Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mango with Ginger-Mint Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
  • Ginger or vanilla ice cream (the best brand is Reed's)

Bring water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan and cook until sugar is melted, stirring occasionally. Add the ginger and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, stir in the mint and steep for 5 minutes. Place the mango in a bowl, strain the syrup mixture over the mango, cover, and let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Serve over ice cream or topped with vanilla yogurt.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Kelley's Breakfast Scramble Timbales

Makes 12 timbales (10 if using refrigerated biscuit dough) - this is a great egg dish for a brunch!

1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

Note: you can skip the above and use a 12 oz. can of refrigerated biscuit dough if you do not have time to make the biscuits!

¾ pound breakfast sausage
1/8 cup minced onion
1/8 cup minced red bell pepper
1/8 cup chopped jalapeños (optional)
5 eggs beaten
5 tablespoons milk or half-and-half
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 400° F (or 200° C). Spray a muffin tin with vegetable oil.

Make the Biscuits: In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in cream. Turn dough onto a flour surface and roll out to 3/4 in thickness. Cut with a medium size biscuit cutter. Using a rolling pin, roll each biscuit into a wide enough circle to fit in the bottom of each muffin tin...with enough overlap to come a little up the sides. If using refrigerated dough, roll each biscuit into a flatter round before placing in a muffin tin.

Make the Filling: Brown the sausage, onion, and red pepper (and jalapeños if using) in a sauté pan over medium heat. Make sure to break up the sausage into a fine consistency. Drain and set aside to cool. In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, beat the eggs and milk or half-and-half. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble: Place a heaping spoonful of sausage mixture into each muffin tin. Then fill the tin with the egg mixture until each tin is 3/4 of the way full (do not overfill as the eggs will "puff up" during baking). Sprinkle tops with cheese.

Bake in preheated oven 18 to 20 minutes, until filling is set. Remove from oven and let cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Remove from tin with a fork (gently) and serve immediately with sour cream and salsa!

Note: You can do part of the prep work in advance (1-2 nights before). Simply brown and drain the sausage and veggies, and store overnight in the refrigerator. You can also beat the eggs and milk and store separately in the refrigerator.

Roasted Quail with Fig Puree and Balsamic-Chocolate Reduction

4 Quail, 4 to 6 ounces each
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt and ground white pepper
Marinate the quail in the parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper for about 30 minutes.


2 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup small diced toasted French bread
1 tablespoon minced herbs (equal parts thyme, chives and parsley)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and white pepper (season to taste)
Combine all ingredients and season to taste. You can stuff the quail with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the stuffing mix.


1 1/2 cups dried black figs (cut in half)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup port wine
2/3 cup water
1/2 tablespoons minced herbs (equal parts parsley, thyme and chives)

In a sauce pot on medium heat, sauté the shallots in olive oil until translucent. Add and the walnuts and figs and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the port and water. Simmer all the ingredients until the walnuts have softened and there is about ¼ of the liquid left. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool slightly. Place the mix in a food processor and blend until uniform in color and appearance.


1 quart balsamic vinegar
2 cups 64% milk chocolate

Simmer the vinegar on low heat until it reduces to about 1 cup of liquid. Melt the chocolate using a double-boiler. This provides a softer heating element than direct flame or microwave. While both ingredients are warm, slowly add the vinegar reduction to the chocolate while stirring. Combine the vinegar and chocolate flavors to suit your taste.


Pre-heat oven to 425F.

Season all the quail with salt and pepper to suit your taste. In a sauté pan on medium-high heat, sear the quail for about 2 minutes per side. (Sear the breast side first). Remove pan from heat. Using either a small spatula or spoon, evenly baste the fig puree on to the breast side of the quails. Place the pan with the quail in the oven for about 4 to 5 minutes to crisp up the fig puree. Remove the quail from the pans and place them on serving plates. Drizzle the balsamic-chocolate reduction over the quail. For an appetizer, garnish with fresh arugula and diced tomatoes marinated in olive oil and herbs.

Serves 4.

Boneless Smoked Quail

6 boned quail, about 3 ounces each
2 teaspoons Lawry’s seasoning salt
2 teaspoons Ac’cent seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

Mix spices together, adding water (about 7 to 8 teaspoons) until an almost thin consistency is reached. Be careful not to dilute seasonings too much.

Heat charcoal in a smoker or covered grill until white-hot. Sprinkle mesquite chips or pecan or hickory kindling on coals. Dip quail in sauce, then place on grill. Cover and smoke for about 25 minutes.

Serves 6

Wild Mushroom Venison Stew With Biscuits


1 poblano chile
1/2 cup clarified butter or olive oil
1 pound venison, cut into 1-inch squares
blend of 1 cup flour, 3/4 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
2 cups burgundy
4 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
1 quart rich veal stock
2 small Idaho potatoes, chopped
1 yellow onion, julienne cut
2 ribs celery, finely diced
1 small carrot, julienne cut
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
2 dashes Tabasco
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Blister skin on poblano. Peel, seed, and finely dice. Heat the butter or oil in a thick-bottomed pot or pan (such as a cast-iron skillet) until it just begins to smoke, about 350 degrees. Toss venison in seasoned flour, dusting off excess. Add meat to pot and brown in small batches. When done, remove from pot and keep warm.

Add garlic and red onion to pot and sauté briefly. Add burgundy and mushrooms and reduce liquid to approximately 1 cup. Add veal stock, potatoes, the remaining vegetables, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are soft. Return venison to pot.


3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 /2 sticks unsalted butter, cut in 1/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2/3 cup grated Monterey jack and cheddar
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion tops

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Sift together the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter to the consistency of coarse cornmeal. Make a well in the center of the dough and quickly mix in the buttermilk (about 30 seconds). Knead on a floured board, incorporating the cheese and onions (about 30 seconds). Pat out to 11/2 inch thickness and cut into 4-inch-diameter biscuits. Recipe makes about 24.

The last step is to finish cooking the stew in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes. You may bake all of the biscuits on a greased baking sheet at the same time or you may put some on top of the hot stew to bake. If you do the latter, be sure your stew pot or pan is shallow enough that the biscuits sit above the level of the rim while cooking. Otherwise, they will be raw in the middle.

Venison with Pistachio-Cranberry Sauce


24 ounces venison filet, either backstrap or loin (pork loin may be used)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove all membrane from meat and cut into 12 medallions. Rub with oil, salt, and pepper. Grill until medium-rare, being careful not to overcook.


3/4 cup dried cranberries
2 cups white wine (such as Chardonnay)
2 shallots, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon roughly chopped garlic
1 1/8-inch slices ginger root
2 to 4 mesquite-smoked jalapeños, seeded, available from Stonewall Chili Pepper Company (800-232-2995) or in specialty stores; or canned chipotle chiles, rinsed and seeded
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup prepared demiglace, homemade or Knorr brand
2 teaspoons butter
2 dozen pistachios
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons butter to finish (optional)
Salt to taste

Reconstitute cranberries in enough hot water to cover.

In a medium saucepan, combine wine, shallots, garlic, ginger,jalapeños, and vinegar and cook over high heat until almost dry. Add demiglace and cook until hot. Strain and set aside.

Melt 2 teaspoons butter in large sauté pan over medium heat and add pistachios, sherry, and cranberries with their liquid. Reduce mixture over high heat for 5 minutes or less. Add strained sauce and cook approximately 5 more minutes to reduce volume by half. Add butter to finish sauce. Add salt to taste.

Espresso-Rubbed Venison with Shiner Bock “Beer Blanc”

Beer Blanc

12 ounces Shiner Bock or any bock beer
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 canned chipotle chiles, seeded if you wish and chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
juice of 1 lime
2 sticks butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, at room temperature
salt and white pepper

In a saucepan over medium heat, reduce beer to 1⁄4 cup (takes 35 to 40 minutes). Add shallots, garlic, chipotles, and cream and simmer until volume is reduced by half. Add lime juice and continue heating until liquid returns to a simmer. While mixture is still very hot, pour into a blender and purée, adding butter one piece at a time. Season to taste. If not using immediately, keep hot in an insulated container such as a thermal pitcher.


1/4 cup finely ground espresso coffee beans
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds venison backstrap or pork tenderloin
lump crabmeat, cooked (optional)

Note: Venison is available from Whole Foods and Central Market (may require advance order) or by mail from Broken Arrow Ranch, in Ingram (830-367-5871; You will need a stove-top smoker such as the approximately 15-inch-by-11-inch one made by Camerons, available from Central Market, (the Hudson’s Web site), or It comes with wood chips, but feel free to use different woods such as apple or pear or throw in a sprig of fresh rosemary or other herb you would enjoy. Smokers may be used on gas or electric ranges; if you have a flattop electric stove, consult smoker’s instruction manual.

Thoroughly combine first 4 ingredients. Coat meat with mixture an hour before smoking. Pile about 2 tablespoons of wood chips in middle of smoker pan. Place smoker drip tray over chips and put the wire rack on top of it. (Hint: To aid cleanup, spray rack with vegetable oil and spray tray as well or cover it with foil.) Put venison on rack.

Slide lid closed and center smoker on a stove burner over high heat. The wood chips will slowly burn, smoking the venison as it cooks. Continue cooking until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in middle of venison reads 130 degrees, 15 to 18 minutes (140 degrees, 18 to 20 minutes for pork). Remove meat and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then cut into 1⁄2-inch slices. Fan 3 slices across each plate and top with Beer Blanc and crabmeat. Serves 6 to 8.

Two-Tone Chili - Venison and Pork

bottles dark beer (Dos Equis) or 2 cans (15 ounces each) chicken stock
Juice of 4 limes
6 tablespoons Pickapeppa steak sauce
3 pounds venison stew meat
5 slices bacon
1 large white onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 pound ground pork sausage
1 tablespoon ground fennel seed
2 dried ancho chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1 can (6 ounces) chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (available at Mexican groceries), chopped (reserve sauce)
1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Combine 1 bottle beer or 1 can stock, lime juice, and 4 tablespoons Pickapeppa sauce, and pour over venison. Marinate 2 to 4 hours.

In very large skillet, fry bacon until fat is rendered. Remove bacon, and reserve. Sauté onion and garlic in bacon fat until tender. Drain marinade completely from venison, and discard. Add venison to onion and bacon fat. Brown lightly. Add chili powder and basil. Cook a few minutes longer.

In another skillet, brown sausage lightly. Add fennel, ancho and chipotle chiles, and 1 tablespoon reserved adobo sauce. Cook until sausage is done. Add pork mixture to venison. Add vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Chop bacon coarsely. Add to meat. Simmer until venison is fully cooked, about 20 to 30 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons Pickapeppa and remaining beer or stock for desired consistency.

Note: This is a spicy chili; chipotles may be reduced by half. For extra-hot chili, add ground or freshly chopped cayenne or Thai pepper, to taste.

Serves 12 - 15

Roasted Duck With Picadillo Stuffing

3 cups kosher salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 inches canela sticks, or substitute 2 inches regular cinnamon sticks
12 whole allspice
6 bay leaves
40 peppercorns
4 five-pound ducks
kosher salt and pepper to taste
cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Prepare brine: Four hours to a day ahead, put first 6 ingredients and 2 gallons water in a stockpot and boil just until salt and sugar are dissolved. Cool to room temperature, then chill for at least 2 hours.

Prepare birds: Trim off and discard large, visible pieces of fat. Put ducks in brine, adding water to cover if necessary. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 8 hours. Remove, rinse, and pat dry.

Cook birds: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle birds inside and out with salt and pepper and prick skin in several places. Roast on rack, breast side up, for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 350 degrees and roast until a cooking thermometer stuck in the thickest part of thigh or breast reads 165 degrees, for medium, or 170, for medium to well-done. Let rest 10 minutes before carving.

To serve, mound picadillo in center of plates. Carve ducks, slice breast meat, and arrange pieces on top. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro or parsley. Serves 6.


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup seeded, deveined, and minced jalapeños
1 1/2 pounds (about 8 cups) mild-flavored exotic mushrooms, cleaned with damp paper towels and sliced 1/4 inch thick (if cost is a consideration, substitute white button mushrooms; get presliced if possible)
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 cup currants or diced cranberries (or less to taste)
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon ground canela (or more to taste), also called Mexican cinnamon, an aromatic papery bark, available at Fiesta market; grind in a coffee grinder, or substitute 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon regular cinnamon (optional)
1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon toasted ground cumin, or more to taste (optional)
kosher salt to taste

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil and sauté onion for about 2 minutes; do not brown. Add garlic and jalapeños and sauté for about 30 seconds, being careful not to burn garlic. Add mushrooms and sprinkle very lightly with salt, tasting as you go, until flavor is right. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms release all their moisture, 15 to 20 minutes. As mushrooms begin to stick, deglaze pan with sherry vinegar. Add currants and pistachios and cook until currants are rehydrated. Add canela and cumin a little at a time, tasting, as they are quite distinctive

Pan-Roasted White-Winged Dove

2 green apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled and cored
1/2 large onion, peeled
2 thumb-size knobs of ginger
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup salt
1 cup sugar
juice and rinds of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons each of whole juniper berries, coriander seeds, star anise pods, and black peppercorns
24 to 36 doves (allow 4 to 6 per person)
kosher salt and pepper to taste
several tablespoons olive oil
12 or more basil leaves, for garnish (do not omit)

Note: White-winged dove are game birds not available in supermarkets. Squab may be substituted—order well ahead from Central Market or Whole Foods. Or use quail, 2 per person.

Prepare brine: Four hours to a day ahead, put apple, onion, and ginger in a food processor and lightly purée. Combine purée with vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon, spices, and 5 cups water in a nonreactive container. Cover and chill.

Prepare birds: If doves have breast bones intact, you will need to remove them. Lay each bird on a cutting board, breast side up, legs toward you. Using short strokes, cut from top to bottom of left breast, as close to the breast bone (keel bone) as possible; do not cut through to the back yet and do not remove skin. Repeat with right side. Discard keel bone. Fold breasts to each side, as if opening a book, and remove ribs from the front and back (they should come out easily); thighs and legs will still be attached. Now cut bird into halves, down center of back.

Brine birds: Place doves in brine (adding water if needed to cover), put a lid on container, and refrigerate 4 to 8 hours. Remove, rinse, and pat dry.

Cook birds: Put about 1/16 inch cooking oil in a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan. Heat on high just until oil starts to smoke. Put pieces in pan, skin side down. Lower heat to medium. Press to flatten with a similarly sized pan and, continuing to press, cook until skin is golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip and cook other side, still pressing, until medium rare, about 1 more minute. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes, then cut each piece in half between thigh and breast.

To serve, place sweet potato disks close together on dinner plates. Arrange dove on top of disks, with legs sticking up jauntily. Drizzle with any reserved butter and a little Spiced Apple Jus, then spoon Cherry—Cocoa Nib Sauce around edge. Garnish with basil. Serves 6.


6 medium whole sweet potatoes, preferably garnet or Japanese satsumaimo, available at Central Market
6 garlic cloves
6 pieces ginger, same size as garlic cloves
6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
6 tablespoons sake
kosher salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Prick potatoes with a knife and sprinkle each with a little salt and pepper. Place each one on a piece of aluminum foil with a garlic clove (halved), a piece of ginger (halved), and a tablespoon of butter. Drizzle with a tablespoon of sake. Seal and bake until tender, about 50 minutes. Carefully unwrap, reserving seasoned butter, if any. When ready to serve, slice into 1/2-inch disks (you may leave skins on or remove) and gently press an indentation into each disk with the back of a tablespoon.


1 cup fresh apple juice, preferably unfiltered
1 stick cinnamon
1 pod star anise
1 pinch coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Vietnamese fish sauce, preferably Squid brand, available at Asian markets (optional; do not substitute Thai or Chinese fish sauce)

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and reduce over high heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (not quite syrupy). Remove cinnamon and star anise.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
4 ounces dried cherries, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons cocoa nibs, available at Whole Foods or Central Market; grind finely using a coffee or spice grinder
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons finely chopped shallot
kosher salt to taste

Put all ingredients in a nonreactive bowl, lightly whisk, and let stand for 15 minutes

Persimmon Flan

Persimmon Puree
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 cone piloncillo (Mexican unrefined brown sugar, available in ethnic markets such as Fiesta)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1⁄2 stick cinnamon
10 ripe persimmons, unpeeled, stem end
cut off flat
1⁄2 cup orange juice

A day ahead, put all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat; cook for 3 to 4 minutes if fruit is very ripe and soft, up to 10 minutes if less ripe. Pour into a glass bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Purée in a food processor and pass through a sieve to remove solids.

1⁄2 cone piloncillo, finely chopped
12 ounces evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup persimmon purée (recipe above)
juice of half a lemon

Place piloncillo and evaporated milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until piloncillo dissolves; set aside. Place sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla in bowl of an electric mixer and blend while adding eggs, one at a time, then persimmon purée. Blend in piloncillo mixture and lemon juice.

1 cup sugar
1⁄4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, heat sugar and water over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring, until mixture turns amber in color and reaches 325 to 355 degrees on a candy thermometer. Immediately pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of caramel in bottom of 8 four-ounce glass baking cups. Let cool briefly, then pour custard on top. Place cups in a water bath, cover with foil, and bake until a knife inserted in center of custard comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Chill before unmolding.

Makes 8.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag of frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 4 (4-ounce) center-cut pork chops
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard


Warm the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook until combined, about 2 more minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the goat cheese and the cream cheese. Stir to combine and set aside.

Use a sharp knife to cut a pocket into the thickest portion of the pork chop. Stuff each pocket with 1/4 of the spinach and sun-dried tomato mixture and close the pork around the stuffing. Season the outside of the pork with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl combine the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard.

Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the pork. Cook until golden and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to a side dish and tent with foil to keep warm. Add the chicken broth mixture to the skillet over medium-high heat. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the chicken broth simmers. Reduce the broth by half to make a light sauce, about 8 minutes. Spoon some sauce over the pork before serving.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Meg's Fish Dip

5 small Mahi-Mahi fish fillets or other suitable white fish
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
cayenne pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
salt and pepper
3 thyme sprigs
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large bar cream cheese
1/2 c wine wine
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese

Saute fish in 1 tablespoon olive oil with a little salt and garlic powder until broken down. Pour into a bowl and add cream cheese and sour cream.

Saute onions in remaining tablespoon olive oil until soft. Add wine and garlic and simmer until wine is absorbed, then add to bowl with fish.

Add cheese and season with cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste.

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