The Latest

{Oeufs en Cocotte}

INGREDIENTS:
5 1/2 ounces/150 grams creme fraiche
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
Handful of chopped dill, plus some small sprigs, for garnish, optional
4 free-range eggs
Red lumpfish roe, for garnish, optional

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Season the creme fraiche with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. 

Place a heaped tablespoon of creme fraiche in the bottom of a ramekin, followed by a little chopped dill. Crack an egg on top, add a second tablespoon of creme fraiche and sprinkle with a pinch each of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Repeat with 3 more ramekins. 

Place the ramekins in a baking dish and pour enough lukewarm water into the dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the egg yolks are set to your liking. 

If you like, finish each serving with a teaspoon of red lumpfish roe and a sprig or two of dill.
Aug 13, 2013 / 3 notes

{Oeufs en Cocotte}

INGREDIENTS:
5 1/2 ounces/150 grams creme fraiche
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
Handful of chopped dill, plus some small sprigs, for garnish, optional
4 free-range eggs
Red lumpfish roe, for garnish, optional

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Season the creme fraiche with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.

Place a heaped tablespoon of creme fraiche in the bottom of a ramekin, followed by a little chopped dill. Crack an egg on top, add a second tablespoon of creme fraiche and sprinkle with a pinch each of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Repeat with 3 more ramekins.

Place the ramekins in a baking dish and pour enough lukewarm water into the dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the egg yolks are set to your liking.

If you like, finish each serving with a teaspoon of red lumpfish roe and a sprig or two of dill.

{Tarragon Chicken & Roasted Tomatoes}

Another successful French recipe by Laura Calder. I honestly didn’t expect this dish to come out so heavenly. I couldn’t find fresh tarragon {and now adding that to the herb garden list} so I substituted it for dried tarragon.

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 shallot, minced
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup creme fraiche
1/2 cup chopped fresh tarragon
Lemon juice, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Melt the butter with the oil in a large skillet over quite high heat. Season the chicken pieces and fry in batches until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. 

Put all the chicken back in the pan, add chicken stock and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and keep warm and reduce any leftover juices until sticky. Add the shallot and wine and reduce to a thickish sauce, about 5 minutes. Add the creme fraiche and 1/2 the tarragon. Boil down again to sauce consistency, 3 to 5 minutes. 

Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Put back the chicken pieces, turning to coat, then transfer to a platter. Pour the sauce over, scatter over the remaining tarragon, and serve.
Aug 12, 2013 / 1 note

{Tarragon Chicken & Roasted Tomatoes}

Another successful French recipe by Laura Calder. I honestly didn’t expect this dish to come out so heavenly. I couldn’t find fresh tarragon {and now adding that to the herb garden list} so I substituted it for dried tarragon.

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 shallot, minced
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup creme fraiche
1/2 cup chopped fresh tarragon
Lemon juice, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Melt the butter with the oil in a large skillet over quite high heat. Season the chicken pieces and fry in batches until well browned, about 5 minutes per side.

Put all the chicken back in the pan, add chicken stock and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and keep warm and reduce any leftover juices until sticky. Add the shallot and wine and reduce to a thickish sauce, about 5 minutes. Add the creme fraiche and 1/2 the tarragon. Boil down again to sauce consistency, 3 to 5 minutes.

Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Put back the chicken pieces, turning to coat, then transfer to a platter. Pour the sauce over, scatter over the remaining tarragon, and serve.

Aug 10, 2013 / 19 notes

{My Little Herb Garden}

Just about every dish tastes better with fresh herbs — and there’s no better way to get fresh herbs than to grow them yourself. I started an herb garden on my balcony almost a year ago and have to say it’s become a bit of an obsession. It’s not as easy as everyone says and it can be high maintenance but it’s surely an inexpensive way to be involved in growing one’s own food and extremely satisfying.

Aug 10, 2013 / 19 notes

Laura Calder’s {Herb Crusted Lamb Chops}

INGREDIENTS:
1 rack of lamb, frenched (about 8 cutlets)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup/40 g fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup/30 g grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme and rosemary, chopped

DIRECTIONS:
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F/220 degrees C.

Season the meat with salt and pepper. Mix together the oil and mustard, then slather all over the rack to coat well. Mix together the breadcrumbs, cheese and herbs, then pack the mixture onto the lamb rack.

Place the lamb on a rack, bones arching upwards, in a roasting pan just large enough to hold it and place in oven. Roast until the meat is done to your liking. 20 minutes will give you medium-rare meat. Let the meat rest out of the oven 10 minutes before carving.

{Accordion Potatoes}

INGREDIENTS:
About 10 medium potatoes, such as Yukon gold, scrubbed clean
Bay leaves
Fresh sprigs thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter

DIRECTIONS:
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C.

Cut slices across the potatoes like slicing hard-boiled eggs, only without slicing the knife all the way through the potato. Insert a few herbs into each potato, between the slices. Lay them on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until brown and crisp on the outside and soft inside, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
Virginia Wolf
Aug 8, 2013 / 7 notes
Aug 8, 2013 / 4 notes

{SBWFF’s Best of the Best 2013}

In February, the four-day culinary event of the year descended upon the city of Miami for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, showcasing many highly acclaimed chefs, spirits producers, and TV personalities. I had the privilege of attending a few events, but my favorite had to be the Best of the Best event held at the Fontainebleau Hotel. While most of these dishes were, indeed, some of the best I’ve ever tasted, the Tuna Tartare topped with Avrugra Caviar in an egg yolk sauce from Amanyara Resort in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, was just glorious.

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink {Deviled Eggs}

I was never a fan of deviled eggs until I tried them at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami’s Design District a couple of years ago. Searching for recipes online one day, I came across the restaurant’s version of this easy and delightful hors d’oeuvre.

INGREDIENTS:

8 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon paprika

INSTRUCTIONS:
Peel and slice eggs in half.
Scoop out the egg yolks and place only 12 egg white halves on a tray.
Mash yolks and add mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Fill the 12 egg white halves (from 6 eggs) with the filling of all 8 eggs.
Sprinkle with parsley and paprika.
Allow eggs to refrigerate for at least an hour so flavors may blend.
Aug 8, 2013 / 4 notes

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink {Deviled Eggs}

I was never a fan of deviled eggs until I tried them at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami’s Design District a couple of years ago. Searching for recipes online one day, I came across the restaurant’s version of this easy and delightful hors d’oeuvre.

INGREDIENTS:

8 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon paprika

INSTRUCTIONS:
Peel and slice eggs in half.
Scoop out the egg yolks and place only 12 egg white halves on a tray.
Mash yolks and add mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Fill the 12 egg white halves (from 6 eggs) with the filling of all 8 eggs.
Sprinkle with parsley and paprika.
Allow eggs to refrigerate for at least an hour so flavors may blend.

Aug 6, 2013

{Linguini Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino}

This traditional Italian pasta dish is from one of my favorite cookbooks, La Cucina, and is comprised of just garlic, oil and crushed red pepper. I only had linguini on hand so substituted spaghetti for my preferred pasta and also added some pan-seared ham on top.

INGREDIENTS:
Fine sea salt
1 pound linguini (or pasta of your choice)
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 medium fresh red or green hot chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

INSTRUCTIONS:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, combine oil, garlic, chile and generous pinch pepper; heat over medium heat until oil begins to bubble, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add parsley, 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid and 1/2 teaspoon salt; stir to combine, then remove from heat.

When pasta is al dente, drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add oil mixture and toss together to combine well. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve immediately.

Aug 6, 2013 / 3 notes

{Stuffed Jalapeños}

Here’s another recipe using Jalapeños from my garden in which I adapted from Martha Stewart. Simple, spicy and oh-so savory!

INGREDIENTS:

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
6 large jalapenos, halved and seeded
Coarse salt and ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese and cheddar. Season with salt and pepper. With a small spoon, fill each jalapeno half with about 1 tablespoon cheese mixture. Place peppers on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until cheese is browned and bubbling, about 10 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through.

Aug 5, 2013 / 10 notes

{Grilled Peaches with Cinnamon Sugar Butter} a la Bobby Flay.

INGREDIENTS:
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch salt
4 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
Canola oil
Mint leaves, for garnish

DIRECTIONS:
In a small bowl add the butter and stir until smooth. Add the cinnamon sugar, granulated sugar and salt and mix until combined.

Heat grill to high. Brush peaches with oil and grill until golden brown and just cooked through. Top each with a few teaspoons of the butter and garnish with mint leaves.

Aug 5, 2013

{Mini Baked Frittata with Ham, Tomatoes, Jalapeño, Cheddar and Onions}

Here’s another easy and tantalizing brunch recipe featuring jalapeños and tomatoes from my herb garden.

INGREDIENTS:
2 eggs
1-2 tsp milk
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1 slice of ham, diced
3 slices of pickled jalapeno, diced
1 small slice of sharp cheddar, diced
2 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a mini baking dish with cooking spray.

Mix the eggs with the milk until well combined then season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Place a few pieces of ham, jalapeno, sharp cheddar, tomatoes, and parsley into the mini baking dish.

Pour the egg mixture into the baking dish then place the remaining ham, jalapeno, sharp cheddar, and tomatoes on top.

Place into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, top with parsley and serve immediately.

Aug 5, 2013 / 6 notes

{Eggs Benedict & Hollandaise sauce}

Hollandaise sauce is an essential component of Eggs Benedict. Like mayonnaise, it is a classic “emulsion” sauce, which depends on the capacity of an egg yolk to hold in suspension a much greater volume of butter, in this case. But in a hollandaise, careful heating and constant whisking bring the butter and yolks together in an even more delicate alliance, with rich flavor and a thick, smooth texture.

I got this recipe from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:
For the hollandaise sauce
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or more, if needed
6 to 8 ounces very soft unsalted butter
Salt
Freshly ground white pepper

For the eggs benedict:
4 slices of brioche or home-style white bread, cut into 4-inch rounds, or English-muffin halves
Butter
4 thin slices ham or prosciutto
Thin slices of black truffle (optional)
4 warm poached eggs
1 cup Hollandaise Sauce

Make the hollandaise sauce:
1. Whisk the yolks, water, and lemon juice in the saucepan for a few moments, until thick and pale.

2. Set the pan over moderately low heat and continue to whisk at reasonable speed, reaching all over the bottom and insides of the pan, where the eggs tend to overcook. To moderate the heat, frequently move the pan off the burner for a few seconds, and then back on. (If, by chance, the eggs seem to be cooking too fast, set the pan in the bowl of cold water to cool the bottom, then continue.) As they cook, the eggs will become frothy and increase in volume, and then thicken. When you can see the pan bottom through the streaks of the whisk and the eggs are thick and smooth, remove from the heat.

3. By spoonfuls, add the soft butter, whisking constantly to incorporate each addition. As the emulsion forms, you may add the butter in slightly larger amounts, always whisking until fully absorbed. Continue incorporating butter until the sauce has thickened to the consistency you want.

4. Season lightly with salt and a dash of cayenne pepper, whisking in well. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding droplets of lemon juice if needed. Serve lukewarm.

Poach the eggs:
1. Fill the pan with water to a depth of 2 inches or so, and bring to a slow boil.

2. Rapidly crack and open each egg into the water, holding the shell as close to the surface as possible. The eggs will cool the water; adjust the heat to maintain a slow simmer. After a few moments, when the whites have just begun to set, drag the back of the slotted spoon gently across the top of the eggs, to move them off the pan bottom so they don’t stick. Cook the eggs for about 4 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary.

3. When set the way you like them, remove the eggs from the saucepan with the slotted spoon or strainer and immerse them in a bowl of warm tap water to wash off the vinegar. Set the spoon on a clean towel (or folded paper towels) for a moment to remove excess water, and serve eggs immediately.

Assemble the eggs benedict:
1. Just before serving, toast the muffins lightly, butter both sides, and warm the ham and the optional truffle slices in a frying pan with a tablespoon of butter.

2. Center a toast round on each warm serving plate; cover with a slice of ham and then a poached egg. Spoon hollandaise sauce generously over each egg and top with an optional warm truffle slice. Serve immediately.

Aug 5, 2013 / 1 note

{Bruschetta} 

My garden finally produced some deliciously plump tomatoes so I was delighted to try simple tomato and basil bruschetta recipe highlighting these ingredients from my herb garden. One of my preferred cooking shows these days is Gabriele Corcos & Debi Mazar’s Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel. Here’s their recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound medium-ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
30 (1/2-inch thick) slices Italian or French bread (as crusty as you can find)

DIRECTIONS:

Position a rack as close as possible to the broiler element and preheat the broiler.
In a small serving bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, sea salt, pepper, and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.
Lay the slices of bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Broil on both sides until golden and crispy, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.
Remove the bread from the oven and rub the crushed garlic on the toasted bread. Mince the remaining pieces of garlic and add to the tomato mixture.

Return the baking sheet to the broiler for 30 seconds. Transfer the toast slices to a large platter and serve immediately, with the tomato mixture alongside for guests to spoon over the toasts.

Aug 5, 2013

{Baked Onions}

Perfect for a rainy day, this delicious and simple recipe is another one of Laura Calder’s. Slowly bake the onions for a hour and 45 minutes then drizzle the vinaigrette when they’re ready.

INGREDIENTS:

4 medium-sweet organic onions, unpeeled
4 handfuls coarse salt
1 egg yolk
1/2 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon tarragon vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Handful chopped fresh tarragon leaves
Handful chopped fresh thyme leaves

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut barely a sliver off the bottom of each onion so they’ll sit without rolling over. Pierce them in a few places with a sharp knife so they won’t burst during cooking. Make 4 mounds of coarse salt in a baking dish, and nest an onion in each. Bake the onions 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 325 degrees F and continue baking until the insides are almost applesauce soft, about 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the onions.

To make the dressing: Whisk together the yolk*, garlic, and vinegar, and season with salt, and black pepper. Beat in the oil, drop by drop, to make a thick dressing. Taste, and add lemon juice, if needed. Check the salt and pepper. Stir through the herbs. Cover the vinaigrette, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve, set the onions on serving plates (leaving the salt mounds behind). Slit the onions open with a sharp knife, and spoon some vinaigrette into each until it starts bubbling up and out onto the plate. Serve the onions immediately.

{Cheese & Herb Soufflé}

I’m always looking for herb-incorporated recipes ever since I started my herb garden.  Fresh herbs can really pull a recipe together by infusing the dish with unparalleled aromas and flavors. Here’s my take, and first successful attempt at Laura Calder's Cheese & Herb Soufflé.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup/250 g milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 small onion, peeled
Pinch paprika
Grated Parmesan cheese, for dusting the dish
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
3 eggs, separated plus 1 egg white
3 ounces/100 g cheese, grated or mashed
1 generous tablespoon chopped fresh herbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Branch fresh rosemary, cut in 3

DIRECTIONS:

Put the milk with the bay leaf, onion, and pinch of paprika in a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Turn off the heat, cover, and set aside to infuse 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. 

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 8 (1/2-cup/125 ml) ramekins or 1 (4-cup/1 liter) souffle dish, and dust with the grated Parmesan cheese. 

In a clean saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook 1 minute. Gradually whisk over the milk, and cook, stirring, until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and beat in the yolks. Stir through the cheese and herbs. Season well with salt and pepper. 

Beat the whites to stiff peaks with a pinch of salt. Stir a spoonful into the yolk mixture, then pour the yolk mixture onto the remaining whites and gently fold together. Pour into the souffle dish and bake until risen and set, but still slightly creamy in the center, about 30 minutes, depending on the size of the souffle dishes. Serve immediately before it slumps.
Aug 5, 2013 / 1 note

{Cheese & Herb Soufflé}

I’m always looking for herb-incorporated recipes ever since I started my herb garden. Fresh herbs can really pull a recipe together by infusing the dish with unparalleled aromas and flavors. Here’s my take, and first successful attempt at Laura Calder's Cheese & Herb Soufflé.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup/250 g milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 small onion, peeled
Pinch paprika
Grated Parmesan cheese, for dusting the dish
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
3 eggs, separated plus 1 egg white
3 ounces/100 g cheese, grated or mashed
1 generous tablespoon chopped fresh herbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Branch fresh rosemary, cut in 3

DIRECTIONS:

Put the milk with the bay leaf, onion, and pinch of paprika in a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Turn off the heat, cover, and set aside to infuse 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 8 (1/2-cup/125 ml) ramekins or 1 (4-cup/1 liter) souffle dish, and dust with the grated Parmesan cheese.

In a clean saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook 1 minute. Gradually whisk over the milk, and cook, stirring, until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and beat in the yolks. Stir through the cheese and herbs. Season well with salt and pepper.

Beat the whites to stiff peaks with a pinch of salt. Stir a spoonful into the yolk mixture, then pour the yolk mixture onto the remaining whites and gently fold together. Pour into the souffle dish and bake until risen and set, but still slightly creamy in the center, about 30 minutes, depending on the size of the souffle dishes. Serve immediately before it slumps.