Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sea Bass Fillets with Tomatoes and Roasted Red Pepper and Almond Sauce

From Things Cooks Love: Implements. Ingredients. Recipes.

Prep 45 min | Cook time 55 min | Serves 4

This recipe starts with the cazuela on the stove top for sautéing, and then, once the fish fillets are added, you slip the cazuela into the oven. The fish is served with a red pepper and almond sauce, a loose adaptation of the Spanish romesco. Any firm white fish fillets can be substituted for the sea bass.

12-inch Cazuela or 12-inch Skillet and 2-Quart Shallow Baking Dish, Strainer, Small Skillet, Blender

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, cut into ¹⁄8-inch wedges
1 clove garlic, sliced paper-thin
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless sea bass fillets
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley or mint, or 1 tablespoon of each Pepper and Almond Sauce
½ cup whole natural (skin-on) almonds, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
8 jarred piquillo peppers, or 2 large roasted and peeled red bell pepper (page 268)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
4 to 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
1 tablespoon aged sherry vinegar

1. Add the olive oil to a 12-inch cazuela or skillet and heat slowly over medium-low heat. When the oil is hot enough to sizzle a piece of onion, increase the heat to medium, add the onion, and sauté, stirring, for 15 minutes, or until golden. Add the garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the paprika.

2. Set a strainer over a bowl and empty the can of tomatoes into the strainer. Use your hands to break the tomatoes into chunks, squeezing out and discarding the seeds. (Freeze the tomato juices for soup or another use.)

3. Add the broken, seeded tomatoes to the onion mixture and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the mixture has cooked down. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and a grinding of pepper and remove from the heat.

4. While the tomato mixture is simmering, preheat the oven to 400°F.

5. If using a cazuela, arrange the fish fillets in a single layer on top of the tomato mixture. Season the fish with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the parsley. Place a spoonful of the tomato mixture on top of each fillet. If using a skillet, transfer the tomato mixture to a 2-quart shallow baking dish and arrange the fish fillets in a single layer on top. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the parsley. Place a spoonful of the tomato mixture on top of each fillet.

6. Place the cazuela or baking dish in the hot oven (it’s fine to put it in a hot oven because it has been preheated on the stove top) and bake the fish for 15 minutes, or until the thickest part of a fillet is opaque, rather than translucent, when tested with the tip of a small knife.

7. While the fish is baking, make the sauce: Put the almonds in a small, dry skillet, place over medium-low heat, and heat, shaking the pan, for 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Let the almonds cool slightly and then transfer to a blender. Add the garlic, peppers, salt, and paprika, and process until pureed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. With the motor running, add 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a thin, steady stream. Taste and add more olive oil as needed to correct the balance. Add the vinegar and process to combine. Alternatively, make the sauce in a mortar: First crush the garlic and salt with a pestle. Then add the almonds and pound until the mixture forms a paste. Add the peppers and pound until blended. Slowly add the olive oil, pounding until the mixture is light and smooth. Add the vinegar and stir to blend. You should have about 1 cup of sauce. Taste and add more salt as needed. Transfer to a small serving bowl.

8. To serve, place the cazuela in the center of the table. Pass the sauce.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Grill Pan Recipe: Marinated Grilled Zucchini with Oregano and Dried-Tomato Vinaigrette

Things Cooks Love: Implements. Ingredients. Recipes.
By Sur La Table and Marie Simmons

Prep 10 min | cok time 8 min per batch | serves 4

Zucchini is mild flavored, so it is the perfect canvas for the bold tastes of fresh oregano and dried tomatoes. Use your best extra-virgin olive oil and aged red wine vinegar for the dressing.

Small Bowl, Flat or Sauce Whisk, Mandoline or Chef’s Knife,
Grill Pan, Silicone Brush, Tongs

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, grated or pressed
½ teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 medium (about 5 ounces each) zucchini
Coarse salt
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
2 tablespoons finely slivered olive oil–packed sundried tomatoes, drained and patted dry, for garnish

1. Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and grinding of black pepper, and whisk until blended.
2. Trim the stem and blossom ends from the zucchini. With a mandoline or chef’s knife, cut each zucchini lengthwise into 5 slices each about ¼ inch thick, and then spread the slices in a single layer on a platter.
3. Heat the grill pan over medium heat until hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle on contact.
4. While the pan is heating, brush the zucchini slices on both sides with a film of the vinaigrette. Working in batches, place the zucchini on the pan and grill for 4 minutes, or until grill marks appear. Turn with tongs and grill the other side for 4 minutes, or until tender. As each batch is cooked, return the slices to the platter.
5. Sprinkle the zucchini slices lightly with salt. Whisk the oregano into the remaining vinaigrette and drizzle on top of the zucchini. Sprinkle with the tomato slivers. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Herbs -- From Things Cooks Love: Implements. Ingredients. Recipes.

From Things Cooks Love: Implements. Ingredients. Recipes.

Herbs add flavor and fragrance to your cooking. Here are some ideas for using your favorite herbs.

Basil is pleasantly sharp, with notes of mint, thyme, and clove. The herb’s mintlike taste goes well with tomatoes, seafood, chicken, pasta, and fresh fruits.

Bay Leaf
This highly aromatic herb is used in broths, soups, and sauces. Most cooks prefer the taste and aroma of Mediterranean bay (or Turkish bay) to the more pungent California bay.

Chervil’s mild parsley flavor with notes of licorice goes well with salmon, potatoes, peas, and carrots.

The delicate onion flavor of chives goes well with eggs, potatoes, fish, shellfish, and many vegetables.

Also called Chinese parsley and fresh coriander, cilantro has a distinctive taste. It is widely used in cooking all over the world.

The flavor of fresh dill is reminiscent of lemon and celery. It’s popular for salmon and other seafood, eggs, tomatoes, potatoes, and in salad dressings.

Marjoram is in the same family as oregano, but has a sweeter flavor. Italians use it in frittatas, eggplant dishes, and with tomatoes.

There are many varieties of mint, but the most common is the mild spearmint. It is a classic flavoring in iced tea, tomato salads, with green beans or braised carrots, and in tabbouleh.

Oregano’s flavor notes of pepper and thyme pair well with chicken, red meats, pork, tomatoes, and most vegetables. Use it sparingly as too much can produce a bitter taste.

Parsley has a pinelike flavor. It’s available as curly leaf and as Italian, or flat leaf, which has a more distinctive flavor. Use a finely chopped mixture of parsley and shallots or garlic, called persillade in French, to flavor sautéed mushrooms and other vegetables.

The camphor notes in rosemary go well with hearty flavors such as roasted poultry and meats, or vegetables and legumes. It is a key flavor in the herb mixture herbes de Provence.

Like rosemary, the camphor notes in sage define its flavor. It goes well with turkey and it is also used to season duck, pork, and breakfast sausage.

The unique aniselike taste of tarragon marries well with eggs, and mild-flavored vegetables such as zucchini and other summer squashes.

A member of the mint family, thyme is often used with other herbs, and is always included in a bouquet garni and in herbes de Provence. It is also used on its own in soups, stews, vegetable dishes, and seafood and meats.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Green Bean, Tomato, and Potato Salad with Almond and Basil Pesto

From Things Cooks Love, by Sur La Table and Marie Simmons

Prep 30 min | cook time 18 min | serves 4–6

The Italian word pesto translates roughly as “pounded” and typically refers to any food mashed in a mortar. But the best-known pesto is a sauce made with fresh basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, and grated cheese. It is traditionally the sauce for a pasta dish that also includes green beans and potatoes, but here the pasta has been left out and the pesto is instead served over a salad of warm cubed potatoes and green beans. In another departure from tradition, dry-roasted almonds are used in place of the pine nuts. Make this recipe in the summer when the markets are well stocked with beautiful fresh basil.

Large Mortar and Pestle, 6-Quart Dutch Oven, Colander, Rubber Spatula, Chef’s Knife

1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon coarse salt
4 tablespoons coarsely chopped unsalted dry-roasted almonds
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, stemmed
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
¼ cup grated pecorino romano cheese
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound Yukon Gold or other boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes
12 ounces thin green beans, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 large, ripe tomato, cut into thin wedges, for garnish

  1. Place the garlic, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and 2 tablespoons of the almonds in a large mortar. Pound with the pestle to a smooth paste. Gradually add the basil leaves while pounding, adding more only after each batch has been reduced to a paste. This will only take 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. When all of the basil leaves are pounded to a smooth paste, gradually add both cheeses, stirring with the pestle to blend them with the basil paste. Then drizzle in the olive oil with one hand while stirring and pounding with the pestle in the other hand until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
  3. Fill a 6-quart Dutch oven or other large, wide pan two-thirds full of water and bring to a boil. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and the potatoes. Boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add the green beans and boil for 6 to 8 minutes, until both the beans and potatoes are tender. Drain in a colander.
  4. Place the beans and potatoes in a large serving bowl, spoon the pesto on top, and fold together gently with a rubber spatula until blended. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons almonds. Garnish the bowl with the tomato wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cauliflower and Sweet Potatoes in Spicy Tomato Sauce with Cashews

From Things Cooks Love: Implements. Ingredients. Recipes.

Prep 25 min | Cook time 30 min | Serves 4–6

The flavor in this vegetable stew comes from frying the whole spices in hot oil before adding the tomatoes. Serve this hearty dish as a vegetarian main course with rice and a green vegetable, or as a side dish with grilled chicken or meat.


Karahi, Slotted Spoon

2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup unsalted raw cashews
1½ teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 cup chopped yellow onion
4 teaspoons peeled, finely chopped fresh ginger
1 (14½-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
1 serrano or other small green chile, halved or quartered lengthwise and seeded
1 (1½-pound) head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

1. Add the canola oil to the karahi, a large skillet, a wok, or a Dutch oven and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cashews and fry for 30 seconds, or until lightly browned. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to transfer the nuts to a plate. Add the cumin and mustard seeds to the oil and fry for 30 seconds, or until lightly browned. Add the onion and ginger and cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the onion is golden.
2. Add the tomatoes and chile, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until slightly reduced and the oil begins to separate from the tomatoes. Add the cauliflower, sweet potatoes, water, and salt, and stir with a large spoon until thoroughly blended. Decrease the heat to mediumlow, cover, and cook, stirring once halfway through the cooking time, for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are almost tender. Add the peas, re-cover, and cook for 3 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.
3. Transfer to a warmed platter or bowl and sprinkle with the reserved cashews and the cilantro. Serve warm.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Corn Soufflé with Red Pepper Sauce

From The Art & Soul of Baking by Sur La Table and Cindy Mushet

Serves 6 to 7

Gorgeous, golden, and bursting with two kinds of corn—both fresh kernels and cornmeal—this soufflé makes a great main course for a light summer dinner. The smoked paprika adds an intriguing undercurrent of flavor, but if you don’t have it on hand, simply leave it out or substitute a pinch of cayenne. You can make this soufflé during the winter and spring with frozen corn kernels, but don’t use dried basil; it tastes dusty and tired compared to the vibrant flavor of fresh basil. If fresh is unavailable, omit it.

Red Pepper Sauce
1 (15-ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon olive oil
¹⁄8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons (1 ounce) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (½ ounce) fine cornmeal
¹⁄8 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon minced garlic (about
1 medium clove)
1¹⁄³ cups (10½ ounces) whole milk
2 cups (11 ½ ounces) fresh corn
kernels (about 3 ears)
¼ cup (1 ounce) finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs, separated, plus 1 additional egg white
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

Medium-Mesh Strainer, Blender, Large Bowl, Whisk, Medium Saucepan, Stand Mixer Fitted with a Whisk Attachment or a Hand Mixer and a Medium Bowl, Silicone or Rubber Spatula, 7½-cup Soufflé Dish, Baking Sheet, Small Saucepan

1 Make the sauce: In the strainer, rinse the roasted peppers well under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to the bowl of the blender and add the water, olive oil, and salt. Blend until smooth, 20 to 30 seconds. Set aside.
2 Make the béchamel: In the large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, and paprika. Melt the butter in the medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the flour mixture, and whisk well to remove any lumps. Return to the heat and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat again and add the milk slowly, whisking constantly to remove any lumps. Return to the heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the corn kernels and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, whisking until the sauce has thickened and the corn is cooked through. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Parmesan, basil, and salt. Whisk in the egg yolks and transfer to the large bowl. Set aside.
3 Preheat the oven to 400°F and position an oven rack in the bottom third. Generously butter the soufflé dish (including the rim), coat it with finely grated Parmesan, and tap out the excess.
4 Whip the egg whites: In the very clean bowl of the stand mixer, whip the 6 egg whites and the cream of tartar on medium speed until they form firm peaks. You may also use a hand mixer and a medium bowl. Be careful not to overbeat. With the spatula, gently stir one-fourth of the egg whites into the béchamel to lighten the mixture. Fold in the remaining whites just until there are no more streaks of whites.
5 Fill the dish and bake: Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for 18 to 22 minutes longer, until set and firm to the touch. While the soufflé is baking, transfer the red pepper sauce to the small saucepan and heat through. Serve the soufflé immediately, accompanied by the sauce.

Individual Corn Soufflés
Prepare 7 (8-ounce) individual soufflé dishes with butter and Parmesan as described above. Place the dishes on a baking sheet and evenly divide the soufflé batter among them. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for 7 to 10 minutes longer, until firm to the touch.

What The Pros Know
You can get an even deeper corn flavor if you toast the cornmeal before beginning the recipe. Place a small dry skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the cornmeal and toss or stir frequently until the cornmeal is very fragrant and has a golden toasted look, 3 to 4 minute —don’t let it brown. Immediately pour the cornmeal onto a plate to cool.

Getting Ahead
The red pepper sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. The béchamel can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated, a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly against the surface of the sauce, up to 2 days in advance. Reheat in a double boiler (or the microwave) before continuing with the recipe.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Feta, Roasted Pepper, and Basil Muffins

From The Art & Soul of Baking

Makes 12 muffins

Who says muffins have to be sweet? These are a great savory accompaniment to eggs or bacon on the breakfast table, and just as good alongside soup, salad, or roasted chicken. Do not substitute dried basil, because it just doesn’t have the punch of flavor these muffins require. If fresh basil is unavailable, substitute a tablespoon of fresh thyme or a teaspoon of dried thyme instead.

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
½ cup (4 ounces) jarred roasted red bell pepper, patted dry and chopped into ¼-inch dice
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk
¼ cup (2 ounces) olive oil
1 large egg

Standard 12-Cup Muffin Tin, Whisk, Large Bowl, Medium Bowl, 2-Cup Liquid Measuring Cup, Silicone or Rubber Spatula, Large Ice Cream Scoop or Two Soup Spoons, Parchment Paper, Thin Knife or Spatula, Cooling Rack

1 Preheat the oven to 375°F and position an oven rack in the center. Lightly coat the muffin tin with melted buter, oil, or high-heat canola-oil spray. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the large mixing bowl. Set aside. In the medium bowl, stir together the feta cheese, roasted bell pepper, and chopped basil. Set aside.
2 Pour the buttermilk into the measuring cup. Add the olive oil and the egg and whisk together until well blended. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the well and stir gently with a spatula. Mix only until there are no more streaks of flour or pools of liquid and the batter looks fairly smooth. A few small lumps scattered throughout are fine—they will disappear during baking. Gently fold in the feta cheese mixture until evenly distributed in the batter.
3 Use the large ice cream scoop or 2 soup spoons to divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the tops feel firm and a skewer inserted into the centers comes out clean. Transfer the muffin tin to a rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Gently run a thin knife or spatula around each muffin to free it from the pan, lift out the muffins, and transfer them to a rack to finish cooling (careful, these are tender while hot). Serve warm. Storing When completely cool, the muffins can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic or sealed in a resealable plastic bag, for 2 days. Reheat, wrapped in foil, in a 325°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until warmed through.

The muffins can also be frozen for up to 1 month, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and then sealed in a resealable plastic freezer bag. Thaw, still wrapped, for 30 minutes before reheating.

What The Pros Know
To use parchment in the muffin pan instead of the traditional pleated paper muffin liners, cut twelve 5 by 5-inch squares of parchment. Fit one into each muffin cup in the pan, pleating the sides slightly where they overlap so they lay flat against the pan walls. The parchment will extend above the top of the muffin cup. Put a spoonful of muffin batter into each liner to anchor it in the pan. Adjust each paper, as necessary so they are centered and even. Finish filling with the muffin batter. Bake as directed.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Three-Alarm Tofu with Oyster Mushrooms and Spinach

From Things Cooks Love: Implements. Ingredients. Recipes.

Prep 15 min | Marinating 30 min | cook time 5 min |
serves 4

Tofu absorbs the flavors of other ingredients with which it is cooked. In this dish, it takes on the earthiness of the mushrooms and the spice of the ginger, garlic, and chiles. To save time, chop the ginger and garlic and prepare the other ingredients while the tofu is marinating.

Cutting Board, Wok, Slotted Spoon, Wire Skimmer, Wok Spatula

12 ounces firm tofu, in a single block, well drained
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
8 ounces oyster mushrooms
3 tablespoons peanut, canola, or other oil with a high smoking point
1 tablespoon peeled, finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
6 ounces baby spinach
¹⁄3 cup thinly, diagonally sliced green onions, green and white parts, for garnish
Hot cooked white or brown rice, for serving

1. Set the tofu block on one end and cut it into two ¾-inchthick slices. Place the slices on half of a clean kitchen towel, top with the other half of the towel, and press the tofu gently with your palm to coax out excess moisture. Uncover the tofu, transfer to a cutting board, and cut into ½-inch squares. Set aside.
2. Make the marinade: In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, cornstarch, sesame oil, and red pepper, and mix well. Add the tofu and stir gently to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes, or longer, if preferred. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tofu to a plate and set aside. Reserve the marinade.
3. Trim the base of each mushroom stem. Cut the mushroom caps and the remaining tender stems into ½-inch pieces. Set aside.
4. Heat the wok over high heat until hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle and evaporate on contact, then add 2 tablespoons of the oil. When the oil is hot, add the tofu a small batch at a time, shaking the wok and flipping the tofu over with a wok spatula for 2 minutes, or until evenly browned. Using a wire skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer the tofu back to its plate.
5. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the wok. Add the mushrooms, ginger, and garlic, and stir-fry over high heat for 1 minute, or until heated through. Return the tofu to the wok and add the reserved marinade and spinach. Stir-fry for 10 seconds, or until the spinach wilts.
6. Transfer the stir-fry to a serving platter and sprinkle with the green onions. Serve at once with the rice.

Where There’s Smoke
Because you’ll be cooking in your wok over high heat, the kind of oil you use is important. Some vegetable oils with a low smoking point, such as extra-virgin olive oil, are not well-suited for high-temperature cooking. Peanut oil, grape seed oil, and canola oil are recommended for high-temperature frying.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Meringue Crispies

From Baking Kids Love by Sur La Table and Cindy Mushet

3 large egg whites (not even a speck of yolks, please)
¾ cup sugar
Hand mixer and a medium bowl, both very clean
Silicone spatula
One 14-inch pastry bag fitted with a ³⁄8-inch plain round tip
2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper

1. Before you begin
• Position two oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 225ºF.

2. Make the meringue
• Put the egg whites in the clean bowl and whip on medium speed until they are foamy and form soft peaks.
• To check, turn off the mixer, lift the beaters straight out of the eggs, then turn them upside down. The slope leading to the tip of the egg whites should be soft and barely holding its shape.
• With the mixer running on medium, gently shake the sugar over the eggs, letting it blend in slowly. Once all the sugar has been added, turn the mixer to high and continue to beat until the eggs are very fluffy and shiny, and form firm peaks, another 1 to 2 minutes.
• Turn off the mixer and check as above — at this point the slope should be nearly vertical.

3. Pipe the cookies
• Put the tip into the pastry bag. Spoon the meringue into the bag until it is half full. Grasp the bag just above the mound of meringue and twist it 3 times (this prevents the mixture from coming out the wrong end of the bag).
• Squeeze from the twisted part of the bag, while guiding the bag with a couple of fingers near the tip. Pipe the meringue into any shape you like, such as letters of the alphabet, rounds, or even zigzags. Keep the tip of the bag about an inch from the surface of the pan and let the meringue fall out of the bag onto the pan in a thick rope.
• Refill the bag with the remaining meringue. Retwist and continue piping until you have used all the batter.

Playing Around
Rattling meringue bones and fingers

For bones: Pipe the meringue into a stretched version of dog bone treats.

For fingers: Pipe a straight line with a knobby center for the knuckle and a tapered end for the fingernail. Just before baking, set a colored candy almond or a sliced almond into the meringue at the tapered end. Once the “fingers” have dried, finish them by dipping one of the ends in melted red coating chocolate for blood. Pipe a ring with melted colored coating chocolate, and embellish with colored sugars, dragées, or candy pearls.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer Vegetable Casserole with Manchego

Things Cooks Love: Implements. Ingredients. Recipes.

Prep 45 min | Cook time 1 hr 20 min | Serves 6–8

Here, eggplants, red peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, onions and zucchini are cooked separately and then layered in a cazuela and baked until they melt together. This is a good dish for late summer when these vegetables are at their prime. You can cook the vegetables a day ahead, and then layer and bake them just before serving. The topping of Manchego cheese makes this dish hearty enough to be enjoyed as a main course. You can bake it in 1 large or 6 or more small cazuelas.

Two Large Rimmed Sheet Pans, Wide Spatula, Tongs, Medium Saucepan, 10- to 12-inch Skillet,
Slotted Spoon, Colander, 10-inch Cazuela or 2-Quart
Shallow Baking Dish

8 large (about 2 pounds) plum tomatoes, halved
2 red bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (1-pound) eggplant, peeled and cut crosswise into 10 to 12 ½-inch-thick slices
1 pound all-purpose potatoes, peeled and halved
1 pound small zucchini, trimmed and cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices
2 cups yellow onion, cut vertically into ¹⁄8-inch-thick slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sweet paprika, preferably smoked
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup (about 4 ounces) shredded Manchego cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Arrange the tomato halves and bell pepper halves, cut side down, on a on a large nonreactive rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle evenly with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, arrange the eggplant slices on a second rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven with the tomatoes and peppers and roast for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottoms. Remove the eggplant from the oven, and use a wide spatula to turn the slices over. Roast for about 10 minutes more, or until the eggplant is golden brown. Remove from the oven.
4. At this point, 25 minutes will have elapsed and the peppers will be ready to turn. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and use tongs to turn with them over. Return the pan to the oven and roast for 20 minutes more, or until the peppers are blistered and blackened and the tomatoes have collapsed. Remove the pan from the oven, cover with a sheet of aluminum foil, and let stand for about 20 minutes, or until slightly cooled. Turn the oven off.
5. While the peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant are roasting, place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain, let cool, and cut the potatoes into ½-inch-thick rounds.
6. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the cazuela or a 10- to 12-inch skillet and heat over low heat. When the oil is hot, increase the heat to medium and add the zucchini in batches. Sauté for about 5 minutes per side, or until browned. Use a slotted spoon or spatula to transfer zucchini to a colander to drain off theexcess juices.
7. Add the onion slices to the cazuela or skillet and sauté, stirring over medium heat for 15 minutes, or until golden. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the paprika and parsley and remove from the heat. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Transfer the onion mixture to a side dish.
8. Lift the foil from the rimmed sheet pan with the tomatoes and peppers. If the skins have loosened, peel them back with your fingertips and discard. If the skins are not loose, leave them on.
9. In the cazuela or 2-quart shallow baking dish, make single layers of the vegetables in the following order: the eggplant, onion slices, peppers, potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes. Top evenly with the cheese.
10. Place the cazuela or baking dish in the hot oven (it’s fine to put the cazuela in a hot oven because it has been preheated on the stove top) and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
11. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serve directly from the cazuela.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Grilled Country Pork Chops with Bourbon-Basted Grilled Peaches

From Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America’s Farmers by Sur La Table, Janet Fletcher

Grilling intensifies the flavor of peaches by caramelizing their natural sugars. Baste the peaches with butter, honey, and bourbon as they grill to give them a sheen. Serve them with juicy pork chops that have been brined to season them all the way through. Serves 4


1 1⁄2 quarts water
6 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
Handful of fresh thyme sprigs
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

4 bone-in pork loin chops, about 3⁄4 inch thick
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 teaspoons honey
2 large freestone peaches, such as O’Henry or Elberta, halved and pitted

1 Make the brine: In a medium saucepan, combine the water, salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt. Set aside until completely cool.

2 Put the pork chops in a nonreactive container that holds them snugly in a single layer. Add the brine, which should cover them. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

3 About 1 hour before cooking, remove the pork chops from the brine and set them on a wire cooling rack at room temperature to dry. Discard the brine. Prepare a moderate charcoal fire for indirect grilling (page 102) or prehat a gas grill to moderate (375˚F), leaving one burner unlit for indirect grilling.

4 In a small saucepan, combine the butter, bourbon, and honey. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring until the butter melts and the honey dissolves. Keep warm.

5 Pat the pork chops with paper towels to remove any remaining surface moisture. Set the chops directly over the coals or flame and brown both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Then transfer to indirect heat, cover the grill, and cook until the pork chops offer some resistance to the touch but are still springy, not firm, about 4 minutes longer. On an instant-read thermometer, the internal temperature should measure about 150˚F for medium.

6 Once the pork chops have been moved to indirect heat, grill the peaches. Brush them all over with the butter-honey mixture and place cut side down directly over the coals or flame. Cook until the peaches are lightly charred, then turn, baste again, and cook just until they are tender and juicy. The pork chops and peaches should be done at roughly the same time, but if not, move whichever is done first to a cooler area of the grill. Serve each pork chop alongside half a grilled peach.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Carrot Zucchini Bread with Candied Ginger

From Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America’s Farmers by Sur La Table, Janet Fletcher

When summer delivers too many zucchini, many people reach for a zucchini bread recipe. Here’s one with a difference: wisps of grated carrot for color, and nuggets of moist candied ginger for spice. The idea comes from Annie Baker, a respected pastry chef in California’s Napa Valley. Makes two 8-inch loaves


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1⁄2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1⁄2 cup minced candied ginger
3 large eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 3⁄4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely grated carrots
1 cup coarsely grated zucchini

1 Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Coat two 8-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.

2 In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir in the salt and candied ginger.

3 In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs until light and foamy. Add the oil, sugar, and vanilla, whisking vigorously until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the carrots and zucchini.

4 Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until blended. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared loaf pans.

5 Bake until the bread is well risen and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert and finish cooling right side up on a cooling rack.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Peach-Gingerbread Dumplings


From The Art and Soul of Baking

Makes 8 dumplings

Fruit dumplings, related to turnovers, are often whole or halved fruit encased in pastry. The pit cavities of the fruit can be filled with dried fruit or sugar, but in this recipe the filling is soft, sweet almond paste blended with the same spices and molasses that make gingerbread so good. Though they look charmingly homespun, the flavor combination is sophisticated enough for a special dinner.

Medium Bowl, Serrated Tomato Peeler or Very Sharp Vegetable Peeler, Small Spoon or Melon Baller, Small Bowl, Pastry Brush, Baking Sheet, Parchment Paper or a Silicone Mat, Chef’s Knife or Small Round Cutter, Cooling Rack

1 recipe Easy Cream Cheese Pie Dough, prepared for turnovers or dumplings (page 179)
7 ounces almond paste, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) mild, unsulfured molasses
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
4 large (7 to 8 ounces each) firm-ripe peaches
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk or cream
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
Vanilla Custard Sauce (page 424) or vanilla ice cream, for serving

Getting Ahead
The filling may be prepared up to 1 week in advance and stored, airtight, in the refrigerator. The dumplings may be assembled up to 4 hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator before baking.

1Preheat the oven to 375°F and position an oven rack in the lower third.
2 Make the filling: Crumble the almond paste into the medium bowl. Add the molasses, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Use your fingers to knead the spices and molasses into the almond paste. If the mixture is too sticky, run your hands under cold water, shake off the excess, and continue—the thin film of water on your hands will prevent the mixture from sticking to your fingers. Once the mixture is well blended, divide it into 8 equal pieces (about 1 ounce each) and roll into balls.
3 Fill the peach halves: Use the serrated tomato peeler to peel the peaches. Cut them in half, remove the pits, and use a small spoon or melon baller to remove the pit marks from the peach, enlarging the cavity slightly. Press a ball of almond paste into each cavity and flatten it level with the cut side of the peach. Spread the excess from the ball of almond paste along the cut surface of the peach. This thin film of almond paste will serve as a barrier to prevent the juices of the peach from soaking the pastry underneath.
4 Assemble the dumplings: Spread 8 of the dough squares out in front of you. Place a peach half, cut side down, in the center of each square. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with the milk to create an egg wash. For each dumpling, use a pastry brush to brush a thin film of egg wash along all four edges of the square. Bring the four corners of each square to the center, over the rounded portion of the peach, and pinch the seams together. (You may need to stretch the dough slightly if you have large peaches.) Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set the dumplings, evenly spaced, on the sheet. Brush each dumpling lightly with egg wash. Use a chef’s knife to cut the remaining square of dough into nine small squares, or use a small round cutter (about the size of a quarter) to cut eight small circles. Place one of the squares or circles at the top of each dumpling, hiding the point where the four corners come together. Brush these with egg wash. Sprinkle the dumplings with the sugar. Chill for 15 minutes.
5 Bake the dumplings: Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet front to back on the rack. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes longer, until the pastry is golden brown and the peaches are tender when pierced through the crust with the tip of a paring knife. Transfer to a rack and let cool slightly. Serve warm dumplings in shallow bowls, each set in a pool of custard sauce, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Storing The dumplings are at their best the same day they are baked. They may be stored overnight in the refrigerator in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap. Reheat before serving in a 375°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until warmed through.

Apple-Gingerbread Dumplings
Substitute firm, peeled baking apples, such as Granny Smith, for the peaches.

what the pros know
Almond paste is not the same as marzipan. Almond paste is a mixture of ground almonds, sugar, and almond extract designed to be used in combination with other ingredients in cakes or pastries. Marzipan, on the other hand, is a mixture of ground almonds, extract, and a significantly higher level of sugar (including liquid sugar to make it pliable), used mainly for candies and molded marzipan sweets that are eaten out of hand, not baked. Baking with marzipan will result in pastries that are darker (more sugar means more caramelization)
and much sweeter than intended.

Easy Cream Cheese Pie Dough

Makes enough dough for 9 turnovers or 8 dumplings, or 1 (9- or 10-inch) pie shell A nearly foolproof alternative to flaky dough, cream cheese dough can be made in the food processor in a couple of minutes. Rich cream cheese takes the place of water and helps to bring the dough together. The high proportion of fat means it’s practically impossible to toughen the pastry. The dough’s tangy flavor and flaky texture accent the fruit fillings in turnovers, though you could also use the dough for pies, either sweet or savory.

1 ½ cups (7 ½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar (omit for savory pastry)
Pinch of salt
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 (8-ounce) package cold cream cheese, cut into 9 pieces

Food Processor Fitted with a Metal Blade, Rolling Pin, Chef’s Knife, Ruler

1 Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of the food processor and process for 10 seconds to blend. Add the cold butter pieces and process for 8 to 10 seconds, until the mixture looks like bread crumbs. Add the cream cheese and pulse 30 times (1-second pulses), or until large, shaggy clumps of dough form.
2 Turn the shaggy mass out onto a work surface and knead gently 2 or 3 times to create a cohesive dough. If you are making turnovers or dumplings, flatten into a 7-inch square (about ¾ inch thick) and wrap in plastic. (For a pie, shape the dough into a ¾-inch thick round.) Chill for 30 minutes.
3 Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. If you are making turnovers or dumplings, roll into a square about ¹⁄8 inch thick (for rolling tips, see page 171). Use a chef’s knife to trim to a 15-inch square. Use the ruler to mark 5-inch increments along all sides of the dough. With the ruler as a guide, cut the dough into 9 (5-inch) squares. (For a pie, follow the instructions for rolling and shaping on page 171.)

Place rolled-out squares between sheets of parchment or wax paper on a baking sheet, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. You may also freeze them, layered between sheets of parchment, wrapped in plastic and sealed in a resealable plastic freezer bag or airtight container, for up to 2 months.

Getting Ahead
The dough can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated for up to 2 days or slipped inside a resealable plastic freezer bag and frozen for up to 2 months (thaw overnight in the refrigerator before rolling).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Amazing Shape-Changing Bread

From Baking Kids Love by Sur La Table and Cindy Mushet

Makes 1 delicious 9” x 5” loaf


for the bread dough
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (or 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast)
1 ¼ cups warm milk (no hotter than 115ºF)
2 teaspoons sugar
3 ¼ cups unbleached allpurpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

To finish
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
Small bowl
Large bowl
Wooden spoon
Bench scraper
9 by 5-inch loaf pan, lightly buttered or sprayed with pan spray
Pastry brush

1. Proof the yeast
• Wake up the yeast by whisking it into ¼ cup warm (not hot) milk in a small bowl. Stir in the sugar and set the bowl aside for 8 to 10 minutes, until it looks foamy (see page 9).
• If the yeast isn’t foamy after 15 minutes (it didn’t wake up), start over with a new package.

2. Mix the dough
• Put the flour and salt in the large bowl and whisk to blend. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Pour in the remaining 1 cup of warm milk and the melted butter. Stir well with the wooden spoon until you get big, shaggy clumps of dough and it all starts to stick together.

3. Knead the dough
• Sprinkle a little flour on your work surface (don’t put too much, because you can always add more later). Dip your hands in flour and start kneading the dough (see page 12). It will take about 10 minutes of kneading until you get a smooth, springy dough.
• Sprinkle a little more flour on the table and on top if the dough feels very sticky. It should feel tacky, like tape, but not sticky and gooey. A metal bench scraper is handy to scrape up any bits of dough that are stuck to the table, and to help you move the dough around.

4. Let the dough rise
• Wash out the large bowl and rub the inside with a thin layer of vegetable oil (or use pan spray). Shape the dough into a ball and put it in the bowl. Lightly rub or spray the top of the dough with a little oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set it aside and let the dough rise until it is twice as big, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

5. Punch down and shape the dough
• Gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured table. Press down firmly to flatten the dough and pop the air bubbles in the dough. Don’t knead or it will get too springy to shape.
• To shape the dough into a loaf, gently pull the flattened dough into a 7 by 10-inch rectangle.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fontina Fondue with Grappa and Chopped Broccoli

From Things Cooks Love: Implements. Ingredients. Recipes.

By Sur La Table and Marie Simmons

Fondue Pot recipe

Prep 30 min | Cook time (bread) 20 min | Cook time (fondue) 10 min | Serves 4–6

The classic fondue is made with Gruyère and Emmental cheese melted with white wine and a splash of kirsch, a clear brandy distilled from cherry juice and pits. This riff on that tradition is made with imported Italian fontina Val d’Aosta, a rich, nutty cheese used to make fonduta, the famed fondue of northern Italy that combines cheese, egg yolks, and cream. The broccoli is a pretty touch but is optional, as is the crushed red pepper.

Tongs, Rimmed Sheet Pan, 2- or 3-Quart Saucepan, Strainer, Fondue Pot, Slotted

1 loaf whole wheat Italian or French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 cup coarsely chopped (¼-inch pieces) broccoli florets, (optional)
½ teaspoon coarse salt
1 large clove garlic, halved lengthwise
1 cup pinot grigio or other dry white wine
1 tablespoon grappa or brandy
1 pound fontina Val d’Aosta cheese, rind removed and coarsely shredded (about 8 cups)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and drizzle with the oil. Use tongs or your hands to toss the bread, coating it with the oil and adding a little more oil if the cubes aren’t evenly coated. Spread the bread on a large rimmed sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until very lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and let cool.
2. Heat to a boil a 2- or 3-quart saucepan half filled with water. Add the broccoli and salt and boil for 3 minutes, or until tender. Drain in a strainer and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
3. Rub the inside of a flameproof ceramic fondue pot with the cut sides of the garlic. Discard the garlic, or reserve for another use. Add the wine to the fondue pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. (Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if a heat diffuser is necessary.) Add the grappa.
4. In a large bowl, combine the cheese and flour and toss to combine. Gradually add the cheese, a handful at a time, to the simmering wine, stirring vigorously with a slotted metal or wooden spoon after each addition until melted before adding more cheese. Fold the broccoli and red pepper into the melted cheese until blended.
5. Put the bread cubes on a platter or in a basket and place on the table. Place the tabletop heater in the center of the table and place the fondue pot on top. Provide each diner with a fondue fork for spearing the bread cubes and dipping into the communal pot.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pavlovas with Honey-Lavender Cream and Poached Strawberries

From The Art and Soul of Baking

Makes 8 Pavlovas

Pavlova, the favorite dessert of Australia and New Zealand, consists of a meringue shell that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, cradling a filling of whipped cream and fruit. It was named in honor of the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, famous at the time for her beautiful dancing. Apparently the dessert was as light and lovely as Anna herself, who toured New Zealand in the late 1920s and Australia in the mid 1930s. This version features poached strawberries and whipped cream sweetened with lavender sugar, an easy-to-make combination of granulated sugar and dried lavender ground to a fine powder. You might wonder why anyone would bother to poach strawberries, since they are so delicate in their fresh state. The heat from the poaching syrup softens their flesh, making them meltingly tender so they practically dissolve in your mouth. The poached berries meld beautifully into the soft cream and marshmallow-like meringue in this very special dessert.


2/3 cup (4 3/4 ounces) sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 pint baskets (about 3 pounds) fresh strawberries
2 cups (16 ounces) water
1 ¼ cups (8 ¾ ounces) sugar

Honey-Lavender Cream
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) sugar
1 tablespoon dried lavender blossoms or
2 tablespoons fresh lavender blossoms
1 ½ cups (12 ounces) heavy whipping cream
1 ½ tablespoons mild-flavored honey, such as orange blossom
Fresh lavender, for garnish

Fine-Mesh Strainer, Small Bowl, Stand Mixer Fitted with a Whisk Attachment or a Hand Mixer and a Medium Bowl, Silicone or Rubber Spatula, 12 by 17-inch Baking Sheet, Parchment Paper or Silicone Mat, ¹⁄³-cup Dry Measuring Cup, Cooling Rack, Strawberry Huller or Paring Knife, Medium Saucepan, Spice or Coffee Grinder, Slotted Spoon

1 Make the meringues: Preheat the oven to 250°F and position an oven rack in the center. Use the fine-mesh strainer to sift 2 tablespoons of the sugar and all the cornstarch into the small bowl. Place the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer and whip on medium-high speed for 1½ to 2 minutes, until soft peaks form. You can also use a hand mixer and a medium bowl, although you may need to beat the mixture a little longer at each step to achieve the same results. Add the vanilla and, with the mixer running, slowly rain in the remaining sugar. Turn the speed to high and whip until the meringue is very stiff, 30 to 45 seconds. Sift the sugar-cornstarch mixture over the meringue and gently fold it in with the spatula just until blended.

2 Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Gently spoon meringue into the ¹⁄³-cup measuring cup, level the top, and use the spoon to help turn it out onto the baking sheet. Create 7 more portions in this manner, spacing them evenly. Use the back of the spoon to make a well in each meringue. The finished meringues should be about 3 inches wide and 1 inch tall.

3 Bake the meringues for 50 to 55 minutes, until faintly golden and crispy on the outside. The interior will still be soft and fluffy. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

4 Poach the strawberries: Wash the berries and pat dry. Hull each berry using a strawberry huller or the tip of a paring knife. If the strawberries are large, cut them into quarters or ¼-inch thick slices. Place the water and sugar in the medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Carefully transfer the berries to the syrup and bring back to a simmer. As soon as the syrup begins to boil again, remove from the heat and cover the pot. Let the berries sit in the syrup until the mixture is room temperature, about 30 minutes—they will poach in the residual heat.

5 Make the honey-lavender cream: Place the sugar and lavender in the spice or coffee grinder and grind until the texture is very fine. Transfer to the small bowl. Place the cream, honey, and 1 ½ tablespoons of the lavender sugar in the cleaned bowl of the stand mixer and whip until the cream holds soft peaks (save the remaining lavender sugar for another use). You may also use the cleaned hand mixer and medium bowl here. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

6 Assemble the Pavlovas: Use the slotted spoon to scoop the strawberries from the poaching liquid and drain slightly on paper towels. (Save the poaching syrup for flavoring sparkling water or use it for a refreshing twist in your favorite cocktail.) Place a meringue on each serving plate. Fill the center of each meringue with honey lavender cream and top with 4 or 5 strawberries. Garnish with some fresh lavender and serve immediately.

What the Pros Know
Be sure you purchase dried lavender from a culinary source such as the bulk department of a health food store or a specialty herb supplier, so you can be sure the flowers were not treated with harmful chemicals. Flowers grown for commercial and potpourri use are laden with pesticides and should never be used in cooking or baking.

Getting Ahead
The meringues can be baked up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. The strawberries can be poached up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated in the poaching syrup. The lavender sugar can be prepared up to 1 month in advance and stored airtight at room temperature. The honey-lavender cream can be prepared up to 3 hours in advance and chilled in an airtight container.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Panko-Crusted Chicken Cutlets with Arugula Salad

From Things Cooks Love: Implements. Ingredients. Recipes.

Prep 25 min | cook time 10 min | serves 4

Panko, sold in Asian groceries and in many supermarkets, develops a golden, crunchy crust when fried that stays crisp. Here, the panko are tossed with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to give them an Italian profile and extra flavor.

Paring or Utility Knife, Meat Pounder, Spiral or Small Whisk, Medium Shallow Bowl, Shallow Baking Dish, Large Rectangular Wire Rack, Rimmed Sheet Pan, 10- to 12-inch Skillet, Tongs, Medium Bowl

4 (4- to 5-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 paper-thin slices prosciutto
1 large egg
¼ cup milk
1 ¼ cups panko
¹⁄3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Canola or other flavorless vegetable oil, for frying

Arugula Salad
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ clove garlic, grated or minced
½ teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
2 cups packed arugula or baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried

1. Trim any bits of tendon or fat from the chicken. Make sure the fillet, or tenderloin, attached to the underside of each breast has been removed. If it hasn’t, gently pull it away from the breast and reserve for another recipe.
2. Cut 2 sheets of plastic wrap each about 10 inches long. Place a chicken breast on 1 sheet and cover with the second sheet. Gently pound the chicken until evenly flattened to between ¼ and ¹⁄3 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining breasts. When all of the breasts have been pounded into cutlets, sprinkle them lightly on both sides with salt and pepper. Pat a slice of prosciutto on top of each cutlet and trim any excess.
3. Whisk the egg in a shallow bowl and then whisk in the milk. Combine the panko and grated cheese in a shallow baking dish and stir to mix. Dip the chicken in the egg and let the excess drip back into the bowl. Lay the chicken on the panko mixture, turn to coat, and press the crumbs into the chicken with your fingertips.
4. Place a rectangular wire rack on a rimmed sheet pan. Heat a heavy 10- to 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Pour in vegetable oil to a depth of about ½ inch and heat until hot. To test the heat of the oil, add a pinch of panko. It should sizzle and turn golden brown on contact. When the oil is ready, add the chicken 1 or 2 pieces at a time, depending on the size of the skillet. Cook, turning once, for 2 minutes per side, or until the panko turns a deep gold. Use tongs to lift the chicken from the oil and place on the wire rack.
5. meanwhile, make the salad: In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, and salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Add the tomatoes and arugula and toss to coat evenly.
6. Place a chicken cutlet in the center of each dinner plate. Distribute the salad evenly on top of the cutlets. Serve at once.

Monday, March 15, 2010

White Chocolate–Lime Crème Caramel

From The Art and Soul of Baking

Serves 6

Whether you call it flan, crème caramel, or crème renversée, it’s hard to resist a creamy custard turned upside down and served in a pool of liquid caramel. The flavors of crème caramel are always more complex than regular custard because of the caramel that surrounds it during baking and chilling, which adds a layer of flavor beyond the custard itself. A measure of white chocolate gives this one a lovely texture, while the lime and caramel work in tandem to cut the sweetness of the chocolate. Though this is a classic crème caramel, with whole milk and eggs only, the white chocolate makes it taste richer and creamier.

2 cups (16 ounces) whole milk
3 tablespoons (1 ½ ounces) sugar
Grated zest of 3 limes
3 large eggs
6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped

Caramel Lining
½ cup (4 ounces) water
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Candied lime zest (page 352) and Softly
Whipped Cream (page 416), for serving

Medium Saucepan, Small Saucepan, Six (6-Ounce) Ceramic Ramekins or Custard Cups, Small Bowl (Optional), Large Roasting or Baking Pan, Whisk, Medium Bowl, Fine-Mesh Strainer, Pitcher or Large Measuring Cup with Spout, Tongs, Cooling Rack, Mini-Spatula

Make and flavor the custard: Heat the milk, sugar, and lime zest in the medium saucepan over low heat just until the mixture begins to simmer. Remove from the heat, cover, and allow to steep for 1 to 1½ hours, until the lime flavor is strong. You can even leave the mixture to steep overnight in the refrigerator, if you like.
2 Make the caramel lining: Pour the water into the small saucepan and add the sugar and cream of tartar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is clear. Increase the heat to high and boil rapidly, swirling the pan occasionally (without stirring) to cook the sugar evenly, until the caramel turns a deep golden brown (for more on caramelizing sugar, see page 26). Remove from the heat and immediately divide the caramel among the custard cups, swirling each cup to distribute the still-liquid caramel evenly up the sides. Be careful to go only about halfway up the sides. The caramel is very hot and you don’t want it to drip off the edge of a cup and onto your skin. You may want to keep a small bowl of ice water nearby in case a bit of caramel touches your skin. Set the caramel-lined cups in the roasting pan, making sure they don’t touch, and let them cool for 10 minutes.
3 Preheat the oven to 325°F and position an oven rack in the center.
4 Temper the eggs: Place the saucepan with the lime-infused milk mixture back over medium heat, uncover, and reheat just until it begins to simmer. Whisk the eggs in the medium bowl. Twist a damp kitchen towel into a rope and wrap it around the bottom of the bowl to secure it while you temper the eggs. Pour about ½ cup of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. Once blended, whisk in another ½ cup. Then slowly pour the rest of the mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. Add the white chocolate and whisk until melted and blended completely.
5 Strain and bake the custard: Pour the mixture through the strainer into the pitcher and discard the zest. Divide the warm custard among the cups in the pan. Pull out the oven rack and place the pan on the rack. Remove one of the cups, pour enough hot tap water (not boiling) into that area to come halfway up the sides of the cups, and replace the cup. Cut a piece of foil large enough to fit just inside the edges of the roasting pan, then lay the foil across the top of the cups, making sure it doesn’t touch the custard. You may need to smooth and flatten the foil on the counter if any wrinkles touch the custard. Gently push the rack back into the oven, shut the oven door, and bake the custards for 30 to 40 minutes, until they are just set and their centers are no longer wobbly (test by gently tapping the side of the pan with a spoon).
6 Remove the foil and then the pan from the oven, being careful not to tilt the pan and splash water on top of the custards. Set the pan on a heatproof surface. Use a pair of tongs (or your hand protected by a kitchen towel) to immediately remove the cups from the water bath and place them on a rack to cool to room temperature, about 40 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
7 Unmold the custards: Run a mini-spatula or a thin, flexible knife inside the edge of a cup, pressing the knife into the cup to avoid gouging the custard. Place a serving plate upside down on top of the cup, then, holding the two together, invert them. The custard should slide out of the cup and onto the plate. Candied lime zest is a lovely garnish here. Place a few strands on top of each custard and scatter a few more around each plate.
8 Serve the custards: Crème caramel is at its best at room temperature, so let the custards, still in their cups, sit out for about 30 minutes before serving. If you like, place a small spoonful of softly whipped cream on top of each. Candied lime zest is a lovely garnish here. Place a few strands on top of each custard and scatter a few more around each plate. To make candied citrus zest: Zest 4 limes, lemons, oranges, tangerines, or grapefruits using a vegetable peeler. Scrape off any white pith with the tip of a knife and cut the zest into long thin strips. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to a boil. Stir briefly until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is clear. Add 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup and the zest. Reduce the liquid to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the zest is translucent and tender. Use immediately or refrigerate the candied zest in the syrup in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

White Chocolate–Lemon Crème Caramel Substitute the zest of 2 lemons for the lime zest.
White Chocolate–Orange Crème Caramel Substitute the zest of 1 large orange for the lime zest.

Getting Ahead
The caramel-lined cups can be prepared a day in advance and kept at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap. The custards can be baked up to 2 days in advance and chilled, covered with plastic wrap. Unmold shortly before serving.

what the pros know
Caramel is nearly impossible to scrub out of pans and dishes. The easiest solution for removing it from the saucepan is to fill the pan with water, bring it to a boil for 5 minutes (dissolving the caramel), and then discard the water. To clean custard cups, place them in a large pot, fill with water, and simmer for 10 minutes to dissolve the caramel. (If the caramel is particularly stubborn, you may need to do this twice.)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Spicy Steamed Mussels with Fennel and Tomatoes

From Knives Cooks Love, by Sur La Table and Sarah Jay

This punchy rendition of mussels in white wine offers a quick course on several cuts: slicing, dicing, mincing, and chiffonading. Serve the mussels with crusty bread for dipping into the peppery tomato broth, or ladle the mussels and broth over hot linguine. When buying mussels, ask the fishmonger for a bag from the refrigerator in back, which are often fresher than those in the front display.

Serves 2 to 3 as a main course

1 small fennel bulb
1 small yellow onion
1 carrot
3 cloves garlic
2 small tomatoes
10 to 12 large fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded (discard any that do not close)

Trim the stalks from the fennel and cut a thin slice off the bottom; then core and cut the fennel into 1/4-inch crosswise slices (see page 119). Put the fennel into a large bowl. Cut the onion crosswise into ¼-inch semicircles (see page 95) and add to the bowl. Peel the carrot and cut into 1/4-inch dice (see page 109) and add to the bowl. Peel and mince the garlic (see page 100) and add to the bowl.

Core the tomatoes. Cut them in half through the equator and squeeze out the seeds. Cut them into ¼-inch dice (see page 127) and put them in a separate bowl. Cut the basil into chiffonade (see page 133) and reserve for the garnish.

Lightly crush the peppercorns and fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle. (Alternatively, put them in a small self-sealing plastic bag. Using the bottom of a cast-iron skillet, lightly crush them. Transfer the spices to a small dish.) Add the salt and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy 6-quart or larger stockpot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, carrot, and garlic, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spice mixture. Add the wine and the tomatoes along with any juices in the bowl. Bring to a boil.

Add the mussels to the stockpot (don’t stir), cover, and steam until the mussels open, about 5 minutes. Scoop the mussels into individual shallow bowls, discarding any that remain closed, and then spoon some vegetables and broth over them. Sprinkle each bowl with basil and serve immediately.


Trimming, Coring, Slicing, and Dicing

If you’re braising or roasting fennel wedges, leave the core intact so it holds the fennel together. But for slicing or dicing, do cut away the core first. Lengthwise slices emphasize the vegetable’s tough and fibrous quality. Crosswise slices are more tender and juicy, and better for salads.

1 Cut off the stalks close to the bulb (save the fernlike fronds for a garnish, if you want). Trim off the hard base. If the outer layer isn’t too blemished or fibrous, leave it on. Otherwise, remove it and discard (or save for stock).

2 Cut the bulb into lengthwise quarters. Stand up one quarter on its base, or let it rest on the rounded side, and cut away the core. Repeat with the other three pieces.

3 Set the pieces on a flat side. Cut crosswise or lengthwise slices of the width you need. (For a dice, cut lengthwise slices and gather a few strips and cut across them.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Couscous with Raisins, Golden Onions, and Butternut Squash

From Things Cooks Love: Implements. Ingredients. Recipes.

Prep 30 min | Cook time (couscous) 1 hr 10 min | Cook time (stew) 50 min | Serves 6–8

Here, a simple vegetable stew of butternut squash and onions is spooned atop couscous flavored with cinnamon and dotted with raisins.

Wide 3-Quart Saucepan, 8-Quart Couscoussière, Dutch Oven

4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 cinnamon stick
¼ cup raisins
1½ cups couscous
½ cup water
Coarse salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, halved lengthwise and cut into vertical slices
1 (2 ½ to 3-pound) butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed, and
cut into ½ to ¾-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
2 teaspoons ras el hanout
¹⁄8 teaspoon cayenne
1 (14 ½-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
About 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons diced ¹⁄8-inch preserved lemon peel (page 328) or 1 large lemon, cut into 8 thin wedges, for garnish
Harissa, for serving

1. In a wide 3-quart saucepan or sauté pan, combine 2 cups of the broth, cinnamon stick, and raisins, and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the couscous and stir to blend. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Uncover and cool for 10 minutes. Combine ½ cup of water and 1 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl and stir to dissolve. Sprinkle the salted water on the couscous while simultaneously raking it with your fingers to break up the lumps. Let stand, uncovered, until ready to finish cooking.
2. Add the oil to the bottom section of the couscoussière, a Dutch oven, or 5-quart sauté pan. Heat the olive oil over medium low heat until hot enough to sizzle a piece of onion. Add the onions and cook, stirring, over low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the onions are golden brown. Add the squash and cook, stirring, until coated with the oil. Sprinkle with the ras el hanout, 1 teaspooon of salt, and the cayenne, and stir to blend. Add the remaining 2 cups of the chicken broth and the tomatoes and heat over low heat while preparing the top section of the couscousière.
3. If using a couscoussière, lightly butter the inside of the top section and set it on top of the bottom section holding the squash mixture. Cut a length of cheesecloth long enough to go around the rim of the bottom section with a slight overlap. Dampen the cheesecloth with water, squeeze dry, and sprinkle lightly with flour. Fold the cheesecloth into a 2-inch-wide band, and wrap the band around the rim between the top and bottom sections to seal the seam so no steam escapes.
4. Bring the stew in the bottom half of the couscoussière to a boil over medium heat. When the steam begins to rise through the perforations, add about one-half of the couscous in a layer. Then spoon the remaining couscous on top, piling it into a pyramid. Steam, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 minutes.
5. Keeping the top and bottom sections sealed together with the cheesecloth, use a long handled spoon to transfer the couscous to a large platter, spreading it out with the spoon. Cool for 10 minutes, then rake it with your fingers to separate any clumps. (The couscous and stew can be prepared 1 to 2 hours ahead up to this step. Cover the couscous with a dampened towel to keep it from drying and remove the stew from the heat and proceed to steps 6 through 8 about 15 minutes before ready to serve.)
6. While the couscous is cooling, continue to cook the stew over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
7. Return half of the couscous to the top of the couscoussière and spread in a layer. Then spoon the remaining couscous on top, piling into a pyramid. Steam the couscous while simultaneously continuing to cook the stew over low heat in the bottom portion for 10 to 15 minutes. Lift off the top portion and taste the stew and add salt, if needed.
8. Spoon the couscous onto a deep platter or shallow serving bowl. Make a well in the center and spoon the squash and its juices into the center. Sprinkle with the cilantro and add the preserved lemons or lemon wedges. Serve and pass the harissa at the table to be added to taste.

Steam Couscous Ahead
You can steam the couscous the first time several hours before serving. Let it stand, covered with a damp towel, and then spoon it back into the couscoussière to warm just before serving.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sea Bass Poached in Orange, Basil, and Wine with Citrus and Herb Sauce - From Things Cooks Love: Implements. Ingredients. Recipes.

From Things Cooks Love: Implements. Ingredients. Recipes.

Prep 30 min | cok time (poaching liquid) 15 min |
cok time (fish) 15 to 20 min | serves 6

The traditional liquid for poaching fish is called court bouillon. This is a broth made from cooking vegetables and herbs in water and wine. This recipe deviates from the classic by using orange juice, white wine, and basil. Prepare it ahead of time so it has time to cool to room temperature before you poach the fish. (Used poaching liquid can be strained and frozen for 1 to 2 months for a second use.) You’ll need enough liquid to cover the fish. Remember the fish should be slowly cooked in simmering, never boiling, liquid. Sea bass, a fine-fleshed fish with a sweet, mild flavor, is a good choice for poaching, but almost any firm-fleshed fish can be used.

Large Saucepan, Fine-mesh Strainer or Chinois, Vegetable Peeler, Fish Bone Tweezers or Pliers, 18-inch-long Fish Poacher, Small Knife or Instant-Read Thermometer (or Probe Type), Small Saucepan, Medium Bowl, Sauce or Standard Whisk, Oven Mitts, Rimmed Sheet Pan (Optional), Two Long Flat Spatulas or One Long and One Shorter Spatula, Ladle

Poaching Liquid
4 cups water
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups orange juice, preferably fresh
1 (3 by ½-inch) strip orange zest
1 large, leafy stem fresh basil
1 large, leafy stem fresh Italian parsley
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, bruised with knife
1 teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
1 (3-pound) whole sea bass fillet with skin intact

1 cup orange juice, preferably fresh
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced (about ¼ cups)
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
½ teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 thin slices navel orange, halved, for garnish
3 sprigs fresh basil, for garnish
1 cup tiny cherry tomatoes, for garnish

1. Make the poaching liquid: In a large saucepan, combine the water, wine, orange juice, orange zest, basil, parsley, onion, bay leaf, garlic, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat. Adjust the heat to a gentle boil and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Let cool to lukewarm. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer or chinois. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt.
2. To ensure even cooking, the fish and poaching liquid should be almost the same temperature. To achieve this, remove the fish from the refrigerator about 1 hour prior to cooking.
3. Run your hand over the surface of the fish fillet to locate the pin bones and determine the direction of their growth. Use the tip of fish bone tweezers or pliers to pinch the top of the pin bone and slowly tug at the same angle as the bone. If the bone breaks off, you are pulling in the opposite direction of growth, so you must reverse direction.
4. Remove the rack from a fish poacher 18 inches long and 7 inches wide. Lightly oil the rack with the olive oil. Place the fish, skin side down, on the rack. Lower the rack into the empty fish poacher. Gently pour the roomtemperature poaching liquid into the pan.
5. Set the pan over two burners and turn them on to medium heat. Cover and heat the liquid, checking under the cover frequently, until a bubble or two comes to the surface. (This will take about 15 minutes.) Adjust the heat to medium-low, re-cover, and cook, without boiling, for 15 to 18 minutes, until the tip of a small knife inserted into the thickest part of the fillet finds no resistance, or the internal temperature registers 130° to 140°F on an instant-read thermometer.
6. While the fish is poaching, make the sauce: Place the orange juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Adjust the heat to medium and boil gently for 5 minutes, or until the juice is reduced by half. Pour into a bowl and let cool to lukewarm.
7. Gradually whisk the olive oil into the orange juice until blended. Add the lemon juice, green onions, basil, parsley, oregano, orange zest, salt, and a grinding of pepper. Stir to blend and set aside.
8. When the fish is cooked, turn off the heat. Place next to the stove a rimmed sheet pan large enough to accommodate the poaching rack. Remove the cover of the fish poacher. With your fingers protected with oven mitts, carefully lift the rack from the fish poacher and place it on the sheet pan. (Alternatively, you can place the poaching rack with the fish in the sink.) Let the fish sit on the rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the fish by running a large, flat spatula between the fish and the rack. Then, use 2 long, flat spatulas, or 1 long spatula and 1 shorter one, to carefully lift the fish off the rack and place it on an oval platter.
9. Stir the sauce and ladle half of it over the fish. Arrange the orange slices on the surface of the fish in a slightly overlapping pattern to simulate fish scales. Garnish the platter with the basil sprigs and cherry tomatoes. Serve the fish warm, and pass the remaining sauce at the table. Or, cover the fish with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake

From The Art and Soul of Baking

Serves 10 to 12 This soft, moist, towering cloud of a dessert lies somewhere between a cake and a trifle, its lemon syrup–soaked cake layers alternating with lemon mascarpone cream. Meyer lemons are especially fragrant, but this cake is outstanding even with supermarket Eureka lemons. There are a few steps here, but almost everything can be done ahead, which makes putting it together pretty easy.


Sponge Cakes
6 large eggs, separated
7 tablespoons (3 ounces) plus
7 tablespoons (3 ounces) sugar
1 3/4 cups (6 ounces) sifted cake flour

Lemon Syrup
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup (4 fl ounces) water
1/4 cup (2 ounces) freshly squeezed
lemon juice

Mascarpone Filling
2 1/2 cups (20 ounces) heavy whipping cream
7 tablespoons (3 ounces) sugar
1 pound mascarpone
1 cup lemon curd, plus 1 1/2 cups for layering and garnish


Two Ungreased 9 by 1 3/4-inch Round Cake Pans Lined with Parchment Paper, Pastry Brush, Small Offset Spatula, Icing Spatula, Pastry Bag Fitted with a 1/2-inch Star Tip

1 Preheat the oven to 375°F. Position oven racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven.

2 Make the sponge cakes: Place the egg yolks and 7 tablespoons of the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on high speed until the mixture is thick and very light in color, 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside while you whip the egg whites.

3 In a clean bowl with a clean whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed to soft peaks. With the mixer running, gradually add the remaining 7 tablespoons of sugar and continue beating until the egg whites hold firm peaks. Fold one-third of the egg whites into the beaten yolks, then sift half of the flour over the top and gently fold it in. Repeat. Fold in the last of the egg whites until no streaks of white remain.

4 Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until the top is golden, firm to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out free of crumbs. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool completely.

5 Make the lemon syrup: Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the liquid is clear. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Stir in the lemon juice.

6 Make the mascarpone filling: Place the cream and sugar in a bowl and whip to soft peaks. Refrigerate. Place the mascarpone and one cup of the lemon curd in a bowl and stir until blended—it should be the consistency of pudding. Gently fold in the whipped cream until the mixture is homogenous and thick. If the mixture becomes overworked, it will look grainy or separated. If this happens, stir in several tablespoons of cream with a rubber spatula—stir just until the mixture has smoothed out again.