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Celery Root and Green Apple Soup February 22, 2008

Posted by pcorcoran in Cooking, Soup.
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1/2 stick butter (4 tbsp.)
2 whole celery root
2 Granny Smith green apples
1 large yellow onion, chopped
5 cups chicken stock
salt

Dice the celery root and apple into small cubes, about 1/2-inch. Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add celery root, apple, and onion. Cook for about 15 minutes, until celery root becomes soft and semi-translucent, but don’t let it brown.

Add 4 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

In small batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Add remaining chicken stock sparingly, as necessary, to keep the blending smooth.

After blending, return the soup to its pot and heat to a boil. Stir well. Salt to taste. Remove from heat. Serve within 48 hours, refrigerating as needed.

Time to prepare: 1 hour

Difficulty: 2/10

Serves: 6

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Be careful when blending.  Hot soup is a viscous, active liquid.  Keep blender portions to about 1/3 of blender capacity or less.  (It’s kinda crazy how easily hot soup in a blender can jump out at you, and believe me, that’s not something you are going to let happen twice.)

Lose that broccoli smell…. March 29, 2007

Posted by pcorcoran in Cooking, Family.
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Like to cook broccoli but not so keen on the smell?  Toss a celery stalk into the pot as you cook the broccoli.

Celery = Smell-B-Gone

No idea why it works.  But it does.

(Thank you: Jane Stromberg)

The Summer of Braising March 25, 2007

Posted by pcorcoran in Braising, Cooking, Personal.
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I have decreed this summer to be The Summer of Braising. Which means much braising will be done at 1100 Everett Ave.

Yes, it’s not summer yet. And yes, hardly anybody braises during the summer months, at least not in the Northern Hemisphere. But I feel a strong need to master this particular side of cooking. Hence, TSOB.

Last night I braised chicken with onions, leeks, and wild mushrooms, in white wine. (Recipe to follow.) It was tasty, and I have solid ideas for improving it to something transcendent.

Feed your clams January 21, 2007

Posted by pcorcoran in Cooking, Link.
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Reading through the glossary of Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain, by Penelope Casas, a book full of interesting tips, tricks and miscellanea, I found this discussion of cooking live clams:

Clams, in Spanish cooking, are often prepared right in a sauce. To avoid the grittiness that could result when clams open and release sand, scrub the clams (preferably very small and hard-shelled clams, such as littlenecks), then soak at least several hours or overnight in salted water to cover, sprinkling about 1 tablespoon of cornmeal or bread crumbs over the surface. The clams will eat the cornmeal or crumbs and release any sandy material. They will also become quite plump from their meal.

This is not a technique I would have stumbled upon by myself.

Henckels 7″ Santoku January 21, 2007

Posted by pcorcoran in Connor, Cooking, Personal, Photo.
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Henckels 7″ Hollow Edge Santoku knife

I was at Target with Connor today and upgraded my main chopping knife. Got a 7″ Henckels Santoku hollow edge. (It was $39 as a set with a 3″ sushi-style paring knife.)

Apparently Henckels makes no fewer than six different grades of this knife. Mine, the Forged Synergy, is the lowest quality. The higher end ones are almost $200 per blade. But even at the low end it’s a beauty. The blade runs through and over the handle, as a solid piece of steel. It’s also dishwasher safe, which I appreciate because I’m cruel to my knives.

Cutting with it is a dream. I can cut through the skin side of a ripe tomato without even holding the tomato. I was making a basil chiffonade, and all I had to do was drag the point of the knife across the basil using only the weight of the knife and it made perfect slices of basil. The hollow edge makes the knife thinner along the blade, allowing for narrower slices and for less “grabbing” when cutting through dense stuff. Slicing through a large onion was noticeably smoother with the slimmer blade.

It’s a poor workman who blames his tools. But it’s also a poor workman who has poor tools.

(BTW, I didn’t go into Target to buy a knife. It was an impulse, a consolation prize. I really wanted to score a food mill, because I’m making a creamy tomato soup for dinner. A food mill would be ideal for mashing everything up nicely while also pulling out the seeds and skins. But I must have been dreaming to think Target would have such a patrician device. I was also there to get Connor a new booster seat, and I scored him a beaut. It has comfy pads, an ergonomic headrest, suede paneling, and twin reading lamps, one over each shoulder. I kid you not. He doesn’t know about the reading lamps yet, but one day when he least expects it I’ll pop some batteries in there and rock his mini-world. I didn’t plan to get the super-deluxe, but the other dad who had arrived just before us in the booster isle grabbed the last one of the model I had my eye on — basically the same seat, minus the suede and the reading lamps. Connor wins, unknown kid loses.)

Silkie (“Black-skinned”) Chicken January 17, 2007

Posted by pcorcoran in Article, Chicken, Cooking, Link, N.Y. Times, Photo.
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Silkie Chicken Dish (Tony Cenicola/The New York Times - Used without permission.)

New York Times has an article about Asian cuisines, silkie chicken, and how they are beginning to capture the attention of the NYC restaurant scene. (This is bad news for the silkie if this becomes a serious trend.)

Sounds intriguing, assuming the gamey-ness isn’t overpowering, as gamey fowl can sometimes be. One of the techniques mentioned uses Chinese five-spice ingredients to braise, adding both galanga and Coke(!) to the mix.