Category Archives: cream

Scallop Gratin:

Scallop Gratin is a really rich seafood dish. You could substitute any seafood for the scallops, but I think they are the best option for both price and decadence.

Scallop Gratin:
4 tablespoons butter
2 lb scallops
salt and pepper
garlic powder
Cajon seasoning
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (4 large)
1 cup stock
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup white wine
3 tablespoons tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
salt and pepper
1 cup panko (Japanese dried bread crumbs)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the bottom of a large non-stick stock pot. Season the scallops with the salt, pepper, garlic powder and seasoning. Sauté the scallops until they are just about done. Set the scallops aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the pot and sauté the chopped leaks until translucent. Toss with the scallops and place in the baking dish.

Combine the stock, cream, 1/2 cup of the wine, the tomato puree, and saffron in a saucepan that was used to cook the seafood and leaks. Bring to a boil, and continue to cook the sauce until it is reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Pour over the seafood mixture.

Combine the panko, Parmesan, parsley and tarragon. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and mix it into the crumbs until they’re moistened. Spoon the crumbs evenly on top of the seafood. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly. Serve hot.

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Southern Biscuits

When I visit my sister and brother-in-law I always like to cook a big Sunday breakfast. They love it when I make a giant tray of biscuits that they can feast on all week after I’m gone. This are a true southern staple.

Southern Biscuits
2 sticks butter, room temperature
4 cups flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
3 teaspoons salt
1 cup cream
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter, flour, baking powder and salt with a fork. Once the butter is fully incorporated into the flour and resembles course meal, add the cream and milk. Quickly mix the liquid into the dry ingredients and turn out onto a floured surface. Squeeze the dough together until it forms a full mound of dough. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin to 1-inch thickness. Using a glass or a biscuit cutter cut out biscuits and re-roll the dough after each round of cuts until the dough is all gone. Place the biscuits onto a silpat baking mat on a cookie sheet. The edges of the biscuits should touch. Paint the top of the biscuits with the melted better and a pastry brush. You can sprinkle the biscuits with parmesan cheese, cracked pepper or herbs if you want. Cook the biscuits in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.

White Chocolate Lavender and Lemon Truffles

Lavender and lemon are classic French flavors. Moreover, the scent of lavender was found to be an aphrodisiac so it makes it super fitting for a baby shower. The addition of the sugared flowers to the tops of the truffles makes them look 100% professional. They add a nice crunch as well.

White Chocolate Lavender and Lemon Truffles

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
peal of one lemon, only the yellow part
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 ½ pounds white chocolate
1/2 pound semi sweet chocolate
candied flowers, for garnish

In a small heavy bottom sauce pan, heat the cream, lavender an lemon peal. Bring the cream just to scalding. Turn off the heat and let the flavors steep for at least 30 minutes. Strain out the lemon and lavender.

Chop the white chocolate into small chunks. Place it into a large metal bowl. Add the cream, extract and salt. Place the chocolate bowl over a pot filled with water on medium heat. Let the chocolate steam over the water for at least 10 minutes. Using a whisk, once the chocolate is melted, start in the center of the bowl and slowly whisk to combine into a silky ganache. Remove the chocolate from the heat and let to cool to room temperature.

Using two teaspoons, spoon out balls of ganache onto baking trays lined with parchment paper. Roll the balls into globes with your hands. If your hands are super warm like mine are, or if your ganache is still too soft, place the trays in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up the confections.

Chop the semi sweet chocolate and place it into a medium size metal bowl. Place it over a pot of water on medium high heat, stirring with a rubber spatula intermittently. Let the chocolate melt completely. Pick up some of the melted chocolate with the spatula; drop it back into the pool of chocolate. If the falling chocolate sinks into the rest of the melted chocolate the temper is broken. If it still piled up on top of the surface, continue to heat the chocolate. Once the chocolate is fully melted, move the medium size bowl into a larger metal bowl that is a quarter full of ice and cold water. Continue to mix the chocolate, paying special attention to mix in the hardening chocolate that is sticking to the sides of the bowl. Test the chocolate to see if the temper has returned, life some of the melted chocolate out of the bowl and drizzle it back into the pool of melted chocolate. Once the temper has returned, the chocolate will stack up on itself as opposed to sinking back into the bowl.

Drop the ganache balls into the melted chocolate. Roll them to coat and extract them using two small spoons. Place the coated truffles onto the parchment paper. Once you have finished dipping the truffles, break up the sugared flowers into nice size petals. Place a small bit of melted chocolate on top of each truffle and use it to affix one petal. Cool the finished truffles in the refrigerator. Store the truffles in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce

Once a week I eat at the sushi place in my office building. They have tiny shots of panna cotta and one serving never seems to be enough. So for this week’s lunch gathering I supplied the dessert.

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce

2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1 ¾ cup cream
2 envelopes unflavored powdered gelatin (1/4 ounce envelopes)
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
splash of almond extract
1 ½ cup frozen raspberries
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon flour
water

Mix the milk and sugar in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Pour the cream into a small bowl and sprinkle it with the gelatin. Whisk the milk over the heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cream mixture and the salt to the pot and continue whisking over the heat until the gelatin is completely dissolved, at least 10 minutes. Be careful and make sure that the milk doesn’t boil.

Pull the milk off of the heat and let it cool a bit, for at least 10 minutes. Add the extract and them carefully spoon it into 12 muffin tins to form nice molds. Refrigerate over night to set.

Heat the frozen raspberries, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the raspberries are completely thawed, stir the mixture to break up the berries. In a small bowl mix the flour with water to form a slurry, make sure there are no lumps. Add the flour mixture to the raspberries. Cook for just a few more minutes to thicken the mixture. Transfer to a bowl and cool.

Fill the sink with hot water. Submerge the back of the muffin tin and let it sit in the hot water until the pudding gets a litter loose. Inver over a cookie sheet and tap the backs of the tin if needed.

Quickly move the individual desserts to plates, add a spoon of raspberry sauce and serve.

Summer Time, and the Eating is Easy

I came back from DC and since I cooked up a storm for my sister’s family, I only want to make simple easy things here in my tiny kitchen in NYC. So I made a quick pasta dish that is satisfying and filling yet ready in a flash.

Salmon and Asparagus Spaghetti

½ lb whole-wheat spaghetti
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 large bunch asparagus
8 oz smoked salmon
½ cup cream
garlic powder
parsley
salt and pepper

Heat a pot of salted water for the spaghetti. Cut off the bottoms of the asparagus and cut the rest into 1-inch pieces. Once the pot of water comes to a boil, cook spaghetti according to package directions (probably about 10 minutes). Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the asparagus, garlic powder, parsley and salt and pepper. Stir-fry the asparagus until tender, about 5 minutes. Pull the smoked salmon into tiny bit size pieces and add them to the asparagus with the cream and heat through. With a pasta scoop, transfer the spaghetti to the sauce mixture, draining most of the excess water. Toss the spaghetti immediately to distribute the asparagus and salmon. The cream should be absorbed by all of the pasta and just barely coat it.

Serve the pasta immediately with a fresh sprinkling of fresh ground pepper.

Latin Lover

I have lots of friends that are Latin here at school. And I’ve been bragging for the past year about the Tres Leches Cake I used to make for Jules. Once Alex donated a bottle of cajeta to the cause, I finally lived up to my big mouth. Everyone was on a sugar high for days!

Tres Leches Cake

Cake:
3 large eggs, separated
1 cups granulated sugar
1 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Milk topping:
1 5-ounce can evaporated milk
1/2 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream

Filling:
1 23-ounce bottle of cajeta (optional)

Icing:
3 tablespoons water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large egg whites
or
1 ½ cubs of heavy cream
½ cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 10-inch round cake pan.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually with the mixer running and peak to stiff peaks. Add the egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after the addition of each.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to the egg mixture, alternating with the milk. (Do this quickly so the batter does not lose volume.) Add the vanilla. Bake until golden, 25 minutes.

To make the milk topping: In a blender, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream and blend on high speed.

Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack. After about 15 minutes, run a knife around the outside of the cake to loosen it. Invert it onto the wrack and let cool further. Once the cake is cooled to room temperature, using a serrated knife, cut the cake into two even rounds. Place one cake half back into the baking pan. Place the other into a 10-nch round spring form pan. Pour half of the milk mixture over each half. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours.

After 4 hours, squeeze the cajeta over the cake half that is in the spring form pan. The cajeta should make an even level and cover all of the exposed cake. Quickly invert the other cake half over top of the cajeta. If it breaks, pat it back together. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

To make the icing: Once the cake is completely chilled, in a saucepan combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235 to 240 degrees F. Remove from the heat. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. While beating, add the hot syrup in a stream. Beat until all the syrup has been added, the mixture cools, and a glossy icing forms. If this is too complicated, you can beat the whipped cream with the sugar and use it in place of the meringue icing. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and spread the icing evenly across the top.

Just before serving, un-mold the cake from the spring form pan. Serve with fresh fruit if desired.

Welcome Home Cake

My downstairs neighbor Dave isn’t a big fan of sweets. However he likes two things, clean apple tarts and not so sweet Tiramisu. For his homecoming from Switzerland, I had to make it.

Tiramisu

1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup strong brewed espresso coffee
1/4 cup cognac
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 pound mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 pound fresh savoiardi
Cocoa powder for dusting the surface

For the syrup, combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, cool and add coffee and cognac.

For the filling, whip cream with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Fold cream into softened mascarpone.

To assemble, dip individual savoiardi, bottom side only, in the syrup. Line the outer collar of a 10-inch spring form pan, top side facing the ring, with vertical savoiardi. Then dipping both sides of the savoiardi in the syrup, line the bottom of the pan. Cover with half of the cream mixture. Cover that layer with more dipped savoiardi and cover with the remaining cream mixture. Smooth the top with a spatula.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before serving. Immediately before serving, place cocoa in a fine strainer and shake a light coating on surface. Remove the outer ring from the spring form pan.