Chocolate Cherry Clafouti

I love cherries, and what can I say? I just love pairing them with chocolate. So today, I thought I’d bring you a more traditional cherry dessert that even the most timid bake-o-phobe could handle: a Chocolate Cherry Clafouti.

The clafouti (a.k.a. clafoutis) is a French dessert, that essentially, is like a pancake with a little more emphasis on the “cake” part of “pancake.” Its simple, light, fluffy, and meant to be whipped up quickly and eaten up just as fast. Traditionally, this treat is loaded with fruit, most often cherries, so in keeping with tradition, I’ve done just that. But since I couldn’t help myself, I chose to push this dessert a little bit in the chocolate direction, giving the cake batter itself some darker, chocolatey flavors.

One point of contention out there is how to present the cherries in the clafouti. Many prefer that the cherries be unpitted… 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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Creole Beer Battered Fish Fry

Even if you’re iffy about eating fish, I imagine just about everyone is up for a fish fry. I mean what more is there to say about this? Don’t we all have a soft spot in our hearts for deep fried food? (Yes!) For this version, I made a Creole-spiced beer batter that was really strong, spiced, and flavorful, making for a very enjoyable indulgence in what is really simple, summery, Southern-styled comfort food.

I really enjoyed this–the fish was tender, moist, meaty, and fresh while the batter was zesty, spicy, crunchy, and just…well, really damn good! I used a good bit of coarse cornmeal so that the end result would have a really solid grit and crunch about it while the spices have a distinctly Creole flare about them. Underneath all of this is another major player in the beer batter: the beer! I chose to go with an IPA (India Pale Ale) as I love the hoppy,… click to read more…

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Spiced Brandied Cherries

I’m not sure if I’ve been living in a cave, but I’d never heard of brandied cherries before. When I first ran across them over at Sidewalk Shoes though, I knew I had to try them right away. I mean how good does it sound–preserved fruit, but in liquor! Right up my alley.

Unfortunately, like when making preserved lemons, I can’t tell you how this tastes yet. It requires a bit of time to age and mingle. Of course, seeing how I sampled as I cooked, I can say I’m eagerly looking forward to when I get to open this jar up. This could go on top of ice creams, in mixed drinks, or just make for a great adult snack. Plus, its a fun way to let you enjoy cherries out of season.

  • ~3 cups cherries, stemmed but not

click to read more…

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Veal Chops with an Herbed Pan Sauce

This dish had everything going for it–its quick to prepare, delicious, and to seal the deal: its veal! Some times, the simplest approaches are the best kind, and for this, I decided to stick to one pan so as to have really flavorful meat and to use those juices for an even more flavorful pan sauce. So today: Veal Chops with an Herbed Pan Sauce.

While the dish has a somewhat rustic appearance, the taste is stunning. The veal had a great, buttery crust on it while the meat inside was melt-in-your-mouth tender with that delightful, harmoniously neutral veal flavor. The sauce was simple, but surprisingly rich and hearty, being earthy, herbaceous, and slightly sweet. This was also given body from the gelatin released in cooking the veal and enriched with butter to add that little touch that puts it over the top.

The only thing that didn’t live up to my expectations: the cheese I stuffed into the… click to read more…

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Blue Crab Boil with Key Lime Tartare Dipping Sauce

As a child, I had an aversion to seafood, so this meant strange looking things like shrimp, lobster, and crab were most definitely not to be dealt with. Now that my taste has matured, it makes me think back to those family vacations to places like Ocean City, Maryland where crab was served by the bucketload as missed opportunities. So why not try to recreate it at home with a crab boil?

If you’ve ever been to a crab boil or eaten at a dive of a seafood shack in a place like Ocean City, you know the drill: a table covered in paper towels/newspaper, a pile of napkins, maybe some shell crackers, and a trash can. This is not fine dining and not a time for your finest evening wear…but the taste is well worth it. Basically, you’ve got a pile of freshly cooked, whole crabs and the tools to tear through those tough shells so you can… click to read more…

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