Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Duck Legs with Tangerine
As I mentioned earlier, I made a picnic the other night, with these duck legs as the centerpiece. I keep thinking about how good this came out and wanted to share. Try and enjoy!
4 duck legs, trimmed of all of the skin but one large piece on top, which you score
1 small leek, white part only sliced thin
½ cup hot water or chicken stock if you have it
1 large tangerine, zest cut into long thing strips, juice reserved (Tangelo would be good too)
¼ cup whisky
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large, heavy bottomed sauté pan over medium heat, sear the duck legs, frequently draining the accumulating fat. Add the leeks and tangerine zest when they are almost completely browned.
When the duck legs are quite browned, remove from the pan, and deglaze with the water, tangerine juice, some salt and the whisky. Stir to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Transfer the legs and sauce to an oven proof dish and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes or until the duck legs are cooked through.
Allow to cool slightly, and serve with a mixture of wild and brown rice with cranberries and pecans.
The duck goes perfectly with a smooth glass of Scotch. But why not try something new?
Why not buy some Single Malt Whisky from the beautiful Isles of Scotland? Check out these
websites and be transported. Just don't ask me the difference between Whisky and Whiskey.
Isle of Jura
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower
I love cauliflower. Pickled, baked, pureed, curried, broiled, you name it, I love it. Pretty much the only good thing to come from the Low Carb craze is that more and more people are trying recipes with this tasty vegetable. This Southern Italian style dish is simple and satisfying on a chilly autumn night. Enjoy!
1 head cauliflower, cored, cut into florets
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 small onion, sliced
1 tablespoon pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 pound ziti pasta, cooked
Small pinch of red pepper flakes
¼ cup pitted black olives (I use Moroccan dry-cured but Kalamata are fine)
Large pinch of saffron, crumbled in 4 tablespoons hot water
Parmesan cheese, to taste
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the cauliflower and boil until half-cooked, about 10 minutes. Drain well.
In a large roasting pan, toss the cauliflower with the olive oil, onion and garlic. Roast, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until browned.
When the cauliflower is browned, remove from the oven and toss with the cooked pasta, red pepper flakes, olives, saffron water and cheese. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Additions: Capers, Anchovies, Roasted Tomatoes and Golden Raisins
“Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” - Mark Twain
This member of the cabbage family takes its name from the Latin words caulis, meaning stalk, and floris, meaning flower.
Cauliflower was first grown in North America in the late 1600s.
It is an excellent source of Vitamin C, a good source of folacin and a source of potassium.
Monday, September 27, 2004
Chai Spiced Mini Bundt Cakes
Chai tea is one of my favorites. I love how sweet and spicy it is. So when I saw this recipe in Gourmet Magazine last month, I really wanted to try it. I made a lot of changes and thought I would post what I did end up with, which was fantastic and got even better the next day. My version of this cake is more like a simple gingerbread than the original. I went with a friend to the Hollywood Bowl last night to see a concert and since they let you bring a picnic we went all out, and had an incredible cheese studded with truffles on sliced bread, watermelon gazpacho with baby shrimp, (perhaps the most delicious soup I have ever made. I was impressed with myself!) chanterelle mushroom and leek whole wheat quiche, mixed field greens with tangerine-savory dressing, cognac braised duck legs, wild rice with cranberries and pecans and this. It was a smash success. You do need a mini-bundt cake pan, which are about $30.00 and can be found at Sur La Table, though large muffin pans might work too. This will do double duty as my post for today, since it is also my fathers 72nd birthday and he has a sweet tooth like nobody else, ever. It's really cute. Happy Birthday to him --- and to you, enjoy!
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon each cinnamon, cardamom and ground ginger
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Five chai teabags steeped in 1 ½ cups hot water
1/4 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup honey
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup Crisco
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 2 nonstick mini Bundt pans (6 cakes per pan).
Sift flour, spices, sugar, baking soda, and salt into large bowl.
In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter, honey, molasses, Crisco, buttermilk and the eggs into tea to blend.
Stir chai mixture into flour mixture until just blended. Divide batter among prepared Bundt pans (about 1/2 cup per pan).
Bake cakes until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.
To keep, wrap in plastic and leave at room temperature.
Chai means tea in many languages. The word chai comes from
China, where it is called chà (pronounced as chah).
In India, chai is a spiced tea that is an example of Ayurveda, an ancient
system of holistic healing. Traditional Indian Chai combines black tea
that is boiled in milk and flavored with cinnamon, clove, cardamom,
and occasionally black pepper, ginger and chiles, and sweetened
with sugar. The health benefits in tea include polyphenols that aid
digestion; fluoride, a mineral that preventing tooth decay; and significant
amounts of vitamin C. Evidence also suggests that (green) tea may reduced
risk of some types of cancer. Seems like Ayurvedic healing was on to something!
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Halibut with Pumpkin Seed Crust
Pumpkin seeds are really versitle, taste great, are high in protien and low in carbs. You can bake with them, sprinkle them on salads, or use them in a simple dish like this. I made this last night with a charred corn and roasted bell pepper salad, wilted spinach and for dessert a Mexican chocolate creme brulee. The fish can also be grilled, if you still have your bbq out.
¾ cup coarsely ground toasted pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon smoked chili powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ cup plain bread crumbs (panko crumbs work best if you have them)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 halibut steaks, about 1/4 pound each
Mix together the first 6 ingredients. Rinse the fish under cold water and pat dry. Roll fish in the mixture to coat them completely. Cover and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add the filets and cook about 3 –4 minutes per side.
Makes 4 servings
There are only 10 days left to register to vote in most states.
You ARE registered, right? You WILL vote, right?
In California http://www.ss.ca.gov/elections/votereg1.html
New York http://www.vote.nyc.ny.us/index.jsp
Friday, September 24, 2004
Cod with Orange Cardamom Sauce
I must have still been thinking of curry when I made this dish, it comes out a beautiful color and is really delicious. If I were dressing it up, I would add orange segements as a garnish, but the wedges work well too. Try it and enjoy!
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 cups chicken stock
3 whole cardamom pods
1 shallot, minced
5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoons champagne vinegar
1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into pats
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
pinch of ground ginger
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 portions fresh cod (about 5 oz. each)
Lemon and orange wedges for garnish
In a medium-size saucepan, combine the juice with the chicken stock, cardamom pods, shallot and all but one tablespoon of the Champagne vinegar. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the mixture until only 1/4 cup remains, and it is a deep brown color, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
When the sauce is reduced, use a slotted spoon to remove the cardamom pods. Turn down the heat to very low and whisk in 2 or 3 pats of butter. Keep whisking in the butter, 1 or 2 chunks at a time, until the sauce begins to lighten in color and thicken. Add the turmeric, ginger and the remaining teaspoon of vinegar and whisk to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Season the cod with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in an ovenproof saute pan set over high heat, and sear the fish on each side until golden, about two minutes. Place the pan in the oven for 3 minutes, until the fish is cooked through.
Spoon the sauce over the fish and garnish with lemon and orange wedges.
When you purchase hard cider in the United States, it has less carbonation
then in other countries so brewers can avoid a "sparkling wine" tax.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Here is some information on the sugar substitute Splenda. From my standpoint, I am more concerned about how it works in baking than if you should put it in your coffee or not. The answer seems to be that its fine for drinks, but for baking you may want to avoid it.
Splenda is a no-calorie, no-carbohydrate sweetener whose sweetness doesn't change when it's heated. It can be used in cooking and baking and the manufacturer claims it is made from sucrose, a natural sugar.
How is that?
Chlorine is added to the sucrose, and a chemical reaction changes the sucrose molecule to replace some of the hydrogen-oxygen groups with chlorine. That prevents the body from metabolizing it in the same way as it does sugar. This also allows Splenda to state on the label that it's "made from sugar," suggesting that it's natural. Which it is not.
The addition of chlorine also has provoked critics to call it a chlorocarbon, sometimes found in pesticides.
Splenda is neither natural nor a pesticide. It's a new chemical. Studies have shown that it causes no immediate health problems, but most of these studies have been done by the manufacturer, and no one yet knows what long-term ingestion of large amounts might do over a lifetime.
Sweeteners substitute a non-nutritive food for one that has vitamins and other nutrients -- for example, a Splenda muffin might have the same number of carbs as an apple, but the apple is better for you.
But how does it taste? Well, it seems the sweetness seems block other flavors and linger in the mouth long -- even hours -- after the food is gone.
And in baking? Splenda brownies come out flat, dense as a board, incredibly dry and tasteless, but with a sweet aftertaste. It makes ice cream so hard it brakes into shards when scooped, and custard that looks like scrambled eggs. Overall it just doesn't perform as well, and it doesn't have the taste or the texture of sugar, and the trade-off in pleasure delivered by a sweet treat isn't worth it.
The most popular pizza topping in Australia is eggs.
In Chile the most popular topping is mussels and clams,
in the United States, pepperoni and
in Japan, squid.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
After making that Chicken Curry, I started thinking about what else I make with curry powder...and I make this simple noodle stir fry all the time; it’s fast and I always seem to have the ingredients on hand. You can switch the chicken for shrimp, scallops or duck if you like. Just adjust the cooking time. Have all of your ingredients ready by the wok, as this recipe is very quick. Interestingly this dish doesn't really exist in Singapore.
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 Tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or sherry)
2 tsp corn starch
1 lb Rice vermicelli noodles
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 Tablespoons curry powder
1 medium onion, sliced into half moons
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 cup broccoli florets
¼ cup sliced water chestnuts
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons red chile sauce, such as sambal oelek or red pepper flakes
2 green onions, chopped
2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup snow peas
Chopped peanuts and cilantro for garnish
In a bowl, mix together the first seven ingredients.
Submerge the rice noodles in enough lukewarm water to cover. Let soak until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain, and set aside.
Heat a wok over very high heat. When hot, add 2 tablespoons of the oil and swirl to cover the bottom. Add the the garlic and ginger and stir fry about 10 seconds. Add the curry powder, onion, carrot, broccoli, water chestnuts, red pepper and chile sauce. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, until the onions become translucent.
Add the chicken stir-frying for about 30 seconds. Pour in the sauce and bring to a boil. Stir the ingredients and shake the pan to keep everything moving, for about 3 minutes, until the chicken is cooked. Add the snow peas and green onion. Toss to combine. Continue cooking on high for about 2 minutes, occasionally tossing the ingredients, until everything is heated through.
Make a well in the bottom of the wok. Pour 1 tablespoon vegetable oil into center of the well. Add egg. Allow to set slightly, then scramble, and incorporate into the other ingredients.
Add soaked (drained) noodles to wok. Mix thoroughly to combine.
Immediatly transfer to a platter and garnish with cilantro and chopped peanuts.
Serves four to six
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - McDonald's lost a legal battle in Singapore Monday to stop a food company from
The fast-food company said Singapore-based Future Enterprises Pte Ltd. had copied McDonald's trademarks
when registering in 1995.
Lawyers for Future Enterprises had argued that "MacNoodles" bore no similarity to those of McDonald's.
The Singapore products are packaged withan eagle logo and distributed in supermarkets and convenience stores.
"There can be no likelihood of confusion or deception. The marks are different in appearance, sound and concept,"
said thecompany's lawyer, Tan Tee Jim.
Monday, September 20, 2004
Chicken Curry Salad
This weekend, I catered a small baby shower luncheon in Malibu. Nothing too fancy, just simple and elegant. Overall the party was lovely, and the guests seemed very pleased. They all asked for this recipe, which I had made specifically per the clients request, as I had never had it (or even heard of it!) before. Turns out, its pretty tasty. Enjoy!
4 skinless chicken breasts and thighs, poached, cooled and chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons curry powder
Pinch of turmeric (optional)
1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1/4 cup Major Grey's Chutney (or any other brand of mango chutney)
2 green onions, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup golden raisins (sultanas)
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 cup walnuts and red grapes for garnish
Combine the mayo, curry, ginger, chutney and onions in a large bowl. Adjust seasoning to your taste. Add the raisins, celery and chicken and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for two hours.
Garnish with walnuts and grapes and serve.
Serves four - six
Today is National Rum Punch Day.
My favorite rum is Pyrat XO Reserve - Planters Gold,
but I wouldn't put it in punch. For punch I would
recommend St. James Royal Amber.
There is a lot more to rum than Bacardi!
Check out www.rumshop.net for more info.
Friday, September 17, 2004
This is my favorite dip. Spread it on crackers, use it on sandwiches, add it to cold pasta, or toss in some mayo and use it as a crudite dip. Any which way, it is delicious. Just be aware, the garlic flavor will become more pronounced the longer it sits.
16-ounce can whole artichoke hearts drained
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup brine-cured green olives pitted and sliced (Israeli olives taste best in this recipe)
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
In a food processor or blender, purée the drained artichoke hearts with oil until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Add more oil if needed. Transfer purée to a bowl and stir in garlic paste, olives, and salt and pepper to taste.
Chill dip, covered, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
Just before serving, stir chopped parsley into dip.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Denmark has the highest per capita consumption of candy in the world at 29.5 pounds.
The University of California estimates that a healthy acre of prime land can grow 40,000 pounds of potatoes, or 250 pounds of beef.
In 1928, Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented a machine that could both slice and wrap bread, spawning the phrase “the greatest thing since sliced bread.”
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Lamb Chops With Guinness Beer
I love cooking with beer. Guinness especially. (Funny, because I don't actually like to drink the stuff.) Like wine, beer adds complexity to a dish. This recipe is simple, elegant and hearty. Try it and see. You can leave out the cream and butter for a lower fat dish.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 lamb chops
1 onion, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
1 cup Guinness beer
1 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Heat the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over high heat. Add lamb chops and sear, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the chops from the pan, (do not clean the pan) and place in an oven proof dish and cook at 400 (in the oven) until done to your preference, about 7 minutes for medium, 10 minutes for well-done. Remove from oven when done and allow to rest 4 minutes before saucing and serving.
Reduce the stove heat to low. Add the onion to to pan and saute until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the rosemary, beer, broth, mustard, heavy cream and sugar. Using a wooden spoon, make sure to scrape up the fond (brown bits cooked onto the pan) and incorporate into the sauce.
Turn up the heat to high and bring the sauce to a boil, whisking, until reduced by 2/3, about 10 to 12 minutes. You want the sauce to have a little body and thickness to it.
When sauce is reduced, add the butter and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Place 2 chops on each plate; spoon sauce on top.
Garnish with rosemary sprigs
Makes four servings
Looking for a recipe for seaweed pudding or stuffed fish heads? Visit
For those and more traditional Scottish (Isle of Lewis) recipes!
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Tonight at sundown, Rosh Hashana begins. Rosh Hashana is the Jewish New Year, and the first of the two High Holy days. There are many food traditions associated with this holiday, including the eating of round Challah, to symbolize a smooth new year, and eating apples and honey for sweetness. Here is a recipe for Carrot Soup to help you usher in the year 5765. L'Shana Tova!
6 tablespoons oil
1 cup thinly sliced leeks (white parts only)
8 cups (or more) chicken or vegetable stock
4 cups thinly sliced peeled carrots
1 16-ounce can canellini beans, drained
2 cups coarsely chopped peeled pear
2 teaspoons chopped fresh or dried rosemary
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the stock, carrots, beans and pear and bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
Purée soup in 2 batches in blender until smooth. Return to saucepan; mix in the rosemary.
Season soup with salt and pepper.
Martha Stewart said today she has decided to surrender for prison
as soon as possible, citing the need to ``put this nightmare behind me and get on with my life.''
The businesswoman was sentenced in July to five months in prison and five months of house
arrest after she was convicted of lying about a stock sale. The 63-year-old Stewart will do five
months in a federal prison -- likely getting out early next year -- followed by five months of house arrest.
``I must reclaim my good life,'' she said.
She ended her 10-minute appearance with a joke, saying she was walking through Manhattan
when a man spotted her and said, ``Oh, she's out already.''``I hope that my time goes as fast
as that,'' said Stewart, who grew weepy at the end. ``I'll see you next year.'' -- NYTimes.com
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Sweet and Hot Mixed Nuts
I love making these nuts for parties, but also just to have on hand for snacking. The recipe makes a large amount, so be aware. You can absolutely cut it in half if you want. The alternate method for these nuts is to just coat them with melted butter and then the spices and sugar and bake as directed. The coating will be different, but still tasty. Enjoy!
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crumbled
2 teaspoons coarse salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chile powder or a large pinch of cayenne
2 large egg whites
2 cups pecan halves
2 cups walnut halves and pieces
2 cups raw cashews
½ cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 250 F.
Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in center of oven.
Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with foil.
Stir first 5 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Whisk egg whites in large bowl until foamy. Whisk the spice mixture into the frothy egg whites. Add the nuts and toss to coat completely. Sprinkle sugar over and toss to coat.
Divide the nuts between the two baking sheets; spreading in a single layer. Bake until nuts are toasted and coating is dry, stirring every 20 minutes, about 45 minutes.
Sprinkle nuts with salt to taste, if desired. Transfer nuts to large bowl. Cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature. They will last about one week.
Get Excited! Today is the first day of the 113th annual
McClure Bean Soup Celebration in McClure, Pennsyvania
Monday, September 13, 2004
Lavender Scented Lemon Syllabub
Keeping up with my recent sweets theme, here is an updated version of the classic British syllabub, which is a thick, creamy dessert. It is very similar to sabayon, but much easier to make.
The funny sounding name originated during Elizabethan times and is a combination of the words Sille (a French wine that was in the original recipe) and bub (Old-English slang for "bubbling drink"). It is outrageously delicious on its own or served over fresh fruit or poundcake.
You can skip steeping the herbs in the cream if you want to make this dish in less than ten minutes. Just omit the herbs and honey and start from “…whip the cream…”
1 ½ cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dried lavender (Lemon-thyme or rosemary would also be perfect here)
2 large lemons, zest and juice
8 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
8 tablespoons lemon curd (available in most markets in the Jelly/Jam section)
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
4 sprigs fresh lavender, to garnish
In a small saucepan over low heat, gently warm the cream, honey and lavender for no more than five minutes. You do not want the cream to simmer or boil. Remove from heat, stir and let steep for another five minutes. Strain and cool completely.
When cold, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.
In a large bowl using a hand held mixer, beat the lemon zest and juice, mascarpone, lemon curd and sugar together until smooth.
Fold the whipped cream into the mixture until thoroughly combined.
Spoon into individual dessert glasses and decorate each with a sprig of lavender.
Serves four to six
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Lemony Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 1/2 cups cake flour (must use cake flour, all purpose will make tough cupcakes)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) plus two tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Line 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
Whisk eggs, vanilla, and lemon peel in medium bowl to blend. Mix cake flour, baking powder, and salt in another medium bowl.
Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Gradually beat in egg mixture. Beat in dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions each.
Divide batter among cups. Bake until tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan on rack 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely.
Traditional Buttercream Frosting: (From The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft
8 cups confectioners sugar
½ cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add four cups of the sugar, and then the milk and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time until the frosting is thick enough to spread (you may not use all of the sugar).
If desired add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly.
Use and store at room temperature. Frosting will set if chilled. Can be stored in an air tight container for up to three days.
Recent research suggests that up to 90 percent of the calcium
in some fortified soy and rice milks may remain in the container
as sludge, even after shaking.
SOURCE: Prevention magazine September 2004
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Big Apple Muffins
According to a website I was just looking at, "The apple muffin shall be the official muffin of the state of New York." Apples are also the state fruit. Milk is the official state beverage, which would be a great accompaniment to this recipe:
1 large egg
1/4 cup crisco, melted
4 tablespoons applesauce
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 cups apples, peeled and chopped
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a large bowl, combine egg, melted shortening, applesauce and the brown and white sugar, stirring well. Add chopped apples and mix well.
In smaller bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Add to the egg mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Spoon into greased muffin tins, filling two-thirds full.
Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle over the muffins. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Makes 1 dozen muffins
Today is the Eleventh of September. I am thinking (as are most Americans) about New York and Washington D.C. today. There is a lot I could say about that, but instead I will assume you feel the same way and just provide this link to The Friendship Cup, raising money for some of the families affected by the tragedies of this day. I chose this charity because Ted Maloney and I went to high school together. http://thefriendshipcup.com/
I also thought this was worth including. It is a quote from an article in the SF Chronicle about the lessons teachers plan about Sept 11th. "Later, Gwendolyn Samson, 15, said she found the lesson valuable because she hadn't known that Iraq was not responsible for Sept. 11. " Somebody please find little Gwendolyns parents and look at them with disbelief. Thanks.
Friday, September 10, 2004
Mexican Seviche with Cumin-Chili Chips
It is still really warm here in Los Angeles, so I thought I would make ceviche. As with most traditional dishes, there are thousands of possible variations, but for me, simple works best. Why re-invent the wheel, right? Do try to find Mexican limes if you can, if not, regular limes will do. This recipe makes four generous servings. Seviche, sadly, does not hold well, so it is best to eat the day it is made . Enjoy!
2 pounds highest quality mixed cubed white fish,
squid, bay scallops, and de-shelled shrimp: RAW
4 red jalapeno chilies cut into rings (more if you like)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro minced
1 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 cups Mexican lime juice
zest of two limes
¼ cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 avocado, diced
1 English cucumber, peeled and diced
Combine everything except the avocado and cucumber, in a large non-reactive bowl and allow to marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for two hours. In this time, the seafood should turn opaque (the acid in the lime juice will have chemically “cooked” it).
When the fish is cooked, add the avocado and cucumber and serve on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce, in martini glasses. (If you have them!)
Traditionally seviche is served with popcorn and corn nuts, I like these baked tortilla chips as a garnish:
2 (10-inch) flour tortillas
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 coarse kosher salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Brush each flour tortilla on one side with lime juice. In a small bowl mix chili powder, cumin, and coarse salt; sprinkle mixture over lime moistened side of tortillas (may not use all of mixture - use to taste).
Cut tortillas into quarters or eights; arrange in a single layer, seasoning side up, on a baking sheet.
Bake approximately 10 minutes or until chips are crisp and lightly browned.
Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Cold Pea Soup with Buttermilk
It was 101 degrees yesterday in the Hollywood Hills. (That's about 36 for you Celsius people) Much too hot to eat a big dinner, so I pureed a batch of this cold soup. You can substitute any herb you like for the mint, if that isn't to your taste, and if you are feeling really wild, add some butterleaf, romaine or bibb lettuce leaves to the peas when you are cooking them. I cooked the peas and broth in the microwave. I just couldn't bring myself to turn on the stove.
1 box frozen petite pois peas
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
4 tablespoons mint leaves
1 cup buttermilk
Salt and white pepper to taste
Garnish: Sour cream and mint leaves
Simmer the peas and broth for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Remove and reserve some of the peas to use as garnish.
In a blender, add the peas and broth, mint and buttermilk and puree until very smooth. Add more or less liquid to reach your desired consistency. Strain if you want the soup even smoother. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Refrigerate until cold. Serve with additional peas, a dollop of sour cream and a mint sprig.
The Microwave was invented after a researcher
walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar
melted in his pocket.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Simple Salad: Greens and Chickpeas
It has been really warm here the last few days -- perfect weather for a simple, crisp salad
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
4 tablespoons best quality olive oil
salt and pepper
4 cups butterleaf lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
1 cup mixed herbs (tarragon, basil, oregano and chervil would all be good), leaves only
3 large carrots, shaved into long strips with a peeler
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, and a pinch of salt.
Toss remaining ingredients with vinaigrette; season with salt and pepper.
Saturday, September 04, 2004
I love cooking with edible flowers. Here is a quick and easy drink made with dried Hibiscus, a great source of vitamin C, that is available at most health food stores, and -- much less expensively--at Latino markets, where it is sometimes called Jamaica.
4 green tea bags (I use two regular and two decaffeinated)
1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers
Zest of one large orange
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
5 tablespoons sweetener (I use sugar. Honey or whatever else you like works fine too)
1 quart water
Combine all in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and allow to steep for four minutes. Strain, chill and enjoy.
Green tea has been shown in studies to reduce the likelihood of breast cancer in women.
The intention of this blog is to share recipes I am developing with everyone, so you can try them and enjoy them. This blog is not really much about my life, or thoughts or politics. But sometimes, life and thoughts and politics need to be addressed. In that light, here is a link to an article that I read today that really had an impact on me. It calmed me down for a few minutes, and helped me reflect on all the good in the world. Food nourishes our bodies, life nourishes our souls. I'm off to my yoga class...
Friday, September 03, 2004
This is a great drink to serve your friends and keep cool and mellow over this hot weekend. If you are planning a BBQ, this would be a great addtition, along with our Asian Coleslaw, Guacamole and Jamaican Burgers. Have a fun and safe holiday weekend!
Zest of 3 large juice oranges
Juice squeezed from the same oranges, strained
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup best quality bourbon
Juice of one small lemon
1 bottle cold, dry sparkling wine
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the orange zest, sugar and water. Bring to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occastionally. Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool.
Strain the cooled syrup into a large pitcher and add the bourbon, orange juice and lemon juice.
Refrigerate until cold. Then pour in sparkling wine.
Enjoy in champagne flutes garnished with an orange slice.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
Watermelon Soup with Crab
I made this soup last night, and let me tell you, it was Fan-Tas-Tic-Outta-sight-Dee-lish-us!! Trust me on this one, you will LOVE it! I left out the cilantro and used mint instead, try it with either...another thing I did which is a touch complicated to explain is that I did half the recipe with yellow melon and half with pink, then I poured it in the bowl with two ladles simultaneously and made a sort of ying-yang pattern. If that makes sense, and you can find yellow watermelon, give it a whirl...
6 cups coarsely chopped, seeded watermelon (without the rind)
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small Thai red chile finely chopped (with seeds)
Juice and zest of one large lime
Salt (Sea salt, if you have it)
2 cups lump crabmeat
¼ cup finely minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Garnish with lime wedges and black sesame seeds
Purée watermelon in a blender until smooth and transfer to a bowl.
In a 2-quart heavy saucepan cook the shallot, ginger, and garlic in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until pale golden, about 4 minutes. Add about one third of watermelon purée and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, 4 minutes.
Remove watermelon mixture from heat, then in two batches, transfer to blender along with chile, lime juice and zest, and salt and blend until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids, never fill the blender more than half way).
Add remaining watermelon purée as another batch and blend briefly. Combine all and season soup with more chile, lime juice, and salt as desired, blending more if necessary.
Pour soup through a sieve into a bowl, pressing on and then discarding any solids. This step can be skipped, but I don't think you should, it makes it so much more elegant.
Chill soup, uncovered, about 2 hours.
To prepare the crabmeat simply toss it with the cilantro, oil, and salt.
Divide crab among 4 soup plates, mounding in center, and pour chilled soup around it.
Soup can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Cover after 2 hours of chilling.
Watermelon is really a vegetable. Cousin to the
cucumber and kin to the gourd, watermelons
can range in size from 7 to 100 pounds.
The world record for the largest watermelon
is 255 pounds, grown by Vernon Conrad of Oklahoma.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Ban on imported caviar imposed by UN
There are twenty nine species and subspecies of sturgeon and almost all of them are threatened or endangered. Many are nearing extinction. Why? Caviar. A once abundant food stuff that has become a coveted status symbol. (And is really delicious to eat!)
Caviar is technically the unfertilized eggs of female sturgeons. Beluga Sturgeon, for instance, the grande dame of these fish, can reach a length of 20 feet, a weight of almost 2 and a half tons and live for 150 years. One Beluga female may produce up to 12 per cent of her body weight in caviar. But with the high cost of caviar, there are less and less of these fish in the world, and we need to work to preserve them.
The Caspian Sea, the world's largest inland water body, is the center of an increasingly lawless sturgeon catch and caviar trade, one characterized by poaching, illegal production and smuggling on a massive scale, predominantly by Russians. (Please refer to current economic conditions of Russia before passing judgment.)
Even though Iran, one of the countries bordering the Caspian is doing a great job protecting the species, their neighbors, the Russians, are not. So, in an effort to save the species, yesterday, The United Nations agency that controls trade in endangered species announced they have halted exports of caviar until all of the countries where it is produced comply with an agreement to protect sturgeon.
So like in the days leading up to Prohibition, enjoy your Beluga, Sevruga and Osetra caviar while you can! (Or start to appreciated California farmed caviar, an environmentally positive alternative) The ban goes into effect in January 2005. Hopefully the ban will help raise levels of this great fish, and prevent extinction.
The shelf life of caviar is about 18 months, so if you still want to try some, contact www.paramountcaviar.com, an excellent (law-abiding) purveyor of Iranian caviar, and then eat.
Caviar is best served simply, very cold, and preferably in a non-metallic bowl nested inside a larger bowl filled with ice. (Silver and metal bowls and utensils should be avoided due to oxidation, which may impart a metallic taste to the caviar.) with toast points or bland, unsalted crackers. Nothing should interfere with the flavor, but if you must, common accompaniments include lemon wedges, sour cream, créme frâiche, hard-cooked egg (yolks and whites chopped separately), and minced onion. Follow each bite with a sigh and a sip of ice-cold vodka or champagne. Enjoy until you are satiated, until you are broke (Quality caviar runs about $100 an oz.) or until the ban goes into effect.