Michael (ftmichael) wrote in ljrecipes,

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Today is National Peanut Cluster Day in the US.

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

* Round Table's Maui Zaui Pizza: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/03061.htm
* Beef Wellington: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/03062.htm
* Hellfire Chili: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/03063.htm
* Italian Tuna Casserole: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/03064.htm
* Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/03065.htm
* Brussels Sprouts in Garlic Butter: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/03066.htm
* Carrot with Toasted Almond Soup: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/03067.htm
* White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/03068.htm
* Low Carb Philly Steak Casserole: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes/303lc.htm
* Diabetic-Friendly Fresh Peach Muffins: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes/303diab.htm
* Low Fat French Silk Dessert: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes/303lf.htm

Kelley's Cooking Tips

* When using spaghetti, keep in mind that 8 ounces of uncooked pasta makes 4 cups cooked.

* When using all-purpose flour, keep in mind that one pound flour is the equivalent to 4 cups.

* When using dried beans and peas, keep in mind that 1 cup dry beans or peas makes 2 1/2 cups cooked.

* When using rice, keep in mind that 1 cup of uncooked long-grain white rice makes 3 cups cooked.

* When using granulated sugar, keep in mind that one pound sugar is the equivalent to 2 cups.

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

Under the Lid, New Delhi
By Mark Bittman

When you raise the lid on a pot of good biriyani, the Indian equivalent of arroz con pollo or paella, the smell should beguile you: chicken, butter and spices should dominate, followed by the subtle aroma of basmati rice. You might even smell the salt.

This is one of the world's great dishes, and yet in restaurants it is often underspiced and made without care. I was served a particularly memorable version in New Delhi at a restaurant known for its steamed dishes. The restaurant used clay pots and sealed the lids with dough. While I am sure that both of these features helped matters along, neither is practical for the home cook.

Nonetheless, I was determined to recreate the dish. If the biriyani below is not the equivalent of the one served in India, it is fragrant, delicious and hard to stop eating.

The dish must be made carefully, but it is not difficult. The chicken is not browned, which actually makes it easier than many similar preparations. One key is to use butter, not oil or margarine (I am sure the ultimate biriyani has more butter than this version) and good spices: cardamom in the pod, whole cloves, a cinnamon stick and real saffron. (It is red and costs about $35 an ounce, but is worth it.) Good coarse salt does not hurt either, and the better the chicken, the happier you will be when you bite into it.

It is also important to leave the lid on as much as possible. I am not one who believes that rice must be cooked undisturbed, but in this instance you want to make sure the chicken cooks fairly quickly and that the aroma remains in the pot. The goal, remember, is to smell everything.

Chicken Biriyani
4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
Coarse salt and ground black pepper
1 large pinch saffron
10 whole cardamom pods
5 cloves
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 (3- to 4-pound) chicken, cut up and trimmed of excess fat; skin removed if desired
1/4 cup slivered blanched almonds, optional

1. Put 2 tablespoons butter in a deep skillet or casserole that can be covered. Turn heat to medium-high. Add onion and some salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion softens, 5 to 10 minutes. Add spices, and cook, stirring, another minute.

2. Add rice, and cook, stirring, until ingredients are well combined, 2 or 3 minutes. Add stock, chicken and more salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer.

3. Cook undisturbed for about 25 minutes. When chicken and rice are tender and liquid is absorbed, turn heat off. If either chicken or rice is not quite done, add no more than 1/2 cup boiling water, and cook until done.

4. Melt remaining butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add almonds (or simply melt butter), and brown lightly. Pour mixture over biriyani, and sprinkle with a bit more salt. Let rest 2 or 3 minutes. Take pot to table, and serve.

Note: Cardamom seeds can be eaten, but cloves should be removed after cooking.

Filet Mignon with Balsamic Syrup and Goat Cheese
1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
6 (5 to 6-ounce) filet mignon steaks (each about 1-inch thick)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces soft fresh goat cheese

Boil the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Melt the butter in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper. Cook the steaks to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to a baking sheet. Crumble the cheese over the steaks and broil just until the cheese melts, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with pepper.

Transfer the steaks to plates. Drizzle the balsamic sauce around the steaks and serve.

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