Tag Archives: flavor

Freshly baked beauty…

With a stormy day forecasted today and a very sick other half, I felt the need to stay put…
After playing chauffeur to the doctor, once home I decided to make a loaf of bread, from my favorite ‘bread man’ Paul Hollywood, that I haven’t made in quite some time. This loaf is absolutely gorgeous when baked, but just so simple to prepare…
A combination of bread flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and water was kneaded in my mixer until pulled together and completely incorporated. Once smoothed and slightly elastic, the dough was set to rise in a lightly oiled bowl. The first rise took roughly three hours… After that rise, the dough was ‘knocked back’ and formed into a cylindrical shape. The dough was placed on a sheet tray and covered for a second rise. For this rise, I allowed the dough to nap for another three hours to develop an even stronger flavor.
Upon completion of its second rise, a spritz of water, dusting of flour and four deep slashes prepared this beautiful ‘bloomer’ for its bake. The scent of fresh bread baking wafted throughout the house and made the urge for a warm slice inevitable! As soon as baking finished off, a crusty golden and luxurious loaf emerged, and so did a slice to make certain it was as delightful as I expected…
Tonight this enticing bloomer will get a nice toast and slather of Nutella for some naughty goodness!

at a low simmer…
-R

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a morning of glory [muffins]…

With the last few months pretty high on the emotions chart, it was a bit difficult to focus on much… Things are finally starting to ease back into normalcy and I thought was better to do than whip up a hearty batch of morning glory muffins for breakfast!
I had these luxurious little delights out in East Hampton and have been completely addicted since.
Chock-full-of delicious ingredients, these little domes of beauty are simple to prepare and the flavor element is incredible! For the recipe, two cups of flour, one cup of brown sugar, two teaspoons of baking soda and cinnamon, a half teaspoon of ground ginger and kosher salt are sifted and combined into a large bowl; in a separate bowl, three eggs, good vanilla, two-thirds of a cup of canola oil and one-fourth cup of orange juice are whisked together. Once the wet and dry ingredients are prepped, I cored one green apple and peeled four carrots. Both the apple and carrots were grated, and along with some coconut flakes, soaked golden raisins and wheat germ stirred into the dry mixture. As soon as everything was incorporated, I gently added in the wet mixture and mixed everything until fully combined and moistened.
The batter was scooped into a muffin tin and set to bake for twenty-five minutes at 375degrees. After cooling slightly it was time to rip open these spicy scented lovelies and enjoy with a silky cup of lady grey tea…
Couldn’t think of a better way to start off a weekday morning!

at a low simmer…
-R

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my twist on a classic…

With a soaking rain wreaking havoc on the day, I decided that it was the perfect excuse to bake up an amazing cheesecake!
I had been experiencing a severe craving for the creamy and luxurious dessert, and thought it would help lift my spirits to whip one up.
This cheesecake was different from your typical variety, as I used both cream cheese, along with goat cheese for an added tang and fuller depth of flavor.
The basic elements still went into the baking process, however I added gorgeous vanilla bean seeds in for a beautiful speckle and flavor, as well as a special homemade vanilla sugar.
The silky mixture was poured gently into a homemade graham cracker crust that I molded into my springform pan… It was then into the oven for roughly an hour until perfect.
Once cooked, it was time to set up and then take a doze in the fridge to really come together… As soon as the cheesecake was ready to be sliced, there was no stopping the diminishing that became evident!
The crisp and buttery crust hugged the velvety smooth mixture and just added to the sinful act that was occurring… I’m fine with committing that sin, and there will be no confession from me!

at a low simmer…
-R

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home cooked for hump day…

With hump day upon us, what better way to lift our spirits than with a super delicious, home cooked meal!
After a trip to my favorite specialty food market and a chat with the fish monger… turned out that he had just received a shipment of some gorgeous monkfish… so that is just what I planned my meal around.
Once home, I wrapped my succulent fish in a pancetta hug and let it chill out in the fridge until it was time to cook! No salt, no pepper… just the pancetta was needed to infuse this filet with all the flavor it needed.
To cook, a searing hot cast iron pan was lightly coated with olive oil and the fish gently placed into it and cooked for three minutes. A quick turn and then it was into the oven for ten minutes on 425… out came a perfectly cooked monkfish with crispy pancetta.
As a side to this meal, some beautifully roasted sweet potato to play against the saltiness of the pancetta.
Light and flaky, full of wondrous flavors… I definitely recommend getting your hands on monkfish [or other firm white fish] and giving this dish a whirl!

at a low simmer…
-R

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What the… *UCK!!

Sunday turned out to be chillier than I expected so thought it would be a perfect day to heat up the kitchen and our bellies with a full roasted duck. This task takes time and care; first the majestic duck needs to be fully dressed in salt and pepper, then poked multiple times on both sides with a sharp knife being careful to only prick the skin and not the meat. With the oven set at 300 degrees, the duck goes in for five hours… YES five hours! But remember, sometimes good things are worth the wait! Every hour on the hour, the duck is poked and turned on its belly until the full five hours have expired [also from the cooking process, you end up with quite a bit of duck fat that you can use to cook with]. This dish not only looks delish, but also tastes just as good.
As a side, I decided on roasted potatoes. For added flavor to the potatoes, I drained almost all of the duck fat and then added them to the bottom of the pan with a little salt to roast and absorb the yummy duck flavor!
To sweeten up the dish, warmed apricot preserves with some honey drizzled across the duck. Glistening, gorgeous and golden… this duck was destined for greatness!

at a low simmer…
-R

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smells like a sausage and pepper stand here!

Following a trip to the market for some of life’s essentials, I ripped into the produce aisle, as well as the meat department…
While at the meat counter, I picked up some well-endowed chicken sausages… thinking to myself chicken sausage with peppers and onions would be a great Monday night meal! From the meat department, I made a dash to produce and looked for the perfect peppers to pair this meal up with, and decided on some beautiful cubanelle peppers.
As soon as I made my way back home, it was prep time; slicing up an onion and the peppers, and mincing up some garlic. The prep-work was now complete and it was time to toss the chicken sausages into the sauté pan to get browned, crusty and even more delicious! Once browned, the chicken sausages were set aside, while the veg were added into the pan and cooked in all the lovely crispy bits leftover from the chicken sausages until fragrant and softened! For even more flavor bumps, a healthy dash of white wine and some salt got to play a part in this whole production…
As soon as the wine was reduced, the chicken sausages were added back into the mix with all the flavors and before we knew it, it was time to eat!
Couldn’t decide whether to pile everything high in between some freshly baked bread or just dig in from the plate, but the bread obviously won our hearts!

at a low simmer…
-R

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farro[SO] yummy!

Since the weather took a turn from warm and summer-like, to a slight bit cooler it seemed fitting to make a hearty, warming meal for dinner…
After raiding my fridge and pantry, it was easy! A nutty farro dish with an Asian flavor base to it! Shredded carrots, diced onions, some minced garlic and ginger, chopped porcini mushrooms and sautéed shrimp all came together with a hint of sesame oil, a few tablespoons of soy sauce and a dash of hoisin…
The dish literally takes no time to prepare, but the incredible depth of flavor would make you think otherwise!

at a low simmer…
-R

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green soup and ham…

Since I’m still taking it easy when it comes to food, I decided that a nice homemade split pea soup was the perfect meal.
After rinsing off some vibrant split peas, I cut up one onion and two cloves of garlic. The onion and garlic were sautéed in some olive oil until softened. Once softened, in went one quart of water, along with one quart of chicken broth, a bouillon cube and of course the stars of the dish… the split peas.
The soup was brought to a boil and then set to a simmer until the split peas began to open and thicken the soup. After tasting for seasoning, in went some cooked ham for an added smokey flavor and then it was time to plate, rather bowl up this warming goodness!
To top off this soup, homemade croutons made with some Italian bread, olive oil and a touch of sea salt.
The soup warmed us up on this chilly night, while soothing our tummies and giving us the nutrition we needed!

at a low simmer…
-R

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it’s still a bit brisk[it] outside…

So for a weekly Sunday supper, the dish started with a beautiful beef brisket that I seasoned with salt and dusted lightly with flour. This hunk of meat went into my cast iron pot to get a beautiful crunchy crust!
Once the brisket was browned, I pulled it out and placed it to the side while two Spanish onions got their own workout in the same pot and sweated it out… as soon as the onions were ready to ‘hit the showers’, the brisket went back into the pot and joined them, along with a bottle of root beer and some homemade BBQ sauce.
With the brisket partially submerged, on went the lid and it was time for a long relaxation period until the meat was tender and fall-off-the-bone[less]!
The brisket was shredded up, tossed back into the pot and mixed with the onions and sauce…
To go along with our shredded brisket ‘burritos’, a side of arroz con crema! Such a simple rice dish to prepare, but the flavor is out of this world… you combine four-five cups of prepared rice, diced poblano peppers [I roast mine on the grill], panfried corn [grilled during the summer months] and one cup of heavy cream. This all is stirred until it starts to ‘thicken’, then in goes shredded monterey jack and cojita cheeses. Lastly chopped cilantro is quickly incorporated and it’s on to eating! [I tend to not add salt… I know I know, but the cheese I feel offers enough]…
Piled high into the center of a light tortilla, dolloped with a hefty helping of homemade coleslaw and then a final tight roll! It was time to bite into this fragrant and tangy ‘burrito’. The flavors burst in our mouths and the coleslaw balanced out the slight heaviness of the brisket; this was just a wonderful Sunday evening dining experience!

at a low simmer…
-R

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sweetheart dinner…

On a day when one professes their love, sends bouquets of roses and boxes of chocolate, I displayed mine with the gift of food…
Instead of a night on the town [don’t fret that is already planned], I decided on preparing a pan seared duck breast and sautéed brussel sprouts paired with an incredible bottle of red wine. To finish off this luxurious meal… homemade meyer lemon mousse topped with crushed amaretti cookies!
The duck was perfectly cooked and beautifully tender, the ‘sprouts’ crisp and full of flavor, but we all know the most important part of the meal… the dessert! The mousse was silky and seductive, each bite transported us to another realm… no denying it took some work to prepare, but it was worth every effort… [so happy I made extra]

at a low simmer…
-R

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