MoM Sept. ’09 Bon Appetit: Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cherries

Okay! Welcome back to another segment of our Magazine of the Month: Bon Appetit! This time I am pretty sure I got the month right: September.

Yes, it’s from the year 2009. Smart asses.

My photos for these cookies were few and not that attractive, and it’s too bad because the cookies are quite wonderful. I should have tried harder to do them justice and now I’m kicking myself.

Here’s the Bon Appetit photo. My end result does look almost exactly like the cookies in the professional photo, with the exception of my use of white chips rather than chocolate and my dried cherries were a little smaller.

mare_chocolate_chip_oatmeal_cookies_with_dried_cherries_v
Courtesy of Bon Appetit

I was really pleased with the white chips in the cookie because it gave the cherries a slightly candied flavor. The cookies were thin and crisp and the oatmeal, because it is processed quite finely, lends itself not only to the flavor, but also to a more substantial structure.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cherries

I’m aiming to do more of those “in process montages” that I’ve put together in the past, where there will be 4 – 8 small photos all lumped together to show the food as it is being made. I should have done that here, because I was really excited at how this dough is put together:

Food processor, baby!

Yes, nearly the entire thing is done right inside the food processor for the comfort, ease, and pleasure of not being irritated that someone sprayed cookie batter onto three walls, ceiling and both cats by unauthorized mixer speeds.

Not that it’s ever happened to me or anything.

Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cherries
Adapted from Bon Appetit, September 2009
Makes about 4 dozen, Prep: 20 minutes, Total: 1 hour

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups dried tart cherries (6 ounces)
1 1/4 cups white chips

Position 1 rack in bottom third and 1 rack in top third of oven; preheat to 375°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Blend first 4 ingredients in processor 30 seconds. Add eggs; process to blend. Add next 4 ingredients. Using on/off turns, process until oats are coarsely chopped and mixture is blended. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in cherries and white chips.

Spoon batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart (cookies will spread). Bake until tops of cookies are golden brown, rotating baking sheets after 7 minutes, about 12 minutes total. Transfer cookies to rack; let cool. Repeat with remaining batter.

This is a fun cookie – it just tastes fun! – and the addition of cherries is a great twist for the fall season. The oats can be processed as finely as you want, so if you aren’t crazy about the texture of oatmeal then you can keep on pulsing until it’s a texture you like. I love oatmeal, so I didn’t mind having some flakes mixed around. The original recipe calls for baking them for 14 minutes, but I found that to be too long. Take your cookie out when the center is still a little pale, as it will continue to bake on the rack/cookie sheet. Baking them until consistently brown throughout will leave them a little hard after they’ve completely cooled. Despite being a flat, crisp cookie, these seem sturdy enough for travel so I’ll probably drop them in my Christmas cookie gift boxes again this year.

Last year I made a cookie for my Christmas boxes that was similar to this (Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies). But you’ll notice that it’s a soft, risen drop cookie – basically, it’s a chocolate chip cookie with extra goober in it. This new version is a flat, crispy oatmeal cookie, but with extra goober in it.

The point is, drop cookies all pretty much hail from a small handful of recipes and they all have slight variations on each other, with different goobers added. If you can make one drop cookie, you can make them all. No exception.

If you like to bake but don’t want to go through the fuss and mess of putting them together, try this out. It’s two more steps than a purchased cookie dough, and ten times more satisfying.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cherries 2

Okay, I don’t know the exact ratio of satisfaction – the above number was just a guess. If it’s that important I can get a math nerd on the case.

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MoM Sept‘09 Bon Appetit: Grilled Turkey Burgers with Monterey Jack & Smoky Aioli

You may have noticed that our September Magazine of the Month is, in fact, no longer available on the shelves, as it is the August edition of Bon Appetit. Fear not fellow food lovers, Bon Appetit gives it up for free on their website!

Bon Appetit September 2009 Table of Contents

And, as they say, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

BA Turkey Burger with Cheddar and Smoky Aioli
Photo courtesy of Nigel Cox, Bon Appetit

My first jump into the magazine was their turkey burger and I’m shamelessly starting with the Bon Appetit photo. Reason being, this burger was absolutely rockin’. My own photos, not so much.

I adapted this burger to my own needs quite a bit because it calls for things I didn’t have, wouldn’t purchase, or wouldn’t eat. First, it called for seeds that are first smoked then finely ground. I had the ground spices already (cumin and coriander) and didn’t want to spend additional money just so I could toast a teaspoon of seeds, so I just used what I had and it came out fine. Cumin was definitely the more prominent, but not overbearing, spice. Funnily enough, this burger also calls for smoked paprika, which my spouse hates, but mixed with the rest of the spices, the lemon juice and olive oil, he didn’t notice. You could also toss the paprika in for some toasting if you wanted to. I was worried about bringing out too much of the paprika and turning my spouse off of the meal, so I didn’t. I snuck it into the aioli like a ninja… albeit, a ninja holding a container of bright red spice, but whatever. It worked and he loved it.

BA Turkey Burgers 2

Per usual, I fixed these bad boys on a George Foreman set to high heat. After it was warmed up enough, I gave the bottom plate a decent brushing of olive oil (about a tablespoon or two) and then set the patties on top. As I’ve said previously, compacting a burger is a really bad idea so I did not close the top. I also doubled the burger size. I used a pound of turkey for two burgers and, as you would imagine, at the end of the burger I experienced a waistband emergency as my midsection reached full capacity and was ready to burst.

But they were good. So very good.

Here’s my very busy sideview photo, with the second burger in the background and some onion rings poking into the picture. After I assembled the burgers and took the photos, it occurred to me that I should have put the tomatoes and spinach leaves on the bottom bun, put the patty and cheese on top, and photographed a lovely, open-faced burger. But by that time I was starving and smell of burgers was prevalent throughout the house, so I said to hell with the pretty photos and started eating. I’m sure you understand.

BA Turkey Burgers 3

Grilled Turkey Burgers with Monterey Jack and Smoky Aioli
Adapted from Bon Appetit

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
3 – 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground turkey
4 1/3-inch-thick red onion slices
4 slices white cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
4 sesame-seed hamburger buns (or something that tastes fun – not plain)
Arugula or baby spinach
Tomato slices

Toast cumin and coriander in small pot over medium-high heat until aromatic, shaking skillet often, about 1 1/2 minutes. Cool. Whisk mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, smoked paprika, garlic, and ground spices in small bowl. Season aioli to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Aioli can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Place turkey in medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons aioli; mix gently. Using damp hands, divide turkey mixture into 4 equal portions, then form each into scant 3/4-inch-thick patty, about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. (Or go the MM route and split that sucker into two patties — wear tight, nonstretch pants at your own risk!) DO AHEAD Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat) or Foreman (high heat, just the way Georgie likes it — yeah, that’s a little weird, I know). Sprinkle burgers with salt and pepper.

Toast buns. Grill turkey burgers 5 minutes (or 7 – 8 minutes) for the MM-sized gigantic burgers). Turn over; grill until almost cooked through, about 4 minutes. Top each burger with 1 cheese slice and grill until meat is cooked through and cheese melts, about 1 minute longer. Place 1 turkey burger on each of 4 bun bottoms. Top each with dollop of aioli and some arugula/spinach and tomato slices. Cover burgers with bun tops and serve.

I liked these a lot and will probably make them again. I was, at first, concerned with the turkey drying out because I’ve had bad experiences with cooking ground turkey in the past — typically I choose ground chicken over turkey for that very reason. But it wasn’t a problem. The burgers came out moist and very flavorful, and the scent of the toasted spices was a really nice touch. The turkey makes them very hearty, so I could see myself serving this for a weeknight meal in the middle of winter.

Overall, the time it took to make these was very short — I’d say 30 minutes? Prep time was about 7 minutes to make the aioli and spices, and the rest of the time went to toasting the buns and cooking the beef. By the time my oven was preheated and my onion rings were baked, the burgers were done.

Delicious.

BA Turkey Burgers 4

If you’re anything like my spouse, you will see the above photo and hone in on the bun. Your words will be, “OH MY GOD, WHAT IS THAT WHITE STUFF ON TOP? IS IT FUNGUS? MOLD? DROOL FROM THE EVER-ELUSIVE SASQUATCH?”

It’s flour and the buns were fresh and delicious. Relax and enjoy.

Salad w/Avocado-Lime Vinagrette and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds: the Article About a Chef’s Fiesta Strikes Back

If you remember last time, we left our intrepid hero wondering where the hell the flavor went in his sauce that he should have made with raisins instead of prunes, probably letting them marinade in the wine before blending them up and substituting tomato paste for the tomato.

Well the very next day he made this… and all was well and good and the ghost of the pork tenderloin came to him in a blue glowy vision and forgave him for messing up the previous dish, and said “the avocado will be with you… always…”

 

Salad with Avocado-Lime Vinaigrette and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

from Sept 2009 Bon Appetit

Ingredients

VINAIGRETTE

  • 9 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced peeled seeded avocado
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup unsalted shelled raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
  • 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3/4 teaspoon minced seeded serrano chile

SALAD

  • 1 5-ounce package mixed baby greens
  • 2 avocados, halved, seeded, peeled, sliced
  • 1 12-ounce container cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
  • 1 medium jicama, peeled, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices, then 1/3-inch sticks
  • 1/2 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely crumbled cotija cheese or feta cheese (about 7 ounces)
  • Spicy Pumpkin Seeds (pepitas roasted in a bit of oil and then seasoned with salt, sugar and cayenne pepper)

 

Preparation

VINAIGRETTE

  • Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

SALAD

  • Place greens in very large bowl. Add avocados, tomatoes, cucumber, jicama, and onion. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Sprinkle with cheese and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Not alot of prep photos on this one, but here’s the first stage:

salad pic 1

..and then I put the dressing on it…

salad pic 2

..oh yeah…time to smother you in cheese and spicy pepitas…

salad pic 3

..oh yeah.. that’s the ticket.

~Citizen Chef

MoM Sept ’09: Roasted Pork Tenderloin w/Prune and Ancho Chile Sauce: It’s a Long Way to the Meh if You Want to Rock and Roll

So here is the recipe in all it’s glory:

Roasted Pork Tenderloin w/Prune and Ancho Chile Sauce
Courtesy of Bon Appetit

Ingredients

SAUCE

  • 4 large dried ancho chiles (1 1/2 to 2 ounces), stemmed
  • 1/2 white onion, halved through root end
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 pound pitted prunes
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup orange juice

PORK

  • 3 1-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation

SAUCE

  • Arrange chiles in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat; toast on both sides until slightly blistered and puffed, pressing often with spatula, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer chiles to medium bowl (reserve skillet). Cover chiles with hot water and soak until soft, about 45 minutes. Drain chiles.
  • Meanwhile, place reserved skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, tomato, and garlic to skillet. Cook until slightly charred, turning often with tongs, about 10 minutes. Transfer to work surface. Coarsely chop onion and tomato; place in medium bowl. Reserve garlic.
  • Place strainer over large saucepan. Working in batches, puree chiles, prunes, onion, tomato, and reserved garlic in blender with broth, wine, and orange juice until smooth. Press puree through strainer into saucepan. Discard solids in strainer. Simmer sauce in pan until reduced to 4 cups, stirring often, 10 to 15 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 4 days ahead. Cool, cover, and chill.

PORK

  • Arrange pork in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Pour soy sauce over. Turn to coat. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours, turning occasionally.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove pork from soy sauce; pat dry. Sprinkle pork all over with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over high heat. Add 1 pork tenderloin to skillet. Sear on all sides until brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pork tenderloin.
  • Transfer 2/3 cup prune sauce to small bowl; reserve remaining sauce for serving. Brush pork with some sauce. Roast until thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 145°F to 150°F, turning occasionally and brushing with more sauce, about 25 minutes. Transfer to cutting board. Let rest 10 minutes.
  • Cut pork crosswise on slight diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange on platter. Spoon some of reserved sauce over. Serve with remaining sauce.

 

See I think that looks dynamite.  I would think you would get a real depth of flavor from the prunes and the ancho chiles and the roasting of the tomato and onions.  I mean it even looks awesome:

prune ancho chili sauce

Ignoring the finger in the lower right hand corner, doesn’t that look all unctuous and umami and junk??  Well it wasn’t!!!  The dish as a whole was fine, but you really can’t go wrong with pork tenderloin marinated in soy sauce.  But the sauce was watery and blah.  I did use a pretty big tomato which might have made the sauce less rich, and I do admit the prunes I used didn’t taste all that great, but they are prunes after all.  I even let the sauce reduce alot more than normal to try and get that richness I was looking for.  No soup. 

Here is the finished product, with Roasted New Potatoes with Poblano Chile Rajas from that same article:

ancho chili pork

Yeah I know, it looks awesome.  And we ate it.  But it was a solid B at best.  Does this bode ill for this month’s MoM???  Fear not gentle readers, salvation is coming!!  And it’s from the same article as those two…. 

~Citizen Chef

MoM Sept ’09: Bon Appetit

september09_cover_v

 

Aiyyo Bo knows this (what?) and Bo knows that (what?)
But Bo don’t know jack, cause Bo can’t rap
Well whaddya know, the Di-Dawg, is first up to bat
No batteries included, and no strings attached

..in this case I will be taking the role of Phife Dawg to Miss Macchiato’s Q Tip.  Meaning of course the first MoM in a while with more people cooking from it than, well, just her.  Make sure you grab your issue so you can play along at home kids!!

 

~Citizen Chef

MoM Aug ‘09 ATK American Classics: Stuffed Tomatoes

I’m not a vegetarian, but it’s food like this that might actually sway me to become one: Stuffed Tomatoes with Parmesan, Garlic and Basil.

Stuffed Tomatoes

We’re on the final days of our August 2009 Magazine of the Month, American Classics, and I’m rounding it off with a delicious vegetarian dish that can be served as a side or main: Stuffed Tomatoes.

The recipe calls for 6 “large, ripe” tomatoes. I generally prefer tomatoes on the vine, but given only the description of “large” and nothing more, I automatically think “beefsteak” because they’re the largest that I can commonly find in my grocery store. Because I was serving only two people I halved the number of tomatoes, thinking I wouldn’t eat a whopping 6 stuffed tomatoes. Who would do that, right?

Oh, my. If only I knew then what I know now: I would have eaten a truckload!

This reminded me of my dad’s tomato plants. When I was a kid, my dad used to grow tomatoes in the backyard. As they’d ripen, he’d pick them right off the vine, quarter and sprinkle them with a little salt on top. We’d eat ’em just like that.

Similarly, our Stuffed Tomatoes are hollowed out, sprinkled with kosher salt and allowed to sit, upside down, for 30 minutes. Not only does the salt eliminate the excess moisture, but it adds a flavor that reminded me of my dad and those delicious, salted tomatoes he’d serve up as summertime snacks.

As it turns out, three beefsteak tomatoes requires the full recipe of filling — not halved. Even with the full recipe of filling I wasn’t able to fill up my tomatoes all the way. They were loosely packed to the top and, after cooking, sunk into the tomatoes a bit.

Here’s an “after baking” pic, and you can see how the filling sunk into the tomatoes:

Stuffed Tomatoes: Baked

If you like the gigantic beefsteak tomatoes, make more filling. It’s not that hard or time consuming, anyway.

Here’s another little trick: Place your tomatoes into a nonstick muffin tray to bake. The muffin tin will enable the tomatoes to retain their shape — after they come out of the oven, they will need to be eaten right away because they’ll spread and start to fall apart.

Stuffed Tomatoes 4

This above shot was taken after the tomatoes had been resting for 4 or so minutes. The tomato starts to spread a bit — which is fine, because they get cut up and inhaled pretty quickly anyway.

If you have extra fresh bread, tomatoes and basil to get rid of, you’ve gotta make these. No kidding around, these tomatoes were delicious.

Stuffed Tomatoes with Parmesan, Garlic and Basil
Adapted from American Classics

6 large firm, ripe tomatoes, 1/8 inch sliced off steam end, cored and seeded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large slice white bread, torn into quarters
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan (note: I used Romano)
1/3 chopped fresh basil leaves
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
Ground black pepper

Sprinkle inside of each tomato with salt, and then place each tomato upside down on several layers of paper towels; let stand to remove excess moisture, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, about ten 1-second pulses (you should have about 3/4 cup). Toss bread crumbs with 1 tablespoon olive oil, Parmesan or Romano, basil, garlic, and pepper to taste in a small bowl; set aside.

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees; line bottom of 13×9 inch baking dish with foil or coat bottoms of muffin cups with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.

Roll up several sheets of paper towels and pat inside of each tomato dry. Arrange tomatoes in single layer in baking dish/muffin tin. Mound stuffing into tomatoes (about 1/4 cup per tomato); drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes.

A+. If you end up with extra tomatoes that you aren’t sure what to do with, give these stuffed tomatoes a try; they are delectable.

MoM Aug ‘09 ATK American Classics: Macaroni & Cheese

After making Thomas Keller’s Macaroni Gratin, putting together someone else’s Mac & Cheese felt like heresy. Granted, though they are both macaroni and cheese, comparing America’s Test Kitchen to Thomas Keller is like comparing apples to oranges. Maybe not even that close. It’s like comparing an orangutan’s butt to Mars.

Keller’s Macaroni Gratin is a light and creamy perfection with undertones of pepper and onion (that, quite honestly, cannot be omitted in this dish), creating a refined classic. Our Magazine of the Month, America’s Test Kitchen’s American Classics, takes most of our childhood memories and mashes it together into one, definitive dish that they feel is decidedly an American version. Now that I’ve been able to compare the two, I can honestly say:

Thomas Keller’s Macaroni Gratin is the deluxe Bentley of Macaroni and Cheese, the luxury automobile you can’t even afford to stand near and drool over.

America’s Test Kitchen’s Macaroni and Cheese is the 1978 Ford Station Wagon of Macaroni and Cheese, attempting refinement with faux wood panels and power windows. It’s even got that little pop-up seat in the very back. You know what I’m talking about.

I confess I’m a little disappointed in the results because I had read so many wonderful things about it lately on the internet. A couple of different websites had ripped this together and had determined there is no other mac and cheese. Unfortunately, I came to a completely different conclusion.

I think this would have been good if I had omitted one ingredient: Hot sauce. In the back of my mind I knew I shouldn’t stick it in there, but I wanted to be true to the recipe and review it as written. I don’t normally like hot sauce. Sometimes I do, but generally I don’t. So I should have known right away and that was my fault. Had I taken the hot sauce out, would it have been a good dish? Absolutely. Would it have then beaten the Bentley of Macaroni and Cheese? Not a chance. But it’s got a real homespun quality to it, and that’s why you may like it. Hot sauce enthusiasts, such as our web admin, will also enjoy. (I know you’re out there, pouring Frank’s Red Hot on everything you eat.)

CI Mac & Cheese

This mac and cheese is high in fat (three cans of evaporated milk, which has about twice the amount of fat as whole milk) and three kinds of cheese. Staying true to their American Classics theme, there’s a lot of processed American cheese. The creamy sauce has a little kick to it with the addition of hot sauce (which I already mentioned) and dry mustard. To top the whole thing off, a crispy, homemade bread topping is baked on top.

CI Mac & Cheese 3

Foolproof Macaroni and Cheese
From ATK’s American Classics
Serves 8 – 10

Bread Crumb Topping
3 slices hearty white sandwich bread torn into rough pieces
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Pasta and Cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni
Table salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 (12-ounce cans) evaporated milk
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon dry mustard
8 ounces (2 cups) extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
5 ounces (1 1/4 cups) American cheese, shredded
2 ounces (3/4 cup) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

CI Mac & Cheese 1

Directions

1. For the bread crumb topping: Pulse bread, melted butter and Parmesan in food processor until ground into coarse crumbs. Transfer to bowl.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.

3. For the macaroni and cheese: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add macaroni and 1 tablespoon salt; cook until pasta is al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain pasta and set aside.

4. Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in now-empty pot over medium-high heat until foaming. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture turns light brown, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in evaporated milk, hot sauce, nutmeg, mustard, and 2 teaspoons salt and cook until mixture begins to simmer and is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheeses and reserved cooking water until cheese melts. Stir in macaroni until completely coated.

CI Mac & Cheese 2

5. Transfer macaroni to 13×9-inch baking dish and top evenly with bread crumb topping. Bake until cheese is bubbling around edges and top is golden brown, about 20 – 25 minutes. Let sit for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

CI Mac & Cheese 4

If I made this again I’d omit the mustard and hot sauce, and add diced onion and fresh ground pepper to the roux. That would have fixed its problems. Unfortunately, Thomas Keller’s Bentley of Mac and Cheese is the one for me.

MoM Aug ’09 ATK American Classics: Pepperoni Pan Pizza

We’re still cruising through our Magazine of the Month selection, America’s Test Kitchen’s ancillary publication of “American Classics”.

Actually, I take the “cruising” comment back. Earlier this month we were cruising. Seeing as how the month is up in two weeks and I’ve only gone through three of the recipes, cruise control is off and I’m racing to the finish line like Snake Plissken racing to the Manhattan containment wall! Save me, Lee Van Cleef!

At any rate, I’m hoping to have a total of three selections from the MoM up by the end of the week.

Sliced Pepperoni Pan Pizza

So let’s talk pepperoni pizza. I love the idea of making pizza at home, but crust is often an issue for me: If I have to purchase dough, I figure I may as well skip the whole thing and just get delivery. After going through a multitude of different pan pizza crusts, the Test Kitchen came up with one that isn’t greasy or overly doughy, and is very little effort. I made my dough entirely in my food processor and no kneading is necessary. The pizzas can be made in 90 minutes from start to finish, which isn’t bad when you’re making the dough from scratch!

Degreasing the pepperoni is also a quick and effective little trick — it’s microwaved on paper towels for 30 seconds before topping them on your pie.

Baked Pepperoni Pan Pizza

I would have added more pepperoni than what you see here, but I made a mistake and accidentally bought some perverted concoction that had been marinated in Tabasco sauce. Hoo boy, was that hot! Had this been normal pepperoni, I would have thrown on twice as much.

Pepperoni Pan Pizza – Dough
Adapted from ATK American Classics
Makes two 9-inch pizzas

1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons skim milk, warmed to 110 degrees
2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant or rapid-rise yeast
1/2 teaspoon table salt

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, turn it off. Lightly grease large bowl with cooking spray. Coat each of two 9-inch cake pans with 3 tablespoons olive oil.

Mix milk, sugar, and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in measuring cup. Mix flour, yeast and salt in food processor. Set machine to dough and pulse to mix dry ingredients together. In three batches, add milk mixture while pulsing the dough. After the dough comes together, turn the machine to on, and let the dough mix together until it forms a ball and is smooth (about 2 minutes). Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, gently shape into a ball, and place in the greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in warm oven until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Transfer dough to lightly floured surface, divide in half, and lightly roll each half into a ball. Working with 1 dough ball at a time, roll and shape dough into 9 1/2-inch round and press with knuckles into oiled pan.Cover with plastic wrap and set in warm spot (not in oven) until puffy and slightly risen, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees.

Precooked Pepperoni Pan Pizza

I found that this dough was not at all difficult to work with. It doesn’t require kneading and doesn’t need a lot of flour in order to roll out. It’s not sticky, is easy to handle, and rolls out quickly without making a mess.

Pepperoni Pan Pizza – Tomato Sauce
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
table salt and ground black pepper

Topping
1 (3.5 ounce) package sliced pepperoni
3 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

While dough rises, cook oil and garlic in medium saucepan over low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, increase heat to medium, and cook until slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Put half of pepperoni on single layer on microwave-safe plate lined with 2 paper towels. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Discard paper towels and set pepperoni aside, repeat with remaining pepperoni and paper towels.

To assemble: Remove plastic wrap from dough. Ladle 2/3 cup sauce on each round, leaving 1/2 inch border around edges. Sprinkle each with 1 1/2 cups cheese and top with pepperoni. Bake until cheese is melted and pepperoni is browning around edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven; let pizzas rest in pans for 1 minute. Using spatula, transfer pizzas to cutting board and cut each into 8 wedges. Serve.

Pepperoni Pan Pizza

Other than the extra-hot pepperoni, I loved these little pizzas. I’d be proud to make these for an informal get together on a Friday night. The simple, crushed tomato sauce with garlic, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper was delicious and supported the pepperoni and cheese nicely. The pizzas do take a bit longer than a weeknight meal should (especially if you’re super hungry) but they turn out really well and are, surprisingly enough, really filling.

Our Magazine of the Month has this pizza, plus a gazillion more great American classics, so it would be well worth your while to pick up a copy. It will be on the stands until mid-October.

No, I don’t get any money to promote it, I just feel obligated to!

MoM Aug. ’09 – ATK American Classics: The Best Orange Sherbet

I’m normally not a huge fan of sherbet. Given the choice between ice cream and sherbet, I’d go for ice cream every time. I like fruit and all, but nothing seems to beat the luxurious creaminess of ice cream — Unless you wanted to whip up some heavy whipping cream and fold it into a really sweet blend of orange to create something that can only be described as an awesome creamsicle!!!!!!111

CI Orange Sherbet

If you couldn’t tell by my excitement and abuse of exclamation marks, I love creamsicles. For you young whippersnappers out there who don’t know what a creamsicle is — it’s a flavored ice pop on the outside and vanilla ice cream on the inside. As a kid, they were my favorite. This sherbet is a fun, refined version, and incredibly creamy no matter how long you let it sit in the freezer. After eating this amazing dessert, I will never buy another sherbet from the store. This is the way to go. There is no other.

Orange Sherbet in Ice Cream Maker

This treat comes to us by way of our August Magazine of the Month, American Classics. It’s just a sampling of what’s in the America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated larger book by the same name. I like the magazine version because it’s cheaper and Cook’s Illustrated has enough of my money right now. The magazine is out on the shelves until mid-October and is filled with a ton of really delicious recipes, so head on out and pick up your copy before its too late.

Fresh Orange Sherbet
Adapted from ATK’s American Classics

1 1/2 tablespoon grated orange zest from 1 to 2 oranges
1 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 cups orange juice, preferably unpasteurized fresh-squeezed
3 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 to 2 lemons
2/3 cup heavy cream

1. Process zest, sugar, and salt in food processor until damp, ten to fifteen 1-second pulses. With machine running, add orange juice and lemon juice in slow, steady stream; continue to process until sugar is fully dissolved, about 1 minute. Strain mixture through nonreactive fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl, then cover with plastic wrap and chill in freezer until very cold, about 40 degrees, 30 to 60 minutes. (Alternatively, set bowl over larger bowl containing ice water.) Do not let mixture freeze.

2. When mixture is cold, using whisk, whip cream in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Whisking constantly, add juice mixture in steady stream, pouring against edge of bowl. Immediately start ice cream machine and add juice/cream mixture to canister; churn until sherbet has texture of soft-serve ice cream, 25 to 30 minutes.

3. Remove canister from machine and transfer sherbet to storage container; press plastic wrap directly against surface of sherbet and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours. (Can be wrapped well in plastic wrap and frozen for up to one week.) To serve, let sherbet stand at room temperature until slightly softened and instant-read thermometer inserted into sherbet registers 12 to 15 degrees.

4. Nom until you explode, or at least until you can’t get up out of your chair.

Orange Sherbet 2

P.S. In case you’re wondering, the ice cream maker I use is a Cuisinart. You can pick one up for $55.00 on Amazon.com, or get the newest version at William Sonoma for $59.00. No salt or ice required. Just plug it in and watch it go. I absolutely love mine.

MoM Aug. ‘09 – ATK American Classics: Whoopie Pies

I was first introduced to Whoopie Pies by Martha Stewart who made them with her sons during one of her shows. I was really interested in the recipe, which I put into a plain notepad file on my PC desktop where it’s sat there for years, untouched. “One day, I’ll make these,” I’d tell myself, and of course never get around to it. Our latest Magazine of the Month had printed its own delectable version, so I decided to jump right in!

American Classics - Mini

Not really a cookie and not quite a cake, Whoopie Pies are about as big as your head and filled with a light, fluffy concoction of either vegetable shortening or marshmallow creme. This one brought to us by ATK involves marshmallow, which scared me at first because I’m not big on having a mouthful of marshmallow. When I took my first bite and found that the marshmallow had been diluted and refined slightly by adding lots of butter and a pinch of salt, a wonderful balance had been reached. The chocolate sandwich portion is quite soft and cake-like in texture, but strong enough to be held in your hands without breaking. You may think these are quite unremarkable, as did I when I first assembled them. But after I took the first bite — and then couldn’t stop myself — I realized how truly remarkable this little American classic is. Reportedly, when Amish farmers found these in their lunch pails, they would shout, “Whoopie!”

Whoopie Pies

Whoopie, indeed!

Whoopie Pies
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen: American Classics
Serves 6

Cakes
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup packed light brown sugar (as fresh as you can get)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened but still cool (I stick mine in the microwave for about 10 seconds)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

Filling
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 tablespoon salt
1 3/4 – 2 cups marshmallow creme (just dump the whole jar of fluff in there)

For the cakes: Adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

With electric mixer on medium speed, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in egg until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, then beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and beat in one-third of flour mixture then half of buttermilk. Repeat with half of remaining flour mixture, then remaining buttermilk, and finally the remaining flour mixture. Using rubber spatula, give batter final stir.

Using 1/3 cup measure, scoop 6 mounds of batter onto each baking sheet ,spacing mounds about 3 inches apart. (Be sure to do this — they will spread out, big time!)

Whoopie Pies - batter
Sure, they look like German Shepard sized dog turds, but I promise they’ll come out of the oven looking delicious.

Bake until cakes spring back when pressed, 15 to 18 minutes, switching and rotating pans halfway through baking. Cool completely on baking sheets, at least 1 hour.

Whoopie Pies - baked
See? Amazing.

For the filling: With mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate filling until slightly firm, about 30 minutes. (Bowl can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

Dollop 1/3 cup filling on center of flat side of 6 cakes. Top with flat side of remaining 6 cakes and gently press until filling spreads to edge of cake. Serve. Whoopie Pies can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 3 days.

Whoopie Pies - assembly

P.S. You’re welcome for the dog turd comment. LOL