Hot Fudge Sauce


If you have tried my Ultimate Brownie you know that it stands alone as a delicious dessert. But if you want to take it further, just add some vanilla ice cream and some amazing Hot Fudge Sauce! Here is the recipe for my favorite. If you lived in the New York area and are old enough to remember Schraffts restaurants, this should bring back some happy memories…

Hot Fudge Sauce


Ingredients:

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

⅓ cup dark brown sugar, packed
½ cup light corn syrup
⅔ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon salt
6 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter cut into fairly small pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Combine cocoa, sugar, corn syrup, cream, salt and half of chocolate in a 2 quart heavy saucepan and cook, stirring, over medium heat until chocolate is melted. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and add rest of chocolate and remaining ingredients and stir until smooth. Cool slightly.

Leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator for 10 days.

This sauce makes a wonderful hostess gift - just pack in a pretty jar and add a ribbon! Of course, some Ultimate Brownies along with the sauce would be even more wonderful.



Watch the video:



The Ultimate Brownie


As American as apple pie. We’ve all heard that many, many times. But apple pie is just as British as it is American - in fact, I’m sure the Brits were making it long before the Americans. In my opinion, Brownies are the All-American dessert. If you travel to Britain or France, you will see offerings of American Brownies but never American Apple Pie! So here is my recipe for what I immodestly call the Ultimate Brownie:

Ingredients:

6 ounces unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces (1½ sticks)
⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1⅔ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ pound good quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
very coarsely chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil and butter the foil.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Off the heat, add the cocoa. Whisk until smooth. Add the sugar and salt and whisk until blended. Add 1 egg and whisk until just blended. 


Whisk in the vanilla and the second egg until just blended. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just blended. Add the chopped chocolate and nuts and stir until combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with small, gooey clumps of brownie sticking to it, 33 to 38 minutes. Don’t overbake or the brownies won’t be fudgy. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely.

Lift foil and remove brownies from pan. Remove foil and, using a sharp knife, cut into four strips then cut each strip into four squares.

Makes 16 brownies (Watch the Brownie Video below)


PS: Watch for the video on Hot Fudge Sauce!





Cheese Blintzes



Blintzes, popular in Jewish cuisine, probably came from the Slavic people. They are often served on holidays such as Chanukah and Shavuot where dairy dishes are the tradition. Of course they are also served throughout the year for breakfast, brunch or lunch - and you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy them! Blueberry preserves and sour cream are typical accompaniments, but you can use the preserve of your choice and fresh berries are also delicious.


Ingredients:

7½ oz. farmer cheese
16 oz. small curd cottage cheese
8 oz. cream cheese
Sweet butter
8 eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1½ cups sifted flour
1½ cups milk
Sour cream and blueberry preserves to serve


To make filling: beat cheeses, 1 tablespoon soft butter, 2 eggs, sugar and ½ teaspoon salt together.

To make batter: beat 6 remaining eggs until frothy; add remaining 1½ teaspoons salt. Add flour, ½ cup at a time, stirring to make a smooth paste. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly.

Note: You will need a double batch of this batter for this amount of filling.

Heat a heavy 6½” non-stick skillet and grease well. Into the hot skillet pour a scant ¼ cup of batter to cover bottom of pan when batter is quickly rolled around. Tilt pan to distribute batter. Cook until pancake is firm and browned on one side. Put on buttered plate, browned side up. Grease skillet if necessary and fry another pancake the same way. While second one is cooking, spoon about 1 tablespoon filling right on edge of first pancake. Fold up once, fold over two sides, and make one more turn. Put on buttered plate. Continue until batter and filling are used up. Should pancakes develop empty spaces during frying, fill spaces with a little batter.

When ready to serve, heat a small amount of butter in a large skillet. Fry blintzes until golden-brown on all sides. Serve at once with sour cream and blueberry preserves.

Unfried blintzes keep well in the refrigerator for a day or two or they may be frozen.

Makes about 3 dozen.


Here is our video demonstration:


Soft shell crabs

Soft shell crab season is here - hurray!  Check out Mark Bittman's article in this week's Sunday Times for a great variety of ways to prepare this delicacy. 

 I plan to visit my favorite Thai restaurant (often!) for these fabulous morsels in Thai basil sauce. Click here to read the article.

Chicken Parmigiana

A long-time favorite in Italian restaurants, Chicken Parmigiana is a snap to make at home - especially if you have my Home Made Marinara Sauce on hand.

You can bread and fry the cutlets and freeze them or you can complete the entire dish and freeze that ready to pull out for a delicious dinner any time.  Add my Caesar Salad and Coffee Liqueur Coupe and you are ready for a dinner party!

Ingredients:

6 (or more) thin chicken cutlets*
1½ cups Italian flavored breadcrumbs mixed with
½ cup finely grated Parmigiana cheese
1 cup flour
2 eggs well beaten
Oil for frying
1½ cups Home Made Marinara Sauce**
¼ cup finely grated Parmigiana cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Set up a breading station with the flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumb mixture.
Dip cutlets first in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs.
Heat oil in a frying pan and cook the cutlets for two or three minutes on each side until lightly browned.
Prepare a baking dish with a light coating of Marinara Sauce then layer the cutlets into the dish. Cover with remaining sauce, sprinkle with Parmigiana and top with mozzarella.  (The dish may be frozen at this point.)
Bake at 350º for about 15 minutes or until cheese is nicely melted.

*See my video on Chicken Tenders to see how to make your own thin cutlets.
**See my video on Marinara Sauce.


WATCH THE VIDEO


Marinara Sauce


For the busy home cook, having home made tomato sauce in the freezer is like having money in the bank. Home made tomato sauce is not only great to have on hand, it is less expensive than the jarred varieties and contains no corn syrup, preservatives or ingredients whose names you can’t pronounce! It takes no more than 15 or 20 minutes to put together and then just sits on the stove and simmers for 60 to 90 minutes.

2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Large pinch of red pepper flakes
Olive oil

Add enough olive oil to film the bottom of a saucepan and let it warm.
Add the onion and cook just until it softens and becomes translucent.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 or 2 minutes more. Add the tomatoes,
basil, oregano and pepper flakes and stir well. Bring the sauce to a
boil, stirring occasionally then turn the heat down so that the sauce
just simmers and cook for 60 to 90 minutes or until sauce is nicely
thickened. Makes about 6 cups of sauce.

The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days or may be
frozen for up to 3 months.


Watch our video demonstration:



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