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Saturday, August 31

Braised lamb shank pie

Puff pastry
Egg, beaten
Flour, all purpose
½ cup
Lamb shanks
Olive oil
2 tablespoons
Onions, red, quartered
Garlic, peeled
8 cloves
Wine, red
1 bottle
Beef stock
1 ¼ cups
Rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons
Red currant jelly
3 tablespoons

Pepper, freshly ground

  1. Season the flour with a good pinch of salt and plenty of pepper. 
  2. Dust the shanks in the seasoned flour. 
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and brown the shanks all over. 
  4. Add any remaining flour, onions, garlic, and stir well. 
  5. Pour in the wine, stock, rosemary, jelly, and a grinding of pepper. 
  6. Bring to a boil, cover, and then reduce to a very gentle simmer, and braise for 2 hours, until the meat falls off the bone, and the sauce is rich and thickened. 
  7. Remove the bones from the pan, reserving three of them, and flake the meat into small pieces. 
  8. Preheat the oven to 400°F. 
  9. Ladle lamb filling into an 8-cup casserole dish. 
  10. Roll out the pastry to about 1/8-inch thick and about 1 inch larger than the dish. 
  11. Trim ¾-inch strip from the pastry. 
  12. Brush the rim of the dish with water, and place the pastry strip around the rim, pressing it down. 
  13. Place the reserved lamb bones in the pie filling at intervals along the length of the dish.
    These acts as pie funnels, which release steam and helps support the pastry. 
  14. Cut three slits into the pastry top at matching intervals as the lamb bones. 
  15. Place the pastry over the top, can carefully side it over the bones. 
  16. Press down the edges of the pastry to seal. 
  17. Trim off any excess pastry, and crimp the edges with a fork or between your thumb and forefinger. 
  18. Brush with the egg, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden. 
Adapted recipe from Pie by Angela Boggiano.

Friday, August 30

Braised chicken with aged red wine vinegar

Chicken quarters, skinned, separated at the leg and thigh, rinsed in cool water, dried
3 ½ pounds
Salt, fine sea

Pepper, freshly ground

Olive oil, extra virgin
2 tablespoons
Carrots, peeled, cut lengthwise, and then crosswise into 1/4 –inch semicircles
2 large
Shallot, finely chopped
1 large
Vinegar, aged red wine
1 cup
Bay leaves
1 tablespoon
Chicken broth, low sodium
½ cup
San Marzano tomatoes, well drained, diced
1 cup
Butter, very cold, cut into four pieces
2 tablespoons
Dill, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons
  1. Season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. 
  2. In a wide, heavy casserole or braising pot, warm the oil over medium-high heat. 
  3. Add the chicken pieces, browning on all sides well, turning with tongs, for at least 10 minutes, adding the carrots halfway through the cooking time. 
  4. Transfer the chicken pieces to a platter. 
  5. Tip the pot, and spoon out all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. 
  6. Add the shallot, and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minutes. 
  7. Gradually add the vinegar, and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. 
  8. Add the bay leaves and honey, return the chicken to the pot, and simmer, partially covered until the liquid is reduced in half, about 8 to 10 minutes. 
  9. Add the broth, tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. 
  10. Lower the heat so the liquid is barely simmering, and cover the pan. 
  11. Cook for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. 
  12. Remove the pot from the heat, lift out the chicken, and discard the bay leaves. 
  13. Whisk the butter into the sauce until it is glossy and smooth. 
  14. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. 
  15. Return the chicken to the pot, and serve with plenty of chunky pan juices. 
  16. Sprinkle dill over each serving. 
Recipe adapted from The New Wine Country Cookbook by Brigit Binns.

Thursday, August 29

Rules of pie

  1. As with baking, usually best to weight ingredients such as flour to ensure accuracy.
  2. Baking pie is like meditation: it cannot be rushed.
  3. Handle dough lightly; keep it cool; bake it in a hot oven.
  4. Use butter, never margarine, in a pie crust. Margarine contains extra water and a bunch of other stuff that mangles your crust's chemistry.
    (Shouldn't have to state this, but at times such specificity is required. I'm often asked if I use sugar substitutes or other "healthy" cheats. My answer: Never! I only make my dishes with the best ingredients I can locate.)
A pie bird, also called a pie funnel

Tuesday, August 27

Wild salmon with shitakes & roasted kale

Kale, leaves pulled from stems, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 bunch
Olive oil, extra virgin

Salt, sea, fine

Shitakes, cleaned, stems trimmed, sliced ½-inch strips, chunk cut
1 pound
Pepper, freshly ground

Garlic, minced
6 cloves
Vinegar, balsamic
½ teaspoon
Salmon fillets
1 ½ pounds
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F; ensure a rack is in the middle. 
  2. On a large, rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the kale with some oil, and sprinkle with salt. 
  3. Toss and massage with your fingertips until each piece is coated with a thin layer of salty oil. 
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, and then toss with tongs, and roast 5 to 6 minutes more.
    The kale should be deep, dark green with the occasional brown edge. 
  5. Meanwhile, warm a little oil in a sauté pan, and cook the mushrooms until the surrender their liquid. 
  6. Keep cooking until all the liquid is evaporated, and the pieces begin to brown. 
  7. Add a little more oil to keep them from scorching. 
  8. Season with salt and pepper, and then stir in the garlic and vinegar; cook 1 minute more. 
  9. Line another baking sheet with parchment, and place the salmon on it, skin side down; drizzle with oil. 
  10. Season lightly with salt and pepper. 
  11. Remove the kale and let rest while the salmon goes into the oven for 10 to 12 minutes per inch of thickness. 
  12. Divide the salmon among plates, and top with a jumble of shitakes and kale. 
Recipe adapted from The New Wine Country Cookbook by Brigit Binns.

Rosemary-tangerine breadsticks with pink salt

Yeast, active dry
¼ ounce
1 teaspoon
Water, 110°F
½ cup +
½ cup
Olive oil, extra virgin
¼ cup +
Flour, bread
11 ¼ ounces +
Flour, semolina
½ cup
Tangerine, zest finely grated
Rosemary, fresh, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons
Salt, sea, fine
1 teaspoon +
Egg, lightly beaten
Salt, pink Hawaiian Alaea
  1. In a large measuring cup, combine the yeast, sugar, and ½ cup water; stir to dissolve. 
  2. Let stand for 10 minutes, or until the yeast mixture forms a frothy head. 
  3. Stir in the remaining ½ cup water, and the oil. 
  4. In the food processor bowl, combine the flours, zest, rosemary, and sea salt; pulse to combine. 
  5. With the motor running, add the yeast mixture through the feed tube in a steady stream; take about 10 seconds to pour it all in. 
  6. Process for 10 seconds more, by which time the dough should form a rough mass on the stem.
    If the dough is too wet and forms a mass right away, remove the cover, and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of bread flour on the dough.
    If the dough is too dry and has not formed a ball on the stem within 15 seconds, sprinkle with 1 to 2 teaspoons of water. 
  7. Process for 10 seconds more. 
  8. Let stand with the cover, and rest for 20 minutes. 
  9. Generously oil a rimmed baking sheet. 
  10. Begin stretching, pushing, and pulling the dough with your fingertips and the heel of your hand into a 8-by-12-inch rectangle.
    This will take a little while—the dough will be tight at first, so give it a chance to relax. 
  11. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet, and brush the top with oil. 
  12. Cover with a plastic bag, and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free area for about 45 minutes, or until puffy. 
  13. Preheat the oven to 400°F; ensure a rack is in the middle. 
  14. Transfer the dough to an unfloured cutting board, and cut it crosswise into four equal sections. 
  15. Cut each section crosswise into eight little strips, and roll each one under the palm of your hands into a thin rope about 12 inches long. 
  16. Transfer to the oiled baking sheet, forming curlicues, if desired. 
  17. Beat the egg with a pinch of salt, and brush. Sprinkle with pink salt. 
  18. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until slightly golden.
    Do this in batches, if necessary, keeping the unrolled strips covered, and rolling them out just before baking. 
  19. Serve warm with a little dish of your best extra-virgin olive oil. 
Recipe adapted from The New Wine Country Cookbook by Brigit Binns.

Saturday, August 24

Cocoa-hazelnut macaroons

Cocoa rouge
½ cup
Hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed, finely ground
½ cup
Sugar, confectioners
1 cup
2 whites
Vanilla extract
1 teaspoon
Coconut, flaked sweetened
1 cup
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F; ensure a rack is in the middle. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, hazelnuts, sugar, and salt. 
  3. Add the egg whites and vanilla, and whisk until smooth and glossy. 
  4. Mix in the coconut until coated. 
  5. Scoop 1 ounce or rounded spoonfuls onto a lined baking sheet, allowing 2 inches between drops. 
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the surface is crusty, puffed, and cracked. 
  7. Cool for 15 to 30 minutes before devouring. 
Adapted from recipe on the E. Guittard Cocoa Rouge container.

Tuesday, August 20

Hazelnut flan with roasted cherries

Active: 1 hour; Total: Overnighter
Sieve, fine mesh
Roasting pan
Sugar, granulated
¾ cup +
¾ cup +
3 tablespoons
¼ cup +
2 tablespoons +
1 cup
Milk, whole
2 cups
Cream, heavy
2 cups
Salt, kosher
½ teaspoon +
3 whole +
5 yolks
Cherries, fresh with stems
Pepper, freshly ground
Banyuls Rimage
2 tablespoons
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F; ensure a rack is in the middle. 
  2. Place ¾ cup of sugar and water in a small saucepan, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil over high heat. 
  3. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes; remove the lid, and continue to cook over high heat until the sugar caramelizes to a dark amber color, about 5 to 7 minutes. 
  4. Carefully divide the warm caramel among the ramekins, swirling each one until the bottom is completely covered. 
  5. Let the caramel cool until it is completely set, about 10 minutes. 
  1. Scatter the hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and toast in the oven until they are very lightly browned, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Let the cool completely. 
  3. Roughly chop; set aside. 
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F. 
  5. Combine the milk, cream, half of the ¾ cup sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and the hazelnuts in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. 
  6. Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture steep for 30 minutes. 
  7. Whisk together the eggs and remaining ¾ sugar in a mixing bowl. 
  8. Bring the cream mixture back to a boil, and temper the hot liquid into the eggs by adding it, a ladle at a time, while whisking vigorously. 
  9. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. 
  10. Discard the hazelnuts, and return the liquid to the saucepan. 
  11. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 5 to 7 minutes. 
  12. Place the caramel-coated ramekins in a roasting pan, and fill them all the way to the top with the custard. 
  13. Carefully add enough warm water to the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. 
  14. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, carefully transfer to the oven, and bake for 30 minutes. 
  15. Remove the foil, and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the flan is completely set. Let the pan cool 15 minutes, or until you are able to handle the ramekins easily. 
  16. Remove the ramekins from the water bath, and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, overnight. 
  1. About an hour before serving, adjust the oven rack to the top position, and preheat to 450°F. 
  2. Arrange the cherries in a single layer in a roasting pan. 
  3. Sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pepper. 
  4. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sugar starts to caramelize and the cherries begin to release their juice. 
  5. Remove the pan from the oven, and deglaze with the Banyuls Rimage. 
  6. Toss to coat the cherries with the wine. 
  7. Return the pan to the oven, and roast the cherries for another 5 to 7 minutes. 
  8. Deglaze the pan again, this time with 2 tablespoons of water, and toss the cherries in the sauce. 
  9. Let the cherries cool slightly. 
  1. To unmold the flans, run a knife around the edges of each ramekin, and invert it onto a plate, allowing the caramel to pool on top of and around the flan. 
  2. Garnish the flans with the warm cherries, and serve. 
Recipe from The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook.