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"It's so beautifully arranged on the the plate – you know someone's fingers have been all over it." – Julia Child

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5 of May

Here’s a drink that’s hot and just the right amount of spicy for this week’s celebrations and the upcoming summer months.

CHIQUILA MOCKINGBIRD MARGARITA
A spicy, smooth, and sassy cocktail from our latest book,  Summer Cocktails !

Makes 1 (or make several batches for a crowd)

2 tablespoons coarse salt
1/2 lime
Ice
2 ounces Chiquila*
1 ounce triple sec or Cointreau
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 ounce honey syrup**

To make our signature “Chiquila,” add 3 morita chiles (dried smoky chilies available in the Latin American section of most supermarkets) to 1 (750-milliliter) bottle of silver or gold tequila. Allow the tequila to steep for at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. Strain the tequila, discard the chiles, and voilà! All done.

For the Honey Syrup: Bring to a boil 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup water. Stir until honey is dissolved. Remove from heat, cool completely, and use or store, refrigerated.

– Spread the salt on a saucer. Dampen the rim of the glass with the lime and dip it in the salt. Fill the glass with ice.

– Combine the tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and honey syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into the prepared glass. ¡Salud!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, they say, and we concur. It’s coffee and food just after waking for us, but this classic Irish breakfast ups the ante on the weekday yogurt-and-granola staple.

This breakfast is protein heavy, containing Irish bacon and sausages, black and white pudding, and sunny side-up eggs. In addition, there are fried tomatoes, beans (white in a sweet tomato sauce not unlike American baked beans), sautéed tomatoes, soda bread, and naturally, a pint of Guinness.

Please note that it does take some effort to gather the makings of this breakfast, but Irish products are available, and they are well worth seeking out, particularly the bacon, which is more like a slim pork chop rather than the American bacon strips.

Happy St. Patrick’s day, and sláinte!

Oh, Valentine’s Day. Mostly I associate it with the not getting of the “Be Mine” card in my school desk in grade school. What sort of holiday is this where the frizzy haired and bespectacled girls get snubbed? Boooo!!! Hiss!!! BUT! You know, I love pink and red and it seems like those are the colors of that Valentine guy. AND! Dessert. Seems to be the thing that either you enjoy on a date or binge on if you don’t have one. Go for it,  eat it like a hot dog. xoxo

RASPBERRIES AND CREAM ECLAIRS

Makes 6

Once cooled, you can freeze leftover éclairs in a zipper-lock bag. When ready to use, warm through in a preheated 350°F oven, then allow to cool to room temperature.

For the Eclairs
1 cup water
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, beaten plus 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

In medium saucepan, combine the water, butter, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, stirring until butter melts. Stir in flour all at once, and continue cooking, stirring constantly and vigorously, until the mixture forms a smooth ball of dough, 4 to 5 minutes. The bottom of the saucepan should be clean.

Remove from heat and transfer dough to a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon, add the eggs and stir until they’re fully incorporated. With a soup spoon, scoop dough out into 6 logs.

Beat the yolks, a pinch of salt, and cream in small bowl. Brush tops of dough with egg wash. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350°F and continue baking for about 30 minutes, or until the dough is puffed and golden golden. Transfer éclairs directly to cooling rack and cool completely.

For the Glaze
1 ½ cups fresh raspberries
½ cup confectioners’ sugar

Pulse the raspberries in a food processor until completely puréed. Strain the raspberry sauce and discard the seeds. Whisk in the sugar.

For the Filling
1 ½ cups heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 cups fresh raspberries

Beat the cream and sugar together in a large bowl with a large whisk or an electric mixer until soft peaks form.

To assemble, cut the éclairs in half lengthwise. Spoon in whipped cream and tuck in raspberries. Drizzle glaze over the éclairs.

 Eat, drink, and be merry! Wishing you a lovely holiday season and a joyful new year.

WINE, SPICE, & ROSE POACHED PEARS

Serves 8 to 10

Note: Beets add a vibrant crimson hue to the pears, that red wine alone doesn’t achieve.

1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
6 firm Bosc pears
2 cups dry red wine
2 cups water
3 cups granulated sugar
Pinch salt
2 beets, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup dried edible rosebuds*, plus additional for garnish
2 teaspoons lemon juice

– Peel the pears, cut them in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds with a melon baller or a 1-teaspoon measuring spoon.

– In a large saucepan, toast black peppercorns and cinnamon stick over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high and, add wine, water, and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to medium, add pears, salt, beets, and rosebuds. Place a piece of parchment paper directly on the surface of the pears and weigh down with a smaller saucepan (this will ensure even poaching and coloration).

– Simmer until pears are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Store, refrigerated, for up to 5 days, until ready to use.

– When ready, remove and discard beets. Remove pears from syrup and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until mixture is thick and syrupy, about 10 minutes.

– Serve pears with lightly sweetened whipped cream, crème fraîche, or ice cream and a sprinkle of Maldon salt. Garnish with rosebuds, if desired.

*Order rosebuds online at Kalustyan’s.

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

We know: it’s freezing. We’d offer to come over and snuggle, but, no way we’re leaving home today. Try our remedy instead!

 

SALTED CARAMEL HOT CHOCOLATE
A dark, rich, and perfectly seasoned elixir from our book,  Winter Cocktails

In this variation, sugar cooks down to an amber, bittersweet caramel that blends seamlessly into hot chocolate.
Cooking Tip: You will need a large saucepan for this recipe: the addition of cream to the caramel causes the mixture to bubble aggressively.

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
6 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Maldon salt, plus additional for garnish
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup natural cocoa powder
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
4 cups whole milk
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, or chocolate chips
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Ingredient Tip: Maldon salt is a sea salt whose large flakes are ideal for seasoning: they melt slowly but easily into warm items, and also provide a nice crunch and textural contrast. See page 000 for resources.

– Stir sugar and water together in large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until sugar turns dark amber and just begins to smoke, 6 to 8 minutes. Immediately add cream and salt, stepping away from pan while bubbling and sputtering subside. Reduce heat to medium and stir just until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.

– Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa and brown sugar and stir with whisk until a paste forms. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Whisk in caramel. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat, then, reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in chocolate and cook, stirring until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Serve in warm cups and sprinkle with Maldon salt.

– Spike each serving with 1 1/2 ounces Amaretto per serving, if desired (trust us, you desire).

Serves 4

 

 

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