The Sexiest Eggs You’ll Ever Eat

October 15, 2016

ruth_fall_1579Shirred Eggs with Potato Puree

4-5 yukon potatoes, about 1 pound, peeled and cut into half inch slices

one teaspoon sea salt

freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup cream

1/2 stick unsalted butter (4 ounces)

4 eggs

1. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with an inch of cold water. Add the salt.

2. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes until a fork easily pierces the flesh.

3. Put the potatoes through a ricer. If you do not have a ricer use a fork to break up the flesh.  Season with freshly ground pepper.

4. Slowly melt the butter in a sauce pan over a low flame. When it is melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream.

5. Whisk the cream in a slow stream into the potatoes, whisking all the while. In an instant the potatoes will transform into a smooth, airy, puree. Season to taste.

6. Heat an oven to 375 degrees.

Butter 4 ramekins and put about an inch of whipped potato into each one. Carefully break an egg into a saucer, and then let it slip onto its soft bed of puree. Repeat for each ramekin.

7. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place the ramekins in a deep baking dish. Pour boiling water into the dish until it comes halfway up the ramekins; be careful not to get the water into the ramekins. Place the dish on a baking sheet, and set the whole thing into the oven.  Bake for 8 minutes, until the whites just begin to set. Remove from the oven and spoon a tablespoon of cream over the egg.

8. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.

Garnish with any or all of the following and serve immediately.

grey sea salt

chopped chives

bacon

grated cheese

Serves 4.

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Perfect Fall Soup

October 13, 2016

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This is, to me, the perfect soup for this time of year.  It’s about the easiest soup I know, one that transforms a handful of simple ingredients into something, soft thick, almost creamy.  It’s deliciously soothing.  The color is gorgeous, it’s inexpensive – and also vegan.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 onion, coarsely chopped

1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound peeled butternut squash, cut into 3/4 inch dice

1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch chunks

2 teaspoons sea salt

2 1/2 cups boiling water

garnishes: diced Granny Smith or other crisp apple, olive oil, balsamic vinegar.

  1. Put onion, carrots, celery and olive oil into a large casserole and cook for about ten minutes, until they become soft.
  2. Add squash, potatoes, and salt. Stir in boiling water, bring to a simmer, and allow to cook for about half an hour, until the squash and potatoes are very soft.
  3. Puree, in batches, in a blender.  Be cautious; hot soup can be dangerous.
  4. Taste for seasoning. Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil and/or balsamic, and the diced apple.

Serves 4.

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Things I Love: Strange Snack

October 12, 2016

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These days I find myself going into the refrigerator at all times of the day, chopsticks in hand, to snatch another bite of this chewy, sweet, spicy treat.  It’s dried squid that’s been doused in red pepper sauce, sugar and sesame oil.  A strange snack, perhaps, but once you start to like it, you can’t get enough.

I buy mine at H Mart on 32nd Street in New York, but you can find this at any Korean grocery. If you don’t have a handy Korean grocery, H Mart has an online shop.

Be warned, however; these chewy little bites quickly become addictive.

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How to Stuff a Pumpkin

October 11, 2016

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Swiss Pumpkin

I originally called this pumpkin soup, but it’s really a gratin baked right inside the pumpkin. I was 21 when I developed the recipe, and oblivious to richness so I used nothing but cream. Today I mix the cream with chicken broth (about a cup of cream and a cup of broth). You could also use milk. It’s STILL pretty much of a heart-stopper but it’s irresistible. 

Go out and buy a fairly small pumpkin (about 4 pounds) with a flat bottom. Cut off the top, as if you were going to carve a jack-o-lantern, and hollow it out. Spread the seeds out and dry them to eat later.

Now get a good loaf of French bread, cube it, put the cubes on a baking sheet and toast them lightly in a 350 degree oven for about 9 minutes.  Leave the oven on.

Grate a good amount of one of the Swiss cheeses – Emmenthaler, Gruyere or Appenzeller (you’ll need about 12 ounces). Layer the bread and cheese inside the pumpkin until it’s almost full (leave a half inch on the top because the filling will expand a bit).

Mix 1 cup of chicken stock into a cup of cream. Add a teaspoon of salt. Grind in some black pepper and grate in some nutmeg. Then fill the pumpkin almost to the top with as much of this mixture as you need, replace the top of the pumpkin, brush the outside with neutral oil, set it on a baking sheet, and bake for about 2 hours.

Bring the whole pumpkin to the table. When you serve it be sure to scoop out the pumpkin flesh with the cheese and the cream.

Serves 4

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It’s a Fine Day for Chili

October 10, 2016

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The Basic Chili Recipe

Shopping List: 1 pound ground bison, 1 large can chopped tomatoes, small can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 1 bottle dark beer, 1 can black beans.

Staples: olive oil, 3 onions, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, chicken stock.

Optional: cream sherry, balsamic vinegar, 1 ounce chocolate, soy sauce, sour cream, grated cheddar.

Serves 4-6

Dice three medium onions and saute them in olive oil until they’re soft.  Add 6 cloves of garlic, smashed, and let them soften too. Add a tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano, some salt and pepper, a bit of cumin and two teaspoons of your homemade chili powder – more if you like really hot food.

Add a pound of ground bison, and cook, stirring, until it loses its redness. Puree 3 or 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (from a can) and stir that in along with a large can of tomatoes, chopped up, and another teaspoon of your chili powder.  Add a cup of homemade chicken stock, and a cup of a robust  dark beer and let it all simmer at a slow burble for a couple of hours. 

Before serving stir in a cup or so of black beans.  Now you get to play with the flavors.  Is it hot enough?  Do you want more chili powder? Sometimes I’ll melt an ounce or so of really good chocolate and stir that in to give it depth. Other times I’ll add a spoonful of fish sauce, or a splash of excellent balsamic vinegar.  Sometimes soy sauce to spark it up, other times cream sherry to mellow it down.  It all depends on my mood. The point is, when you’ve made your own chili powder, everything else is just window dressing.

Homemade Chili Powder

Shopping list: Dried Ancho, New Mexico and Habanero Chiles.

I like to use anchos for their winey richness, habaneros for their fruity heat and New Mexicos for their earthy sturdiness.

Wearing rubber or latex gloves to protect your hands, sponge off 2 Anchos, 3 New Mexico and 3 Habanero chiles (they’re almost always dusty). Cut them in half and remove the tips where the majority of seeds congregate. Discard the seeds.

Put the chiles into a heavy bottomed pan (I use cast iron), and toast them over medium high heat for about 4 minutes, turning from time to time with tongs, until they have darkened slightly. Allow them to cool and then grind the chiles to a powder in a spice grinder or coffee mill. Stir in a teaspoon of toasted and ground cumin.

You can serve this chili with cilantro, sour cream and grated cheddar. Or not. It’s that good.

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