Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Hazelnut Souffle

CSN Stores is a great place to pick up anything you need for your kitchen, and just about anything else from a swing set to new souffle dishes! I just got invited to do another product review from CSN stores, and I was thinking of reviewing some new souffle dishes to make some of my favorite desserts. I can't wait!

I haven't made any souffles recently, though I have shared several in the past on A Kitchen In Brooklyn, and they are one of my favorite desserts to make and eat.  Not too long ago, my husband went to Capsouto Freres for dinner, home of the best souffle in Manhattan. The restaurant is a bit out of the way to get to (you basically have to hike on the west side of Tribeca right near the entrance of the Holland Tunnel), but it is totally worth it. The French food is great at this old New York mainstay, and the portion sizes are nice and large as well. But the souffles are the real treat. In fact, at lunchtime, they even have a souffle bar which includes savory souffles! When we were there for dinner there were four choices on the menu - chocolate, hazelnut, raspberry and a seasonal special - clementine.  I couldn't resist trying the clementine, which was delicate and amazing, while Brad had the hazelnut. The hazelnut souffle there was made with real hazelnuts and was delicious (I got a taste), but I remembered I had some of the creamy and delicious Hazelnut Spread that ShopRite had sent me, so I figured I would put it to use in a creative way, to make my own hazelnut souffle. It worked out nicely, and now I am back on a souffle kick, so I plan to make some more souffles in the coming week.

Sasha's Hazelnut Souffle
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
4 large egg whites
1/3 of a cup creamy hazelnut spread (use ShopRite's or Nutella)
pinch of salt
3 T flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for bottoms of souffle dishes

Spray the bottoms of four souffle dishes with Pam and sprinkle each with granulated sugar. Preheat the oven to 375. It must have reached that temperature before you put the souffles in the oven! This is key.

Combine the heavy cream, egg yolks, flour, salt, sugar, vanilla and hazelnut spread in a bowl. Set the egg whites aside.

In the basin of your stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed for several minutes until the egg whites are big and fluffy, almost like a meringue.  Once they are super fluffy and have reached this point, gently fold them into the hazelnut mixture, using a spatula.

Fill the four ramekins to the top using this mixture and place them on a baking sheet in the oven. Turn the oven light on so you can watch them bake. It is important not to open and close the oven at all before you are ready to take them out. They should be done when the rise up nice and large, which takes about 15-20 minutes (in my case it took closer to 20 minutes).

These were absolutely delicious and filled with wonderful hazelnut goodness! Perfect for Valentine's Day!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Charlene's Kitchen in Philadelphia: Peasant Soup

This recipe for "peasant soup" is perhaps the quickest dinner I make. While there are hundreds of variations on peasant soup, this one originates from my beloved Jacques Pépin and goes like this:

For each serving:

heat a cup or two of chicken stock
toast some bread until it's crunchy like a crouton
rub a little garlic on the toast (optional)
put the toast in a bowl
top with a handful (or two) of Gruyère
pour the hot broth over the toast and cheese
sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper

So comforting and simple...

Sasha's Kitchen: Coconut Curry Chicken

This is a simple, heathy chicken recipe that is delicious and easy to make. I cam across this on Martha Stewart's Everyday Food, and thought it was worth giving a try. I made some minor modifications and it worked out just beautifully. This is another great dinner dish to make for a nice family dinner, or dinner for two with leftovers. The original recipe can be found here, and is called a spicy coconut chicken. Mine wasn't spicy (which was fine with me) because I used a different type of curry (powder and chile paste combo rather than curry paste), while I used a whole cut up Empire chicken rather than just the legs. Also, I added a yellow zucchini to the mix. It worked out just perfectly! This is definitely a thai inspired fusion dish, which is a favorite ethnic cuisine for me to experiment with.

Coconut Curry Chicken
1 T olive oil
whole chicken, cut up (about 3-4 pounds)
salt and pepper to taste
1 can (14.5 oz) light coconut milk
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup water
1 tsp curry
1 tsp chile paste
1 cup jasmine rice
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces
8 oz green beans
1 yellow zucchini, cut up

Using a five quart Dutch Oven, heat the oil over medium high heat. Season the chicken to taste with salt and pepper, and cook the chicken until browned (about 6-8 minutes). Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, curry and chile paste to the pot and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the curry and chile paste. Stir in the jasmine rice and add the chicken back in. Cover the Dutch Oven and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes.

Put in the green beans, zucchini and bell peppers in the pot on top of the chicken and cover the pot again. Cook until the veggies are crisp-tender, which took me about 15 minutes.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Asian-Style Grilled Steak Salad with Sesame Dressing

Time for a new recipe! I am always a fan of dinner salads, as a healthy and enjoyable dinner time meal for during the week. I decided to create an Asian steak salad with a Sesame dressing to complement. The dressing is easy, and assumes the flavor of the Sesame Oil. The key here is also to use good quality steak for the salad. This was a delicious treat, although it deviated significantly from my initial plan. The only thing I might suggest is chopping up some peanuts to scatter on the top, but otherwise it was just perfect, and a great, healthy meal.

This is quite easy to assemble. Simply pan grill the steak and assemble with the other ingredients. Cover the steak with foil towards the end of the cooking process. Mix up the dressing and top the salad when you serve it.

Sasha's Asian Style Grilled Steak Salad with Sesame Dressing
1 lb flank steak, pan grilled and cut into strips
3hearts of romaine
chopped red pepper
carrot peelings
2 plum tomatoes, pared and chopped
cilantro to season

1/2 cup Canola Oil
4 T white vinegar
2 T soy sauce
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1T sugar
1 clove garlic, diced

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