Port & Melon Tapioca Pudding with Poached Figs

I had ideas for this dessert, but the end result is nothing like them. I started out aiming for a melon mousse, but it just wasn’t happening. Then, I started drooling over a honeydew sago soup, but it was too late for me to go in that direction. So I thought this was a very tasty nod to both ideas with a sexy looking twist. So what is it? A crenshaw melon (a cousin of the cantaloupe), pureed with a bit of Port and mint, transformed into a creamy, tapioca pudding, and topped off with a Port & spice poached fig.

First off, if you’ve never tried a crenshaw melon (this was my first time trying it), you could very easily substitute a cantaloupe and probably be none the wiser. I wanted to do something light and refreshing with this velvetty melon, and while my immediate response to just about any… click to read more…

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Dragon Fruit & Coconut Sherbet

Have you ever had dragon fruit? It really is a funny looking thing–the size of a small mango, bright red and green tips on the outside, and either a bright beet-red or perfectly white flesh inside, speckled with hundreds of black seeds. If anything, its quite a pretty fruit, and not one I come across very often. So to indulge in my ongoing addiction for buying exotic produce, today, we have a Dragon Fruit & Coconut Sherbet.

I had no experience with dragon fruit until now, so I was kind of at a loss for what to do with it. I wasn’t having a whole lot of luck finding ideas either. Most of the written material out there is either how people loved dragon fruit or were very disappointed in its somewhat neutral flavor (and for what its worth, I enjoyed it, but it didn’t blow me away–think like a more neutral tasting kiwi). I did however, really take… click to read more…

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Smoked Chicken Thighs with Pineapple Barbecue Sauce

While I’ve professed the wonders of brining turkey to ensure a moist bird, I’d never brined chicken before. However, after seeing what Jeff did with some chicken thighs, it seemed like it was time to give this a try. So I brined, smoked, and glazed some chicken thighs with a tangy pineapple barbecue sauce.

This was absolutely delicious and very well suited to July 4th weekend (or any summer weekend) kind of grilling/barbecuing occasion. The effort is pretty minimal and the results are very flavorful. If you were to taste the sauce alone without the chicken, it will taste a little unbalanced as far as a barbecue sauce goes (in my opinion–it leans most heavily towards sweet and spicy), but when combined with the chicken as a glaze after being flavored with… click to read more…

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Chicken Teriyaki Lo Mein

Asian cookery isn’t one of my strongest areas, so I have a tougher time dissecting flavors. Teriyaki sauce, one of those universal favorites, has always eluded me. The only way I could have it would either be by buying a bottle from the grocery store or having some haute cuisine on a toothpick at the mall. If this sounds familiar, I imagine you’ll be surprised by how simple Chicken Teriyaki can be.

I was originally inspired to try this after seeing some delicious looking Salmon Teriyaki over at Closet Cooking and I was almost shocked by how simple the basic teriyaki sauce was. It almost seemed too easy, but I figured why not just give it a shot. Tasting each component of the sauce individually, I dunno, I still had my doubts. But mixed all together, it was… click to read more…

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Apple Chicken Curry

I know this one sounds like an odd combination, but somehow, innocent, autumnal kind of ingredients (apple, apple cider, cinnamon, white wine, dijon, golden raisins) come together to produce a curry that could stand up next to any other traditional chicken curry flavor-wise. And so today, we have apple chicken curry.

Apple Chicken Curry

I wanted to make chicken that somehow went with apples, but I had a tough time coming up with something that appealed to me. I wrote down a long list of things that I thought would go well with apple and then started whittling it down until there was a collection of things that seemed harmonious together. From there, I just took all of those ingredients out and just sort of went with it–since ginger and cardamom were involved, why not try to do something with some Indian flare to it? And so I started working in other Asian flavors, such as kasoori methi (a.k.a. fenugreek), and that… click to read more…

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Persimmon Chiffon Cake & Custard

This time of year is right smack in the middle of the harvest of one of my favorite fruits of all time: persimmons! I love eating persimmons fresh, but they really don’t get enough love recipe-wise. I was hoping I could try my hand at a different persimmon-based dessert: persimmon chiffon cake & custard drizzled with caramel sauce.

Persimmon Chiffon Cake & Custard drizzled with Caramel Sauce

If you’ve never heard of persimmons before, it is very important that we establish up front that these stout, orange-colored fruits (which look like odd tomatoes but are nothing like them) are simply the best fruit out there (I think I’d put figs second, for those keeping score). Grab some now at your grocery store if you can–they aren’t around long during the year, but they are really something.

Persimmons come in many different varieties which are all quite different from each other. My favorite is the hachiya: acorn shaped and one of the absolute worst things you could possibly eat… click to read more…

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