Thursday, March 31, 2011

Iggy's Roasted Shrimp Salad

2 1/2 pounds (12 to 15 count) shrimp
1 T olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
1 T orange zest (2 oranges)
2 T freshly squeezed orange juice
1 T white wine vinegar
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
2 T capers, drained
2 T small-diced red onion

Preparing the shrimp salad:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel and devein the shrimp. Pat dry with paper towels and place them on a sheet pan with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss together. Spread the shrimp on one layer and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, just until pink, firm and cooked through. Allow to cool for 3 minutes.

Preparing the dressing:
In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. When the shrimp are cool, add them to the sauce and toss. Add the dill, capers, and red onion and toss well. The flavors will improve if you allow the salad to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Otherwise, chill and serve at room temperature.

Serves 6


Pork Roast With Apple Cider Mustard Glaze

1 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-pound bone-in pork loin end roast
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups apple cider
2 T brown sugar
1 T soy sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce
3 T spicy brown mustard

Preparing the glaze:
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the apple cider to a boil and reduce it by half, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard and simmer until thickened, another 5 to 7 minutes.

* * * * * * *

Preparing the pork roast:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Take the pork out of the refrigerator 45 minutes before you are ready to roast to allow the pork to come to temperature.

Place the pork into a roasting pan fitted with a rack or onto a baking sheet, fat side up, and season with salt and pepper. Put in the oven and roast for 1 hour.

After the pork has roasted for 1 hour, start brushing it with the glaze every 15 minutes. Cook until the roast reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees F, about 2 hours total cook time. Remove from the oven, give it another coating of glaze, and let it rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes before carving.

Serves 6


Roast Pork Loin Stuffed With Apples & Onions

3 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
8 fresh sage leaves
2 cups thick-cut white bread cubes, crusts removed
1 egg, beaten
2 T butter
salt and pepper
1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth, plus more if needed
1 (3 pound) pork loin roast, butterflied

Preparing the pork roast:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, apples and sage. Saute until softened. Remove from the heat and gently stir in the bread, egg, butter and salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth gradually until everything is moistened. Let the stuffing mixture cool completely before putting it in the pork loin. Spoon the stuffing down the pork, horizontally, in a line. Roll the pork over the stuffing, jelly roll style, ending with the seam down and fat side up.

Lightly score the fat, in a diamond pattern, with a sharp knife. Tightly tie the pork roast up with twine, season it with more salt and pepper, and transfer to a roasting pan. Roast the pork in a preheated oven for about 90 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Garnish with apples and fresh herbs.

Serves 6 to 8


Grilled Bacon, Cheese & Apple Sandwich

2 slices (1/2-inch-thick) sourdough, multigrain or another artisanal bread
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked crisp
4 slices Cheddar cheese
1/2 Granny Smith apple, cored, sliced thin
roasted red onion mayonnaise

Preparing the sandwich:
Preheat a seasoned grill pan or griddle over medium heat. Spread 1 slice of bread with some red onion mayonnaise. Top with 2 slices of Cheddar cheese, bacon, apple slices, then 2 more slices of Cheddar cheese, and finish with another slice of bread spread with red onion mayonnaise. Butter the outsides of both of the bread slices and transfer to the hot grill. Grill about 3 minutes per side.

Remove to a cutting board and cut the sandwich in half on the diagonal to serve.

Serves 1


Roasted Red Onion Mayonnaise

Spread this on sandwiches in place of just mayonnaise out of the jar.

1 medium red onion, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup mayonnaise

Preparing the roasted red onion mayonnaise:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

On a small rimmed baking sheet, toss the red onion, olive oil, salt and pepper together. Roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the onion is very soft, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and let cool. Transfer to a food processor and buzz until finely chopped. Add the mayo and pulse until smooth and combined.


Potato Pancakes With Bacon & Sage

4 slices bacon, diced
4 Idaho potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 red onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
2 eggs
4 T all purpose flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil, for frying

Preparing the potato pancakes:
In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard bacon fat in the pan. In a food processor fitted with the grater attachment, push potato, onion and garlic through the grater. Remove mixture to a towel and squeeze out excess liquid. Place potato mixture in a large bowl and mix in sage, eggs, flour, cooked bacon and salt and pepper, to taste.

Fill the skillet with 1/4-inch of vegetable oil and heat until it ripples. Once the oil is preheated, form potato cakes, measuring roughly 3 inches in diameter, and add to the pan. Continue forming patties, working in batches. Cook pancakes until crispy and nicely browned, pressing down on the pancakes periodically to flatten, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Keep cooked pancakes warm in a preheated 275 degree F oven while remaining pancakes cook.

Makes about 12 pancakes


Wine-Braised Cipollini Onions

2 T butter
2 pounds cipollini onions, peeled
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Preparing the onions:
In a large straight-sided saute pan over medium-high heat, melt butter and add onions. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Saute until nicely browned then add the wine and vinegar. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until onions are completely cooked through and tender, about 15 minutes. Remove lid, turn heat up and let the liquid reduce and thicken until it forms a glaze and coats the onions well.

Serves 6 to 8


Macaroni Salad

4 hard-boiled eggs
1 pound large elbow macaroni
4 ounces ham steak, finely chopped
2 stalks chopped celery, including leaves
1 large shallot, chopped
2 T fresh lemon juice

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the dressing:
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 T Dijon mustard
1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimentos, drained
3 T sweet pickle relish
kosher salt and pepper

Preparing the macaroni salad:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and add the macaroni. Cook until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a large serving bowl, combine the eggs, ham steak, celery, shallots and lemon juice. Add the macaroni and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, pickled relish, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the dressing to the macaroni and toss to coat. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Cover and chill for 2 hours for the flavors to meld.

Serves 4 to 6


Mocha Cheesecake

2 cups crushed chocolate wafers
2 T ground coffee
1/2 stick melted butter
3 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 shots of espresso, cooled
6 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup flour
pinch of salt
1/4 cup coffee liqueur
12 chocolate covered expresso beans

Preparing the cheesecake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the crumbs, ground coffee and butter together. Mix well and press into a 10-inch spring-form pan. In a large food processor, with the metal blade, process the cream cheese until smooth. Add 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and blend. Add the eggs one at a time to thoroughly incorporate into the cheese mixture. Add 2 shots of the espresso and 1/2 cup of the heavy cream. Add the flour, salt and vanilla and blend until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cake is set. (If you insert a toothpick in the center of the cake, it will not come out clean. After the cake will continue to cook as it is cooling.) If the cake starts to get too dark on the top, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the top of the cake. Remove from the oven and with a knife loosen the sides from the pan. This will prevent the cake from splitting down the center. Completely cool the cake before garnishing with the espresso beans. Serve with a dollop of mocha whipped cream.

* * * * * *

Preparing the mocha whipped cream:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a whip attachment, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, shot of espresso, 1 cup cream, and coffee liqueur. Whip the cream to medium peaks.


Chocolate Cheesecake

Cheesecake may be made up to 2 days in advance before serving and will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

Ingredients for chocolate cheesecake:
1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
1 cup plus 3 T sugar
3 T unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped from inside of pod and reserved
3 T all purpose flour
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
8 ounces melted semisweet chocolate, cooled slightly

* * * * * * *

Ingredients for chocolate sauce:
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon dark corn syrup

Preparing the chocolate cheesecake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (if using a silver springform pan, or 325 degrees F if using a dark non-stick springform pan).

Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring-form pan. In a mixing bowl, combine the chocolate wafer crumbs, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, and the butter and mix well. Press onto the bottom of springform pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, remaining cup of sugar, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds and beat until light and creamy. Add the flour to the cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and sour cream and mix well. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition until just blended. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the center is almost set. Run a sharp knife around the rim of the pan and allow cake to cool on a wire rack before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

* * * * * * * *

Preparing the chocolate sauce:
Melt the chopped chocolate, cream and syrup. When the chocolate has nearly melted, take off the heat and whisk it to a smooth sauce. Let it cool a little, and drizzle it over the chocolate cheesecake.


Poppy Seed Cake With Vanilla Buttercream

Ingredients for poppy seed cake:
1 stick plus 2 T butter, softened, plus more for greasing
3 1/2 ounces caster sugar (superfine)
3 eggs, beaten
3 1/2 ounces all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup poppy seeds

* * * * * * *

Ingredients for vanilla buttercream:
1/2 cup milk
4 1/2 ounces caster sugar (superfine)
2 egg yolks
1 stick plus 4 T butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparing the cake:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Butter the sides of an 8-inch springform pan, and line the base with parchment.

In a large bowl or in an electric food mixer, cream the butter until soft. Add the sugar, and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs, beating well between each addition.

Sift in the flour and baking powder, add the poppy seeds, and stir until combined.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake pan, making a slight hollow in the center with the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven until the cake is cooked in the center and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 25 to 28 minutes.

Allow the cake to stand for 5 minutes before carefully removing it from the pan and transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.

When the cake is cool, split it in half using a long-bladed serrated knife. Place one layer of the cake on a serving plate and spread over 2 generous tablespoons of the vanilla buttercream, then place the other half of the cake on top. Spread the remaining icing over the top and sides with a palette knife or table knife. The cake can also be kept whole, with the icing spread over the top and sides.

* * * * * *

Preparing the vanilla buttercream:
Place the milk and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl, then pour the milk onto the yolks, whisking continuously. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a low-medium heat, stirring all the time with a wooden or silicone spatula until it thickens and the mixture just coats the back of a spoon (this may take approximately 10 minutes). Do not allow the mixture to get too hot or it will scramble (if it does, quickly remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture through a sieve). Pour into a bowl or jug and allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, place the butter in a bowl of an electric food mixer with a whisk and whisk until soft and light.

Gradually add the almost cooled (not cold but room temperature is good) custard to the butter, whisking all the time, until is combined. Add the vanilla extract and mix.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Coconut Cream Pie

Ingredients for pie:
1 blind-baked 9-inch pastry shell
2 1/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for the egg whites
3 eggs, separated
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups toasted coconut
1 T butter

Preparing the pie:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a saucepan, whisk the 2 cups of the milk and 3/4 cup sugar together. Place the pan over medium heat and bring the liquid up to a simmer. Whisk the egg yolks together. Temper the hot milk into the egg yolks. Whisk the egg mixture into the hot milk mixture. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining milk, making a slurry. Whisk the slurry into the hot milk mixture. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until the filling is thick, about 4 to 6 minutes. Fold in the vanilla, coconut, and butter. Mix well. Pour the filling into the prepared pan and cool the pie completely. Using an electric mixer with a whip attachment, whip the egg white to soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and whip the egg white to stiff peaks. Spread the egg whites over the top of the pie. Place the pie in the oven for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown.


Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients for the crust:
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup finely ground chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreo or Hydrox brands, preferred), chocolate cookie part only, no white filling
4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 T sugar

* * * * * * *

Ingredients for the filling:
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (1 1/2-ounce) milk chocolate bar

Preparing the cheesecake:
Place the oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the crust ingredients with a fork and mix until well combined. Press the cookie mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake the crust until fragrant and just set, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 15 minutes before adding the filling.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Place semisweet chocolate in a microwave-proof glass bowl or measuring cup and cover it with plastic wrap. Microwave the chocolate on high power for 30 seconds; then stir it with a spoon or rubber spatula. Continue to microwave the chocolate on high, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, until it is completely melted and smooth. Alternatively, use the double-boiler method for melting chocolate. Set aside.

Place the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract in a large metal bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat until creamy and smooth, about 4 minutes. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Sift the cocoa powder into the cream cheese mixture and beat to incorporate.

Crack and add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the sour cream and melted chocolate and beat until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the batter to the prepared pan with the baked crust.

Bake at 350 degrees F until the cake rises and puffs and the center is just set and still slightly wiggly, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Grate the chocolate bar and sprinkle the shavings over the top of the cheesecake while it's still hot.

Let the cheesecake cool for 1 hour. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

To serve the cheesecake, run a thin sharp knife around the inside edge of the springform pan to loosen the cake's sides, then unhook remove the outer ring of the pan. Serve with whipped cream

Serves 12


Filo Chocolate Cakes

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter plus melted butter for filo
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
12 sheets filo dough

Preparing the cakes:
Over barely simmering water, melt chocolate and butter. Over boiling water, whisk eggs and sugar until 165 degrees and thickened. With electric mixer, whisk eggs to ribbon stage. Fold in chocolate. Sift cocoa and fold in. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Butter and layer 2 sheets of filo. Fold into quarters. Place 1/6th of cake batter in center and pull up sides of filo to wrap. Flip over into 2 1/4-inch entremet ring, or individual foil muffin pan. Repeat with other batter to make 6.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake cakes for 12 minutes until browned. Invert onto platter and serve hot.

Makes 6


Chocolate Cake

Add finely grated rind of one orange to give the cake a chocolate orange flavor or replace the vanilla extract with one tablespoon of instant coffee powder for a mocha flavor.

This can also be turned into chocolate cupcakes. The recipe will fill 12 paper liners in a cupcake or muffin tray, and will take about 18 to 20 minutes to cook. Ice them generously with the chocolate buttercream and decorate.

Ingredients for the cake:
10 T butter, softened, plus more for greasing
7 ounces all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
4 1/2 ounces dark chocolate
3 T milk
5 ounces caster sugar (superfine)
3 eggs
1 T cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
cocoa powder or icing sugar (confectioners'), for dusting, optional

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the chocolate butter icing:
6 T butter, softened
1 T cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces icing sugar (confectioners')
1 T cocoa powder

Preparing the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour the sides of 2 8-inch cake pans, and line the bases with parchment.

In a bowl sitting over a saucepan of gently simmering water, not touching the bottom of the bowl, stir the chocolate and the milk together until the chocolate has melted.

Beat the 10 tablespoons butter until very soft, and then add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, and then fold in the melted chocolate.

Sift in the 7 ounces flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and the baking soda, and fold in gently to mix. Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 pans, and bake in the oven until a skewer inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Remove the cakes from the oven and let sit for a few minutes before turning them out of their pans, and placing them on a wire rack to cool.

* * * * * *

Preparing the chocolate butter icing:
Beat the butter, cream and the vanilla extract until very soft. Then gradually sift in the confectioners' sugar, and the cocoa powder, beating constantly, until it is all added. Continue to beat until very soft, and then whisk the mixture until it is light and fluffy.

* * * * * *

Assembling the cake:
Once the cakes are cool, sandwich them together, bottom to bottom, with the chocolate butter icing in between. Sprinkle the top with cocoa powder or confectioners' sugar.

Serves 6


Pound Cake Tart With Pears

Ingredients for the cream cheese tart dough:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
4 ounces butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 T all purpose flour

* * * * * * *

Ingredients for the pound cake:
3 1/4 T butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 T sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 T all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 whole poached pears, cored and cut in 1/2 (or 1 (15-ounce) can pears in syrup)
1 T apricot jam, at room temperature, as needed for brushing tart

1 recipe ginger ale ice cream, for serving

vanilla creme anglaise

* * * * * *

Ingredients for ginger ale ice cream:
1 cup ginger ale
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split in 1/2 lengthwise and scraped
8 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar

* * * * * *

Ingredients for vanilla creme anglaise:
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, halved, and seeds scraped
2 cups heavy cream

Preparing the ginger ale ice cream:
Place the ginger ale in a large, heatproof mixing bowl and set aside.

Combine the cream, milk, vanilla seeds and bean in a medium heavy saucepan and heat until mixture almost comes to a boil. Remove from the heat.

In a heatproof mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until frothy and lemon colored, about 2 minutes. Whisk 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks in a slow, steady stream. Gradually add the egg mixture to the hot cream and return to the heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into the ginger ale. Stir to combine, then immediately transfer bowl to an ice bath, stirring frequently until cool. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.

Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.

Makes about 1 quart

* * * * * *

Preparing the vanilla creme anglaise:
Place the yolks and sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl and whisk until thick and lemon colored.

Heat the cream, vanilla seeds and bean in a non-reactive saucepan to the scalding point (when bubbles form around the edge of the pan). Gradually add the cream to the yolk mixture, beating constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan and continue to cook over low heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Do not overcook or boil, as the sauce will curdle. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl set over an ice bath. Stir until cooled, then cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Serve drizzled or spooned over desserts, either cold or warm.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

* * * * * * *

Preparing the cream cheese dough:
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the all purpose flour and mix until just combined.

Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour before proceeding. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thick and, using a plate as a guide, cut into a circle to fit a 10-inch springform pan. Refrigerate the cut dough for 15 minutes before forming it into the pan, doing so makes it easier to shape.

Refrigerate while making the pound cake batter.

* * * * * * *

Preparing the pound cake batter:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and position a rack in the bottom third of the oven.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Combine the all purpose flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Follow with 1/3 of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat until both the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture have been used, making sure to not over mix.

Pipe the pound cake batter onto the unbaked crust in the bottom of the springform pan, making sure that the entire crust is covered in 1 even layer. Take each pear half and slice crosswise into very thin slices (the thinner the slices, the better the tart looks). Carefully fan out the pear halves onto the cake batter, arranging the stem side of the pears towards the center of the tart and the rounder pear bottoms towards the outer edge of the springform pan. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the pound cake is light brown. The pound cake batter will rise around the pear halves. Transfer the tart to a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then brush the tops of the pears lightly with some of the apricot jam.

When the tart is cool, cut into 6 or 8 slices and serve with a scoop of the ginger ale ice cream and a zig-zag drizzle of the creme anglaise.

Serves 6 to 8


Raspberry Jam Crostata

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 T sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
10 T (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 T ice water
flour for dusting, as needed
1 jar (3/4 cup) raspberry preserves
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T sliced almonds, toasted
powdered sugar, for dusting, optional

Preparing the crostata:
Mix the flour, sugar, and lemon peel, in a food processor. Add the butter. Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add salt. Pulse in the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until moist clumps form. Gather the dough into a ball; flatten into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to an 11-inch round. Transfer the dough onto a heavy baking sheet that has been lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Stir the lemon juice into the preserve and spread the preserves on top of dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the dough border over the filling to form an 8-inch round, pleating loosely and pinching to seal any cracks in the dough.

Bake the crostata until the crust is golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool. Sprinkle with the almonds and dust with the powdered sugar, if you wish. Slide a metal spatula under the crust to free the crostata from the baking sheet and serve.

Serves 8


Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake

This cake will keep for a couple of days in an airtight box, or it can be frozen. Serve it plain or dusted with icing sugar, or drizzle some hot chocolate sauce over the top.

2 sticks butter, softened, plus more for greasing
8 ounces all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
8 ounces caster sugar (superfine)
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup milk
2 ounces cocoa powder, sifted

Preparing the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour the sides of an 8-inch springform pan, and line the base with greaseproof or parchment paper.

In a large bowl or in an electric food mixer, cream the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Whisk the eggs and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Gradually add the eggs to the butter mixture, beating constantly. Sift in the flour and baking powder, and gently fold into the butter mixture. Add the milk to the mixture, and mix gently to combine.

Tip half of the cake mixture into another large bowl, and into this bowl, fold in the sifted cocoa powder.

Place the cake mixtures into the prepared pan by alternating spoonfuls of the vanilla batter with the chocolate batter, and then with a skewer or knife, gently draw swirls through the cake mixture to 'marbleize' it. Don't overmix. Bake in the oven until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and cool completely.


Iron Skillet Yeast Rolls

This recipe can be used as a traditional loaf bread, pizza dough, and for both savory and sweet rolls.

3 (1/4-ounce) packets active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups warm water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for brushing
2 teaspoons salt, plus more for sprinkling
2 large eggs, beaten
4 to 6 cups flour, plus more if needed

Preparing the rolls:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the instant yeast, and warm water. Let it activate for 5 minutes until bubbly. Stir in the honey.

On low speed, add 1/2 cup melted butter, 2 teaspoons salt, and eggs. Slowly add the flour cup-by-cup until fully incorporated and the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. Add more flour if it is too sticky.

Portion the dough into 24 even servings. Form the rolls into desired shape and place in a cast iron skillet or on a baking sheet spaced evenly apart. Set aside and allow to rise approximately 20 minutes, or until doubled in size. Brush the rolls with melted butter.

Bake for 25 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with more melted butter, and sprinkle with a little salt.

Makes 24 rolls


Sunday, March 27, 2011


6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Marsala
pinch kosher salt
fresh berries, for serving, optional

Preparing the zabaglione:
Bring 1-inch of water to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan set over high heat.

Add the egg yolks and sugar to a large glass bowl. Using an electric hand mixer on the highest speed, beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture is thick, pale yellow, and the sugar is completely dissolved, 4 to 5 minutes. Decrease the mixer speed to low and add the Marsala and salt.

Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and put the bowl atop the saucepan with the boiling water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Beat the mixture on medium speed, until it is thick, frothy, holds a ribbon, and the temperature reaches 145 to 150 degrees F, on an instant-read thermometer.

Spoon the warm mixture into custard cups or serving glasses and serve immediately or allow to cool slightly. Serve with fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries), if desired.

Serves 8 to 10


Espresso Zabaglione

4 large egg yolks
3 T sugar
1 cup hot espresso

Preparing the zabaglione:
Whisk the yolks and sugar in a large glass bowl to blend. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water). Whisk until the yolk mixture is very thick and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the hot espresso. Pour the espresso mixture into mugs and serve immediately.

Serves 4


Chocolate Espresso Checkerboard Cookies

1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted
3 teaspoons instant espresso powder

Preparing the cookies:
In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light. Add egg yolks. Mix until well blended. On low speed, add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix just until blended. Divide dough into 2 pieces, one slightly bigger than the other. In the smaller piece, mix in melted chocolate and instant espresso until well blended.

Divide white dough into 5 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a cylinder about 2 inches long. Flatten top and sides to form a square-sided rope, about 1/2 inch thick.

Divide chocolate dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll and shape these pieces the same as the white dough.

Stack the dough rectangles onto a piece of partchment paper. Arrange them white, chocolate, white, next to each other. Place remaining rectangles on top of these, alternating colors and stacking 3 rectangles high. Moisten each piece with water to adhere. Wrap entire cub of dough in plasti wrap and refrigerate until firm, 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove dough from the refrigerator. Using a sharp straight knife, cut the dough into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place slices on a parchment lined cookie sheet, spacing each 2 inches apart.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until edges just begin to brown.

Remove cookie sheet from the oven. Using a metal spatula, remove cookies from the cookie sheet and place them on a wire cooling rack. Cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container.

Makes 24 cookies


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Those Potatoes

6 to 8 medium potatoes, peeled, quartered and boiled
3 chopped onions
1 clove of garlic, diced
8 ounces Philadelphia brand cream cheese, softened
16 ounces sour cream
6 to 8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
chives, minced

Preparing the potatoes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare bacon and potatoes as directed, set aside.

Saute’ onions and garlic until soft; mix with bacon, set aside.

Mix sour cream and cream cheese until blended. Add bacon mixture. Dice or mash potatoes in large buttered casserole dish. Add cream mixture to potatoes, blending well. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes.

Sprinkle chives over top before serving.


Slow Cooker Chocolate Mocha Pudding Cake

cooking Spray or butter for pot
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 T plus 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (divided use)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
3 T butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup packed golden brown sugar
1 2/3 cup hot coffee or hot water

Preparing the pudding cake:
Spray inside of 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker with cooking spray or rub with butter.
In a mixing bowl, thoroughly stir together flour, granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons of the cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Stir in the milk, melted butter, vanilla and chocolate chips. Spread this mixture over the bottom of the slow cooker.
In another bowl, mix together brown sugar and remaining 1/4 cup cocoa powder. Sprinkle cocoa mixture over the batter, but do not stir it in. Pour the coffee evenly over all. Again, do not stir.

Cover and cook on high heat for 1 3/4 to 2 hours or until a tester inserted in the top portion of the cake comes out clean. The inside should be hot and similar to fudge sauce. Spoon cake and sauce out of slow cooker and arrange next to or under a very cold scoop of ice cream, or set the ice cream on top.


Creamed Cabbage

3 pound cabbage
4 T buter
1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 to 2 cups of heavy cream

Preparing the creamed cabbage:
Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Pull off and discard the tough outer and blemished leaves of the cabbage. Cut out the core. Cut the cabbage into quarters. Cut each quarter into 1-inch thick slices. Cut each slice into slices 3-inches wide. Separate the cabbage pieces.
Add cut-up cabbage to pot of boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes. Drain.

In a large heavy skillet, melt the butter and add the onion and sweat until translucent.

Add the drained cabbage, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Partly cover and cook about 10 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Add cream, salt and pepper, cover and cook about 5 minutes.

Uncover and cook about 10 to 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened somewhat and the cabbage is tender.

Serves 6 to 8


Shakkaravellikayangu Bonda [Spiced Yam & Corn Dumplings]

Ingredients for the filling:
1 pound of baked sweet potatoes or yams, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 ear of corn
1 T vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans or cashews

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the batter:
1 3/4 cups chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 1/4 cup hot water
1 T vegetable oil
vegetable oil for deep-frying

Preparing the filling:
Peel the baked sweet potatoes and place in a mixing bowl. For a heavier, more rustic bonda, mash baked sweet potatoes with a fork or potato masher, or for a lighter, fluffier bonda, whip with an electric mixer or KitchenAide. Combine with the cinnamon, salt and lemon juice and and set aside.

Cut the kernels off the ear of roasted corn (see instructions for roasting corn below) and add the kernels to the mashed yams, stir into the sweet potato mixture.

In a small frying pan over medium-high heat and warm the oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds and cover the pan. W hen the seeds stop sputtering (about 30 seconds), uncover and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is brown and caramelized, about 6 minutes.

Pour the contents of the pan over the yam mixture. Add the nuts and mix until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the mixture to firm up.

Divide the mixture into 16-20 portions. Lightly oil your hands and roll each portion into a ball. If making the balls ahead of time, arrange them on a baking tray in a single layer, cover, and refrigerate until frying. Chilled balls hold their shape better and are easier to fry.

* * * * * *

Preparing the corn:
With tongs, hold a husked ear of corn directly over a gas flame on the stove top turning as needed to color evenly. Roast until evenly covered with several brown spots, about 5 minutes. Watch carefully, as the corn can burn and char easily - Light charring is good.

* * * * * *

Preparing the batter:
Combine the chickpea flour, baking powder, pepper, salt, hot water and oil in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth.

* * * * * *

Frying the bondas:
In a deep fryer or large frying pan, pour oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches and heat to 375 degrees F.

Dip a few of the bondas into the batter, allowing the excess to drip off, and put them into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan.

Fry, turning frequently with tongs, until the bondas are browned, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Keep warm in a low oven while you fry the remaining bondas.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Makes 16-20 pieces


Curry Chicken

3 T vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
1 (1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
4 T cashew nuts
6 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
2 green chiles, left whole, pricked with a knife
kosher salt
1 1/2-pounds chicken pieces (drumsticks and thighs), skin removed
9 ounces plain yogurt
3 1/2 ounces water
12 curry leaves
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
juice of 1/2 lemon

Preparing the chicken:
Heat the oil in a nonstick pan. Add the mustard seeds and fry for 20 to 30 seconds, or until the mustard seeds start to pop - Cover with a frying screen (as mustard seeds pop the oil spatters).

When the mustard seeds have popped, add the onion, ginger, and cashew nuts and fry for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onions are golden brown.

Add the garlic, green chiles, and salt, and fry for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often, or until the garlic has softened. Add the chicken pieces, and fry for 5 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown.

Add the yogurt, stir well and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering, then cover the pan with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the water, stir well, then cover the pan again, and simmer the mixture for another 15 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened.

Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture has warmed through. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6


Garam Masala

2 T cumin seeds
2 T coriander seeds
2 T cardamom seeds
2 T black peppercorns
1 (3-inch) stick cinnamon, broken up
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon saffron (optional)


4 T coriander seeds
1 T cumin seeds
1 T black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons black cumin seeds (shahjeera)
1 1/2 teaspooms dry ginger
3/4 teaspoon black cardamom (approximately 3 to 4 large pods)
3/4 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (2-inch by 1-inch pieces)
3/4 teaspoon crushed bay leaves

Preparing the garam masala:
Put the cumin, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and cloves in a dry heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the spices, stirring occasionally, until they turn several shades darker and give off a sweet smoky aroma, about 10 minutes. Do not raise the heat to quicken the process, or the spices will brown prematurely, leaving the insides undercooked. Cool completely.

Working in batches if necessary, transfer the mixture to a spice mill or coffee grinder and grind to a powder. Stir in the nutmeg and saffron. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

OR< Preparation: Heat a heavy skillet on a medium flame and gently roast all ingredients (leave cardamom in its pods till later) except the dry ginger, they they turn a few shades darker. Stir occasionally. Do not be tempted to speed up the process by turning up the heat as the spices will burn on the outside and remain raw on the inside. When the spices are roasted turn of the flame and allow them to cool. Once cooled, remove the cardamom seeds from their skins and mix them back with all the other roasted spices. Grind them all together, to a fine powder in a clean, dry coffee grinder. Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place. Garam masala keeps for 3 months. Makes about 1/2 cup


Fresh Pasta with Prawns & Spinach in a Garlic-Oregano Cream Sauce

Ingredients for the sauce:
1 bunch of spinach, cooked and drained
1 large yellow onion, chopped
5 to 8 roma tomatoes, skins removed and seeded
1 1/2 T fresh chopped oregano
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 pound prawns, peeled, veins removed and tail off
1 cup heavy cream

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the pasta:
3 cups flour
4 large whole eggs

* * * * * *

1/2 cup shaved parmesan

Preparing the sauce:
Place a large skillet over high heat. Add one tablespoon of vegetable or corn oil. When the oil starts to shimmer add prawns one by one. Sear, but don't crowd the pan. Cook on each side for about 30 seconds.

Place a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, add some vegetable or corn oil and then add, in this order: the yellow onions, tomatoes and oregano. Cook until the onions become soft and the tomatoes slightly break down.

Add the garlic and stir into mixture. Cook for about 2 minutes and then add wine. Let wine cook out, about 5 more minutes. Pour in cream, stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 15 more minutes or until cream starts to thicken.

Finish the sauce by adding the spinach, prawns, salt and pepper. Toss until combined.

* * * * * *

Preparing the pasta:
By hand: Make a mound of 3 cups of the flour on a clean table top, and shape it into a ring with a crater in the middle. Put the whole eggs (and oil if using) in the crater, and using a fork, beat them gently to combine the white and yolk. Gradually mix flour from the inside of the wall into the eggs, using a circular motion, and taking care not to breach the wall. When the mixture gets thick enough it won’t run out, tumble in the rest of the flour, and using fingertips and palms, combine into a somewhat crumbly paste. If too sticky, add a little more of the reserved flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If too dry, a squirt from spray bottle of water can be used to good effect. Scrape all the bits stuck to the board, wash your hands, and knead the dough on a lightly floured for about 5 minutes, until it’s a smooth dough. Divide into four parts, wrap in plastic, to keep from drying out. Let stand 15 minutes before rolling.

Roll the ball of dough through the pasta machine several times until you get the desired thickness. Then set the cutter to make noodles. When done with the noodles, set them aside on a floured baking pan or table.

Cooking fresh pasta is a very fast operation. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil for one recipe of pasta, add a tablespoon of salt, and dump in the pasta. Stir with a wooden spoon so the strands don’t stick together, drain noodles as soon as al dente and toss with the sauce.

To serve, place the pasta in simmering water and bring up to a gentle boil. Cook the noodles until they are al dente or tender to the tooth. Adding a little of the pasta water to the sauce will thicken it and add flavor. After you have stirred that in, add the noodles to the sauce. You want to make sure not to be too rough with the pasta at any stage of cooking or it will break. Serve individually or in a bowl family style.

Serves 8 to 10



Ingredients for the graham crackers:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 T whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
2 T molasses
3 T honey
1/4 cup milk
1 T vanilla extract
cinnamon sugar (1/2 cup sugar plus 1 T cinnamon)

* * * * * * *

Ingredients for the marshmallow:
3 cups sugar
1 cups corn syrup
1 cup honey
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
10 sheets bronze gelatin
6 egg whites

1 pound melted dark chocolate

Preparing the graham crackers:
Combine all the dry ingredients except the cinnamon sugar. Work the butter into the dry ingredients to form a coarse meal.

Combine the wet ingredients and add to the dough. Mix to combine. Flatten out the dough, wrap in plastic and chill until the dough firms up.

Dust a work surface with flour and roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thick sheet, dusting with extra flour as needed. Chill the sheet of dough.

Cut into squares and dock the dough with a fork. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

* * * * * *

Preparing the marshmallow:
Bloom the gelatin sheets in cold water.

Cook the sugar, honey, vanilla seeds and corn syrup to soft ball stage (230 degrees F)

While the syrup cooks, begin to whip the egg whites in an electric mixer. Time the cooking of the syrup to reach soft ball as the whites reach soft peaks.

When the syrup reaches soft ball stage and the whites reach soft peaks, remove the syrup from the heat and stir the bloomed gelatin into the syrup.

As the eggs mix, slowly pour the gelatin syrup into the whites. Whip on high speed until cool. This will take several minutes.

When cool, fill the marshmallow mixture into a piping bag and pipe marshmallow onto the graham cracker squares.

* * * * * *

Assembling the S'mores:
Toast the marshmallow with a torch and dip partially into melted chocolate.

Serves 10


Onion Bhajis

7 ounces gram flour (chickpea flour)
2 T all purpose flour
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 ounces spinach, washed, stemmed and chopped
kosher salt
pinch baking soda
1 onion, finely sliced
2 1/2 cups vegetable oil, for frying

chutney, for serving

Preparing the onion bhajis:
In a large bowl, mix together the chickpea flour, all purpose flour, chile powder, ground turmeric, chopped spinach and salt until well combined. Gradually add water as necessary to bind the mixture.

Add the baking soda and the onion. Stir well to coat the onion in the mixture. Set aside for 10 to 12 minutes.

Heat the oil in a karahi (a flat-based Indian cooking vessel that resembles a wok) or a deep heavy-based frying pan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it.

Add spoonfuls of the batter mixture to the hot oil in batches. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden-brown, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside to drain on a tray lined with paper towel. Repeat the process with the remaining batter mixture.

Serve the onion bhajis with chutney in a dipping bowl alongside.

Serves 2 to 4


Friday, March 25, 2011

Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon

1 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon
3 1/2 T olive oil
3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, sliced
salt and pepper
2 T flour
3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
1 T tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
A crumbled bay leaf
18 to 24 white onions, small
3 1/2 T butter
herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered

Preparing the beef bourguignon:
Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.
Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.

Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).

Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.
Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.

Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.

Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.

Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.
Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.

Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.

Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.

Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.

Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

Serves 6


Lobster & Corn Chowder

Ingredients for the lobster stock:
3 (1 1/4 pound) lobsters, blanched, cooled and shells cracked with lobster claw and tail meat removed
1/8 cup vegetable oil
2 ribs celery, quartered
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 small bulb fennel
1 head garlic
water, to cover
salt and freshly ground black pepper

* * * * * * *

Ingredients for the lobster and corn chowder:
1/2 cup chopped bacon
2/3 cup unsalted butter
2 cups finely chopped red onions
1 1/3 cups finely chopped celery
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cups roasted corn kernels
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons chopped shallots
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon spice essence:

  • 2 1/2 T paprika
  • 2 T salt
  • 2 T garlic powder
  • 1 T black pepper
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 1 T cayenne pepper
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 1 T dried thyme
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sherry
8 cups lobster stock
1/3 teaspoon cayenne
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups heavy cream
3 cups chopped lobster meat from tails and claws
1/2 cup chopped assorted fresh herbs, such as parsley, chervil, basil, and chives

Preparing the lobster stock:
In a large stockpot, heat the oil. Add the shells and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the celery, tomatoes, onion, carrot and thyme. Cut the fennel bulb in half and add to the pot. Cut the garlic head in half horizontally and add to the pot. Add enough water to cover the ingredients by about 2 inches. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 4 hours.

* * * * * *

Preparing the lobster and corn chowder:
In a very large pot, render the bacon over medium heat. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, red peppers, and saute until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the corn kernels, garlic, shallots, salt, pepper, Essence, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour turns the color of peanut butter, about 4 minutes. Add the sherry and cook for 2 minutes. Add the lobster stock and cayenne, and stir well to incorporate. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add the potatoes, stir well, and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the cream, lobster and assorted herbs, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and ladle into bowls. Garnish with reserved bacon and serve.

Serves 10 to 12


Bacon Caramel Popcorn

non-stick cooking spray
1 1/2 ounces bacon, about 2 slices
1 1/2 quarts popped popcorn
8 teaspoons butter
4 teaspoons bacon fat
5 ounces (10 T) brown sugar
8 teaspoons corn syrup
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparing the bacon caramel popcorn:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Place popped popcorn in a very large bowl.

Prepare 2 sheet pans with nonstick spray and line with aluminum foil.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, par-cook the bacon and render the bacon fat. Once the bacon has cooked, strain the bacon fat from the bacon pieces and reserve the fat. Transfer the cooked bacon pieces to paper towels and continue to drain the excess fat. Then add to popcorn.

In the saucepan already used, add the butter and bacon fat (add more bacon fat as needed). Heat until the butter has fully melted.

Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil and stir constantly. Continue to boil without stirring for 4 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla.

Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat evenly.

Divide the mixture evenly between sheet pans and bake, stirring every 15 minutes for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.

Store in an airtight container for up to one week.


Chocolate Pudding

2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 T cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
3 T cornstarch
2 T bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
fresh whipped cream, for serving

Preparing the pudding:
In medium pot, scald milk over medium heat.

In large pot, combine sugar, cocoa, salt, and water. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Place the cornstarch, chocolate, and vanilla in larger bowl and set aside.

Once the milk has come to a scald, remove from the heat and set aside.

Place the pot with the sugar-water mixture over moderately-high heat and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Whisk until thoroughly melted. Set aside.

In the cornstarch bowl, whisk enough of the hot milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry, then whisk in the remaining milk.

Pour the milk into the chocolate mixture, then return to moderately-high heat.

Cook the pudding until it reaches the boil. Stirring with a heatproof spatula, making sure to continuously scrape the bottom of the pan. Allow to boil for 1 minute, still scraping the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.

Immediately pour the pudding into a pan and press plastic wrap snugly against the surface.

Refrigerate for several hours. Spoon pudding into bowls and top with fresh whipped cream.

Serves 4


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fresh Creamed Corn

6 ears corn
2 cup whipping cream
2 to 4 T unsalted butter
coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preparing the creamed corn:
Husk the corn, and slice the kernels off the cobs, and place into a medium saucepan. Add the cream and bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and let it cook and reduce until the liquid is thicker, the corn is plumped up, and the volume of liquid is reduced by about half, about 10 minutes.

Take the saucepan off the heat, and stir in the butter, add some coarse salt and pepper, to taste. The finished result will still be a little firm to the tooth, but sweet and creamy, as well.

Serves 6


Sweet Potato Pecan Tart

1 pie crust

1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 T vegetable oil
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
4 large eggs

creme anglaise
chocolate sauce
powdered sugar, for garnish

* * * * * *

Ingredients for pie crust:
1 1/2 cups plus 2 T bleached all purpose flour
1 T sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled
8 to 10 T ice water, or as needed

* * * * * *

Ingredients for creme anglaise:
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar

* * * * * *

Ingredients for chocolate sauce:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparing the sweet potatoes:
Rub the sweet potatoes with the vegetable oil and roast in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until very tender. Remove and set aside to cool. Peel the potatoes and pass the flesh through a fine mesh sieve using a rubber spatula.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups sweet potato puree.

* * * * * *

Preparing the pie crust:
Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter. Using your fingers, 2 knives, or a pastry blender, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough just comes together, being careful not to overmix - You may not need all of the water.

Form the dough into a smooth ball, flatten into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 2 days.

Makes enough dough for a 10-inch tart

* * * * * *

Preparing the tart:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle. Carefully transfer the dough to a 10-inch fluted tart shell with removable bottom and ease the pastry into the bottom and sides of the shell. Press the dough into the shell and trim the top edges to form a clean edge. Using the tines of a fork, lightly dock the base of the shell. Place the shell into the oven and bake until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush the baked shelled bottom with the egg white, and sprinkle with the chopped pecans. Set aside until ready to use.

* * * * * *

Preparing the sweet potato filling:
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sweet potato puree with the sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the heavy cream with the eggs and whisk to combine. Add the cream and egg mixture to the sweet potato mixture and stir to blend. Pour the batter into the prepared tart shell and place the tart on a sheet pan. Bake until the center is set and the tart is golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

* * * * * *

Preparing the creme anglaise:
Heat the heavy cream, milk and vanilla bean in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Place the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl and beat until pale yellow in color and all of the sugar has dissolved. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture and whisk vigorously to combine. Add the egg mixture to the hot cream mixture in the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon. Be sure to stir in the corners of the pot and lower the heat slightly. Stir the mixture until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Place the bowl in another bowl half-filled with ice and water and stir occasionally until chilled.

Makes 2 1/2 cups

* * * * * *

Preparing the chocolate sauce:
In a small, heavy saucepan, bring the cream to a bare simmer over low heat. Place the chocolate pieces in a medium bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla and continue whisking until the sauce is smooth and thick. Let the sauce cool to room temperature before serving.

Makes about 3/4 cup

* * * * * *

To serve:
Slice the tart into 8 servings. Spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons of the anglaise onto each dessert plate, then top with a slice of the tart. Drizzle each slice with some of the chocolate sauce and dust with powdered sugar.

Serves 8


Butternut Squash Muffins

Ingredients for the muffins:
14 ounces butternut squash, skin on, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 1/4 cups light brown sugar
4 large eggs
sea salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 heaping teaspoons baking powder
handful of walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the frosting:
1 clementine, zested, or 2 T orange zest
1 lemon, zested
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup sour cream
2 heaping T confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
candied violets or rose petals

Preparing the muffins:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper cups.

Put the squash in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the sugar and the eggs. Add a pinch of salt, flour, baking powder, walnuts, cinnamon and olive oil and pulse until combined. Fill the paper cups with the muffin mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

* * * * * *

Preparing the frosting:
Place most of the clementine zest, all the lemon zest and the lemon juice in a bowl. Add the sour cream, confectioners' sugar and vanilla seeds and mix well. Taste and adjust the amount of lemon juice or icing sugar to balance the sweet and sour. Put the frosting in the refrigerator until the muffins are cool enough to spoon onto the top. Sprinkle more clementine zest over the top, and/or place a candied violet or rose petal on top.

Makes 12 muffins


Chicken Tikka Masala Over Basmati Rice

Ingredients for the marinade:
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 T ginger, minced
2 cups yogurt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
1 T fenugreek leaves
juice of 2 limes
1 T salt
2 T olive oil

* * * * * * *

Ingredients for the chicken tikka masala:
4 pounds of boneless/skinless chicken breast, cubed
2 cups red bell peppers, large dice
2 cups zucchini, large dice
2 cups eggplant, large dice
2 cups summer squash, large dice
2 cups onion, large dice
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup toasted cashews

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the rice:
3 cups Basmati rice
4 1/2 cups water or stock

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the sauce:
6 roma tomatoes
1/2 cup cashews
3 T olive oil
garam masala:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 2 teaspoons whole mace
  • 3 bay leaves
2 T cumin seeds
1 large onion, small dice
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 T cumin powder
1 T ground coriander
1 T garlic, minced
1 T ginger, minced
1 cup water or chicken stock

Preparing the marinade:
Mix all ingredients together.

Cut all chicken and vegetables into equal large bite-sized pieces. Divide marinade into two portions and pour one half over the chicken and the other half over the vegetables and set aside for 15 to 30 minutes.

* * * * * *

Preparing the chicken tikka masala:
Preheat grill or oven to 400 degrees F.

Grill marinated chicken first and cook until done. Remove and set aside. Then grill marinated veggies and cook until just done or al dente. Remove and set aside. If using an oven, roast the chicken and vegetables on separate baking pans until each is cooked.

* * * * * *

Preparing the rice:
Bring the rice and water to a boil in a large pot, uncovered, at medium heat. When it comes to a boil turn the heat down to medium low. Place a lid on the pot, keeping it tilted to allow steam to escape. When you can see holes or “craters” in the rice, put the lid on tight. Turn the heat to low. Simmer for another 15 minutes then turn the heat off and let rest for 5 minutes. Fluff up rice and serve.

* * * * * *

Preparing the sauce:
Put roma tomatoes and cashews in a blender and blend until very smooth then set aside.

On the stove, heat a wide stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil and whole Garam Masala and gently toast for 30 seconds until fragrant then remove and discard, OR, leave in for extra flavor. Add the whole cumin seeds and chopped onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the ground spices, minced ginger and minced garlic and sweat for 3 more minutes. [It's important NOT to have the heat up too high or the spices will turn bitter.]

Add the blended tomato-cashew mixture and the water or chicken stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cooked chicken and vegetables, bring back up to heat. Serve over basmati rice and garnish with the chopped cilantro and toasted cashews.

Serves 8 to 10


Aloo Parathas

Ingredients for the potato filling:
5 cups potatoes peeled, boiled, and smashed
2 T ghee or vegetable oil
1/2 cup onions, finely diced
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1 green chili pepper, seeded and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 T mustard seeds
1/2 T coriander seeds
1 T cumin seeds

* * * * * * *

Ingredients for the dough:
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 T salt
about 1 1/2 cups water

Preparing the potato filling:
Heat a caste iron skillet or a sauté pan over medium high heat and toast the cumin, mustard, and coriander seeds separately, one at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon until fragrant, about 3 or 4 minutes. Heat a sauté pan with the ghee or oil over medium heat and add the garlic, chili and onions and cook until translucent. Add the ground spices and cook for one more minute. Add this mixture to the potatoes. Cool to room temperature and mix in the cilantro.

* * * * * *

Preparing the dough:
Knead together all ingredients to form a slightly stiff dough adding more water or flour as needed. Knead by hand on a lightly floured table for 8 to 10 minutes until very smooth. Allow to rest at room temperature covered with a moist towel for 30 minutes.

Shape into 20 equal sized balls and form each ball, one at a time into a soup bowl shape. Fill the bowl with about 1/4 cup of potato filling and stretch the dough over the filling to seal and form a ball. Flatten out the ball gently without tearing the dough, lightly dust with flour, and carefully roll out to about a 5-inch circle. Cook the filled parathas on a griddle over medium heat on both sides until light golden brown. Serve immediately.

Makes about 18 to 20 parathas


Chicken Mole Over Corn Tamales [Pollo Mole Y Uchepos]

Ingredients for the corn tamales (uchepos):
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2 teaspoons salt
pinch of nutmeg
6 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup masa harina (Mexican corn flour)
1 cup lard or butter
25 corn husks, soaked in hot water

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the chicken mole:
5 young chickens, cut up into 8 pieces
About 12 cups of chicken stock
5 chipotle chiles
10 ancho chiles
1/4 cup raisins
1 large red bell pepper, roasted, skin removed
1 cup sesame seeds
3 cups vegetable oil
1/4 of a baguette, sliced
3/4 cup peanuts, toasted
1/4 cup almonds, toasted
4 ounces dark chocolate, melted
1 stick of Mexican cinnamon, toasted
3 tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
6 tomatillos
1-inch ginger, chopped
1 onion, quartered
4 ounces piloncillo (jaggery, palm sugar, or brown sugar can be substituted)

Preparing the corn tamales (uchepos):
Heat the milk nearly to a boil, and then set aside to cool. Process with the corn in a blender and strain into a saucepan. Add chicken stock, sugar, salt and nutmeg and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly for 30 minutes. Whisk in masa harina. Beat the butter or lard with a paddle until soft and fluffy. Mix in the corn mixture and season with salt and pepper. Wrap in corn husks and steam for 45 minutes.

* * * * * *

Preparing the chicken mole:
In a heavy skillet slowly toast the sesame seeds to golden brown and cool. Reserve a little sesame seeds for garnish.

Toast the chiles over medium heat in the skillet until they begin to slightly darken. Remove from pan and pour 1 cup of oil in the pan. Fry the toasted chiles in the oil for about 3 minutes over medium heat.

Combine the sesame seeds, roasted red pepper and fried chiles in a large bowl. Add a little more oil to the skillet and fry the ginger, garlic, tomatillos, tomatoes, raisins and onion until the tomatoes are charred and the onion is soft and begins to brown. Drain the oil and discard.

Combine the tomato/raisin mixture with the toasted nuts, the baguette and the melted chocolate along with the chiles mixture. Process in a blender with chicken stock and strain. Heat a large stockpot and add 1 1/2 cups of oil. When hot, fry the strained sauce and simmer. Be careful when adding the sauce to the hot oil.

Add the piloncillo to the simmering sauce and adjust the viscosity of the sauce by adding more chicken sauce as needed. The mole should be thin at this stage. It will thicken as it simmers with the chicken.

Quarter each chicken and simmer in the sauce until cooked. [Cut the chicken into 8 pieces and simmer it in a large stock pot with water until almost cooked. The cooking liquid becomes the chicken stock. Then you only need to simmer chicken in sauce for 10 to 15 minutes.]

Serve the chicken mole over two corn tamales. Pour some mole sauce over the chicken and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and chopped cilantro.

Serves 10


Red Pepper Walnut Dip [Muhammara]

4 red bell peppers
1 cups walnuts, toasted
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (pimenton)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T lemon juice
2 T pomegranate molasses

Preparing the dip:
Roast the red peppers in a 450 degree F oven or broiler or on top of a burner until charred. Remove from oven and place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. When cool, remove the skin and seeds.

Process in an electric blender with the remaining ingredients, adding a little water if needed, to achieve a smooth consistency.



3 cups dried chickpeas
1 1/2 large onions, roughly chopped
6 T fresh parsley, finely chopped
6 T fresh cilantro, finely chopped
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons baking powder
6 to 8 T all purpose flour

vegetable oil for frying

Preparing falafel:
Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, and then drain.

Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.

Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and place in freezer, covered, for 1/2 hour.

Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts.

Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees F in a deep pot or Dutch oven and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

Serve with muhammara (red pepper walnut dip) and/or babaganouj, and flatbread.



Preparing the babaganouj:
2 medium eggplant
1/2 cup Tahini
4 T extra virgin olive oil
4 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup parsley, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparing the babaganouj:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Prick the eggplant with a fork on all sides to allow steam to escape. Place on a baking sheet on some parchment and bake for 35 minutes or until it collapses. Scrape the eggplant flesh out with your fingers or a fork into a food processor, discarding the skin. Add all the remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper, and pulse until creamy. Adjust seasoning, adding more lemon juice if necessary.

Serve with pitas or flatbread, cut into wedges.



2 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon honey
4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup olive oil

semolina flour for dusting

Preparing the flatbread:
Preheat bread stone or inverted sheet pan in a 475 degree F oven.

Combine warm water, honey, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Let sit for 4 minutes. Add flour and salt and knead by hand for 12 minutes. Let rest, covered in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.

Roll into grapefruit sized balls and coat with flour. Allow to rest, covered for another 30 minutes.

Roll out to thin disks with a rolling pin. Place disk on a pizza peel coated with semolina flour. Brush top with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and zataar or sumac. Bake on bread stone until golden, about 10 minutes, but this time could vary depending on thickness and oven.



Ingredients for the Bastilla
1 pound chicken breasts, skinned and boned
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cups water
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
3 eggs
8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed, or warka
4 T butter, melted
1 T granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup chopped blanched

* * * * * * *

Ingredients for the warka dough (in lieu of phyllo dough)
8 ounces high gluten bread flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cups water
1 T cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 T extra virgin olive oil
extra virgin olive oil for dough
3 T vegetable oil (for brushing the pastry leaves on their shiny side)

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preparing the warka:
Combine the two flours and salt in the work bowl of a food processor. Turn the machine on and off once to sift. With the machine on, add almost l cup of the water and the vinegar. Once the dough forms a smooth ball, add the oil through the tube. Process the dough for 30 seconds. With the machine still running, slowly pour in the remaining water and process another 30 to 45 seconds, or until you have a smooth liquid batter. Pour batter into a 1 quart container, cover and refrigerate overnight ideally.

Set a deep pot of water on the stove and bring to a fast boil. Choose a non-stick skillet that sits snugly over the pot and secure with string. Before making the first pastry leaf, use a silicon brush to oil the skillet then wipe it dry with a paper towel.

Use a bristle brush to stir up the batter. Before making each leaf, stir the batter, lift up the brush thick with batter and quickly brush the batter evenly over the skillet. Use a circular motion to create a thin film-like layer. If necessary, repeat stirring and applying a thinner second layer across the circle in order to coat any empty spaces. Don’t worry about lacy edges or tiny cracks in the center. Cook the leaf for about 2 minutes, or until it turns completely white, the edges begin to curl, and it is still supple. Note that the pastry is only cooked on one side.

Use your fingertips to lift the pastry off the skillet from one of the sides, transfer to a paper towel, shiny and cooked side up, quickly brush all over the shiny side with oil, cover with another paper towel and gently press to remove excess oil. Leave the paper on the pastry.

Stir up the batter and make another pastry leaf as described above, and repeat oiling and covering with paper towels. Stack each leaf with its paper towel over the previous one. When all the batter is used, slide the stack (paper and leaves) into a plastic bag to keep them from drying out. The package can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three days, or you can double wrap and freeze.

* * * * * *

Preparing the Bastilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large stock pot, add the chicken, water, parsley, cilantro, cinnamon stick, ginger, black pepper and saffron. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until chicken is tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Remove chicken from stock and allow to cool enough to handle. Shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Strain the stock, discarding solids left in the strainer, then bring it to a boil over medium heat. Lightly beat eggs and pour slowly into the stock, stirring until curds form, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, add the chicken and almonds to the stock/egg mixture.

In a small bowl, mix the white sugar and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Remove the phyllo from its box, unwrapping the plastic and unfolding the sheets or if you are doing the warka dough recipe unwrap leaves. Keep the sheets/leaves covered with a damp cloth to prevent drying out. Brush one sheet of dough with butter, then place another sheet on top of it. Lay 4 sheets one on top of the other, with butter in between each layer. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon over the top sheet of phyllo or warka leaves.

With a sharp knife, cut the sheets lengthwise into thirds and cut each length crosswise into fifths, making 15 sections, each approximately 4- x 3 1/2-inches in size.

Place a level teaspoon of the filling in the center of each phyllo/warka section. Working with one section at a time, gather the corners of the phyllo/warka over the filling and twist them gently to create a purse-like shape. Transfer the pastries to a parchment lined sheet pan.

Bake the pastries in the lower third of a preheated 375 degree F oven for 12-15 minutes, or until they are golden.

Sift the powdered sugar-cinnamon mixture over the baked pastries.

Serves 10


Caramel Apple Pie

Ingredients for pie crust:
1 recipe of your favorite double crust butter pie crust

* * * * * *

Ingredients for salted caramel:
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1 stick (1/2 cup) fresh unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (Maldon sea salt flakes preferred)

* * * * * * *

Ingredients for apple filling:
4 to 6 lemons
5 to 6 medium to large apples (a mixture of Crispin, Granny Smith, and Cortland, or others)

* * * * * *

Ingredients for apple filling seasoning:
1/3 cup raw sugar (castor, unrefined, large granule sugar)
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters

* * * * * *

1 egg beaten
raw sugar, for sprinkling on top
1 teaspoon sea salt (flake)

Preparing the pie crust:
Prepare one 2-crust batch of your favorite all butter pie crust. Roll the bottom crust to fit a 9-inch pan, and cut the top crust as a lattice, approximately 1-inch in width or as desired. Chill the rolled crust while you prepare the salted caramel and apple filling.

* * * * * *

Preparing the salted caramel:
Cook the sugar and water together over low heat until just dissolved. Add the butter and bring to a slow boil. Continue cooking at a low boil until the mixture turns a deep, golden brown color, almost copper.

[Note: This process can take awhile depending on the heat source. Keep an eye on it; if the caramel begins to smoke, you've burned it and you'll have to start over.]

Once the mixture has turned a copper color, remove it from the heat and immediately add the heavy cream (the mixture will bubble rapidly and steam; be cautious as the sugar will be very hot).

Whisk the final mixture together well over low heat and sprinkle in the sea salt. Set the caramel aside while you prepare the apple filling.

* * * * * * *

Preparing the apple filling:
Juice the lemons into a large mixing bowl. Peel and core the apples. With a mandolin, thinly slice the apples. Dredge all the apple slices in the freshly squeezed lemon juice to prevent browning and to add flavor. Set the prepared apples aside.
* * * * * * *

Preparing the apple filling seasoning:
In a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and Angostura bitters. Sprinkle this mixture over the apples in the mixing bowl. Use your hands to gently mix and coat the apple slices.

* * * * * * *

Assembling the pie:
Preheat the oven to 375 to 400 degrees F.

Layer 1/3 of the apples in the bottom of the crust so that there are minimal gaps. Pour 1/3 of the caramel over the apples. Add 1/3 of the apples and caramel for a second layer, and then add a third layer of apples, and then the caramel again. [Note: Save a small portion of the caramel to pour on top once the lattice is assembled.]

Assemble the lattice crust and flute the edges of the crust. Pour the last bit of caramel on top. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and lightly sprinkle with raw sugar and sea salt.

Bake the pie on a baking sheet larger than the pie pan for 20 minutes to catch any caramel that bubbles up and over. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 to 350 degrees F and bake for 25 to 35 minutes. Test the apples for doneness with a long toothpick or small knife; the apples should be just soft. Let the pie cool to room temperature before serving.


Homemade Bourbon & Ginger Ale

2 T ginger syrup
1/2 cup soda water
1/4 bourbon
ice cubes
a strip of lemon peel

Combine 2 tablespoons of ginger syrup with 1/4 cup of bourbon and a little over 1/2 cup of soda water and ice cubes. Stir.

Serves 1


Ginger Syrup

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sliced ginger

Preparing the syrup:
Combine sugar, water, and ginger in large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Once sugar dissolves, remove from the heat and let stand until cool. Strain through a fine sieve.


Green Onion Cheddar Cheese Biscuits

1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
3/4 cup cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 T cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup all purpose flour, bench flour
2 T melted unsalted butter

Preparing the biscuits:
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Into a bowl, sift together the self-rising flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk, cheese, and green onions and, using your hands or a rubber spatula, stir just until the buttermilk and flour come together to form a dough, being careful not to overmix.

Lightly flour a work surface with the all-purpose flour. Turn out the dough onto the surface and press into a disk about 1/2-inch thick and 8 inches in diameter. Using a 3-inch round cutter dusted in flour, cut into rounds. (Be sure to press straight and downward when cutting the dough -- a twisting motion will prevent the dough from rising.) Reform the scraps to use all the dough.

Place bisuit dough on small baking sheet and brush the tops with the melted butter. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Makes 8 biscuits


Leek and Goat Cheese Quiche

Ingredients for pate brisee:
2 cups flour
pinch of salt
8 ounces butter
1/2 cup cold water
egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 T milk)

* * * * * *

Ingredients for filling:
4 leeks
2 T butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 ounces of Chevre (goat cheese), crumbled

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the custard:
1 cup cream
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparing the pate brisee:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the flour, salt and butter the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and mix until the butter is crumbled into small pieces, about the size of peas. Slowly add only enough water to make the dough come together. Remove the dough and gently roll into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap to let rest 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature (about 15 minutes).

Roll out the dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Use some bench flour to keep things from sticking. Fit into a 9- or 10-inch removable bottom tart pan or pie tin.

* * * * * *

Preparing the filling:
Wash and cut leeks into small pieces, using only the white and light green parts. Allow leeks to float in a bowl of water for a few minutes. Rinse them again until all sand and dirt is removed.

In a saute pan heat butter over medium heat until it begins to foam. Lightly saute leeks until tender and fragrant. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove to a bowl and cool.

* * * * * *

Preparing the custard:
Whisk together the cream, eggs, and yolks. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Spread the cheese and the sauteed leeks over the bottom of the unbaked tart pan. Add the custard to 1/4-inch from the top of the tart shell. Brush the edges of the tart shell with the egg wash.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and custard has set. Serve warm or room temperature.

Serves 6 to 8


Veal and Peppers

1 pound veal stew, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 medium yellow onion, julienned
1 large bell pepper, julienned
2 T parsley, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup sauterne
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, separated
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 can San Marzana tomatoes (28 ounces), crushed by hand
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparing the veal and peppers:
Heat pan with olive oil and butter. Add seasoned veal and saute until lightly brown.

Remove veal from pan, set aside (keep warm) and drain the oil from the pan.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and saute onions until translucent. Add garlic and saute until it imparts its aroma. Add chopped parsley, stir, and let cook for a minute or two.

Return the veal and any juices that have accumulated to the pan and saute with the other ingredients several minutes. Add the wine, cover and lower heat to simmer and cook gently for about 5 minutes. Remove cover and reduce wine until almost gone.

In a separate pan, saute tomatoes in 2 tablespoons of oil, season with salt and pepper and cook until tomatoes are sweet and tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add tomatoes to the veal and simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the oregano and crushed pepper.

Meanwhile, in another pan heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add 1 clove of chopped garlic, season with salt and pepper and julienned peppers and saute until the peppers are translucent. Drain oil from the peppers and add to the pan with the veal and simmer for several minutes. Serve over paparadelle.

Serves 4


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