Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Recipe: Creamy Chocolate Pudding

Adapted from a September 2011Cook's Illustrated recipe and prepared for dinner on, November 18, 2012.  Makes 6 servings.


2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon espresso powder
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa
2 tablespoons corn starch
¼ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream
2½ cups whole milk
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate


  1. In a small bowl, stir together the vanilla extract and espresso powder.
  2. Break the chocolate into small pieces.
  3. Cut the butter into 8 pieces.
  4. Separate the egg yolks from the whites, discard the whites or save for another dish.
  5. In a large sauce pan, whisk together sugar, cocoa, and salt.
  6. Whisk in the egg yolks and cream.
  7. Whisk in the milk until incorporated, being careful to scrape the corners of the pan.
  8. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until bubble appear over the full surface of the mixture, 5-8 minutes.
  9. Continue to cook for 30 seconds.
  10. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and chocolate pieces.
  11. Whisk in the vanilla/espresso mixture.
  12. Pour the pudding through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.
  13. Press a sheet of greased parchment paper on top of the pudding and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  14. To serve, whisk the pudding briefly, transfer to serving bowls, and optionally top with whipped cream.

Mix espresso powder and vanilla extract.

Break chocolate into small pieces and cut the butter into 8 pieces.

Separate the yolks from 3 large eggs.

In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt.
Whisk in the cream and egg yolks.

Whisk in the whole milk.

With constant whisking, cook over medium heat until the entire surface bubbles, then cook for another 30 seconds.
Off heat, add the butter, chocolate, and vanilla mixture. Strain the pudding and refrigerate.

To serve, whisk the pudding briefly and transfer to individual serving bowls. Whipped cream is an optional but delicious topping.

Recipe: Easier Beef Burgundy

Adapted from a September 2008 video recipe at for "Budget Beef Bourguignon" or "Beef Merlot", revisited at Food Wishes in November 2012, and prepared for dinner on November 18, 2012.  Makes 6 servings.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2½ pounds beef chuck roast
1 medium onion
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
4 carrots
2 ribs celery
1 bay leaf
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
2 cups (or ½ bottle) red wine; merlot and burgundy are good choices
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 cup frozen peas


  1. Cut the beef into 2-inch cubes, trimming and discarding the veins of hard fat.
  2. Season the beef generously with salt and fresh ground pepper.
  3. Add oil to a dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  4. When the oil just starts to smoke, add the meat and brown it on all sides. If the bottom of the dutch oven is crowded, brown the meat in two batches.
  5. While the meat browns, peel the onion and chop it coarsely.
  6. Remove the meat and add the onion to the dutch oven with a pinch of salt, the butter, and the flour.
  7. Stir and cook the onions for a 3-4 minutes until they just start to soften.
  8. Add the wine and with a wooden spoon scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  9. Heat your oven to 300° with a rack in the lower-middle position.
  10. Cook the onion-wine mixture until the volume of the wine is reduced by about half.
  11. While the wine reduces, peel the carrots and cut them into 1-inch pieces.
  12. Trim the celery and cut it into ½-inch pieces.
  13. When the wine is reduced, add the carrots, celery, beef, beef juices, bay leaf, and thyme.
  14. Add beef broth to just cover the ingredients. If you don't have enough broth to cover the meat and vegetables you can add additional wine or water.
  15. Cover and simmer in the oven for 1½  hours.
  16. Remove the lid and continue to cook until the meet is tender, about ½ hour. This would be a good time to taste the stew and add more salt and pepper if needed.
  17. Just before serving, remove the thyme and bay leaves and stir in the peas.
  18. Serve over mashed potatoes and, as Chef John says, "... as always, enjoy!".

Trim the hard fat from a beef chuck roast, cut it into 2-inch cubes, and season with salt and pepper.

Brown the meat on all sides in some vegetable oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Remove the meat then add onions, salt, butter, and flour and cook 3-4 minutes.

De-glaze the pan with ½ bottle of red wine and reduce the volume of the wine by half.

Add carrots, celery, beef, beef juices, thyme, and bay leaf.

Add beef broth to cover.

Simmer in the oven for 1½ hours covered, then remove the cover and continue to simmer until the meat is tender. Remove the bay leaf and thyme and stir in peas.

Serve over mashed potatoes.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Recipe: Sloppy Toms

Adapted from a January 2012 video recipe at foodwishes.comprepared for dinner on, November 11, 2012.  Makes 6 servings.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion
1¼ pounds ground turkey
½ cups water
¾ cups ketchup
1½ tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon cocoa powder
1½ cups water, or as needed depending on simmering time
green onions
cheddar cheese (I chose a mild yellow cheddar cheese)


  1. Shred the cheddar cheese, making ½ cup.
  2. Chop the green end of the green onions making ⅓ cup.
  3. Finely chop the onion.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.
  5. Add the chopped onion with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown.
  6. Add the turkey and ½ cups of water, using a spoon to break up the ground meat. Cook until all the pink is gone, about 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the brown sugar and ketchup.
  8. Stir in the seasonings: salt, black pepper, cayenne (to taste), Worcestershire sauce, and cocoa powder.
  9. Cook for 20-30 minutes until tender. If the mixture gets too dry add some water, if it is too wet let it cook. Check the video to see the proper consistency.
  10. Stir in the green onions and cheese.
  11. Serve on toasted hamburger rolls and, as Chef John always says, "Enjoy!"

Prepare your mise en place: left to right, brown sugar, cocoa powder, green onion, ground turkey, ketchup, cheddar cheese, Worcestershire Sauce, cayenne.

Chop the onion and cook it in butter with a pinch of kosher salt over medium heat until golden brown.

Add the ground turkey and cook it until no pink remains, breaking the meat up into teeny tiny pieces, then stir in the ketchup and brown sugar.

Stir in the remaining ingredients then simmer, adding water as needed, until the turkey is tender.

Stir in the green onion and cheddar cheese.

Serve on toasted hamburger buns.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Recipe: Tarte Tatin

Adapted from a September 2012 video recipe at, prepared for dinner on, September 30, 2012.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Select firm apples that are good for baking and won't lose their shape such as Granny Smith.


4 large apples
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup sugar
1 single crust pie dough


  1. Have on hand chilled dough for a single-crust pie. 
  2. Take the butter from the refrigerator and allow it to soften.
  3. Turn the oven on to 425° with a rack in the middle position.
  4. Peel the apples and cut them into quarters vertically (through the stem and blossom ends of the apple)
  5. Cut out the apple cores and place the apples in a bowl of water with some vinegar or lemon juice added to prevent browning.
  6. Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator and allow it to warm for about 15 minutes so it is easier to roll out.
  7. Coat the inside of an oven-safe 10- or 12-inch skillet with the butter.
  8. Evenly coat the butter in the skillet with the sugar, most of it will be on the bottom of the pan.
  9. Place the apples in the pan, curved side down, core side up.
  10. Over medium-high heat, cook the apples until the sugar is caramelized to a golden brown and the apples have softened, about 10 minutes.
  11. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool while you prepare the dough.
  12. Roll out the dough into a circle whose diameter is one inch greater than that of the skillet.
  13. Lay the dough on top of the apples and push the edges down into the pan, being very careful not to burn yourself on the very hot sugar syrup. Optionally, you can crimp the edges of the dough before you put it into the skillet.
  14. Bake for 20 minutes until the crust is browned and the syrup is bubbling.
  15. Remove the skillet from the oven and let it cool for five minutes.
  16. Place a large plate over the top of the skillet and invert. With a little shaking most of the tarte should come out onto the plate.
  17. Carefully remove the remaining apples, caramel, and dough from the skillet and add them artfully to the tarte.
  18. Let it cool to room temperature and, as Chef John at always says, "Enjoy!"

Cook the butter, sugar, and apples for about 10 minutes over medium-high heat until the sugar is caramelized to a nice golden brown and the apples are softened.

My apples didn't fill the pan so I pushed them into the center before adding the crust.

Add the crust and very carefully (the sugar syrup is very hot) push it down around the apples. The edge was crimped before being added to the skillet

Bake at 425° until the crust is browned and you can hear the juices bubbling underneath.

Turn the tarte out onto a large serving plate and add  bits (they might be more than mere bits)  that stick to the pan are added to the top. (And if, as in this case, the edges of the crust stick to the pan, they can be added, too.)