Archive for ‘Entertaining’

July 26, 2012

A Luxurious Dessert | Strawberries, Red Wine, Sriracha

My palate has wanderlust again.  I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Vietnamese food and the influences the French left behind.  I have a hankering for Pho.  I’m desperate for a good bánh mì.

So it should come as no surprise that when I was invited to put together a dessert recipe Yagööt and the launch of their new line of Yagööt@Home, I chose to go the Southeast Asian route and use some inspired ingredients: coconut frozen yogurt, Thai basil, a French red wine, ginger.  Sriracha.

Sometimes a recipe comes together so easily.  Ingredients fall into each other like long-lost friends, perfectly happy to hang out again.  And while everything except the sugar and strawberries (and the coconut Yagööt of course) in this dessert are savory, I can guarantee that it makes one of the sexiest desserts you’ve ever tasted.  And did I mention that it takes only ten minutes to make?

For the red wine in this recipe, I used a Beaujolais-Villages, because it’s widely available as well as relatively inexpensive.  An inexpensive pinot noir would work, too.  I use only a cup, so heck, you can kind of throw this together if you’ve got a bit of wine left over from dinner.   This time, I used fresh strawberries, but you can bet that I’ll be pulling out all those strawberries we picked and froze earlier this year when the weather gets colder.  The recipe calls for Thai basil, which is at every Asian grocery store worth its salt.  I think it’s pretty critical to the flavor profile of the dessert, but in a pinch you could substitute some standard basil.  Sriracha is another seemingly exotic ingredient, but widely available in most grocery stores.  Buy a bottle and you’ll find yourself putting this spicy hipster ketchup on everything from your morning eggs to Friday night pizza.  It’s delicious.

Feel like being daring?  Want to try this recipe?  How about some free Yagööt? 

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January 1, 2012

Craving | Fastest Cinnamon Rolls

I didn’t plan on having a craving for cinnamon rolls this morning.

If I knew it would have been coming on, I might have got a yeast dough together last night to be ready to bake this morning.  But it just happened as I was coming down the stairs thinking about scrambled eggs and bacon for New Year’s morning breakfast.  And, I thought, wouldn’t some cinnamon rolls be so good with that?   Mmmm.

So it is entirely possible to satisfy that spicy sweet craving for dough; it will just be with a quick rise dough (using baking powder) instead of yeast.  It’s about as much trouble as making a batch of homemade biscuits, which is to say not much trouble at all.

Happy New Year.  Here’s to resolving to make it yourself this year!

Fastest Cinnamon Rolls, makes a dozen, inspired by various recipes around the interwebs

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

For the Filling

4 T softened butter

3 heaping t cinnamon

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December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

May all your Christmas wishes come true.

Linens from great grandma, dishes from an aunt and uncle, glassware from mother-in-law, antique ornaments from Grandmother, antique ball jars from a Twitter friend, food from our kitchen.  (Plus cute clementine place card holders for whimsy.)  I love a meaningful table.

Playlist included I’ll Be Home for Christmas, by the Carpenters.

December 12, 2011

Cookie Exchange | Chocolate-Sichuan Pepper Crinkles

It’s not the holidays without at least one cookie exchange.

This year I wanted to make a traditional cookie (the ubiquitous crinkle) with just a slight kick.  Enter Sichuan pepper: not related at all to black peppercorns or chili peppers, it’s used most commonly in Chinese and Japanese cooking.  It is a most unusual spice, one that has a piney, citrusy flavor and makes your mouth a bit numb.  Up until 2005 they were technically illegal to import (but not for any consumption reasons).  It all adds up to give these chocolatey cookies a feeling of just a hint of lemon and danger.  Who else’s cookies can promise that?

Chocolate-Sichuan Pepper Crinkle Cookies, makes 90 (whoa), inspired by a classic Betty Crocker recipe

3/4 cup vegetable oil

6 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted, cooled

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December 10, 2011

Homemade Hostess Gift | 20-Minute Cranberry Clementine Chutney

I love pressing a small gift into the hands of a host when I visit.  And you know me, I like it even more if it’s a quick little homemade something.

This cranberry clementine chutney takes just a few minutes of care and stirring and is quintessentially wintery.   It is fantastic with cheese, delicious with pork, lovely smoothed on buttery toast.  The ingredients aren’t at all exotic, but combined transcend into something special.  And this is one of the easiest recipes ever: combine and stir.  You can do it!

Spiced Cranberry Clementine Chutney, makes one small jar, with a bit leftover for you to enjoy

12 oz fresh cranberries

2 clementines, zest and juice

1/4 c dried currants

3/4 c sugar

1 whole star anise

1 cinnamon stick

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August 12, 2011

Sharing History | Gigot d’Agneau

Sometimes a memorable meal transcends your kitchen tools and cooking techniques.  Instead, it’s a celebration that connects you to your friends, family, and culture.  That’s what happens when you cook a leg of lamb.  It isn’t particularly complicated, but the result is magical.  If you appreciate the cut and revere the process, history will carry you along.

Lamb is the centerpiece of celebrations on every continent.  And the leg of lamb is the most sought after cut.  It’s lean, forgiving, and can take on flavors through marinading, grilling, roasting, or braising.  Most importantly, though, its sublimely delicious and it makes enough to share.

I simply scored the fat in a crisscrossed pattern and arranged a handful of garlic cloves in the cuts.  After seasoning quite generously with salt and pepper, I placed it in a roasting pan with diced carrots, onions, peppers and tomatoes.  About an inch of water and a bouquet garni later and the hard part was done.  Cover it tightly with foil, then its into the oven at 300F for five hours or so, checking the liquid level at the halfway point.  Then invite friends, family or both, and serve it with white beans and white wine.

But really, you should let your imagination be your guide.  It’s not everyday that you find yourself in possession of such beautiful meat (thank you dearly, Kate), so use the opportunity to celebrate and share your life.

Playlist included Rue St. Vincent, par Yves Montand.

June 3, 2011

Abundance

I almost can’t stand it.

I love peonies and their explosion of petals and entrancing fragrance.  So, so much.  I slog buckets filled to almost overflowing into the house to set on anything that will hold still.  They’re here for such a short time.  I am blessed.

Now to make peony syrup for cocktails and biscuits.

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