Nick Malgieri Sat, 28 Feb 2015 01:38:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Artichauts a la Barigoule/Provencal Artichoke Hearts Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:01:55 +0000 Artichauts a la Barigoule

Artichauts a la Barigoule

I grew up on artichokes and once I left the nest I was always eager to learn more ways of cooking and enjoying them.  I first tasted this version of braised and marinated artichoke hearts in the early 70s when I worked for several summer seasons in Monte Carlo.  I always make them as soon as I can find some baby artichokes which I did the other day at the great vegetable store in the Chelsea Market.  I only bought a couple of pounds, so I made roughly half the version in the recipe below.

3/4 cup olive oil

1 large white onion, peeled, root left intact, and quartered

4 large cloves garlic, halved

4 to 5 pounds medium baby artichokes





3 ribs celery

1 carrot

1/2 small bunch thyme

2 sprigs winter savory or basil

12 sprigs parsley

3 bay leaves


1 tablespoon fleur de sel

1 cup dry white wine

4 cups water

Start oil, onion and garlic over very low heat while paring artichokes. Add bouquet after about 10 minutes.


Pare artichokes: Cut off stem end. Cut 2/3 leaves away.


Peel away outer leaves and leaves on stem.


Halve and remove choke w/ melon ball scoop.


Add pared artichokes to pan and stir. Add salt, wine, water.

Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and cook about 1 hour, or until artichokes are tender.


Remove bouquet and cool to room temperature in covered pan.Chill if not serving the same day.

Serve at room temperature: Drain, dress w/ a little fresh oil and chopped parsley (and basil if available).

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Overly Dense Pound Cake Tue, 24 Feb 2015 00:28:22 +0000 A reader has asked: I often make the same pound cake recipe, but this time the resulting cake was heavy and much more dense than usual. I beat the butter until it was soft—should I have done something else?
A: I’ve found that starting with very soft butter and beating the butter and sugar for a long time make a light pound cake. If you have forgotten to take the butter out to soften, try softening it in 5-second increments in the microwave —just be sure that the butter doesn’t melt.

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BLOOD ORANGE MARMALADE Mon, 23 Feb 2015 17:36:22 +0000 IMG_0857

I was astounded a couple of weeks ago to find some very inexpensive blood oranges.  Instead of devouring them as I did with the first couple of bags I bought, last week I decided to make some marmalade from them.  Making marmalade from any kind of citrus is easy:  Weight the fruit and cut it up, saving any trimmings and seeds to tie in a piece of cheesecloth.  Add double the weight in water and bring to a boil; simmer 1 hour.  Cool overnight.  Next day, weigh the fruit and water mixture and add an equal weight of sugar.  Cook to 222 degrees and pack in sterilized jars…  That’s it!  Here’s a more elaborated version with a few hints for making the process easier.


2 pounds blood oranges, preferably organic, rinsed well (I had just short of 2 pounds so I added a lemon)

2 quarts water

Sugar to equal the weight of the cooked fruit and water the next day (mine was 3.5 pounds)


Sterilized canning jars with 2-piece lids or sterilized lids and recycled jars

Trim the ends from the oranges; halve them or quarter them if large.  If they are seedy, cut away the central piece of pith and pop out the seeds.  Put any trimmings and seeds into a bowl lined with cheesecloth.

Use a very sharp stainless steel paring knife to cut the oranges paper thin as in the photo:


Put the sliced fruit into a 7-quart enameled iron Dutch oven.  Add the water and tie up the cheesecloth w the seeds in it and add (photo above).

Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer:


Cook for an hour, then cover and leave overnight.

Next morning, weigh the fruit and water and stir in an equal weight of sugar:


Bring to a boil on high heat, then decrease heat slightly so that the mixture boils gently:


Don’t bother skimming until the marmalade is completely cooked.  Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Cook to 222 degrees on an instant-read thermometer – it will take a little more then 30 minutes.  Slide the thermometer through a hole in a slotted spoon so that you can hold it over the boiling mixture without scalding the back of your hand:


Slide the pan off the hot burner, let the marmalade top boiling, then use a shallow ladle to skim any foam from the surface:


Set a shallow bowl near the pan of marmalade and place a sterilized jar in the bowl; set a jar funnel atop the jar and fill gradually to 1/4-inch of the top:


Cover with a sterilized lid and hold the hot jar using a pot holder to tighten the lid.

Cool the jars.  As these have not been pressure canned in boiling water, the marmalade should be stored refrigerated.




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Proofing Yeast Tue, 17 Feb 2015 00:25:22 +0000 A reader has asked: What is meant by proofing yeast? I have a bread recipe that instructs to mix the yeast and water with some of the sugar and allow it to proof—what is supposed to happen?


A: Proofing means letting the yeast start to bubble before proceeding with the rest of the steps in the recipe.

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RIGO JANCSI: CHOCOLATE RIGO SQUARES Wed, 11 Feb 2015 14:50:36 +0000 rigo jancsi

I only know this originally Hungarian cake in its Viennese form. In Vienna, it is made from two thin layers of chocolate cake with a whipped chocolate cream filling and a shiny chocolate glaze—definitely a dessert for an important party. The good news is that it can be made entirely in advance. Do wait to cut it shortly before serving, however, or the cake layers will dry out.

Twenty to twenty-four 2-inch cubes


6 large eggs, separated

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar, divided

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted with 1/4 cup water

1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)



1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 tablespoons butter

16 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces



1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

One 12 x 16-inch or 18-inch half-sheet pan or jellyroll pan, bottom and sides buttered and lined with buttered parchment or foil


  1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. For the cake batter, put the 6 yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk in 1/4 cup of the sugar by hand. Place the bowl on the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip the mixture on medium-high speed until the yolks and sugar are light and thickened. If you only have one mixer bowl and whisk, scrape the yolk mixture into a medium mixing bowl. Wash the bowl and whisk in hot, soapy water, rinse and dry them.
  3. Put the 6 egg whites and salt in a clean dry mixer bowl. Place on the mixer with the whisk attachment and whip the whites on medium speed until they are very white, opaque, and beginning to hold a very soft peak. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a stream. Continue whipping the whites until they hold a firm peak.
  4. Stir the chocolate into the yolk mixture, immediately followed by about 1/4 of the whipped egg whites. Sift over and fold in the flour, and then fold in the remaining egg whites.
  5. Scrape the batter onto the prepared pan and use a medium offset spatula to spread the batter evenly.
  6. Bake the cake layer until it is risen (it will not rise very high) and firm when pressed with a fingertip, about 15 to 20 minutes . Slide the paper from the pan to a rack to cool the cake.
  7. For the filling, bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil in a large saucepan, stirring occasionally to make sure the corn syrup doesn’t fall to the bottom and burn. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter and chocolate. Gently shake the pan to make sure the butter and chocolate are completely submerged and wait 2 minutes for them to melt. Whisk the filling smooth and pour it into a bowl. Refrigerate the filling until it is about 80 degrees, or until it is of spreading consistency. Don’t leave the filling in the refrigerator indefinitely, or it will become too hard to whip.
  8. To assemble the cake, slide the paper with the cake still stuck to it to a cutting board and cut through both the paper and the cake with a sharp serrated knife to make two 12 x 9-inch rectangles. Slide one off the cutting board. Run a long, thin knife or spatula between the paper and the cake that remains on the cutting board to loosen it, but leave the paper under the cake. (This will make the cubes of finished cake easier to remove later on.)
  9. Scrape the cooled filling into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat it with the paddle on medium speed until it is lightened to a milk chocolate color. Don’t overbeat, or the filling will separate.
  10. Immediately use a medium offset spatula to spread the whipped filling evenly over the cake layer on the cutting board.
  11. Invert the remaining cake layer, still stuck to the paper for easy handling, to a cookie sheet with no sides or to a stiff rectangular piece of cardboard. Gently slide the cake layer into place over the filling. Carefully peel off the paper.
  12. Place a stiff cardboard or cookie sheet on the cake and gently press to make sure the top layer of cake adheres well to the filling.
  13. Refrigerate the cake while preparing the glaze.
  14. For the glaze, bring the cream and corn syrup to a simmer in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Gently shake the pan to make sure all the chocolate is submerged and wait 2 minutes for it to melt. Whisk the glaze just until smooth, but avoid whisking too much or the glaze will be riddled with bubbles. Let the glaze cool until it is just slightly warm to the touch, about 100 to 105 degrees.
  15. After the glaze has cooled, remove the cake from the refrigerator and pour the glaze over it. Quickly spread the glaze evenly with a medium offset spatula. Don’t worry about any glaze that drips down the sides of the cake, as it will be trimmed away later on.
  16. Refrigerate the cake again for at least 1 hour, or until a short time before you intend to serve it, to set the glaze.       Glaze the cake on the same day you intend to serve it for maximum sheen.
  17. Rinse a long, sharp serrated knife in hot water, then wipe it clean with a cloth. Use the knife to trim the sides of the cake evenly, rinsing and wiping between each cut. Cut the cake into 2-inch squares.

Serving: Lift the cubes of cake off the paper with an offset cake server or spatula and line them up symmetrically on a platter. Serve alone or with a little unsweetened whipped cream.

Storage: Keep the cake refrigerated, but bring it to room temperature for an hour or so, depending on the room temperature, before serving. Cover leftovers with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature again before serving.

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PARMIGIANA DI MELENZANE: EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA Tue, 10 Feb 2015 22:26:24 +0000 eggplant

A perfect summer dish when the freshest eggplant is available, this is also wonderful during the winter to bring back a faint memory of summer.  An abbreviated version of the traditional recipe, here the eggplant slices are baked, not fried, for no reason other than the fact that it uses much less oil and it doesn’t make nearly the mess that frying does.

While many Italian cooks prepare this with a meatless sauce or even with crushed tomatoes right from the can, we always used meat sauce at home during my childhood and it just doesn’t taste right to me without it.

About 6 to 8 servings



1/4 cup olive oil

6 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

2-3 ounces ground beef

1 long, hot green pepper, optional

1 Pomi puree or other puree, 26 to 28 ounces

1 large sprig basil, folded back onto itself and tied




3 large eggplant, about 3 to 3 1/2 pounds total, rinsed, ends trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch slices

3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated

1 generous cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

20 large leaves of basil, optional

2 half sheet pans or jellyroll pans, oiled and strewn with salt, plus an 11 x 8-inch oval gratin dish or other baking dish


  1. For the sauce, combine the oil and garlic in a large saucepan and place on medium heat. Stir occasionally as the garlic begins to color, then use a slotted spoon to remove all but a few pieces.
  2. Add the meat and stir and mash so it doesn’t clump and continue to cook, stirring, until the meat takes on a little color. Add the pepper and allow to color a little.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and cool for a couple of minutes to avoid splattering when adding the tomato puree. Stir in the puree, and add the basil, a little salt, and 1 1/2 cups water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, lower heat, set a cover ajar on the pan and simmer,. Stirring occasionally for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Cool the sauce slightly, remove the pepper and basil, strain out the meat, and correct seasoning.
  5. While the sauce is cooking, set 2 racks in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.
  6. Arrange the eggplant slices on the prepared pans (they can overlap slightly since they shrink) and bake them for 5 minutes. Slide out one rack at a time and use tongs to turn the eggplant slices.  Turn the pans back to front and switch racks.  Bake until the eggplant is cooked through and softened, about 5 minutes longer.  If they need more cooking, turn slices and pans and alternate racks again.
  7. Immediately after removing the pans from the oven, slide a thin, flexible spatula under each slice to make sure it isn’t stuck to the pan. Cool the eggplant.
  8. To assemble, oil the baking dish and spread a spoonful of sauce in the bottom. Top with a third of the eggplant slices, more sauce, some basil if you have it, and a third of the grated cheese mixed with the mozzarella.   Repeat twice more with the remaining ingredients, finishing the top layer with sauce and the remaining cheese mixture.
  9. At this point you may cover the gratin dish with plastic wrap and set it aside for several hours before baking.
  10. When you are ready to bake, set a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
  11. Bake the eggplant until it is nicely colored and bubbling, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool slightly before serving and serve warm or at room temperature.  Cover and refrigerate leftovers and bring to room temperature before serving again.


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Carnival Fritters Tue, 10 Feb 2015 00:20:58 +0000 A reader has asked: I want to make some Carnival fritters that are traditional in my husband’s family, but I have never deep fried anything before. Any hints for success?
A: First of all, get everything ready in advance —your pan, a skimmer, and jelly roll pans covered with paper towels to drain the fritters. Second, buy a good deep-fat thermometer, the kind that looks like a ruler, not the type that has a round dial at the top and is attached to a stem. Third, use a large, wide pan and don’t fill it more than halfway with oil. Be very careful to cover the pan of oil when you are finished frying and leave it on the stove to cool completely before moving it. Good luck!

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CHOCOLATE EMINENCE Fri, 06 Feb 2015 19:34:09 +0000 1911792_10153124054228760_335608572194497887_nThis elegant cake is perfect for the most important occasion and makes a spectacular dinner-party dessert.  And it can be entirely made, except for the cocoa powder finish on top of the cake, the day before.


One 9-inch cake, about 12 servings



1/4 cup water

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

6 large eggs, separated directly into 2 mixer bowls

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup blanched (skinless) hazelnuts, lightly toasted and chopped but not ground



4 large egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup dark rum

12 ounces milk chocolate, melted and cooled

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped to a soft peak

Finely chopped toasted hazelnuts for the side of the cake; Dutch process cocoa for the top

3 9-inch round layer pans buttered and the bottoms lined with buttered parchment


  1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. For the layers, melt the chocolate and water in a large mixing bowl and set over a pan of gently boiling water, stirring occasionally until melted. Cool. Whisk the yolks by hand in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk in half the sugar and the vanilla. Place on mixer with whisk and whip of medium-high speed until lightened, about 3 minutes. Scrape the yolk mixture over the melted chocolate but don’t fold it in.
  3. Combine the egg whites and salt in a mixer bowl and whip on medium speed until white, opaque, and beginning to hold their shape. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar a tablespoon at a time, until the egg whites hold a firm peak. Scrape a quarter of the whites over the yolk and chocolate mixtures in the bowl and stir together. Fold in the remaining egg whites.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and use a small offset spatula to spread it evenly. Scatter a third of the chopped hazelnuts on each layer.
  5. Bake the layers until risen, fallen, and firm, about 12 to 15 minutes. As soon as you take them out of the oven, invert a layer to a cardboard, and lift off the pan, leaving the paper on the bottom. Replace the pan with another cardboard and invert again. Remove the top cardboard and let the layer cool on the bottom cardboard. Repeat with the remaining layers. Wrap the layers in plastic once they have cooled.
  6. Before starting the filling, have the layers and a medium offset spatula and a cardboard to assemble the cake on ready nearby. For the filling, whisk the egg yolks by hand in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in the sugar and the rum. Place the bowl over a pan of gently boiling water and whisk until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the pan and continue whisk until cooled to room temperature. Scrape the yolk mixture over the melted chocolate but don’t mix it in; quickly fold in the cream until the filling is smooth and can hold its shape.
  7. Invert one of the layers (nut side down) to a cardboard, peel off the paper, and spread with a third of the filling. Repeat with a second layer and another third of the filling.
  8. Invert the last layer to the filling and peel off the paper. Cover the entire outside of the cake with a thin coat of the remaining filling. Press the chopped hazelnuts against the side of the cake.
  9. Dust the top of the cake with cocoa and use a serrated knife to trace a lattice pattern into it.
  10. Keep at a cool room temperature until ready to serve. For advance preparation, don’t finish the top of the cake, wrap in plastic and chill. To serve, unwrap, bring to room temperature, and finish as in step 9.
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The first recipe below is how I always make chicken broth to use in other soups and dishes – I like using meat, skin, and bones rather than just bones, for the better and fuller flavor they provide. 



4 large chicken leg and thigh quarters, about 2 pounds

2 large carrots, ends trimmed and peeled

2 ribs celery, one with leaves, rinsed and trimmed

1 large leek, ends trimmed, split, and rinsed

2 cloves garlic, unpeeled, crushed

1 plum tomato, halved

2 large sprigs fresh thyme

2 large sprigs flat-leaf parsley

2 bay leaves

2 1/2 quarts water

2 teaspoons salt



1 small head curly chickory, about 3/4 pound

1/3 cup long grain rice

Salt and pepper

Grated Parmigiano Reggiano for serving


  1. Rinse the chicken parts and place them in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add all the remaining broth ingredients and stir to mix.
  2. Place the pan on medium heat and use a slotted spoon to skim any froth that rises to the surface, gradually decreasing the heat as the broth comes near a boil. Adjust the heat so that the broth just simmers gently while the cover is ajar.
  3. After the broth has simmered for 45 minutes, remove the meat to a cutting board and separate the meat from the bones, cartilage, and skin. Place the meat in a bowl, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. If you are serving the soup soon after, keep the meat at a cool room temperature, if not, refrigerate it tightly covered after it has cooled completely.
  4. Return the bones, etc. to the pan and allow the broth to continue cooking for another hour.
  5. When the broth is cooked, strain it into a large bowl. Rinse the pan and strain the broth again through a fine wire mesh strainer or chinois. Skim most of the fat from the surface. For advance preparation, decant the broth to quart containers, cover, label, and refrigerate or freeze.
  6. For the escarole, separate the head into leaves, discarding the toughest outside ones. Soak the leaves n a bowl of cold water and lift them out to a colander. Discard water and any dirt in the bottom of the bowl and repeat the washing if necessary.
  7. Bring a large pan of water to a boil and add salt. Ad the escarole, using a large pot fork to push it down into the water. Let the water return to a boil and cook the escarole for a minute. Drain it in a colander, then spread it out on a pan or platter to cool.       When it’s cool, wring it out in handfuls and coarsely chop it.
  8. For the rice, bring a cup of the chicken broth to a boil and salt it. Add the rice, stir, decrease heat and cover. Cook the rice for about 18 minutes, or until it is tender.
  9. To finish the soup, shred about half the chicken meat and add it to the soup. Add the escarole and bring the soup to a boil. Add the rice, taste for seasoning, and correct with salt and pepper. Let the soup stand for about an hour for the flavors to blend, then reheat to a boil and ladle into soup plates. Pass the grated cheese at the table.
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Sunken cheescake Tue, 03 Feb 2015 00:32:29 +0000  
A reader has asked: Every time I bake a cheesecake it sinks in the middle, even though a toothpick comes out clean before I take the cake out of the oven. What am I doing wrong?
A: Your cheesecake is sinking because it is over baked. Most cheesecakes can stand to have about 1 inch in diameter in the very center that’s still liquid when you take the cake out of the oven. The heat retained by the cake will finish baking the center and it won’t sink.

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