Saturday, February 25, 2012

Spiced Pork

The flavors of the Chinese Five Spice and the orange blend very well together in this easy roast recipe.
Beware that the roast cooks for a total of 3hours and 15 minutes and rests for another 15 minutes!!!

Spiced pork

Serves 8

3 Tbsp Chinese Five Spice
2 Tbsp coarse salt
8 garlic cloves (4 pressed or minced very finely, and 4 halved)
Zest of one orange + strips from another orange
Juice of one orange
1/2 cup soy sauce (I used the less salty version)
1/2 cup brandy (or Cognac)
1 bunch scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cup water

One 6 1/2 lbs pork butt, boneless, butterflied

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Prepare the rub:
In a small bowl, mix together 2 Tbsp Chines Five Spice, the salt, pressed garlic, and orange zest.
Rub the pork shoulder inside and out with the rub.
Close the roast and tie it to keep it together. Place in a large roasting pan.

In another bowl, mix the strips of orange zest, the orange juice, the remaining 1 Tbsp spices, the remaining garlic, the soy sauce, brandy, the scallions, the brown sugar and the water. Mix well to dissolve the sugar and pour over the roast.

Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Baste and then reduce the oven to 325F and cook for 45 minutes, basting every 20 minutes or so.
Cover and cook for 90 minutes, basting regularly.
After the 90 minutes, remove the foil and cook for another 45 minutes, basting still, until pork is nicely glazed.

Remove from the oven and place on a cutting board, covered. Let sit for about 15 mibutes.

Meanwhile transfer the juices to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced and slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

Slice the pork, transfer back to the baking dish, or a serving platter, and serve with the sauce and a side of cabbage and rice.

Lemon curd

This basic recipe is perfect as a cake filling or a macaroon filling.

Lemon curd

1/2 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
7 large egg yolks
1/2 cup butter, diced

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and egg yolks.

Place the bowl over simmering water and cook, whisking occasionally, until mixture becomes really thick.
Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Set aside and let cool to just warm.
Gradually add the diced butter and whisk it in until completely incorporated. Strain again to avoid any lumps.

Place plastic wrap directly at the surface of the curd to prevent formation of a skin and let cool completely before using.

Inspired by "Miette"


I finally dared!!! Macaroons scared me, as they would any normal home cook without real baking training!!!  But then I got bored. Snowy-rainy day on the Cape...Nothing much to do except spend time in the kitchen!
So there I was with a bunch on cookbooks, a couple of magazine recipes and this picture of a macaroons jumped at me! Why not??
It is actually not so difficult, nor does it take so much time. And they came out fabulous!!!
I kept it simple with a basic almond macaroon and a chocolate ganache.
Next time I will try different flavors for the filling. Lemon, raspberry, coffee...Anything goes!!


Makes 25 to 30

1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cup almond flour *
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Chocolate ganache filling:
3/4 cup light cream
7 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
3 Tbs Kahlua liquor

Prepare the macaroons:

Line two large sheet pans (half sheet) with either parchment paper or Silpat liners.

Sift together the confectioners' sugar and the almond flour in a medium bowl and set aside.

Beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the granulated sugar, 1 Tbsp at a time and continue whisking until peaks are stiff and hold firm (the peaks should not curl at the tip when holding the whisk straight up).

With a rubber spatula, fold in the whites about 1/3 of the confectioners' sugar and almond mixture until mostly incorporated. Fold in the remaining dry mixture and mix until just combined. Do not overmix or the batter will deflate.

Using a pastry bag fitted with a #806 tip, pipe the batter onto the prepared sheet pans in circles of about 1 inch in diameter.
When all the batter is used, tap the sheet pans on the counter top to help get rid of extra air bubbles.
Let sit 20 to 30 minutes until the meringues are no longer sticky to the touch.

While the cookies are resting, preheat the oven to 325F.

Place the 2 pans in the oven and reduce heat to 300F. After 8 minutes, rotate the pans and swap their position to allow for even baking. Bake for another 7 minutes, until very lightly golden.

Remove from the oven and cool completely on racks.

Once cool, remove from liners and pair by size.

Prepare the filling:

Bring the cream to a boil in a medium sauce pan, and remove from the heat. Add the chocolate chips and swirl the pan to cover all the chips. Let stand for about 5 minutes.
With a hand whisk, mix the cream mixture. It will thicken as you do so. Add the liquor and whisk again.
Let the ganache cool completely before using, whisking regularly. It will become thicker as it cools.


Turn one of each pair of meringue cookie over, flat side up. With a pastry bag fitted with the same tip, pipe the ganache onto the cookie. Place the other half, flat side on the filling, atop the filling and ...voila!!!

* As usual, I find the almond flour, or almond meal at Trader Joe's! Job Lot has it too!

It is very important that the amount of almond flour and confectioner's sugar are the same.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Citrus Chicken

Chicken and citrus go very well together. I usually pair chicken with lemon, but this recipe with lemons and oranges is very tasty. Serve with wild rice and/or broccolini ...Enjoy!

Citrus Chicken

Serves 6

6 chicken legs (whole or drumstick and thigh separated)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 oranges
4 lemons
10 cloves garlic, finely chopped, almost pureed
4 Tbsp fresh thyme or oregano
3 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes

Grate the zest of one orange and one lemon over a small bowl. Cut one orange and one lemon into wedges and set aside.
Squeeze the juices of the one remaining orange and 3 lemons and add to the zests. Add the olive oil, garlic, thyme,  honey, soy sauce and red pepper flakes.

Place the chicken in a large baking dish and pour the marinade on it. Refrigerate at least two hours, turning the pieces occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Before placing the chicken in the oven, place the citrus wedges on the top decoratively. Sprinkle a bit more thyme, and season with coarse salt (I am using right now a white sea salt from the Camargue region of France...delicious!) and pepper.

Place the chicken in the oven and reduce the heat to 375F. Cook for about 45 minutes.

When done, transfer the chicken pieces and citrus wedges to a serving platter (heated) and the juices to a sauce pan. Reduce the juices until thickened and pour over the chicken (about 10 minutes).

Serve with broccolini and rice.

Inspired by a recipe in "Fine Cooking Magazine"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mac and Cheese

Comfort food at its best! What is not to love...! Pasta and creamy cheese sauce, topped with a crunchy crumb!

Mac and Cheese

Serves 8

2 lbs of short pasta (I used medium shells)

3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 to 2 cups milk

1 packet cream cheese (1/3 less fat Philadelphia)
2 cup extra sharp cheddar, grated
2 cup other cheese, your choice

1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped finely (you can choose any herb you like)
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pepper to taste

1 1/2 cup whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp butter
5 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Meanwhile, start preparing the cheese sauce.
Make a roux: In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. When melted, add the flour and mix with a whisk. Cook for a minute or two. Add the milk gradually, whisking to avoid lumps. The sauce will become thick. When it has reached the consistency you want, add the cheeses and mix with a wooden spoon. (you may have to add more milk if the sauce is too thick). Cook until all the cheeses have melted. Add the herbs, nutmeg and pepper. I did not add any salt as the cheeses add the necessary saltiness.
Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

When the water is boiling, add some salt and the the pasta. Cook according to direction, or until "al dente".

While the pasta is cooking, melt 3 Tbsp butter in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.  Place the Panko in a small bowl. Pour the garlic butter on the breadcrumbs and mix well.

When the pasta is done, strain and transfer to a baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce on the pasta and toss. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and bake for about 5 to 10 minutes, until the top is browned. You can also broil the top if you are in a bit of a hurry or if your family can't wait any longer to have dinner!!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mushroom Fricassee

Here is an easy and fast side dish that goes very well with either white meats or red meats. We made a leg of lamb with string beans string beans but I still wanted another side.
The best mushrooms for such a dish are of course the famous "Cepes", or porcini. Very hard to find here, and really expensive. Although. years ago with my cousins Dan and Jean-Michel who were visiting from France, we picked bags of "Cepes" here on Cape Cod and had a wonderful dinner!

Fricassee de Champignons

2 to 3 lbs assorted wild mushrooms (here I buy fresh shiitake, oysters...)
6 or 7 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped parsley
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp butter

Clean the mushrooms, without rinsing them in water (they would get soggy).

In a large saute pan, heat the oil and the butter. Add half the garlic and cook for about one minute.
Add the mushrooms and saute until browned, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
When almost done, add the remaining garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for another 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the parsley just before serving.

Bon appetit!!