Monday, June 14, 2010

Kyle Bailey: Butter-Poached Radishes

I have rarely eaten radishes, and they have only ever been in a salad. Or one of those fancy rose things decorating the salad. Needless to say, they aren't high on the "yummy" list, but when I was in the grocery store the other day, they had a fabulous bag of bright red radishes. This bag of beauties was just begging me to buy them. At about $1.50 I'm not sure they count as an impulse buy, but I bought them without having any clue what to do with them. I seemed to distantly remember that I had seen them cooked in some forgotten tome of French food, but didn't remember when or where.

After snooping around on the internet (okay, so I'm ALWAYS snooping around on the internet), I found a recipe for butter-braised radishes from a chef that was at Allen & Delancey in New York City. And no, I don't know the restaurant, nor have I ever eaten there, but it sounds fancy, right? Well, the radishes were delicious, without the bite they have raw, almost tasting like cauliflower. And they are so pretty on the plate. I might have to reconsider my opinion of them.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly... I didn't have any raspberry wine vinegar (does anyone seriously keep this on hand??), so I used white wine vinegar. I didn't want to crack open my big box of vegetable stock for just 1/4 cup, so I used some leftover beef broth from the fridge. And I didn't have French radishes (with the pretty white roots), just regular old red radishes which I sliced. They still turned out delicious.

Butter-Poached Radishes
Adapted from Kyle Bailey

1 bunch French breakfast radishes (about ¾ pound), greens and bottoms discarded
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
3 dashes raspberry wine vinegar
¼ cup vegetable stock
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon

Depending on size, halve or quarter radishes lengthwise. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet until melted.

Toss in the chopped radishes and season with salt and pepper. Sauté over low-medium heat until they become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the raspberry wine vinegar and sauté approximately another minute until the radishes turn a vibrant pink. Add the vegetable stock and the remaining tablespoon of butter and cook for another minute to glaze the radishes.

Remove from heat and tear fresh tarragon leaves directly onto the radishes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve as an accompaniment to roast chicken, pan-seared duck breast, or meaty fish like striped bass.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Bon Appétit: Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

When I saw these bars in my June issue of Bon Appétit, I knew I had to make them. Who could turn down Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars? Not me. Not anyone I know. Graham cracker crust, caramel cheesecake center, and gooey dulce de leche topping. These bars are going to be part of my regular rotation. My very regular rotation.

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars
From Bon Appétit magazine, June 2010

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2¼ cups finely ground graham crackers (from about 17 whole graham crackers)
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, melted

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
½ cup purchased dulce de leche
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 cup purchased dulce de leche
3 tablespoons (or more) heavy whipping cream
Fleur de sel

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add melted butter; stir until coated. Transfer crumb mixture to pan. Press evenly onto bottom of pan. Bake until crust is light golden, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on rack.

Blend cream cheese and sugar in processor until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time, processing 3 to 5 seconds to blend between additions. Add dulce de leche and vanilla; process until blended, about 10 seconds. Spread batter evenly over cooled crust. Bake until just set in center and edges are puffed and slightly cracked, about 38 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely.

Heat dulce de leche and 3 tablespoons cream in microwave-safe bowl in 10-second intervals until melted. Stir to blend, adding more cream by teaspoonfuls if too thick to pour (amount of cream needed will depend on brand of dulce de leche). Pour glaze over cooled cheesecake; spread evenly. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour (glaze will not be firm). Cut cheesecake lengthwise into 4 strips, then crosswise into 6 strips, forming 24 bars. Sprinkle bars with fleur de sel.