Friday, December 28, 2007

Lazy Day Chicken & Dumplings

This is the recipe on which Lo bases her lazy day version of chicken & dumplings. It's a great basic slow food recipe meant for a day when you have the time to linger around the stove and enjoy the process.

That much said, we all know that Lo can't follow a recipe without tinkering -- so her chicken & dumplings are invariably different. They're almost always chocked full of veggies (broccoli, more carrots, peas);in addition, Lo adds a splash of white wine to the roux, thickens the sauce a bit more than average, and often serves the dish "pot-pie" style in individual serving dishes. So, feel free to improvise. But, try this at LEAST once in its full glory before cutting corners. It's time consuming, but well worth the effort.

{Lazy Day} Chicken and Dumplings
Tyler Florence

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©BURP! Where Food Happens

Menu: Christmas Day Dinner

A bit late, perhaps. But, here's the low-down on our Christmas Day feasting.

  • Arugula salad with raspberry vinaigrette, beets, and phyllo-wrapped goat cheese slices
  • Prime rib roast
  • Porcini & bacon sauce
  • Horseradish cream sauce
  • Sauteed green beans
  • Yukon gold potato gratin (inspired by the version made at the Fog City Diner - San Francisco)
  • Wine: JC Cellars, The Imposter (2005), California

And... possibly the best part... the lovely Frozen Grand Marnier Torte with Dark Chocolate Crust and Spiced Cranberries which we paired with a bottle of Bogle Petit Syrah Port (v2005), California (incidentally, the grapes for this pressing were harvested on Lo's birthday)

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©BURP! Where Food Happens

Friday, December 21, 2007

Peppermint Bark

By request... another one of our favorite recipes for the holidays. This tastes just like the peppermint bark that you can buy at Williams Sonoma.

Layered Peppermint Crunch Bark
Bon App├ętit December 1998

17 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Baker's), finely chopped
30 red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed (about 6 ounces)
7 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

Turn large baking sheet bottom side up. Cover securely with foil. Mark 12 x 9-inch rectangle on foil. Stir white chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water) until chocolate is melted and smooth and candy thermometer registers 110°F. (chocolate will feel warm to touch). Remove from over water.

Pour 2/3 cup melted white chocolate onto rectangle on foil. Using icing spatula, spread chocolate to fill rectangle. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crushed peppermints. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.
Stir bittersweet chocolate, cream and peppermint extract in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until just melted and smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Pour bittersweet chocolate mixture in long lines over white chocolate rectangle. Using icing spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate in even layer. Refrigerate until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.

Rewarm remaining white chocolate in bowl set over barely simmering water to 110°F. Working quickly, pour white chocolate over firm bittersweet chocolate layer; spread to cover. Immediately sprinkle with remaining crushed peppermints. Chill just until firm, about 20 minutes.

Lift foil with bark onto work surface; trim edges. Cut bark crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips. Using metal spatula, slide bark off foil and onto work surface. Cut each strip crosswise into 3 sections and each section diagonally into 2 triangles. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Chill in airtight container.) Let stand 15 minutes at room temperature before serving.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Chocolate Covered Cherries

We've been making chocolate covered cherries for at least nine years now. We give them as gifts around the holidays -- and everyone (it seems) loves them. We've hammered out our own special recipe, and tweaked it each year in the hopes that it would end up "just right".

Well, I'm pleased to say that, FINALLY, I think there is a method to our madness. So, we're ready to share our techniques with the world.

As you all know, there are no mysteries here in the BURP! kitchen. After all, good food is meant to be shared!


We like to put ours in waxed paper lined cookie tins and give them as holiday gifts!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Kitchen tools we wished we owned

Our entire (albeit small) KITCHEN (along with part of our basement and a section of our spare bedroom closet) is devoted to the storage of useful kitchen tools. There was a time when we would have DENIED being gadget freaks; but, these days we are beginning to realize our obsession. Whenever a new piece of kitchen equipment (or tableware) is introduced to the household, it inspires a frenzy. Where in the WORLD are we going to put another piece of kitchen equipment??

Our lack of space, however, doesn't prevent us from dreaming...
Here's a list of a few of our latest desires (you might be surprised by the things we DON'T own):

  • The Miraculous SideSwipe Spatula Mixer Blade -- Oh, the things we could whip up effortlessly with this handy dandy gadget. It would be the perfect accompaniment to our 6-quart KA mixer!
  • The ever useful enameled cast iron Dutch Oven (we wouldn't even be snobs about the branding on this one)
  • The Tagine -- for cooking up Middle Eastern, Asian, and African specialties.
  • The Mr. Bento Lunch Jar -- oh, the feasts we could cook up and take to work if only we had two of these!
  • We definitely need a new meat thermometer (I really need to check out the Cook's Illustrated ratings on these), as our old one has seen better days.
  • Oh, yes! And a pizza peel for making Burp's seriously delicious pies.