Archives for category: Food

Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 9.17.44 AM

Advertisements

IMG_3582

Persimmon and Almond Galette

3 Fuyu Persimmons

Almond filling

7 ounces almond paste

4 teaspoons sugar

4 tablespoons butter, soft

2 eggs

1 tablespoon orange liqueur

Pinch of salt

2 Tablespoons flour

1 Recipe galette dough 

2 Tablespoons melted butter

2 Tablespoon sugar

In a mixer combine the almond paste, sugar and salt and beat in the butter until incorporated. Add the eggs and the liqueur and continue beating until smooth and fluffy. Stir in the flour.

Peel and slice the persimmons.

Preheat the over to 400*

Roll the galette dough into a 10-inch round. Spread 1/2 of the almond mixture onto the dough leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Place persimmons in decorative pattern on top of the almond mixture. Crimp the edges of the galette dough and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Brush the dough edges with melted butter and sprinkle the entire galette with the sugar.

Bake in the lower third of the over rotating occasionally for about 45 minutes.

Serves 8

IMG_2214

Galette dough
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup ice water

In a bowl, mix the flour with the sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender cut in half of the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal, then cut in the remaining butter until the pieces are the size of peas. Drizzle the water over the dough and stir with a spoon until moistened. Gather up the dough and knead it on a floured surface until it comes together. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Pear and Cranberry Galette

⅔ cup dried cranberries
2 pounds Comice pears, ripe but not too soft, peeled, cored and cut in half – slice keeping its form
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of clove
1/3 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon raw brown sugar
1 egg white for egg wash
Sugar for dusting
1 Tablespoon butter

Combine the walnuts, flour and brown sugar in a food processor until smooth. In a bowl combine the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Peel and core the pears. Slice them anyway you want – I’ve chosen to keep them together at one end. Place them in the bowl with the lemon juice mixture and gentle toss.

Roll out your galette dough. Leaving 1 1/2-inches around the edge and sprinkle with the walnut mixture. This will help absorb the juices. Place the pears slices on top of the walnut mixture. Brush some of the egg white on the dough edges and fold the dough all around – overlapping where necessary. Refrigerate the galette for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400*

Top with cranberries. Brush the top edges of the dough with egg white and sprinkle generously with sugar. Dot with butter and bake in the lower half of the oven for about an hour.

Serve warm.

IMG_2209 copy.jpg

image1.JPG

IMG_2987 (1)

Cranberry and quince compote

2 cups water
Juice of two tangerines
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3-inch piece cinnamon stick
Rind of one tangerine
1 pound quince, peeled, cored and cut into little pieces
One 12-ounce bag cranberries
2 tablespoon St George Spiced Pear liqueur

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, tangerine juice, peel, 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Add the quince and cover with a piece of parchment paper and cook over low heat, until soft, about an hour. Add the cranberries and the rest of the sugar to the pan and bring to a simmer cooking until the compote is thick, about 20 – 30 minutes. Skim any foam that rises to the top (removing the foam helps to achieve the jewel-like color). Discard the cinnamon stick and peel. Let cool and stir in the spiced pear liqueur.

Makes 4 cups

11file_custom-61af53868fa1360406764ffc62a2c7686237812c-s2500-c85

Café Hacienda San Pedro, a trendy coffee shop in San Juan, is buzzing. A long line snakes through it. People are chatting; dogs sit snoozing. Everything looks normal.

But in a few months, it probably won’t.

After a 2 1/2-hour drive into the mountains, through denuded trees and winding roads cleared by chainsaws, it’s clear that this coffee company has been devastated at its source.

When Hurricane Maria hit nearly three weeks ago, it wiped out more than three-quarters of the island’s small agricultural sector overnight, by some estimates.

“I think that maybe 90 percent of the plantation was destroyed by the hurricane,” says Roberto Atienza, the third generation of his family to grow coffee on this land in central Puerto Rico. He has turned it into a specialty coffee company, with hand-picked beans that are dried in the sun.

Harvest season came late this year, he says. They had picked just 2 percent of the beans before Hurricane Maria blasted through. The ripple effects will continue — he expects the company, including the San Juan coffee shop, to run out of beans in December.

His daughter Rebecca Atienza owns the coffee shop, and she says they are trying to work out contingency plans, such as asking for waivers to sell coffee from outside Puerto Rico and working reduced hours.

She walks through mangled hillsides and broken coffee plants. Orange and plantain trees are crumpled, with fruit rotting on the ground.

“This was a beautiful place with a lot of trees,” she says. “It’s like a different place.”

Rebecca remembers first surveying the damage after the hurricane. “No words. Like — what are we going to do now? And we have so much to do, but we didn’t know where to start.”

They started with cleaning the family home, which was flooded by a river flowing through the property. Then, Rebecca says, they began the long, slow work of clearing the plantation of downed trees and branches.

Agriculture is traditionally important to Puerto Rico but is currently less than 1 percent of the economy. U.S. policy in the 1940s and ’50s pushed manufacturing on the island over farming.

In the mountainous, rural area of Jayuya, Hacienda San Pedro is one of the largest job providers. Roberto says it employs about 100 people during peak harvest times. Now fewer than two dozen are working.

The area was hit hard by the storm, and employees are dealing with rebuilding their homes. There also simply isn’t much coffee that can be harvested.

Roberto examines beans growing on a tree damaged at the roots. “This is OK, this is OK,” he says, pointing to a few mature beans that are pink and red. But, he adds, “really the percent of trees like this is very, very small.”

The coffee that remains on trees is not of the quality that this artisanal grower usually sells. And many of the plants are completely stripped bare, as on one hillside next to Tres Picachos, one of the tallest peaks on the island.

“From here to the top of the mountain, everything looks like this,” says Roberto, pointing to rows of what used to be full-fledged trees, reduced to spindly branches. “Those without leaves are coffee. No coffee, no bean, no nothing in some places.”

The Atienzas say that getting their plantation back to full capacity is likely to take years.

Roberto expects that it will take at least six months to receive new coffee plants from the Department of Agriculture that they can replant, because the nurseries supplying them were also devastated by the storm.

Finances are also going to slow the replanting process. The plantation has insurance, but Roberto says it won’t cover all of the damage. He will focus his immediate efforts on areas in relatively good condition, then move on to the rest of the plantation when he can afford it.

Roberto has a dollar figure for how much the damage will cost: “I think that the damage on coffee and crops and everything is more than $500,000.”

He expects the next good season will be in three years — as long as another hurricane doesn’t hit.

18file_custom-816c935b50aa683c637c77ad7c5f7f1bfacc0301-s2500-c85

Article taken from NPR All Things Considered

My quarterly Naked Dinner parties have been so much fun. Guest Chef David Williams from Bull Valley Roadhouse really turned up the heat the night he cooked in my kitchen. Keep your eyes open for news about the upcoming Naked Dinner Cookbook.

Screen Shot 2017-09-10 at 7.21.16 PM.png

PIMENTO CHEESE SPREAD by David Williams

2 small to medium red bell peppers (14 ounces)

1 ⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup Mayonnaise

1 3⁄4 tablespoons finely minced red onion or shallot

1 tablespoon finely ground black pepper

3⁄4 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon vinegary hot sauce of your choice( I used chipotle tobacco)

20 ounces sharp cheddar, finely grated

15 ounces gruyere, finely grated

8 oz finely grated grana  

A loaf of bread toasted in oven for serving

Roast the peppers until black on all sides by placing them directly over a high gas flame.

Place peppers in a metal bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 15 minutes. Use a dish towel to gently rub off the skins of the peppers; don’t run them under water, as this will wash away some of the flavor. Remove the stems and seeds, and finely dice the peppers. You should have about 3⁄4 cup.

In a small bowl, combine the diced peppers and cider vinegar to lightly pickle the peppers; refrigerate overnight.

Combine the peppers and their vinegar with the mayo, onion, pepper, salt, and both hot sauces in a large bowl; mix well. Combine the cheeses in a separate bowl and mix well. Add the pepper mixture to the cheese and mix to combine. Let the mixture chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving; it should be thick but still spreadable.

Cut a loaf of good bread in half lengthwise sprinkle with olive oil and toast it lightly in the oven, spread cheese on it and broil until bubbling and golden…or use the spread on cheeseburgers, just saying.

Screen Shot 2017-09-10 at 7.22.49 PM.png

16463853_10153998637217757_1892054547940771527_o

Mexican Chocolate Cake

2 tablespoons butter, for two 9” round pans
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder, plus more for pans
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups warm water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter the cake pans and line bottoms with parchment, butter again and dust with cocoa.

Sift the following ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment: cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl combine eggs, 1 1/2 cups warm water, buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla and almond extracts and vinegar. With the mixer on low slowly pour into dry ingredients until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Divide batter into the pans. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean about 45 minutes.

Let the cakes cool completely before removing from the pans and frosting.

Mexican Chocolate Frosting
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brandy

Beat the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer with a paddle on medium speed until smooth. Sift together the cocoa powder, sugar and salt and add to the mixer. On slow speed add the extracts, brandy and chocolate slowly. Finally add the sour cream and mix until combined.