Archives for September 2014

Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle
Look no further for a Peanut Brittle recipe. Sharon has perfected the technique over 30 years and offers her tips for success.
  1. 2 cups granulated sugar (not extra fine)
  2. 1 cup light corn syrup
  3. 1 cup water
  4. 2 cups raw Spanish peanuts
  5. ½ t. salt
  6. 1 t. baking soda
  7. 1 T. butter
  8. 1 t. vanilla
  1. Liberally butter 3 or 4 cookie sheets and set them on towels on your countertop. Use towels even if your countertop is heat proof. They will prevent the hot candy from cooling too quickly.
  2. In a heavy three-quart saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture is clear.
  3. Add peanuts and salt. Cook to hard-crack stage (300 degrees F), stirring frequently. Use a good quality candy thermometer. This takes about 30 minutes. Don't rush it or it could burn. Stir more often and watch the temperature closely in the last 10 degrees of heating.
  4. Add soda, butter and vanilla; mix well.
  5. Pour mixture onto prepared cookie sheets in narrow (4 inch) lines.
  6. With a clean fork, push down any piles of peanuts.
  7. Fill the pan with clear water (no soap) and soak your utensils.
  8. When the outermost 1/8 inch of the candy is slightly firm, begin pulling the edges of the candy with a fork to make the candy thinner. (The candy will become a little thinner as it cools. Avoid pulling it too far or it will be fragile when cooled.)
  9. When each sheet of candy has become less liquid, pick it up by the edges and turn it over on the buttered cookie sheet to finish cooling.
  10. When the candy has completely cooled, break it into the desired size and store it in an airtight container.
  1. Source for raw Spanish peanuts: Bulk Fresh Pantry in Westmont
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Chocolate Cake with Rum Butter Sauce

Chocolate Cake with Rum Butter Sauce
For the cake
  1. 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  2. 8 T. butter
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1 cup sugar
  5. 1 t. vanilla extract
  6. 1/4 t. salt
  7. 1/2 cup flour
For the sauce
  1. 1 cup heavy cream
  2. 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  3. 8 T. butter
  4. 3 T. dark rum
  5. 1/2 t. vanilla extract
For the cake
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Butter a nine inch springform pan.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter over hot, not boiling water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
  3. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs at high speed for three to four minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue to beat until very thick, about five minutes. Beat in the vanilla, salt and cooled chocolate mixture. On low speed, blend in the flour.
  4. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
For the sauce
  1. Combine the cream, brown sugar and butter in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently until mixture boils. Boil for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in the rum and vanilla extract.
  2. Spoon a moderate amount of the warm sauce on a dessert plate. Top with a wedge of cake.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

A Batter Bowl & A Wooden Spoon by Dana Williams

photo (6)I’m a bit of an equipment junkie. Having spent the better part of the last twenty years working in kitchen stores, I’ve developed an extreme affection for cooking/baking tools and small electrics! Customers who ask me questions like “Do I really need this avocado slicer?” will be answered with a resounding “Absolutely!” I’d be lost without my stand mixer, my food processor, my VitaMix and my juicer.

So, that being said, my new mini obsession is baking without plugging in a single thing. My current two favorite pieces of “equipment” are my heavy beech French mixing spoon and my Simon Pearce batter bowl. Recently, I’ve turned out each of the following recipes more than a few times. Any recipe that calls for melted butter is usually pretty simple to mix up without a stand or hand mixer. My “Mom’s Best Granola” (self proclaimed!) starts with melted coconut oil mixed with cinnamon, honey and vanilla. Your kitchen will smell heavenly! These little Praline cookies come together in a flash and are buttery, crunchy and totally delicious. Try them both and let me know how you like them!

Mom’s Best Granola

Preheat oven to 325.
1 1/2 c rolled oats
1 c chopped walnuts
1 c sliced almonds
1 c unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 c coconut oil
1/4 c honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 t sea salt
Combine oats, walnuts, almonds, salt and coconut in bowl.
Combine coconut oil, cinnamon, honey and vanilla in small sauce pan. Pour over combined oat mixture and mix well. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 20 – 25 minutes, stirring every five minutes. Let cool on parchment paper and store at room temp.

Praline Cookies

Preheat oven to 375
1/2 c butter – melted
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1 egg – lightly beaten
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 1/2 c chopped pecans
Powdered sugar
Mix first six ingredients together and then stir in pecans. Using a small cookie scoop, roll into balls and place two inches apart on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 8 – 10 minutes until they just start to brown on edges. Remove from oven, let cool 2 minutes and dust liberally with powdered sugar. Makes 30 cookies.

Sweet Corn Fritters with Sriracha-Lime Greek Yogurt

Sweet Corn Fritters with Sriracha-Lime Greek Yogurt
  1. 1 cup flour
  2. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  5. 1/2 cup milk
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1/2 lime, zest and juice
  8. 2 cups fresh sweet corn kernels (from 3 to 4 ears, depending on size)
  9. 1/2 cup scallions, minced
  10. 1/3 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  11. 1/3 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Sriracha-Lime Greek Yogurt
  1. 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  2. 1/2 lime, zest and juice
  3. Sriracha, to taste
For the Fritters
  1. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and coriander. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and lime juice and zest. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, then fold the corn, scallions, cilantro, garlic, and cheddar cheese in until just combined.
  2. Heat a large heavy skillet (cast iron, preferably) and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. (Use an oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut, safflower, canola, or grapeseed.)
  3. Once the oil is hot, spoon large mounds of batter into the pan, flattening them slightly. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until fritters are nicely browned on the underside, then flip. When they are browned on the second side, remove them from the pan and place them on a plate or sheet lined with paper towel. Repeat until all the batter has been used up, adding more oil to the pan if needed.
For the Sriracha-Lime Greek Yogurt
  1. Mix together Greek yogurt and lime juice and zest. Add Sriracha a little bit at a time, until you have the heat level where you’d like it.
  1. Makes about 1 dozen fritters.
Adapted from Food 52
Adapted from Food 52
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Summer Corn Chowder

Summer Corn Chowder
Serves 6
  1. 6 medium ears of corn
  2. 6 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  3. 1 small onion
  4. 1 medium poblano, finely chopped
  5. 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  6. 1 small celery rib, finely chopped
  7. 3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
  8. 2 medium boiling potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cubed
  9. 1 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  11. Pinch of sugar
  12. 1 small bay leaf
  13. 2 cups light cream, at room temperature
  14. 1 cup milk
  15. Freshly ground black pepper
  16. Chopped parsley, for garnish
  1. Working over a bowl, cut the corn kernels from the cobs at about half their depth. Then, using the back of the knife, scrape the cobs over the bowl to release all the "milk"; set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, fry the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Crumble and reserve.
  3. Discard all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings from the pan. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the poblano pepper, jalapeño and celery and cook until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, salt, allspice, sugar, bay leaf and the reserved corn kernels and their "milk" and stir well. Cook over moderate heat until mixture begins to sizzle.
  4. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Stir in the cream and milk and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and season with black pepper to taste.
  5. Ladle the chowder into bowls and garnish with the crumbled bacon and parsley.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Dukkah

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Dukkah
  1. 2 large heads of cauliflower, broken into flowerets
  2. Olive oil for tossing with cauliflower to roast
  3. Peanut or sesame oil for the pan
  4. 2 small shallots, small dice
  5. 1 large rib celery or a portion of a celery root, cut into small dice
  6. 1 apple, peeled, cored, small dice
  7. 2 t. curry
  8. 1 t. coriander
  9. 2 T. dukkah (recipe to follow)
  10. 2 cloves garlic
  11. 1 T. minced fresh ginger (from about 1/2-inch piece, peeled)
  12. 1 tsp. kosher salt
  13. 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
  14. 2 c. vegetable stock, more may be necessary
  15. Dukkah (recipe to follow)
  16. Cilantro for garnish
  1. ½ c. almonds
  2. 2 T. sesame seeds
  3. 2 t. coriander seeds
  4. 2 t. cumin seeds
  5. ½ t. fennel seeds
  6. ¼ t. whole black peppercorns
  7. 1 t. kosher salt
For the soup
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss cauliflower flowerets with olive oil until they are well coated. Spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment in a single layer, sprinkle with kosher salt and roast until they are charred and begin to brown, about 20 minutes.
  3. To a Dutch oven, add about a tablespoon of sesame or peanut oil and set over medium heat. Add the shallots, celery, and 2 T. dukkah, curry, and coriander; cook until translucent and fragrant, about five minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, sautéing for an additional minute or two.
  4. Add the roasted cauliflower and stock; bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and cover. Simmer soup, covered for about 15 minutes or until cauliflower is very tender.
  5. Transfer soup in batches to a blender to puree or alternately use an immersion blender until soup is creamy and smooth.
  6. Transfer soup back to pot and thin with additional vegetable stock if necessary or desired.
  7. Return to heat to bring to serving temperature.
  8. Ladle into dishes, garnish with a dusting of Dukkah and chopped cilantro.
  1. Toast almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until golden brown; cool. Toast sesame seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and peppercorns in the same skillet as the almonds were toasted in until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. With a mortar and pestle, food processor, or coffee grinder, grind nuts and spices to a course grind.
  3. Spice blend can be made a week in advance and stored airtight at room temperature.
  1. Dukkah is an Egyptian spice blend of toasted nuts and seeds.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Cardoon Gratin

Cardoon Gratin
This delicious gratin highlights the delicate, artichoke like flavor of cardoons.
  1. 3 cups heavy cream
  2. 1 cup Chicken Stock
  3. 1 bay leaf
  4. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  5. 3 lbs. cardoons
  6. 1 cup grated gruyere
  1. 1. Place cream, stock, and bay leaf in a large saucepan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Wash cardoons, then remove and discard tough outer stalks. Cut away thorns and pull off stringy fibers. Cut cardoons into 1½"–2" pieces, placing them immediately into cream mixture as you go, to prevent them from discoloring.
  2. 2. Bring cream mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until cardoons are tender, about 1 hour. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cardoon pieces to individual gratin dishes (or a 1-quart baking dish).
  3. 3. Preheat oven to 350°. Reduce cream mixture to about ¾ cup over medium heat, about 30 minutes. Discard bay leaf and divide reduced sauce equally between gratin dishes, sprinkle gruyère on top, and bake until golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Tomato and Corn Pie

Tomato and Corn Pie
  1. Dough
  2. 2 to 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  3. 1 T baking powder
  4. 1 3/4 t salt, divided
  5. 6 T cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  6. 3/4 cup cold whole milk
  1. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  2. 2 T fresh lemon juice
  3. 1 3/4 pounds beefsteak tomatoes, large dice (about 4 large)
  4. 1 1/2 cups corn (from about 2 ears), coarsely chopped by hand, divided
  5. 2 T finely chopped basil, divided
  6. 1 T finely chopped chives, divided
  7. 1/4 t black pepper, divided
  8. 7 ounces coarsely grated Smoked Fontina (1 3/4 cups), divided
  9. 1 egg for egg wash
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 tsp. salt in a bowl, then blend in cold butter (3/4 stick) with your fingertips or a pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. Add milk, stirring until mixture just forms dough, then gather into a ball. Divide dough in half and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes
  3. Roll dough into a 12-inch round (1/8 inch thick). Place in 9-inch pie plate. Pat the dough in with your fingers trim any overhang. Prick bottom with fork all over. Put the second half of the dough in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
  4. Whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice.
  5. Blanch tomatoes. Peel and dice large pieces of tomato and gently remove seeds. Let tomatoes drain on paper towel to remove excess moisture. Arrange half of tomatoes in crust, sprinkle with ½ the corn, 1 T basil, 1/2 T chives, 1/2 t salt, 1/8 t pepper and 1 cup of grated cheese. Repeat layering with remaining ingredients. Pour lemon mayonnaise over filling and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  6. Roll out remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round and fit over filling, folding overhang under edge of bottom crust and pinching edge to seal. Cut 4 steam vents in top crust and brush with egg wash. Bake pie until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes, then cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  7. Do ahead: Pie can be baked 1 day ahead and chilled. Reheat in a 350°F oven until warm, about 30 minutes.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Half Empty or Half Full? by Kelly Montgomery

We recently dropped off our two boys at Butler University, where Egan returns for his junior year and Max begins to navigate his first year away from home.

Back here, things seem a little empty right now. The foyer is missing its usual collection of what always seemed like dozens of very large shoes. Two of our four bedrooms are looking stripped-down, if not exactly clean. (Picture the Whoville houses after the Grinch’s visit on Christmas eve). The basement is no longer full of boys and their games and their mess and their noise. The calendar has empty spaces that used to be occupied with basketball games and volleyball games and practices and tournaments. And the table looks a bit too spacious with only 3 diners instead of the usual 5. I think we’re going to have to remove the leaf. Even the pile of laundry waiting to be folded looks disturbingly small. Weird.

Mom and boys

And yet, I discovered something interesting yesterday in the kitchen. The refrigerator was FULL! The pantry too! We have long struggled with keeping enough food in the house for our growing young men and their friends. “But I just went to the store!!” was my usual response to their constant pleas of “There’s nothing to eat!” Now, suddenly, I’m beginning to see some possibilities here. I could try more new recipes, splurge on premium ingredients, replace quantity with quality. I could fill the shelves with the finest produce, cheeses, meats, and wine! I could try some new things from Marcel’s Market. This is an upside I hadn’t considered.

We are so grateful to have our youngest, Lily, at home with us for just a while longer. For her, this year will be full of all the excitement and challenge of her first year of high school at Glenbard West. Full of dances and softball, auditions and homework, critical wardrobe decisions and teenage girl drama. But PLEASE, no boys. I don’t know if any of us are ready for that yet.

According to experts (friends and coworkers who have already been through it), this empty-ish feeling will soon pass and everything will feel normal again. And the boys will come home for holidays and even summers, if we’re lucky. Everything will fill up again. Except the fridge and the cabinets and the pantry, which we will struggle to keep stocked once again.

And that will be just fine with us.

Quinoa Cauliflower Patties

Quinoa Cauliflower Patties
Yields 16
  1. ½ cup quinoa (3¼ ounces / 95 grams)
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 2½ cups cauliflower florets (10 ounces / 280 grams)
  4. ⅓ cup rolled oats (1 ounce / 30 grams)
  5. 1 medium shallot, diced fine (3 tablespoons / 1 ounce / 30 grams)
  6. 3 serrano chiles, seeds and veins removed, chopped fine
  7. ½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
  8. 2 large egg whites
  9. 1 egg yolk
  10. 2 tablespoons corn starch
  11. ¼ cup milk
  12. ½ teaspoon salt
  13. ½ teaspoon black pepper
  14. 1 cup crumbled feta (4½ ounces / 125 grams)
  15. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  16. 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Rinse the quinoa. Put the quinoa and 1 cup water in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 15 minutes or until the water is just fully absorbed. Turn cooked quinoa into a large bowl and cool to room temperature.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large, shallow, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and chiles and sauté for 3 minutes, until shallots begin to soften (avoid browning the shallots).
  3. Meanwhile, pulse the cauliflower and oatmeal in a food processor until it resembles coarse meal, about 6 to 8 one-second pulses.
  4. When shallots and chiles are sauteéd, add them to the processor and pulse 2-3 times to distribute.
  5. Turn cauliflower mixture into the quinoa. Add the parsley, salt, pepper, and feta cheese and stir thoroughly. Whisk corn starch thoroughly into the egg whites. Add this mixture to the quinoa/cauliflower along with the yolk and ¼ cup milk. Mix thoroughly to distribute liquids. Using a spoon or spatula, press the batter down firmly in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and rest batter in refrigerator at least 30 minutes, or up to two hours.
  6. To prepare patties, heat vegetable oil and butter in a large, shallow, non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Drop batter, ¼ cup at a time, into skillet. Let the lumps of batter fry for about one minute and then gently squash batter into patty form with a spatula. Cook another 5 to 6 minutes until first side is nicely browned. Flip the patties and cook another 6 or 7 minutes. Serve.
  7. The batter will keep covered in the refrigerator for a day or two, and makes excellent leftovers.
Marcel's Culinary Experience