Limoncello Tiramisu

Nice cool dessert for the summer.

I used stemless martini glasses for individual servings. The recipe can also be prepared in a trifle bowl or casserole.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Limoncello
1/2 cup water
2 t sugar

3 lemons
3 eggs separated
1 2/3 cups heavy cream
1/2 sugar
1 tub  Mascarpone
Cocoa powder
36 ladyfingers

Method:
Press the lemons onto a cutting board and slowly roll with your fingers. This will help extract more juice.

In a saucepan, mix Limoncello, juice from 2 lemons, 2 T sugar and water bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar then pour into a bowl and chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.


In an electric mixer with whip attachment combine egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar & lemon zest from 1 lemon, beat on high until fluffy. Slowly add 1 cup heavy cream and Mascarpone and mix to smooth consistency then transfer to a larger ss bowl.
Clean & dry mixer bowl and return it to mixer. Add egg whites beat to light peaks. Fold into egg Mascarpone mixture and chill.
Break a couple of lady fingers to 1” cubes and place into bottom of martini glass.                               Place some of the Limoncello syrup into a shallow bowl or plate. Dip full size lady fingers in quickly & place into the martini glasses.


Use three per glass or break two in half and use four halves per glass.
Scoop Mascarpone mixture on top.


Chill before service. Drizzle remaining Limoncello syrup over desserts (1/2 teaspoon on each).
In a small ss bowl whip remaining 2/3 cup heavy cream. Place a dollop on top of each serving.


Dust with cocoa powder and garnish with lemon zest or grated rind.

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Cooking Steaks and Chops Indoors

If you happen to live in a city condo or apartment you may not be able to use an outdoor grill.

How can you cook Chops or Steaks with nice results?

A skillet with the bottom grooves provides the grill marks, but the real benefit is that your chop or steak wont cook in the rendered grease becoming bitter. Those grate lines in the pan elevate it enough to keep it above the fat. Certainly fat is flavor, but when rendered from the steak or chop that you are cooking, it becomes grease that starts to burn and give off an undesirable flavor.

Most pans are seasoned and can withstand a high heat. They are easy to clean if you wait until it slightly cools down, then add some warm water to it. This will allow any of the burnt on bits to come off easily without heavy scrubbing.

Here is a good way of producing a good dinner.

The first step is buying a good quality Steak or Chop.

Here is a Veal Loin Chop

Here is a Veal Rib Chop

The Rib Chop is usually, ‘French Style’ in which the meat is cleaned from the bone. These can also be tied for even cooking and provide an excellent presentation. You can also pound this out with a meat mallet for quick cooking and a larger plate presentation.

If it is good quality and not frozen, you won’t need much in the area of spices. You want to get the most flavor and just enhance it with a simple sauce.

I use the following method for thicker steaks and chops. The photos are with a bone-in Rib Eye. We are using an oven as a finishing mode to speed up the cooking process and retain more juices and flavor.

Ingredients: 

Chop or Chops (depending on how many are eating)

Kosher Salt and Cracked Black pepper.

2 Tablespoons Oil, per chop (Grape Seed, Coconut , Safflower or Canola)

1 Tablespoon Butter, per chop

1 Tsp Truffle Oil, per chop

Method:

Set oven to 400˚ Convection or 425˚ Bake

Whether you are cooking veal, beef, pork or lamb chops, the method remains the same. The only difference is the smaller chops may cook all the way through on the stove top based on your preferred doneness.

Heat pan over a medium to high heat on the stove top. Season both sides of chop with a pinch of salt and some cracked pepper. Oil both sides of chop.

As the pan begins to smoke add the chop.

After about 2 minutes see if you can lift the chop and turn it to get the cross grill marks and continue to sear on the bottom side. If it is stuck to pan just wait a minute and it should come off easily. (this method works the same on your outdoor grill grates).

 

 

Let it cook for about a minute then flip the chop over.

 

After you flipped chop, top with butter and place into the oven on the middle rack.

After 5 minutes begin checking for temperature. When cooked to your preference, remove from oven and plate the chop.

Season with truffle oil.

Enjoy!

Pepper Frittata with Za’atar

Call it a ommlette if you will. I wanted something other than peppers, hot sauce, cumin and cilantro.

Don’t get me wrong those ingredients work, this just called to me.

If you don’t know Za’atar, it is a combination of dried oregano, thyme, sesame seeds, sumac and salt.

Easy to make but if you have a mediterranean market nearby, get it already mixed. Sure it’s easy to combine the ingredients but if you buy sumac and don’t have another use for it, you have wasted some $.

My first experience with this spice is from the local bakery on fresh-baked pita called Za’atar Manakeesh. Since then I have tried it rubbed into chicken for a roast, in rice and humus.

The flavor is wonderful.

Back to the recipe.

Ingredients:

4 large eggs

1/2 cup half-n-half or almond milk

1 cubanelle pepper, cut into 1/2″ slices

3 white mushrooms, diced

2 Tablespoons grated cheese (it’s up to you but Colby, cheddar gouda, manchego are good choices)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon Za’atar

1 tablespoon chopped Fresh Cilantro

2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp butter

salt and pepper to taste

Method.

Turn on your oven to 425˚Convection or 450˚ Bake

Use a non-stick pan set over a low heat. In a bowl beat eggs with half&half. Add a pinch of salt.

Turn heat up in pan, add oil & butter and turn pan to glaze. Add cut pepper and mushrooms. Cook for a minute then add garlic. After it begins to pop add Za’atar and egg mixture and turn pan to coat. Top with cilantro, cheese salt & pepper then place into oven on middle rack.

It should rise in about 6 minutes. Cooking in the oven keeps the stove top cleaner. Convection works well with this rise and presentation plus, cooks faster than in the Bake mode of your oven.

Take it out and flip onto a plate or platter to serve.

Cut into wedges.

Maybe add some hot sauce just in case.

Enjoy!

Pulled Pork

Recently demonstrating the AGA Total Control and needed a treat that showcases the range features and can appeal to the masses.

I wanted to show off the High Heat of the Boiling Plate, about 650˚ along with the Simmer Oven 250˚

Okay I know that most of you can turn up a high heat on the larger burner on your stove top and then turn down the heat in the oven for the Low and Slow. Even the CrocPot can cover that cooking option. But imagine that you have an oven at your disposal that is set for that application.

I don’t know about yours, but this would look fantastic in my kitchen.

Back to the recipe, sorry I digress.

First off I am a fan of Dry Rubs accompanied with a dipping sauce, if necessary.

There are many Dry Rubs that are available that do a great job, Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Spices are Fantastic. McCormick has some great varieties. I am sure your favorite celebrity  chef has his or her own spice line.

Here is a great way to use up some spices that you may have in the back of your cabinet.

Ingredients:

4 lbs. Boneless Pork Shoulder (or Pork Butt)

3 Tablespoons canola oil

3/4 cup water, wine or beer

Dry Rub

4 Tablespoons Paprika (mild)

2 Tablespoons Cane Sugar (Turbinato if accessible)

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt

1 Tablespoon ground Coriander

2 tsp dried onion

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp cinnamon

 

Method:

Mix all spices and thoroughly season the pork. Coat the meat with oil. Heat on stove over a high heat,  a dutch casserole or heavy skillet. After a minute add the meat. Sear for a few minutes and turn the meat over. Continue to brown all sides.

Add liquid of choice to the pan, cover the pan and place into a 250˚f oven.

After 3 hours, check to see if fork tender. When ready. Remove from oven and let it cool for about 20 minutes. Use two forks to split the meat apart.

Mix with the juices and if preferred, serve with your favorite BBQ sauce on the side.

Goes great in a potato roll, corn bread or Syrian bread wrap.

Enjoy!

 

 

Peppercorn Crusted, Seared Scallops

Okay some may think it is simple, but have you ever eaten a rubbery scallop?

Not so simple to ‘just cook’ the scallop now is it?

I work with appliances for manufacturers and get to demonstrate the features and benefits. Many times I am trying to make it interesting for me because doing the same old thing gets boring. What I forget about is, I don’t cook to the same audience for every demonstration. Many times the simple things are the best to show.

Sauteing is a basic cooking technique that many do in their kitchen. Some are good at it, many don’t know that they suck at it. Too many times when you cook something you may think that you have to cook it all the way through.

Unless it is a stew, ribs or another braised or smoked item, don’t cook it all the way through.

There is always carry over cooking when you heat the internal moisture of food. The knack is learning when to stop heating your food.

Scallops are prevalent in the area ( I live in New England). This past year I have met a pair of excellent authors on the topic and please check out their book. http://scallopcookbook.com/  by Elaine & Karin Tammi.

When you buy them try to get them dry. This way you are not paying for water weight. You will want to rinse them because sand or a piece of the shell isn’t enjoyable to chew on 🙂

Cooking Scallops are easy. They are very versatile. You can broil, grill, fry, poach, steam, smoke and saute them.

Here is a recipe for Peppercorn Crusted, Seared Scallops. Searing them in a pan just like sauteing with very little oil.

Ingredients:

1 lb. Sea Scallops (I used large), rinse and dry on paper towel

3 tablespoons cracked peppercorns

Cooking oil, I used Coconut also, grape seed or canola works well

1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Kosher Salt

Lemon wedges

Method:

Place a heavy gauge saute or non stick pan over a medium high heat.

Dip one side of the scallops into the peppercorns.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and turn to coat*.

Cook the scallops in batches. Place several scallops, pepper side down, onto oiled pan. Don’t crowd them or they will sweat the moisture and no provide a good caramelization.

Let it begin to sear Without shaking the pan. Season scallops with a pinch of kosher salt.

Carefully turn the pan to allow dripping to move to one side. On the high side of the pan add a couple of cubes of butter.

As the butter melts to the bottom of the angled pan, use a spoon and baste the scallops.

After about two minutes lay pan down onto burner and use a spatula to turn them over. Allow them to sear for about a minute and remove to a plate.

Wipe pan with a paper towel and cook remaining scallops the same way.

Serve with lemon wedges or favorite dipping sauce.

Enjoy!

*I used an Induction Cook Top in these photos. As you lift the pan from the cook top it stops heating the pan so you have to baste and lay the pan to heat, then lift it and repeat. Some electric tops have pan sensors that determine when you lift a pan from the heating element. Keep this in mind as you try this recipe or additional searing on the cook top.

Garden Fresh Potatoes

If you have been wanted to start a garden, begin with potatoes. You don’t need any special equipment or fertilizers just soil, space and a seed or starter potato.

This year I used IKEA bags and filled them with great soil that I used from my compost bin and a bit of vegetable potting soil. Last year I only used the backyard dirt with a bit of compost.

First harvest

I planted red bliss, baby bliss, baby white, Yukon and sweet.

When selecting growing potatoes,wait until a few eyes grow from your potatoes. Keep in mind that todays retail potatoes are, in many times, scarce of the seed crop. Just be patient and you will find a few. Cut them in quarters to separate the eyes and let them air dry for a day. Place into the soil about 6″ deep and water. They will sprout in a week. Keep covering the growth with more soil.

The bags that I used were originally filled about 8″ deep and then I filled them to about 3/4 the height of the bag.

Start carefully digging in the dirt when you see some flowering. Sometimes the taters just start popping out themselves. I planted in March and crop is ready.

Try to eat them fresh picked. The flavor is sweeter and creamier in my opinion.

I Steamed them for about 8 minutes and then roasted them to just brown, with a touch of lemon, butter, salt and pepper.

Try one before you season it to really get a taste of the freshness.

Happy Gardening!

Cucumber Salad, Spicy & Cool

I needed an accompaniment to a grill chicken dish other than salsa and came up with this side.

Obviously you can slice it and garnish for a nice plate presentation but it worked for me as a topping to my marinated and grilled chicken.

Combining a little heat from the pepper, a ginger vinaigrette along with the cool cucumber it worked.

Ingredients:

2 Garden Fresh Cucumbers, peeled and diced (if thicker, scoop out the seeds)

4 Plum Tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 Sweet Onion, diced 1/2″

1 Cubanelle Pepper, seeded and small dice

1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced

Vinaigrette

1 Tablespoon minced fresh Ginger

2 Garlic cloves, minced

3 Tablespoons Cup Rice Wine Vinegar

Juice from 1 large Lime

2 Tablespoons honey or agave

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup Olive Oil

Garnish with Diced Cilantro

Method:

For the Vinaigrette, combine the first 6 ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Turn on a low setting, slowly pouring in the olive oil to combine.

Place all vegetables in a bowl and coat with a fair amount of the vinaigrette. Toss to season & adjust if necessary with more dressing or salt. Add in diced cilantro and combine.

This should keep for three days if covered and placed into refrigerator. Although too much salt can drain much of the water from the vegetables.

 

Plate and enjoy!

 

 

Boneless Pork Loin on Rotisserie

There are a few options when using your Rotisserie on your grill or in your oven.

In the oven, the heat source is generally the top broiler unit so set your temperatures on the lower side. Usually the thermostat may read between 400˚- 550˚F. The lower temperature is preferred for a larger roast so as to not burn the outside by the time the center has cooked through.

For this recipe I used an outdoor grill. Many of the grills only have one setting when it comes to Rotisserie temperature. The difference could be there are two setting for the spit rod one on high and one on low. The thickness of the roast can determine which to use so your roast doesn’t hit the grill grates as it is spinning around.

Do Not forget to set a pan beneath the roast so you have some drippings to use if you want to make a sauce or season vegetables. The pan beneath also keeps the grates from getting trashed unnecessarily.

If you want to cook ‘Low & Slow’ that may become your favorite. This method is ideal if you are going to add smoke wood chips to the grill for an amazing flavor.

If you are cooking for tonight’s dinner, there still is some planning for an optimum flavor. A marinade can provide an excellent flavor enhancement. place the roast in the marinade in the morning and when you cook it for dinner your will appreciate the results.

If you are on the fly you can use a dry rub spice for an alternative flavor.

For a boneless pork loin, you have options as to what side the roast had been cut from. The thicker side should be tied with butchers twine to keep the cut uniform for cooking and slicing.

I used the smaller end of the loin so I did not tie it (okay I was lazy)

Ingredients:

3 lb. Boneless Pork Loin

Marinade:

1/2 cup water

1 dried chili pepper

4 tablespoon grape seed or canola oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Juice from 2 limes

3 tablespoons honey or agave

2 tsp Fish Sauce

1 tsp Tamarind Extract

2 tsp kosher salt

1 teaspoon dried onion

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

 

Method:

Combine marinade ingredients in a blender and pulse to a smooth mixture.

Place marinade over pork in a Plastic slip lock bag or container with a lid. Allow the magic to happen for at least 4 hours.

Remove from marinade and spear roast with spit rod. Make sure that you have the one side of tines already attached and just left of the center of the rod. Secure roast with the other set of tines and place onto grill Rotisserie attachment. Make sure to really push the tines into the roast. When it cooks it shrinks and if not secured with the tines they will fall away from and the roast and it will just stay centered not spinning around.

Turn on grill and Rotisserie motor with a pan beneath the roast. Close the lid. Allow 20 minutes per pound. Turn off the Rotisserie motor and check with a meat thermometer for an internal temperature of 160˚F

Carefully remove from spit rod and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

I served it with a Pineapple Salsa. This is great sliced thin, placed into a wrap.

Enjoy!

 

Pineapple Salsa

I didn’t go with the heat on this one. I prepared this with a spicy pork loin that I cooked on rotisserie (recipe to follow)

Ingredients:

3/4 of a whole large pineapple – peeled,cored and diced 1/2″

2 yellow bell peppers – seeded and diced 1/2″

1 Cubanelle pepper – seeded and diced 1/2″

1 medium red onion – peeled, small dice

1/8 bunch cilantro – rinsed, dried, loose chop

1 shallot – peeled, minced

4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tsp Chili powder

1/2 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp white pepper

 

Method:

Combine first five ingredients. Season with dry spices and mix. Add vinegar & oil to combine. Let it sit for at least and hour before use. Stir before serving. Salsa will keep for a few days although after a day you may want to strain it.

Enjoy!

Hibiscus Flower Cocktail

 

I have been using these for a couple of years now. If you have not heard or seen them, hibiscus flowers are a beautiful presentation to the plate.

As edible flowers go, the colors are fantastic. These are packaged in a simple syrup. The first few times that I used them, I disregarded the syrup.(dumb, yes I know;-)

Lately I have been adding it to pan reductions for beef, veal and pork sauces. The sugar balance can enhance a simple vinaigrette.

Perhaps reduce the syrup down by 25%, chill it and now you an excellent topping for dessert. Although it is a bit thick to begin with.

Fold into whipped cream to add color and flavor, or use it in frozen sorbet or popsicle.

Lately it has been getting a bit humid. Why not step up my house lemonade with some of the syrup.

Drink Recipe:

2 oz vodka

3 oz lemonade

1 tablespoon of Hibiscus Syrup

Ice

Mint and/or Hibiscus Flower

Add three or four ice cubes to class. Top with lemonade, vodka and lastly the syrup. Garnish and enjoy!

Easy, right?

Here is a lemonade recipe

2 quarts water

1/2 cup agave nectar + 1/2 cup water

1 cup lemon juice

the rind from 1 lemon.

Place agave & 1/2 cup water  in a sauce pan and heat to just a boil.

Combine into a pitcher all, of the ingredients and chill until use.