Michael (ftmichael) wrote in ljrecipes,

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Today is National Peanut Butter Lover's Day in the US.

As always, all measurements are in US units. See http://www.onlineconversion.com/cooking_volume.htm for converting measurements.

* Red Lobster's Cajun Chicken Pasta: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/02271.htm
* Red Wine Pot Roast with Porcini: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/02272.htm
* Crock Pot Ham and Beans: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/02273.htm
* Pirozhki: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/02274.htm
* Wilted Greens with Garlic and Anchovies: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/02275.htm
* Taco Soup: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/02276.htm
* Baked French Toast Casserole: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/02277.htm
* Angel Food Cake: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/02278.htm
* Low Carb Black Pepper and Balsamic Pork Chops: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/lcarb3.htm
* Diabetic-Friendly Italian Style Green Beans and Tomatoes: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/diabet3.htm
* Low Fat Squash Dinner Rolls: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/lfat3.htm

Kelley's Cooking Tips

* To frost a cake quickly without having it crumble, freeze the layers in the cake pans for about one hour, then remove them from the pans and frost them. This also prevents the layers from splitting in the centre.

* To keep a cake from sticking to the pan, grease the pan with one part shortening and two parts flour mixed until it has a sandy consistency.

* To keep loaf cakes fresher longer, cut slices from the middle rather than from the end. When you're finished slicing, firmly push the two leftover sections together to reform a loaf. This way, you eliminate an exposed, quick-to-dry-out "end" slice.

* To prevent cake filling from soaking into the cake, sprinkle layers lightly with confectioners' sugar before spreading filling.

Have a cooking question? Kelley has your answer! kelley@e-cookbooks.net

Move Over, Vinaigrette
By Mark Bittman

Ponzu, an all-purpose sauce from Japan, is the rough equivalent of vinaigrette. But bottled ponzu, which is what you will find in Japanese markets, is to real ponzu as a supermarket brand is to real vinaigrette: a pale shadow.

Real ponzu is delicious. With soy sauce and citrus as its base, and a few other esoteric but readily available ingredients chipping in, why wouldn't it be? Though the sauce is quickly made, at its best it is complex. Simply throwing together some soy, lemon and ginger and calling it ponzu, as most restaurants do, is not the answer.

I began to learn what ponzu was on a visit to Japan a couple of years ago, and have since improved my technique, largely through swapping recipes with a few other fanatics, in particular my friend Daniel Del Vecchio, a chef. I am enamored of the refined recipe here.

In Japan, ponzu is usually made with yuzu, a citrus fruit that is rarely found here and is outrageously expensive when it is. A combination of lemon and lime juices substitutes well. You can vary these to taste; I prefer a bit more lemon than lime. Still, this does not make an acidic-enough mixture, and a touch of rice wine vinegar is needed. Balance is provided by mirin, a sweet sake used for cooking.

The subtle underlying keys are kelp (dried seaweed) and dried bonito flakes (bonito is a relative of tuna). When you add these two ingredients the mixture becomes smoky and rich. Without them, it is just sweet-and-sour soy sauce.

All these ingredients are sold in almost every Asian market and will keep in your pantry for months if not years. I cannot find much difference in the quality of different types of mirin, rice vinegar and kelp. In Japan, large bonito flakes are preferred to small, but there, you can buy the flakes freshly shaved. As always, however, it is worth buying good soy sauce. The standard brands (Kikkoman, Yamasa, San-J and so on) are fine, as is any soy sauce that lists as its ingredients only soy, wheat, salt and "culture," the yeast that makes the mixture ferment.

Homemade ponzu will keep for several days with no loss in quality. Put it to work as a dip for seafood of any kind, as a marinade or sauce for chicken (roast chicken with ponzu splashed over it is fantastic) or, mixed with a little bit of oil, as a great dressing for salads or vegetables. Like vinaigrette, there is seemingly no end to its uses.

Ponzu Sauce
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, more to taste
1/3 cup fresh lime juice, more to taste
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 cup good-quality soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (or 1/4 cup sake and 1 tablespoon sugar)
1 3-inch piece kelp (konbu)
1/2 cup (about 1/4 ounce) dried bonito flakes
Pinch cayenne

In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Let sit for at least 2 hours or overnight. Strain. Just before using, you might add a small squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice. Covered and refrigerated, ponzu will keep for at least several days. Yield: 2 1/2 cups.

Poulet à la Fermiere
2 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 fresh parsley sprigs
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
4 carrots, cut diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices
2 cups frozen small whole onions, thawed and patted dry
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 pound small (1 1/2-inch) boiling potatoes, peeled and halved
2/3 cup crème fraîche
1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyère

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat butter in a 12 inch oven-proof deep heavy sauté pan over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then brown chicken all over, in batches if necessary, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan.

Tie parsley, thyme, and bay leaf in cheesecloth to make a bouquet garni, then add to pan with carrots and onions, stirring to coat with fat. Add wine and deglaze by boiling over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add broth and chicken, skin sides up, with any juices from plate, and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Add potatoes and salt and pepper to taste and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Preheat broiler. Discard bouquet garni. Stir in crème fraîche, peas, and salt and pepper to taste, then turn chicken in sauce to coat. Sprinkle dish all over with Gruyère and broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until browned and sauce is bubbling, 3 to 4 minutes.

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