Recipes from Joy of Cooking rewritten so they're possible in a small kitchen on a small budget. Enjoy.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Chocolate Mousse

I don’t know what do to this time, so why not chocolate mousse?

Here’s a tip for this: use an electric mixer. It can be one of those little hand mixers, I think you can get one from Target or Walmart for $20 or so. It’s a very useful tool to have.

Me, I’m going to my boyfriend’s house and borrowing his mom’s nice stand mixer. I’ve been craving a KitchenAid for years, but borrowing one is good too.

When I made this, I actually spilled half of it on the floor. Disappointing. But the other half turned out great!

Chocolate Mousse

6 oz semisweet chocolate
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs, separated (that means separate the yolks from the whites. For the best way to do this, see the notes)
¼ cup plus 3 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup heavy cream

In a double boiler or a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water, combine the chocolate, butter, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir with a wooden spoon until chocolate is melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and set it aside.
In a second heatproof bowl over boiling water, combine the yolks of the eggs, 3 tablespoons of water, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Whisk constantly until thick and puffy.
Add the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture, and whisk to combine.
As this cools to room temperature, beat the egg whites using an electric mixer.
When the egg whites are foamy, add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. This means when you lift the beater out, a peak will form but the tip will fall over.
Gradually beat in the ¼ cup of sugar. If you add it all at once, it will fly out of the bowl and make a mess, so add a bit at a time. Beat until you have stiff peaks—that means the tips don’t fall over anymore.
Add ¼ of the egg white mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir thoroughly. Then add the rest of the egg whites, but fold them in. This means stir very gently, ideally with a spatula, the very minimum amount you can for the two mixtures to be combined.
Using the mixer, beat the cream until you have soft peaks. If you’re using the same bowl as you did for the egg whites, thoroughly wash it first.
Fold the cream into the chocolate mixture.
Refrigerate for at least four hours before eating.

The best and easiest way to separate eggs is to do them one at a time. You should have three bowls. Let’s call them A, B, and C. 
Gently crack the shell of the first egg. You want two neat halves, not a shattered mess. Pour the white into bowl A. Carefully pour the yolk between the two shell halves, letting some of the white fall between them into the bowl. It’s easy enough if you go slowly.
Dump the yolk into bowl B and pour the white into bowl C. Repeat with each egg.
The use of the third bowl as the workspace is so that if you mess up one egg, you can throw it out and not ruin everything. A tiny bit of fat in the egg whites will ruin this.
For those of you concerned about using raw eggs, don’t be. You are cooking the egg yolks just enough to lose any risk. Also, the egg whites do not contain any bacteria.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Roasted Garlic Soup

This week, my wisdom teeth come out.
I need soup. It’s all I can eat.

Roasted Garlic Soup

6 heads of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
3 14oz cans chicken broth
3 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp paprika or red pepper
Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325.
Do not peel the garlic, but cut off the top—the pointy bit where the outer skins meet. This exposes the cloves inside.
Put the garlic in a baking pan--one large enough to hold all 6 heads and has deep sides. Add water to the pan to come up to 1/3 the level of the garlic heads. Drizzle the olive oil over the top.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for one hour until soft and tender.
Set it aside until it is cool enough to handle, but not cold.
Pull each clove out from the skins and put them in a bowl. Check them as you’re doing this and make sure none of them are rotting. If some are, just throw out that one clove, not the whole head. Mash them together with a fork. They should be very soft and you should have no trouble mashing them
In a large saucepan, pour in the chicken broth. Add the mashed garlic. Using a whisk or a wooden spoon, stir everything together.
Put the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer.
Add the rest of the ingredients, mix them together, and let it simmer for another 5 minutes before serving.

To be honest, this isn’t the best recipe in Joy of Cooking. It’s very garlicky. If you love garlic, that’s great for you!
If you feel the soup needs more bulk, add some chopped cooked chicken into the broth.
Also, be warned that excess garlic can cause intestinal distress. Even if you think you really love garlic and you can handle it, this is a lot. So just be warned.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

St Patrick’s Day is this week. I’m not Irish but a lot of people who live around here are.

So, something Irish I guess. I don’t even like Irish food really, so I guess this’ll be a good challenge to create something that I like. And that’s still easy enough for all my loyal if nonexistent readers to create.

Shepherd’s Pie

The biggest hurdle for me is that to make a true shepherd’s pie, it needs to be made with lamb. I can’t eat lamb, but substituting ground beef as I plan to do makes this something called ‘cottage pie’.

So I’ll tell you to use lamb. But you can substitute ground beef if you want.

1 package instant mashed potatoes
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
1 lb raw ground lamb
1 tbsp flour
¾ cup beef broth
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp rosemary
2 tbsp butter

Make the mashed potatoes according to the package directions.
Preheat oven to 400.
Chop the onion, carrot, and celery into small chunks. Place the pieces in a skillet with the vegetable oil. Cook over medium low heat until the vegetables just start to get tender.
Add the lamb and increase the heat to medium. Break up the lamb with a spoon and cook until it is no longer pink.
Add the flour and cook, stirring, for about two minutes. Add the broth, thyme, and rosemary, and cook on low heat for another ten minutes. The mixture should thicken as it cooks.
Transfer the mixture into a greased baking dish or pie plate. The size or material of this dish doesn’t matter, just make sure it’s oven safe.
Spread the prepared mashes potatoes over the top of the mixture.
Cut the butter into small pieces and spread over the top of the potatoes.
Bake in the oven about 30 minutes, until the potatoes are browned.

You can use whatever vegetables you like in this. Mike swears corn is one of the essential ingredients, I personally think it would taste odd.
All that’s really required for this dish is a layer of meat, a layer of vegetables, and a layer of potatoes. Whatever you want will work fine.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chocolate Sheet Cake

Maybe I should make a cake. Yummy cake.

Point of interest, Mike made me a cake for Valentine’s Day. Brownie batter baked in a graham cracker pie crust and marshmallows on top. So delicious. If only it was in the book so I could give you the full recipe.

Today’s cake will be Chocolate Sheet Cake with Quick Chocolate Butter Ice Cream

So, I now have some financial troubles. Lost out on a job opportunity. I need to be frugal about what I’m buying for these recipes. So therefore, I’m going to let you know how much everything cost, so if you’re budgeting, you can do the same.

For cake:
2 c sugar (I already had this—all ingredients I didn’t have to get will be marked with *)
2 c flour (*)
1 tsp baking soda (*)
½ tsp salt (*)
½ c vegetable oil (*)
½ c unsalted butter ($4.70)
½ c unsweetened cocoa powder (hot chocolate mix works for this) (*)
2 eggs ($1.30)
½ c buttermilk (or ½ c milk—not skim! Needs some fat—and ½ tbsp white vinegar) ($0.90 for the vinegar, stole the milk from the dining commons on campus)
1 tsp vanilla (*)
For frosting:
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped ($2.80)
3 oz unsalted butter (unsalted is important here. it’s a little more expensive, but not too much.)
¼ c hot coffee, cream, or milk (*)
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 c powdered sugar (*)

To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 13x9 in pan (a glass one is good to have but you can get a disposable one at any grocery store for cheaper).
If you did not get buttermilk, at this point you should mix together the milk and vinegar. Let it sit out in room temperature.
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a saucepan over medium heat, mix 1 cup of water with the oil, butter, and cocoa powder. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, and then pour over the dry ingredients in the bowl. Stir everything together, and let cool for a few minutes.
Then add in the eggs, buttermilk or milk/vinegar mixture, and vanilla. Mix well.
Pour it into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife can be inserted into the center and come out clean.
Let cool completely before adding frosting.

To make the frosting:
Melt in a double boiler (if you have one of these, you’re lucky, but if not, use a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water) the chocolate and the butter.
Remove from the heat and stir in the coffee/cream/milk (whichever you used) and the vanilla.
Gradually add in the powdered sugar and beat until it’s smooth and spreadable.

This cake can also be made in two 8-inch round cake pans. That’s how I did it, and I used the frosting as a filling between the two layers, since it didn’t really make that much. If you want to use that frosting to cover an entire sheet cake, double the recipe, maybe triple it if you like lots of frosting.