Cherub’s Cup

11 Sep

image

 

This baby angel cocktail will knock your socks off – especially at high altitude. It’s not for the weak of heart but is extremely delicious when strawberries are stick at peak. We enjoyed these cocktails at a special cocktail hour with friends in the mountains. They are perfectly refreshing and not too sweet. Get it into your summer cocktail hour before fall turns. When is that harvest moon?

Cherub‘s Cup
  • 1 part St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 2 parts Gin
  • 3/4 part fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 shot simple syrup
  • 1 part muddled strawberry
  • top with Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine
  • strawberry for garnish

Grilled Brie with Fresh Figs and Mountain Honey

7 Sep

image

When my friends informed me that their new condo had an outdoor grill over looking the mountains, I planned the entire weekend around cooking outside. Every meal utilized the grill – including when I brought out the pots and pans and heated them directly on the grill. Nothing beats outdoor cooking – especially in the mountains with a great breeze.

Grilling Brie was an experiment that turned out extremely well. The trick is to keep the cheese very cold until your ready to cook and heat the grill to high. The process won’t take too long – you’re grilling just enough to make beautiful grill marks and heat the cheese through. This will take about four minutes on each side – but please use your own discretion. And, by no means should you press down on the cheese with a spatula.

Meanwhile, warm honey with a handful or two of quarter fresh mission figs.

Once the cheese is starting to ooze slightly and you can see the grill marks, transfer to a platter. Drizzle with honey, figs and a pinch of good sea salt. Serve with crackers or grilled baguette. Crazy good.

Grilled Lamb with Porcini Mustard Sauce

5 Sep

image

What pairs well with Pommes Anna? Grilled lamb, of course. With a hint of fall air, this recipe for grilled lamb chops with a porcini mustard sauce was perfect. Instead of individual chops, I grilled an entire rack on the grill until 125 degrees. It’s important to watch the thermometer like a hawk – over cooking lamb is sinful. With a little focus and the perfect glass of wine by the grill – you’ll be just fine. You’ll certainly regret not trying.

Grilled Lamb with Porcini Mustard Sauce , Gourmet 2009

  • 2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 cups boiling-hot water
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 7 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 24 rib lamb chops (about 3/4 inch thick; 4 1/2 to 5 pounds total), frenched if desired

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas). Soak mushrooms in boiling-hot water (2 cups) until softened, about 20 minutes. Lift mushrooms out of water and strain liquid through a paper-towel-lined sieve set over a small saucepan. Coarsely chop mushrooms.

Boil mushroom liquid in saucepan until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 13 to 15 minutes. Whisk in mustard, butter, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in mushrooms. Transfer to a small bowl and cool slightly. Stir in 2 tablespoon parsley.

Meanwhile, pulse rosemary, kosher salt, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a food processor to form a coarse paste, scraping down sides. Rub oil all over chops, then coat evenly with rosemary mixture.

Oil grill rack, then grill chops in 2 batches, covered only if using a gas grill, turning once, 4 to 6 minutes per batch for medium-rare.

Sprinkle porcini mustard with remaining tablespoon parsley and serve with lamb.

 

Truffled Pommes Anna

4 Sep

image

 

Growing up, we always made pommes anna together as a family for special occasions. We had them for birthdays and graduations, all sorts of milestones. I still reserve this dish for these types of celebrations. So I decided to serve Pommes Anna – with an even fancier twist – for a housewarming of sorts at my friend’s Jamey and Phil’s new mountain condo. It was also a fun group activity peeling potatoes, slicing with a mandolin and arranging layers. I put the hardest part of the dish on Phil – flipping the pan before serving.

You can certainly skip the truffle butter and salt but its an over the top addition that will knock the socks off any guest. Truffle butter is easily available at The Fresh Market and you can purchase truffled salt at The Savory Spice Shop.

Get slicing!

Truffled Pommes Anna 

 

  • 3 to 4 pounds, potatoes
  • 1 small container, truffle butter
  • 1/2 stick, salted butter
  • truffled salt (optional) and pepper

Melt butters together. Brush the bottom of a nonstick pan. Meanwhile, peel and slice potatoes into thin and even slices (1/8 inch). Try to make the first layer as pretty as possible. After each layer, brush the potatoes with butter and season with salt and pepper. Once the pan is full, cover the top with foil and put something heavy and heat proof on top of it (heavy cast iron pots work well). On the stovetop, brown the bottom layer of the potatoes for about 5 to 10 minutes on medium high or until the bottom is brown.

 Then, transfer the entire thing to the oven for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Once the potatoes have cooked through, let the dish cool down a bit and then flip onto a large platter.

Labor Day in the Highlands

2 Sep

image image

 

Im just back from a wonderful weekend in the North Carolina highlands with some of my favorite friends. We spent three days drinking cocktails with views for miles, grilling on the most fantastic patio grill and mornings climbing in hopes to burn off a couple calories.

The first night we enjoyed gin and tonics with grilled bacon wrapped scallops drizzled with cayenne pepper. After the drive up, this appetizer couldn’t have been easier. Here’s the tip: The Fresh Market sells the skewers pre-made! You don’t have to soak the wooden skewers, deal with the wrapping or the skewering. Just grill, brush with a little butter and garnish with cayenne oil and a little chopped parsley. Looks pretty fancy, right?

Slathered in Summer

30 Aug

image image image

 

 

I’m enjoying the final days of official summer in the North Carolina mountains. It feels like fall up here already. Prepare yourself for some great recipes next week!

But before you say goodbye, I highly recommend making a simple supper to toast to the season. A grilled pork chop or steak seasoned heavily with ground cumin and corriander, some crispy and sweet corn fritters and a simple chopped salad with the best produce you can find.

Make a batch of your favorite green goddess dressing (Ina has a good one – as well as Gwyneth Paltrow) and slathers on tomatoes, cucumbers and avocados. When ingredients are that good, lettuce is only a filler. And check out this awesome fritter recipe below. I recommend more jalapeño!

Corn and Jalapeño Fritters, Bon Appetit

 

  • 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • ½ jalapeño, seeded, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Sour cream and lime wedges (for serving)

Pulse eggs, flour, Parmesan, and ½ tsp. kosher salt in a food processor to combine. Add corn, scallion, and jalapeño; pulse 2–3 times.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook heaping tablespoonfuls of batter until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side; season fritters with salt. Serve with sour cream and lime wedges.

Warm Fresh Summer Corn Salad

21 Aug

image

I hope you’re eating enough fresh corn right now. If not, you’re going to regret it. It’s so delicious raw, cut off the cob and sautéed or grilled and slathered with compote butters. I highly suggest getting creative. Or just using this simple recipe for a warm salad of corn, onion, feta and lime juice.

Hop on it. Pronto.

Sweet Summer Corn Salad

  • 5 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut off
  • 3 tablespoons (or more), olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion
  • salt & pepper
  • parsley, chopped
  • feta cheese crumbles
  • 1 lime

Sauté onion in olive oil. Once tender, add corn and cook until bright yellow and sweet. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, feta and a good squeeze of lime juice.

Honey Glazed Peach Tart

18 Aug

image

image

Growing up, my grandfather made fresh peach ice cream in the garage every summer. It was always the most exciting treat. And we loved watching the churning of cream and peaches while adding more rock salt to the ice. These days, an activity of that nature seems more time consuming than relaxing but the memories are easily consumed by purchasing fresh peaches. This weekend I tested a recipe for a honey-glazed peach tart with sliced almonds. It came out pretty delectable and I happily shared it with some very fit friends at a Saturday night cookout. It was worth the calories and is practically health food as peaches are so perfect this time of year.

I suggest watching the tart carefully. Mine took much longer than the recipe called for but was worth the extra twenty minutes of drooling while the peaches tendered in the oven.

Honey Glazed Peach Tart, Bon Appetit

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons (about) ice water

Filling

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 6 ripe medium peaches, peeled, halved, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons peach preserves or other jelly, melted

Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in butter until pea-size pieces form. With machine running, add enough ice water by tablespoonfuls to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate 1 hour.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Fold overhang in and press to form double-thick sides. Press inside edge of crust to push it 1/8 to 1/4 inch above top edge of pan. Pierce bottom of crust with fork. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake tart crust until golden, piercing with fork if bubbles form, about 25 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool; wrap in plastic and store at room temperature.)
Mix sugar, flour, and lemon peel in large bowl to blend. Add peaches and toss to coat. Pour into baked crust. Drizzle honey over peach mixture; dot with butter and sprinkle with almonds. Bake until peaches are tender and almonds are toasted, about 35 minutes  or until the fruit is tender (mine took much longer). Brush fruit and almonds with peach preserves. Cool 15 minutes before serving. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Store tart at room temperature.)

Tuscan Kale Caesar with Seared Tuna

13 Aug

image

For me, there is nothing better than discovering a new, easy and delicious recipe for solo weeknight dining. With a super busy work schedule, an avid gym regiment and one that finds socializing a priority – recipes like these fit in well. This one is super healthy too – packed with kale, anchovies, lemon juice and lean fish.

After a full day of work, an hour at the gym and a quick run by The Fresh Market, I made this delicious and beautiful plate in less than 15 minutes. I devoured it and didn’t feel a bit of guilt. That’s my kind of victory.

This is become a regular for me. Make it for one or it’s an easy and elegant entertaining dish too!

PS: I love a big selection of flavored olive oils to top dishes. The fire red cayenne pepper olive oil really jazzes up this plate!

Tuscan Kale Caesar with Seared Tuna

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
8 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch Tuscan kale or other kale, center stalks removed, thinly sliced crosswise
Tuna steaks
Cayenne pepper olive oil

In a food processor, blend together first 6 ingredients. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. This will make enough for many salads.

Thinly slice kale and dress with Caesar dressing. I like to dress kale a little earlier than a typical lettuce.

Sear tuna with salt and pepper in a super high heat skillet or grill. Cook to your desired temperature.

Drizzle with a super spicy cayenne pepper olive oil for a nice kick and beautiful presentation!

Spicy Peach & Sriracha Ribs

12 Aug

image

North Carolina is surely becoming swampland with all this rain. It’s really not good for morale – however, this weekend I didn’t let it get in the way of my cooking plans. Thanks to the encouragement of the North Carolina Pork Council, I embarked on a rib making adventure on Sunday. In attempt to make them seasonal, I made a spicy peach and sriracha BBQ sauce that has plenty of vinegar and tang. Additionally, roasting the ribs with a whole cinnamon stick and slices of ginger gives your rainy day Sunday a nice aroma. Instead of grilling this bad guys, I had to broil because of the downpour. It was worth my time as they were almost as good as the smoky real thing. I recommend doing this on a beautiful day when you can grill – but don’t let the rain get in the way of a delicious culinary adventure – especially with ribs.

This peach and sriacha sauce would be good on any grilled meats – pork tenderloin, chops or even poultry.

Spicy Peach & Sriracha Ribs

Rub:

1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 2- to 2 1/4-pound racks baby back pork ribs

Braise:

1 large onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
6 thin rounds peeled fresh ginger
1 1/4 cups apple cider

Sauce:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely diced red onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup orange juice, with pulp
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups peaches, peeled and chopped

1. The day before, remove the silver skin from the rack of ribs. Mix together the dry ingredients and rub all over the ribs. Refrigerate overnight.

2. The next day, about 3 hours before you want to serve, layer in a roasting pan – onion, cinnamon, ginger and cider vinegar. Place the ribs on top and cover tightly with foil. Braise for 2 hours – or until meat is fork tender – at 325 degrees.

3. While the meat is roasting, in a saucepan, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add water, vinegar,  Worcestershire sauce, orange juice, brown sugar, Sriracha and salt. On medium heat, cook until reduced for about 10 minutes. Add peaches, cover the pan, and simmer for another 15 minutes or until peaches are soft. Move the mixture to a food processor and puree.

4. Once the ribs are tender, slather them with the peach BBQ sauce and grill. Or, broil if it’s raining. Serve with additional sauce – because it’s that delicious.

This post is sponsored by the NC Pork Council.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,516 other followers