Monday, March 29, 2010

Honey Lavender Ice Cream

I got the idea for this recipe from my friend Chef J. McKnight at We've both done a lot of work for that website and I find him to be an incredible chef. He has an array of really impressive recipe ideas. So, I give all the credit to him for this wonderful dessert. I find the liqueur to be an important ingredient. I would almost say that the liqueur defines the flavor for this recipe. Chef McKnight uses Benedictine Liqueur in his ice cream, but I decided to go with Kahlua for a smoother finish. I'm going to make this recipe again with Chocolate Raspberry liqueur.

3 C. Heavy Cream
1 C. Half & Half
2 Tbsp. Lavender Flowers
10 Egg Yolks
10 Tbsp. Honey
2 Tbsp. Kahlua

Begin by using a saucepan to heat the heavy cream, half & half, and lavender flowers just to a boil. Remove from the heat and strain the cream through a chinois or fine mesh strainer. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, honey, and Kahlua. While whisking, pour the heated cream into the honey mixture to create a custard. Return the custard to a saucepan and, using LOW HEAT, and stirring constantly, bring the custard to a temperature of 175°F. DO NOT let it boil. If you don't have a thermometer to temp the custard, heat it until you begin to see convection. Strain the finished custard into a bowl to chill and set in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Transfer the cold cream to an container and freeze.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spinach Salad w/ Caramelized Onion, Mushroom, & Bratwurst Vinaigrette

This recipe works wonderfully with Chorizo, but my favorite sausage is Bratwurst, so I couldn't resist the temptation. The caramelized onions add a sweetness that compliments the spicy Bratwurst; while the mushrooms add a meaty flavor to the light acidic vinaigrette. The hearty flavors in this salad are perfect alongside a spiced apple cider on a winter's night or an ice-cold beer on a warm summer's evening.
1/2 lb. Bratwurst, casing removed
1/4 lb. Mushrooms, sliced
1 Red Onion, sliced
2 Tbsp. C. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tsp. Sugar
1/2 lb. Spinach

Heat olive oil over medium high heat until smoking. Saute mushrooms, about 4 minutes, or until golden. While the mushrooms are cooking, cut the sausage out of the casing and discard the casing. Remove the mushrooms, reserving the oil.

Crumble the sausage meat and add to the pan. Render the bratwurst fat in the mushroom oil, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and caramelize, about 5 minutes.
Add the mushrooms back to the pan with vinegar and sugar. Mix well to incorporate. Heat about 2 minutes. Place the spinach in a mixing bowl. Remove the sausage mixture from the heat and combine with the spinach. Toss the ingredients in the mixing bowl.

The heat from the sausage, onion, and mushroom mixture will slightly wilt the spinach and the bratwurst fat, combined with the oil and vinegar will create a 'hot vinaigrette'. Serve the salad on a warm plate and garnish with freshly cracked pepper and olive oil.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Strawberry Quick Bread

Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did.
-William Butler

The strawberry is a member of the rose family. Fraises des bois, from the wilds of France, are among the best strawberries in the world, also known as the "queen of strawberries". Most common and hardy are the cross-bred strawberries of Virginia and Chile. Quick breads require no kneading or rising time which is why they are made in such a short period of time... and so aptly named. The leavener in these breads,
rather than yeast, is baking soda or baking powder which begin to rise immediately when combined with moisture. Eggs can also be used to leaven quick breads, such as biscuits, muffins and popovers.With the recent batch of warm spring afternoons, I thought I'd pick up some fresh produce. The strawberries' aroma was incredibly fresh and inviting. My whole kitchen began to smell of fresh strawberries within minutes of baking.

2 Eggs, beaten
1/2 C. Sugar
1/3 C. Vegetable Oil
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 C. Flour, All Purpose
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt, Iodized
6-8 Strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Beat the eggs and then add the sugar, oil, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt together. Combine the two batches of ingredients.

The strawberries can be either diced or mashed with a fork. I recommend tossing them in a little flour before folding them into the quick bread mixture. The flour will keep the strawberries from adding too much liquid to the "dough" and sinking to the bottom.

After the strawberries have been folded into the mixture, pour the mixture into a greased loaf pan.
Bake for 1 hour.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Apple Cider Coleslaw

Coleslaw From the Dutch koolsla, meaning "cabbage salad" - kool ("cabbage") plus sla ("salad"). Coleslaw is a salad of shredded red or white cabbage mixed with a mayonnaise, vinaigrette or other type of dressing. Other ingredients such as chopped onion, celery, sweet green or red pepper, pickles, bacon or herbs may be added. There are probably as many variations of coleslaw as there are cooks.

1 Head of Cabbage, shredded
1 Medium Onion, sliced
1/2 C. Apple Cider Vinegar
3/4 C. Sugar
3/4 C. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Pepper

Make a dressing by incorporating the vinegar, sugar, oil, salt, and pepper. Toss the cabbage and onion in the dressing to coat. For best results, let sit in the refrigerator over-night to absorb much of the liquid. The following day, the cabbage will be cool, crisp, and tangy! This recipe easily feeds eight people.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ahi Tuna w/ Key-Lime Sage Butter

A compound butter is made by incorporating various seasonings into softened whole butter. These butters, also called "beurre compose" [BURR com-poh-ZAY] in French, give flavor and color to small sauces or may even be served as sauces themselves. Just as an example, a slice of parsley butter, or "maitre d'hotel butter", is often placed on a grilled steak or piece of fish just before serving. The butter melts, creating a sauce for the beef or fish.


1/2 lb. Butter
1 tsp. Lime Zest
2 tsp. Lime Juice
1 Tbsp. Sage, minced
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 lb. Tuna

Butter and flavoring ingredients can be combined with a blender, food processor, or mixer. Using plastic wrap, the butter is rolled into a cylinder, chilled and sliced as needed. It's as simple as that!

The zesty citrus from the lime counters the smooth flavor of the butter, while the sage lends a nice aroma to each bite. The craziest butter I ever made was a Pico de Gallo Compound Butter. I actually made salsa and blended it right into the butter.

Rather than blending this butter, I softened it over very very low heat so the herbs could steep. Once it was softened, I incorporated the ingredients with a whisk and allowed it to cool. Once cool, I formed it into a cylinder using the method from above.

I seared the tuna on each side and served it over sticky rice with broccoli. You can let the butter melt from the heat of the fish or help it along by sticking it briefly under the broil setting of your oven.