Hershey) Pennsylvania, I give you my family's favorite recipe for chewy, oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies.



These may never win a beauty contest, but neither has Keith Richards, and look how popular he is. Buh-dum-chhh!
Forgive me Keith. Call me.

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

2¼ cups AP flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup molasses
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1½ cups semisweet chocolate chunks
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line sheet pans with parchment paper. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
Using a mixer, cream the butter and both sugars, until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, vanilla extract and the molasses. Beat until blended.
With mixer on low, add the flour mixture, and beat just until blended. Stir in the oats, chocolate chunks, and walnuts, if using, until evenly distributed.
Drop the dough by tablespoons onto prepared sheet pans, about 2" apart. Bake about 10 to 12 minutes. Yield: 5 dozen cookies.




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And because I got your back, here is another wonderful cookie recipe for you. This one comes from my friend Sharon, whose blog is like taking a trip to the beautiful Canary Islands, but cheaper than airline tickets and hotels.

Only changes I made to Sharon's recipe were to substitute butter for the margarine, because butter is what I always have on hand. And using chopped walnuts, instead of raisins, because my ball and chain dislikes them.



Willow's Glazed Apple Cookies

Cookies:

½ cup soft margarine
¾ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
2 cups AP flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup chopped nuts (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
2 peeled and grated, medium size, Granny Smith apples
1 cup chopped raisins
¼ cup milk

Glaze:
1½ cups icing sugar
1 tablespoon soft butter
dash of vanilla
pinch of salt
dash of cinnamon
2 - 3 tablespoons of heavy cream

Stir well to make a very soft but not runny icing.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cream margarine with sugar . Add egg and spices. Beat until well blended.
Add apples and milk.
Sift together the dry ingredients adding raisins and nuts, if using.
Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture and stir well until blended.
Drop by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets, 2” apart.
Bake 13 - 14 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack and cool approximately 10 minutes. Glaze while cookies are still warm.




Enjoy my friends. And I'll see you in health.