Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fig Ice Cream

This recipe from David Leibovitz makes the most delicious ice cream! I had 2 pounds of fresh figs and made this for dessert last night. It was amazing.

  • 2 pounds (1 kg) fresh figs (about 20)
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) water
  • 1 lemon, preferably unsprayed
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
  • 1tbl Marsala wine (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
  • Remove the hard stem ends from the figs, then cut each fig into 8 pieces. Put the figs in a medium, nonreactive saucepan with the water, and zest the lemon directly into the saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the figs are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. 
  • Remove the lid, add the sugar, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the figs are a jamlike consistency. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, purée the fig paste in a blender or food processor with the cream, Marsala, and lemon juice. Taste, then add more lemon juice if desired.
  • Chill mixture and process in ice cream maker. If you don't have an ice cream maker, freeze for an hour and then beat with an electric mixer. Repeat twice more.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Porchetta style pork butt

I made this recipe tonight for friends, and it was fantastic! I served it with mashed potatoes and ratatouille, and everybody loved it. I did not start the day ahead, and it was still delicious. This is a keeper!
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 5 1/2- to 6-pound boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), excess fat trimmed with thin layer left intact
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth


Stir fennel seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until slightly darker in color and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer seeds to spice mill and cool. Add kosher salt, peppercorns, and dried crushed red pepper. Grind to medium-fine consistency (not powder).
Place pork in 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Rub garlic all over pork, then coat with spice mixture. Loosely cover pork with waxed paper. Refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Brush large rimmed baking sheet with oil. Place roast, fat side up and coating intact, in center of sheet. Drizzle evenly with 2 tablespoons oil. Roast pork 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Roast pork until very tender and thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 190°F, about 3 hours 15 minutes longer. Transfer pork to cutting board; reserve baking sheet. Let pork rest 15 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour all pan juices into 2-cup measuring cup. Spoon off fat that rises to top. Place reserved baking sheet across 2 burners. Pour wine and broth onto baking sheet and bring to boil over medium-high heat, scraping up any browned bits. Boil until wine mixture is reduced to 3/4 cup, about 4 minutes. Add degreased pan juices and whisk to blend. Pour pan sauce into small bowl (sauce will be thin).
Thinly slice roast. Serve with sauce.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Flank steak with grilled corn salsa

Another Bon Appetit recipe. Sounds like a winner for summer grilling!SERVINGS: 4 

Dry Rub

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon English mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

Steak And Salsa

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for grill
  • 3 ears of corn, shucked
  • ¼ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  •  cup fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  •  pounds flank steak
  • Dry Rub

    • Combine brown sugar, chile powder, paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne, granulated garlic, mustard powder, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl.

    Steak And Salsa

    • Prepare a grill for medium-high heat; oil grate. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until lightly browned all over, 8–10 minutes; let cool. Cut kernels from cobs and place in a medium bowl. Add onion, jalapeño, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice to 
corn and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Set salsa aside.
    • Meanwhile, coat steak with all of dry rub, packing on more than once if needed, and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. oil to help rub adhere. Grill steak, turning occasionally and moving to a cooler spot on grill as needed to control flare-ups, until nicely browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 130°, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. 

    • Return steak to grill just to recrisp exterior, about 1 minute per side. Transfer back to cutting board and slice against the grain. Serve topped with salsa.

Papardelle with pork sugo and hazelnuts

Saw this on Bon Appetit and thought it sounded delish.

  • 5 large plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 7 garlic cloves, 1 finely grated, 6 left whole
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup blanched hazelnuts
  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), fat trimmed, cut into 8 pieces
  • 4 large shallots, quartered
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 sprigs oregano, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped
  • 5 sprigs thyme, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped
  • ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 ounces Grana Padano cheese, finely grated, plus shaved for serving
  • 1 pound fresh or dried pappardelle
  • Preheat oven to 425°. Toss tomatoes, grated garlic, and 1 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange tomatoes, skin side down, in a single layer; season with salt and pepper. Roast until browned around the edges, about 25 minutes. Set aside. 

  • Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Toast hazelnuts on another baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop. 

  • Reduce oven temperature to 275°. Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium-high. Cook pork in batches, turning occasionally, until brown, 8–10 minutes; transfer to a platter. 

  • Add shallots and whole garlic cloves to same pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add wine, scraping up any browned bits; bring to a boil and cook until wine is reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Return pork to pot and add milk, broth, and reserved tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Tie oregano and thyme sprigs together with kitchen twine; add to pot. Cover and transfer to oven. Braise meat until very tender, 2–2½ hours. 

  • Remove from oven; discard herbs and use a potato masher or pair of forks to shred pork and mash vegetables into medium-size pieces. Gradually add butter and grated cheese, stirring as you go to fully incorporate into sugo. 

  • Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, transfer to a platter, and toss with half of sugo. Serve topped with hazelnuts, chopped oregano and thyme, and more Grana Padano.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


2 cups flour
1 tbl baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
6 tbl Crisco
3/4 cup buttermilk

Mis dry ingredients together with fork or whisk. Cut in Crisco with fingertips. If you don't know how, use 2 knives or a pastry blender. Add the buttermilk and mix together with your fingers. (I spread my fingers apart. So it's sort of like using a large fork.) Knead the dough for about 1 minute. Cover a refrigerate for 20 minutes. Turn out onto a well floured cloth (I use an old, but clean pillow case). Flour the top of the dough, and with your fingertips, pat the dough into the desired thickness (about an inch).
Cut the biscuits and place on the baking sheet. You may reform the scraps and cut more biscuits. 

Bake at 450 for 10-12. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Fried chicken

I don't make fried chicken a lot cause it's such a mess frying inside. Last night, Jim had the brilliant idea of frying it on the side burner of our outdoor grill. Brilliant! All the smell and grease were left outside, and my kitchen remained perfectly clean. I'm never frying inside again.

Serves 4-5

Large skillet with lid (i used my biggest iron skillet and a lid from anoth skillet), 10"-11"
Deep fat frying thermometer
1 fryer chicken, cut up (preferably kosher)
Salt, pepper

About an hour before you're ready to fry, remove chicken from fridge. If the breasts are big cut them in half. Cut off the wing tips. (You can use these and the back to make a nice stock.) Pat dry and salt and pepper. Let stand to come to room temp. Add salt and pepper to your flour and flour the chicken. (I do all this is a big stainless steel bowl) 

Add enough crisco so it's about 3/4" deep. I used about 3/4 of a 1 lb can of crisco. Bring the crisco to 360 over high heat. Add the chicken, dark meat first. Reduce heat to medium high and let fry 5 minutes. Cover and cook 5 more minutes. Uncover, turn chicken. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Uncover  and cook 5 minutes, raising heat to high if you want the chicken browner. Remove chicken, white meat first, and drain on paper towels. Do not cover! The chicken will stay hot while you make gravy. 


Pour off all but 2 tbl grease from the pan, but leave all the crispy bits. Add 3 tbl flour and brown.  Add 1 cup flavorful chicken stock, preferably what you made from the backs and wing tips of your chicken,
1/2 cup milk. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Carrot cake from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

I made this for my friend, Kathleen's, birthday. It makes a delicious, 2 layer cake. There's a good bit of prep involved in this cake, but if you plan for it, you can do it ahead. I made the cake a day early and kept it refrigerated. It kept beautifully, but let it come back to room temp before serving.

Preheat oven to 325

2 cups AP flour (I use White Lily)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dry ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup vegetable oil (i like canola)
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs at room temp
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups lightly packed grated carrots
1-8 oz can crushed pineapple in its own juice, with juice 
1 cup chopped toasted pecans + 1 cup more for garnish (garnish is optional)
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut

-Toast and chop pecans-place on a baking sheet in a 350 oven for 15 minutes. Then chop. I use my food processor and chop them fairly fine. That way your cake will slice nicely. If you want more texture, chop more coursely.

-Grate carrots

-Sift dry ingredients

Grease and flour or spray with Baker's Secret 2-9 x2 round cake pans and line bottoms with wax or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, on medium speed beat together the oil and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until thick and light, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat well. Gradually add dry ingredients, beating until well incorporated. Stir in carrots, pineapple with its juice, pecans, and coconut. Divide the batter between the pans and bake 40-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on rack for 1 hour. Remove from pans and let cool on rack.

When cool, ice with cream cheese frosting and garnish with pecans. Refrigerate, but allow to come up to room temp before serving.

Cream cheese icing
Have all ingredients at room temp
6 tbl butter
2-8 oz packages cream cheese
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
5 cups confectioners sugar

Beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla, beating well. Add the sugar 1 cup at a time beating continuously until smooth and creamy. Cover and refrigerate if not using immediately. If you leave it in the fridge more than an hour or 2 you may need to beat it again.

if desired, with 1 cup chopped toasted pecans. Hold the iced cake in 1 hand over a large shallow pan and press handfuls of the nuts onto the side of the cake, rotating the cake and letting excess pecans fall onto the pan. You can then scoop up and reuse the excess pecans.