Garlic and Herb Roasted Chicken

A very flavorful roast chicken from the Williams Sonoma blog. The chicken is so moist and flavorful! If you cannot find spring onions, substitute leeks or a regular onion.

1 chicken, about 4 lb. (2 kg)
2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 lemons, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh chives
1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, plus 1 garlic head, halved crosswise
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) butter, at room temperature
1 bunch spring onions, halved lengthwise if large
2 Tbs. olive oil

Preheat an oven to 450°F (220°C).

Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Season the chicken inside and out with the salt and pepper and place half of the lemon slices inside the chicken cavity. Tuck the wing tips behind the back and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.

In a small bowl, stir together the chives, thyme, oregano, parsley, tarragon, lemon zest and chopped garlic. Add the butter and stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined.

Starting at the cavity, slip your fingers underneath the chicken skin and loosen it all over, being careful not to tear it and reaching as far as possible into the thigh area. Using your fingers, rub the butter mixture under the skin, distributing it as evenly as possible.

Place the chicken, breast side up, in large round cocotte or Dutch oven and add the remaining lemon slices, garlic head and spring onions to the pot and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast the chicken until the skin is well browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone, registers 170°F (77°C), 50 to 60 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the chicken and serve immediately with the lemon slices, garlic and spring onions alongside. Serves 4.



Cardamom cream scones with candied ginger

From David Tanis’ wonderful book, Market Cooking. I made this for the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan. It is very easy and delicious!

2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 t. cardamom, ground
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 T. (plus extra for sprinkling on scones sugar
6 T. cold unsalted butter, plus 2 T. for brushing the tops of scones
2 T. candied ginger, chopped
2 T. golden raisins, plumped in warm water and drained if dry
2 T. currants, plumped in warm water and drained if dry
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl stir the flour, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar together. Cut the butter into small chunks and work it into the flour mixture until it is the texture of sand or pebbles. Add the currants, raisins and candied ginger. Make a well in the center and add the beaten eggs and cream. Stir in a circular motion with a fork until dough forms a rough ball. Dough will seem moist and sticky.
Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute Gently roll or pat the dough into 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into wedges or use a 2″ cutter for circles. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Prick each scone with a fork, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with flour.
Bake until nicely browned 12-14 minutes.

Ham and Cheese Brioche Pudding

From the wonderful David Tanis in the NY Times. I added the blanched asparagus and roasted red pepper.
This is a good occasion to use up any odds and ends of cheeses. This is perfect for lunch or dinner or even breakfast! I needed to cook this at least another 20+ minutes as I added the other ingredients that contain moisture. The flavor is great.

1 tablespoon butter, for greasing the pan
1 (12-ounce) brioche loaf or smaller brioches, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
6 eggs
4 cups half-and-half or whole milk
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne
½ cup thinly sliced scallions
6 ounces thinly sliced ham, cut crosswise into matchsticks (about 1 1/2 cups)
8 ounces grated Gouda or Gruyère cheese (about 4 cups)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 11-by-11-inch baking dish. Fill dish with brioche cubes and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat eggs well. Whisk in half-and-half, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne and scallions. Pour mixture over cubes in baking dish.
Sprinkle ham and cheese on top of mixture, and press down to make sure everything is submerged. Set baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet.
Transfer baking dish and baking sheet to the middle shelf of the oven, and bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the dish emerges dry. Let rest for 10 minutes or so before serving.
If desired, let pudding cool completely and cut into squares or wedges. Then reheat for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

Angel food cake with mint marinated strawberries and mascarpone cream

From Williams Sonoma blog-a perfect spring dessert! I bought my cake at Whole Foods and it wasn’t big enough to divide into three layers but I think a homemade cake would be! My neighbor boys picked johnny jump ups and mint from my garden and decorated this cake for their mother for Mother’s Day. A quick update from my four year old helper-“Dad did not like the flowers or the strawberries with mint and I did not like the whipped cream because it wasn’t sweet!”. I will go back to my family Birthday Angel Food cake recipe next time. This recipe may be for adults!

For the cake:
1 cup (5 oz./155 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (12 oz./375 g) sugar
12 egg whites
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the minted strawberries:
1 lb. (500 g) strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) sugar
1 Tbs. chopped fresh mint, plus whole leaves for garnish
For the mascarpone whipped cream:

2/3 cup (5 oz/155 g) mascarpone cheese
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat an oven to 325°F (165°C). In a bowl, sift together the flour and 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) of the sugar. Repeat the sifting 3 more times.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low speed until they begin to foam, about 2 minutes. Add the salt, cream of tartar and vanilla, raise the speed to medium, and beat until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly add the remaining 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) sugar. Raise the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer and sprinkle the flour mixture over the egg white mixture. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture, taking care not to overmix.

3. Spoon the batter into an ungreased angel food cake pan, then gently tap the pan on the counter to release any air pockets. Bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back when lightly touched, 35 to 45 minutes. Invert the pan onto a wire rack and let cool upside down for about 30 minutes. To release, run a paring knife around the edges of the pan. Turn right side up on the rack and let cool for 10 minutes longer.

4. Meanwhile, make the minted strawberries: In a large bowl, stir together the strawberries, sugar, and chopped mint. Let stand until the juices have released, about 25 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, make the mascarpone whipped cream. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the mascarpone, cream and vanilla on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

6. To assemble, use a sharp serrated knife, carefully cut the cake horizontally into three layers of even thickness. Place the bottom layer on a cake plate, cut side up. Spread the layer with a third of the mascarpone whipped cream and the minted strawberries. Place the middle cake layer on top and spread with another third of the mascarpone whipped cream and minted strawberries. Place the top cake layer on top, cut side down, and spread with the remaining mascarpone whipped cream and minted strawberries. Garnish with the whole mint leaves and serve immediately. Serves 12 to 15.

Ruth Reich’s Giant Chocolate Cake

From the former editor of Gourmet Magazine, this is a easy, moist cake to make for a crowd. I do think you need to double the frosting recipe to really cover the whole cake. I cut one of the rectangle cakes in half and frosted it for a group of twelve and there was plenty. It is a rich cake! The cake freezes well unfrosted. The cream cheese in the frosting is a delicious combination. Picture coming soon!

1 ⅛ cups/100 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process), plus more for dusting the pans
¾ cup/175 milliliters whole milk
1 ½ teaspoons/7 1/2 milliliters vanilla
3 cups/375 grams flour
2 teaspoons/10 grams baking soda
1 ½ cups/340 grams (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups/356 grams dark brown sugar
1 ½ cups/300 grams granulated sugar
6 eggs

5 ounces/143 grams unsweetened chocolate
¾ cups/170 grams (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup/225 grams whipped cream cheese, or whip in mixer before adding butter
1 teaspoon/5 milliliters vanilla
2 ½ cups/312 grams confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two large rectangular baking pans (13 by 9 by 2 inches) and line them with waxed or parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust the pans with cocoa (you could use flour, but cocoa adds color and flavor).
Measure the cocoa powder into a bowl, and whisk in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water until it is smooth, dark and so glossy it reminds you of chocolate pudding. Whisk in the milk and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
Put the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat in the sugars until it is light, fluffy and the color of coffee with cream (about 5 minutes). One at a time, add the eggs, beating for about 20 seconds after each before adding the next. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture in 3 batches and the cocoa mixture in 2, alternating flour-cocoa-flour-cocoa-flour.
Pour half of the batter into each pan and smooth the tops. Bake in the middle of the oven until a tester comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Let the pans rest on cooling racks for 2 minutes, then turn the cakes onto racks to cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting: Chop the chocolate and melt it in a double boiler. Let it cool so that you can comfortably put your finger in it. While it’s cooling, mix the butter with the whipped cream cheese. Add the chocolate, the vanilla and a dash of salt, and mix in the confectioners’ sugar until it looks like frosting, at least 5 minutes. Assemble the cake, spreading about a third of the frosting on one of the cooled layers, then putting the second layer on top and frosting the assembled cake

Simple Almond Pistachio Cake

From Food 52, a super light, chewy cake that has a wonderful flavor from the cardamom. I used my regular extra virgin olive oil instead of my extra light and I think it is fine. This cake is delicious with a cup of tea or coffee any time of day!

Makes one 9″ cake
50 grams (1/2 cup) shelled pistachios
50 grams (1/2 cup) almond flour
100 grams (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 eggs
200 grams (1 cup) sugar
120 milliliters (1/2 cup) good-quality olive oil
113 grams (1/2 cup, 1 stick) lightly salted butter, melted and cooled slightly
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9″ cake pan (or spring form pan) with parchment paper, lightly grease the pan, and dust it with sugar, tapping out the excess sugar. In a food processor, pulse together the pistachios until they’re fairly finely ground, but make sure not to pulse too much or they’ll become a paste. Add the almond flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and cardamom to the ground pistachios and pulse until everything is combined. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until very thick and light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the egg/sugar mixture, beating as you go. Once combined, keep the mixer running on low and drizzle in the melted butter (if you don’t have salted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt with the butter). Beat until the mixture comes together, but don’t overmix as you want to keep as much air in the batter as possible. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet, taking care not to deflate the batter as much as possible. Once combined, pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until the sides of the cake turn golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Let the cake cool completely in the pan before turning it out onto a rack to slice.

Fusilli alla Vodka

From Jon and Vinny’s in LA, via Bon Appetit! I love that this recipe is based on tomato paste rather than a lot of canned tomatoes. The sauce is like velvet. This recipe is very simple and easy to make.

¼ cup olive oil
½ shallot, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
½ cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons vodka
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 pound fusilli
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ounce finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until paste is brick red and starts to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add vodka and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add cream and red pepper flakes and stir until well blended. Season with salt and pepper; remove from heat.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Add pasta to skillet with sauce along with butter and ½ cup pasta cooking liquid. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until butter has melted and a thick, glossy sauce has formed, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add 1 oz. Parmesan, tossing to coat. Divide pasta among bowls, then top with basil and more Parmesan.
Do Ahead: Vodka sauce can be made 5 days ahead; cover and chill.

Mongolian Pork Chops

From the wonderful Mustards Grill in Napa and their fabulous cookbook, Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook. My girlfriend Laurie Smith photographed this beautiful cookbook and it is full of great recipes. I found the perfect center cut bone in pork chops at Trader Joes. I used a half recipe for our two pork chops. I have never cooked a better pork chop-it was perfection! I served this with braised red cabbage, mashed potatoes and a wonderful mustard sauce, all from the same cookbook!

6 (10-ounce) center-cut double pork chops
Mongolian Marinade
1 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
11/2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce 11/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar 11/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 scallion, white and two-thirds of the green parts, minced 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
11/2 teaspoons Lee Kum Kee black bean chile sauce 11/2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
11/2 tablespoons minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems, minced 1 tablespoon sesame oil
Trim the excess meat and fat away from the ends of the chop bones, leaving them exposed. Put the pork chops in a clean plastic bag and lightly sprinkle with water to prevent the meat from tearing when pounded. Using the smooth side of a meat mallet, pound the meat down to an even 1-inch thickness, being careful not to hit the bones. Alternatively, have your butcher cut thinner chops and serve 2 per serving. To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Coat the pork chops liberally with the marinade and marinate for 3 hours and up to overnight in the refrigerator.
Place the chops on the grill and grill for 5 minutes on each side, rotating them a quarter turn after 2 to 3 minutes on each side to produce nice crosshatch marks. It’s good to baste with some of the marinade as the meat cooks. As with all marinated meats, you want to go longer and slower on the grill versus shorter and hotter, because if the marinated meat is charred, it may turn bitter. The pork is ready when it registers 139° on an instant-read thermometer.

Elizabeth Minchilli’s Puttanesca

From one of my favorite bloggers, this pasta comes together in the time it takes the pasta to cook. It is so simple and delicious! If you don’t like spice, you can make it without the red pepper paste but I am crazy about it! I am so excited to have a new favorite condiment!

Penne or pasta of choice
2 sliced cloves of garlic
4 fantastic anchovies (see photo)
1 t. red pepper sauce (preserved red peppers in olive oil-see photo-I ordered from Amazon)
sliced olives, pits removed
reserve 1 c of pasta water
extra virgin olive oil
parsley, chopped

Cook the pasta according to the directions and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. In a hot pan, add olive oil and saute garlic, add the red pepper paste and then add anchovies and they will melt. Turn off heat-the sauce is done. Add olives and stir in. Add drained pasta and stir well, add pasta water and cook until the water boils off. Add a little extra virgin olive oil (you can use new oil for flavor) and a handful of chopped parsley.

Orange and Star Anise Shortbread

This is an amazing cookie from the new book Sweets by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh. The book is great, however, there are a lot of errors in many of the recipes and they finally have released a list online of all of the corrections . Not only does this shortbread have great flavor but it has wonderful texture which I think is from using the Italian “00: flour and white rice flour.

2 1/2 c./360 g Italian “00” flour
1/2 c. plus 1 T/70 g white grainy rice flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill brand
3/4 c. plus 1 1/2 T/165 g granulated sugar
1/8 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. ground star anise (3 whole star anise, ground in a spice grinder and passed through a fine siev
1 t. flaky sea salt
finely grated zest of 1 large orange (1 T)
scraped seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod
1 c. plus 1 1/2 T./250 grams butter, cold and cut into 3/4″ cube
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Sift both flours, the sugar, baking powder and ground star anise into a large mixing bowl, Add the salt, orange zest and vanilla seeds and mix to combine. Add the butter and use the tips of your fingers to rub it into the dry mixture until there are no large bits butter and the consistency is that of breadcrumbs. Add the egg and mix gradually using your hands or a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Shape into a rectangle and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour to firm up.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Cut dough in half and roll out one half on a lightly floured work surface until is just under 1/4″ thick. Using a 3″ cookie cutter, cut out the cookies. Reroll scraps to cut out more cookies.
Bake 16-17 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking. They should be golden brown on the edges and lightly golden in the center. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.