Monday, December 28, 2015

Mini-pies and 5-Hour FOMOs for JWhitie's 30th Birthday Shindig

To Celebrate His Honorable Joshua White on the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Day of His Birth

 We did it up right:
5-Hour FOMO (aka Five Hour Joshua)

-One 5-Hour Energy Bottle per person
-One bottle of Makers Mark (or equivalent whiskey)
-One jar of Maraschino cherries

Empty 5-Hour Energy down a drain or into an abandoned ditch or magical well. Fill with whiskey. Chug with friends so as to hear cartoon-quality chug-chug-chug noise. Eat a cherry.

Savory Mini-Pies

-One container of Pillsbury biscuit dough
-Some stuff you might want to put inside it, like ground beef, gorgonzola, onions, and peppers.

-Sautée up beef. Stuff it inside of biscuit dough and follow directions on container.

Sweet Mini Pies
-One container of Pillsbury biscuit dough
-Some stuff you might want to put inside it, like canned pumpkin, Nutella, marshmallow, etc.

-Dish delicious things into biscuit dough and follow directions on container. Consider sprinkling cinnamon and sugar on outside.

Rosh Hashanah 2015

Ringing in the New Year in Jamaica Plain, MA with Becca, Mandala, and JWhitie

Menu: Bubbe Mildred's brisket (courtesy of Cheryl's Vitow Family Cookbook), followed by apple cake taken directly from Smitten Kitchen, served with some Ben & Jerry's Vanilla, bien sur.


For the apples
6 apples, (McIntosh?)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the cake
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 cup vegetable oil (safflower, sunflower, olive and coconut oil also work, as does melted butter)
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into 1-inch chunks. Toss with cinnamon and 5 tablespoons sugar and set aside.
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix wet ingredients into dry ones; scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples (and their juices) over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.*
Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter.
Do ahead: This cake is awesome on the first day but absolutely glorious and pudding-like on the days that follow, so feel free to get an early start on it. I keep it at room temperature covered with foil. 

Potato Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies (Nikki & Owen's Cookie Party 2015)

From Smitten Kitchen, bien sur.
-Super important substitution: Chocolate chips instead of walnuts.
-Note: In the future, I'd use a saltier potato chip, or add salt to the batter. This also might taste good with caramel.

Yields 3-4 Dozen

1 cup (2 sticks or 225 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon table salt (optional, see note above)
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup finely crushed potato chips
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
Potato chip salt finish (optional)
1 tablespoon crushed potato chips
1 1/2 teaspoons flaked sea salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter with 1/2 cup of the sugar until lightly and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla and table salt, if using, until smooth. Add the chocolate, 1/2 cup crushed potato chips and flour together and mix until just combined. 
Place the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Scoop a tablespoon-sized mound of dough and form it into a small ball with the palms of your hands. Roll the ball in the remaining sugar until coated. Place on prepared baking sheet and using the bottom of a drinking glass to slightly flatten the cookies. Cookies only need to be an inch apart; they only spread a little. Sprinkle with a few flakes of the potato chip salt, if using. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake cookies until lightly golden at the edges, about 15 minutes. Transfer to cool on a wire rack.

Smitten Kitchen Chicken Soup

Oh. My. God.

Yield: 5 quarts, or about 10 to 12 meal-sized servings

2 medium-large yellow onions, unpeeled, halved or 1 large onion plus 1 large leek, cleaned and cut lengthwise
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed a little
1 large carrot
1 large parnsip (optional)
1 celery rib
4 quarts water
4 pounds chicken bones (from about two carcasses leftover from a roast or rotisserie) or a combination of fresh chicken wings (my first choice), backs, necks or feet
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf

To Finish
3 bone-in skin-on chicken breast halves
2 large carrots, peeled and diced or 1 large carrot and 1 large parsnip, diced
1 large leek, trimmed and sliced into 1/2-inch segments
1 to 2 celery ribs, chopped or diced
9 ounces thin egg noodles or soup noodles of your choice
2 tablespoons finely-chopped flat-leaf parsley

Make the broth:
Combine all ingredients in a large (6 to 8 quart) stock pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a gentle simmer, skim any unpleasant looking foam (“skim the scum” is kitchen parlance for this step, but I’m trying to be polite) and cover with a lid. Simmer for 2 1/2 hours. 

Cook the chicken:
Add whole chicken breasts to simmering broth. Simmer for 20 minutes, until they’re cooked through, then strain broth [for stovetop method] or simply remove cooked chicken breasts and set them aside. Taste broth, and adjust seasoning if needed. 

Finish the soup:
Add diced vegetables to simmering broth on stove and cook for 5 minutes, until firm-tender. Add soup noodles and cook according to package instructions, usually 6 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, once chicken breasts are cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones and shred or chop into small chunks. Return chicken to soup and simmer for 2 minutes, until heated through. Finish with parsley and serve to some very lucky people.