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Chef’s Blog

Asparagus Napoleons with Oriental Black Bean Sauce

Ingredients

For the pastry rectangles

  • 1/2 pound frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • an egg wash made by beating 1 large egg yolk with 2 teaspoons water

For the sauce

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Scotch or medium-dry Sherry
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon fermented black beans (available at Oriental markets and specialty foods shops), rinsed well and drained
  • 2 tablespoons fine julienne strips of orange zest
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh gingerroot
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and peeled

Make the pastry rectangles:
Roll out the pastry 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface, cut out six 5- by 2-inch rectangles, and transfer them to a dampened baking sheet. Brush the tops of the rectangles with some of the egg wash, being careful not to let the egg wash drip down the sides, score them in a crosshatch pattern with the back of a paring knife, and brush them again with some to the remaining egg wash. Bake the rectangles in the upper third of a preheated 400°F. oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are puffed and golden, transfer them with a spatula to racks, and let them cool. The pastry rectangles may be made 1 day in advance, kept in an airtight container at room temperature, and reheated. Halve the rectangles horizontally with a serrated knife and with a fork pull out carefully any uncooked dough.

Make the sauce:
In a small bowl dissolve the cornstarch in the water and stir in the broth, the soy sauce, the Scotch, and the sugar. In a heavy saucepan heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it stir-fry the beans, the zest, the gingerroot, and the garlic for 1 minute, or until the mixture is very fragrant. Stir the broth mixture and add it to the bean mixture. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring, simmer it for 2 minutes, and keep it warm. The sauce may be made 1 day in advance, kept covered and chilled, and reheated.

In a large deep skillet of boiling salted water cook the asparagus for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the stalks are just tender but not limp, and drain it well. Arrange the bottom half of each pastry rectangle on a plate and divide the asparagus among the pastries. Spoon the sauce over the asparagus and around the pastries on each plate and top the asparagus with the top halves of the pastries.

Grilled Lobster Paella

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oilTwo-piece Strapless Lace Overlay Mermaid Wedding Gown with Detachable Off Shoulder Sheer Lace Jacket
  • 3/4 pound Spanish chorizo, sliced into 1/2″-thick rounds
  • 6 stalks green garlic, thinly sliced, or 2 finely chopped leeks, white and light-green parts only
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 1/2 cups short-grain rice (such as bomba, Valencia, or calasparra)
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 7 cups hot seafood or chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 1–1 1/4-pound lobsters, halved lengthwise, claws cracked
  • 2 cups shelled peas or frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 halved lemons

Method

Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill. Let burn down to red-hot coals; rake to edge of grill. (For backup, start a second round of coals in a charcoal chimney on pavement nearby.) Put a 16″–18″ paella pan on grill grate; heat 1/2 cup olive oil. Add 3/4 lb. Spanish chorizo, sliced into 1/2″-thick rounds, and 6 stalks green garlic, thinly sliced, or 2 finely chopped leeks, white and light-green parts only; cook until golden, 3–4 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon smoked paprika and 2 1/2 cups short-grain rice (such as bomba, Valencia, or calasparra); cook, stirring often, until rice is coated, 2 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads to 7 cups hot seafood or chicken stock. Add stock to pan and season to taste with kosher salt; stir to distribute ingredients. Let cook, undisturbed, until stock simmers and rice begins to absorb liquid, about 10 minutes. Rotate pan every 2–3 minutes to cook evenly.

Arrange 3 1-1 1/4-pound lobsters, halved lengthwise, claws cracked, over the rice. Continue cooking, rotating the pan often, as the rice swells and absorbs the stock. Add more coals from charcoal chimney to maintain even heat under the pan. Cook until the rice is almost tender and the lobster is cooked through, about 10 more minutes.

Scatter 2 cups shelled peas or frozen peas, thawed, on top. (If the liquid evaporates before the rice is tender, add more hot stock.) Cook without stirring, allowing rice to absorb all of the liquid, so that a crust (the socarrat) develops on the bottom and the edges begin to dry out and get crusty, 5–10 minutes, for a total cooking time of about 40 minutes.

Remove pan from grill. Cover with large clean kitchen towels and let rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and serve with 3 halved lemons, making sure to scrape some of the socarrat from the bottom of the pan onto each plate.

Mixed Berry Cobbler

Filling:Grape Short Sleeve V Neck Long Chiffon Bridesmaid Dress

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 7 cups (1 3/4-2 pounds) mixed fresh berries (use no more than 1 ½ cups strawberries; halved if large)

Dough:

  • 1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for surface
  • 1/4 cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 cup chilled whole milk plus more for brushing
  • Vanilla ice cream

For filling:
Position a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 400°F. Whisk sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add berries to bowl and toss to coat. Transfer berry mixture to a 2-quart baking dish about 2″ deep. Set aside to macerate while making dough.

For dough:
Whisk 1 1/3 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add butter; using fingertips, rub in butter until coarse meal forms. Add 1/2 cup milk and stir just until dough forms. Gather dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Gently knead 5 or 6 times, then pat or roll dough into a 9×6″ rectangle. Cut dough in half lengthwise, then crosswise 3 times, forming 8 rectangles. Arrange biscuits 1/2″ apart over fruit. Brush tops lightly with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until fruit is bubbling and biscuits are just cooked through and golden all over, about 35 minutes. Let cool at least 30 minutes; serve with vanilla ice cream. DO AHEAD: Cobbler can be made up to 3 hours ahead. Rewarm at 350° if desired

 

Olive Oil Cake with candied orange

Ingredients

Candied orange and syrup:Luxury Peach Tulle and Chiffon Sweetheart Long Evening Prom Dress

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup orange blossom honey
  • 3 tablespoons green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 small orange, thinly sliced

Cake:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil plus more for brushing
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour (pasta flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Chopped unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted

 

  • Special equipment: 9″-diameter springform pan

 

  • Ingredient Info:Semolina flour (pasta flour) is available at better supermarkets and at Italian markets.

Preparation

For candied orange and syrup:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring sugar, honey, cardamom, and 3 cups water to a boil in a medium heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add orange slices. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, turning orange slices occasionally, until tender and syrup is reduced to 3 1/4 cups, about 40 minutes. Arrange orange slices in a single layer on prepared baking sheet; remove cardamom pods and seeds. Strain syrup. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover syrup and orange slices separately; chill. Return orange slices to room temperature and rewarm syrup slightly before using.

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush pan with oil. Whisk both flours and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup oil in a large bowl for 1 minute. Beat in yolks, then flour mixture. Beat in yogurt, zest, and vanilla. Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar until firm peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter just to blend in 2 additions. Transfer to prepared pan; smooth top.

Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Pierce hot cake all over with a metal skewer. Slowly drizzle 3/4 cup warm syrup all over. When syrup is absorbed, slowly pour 3/4 cup more syrup over. Reserve remaining syrup for serving. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack. Run a thin knife around edge of pan to release cake. Remove pan sides. Arrange candied orange slices over. Sprinkle pistachios over. Cut into wedges and serve drizzled with more syrup.

Double Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients

Brownie Layer

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Cheesecake Layer

  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 8 ounce (250 g) packages of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 ounces white chocolate, melted

 

Directions

Brownie Layer

For brownie layer, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch springform cake pan and line bottom and sides with parchment paper. Melt butter and pour into a larger bowl. Sift cocoa into butter and stir in sugar. Add eggs to mixture, blending well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt (do not sift). Add to cocoa mixture and blend. Stir in white chocolate chips. Pour into pan and bake for 35 minutes, until firm. Cool completely before filling.

Cheesecake Layer

For cheesecake layer, place chopped chocolate in a bowl of a pot of gently simmering water (be sure bowl does not touch the water) and stir to melt. Remove from heat. Beat cream cheese until fluffy with electric beaters or in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment on high speed. Slowly add sugar while mixing and beat in vanilla. Pour in whipping cream and whip into cream cheese on high speed, until mixture becomes firm and holds a peak. Scrape chocolate into mixture and blend quickly. Scrape filling onto brownie base and spread evenly. Chill cake for at lest 2 hours before slicing. To garnish, remove springform pan and drizzle top with white chocolate.

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