Smoked Ham, Asparagus, Peas, and Swiss Chard Paella

Like I’ve said before, a strongly flavored stock is key to a good paella. For this one, I chose to go very porky and made a strong pork and garlic stock, accentuated with orange and saffron. Really, I just had pork on my mind and so it was bound to show up somewhere. With a strong porky backbone, I decided to let spring-time produce (asparagus, peas, Swiss chard) shine. Since I was smitten with this general flavor combo in the past, I thought I’d revisit it in paella form.

Smoked Ham, Asparagus, Peas, and Swiss Chard Paella

The flavor was incredibly rich and both the pork stock and smoked ham gave the rice an unctuous quality. In contrast, the more sharply and brightly flavored, crisp asparagus, peas, and swiss chard gave a wonderfully fuller flavor profile that kept this feeling light and springy, all… click to read more…

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Brioche French Toast with Strawberry Compote

After having made sticky buns recenly, I found myself with brioche dough handy. I’ve finally come to terms with a fundamental part of the breakfast food pyramid missing from my repetoire of go-to day-starters: the morning-time cousin of bread pudding, yes, French Toast.

Brioche French Toast with Strawberry Compote

French Toast, like many “common” breakfast items, might seem less than exciting to many given how many sad, sorry versions are so readily available out there. This is meant to change that in a big way. Heck, this borders on dessert given how incredibly rich this is.

The secret here is simple: the key behind a good French toast is good bread. For this, I baked a loaf of brioche–a dense, rich, buttery bread that is delicious in it’s own right (which is why I had to eat some… click to read more…

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Honey Pecan Sticky Buns

Sticky buns are an odd thing for me. Are they breakfast or dessert? I could swing either way and be happy. I remember eating them as a treat after dinner when I was younger or as an on-the-go breakfast when heading out on a boat in the wee hours of the morning. Granted, I’ve always said that some of the best breakfasts are essentially desserts, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.

Honey Pecan Sticky Buns

The core behind any sticky bun recipe is simple: awesome, sweet, sticky buns. The variety then comes in two fashions: how to make the dough and what to dress the buns up with (e.g. glaze, cream cheese frosting, nuts, etc). In making these, I chose to follow the sage approach from one of my favorite baking-oriented books: Baking: From My Homeclick to read more…

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Indian-Inspired Barbecue Chicken

Every now and then, I have odd cravings that don’t jive with one another, so something new is born. In this case, I wanted Indian and barbecue. There just isn’t much cross-over in that realm (as far as I know). My compromise? A whole chicken, halved, marinated tandor style, smoked, and then slathered with a tangy, strongly spiced sauce that borrows from both barbecue and Indian cuisine for style and flavor.

In reality, this is quite simple and that’s why it’s so darn good (but such is barbecue). The chicken is slowly smoked–richly flavorful, crispy skin, and surprisingly tangy from a simple marinade. Plus, whole chicken is the best (I always love a good roast chicken).

What made this different was the sauce glazed on at the end. It’s a simple barbecue sauce, but tinged with a generous helping of Indian flavors–cinnamon, cardamom, tamarind, fenugreek, cilantro, etc. The total combination worked wonderfully and had me licking my fingers clean.… click to read more…

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Mushroom Agnolotti with Peas, Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Cream Sauce

I’ve come to realize that I tend to be most inspired by seasonal food, but not all of it. Winter and summer really get my creative juices flowing–rich, hearty braises or light, fruity, delicate sources of refreshment seem to come to mind without difficulty. Spring though gets me stuck in the mud. I’m not sure why–I don’t have access to the full range of produce, but I know its right around the corner. This dish is me trying to break out of that rut by enjoying some of the best of what spring has to offer.

Mushroom Agnolotti with Peas, Asparagus, Prosciutto, and a Goat Cheese Cream Sauce

The foundation of this dish is wild mushroom agnolotti (think criminis, portabello, and cheese stuffed ravioli), tossed with butter sautéed asparagus, peas, and prosciutto, all topped with a goat cheese cream sauce to bring everyone together. The total combination was excellent and very “springy” (yay, just what I wanted). A forkful of everything yielded a complex set of flavors I would best describe… click to read more…

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Spiced Port & Pomegranate Frozen Yogurt

I’ve never actually had pomegranate ice cream or frozen yogurt before, but always had it in the back of my mind. As I’d read about it though, it seems to be quite popular with some upper-scale ice cream/frozen yogurt joints like Pinkberry and Red Mango. However, nearly everything I’ve read about pomegranate frozen treats (both commercial and home-made) all had the same review: too subtle and almost indistinguishable pomegranate flavor. This was a downer, but I was still determined to try my hand at it, so I thought I’d try to pump up the pomegranate flavor by focusing on supporting flavors to enhance it (sort of like balsamic and strawberry, chocolate and chili, etc) rather than just throwing more pomegranate at it.

Spiced Port & Pomegranate Frozen Yogurt

Much to my delight, my gambit worked out better than I had expected. I infused the pomegranate juice with both fresh mint and green… click to read more…

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