Tag Archives: Martha Stewart

Phantasm Pasta Birthday Dinner

Phantasm Birthday Dinner: duck terrine bruschetta, homemade spinach linguine with sausage broccoli basil sauce

Phantasm Birthday Dinner: duck terrine bruschetta, homemade spinach linguine with sausage broccoli basil sauce

For my boyfriend’s birthday, I wanted to make him something special.  He often jokes that I haven’t made him homemade pasta since our third date.  He is half Italian, so I was totally trying to impress him, and I guess it worked!  In any case, I decided to bring out the pasta maker for his birthday.  My go-to recipe is Martha Stewart’s spinach pasta, which I turn into linguine.  The dough is very easy to make, the pasta is a bit time consuming but it’s SO worth it.  The difference between box pasta and fresh pasta is like night and day.  Make sure you have a lot of baking sheets, wire racks and wax paper handy – you need plenty of space to lay out and dry the sheets of pasta in between each stage.  Be careful not to over boil fresh pasta, it only needs a few minutes before the noodles starts to float to surface.

Martha Stewart's Fresh Spinach Pasta Dough

51

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 1 pound fresh pasta dough

Martha Stewart's Fresh Spinach Pasta Dough

Ingredients

  • 1 block of frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • coarse salt

Instructions

  1. Squeeze out excess liquid from spinach using a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Puree with hand blender or food processor.
  2. Add eggs and yolk to puree in food processor and process until combined. Or us a mixer on the lowest setting. Add flour and 1 heaping teaspoon salt, and process until dough just comes together, about 20 seconds (10 seconds in the mixer).
  3. Transfer dough to a well-floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes, adding up to 2 tablespoons flour if dough is too sticky, or a tablespoon water if dough is too dry. Place on a piece of parchment, and cover with an inverted bowl, or wrap tightly in plastic; let rest for 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Cut dough into 8 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time (keep the remaining pieces covered with the inverted bowl), flatten dough into an oblong shape slightly thinner than the pasta machine's widest setting (number 1). Dust dough very lightly with flour, and feed through machine. Fold lengthwise into thirds and rotate 90 degrees. Repeat twice on same setting to smooth dough and increase its elasticity.
  5. Turn the dial to next narrower setting. Pass dough through twice, gently supporting it with your palm. Continue to press dough, passing it through ever-finer settings, two passes on each setting, until sheet is almost translucent and very thin but still intact (number 5 of 8 on a KitchenAid pasta roller). The dough will stretch to about 16 inches long. If dough bubbles or tears, pass it through again, and dust with flour if the dough is sticking.
  6. Place dough on a drying rack until slightly tacky, 10 to 15 minutes, and then use a pasta machine or cutting attachment to cut into strands. Drape over rack until strands are semi-dry and won't stick together, about 20 minutes.
  7. Bring 4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil.
  8. Shake pasta loose and gently place in boiling water using tongs. Cook approximately 1.5-2 minutes or until pasta floats to surface.
  9. Remove from water and drain immediately. Toss pasta with some olive oil.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/05/02/phantasm-pasta-birthday-dinner/

My boyfriend is a big horror fan, but had never seen Phantasm, a must-see horror cult classic.  So I added the film to the menu.  When Phantasm was released in 1979, the film was ahead of it’s time in terms of how bizarre and surreal the premise was.  Two orphaned brothers live in a small town in Oregon that is plagued by mysterious deaths.  The local ice cream vendor Reggie, teams up with the brothers to pursue their suspicions that the local mortician, nicknamed the Tall Man is the one responsible for the unexplained deaths, including the deaths of their parents.  Throughout their investigation they are pursued by shrunken dwarf-like minions, discover a gateway to another planet and try to take down the Tall Man without getting killed by flying Sentinel Spheres.  These flying, metallic spheres contain the shrunken brains of the Tall Man’s victims that allow them to be controlled with his mind, and kill whomever is in their path with any number of drills, blades and lasers.

The film was a labour of love for the director, Don Coscarelli who also wrote, shot and edited the film.  The budget was estimated at $300,000 and was filmed over weekends for a year, with the script changing frequently or being re-written on set.  The process was as indie as you can get with even Coscarelli’s mother helping out with costumes, special effects and makeup.  Despite the film’s many flaws, Phantasm became a cult film because of the way it dealt with the themes of death and mourning, themes that were unexplored in horror at the time, and for the use of iconic imagery from Angus Scrimm’s haunting portrayal of the Tall Man to his uniquely deadly Sentinel Spheres.

For appetizers I drizzled some olive oil over a toasted French baguette and topped it with duck terrine and a tomato, lemon, basil & olive oil mixture. I served the spinach linguine with a tomato based sauce that included broccoli, sausage and basil.  I paired our dinner with a Hillier Creek Estates 2012 Gamay Noir – a bottle I had been saving for a special occasion.  This slightly sweet Gamay paired well with the bruschetta, and the ripe acidity cut through the richness of the pasta sauce with hints of black pepper and blackberry tying the whole meal together.

We had a fun, relaxing evening and my boyfriend loved his special birthday dinner.  One can never go wrong with homemade pasta, the Tall Man, flying hooded dwarves and deadly drilling spheres!

 

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

With the holidays just around the corner, I started planning out my Christmas gift list. My parents are easy – Scotch or beer for my dad and a facial or pedicure for my mother. They’re in the process of moving so I really didn’t want to add to their junk! But my boyfriend has a big family with quite a few elderly who are staying away from sugar so my homemade jam was off the list. I had to think of something else to make them, a treat that would be yummy but not too sweet.

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

This recipe was inspired by Martha Stewart’s Banana-Nut Bread from her Baking Handbook cookbook. To make the loaf a bit healthier, I altered and replaced many of the ingredients adding oats and flax seed for fiber and sweetening with brown sugar, maple syrup and applesauce. I also brought out the coconut flavour by using coconut oil and coconut milk. The resulting banana bread tastes wholesome with just enough sweetness to make it a treat. Firm, moist with hints of maple and coconut this banana bread is a nutritious gift to give to those who can’t completely indulge in the holiday season.

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf

Healthy Maple         Coconut       Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup milled flax seeds
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cups packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 113g unsweetened apple sauce (snack pack)
  • ½ cup organic coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure coconut extract
  • 2 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9x5” loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, rolled oats, flax seeds, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, maple syrup, apple sauce and coconut oil on medium-low speed until combined. Beat in the flour mixture. Add the coconut and maple syrup extracts, banana and almond milk. Beat until just combined.
  3. Pour batter into loaf pan and evenly smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake for 60 minutes , rotating pan halfway through until a toothpick can be inserted into the center and comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and cool completely. Banana bread can be kept at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic for up to a week.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2015/11/02/healthy-maple-coconut-banana-bread/

 

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

What are you making the ones you love this holiday season?

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

Healthy Maple Coconut Banana Bread

Brioche in Brooklyn

Scrambled egg sandwich with ham, gruyere and caramelized onion on brioche

Scrambled egg sandwich with ham, gruyere and caramelized onion on brioche

As I sit here in the wee hours of the morning scouring the internet for cheap flights to NYC, I’m reminiscing about the last time I was in the Big Apple.  The city that never sleeps feels like a     second home to me, and it’s nice to know that I can skip all the tourist traps and focus my attention elsewhere.  Besides visiting my dear friend from university, I also love to discover new places to stuff my face, shop for vintage clothes and check out the latest MOMA exhibit.  I used to be swept away by all the celebrity restaurants in Manhatten, but during my last visit I took Brooklyn by storm.  From the flea market of food that is Smorgasburg to the infamous fried chicken at the Brooklyn Bowl, I placed some serious effort into filling my belly with the best of this borough.  The most memorable brunch I ate however, was hidden away in a little nook in Prospect Heights called 606 R&D.  Their scrambled egg sandwich with ham, gruyere and caramelized onion on brioche was a fistful of savory protein balanced out nicely with the sweetness from the onions and fresh bun.

Brioche has definitely claimed a place in my top five fave breads (along with croissants, baguettes, bagels and Persian barbari flatbread) and my taste buds dance whenever the buttery flakiness takes hold of a burger or is turned into French toast.  This French bread, along with croissants belong to a subgroup of leavened delights called Viennoiserie a term that originated from Austria and literally means “things of Vienna”.  Viennoiseries are baked breakfast goods or snacks that are made in the same way as bread but have more of a pastry-like quality due to the sinful additions of cream, eggs and higher quantities of sugar, milk and butter.  While I’ve made homemade bread successfully, I had never attempted brioche.  I turned to my baking bible – Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook.  The recipe looked intimidating, but I was feeling patient and in the mood for a baking project.  Most of the time is spent waiting on the dough, with roughly two hours of actual prep, so the process is actually pretty relaxing and ultimately very satisfying.

One should note that you do need to chill the dough overnight, so this is a good baking project for a lazy weekend.
As with any baking, a kitchen scale is essential, and while my mother kneaded bread by hand, my Kitchen Aid mixer is a blessing and my baking in general has improved since I started using an electric mixer.
I didn’t have brioche molds, so I used 3 (x 6) muffin tins and even though they turned out more muffin like in appearance – they are all brioche in taste and texture.
In the second part of the recipe, what you will essentially be molding out of the larger piece of dough is a mini bean bag chair for the smaller piece to sit in, and this, when baked will result in the classic brioche shape.

I was quite pleased with the final product!  My “muffin” brioche tasted sweet, rich and was puffy with a golden, flaky crust, just as I remembered from my Brooklyn brunch brioche.  Now that I can make my own brioche, I can’t wait to start creating some breakfast sandwiches, the possibilities are endless!  To be continued…

Martha Stewart's brioche

Martha Stewart’s brioche

Martha Stewart's Brioche

51

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 27 hours, 42 minutes

Yield: 18 brioche muffins

Martha Stewart's Brioche

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) bread floor, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 cup (5 ounces) pastry flour
  • 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces, plus more for the pans
  • 4 large eggs, cold, plus 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon nonfat dry milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • canola oil for plastic wrap

Instructions

    Part 1:
  1. Make the dough: In a medium bowl, sprinkle yeast over the warm water; stir with a fork until dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add 2 ounces bread flour; stir until well combined. Cover with a clean kitchen towel; let rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk and bubbles appear on the surface, about 1 hour.
  2. Place remaining 7 ounces bread flour and the pastry flour in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the butter, eggs, sugar, and the dry milk, and beat on low speed until well combined, about 5 minutes. Add the yeast mixture; beat on low speed for 5 minutes. Sprinkle in salt; beat on medium speed until dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic, about 5 minutes more.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap; immediately place in freezer for 30 minutes (to prevent the dough from rising too quickly). Remove from freezer; punch down dough in bowl. Fold sides into the center, and invert, so dough is smooth side up. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 10 hours or overnight.
  4. Part 2:
  5. Butter 3 x small muffin tins and set aside. Divide the dough into 18 equal pieces. Working with a few pieces at a time (returning the rest of the dough to the refrigerator), divide each piece in two, making one twice as big as the other.
  6. One a lightly floured surface, roll the larger piece into a round ball using the cupped palm of your hand. Press your thumb into the center of the ball to form a deep well. Then rotate your thumb to widen the hole. Shape the smaller piece into a teardrop. With lightly floured fingers, press the tip of the teardrop gently into the bottom of the hole. Place in a prepared mold. Repeat with remaining dough.
  7. Drape the dough pieces with a well-oiled piece of plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, nondrafty place until fully doubled in bulk for 1-3 hours.
  8. Preheat oven to 375F.
  9. Just before baking, brush dough gently but generously with the beaten egg. Place tins in center of oven, and bake until deep golden brown, 8 to 12 minutes. Immediately remove brioches from muffin tins, and cool on wire rack.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2015/04/08/brioche-in-brooklyn/

What are some of your favourite breads, or Viennoiseries?