Luscious little, colorful orbs bursting with complex flavor, cherries are a versatile fruit in both sweet and savory dishes. Perfectly capable of shining all on their own, they can also stand up to a myriad of flavors. This easy-to-make, rustic dish is a classical pairing of Kirsch-kissed cherries with an almond topping, baked to crispy perfection….
If ever there were a perfect cheese, brie would easily rank in my top five. Dressed up or down, its creamy texture, bloomy rind and delicate flavor profile have made it a world-class cheese with enduring appeal. Enveloped in a shroud of crispy, flaky phyllo, it transforms into one of my all-time favorite appetizers and dinner party desserts….
For anyone who has traveled to a Southeast Asian village or town where mangos are prevalent, the arrival of mango season is unmistakeable. Riding on the back of the high humidity is the unforgettable and intoxicating scent of ripening mangos. It is everywhere, permeating the air, twenty-four hours a day. Naturally sweet with a soft, pulpy flesh, mangos are ideal for a light yet creamy sorbet with an irresistible golden color that screams ‘eat me’. The smooth and creamy texture of the mangoes and coconut milk paired with the kick of Thai chiles and the hint of cooling mint makes this mildly spicy sorbet is a refreshingly unique tropical treat!
My somewhat nefarious love affair with pomegranates started as a child when my friend and I would sneak onto a neighbor’s property to snatch the fruit from their large, abundant pomegranate bush. We would take refuge in my old playhouse, breaking open the tough skin and spending the next hour indulging in the brightly colored seeds. Unfortunately, our gig was up our third year, when the neighbor caught us red-handed, abruptly ending my foray into childhood delinquency. Flavored with pomegranate molasses, this cake is wonderfully moist and tender and sweetened with a pomegranate juice syrup that is scented with cardamom and rose water. The dark chocolate ganache glaze contrasts beautifully the traditional Middle Eastern flavors and spices of the cake….
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living in an area that has four seasons, is not to get too excited at the first warm, sunny day. Mother nature always seems to bring several more weeks of frost and a few days of snow. This year the trees, tulips and daffodils were in full bloom while several inches of snow fell. What finally gets me in gear are the few, short weeks that our lilac bushes bloom. The blossoms are a sight to behold and their scent is intoxicating. What I love most is that the blossoms are edible, enhancing baked goods, pastry creams, sorbets, syrups and flavored sugars. Lilacs add subtle floral notes to this cake’s moist, tender crumb, making it perfect for spring and the warmer weather ahead….
Gubana, a traditional nut-filled yeasted bread, hails from Fruili, in Northern Italy. Similar to babka and strudel, it delivers many of the flavor nuances that distinguish Eastern European and Slavic pastries. Copious amounts of marsala-drenched raisins, nuts and cocoa filling are rolled up in an orange-scented dough before being coiled into a round pan….
The perfectly cooked steak — what every self-respecting carnivore lusts after. A tender and juicy center cloaked in a subtly crisped and caramelized crust. Cooking these prized cuts of beef to perfection at home can be illusive or sporadic, at best – fostering a myth of exclusivity of this prized feast to high-end steakhouses and seasoned grill masters. Until now!…
My initial attraction to persimmons is always immediate, as I love their rich coral orange color. Although several varieties are widely available in most markets in the U.S from October through February, they are not used in baking nearly as much as many other winter fruits. They have a delightfully sweet and slightly astringent taste. We’ve added dates for some added sweetness and texture, along with fresh ginger and allspice to add a little complexity to the flavor. These bars are addictive, with a unique flavor that always leaves you wanting more….
Winter months bring snow and magic moments in the kitchen. We bake for family and friends to gather together to feast for the holidays. It is my favorite time to bake goodies with the hot oven keeping my kitchen warm and toasty.
For long days spent skiing in the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe, nothing tastes better than a hot cup of cocoa; they are legendary together. This mix has a double dose of deep, dark chocolate and rich dutch cocoa, making a creamy, full-bodied hot cocoa that is decadent and satisfying (even for a hardcore dark chocolate lover like me). The beauty of this recipe is that you can add coffee, toffee, marshmallows, liqueurs and flavorings to customize the flavor….
Foccacia is one of our main go-to breads – in part, because it’s so easy to prepare and is incredibly versatile and adaptable. Most important of all, is that it’s simply delicious and appeals to almost everyone. The roasted grapes and fresh thyme give it a savory sweetness that make it the perfect partner for roasted poultry and pork dishes.
If you’re new to or a little intimidated by yeasted bread, this is the perfect initiation bread – a chance to get your feet wet before taking the plunge into more complicated doughs with a more dramatic rise….