Friday, April 16, 2010

Cooking 4 Men, Teaching Men to Cook 2

From Denny: This is a dilemma many mothers, wives, girlfriends and cooks face - how to feed men and boys when suddenly the Hungries strike and they growl and demand to be fed immediately. And they do not have a sense of humor if you tell them to wait a few minutes or don't snack before dinner. My guess is their blood sugar is about to drop dramatically and that's why they are so grumpy and ravenous all at once.

Lucinda Scala Quinn was featured on CBS The Early Show food segment recently. She wrote a book to help the men and boys in your life with The Hungries. Quinn notes, "Every guy loves to eat, but not every guy loves to cook."

She is an expert at feeding men and boys, including her four brothers, husband and three sons. So, naturally she wrote the funny title: "Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys." In this food video she demonstrates how to teach your men and boys to make hearty satisfying meals quickly.

The TV show host, Harry Smith, is having fun and misbehaving throughout the entire segment instead of the two boys who turn out to be quite teachable. Quinn was unflappable, in good humor and taking it all in stride to not miss a beat to teach the boys and demonstrate the recipes.

Recipes Featured:

Vinegar Glossed Chicken
Rose's Vinaigrette
Banana Cream Pie
Basic pie dough






*** On sale now at this blog's Amazon book store - Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys by Lucina Scala Quinn



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Vinegar Glossed Chicken

Serves: 6 to 8

From Quinn: This dish has been in heavy rotation in our home as a favorite weeknight dinner option for at least twenty years. Originally made from an Italian recipe of unknown origin, it has morphed into our own, though my husband and I each make it a little differently. This much is certain, however: when the rosemary vinegar is added to the pan of golden browned chicken, alchemy occurs as the vinegar deglazes those brown bits and reduces itself into a syrup. It permeates each chicken piece with an agrodolce (sweet-and-sour) flavor. There's no better accompaniment than polenta, soft and loose or firm and sliced. It's a heavenly combination of textures and flavors. (Rice, pasta, or bread will also work, as long as there is something to sop up the sauce.) Like many of the dishes here, it only improves when made in advance.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup best-quality red wine vinegar
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (about 1 tablespoon minced)
5 1/2pounds bone-in chicken pieces (each part should be cut in half)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chicken broth, plus more as needed

METHOD:

At least 15 minutes but up to 2 hours before cooking, combine the vinegar, garlic, and rosemary to marinate.

Thoroughly season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat a 14-inch skillet (or two smaller skillets) over high heat and swirl in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the skillet. Place the chicken in the skillet, skin side down. Don't crowd the chicken; leave space around each piece. Work in batches if necessary. You should hear an immediate sizzle when the chicken pieces hit the pan. Don't move them; it takes a couple minutes to sear the chicken so it doesn't stick. Brown all sides; this will take 10 minutes per batch. Regulate the heat so it stays high but does not burn the chicken. Place all the browned chicken back in the skillet.

Add the chicken broth and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat, simmer, and reduce for 15 to 20 minutes. Increase the heat to high and pour in the vinegar mixture. Swirl the pan and stir around as the vinegar evaporates to form a simmering glaze, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately or reheat with some extra broth.




Boy Salads

From Quinn: Boys will eat salads, but only the right salads. Some girls will eat any salads just because they think they should, but many boys will eat them only if the salads look and taste good. First and foremost, know that wet lettuce ripped into big chunks is a turnoff. But a salad prepared from cold, dry, crisp bite-sized lettuce, mixed with carefully considered add-ins and dressed in a vibrant, acidic vinaigrette, is easy to love, especially after repeat exposure. Washed and dried lettuce is the key to a great salad.




Rose's Vinaigrette

Makes: 1 cup

Quinn: All the green salads we had while growing up were dressed with my mom's vinaigrette. My dad thought it was the best dressing there ever was. Make it directly in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and store it in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. This dressing is also key to the success of Rose's beloved White Bean Salad.

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon minced shallot or garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

METHOD:

In the bottom of a clean jar, mash together the shallot, mustard, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour in the vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil. Cover tightly and shake well to combine and emulsify. Add salt and pepper to taste. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator.





Men Love Pie

Quinn: My boys love desserts, and pie is their favorite hands down.

My husband says he longs for good pie. "There is so much bad pie out there," he frequently laments. He remembers his mother's apple pie and how great it was, with a very salty crust and perfect fruit. He also recalls her chocolate banana cream coconut pie, which consisted of delicious chocolate pudding with banana on it, topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut. Regular crust, not a graham cracker one.

Any great pie begins with a great crust, something that intimidates many a fi ne cook. The first pie dough I learned to make successfully was for a cream cheese crust. I make it to this day and recommend it to anyone shy about trying crust. Its flavor is savory and cracker like. But the real baking secret for many down-home crusts is lard: ask any old-school pie baker, and I'll bet his or her crust is made with it; I think the pies of my husband's childhood owe their success to it. Try substituting lard for some or all of the butter in a pastry recipe and see for yourself the difference it makes in flavor and texture.

Since I've worked alongside many skilled bakers, I've learned many other tricks of the trade:

• Work cold and fast. Keep all your ingredients cold, including the flour.
Cold pieces of butter within the dough are what steams up in the baking and creates flakiness.

• Don't over mix the dough. Blend just until combined.

• Even if your dough doesn't fully combine into a ball, turn it out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Gather the pieces and press it together.

• Wrap firmly in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. If you made the dough in advance, remove it from the fridge 30 minutes before rolling. When pressed for time, I put freshly made dough in the freezer for 10 minutes before rolling.

• For fruit pies, make sure the ratio of thickener (cornstarch or fl our) to fruit is correct. A general rule is 2 tablespoons cornstarch to 4 cups of berries or stone fruit or 1 cup fl our to 3 pounds apples. Cornstarch thickens yet keeps the translucent jewel-colored juices of berries and stone fruits clear. It's so disappointing to cut into a pie in which the juice leaks out, separating from the fruit and making the crust soggy.

• After it comes out of the oven, let the pie sit out to cool long enough before cutting, to allow the juices to settle and the filling to slightly firm up.





Banana Cream Pie


Makes: one 9-inch single-crust pie

Quinn: My nostalgia for cream pies comes from childhood dinners at the many classic roadhouses in our lakeside Canadian town. These pies are some of the easiest to master and are welcome any time of year. The crust is blind baked, which means it's lined and weighted down with dried beans or with pie weights and baked on its own without the filling. When the crust cools, a simple homemade pudding is spread in and topped with whipped cream.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 recipe Basic Pie Dough
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 cups milk
4 large egg yolks (reserve the whites for a meringue or other recipe)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream

METHOD:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.

2. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough to about 11 inches in diameter and lay it in the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Trim the edges of the dough to 1/2 inch over the edge of the pie plate's rim. Fold the dough under and gently pinch it together. Crimp the edges with your fingers or press with a fork all around. Prick the dough on the bottom twice with a fork.

3. Blind bake the crust: Line the dough in baking parchment or foil. Top with baking weights, dried beans, or rice to weight it down. Bake on the center rack for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and foil. Bake it for 10 more minutes, or until the crust is golden. Cool on a wire cooling rack.

4. Meanwhile, whisk together the fl our, the 1/2 cup sugar, and the salt in a medium saucepan. With the heat on low, slowly whisk the milk into the fl our mixture and cook on low heat. Whisk in the egg yolks. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly and incorporating the thickening mixture as it forms on the bottom and sides of the pan. The mixture should coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Cool slightly.

5. Slice the bananas into the bottom of the pie crust. Pour the pudding over the bananas, smooth the top, and chill the pie.

6. Whip the cream with the remaining tablespoon sugar to form stiff peaks. Spread over the custard mixture. Chill completely and slice.

A Successful Cream Pudding Filling

To avoid producing a pie filled with either soup or wallpaper paste, the pudding filling must be cooked to just below the boiling point; at this point the mixture should coat the back of a wooden spoon. While it may seem too thin, it will thicken more as it cools.





Basic pie dough

Makes: one double-crusted 9- or 10-inch pie

Quinn: Try making this both by hand and in a food processor; if you master both methods, you'll be ready to make pie regardless of what equipment -- or lack thereof -- is on hand. If you find yourself without a rolling pin, try a clean, dry wine or soda bottle, well floured, instead. Keep ingredients cold and work fast.

I prefer unbleached all-purpose flour, such as King Arthur or Bob's Red Mill.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups all-purpose fl our
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup very cold milk or water

METHOD:

1. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour and salt. Add the butter and cut in or pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. (To cut in means to mix cold fat such as butter with dry ingredients to form small pieces.) Pour in the milk. Combine just until the dough holds together in a ball.

2. Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and lift the sides toward the middle to press them together. Cut the dough in half. Form each piece into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. If the dough has been refrigerated in advance, remove 15 minutes before using. The dough can be made and refrigerated for up to 3 days in advance or frozen for up to 6 weeks.


*** ALSO: Chefs New Cookbooks





*** On sale now at this blog's Amazon book store - Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys by Lucina Scala Quinn


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