Lemon Thyme and Ginger

Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen

Turkey Breast Roulade with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

Roasting a 15-pound turkey is intimidating and not without its challenges. It is difficult to get the white and dark meat well-seasoned, properly cooked and done at the same time. The size of a turkey is enough to stop people from cooking one. Not everyone needs or wants the whole bird and fortunately turkey parts are more available. When I entertain a small group for a holiday meal, I like to make turkey breast roulades. It has the wow factor like a roast turkey, but is more impressive seeing the cheese and herbs rolled inside the turkey breast. The bonus is, it takes 45 minutes to cook.

This recipe is from 2014 Oct/Nov issue of Fine Cooking Magazine. It is a great recipe by Jenn Louis and perfect alternative to roast turkey. What first attracted me to the recipe was a couple of things. I was hosting a small gathering for Christmas dinner and did not want to roast a whole turkey.

Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

Turkey Breast Roulade with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

Turkey Beast Roulade with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

 

Second, there is a special ingredient in this recipe and it is not the bacon. Fennel Pollen. If you have never had it you are in for a treat. In this recipe, fennel pollen is mixed with bread crumbs, garlic and fresh sage. This mixture gets rolled into the turkey breast with fontina cheese and gives the turkey an exotic flavor. A lively je ne sais quoi flavor. If you tasted this recipe without the fennel pollen it would still taste great, but adding the fennel pollen brings the turkey roulade to another level of surprise and sophistication.

I first discovered fennel pollen a few years ago and believe it is a magical ingredient. I could cook with fennel pollen every day and never get tired of it. The flavor is more pronounced than fennel seed, but in a complex way. It is amazing with goat cheese, which is how I first discovered fennel pollen. A little goes a long way because the flavor is not shy. I love bold flavors and if used properly and with nuance, transforms a meal from delicious to unexpected in an extraordinary way.

Fennel pollen is expensive and hard to come by, but I believe it is worth it. I purchased fennel pollen at Savory Spice Shop in St. Petersburg FL, when I was visiting St. Pete. You can source fennel pollen at your local spice shop or farmers market. Or, you can also buy it online at Amazon or at Pollen Ranch.

Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

Turkey Breast Roulade

Making turkey breast roulade is a production, but once assembled it is easy to cook and one you will feel very proud of. This impressive entrée is worth the extra effort. I found the most difficult part is pounding out the turkey breast to an even half-inch thickness. It is not that it is hard to do, it just takes some elbow grease and extra time. The good news is you can release any pre-entertaining angst with each whack of your meat mallet. It took me about 20 minutes to finish shaping the turkey breast. Essentially, you are taking an uneven shaped lobe and pounding it into a half-inch thick, 9 x 10 inch semi-rectangular shape. If you do not have a meat mallet, use a heavy-duty skillet. I tried it with both and found I had more control with a mallet.

Rolling up each turkey breast then wrapping them in bacon is something that requires some coordination, but gets easier each time you make it. The first time you make this, don’t let any insecurity of the unknown seep in and question your performance. Read the directions carefully and trust your instincts. After you see your first turkey roulade you gain twice as much confidence to tackle the second one. The plastic wrap is an excellent helper and assists in rolling up each turkey breast and wrapping the bacon over each turkey roulade. I included a video made by Fine Cooking that shows how to make a roulade for your convenience. Hopefully, all your questions get answered between my instructions and watching the video.

Turkey Breast Roulade, with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

Helpful Hints for Making Turkey Breast Roulade

Time is the extra ingredient. Make sure you give yourself lots of time, especially the first time you make the roulade. It is important not to be rushed or cut corners due to time constraints. Whenever I feel rushed or cut corners, I make mistakes and do not get as good results. You can make turkey breast roulades the day before you want to serve it, which is a huge stress reliever and time saver when entertaining. Plan ahead and give yourself enough time to brine the turkey breasts for 12 – 24 hours, and assemble the roulades ahead of time. There are 8 steps – brining, pounding, stuffing, rolling, wrapping, cooking, making the au jus, and slicing the roulades. No one step is difficult, they just take time.

I always find it is helpful to read the recipe from start to finish a couple of times before I start cooking. Being familiar with the process helps anticipate each step.

If you cannot find boneless skinless turkey breasts, ask your butcher to cut one for you. Most stores carry whole turkey breast on the bone. A good butcher will use it and prepare it any way you want.

Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

How to work with raw turkey breast

Making the turkey breast roulades requires you handle the turkey meat and get your hands dirty. As long as you have your Mise en place, cross contamination of unwanted bacteria won’t be an issue.

  • Remove all jewelry from your hands and wrists. Even if you wear latex gloves, take off your rings.  If you have a plain ring, like a wedding band, you can leave it on.
  • If you have medium to long hair, tie it up to keep it out of your face.
  • Push your sleeves up and wear an apron to protect your clothes.
  • Do all your prep before you start handling the turkey breast and station them at your work area. Place all the utensils, plastic wrap cut to size, roasting pan within reach, and a couple of kitchen towels nearby. Mise en place.
  • Wash your hands a lot. I wash them before I start, between steps, and when I’m finished. Every time I step away from raw poultry, I wash my hands.
  • Throw out unused ingredients, like the extra grated cheese.
  • Wash and rinse the counter and area where you worked.

Turkey Breast Roulade with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

I know you can do it. Turkey Breast Roulade with Fontina and Sage is an impressive and delicious meal. One that you will feel proud to make as well as enjoy eating.

 

Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Category: Entrée

Cuisine: American

8-10 servings

Serving Size: 1-2 slices

Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen

Turkey breasts are stuffed with breadcrumbs, sage, garlic, fennel pollen and fontina cheese, then rolled up and wrapped in bacon for a spectacular turkey dinner. This is a delicious turkey dinner to make for a small crowd. It is perfect for entertaining because you can assemble the turkey roulades the day before you serve it.

Special equipment: Meat mallet, or heavy-duty skillet Medium size flameproof roasting pan Instant read thermometer Tooth picks Fat separator Whisk

The prep time dose not include the 12 hours of time required to brine the turkey breasts.

Ingredients

    Turkey Brine
  • 2 TB granulated sugar
  • 2 TB Kosher Salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, halved and green germ removed
  • 2-1½ lbs (750 g) boneless, skinless turkey breast halves, remove tenderloins from each breast
    Turkey Roulades
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) fine unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 4 cloves of garlic, green germ removed and minced
  • 2 TB finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tsp fennel pollen or ground fennel seed
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 6 oz (175 g) fontina, grated (about 2 cups / 500 ml)
  • 2 brined turkey breasts
  • 1 lb bacon, about 18 - 20 slices total
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
    Au Jus
  • 2 oz / 4 TB (50 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 TB pieces
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (500 ml) homemade or low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • Kosher salt

Instructions

    Brine the Turkey Breast
  1. Combine all the brine ingredients, except the turkey breast, in a medium saucepan. Bring the brine to a boil and simmer until the sugar and salt dissolves. Turn off the heat and pour the brining liquid into a large, non-reactive bowl. Let the brine cool to room temperature. Once cooled add the turkey breasts and up to 4 cups (1 liter) of water so the turkey breasts are completely covered in the brining liquid. (I needed less than 2 cups of water). Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
    Make the Roulades the following day.
  1. In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, sage, fennel pollen and minced garlic. Stir to combine.
  2. Remove the turkey breasts from the brine and pick off any spices. Pat each breast dry.
  3. Place a large piece of plastic wrap down on your work surface and place one breast, skin side down on top of the plastic wrap. Cover the turkey with another piece of plastic wrap. Do the same for the remaining turkey breast.
  4. Use a meat mallet or the underside of a heavy-duty skillet, and pound each turkey breast to an even ½ inch (1 cm) thick, and approximately 9 x 10 inch (23 x 24 cm) rectangle. It won't be exactly like a rectangle, but it will be close. Use a downward and forward motion when pounding on the turkey breast, stopping every now and then to straighten out the plastic wrap on top of the breast. When you think you are close to done, stop and feel each flattened turkey with your hands for any uneven areas. Pound out these parts until each piece is flat with an even half inch width.
  5. Remove the top piece of plastic wrap from each breast and evenly sprinkle Kosher salt over surface, about 1/4 tsp each breast. Add a few rounds of freshly ground black pepper over each breast.
  6. Sprinkle the breadcrumb and herb mixture over each turkey breast, leaving a ½ inch (1 cm) boarder around the perimeter of each turkey breast. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the breadcrumbs and herbs. Make sure you have a nice even layer spread over the turkey's surface.
  7. Fold inward a half-inch boarder along the long sides of each rectangular turkey piece. This will enclose the bread crumbs and cheese so they don't spill out when you are rolling it up and while cooking.
  8. Start at the short end and roll up each turkey breast, keeping the folded edges inside the roulade. Use the plastic wrap to guide the turkey into place. Set aside.
  9. Preheat the oven to 425°F / 220°C / Gas Mark 7 and place the rack in the middle position.
  10. Lay a piece of plastic wrap lengthwise on a work surface. Arrange the bacon slices lengthwise across the middle of the plastic wrap. Overlap each piece of bacon, about 1/3 of the way over each piece lengthwise. Make sure there are no gaps. The bacon should line up across the middle of the plastic wrap to equal the length of each roulade. About 8-10 slices of bacon per turkey roulade.
  11. Lay a turkey roulade across the middle of the bacon slices, so that the bacon strips run perpendicular to the turkey roulade. Lift the top side of plastic wrap with the bacon, up and over one side of the turkey. Peel away the plastic wrap while holding the bacon in place. The bacon slices should lay over half the width of the turkey roulade meeting close to the seam. Repeat with the other side. If the bacon ends do not meet, stretch them until they completely cover the turkey around its girth. Secure the bacon to the turkey with toothpicks. Set aside and repeat with the other turkey roulade.
  12. Place a medium flameproof roasting pan on a burner set at medium-high heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil and heat until shimmering.
  13. Add the roulades top side down into the roasting pan and sear the bacon for 4 minutes. The bacon will begin to brown. Turn each roulade over on its' side and sear for one minute. Repeat for the remaining sides, ending with the top side up.
  14. Place the roasting pan in the oven and bake until an instant read thermometer registers 165°F / 74°C at the thickest part of each roulade, about 35 minutes.
  15. Place each roulade on a cutting board and let the turkey rest for 10 minutes and up to an hour.
    Make the Au Jus
  1. Pour the drippings from the pan into a fat separator and let the pan juices settle. Place the roasting pan on a burner set to medium heat. Add 1 TB of the fat from the pan juices and 1 TB of butter to the roasting pan. After the butter melts, add the shallots and sage to the pan and cook until the shallots are soft, about 3 minutes. Stir to prevent the shallots from browning. Add the chicken stock and deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom. If there are any drippings at the bottom of your fat separator, not the fat, add them to the stock. Whisk to combine, and taste then correct for seasoning. Bring the au jus to a gentle simmer. Turn the heat down to low and add the remaining butter one tablespoon at a time, whisk between each addition until the butter is incorporated. Turn off heat and add the lemon juice. Season to taste.
    Serve
  1. Carefully remove all the toothpicks and slice. Serve with the jus.
    Make Ahead
  1. The turkey roulades can be assembled and wrapped in bacon up to 12 hours before cooking. Cover each roulade in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator before cooking. Remove the roulades 30 minutes prior to baking to bring up to room temperature.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

 

© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Hot Toddy Time

Hot Toddy Time, recipe.

Cocktails, Fall, Thanksgiving, Winter | December 12, 2017 | By

You know that feeling you get after spending hours outside in freezing weather? When you are so cold you forget what it’s like to feel warm. The freezing temperatures makes your muscles tense as if your shoulders are welded together and attached to your ears. Nothing feels right when a winter chill seeps into your bones. When I get that cold, the thought of sitting by a fire or taking a hot bath becomes a fantasy vacation. There is another solution for getting warm and that is sipping a Hot Toddy.

Hot Toddy Time, recipe.

I’d almost forgotten Hot Toddies and its’ warming powers. Thanks to an outdoor fundraiser in February and an Irish Pub on 10th Ave, a distant memory defrosted from my archives. On a frigid February day, the westerly winds blowing off the Hudson River nearly defeated us. Our walk took us down a path from 42nd street to Battery Park, then back up to 23rd Street. Me and my co-conspirators were desperate to warm up. Our scheduled reward of a free pancake breakfast lost its’ appeal for something stronger, so we headed over to 10th Avenue and right into an Irish pub. Upon entering, our waiter accurately read our frozen expressions and sat us down at a table by the fire and suggested a Hot Toddy for our beverage.

Hot Toddy Time, recipe.

A Hot Toddy. I immediately fell in love with this pub. Just the mention of this soothing cocktail made me relax. It also brought back memories of winter sailing with Dad on the San Francisco Bay. Winter in the Bay Area is nowhere near as cold as New York, but it is damp and that makes the air feel like it’s below freezing. Sometimes after a particularly cold day of sailing, Dad made Hot Toddies for “the crew”. His recipe was a simple one with boiling water, bourbon, honey, a drop of lemon, and a cinnamon stick. It wasn’t fancy, but it was the perfect remedy after a day of sailing through the fog. Even though my Hot Toddy only contained a drop of bourbon, I still felt its’ warming powers.

I associate Hot Toddies with outdoor winter activities, but don’t limit yourself to just one type of occasion. Any time you want to relax or warm up is perfect for Toddy time. It is a cocktail to sip and relax with, not a let’s go drinking drink. For centuries a Hot Toddy was prescribed to cure many ailments like a sore throat, a cold or anxiety. It is a soothing drink, not a strong one. However, as history has shown, this cocktail is open to interpretation and variation.

Hot Toddy Time, recipe.

What I learned is, throughout history Hot Toddies were made with local ingredients like Irish Whiskey in Ireland, Rum or Brandy in the US, and Scotch in Scotland. It also originated in India, not Scotland as I thought. Now, there are many variations made with apple cider, tea, ginger ale, tequila, vodka, gin, or served with whipped cream on top. Personally, I am partial to the traditional recipe for a Hot Toddy because I believe the warming notes of caramel found in whiskey is integral to the flavor profile of the drink. You won’t find whipped cream topping my Hot Toddy either.

How to Make a Hot Toddy

It is a good idea to temper your glass, so the Hot Toddy stays hot for as long as possible. Use an 6-8 oz (185-250 ml) Irish Coffee mug or a glass suitable for hot beverages. Or, add a metal spoon into a glass and pour the boiling water over the spoon to prevent the glass from cracking.

My Hot Toddy ratio is 2 parts water, or other hot non-alcoholic beverage, to one part spirit: 4 oz (125 ml) hot water to 2 oz (60 ml) whiskey. I am partial to Irish Whiskey, like Jameson or Tullamore Dew, but a bourbon like Makers Mark with its’ smooth and sweet honey notes would taste nice in a Hot Toddy. In my opinion a natural sweetener, like honey or maple syrup taste best. Lemon juice and orange or lemon slices are a nice touch with woody spices. Add 1-2 spices so they do not compete with each other, or no spices at all. I enjoy the different spices because each sip carries a unique flavor from the steeping spices.

Hungry? Try Crispy Potato Skins with Smoked Salmon or Cheese and Chive Herb Bread with your Hot Toddy.

However you choose to make your Hot Toddy, try this traditional recipe, at least once. You will soon feel its mellow effects and warm to any occasion.

Hot Toddy Time, recipe

Hot Toddy

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

1

Hot Toddy

There is nothing like a Hot Toddy to feel warm on a cold winter day. The honey, spice and caramel notes warm up the winter blues. The whiskey is soft, but you can still taste it. Adjust the proportions to suit your tastes.

Hot Toddy's are also delicious made with Earl Grey Tea, instead of hot water. Just steep the tea for a brief minute, then continue as directed.

Serve hot.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz (125 ml) boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 oz (60 ml) Irish Whiskey or Bourbon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise (optional)
  • 1 -2 cloves (optional)
  • thin slice of lemon
  • a quarter slice of an orange (optional)

Instructions

  1. Fill a drinking glass like an Irish Coffee glass, or a large snifter, or 6 oz glass mug, with hot water to warm up your glass. If your glass is not made for hot beverages, temper it by putting a metal kitchen spoon in the glass before you add the water. Keep your water hot in the tea kettle while you wait for your glass to warm up about 5 minutes.
  2. Empty your glass and add 4 oz (125 ml) of boiling water to your warmed mug. Use the spoon method again so your glass won't crack. Add the honey and lemon juice and stir until the honey is dissolved. Add the cinnamon stick, whisky and the lemon and orange slices, studded with a clove or two for garnish. Add a star anise if using. Drink while it is hot.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

The perfect antidote to a cold winter day. A Hot Toddy recipe made with hot water, Irish Whisky, honey, lemon and winter spices.

© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Oven-Poached Sole Wrapped in Fresh Herbs

Oven Poached Sole Wrapped in Herbs, recipe.

When I was a young child, Mom rarely made fish for dinner. It was just something we had now and then. That suited me just fine because the thought of eating fish made me cringe. When Mom did cook fish, it was usually sole drenched in Cream of Mushroom Soup, or baked with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs till it was all dried out.  It’s odd to think about because Mom loved sole, especially sole made with the classic French butter and wine sauces, but she never made her favorite sole dishes at home. Fortunately, attitudes toward eating and preparing fish have changed since the 60’s, mine included. Now, I love fish and eat it at least once a week. When I want a change of pace, I make filet of sole for a special treat.

Oven poached sole wrapped in herbs, recipe.

Sole is a common flat fish with tender white flesh filets. The meat has a subtle fish flavor and is very moist. The filets will easily break apart if cooked too long and requires gentle cooking methods. The only tricky part about cooking sole is making sure you don’t overcook it. I discovered from Cooks Illustrated, a great technique of rolling up each filet with a mixture of herbs, then cooking the filets in the oven. This method sways the odds in favor of getting perfectly cooked sole and one I use often.

One of my favorite ways to cook fish is to oven poach it with wine or fish stock, as in Salmon in Spinach Butter Sauce. This technique is not a true poaching method, but also creates steam to cook the fish. There is a layer of liquid in the bottom of the baking dish and a piece of parchment paper nestled over the fish. The parchment paper captures the steam rising from the liquid and cooks the fish. This technique never fails to produce moist and tender fish. It is a perfect method for cooking filet of sole wrapped in fresh herbs rolled up in a neat package.

Oven Poached Sole Wrapped in Herbs, recipe.

Oven Poached Sole Wrapped in Herbs, recipe.

Choose what herbs you like to fill each sole filet. I left that part of the recipe open-ended for you to make it your own. The herbs in a blend don’t need to be in equal amounts either, but it is nice to taste the presence of each herb and not have one herb dominate the rest. If you only want to use two herbs, parsley is a good foundation and either dill or tarragon are wonderful with fish. All the herbs listed have a prominent taste, so keep in mind the other herbs used in your accompanying side dishes.

It wasn’t until I read the cookbook, Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, that I got braver about combining more than one fresh herb in cooking.  I learned from this book that a prominent characteristic in Middle Eastern Cuisine is the generous use of fresh herbs. All these fresh herbs create food that is fresh tasting and vibrant. A classic herb blend in the Middle East is parsley, cilantro, dill and mint and works well with sole. For a French twist use Fines Herbs, it is a mix of parsley, tarragon, chervil, and chives. This blend of herbs inspired my Fresh Herb and Goat Cheese Omelet.

Oven Poached Sole Wrapped in Herbs, recipe.

For special occasions I like to make a sauce with the pan juices. Unfortunately, the butter sauce I made was too rich and turned me off. So, I nixed it and am totally happy about it. This meal does not need it. There is enough flavor between the herbs and fish without adding the extra rich sauce and calories. Save some room for dessert like this Lemon Saffron Syrup Cake. The poaching liquid with the herbed sole keeps the filets moist and has a mild flavor of its own. Use the pan juices sparingly, as a time-saving and healthy alternative to butter sauce. If you want a butter sauce use the poaching liquid from the sole and make the spinach butter sauce linked in this post.

Oven Poached Sole Wrapped in Herbs, recipe.

Oven Poached Sole Wrapped in Herbs, recipe.

Helpful Kitchen Tools for Cooking Sole

Often, I stay away from specialty kitchen gadgets, especially one’s that only have one purpose. They are pricey and take up valuable space. However, a fish spatula, aka slotted offset spatula, is one I highly recommend. The good news is, fish spatulas are affordable and useful with other foods besides fish. This sturdy, thin and flexible spatula slips easily under fish without ripping at the fresh. Regular spatulas don’t have the same ease of use and flexibility as the fish spatula has. I use this spatula every day and often use it instead of tongs because it does not rip up the food. The best rated fish spatula is by Victorinox available on Amazon, and housewares stores. Not all fish spatulas are alike, so I recommend reading the article linked above to learn about the differences between the brands.

Oven-Poached Sole Wrapped in Fresh Herbs

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Category: Entrée

Cuisine: American

8 servings

Serving Size: 1 filet of sole

Oven-Poached Sole Wrapped in Fresh Herbs

Filet of grey sole is coated in fresh herbs, then rolled up for even cooking. The fish steams in the oven in a bath of white wine or fish stock. This technique produces tender and moist sole filets with delicate flavor. To dress it up, add sautéed mushrooms to the platter of fish just before serving.

Serve with sautéed Brussels sprouts, or green beans for a vegetable. Roasted grape tomatoes are delicious with fish. For a grain, try white rice or Farro with Mushrooms but change the rosemary in the original recipe to parsley or one of the herbs in your fish.

Ingredients

  • 8 filets of grey sole, about 4 - 6 oz (125 g -175 g) each
  • A heaping 1 cup (250 ml) of 2-3 types of minced fresh herbs, like parsley, dill, tarragon, cilantro, or basil. About 1 TB of minced herbs covers each filet of sole. An additional tablespoon of the minced herbs is used in the bread crumbs.
  • Zest from 1 1/2 lemons
  • 2 ½ TB butter, divided
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) panko bread crumbs, or homemade
  • 3/4 cup (185 ml) of dry white wine, dry vermouth, fish or vegetable stock, or a combination of wine and stock.
  • 8 half-moon slices of lemon, about 1½ lemons

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C / Gas Mark 4
  2. Butter the bottom of a baking dish large enough to just fit all rolled up sole filets.
  3. Gather all the herbs you are using. Make sure they are washed as parsley and cilantro get very sandy. I used parsley, dill and tarragon but not in equal amounts. Another mix I also recommend is parsley, basil and tarragon, or parsley, dill and cilantro. Mince the fresh herbs and add to a small bowl. Add the grated lemon zest to the herbs and mix to combine.
  4. Reserve all but a heaping tablespoon of the mixed herbs.
  5. In a small bowl add the breadcrumbs and 1 TB of mixed herbs and stir to combine.
  6. Toast the breadcrumbs. Add one tablespoon of butter into a skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. Once the butter is melted, add the breadcrumbs and stir to coat them with the butter. Toast the breadcrumbs until they are golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Pour the toasted breadcrumbs on a plate to stop cooking. Reserve.
  8. Lay your sole filets, skin side down on a clean work surface and lightly sprinkle Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper over each filet. Evenly spread about a tablespoon of the herb and lemon zest mixture over each filet.
  9. Start at the tail end, it looks pointed compared to the squared off head end, and roll up each filet. Place each filet of sole into the buttered baking dish seam side down, and arrange the half-moon slices of lemon between each filet. Arrange any extra lemon slices around the fish in the baking dish.
  10. Cut up 1½ TB of butter into 8 pieces and place on top of each filet. Pour in the wine, or liquid of your choice. Add a sprig of one of the herbs you put in the herb mixtures into the wine. Lightly butter a piece of parchment paper large enough to fit inside the baking dish and cover the fish. Nestle the buttered piece of parchment paper into the baking dish so it completely covers the fish and creates a domed cover. Cover the baking dish with a piece of aluminum foil.
  11. Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Peek at your filets to gauge how they are progressing. Continue to cook until and check every 3 minutes until the sole filets are done. Mine took about 15 minutes, but they could take up to 20 minutes. The filets are done when they look milky white. As the fish cooks the flesh will turn from translucent to opaque and easily spring back when touched. The fish should also look moist. If it flakes apart it is overcooked. You can remove the fish from the oven just shy of being done, and allow the residual heat to continue the cooking process.
  12. Once done, arrange the filets with the lemon slices on a warm serving platter, or on individual plates. Pour some of the poaching liquid over the filets then sprinkle each filet with the bread crumbs and more minced herbs.
  13. Serve immediately.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

Filet of grey sole is wrapped in fresh herbs, then rolled up for even cooking. The fish steams in the oven in a bath of white wine or fish stock. This technique produces tender and moist sole filets with delicate flavor.

© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

Whenever I make Chocolate Pots de Creme or other custard dessert, I have a lot of egg whites looking for a purpose. For years I would throw out the unused egg whites until I learned egg whites freeze well. Now, I freeze the egg whites and pick a time to make one of my favorite desserts, mousse, dacquoise, or meringue cookies. During the winter, I especially enjoy peppermint meringue cookies with their pink swirls and minty flavor. These light and crispy cookies have just enough peppermint flavor and taste as good dressed up with peppermint candies or white chocolate, or as is. They are festive cookies, perfect for the holidays and make a great hostess gift.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 ways, recipe

Peppermint Meringue Cookie: 3 Ways, recipe.

It is not difficult to make peppermint meringue cookies, but there are a few factors to keep in mind.

  1. Eggs are easier to separate when they are cold, but room temperature egg whites get more volume. Separate the whites from the yolks when the eggs are just removed from the refrigerator. Make sure there are no traces of yolk in the egg whites. Leave the whites on the counter for 30 minutes to come up to room temperature before making meringue.
  2. Use clean beaters and bowls. It seems like an obvious statement, but any trace of water, soap, egg yolk, or other proteins will hinder your success at getting silky and airy meringue with lots of volume.
  3. Add the egg whites and acid or Cream of Tartar together, then whisk the egg whites. Acid, like lemon juice, white vinegar, or Cream of Tartar, are stabilizers and help with the structure of airy meringue.
  4. Slowly add the sugar to the whites one tablespoon at a time. If you add the sugar in too quickly the egg whites will deflate.
  5. Pipe the meringue and bake the cookies immediately after you stop whisking the meringues.
  6. Cool the meringue cookies in the oven after baking. Unless you need the oven to make dinner, it is a perfect air tight space to cool the meringue. I often make meringue at night because meringue take so long to bake, then I keep the meringue in the oven overnight. Once cool, store the cookies in an airtight container on the counter. Meringues do not like moisture and will sweat or get sticky when left out in the air.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

How to make the red swirls or stripes on the meringue cookies:

  1. Method 1 as suggested in the recipe: add drops of red food coloring to the finished meringue in the mixing bowl. Do not mix. Then spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a ½ inch (1 cm) tip. Press out the air and secure the pastry bag. Pipe the meringue in a spiral motion and make a 1½ inch (4 cm) circle. This produces meringue cookies with swirly pink lines in each cookie. No two cookies look the same. As pictured in this blog post.
  2. Method 2: use an artist’s paint brush and paint 3 evenly spaced lines of red food coloring inside and up the length of the piping bag. It will look like three straight candy stripes in your piping bag. Carefully spoon the meringue into the piping bag fitted with a ½ inch (1 cm) tip or your choice. Press out all the air and twist and secure the top of your pastry bag. This method produces uniform looking meringue cookies with evenly spaced vertical red lines.

Personally, I like the first method because I love the pink swirls in each cookie, and I don’t have to worry about messing up the painted lines while I am spooning the meringue into the piping bag. If you don’t own piping tips and a pastry bag, plastic bags work just as well. See recipe description for instructions.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

 Toppings for your Peppermint Meringue Cookies

  1. Make the cookies as the recipe states without extra decoration. The peppermint flavor is pronounced, and the meringue cookie is light and crispy.
  2. For a little extra crunch, add crushed peppermint candy to the meringue cookie batter. And/or sprinkle crushed peppermint candy over the meringue cookies before you place them in the oven.
  3. Dip the bottom or top of cooled meringue cookies in melted white chocolate, then coat the white chocolate bottoms with crushed peppermint candy or coconut flakes.

There are endless possibilities for decorating and personalizing your meringue cookies. If peppermint is not your thing, fold in a couple of tablespoons of freeze-dried coffee granules into meringue. The coffee granules will create a subtle swirly pattern of coffee-colored meringue in each cookie. The coffee meringue will also taste great dipped in white chocolate. Or flavor with lemon extract, orange blossom water, or rose water and minced pistachios.

This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit.  I use their piping technique, but I slightly changed the ingredients. These cookies are great as is, but I love the peppermint meringue cookies dipped in white chocolate and peppermint candy. The white chocolate adds a creamy texture and taste against the crispy and minty meringues. These airy cookies are a real crowd pleaser.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways, recipe.

 

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 50 minutes

Category: Dessert

Cuisine: American

40 cookies

Peppermint Meringue Cookies: 3 Ways

Peppermint meringues are crisp and airy cookies with a bright mint flavor. Decorate the meringue cookies with crushed peppermint candy, melted white chocolate and or unsweetened shredded coconut. These cookies make great hostess gifts for the holidays.

You do not need a pastry bag to make meringue cookies. Fill a gallon size plastic bag with the meringue and shape it into a corner of the bag. Twist the bag at the top of the meringue to get a cone shape. Snip off the corner to make a 1/2 inch opening to squeeze the meringue through.

To crush the peppermint candy, place the candy in a zip lock bag and pound the candy with a meat mallet until they reach the desired size.

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup (152 g) granulated sugar*
  • 1/8- 1/4 tsp real peppermint extract
  • 12 drops red food color
    Optional Decorations
  • 12 oz ((342 g) white chocolate, melted
  • About 1/2 cup (125 ml) crushed peppermint candies
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200°F/ 93°C
  2. Fit a ½ inch (1 cm) tip into a pastry bag and set upright inside a tall drinking glass. Fold the edges of the pastry bag over the glass rim. Set aside.
  3. Prepare two rimmed sheet pans. Cover each sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  4. Add egg whites and vinegar to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk the egg whites at medium speed until they are light and foamy with soft peaks, about a couple of minutes.
  5. Turn up the speed to medium-high and add the granulated sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking the whites for a few seconds between additions. It will take around 6 minutes to add all the sugar.
  6. Once all the sugar is added, turn the speed up to high and whisk the meringue until glossy and stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
  7. Optional: If you want crushed peppermint candy in your meringue cookies, using a rubber spatula, fold in 2 Tablespoons of finely crushed peppermint candy into the meringue before you add the food coloring.
  8. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and add 12 drops of red food color scattered about the meringue. Do not mix.
  9. Spoon the meringue into the pastry bag, or gallon size Ziploc plastic bag, without stirring the meringue. Once all the meringue is added, twist the bag closed and squeeze down on the bag until the meringue is down to the tip without air pockets. If using a Ziploc bag, snip off the tip of a corner making a ½ inch (1 cm) opening.
  10. Using gentle, squeeze the meringue out of the piping bag and make a 1½ inch (4 cm) circle in an upward spiral, and space each meringue cookie about an inch (2.5 cm) apart.
  11. Bake in the oven for 2 hours, or until the meringue is dry.
  12. Turn off the oven and cool the meringue cookies in the oven. Once cooled, remove the meringue cookies and decorate, or store in an air tight container. Meringues do not like damp conditions or humid weather. Keep them out of the humidity or air long as possible.
  13. Decorate as you wish.
    Optional Decorations
  1. Break up the white chocolate into pieces and place in a glass bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Microwave on high heat for 30 seconds. Stop and stir the chocolate and access the progress. Repeat, melting the chocolate in the microwave in 20 second intervals then stirring, for as many intervals as needed until the chocolate is mostly melted.
  2. Take the chocolate out of the microwave and add the remaining white chocolate to the bowl and stir the white chocolate until all the chocolate has melted.
  3. Place crushed peppermint candies on a plate, and/or the coconut flakes if using. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  4. Dip the meringue cookies in the melted white chocolate, either the bottom or top, and turn the cookie around to get an even coating. Let the excess chocolate drip off, then press the chocolate coated cookie in the peppermint candy or coconut flakes. Place each meringue cookie on the prepared sheet pan until dry. Repeat until all the cookies are coated in chocolate.

Notes

* When making meringue, super fine sugar works better than granulated sugar. It dissolves faster and is not as dense. I cannot get super fine sugar in my grocery store, instead I process the granulated sugar in a food processor, about 5-6 pulses. If you don't have either option, granulated sugar works, but make sure you add it into the meringue slowly.

Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

Peppermint Meringue Cookies with three ways to decorate them. Use white chocolate, crushed peppermint candy and or shredded unsweetened coconut. A fun and delicious holiday cookie recipe.

© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs, recipe.

Breads, How to Cook, Recent Posts | December 1, 2017 | By

As I anticipate my family being together for the holiday, my thoughts move toward their favorite meals. When we are all together I try to make an old family favorite like Spaghetti and Turkey Meat Sauce, Tortellini with Basil Pesto, and Pasta with Sausage and Brussels Sprouts, for dinner as well as something new. It is not surprising to see at the top of the list of favorite dinners are pasta meals. When the kids were home, pasta dinners were king, and nothing goes better with pasta than homemade garlic bread.

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs recipe.

Joe’s Dough, my husband’s artisan homemade bread, is also a family favorite, so whenever there is a surplus of sourdough batards, I make garlic bread. What’s not to love about warm bread bathed in butter and garlic? The sweet buttery smell of garlic bread baking in the oven is enough to take me on a dream vacation to the Mediterranean.

As much as I love garlic, it also has a dark side and a reputation for repelling friends and foes away. Often, food made with raw garlic is harsh and sticks around like an uninvited guest who stays for the week. When I used to make garlic bread with raw garlic, my Mediterranean fantasy quickly vanished with each reminder of its’ lingering presence. I totally believe garlic can scare away vampires because after eating a loaf of garlic bread made with raw garlic, the whole family disappears desperately seeking some fresh air.

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs recipe.

Garlic bread with Fresh Herbs recipe.

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs, recipe.

Everything changed once I learned about toasting garlic cloves. This simple technique of dry toasting garlic cloves in a skillet, softens garlic’s harsh bite and lingering presence. The garlic becomes mellow, sweet and nutty like roasted garlic but not as strong. Toasted garlic mixed with soft butter, Romano cheese and fresh herbs, makes delicious garlic bread. The flavor is buttery and garlicky without being overwhelming.

This recipe is adapted from Cooks Illustrated 1999 recipe for garlic bread. I scaled down the amount of butter and garlic, but the technique is the same. What I learned over the years, is depending on the size and type of bread you use, determines the amount of butter you need.

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs, recipe.

Most recipes call for a whole stick of butter per 1-pound loaf of bread. When I make garlic bread, I found that a whole stick, (113 g), of butter was too much and made the garlic bread very greasy. Usually, I use between 4 tablespoons to 6 tablespoons (56 g – 84 g) of butter. Upon reflection, the bread I use is homemade sourdough batard which is very airy and light. There is less surface area to cover then a denser loaf, like Italian bread. This type of bread may require more butter than my sourdough batard. I recommend starting out with the less amount of butter and as you spread it over the surface add more if needed. Too much butter is as unpleasant as too much garlic.

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs, recipe.

I do like the two-step cooking process for garlic bread though. First, I wrap the bread in foil and bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes. This allows the garlic butter to melt into all the nooks and crannies throughout the bread. Then I unwrap the foil and open the bread buttered side up to brown in the oven. I prefer my garlic bread on the soft side, but if you like your bread crispy, place the bread under the broiler. Keep an eye on it, or you will end up with extra crispy garlic bread like the garlic bread pictured in this post.

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs, recipe.

Spice up your garlic bread by adding any of these ingredients:

Lemon zest, before or after cooking

Cayenne Pepper, about 1/8 teaspoon or to taste

More cheese, or two types of cheese like Fontinella and Romano

Change the fresh herbs to compliment your main entrée: rosemary, sage, basil, cilantro

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs

Category: Bread

Cuisine: Italian American

6 servings

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs

Toasting whole garlic cloves in a skillet turns garlic from harsh to sweet and mellow. It makes a garlic bread with sweet and nutty garlic flavor without the harsh aftertaste. Toasted garlic is mixed together with softened butter, Romano cheese and fresh herbs then evenly spread over two halves of your favorite bread.

Ingredients

  • 1- 1 lb (453 g) loaf of good quality bread, like long Italian bread, Seeded Italian Bread, or Sourdough batard
  • 4-6 TB (56 g - 84 g) butter at room temperature, more or less depending on your bread
  • 6 medium garlic cloves with skins left on
  • 3 TB (14 g) grated Romano Cheese
  • Pinch of sweet paprika
  • Small handful of Italian parsley, minced
  • 4 basil leaves, minced (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F /176°C and place the rack in the middle position.
  2. Place a small heavy bottom skillet on a burner and turn the heat to medium-high. Heat the skillet for 3 minutes then add the garlic cloves, with their peel still intact, to the skillet. Toast the garlic cloves turning them over from time to time so each side gets nicely browned and the cloves soften, about 5-10 minutes. Some garlic cloves will take longer than others to finish toasting. Remove each garlic clove when you see they are soft and browned.
  3. Once the garlic is done, let them cool slightly until you can handle them. Peel away the skin and cut off the root end. Cut the garlic in half lengthwise and remove the green germ if present.
  4. On a cutting board, group the garlic cloves together, then roughly mince them. Sprinkle a small pinch of Kosher salt over the minced cloves. With the side of your chef knife, press down on the cloves and smear it to the side to mash the garlic. Clean of the garlic paste off the knife blade and repeat, pressing down and smearing the garlic with the side of the knife until a smooth paste is made.
  5. In a small bowl add the soft room temperature butter, the garlic paste, grated Romano cheese and mix until evenly combined. Add half of the minced herbs and mix.
  6. Use a serrated knife and cut the loaf of bread in half down the length of the loaf. Open the bread like a book with the cut side of each half facing up.
  7. Spread the garlic butter evenly over the cut sides of both halves of bread. Sprinkle a light dusting of sweet paprika over the buttered bread and add the remaining fresh herbs.
  8. Place the top half of bread over the bottom piece of bread and cover with aluminum foil.
  9. Bake the garlic bread in the oven for 15 minutes
  10. Unwrap the foil then open the bread halves so both buttered sides are facing up. Bake until the edges start to brown, about 5 minutes.
  11. Or place under the broiler until the edges are browned and crispy.

Notes

If you want cheesy garlic bread, add additional grated cheese after the bread has baked in the foil. Sprinkle the cheese over the buttered surface of each half, then place under the broiler and broil until the cheese has melted. If you are adding lemon zest, don't place the garlic bread under the broiler. It may burn and taste bitter.

Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs is made with good quality bread, toasted garlic, butter, Romano cheese and fresh herbs.

© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Food Blog Theme from Nimbus
Powered by WordPress

%d bloggers like this: