Sweet Benne Wafers
Makes about 120.
Note: From “The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen,” by Matt and Ted Lee.
• 1/2 c. sesame seeds
• 1/4 c. plus 1 tbsp. flour
• 3/4 c. tightly packed light brown sugar
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1/4 tsp. baking soda
• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cold
• 1 egg
• 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
In a cast-iron skillet, toast the sesame seeds over medium-high heat, stirring them frequently in the pan with a wooden spoon, until they are the color of unpopped popcorn, about 5 minutes. Keep stirring for a minute more after removing from the heat.
Sift flour with the sugar, salt and baking soda twice. Cut butter into dry ingredients with your fingertips or with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Using an electric mixer, beat egg on medium until it stiffens, about 2 minutes. Add the dry flour mixture in three parts, beating until batter is consistently smooth and lustrous, about 2 minutes. Add toasted sesame seeds and vanilla, and beat on low speed just until the seeds are evenly incorporated. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip or to a plastic bag with a tiny piece of its corner cut out.
Working in batches of 30, pipe batter in very small 1/4 teaspoon-size drops about 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheet. Bake until cookies turn noticeably chestnut-brown and lacy, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack and cool until cookies have stiffened, about 10 minutes, then transfer to a plate or open container to dry further. Repeat until all the cookies are baked, and then let them cool completely before sealing the container.
If the first batch isn’t crisp enough after 15 minutes of cooling time (they should be slightly chewy), pipe subsequent batches with slightly more batter and bake slightly longer to stiffen them. (Cookies will keep in a sealed container at room temperature about 4 days.)
Nutrition information per 4 cookies:
Calories 51 Fat 2 g Sodium 55 mg
Carbohydrates 7 g Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 7 mg
Protein 1 g Cholesterol 8 mg Dietary fiber 0 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ other carb, ½ fat.
Fresh goat Cheese Trio
Note: From “The French Kitchen Cookbook,” by Patricia Wells.
• 6 tbsp. mixed fresh herbs (such as dill, tarragon, mint and chives), finely minced
• 3 disks fresh goat’s milk cheese (each about 6 oz.)
• About 1 tbsp. coarse, freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tsp. Homemade Curry Powder (recipe follows)
Scatter herbs in an even layer on a large plate. Roll one of the cheese disks in the herbs, completely coating the sides of the cheese. With your fingertips, press any remaining herbs into the cheese. Set the cheese on a plate or platter.
Repeat process for the black pepper and curry powder with the other 2 cheese disks. Serve immediately.
Variations: Toasted ground cumin; chives; whole black or yellow mustard seeds; ground turmeric; caraway seeds; cumin seeds.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 176 Fat 14 g Sodium 235 mg
Carbohydrates 2 g Saturated fat 9 g Calcium 100 mg
Protein 12 g Cholesterol 29 mg Dietary fiber 1 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 high-fat meat.
Homemade curry powder
Makes 1/3 cup.
Note: From”The French Kitchen Cookbook,” by Patricia Wells.
• 2 whole small dried red chiles
• 2 tbsp. whole coriander seeds
• 1 tbsp. whole cumin seeds
• 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
• 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
• 1 tsp. ground ginger
• 1 tsp. ground turmeric
In a small, dry skillet, combine chiles, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and peppercorns, and toast over medium heat, shaking pan often to prevent burning, 2 to 3 minutes.
Combine toasted spices, ginger and turmeric in a spice mill and grind to a fine powder. (Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to a month.)
Bourbon-Marinated Flank Steak
Serves 4 to 6.
Note: From “Bourbon,” by Kathleen Purvis.
• 1/4 c. hoisin sauce
• 1 tbsp. honey
• 1 tsp. cayenne
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tbsp. bourbon
• 1 flank steak, 1 1/2 to 2 lb.
Whisk together the hoisin sauce, honey, cayenne, garlic and bourbon in a small bowl. Place the flank steak in a glass baking dish large enough to hold it in a single layer or in a large, resealable freezer bag. Add the marinade; turn the steak over several times to coat it.
Cover if using a glass dish; refrigerate at least 2 hours, or marinate at room temperature for no more than 1 hour.
Heat a gas grill or prepare a charcoal fire for direct grilling. Remove the flank steak from the marinade; grill, 10 to 15 minutes per side, depending on thickness. (When you poke the thickest part with your finger, it should feel like it’s beginning to get firm.)