Even though summer has officially ended, we are still in that transitory phase where it’s warm and yes, still pleasant. I actually prefer this phase because grilling is much more fun. So, a few weekends ago, we invited a few of our close friends over for dinner. There was champagne, there was wine, there were lots of fresh tomatoes from my garden and there were grilled lamb chops from American Lamb Board.Read More
I've been very accident prone for the past few weeks. First, I had a bad cold and then I fell into a bush and managed to sprain the tendons on one leg and smash the other on to a rock. Except for the sprain and my ego, nothing was fractured or damaged. And I am so thankful for that as I'm in the last few weeks of working on my book manuscript before I submit it. Gah, all these things are happening now when I really don't need it.
Meyer lemons are not exactly in season right now but the blooms are and every where you walk in Oakland, you can pick up the sweet scent of these gorgeous flowers so I tried to do something different. I've been reading Diana Henry's Salt, Sugar and Smoke and she's got me curious about smoking everything. [This is also one of my favorite books by Diana and it also made me fall in love with everything she writes.] Then I came across this Meyer lemon ice cream basic recipe from other favorite chef, Lindsey Shere's Chez Panisse Desserts and this smoked lemon ice cream was born.
To get the most out of the burning and smoking, I charred the lemons first while smoking them and then stuck them directly into the hot wood chips. The rest of the flavors involve steeping and infusion into the hot milk and cream. Ahh, yes, the Tellicherry peppercorns. I didn't forget about them. They not really there to make things spicy but rather to give a mild hint of the essentials oils inside the peppercorns. Just crack them once gently, don't try to pound them again and again and if all of them don't crack it's okay. You're looking for a very mild flavor.
Off I got to avoid future mishaps and back to writing. Have a lovely week.
smoked meyer lemon ice cream with tellicherry black pepper
[ice cream base adapted from the Chez Panisse Desserts cookbook by Lindsey Shere]
Makes about 1 2/3 quarts
1 cup wood chips /saw dust for smoking [I used cherry wood]
3 Meyer lemons [about 3/4 lb]
zest of 2 Meyer lemons
1 cup [120g] sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
3 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 Tbsp Tellicherry black peppercorns
6 egg yolks
Fill a small aluminum pan with the wood chips or saw dust. Place it on a hot grill, cover and set the heat to high. Slice the lemons in half and place them cut side on the hot grates and cover for about 8 to 12 minutes until the surface starts to char. Remove and flip them and place them cut side up in the pan containing the wood chips. Cover and allow to smoke for another 6 minutes. Remove the lemons from the grill and extract the juice. Strain the juice and zest two of the lemons. Keep aside.
Add the smoked and fresh lemon zest to a medium-size non-reactive saucepan. Add the milk and 1/4 cup heavy cream along with the sugar. Gently crack the peppercorns once and add them to the milk in a tea ball infuser. Heat the mixture on medium-high till it just starts to boil. Remove from the heat and then let it steep covered for about 10 to 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk the yolks and add then whisk in 1/4 cup of the warm steeped milk to temper. Transfer the yolk mixture to the saucepan and cook on medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove the tea ball infuser with the peppercorns and discard the peppercorns. Let this mixture stand for another 10 minutes. Then whisk the remaining cream and 9 to 10 Tbsp of the extracted lemon juice. Taste and adjust with more lemon juice if needed. Chill completely before adding to your ice cream maker and proceed as per the manufacturer's instructions. Store the prepared ice cream in the freezer.
[Note: Avoid adding too much lemon juice or you might end up with an ice cream that's too hard, if that happens let it sit out for 5 to 6 minutes before serving]
I think potlucks were one of the kindest things invented by man. There are times when I love to cook large batches and several different things for people but I also have moments when I want to cook one thing for everyone. Santa Claus and potlucks have a lot in common except for one little thing, one works year round while the other is on call in December but they both bring us lot of gifts of different kinds to taste and eat. Choices, choices and more!
This week, I'm really happy and excited to share this recipe from Kristin Donnelly's new cookbook Modern Potluck Kristin's book gives a breath of fresh air to the traditional potluck and she has recipes that will leave your group of family and friends very happy. There are a lot of fun recipes for everyone and she even has a lot of suggestions on how to plan ahead of time for a potluck.
Also, my lovely friend Yossy of Apt.2B Baking Co. shot all the pretty photos in the book!!!
Kristin is also giving away 5 copies of her lovely book and in addition, one lucky winner will also get a set of baking tools from Baker's Secret. All you need to do is leave a comment below and tell me what's your favorite potluck dish! The giveaway is open to legal US residents only due to shipping reasons and I will pick the 5 winners after 48 hours. Good luck!!!
Update: This giveaway has ended, the winners chosen at random are Diane Salfi (who also wins the bakeware set), Geetha R, Ellen, Tiffani Colson and P.G. Rabon . Please send me an email so I can have your gifts sent to you. Congratulations!
Here are some of my tips that you might find useful when preparing this pie;
- I use fresh rosemary in the pie filling. Thyme and lemon thyme are also great herbs to add to this instead of rosemary.
- If you take this to a potluck, Kristin suggests making the pastry ahead of time and even rolling it out the night before. The baked pie will keep at room temperature for 2 days and refrigerated for 3 days.
- Another great tip from Kristin, leftovers can be cut and easily frozen and wrapped with clingfilm and then thawed on the counter. I personally, like this warm, so I reheated the pie in the microwave for a few seconds.
peach, blueberry and rose slab pie with sweet almond crust (from Modern Potluck by Kristin Donnelly)
yields: one 10 X 15 inch pie
for the crust
1 cup ice water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
4 cups (500gm) all-purpose flour
1 cup (96gm) almond meal flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 cups (4 sticks/453.6gm) unsalted butter cut into small pieces
for the pie
6 small to medium peaches, pitted and chopped (about 6 cups)
2 cups blueberries
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves (I used fresh)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 tablespoon kosher salt
all-purpose flour for dusting
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar or granulated sugar
1. Prepare the dough: In a liquid measuring cup, combine the water with the vinegar. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour with the almond meal, sugar and salt. Add the butter and use a pastry blender or your fingers to work it into the flour until most of it is the size of peas, with a few larger chunks remaining. Mix in the vinegar mixture, by tablespoon, until the dough just starts to hold together with a few dry spots remaining (this will happen at about 12 to 16 tablespoons of water). Transfer half of the dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap and gently knead to bring in any ragged edges. Pat the dough into a rectangle, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. Repeat with remaining dough.
2. Assemble and bake the pie: Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator and roll it out between 2 floured sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper until you have an 18X13 inch rectangle. If the dough starts to feel too soft as you're rolling, refrigerate it for 15 to 20 minutes until it forms up again. Fit the dough into a 15X10 inch baking sheet (also known as a jelly roll pan), leaving any excess intact, and refrigerate.
In a bowl, toss the peaches with the blueberries, rosemary, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt.
Roll out the second piece of dough into 16X11 inch rectangle. Spread the filling out in the crust-lined pan. Drape the second piece of dough on top of the filling. Roll and pinch the excess crust inward to create an edge around the pan. Use a sharp knife to cut vents all over the top crust. Refrigerate the assembled pie for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the bottom of the oven and another in the center. Preheat the oven to 425F. Brush the top pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Bake the pie on the bottom rack of the oven for about 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375F and move the pie to the center rack. Bake for 30 to 35 more minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the juices are bubbling. Let the pie cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before serving.
Growing up in a Goan family (well one half to be technically exact), you learn to love and appreciate se food. That’s one of the advantages of living on the coast where fishing is a huge part of the economy. We ate more seafood than meat growing up and I still try to keep that trend alive since we have so many good local options to use in the Bay Area (I do wish we had good lobster options). My dream is to one day go on a fishing boat and watch the fishermen grab their catch from the blue sparkling waters in the sun. That would be an amazing dream become reality but till then I will settle for cooking in my kitchen. You will love this broth if you love clams and mussels because it goes great with either of them!
As part of my series in partnership with Pernod Classic, I’m sharing one of my favorite sea food dishes for my second recipe, a rich and flavorful clam broth that’s infused with ginger and turmeric root, the nutty scent of ghee and the subtle aromatic herbs in Pernod. This is one of those broths that needs to be sopped up with a lot of good toasty bread. So keep a good one on hand that’s ready to be toasted!
I usually serve this with halves of sourdough baguette that’s been brushed with olive oil and toasted in the oven. Ginger and turmeric give this broth a bold flavor and a bright saffron orange tinge, while the Pernod adds a gentle sweetness and a hint of salt. I also added a whole lemon and whole spices to flavor the broth without making it too spicy but you can bump the heat level by adding more chili flakes.
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this broth,
- You can easily substitute mussels for clams in this broth recipe.
- Stick with fresh younger turmeric and ginger root for a more flavorful and colorful broth.
- Use fresh and good quality clams in this recipe, you need to scrub the sand and grit off the shells in cold running tap water with a small brush.
- I’ve added a whole lemon here and cooked it without squeezing. The heat allows to extract the essential oils in the skin of the fruit while also breaking down the pulp to release the citric acid.
clam broth with ginger and turmeric root
yields: 2 servings
1 tablespoon ghee
2 inch piece turmeric root, peeled and julienned
2 inch piece ginger root, peeled and julienned
1/4 cup white onion, minced
5 whole cloves
10 whole peppercorns
1 large lemon, quartered
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups chicken broth, low-sodium
2 cups white wine
2 lbs clams, washed and cleaned for any sand/grit
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup Pernod Classic
1 tablespoon fresh whole cilantro leaves for garnish
1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
- Heat the ghee in a large thick-bottomed stockpot on medium-high heat. When the ghee is melted and hot, add the turmeric, ginger, onion, cloves and peppercorn and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until the onions start to get translucent.
- Add the lemon quarters and salt and cook for one additional minute. Pour in the broth and wine and increase the heat o high to bring the contents of the stockpot to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high and add the clams and cover the stockpot with its lid. Cook for about 10 minutes until the clams open up. Discard any unopened clams. Add the cherry tomatoes and the Pernod and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Garnish with the cilantro and chili flakes. Serve hot.
Note: I love to serve this flavorful clam broth with slices of toasted baguette brushed with olive oil.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored byPernod Classic, however all opinions expressed are solely my own.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Pernod Classic. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
Summers are warm and depending on where you live, they can be excruciatingly hot and sometimes, even worse, accompanied by the dreaded "H" word............. humidity! And as much as I like hot weather, humidity is another story, I'll happily avoid it! But even in a hot and humid day, things can be fun and cool, especially if you can indulge in a bowl of this chilled walnut cucumber soup.
I've made a chilled mint yogurt soup in the past but this time I wanted to make the soup full of earthy flavors yet every bit cooling so you feel refreshed with every spoonful. By adding a few toasted walnuts to the yogurt, the soup acquires a rich and creamy texture which makes it delicious. I couldn't resist adding a little chili pepper but that is completely optional, if you don't want a little hot, skip it or remove the seeds from the pepper.
Note: Here's some geeky biochemical science for you! Cucumbers can be slightly bitter and there a couple of ways to get rid of the naturally occurring compound called cucurbitacin that causes this taste. The amount of cucurbitacin can vary within cucumbers picked from the same plant, however in general, the bitter compound is present in the peels and green parts and it will be less in the center. To get rid of cucurbitacin, I use the method I learned at home, slice the ends of the cucumber off and keep the tips aside, then with the pointed tip of a knife prick a few random holes into the cut ends of the cucumbers. Now rub the exposed cut ends of the cucumber with the cut tips for a minute or two, a slight white foam will form. Rinse the foam off under cold running tap water, repeat this on the opposite exposed side. Once you're done with this, peel and discard the skin and tips.
chilled cucumber walnut yogurt soup
yields: 2 servings
3/4 cup toasted walnuts
1 cup peeled cucumber, diced (see note above on how to remove cucumber bitterness)
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 green thai chili pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons lemon/lime juice, freshly squeezed (I used lime)
2 cups plain low-fat (non-fat) Stonyfield yogurt, chilled
a few chopped toasted walnuts for garnish
a little fresh dill/tarragon for garnish
a little walnut oil/extra virgin olive oil for garnish
1. Place all the ingredients from the walnuts to the yogurt in a blender and pulse until completely smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust the amount of salt and pepper if needed. You can also add a little water to the soup to adjust the consistency if needed.
2. Remove from blender, pour into chilled serving bowls. Garnish with a few toasted walnuts, dill/tarragon and a light drizzle of walnut/olive oil. Serve immediately.
Disclaimer: I am honored to be a member of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club. I received product or coupons for writing this post, but all opinions are my own.