Doughnuts, Donuts, D’oh! Nuts!

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I’m watching my weight…(watching it go up). So I probably shouldn’t have agreed to teach a doughnut class last week. But I did, and the students did a great job, and I’m in an elastic waistband now. This is the raised doughnut they made, and it’s a doozy. The flavoring here is lemon and nutmeg, but you can add anything you want. But…be aware… if you add Bacon or Sriracha, do not invite me over.  That is just weird.

Ingredients

1 cup warm milk

¼ ounce granulated yeast

¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 egg

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

grated zest of 1 lemon

2-3 cups all-purpose four

½ teaspoon sea salt

Glaze:

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or maple, or liqueur, or whatever you want)

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ – ½ cup hot water

 

Method

  1. Stir together milk, yeast, sugar, and set aside to proof for 10 minutes.
  1. Add butter, egg, nutmeg, zest, and 1 cup of flour. Stir together to form a paste. Add salt, and enough of the remaining flour to form a smooth dough. Knead 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  1. While dough rises, make the glaze. Combine melted butter with powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt, and stir until smooth. Just before using, adjust consistency with hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Use while hot.
  1. Heat oil to 350° F. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and with a rolling pin, roll out to ½ thick, then cut into shape. Fry in hot oil 1-2 minutes on each side, until evenly golden brown. Drain on paper towels, and while hot, dip into white glaze. Let stand a few minutes until glaze is set.

 

Basic Soufflé in Three Variations

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I just taught a soufflé class. It was my first class at a school that was new to me, and it was fantastic! I didn’t realize how much I missed teaching! We had a blast (although, I admit it took me a while to get the hang of this new kitchen).

The students didn’t even complain that I made them whip all their egg whites by hand (it builds character). The recipe is a basic roux soufflé, which can be adapted to any flavor your heart desires. My heart desired cheese, chocolate, and raspberry.

Ingredients

For ramekin prep:

1 tablespoon melted butter

¼ cup granulated sugar / parmesan cheese

For Roux:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon flour

½ cup milk

To add flavor

½ teaspoon vanilla extract, or liqueur or , for savory… nutmeg and thyme

For the Main Flavor:

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, or 1/4 cup raspberry jam or 3 ounces grated Gruyere cheese

2 eggs, separated

pinch cream of tartar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Coat ramekins with melted butter, then sugar or cheese. Set aside.
  1. Prepare roux by melting butter in a skillet, adding the flour, and stirring over med heat until a paste forms. Add milk slowly to make a bechamel. Remove from heat and add your main flavor.  Then stir in egg yolks.
  1. Separately whip whites with cream of tartar to stiff peak.  If it is a sweet souffle, add 2 tablespoons of sugar slowly, after the whites have reached soft peak.  Fold egg whites carefully into base.
  1. Fill ramekin to rim, and make a gutter around the edge with your thumb. Place on baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes, until risen and dry on the sides.   Place ramekin on a lined plate to serve.

Remember–even a fallen soufflé is delicious!

Solid Mold (gorgonzola gnocchi)

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Here is another excerpt from  COOK, EAT, DEATH METAL, my charity project that benefits survivors and the families of the Paris attacks, through the organizations Fondations de France and The Sweet Stuff.  The recipes are all based on EAGLES OF DEATH METAL song titles, and it is comedy gold.    You can get right now from Dissention Records at  dissentionrecords.com/cook-eat-death-metal

This is a Gnocchi recipe based on their song  Solid Gold, from the 2006 album Death by Sexy.

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Blue cheese is mold. That’s just science. But it’s delightful mold. And with it, you can make these delicious Potato Gorgonzola Gnocchi, which are the kick-ass culinary love child of pasta and dumplings. They come in many incarnations, from many regions of Italy. But this one is the best, because potato. Gorgonzola is a blue cheese from Milan which is made by introducing spores of Penicillium glaucum. Just calm the fuck down. All blue cheese is made this way. In the old days (like 900 AD) cool, moist caves used for aging the cheese had naturally occurring molds, which made the cheese tangy, salty, and creamy (like the ladies). Today the mold is added by a cheese maker wielding metal spikes that are jabbed into the cheese, creating channels of air that encourage the mold to grow. It’s these jabby spore channels that make gorgonzola amazing. Also, the Jabby Spore Channel is where you can find late night Sci-Fi porn.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and halved
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ pound gorgonzola
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Method

  1. Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until tender, then drain. Pass the cooked potatoes through a ricer or a wire mesh strainer into a bowl, then let cool.
  1. Add the salt, then slowly stir in the flour until the mixture becomes a dough. Divide into four pieces, and roll each into a log about an inch thick. Cut 1-inch pieces off the logs, then press and roll each piece over a gnocchi board, or the back of a fork. This creates ridges that will cling to the sauce later. Rest the formed gnocchi in a single layer on a tray dusted with flour.
  1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Let it brown, then add gorgonzola and stir to melt. Stir in the cream and pepper. Turn to low heat and keep warm.
  1. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water in batches. When they rise to the surface, remove them with a slotted spoon, and add to the gorgonzola sauce. Repeat with remaining gnocchi. Toss to coat, then serve, sprinkled with parmesan. Then prepare to be adored, because this dish is grate.

Cherry Cola Cake

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I wrote another book.  It’s called COOK, EAT, DEATH METAL, and it’s for charity.  It is dedicated to my favorite band, THE EAGLES OF DEATH METAL, and all proceeds go to assist survivors and the families of the Paris attacks, through the organizations Fondations de France and The Sweet Stuff.  You can get a copy right now from Dissention Records, at dissentionrecords.com/cook-eat-death-metal

The recipes are based on song titles, and there is definitely a rock’n’roll edge to it (translation: it has swears).  The band is out on tour now, so if they come to your town, please stop by the merch table and pick up a copy…it’s an entertaining read for a good cause.

This recipe is an excerpt, based on their song  Cherry Cola, from the 2006 album Death by Sexy.

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The southern United States is obsessed with cola, because Coke is made there, and it gets hot as balls. It is in this sweltering region that the Cola Cake really took hold. A regular feature of church potlucks and Civil War reenactments, this cake is more popular than hair spray.

Cherry cola was popularized in the 19th century, when cherry syrup was added to jazz up the medicinal flavor of a carbonated beverage made with coca leaves and kola nuts. It surged in popularity during prohibition, when it was illegal to have a beer, but totally cool to suck down a cocaine float.

This recipe presents this recipe as a layer cake. But since you are probably completely stoned, feel free to make it in a rectangular brownie pan, which is faster.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh, frozen, or canned cherries. cleaned and pitted – Avoid maraschino cherries, which have no actual cherry flavor or color. They are only good for tongue dexterity demonstrations.
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup brandy or rum – if you are on the wagon, this is optional
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder – extra dark if possible
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cherry cola
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips or chunks
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 chocolate bar for shaving
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly coat two 8-inch round cake pans, or 1 brownie pan (9×13 inches) with pan spray. Chop the cherries, mix in the vanilla and brandy, then set them aside.
  1. Cream together butter and sugar until smooth and lump free. Lumps at this stage would be the pits. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  1. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Separately combine the cherry cola and buttermilk. Add the dry and wet mixtures into the butter alternately, in about 3 increments, stirring well between each addition. (This means add 1/3 of the flour, stir, then 1/3 of the buttermilk, stir, and repeat.) Fold in chocolate and cherries, then pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until risen and firm. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  1. In a separate bowl combine cream and sugar and whip until stiff. (Do this by hand with a whisk if you’re a stud, or use an electric mixer, if you skipped arm day at the gym.) Spread the whipped cream evenly on top of the cooled cake. Use a potato peeler to shave curls off the chocolate bar to decorate. Keep chilled until you’re ready to serve. You’re gunna love this cherry much.

Double Chocolate Fudge Cookies

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Chocolate_Cookies

This is one of my favorite cookie recipes.  I like to have cookie dough on hand in the freezer, because you never know when you might need a quick dessert.  (Ironically, though I am a pastry chef, I always forget to prepare dessert for company.)  I like to use ebony, or extra dark cocoa powder. It has long been available to chefs (it’s the one they use in Oreo cookies), and happily it’s now available to home cooks.   I also like bittersweet chocolate chunks, but you can use any chunk you like. Milk, white, butterscotch—even carob. (Although what’s the point of that?) You can use any nut you want, too. Come to think of it, this recipe is really just a chocolaty suggestion.

Ingredients

1 cup pecan pieces

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks, 8 ounces), softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoon unrefined salt – try Bali pyramid, Maldon, Portuguese or Spanish flor di sal, or a salt infused with chocolate, espresso, vanilla, or matcha

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup extra dark cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour

2 cups chopped bittersweet chocolate chunks

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread the pecans out onto a dry baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until fragrant and toasted. Cool completely.
  1. Coat baking sheet with pan spray and set aside. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugars until smooth and lump free. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, the eggs one at a time, and vanilla, stirring to incorporate thoroughly. Stir in cocoa, baking powder, then the flour in 2-3 increments. Fold in chocolate and cooled nuts.
  1. Using an ice cream scoop, or two spoons, drop walnut-sized balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet 1-inch apart. Sprinkle the top with remaining salt, and bake for 12-18 minutes, until firm. Cool completely, and store airtight.

Variations

Regular Chocolate Chip – If you guessed that this is just a modified chocolate chip cookie recipe, you’re right. If you want to get back to the original, omit the cocoa powder and make up that difference with more flour. Then try finishing with Murray River, Black Lava, or Black Diamond salt.

Chocolate Medley – Use whatever kind of chocolate chip you like. Or use your favorite candy or chopped up candy bar. Or omit the extra chocolate all together and use dried cherries—not that anyone will be happy about that switch. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Mexican Chocolate – To simulate the flavors of Mexican hot chocolate in a cookie, add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of cayenne or other hot chile powder, use chopped Ibarra or other Mexican style chocolate, and finish with Manzanillo, or salt infused with chiles.

 

Cocktail Nibbles

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These make a terrific cocktail or wine-tasting accompaniment.  The first recipe came from my amazing friend Tina, who is a supertalented chef and artist, made this recipe for me once when she was hanging out at our place. I promptly stole it, and have passed it off as my own ever since. I think she’s okay with that. She’s pretty cool.  The second one is the evolution of my families preferences, and it can be easily personalized to fit your family too.

Olive Oil Roasted Almonds

Ingredients

2 cups whole, skin-on almonds

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt – try a Sicilian, Italian, or Spanish sea salt, a smoked salt, or a salt infused with herbs, roasted garlic, olives, red wine, or curry

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon herbs de Provence

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread almonds out on a dry baking sheet. Toast for 15-20 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Stir every 5 minutes or so to ensure even browning.
  1. Pour the hot nuts into a bowl, and add oil and salt right away. Toss to coat, then add cheese and herbs and toss again. Cool to room temperature before serving. Store airtight.

Grown up Gorp 

Nuts and dried fruits have a very long relationship. From pemmican to girl scouts, they are perfectly matched. The sweet, spicy salt additions in this recipe bring this trail tradition into a modern culinary setting.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons herbs de Provence

Grated zest of one orange

1 ¾ teaspoon unrefined sea salt – try American sea salt from the Pacific Northwest, Australian Murray River, a smoked salt, or a sea salt infused with citrus, curry, saffron, or chiles

½ -1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup pecan halves

1 cup whole, skin-on almonds

1 cup cashews

1 cup sunflower seeds (hulled)

1 tablespoon sesame seed

1 tablespoon flaxseed

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon honey

½ cup dried cherries or cranberries

½ cup pitted dates, chopped

½ cup golden raisins

¼ cup zante currants

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat a baking sheet with pan spray and set aside. Mix together sugar, herbs, orange zest, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  1. Toast pecans, almond, and cashews in the oven on separate dry sheet pans until golden and fragrant, about 10 minutes each. (I prefer to toast them separately.) Pour the hot nuts into a bowl, and add the sunflower, sesame and flaxseeds. Add the butter and honey, and toss to coat. Add the sugar mixture and continue to toss until evenly coated.
  1. Spread the mixture out in an even layer on the prepared pan. Bake in 5 minute increments, stirring in between, until sugar has melted, and the mixture is evenly toasted. Remove from oven, toss with another teaspoon of sea salt, then cool completely.
  1. When cool, add cherries, dates, raisins and currants. Toss together, and serve, store air tight for a week, or freeze for longer storage.

 

Onion Jam Allumettes

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These little morsels will be the talk of your holiday cocktail party.  the sweet-salt balance is subtle enough to compliment everything from champagne to your most complicated mixological concoction.

Allumette is the classic term for strips of puff pastry. The word means matchstick, but these are certainly not meant to be that thin. Aim for creating small, thin, bite-sized rectangles.

Ingredients

2 ½ pounds red onion, peeled, cut in half, and sliced thin

¼ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt—try Halen Mōn, flor de sal, a smoked salt, or a salt infused with shitake or truffles.

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs fresh thyme

¼ cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/3 red wine vinegar

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

1 package frozen puff pastry, defrosted in the refrigerator overnight (See the Frozen Puff Pastry in Techniques)

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Add onions, reduce heat, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, until the onions begin to sweat and soften. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until they begin to color—about 30 minutes.
  1. Add ½ teaspoon of the salt, the pepper, the bay and thyme. Cover and continue to cook another 30 minutes.
  1. Add sugar, wine, and vinegars. Increase heat and bring to a boil, stirring, for 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to as the liquid reduces, and the onions are creamy and sticky.
  1. Cool mixture, then transfer to a plastic tub and refrigerate. (If you make a large enough batch, you can sock some away for use throughout the year—it only gets better with age!)
  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat it with pan spray. Whisk together the egg and water to make an egg wash. Open the defrosted frozen puff pastry into a rectangle and rollout slightly, to flatten. You don’t need to reduce the thickness too much—it should be about ¼ inch thick. Brush the surface with the egg wash. Set it in the freezer for 5 minutes so that the dough stays firm when cut.
  1. sing a pastry wheel (aka pizza cutter) cut the chilled, egg washed puff pastry into ½ -inch-wide by 3-inch-long strips. Place them on the prepared baking sheet, about ½-inch apart. Top each wih a small dollop of onion jam, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Chill again for 5 -10 minutes. Bake until golden and puffed, about 15 minutes. Rotate the pan as necessary for even browning. Cool slightly, then arrange on a platter and serve.

 

Chicken Liver Pâté

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This is one of mankind’s all-time great hors d’oeuvres.  No.  I am not over-selling it.

To much of the world, There is nothing fancy about eating chicken livers. But some how the French managed to elevate it (as they do with most mundane things—bread, underwear, smoking, words). Spread this on a thin slice of baguette or toasted rye, c’est manifique.

Ingredients

½ pound chicken livers, well cleaned

2 shallots, chopped

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme

½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt – try a sel gris, fleur de sel, Piran, Japanese shio, Maldon, or a smoked salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

½ cup white wine

1 teaspoon cognac or brandy

6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon powdered gelatin

¾ cup port wine or dry sherry

Method

  1. Combine livers, shallots, 1 sprig of thyme, salt, pepper and wine in a small saucepan.   Bring to a simmer and cook, for 3 minutes, until the livers are set and barely pink on the inside. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes.
  1. Drain the liquid off the cooled livers, remove thyme sprig, and transfer solids to food processor. Add cognac and puree until smooth. Slowly add 6 ounces of butter, a tablespoon at a time, as the processor spins; this emulsifies and enriches the pate.

Transfer to serving terrine, then spread and tap the top to smooth it.   Set aside in the refrigerator.

  1. Pour the water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top. Set aside until the gelatin softens and absorbs the water, about 5 minutes. Bring the port and remaining thyme to a simmer. Add the gelatin and stir until it dissolves, then pour through a fine mesh strainer onto the top of your pate. Chill until set, at least an hour. Serve with crackers, bread, cornichons, assorted pickles, onion marmalade, fresh sliced radishes, and an assortment of cheese, fruits, and nuts.  You’re about to become the entertainer of the year!

Variations

Jelly-free – If you are freaked out by gelatin, you can finish your paté with melted butter. there is an alternative. You can melt additional butter and pour into a very thin layer on top of the chilled paté. Before the butter sets, sprinkle the top with a solid layer of finely chopped parsley. Refrigerate until set, at least an hour. This can be done a day or two ahead—in fact it’s better that way, as the flavors improve as it sits.

 

Easy Smoked Sausage

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Feel like showing off this summer?  This recipe is a great way to do it.  Don’t let the fact that it is “homemade sausage” intimidate you!  You can totally handle this!

Homemade sausage is great on a number of levels—you can control the quality of meat, the type of seasoning, and you get a tremendous sense of accomplishment. The smoke in this version comes from smoked salt (either store bought or homemade). If you are not a smoke fan, see the Variations for more easy sausage recipes.

Ingredients

2-3 pounds ground beef (75-80% lean)

¾ cup cold water

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons mustard seeds, toasted and ground

3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

¼ – ½ teaspoon red chili flake

2 tablespoons unrefined smoked salt

1 tablespoon Prague Powder #1 (This is potassium nitrate aka “curing salt”, aka “instacure”, aka”saltpeter” – it inhibits bacteria growth, and keeps the meat from turing gray – which is gross. Be careful, as this salt is only for curing, not seasoning–it’s toxic in large amounts.)

Method

  1. In a large bowl, or a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together meat and water until well emulsified. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  1. Roll the meat into 2-3 thin logs (sausage shaped) and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for 24 hours.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F, and line a roasting pan with a rack to elevate the meat above the drippings. Unwrap the sausage, set them on the rack, and bake for 1 hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 F.   Serve immediately as a warm sausage, or cool, re-wrap, and chill completely in the refrigerator for cold sliced sausage.

Variations

Game Meat – This same recipe can be made with any ground meat you have on had. It is particularly nice with venison. Be sure to check the internal temperature recommended for the type of meat you chose.

Andouille – Spicy Louisiana style sausage can be approximated by using ground pork (either all or part) and adding to the existing spices an additional teaspoon of freshly ground toasted cumin, paprika, dried thyme, dried oregano, and a pinch each of clove and allspice. Cook this to 160 F as well.

 

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

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roasted-root-vegetables-from-slim-palateHere’s another great way to highlight your fancy salt!  It’s a nice variation on your typical Turkey-Day fare. (I get sick of the same ol’ same ol’.)  This dish is typically though of as a side dish, but I like to call it a salad, because I can easily eat just this for lunch–or breakfast for that matter.   I really like it at room temperature, slightly al dente, with a tangy dressing and a bit of a crunch. Of course, you can use it as a side dish if you want. It’s your kitchen.

Ingredients

1 butternut squash

1 sweet potato

1 red or yellow beet

1 parsnip

1 yellow onion

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon unrefined salt – try Bavarian rock salt, Portuguese sel gris, Peruvian pink, smoked salt, or a salt infused with rosemary or red wine

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 cup apple juice

½ cup toasted pecans, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.   Dice squash, potato, beet, parsnip, and onion into 1-2 inch chunks.   Quarter the onion, leaving the root in tact. Toss them all in olive oil and spread onto a baking sheet. Roast until tender and crisp on the outside. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt, then set aside at room temperature.
  1. Meanwhile heat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until translucent, about 30-60 seconds. Stir in honey, vinegar, and apple juice. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until the liquid is reduced to syrup consistency, about 3-5 minutes. Keep your eye on this. It will happen fast!
  1. Combine the glaze, roasted roots, and pecans in a large bowl and toss to coat. Season with more salt as needed and serve.

Variations

Bacon – If you’re a bacon fan, use two slices of raw diced bacon instead of butter here. Render the fat and crisp it up in the pan, then add the garlic, and continue with the recipe as written.   It’s great with pancetta too!

Cheesy – Garnish this dish with a crumble of feta, goat, or sharp blue cheese. The salty tang is a great contrast to the sweetness of these roots and the apple juice.

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