Tortillas

I now make tortillas at home. No big. (Tortilla press highly recommended. Making these bad boys by hand clearly requires a lot of practice. And patience.)

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Fennel

Maybe I do like fennel.

Roasted Fennel with Parmesan (Barefoot Contessa)

Ingredients

  • 2 large fennel bulbs
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan shavings

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the stems of the fennel and slice the bulb in half lengthwise. With the cut side down, slice the bulb vertically into 1/2-inch-thick slices, cutting right through the core. Spread the fennel slices on a baking sheet, coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss with your hands.

Roast the fennel slices for about 1 hour, turning them once after 30 minutes, until the edges are crisp and brown. Remove from the oven and cover with Parmesan shavings. Taste for salt and pepper and serve.

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Fennel in context:

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Foodily

There’s this cool new site called Foodily that I’ve been exploring recently. It’s a massive search engine that scours the web for recipes using ingredients you want to include (and avoid). It also uses social media so you can find food your friends like to cook.

Last night I wanted to make kale with lemon and polenta. Bam! Two good recipes that I’m sure we’ll try again.

If you try it, know that you can add multiple search items to the field. Test Foodily with weird combinations of ingredients. Ketchup, peanuts, broccoli…

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Creamy Polenta (Martha Stewart by way of Foodily)

I stirred in a little fresh thyme at the end.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coarse grain polenta
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. In a large, deep saucepan, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. While whisking constantly, add polenta in a slow, steady stream. Reduce heat to medium, cook until thickened, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in cheese, heavy cream, and butter. Season with salt and pepper.

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Kale Salad with Pecorino and Lemon (Kitchn by way of Foodily)
serves 4

  • 1 large bunch kale, washed and trimmed of stems
  • 4 ounces Pecorino Romano, grated
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

Roll several kale leaves lengthwise and using the point of a chef’s knife, cut away the thick center stem. Discard. Roll the remaining stack of de-veined leaves into a tight cigar shape and slice into thin ribbons.

Toss the shaved kale with the cheese. Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil and pour over the salad. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Let the salad sit at room temperature for an hour before serving.

Genius

I know some people think Thomas Edison was a genius. But did he invent S’more Pie?! Gadzooks! The hardest thing about this is being patient while each component cools.

This genius was so busy eating, she forgot to take a picture of the end result. The broiler action is key to s’moring up the pie. Guess you have to make it yourself to see. (You should.) (Now.)

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S’more Pie (Smitten Kitchen)
Adapted from Gourmet, November 2006

Don’t be daunted by the number of steps in this pie–it is surprisingly simple to make, yes, even the marshmallows.

The biggest trick with the marshmallows is how messy they are. You’ll be tempted to break a strand of marshmallow between the bowl and your pie with your finger, it will then stick to your finger and you’ll use another finger to clean that one off and end up with sticky cobweb hands and strings of marshmallow everywhere, so don’t do it–use another spatula instead. Trust me, this has happened to me each time.

Of course, you could take a lot of shortcuts. You could buy an already-prepped graham cracker crust and/or you could line the chocolate layer with store-bought marshmallows and toast them instead. But then how would you play “Look! I’ve Got Spiderman Hands!” in the kitchen?

For crust
5 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for greasing
1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs (10 graham crackers or 24 small gingersnaps; about 6 oz, pulsed in a food processor until finely ground)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt (omitted if you use salted butter)

For chocolate cream filling
7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not more than 70% cacao; not unsweetened), finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg, at room temperature for 30 minutes

For marshmallow topping
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz package)
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Vegetable oil for greasing

Special equipment: a candy thermometer

Make graham cracker crust: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter pie 9- to 9 1/2-inch pie plate. Stir together all ingredients in a bowl and press evenly on bottom and up side of pie plate. Bake until crisp, 12 to 15 minutes, then cool on a rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes.

Make chocolate cream filling: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Put chocolate in a large bowl. Bring cream just to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan, then pour hot cream over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then gently whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Gently whisk in egg and a pinch of salt until combined and pour into graham cracker crumb crust (crust will be about half full).

Cover edge of pie with a pie shield or foil and bake until filling is softly set and trembles slightly in center when gently shaken, about 25 minutes. Cool pie to room temperature on a rack (filling will firm as it cools), about 1 hour.

Make marshmallow topping: Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water in a large deep heatproof bowl and let stand until softened, about 1 minute.

Stir together sugar, corn syrup, a pinch of salt, and remaining 1/4 cup water in cleaned 1- to 1 1/4-quart heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then boil until thermometer registers 260°F, about 6 minutes.

Begin beating water and gelatin mixture with an electric mixer at medium speed, then carefully pour in hot syrup in a slow stream, beating (avoid beaters and side of bowl). When all of syrup is added, increase speed to high and continue beating until mixture is tripled in volume and very thick, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and beat until combined, then immediately spoon topping onto center of pie filling; it will slowly spread to cover top of pie. Chill, uncovered, 1 hour, then cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap (oiled side down) and chill 3 hours more.

Brown topping: Preheat broiler. Transfer pie to a baking sheet. Cover edge of pie with pie shield or foil and broil 3 to 4 inches from heat, rotating pie as necessary, until marshmallow topping is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Cool pie on a rack 10 minutes. Slice pie with a large heavy knife dipped in hot water and then dried with a towel before cutting each slice.

[Alternately: I browned the topping with a creme brulee torch. It took some time and didn’t get as brown as I think it would have under the broiler (the pie was still cold, and hard to heat up with a small flame) but it does work in a pinch, or when you’re away from the oven.]

Note: Pie (before browning topping) can be chilled up to 1 day.