Apr 14th, 2014
2 slices sliced Italian bread, French bread, or sourdough bread
2 slices of a fresh mozzarella cheese, about 1/4 inch thick
2 slices of tomato, about 1/4 inch thick
2 basil leaves
2 teaspoons basil pesto
olive oil or butter
salt and pepper
Heat your skillet to medium high heat or heat your panini press. Brush the outside of your bread with olive oil or butter. Flip over and spread about 1 teaspoon of basil pesto on the inside of each slice of bread. Place your mozzarella slices on top of the pesto on one piece of bread. Next, layer your tomato slices and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Top with the basil leaves and your other piece of bread. Cook sandwiches in a pan or panini press for a 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown and the mozzarella has melted.
Apr 11th, 2014
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 cup instant espresso powder
zest from 2 oranges, very finely minced (almost paste-like)
Prepare a foil sling for your 9 x 13 inch rimmed baking sheet and spray with baking spray. Set aside.
Bring cream, sugar, butter, and corn syrup to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until caramel reaches 248 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes. Immediately remove caramel from heat, and stir in salt, vanilla, orange extract, espresso power, and orange zest. Pour caramel onto baking sheet, and let stand, uncovered, at room temperature at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
Lifting by the foil sling, transfer caramel to a large cutting board. Cut into 3/4-by-1 1/4-inch pieces; wrap each piece in waxed paper or cellophane.
Apr 10th, 2014
for the Egg Salad
18 quail eggs*, hard boiled and peeled
1/4 cup chopped green onion
3 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup mayonnaise
A few drops of hot sauce (optional)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh dill
Salt and black pepper to taste
for the Tomatoes
8-10 small (less than 2 inch) tomatoes
Salt and black pepper to taste
First prepare the tomatoes. Slice the top off of each tomato, keeping the stem intact, and set aside. Carefully scoop out the tomato pulp and seeds with a melon baller. Place the tomatoes upside down on a paper towel for a few minutes to drain excess liquid.
To make the egg salad, chop the eggs coarsely and put them into a large bowl. Add the green onion and dill. In small bowl, mix together the mayo, mustard, vinegar and hot sauce (if using). Gently stir the mayo dressing into the bowl with the eggs. Add paprika and salt and black pepper to taste.
Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt and pepper inside the hollowed-out tomatoes. Scoop a generous tablespoon of the egg mixture into each tomato. Top with the stem “hats” and serve. When it’s time to eat, remove the “hats,” set them aside. Best served chilled but not freezing cold.
* Note: this can also be made with regular chicken eggs. I just had some leftover quail eggs that needed to be used so I made the salad out of them.
Apr 4th, 2014
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb stalks, trimmed and washed (about 5 to 6 cups thinly sliced)
3 large oranges, zest and juice
1 medium lemon, zest and juice
7 1/2 cups sugar
2 pouches (3 ounces each) liquid fruit pectin
3-4 teaspoons vodka
Slice rhubarb very thinly and put in a large nonreactive pot. With a vegetable peeler, peel the thin outer rind from the orange and lemon. Slice into strips and add to the rhubarb mixture. Juice the remaining fruit and add to the pot as well. Add sugar to the pot and cook slowly, stirring, over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high and bring to a full boil which can’t be stirred down. Continue boiling, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the pectin immediately and bring back to a boil. Boil for 1 minute longer, stirring constantly.
Skim foam from the top, then ladle the hot fruit mixture into jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace and drizzle with a teaspoon of vodka per jar. Screw on the jar rings firmly, but do not over-tighten. Makes about 3-4 pints.
Apr 3rd, 2014
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut on bias into 2-inch lengths
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin
2 scallions, green parts only, sliced thinly on bias
Combine water, soy sauce, sherry, sugar, ginger and sesame oil in a bowl.
Heat vegetable oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking. Add asparagus and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is spotty brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture and cook, stirring once or twice, until pan is almost dry and asparagus is crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to serving platter, sprinkle with scallion greens, and serve.