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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cherry cola

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.

 

Classic Salted Chocolate Soufflé

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Souffles are the classic pastry phobia. But there is no reason not to try making them at home. Even a fallen soufflé tastes amazing. For best results, have patience, and some good, straight-sided ramekins. For me, this roux based soufflé has always been the most successful. It’s a very stable base that can be used for a number of different flavors, including savory cheese. See the Variations for some ideas.

Ingredients

¾ cup butter (6 ounces) unsalted butter, plus an extra tablespoon for the ramekin

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup milk

½ cup granulated sugar, divided

2 large egg yolks

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

1 ½ teaspoon unrefined salt – try Maldon, Cyprus Flake, any fleur de sel, or a salt infused with rosemary, orange, rose, vanilla, chocolate, or espresso

5 egg whites

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Combine milk and sugar in a small saucepan, and heat to a simmer. Stir until sugar is melted, then set aside. Melt chocolate over a double boiler (or in a microwave, stopping to stir every 15 seconds until melted), then set aside. Coat four 8-ounce ramekins very lightly with melted butter, then with granulated sugar, tapping out the extra. Set aside.
  1. Melt 6 ounces of the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the flour, and whisk it in until it is all absorbed. (This is a roux.) Slowly drizzle in milk, while whisking, to form a smooth paste. (This is the base for béchamel sauce.) Remove from heat and stir in egg yolks, one at a time. Add chocolate, 1 teaspoon salt, and mix until well incorporated. Transfer to a large bowl.
  1. In a clean bowl, using a standing mixer, handheld beaters, or a balloon whisk, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold a third of the stiff egg whites into the chocolate base to thin it out, then add the rest and carefully fold together until uniform in color. (Do not fold too much, or you will deflate the air in the egg whites.)
  1. Fill prepared ramekins all the way to the rim. Wipe off any drips on the rim, place them on a baking sheet, and sprinkle the top with a bit more salt. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, until risen well above the rim. (The risen sides of the soufflé will look dry when it is ready.) Remove from oven, carefully and transfer ramekin to a napkin lined plate (to keep the ramekin from sliding as it is carried to the table). Serve immediately, and offer your guests accompanying bowls of whipped cream, fresh berries, or complimentary sauces.

Variations

Salted Caramel – Omit the ½ cup of sugar, and replace the bittersweet chocolate with an equal amount of caramel sauce. Use a big pyramid flake salt, or a smoked salt.

Fruity– Reduce the sugar to ¼ cup, and replace the bittersweet chocolate with an equal amount of fruit jam, marmalade, or lemon curd. Try a salt infused with citrus, rosemary, rose, or chipotle.

Pumpkin – Replace the bittersweet chocolate with an equal amount of pumpkin puree, and add about 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice with the egg yolks. Try Persian Blue here, or a salt infused with allspice, nutmeg, or cinnamon.

Cheese – Replace the sugar on the inside of the ramekin with finely grated parmesan cheese. Omit the sugar from the recipe, and replace the chocolate with an equal amount of grated cheese. Add herbs, and up to ½ cup of other garnish, such as chopped ham or sautéed mushrooms.   Try this with Murray River, smoked salt, or a salt infused with herbs, shitake, or truffles.

 

Ham

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pig
Since Easter is quickly approaching, I’ve been thinking about ham.

Mmmmmm. Ham.

Ham is a cut from the hind leg of a pig and is usually a cured product, although there is such a thing as fresh ham. Dry cured ham is salted and stored until the salt penetrates and dehydrates the meat (just like last week’s recipe, salmon gravlax). Some hams are pickled, which entails soaking the meat in acidic brine. You will often find sugar-cured ham made with this brine method. Mass produced hams are usually injected with brine. Some hams are smoked after curing, a process that further preserves and adds considerable flavor.

Ham is an ancient food. It is thought to have been originated by the European Celts (known to the Romans as Gauls) as early as the 6th century B.C. Living around salt deposits, they would have discovered the preservation properties of salt and used it on many kinds of meats, including regional wild boar. Romans were known to covet these hams, and eventually incorporated the preparations into their own cuisine. The ham of Parma and prosciutto are two famous examples of their culinary thievery.

Cured hams are fully cooked, and need only be heated to serve. There are numerous glazes that one can slather over a ham, but it is the pure and simple flavor of the cure that I look forward to. Sliced thin and stacked between two sliced of light rye, with a little mustard … that’s how I roll.

If, like me, you enjoy a big ham around Easter, here is a classic recipe for Deviled Ham to help you use up the leftovers. Use it for sandwiches or serve it on a bed of lettuce for a tasty luncheon dish.

Deviled Ham

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 stalk celery, diced fine
3 scallions, minced
2 tablespoons flat leaf (Italian) parsley, minced
2 cups finely minced ham
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Tabasco to taste

METHOD

In a large bowl combine mayonnaise, mustard, celery, scallions, parsley, and mix well. Add ham, pepper, Tabasco, and stir to combine. That’s it. Not everything delicious needs to be complicated!
pigtattoo

Ice Cream

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ice cream dish

“I” is for ice cream… no duh!

This week’s recipe is dedicated to Mark, Laura, Monica, and Tony, who were fantastic hosts to me this weekend. They let me crash their pad on my way to the USS George Washington for an Adopt-a-Chef Trip. I sure wish I lived in Virginia so we could make this recipe together all the time!!

This perhaps my favorite food ever to cook! It is so satisfying, and it is one of those magical recipes that is more like alchemy than cooking. It’s alchemic!! (Is that a word?) Ice cream is a stovetop custard that is cooked, cooled, then frozen. The freezing is the magical part, and it can occur in a number of ways.

Yes, the custard itself is a bit tricky. In fact, I have used it as a test for potential pastry assistants. The ability to pull the custard off the heat at the appropriate time takes practice. But so what if it’s challenging? I encourage you to try it, and even flub it up. Once you understand what goes wrong, you’ll never blow it again. Honestly, it’s the best way to learn!

This recipe is for plain ol’ vanilla, but you can make it any flavor you want. Add melted chocolate to the cooked custard (about 1-2 cups), instant coffee, fruit jam, pumpkin puree, or dried flavoring, like lavender flowers or green tea powder. Or fold in garnish after the custard has been churned, such as cookie dough, candy, fresh or dried fruit, or whatever your heart desires.

INGREDIENTS

3-4 cups of ice
2 cups half and half
2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped (optional)
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1-3 tsp. vanilla extract, or other flavoring
(use your imagination!)
1 tsp. kosher salt

METHOD

  1. Fill a large bowl with ice, and set another large bowl on top of the ice. Have a strainer nearby and set all this aside, but nearby, until custard is cooked.
  2. Bring the half and half and milk to a boil in a large saucepan. In a small bowl whisk together sugar and egg yolks. At the boil, temper 1/2 cup of hot half and half into the yolks and whisk quickly to combine. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan and over high heat whisk immediately and vigorously until the mixture begins to resemble thick cream, about 2 minutes. Strain immediately into the bowl sitting on ice. Stir periodically until cool.
  3. When the custard is completely cool, strain it and stir in flavoring. Run through an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Pack the ice cream for several hours for firm scoops.

Thom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken Soup with Coconut)

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thai-soup-02We had a little cold snap, so I’m feeling that it is still acceptable to make hot soup.   (Okay, by cold snap, I mean it got down to 60.  Sorry, rest of America.)

I’ve decided on this Thai staple because there’s a palm tree outside–therefore my soup should have a tropical flair.
This classic recipe calls for the leaf of the Makrut Lime tree.  It was formerly known as Kaffir lime, but that name has since been outed as one that carries great offense in certain parts of the world.  I don’t feel like being that guy, so I’ll use the Thai name.

The a fruit is cherished, not for the inner flesh or juice, but its super-potent double-lobed, figure-8 leaf. The leaf’s intense aroma is an essential ingredient throughout Southeast Asia. You’ll find it floating in broths, soups (pho, tom kha gai), and curries and combined with other herbs and spices like garlic, galangal, and chiles. The fruit is bright green and very bumpy and is no substitute for the intense lime aroma of the leaves. Makrut lime leaves are available at Asian markets.

kaffir

INGREDIENTS

1 (5.6-oz.) can coconut milk
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup fresh galangal, grated
2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 TB. fish sauce (nam pla)
6 makrut lime leaves, crushed
2 Thai chiles, minced
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2 limes, cut into wedges
1/] cup fresh cilantro, chopped

METHOD

  1. In a large soup pot combine coconut milk, chicken broth, galangal, and lemongrass. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Strain and return liquid to the pot.
  2. Add fish sauce, lime leaves, Thai chiles, and chicken. Simmer 30 minutes more. Serve hot with lime wedges and chopped cilantro.

Purple Potatoes with Lavender

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lavA member of the mint family, lavender is a common perennial shrub that grows in any Mediterranean-like climate. Lavender has thin, woody stalks, with thin silvery gray leaves that are bushy at the base of the stem. At the top sits the skinny purple flowers, loaded with aromatic oil.

An ancient cure for headaches, lavender’s restorative powers are still extolled by aroma therapists. The flavor is floral, although some consider it soapy. In fact lavender has been used in wash water since ancient times. The name comes from the Latin lavare, meaning “to wash,” and is the root of the word lavatory (wash room) and the Spanish lavanderia (laundry).

Lavender is an integral part of the French seasoning blend Herbes de Provençe (my favorite blend ever!), but on its own it enhances all kinds of foods, just like its cousins rosemary, oregano, and sage. On the sweet side of the kitchen lavender has become popular as a dessert flavor, used in combination with fruits, chocolate, and vanilla. Here, I am harnessing its earthier characteristics.

Look for lavender in Latin American markets, health food stores, and specialty grocers. Or plant your own!

Purple Potatoes with Lavender

crazy-purple-spuds
If you’ve never seen a purple potato, don’t be afraid! Their dark skin conceals a beautifully vibrate purple flesh that tastes like a sweeter version of any average potato. It is a waxy potato, so if you have trouble locating it use red or white new potatoes instead.

INGREDIENTS

8 to 10 small purple Peruvian potatoes
Water
1 tsp. kosher salt
6 TB. unsalted butter
1/4 cup lavender buds, crushed
1 tsp. sea salt

METHOD

  1. In a large saucepan cover potatoes with water, add kosher salt, and boil until potatoes are tender. Strain water off potatoes and set aside to cool. When cool, slice potatoes into medallions.
  2. In a large sauté pan melt butter over medium heat. Add lavender and cook until butter solids turn dark brown. (Don’t be alarmed if they turn a little black. That just adds to the flavor.) Add potatoes and sea salt, and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

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