Saveur Magazine Classic Recipe No. 24 – Rosti

Rosti

 

For years now I have always loved Saveur Magazine.  Along with Martha Stewart Living I remember way before I became a chef I would read every single article and recreate all the recipes at home, or almost all.  Some of them I really couldn’t because of time or not being able to find the right ingredients.  But, I have every single copy still and they rest proudly on my shelf.  I love revisiting them and re-reading the articles.

Saveur is on a league of its own, though.  More than just a food magazine, I absolutely adore the stories that go along with the recipes.  It’s almost like a travel AND food magazine at once.  Just a week ago, I received my October 2012 copy and tucked into it immediately.  I love that they showcase 101 Classic Recipes, and the fantastic part is that they aren’t 101 American Classic recipes, they are classics from around the world.  I was so intrigued by the amount of things that I hadn’t tried yet, that last Sunday over lunch, I announced to my family I wanted to recreate every single one.  The look on Paolo and Cassia’s (my daughter’s) face was priceless.  They picked up the copy and started leafing through it, and they decided that ok, I could, but they would have 4 vetoes each.  That didn’t mean I wasn’t going to make them, just that they weren’t going to try them.  After much discussion, I agreed.  I mean, I am the foodie, but I can’t force them to eat something that they really don’t like, even though I told them unless you try it you won’t know.  But hey, that’s still 97 recipes that they WILL try!

So, obviously I am not going to make all of them consecutively, but you will know which ones come from the magazine because in the title I will always mention the magazine and the number of the recipe.

I decided to begin with this one because I have a lot of potatoes at home.  Also, I love Rosti.  I first tried it when I was 10 years old when we traveled to Switzerland to look for schools.  Obviously, this is something super easy to like, it’s potatoes.  But all the incarnations available are simply astounding.  Cheese, mushrooms, onion, bacon, the list is endless.  I think I have tried most variations throughout my six years in Switzerland, and it was always a cheap and tasty way to feed a teenager.

This recipe is the classic version, just potatoes.  It really is kind of like a large hash brown, but thicker.  It is crispy and crunchy on the outside, moist and dense on the inside.  Perfect on its own, or as a side, for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

I hope you enjoy this voyage with me, as I will be recreating exactly as much as I possibly can all the recipes, even if they differ from how I make them ( a lot of my family classics in it).  But that is how you learn, right?  Also, I will give you my family’s reaction to it.  We’ve decided to rate them on how much we like it, and I will rate it on difficulty and if the ingredients are readily available (mind you I realize that we don’t all live in the same place, so I will take that into account too).  3 voices are better than one, I think?  Except for today’s, since my sweetie is in Madrid.

So, without further ado, the super easy and delicious recipe for Rosti!

Taste: 2 out of 3  said excellent

Difficulty: Easy, beginner level

Ingredients readily available: Definitely

2 1/4 lb russet potatoes (about 3 large)

2 tbsp lard or unsalted butter

2 tbsp canola oil

1 tbsp kosher salt, plus more to taste

1.  Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until tender, about 30 minutes.  Drain potatoes, and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.  Peel potatoes, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.  Grate potatoes using the large holes on a cheese grater; set aside.

2. Heat lard and oil in and 8″ nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.  When lard has melted, add potatoes, sprinkle with salt, and mix well, coating potatoes with fat.  Using a metal spatula, gently press potatoes, molding them to fit the skillet.  Cook, shaking skillet occasionally, until edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes.

3. Cover skillet with a large inverted plate, invert the rosti over onto plate, then slide it back into the skillet, cooked side up; cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 20 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board, sprinkle with salt, and cut into wedges to serve.  Serves 4.

Verdict:  It came out perfectly cooked, really easy to make.  The time was spot on for the cooking on each side.  The only gripe we both had is that 1 tbsp of salt is way to much.  I would reduce the amount to half a tablespoon.  But everything else was perfect!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

Panellets – Catalan Almond, Sweet Potato and Pine Nut Cookies

Panellets

This year, instead of celebrating Halloween, and making all sorts of goodies relevant to my favorite holiday, I’ve decided to celebrate my wonderful city’s tradition of Panellets.  Why, you ask?  Well, because it is the last year that I celebrate this tradition.  You see, in about a month, we are moving to Madrid.

Panellets are these incredibly moist and delicious cookies that are like little pillows of heaven.  They are typically eaten on November 1st, which is All Saints’ Day here, which is called “La Castanyada”, meaning the day of chestnuts.  You eat them for dessert with a nice glass of dessert wine and some hot roasted chestnuts.  Very yummy indeed.  Now, as all good recipes go, there is the catch, to use sweet potatoes or not?  Some people say it is a sacrilege, others say it imparts a moistness that you don’t get if you only use the almonds.  I chose to use the sweet potatoes, because they’re good for you!  And traditionally, they are coated with pine nuts, but lately they come covered in coconut and almonds too.  I did a few in coconut because I ran out of pine nuts.  The choice is up to you!

Now, this is the first time I have made them at home.  After 10 years of being here, I am ashamed of this.  But, to be totally honest, it’s like making Oreos at home.  They are so readily available at this time of year that it almost is stupid to make them.  But, I have to admit that, this is so far from the truth.  Now that I have accomplished this feat, I have to tell you, this is baking 101.  So super easy.  And, the bonus is that they taste MUCH MUCH MUCH better than the store-bought ones.

Now, who feels like a fool?

I really hope that you try to make these, not only are they tasty, they’re pretty healthy as far as cookies go.  No butter.  No gluten.  If you really want to make them über healthy, abstain from the regular sugar and go brown or with stevia.  Up to you.

So here’s what you’re going to need:

To make about 30 cookies

250g sweet potato, boiled, cooled, peeled and mashed

450g ground almonds, preferably marcona

Grated lemon peel from 1 whole lemon

400g sugar

3 eggs, separated, keeping the whites in one bowl, and TWO yolks in another, and ONE yolk in another bowl

400g pine  nuts (coconut and crushed almonds optional)

Preheat your oven to 180C (350F).  In a large bowl, mix the mashed sweet potatoes with the sugar.  Mix in the almond and lemon peel.  Add two of the egg yolks and mix well.

Make small balls about 2 inches in diameter.  Beat your egg whites slightly.  Now align your bowls with the egg whites, the pine nuts and the rest of the coatings if using.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Now dip your cookie balls in the egg white, and roll in the pine nuts (or the other coatings if using) and place on the baking sheet.  Repeat until you have finished all the cookies.  Brush them with the 1 egg yolk, and bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheet and refrigerate for about an 1.

Serve with dessert wine and some hot roasted chestnuts!

Visca Catalunya!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Arroz Caldoso a “Seis Manos” – “Six Hand” Seafood Stew and Rice

Arroz Caldoso de Pescado

 

This is one of those feel good Sunday dishes.  All over Spain, you can find variations of this.  Truly one of the most comforting and homey dishes, it is also a main feature in many menus here, from small family run restaurants to Michelin starred dining rooms.

Rice is taken very seriously in Spain, with a plethora of incarnations, from Paella to Rice Pudding, Salads to Stews, it is almost national pride.  I have called this “Six Hand” because it was a collaboration between three people, our amazing hostess, Dolors, long time friend and extraordinary woman, my friend Fer, who hails from Zaragoza and is a killer in the kitchen, and myself.  Each one of us had a part in making this dish, and it was such a great experience, because that is what Sundays are all about.  Family, Friends, Food and Fun.  Oh, and spending an afternoon in our hostesses breathtaking Ramblas loft was a plus, too.

The key to arroz caldoso is in the stock.  This is an inexpensive way to make a dish for a large family, and because you are showcasing the stock, it has to be quite amazing.  It is the canvas to the rest of the ingredients, and you can let your imagination go wild.  We decided on monkfish, squid, shrimp and mussels.  Then, the finishing touch, is obviously the rice.  And bomba rice is the one that you need to splurge on, since I was informed that if you use regular short grain rice, there is a chemical reaction that occurs when paired with shellfish stock.  Apparently, the grain splits, and lets out too much of its starch, making this more of a cream than a stew.

It was an amazing lunch, and all of us, even the kids (all 10 and under) repeated three times.  Now that speaks for itself!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 6-7

3 liters good quality shellfish stock, preferably homemade (recipe below)

3 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

6 roma tomatoes, finely diced

1 nyora pepper, soaked and peeled

2 tsp spicy Pimenton powder (or hot smoked paprika)

400 g monkfish, cubed

1 large squid, cut in bite sized pieces

a few pinches of good quality saffron threads

400 g Bomba rice

400 g shrimp, peeled and deveined

200 g mussels, steamed and shelled

Fresh parsley, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and sauté until sauce has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the nyora pepper, stir until mixed, and sauté another 5 minutes.  Salt and pepper the squid and monkfish, and add to the tomatoes along with the pimenton and saffron.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until tender.

Add your shellfish stock to the fish and squid, add the rice and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer, about 10 minutes.  In the last few minutes of cooking, add the shrimp, mussels, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately.

For the stock:

5 liters of water

shrimp shells and heads from the shrimp you will be using in your stew

monkfish heads and bones (ask your fish monger to give these to you when you buy the monkfish)

fennel, stalks and fronds

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

2 tomatoes chopped

1 bay leaf

some saffron, nyora peppers, pimenton and salt and pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients and boil for about 40 minutes.  Spoon the foam off the top as it cooks.  When done, leave on the stove and cover, and let it sit, so the flavors will meld, about 20 minutes.  Strain and reserve.

 

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

 

Malteser Cake

Malteser Cake

Phew.  I made it out alive, barely, but I did!  This was my daughter’s 16th birthday party, and she had a blast.  But I felt like a hired hand most of the time.  That’s ok though, birthday’s are only once a year.  Thank God.

I am actually very happy, because normally she asks me to make her a cake from Milk Bar….chocolate malted something or other, which we just call the “Monster Cake”.  Why?  Because it takes about 3 days to make it and it has a whopping billion calories per slice.

This year, she wanted something different, she loves Maltesers (Whoppers in the States) and so I made her a cake that showcased her favorite malted milk balls.

As far as cakes go, this was a cinch.  It took me about 3 hours to make, and it was delicious!  Crunchy, moist, creamy…..all those things in one.  So for your next party why not try it?  Guaranteed to have some happy faces and full bellies!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

For the yellow cake

Adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook

2 round cake tins

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into squares plus more for tin

3 cups cake flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups sugar

1.5 tsp vanilla extract

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup milk

1 packet crushed maltesers

Malted Chocolate Buttercream frosting (recipe follows)

10 packets maltesers (approximately)

Multi colored sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter the two round cake tins and dust with flour.  Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on low-speed to soften, increase speed to medium, and cream until light and fluffy.  Keep beating while gradually adding sugar; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the vanilla.

Gradually drizzle in the beaten eggs, beating between additions until the batter is no longer slick, scraping down the sides of the bowl.  With the mixer on low, alternate adding flour and milk, starting and ending with the flour.  Scrape sides of the bowl and mix 10 seconds longer.  Fold in the crushed maltesers.

Divide evenly between the pans, and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, a knife should come out clean.  Let cool before frosting.

To assemble the cake, place one layer on a platter and frost with the buttercream about an inch thick.  Place a layer of maltesers on the top.

Top with the second layer of cake, and frost the top and sides with the remaining buttercream, and then top with Maltesers in 3 rows, as shown above, tightly packed.  Leave a round space in the center for the candles and sprinkles.

Tilt the cake in the platter and sprinkle  with the sprinkles, and add some in the center, if using.

Malted Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from Baked Explorations by  Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

5 large egg whites, at room temperature

1.5 cups sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 oz good quality semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

1/4 cup malted milk powder

12 maltesers, crushed

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the egg whites and sugar.  Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are just warm to the touch.  Return the bowl to the mixer, and with the whisk attachment beat in the vanilla and eggs on high-speed until firm and glossy, about 3-5 minutes.  With the machine running, whisk in the butter a few tbsp at a time.  If the mixture begins to look curdled, continue to beat until it is smooth before adding more butter.

Dissolve the malt powder in 2 tbsp hot water, then beat it in to the buttercream, then whisk in the melted chocolate.  Fold in the crushed maltesers.  Cover and refrigerate if not using immediately.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Osso Bucco

Osso Bucco

 

Osso Bucco.  Literally meaning, Bone Hole, is probably one of my top ten favorite dishes.  That tender, fall off the bone meat, with a flavourful sauce……it is autumn/winter food at its best!

The key to Osso Bucco is like the Ragu, you need to let it simmer for a long time, so all the wonderful flavors meld together and create a sexy and rich sauce.  Like most Italian food, there aren’t many ingredients.  Onion, carrots, vine ripe tomatoes, and some wine and beef stock.  Perfect.  Lip-smacking good.  You can pair it with risotto, polenta, potatoes…..even just bread!  And the next day, you have a crazy good pasta sauce!

Of course, don’t forget to spread the delicious marrow on a piece of crusty bread, that in itself is worth the 3 hour wait!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

 

Serves 4

4 veal shanks

Salt and Pepper to taste

3 tbsp olive oil

red or white wine

1 large onion, minced

1 leek, sliced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

7 roma tomatoes, diced

4 cups beef stock

In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil over high heat.  Sprinkle the veal shanks with the salt and pepper, and sear on both sides.  Remove and set aside.  Add a drizzle of the wine to the pan and deglaze, breaking up the brown bits until the wine has evaporated.

Reduce the heat to medium low, and add the onions, leeks and carrots.  Cook for 10 minutes, or until softened.  Add the tomatoes and some more salt and pepper.  Cook another 10 minutes until it starts to become a thick sauce.  Add the veal shanks, some more red wine and the beef stock and raise the heat to high.  Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to medium low and let simmer, for about 2 and a half hours.  Stir occasionally, making sure that the shanks don’t stick.  The meat should be extremely tender.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

Gratin Dauphinois – Potato Gratin Dauphin Style

Gratin Dauphinois

I love gratin dauphinois.  I’m kind of obsessed with it.  I remember as a kid, seeing the commercial’s for Betty Crocker’s Scalloped potatoes, and thinking, why won’t my mom make this for me?  (It’s the same feeling I had for the snoopy sno cone machine.)  No matter how much I begged and pleaded, my mother would NOT make scalloped potatoes, nor did they ever purchase the sno cone machine for me.  (I swear, I still want one.  And and easy bake oven).

But I digress.  When I started to cook myself, I made this.  Wow.  I was mystified at the fact that something so easy could be so good.  It really is a sophisticated dish, fragrant and flavorful.  Decadent, warm and seriously addictive.  Because I had left over sliced potatoes from Saturday nights dinner, I made this to go with the Osso Buco, which I will post tomorrow.

So, if you are so inclined to indulge, here’s what you’re going to need:

1 clove of garlic, minced

3/4 cup milk

6 tbsp heavy cream

1 lb russet potatoes, sliced thinly with a mandoline

Salt and White Pepper to taste

2 pinches of cinnamon

4 pinches of freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375F (190C).  Add the garlic, milk and cream to a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add the sliced potatoes, salt and spices.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring and coating the potatoes carefully.

Butter a baking dish.  Add the potatoes and smooth the top.  Bake until golden brown, about 45-50 minutes.  Serve hot!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

Surf & “Turf”

Surf and Turf

 

Normally, when we have friends over for dinner, I spend a few days carefully planning what I am going to make.  I love that process, poring through my cookbooks to get inspirations, reading my recipes over and over, thinking of who is coming and what I think they might like.

Not so yesterday.  Our friends were invited to dinner last-minute, and we went to the market after lunch, which for me means, no inspiration whatsoever.  I mean, I’m stuffed, I’m not thinking of what I want to make for dinner???

This whole dish was inspired by Paolo’s choice of wild mushrooms.  There were some beautiful chanterelles, and he asked me if I could make a dish out of one of his favorites mushrooms.  So, I started wracking my brain, and normally when I think wild mushrooms, I think game meats or beef.  But we had a large chunk of meat for lunch, so that was out of the question.  He suggested seafood, and I thought, ok, my version of surf and turf!

I am quite impressed how well this turned out, none of the flavors masked the other, rather, the briny shrimp paired perfectly with the sautéed chanterelles, over an individual “Pommes Anna” laced with a sultry porcini sauce.  Everyone said that this should be my signature dish, and I agree.

This dish is very simple to prepare.  It just takes a bit of organization.  But totally worth it!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 4

1 large russet potato

Thyme

400 g fresh chanterelle mushrooms

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

20-25 large shrimp, head on

1/4 cup olive oil

4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 porcini stock cube, or pre-soaked dried porcini, reserve them for later, and use the soaking liquid about 1 1/2 cups

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp instant cornstarch

Salt and Pepper to taste

First, pre-heat the oven to 200 C.

In a bowl, add the shrimp with a couple of sprigs of thyme, the olive oil and Worcestershire sauce.  Mix well and refrigerate and marinate them for at least 30 minutes, up to two hours.

Oil a baking sheet, set aside.  Slice the potato really thinly with a mandoline (if you have one).  Soak the potatoes in salted water while you are slicing so they won’t turn brown.  Rinse and pat dry, and make individual round “cakes”, layering the potatoes in a circle on top of each other, overlapping.  Place on the oiled baking sheet and put a pat of butter, salt and pepper on each.  Lower the heat to 190 C, and place in the oven and cook until golden and crispy, about 15 minutes.

In a stockpot, place 1 1/2 cups of water and the porcini stockcube. (If you don’t have it, add the drained soaking liquid from the dry porcinis.)  Heat to high, and add the butter.  When it is boiling, reduce the heat and add the cornstarch.  Cook, stirring until it thickens.  Keep warm.

In the meantime, add half a tablespoon of oil to a large sauté pan over high heat,  Add the garlic cloves and the chanterelle mushrooms and cook for about 7-8 minutes, until the mushrooms are fully cooked.  Add a little salt and pepper, and place in a heat proof bowl and put them in the oven.

Drain the shrimp,and discard the thyme sprigs, leaving only about 1 tbsp of oil and sauce.  Add that to the same sauté pan, and over high heat.  When it is almost smoking, add the shrimp and sauté, tossing, for about 5 minutes until the shrimp start to curl and are fully cooked.

To assemble the dish, place the potato round on the plate.  Top with some of the sautéed chanterelle mushrooms, then 5 shrimp arranged over the chanterelle.  Spoon some of the porcini sauce over the shrimp, mushrooms and potatoes.

You are going to love it!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla