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Yuz(u) Will Love These

Monday, February 15th, 2016 No comments
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thumb_IMG_5079_1024thumb_IMG_5072_1024The long anticipated arrival of Yuzu Pearls allowed me to try this fabulous dessert and share the result with you. The Yuzu fruit is a citrus fruit originating in East Asia. It looks and tastes a lot like a lemon. It first came to our attention when we ordered dessert at Yuki Yama in Park City. We almost never have room for dessert after eating sushi, but this beautiful little dessert passed by and we were intrigued. It was a light, citrus flavored cheesecake and immediately had to research how we can create these at home. After a bit of searching, I found yuzu juice and yuzu pearls. I decided to give the pearls a try. The result is a very good imitation of the dessert from the sushi restaurant.

Here are the ingredients and the steps to make this yummy, yuzu cheesecake:

Crust
5 oz. graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Cheesecake
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
8 oz. mascarpone cheese, room temperature
8 oz. whipping cream
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.5 oz. Yuzu Pearls
1 gelatin leaf

Extra whipping cream for serving.

You will need 8 small canning jars or other glass containers.

Process the graham crackers in a small food processor and mix in the melted butter. Put 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mixture into the bottom of the small jars and press down – I used the tamper from my espresso machine.

Soften the gelatin leaf in a small amount of water and remove from water and put into a small saucepan. Add the yuzu pearls and heat over a larger pan of boiling water until softened. Process the yuzu pearls and gelatin in a small food processor until the pearls are dissolved.

In a large bowl of the electric mixer, process the cheeses until smooth. Add the caster sugar and process until combined. Add the vanilla and the yuzu mixture and blend.
Beat the whipping cream until stiff and fold into the cheese mixture.

Spoon the cheese mixture into the jars and close with lids until ready to serve.

When serving, remove lids and add decorative whipping cream to the top.

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Toasting the Editor-in-Chief: Celebrating Karin’s birthday with an elderflower, orange and passion fruit cake

Sunday, November 29th, 2015 No comments
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By: Ingrid Webb

Last weekend we gathered to celebrate Karin’s birthday as a family with a fish taco feast prepared by her children. We are visiting for the holidays, so I offered to bake a cake, which has quickly become one of my specialties. The recipe calls for Edlerflower Cordial, which I’d never used before, but we brought some back with us after our last visit to our daughter’s house in England. Elderflower cordial isn’t easy to find in stores in the US, but you can get it on Amazon and possibly your local BevMo, as well as making your own.

Here’s the recipe, which I came across in Cambridge Magazine: https://www.belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk/2015/06/elderflower-orange-passion-fruit-layer-cake/Elderflower Birthday Cake

Karin’s birthday cake was my fourth time making the recipe. The recipe calls for two entire oranges pulverized and added to the batter, making the cake itself very moist and flavorful. The cake is made with almond flour which also provides a nice texture. With all the different fruits and rich creams, we thought upon first reading this recipe that it would be very sweet, but it’s not at all. It’s a very well balanced cake for adult taste buds.

The recipe calls for an Elderflower Cream, which contains passion fruit, in between each of the cake’s four layers and on the top. While passion fruit isn’t readily available this time of year, we were able to get passion fruit (along with mango for the mango salsa and rhubarb for a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie) at Specialty Produce. (If you haven’t been to Speciality Produce, it was quite a treat! What a variety and quality of produce!)

As always, the cake was a huge hit.

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Small Plates, Big Fun!

Monday, September 14th, 2015 No comments
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Halibut and Penn Cove Mussels in Fennel Saffron Broth

Halibut and Penn Cove Mussels in Fennel Saffron Broth

If I could add another chapter to my book, it would be a Small Plates chapter. Small plates give you an opportunity to explore so many wonderful options to satisfy your palate. You don’t have to go to a trendy restaurant to achieve a dining adventure like that, however. You can do it by inviting a group of friends to create this experience in the comfort of your own kitchen – which is exactly what we did on Saturday night. There were 10 people involved in our Small Plates/Big Fun evening. We divided the group into 5 teams of two chefs each. Each team was responsible for one of the courses. I had most of the ingredients prepared in advance (measured, chopped, etc.) Each team took “Center Stage” in the kitchen as they prepared their assigned dish. We had an extra special bit of fun with this concept when everyone picked a song to go with their dish…Kristina started it all with Hukuna Crostata as she and Marc prepared their Apple Crostata. We also heard Les Poissons during the preparation of the fish dish, among others.

Our menu was as follows:
A few items prepared by hosts to give our chefs some nourishment during cooking:
Bruschetta with Heirloom Tomatoes
Blistered Green Beans

Then the fun started:

Peach and Burrata Arugula Salad by Juan and Karin
Pear + Gorgonzola, Caramelized Onion + Candied pecan+arugula+aged Balsamic as improvised by Annette and Peter
Halibut and Penn Cove Mussels in Fennel Saffron Broth by Gary and Louise
Chicken Bastilla by Genevieve and Dan
Apple Crostata with Almond-Crumb Topping by Kristina and Marc

The recipe for the Halibut and Penn Cove Mussels in Fennel, Leek and Saffron Broth follows:

Serves 6 as a Main Course or 10 Small Plates

Ingredients
1 cup thinly sliced fennel (bulb only)
1 large leek, washed and thinly sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 large tomato, chopped

2 ½ lbs. Alaskan halibut, washed, dried and cut into 3 oz. pieces
3 dozen Penn Cove mussels

4 tablespoons EVO (3 for vegetables and 1 for browning fish)
32 oz. box of fish stock or chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine
Sea salt to taste
1 teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons flat leave parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons G-Rub (recipe in Cook the Part)

Preparation
In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and sauté onion and fennel for about 5 minutes. Add chopped carrots and leeks and cook until soft.
Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add tomato. Add wine and saffron and cook for 5 minutes until all vegetables are soft and flavors are blended. Add ½ of the fish stock. Cook for additional 5-10 minutes.
Brown halibut in an iron skillet.
Add mussels to stock mixture and cook for 2 minutes until most of mussels are opened. Add browned fish to pan and cook just until done, adding more stock if needed. Discard any unopened mussels.

Divide seafood into 10 bowls. Add broth to each bowl. Sprinkle parsley over top. Serve with toasted bread.

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Patty Mekita’s Famous Meatballs

Friday, July 17th, 2015 No comments
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Patty Mekita with Kait

In Patty’s Own Words!

I get the sauce started first and it was as follows:

Olive Oil (maybe a tablespoon or two or three)

2 large onions chopped

A bulb of garlic (or at least eight or nine big pieces of garlic) finely chopped

Lots of freshly chopped basil (maybe at least a generous dozen big leaves)

S&P

1 Cup of white wine

A small can of tomato paste

A large can of whole San Marzano tomatoes (break them up with your hands first, or say, use a mash potato masher)

A large can of diced San Marzano tomatoes

A large can of San Marzano puree

Sauté the onions in the olive oil, then add the garlic, then add the basil and salt and pepper and sweat them all well together; then add the cup of wine and stir well and let that cook for a few minutes and really get hot and start to burn off the alcohol. Then add the tomato paste to this mixture and stir really well. Then add the tomatoes, one can at a time, and stir slowly.

Once this sauce is well mixed and on a low simmer, start the meatballs (these are all general measures):

1 ½ lb. of chop meat – this does not have to be the expensive kind, it can be reasonably priced and it will be delicious and fine (ground beef for those not familiar with this term)

2 large pieces of garlic finely chopped

1 Cup of bread crumbs (I tend to use Gluten-Free crumbs made by Panache Pantry – the Gluten-Free Vintage Sicilian)

1 Cup of shaved parmesan or grated Grana Padano (I used shaved parmesan in the meatballs on Saturday, and had grated Grana Padano on the table for sprinkling)

½ cup of chopped fresh parsley

1 jumbo egg or two small eggs

Water – like maybe a generous ½ cup or more if needed

Once the meatball mixture is really well mixed, I start rolling them into balls and just toss them into the sauce leaving room in between each one so they don’t bump into each other and break up. Once that’s all done I put the lid on the big pan and let it cook slowly for hours, giving a stir in the center of the sauce about every hour. At a minimum I cook it for about five or six hours.

I have many variations of this sauce with timing and some slightly different ingredients, or the preparation of fresh Roma tomatoes. A very delicious addition to this sauce that cooks all day is braising baby spare ribs early on, and also preparing rolled beef bracciole (which are filled with S&P, grated cheese and pignoli nuts) – and then you have real Sunday Italian sauce that’s cooked all day with delicious meats.

My recipes above are not fattening and they are pure and healthy, so please don’t leave out any of the ingredients to skimp on a few calories.

I’m really particular about the San Marzano canned tomatoes if I don’t prepare fresh ones – it’s the white can with the long San Marzano tomatoes on it, I think they’re distributed by a company in Pennsylvania.

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