Thursday, May 19, 2011

Italian-ish Orzo Salad

I saw some orzo sitting in my cupboard and it got me thinking as to what else I had around that I could mix with it. There are probably a hundred million variations on this recipe, but this is what I ended up with and I CAN'T STOP EATING IT! So put in whatever ingredients you like and make your own.

3/4 cup orzo
1 can cannellini beans
1 can (petite) diced tomatoes
1/4 cup capers
2 shallots, thinly sliced
handful chopped herbs (I had cilantro & parsley on hand)
shaved Parmesan
olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt & freshly ground pepper

Cook the orzo according to directions; drain. Rinse and drain beans. Drain tomatoes but reserve juice. (Note that some canned tomatoes have added sugar or HFCS. I mistakenly bought one of these once and found the juice too sweet to add back in.) Combine all ingredients except the last four. Drizzle over a glug of oil & vinegar. Mix and season to taste with salt & pepper. Add in reserved tomato juice to moisten.

Super thin shallot slices courtesy of my ceramic slicer, similar to a mandoline.

And the ceramic slicer properly used with the guard. Really, if you don't use this you're just asking to cut yourself. (Yes, I cut myself).

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fluffy Biscuits

Page 381... Cook's Illustrated's The Best Recipe...I've now made this recipe so many times that the book just falls open to this page. You can also go there if you want the original recipe--this is my adapted version. For one thing, the original makes twice as many, but I find that biscuits are best fresh and so for just me I really don't want to keep that many on hand. These are very quick--20-25 minutes total--and come together easily in the food processor. I often make a little breakfast sandwich with with one of these sausages:

1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/4" cubes
1 more tablespoon of butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix milk and vinegar and let stand a minute or two until slightly coagulated (yes, a little gross). Combine all dry ingredients in a food processor and wiz for a second to combine. Add butter and pulse a few times until combined. Add the milk & vinegar, and pulse a few more times until it just begins to form a ball in the bowl. Scrape out onto a lightly floured surface. Working the dough as little as possible, form into a ball and then flatten to about 3/4". Cut into 6 rounds; you will have to combine scraps to get the last one or two. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with the melted butter. Bake for 8-10 minutes--be careful, the bottoms can brown quickly.

Best breakfast!