August Recipe of the Month: Blueberry Chipotle BBQ Chicken Sandwich

Local blueberries are bountiful and in peak form right now. They add a tart sweetness to this mildly spicy BBQ sauce and give it a beautiful deep purple hue. The frozen blueberries will break down into the sauce while most of the fresh ones retain their form. The refreshingly zesty summer vegetable slaw gives the sandwich a cool crunch that lends balance to the assertive flavors of the grilled chicken. Serve this sandwich with a favorite potato salad or handmade roasted potato fries.

INGREDIENTS

Makes 4 sandwiches

BBQ Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup sweet onion, small dice
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic, finely diced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1-1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons brewed espresso or rich coffee
4 skinless chicken breasts

Summer Vegetable Slaw
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 ear white corn, kernels cut off cob
3/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped

Assembly
4 Macrina Ciabatta Burger Buns
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) mayonnaise

DIRECTIONS

BBQ Sauce
Add the olive oil to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, paprika, chipotle, black pepper and salt. Cook for 1 minute, then add both the fresh and frozen blueberries. Cook for 3-5 minutes to break down the berries. Use a potato masher or wooden spoon to help. You want some whole fruit and some to break down into sauce. Add the brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire, ketchup and coffee. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until reduced. Let cool to room temperature.

Marinate the chicken breasts in 1-1/2 cups of the BBQ sauce. Cover entirely and refrigerate overnight.

Summer Vegetable Slaw
Prepare this slaw at least 30 minutes before assembling sandwiches. In a medium bowl, add the mayonnaise, sherry vinegar, lime zest and juice, honey and salt. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the cabbage, sweet onion, corn kernels and cilantro. With tongs, toss the ingredients together to fully coat the cabbage. Check for seasoning and add cracked black pepper to taste. Refrigerate until needed.

Grilling & Assembly
Preheat grill to 400°F.

Slice the Ciabatta Burger Buns in half and brush each side with olive oil. Set aside.

Brush the grill with oil. Place chicken breasts on grill and cook for 6-8 minutes on each side (to mark the chicken with hatch lines from the grill, rotate a quarter turn halfway through the grilling of each side). When done, chicken should reach 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove breasts and let rest for 3 minutes.

Grill the buns cut side down, watching carefully to ensure they just caramelize and don’t burn.

Lay the toasted buns on each plate. Spread a tablespoon of mayonnaise on each top bun. Add a generous amount of slaw to the bottom bun, approximately 1/2-3/4 cup. Cut the chicken breasts into 1/2″ slices and arrange over the slaw. Top the chicken with 1 tablespoon or more of the BBQ sauce. Cover each with its top bun and enjoy!

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June Recipe of the Month: Ricotta Panna Cotta with Local Strawberries

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This recipe is in honor of Gina DePalma, the acclaimed pastry chef from Babbo restaurant in NYC. Her book, Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen, inspires a reverence for simple recipes. Too often chefs over complicate dishes to make them more worthy. Sometimes less is more, a philosophy central to much of Italian cuisine. This recipe embraces straightforward preparations and quality ingredients. Good cream will really stand out, for panna cotta is one of the world’s most delightful versions of cooked cream. Sweet Washington strawberries and a Macrina Walnut Anise Wafer are perfect complements to this eggless custard.

Ingredients

Makes 6 servings

RICOTTA PANNA COTTA

1 cup whole milk ricotta

1 cup whole milk, divided

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 packet powdered gelatin (1/4 oz)

STRAWBERRY TOPPING AND ASSEMBLY

10 strawberries

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon sherry vinegar

1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped

1 package of Macrina’s Walnut Anise Wafers

Directions

Place the ricotta and 1/2 cup of the milk in a medium bowl and whisk to dissolve the lumps. Add the sugar, gelatin and heavy cream to a medium saucepan. Cut vanilla bean lengthwise, and scrape the seeds out with a paring knife. Add the seeds and bean to the heavy cream. While whisking constantly, warm mixture just to the boiling point, then turn off the heat. Gradually pour the heavy cream mixture into the ricotta mixture and whisk to combine well. Remove the vanilla bean and strain the mixture through a fine cheesecloth or mesh strainer. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and mix to combine. Divide the mixture between 6 sorbet glasses or stemless wine glasses. Place in the refrigerator for 4 hours to set.

Finely dice 9 of the strawberries and place in a medium bowl. Cover with the sugar and sprinkle in the sherry vinegar. Mix well and let sit for 1 hour before serving. Thinly slice the remaining strawberry into 6 rounds. Top each panna cotta with a strawberry round, a spoonful of sweetened diced strawberries and a sprinkle of oregano. Serve with a wafer cookie and enjoy!

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Lamb Meatball & Cabbage Soup

There’s just something about hot soup that satisfies the soul on those long dark evenings of winter and early spring. I often keep a stockpot simmering, making rich broth from leftover bones and vegetables. I use it for light and refreshing soups meant to tease the appetite, and some (like this one) that are nourishing, hearty meals all on their own.

Classic Italian wedding soup often features the “marriage” of meatballs with greens. My recipe takes this wholesome marriage to heart and gives a nod to St. Patrick’s Day by combining lamb and cabbage. The meatballs add richness to the flavorful broth, while the cabbage adds sweetness. There’s nothing better on a chilly evening than dipping a slice of buttered crusty Macrina bread into this lovely soup. No one will believe you spent less than an hour making it!

Ingredients

Serves 5

Meatballs

1 pound ground lamb
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs

Soup and Assembly

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup shallots, finely diced
2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
4 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced
6 cups chicken stock
Cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1 Macrina loaf

Directions

Meatballs

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Add all the meatball ingredients to a medium bowl. Mix with a spoon until thoroughly combined. Scoop out 20 meatballs that are about 1-1/2″ and place them 2″ apart on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown in color and firm to the touch. Let cool while you prepare the soup.

Soup and Assembly

Add the olive oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for about 2 minutes. When the shallots are translucent in color, add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for 3 minutes until the tomatoes begin to break down. Add the cabbage and cook for another 3 minutes to sweat the cabbage. Add the chicken stock and cracked black pepper to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface of the broth. Add the meatballs and cook for another 10 minutes.

Divide meatballs (4 per bowl) and soup between the 5 bowls. Garnish with mint and serve with your favorite crusty Macrina loaf. Enjoy!

A Valentine’s Day Treat: Chocolate Cherry Almond Heart Bread

Chocolate Cherry Almond Heart Bread

One of my favorite things about Valentine’s Day is that we get to make our Chocolate Cherry Almond Heart Bread. This bread is inspired by a Greek Christmas bread I began baking in Macrina’s early days. It has evolved into one of my favorite Valentine’s Day gifts. The aroma coming from our ovens while it is baking is irresistible— sweet and buttery mixed with the scent of cherries and bittersweet chocolate, and that hint of brandy is the kicker. We bake the golden-brown bread in the shape of a heart. I warm it up slightly before serving and have difficulty restraining myself from eating the whole loaf.

For those who don’t eat the entire thing in one sitting, or are looking for how best to use this bread, I have a few suggestions:

Chocolate Cherry Almond French Bread

1. This loaf makes incredible French toast served with fresh raspberries, maple syrup or a drizzle of chocolate ganache and slightly sweetened whipped cream.

2. Sauté one-inch slices with butter until caramelized to a golden brown. Serve warm drizzled with chocolate ganache and slightly sweetened whipped cream.

3. For a decadent dessert, toast one-inch slices and serve them with rich chocolate or vanilla ice cream and top with plumped dried cherries and drizzle of chocolate sauce

4. For a savory treat, cut half-inch slices and sauté in butter to golden brown and top with a slice of brie. The heat of the bread will warm the brie.

Our Cherry Almond Heart Bread is available at our cafés through Valentine’s Day.

Enjoy!

Leslie

February Recipe of the Month: Wine and Roses Chocolate Cake

Wine and Chocolate Rose Cake

If you are looking for something decadent for Valentine’s Day (or any dinner party), this is it. This Wine and Roses Chocolate Cake is beautiful, intensely chocolaty, and wonderfully easy to make. Top it with lightly sweetened whipped cream and serve it with love.

This recipe is inspired by our Chocolate Rose Gianduja cake that Macrina makes for Valentine’s Day, which alternates layers of hazelnut and flourless espresso cake with a hint of rose water. This make-at-home version takes Auguste Escoffier’s mantra “Faites simple” (keep it simple) to heart. It will appeal to the tastes of the most refined epicurean, but anyone with basic baking skills can make it.

The rose water plays off the depth of flavor from the red wine in the chocolate glaze. It’s a lovely combination for a sweet Valentine’s Day treat! For a special presentation, garnish the cake with homemade sugared rose petals, or you can buy candied rose petals at some specialty kitchen stores, or online.

Ingredients

10″ Cake • Serves 10 (but suitable for just 2!)

Cake

1 cup unsalted butter
8 ounces Guittard semisweet chocolate
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 eggs
3/4 teaspoon rose water

Glaze

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon red wine
1 organic rose
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 325º. Brush a 10″ spring-form pan with melted butter. Then cut a parchment paper circle to cover the base and a 3″ band to line the sides.

Place the semisweet chocolate and the butter in a saucepan. Then make a bain-marie (or double-boiler) by setting it atop another saucepan filled with 2″ water. With the water simmering, continually stir the mixture. When completely melted, remove chocolate mixture and allow to cool.

Sift the sugar and cocoa powder into a stand-mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment at medium speed, add eggs 2 at a time until they are fully incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl. With the mixer running at low speed, add the melted chocolate and rose water in a slow stream. Scrape sides of bowl again. Increase mixer to medium-high for 2 minutes. The mixture will become lighter in color and more aerated.

Transfer cake batter to the prepared spring-form pan. Level batter and bake for 25-30 minutes. Pull it out when the top is firm but just before it cracks. This cake can crack easily because eggs are the leavening agent.

Let cake cool for 30 minutes and prepare glaze in that time.

In a medium saucepan, scald the cream and turn off the heat. Add the chocolate chips and whisk until fully melted. Add the red wine and allow the glaze to cool to room temperature.

Pour glaze in the center of the cake and spread across the top, leaving the edges uncovered. Separate the rose petals, preserving the center core. Scatter petals around the perimeter of the cake, placing the core in the center. Use a fine sifter to dust the rose petals and cake edges with powder sugar.

This is an intensely chocolaty cake, and it is best enjoyed with slightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh raspberries.

Enjoy!

Holiday Entertaining: From Simple to Spectacular

Sometimes when I’m entertaining, I’ve got the time and energy to spend all day in the kitchen making something wicked good. Other times, I need something great that I can whip out in almost no time at all. Macrina has all kinds of things that will help with your holiday entertaining, from grab-and-go treats to key elements of more elaborate creations. By keeping a few essentials like crostini and flatbread in your pantry and savory spreads and tapenades in your fridge, you’ll be ready with many possibilities for snacks and appetizers when friends drop by or you need to bring a dish to a gathering.

Here are a few of my favorite combos for the holidays:

• Macrina’s Holiday Quiche with side salads from our case (a great impromptu lunch).

• Macrina’s Cranberry Apricot Nut Crostini (or Wheat Herb Walnut Crostini, if you prefer) with Macrina’s warmed Holiday Brie.

• French toast made with your favorite Macrina Brioche: plain, cinnamon swirl, or raisin (our Panettone will also take your French toast up a notch – check out December’s recipe of the month).

 

• Macrina’s Grilled Winter Pear Crown with Cambozola Black Label cheese and our Fig & Olive tapenade.

• Macrina’s Seeded Baguette warmed and sliced thinly, brushed with melted butter and topped with our Smoked Trout Spread and sautéed capers

• Macrina’s Skagit Sourdough sliced, brushed with olive oil and toasted, topped with prosciutto or serrano ham, goat cheese and our Fig & Olive Tapenade.

• Macrina’s Greek Olive Crostini with burrata cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and flaky salt.

• Macrina’s Warmed Dill Scones with goat cheese, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon

• Macrina’s Sardinian Flatbread with truffle salt and roasted artichoke spread (recipe in More from Macrina cookbook) that is topped with fresh crab meat.

• Macrina’s Rye Crostini with our Smoked Trout Spread and chopped preserved lemons (Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi has an excellent recipe for them).

• Strata made with Macrina’s Holiday Porcini Stuffing Mix, caramelized onions, grated gruyere and kale.

• Macrina’s Brioche Slider Buns with curried chicken salad.

• Sliders made with pulled pork and coleslaw on Macrina’s Sodo Rolls.

• Rare roast beef and tarragon aioli on Macrina’s Cheesy Garlic Pull-Apart Rolls.

If you find yourself in a pinch for brunch, a box of Macrina pastries can save the day. Leftovers also reheat the next day wonderfully. Call us to place an order or visit one of our cafes where our crew can help you find what you need and let us help you with your holiday festivities. Also check out PCC, Town & Country Market, Whole Foods, Metropolitan Market or one of the many retailers who carry our products. You won’t be disappointed!

Happy Holidays!

Leslie

October Recipe of the Month

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Toasted Sesame Semifreddo with Mini Ginger Molasses Cookies

A semifreddo is an Italian, rich gelato-like dessert that is frozen overnight in a loaf pan, sliced and presented like the best ice cream cake you’ve ever had! This recipe is a fun fall dessert inspired by Gina DePalma’s cookbook, Dolce Italiano. The late fruit harvest of figs plays well with the toasted sesame flavors in the semifreddo. To top it off, enjoy with our new Mini Ginger Molasses Cookies. – Leslie Mackie

Ingredients:

Serves 6
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
4 eggs yolks
1/2 cup tahini
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons water
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 ripe figs, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely diced
1 tablespoon amaretto, port or brandy
1 package of Macrina’s Mini Ginger Molasses Cookies

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the sesame seeds on the prepared baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden brown, approximately 15 minutes. Let cool and set aside.

Line a 9″x 5″ loaf pan with plastic wrap extending 5″ on each end to cover the top after it is filled.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, whip the heavy cream to medium stiff peaks. Transfer to another bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Add the egg yolks, tahini and salt to the bowl of the stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, mix for 3-5 minutes.

Add 5 tablespoons of sugar, the honey and water to a shallow saucepan. Mix well and bring to a boil for 1 minute.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the hot sugar mixture, aiming to directly hit the egg mixture (as opposed to the whisk or sides of the bowl). When all the sugar is incorporated, increase speed to high and mix for 2 minutes to aerate and cool. Add the toasted sesame seeds and vanilla extract.

Remove from mixer and gently fold in the whipped cream. When well incorporated, spoon into the lined loaf pan. Cover top of container with the extended plastic wrap to seal the semifreddo. Freeze for 6-8 hours.

Place figs in a medium bowl and add 1 tablespoon sugar, the ginger and amaretto. Toss gently and let steep for at least 2 hours at room temperature.

Unwrap semifreddo and cut into 6 slices. Transfer each slice to a chilled plate, spoon on the spiced figs and serve with a Mini Ginger Molasses Cookie. Enjoy!

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Home-made Favorites: The One-Day Artisan Loaf

One-Day Artisan Loaf

I made this video a few years ago to demonstrate how you make one of my favorite home-made loaves, the One-Day Artisan Loaf. It amazes me how much interest the video still generates. The recipe is simple. It produces a beautiful loaf—domed, with a crisp caramelized crust, irregular crumb and complex flavors.

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 11.44.55 AM

I created the One-Day Artisan Loaf for my second cookbook, More From Macrina. The premise of the cookbook adapts Macrina recipes for the home cook. I made all of the recipes with typical home equipment. The inspiration for this loaf came from an article in the New York Times back in November 2006, featuring Jim Lahey, the owner of Manhattan’s Sullivan Street Bakery. The article describes a revolutionary method of creating full-flavored, artisan-style bread mixed entirely by hand, without any kneading. Time and a heavy dutch oven do most of the work that kneading and expensive steam-injected ovens do for professionals. I began fiddling around with the technique to create a version of my own.

one-day artisan loaf

Baking

My recipe includes milk and olive oil. These add a slightly fermented flavor. Rye flour provides another dimension to the flavor. I shorten the preparation time but incorporate a few extra steps for manipulating the dough, including a series of folds that resemble a brief kneading, and a couple of baker’s turns between rises. The results make it worth the extra bit of work.

The video also demonstrates how to make a whole grain version with a garnish of sunflower and pumpkin seeds and diced dried apricots. The whole grains give the loaf the delightful flavor of roasted nuts, notes of apple cider, and an earthy flavor that I love.

One of the keys to baking a beautiful one-day artisan loaf is having a humid atmosphere when the bread first hits the oven. This is where the dutch oven comes in. The hydration level of this dough is high, so when baking in a covered dutch oven, the air inside will remain moist for the first few minutes. The bread achieves a soft outer surface to rise before it forms a hard crust. By using this technique, you’ll end up with a crusty bread that has a rich caramelized color and a lovely depth of flavor, much like one you’d get at Macrina or another artisan bakery.

The Name

When naming this loaf, I thought of the word artisan because of the loaf’s characteristics: a crackly, caramelized crust, a wide, irregular crumb, and a complexity of flavor. A few comments have come in saying the bread isn’t truly artisanal. Most artisan loaves are naturally leavened and use very little if any, commercial yeast. They are also usually slow-fermented overnight and hand-formed. Maybe artisan-like would be a better name. Whatever you want to call it, if you are a fan of a rustic European-style domed loaf, with many of the great qualities of artisanal loaves —that doesn’t keep you in the kitchen all day—this loaf is for you! Start in the morning and you’ll impress your dinner guests with wonderful, freshly baked bread, without breaking a sweat!

Leslie

Panettone

panettone smallThere is hardly a more Italian way of celebrating the holidays than a slice of panettone and a flute of prosecco, a December ritual in homes, cafes, and restaurants throughout Italy. This sweet toque-shaped yeast bread stuffed with raisins and candied orange and lemon peel originated in Milan. It’s often served with a sauce of zabaglione, a custardy sauce made with egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala wine, or crema di mascarpone, and accompanied with a glass of sweet wine such as Moscato d’Asti. The name panettone comes from the Italian word “panetto,” a small loaf cake. The addition of the suffix “-one” makes it a large cake.

The origins of the cake date back to a type of leavened cake sweetened with honey and enjoyed by nobility during the Roman Empire. The cake makes cameo appearances in Italian paintings in the 16th century and is associated with Christmas in the 18th-century writings of Pietro Verri, who wrote an epic history of Milan.

But Panettone didn’t become a household item until 1925 when Angelo Motta, a Milanese baker, began commercial production of the bread. He’s credited with modifying the shape from a low, dense loaf to the tall, airy bread we know today. He introduced a natural leavening process, more like that used in sourdough, and allowed the bread to rise three times over 18 hours before baking. This produces the bread’s lightness and soft texture.

Motta’s bread was an enormous success and soon a competitor arose. Giacchino Alemagna created a similar bread, pricing his higher. The competition proved good for both brands, with Motta seen as the panettone of the middle-class, while Alemagna targeted those willing and able to pay premium prices. Today, the brands Motta and Alemagna dominate the market. Over 100 million panettone are produced by Italian bakeries each holiday season. Italy only has 60 million people! Even with about 10% of production bound for export that is a lot of panettone per person.

While commercial production of panettone dominates in Italy and abroad, many small bakeries (or le pasticcerie in Italy) make their traditional versions of the famous bread. Macrina’s version was inspired by a recipe in Carol Field’s wonderful book The Italian Baker. Our loaf is studded with candied citrus and dried fruits and enriched with eggs and butter. Nowadays it’s easy to find decorative paper baking molds, but I prefer to bake these loaves in clay flowerpots, which look beautiful and make great holiday gifts. The dough takes time and cannot be rushed, but it’s more than worth the wait. If you’re looking for an alternative to the version shipped over from Italy you can pick one up at any of our cafes this month, or find my recipe in the Macrina Bakery and Cafe Cookbook. Then grab a bottle of prosecco and invite some friends over for a very Italian holiday celebration.

Happy Holidays, Leslie

Garden Pumpkin Pie Video

Last year was the first year I grew my own squash for our Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. We did a taste test between canned and fresh, and surprise, fresh squash won. My favorite pumpkin variety is the New England Pie Pumpkin. You can find the seeds in many local garden stores. It’s fun planting a garden in April, nurturing it through the summer and waiting for the squash to ripen in the fall. It’s even more fun cutting that pumpkin up and turning it into pie!

The pie crust recipe I use is Flaky Pie Dough from More From Macrina cookbook. We sell this pie as well as many other Thanksgiving treats at our cafes. Do come visit and see what we’ve got cooking. Watch the video to learn how I prepare my special pumpkin pie and follow the recipe links below.

Garden Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Flaky Pie Dough Recipe