Monday, November 17, 2014

Gnocchi Gratin with Gruyere and Bacon

Comfort Food Season is Here!

The weather forecast greatly influenced the recipe we chose to make today! Blustery winter weather pairs perfectly with warm, cheesy comfort food like Gnocchi Gratin with Gruyere and Bacon. The aroma of applewood smoked bacon and baking cheese always seems to draw people to the kitchen. Those staff people lucky enough to be there when the gnocchi came out of the oven were very pleased indeed. The Cooking School staff at Jungle Jim's International Market really enjoy recipes that are easy to prepare when returning home from work. Odds are you will add this recipe to your culinary repertoire. Shelf stable gnocchi makes for a less-than-typical but oh-so-delicious ingredient for cheesy comfort food. It can be prepared in a variety of ways and we are happy to introduce you to it!


Gia Russo makes a 16 ounce mini gnocchi, vacuum sealed package that works perfectly for this dish. The mini gnocchi make for just the right size bite. You'll find this gnocchi in the International section in the aisle next to all the dry pastas. Once you open the package, gently break the gnocchi apart. Besides the great taste, the best thing about using this gnocchi  is that you don't have to boil it first - just use it right out of the package! Please note that you can use the gnocchi right out of the package for just this recipe.


Preheat the oven to 400° and grease a 7x11-inch baking dish.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the scallions and sauté 2-3 minutes, until softened.


Whisk in the flour until smooth.


Gradually whisk in the milk, then wine. 


Continue cooking and whisking until the sauce thickens, 3-4 minutes.


Remove from heat, add the Gruyere, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and stir until the cheese is melted.


Add the cooked, crumbled bacon and mix well. 


Add gnocchi and stir until well mixed.


Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle with ¼ cup Parmesan and sprinkle top lightly with pepper. 


Bake 25-35 minutes, until hot, bubbly and top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to stand 5-10 minutes before serving.


Gnocchi Gratin with Gruyere and Bacon

2 tablespoons butter
3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons white wine
3 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese
½ cup Parmesan cheese, divided use
Pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
3 thick bacon slices, cooked crisp and crumbled (applewood)
16 ounces mini gnocchi, vacuum sealed package (Gia Russo)


Preheat oven to 400°. Grease a 7x11-inch baking dish.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add scallions and sauté 2-3 minutes, until softened. Whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk, then wine. Continue cooking and whisking until sauce thickens, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, add Gruyere, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, stir until cheese is melted. Add bacon and mix well. Add gnocchi and stir until well mixed.

Transfer to prepared dish, sprinkle with ¼ cup Parmesan and sprinkle top lightly with pepper. Bake 25-35 minutes, until hot, bubbly and top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 as a side dish

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Beef Stroganoff

Elegant Comfort Food

Do the words "beef stroganoff" conjure up the image of a strange concoction served to you as a child? Maybe some chunks of mystery meat swimming in a puddle of thick sauce with mushy noodles on the side? Well, let's dispel the bad memories and allow The Cooking School at Jungle Jim's International Market to introduce you to an elegant rendition of this cold weather classic. Our staff readily admits that we are lucky to have access to a cook's fantasy food world right below our cooking school kitchen, so we would like to share with you the ingredients you can pick up here to make a sensational Beef Stroganoff dinner.


Extra broad egg noodles are a delicious base upon which to serve the stroganoff. Follow the directions on the package to prepare them. 

Demi-glace adds an intense base of flavor to soups and stews. Demi-glace is a rich brown sauce composed of beef stock and Madeira or sherry which has been cooked until it is reduced by half to a thick glaze that coats a spoon. You will find the demi-glace in the French trailer on the shelf. Once you open the container, it must be refrigerated.


A selection of fresh, sliced mushrooms will add a hearty flavor, interesting texture and visual appeal. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and cook the mushrooms until they are browned, about 6-8 minutes. Please note that if you are using shiitake mushrooms, use only the cap and discard the tough stems.


Remove the mushrooms from the skillet and add  the chopped onions. Sauté the onions, adding a drizzle of olive oil if needed, until they begin to soften and brown, about 5-8 minutes.


Return mushrooms to the skillet with the onions and sprinkle with flour, stirring until well blended. 



Slowly add broth, stirring well.  



Then add the tomato paste, stirring constantly until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.



Add the sherry, demi-glace, salt, pepper and tarragon and stir well. 



Return beef to skillet and simmer to heat through. We had cooked beef leftover from another recipe, so this beef stroganoff is an ideal recipe that will highlight a good quality beef. If you don't have leftover beef, you can brown a steak in the skillet first, let it set and then slice it to add at this point in the recipe.



Stir in sour cream and adjust the seasoning to your taste. 



Serve over hot noodles and enjoy this hearty dish for dinner.



Beef Stroganoff

2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces sliced mushrooms, cremini, shiitake, button or a mix
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup dry sherry
1-2 tablespoons “More Than Gourmet” demi-glace, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste
¾ teaspoon dried tarragon
1½ pounds cooked, rare to medium-rare, beef tenderloin or other steak, thinly sliced
2-3 tablespoons sour cream

Cooked egg noodles, for serving


Heat olive oil in a skillet and cook mushrooms until they are browned, about 6-8 minutes. Remove mushrooms from skillet and add onions. Sauté onions, adding a drizzle of olive oil if needed, until they begin to soften and brown, about 5-8 minutes. Return mushrooms to skillet and sprinkle with flour, stirring until well blended. Slowly add broth, stirring well, then tomato paste, stirring constantly until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Add sherry, demi-glace, salt, pepper and tarragon and stir well. Return beef to skillet and simmer to heat through. Stir in sour cream, adjust seasoning and serve over noodles.


Serves 4

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gluten-Free Pizza

A Tale of Two Gluten-Free Pizzas

For those of you who must eat a gluten-free diet, The Cooking School at Jungle Jim's International Market decided to follow the step-by-step directions on King Arthur's blog for making gluten-free pizza. We frequently receive calls asking about gluten-free classes and have responded by offering a variety of demonstration and hands-on classes for our students who need to adapt to a new way of cooking and baking. The gluten-free selection of products in our Natural Foods section is outstanding and we carry the King Arthur Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour. Everything you need to make the pizza crust can be located in the American grocery or Natural Foods sections of the store. Be forewarned - this will take more time to make than a traditional pizza crust, so plan accordingly. Our gluten-free pizza-lover on staff really liked this pizza and said it was as good or better than anything she had tried in restaurants. So if pizza has been off-limits, give this a try. We all enjoyed it!


Assemble your ingredients. Xanthan gum is now sold in individual packets, like yeast is sold, so you don't have to buy a large bag. Make sure your yeast is fresh and use aluminum-free baking powder to avoid a tinny taste.


Note: You must use a stand mixer or electric hand mixer. Mixing by hand doesn't do a good enough job. Place the dry ingredients (except the yeast) into a large mixing bowl. Just use the bowl from your stand mixer. Mix until completely combined.



Place the warm water, olive oil, yeast and about 1/2 cup of the dry mixture into a small bowl. 


Stir to combine; a few lumps are okay. 


Set aside for 30 minutes or so, until the mixture is bubbly and smells yeasty.


Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Beat on medium-high speed for 4 minutes. The mixture will be thick and sticky. 


If you have ever applied spackling compound to a wall, that's exactly what it will look and feel like! We're sure the dough tastes better, though!! Cover the bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes or so. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. We used a pizza stone, so put that in the oven if using.


We made the pizza crust two different ways:  one on parchment paper on a pizza stone and one in a cast iron skillet. The photos and directions for the cast iron method will immediately follow the recipe below. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a sheet of parchment paper. Scrape the dough from the bowl onto the puddle of oil. King Arthur recommends using wet fingers to work the dough, but we found using an offset spatula worked best. 


Work the dough outwards to form a 12" to 14" crust. Let the dough rest uncovered for 15 minutes.


Slide the parchment with the crust onto the preheated pizza stone. If you do not have a pizza stone, slide the parchment onto a cookie sheet and put it in the oven. Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes, just until it is set. 


The surface will look opaque rather than shiny. Once the crust is cool, at this point if you are making a couple crusts, you would wrap them well and freeze them. 


When the crust was cool enough to handle, we picked it up just to show you the back side. It is nicely browned. 


Top with whatever you like. Don't overload the crust with toppings - this will result in a soggy pizza. We used a cheese blend that included mozzarella, provolone and cheddar. Use your favorite brand of pizza sauce or use your own homemade sauce. 


Return the pizza to the oven to finish baking. It will take 15 - 18 minutes depending on the toppings you have chosen.


If you like your cheese bubbly hot and a little charred, turn on the broiler for the last couple minutes. Watch it closely! It can go from perfect to burned in seconds!


Gluten-Free Pizza Crust
(recipe from King Arthur Flour)


1 1/2 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose flour
2 tablespoons buttermilk or nonfat dry milk powder
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil (for dough)
2 tablespoons olive oil (parchment or pan)


Place the dry ingredients (except yeast) into a large mixing bowl; the bowl of your stand mixer is perfect. Mix until thoroughly blended.

Place the warm water, olive oil, yeast and about 1/2 cup of the dry mixture into a small bowl. Stir to combine; a few lumps are OK. Set aside for 30 minutes or so, until the mixture is bubbly and smells yeasty.

Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, and beat on medium-high speed for 4 minutes. The mixture will be thick and sticky; if you've ever applied spackling compound to a wall, that's exactly what it'll look and feel like. Note:  you must use a stand mixer or electric hand mixer to make this dough; mixing by hand doesn't do a thorough enough job.

Cover the bowl, and let the dough rest for 30 minutes or so.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil onto the center of a baking sheet or 12" round pizza pan. Scrape the dough from the bowl onto the puddle of oil.

Using wet fingers, start at the center of the dough and work outwards, pressing it into a 12" to 14" circle.

Let the dough rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes, just until it's set; the surface will look opaque, rather than shiny.

Remove from the oven and top with whatever you like. Return to the oven to finish baking, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the toppings you've chosen.

Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Yield:  one 12" to 14" pizza.



Directions for baking in a cast iron skillet
(The Cooking School at Jungle Jim's)

We wondered if the crust would be crispier if we baked it in a cast iron skillet. The result was a crispy crust similar to the one we baked on parchment paper on top of a pizza stone. Using a cast iron skillet would be a good alternative if you don't own a pizza stone.

Put a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil in the 12" skillet. We sprinkled some Spike seasoning for a garlic-y tasting crust.



Scrape the dough into the prepared skillet and using wet fingers or an offset spatula, press the dough outwards to form a 10" or so circle. Let the dough rest, uncovered, in the skillet for 15 minutes.


Place the skillet into the preheated 425 degree oven.



Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. The crust will look opaque rather than shiny.


Slather on your favorite pizza sauce.


Sprinkle with your favorite cheese blend.


Return the pizza to the oven to finish baking, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the toppings and how brown you like the crust. We topped our skillet pizza with paper thin slices of a delicious Italian salami called finocchiona. You can purchase finocchiona in the charcuterie department. Add the finocchiona after the pizza comes out of the oven. It just melts right on to the pizza!


We lifted the crust just to show you how nicely browned and crispy it is.


Allow the pizza to rest a couple minutes. Then slice and enjoy!


We were all surprised at how much we enjoyed this pizza. Not knowing what to expect and having experienced some not-so-good gluten-free products in the past, this pizza was really tasty. If you are on a gluten-free diet, this pizza is worth the effort. You'll satisfy your craving for pizza!








Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chocolate Tart

Chocolate Craving

Do you have a sweet tooth? A deep-down chocolate craving that demands satisfaction? The Cooking School at Jungle Jim's International Market would like to suggest an afternoon of baking a rich chocolate tart that is worth the effort. Besides the decadent aroma, you'll be rewarded with a rich slice of creamy chocolate encased in a buttery crust. If you happen to have whipped cream and fresh raspberries, you could present your guests with an impressive dessert. Give some serious thought. You deserve this!



Make the pastry from our recipe for Tart Shell Pastry Crust.  Form the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Lay the dough inside a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the pan so it fits tightly; press the edges into the sides of the pan. 


Remove the excess dough from the top of the pan with a knife or rolling over it with a rolling pin. Refrigerate the tart for 15 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 350°.

Place the tart pan on a sturdy cookie sheet so it will be easy to move in and out of the oven. Line the tart with aluminum foil and add pie weights or dried beans to keep the sides of the tart from buckling. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and weights. Return to the oven and continue to bake for another 8 minutes until the tart is golden in color, but not brown.


 Set aside to cool and lower the oven temperature to 325°. 


Now it's time to make the chocolate filling! Heat the heavy cream and milk in a saucepan over medium-low flame until it simmers slightly around the edges. 



Remove from the heat; add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Add the sugar and salt and whisk until well incorporated. 



Beat the eggs in a small bowl until blended and add them to the chocolate mixture, stir until completely blended. 



Pour the filling into the baked and cooled tart shell. 


Stop to admire all that glossy, chocolate filling. Breath deeply. Now move on.

Bake at 325° for 30-35 minutes until the filling is a bit puffy. The outside 2-inches of filling will be set and the surface is glossy. 


Cool before cutting and store in the refrigerator. Enjoy with an espresso or any other beverage suited to pairing with a lovely chocolate dessert.



Chocolate Tart


Filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature


Make the pastry: Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Lay the dough inside a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the pan so it fits tightly; press the edges into the sides of the pan. Remove excess dough from top of pan with a knife or rolling over it with a rolling pin. Refrigerate the tart for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Place the tart pan on a sturdy cookie sheet so it will be easy to move in and out of the oven. Line the tart with aluminum foil and add pie weights or dried beans to keep the sides of the tart from buckling. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and weights. Return to the oven and continue to bake for another 8 minutes until the tart is golden in color, but not brown. Set aside to cool and lower the oven temperature to 325°.

To make the filling: Heat the heavy cream and milk in a saucepan over medium-low flame, until it simmers slightly around the edges. Remove from the heat; add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Add the sugar and salt and whisk until well incorporated. Beat the eggs in a small bowl until blended and add them to the chocolate mixture, stir until completely blended. Pour the filling into the cooled tart shell and bake at 325° for 30-35 minutes until the filling is a bit puffy, outside 2-inches of filling is set and the surface is glossy. Cool before cutting and store in the refrigerator.

Serves 8-12