Peanut Butter Coconut Curry Ice Cream

My introduction to Hedy Goldsmith came with my first visit to Michael's Genuine in Miami. It's one of our favorite restaurants and Hedy is the pastry chef there. She's an amazingly talented chef; her desserts are imaginative, unusual and every plate an adventure in flavor combinations. They are each compositions with several elements, but the portions are not so large as to be overwhelming. Trust me, you won't want to share. Share tastes, yes, so if you are fortunate enough to visit Michael's, have everyone order something different. 

Once I enjoyed a dessert described as Basil Panna Cotta with Strawberry Consomme, Pine Nut Madeleines and Pickled Peaches. The mini-madeleines were quite delightful and certainly the simplest element on the plate, so when I noticed Hedy working in the kitchen, I asked the waitress to ask if she would share the recipe. I watched the waitress approach Hedy and I was refused by a head shake....absolutely not. Well, I understand. Why would a chef give away her secrets? So I did what all of you would do: went home and made them for myself! 

But now, Hedy has a cookbook out. (No pine nut madeleine recipe though.) It's called Baking Out Loud. Not only is this cookbook fun to read, but the recipes are single elements and not the intricately-designed dessert plates Hedy creates at Michael's. The recipes all have marvelous and unusual flavors, with a Hedy Goldsmith twist like Red Velvet Twinks (Twinkies) and Mochaccino Whoopie Pies. But it doesn't stop there. There are some exotic ice cream flavors...licorice ice cream for one, or how about a ricotta gelato? And then there is a tangerine creamsicle pot de crème and the most divine looking lemon meringue tart. 

So what did I decide to make? Brace yourselves as it's so unlike me: her Peanut Butter Coconut Curry Ice Cream. Hedy describes this as not for the faint of heart, with one foot in sweet and the other in savory. And, she suggests if you don't like it, pour it over tandoori chicken. Hah! Really, how could I resist making an ice cream described thus?

Peanut Butter Coconut Curry Ice Cream

From Baking Out Loud by Hedy Goldsmith

2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon natural coconut extract
2 vanilla beans, split (I used 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (preferable organic) at room temperature
2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 to 1 teaspoon curry powder (Hedy uses a curry powder called vadouvan)  
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine the cream and milk. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds out and add, along with the beans. Add all the remaining ingredients and heat, whisking, until nearly boiling. Remove from heat and taste. They curry flavor should be prounounced as it will mellow mellow slightly. Add another 1/4 teaspoon if desired. Cool and then refrigerate until cold. You can chill up to 2 days before churning.
Fish out the vanilla beans and churn according to manufacturers directions.

                                                                                                                                       MY Pine Nut Madeleines


Robert May's Poached Salmon with Oranges and Red Wine

Quite some time ago, while watching the Two Fat Ladies cooking series reruns, I was intrigued by a salmon recipe one of them made, attributed to Robert May. If you're familiar with their series, it was in Episode Two, Season Two, the Vintage motorcycle rally in Hesket, New Market. I've made the dish many times since and thought to share it with you today.

Robert May was born in 1588 and was an English Chef who trained in France. His father was also a chef and May
 was sent to Paris at the age of 10, for 5 years, to train as a chef. This was probably due to the fact that he was catholic and his parents wanted to protect him from the unrest in England at the time. After May served an apprenticeship in London, he came back to work for his father, one of several chefs doing so. Following that, Robert moved around the country serving in other "suitable" (meaning aristocratic and Catholic) households, one of which was  Sir Anthony Browne, Viscount Montague, England’s Ambassador to Rome and a Knight of The Garter. His country estate was Cowdray House, west Sussex. 
During the period of the English Civil War, May began work on his book, The Accomplisht Cook, though it was not published until the year of Charles II's restoration (1660), by which time Robert May was already 72 years of age. His cookbook was an extraordinary thing at the time as chefs jealously guarded their secrets and this was the first substantial recipe book to be published in England. Over the following years Robert May updated the book, with the 1665 edition (about the fifth) being the final one that he edited himself. Robert May died in his 80s in 1664/1665. 

Deana, from Long Past Remembered, has several posts on Robert May and his recipes. And if you know Deana, you know she's the dedicated authority on all chefs and recipes past. She'll have much more detailed information on Robert May. Be sure to check out at least one of her posts HERE

May's poached salmon dish is quite perfect, the orange a marvelous foil for the salmon and it's made with only two ingredients, (aside from the salmon) which you probably have in your pantry already. The only pesky thing is peeling and slicing the oranges. :) So as a shortcut, if you're cooking for one or two, just use the wine and orange juice and save the orange slices as a presentation feature when you have company.
You'll notice very few measurements here as The Two Fat Ladies were annoyingly vague in that department, although I do think they put out a cookbook at the time. You'll have to do some guessing, depending on how much salmon you use. This particular recipe serves two. 

BTW: Not the first time I've posted something from The Two Fat Ladies series (see Spatchcocked Game Hens) and we love both recipes.

Robert May's Poached Salmon in Oranges and Red Wine
Seen on Two Fat Ladies, Season Two, Episode Two

salmon fillet
orange slices (blood oranges would be wonderful)
3/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup good quality red wine
freshly grated nutmeg (don't omit!)
Salt and pepper

Peel the oranges and slice. Place a layer in a skillet or pan and lay the salmon on top. Lay more orange slices around the the salmon and then add salt, pepper and nutmeg to the very top of the salmon. Finish by topping with remaining orange slices. Pour orange juice over the top and then red wine.
Place skillet on the stove, cover, and poach for about 10 or 15 minutes. Watch carefully. Much depends on the size of your salmon. Nothing is worse than overcooked fish!


Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo

Have you always thought of Memorial Day as the first day of summer? We always have. It was also the first day we were allowed to swim in the river in front of our house. Sometimes a bit too chilly, but we all jumped in anyway, determined for summer to begin no matter what. There was always a parade in our little town, followed by a ceremony honoring the fallen in the Armed Forces. And then, of course, a picnic to end the day. Either at the local park, or on the boat, which we all preferred of course.

Because Memorial Day still means a picnic to most of us, I wanted to post an ice cream or a semifreddo recipe of some kind, a simple one that didn't take a lot of time to make. I found a lovely recipe for a Strawberry Semifreddo and thought it would appeal to everyone. It was a snap to make and really, I was all set to make it when the latest issue of Martha Stewart's Living magazine landed in my mailbox. And with it, an even more impressive semifreddo recipe, this time for a Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo. It was so darn pretty, a little more involved to make, but I thought it would make a wonderful Memorial Day post.  Because I loved the idea of adding some Grand Marnier (as the first recipe did...click on the link above to see how easy that semifreddo is to make), I incorporated it into the Martha Stewart recipe. I folded about 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier into the whipped cream. Turned out very nicely as you can see, and was delicious. That pistachio cream was divine. It does take an overnight (or at least a 12 hour) freeze, but all the better when you're trying to get things done in advance.

Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, June 2013 issue

1/2 cup unsalted roasted shelled pistachios
8 ounces strawberries, hulled (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 2 inch overhang on all sides. Pulse pistachios in a food processor until coarsely chopped. (Some will end up in crumbs, that's OK.) Transfer to a new bowl. Do not wipe processor clean. Place strawberries and 3 tablespoons sugar in processor. Purée until smooth and transfer to a fine sieve set over a bowl. Stir purée, pressing on solids ton extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids.

Combine egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Beat on high speed until pale yellow and tripled in volume. Transfer bowl to larger bowl of ice water. Stir until mixture is very thick and cool, about 3 minutes.

Beat together whipping cream and vanilla in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Whisk 1/3 of the whipped cream into egg mixture, whisking until smooth, then fold remaining cream with a spatula just until incorporated. At this point, I divided the whipped cream in half and added the Grand Marnier to the half reserved for the strawberries because I wanted the pistachio cream to taste like pistachios, not Grand Marnier.
Pour 1/2 of cream mixture into strawberry puree. Gently fold together until incorporated, then pour into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Fold the pistachios into remaining cream mixture and pour evenly over strawberry mixture. Smooth top. Fold plastic wrap over surface and freeze at least 12 hours. 
To serve, peel plastic off the top, invert pan onto dish and unmold, removing plastic, and cut crosswise into 3/4 inch pieces.


Gâteau Fondant Aux Poires

I love Paris.

I especially love Pastries

And I'm joining Anita for her Simply Irresistible Paris Party!

Do you have a favorite Pâtisserie in Paris?

Would it be 
Ladurée for a macaron?

How about Pierre Hermé for some chocolat?

Or perhaps La Pâtisserie des Rêves for pastries?

Or stop by my favorite tea room.....

For some chocolat chaud:

Ah bien....we can't always travel to Paris, but we can dream can't we?  That's what Simply Irresistible Paris is all about. Take a bite of this lovely cake, close your eyes and think of Paris. Magnifique!

Gâteau Fondant Aux Poires

3-4 small ripe pears, peeled, quartered and cubed
1 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/4 cup sugar 
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease a 9 1/2 inch spring pan (as you can see, I cut the recipe in half and used the smaller spring form pan)
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat butter and sugar together until very fluffy and white. Mix in the eggs slowly, one egg at a time. Add vanilla and lemon zest.
In another bowl sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Add the flour mixture slowly to the egg mixture. Don't over mix.
Pour half of the batter into the spring pan. Place the pears on top. Pour the rest of the batter in the pan.
Bake for about 60 min or until a tooth pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

(Recipe adapted from Kirsten at My Kitchen in the Rockies)


Bulgur Salad with Herbs, Apricots and Pistachios

I really love experimenting with different grains, often serving them very simply (so as to become familiar with their flavors and textures) as a side with dinner, but now I'm moving on to more grain-based salads and bulgur was one I hadn't yet tried in salad form. I do know it's used in many Middle Eastern dishes like
 tabbouleh, often substituted for rice or couscous and even served as porridge. It has a slight nutty flavor and I prefer it to quinoa (which I just can't seem warm up to, sorry about that), although bulgur IS wheat, which I know a lot of you are avoiding now.
The latest issue of Fine Cooking featured a dish with bulgur and lots of intriguing flavors. I loved that it can double as a side OR a salad. It'll travel beautifully, so you could take this along on a picnic. The flavors are marvelous....the tangy sweet of the apricots, the crunch of the pistachios and those herbs! Yum. The mixture of herbs adds so much freshness to the salad; hopefully, you'll have some available in your herb garden this summer.

Bulgur Salad with Herbs, Apricots and Pistachios
Adapted slightly from Fine Cooking Magazine, June/July Issue

2 cups bulgur
Kosher salt
2/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
Generous 1/2 cup roughly chopped apricots
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
generous 1/2 cup chopped, roasted, salted pistachios
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet, toast the bulgur over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until darker in color and aromatic, about 3 minutes. Remove to a bowl.
Bring 2 cups of water  with 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in the skillet and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until softened. Remove from heat, stir in the bulgur, apricots and 2 cups boiling water. Stir. Cover and let stand for 30-40 minutes until all the fluid has been absorbed. Gently stir in the parsley, mint, cilantro and pistachios. Add salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, whisk the remaining cup of olive oil into the lemon juice. Pour over the salad, correct the seasonings if necessary, and serve. Makes about 7 cups.


The winner of the Amish cookbook is Grace, from A Southern Grace. I've sent you an email, please email me at bsmithw@gmail.com with your address and I'll mail the book ASAP.



My Mother's Custard

Ah yes. A perfect, basic custard. Nothing fancy and nothing better. Don't we all have a favorite recipe? I don't care how many recipes I've tried, I always come back to this one. It's one of the most comforting desserts around, not overly sweet, perfect for kids when they don't feel well and I make it often to take to friends who are under the weather or on limited diets. Everyone loves custard. Mother made it all the time when we were children and continued to make it all her life. 

The key to any custard is in the baking. The biggest problem? Overbaking. If your custard comes out watery or has holes in it, you've overbaked it. A custard should be smooth and creamy, not watery, with a consistency somewhat like Jello. 
All ovens are different and until you know exactly how your custard will bake, start sticking a knife into one of your custards before the baking time is up. I've noticed the oven in my new house seems to run hot so I actually turned the heat down a bit to start with and the knife still came out clean 5 minutes early. When the knife comes out clean, take them out, forget what the timer says. 
Cool and refrigerate.

It sounds odd to put paper towels in the bottom of the pan, but my mother did it; she told me it makes for even baking. I ask you, who would know better?

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Mother's Custard

3 slightly beaten eggs
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups scalded milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325
Combine eggs, sugar and salt until well mixed. Do not beat. Slowly add scalded milk, stirring, not whipping (you don't want foam) and then the vanilla. Strain into a pitcher and then pour into your custard cups. Bake in a pan whose sides are not deeper than the custard cups and has a sheet of paper toweling in the bottom. Place the custard cups on top and fill the pan half way up the cups with boiling water. Now sprinkle on the nutmeg.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until knife comes out clean.


Cappuccino Muffins, a Cookbook and a Giveaway

When I was approached to review an Amish cookbook, I was pleased to do it. We've talked about it before and all agree: the best recipes come from these kinds of cookbooks.......community, club or church driven, where everyone tends to send in their old family favorites. I have quite a collection of them, but not one from the Amish community.

You'll learn something of the history of the Amish as well. The introduction contains a narrative about their background and 
scattered throughout the book are marvelous vignettes and photographs along with the homey recipes. Yes, it's a comfortable cookbook...not cutting edge, but chock full of the kind of recipes you'd serve your friends and family. Some you've made or have similar recipes for and some, hopefully, are new to you.

Did you know there was a large Amish and Mennonite community in Sarasota, Florida, in an area called Pinecraft? We all think of Pennsylvania or Ohio, but not Florida. As it turns out, there are far more Amish communities than I had imagined. I DID know about one in Western Michigan because my sister, who lives in Michigan, took me to a lovely store that carried their work. This cookbook originates from Pinecraft and the recipes from those who reside or winter there.

The book is available where books are sold and at Amazon. The nicest part of this post is the author, Sherry Gore, is making one copy available to my readers. If you leave a comment, you're in the running. Not going to get into that "follow me for an extra chance" stuff. Just plain and simple....leave a comment. I'll announce the winner on May 13th. Make certain I have your email address so I can contact you.


It was really difficult to choose a recipe. I loved the idea of making the overnight French toast and the chicken and biscuits made my mouth water. But the cappuccino muffins were too tempting to pass up. No doubt the old "is it a muffin or a cupcake" question comes up, which as I recall, frosting was the determining factor. But these are muffins, definitely breakfast food, and they DO have a frosting, although it's not terribly sweet, which balanced the cupcakes perfectly. Be sure to use the mini chocolate chips so they will melt into the cupcake as well as the frosting.

Cappuccino Muffins
Recipe by Sherry Gore, Pinecraft Fl.


For the muffins:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons instant espresso
1/2 cup butter, very soft
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

For the Topping:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
In another bowl, stir milk and espresso until dissolved. Add softened butter, beaten egg and vanilla. (the butter will not mix in completely. That's OK)
Stir in dry ingredients 1/3 at a time until combined. Fold in mini chocolate chips.
Fill paper muffin liners 3/4 full and bake 17-20 minutes.

While they are baking, mix the ingredients for the topping and set aside.

Remove muffins from oven and frost immediately so the mini chocolate chips will melt slightly.
Makes 12 of the deeper paper liners that I used.


Ina Fridays: Warm Duck Salad

Welcome once again to our Ina First Friday posts! This month it's SSS....soup, salad or side. I chose salad because I had made this duck salad for guests a while back and never posted it. Where did I get the duck breasts? From D'Artagnan, of course. After seeing Ina make this on her show, I ordered ahead for the luncheon and while I usually have a recipe rehearsal before I serve a new dish, there was no need with this salad....it was perfect. Don't overcook the duck....it should be medium rare. I'm originally from Michigan and my father and grandfather were both duck hunters, so we had wild duck often when I was young. One thing I learned early: never overcook it.

If you are not a fan of duck you could use slices of chicken or turkey, but frankly, the salad would lose it's originality wouldn't it? My guests loved it. Have fun with it is what I say.

Warm Duck Salad
2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home

2 boneless duck breasts, skin on (about 12 to 14 ounces each)
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 1/2 tablespoons good sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 cup good olive oil
3 heads Belgian endive
3 ounces mache or other delicate baby lettuce
fresh orange sections, to taste
1/2 pint fresh raspberries
1 cup toasted whole pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

Place the duck breasts on a sheet pan, skin side up. Sprinkle with salt and roast for about 20 minutes, until medium-rare. Remove from the oven, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and discard the fat and skin on top (unless you're making cracklings), slice the duck, and then cut the slices crosswise into julienned pieces.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the shallots, sherry vinegar, orange zest, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Whisk in the olive oil and set aside.

For the salad, trim the bottom half-inch from the endive and cut them diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Separate the leaves and discard the cores. Place the slices in a large salad bowl. Add the mache leaves, oranges, raspberries, and toasted pecans. Toss with enough dressing to moisten. Gently toss in the warm duck meat and serve immediately. 

Ina Fridays participants:

Nancy from mypicadillo.com  
Veronica from mycatholickitchen.com
Ansh from spiceroots.com  



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