Saturday, November 28, 2015

Tequila Mockingbird {Page to Plate Thanksgiving}

For a family who has no real culinary traditions for Thanksgiving, save our adventurous tradition, quail seems to make its way to our table almost every year. Done a different way each year, of course.

So, this year, in line with my page to plate Thanksgiving theme, I served 'tequila mockingbird'. You know...after To Kill a Mockingbird.

  • 8 quail (the ones I found this year were deboned)
  • 1/4 C tequila (I used a Buddha's Hand-Infused Tequila)
  • 1/4 C ginger syrup
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1/2 C freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 C freshly squeezed lime juice (I used fresh Bearrs lime)
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • 1 T ground smoked paprika
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 2 T fresh, rough-chopped cilantro

Whisk all ingredients together - except for the cilantro - and marinate quails for at least 6 hours, longer is better. Grill over hot coals.

Serve hot with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and more salt, if desired.

Thai-Kissed Cookies (A Pad Thai-inspired Sweet) for #SundaySupper #Cookielicious

We love baking holiday cookies. It's a family affair since the boys were old enough to wield a rolling pin.

Today, the Sunday Supper Movement crew waves good-bye to Thanksgiving and goes full-speed ahead into holiday baking. We even had The Cookie Jar pinterest board to inspire you. Today, though, here's our cookie platter. Enjoy!

The Sunday Supper Cookie Jar
Plus, 20 Cookie Baking Tips and Holiday Cookie recipes from Sunday Supper

My Thai-Kissed Cookie
When I was trying to decide on a cookie to share, I decided to go waaaayyy off the deep end and find inspiration in one of our family favorite savory dishes: Pad Thai. Pad Thai has all these great flavors - peanuts, ginger, coconut, lime and basil. So, I wrapped all those flavors into a cookie. Sort of. I took some liberties, trading peanut for almonds. And I added in my current culinary obsession: Kaffir limes. Click to read more about Kaffir limes. It's that brain-looking lime in the photo.


  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1/2 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C organic dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 C nut butter (I used a raw almond butter)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 t Kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 t Kaffir lime zest
  • 2 t ground ginger
  • 1/3 C shredded unsweetened dried coconut
  • 1-1/4 C flour
  • 1 t baking powder

Glaze and Garnish

  • 1 C organic powdered sugar
  • 2 T milk
  • 1 t lime zest (I used a Kaffir lime, use whatever lime you have)
  • 5 to 6 basil leaves, chiffonaded


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare your baking sheets, lining them with parchment or a silicone liner. I have just discovered the magic of Silpat-style sheets. I know, I'm behind the baking curve.

Beat together the butter and sugars until lightened and creamy. Add in the nut butter and egg. Beat until well-combined. Add in the lime leaves, lime zest, ginger, flour, shredded coconut, and baking powder.

Press mixture together with a spatula until it comes together into a ball. Shape dough into 1" balls and place on prepared baking sheets.

Flatten each cookie with the tines of a fork in a criss-cross pattern.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely.

While cookies cool, make the glaze. Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and lime juice until smooth. Add more sugar if too thin, more milk if too thick.

To finish, ice each cookie with a dollop of icing and garnish with a few thin strips of basil leaves.

Join our special #SundaySupper #Cookielicious conversation on Tuesday, December 1st! Our chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #Cookielicious hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Petit Quince Crumble {Page to Plate Thanksgiving}

Inspired by the Lionfish Supper Club Dinner at MEarth last month, I did a riff on the dessert for our Thanksgiving dinner. For dessert, they made a Chai-Poached Pear Crisp with Candy Cap Ice Cream. I was intrigued by the flavors and decided to make my own version. Mine starts with a Salted Fennel Caramel Sauce and I put the candy cap in the crumble topping instead.

If you're unfamiliar with candy cap mushrooms, they actually smell - and taste - like maple syrup.


  • Salted Fennel Caramel Sauce
  • 4 to 5 roasted quince, peeled and sliced
  • 1-1/2 C flour
  • 3/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 3/4 C organic dark brown sugar
  • 1 t ground dried candy cap mushrooms (I grind mine in a coffee grinder)
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • 1/2 t ground cardamom
  • 1 T hemp seeds
  • 1 T dark chia seeds
  • 1/2 C butter, cubed

Pour caramel into the bottom of your baking dish.

Lay quince slices over the caramel, covering the caramel as much as possible.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, then make your crumble topping. Place all of the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients to make pea-sized chunks. 

Cover the quince with the topping, then bake in the oven for 50 to 55 minutes. The topping should be nicely browned and hard to the touch. The caramel might be bubbling along the dish edges.

Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream - R made Lychee-Ginger Dry Ice Sherbet for us - and a drizzle of more caramel.

Lychee-Ginger (Dry Ice) Sherbet {Page to Plate Thanksgiving}

When the Precise Kitchen Elf heard that I planned to make two different sherbets for Thanksgiving, he asked if he could make them with dry ice. Sure thing. We had seen it done at a pop-up dinner recently and he had a recipe in one of his cookbooks. So, when I was at work on Wednesday, Nonna and Nonno took him to get the dry ice.

sher·bet ˈSHərbət/ (noun) a frozen dessert made with fruit juice added to milk 
or cream, egg white, or gelatin

R set his alarm clock and got up at 6am on Thanksgiving morning to make his bases. He did two - this one and a lemongrass-basil-raspberry sherbet.


  • 2 C milk
  • 2 C heavy cream
  • 1/2 C lychee juice (he pureed canned lychee and strained out the pulp)
  • 1 T ginger syrup
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 C organic granulated sugar
  • dry ice

In a medium saucepan, bring the heavy cream and milk to a simmer. Add lychee juice and ginger syrup and allow flavors to steep for at least 20 minutes over low heat. 

In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until light yellow in color. Add half of the cream mixture into the egg to temper. Then add the yolk mixture into the cream mixture.

Over low heat, whisk the mixture until it thickens. Transfer to a cool metal bowl. Once cool, cover, and place in fridge and allow to for several hours.
When ready to serve, take the sherbet base out of the fridge. Add in chunks of dry ice with tongs and stir with a rubber (or wooden) spatula. 

It will thicken to soft-serve ice cream consistency. If you wish it more solid, place it in the freezer. We served it soft on top of a quince crumble.

Rye and Prejudice {Page to Plate Thanksgiving}

I suppose these could have been 'The Catcher in the Rye' rolls, but I liked 'Rye and Prejudice'. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is another book I haven't read in awhile, but - honestly - it was never one of my favorites. I much prefer her Mansfield Park. But this post isn't a commentary on Austen's works, it's a recipe for some soft, tasty rolls that are a fabulous addition to your holiday table. And they're easy to boot!


  • 2 T dry, active yeast
  • 1/2 C warm water
  • 2 C plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 C unsulphered molasses
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 2 C white whole wheat flour
  • 2 C flour
  • 2 C dark rye flour
  • sage leaves, to garnish
  • fleur de sel, to garnish
  • za'atar, to garnish
  • butter for rubbing

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Let bloom for 10 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg and yogurt until smooth. Add olive oil, molasses and yeast mixture. Add baking soda and flour mixture slowly, beating vigorously after each addition till a stiff dough is formed.

Cover dough with a cloth and let rise in a warm place for an hour or until dough is almost doubled in size. Punch down, knead for a minute, and roll into mini boules. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle, alternately, with fleur de sel and za'atar. Press fresh sage leaves into the top of a few rolls.

Let rise for a second time for another 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake rolls for 60 minutes. When you pull the rolls out of the oven, rub the tops of the rolls with butter. Serve warm.

Brave New Swirled Soup {Page to Plate Thanksgiving}

A twist on Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, my planned 'Brave New Swirled Soup' - 'Pumpkin, Corn, and Lemongrass Soup with a Swirl of Crème Fraîche' became 'Pumpkin, Corn, and Lemongrass Soup with a Swirl of Plain Yogurt' after I sent the crème fraîche over to my parents with the boys a day early. The boys spread it on their bagels for lunch! Oye. The plain yogurt worked out fine...and makes for a silly story.

Brave New World's title comes from William Shakespeare's The Tempest. In Act V, Scene I, Miranda exclaims:

O wonder!
How many godly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't.

The irony: Miranda, who was raised on an isolated island, is praising men not acting in godly manner at all. Huxley uses the same irony when the "savage" John refers to what he sees as a "brave new world."

It's been a long time since I've picked up either of those books. I might have to revisit them soon.

Brave New Swirled Soup

This pumpkin soup has a Southeast Asian flair with the addition of coconut cream, fresh lemongrass, and Kaffir limes. Click to read about Kaffir limes.

  • 1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3" segment of lemongrass, quartered and thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • 2 small pumpkins or squash (I used kabocha)
  • 2 C carrots, sliced into thick coins
  • 2 C roasted corn kernels
  • 6 C chicken stock
  • 1 T ginger syrup
  • 1 C coconut milk
  • 1/2 C coconut cream
  • freshly ground pepper
  • freshly ground salt
  • ground allspice
  • ground cumin
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground nutmeg
  • ground turmeric
  • ground smoked paprika
  • zest from 1 Kaffir lime, to garnish
  • thinly sliced Kaffir lime leaves, to garnish
  • plain yogurt, to garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice pumpkins in half from top to bottom and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle the halves with olive oil and lay them, cut side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast them till they are soft to the touch; the length of time depends on the size of the pumpkins. Mine took about 75 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to touch.

Scoop out the puree and set aside.

Saute leeks and lemongrass in a splash of olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the pumpkin puree, carrots, corn, and stock. Bring to a boil and cover. Simmer the soup for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Add the coconut milk and ginger syrup. Simmer for another 15 minutes. In batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, add in coconut cream, and season to taste. Bring back up to a simmer to heat through. To serve, garnish with a swirl of plain yogurt, Kaffir lime leaves, and Kaffir lime zest.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Salted-Fennel Caramel Sauce

Last month, to celebrate my dad's birthday, we went to the Lionfish Supper Club Dinner at MEarth. For dessert, they made a Chai-Poached Pear Crisp with Candy Cap Ice Cream. I was intrigued by the flavors and decided to make my own version. Mine starts with a salted fennel caramel sauce.

The first time I made caramel I was managing a cafe in Charlottesville and the baker needed help and I left the front of the house to help her. It was nerve-wracking. But I finally got the hang of it.


  • 2 C organic granulated sugar
  • 12 T butter, cubed
  • 1 C organic heavy cream\
  • 1 T fleur de sel (or any other flaky sea salt)
  • tad fennel powder

Place sugar in heavy saucepan that holds, at least, two quarts.

Heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking as it begins to melt. The sugar will begin to form clumps. Keep whisking and they will melt back down.

Once all the sugar has melted, swirl the pan occasionally while the sugar continues to cook.

Cook until the sugar has reached a deep amber color. It should have a slightly nutty aroma and be almost a reddish brown. Using a candy thermometer, cook till it reaches 350 degrees F.

As soon as the caramel reaches 350 degrees F, add the butter cubes all at once. Be careful because the caramel will bubble up. Whisk the butter into the caramel until completely melted.

Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour the cream into the caramel. Again, take care because the mixture will bubble up again. Whisk until all of the cream has been incorporated and you have a smooth sauce. Add the fleur de sel and fennel powder. Whisk to incorporate.

Let the sauce cool for 10 to 15 minutes . Then pour into a glass jar and let cool to room temperature. Warm before serving.

Kaffir Lime-Coconut Cod with Forbidden Rice for #FoodNFlix

When I started talking about what to make for this month's Food'N'Flix which is a double feature with Cook the Books of The Hundred Foot Journey*, the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf really wanted to re-do his Spiced Coconut Sea Urchin Soup.

You can read the invitation by 
Deb of Kahakai Kitchen for the Cook the Books portion. Here's her invitation; here's what D and I made for that event: our version of Sungta ani Bende Kodi.

But, in our attempt to re-do the urchin soup, we were foiled in sourcing urchin locally. I heard buzzings about an echinoderm epidemic; I also heard it was due to the oil spill in Santa Barbara earlier in the year. Whatever the cause, there have been no urchin to be had. I did think we caught a break when a local seafood purveyor was taking advanced orders for urchin. I placed my order, but kept getting emails - "not this week, maybe next week." I was holding out, hoping that we would get ours before the deadline for this post. But, it was not to be. So, D and I will make urchin soup sometime soon. Just not for this.

So, this is a riff on that soup with another Southeast Asian inspiration: Kaffir limes. Do you know what a Kaffir lime is? It looks like a little green brain and tastes like a mix of a lime and lemongrass.

I also used Kaffir lime leaves which are oddly double leaves. I wanted to add in some cèpes, like they collected in the movie. Porcini mushrooms were the closest I could think of, but I couldn't find any fresh ones; I substituted some fresh local chanterelles.

Kaffir Lime-Coconut Cod with Forbidden Rice

  • 3 shallots, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1/2 t minced lemongrass
  • 1 T thinly sliced Kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 T butter
  • splash of olive oil
  • 1 pound cod, cut into 2" pieces
  • 1 to 2 C thinly sliced chanterelle mushrooms
  • 1-1/2 C clam juice
  • 2 C fish stock
  • pinch of saffon 
  • 1 T Thai curry powder
  • 1 t ground paprika
  • dash of ground turmeric
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 C raw whole cashews
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 C fresh cilantro, chopped
  • forbidden rice, steamed in coconut milk
  • dried shredded unsweetened coconut
  • grated zest from Kaffir lime
  • 1 t freshly squeezed Kaffir lime juice

In a large souppot, melt butter in a splash of olive oil. Soften the shallots, garlic, lemongrass, and Kaffir lime leaves in the butter-oil mixture. Add in the mushrooms and saute for a few minutes.

Pour in the clam juice, fish stock; add cashews. Season with saffron, curry powder, paprika, and turmeric. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer again. Place the cod piece in the broth. Cook until the fish is firm and opaque. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh cilantro and remove from the heat.

To serve: fold shredded coconut into the steamed forbidden rice. Scoop into one side of a bowl. Spoon the cod into the other side of the bowl and add a bit of the sauce. Drizzle with a squeeze of Kaffir lime juice and a sprinkling of zest. Serve immediately.

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