Friday, March 23, 2012

Crockpot Chicken Pot Pie

1 1/4 lb Boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
2 Medium celery ribs, cut into 1/2" slices
1 Tbs chopped onion
2 1/4 cup Bisquick mix
1 Bay leaf
2/3 cup Milk
1/4 tsp Ground black pepper
1 1-lb. bag Frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 Jar chicken gravy (18 oz)

Place chicken in 3-1/2 to 4 quart crock pot/slow cooker. Top with onion, bay leaf, pepper and gravy. Place celery on gravy. Cover and cook on LOW heat setting for 8 to 10 hours.

About 30 minutes before serving, make and bake 8 biscuits using Bisquick mix and milk as directed on package.

Meanwhile, gently stir frozen vegetables into chicken mixture. Increase heat setting to High. Cover and cook 15 minutes.
Remove bay leaf before serving.

For each serving, split biscuit and place in soup bowl or tart pan. Spoon about 3/4 cup chicken mixture on top of biscuit.

Eleven Madison Park's Chocolate-Covered Banana-Crème Fraîche Ice-Cream Bar


Ice cream bars:
2 cups milk
1 cup cream
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
1 very ripe banana, mashed
1 tablespoon crème de banane liqueur
1⁄4 cup crème fraîche

Chocolate-macadamia glaze:
1⁄2 cup macadamia nuts
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons canola oil


Ice cream:
Bring the milk, cream, vanilla bean, and half of the sugar to a boil in a saucepan.

Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks and the remaining sugar in a bowl. Gradually stir the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, 1⁄3 cup at a time, to heat the yolks without cooking them. When one third of the cream mixture has been added, pour that mixture into the remaining hot cream, whisking constantly, off the heat, until thickened slightly.

Strain the hot custard through a fine sieve, transfer to a cool, clean container, and set over ice. When it's cold, stir in the banana, crème de banane, and crème fraîche. Transfer to an ice-cream machine, and process according to directions.

Spray an 8-inch square cake pan lightly with Pam. Line the pan with plastic wrap (the Pam will help the plastic adhere to the inside of the pan instead of the ice cream). Spread the soft ice cream into the pan evenly. Freeze overnight or until solid. Prepare glaze and assemble.

Chocolate-macadamia glaze:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the macadamia nuts on a sheet pan in the oven until they are golden and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Let cool, and chop. Melt the chocolates together in a bowl set over simmering water. When they're fully melted, stir in the canola oil and the macadamia nuts. (May be prepared up to one week ahead.)

Remove the ice cream from the freezer, and gently lift the plastic wrap to unmold the ice cream. Quickly cut nine 2 1⁄2-inch squares, set on a pan covered with plastic wrap, and return to the freezer. If the glaze has cooled, heat it gently over a water bath or in the microwave until it's warm and fluid but not hot.

Dunk one square of ice cream into the bowl of glaze to completely coat. Using a spatula or fork, gently remove the square, set on a plastic-wrap-lined pan, and repeat with the rest of the bars. Immediately return them to the freezer, and chill for 1 hour before serving.

Makes 9 Servings

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Red Lobster Rock Shrimp Creole

2 pounds rock shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced to one-half inch
1/2 cup onion, diced to one-quarter inch
1/4 cup celery, chopped fine
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tbsp. flour, all purpose
1 can 14.5-ounce whole peeled tomatoes, roughly cut
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3-4 cups cooked rice

Rinse shrimp briefly and remove any large veins that are visible.

In a small sauce pan, melt 2 tbsp. of butter over medium heat.

Mix in flour and stir until dissolved and mixture begins to thicken, then reduce heat.

Add tomatoes and their juice to the butter and flour mixture, stir well, and heat through. The mixture will thicken. Hold warm. In a large skillet, melt two tbsp. of butter, and over medium-high heat, cook bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic until soft, but with a little bit of a crunch.

Add shrimp and cook until no longer transparent (three minutes).

Add tomato mixture, bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for five minutes.

Serve over hot rice (white or wild mixture).

Serves 6-8

IHOP Pumpkin Pancakes

2 eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
3 Tablespoons canned pumpkin
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with oil cooking spray.

Combine eggs, buttermilk, butter, pumpkin, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to blend ingredients.

Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and blend with mixer until smooth.

Pour the batter in 1/4 c portions into the hot pan. Should form 5-inch circles.

When the batter stops bubbling & edges begin to harden, flip the pancakes. They should be dark brown. This will take from 1 to 2

Flip the pancakes and cook other side for the same amount of time, until dark brown.

Serves 3 to 4.

Hotel Condon Corn Bread

3 eggs
1 (15-ounce) can creamed corn
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup (4.25 ounces) flour
1 cup cornmeal, not stone-ground
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 small (4-ounce) can diced green chiles, drained
1 cup grated Mexican cheese blend
3 tablespoons honey, or as desired (up to 1/3 cup)

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Whisk in the creamed corn, then the melted butter. Whisk in the sugar until fully combined.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal and baking powder. Slowly whisk the flour mixture into the large bowl until combined. Fold in the diced chiles and cheese until combined.

Spoon the mixture into a greased 10-inch round cake pan (with 3-inch walls) and smooth the top of the batter.

Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool the bread for 15 minutes on a rack.

Invert the bread onto a platter and "frost" with the honey. Cool completely, then cut and serve.

Makes 16 Servings

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Famous Dave's Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons clover honey
6 ripe peaches; cut in half with pit removed

Vanilla bean Ice Cream (1 generous scoop per dessert)
Caramel sauce
Fresh mint leaf

Mix vinegar and honey in medium bowl, add peach halves, toss to coat.

On medium heat, grill peaches for 4-6 minutes or until soft - baste with excess sauce as you grill.

Serve warm over vanilla bean ice cream, drizzle with caramel sauce and garnish with a fresh mint leaf.

Serves 6.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Le Bernardin Pan Roasted Codfish, Sautéed Baby Artichokes, Pistachio and Parmesan in a Sage and Garlic Perfumed Broth

The Sauce:
4 cups chicken stock
1 pound of chicken meat (legs and thighs cut into 1-inch cubes)
1 shallot, sliced thinly
1 sprig of parsley
1 sprig of thyme
2 cloves garlic, sliced
8 sage leaves

The Artichokes:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups baby artichokes peeled and sliced thinly
2 teaspoons pistachios, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine
4 tablespoons sweet butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

The Cod:
4 (six-ounce) cod fillets, boneless and skinless
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon of Wondra flour
salt and pepper to taste

The Garnish:
20 medium-sized arugula leaves
20 medium diced rice bread croutons (lightly browned in extra virgin olive oil)
4  tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the sauce, in a 2-quart saucepan combine chicken stock, chicken, shallot, parsley, thyme and being to a simmer. Simmer slowly for one hour. Strain. You should have about 2 cups finished sauce when finished. Reserve.

In a large frying pan, add the extra virgin olive oil. Add the artichokes, pistachios, salt and pepper and cook rapidly over high heat for one minute. Deglaze with the white wine. Add the butter and lemon and cook until the artichokes are al dente, about 3 minutes. Finish with Parmesan cheese.

For the cod, preheat two large pans over high heat until almost smoking. Divide the canola oil between the pans. Season the cod on both sides with salt, pepper and Wondra flour. Add 2 fillets to each pan and sear until golden, about 3 minutes. Turn the fillets over and cook for another 2 minutes until filets are warm in the center.

To serve, bring the reserved sauce to a boil. Add 2 cloves of sliced garlic and 8 leaves of sage and steep for one minute off the heat. Strain and reserve.

In the center of each of four plates, arrange an equal amount of the artichokes. Place a piece of cod on top of the artichokes. Arrange 5 pieces of the arugula and 5 croutons around the fish and one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Pour sauce evenly around fish and serve immediately.

Makes 4 Servings

Apple Rutabaga Soup

1 stick (1/4 pound) butter
1 cup onion, roughly chopped
1 cup Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1 cup rutabaga, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup butternut squash, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1 cup carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
1 quart good chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, apple, rutabaga, squash, carrots and sweet potato and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent.

2. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until all of the vegetables are cooked through and tender.

3. Purée the vegetables in a blender or food processor. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into the same pot you used to cook the vegetables. Add the cream, maple syrup, salt and cayenne pepper.

4. Return the pot to the stove, bring the soup to a simmer, and serve.

Serves 6-8

Curried Beef

14oz lean boneless beef
2 tsp. rice wine
3 cups vegetable oil for deep-frying
2 oz clear stock (can use vegetable or chicken stock)
2 tbsp curry oil
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. ginger, chopped
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. garlic, chopped
1 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1 tsp. water
1/4 tsp. onion, chopped
1/4 tsp. hot red chili pepper, chopped
MSG, optional

Cut beef into 1-inch square chunks.

Heat the oil in a wok over low heat to very hot, 350 degrees F. Deep-fry the beef until it is cooked through. Remove beef, drain, and set aside.

Pour the oil out of the wok, leaving a thin film on the bottom. Reheat until a haze appears on the oil surface.

Add the curry oil, ginger, garlic, onion, chili pepper, rice wine, stock, salt, MSG (optional) and sugar. Stir the cornstarch to blend and add. Add the beef, stir-fry for 2 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened.

Sprinkle with sesame oil and serve.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Veggie Hash Browns

1/2 medium organic red Onion
1 medium organic Carrot
2 small organic Zucchini
2 Tbsp Ghee or 2 Tbsp organic high-heat Oil (Grapeseed or high-heat Sunflower)

1. Thinly slice or julienne all Vegetables, Onion first, Carrot second and Zucchini third.

2. While slicing or using food processor, begin sauté of Onion, then toss in Carrots and last, Zucchini, as it needs the least cooking time.

3. Brown to your heart's content! Serve hot and fresh, but will easily keep to warm later

Optional: Toss in 1 Tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried organic Rosemary leaves while you saute the veggies.

Serves 2-4

Benihana's Ginger Salad Dressing

1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced celery
2 tablespoons ketchup
4 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Place all ingredients in blender; blend on high speed for 30 seconds or until the ginger is well-pureed and mixture is well blended.

2. Store in covered container in refrigerator.

California Pizza Kitchen Jambalaya Pasta with Chicken

Jambalaya sauce (see recipe below)
Caribbean peppers and onions (see recipe below)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 5 ounces each)
1 pound dry linguine (or 2 pounds fresh)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish

Prepare jambalaya sauce and Caribbean peppers and onions.
In mixing bowl, stir together olive oil, garlic, soy sauce and salt. Turn chicken breasts in this mixture and let them marinate at room temperature 10 to 20 minutes.
After chicken has marinated, preheat broiler, stovetop grill or outdoor grill. If using broiler, set rack in center of oven. Cook chicken breasts until done, 5 to 6 minutes per side.
Chill well in refrigerator, then cut into 3/4 -inch cubes. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble: In medium-sized covered saucepan over medium-low heat, combine jambalaya sauce, Caribbean peppers and onions and the chicken cubes.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Bring large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add pasta, and cool until al dente, 5 to 6 minutes for dry pasta, about 3 minutes for fresh pasta.

Drain linguine well, add it to sauce and toss well. Serve family-style or in individual serving bowls garnished with chopped parsley.
Jambalaya sauce:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut into 3/8-inch thick slices
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 cup diced celery (cut into 1/4-inch dice)
1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
2-1/2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
3 ounces canned tomato paste (1/2 of a small can)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 bay leaf
In large saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic.
Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir well, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf before using.

Caribbean peppers and onions:

1/4 cup bottled sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch squares

In medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the chili sauce, soy sauce and olive oil until well combined.
Preheat a stove-top grill or broiler. Toss peppers and onion with sauce until well coated.
Grill or broil vegetables in a single layer, using a spatula or tongs to turn them occasionally, until evenly browned, 4 to 5 minutes.
Makes 4 to 6 servings

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Per Se Leg of Lamb

1 cup whole plain yogurt
1 tablespoon smoked sweet Spanish paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 head garlic, peeled
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup packed mint leaves
1/4 cup kosher salt, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
1 8-to-10 pound leg of American lamb, boned and butterflied
1/2 loaf French bread, cut into 1/2 -inch thick slices.

1. In a food processor, combine the yogurt, paprika, cumin, coriander, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, mint and 1/4 cup kosher salt. Pulse until the mint and garlic are finely chopped.

2. Season the lamb on all sides with salt and black pepper. Lay the lamb fat-side down, roll into a tight cylinder and tie with cooking twine. Place in a container just large enough to hold it. Pour the marinade over the lamb and massage it into the meat. Dip both sides of the bread pieces into the marinade and place evenly over the meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Transfer the lamb to a large roasting pan, discard the bread and reserve the excess marinade. Baste the lamb with the marinade. Cook in the oven until a meat thermometer reads 130 degrees, for medium rare, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours depending on the thickness of the lamb. Baste with the marinade from time to time during the first hour of cooking. Remove from oven, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing. Serves 10 to 12.

Eleven Madison Park's Strawberry Gazpacho


2 slices country white bread
1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 sprig thyme

1 1/2 lbs. strawberries, plus 8 pieces for garnish
1 red bell pepper, seeded
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded
2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1 clove garlic
3 oz. tomato juice
3 tbs. red-wine vinegar
2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Tabasco to taste

1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Black pepper to taste
4 basil leaves

In a small pan over medium-low heat, toast the bread in the olive oil with the crushed garlic and thyme until golden brown. Reserve.

Hull the strawberries by inserting a straw at the bottom of the berry and pushing it through the cap.
Dice the berries, peppers, cucumbers, and garlic, and combine with tomato juice, vinegar, and olive oil. Let marinate for 3 hours at room temperature.
Combine all ingredients, including the toasted bread, in a blender, and blend until smooth.
Strain through chinois (optional). Season with salt and Tabasco.
Finish with olive oil, black pepper, and basil.

Serves 4-6

Lemon Tilapia Fish with Organic Quinoa

2 Tilapia Fish Fillets
2 Lemons
2 Teaspoons of Oil
2 Garlic cloves
1 Teaspoon of Basil
1 Teaspoon of Lemon Pepper seasoning
Dash of Salt
1/4 Cup of Water
1 cup of Organic Quinoa (available at your local health food store or Trader Joes)
2 cups of Water
1 Chicken Bullion Cube
1 1/2 cups of Broccoli
1/2 cup of corn

To start off you'll want to make the marinade for the fish. Juice one lemon and place in a bowl with the ź cup of water and oil. Mince the garlic and add to the liquid ingredients, also add the basil, lemon pepper seasoning and the salt. Mix the ingredients thoroughly with a fork. Once the marinade is mixed, cover fish
and allow to marinade for at least 2 hours. For best results marinade over night.

After the fish has marinated, heat up a skillet on medium heat with about a 1/16 cup of butter (just enough to coat the pan). Once the pan is heated up enough add the fish and marinade and allow to cook evenly on both sides (5 mins each side). Turn heat down to low and let fish simmer for another 5 minutes to allow more marinade to soak in.

While the fish is cooking heat up the 2 cups of water to boiling and add the quinoa and chicken bullion cube. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. You can also steam the broccoli and heat up the corn at this time. Now that everything is done sit down and enjoy your meal.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Little Dom's Fruit Focaccia

1 1/2 teaspoons (about 2/3 of a 1/4-ounce packet) active-dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon, divided
1/2 cup sugar plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons room-temperature water
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing and finishing
3 cups fruit (small berries or larger fruit diced into roughly 3/4-inch pieces)
1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary

1. In a bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast into warm water along with 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour and one-half teaspoon sugar. Set aside until the yeast begins to activate and become foamy, several minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate large bowl, thoroughly whisk together the remaining 2 cups of all-purpose flour with the bread flour and salt.

3. Add the room temperature water and oil to the yeast mixture, and whisk to combine.

4. With the mixer running or by hand, add the dry ingredients to the yeast mixture until combined. Knead with the paddle attachment on medium speed, or by hand, until smooth, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and place the ball in a separate, large, well-oiled bowl. Smooth olive oil over the ball and cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough overnight.

5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into 8 equal pieces, each about 3.7 ounces in weight. Form each piece into a ball and place on a well-oiled baking sheet (you will fit about 4 per sheet, using 2 sheets total). Set the sheets aside in a warm place until the dough has puffed and doubled in size, about 1 hour.

6 Dimple the dough with your fingers (oil your fingers so the dough does not stick), then set aside until puffed again, about 30 minutes. Dimple again, then repeat once more. Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

7. After the final dimpling, add the fruit to the focaccia, distributing the fruit evenly among the pieces and pressing the fruit firmly into each focaccia. Sprinkle the chopped rosemary evenly over the focaccia, and drizzle olive oil over each piece. Sprinkle the remaining half-cup sugar over the focaccia, about 1 tablespoon per piece (try not to get too much sugar on the sheets as it can get sticky and make it difficult to remove the focaccia).

8. Place the sheets in the oven and bake until puffed and golden-brown around the edges, about 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through for even baking. Remove and cool slightly before removing from the sheets and serving.

Serves 8

Chicken Chow Mein

1 pound chicken meat
1 cup celery
1 pound bok choy or broccoli
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 pound dry won ton noodles
1 pound bean sprouts or snow pea pods
1 medium onion, sliced
1 green onion, diced along the diagonal
1 carrot, sliced (optional)
1 red pepper, sliced (optional)

Seasonings for Chicken:
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 - 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
salt, pepper to taste
1 small piece (less than 1 teaspoon) of cornstarch

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 cup water
Salt, accent (if desired) and pepper to taste


Pre-preparation: Wash the bean sprouts to give them more time to drain.

Preparation: Boil noodles in salted boiling water until they are soft, but not sticky. (Break the noodles in half if desired so they are easier to manage). Blanch the noodles in cold water and drain.

Cut the chicken into thin strips. Add seasoning ingredients to chicken, adding cornstarch last. Marinate chicken in seasonings for 10 - 15 minutes.

While chicken is marinating, prepare vegetables. Cut the bok choy diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices, slice mushrooms. If substituting broccoli for bok choy, peel the stalks until no more strings come out, and slice thinly on the diagonal.

Heat the frying pan on high, add 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the noodles in small portions until they are golden. Use chopsticks to separate the noodles as they are frying. Remove the noodles. Add more oil and add the meat and onion to the pan. Stir-fry until the meat has no redness. Remove from wok or pan.

Cook the rest of the vegetables separately, adding a bit of salt if desired to taste. (With the bean sprouts and bok choy add a bit of sugar as well if desired). If desired, add about 1/4 cup of water and cover pan while cooking bok choy, as it doesn't contain much moisture.

Give the gravy a quick restir. Add all the ingredients back into the wok, making a "well" in the middle if the wok for the gravy. Mix well. Add green onions at this point if desired, or save them for a garnish. Pour the mixture on top of the noodles. Garnish the chow mein with sesame seeds. Serve hot.

Westside Tavern's Warm Sticky Toffee Cake

English toffee sauce:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (1 ½ sticks plus 1 tablespoon) butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup

In a large heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the cream, butter, brown sugar and maple syrup. Bring to a boil over high heat, whisking frequently.

Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat. Blend the mixture using an immersion blender until thickened and emulsified. Alternatively, the mixture can be blended in batches using a standard blender (be careful as the mixture is very hot). Makes 4 cups of sauce.
Toffee cake and assembly:

2 tablespoons (¼ stick) butter, plus extra for buttering the ramekins
Sugar for dusting the ramekins
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
3/4 cup plus 2 ½ teaspoons (3.4 ounces) flour
Pinch salt
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup plus 1 ½ teaspoons dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dates
Hot prepared toffee sauce
Whipped mascarpone cream, cream or ice cream

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 6 (6-ounce) ramekins with butter, and dust with sugar. In a saucepan, whisk the baking soda into the boiling water.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and vanilla until fully incorporated.

4. To the butter mixture, add the egg and beat until fully incorporated. Over low speed, slowly and gently add the dry ingredients, scraping the bowl to make sure the batter is fully mixed.

6. Over low speed, slowly stream the hot water into the batter. Add the dates and continue mixing over low speed until the batter thickens. This makes about 2 cups batter.

7. Divide the batter between the prepared ramekins. Bake until the cakes are a dark, caramel color, about 45 minutes.

8. Remove the ramekins and cool the cakes for 5 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the hot toffee sauce onto the cakes until they seem saturated (extra sauce will pool at the bottom, this can be gathered for additional glazing and serving), then glaze the cakes a second time with the sauce.

9. Set the cakes aside for about 30 minutes to set up and cool. The cakes can be made a few hours in advance and held on a baking sheet, loosely covered with plastic wrap, at room  temperature.

10. To serve, cover each cake with one-fourth cup warm toffee sauce. Serve with a generous quenelle or dollop of mascarpone cream or whipped cream, or scoop of ice cream.

Servings: 6-12

Friday, March 02, 2012

White Chocolate Macaroons

2 cups desiccated (fine) coconut
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup cacao butter
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup cranberries
1 cup brazil nuts
Pinch salt
Extra coconut to finish

Process brazil nuts to a fine powder. Add coconut and cranberries and process a little more. Add butter, oil, vanilla, maple syrup and salt and process to bring together. Roll into small balls. If mixture is too sticky to roll easily place in fridge for a few hours. Roll balls in the extra coconut. Store in fridge in an airtight container.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

8 oz Cream cheese, softened
1 tsp Salt
3 sticks Butter, softened
2 tsp Vanilla or lemon extract
3 cup Sugar
1 cup Fresh blueberries or peaches

6 Eggs
3 cup All purpose flour

Do not preheat oven. Lightly butter a 10-inch tube pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper; set aside. Combine butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment,
and beat on medium speed until smooth.Add the sugar, increase the speed to high, and beat until light and airy, about 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the vanilla, then the flour and salt all at once. Beat just until blended. Fold in fruit. (*see note)

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and tap lightly to even out the top. Place in cold oven. Bake at 325 degrees  F until cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean, 1 ź to 1 ˝ hours. Place the pan on a cooling rack, and cool for 20 minutes. Remove cake from pan,
and let cool completely. Serve at room temperature. 
*You can add just fruit and let them speak for themselves, or with the flavorings. Use lemon with blueberries and the vanilla with peaches.

Isla Tropicana Smoothie

1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup strawberry yogurt
1/4 cup crushed ice
1 banana, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
1/2 teaspoon honey

Put all ingredients into a blender except the honey.  Blend for about 20 seconds.  Then, add the honey and blend for another 10 seconds.  Pour into flute glasses and serve.