This week's recipe is another delectable dessert option from The Perfect Finish, by Bill Yosses, a cook "so skilled at making divine desserts that he crosses party lines with impunity," [Read our full review here]. If you are looking to run for office, you could definitely get a few votes with this sinfully rich pudding.
Special Equipment: Sifter, food processor, 8 (6-ounce) ramekins or teacups, ?or a large decorative bowl
Softly whipped cream, for serving
About ½ pound bittersweet chocolate for curls
1. Sift the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper. Place the egg and yolks in a bowl, sprinkle the sugar mixture over them, and whisk to combine. Add a few tablespoons of milk to soften the mixture.
2. In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse the chocolate until it is finely chopped.
3. Over medium heat, bring the milk and vanilla bean seeds or vanilla extract to a boil. Whisking constantly, gradually pour the hot milk over the egg mixture. Return this liquid to the saucepan, continuing to whisk constantly, and cook over low heat, stirring, until the mixture has thickened and just begun to bubble, about 5 minutes (one visible bubble is sufficient!).
4. Immediately pour this custard into the food processor with the chocolate, add the butter, and run until smooth, about 1 minute.
5. Pour the pudding into eight 6-ounce ramekins or teacups, or one large decorative bowl. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to 2 days, and serve with whipped cream or chocolate curls.
Reprinted from The Perfect Finish by Bill Yossas (c) 2010. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
This week's recipe comes from our cookbook of the month, the deliciously titled In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite (Hyperion) by Melissa Clark. Sybil Pratt says "the stories that preface each recipe and chapter burble with her love of food, culinary improv and the memories that a dish conjures up"—and I can see plenty of memories being made over plates of the delectable dish described below. Dig in!
8 strips bacon (8 ounces), halved
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 chicken legs, drumsticks and thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
11 or 12 figs, halved or quartered if large
12 thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons vermouth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1. Preheat the oven to 500°F. In a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate to drain, but don’t drain the fat from the skillet. Add the garlic to the skillet and sauté for 1 minute or so, until the slices are pale golden. Transfer them to the plate along with the bacon.
2. Rinse the chicken legs and pat them dry with a paper towel. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. Raise the heat under the skillet to medium-high until the fat begins to smoke, and cook the chicken until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip the chicken and brown the other side, about 3 minutes.
3. Scatter the figs and thyme over the chicken and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, and stir the vermouth and lemon juice into the skillet, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom (be careful when touching the skillet handle; it will be hot). Place the skillet over medium heat until the juices thicken, about 3 minutes. Pour the juices over the chicken, garnish with the bacon and garlic, and serve.
Recipe from IN THE KITCHEN WITH A GOOD APPETITE by Melissa Clark, published September 7, 2010 by Hyperion. Copyright © 2010. All Rights Reserved. Available wherever books are sold. Photo credit Matthew Benson.
Eat like a president with this delicious dessert recipe from The Perfect Finish (Norton), a new cookbook by White House Pastry Chef Bill Yossas. In her review, Sybil Pratt says that each of these desserts "deserves your full attention" and I think you'll agree once you read the following. Bon appetit!
An adaptation of the tender, very buttery little almond flour cakes called financiers, this is a dessert I learned to make while working at Au Vieux Four, an old wood-fired bakery in Tours, France. The owner, a ninth-generation baker named Jacques Mahou, who mentored me, primarily made bread, but he had a little sideline of super desserts, including this one. It’s very much the type of straightforward, quickly mixed dessert a French bread maker bakes along with the bread. Before serving, it is garnished with fresh fruit, which makes this very transportable dessert colorful and light at any time of year. Replace the raspberries used here with seasonal fruits in the spring, summer, and fall, or with imported tropical fruits in the winter.
Chef’s Note: It’s always a good idea to bring materials for touch-ups, such as extra confectioners’ sugar to sprinkle over a travel-worn cake such as this one.
Special Equipment: Food processor (if using ground almonds), ?9-inch springform pan, cake tester, sifter
Get ready for a refreshing, relaxing recipe this week from our cookbook of the month, Rick Bayless' Fiesta at Rick's [read our full review here]. These watermelon mojitos are perfect for your weekend barbeque.
Set out eight tall 12-ounce glasses. Put the leaves stripped off a single sprig of mint into each glass—you’ll need about 10 leaves for each drink—and top with 1/2 cup watermelon cubes. Divide the Simple Syrup among the glasses (1 tablespoon per glass). Use a muddler (or the handle of a wooden spoon or a long-handle ice tea spoon—though neither is anywhere near as effective) to crush the mint and watermelon, releasing their flavor into the syrup—the more muddling, the fuller the flavors. Fill each glass with ice. Measure in the rum (2 ounces per glass) and the lime juice (1 tablespoon per glass). Use a long-handle ice tea spoon to mix everything together. Top off each glass with a little sparkling water or soda and you’re ready to serve.
"Rick Bayless is the undisputed Big Enchilada of Mexican cooking north of the border," says Sybil Pratt in her review of Fiesta at Rick's (our August Cookbook of the month). Now you can be the judge: prepare this cool, delicious end-of-summer appetizer.
One of my summer favorites: two tropical flavors—creamy avocados and juicy, fragrant mangos—with the sweet crunch of red onion and just enough sparkly lime and cilantro. Other than procuring ripe avocados and mango, there’s almost nothing to this preparation.
Cut around each avocado from stem to blossom end and back up again, then twist the halves apart. Dislodge the pit. Scoop the avocado flesh into a large bowl. Coarsely mash the avocado with a large fork or potato masher. Scoop the onion into a small strainer and rinse under cold water. Shake off the excess water and mix into the avocado along with serrano, cilantro, lime juice and 2/3 of the diced mango. Taste and season with salt, usually about 3?4 teaspoon. If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the guacamole and refrigerate—best if served within a couple of hours.
When you’re ready to serve, scoop the guacamole into a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining diced mango and a few cilantro leaves if you’re so inclined. Serve with tortilla chips or slices of cucumber or jícama.
Reprinted from Fiesta at Rick's by Rick Bayless (c) 2010. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Eating well is taken seriously by Commissario Brunetti, hero of Donna Leon's popular mystery series set in Venice. His wife, Paola, concocts meals for Brunetti in every book, and "these succulent lunches and dinners have become so central to the series that fans have been clamoring for the recipes," says cooking columnist Sybil Pratt. With the publication of Brunetti's Cookbook, they now have them, and today we're sharing one with you. Read on for a delicious and easy pasta dish full of Italian flavor.
Penne Rigate with Tomatoes, Bacon, Onions and Chilli
Penne rigate con pomodoro, pancetta, cipolla, peperoncino
10 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 fresh chillies, cut into small pieces
4 cups ripe tomatoes, chopped
3½ fl oz dry white wine
12oz penne rigate
5 slices mild bacon, diced
1 bay leaf
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan or casserole and add the onion, 1sprig of rosemary, a pinch of salt, the chillies, and a little water. Cook gently until the onion becomes transparent, gradually adding the tomatoes and wine to make a thick, smooth sauce. Adjust the seasoning with salt.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water and drain.
Meanwhile put the diced bacon, the second sprig of rosemary and the bay leaf into a small pan and cook over a low heat until the bacon is crisp. Drain the pasta and toss gently with the sauce and bacon, then sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve.
Recipe from Brunetti's Cookbook by Roberta Pianaro and Donna Leon, copyright 2010; used with permission of Grove/Atlantic Publishers. All rights reserved.
This week's recipe comes from Emeril Lagasse's Farm to Fork (HarperStudio). Our cooking columnist Sybil Pratt considered it one of the top August cookbooks, saying that Lagasse's 150+ recipes for fresh, fun food "make this a really worthwhile new source."
If you want to preserve the fresh fruit of summer but don’t feel like standing over a hot stove and sterilizing jars, this quick, fool-proof method is for you. Just make sure that you follow the directions as outlined below and measure fruit and sugar exactly to ensure a good set on the jam.
Combine the peaches and sugar in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sugar should be nearly dissolved.
In a separate bowl combine the pectin and lemon juice.
Stir the pectin mixture into the peach-sugar mixture and stir constantly until the sugar is no longer grainy and is nearly completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add the almond extract and the vanilla bean seeds and stir to combine. Spoon the jam into clean ½-pint or pint-size jars. Place one piece of vanilla bean inside of each jar. Cover the jars and let stand at room temperature until jam is set, up to 24 hours. Place the jam in the freezer and use as needed. Freezer jam should be consumed within 1 year. Jam may also be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Recipe provided courtesy of HarperStudio, publishers of Emeril Lagasse's Farm to Fork (2010).
This week's recipe comes courtesy of Steven Raichlen, grilling guru extraordinaire and author of Planet Barbecue! (Workman), July's Cookbook of the Month. This perfect summer dinner is so delicious, and Raichlen's headnotes are so mouthwatering, that I'm just going to let you get to it. Novice griller? Don't miss these top tips from Raichlen himself.
Travel the world’s barbecue trail and you’ll find lots of grilled chicken. What you won’t find outside of North America is a lot of grilled skinless, boneless chicken breasts. The reason is simple: The breast contains less fat and flavor than dark meat. It’s also more expensive and more likely to dry out on the grill. So when I found these chicken breasts, fragrant with curry and lemongrass, sizzling hot off the grill, at the night market in the French-Colonial town of Luang Prabang in northern Laos, I knew I had tasted a rarity—a chicken dish that would play equally well to health-conscious, convenience-loving North America and flavor-addicted Southeast Asia. In Laos, the chicken would be grilled on a split stick over a charcoal-filled clay brazier. Here’s how to do it on a grill with a conventional grate. The lemongrass, curry, and cilantro speak loudly enough for themselves.
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise, or 3 strips lemon zest
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or dill
1½ teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea)
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus 1 tablespoon for basting
4 skinless, boneless half chicken breasts (each about 6 ounces, 1½ pounds in all)
Lime wedges, for serving
Place the lemongrass, garlic, cilantro, curry powder, salt, sugar, and pepper in a heavy mortar and pound to a paste with a pestle. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, finely chop these ingredients in a food processor. Gradually work in the 2 tablespoons
Rinse the chicken breasts under cold running water, then blot them dry with paper towels. Arrange the chicken breasts in a baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Spread the lemongrass marinade over the chicken breasts, turning to coat both sides. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 1 hour or as long as 4 hours; the longer it marinates, the richer the flavor will be.
Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high.
When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Drain the chicken breasts and arrange them on the hot grate at a diagonal to the bars. Grill the chicken breasts until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side, giving each breast a quarter turn on each side after 1A minutes to create a handsome crosshatch of grill marks. After 3 minutes, start basting the chicken breasts with the 1 tablespoon of oil as they grill to keep them moist, taking care not to touch raw chicken with the basting brush.
Transfer the grilled chicken breasts to a platter or plates and serve them with the lime wedges.
Where: Luang Prabang in northern Laos
What: Chicken breasts marinated in a fragrant paste of lemongrass, garlic, and curry, grilled until crusty and golden
How: Direct grilling
Just the facts: Pounding the marinade ingredients in a large heavy mortar with a pestle will give you a richer flavor than pureeing them in a food processor; however, you can certainly use a processor.
Summer squash comes in all shapes and sizes, and this recipe from Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce (Wiley) by Cathy Thomas is a "handy reference" when it comes to using it up.
Olives make a great garnish for this colorful salad. Their salty brininess adds an appealing contrast. Olives with their pits still in place taste better than pitted, but if using the unpitted beauties, be sure to put them off to the side rather than atop each serving so guests have a better visual clue that they aren’t pitted.
8 ounces orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
2 medium yellow crookneck squash, trimmed, diced
2 medium zucchini, trimmed, diced
1/2 large red onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Minced zest of 1 lemon (colored portion of peel)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
4 cups baby spinach or mixed baby greens
1 ounce salami, cut into 1/8-inch dice (see Meatless Tip)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Garnish: 1/2 cup unpitted olives, such as kalamata or Niçoise
Optional garnish: microgreens
Bring large pot of salted water to boil on high heat. Add orzo and cook according to package directions until al dente (tender but with a little bite). Drain, refresh with cold water. Drain and toss with 1 teaspoon oil. Set aside.
Place zucchini, crookneck squash, onion, bell pepper, and tomatoes in large bowl. Gently toss. In small bowl or glass measuring cup with handle, combine zest, juice, 3 tablespoons oil, salt, black pepper to taste, and parsley. Stir to thoroughly combine. Pour on vegetables and toss. Add orzo and toss. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Divide spinach between 6 small plates. Top with vegetable-orzo mixture. Sprinkle each serving with diced salami and crumble cheese on top. Place a small pile of olives off to the side of each salad. If desired, scatter some microgreens (tiny immature greens) on top of salad.
Meatless Tip: Omit salami. If desired, use 1 cup pitted olives in the salad instead of 1/2 cup as a garnish.
Nutritional information (per serving without salami): Calories 310, fat calories 120; total fat 13 grams, sat fat 4 grams, cholesterol 15 milligrams; sodium 1100 milligrams; total carbohydrates 39 grams, fiber 4 grams, sugars 7 grams; protein 11 grams; vitamin A IUs 45%; vitamin C 120%; calcium 10%; iron 15%.
From Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce by Cathy Thomas; reprinted with permission from Wiley Publishing.
Summer is in full swing, and this means my CSA share is full of delicious tomatoes. So I'm especially happy to share this recipe from Mario Batali's Molto Gusto, one of our favorite July cookbooks. It's full of "go-to recipes for creating your own incredibly inviting “pro-planet” meals," says cooking columnist Sybil Pratt. Try for yourself!
10 ounces fresh mozzarella
1 ½ pounds assorted ripe tomatoes (choose a combination of colors, types, and size), such as Brandywine, purple Cherokee, cherry, pear, peach, and/or Green Zebra)
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small bunch basil (Genovese, lemon, Thai, or fino verde), leaves removed, or about 1 cup mixed fresh basil leaves
Maldon or other flaky sea salt
If using cherry or grape tomatoes, cut them half; reserve the juices. Core the remaining tomatoes and slice them, reserving the juices. Arrange the tomatoes on the cheese.
Whisk the vinegar, reserved tomato juices, any liquid from the mozzarella, and the olive oil together in a small bowl.
Tear the basil leaves over the salad. Pour the vinaigrette over it, sprinkle with salt, and serve.