Saturday, May 16, 2009

Brown-Butter Toffee Blondies

OK, this photo is actually from last fall when I made these bars, but I'm out of sweets and making these tomorrow! I cut this recipe out of my local newspaper, but not sure where it originally came from...

10 tablespoons butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1+1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (or more) chopped walnuts
1/2 cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" x 9" pan, then put down a 9" strip of parchment with overhang on either side (so you can lift the bars out later) and grease that as well. Melt butter over medium heat until it turns golden brown; let cool. Combine butter, sugars, egg & vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in dry ingredients, then nuts and toffee bits. Pile into pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan, then lift parchment out. Cut into 16 squares (or 9, or 4, or not at all). Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Banh Mi

The banh mi (pronounced BUN-mee) is a Vietnamese-French sandwich that suddenly seems to be everywhere! There is no definitive recipe, this is just my cobbled together version. I don't even like sandwiches that much--I mean, I don't not like them, I just don't eat them on a regular basis. But this recipe...I seem to be eating every day (hopefully it's just a phase). I had to make my own since there aren't any Vietnamese restaurants in the area. Traditionally this is served with a couple of pork products--ham, barbecued pork, pate, etc.--but in this version I just use the chicken sausage I usually make for breakfast. It isn't an open-faced sandwich like you might guess from the above picture--I just photographed it that way since the insides looked so purty!
  • bun: you're supposed to use a baguette, but I prefer softer sub rolls you get at the supermarket (lightly toasted)
  • mayo: I know some people don't like mayonnaise, don't use it then
  • cilantro: ditto the mayo comment
  • sausage: I end up cutting the patty in half and placing end to end to fit on the roll
  • cucumber: sliced or planked (am I making up this word? I mean cutting it lengthwise, instead of in rounds)
  • pickled carrot & radish: I'm debating whether to include the recipe I used for this since I'm not crazy about it.* I think you could just julienne some carrots and throw those on for crunch.
  • jalapeno slivers
  • sriracha sauce: I couldn't find this hot sauce in my area, but picked some up in Brooklyn. Love it! Before that, I did try making my own by blending up some Tabasco sauce, minced garlic and jalepeno, red chili oil and a touch of Worcestershire. It looked disgusting, but wasn't that bad--and provided the necessary heat!
*Oh fine, here is the do chua (pickled carrot & radish) recipe I used from the May '09 Saveur. It calls for daikon radish, but of course I couldn't find that and had to use little round red radishes (which may explain why I didn't like it that much).
  • 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1+1/2 pounds small daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon + 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons white vinegar (I thought this was too sweet and ended up using more vinegar)
Combine carrots, daikon, salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let sit until the vegetables have wilted slightly, about 30 minutes. Drain vegetables, rinse and pat dry. Whisk together the remaining sugar, vinegar and 1/2 warm water, and pour over the vegetables. Stir to combine and let marinate for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate, tightly covered for up to 4 weeks.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Coconut Bread

This seems like a good thing to make for my mother on Mother's Day. But really, who are we kidding? She lives 1000 miles away...I made this for me! I cut this out of the NY Times a few years ago, but the recipe originates from a Bill's Cafe in Sydney, Australia (sadly, a place I've never visited). I usually eat it toasted, sometimes for breakfast--but plenty of other times of the day as well!

2 eggs
1+1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1+1/2 cup flaked coconut
6 tbsp. melted butter

Heat oven to 350°. Whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix in sugar and coconut. Make a well in the center and pour in egg mixture. Mix until just combined, then stir in melted butter and mix until smooth (but don't overmix). Grease & flour an 8+1/2" x 4" loaf pan and pour in batter. Bake for 1 to 1+1/4 hours, until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then finish cooling on a rack.