So, the last few weeks have been challenging. Found out that pain from my neck, down my shoulder, radiating down to my fingers was the result of pinched-nerve and mild-bone-spur issues. Not fun.
So grateful for the BF, who has been heroically helping me with everything, including the many things you can't do with one hand, such as opening jars, schlepping 50-pound food-filled bins in heavy glassware, fastening a bra hook. Good times.
It was a week where a cheesecake must be made. [Ed. note: Or a day ending in "y."]
The original recipe comes from Stella Parks of Serious Eats, and to be clear, this is not your traditional New York dense cheesecake. This particular cheesecake is creamy, fluffy and has an acutely concentrated blueberry flavor. Bodes well considering the hot summer months that will be here soon. This will be a go-to dessert for my clients.
I realize it's often said, "Hey folks this dish is really easy to make," but consider I made this for Memorial Day with one hand. It was also a hot day and I didn't have to even bake the crust. Can't wait to try the freeze-dried strawberry and mango versions.
As Stella Parks says in her blog, "Unlike fresh fruit purée or jam, freeze-dried fruit has no water or added sugar, so it packs a concentrated flavor that won't throw off the consistency or sweetness of the no-bake cheesecake filling. And thanks to the low-temperature processing method, freeze-dried fruit has the same bright flavor as fresh, not the semi-caramelized profile of a stovetop reduction."
Adapted from: Stella Parks, Serious Eats
Number of servings: 8-12
Home of the free, because of the brave.
Memorial Day = grilling season.
Not that you need an outdoor grill for this. In our house we make good use of a stovetop grill pan, and that works perfectly with these lamb chops.
The key to this dish is the super flavorful marinade, which will beautifully tenderize most meats. Little note, if you don't care for lamb, you can substitute chicken tenders (one time I made pita wraps with the marinated chicken instead of lamb and the BF went nuts). [Ed. note: She's not kidding.]
He knows Ina Garten is my spirit animal (love her!), so for a Hanukkah gift he gave me her cookbook Cooking for Jeffrey, and I've practically cooked through the entire tome. No changes were made to the chops or marinade recipes. Ina makes couscous with the lamb chops, but I switched that out for saffron rice (specifically Mahatma Saffron Yellow Rice was used, which is available at most local grocery stores, brand link is below), and added pomegranate seeds to the pine nuts and mint. The saffron rice really makes the lamb chops pop!
Thank you to all the veterans for your service, thank you Ina for all the inspiration, and I hope all of you enjoy a wonderful Memorial Day weekend with family and friends.
Adapted from: Ina Garten, Cooking for Jeffrey
Number of Servings: 6 (3 chops per person)
Saffron Rice with Pine Nuts, Mint and Pomegranate Seeds
Crème brûlée is French for "burnt cream." It's all about the contrast between the crisp caramelized topping and smooth, creamy custard beneath.
Some people have the impression that this is a difficult dessert to make. Truthfully, it isn't, if you follow a few tried-and-true steps. The first time I made it (in my twenties) it turned into scrambled eggs, because I did not temper the eggs. Over/under-baked the custard? Burned the sugar topping? Been there, done that. One thing is certain, I do learn from my failures.
That said, this particular recipe is pretty fool-proof and simple, a solid "go to" time and time again. Several years ago, I had a client who wanted a small dessert (with no leftovers) once a month. She adored custards, so I made the family a different flavored crème brûlée every month for a year.
Once you've tried making this lemony custard, you can go nuts and make pumpkin, chocolate, espresso, butterscotch, bourbon-maple, eggnog, ginger, Earl Grey–the flavor possibilities are endless.
After the recipe, there are some very extremely helpful tips. Please check them out before you start baking!
One nice aspect of this dessert is that it's very easy to adjust. You can easily make 4 or even 2 (which I do when it's just the BF and me) servings, if desired.
Also, you don't need a butane torch. If I'm doing 8 or more custards I will place all on a baking sheet and put them under the broiler. If you do this, you need to place them back in the fridge for awhile to cool, but I'm okay with that, as this keeps the BF calm (he gets nervous when I break out the butane).
Have fun with this one!
Adapted from: Bon Appetit, June 2005 and most of the "Tips" from Simply Recipes blog
Number of servings: 8
You might not think of rum in conjunction with the Kentucky Derby, but since it's such a booze-heavy event, my clients at last Saturday's party didn't seem to mind this Caribbean Rum-Soaked Bundt cake. Neither did the friends we hosted the previous Thursday, who we were thanking for a very comfortable (and stylish) ride to and from the airport. In fact, it was such a hit both times that I'm considering breaking out a third one for a client's upcoming Mother's Day luncheon. [Ed. note: The same cake thrice in one week? Is this allowed?]
While the BF likes many different types of liquors [Ed. note: As the late Robin Williams said, "I am not an alcoholic–I simply prefer living in a liquid medium"], rum is not my favorite, so I actually wasn't sure if I would take to this dessert. Oh, so wrong. There were no crumbs left on my plate, it was that good.
It's a boozy, evergreen (any season) cake that only uses one bowl, is super easy to transport, and if you follow the directions should not stick to the pan. BF chose the rum, and he chose one with lovely vanilla and caramel notes [Ed. note: Bacardi Select w/black label, but have fun with it], and it turned out super moist and fragrant. The flavor even seeps in more over time, so it was even better the following morning with coffee and tea.
The recipe is adapted from King Arthur Flour and they explain, "Yes, there's a lot of rum in this cake, and it's definitely not for those avoiding alcohol. But the incredibly moist texture and rich flavor are deeply satisfying." They are not kidding.
Adapted from: King Arthur Flour (www.kingarthurflour.com/)
Number of servings: 16 slices
The BF and I are NBA fans [Ed note: Was five in 1975, therefore too young to enjoy that championship, I got the Golden State Warriors "Crud Years"], and tonight our Warriors will play game two of their NBA playoff series against the young, talented New Orleans Pelicans. Significantly, after a five-week layoff while recovering from a Grade 2 sprain of his medial collateral ligament [Ed note: MCL for short, a technical term, don't worry we'll get to the food], star point guard Stephen Curry will return to the court.
Perfect time for some shrimp curry.
DISCLAIMER: We in no way are trying to imply Stephen Curry is a shrimp. (He is listed at 6'3".) He is also, my BF clarifies, a BMF. [Ed note: Another technical term.]
Adapted from Jessica Seinfeld's blog, this healthy (gluten free, dairy free, low carb), flavorful dish comes together very quickly—we're talking around 15 minutes—and is a perfect easy weeknight meal at home. It's a staple in our house, my clients have been fond of it as well, and don't let the simplicity fool you, it makes a great dinner-party for company.
For the spice-conscious, you truthfully don't have to worry about heat as the original recipe is pretty mild, despite the jalapeño (don't leave it out). I like to add a serrano pepper for a bit more kick.
Enjoy the curry, and Go Warriors!
I'd also like to thank my wonderful BF-editor for having fun with [Ed note: ruining] this blog post.
Adapted from: Jessica Seinfeld (jessicaseinfeld.com/)
Game on, #DubNation!
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.