Friday, November 18, 2011

A Cook's book for Cooks, GIVEAWAY WINNER!!

There were 25 entries for the giveaway of "A Cook's book for Cooks" written by Stephen Crout. The lucky winner was #16, Yenta Mary!!! Congratulations Yenta Mary on winning this cookbook, you're gonna love it!!! Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway. Your support means a lot to both myself and Stephen. Enjoy the book Mary!

Everyone else, don't fret, you can still order this book on Search BOOKS for Stephen Crout and you'll find it. Makes a great holiday gift for the foodie in your life!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mushroom marsala sauce

My Husband's birthday was last week so of course I had to make him something delicious for dinner. Between the two of us, we couldn't decide on what he wanted. One thing was for sure: he wanted beef. And mushrooms. And wine. The first thing he suggested was beef burgundy, delicious indeed, but we'd recently had beef stew, which is very similar and I didn't want those flavors again. Yes, it's his birthday, but I'm in charge of the food! Beef Stroganoff was suggested, we haven't had it in a while, but I've made that plenty of times before. Steak, sure, but what can we do to make it more special for his birthday??

That's when my good friend Phyllis and I got chatting. She told me about a recipe she'd concocted using shallot & mushrooms, a bit of marsala wine, sour cream and Parmigiana done up gratin style. The timing of our conversation couldn't have been better!! Here was something different that would pair perfectly with the beef the Witchy Husband had requested. And it has wine, a flavor he'd been thinking about. And mushrooms! And sour cream!! I couldn't wait to get working on this delightful birthday treat!

Phyllis' original dish was done in a casserole and baked to melt and brown the cheese. I decided to morph her idea into a sauce that could blanket the steaks. I cooked the beef using the grilled steak technique I've written about before, except I seared them on my stove top in a cast iron skillet. The skillet was then deglazed after the steaks cooked so that lovely browned beefy flavor could become one with my sauce. The sauce was done in a seperate sautee pan, starting with the butter, shallots and mushrooms. Once the 'shrooms were deeply browned the pan was deglazed with marsala wine. After reduction the Witch added the deglaze liquid from the steaks pan, a touch of water and sour cream. The resulting sauce was rich, velvety, lusciously and deeply flavored. It was the PERFECT companion to the medium rare cooked sirloins. Birthday dinner perfection!! Happy Birthday Hon, I love you!

Mushroom Marsala sauce
makes 2 servings
Inspired by Phyllis Davis
8 large white mushrooms, sliced
1 medium shallot, fine diced
3T butter, unsalted
1/2 c marsala wine, dry
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 t thyme crushed
1 c water, divided
parmesean cheese, fresh grated, about 4T
2 steaks, pan seared using reverse sear technique
kosher salt and pepper

In a sautee pan melt butter over medium high heat. Once it stops foaming add the finely diced shallot and sautee until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and toss to coat in butter evenly. The mushrooms will absorb the butter, this is ok, just let them cook. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until mushrooms are deeply browned.

Deglaze pan with marsala wine. Allow to reduce by half. Remove from heat and add sour cream, slowly stirring it into the sauce. Add 1/2 c water to the sauce and stir well.

Deglaze pan that steaks seared in with remaining water. Scrape up any browned bits from the pan and add this to the sauce. Add the parmesean cheese to the sauce, stir well, taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve over rested steaks.

*~*Kitchen Witch TIP: If you're cooking the steaks outside on the grill simply substitute the steak deglazing liquid with about 1/2 cup of beef broth.~*~
Nutrition Facts

User Entered Recipe

2 Servings

Amount Per Serving
Total Fat29.4 g
Saturated Fat18.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat8.5 g
Cholesterol71.9 mg
Sodium37.6 mg
Potassium224.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate6.2 g
Dietary Fiber0.1 g
Sugars0.2 g
Protein2.8 g

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sweet Corn Gelato

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a FREE copy of A Cook's book for Cooks! Click HERE to enter!

Wow, this one is TOTALLY out of season but it deserves to be posted nonetheless. I made this late summer with my friend Phyllis, and just now realized that I'd not published it yet. D'oh!

Sweet corn gelato. Yes, that's corn flavored ice cream. Wait, no don't leave, I promise its good! Really really good. Really! Phyllis suggested we try this gelato and I was all in. Being both a corn and ice cream lover, I could see how this could be awesome. I'm here to tell you that it indeed IS awesome! We made this with late summer Olathe sweet corn and it was wonderful. The recipe calls for fresh corn off the cob however if I couldn't get good corn I'd use frozen corn and omit the portion of the recipe that refers to the cob. Enjoy!

How's it taste? Surprising, different, salty, sweet, like the best corn on the cob you've ever had, but only cold. It has a smooth texture with no trace of corn husk or kernal to be found yet it is the very essence of corn. The only one who enjoyed the gelato more than I did was the Little Witch. She LOVED it! The photos don't do this frozen treat justice. If you like corn you need to try this.

Sweet-corn Gelato
makes about 5 cups gelato (10 1/2 c servings)
Source: recipe comes from New York and was served at Gramercy Tavern and then at Babbo

3 ears of sweet corn
3 1/2 c. whole milk
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. heavy cream
8 large egg yolks
1 t. kosher salt

Cut kernels from cob and break cobs into 2-3 pieces. Add the corn, cobs and milk to a sauce pan and bring up to a boil. Allow it to boil for 1 minute then remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Remove cobs from milk and discard them. Puree mixture in batches in a blender. Set a course strainer over large bowl and strain mixture pressing on solids and then discard them. Add more milk if needed to measure 3 1/2 c of milk and corn mix.

Bring mixture, 1 1/4 c. sugar, and cream. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar.

Set a strainer over med bowl and set aside.

Whisk remaining 1/4 c. sugar, egg yolks, and salt and gradually whisk in hot milk, return to saucepan and stir constantly for about 2 min to reach 175 degrees on instant read thermometer.

Immediately pour custard through strainer and place bowl over ice water to chill, about 5 min. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight and then process per manufacture directions with your ice cream freezer. Transfer to container and freeze at least 1 hour before serving. Lasts up to 1 month in the freezer.

Nutrition Facts calculated at SparkPeople Recipe calculator
Amount Per Serving
Calories 288.2
Total Fat 11.2 g
Saturated Fat 5.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.7 g
Cholesterol 188.8 mg
Sodium 243.5 mg
Potassium 262.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 42.8 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
Sugars 35.9 g
Protein 6.5 g

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Stuffed Pumpkin with Cheese, Bacon and Chipotles

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a FREE copy of A Cook's book for Cooks! Click HERE to enter!

Halloween may be over but that's no reason to say good bye to the beloved pumpkin. The orange squash is king of Autumn and until December 21, it's still Autumn, so bring on the pumpkin recipes! Today I happily share with you a pumpkin stuffed with cheese, bacon and chipotle chilies. Holy cow, this thing is good! And rich! And delicious!! This gorgeous dish was found at the Homesick Texan's site. I'm not from Texas (I'm from Michigan!) but this dish makes me homesick for Texas as well!!

The stuffing in this pumpkin is filled with all sorts of deliciousness: French bread cubes, Gruyere and white cheddar cheeses, thick cut bacon and spicy smoky chipotles. A touch of garlic, cumin and cream crown the already rich and flavorful filling. After a long 2 hour baking time the pumpkin is tender and easily scrapes out of it's shell. The sweet and yet bland squash play perfectly with the spicy and rich filling.

Stuffed pumpkin makes a great lunch on its own or would be perfect as a side dish. It'd also be very welcome on the Thanksgiving table. Imagine if you will, the beautiful turkey, golden brown and fragrant, the bowl of red glistening cranberry sauce, fluffy white mashed potatoes, rich brown gravy and this, amazing orange whole baked pumpkin stuffed with cheesy spicy goodness. It's truly a vision of delicious loveliness!

Stuffed Pumpkin with Cheese, Bacon and Chipotles
Source: Homesick Texan
Makes: 4 servings

One 3-to-4 pound pie pumpkin
Salt and black pepper to taste
4 ounces French bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 pound Gruyere, shredded (1 cup)
1/4 pound white cheddar, shredded (1 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 or 2 chipotle chiles en adobo, diced (depending on how fiery you want it)
1/4 pound cooked bacon, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Small pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8x8 pan or baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

With a sharp knife, cut a circle around the pumpkin stem about 1 inch away from the stem. Remove the top and clean out the seeds and stringy bits from inside the pumpkin. (You can save the seeds for roasting, if you like.) Lightly salt and pepper the inside of the pumpkin.

Toss together the bread cubes, shredded Gruyere, shredded cheddar, garlic, diced chipotle chiles and cooked bacon, and stuff into the pumpkin. Stir the cumin and nutmeg into the cream, adding a bit of salt and black pepper to taste. Pour cream mixture into pumpkin over bread and cheese.

Place the top back on the pumpkin, and place the pumpkin into the baking pan. Bake for 2 hours or until filling is brown and bubbling.

To serve, remove the top and spoon out portions of the filling along with bits of the cooked pumpkin. You can either leave it in the pan, or by using the foil or parchment paper, you can carefully lift it out of the pan and place it on a platter. Serve warm.

Nutrition Facts calculated at SparkPeople recipe calculator
Amount Per Serving
Calories 497.3
Total Fat 30.4 g
Saturated Fat 18.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.4 g
Cholesterol 101.9 mg
Sodium 1,691.2 mg
Potassium 1,004.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 37.5 g
Dietary Fiber 4.9 g
Sugars 4.2 g
Protein 21.9 g

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Cook's book for Cooks, GIVEAWAY!!

The Giveaway is CLOSED at this time.
My fellow blogger and friend Stephen of the Obsessive Chef has written a book! A Cook's book for Cooks is his pride and joy, and it's quite entertaining. Stephen is an incredibly talented writer and cook. His take on this book is different than your average cookbook, it's more of a dialog about food. You won't find carefully measured ingredients or a strict recipe to follow; rather you'll have to depend on your own palette and senses of like & dislike to create a meal you'll be proud of. I for one am very proud of Stephen for this book as well as its concept. As a blogger and avid cook I like to look at recipes for inspiration, but rarely follow them. Be brave, everyone, its OK to play with a recipe, that's how you learn what you like and start to develop your palette as well as cooking skills!! The Witch is enjoying this book immensely, it's almost like having a friend who can cook sitting with you, discussing what's for dinner.

If you're a cook or know someone who is a cook, please consider giving Stephen Crout's book A Cook's Book for Cooks. It would make a fabulous holiday gift for the foodie in your life!

Best of all, Andrea the Kitchen Witch, compliments of Stephen Crout himself, is going to give away one of these books to you, my wonderful readers! If you can't wait to win the giveaway either click on the title above OR search for Stephen Crout. (searching for the title only won't work, tried it and now I'm telling you all)

Entry is easy: There are 2 ways to get entry to this giveaway:
1. Become a follower of this blog using Google Friends Connect (GFC) on the left side. Click on FOLLOW. Then leave a comment here that you've a follower and that's it, you're entered. Current followers, please leave a comment that you're a follower and you're entered.

2. LIKE Andrea the Kitchen Witch on facebook (there's a gadget on the left you can click LIKE there) and leave a comment here that you're a facebook fan. Again, current facebook fans, enter a comment for your entry.

The Giveaway is CLOSED at this time.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

On a chilly fall afternoon nothing smells or feels quite as homey as a batch of pumpkin baked goods in the oven. That's what the Witch was thinking when she went blog surfing to find a new and different pumpkin recipe to make. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bars: been there, done that. I wanted something different, not seen before in the Kitchen Witches' kitchen. That's when I went to the guru of all things pumpkin, Annie of Annie's Eats!! Annie is a certified pumpkin lover and I knew that if I was looking for baked delicious pumpkin goods Annie's site was the place to be.

I was right! After browsing her pumpkin collection I stumbled upon pumpkin whoopie pies. I'd seen these on her site before. Heck, I had bookmarked them on my old computer, but it died before I could make them. Now was the time!! The Kitchen Witch has never made whoopie pies before so I had no point of reference to go by other than what I knew about the pies; soft, fluffy cake cookies with a creamy filling. Annie's recipe provided both of those things. The pumpkin cake is soft and tender like most pumpkin baked goods are, delicatly flavored with spices and just sweet enough. The filling is the amazing, cream cheese maple icing!! Seriously, this is the best and easiest cream cheese icing I've ever attempted.

The whoopie pies come together quickly; the batter is scooped onto sheet trays with a 1.5T scooper and after a 12 minute bake they're done. After mixing up the delicious icing in the stand mixer I transferred it to a large plastic bag which I cut the end off one corner to make a piping bag. A quick swirl of filling and the pies are finished with a topping cake. Whoopie pies have captured our hearts and taste buds, so much so that the Husband asked for these as his birthday cake. I take that as recipe success anyday! Thanks Annie for the great recipe, we love it!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Source: Annie's Eats
Makes: 32 pies

For the pumpkin cookies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup canola oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the maple cream cheese filling:
3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

To make the pumpkin cookies, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk sugars and oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.

Use a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets (about 1.5-2 tablespoons.), about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pan for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

To make the filling, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter until smooth with no visible lumps. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined. Add the powdered sugar, maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth. Be careful not to overbeat the filling or it will lose structure.

To assemble, turn half of the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe filling onto the flat side of the overturned cookies. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm before serving.

Nutrition Facts calculated by SparkPeople recipe calculator
Amount Per Serving
Calories 262.2
Total Fat 12.6 g
Saturated Fat 4.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.7 g
Cholesterol 27.1 mg
Sodium 210.8 mg
Potassium 109.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 38.4 g
Dietary Fiber 0.7 g
Sugars 27.8 g
Protein 2.3 g
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