Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Strawberry Semifreddo – Semi-Amazing

I used to tell my students to never try making classic desserts “healthier,” since your guests will always compare it to the unhealthy, and undoubtedly far superior original version. 

And yet that’s exactly what I’ve done with this strawberry semifreddo, although, in fairness, that happened accidentally while I was trying to make the recipe easier.

Traditionally, we’d make an egg custard for the base, as well as cook down our strawberry puree to concentrate the flavors; and while that does produce a fine, and much richer semifreddo, I wanted something simpler, that didn’t require any cooking. Besides saving time, and eggs, I think we also get a little cleaner, more distinct berry flavor.

However, the price we pay for those skipped steps, and the modest amount of sugar, is a less smooth and creamy texture. An extra rich, classically made semifreddo can be quite similar to ice cream, whereas this will be much firmer when frozen. That's why you really do need to let these warm up for at least 10 or 15 minutes before serving.

In the video, I described the texture as something in between strawberry ice cream and a strawberry popsicle, which reminds me, if you do have the molds, this mixture would be perfect frozen on a stick. Regardless of your delivery system, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes 10 Ramekins (mine were 5.5 ounces each):
1 pound fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
zest from 1 lemon
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar, optional
1 3/4 cups cold heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs
3 tablespoons melted butter

For the garnish:
1 1/2 cup diced or sliced strawberries
2 or 3 tablespoons white sugar, or as needed
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Friday, April 20, 2018

Creamy Ricotta Pasta Sauce – Now 100% Cream-Free!

I enjoy the taste and texture of a classic cream sauce, but what I don’t enjoy is that they tend to be very rich, and filling. I mean, come on, I’m trying to save room for the tiramisu. 

However, by using ricotta cheese, and egg, and some boiling pasta water, we can make a sauce that seems every bit as creamy, and delicious, but will still allow us to walk away from the table under our own power.

I added some pesto to mine this time, but that could have been some sun-dried tomato paste, or roasted chilies, or caramelized mushroom, or diced-up, leftover grilled veggies, or…you get the idea. The technique is really the thing to focus on here, and once perfected, you’ll simply be left trying to figure out what else to add in, or on this lovely sauce.

As I mentioned in the video, I love to top this pasta with ricotta salata. If you’ve never had it before, it’s worth a try, and not just for this dish. Ricotta salata is a great summer cheese, since it’s perfect with things like tomato salads, and grilled peaches, just to name a few. So, keep that in mind, but in the meantime, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 large or 4 small portions:
For the sauce base:
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
zest from 1 lemon
cayenne to taste
about 2/3 cup hot pasta water, plus more if needed
For the pasta:
8 ounces dry pasta, cooked 1 minute under
1/4 cup pesto, or to taste
lots of grated ricotta salata to finish

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Miso Honey Chicken – Because Honey Miso Chicken Didn’t Have the Same Ring to It

It’s not hard to make a great marinade with just a few ingredients, as long as one of those ingredients is the magical miso. This super savory paste, made from fermented rice, barley, and soybeans, isn’t that hard to find, but what can be a challenge is understanding the different varieties available.

Miso is sold by “color,” and I’m recommending the white one here, except when you open the container, it’s not white, it’s sort of a golden yellow. They also sell a yellow miso, which is a slightly darker golden yellow, as well as a red miso, which is also a golden yellow. I’m just kidding…it’s actually dark brown.

The point is, the colors don’t refer to the actual color, but rather the processing method, and ratio of ingredients. And that’s basically the extent of my expertise. I choose the white, since it’s the most mild, but I encourage you to do some more research, as well as some experimentation.

After marinating overnight if possible, you’ll definitely want to cook your chicken with indirect heat. Otherwise, it will get too dark – as in black. Roasting in a 375 F. oven would be great, but if you use a charcoal grill, be sure to push your coals all the way over to one side of your grill, and place your chicken on the opposite site. Keep and eye on it, and turn/rotate the pieces as needed.

You can add many other things to this marinade, but maybe try the minimalist version first. I used to tell my students that the older you get, the fewer ingredients you use, so that’s my excuse, but I really want the clean flavors of the miso and honey coming through. Either way, I really hope you find some miso paste, and give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for enough marinade for one whole chicken:
3 tablespoons white miso
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon kosher salt (about 2 teaspoon fine salt)
lemon wedges and pepper flakes to garnish
- Let marinate overnight before roasting or grilling until the internal temp in the middle of the thigh is 165 F.
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Monday, April 9, 2018

Give Me a Break!

I just wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be off this week, taking what the kids are calling a "Spring Break." While my time off won’t include beaches, tropical drinks, and heavily-autotuned pop music, it will more than make up for that with sweet, sweet inactivity.

I’ll spend most of it getting mentally prepared for the NBA playoffs, but time permitting, I may also test out a few new, exciting recipes to feature in the near future. In the meantime, I’m sure there are plenty of old videos you’ve missed, so maybe go check those out, and as always, enjoy!

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