Cardamom Honey Baklava Ice Cream in Phyllo Cups

This was really delicious. I must confess, when I made baklava, I didn’t make it just for the baklava–I made it for this dessert. This isn’t to say baklava by itself isn’t amazing (which it most definitely is), but why settle for one amazing thing when you can have two? Yes, I made baklava so that I could use it as an additive to cardamom honey ice cream.

The cardamom-honey ice cream custard-base really stole the show–it was intense, just the right creamy texture, sweet, and just out of the ordinary. Cardamom is one of my favorite spices that really is beyond my ability to describe–it works so well in savory and sweet applications, kind of like cinnamon–and in this case, it really gave the ice cream an incredible flavor backbone.

Combined with chunks of baklava, you had a great contrast visually, texturally, and flavorally (go, made up words, go!)–crunchy, cinnamon spiced… click to read more…

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Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stew in Red Wine)

This dish is a French classic: a stew created by braising a tough cut of beef in red wine, cooking long and slow to yield something hearty, tender, and full of flavor.

Beef Bourguignon, served over noodles

Now shocking as this may seem, this isn’t a summer dish, but that’s ok–I actually made it during the winter, lol! Can you tell that I’m not great about getting all of my posts published right away? 😉 This recipe is based on that of the great Julia Child from Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One, a book I’d highly recommend to anybody who is serious about cooking good food (I’ve also discovered the re-runs of her fantastic TV series on PBS–very worth a watch!).

So whether the weather is cold or you just want something to warm you up and… click to read more…

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Baklava

Depending on where you hang your hat, baklava might mean different things to you–a Greek baklava is not a Turkish baklava is not an Arab baklava, and so on and so forth. The core idea is the same across all variants though: an absolutely delicious treat composed of layers of paper-thin, flaky phyllo dough, sweet, spiced, crunchy nuts, and a sticky, sweet syrup to bring it all together.

As exotic as baklava might be to some (to think, some have never had it before! If you haven’t, this goes on your dessert to-do list. Really!), making baklava is easy, albeit a bit tedious. Of course, if I didn’t use store-bought premade phyllo dough, it might not have been quite so easy ;-). At a high level, it really amounts to layering several sheets of the delicate, paper thin phyllo dough with a light brushing of butter between each with a thicker mid-section composed of sweetened nuts. Once this… click to read more…

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Sweet “Faux” Gras Pâté on Pear Chips…wait, wtf? Chicken for dessert?

Jeff at Culinary Disaster posed a challenge among a few friends recently to make a dish using chicken. I think we’ve all made many a chicken dish before, and seeing how dessert is where I seem to have the most fun, I thought it would only be appropriate that I try to do something a little odd and make a chicken-based dessert since I thought (a) that has to stand out and (b) that sounds like a hell of a challenge. I know…dessert…and chicken? You didn’t misread, so let that one sink in and bear with me (have I ever steered you wrong, dear reader?). Trust me, this one has a happy ending!

Obviously, one has to tread carefully to get a dessert out of a chicken, and leaning too heavily on eggs seems like a crutch (given how obvious they are in dessert, anyways). So I thought I might be better off looking away from the usual breast/thighs… click to read more…

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Herbed Rack of Lamb with Port Fig Sauce

Lamb is a wonderful meat that lends itself to many beautiful dishes, but a common theme across all of them is to keep it simple so that the delicious, gamey flavor of lamb can shine through. With the spring season comes the new lamb season, and so I have prepared a number of lamb dishes. Today’s dinner: an herbed rack of lamb with a sauce composed of a port reduction and dried figs.

Herbed Rack of Lamb with Port Fig Sauce

This was simply delicious. The ideal way to eat lamb is medium rare so that it is juicy, tender, and just bursting with a distinct flavor. One of my favorite preparations of rack of lamb is herb encrusted, but one thing that never quite sat right with me was the bread-crumby texture of the herb crust–it always bothered me, because when you go to eat it or cut the rack, so much of it crumbles off and is lost! So I tried to apply some of… click to read more…

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Caneton a`l’Orange (Roast Duck with Orange Sauce)

Poultry is always a crowd pleaser, but let’s face it, some times, chicken can get a little old. Every now and then, it pays to indulge in a more delectable bird, in this case duck. Duck has an amazing flavor and depending on where you live in the world, many mouth watering preparations might come to mind. I decided to go with a traditional French approach: roast duck with orange sauce.

Caneton a`l’Orange

This recipe comes from the great Julia Child: Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One (which if you don’t already own, you really should). If you can get your hands on a fresh duckling, go for it, but if you can’t, you might have better luck finding a frozen duck at the grocery store (on my to do list: befriend a hunter! 😉 ). Either way, duck is simply a delicious bird, composed entirely… click to read more…

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