Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I know.

So I stopped blogging for a bit.

While that dewsh Peter would have you all believe that my reasons for ditching the blog involve Nintendo and BC bud, he would be wrong. Just busy with work and weddings and whathaveyou. You know, the usual boring BS.
Sorry, no sex or drugs to blame...at least not this time

BOO-yah!

The blog has not been ditched. Merely put on the back burner.
I don't know when, but I will be back. Probably when the weather starts to suck. Promise.

Until then, have a cupcake.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Semolina Pudding

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Yeah. Sorry about that. A two week lull after what was a phoned in post to begin with is kind of a harsh toke. A brief early spring funk set in, leaving me with the overwhelming urge to do nothing but go through the motions.

And watch a lot of bad movies. Like, Bruce Campbell bad.

I did manage too eek out something interesting a few weeks ago- A semolina pudding. This was inspired by Heather of Gild the (voodoo)lily. Last February, she was in Seattle and met my sister and I for drinks. Over wine and blog gossip, she told me about her upcoming Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 feast that focused on African cuisine (Heather's 24's are always insane. She has another one up featuring nettles. It's so springy and delightful I could just wet myself). Anyway, she mentioned the hominy grits pudding she was planning to end the meal with. Which is where I realized that in nearly ten years of baking for a living, I had never once made a cooked cereal like that for dessert.

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After Heather's post, I began tinkering. So as to not completely rip her off, I explored the flavors of Spain and Morocco. Sweet spices like cardamom, star anise, and cinnamon; the pulp of a vanilla bean, orange zest, and saffron. I opted for semolina over hominy, as it is what I had on hand and seemed to snuggle up with the flavors I was working with.

The warmly scented semolina is cooked, egg is added. Then it's baked in a water bath until it's just set. I baked mine in individual ramekins, because thats usually how I roll- but you could make a big one. You'll have to adjust the baking time.

To garnish, I gave it a drizzle of the clear seville orange caramel I had in the fridge, fresh blood oranges (because they're pretty), fresh mint, crushed salty marcona almonds, and a naughty little dollop of rose scented whipped cream. It made for a lovely weekend dessert special.

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I will leave you with the recipe for my version, but the method is a canvas.
I encourage you to play.

Semolina Pudding
serves 7

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1/2 of a cinnamon stick
1/4 of a vanilla bean, split open
1 star anise
pinch saffron
1/4 cup + 2 Tb semolina
2 oz. butter
1/2 tsp grated orange zest
pinch sea salt
3 eggs
1 egg yolk

Bring the milk, sugar, spices, vanilla bean, and saffron to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let steep for one hour.

Cut parchment paper into circles the same size as your ramekins.
spray 7 3" ramekins with pan spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper circles and spray again. Place ramekins in a roasting pan that has been lined with a tea towel (prevents sliding).

Whisk eggs, yolk, and salt together in a bowl
Return the infused milk to a boil. Strain into a clean pot and bring back to a boil. Slowly whisk in the semolina. Continue whisking over medium heat until mixture has thickened- about 4 or 5 minutes.

Pour a small amount of cooked pudding into the eggs and whisk well. Then, whisk the tempered eggs into the pot. Add the butter and orange zest, then spoon pudding into prepared ramekins. Pour very hot water into the roasting pan until the ramekins are at least 3/4 of the way submerged. Cover pan with foil.

Poke holes in the foil and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Lift the corner of the foil to release steam (Be Careful!!), then recover and bake about 20-30 minutes longer, or until puddings are set. Cool to room temperature- at least an hour, then invert onto plates. Don't forget to peel off the parchment paper!
Serve with your preferred accompaniments


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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Paddy's!

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Oh how I love this holiday. I'm not Catholic, but there is just enough Irish in me to really get in to the drunken revelry of St. Patrick's Day.

I have a full bottle of Jameson's and a fridge full of Guinness, The Quiet Man- and in a few hours, a giant plate of food that will go straight to me'arteries.
The Menu:

Braised pork shoulder w/ grain mustard jus- so sue me, I'm not making corned beef. I forgot to start the brine and had to wing it. We'll have pulled pork sandwiches rather than reubens. I'm a little depressed about it, but I'm sure I'll pull through.

Colcannon heavy on the kale, for the sake of my lovehandles

soda bread that actually tastes good.

Guinness ice cream with whiskey caramel hence all of the open bottles of guinness- for the reduction...

I'll most likely not be blogging any of this. I'm just hanging out, waiting for the ice cream to finish churning and felt like sharing.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Now, with less swears and more chocolate

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In January, I came to the realization that somehow, this blog had not featured chocolate in over nine months. Admittedly, I am more of a fruit person, but I love good chocolate and did not intentionally give it the silent treatment. My bad.

I've been sitting on this post for a while, for reasons of sheer vanity. I couldn't get a decent shot of the sorbet before it started to melt on me. I meant to re-shoot it, but it disappeared before I had the chance- as is standard practice around here when it comes to things that taste good.

But, I'm also trying to turn over a new leaf with The Pie Lady. Some of the goals I've set include using the term 'fuck' less frequently, post weekly, and to stop ignoring chocolate. So I will bravely set my ego aside and assure you that while it looks a little melty, this sorbet is fucking amazing (I've already said it once. fuck it.)

I have met my monthly chocolate quota.
PS to those interested- this stuff is rich and indulgent, but not that bad for you.
And trust me on this one- You will think you are eating chocolate ice cream.

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Dark Chocolate Sorbet

I like to serve mine with big sprigs of mint, because chocolate-mint is one of those flavor combos that makes my toes curl.

3 T corn syrup
2 1/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar

7 oz bittersweet chocolate (good quality), finely chopped
2 1/2 oz coco powder (dutch process)
1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla
2 T brandy

Combine the chopped chocolate, salt, and coco in a large bowl.
Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a pot and bring to a full boil.

Slowly pour 1/3 of the hot sugar syrup into the bowl of chocolate and whisk thoroughly. Continue adding the syrup and whisking in 2 more additions. The mixture may seize up when you first add the syrup, but it will come together.
Stir in the vanilla and brandy. Strain the base through a fine sieve and chill until completely cold. The base will thicken slightly.
Once base is completely cold, churn in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bread and Chocolate

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baked chocolate truffle, blood orange-port reduction, toasted cocoa nibs, sweet crostini

This is one of those dishes that just evolved into itself, completely by accident. It was inspired by the random grazing of a line cook, and the chocolate bar made by local company, Theo (and only organic, fair trade chocolate company in the country. Seriously. Click that link and buy some chocolate. I highly recommend the coconut curry).

The original idea was for just the baked truffle, the blood orange-port reduction, and perhaps an olive oil gelato- and I still mean to try that one day. But while I was working it out in my head, a question of texture kept popping up. I wanted something crunchy. But something other than the cocoa nibs or standard issue praline/brittle-type situation.

I was fiddling with the truffle recipe- which has the exact same texture as softened butter, when I put out a sample batch for the cooks to nosh on. We were standing around bullshitting and having coffee when one of them tore off a piece of fresh baguette, ripped it open, and smeared the truffle down the middle. Without a word, the rest of us followed suit. It was as delicious as it sounds, and I was mentally bitch slapping myself for not putting a spin on bread and chocolate on the menu until now.

I knew I couldn't serve it the way we had it, which to honest, might be how I like it best. This is where the Theo 'bread and chocolate' candy bar enters in. It's dark chocolate with baguette crumbs mixed it. It's crispy and salty-sweet and if I am ever in a munchy, it's a good place to turn. I sliced up a fresh baguette, moments after it's delivery, brushed it with melted butter, sprinkled it with raw sugar (I'm now using crystal sugar because it's prettier), and baked at 400 for about 8 minutes. Then I smeared one with a thick layer of the truffle and didn't look back.
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see instructions for sweet crostini in post. Blood orange-port reduction is equal parts tawny port and blood orange juice, a small handful of sugar, and a piece of star anise. Simmer until reduced and syrupy.

Baked Chocolate Truffle
slightly tinkered with version of the recipe from
Susan G. Purdy's
Pie in the Skyserves four

4 oz 70% good quality dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp espresso powder
4 oz very soft butter (like, the texture of mayonnaise)
2 room temperature eggs
1/4 tsp sea salt

Pre heat oven to 300 degrees. In a food processor, gind up chocolate until you have fine crumbs. Brush 4 small ramekins with melted butter. Line the bottoms with small circles of parchment paper and brush with more butter. Place ramekins in a tea towel lined roasting pan.
Bring the sugar, espresso powder and water just to a simmer, do not boil. Add to chocolate in a slow steady stream through the feeding tube with the machine running. Once all the syrup has been added, continue to process for about 10 seconds. Scrape the bowl down, then turn machine back on. Add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, through the feeding tube with the machine running. Continue to process for about 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl and process a few seconds more.
Whisk the eggs and salt together. Slowly add to the chocolate mixture, pulsing every few seconds just to combine. You do not want to add much air at this point.
Divide the mixture between the ramekins and fill roasting pan with enough hot water to submerge them halfway. Cover pan with foil and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5-7 more minutes. Truffles will be set, but still look moist.
Always serve at room temperature.
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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Seville Orange Flan

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My annual obsession with seville oranges continues, this installment being a perfectly textured flan. Yeah, you heard me. Perfect.

It's heavy on the eggs, but doesn't taste too eggy... I personally like it to be a touch on the eggy side, though. Some people get all freaked out by the eggy flan thing, and they should just go eat some creme brulee and get over it.

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I don't use any cream in this one because it inhibits the sharp, clean flavor of the sevilles. Whole milk lends just enough richness, but still keeps the flan silky and light.
I cook my caramel for the bottom of the ramekins a hair darker than usual, for some bitter twang.
Lots of vanilla beans and a little drizzle of creme fraiche are the only other players in the dish, providing the equipment for a jooshed up creamsicle.
If you can get your hands on seville oranges, do two things with them. Make the cuban roast pork shoulder from the Dean and Deluca cookbook, and serve this flan for dessert.

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Seville Orange Flan
yield: 5 (or more if using smaller ramekins)

Caramel:
3 oz water
1 1/2 cups sugar

Custard:
3 cups whole milk
zest of 1 large (or 2 small) seville oranges
2 vanilla beans
3/4 cup sugar
pinch salt
4 eggs
7 egg yolks
1 Tb grand marnier

1. Infuse the milk: split open the vanilla beans and scrape the seeds into a sauce pot. Add the pods to the pot. Add the orange zest and milk. Bring to a full boil, then cover, remove from heat, and let steep on the counter for 2 full hours.

2. Make the caramel: Spray 5 ramekins with pan release. Place ramekins in a roasting pan lined with a tea towel (this keeps the ramekins from sliding around). Combine the sugar and water in a pot. Stir very gently with your finger until the sugar is absorbed. Place pot over high heat and cook, brushing down the sides of the pot with a pastry bag dipped in water (OR- this is what I do: Cover the pot with a lid and allow the condensation to wash down the sides of the pot for you. Just stay close so you can occasionally peek to see how your caramel is coming along)
Once the sugar is reaching an amber color, remove pot from the heat. Tilt pot around gently to encourage even caramelizing. Ladle the caramel into the ramekins. Set aside while you make the custard.
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3. Custard: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar, and salt. Have a heatproof container and a fine sieve or chinois at the ready. Remove cover from pot of infused milk and bring to a full boil. Gradually whisk the hot milk into the eggs. Strain custard, then stir in the grand marnier. The custard base can be made ahead of time.

4. Bake: Pour custard base into the prepared ramekins. Fill the roasting pan with
very hot water so that the ramekins are about 3/4 of the way submerged. Cover pan with foil and bake in a 325 degree oven for 60-90 minutes, until flans are set but not wobbly. Once ramekins are cool enough to handle, remove from the water bath and let sit at room temp for about 10 minutes (putting hot flans right in the fridge causes the custard to crack). Refrigerate overnight for best results.

5. Serve: Run the tip of a knife around the edge of ramekin. Place a dessert plate on top of the ramekin. Invert flan onto the plate (you may need to shake it a little until you hear the flan separate from the ramekin). Drizzle with a little creme fraiche a la Jackson Pollack.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Hallmark Holiday

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Valentine's Day Dessert Plate For Two

Pardon my not visiting your blogs lately. Cupid has had me by the short and curlies.

Valentine's Day is not something I've ever given two shits about as a wife. But as a pastry chef, it's a different story. I am usually buried in my regular prep to prepare for the incursion of two-tops we'll be hit with that night, as well as the dessert special- usually chocolate, that is expected. Then, that evening, I come back to the restaurant to plate desserts.
I know I am making it sound pretty miserable, but it's actually a really fun, high energy event. I work my ass off in the kitchen, then change into my chef whites and plate- which is something I relish doing, but rarely have the chance.
Later, I have a shot or two with the cooks, and go home to eat pizza with Trevor (our Valentine's day late night pizza delivery/bottle of wine/movie rental is a much beloved tradition).

There were a few added kinks this year, mostly self-inflicted.
One is the fact that now I have two restaurants to worry about instead of one. Two dessert specials, and going back and forth between two restaurants to plate desserts.
Another hindrance- I decided to change the entire menu a few days before Valentine's day. This means that rather than spend the weeks leading up to the big day perfecting a kickass dessert special, I was working out recipes for the new menu.
Then, I convinced myself that I wanted to make truffles for the special.
Truffles.
??????

Yeah, I decided to mix tempering chocolate, with pms and a time crunch.
I don't recommend it.
But, I have said this before and I'll say it again. For some reason, I work best under pressure. Thanks to two awesome assistant bakers who rocked the shit out of the regular prep load, a nice 70 degree kitchen, and the energy giving powers of vitamin B 12 injected smoothies from the joint next door, all went off with out a hitch.

The final plate ended up being a chocolate sampler for two. Dark chocolate sorbet with vanilla bean crema and roasted coco nibs, fresh fruit (blood oranges, red currants), and assorted truffles and confections:
white chocolate-grapefruit truffle with hazelnuts, milk chocolate-Bailey's truffle with pecans, dark chocolate-single malt scotch truffle (which was heart shaped), dark chocolate-pistachio-sour cherry mendiants, and not pictured because it was still cooling at the time: marcona almond brittle

I did the same special at both restaurants to ease the feeling of panic- the dining public will never know.
The big star of the plate was the sorbet, which I promise to blog ASAP, as it's too easy and too delish not to share. The single malt scotch and dark chocolate truffle was my personal fave. But I wont blog it as I ripped it off from the Scharffenberger book, and grabbing the camera to snap a few shots while dipping truffles was completely out of the question.

I slept for 16 hours yesterday and I'm fully recovered. I'll be back to lurk on your blogs now.
Oh yeah- tomorrow is my 5 year wedding anniversary, so there is a possibility of a first ever restaurant review to come....
if I can remember the camera. And it probably wont be a review per se, as that is not my style (I never burn bridges)- but more of a "look at the pictures of this food I ate, it was yummy" type posting.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Winter Fruit Crisp with Cognac Ice Cream

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Before I even start this post, I need to publicly thank Matt (of the blog Wrightfood, and whose praises have been sung here in the past) and his beautiful wife Danika for the amazing meat party they threw for Seattle area bloggers two weeks ago. It was really cool to finally meet Matt in person, as we've been blog buddies for the last year or so. Those of you who are familiar with his blog know his photos totally smoke most cookbooks. I am pleased to announce that the food tastes even better than it looks. Matt, who is primarily a seafood guy- but I think he prefers the term "bloke", went all out with rillettes, game pate, and slow roasted pork shoulder- just to mention a few of the goodies. Each course was pared with wines lovingly selected by Catherine Reynolds of Queso y Vino. And I was humbled beyond words when Matt asked me to prepare the dessert (which was NOT the crisp you see above. With course after course of homemade charcuterie, fruit crisp just wouldn't cut the mustard). We left the party giddy from wine and with happy tummies. To read more about this meaty soiree (or to get really jealous) check out Matt's post.

Now, about this crisp...

While it may not be quite elegant enough to follow a 4 course carnivorous orgasm, it certainly stood up to the hoppin' john we had post superbowl yesterday. Nothing soothes the sting of watching the cardinals lose like a plate of beans, greens, and piggy.

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It's all about the topping with this one. The fruit and ice cream is irrelevant to me. The key is the temperature of your butter when mixing the strudel. You want it to be cool, set at room temperature for just long enough to take off the chill. Of course, it all depends on the environment you are working in- but I usually take the butter out of the fridge, cut it into cubes, and let it hang out on the counter while I gather the remaining ingredients. By the time I'm ready to mix, the butter is right where I want it.

You can use this topping for any fruit and it will be delicious. I had some poached quince, granny smith apples, and dried cranberries (plumped up by a soak in scalding hot water). I make this at work with a combination of pears and sour cherries, which will soon change to rhubarb, as I just heard it's now available from our produce vendor (!!!!!!!)
So use what you've got. Toss in a little sugar, spices if you want em (I usually don't), and a splash of melted butter. You're good to go. You can make make a big batch of the topping and freeze it for when you need to pull a dessert out of your ass.

The ice cream was a no brainer, as a healthy glug of V.S.O.P makes any fruity dessert happy. The excess amount of booze in the ice cream gives it a soft, velvety texture right out of the freezer. This ice cream is also really good with warm chocolate cake- the fuggy flourless kind. Though, I am sure I have failed to surprise anyone with that little nugget.

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Next post, I promise to refrain from using my little oval bowls and doilies. I am also realizing that I cannot remember the last time we saw chocolate here....hmmm.

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Crisp Topping
Yield....lots. I usually just scatter a few handfuls over my crips and freeze the remainder

1/2 # butter, cut into cubes and slightly softened*
3 oz. chopped pecans (just shy of 1 cup)
5 1/2 oz. rolled oats (about 1 1/2 cup)
8 oz. flour
5 oz. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Combine everything except the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix on low speed, using the paddle, until well combined. Add the butter and mix on low until all the dry ingredients have been moistened by the butter and the mixture is clumpy. Do not let the mixture turn into dough.


*see instructions in post

Winter Fruit Crisp
Yield- 4 individual crisps

3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 1/2 " chunks
4 oz. poached quince, strained
1/4 cup re hydrated cranberries**, strained
1 tsp lemon juice
3 T sugar
2 T melted butter
1 cup crisp topping

**Cover dried cranberries with boiling water and let sit for at least 45 minutes.

Toss together and divide amongst 4 ramekins or small bowls. Top each bowl with 1/4 cup crisp topping.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes- until topping is brown and fruit is bubbly.


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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Grapefruit Campari Sorbet

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As you can probably tell my the blinding girlishness of my blog, I unapologetically love pink.

The thing is, I in no way fit the personality profile of a stereotypical pink-lover.
My ipod and cellphone are not bedazzled with swarovski crystals.
I stopped wearing tiaras after grammar school.
If for some reason I am wearing a skirt, I can assure you that I will provide no opportunity for accidental peeping at my lady parts.
See? I'm totally 'one of the guys'.

But yeah. I admit that pink sort of puts me in my happy place. As does this pink grapefruit sorbet. I look forward to making it all year. Right about now, when the gargantuan Florida grapefruit are available is the best time to make it, but the Texas rio stars are also quite good. The Campari is key. While it may taste as bitter and evil as Slayer lyrics by itself- the oompf a little splash of it in citrus cocktails will deliver makes it a worthy investment. Plus you'll look totally suave with it sitting on your bar.

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Do yourself a favor and candy the zest of the grapefruit before juicing them. Not only is it less wasteful in trying economic times like these, but it makes a tasty garnish as well.

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This sorbet always does well at the restaurant. It's rare when a sorbet will outsell anything with chocolate in it, but this one will.
I love to imagine some alpha male on a first date accidentally ordering it.
While he is desperately hoping to appear manly- thus increasing the odds of mating, this pretty pink dessert on a doily sits before him.
It probably never happens, but I can always fantasize.


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Grapefruit Campari Sorbet

5 1/2 cups freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice (usually takes about 8 medium grapefruit)
1 quart grapefruit simple syrup*
6 oz. champagne, prosecco, or cremant (anything bubbly)
1 oz campari

Combine and churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions

*Grapefruit simple syrup:
1 quart water
4 cups sugar
grated zest of 2 ruby red grapefruit

Rub the zest into the sugar with your hands until the mixture resembles wet sand. Combine with the water and bring to a full boil. Remove from heat and strain. Chill overnight or in an ice bath.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Humble little citrus bars

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There is nothing fancy about these bars. I am completely aware of the fact that none of my readers will be wowed or have their hair blown back.

But they are so, SO good.

I made these for the first time last summer to bring to a BBQ, using just the zest and juice of key limes and garnishing with toasted coconut.
I had also brought strawberry shortcake- made in the height of local strawberry season, with a mascarpone whipped filling. I was expecting that to be the crowd pleaser, but everyone kept going back for the lime bars.
I knew I would need to revisit the recipe when citrus season rolled around.

Here we are, six months later with an abundance of cool citrus fruits to play with. This particular batch was made with the zest and juice of limes, meyer lemons, and cara cara oranges- garnished with a piece of candied grapefruit zest (leftover from my Grapefruit Campari Sorbet. Stay tuned).
I will be making these again in a few weeks using all seville oranges (my fave) for a super tart party in my mouth.

It's hard to say exactly what makes these simple little bars so addicting. I really love the animal cracker crust as a stand in for the everyday graham crackers. And the texture of the filling is nothing short of dreamy- having just enough cream cheese in them for a slight tang, but not so much that they are cheesecakey (nothing against you, cheesecake- but there is a time and a place.)

This recipe comes from a well known cooking periodical. I will not tell you which one, because the word on the street is that they are total nazis about food bloggers reprinting their recipes.
I'm going to break all kinds of laws here, and supply you with the recipe- without citing the source. Lets see if thugs wearing little red bow ties come after me brandishing rapier swords and chucking ninja stars.

Mystery Citrus Bars (as I made them)

crust:
5 oz animal crackers
3 T packed brown sugar
2 T melted butter
1/8 tsp fine sea salt

Pre heat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving excess to overhang pan sides. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Pulse animal crackers in a food processor until broken down. Add brown sugar and salt. Pulse until you have evenly fine crumbs. Add butter and pulse until crumbs are moistened.
Press evenly into the bottom of prepared pan (use the bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup). Bake until golden brown. About 18-20 minutes. Cool while you make the filling.


filling:
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tsp each of grated lime, meyer lemon, and orange zest (mince zest with a sharp knife after zesting)
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk
4 T lime juice, 2 T meyer lemon juice, and 2 T cara cara* orange juice


*cara cara oranges are slightly less sweet than regular oranges. If using regular oranges, decrease juice to 1 T and increase either meyer lemon or lime juice by 1 T.

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Go Oregon Ducks

Stir the cream cheese, zest, and salt with a rubber spatula until softened and creamy. Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk thoroughly until no lumps remain. Whisk in egg yolk. Add juices and whisk until incorporated.
Pour filling into crust, spread to corners, and smooth surface with a spatula. Bake until set and edges begin to pull away slightly from the sides of the pan. 15-20 minutes.
Cool to room temp, then cover with foil and refrigerate until completely chilled- at least 2 hours.
Loosen edges with a paring knife and lift bars from baking pan using foil extensions. Cut bars into 16 squares.


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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Holiday Granola. Slightly belated.

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As granolas go, this one is pretty damn festive.

I call this "holiday" granola because it contains dried cranberries, minced candied ginger, and is infused with the zest from satsuma oranges- which were always in my stocking as a kid.
Also, because I can only assume that people get sick of receiving cookies and shitty fudge (as I do)- I made a huge batch, jarred it up, and gave it away during the holidays. I love homemade gifts (really!), and I especially love it when they wont lead to adult onset diabetes and a fat ass.

While I would never call this granola healthy (ya know- the butter.), it is certainly more beneficial than the giant tub of flavored popcorn my sister-in-law sent us (half candy corn, half cheddar corn. All stale, smelly, vile, and eerily addicting).

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This recipe is totally laid back. It turns out perfect and evenly golden every time. It comes from my old buddy Kurt, former owner of Cafe Septieme in Seattle, and now full time farmer. I usually don't add dried fruit to it- as it is delicious alone, but dried bing cherries, blueberries, or apricots are also nice compliments to it.

Next time you're fixing drop 6 or 7 bucks on a box of granola, why not just check out your pantry? You undoubtedly have all you need to make it yourself.

You'll thank yourself while it's baking and the aroma of honey and orange fills your kitchen.
You'll thank me once you've tried it sprinkled on vanilla ice cream.

Holiday Granola

5 cups rolled oats
1 cup pecan pieces
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
3/4 cup shredded coconut (I prefer unsweetened- but use what you like)
1 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
9 oz unsalted butter
3/4 cup honey
zest of 1 orange (or 2 small satsumas)
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup minced candied ginger

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Pre heat the oven to 325
Toss the oats, nuts, and coconut together in a large bowl. In a saucepan, bring the butter, honey, zest, and nutmeg to a boil. Pour over oats and stir thoroughly, until mixture is evenly coated with the honey butter. Pour out onto 2 sheet pans.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Cool, then stir in dried fruit.

Thanks Norm!