What’s Next on my Plate:

Hawaiian Mahi Mahi rolls stuffed with mango and macadamia nut stuffing

Æbelskiver (Danish Filled Pancakes)

Chicken Canzanese with Polenta Cakes

Lillet Poached Pears with Thyme & Pepper

Triple Lemon Baked Doughnuts

(German Braised Rabbit Stew)

Pesto Goat Cheese Chicken Cordon Bleu

Lobster BLT Sandwich

Sep 15th, 2014 by Kat | Comments Off

for the lobster salad
6 oz cooked lobster meat
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
squeeze of lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh chives, very finely minced
salt and pepper to taste

for the sandwich
2 pieces hearty sandwich bread, toasted
2 slices thick cut bacon, fried but not too crispy
1 heirloom tomato, thickly sliced
handful baby arugula

In a small work bowl, combine lobster with the mayo, lemon juice and chives. Fold gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If the lobster meat is too cold, let the lobster salad sit on the counter for 1-20 minutes. Really cold lobster has less flavor.

To assemble to sandwich, layer bread, tomato slices, lobster salad, arugula, bacon and then the final bread (I have found that this order makes it less likely to fall apart).

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Midnight Train to Marrakesh Cupcakes

Sep 14th, 2014 by Kat | Comments Off

(Spiced Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache and Peppered Almonds)

for the almonds
1/2 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups whole raw almonds

for the cupcakes
4 1/2 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

for the ganache
1/2 pound dark chocolate, chopped (or high quality chips)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Mild chili strands (optional)

First make your almonds. These can be made up to 3 days in advance. Cover a cookie sheet with a silpat mat, or with foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar and cayenne over high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then bring the mixture to a boil. Add the almonds and reduce the heat to medium. Stir frequently until the sugar crystallizes around the almonds. This should take 5-8 minutes and it will look like a mess and that you have made a mistake. It will be difficult to stir, but continue stirring, and eventually the sugar will start to re-melt. It will turn a deep golden brown color and coat the almonds. Trust me… just keep stirring. Once the sugar is caramelized and completely liquid, pour the almonds out onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a fork to separate the nuts while the sugar is still liquid. Do not touch the almonds with fingers or even think of popping one in your mouth at this point. They are screaming hot and the sugar will leave nasty burns if you are not careful. Let the almonds set at room temperature. Once cool and hard, break them apart if necessary.

For the cupcakes, preheat oven to 400F. Prepare a cupcake / muffin pan with liners. In a medium work bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, clove and cardamom.

In the top part of a double boiler over very hot, but not simmering, water, or in a microwave at medium power, melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat or the oven, and let stand, stirring often, until cool. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle blade on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. On low speed, beat in the confectioners’ sugar. Return the speed to medium-high and beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the chocolate and vanilla.

Beat the egg whites and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed just until they form soft, shiny peaks. Do not overbeat. Stir about one fourth of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites, leaving a few visible wisps of whites. Sift half of the flour-spice mixture over the chocolate mixture, and fold in with a rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining flour.

Fill the lined muffin cups three-quarters full, being careful not to overfill. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Finally, make the ganache and assemble / decorate. To make the ganache, place the chocolate and corn syrup into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, then pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Let cool for 3-4 minutes and then dip each cupcake into the ganache. Top with almonds and chili strands. Let cool for a bit to have the chocolate firm up (do not refrigerate).

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Cardamom Apple Crumb Cakes

Sep 13th, 2014 by Kat | Comments Off

for the streusel
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

for the crumb cakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely diced

Preheat the oven to 350F.

First make the streusel. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the flour with the brown sugar and salt. Add the butter pieces and mix at medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal; continue mixing the streusel until very small clumps form. Transfer the streusel to a large plate and refrigerate until it is well chilled, about 10 minutes.

For the crumb cakes, line 18 standard-size muffin cups with paper liners. Spray the liners with vegetable oil cooking spray. In the mixer bowl, combine the flour with the granulated sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and cinnamon. Add the butter pieces and beat at low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the sour cream and beaten egg and beat until the batter is smooth. Add the diced apple and beat just until incorporated.

Fill the muffin cups halfway with the crumb cake batter. Press the streusel into clumps and sprinkle on top. Bake the crumb cakes in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, until risen, golden and springy to the touch; rotate the pans halfway through baking. Let the crumb cakes cool slightly before serving.

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Vodka Thyme Lemonade

Sep 12th, 2014 by Kat | Comments Off

1 cups granulated sugar
1 cups water
6 fresh thyme sprigs
juice from 12 lemons
1 cup vodka

In a small saucepan combine water, sugar and thyme. Bring to boil over high heat, until the sugar has been dissolved. Remove from heat, and let it cool to room temperature. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a large glass measuring cup, and discard the thyme. You should have a cup of syrup. Cover with plastic and chill.

In a large serving pitcher, stir together lemon juice, vodka and chilled syrup over ice and garnish with thyme. Serve ice cold.

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Nutella Oatmeal Cookies with Toasted Hazelnuts

Sep 11th, 2014 by Kat | Comments Off

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened room temperature
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon hazelnut extract
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In the work bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter, Nutella, sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and hazelnut extract and beat until smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, beating only until blended. Stir in the toasted hazelnuts by hand. Chill the dough 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Form the cookie dough into rounded tablespoons and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are golden and just firm around the edges. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then remove with a spatula onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

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