Garlic Bread

I’m obsessed with garlic bread. It seems like we’re always eating it here at Forty*Chestnuts. We’re eating it with soup, roast chicken, pasta…it can be eaten with pretty much everything else we make. The bread is so easy to make, it’s never really occurred to us to share the recipe. But it’s so delicious, we’re going to devote a whole post to it.

Great garlic bread has that perfect balance of crusty exterior with a soft, buttery, garlicky interior. We’ve experimented using different types of breads: ciabatta has too many holes in the middle, the baguette at Whole Foods is too dense, and the Trader Joe’s baguette isn’t soft enough in the middle. The one that we’ve like the best is the homemade baguette from Fairway. We’ve also experimented with different methods of slicing the loaf to spread the garlic butter mixture. Slicing the ciabatta or baguette in the middle horizontally didn’t spread the garlic flavor to the whole loaf. We prefer slicing the baguette into about 1″ slices, making sure you don’t slice all the way through. Spreading the mixture this way covers more of the loaf insides. A word about the mixture itself, we absolutely love the cheese. It melts between the slices and is stringy when you pull the slices apart. We loved this recipe for garlic bread from Drizzle & Dip that we wanted to share it with you. Try this bread with our Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup. The pairing is absolutely delicious!

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Mix the minced garlic, coriander, black pepper, and parmesan cheese with the softened butter.
  3. Slice the baguette into your desired thickness, ensuring you don’t cut all the way through.
  4. Spread the butter mixture generously between the cut slices and a little bit over the top of the baguette.
  5. Wrap in foil.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes and then open the foil and bake for another 3 minutes to brown the loaf.

Cook’s Notes

If you don’t have enough time to soften the butter at room temperature. In a bowl, microwave the butter for 10-15 seconds, until soft. If it melts too much, place the bowl in the fridge and check back after 30-45 seconds. Try variations of this timing until the butter becomes soft and spreadable.

If you want a milder garlic flavor, use 2-3 garlic cloves.

Feel free to substitute or add to the coriander with other herbs of your liking! I think my next variation on this will be with rosemary!

Be careful to not overdo the butter mixture between the cut slices. Otherwise the slices will turn out soggy.

If your loaf is already brown and crispy, reduce the last part of the baking time that browns the loaf.

Jalapeño Cheddar and Scallion Cornbread

Cornbread and I have a complicated relationship. I really only eat it a few times a year, and when I do, it’s great. But, apologizing to my Southern friends in advance, it’s just not one of those foods that come top of mind when I want a bread to eat with soup or chili. I definitely wouldn’t mind eating it more often, I just need to remember.

A few days ago, Dan and I ordered barbecue for dinner which came with a side of cornbread. Upon the first bite, I instantly remembered what I’d been missing. It was buttery, slightly crumbly and deliciously moist. It cut the meatiness of the ribs and sweetness of the baked beans. I’ll admit, this cornbread does have a lot going on with the cheddar, scallions and jalapeño. I think the only thing that’s missing is crumbled bacon; and I’ll let you add that yourself. This recipe works just fine with none, any or all of the mix-ins. But you have to make this in a cast iron skillet. It’s classic. Plus, it gives you those nice toasty edges.

And if you want these flavors in biscuit format, A Kitchen Addiction has a great recipe for jalapeño cheddar biscuits.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Brush bottom of cast-iron skillet (no larger than 10″) or square baking pan with oil or some butter.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Stir in the jalapeños, scallions, and shredded cheddar.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk.
  5. Stir in melted butter.
  6. Stir buttermilk mixture into the cornmeal mixture until just moistened. Do not overmix.
  7. Spread batter into prepared pan in an even layer.
  8. Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden on top and when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cook’s Notes

The jalapeño, cheddar and scallions are optional in this recipe. Omit these to bake a classic cornbread.

Turkey Inspired

Friends, it’s been too long.

We’ve been on hiatus for the better part of the Summer. And for the past two weeks, we’ve been traveling around Turkey. Specifically, to Istanbul, the Western Anatolian cities of Selçuk, Şirince, Ephesus, Fethiye, Kaş, and Göreme, and to the Greek island of Rhodes. We saw great sites and definitely ate great food.

Our strategy was to sample mainly street food in Istanbul since we believed we could find more authentic and heritage cuisine from the smaller towns on our itinerary. So to find the great street food stands and stalls, I threw out the guide books and consulted Turkish food blogs, chiefly Istanbul Eats and Turkey’s For Life. In a city with such a strong street food culture, we knew we’d be in for a treat. We found great places to eat köfte, tantuni kebabbalık durum, and islak burger. They were cheap, filling, but also carefully made, well seasoned – incredibly flavorful!, and fresh.

Some of the best food we had were from the kitchens of the guesthouses from where we stayed. In Selçuk, we stayed at Homeros Pension run by a smal family. “Mama” prepares home-cooked dinners every night and guests can sign up to attend. We only stayed one night and did not pass up the opportunity to try an authentic meal. Hands down, this was one of the best meals we had in Turkey and we tasted regional cuisine of Southern Turkey. Funny fact – in Istanbul, we went to a restaurant specializing in the regional cuisine of Southern Turkey. We recognized some of the dishes there from the meal that Mama prepared. And the restaurant was no where as good (and definitely more expensive) as what we we had in Selçuk. So our strategy has merit! In Kaş, a small town along the Mediterranean coast, we again ate dinner at our guesthouse, Hotel Hideaway and had perfectly grilled, fresh caught sea bream. In Göreme, we stayed at Sultan Cave Suites and ate at it’s restaurant Seten Anatolian Cuisine. The restaurant features local dishes and cuisine from Anatolia. Though it was just the two of us, we couldn’t pass up the mixed meze platter, which filled us up before our main courses came!

What we loved most was the authenticity of ingredients. The food was simple but flavored incredibly through organic methods of charring, grilling, smoking, pickling, and drying. There were quite a few dishes we loved and want to (will attempt to) recreate for you from our tiny NY kitchen. So stay tuned for a few Turkey themed posts and recipes!

Sautéed Scallops with Ramps

Ramps season is here and we got our hands on some from the Union Square Greenmarket. If you love garlic and onions, then you’ve got to try ramps. They have a short growing season and can only be found in early spring. And what’s more, they’re wild; so the ramps we eat are foraged from wild populations. Apparently they’re finicky plants and difficult to cultivate. But I guess that’s what makes it exciting when the first bunches of ramps are spotted at markets and on restaurant menus. Since the foodie population has grown exponentially, at least in New York, I’ve seen blogs and Twitter handles dedicated to ramp-spotting. I suppose the ephemeral nature of the plant excites us to seek it out wherever possible during the few weeks of its season.

And what does it taste like exactly? Think of it as the flavors of garlic and a mild shallot combined. After all, it is part of the Allium genus, which also contains leeks, shallots, onions, scallions and garlic. So definitely have a post-ramp stick of gum at the ready. Or have a few sticks on hand since when they are in season, they’re everywhere. You can have them at breakfast – they’re great with eggs, as a side, or in them as an omlette. You can also have them at lunch and dinner with pasta, pizza, seafood…basically with anything you usually put garlic and onion in. The whole ramp, including the stem, can be eaten. They’re fast to cook (either whole or chopped up) and just need a quick sauté.  I cooked one bunch with eggs, which I didn’t photograph. The other bunch I used with wild Diver Scallops. This might be one of the easiest recipes I’ve posted. I cooked both the ramps and the scallops cleanly since I wanted their natural flavors to shine.

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a pan on medium-high heat.
  2. Sauté the ramps, season to taste, and set aside on a plate.
  3. Rinse scallops and pat dry. Season to taste.
  4. In the same or another pan, heat some more olive oil.
  5. Sear scallops for a few minutes (about 2) on each side.
  6. Plate scallops on top of ramps and serve immediately.

Alfajores

Hi all – long time no see! We were off on holiday the last week; but don’t worry, we’re back – and looking forward to an exciting 2012. But before we can fully begin, there are a few remnants, mainly in the form of desserts, from the holiday and New Years festivities that we need to clean out. So here’s one more cookie recipe. Shhh…we’ll start our New Years healthy eating and living resolution next week.

I first came across this cookie in Peru a few years ago. The cookie has sweet, creamy dulce de leche sandwiched between two rich, buttery shortbread-type biscuits. The fillings I’ve seen are usually dulce de leche; but I have come across jam-filled alfajores. So if you can’t find canned dulce de leche in your grocery store, jam is a good alternative. And for the daring bakers, after you assemble the cookie sandwiches, dip it all in chocolate!

 Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.
  3. Gradually mix in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla until combined.
  4. In another bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt until combined.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, or by hand, add the flour mixture in batches into the butter mixture until a dough forms.
  6. Place the dough on wax paper, parchment paper or foil.
  7. Roll out the dough to 1/8″ thickness.
  8. Place the dough onto a platter and freeze for 2-3 minutes, until it slightly hardens.
  9. Using a 2″ round cutter, cut out 48 cookies.
  10. If necessary, refreeze the dough between cuttings if it gets too soft to handle.
  11. Place cookies onto lined sheet.
  12. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not over-bake or let the cookies become golden.
  13. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.
  14. To assemble, scoop a desired amount of dulce de leche and spread onto the bottom of a cookie. Top with another cookie to make the sandwich.

Cook’s Notes

The dulce de leche is quite sweet so I reduced the amount of sugar to 1/3 cup when I made them.

Whenever you’re handling cookie dough that needs to be rolled out and cut, work on top of a sheet of foil or parchment paper. This allows you to easily move the sheet of dough onto a plate and into the fridge to be cooled.

I actually don’t have any cookie cutters. For this recipe, I used the cap of a bottle of oregano. The cap was approximately 2″ in diameter. Be careful, if you apply too much pressure when cutting the dough, the dough can get suctioned into the cap, making it difficult to take out unless you break up the dough. Instead, apply a medium amount of pressure so you see the perforation of the round into the dough; and then you can peel the cut shape out of the sheet.