Tag Archives: Nutmeg

Jerk Chicken with Coconut Saffron Rice and Black Beans

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The best jerk recipe I have ever tasted, delighted the senses, as it was fragrant, fiery hot and smoky all at once.The original recipe was developed by Paul Chung, an adventurous self-taught cook who grew up in Jamaica and has sampled jerk from just about every corner of the island. Making a few adjustments, I added  fresh ginger, dark brown sugar and apple cider vinegar to the marinade. For best results and maximum flavor, let the chicken marinate overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.

As side dishes goes, this saffron rice recipe cooks up pretty quickly, making it a great dish if you are in a hurry. Another added bonus is that is one of those rare dishes that gluten free and vegan. However, if you are allergic to coconut milk, soy milk is a suitable substitute.

Serves 8

Ingredients:
For the Chicken:
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 medium scallions, chopped
2-3 Scotch bonnet chili peppers, stems removed, chopped (or Habaneros)
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon five-spice powder
1 tablespoon allspice berries, coarsely ground
1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon white or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Two 3 1/2- to 4-pound chickens, quartered

For the Saffron Coconut Rice and Beans:
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon plain water,at room temperature
2 cups uncooked white basmati rice (or any long grain rice)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 3/4 cup coconut milk
2 cups water
1 teaspoon agave nectar, (or 1/2 teaspoon of sugar)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
a pinch of ground nutmeg
One 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
Lime wedges, for garnish

Special Equipment:
Latex gloves for handling the chilis and massaging the marinade under the chicken skin.

Directions:
For the chicken start preparing it a day or two ahead of actual cooking.

Pat chicken dry with paper towels.In a food processor, combine the onion, scallions, chiles, ginger, garlic, five-spice powder, allspice, black pepper, thyme, nutmeg, salt and brown sugar; process to a coarse paste. With the machine on, add the the soy sauce and oil in a steady stream. Put on latex gloves and pour the marinade into a large, shallow dish. Slather the marinade all over chicken, including under skin, and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring the chicken to room temperature before cooking and lightly sprinkle with more salt and ground allspice, before proceeding.

Prepare a charcoal grill: Clean and oil grates.Light a grill and preheat to medium heat using one chimney of charcoal. The temperature can start as high as 300°F. For best results, coals should be at least 12 inches away from chicken. If necessary, push coals to one side of grill to create indirect heat. Add two large handfuls of soaked pimento (allspice) wood sticks and chips (See Cook’s Notes) or other aromatic wood chips to coals, then close grill. When thick white smoke billows from grill, place chicken on grate, skin side up, and cover. Let cook undisturbed for 35 to 45 minutes.

Uncover the grill. The chicken will be golden and mahogany in some spots. Chicken thighs may already be cooked through. For other cuts, turn chicken over and add more wood chips, and charcoal as needed. Cover and continue cooking, checking and turning every 10 minutes. Jerk chicken is done when skin is burnished brown and chicken juices are completely clear, with no pink near the bone. For large pieces, this can take up to an hour.

While chicken is cooking, begin to prepare the rice.

In a small bowl, soak saffron threads in the water, at room temperature, for 5 minutes and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat peanut oil over a medium heat until it begins to shimmer, about 2 minutes. Stir in chopped shallot and garlic, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in rice, mixing with a wooden spoon until all of the grains are coated with peanut oil. Fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly.Gently stir in the coconut milk, water, saffron mixture, agave or sugar, turmeric, cumin taking care as the oil will splatter. Season with salt, and gently stir, making sure that nothing sticks to the bottom while everything comes to a boil.

Once liquid achieves a boil, reduce heat to low. Place lid on pot, slightly askew to allow some steam to escape. Stir occasionally to make sure rice does not stick to bottom of pan and the sugar in the coconut milk does not burn. Allow to simmer *very* gently for 15-20 minutes, or until rice is tender.

Stir in the black beans and cook for a few minutes more until hot. Remove from heat and cover the saucepan. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork when you are ready to serve.

When the chicken is done, transfer to a platter.Garnish with lime wedges and serve with the rice.

Cook’s Notes:
Pimento wood sticks and chips are available at www.pimentowood.com.

Alternatively you bake the chicken in the oven if a grill is not readily available.After marinating and you are ready to cook the chicken, heat oven to 350°F and bake chicken for 45-55 minutes, until done.

Also, if time is of the essence, you can first bake the chicken at 300°F in the oven then finished off on the grill. This will result in crispy skin, with perfect texture and flavor.

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Thank you so much!

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Crespelle alla Fiorintina

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catherine_de_medicisThe culinary historical trail leads to Catherine de’ Medici, the Florentine Queen of France, for introducing these savory crepes to French cuisine with the help of her Tuscan chefs.

In 1533, at age fourteen, she was married to Henry of Orléans, the future king of France.
When she moved to France, an entourage of friends, servants, and waiters accompanied her. The Florentine cooks who went with her brought with them the secrets of Italian cooking to France, introducing peas, beans, artichokes, canard a l’orange, (duck a la orange) and carabaccia (onion soup). The pastry makers also demonstrated their innovative genius with sorbets and ice creams, marmalades, fruits in syrup, pastry making, and pasta. A certain Sir Frangipani gave his name to the custard and the tart known in France as Frangipane. Is is not ironic that all these dishes that are considered so quintessentially French, are actually Italian in origin.

Catherine also brought with her to the French table a new protocol, such as the separation of salty and sweet dishes, at a time when sweets were still consumed together with meat and fish in the medieval style all over Europe. Everyone in France was amazed by the Florentine elegance she  introduced, including gracious table settings and dining, fine linen with elegant embroidery, as well as luxurious silverware and crystal stemware.

At the time, French cooking was already a rich, evolving discipline, and the presence of the new style profoundly influenced French cuisine over the next few centuries. Catherine and her army of Florentine chefs reformed the antique French cooking of a medieval tradition and transformed the food we know as today as the modern French cooking. As time went on, French cooks improved and magnified the Florentine contributions. While many dishes and techniques were being forgotten in Italy, the French made them into international cuisine.

And based on the  various  evidence in the culinary literature, it suggests that crepes were also Florentine in origin and the French adapted them into what we now enjoy  today, in both sweet and savory forms. Crespelle  appears to be like Cannelloni, which are pasta tubes filled with spinach and ricotta, but the crespelle is actually a very thin pancake crepe made of flour and eggs instead of a thick sheet of pasta.

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Photo Credit: Josephine Guerriero, Pezzole delle nonna, Posta La Ricetta

In the Tuscan countryside, this dish was formerly  called “pezzole delle nonna.” Pezzole is the Tuscan way of saying “fazzoletto” which means “handkerchief”  and so pezzole delle Nonna  can be translated as  “Grandma’s Handkerchiefs“. Pezzoles can be described as omelets or crepes stuffed with ricotta cheese and vegetables covered with a Béchamel sauce. They are neatly folded into quarters and served family style in a dish, looking very much like handkerchiefs in a stacked in a drawer.  Given its past, and its modern incarnations, this  dish is definitely a home-style comfort food and is  found in extremely traditional Tuscan trattorias.

Serves 8

Ingredients:
For the Crespelle batter:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

For the filling:
1 pound fresh spinach, washed, stems removed
1/2 pound ricotta
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

For the Béchamel:
4 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

To Finish:
About 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 cup tomato passata or  prepared tomato sauce (See Cook’s Notes)

Directions:
For the crepes: In a bowl whisk together all the ingredients to form a smooth, thin batter. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before proceeding. Heat a small skillet or crepe pan and when hot, brush lightly with butter. Ladle about 1/4 cup of crepe batter into the pan, tilting the skillet to evenly coat the pan. Cook until golden brown on the bottom and the top begins to look dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully turn the crepe and cook the second side until the bottom colors slightly, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter to yield 8 crepes

For the filling:  Bring water to a boil in a saucepan and blanch spinach for a few minutes. Drain and dry  the spinach with a kitchen towel by squeezing the spinach to extract any remaining moisture, then coarsely chop to yield about 1 cup. In a bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and stir to thoroughly combine. Set aside.

 Preheat the oven to 375 ° F.

Lightly butter a 1  1/2 quart casserole dish.

Divide the spinach filling evenly among the crepes, using about 1/3 cup filling for each. Roll the crepes, like enchiladas, up around the filling and place in the buttered dish. Set aside while preparing the sauce.

For the Béchamel sauce: In a saucepan,  melt the butter. Whisk in the flour until smooth and continue to cook for 3 minutes, being careful not to brown. Slowly whisk in the cold milk, and cook, stirring, until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking until the floury taste is gone, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

To finish: Pour the béchamel over the crepes, drizzle with butter, and bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Serve hot, with a little tomato passata spooned over the top of each serving.

Cook’s Notes:
You are probably asking yourself, “What is passata?”  Well, passata is basically just an uncooked sauce made with crushed and sieved tomatoes. What makes it so special? Usually, high quality ripe tomatoes are used for passata, resulting in a well flavored tomato base that is generally superior to standard canned tomatoes. Passata is an excellent base for sauces and perfect as a pizza sauce.

Passata is available in Italian delis and specialty gourmet markets. In Europe, passata is widely available in supermarkets. You will find it near the pasta sauces and canned tomatoes. Usually it is sold in a tall jar or a carton. But for some reason, although it is found all over Italy and Europe in general, passata does not seem to be sold widely in the United States. That’s a pity because it’s a great store-cupboard ingredient to have on hand. If you are having trouble getting your hands on passata, you can purchase it online. Amazon stocks good quality Cento Tomato Passata made from Italian San Marzano tomatoes.

How To Make Passata: If you do not have the real thing, you can make a reasonable substitute at home. Use the best quality tomatoes you can find, drain them and sieve or purée in a food processor. But do not use tomato paste, because it is thick, concentrated and highly processed. You can also add salt and other seasonings to taste, like basil or oregano.

Sources:
Orieux, Jean. Catherine de Médicis, ou, La reine noire. Paris: Flammarion, 1986.

Volpe, Anna Maria. “Caterina de Medici: A Tuscan Queen In France.” Caterina de medici, http://www.annamariavolpi.com/caterina_de_medici.html. Date Accessed: 16 December 2016.

All photographs and content are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

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Pumpkin and Sage Ravioli with Spiced Apples and Pecans

 Why not whet your guests’ appetites for this Thanksgiving Dinner with  this impressive sweet and savory starter!

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Serves 4

Ingredients:
6 ounces whole pecans, shelled
1 Gala apple (See Cook’s Notes)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ginger
Dash of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
One 9- ounce package Pumpkin and Sage  Ravioli (See Cook’s Notes)

Directions:
Prepare ravioli according to package directions. While ravioli boils, add the cinnamon, sugar, a chop the pecans, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. Slice the apple in 4 quarters, and then slice the quarters into 1 inch slices. Toss the apples in the spiced sugar mix.

In a large skillet, melt the butter, add chopped pecans and apple, and sauté for 1 minute. When ravioli is ready, drain and arrange on the plate. Top the ravioli with pecan-apple mix, and serve.

Cook’s Notes:
Any variety of apple can be substituted for  the Gala apple.

Most grocery stores and large supermarkets carry various brands of fresh and frozen ravioli. If Pumpkin and Sage ravioli is not available in your area, a plain ricotta cheese ravioli can be used in this recipe as an alternative.

All photographs and content are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

Persian Chicken with Pomegranate and Walnuts

Persian Chicken with Pomegranate and Walnuts
Photo Credit: Scott Phillips

The slow cooker makes this classic Middle Eastern dish a breeze, mostly because the spices mellow slowly into a sweet, aromatic sauce. The walnuts should be finely chopped into bits smaller than grains of rice, or even ground if you want a somewhat smoother sauce. Serve the chicken over long-grain saffron rice.

 

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon  ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon  ground turmeric
1/4  teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon  ground allspice
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, halved
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 cups toasted walnut pieces, very finely chopped or ground
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
Fresh pomegranate seeds, for garnish
Long grain rice, for serving

Directions:
Mix the sugar, cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg, allspice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Add the chicken and coat evenly. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the walnuts and continue cooking, stirring almost constantly, for 2 minutes, until the nuts are lightly browned.

Stir in the pomegranate molasses, then scrape the contents of the skillet into a 6-quart slow cooker. Spoon the spiced chicken on top of the cooked onion mixture, scraping any spices that cling to the bowl into the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 3 1/2 to 5 hours. Season to taste with salt, stir in half of the pomegranate seeds, and garnish with the remainder.

Serve family style.

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

Eggnog Ice Cream with Cherry Bounce Cherries

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The Blizzard of 2016 is upon us!

Well, when Mother Nature gives you snow, I think it’s a “must” that you at least make one batch of snow ice cream.

My Grand had a recipe for snow ice cream, it was pure simple and sweet. In my version it is a bit more for adults using home made eggnog and left over “whiskified” cherries I made last spring from the  Cherry Bounce recipe found at Outlander Kitchen.

If you have never made snow ice cream before, it literally could not  be any easier.  All you need  for the base recipe are some simple ingredients that you already have on hand in your pantry and 5 minutes.

I have also included the recipe for the Eggnog and the Eggnog Snow Ice Cream.

Enjoy!

 

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This 5-minute recipe for homemade snow ice cream is a sweet way to celebrate a snow day!

Serves 2 to 4 

Ingredients:
1 cup milk (any kind)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
8 cups clean snow*  or shaved ice (more or less depending on the density of the snow)

Directions:
In a large bowl, whisk milk, sugar, vanilla and salt together until combined. Go scoop up some fresh (clean!) snow, and immediately stir it into the milk mixture until you reach your desired consistency. Top with sprinkles or other ice cream toppings if desired.

The ice cream should be fluffy and not runny, but it melts quickly, so dive in right away!

*Consume fresh snow at your own risk.

 

 

Eggnog Snow Ice Cream

Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 gallon  fresh snow or shaved ice
1 cup white sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup  home made eggnog (Recipe Follows)
1 1/2 cups whole milk, or till desired consistency is reached
1 cup Cherry Bounce Cherries**

Directions:
When it starts to snow, place a large, clean bowl outside to collect the flakes. When full, stir in sugar and vanilla to taste, then stir in just enough milk for the desired consistency. Top with Cherry Bounce Cherries and serve at once.

Home made Eggnog

Makes 6 to 7 Cups

Ingredients:
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 ounces bourbon, or rum, cognac, or a mix (optional)
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites***

Directions:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.

 

Cook’s Notes:

*Consume fresh snow at your own risk.

**Frozen dark cherries macerated in a simple syrup can be used instead of cherry bounce cherries.

***The home made eggnog  recipe CONTAINS RAW EGGS It is  suggested that you proceed with caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served, use shell eggs that have been treated to destroy salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method.

 

For cooked eggnog, follow procedure below.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator to chill.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture.

Peras al vino tinto

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This is a very typical dessert served in Spain on special occasions and during the holidays. It is a favorite among home cooks, mainly due to its ease of preparation and simplicity of ingredients that can found in the pantry.

442-2TIn addition there are many different varieties of pears, being available in your local markets throughout the year. Note that the winter pears are thicker with a rough skin that is golden yellow with brown flecks in color. They also tend to be more aromatic and acidic flavor and the texture of the pulp tend to be grainy. To make this dessert, the best pears are bell-shaped, such as the Bartlett variety that is tender and juicy, or the Abate Fetel that is found in Spain and Italy.

A favorite native variety of Italy that was bred by a group of monks in the 15th century, the Abate Fetel pear is a very special delicacy. Tall and slim with an attractive yellowish brown russet over green exterior, it has a rich sweet taste that is much more pronounced than the more common Anjou and Bartlett varieties. Usually eaten when just barely soft, the Abate Fetel pear has a slightly crisp yet melting texture. It is excellent for baking as well as eating out of hand.Usually available from Argentina between April and May, always choose fruit that is hard to firm with no external stem punctures or bruising. Keep refrigerated as Abate pears will ripen very quickly at room temperature.

In keeping with tradition a red wine  from the Ribeira Sacra region of Spain is a favorite wine to use in this dish. Ribeira Sacra DO (Denominación de Origen) is a winegrowing zone at the heart of Galicia, north-western Spain. Its boundaries are marked roughly by the Mino and Sil rivers, both of which flow down from the Cantabrian Mountains en route to the Atlantic Ocean.

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Thousands of years before the lucrative global wine economy of today, Romans carved terraces on slopes in Ribeira Sacra that rose at precipitous angles from the rivers below. They planted vines to keep themselves supplied with wine. Over the centuries, monks expanded and maintained the network of vines during the Middle Ages, which was farmed by the church and by locals, for whom grapes were just one of many subsistence crops.The name Ribeira Sacra means ‘Sacred Shore,’ which most likely references the numerous monasteries in the area.

The landscape of the region is dotted with Romanesque architecture, and the steep slopes and canyons overlooking the two rivers are dominated by beautiful banked terrace vineyards. Here, gradients can reach up to 85 percent, making vineyard work laborious or heroica (heroic), as it is known locally. The Ribeira Sacra area, which today covers around 1200 ha (2965 acres), was accorded DO status in 1996.

Unlike most Spanish reds, these are cool-climate wines, defined as much by the 220px-Uva_Menciarainy, temperate Atlantic coast as the soils, the slopes and the people who farm them. The reds are made predominantly of the mencía grape, which is also the basis for the reds of the Bierzo region to the east. But where the Bierzo wines tend to be denser and burlier, the best reds of Ribeira Sacra epitomize juicy freshness. These are lively, graceful wines, with the same sort of aromatic loveliness and lissome body that draws people to Burgundy and Barolo.

Ribeira Sacra excels at making wines, like the  the 2012 mencía from Algueira, which is spicy and wild, with a slatelike minerality. At $16, it the best value for a good quality of wine for this Spanish wine.

 

Pears poached in wine takes full advantage of any left over wine that is far too precious to pour down the drain. The fruit absorbs alcohol in the wine and the sugars produce a homogeneous taste and are intertwined most deliciously. When you eat the poached pears your palate will convince you that you are are drinking wine, and when you taste the syrup, you will taste the very essence of the fruit, itself. This dessert is simply divine and you must try it.

Enjoy!

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Peras al vino tinto
(Pears in Red Wine)

Serves 4

Ingredients:
3 cups of red wine (pinot noir or similar red wine)
1 cup sugar
3 whole black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
3 strips of lemon peel, without the pith, 1/2-inch wide
1 strip of orange peel, without the pith, 1/2-inch wide
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 Bartlett or Bosc ripe, peeled pears split half and cored
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

Directions:
Boil over high heat the wine sugar, peppercorns, cloves,lemon peels, orange peel and the cinnamon stick in 1/2 cup water in a large pot for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook slowly for about 2 minutes until the mixture is slightly reduced.

Add the pears and simmer for about 15 minutes until they are tender and a knife can slide easily in the Center. The pears should take on the dark deep rich re color of the wine. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pears in a large bowl and set aside.

Remove and discard the cloves, peppercorns, lemon peels, orange peel and cinnamon stick. Continue cooking the liquid over a medium-low heat, for about 30 minutes until the liquid has the consistency of a thick syrup.

Return the pears to the liquid and spoon the syrup over the pears, coating completely with the syrup hot for 1 minute. Stir in the vanilla extract and turn off heat.

To serve the dessert, place pear halves in the center of each plate Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of syrup and garnish with just a pinch of nutmeg.

Cook’s Notes:
This dessert can be eaten warm or cold according to taste, but the most typical way is to eat them are at room temperature, once they have cooled in the refrigerator. The syrup is gently re-heated and served over the fruit

Another option is to make several vertical cuts and presented as if it were a half-open ladies fan. An ideal garnish is a dollop whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side, with a drizzle of the syrup.

Scotch Quail Eggs

Proper Scotch eggs with lovely Scottish cheese and pickle
Photo Credit: Jamie Oliver, 2015

I am totally obsessed with the “Outlander” series of novels by Diana Gabaldon as much as I am about food and cooking. As with all of the books, the types of foods eaten by the fictional characters are often mentioned and in the 7th novel in the series, “An Echo In the Bone” mentions Scotch eggs in Chapter 74.

I have seen them before and they reminded me of a meatloaf with a boiled egg encased in ground meat. I never tried one, but after seeing them occasionally on cooking shows and eventually reading the Outlander books, my culinary curiosity went into overdrive…….

The London department store Fortnum & Mason claims to have invented Scotch eggs in 1738, but they may have been inspired by the Mughlai dish nargisi kofta or “Narcissus meatballs” once served from the Imperial Kitchens of Maharajas of India and were are composed  of minced or ground meat—usually beef, pork or lamb—mixed with spices and/or onion. For the most part, koftas are still a popular dish in Afghan, Arab,  Indian,Palestinian, Iranian, Jordanian, Kurdish, Moroccan, Pakistani, Romanian, Lebanese, and Turkish cuisines.

Given the origins of the Scotch egg, it would have most likely been influenced by Indian cuisine, since The British first arrived in India in the early 1600s and soon established trading posts in a number of cities under the control of The East India Company. By 1765 the Company’s influence had grown to such an extent that the British were effectively controlling most parts of the country.

The earliest printed recipe for Scotch eggs first  appeared in the 1809 edition of Mrs. Rundell’s A New System of Domestic Cookery. Mrs. Rundell—and later 19th-century authors—served them hot, with gravy.

In these modern times, Scotch eggs are a common picnic food. In the United Kingdom packaged Scotch eggs are commonly available in supermarkets, corner shops and motorway service stations. Miniature versions are also widely available, sold as “savoury eggs”, “picnic eggs”, “party eggs”, “snack eggs”, “egg bites” or similar. These contain chopped egg or a quail’s egg, rather than a whole chicken egg, and sometimes contain mayonnaise or chopped bacon.

In the United States, many “British-style” pubs and eateries serve Scotch eggs, usually served hot with dipping sauces such as ranch dressing, hot sauce, or hot mustard sauce. At the Minnesota State Fair Scotch eggs are served on a stick. Scotch eggs are available at most Renaissance Festivals from Maryland to Texas.

Not fully committed to using full sized chicken eggs, I opted to use quail eggs for this recipe. And I must say, the results were spectacular!

Makes About A Dozen Eggs

Ingredients:
12  quail eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1 pound good quality bulk pork sausage
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1 sprig fresh rosemary , leaves picked and very finely chopped
1 sprig fresh sage , leaves picked and very finely chopped
1 small bunch fresh chives , finely chopped
1 small bunch fresh parsley , leaves picked and finely chopped
1 whole nutmeg , for grating
Vegetable oil, for frying
English mustard

Directions:
Fill a pot two-thirds full of water and bring to a gentle boil. Gently add the quail eggs. Do not over crowd the pot and continue to boil for 4 to 5 minutes for hard boiled eggs. Remove the eggs from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge into ice cold water. Peel when cold.

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Put the sausage meat into another bowl with the herbs, paprika,a good grating of nutmeg, and a good pinch of salt and pepper.Gently mix until combined.Divide sausage into 12 equal portions.

Place flour in a wide shallow bowl and panko in another wide shallow bowl. Pat 1 portion of sausage into a thin patty over the length of your palm. Lay an egg on top of sausage and wrap sausage around egg, sealing to completely enclose. Repeat with remaining sausage and eggs.

Whisk your large egg in a medium bowl to blend. Working gently with 1 sausage-wrapped egg at a time, dip eggs into flour, shaking off excess, then coat in egg wash. Roll in panko to coat.

Place the coated eggs on a plate and store  in the refrigerator, uncovered for 1 to 2 hours.

Attach a deep-fry thermometer to side of a heavy pot. Pour in oil to a depth of 2 inches and heat over medium heat to 375°F. Fry eggs, turning occasionally and maintaining oil temperature of 350°F, until sausage is cooked through and breading is golden brown and crisp, 5 to 6 minutes.

Photo Credit: I AM A FOOD BLOG.COM, 2015

Use a slotted spoon to transfer eggs to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Serve warm with mustard.

Butter Roll with Roasted Figs

 

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My aunt, Annie B. Thompson, made the best butter roll, I have ever tasted in my life. A traditional Southern dessert, her recipe called for the combination of butter, whole milk and nutmeg, that literally melted in your mouth on the very first bite!

The butter roll is also one of those  lost and nearly-lost recipes of days gone by, especially in a Southern Kitchen . My Aunt Annie , who learned to cook from her mother, My Grand, never wrote down  any of our family’s  most cherished recipes. They were passed down in the oral tradition and by just simply being in the kitchen at the right time of  day and the instructions for the recipe were  passed from cook to cook by showing them along with instructions like “you take a handful  of this and little bit of that”, and everything would be perfectly prepared and just as delicious every time the dish was served at the dinner table.

Even though I never got the family recipe, I did stumble upon a recipe by Stan Gibson, of  the University Club in Memphis , Tennessee, and his biscuit base butter roll recipe comes very close to Aunt Annie B’ s butter roll. However, Gibson elevated the simple ingredients of the dessert by substituting cream and half-and-half for the traditional whole milk, and drizzling crème anglaise over the soaking liquid that saturates  the cooked dough and serving it with champagne grapes and figs.

In making Gibson’s recipe for an elegant butter roll, I feel as is I was able to rescue just a tiny bit of my family’s food legacy! This recipe was rich and sinfully delicious!