Category Archives: desserts

Scallops in Fava & Pea Puree, Littleneck Clams on White Beans, Sausage & Chard, Creme Fraiche Pannacotta with Strawberries

creme fraiche panna cotta with strawberries (sunday suppers at lucques)

I had occasion to cook last night– a Sunday– and was feeling pretty inspired by a very solid weekend of good eats. Friday night a feast in our back yard, Saturday a hike from our doorstep to the top of twin peaks, down into the mission for a stop at Delfina Pizzeria, an errand at Tartine (here’s a hint: it involved walnut bread, croissants and an eclair) and another at BiRite (which involved this steak) and yet another feast in our back yard.

There is a huge collection of cookbooks in my living room. You can tell they aren’t used often because they’re behind glass, stacked with ornamental things on top that would have to be moved to use them. I woke up around 9 on Sunday and tip toed into the living room to loot a few, returned to bed and did the most serious reading I’ve probably done since college…and the result, my final paper, if you will–this menu.

Scallop in Fava & Pea Puree from Amuse Bouche (slightly altered for scale and for oil content)
With Vouvray

Clams with White Beans, Sausage & Chard from Amuse Bouche (altered significantly)
With Vermentino from Sardegna

Creme Fraiche Pannacotta with Strawberries (From Sunday Suppers at Lucques — perfect as is but would use more milk/less cream next time)
with Moscato di Asti

Fried Chicken on Fresh Corn, English Peas, and Kale; Plum Ice Cream

 

 

Fried Chicken Nuggets on Kale and Fresh Corn

Fresh Plum Ice Cream

Yesterday we had some new friends over for dinner, and I planned the menu while starving after my morning yoga class. I resurrected the tomato soup (tomato soup recipe) I always make (but haven’t for about a year), took a hint from a restaurant we went to recently and constructed a fried-chicken breast nuggets dish on fresh corn, English peas, and kale. I already had the peas and corn from my farm shipment and wanted to make sure they didn’t go to waste.

Fried Chicken Breast Nuggets on Kale, Fresh Corn, and Fresh English Peas

3 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 bunches kale
4 ears corn
1/2 lb fresh English peas in pods
Sunflower, avocado, or peanut oil enough to fry in a large, high sided skillet, about 2 cups or more
2 T butter

For Chicken Coating:
1 C flour, set aside

For Chicken Batter:
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 egg whites (can use whole eggs if you prefer)
1/2 cup milk

Frying the chicken:
Cut the breasts into a few different sized chunks in order for the chicken to cook evenly by being fried. None are larger than 1.5 inches thick, 2 inches long, 2 inches wide.

Heat oil at least 1 inch deep in a large high sided skillet; do not fill the skillet more than half way. It should be about 375 degrees; if you don’t have a thermometer (I don’t), test it with a bit of batter.

Generously salt & pepper two sides of the chicken pieces, and coat in flour. Dip into the egg mixture/batter, then back in the flour, placing within a few minutes into the hot oil.

I fried the chicken in 3 batches in a 10 inch skillet to not over crowd.

Chicken will become golden and firm when poked, flip it only once and remove and place on a rack or paper towels to drain. If desired, sprinkle with sea/kosher salt at this point.

The vegetables:
Ahead of time, wash and cut your kale–remove the thick stem, cut into 1 inch pieces. Boil some water, add salt when boiling and blanch the kale for a few minutes until deep green and tender. Drain and set aside.

Wash the corn and cut it off the cob, remove the peas from their shells.

While the oil for the chicken is heating, heat the butter in a skillet. When hot, add the corn and some salt, and continue stirring or flipping until 1/3 is golden/gaining color. Add the fresh peas and cook a few more minutes as the chicken finishes its last batch of frying.

Assemble by placing the hot corn mixture on the plate or bowl, adding the kale and topping with the fried chicken.

Plum Ice Cream:

A friend and coworker gave me some delicious, overly ripe plums last Wednesday, so I made plum preserves of the immediately with very little sugar so they retained their color and tartness; I left them in as large of chunks as was possible and canned up two small jars. They came into play when I decided to make a delicious, custard-y vanilla ice cream and swirl them in.

Adapted from David Lebovitz

3/4 Cup milk
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
2 T brown sugar
pinch salt
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 plump, full size vanilla bean
1/3 cup plum preserves

Heat the milk, salt, and sugars in a saucepan over low heat until sugars combine and milk is beginning to look granulated/clear. While milk is warming, scrape the vanilla bean seeds out of the pod and add it to the milk, and add the pod itself too.

Whisk lightly the egg yolks in a bowl and gradually add warm milk to temper/warm the egg yolks. Once warmed, pour the egg yolks into the sauce pan with the milk and stir well as you do so to prevent coddling.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a spatula until custard is thick enough to coat the spatula. Strain the mixture into the cold heavy cream, wrinsing the vanilla bean pod and adding it back in again. Chill thoroughly and then follow your ice cream maker’s instructions, adding the preserves when the ice cream is fairly thickened, almost done.

Fresh Plum Preserves

Plum preserves recipe: Wash, then cut plums into halves or quarters if they are still very firm, place in a pot, cover with about 1/8th to 1/6th the volume in sugar, the juice of a lemon or lime or more for a great quantity, and bring to a boil; immediately reduce to a simmer for just a couple of minutes, turn off, and can.

Bday Dinner: Prosciutto Pluot, Halibut on Truffled Corn, Apricot Ricotta Tart

prosciutto wrapped pluot with balsamico and burrata

halibut on truffled corn with microgreens and asparagus

Apricot Nut Ricotta Tart

Prosciutto wrapped Pluot

Simple–great fruit, slices of it, wrapped in very thin prosciutto, paired with a soft cheese like burrata in this case, or seasoned ricotta (season with olive oil or flavored olive oil, salt, pepper), drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar.

Halibut on Truffled Corn

I’ve made this as an appetizer as well, and substituted asparagus shavings steamed lightly for the asparagus itself, and served smaller pieces of fish.

For 4

1.3 lb halibut fillet, skinned
3-4 ears fresh corn
1 pack rainbow microgreens
12 asparagus spears (or 5 if you are shaving them)
fresh thyme
truffle oil
hazelnut or walnut oil; if unavailable substitute mild, high heat oil – a few T
toasted sesame oil – 1 tsp
gomashi – ground salt and toasted sesame seeds
salt & pepper

You’ll need two skillets.

Lightly peel the asparagus and place on parchment paper. Dress lightly with olive oil or flavored olive oil (lemon, clementine, etc; alternatively add lemon or other citrus zest). Wrap peeled asparagus in parchment paper to enclose, and place in oven at 350.

Heat 1-2 T nut oil and toasted sesame oil in nonstick skillet or skillet with good sides for flipping at medium high heat. When hot, add corn. When corn begins to color, reduce heat to medium and add thyme. Continue flipping or stirring every 30 seconds to 1 min.

Meanwhile, heat a few T of oil in a pan for the halibut at medium high/high heat. Use enough to easily coat the bottom of the pan. Dress halibut fillets in gomashi and a dash of fresh ground pepper. Top side down into the pan first when oil is hot. When 2/3rds cooked, flip.

When corn is finished cooking, turn off heat and add 1-2 tsp truffle oil, mix. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove asparagus from oven. Total cooking time for most asparagus will be about 15-20 minutes, but check it as ovens vary.

Assemble as pictured on top of the corn; corn, halibut, microgreens, asparagus.

Apricot Tart with Ricotta Marscapone Nut crust

Apricot Ricotta Tart

3-4 cups nuts of any combination or variety: blanched/blanched slivered almonds, raw cashews, macadamias
5 dried apricots
2 T melted butter
6 fresh apricots
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup mascarpone cheese
8 oz ricotta cheese (preferably sheep’s milk)
orange blossom water
honey
benedictine or other brandy/liquor

For the Crust: Chop finely the dried apricots. In a food processor, blend nuts and dried apricots until fine meal is formed. Add 2 T honey, 2 T melted butter and blend until sticky ball is formed. If too sticky, add more nuts. Should be able to hold together.

In a 9 1/2 inch tart pan, press out the crust evenly and then place in freezer or refrigerator to set for at least 30 minutes.

For the Filling: Mix the ricotta, marscapone, 1-2 tsp orange blossom water, 2T honey and 2-3T benedictine/brandy for the filling. Chill.

For the Topping: Wash and quarter the apricots. Start a simple syrup of 1/2 C sugar and 1/2 C water in a large sautee pan. When made, add the apricot quarters and reduce heat to simmer, turning occasionally until fruit plumps but does not fall apart. Remove pieces onto a cool platter as they finish cooking. After fruit is removed, gently raise heat to create apricot caramel.

Bake the tart crust at 350 for 15 minutes until coloring golden. Remove and let cool thoroughly or pop into freezer/oven to bring it down.

Fill with ricotta mixture, top decoratively with apricot slices. If you want the topping to be glossy, melt some red currant jelly in a pan and brush on top. It will dry clear as pastries from a bakery.

Alaskan Halibut on Hazelnut Gomashi Corn, Peaches in Wine

Halibut on hazelnut gomashi corn

1lb halibut fillet, no skin
5 ears fresh sweet corn (2 white 3 yellow)
Gomashi (toasted sesame seeds and salt in a grinder, use a mortal and pestal lightly if you dont have one)
Rainbow microgreens
3 green onions/scallions
Hazelnut Oil
Sesame seeds
Soy Sauce
1T butter
Olive oil

Marinate the halibut in soy sauce, touch of olive oil, and sesame seeds for at least a couple of hours, but not more than 12.  Cook it in a nonstick pan just big enough for it, so it’s nice and tight. More on this in a moment.

Cut the corn off the cob. Slice the scallions thinly into the green.

In a large nonstick pan, heat 2 T hazelnut oil and butter (alternatively use a lightly flavored oil or olive oil and toast actual hazelnuts in it–crush them well first, use low heat for some time to infuse, but it’s just not the same) at medium heat, and add the corn. Add Gomashi mixture to add saltiness. Taste as you cook to add regular salt if needed, depending on proportion of your gomashi.

In a small nonstick pan, cook your marinated halibut on medium, top side down first. Once getting opaque, flip it over and cover it at least loosely with a lid, reduce heat slightly and continue cooking through.

When corn starts to color, add the scallions. Keep tossing until some kernels are browned and all are cooked. Place this on the base of your plate.

Top with clean microgreens, then portion the halibut onto each plate. This serves four with an appetizer (we had some heirloom tomato sauce & red pepper linguini, very small amount).

There is also now a Chilean Sea Bass & Spinich version of this dish.

White and Yellow Organic Peaches, Sliced

Peaches in Wine

4-5 peaches (you can mix apricots too, and yellow and white peaches)
White sugar
Rose or dry white wine

No need to skin them unless you don’t like the skin

Slice evenly and toss in a bit of sugar, then cover in rose or dry white wine, most of the way. Cover and refrigerate for several hours at least. I served them on shortcakes and reduced the liquid to syrup in a pan, putting on top.

Fritole (Italian Doughnuts)

Venetian Fritole (Italian Doughnuts)

In April 2011, I rewrote this 2006 recipe to add western measurements to the metric system on the original, and added new, clearer photos. Please enjoy the recipe for Fritole – Italian doughnuts!