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GF Fallen Chocolate Cake with Balsamic Pickled Stella Cherries

5 Jul

Here’s another Stella pickled cherry dessert option that we put together for our 4th of July party-going binge. We love the look of these cherries spooned over this intense and rich cake, and the balsamic and fennel add just the right counterpoint to the dense cake. Bring this gluten free treat to your next party, and you’ll surely be invited back….

 

Fallen Chocolate Cake with Balsamic Cherries
Adapted from Cooking Light (yes, friends it only has 262 calories and 6.6g. of fat!)
Serves 12
1/2 c. slivered almonds (you can also use pistachios)
cooking spray
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar divided
1/4 c. water
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, best quality you can get your hands on.
1/4 t. sea salt
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa, the better the chocolate the better your cake…trust me.
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 t. vanilla extract
4 large egg whites (yes 4, not a type-o)

Balsamic Cherry Sauce
1-2 9 oz jar(s) of Balsamic Pickled Cherries (drained, but reserve the syrup)

 

For the Cake: Spray a 9 inch spring-form pan amply with cooking spray, then cut a perfectly fitted circle out of parchment paper to  line the bottom (I trace around my pan and then cut the paper).  Spray the parchment as well, now that it’s on the pan.

Put the almonds in a food processor and whir them to all to heck, leaving a fine crumb of almonds.  Gently press your almond crumbs into the bottom of the pan, on top of the parchment.

To make the batter, in a  medium saucepan combine 1 c. of the sugar, and the water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat; stir in bittersweet chocolate and salt.   Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  Add cocoa, stirring with a whisk until well blended.  Add the 3 whole eggs, individually, whisking in between each egg addition.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk, put in the four egg whites and beat first on medium then on high until stiff peaks form.  As the peaks are beginning to form, gradually add the 1/4 c. of sugar one tablespoon at a time.

Once the stiff peaks form, fold 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture and repeat until all of the egg whites are incorporated. Pour mixture into the prepared pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out nearly clean.  You will have some batter on the toothpick since this cake is meant to have a texture that is a cross between a flourless cake and a touch pudding-y.

Cool to room temperature; run a knife around the outside edge and remove from the pan, gently upside down onto a wire rack.  Peel off the parchment paper and invert again onto a serving plate so it is now right side up.

While the cake is cooling, make the sauce.  drain the cherry syrup into a small saucepan, cook over med/low heat for 10 minutes (until the syrup is reduced by about 1/4).  Add the cherries and bring to a soft simmer, allow to cook for 5 minutes.  The sauce can be used to ladle over each slice of cake upon serving. Top with fresh whipped cream if desired.

Balsamic Cherry Upside Down Cake

4 Jul

Balsamic Cherry Upside Down Cake

This amazingly rich and fruity cornmeal cake was inspired by sweet, sweet Stella cherries from Sunshower Hill Farm in Newberg. Stella cherries are intense, sweet, bright and simply amazing, so we decided to preserve them in way that kept those qualities in place, while adding the RoJ spin. We made a pickling syrup with balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, espresso and fennel – and delicately cooked the cherries in order to preserve as much freshness as we could. The result was incredible, deep and complex flavor like nothing we’ve produced before.

This crazy jar of sunshine is so limited, and so seasonal – we just had to do something special with it. If you know us (and we think you do), you know we like savory-leaning desserts, and these cherries seemed like a great fit for experimentation in that direction. First up is the cornmeal upside down cake (we’ve made a similar version of this with pears before, and loved it). Tomorrow, we’ll try a fallen chocolate cake. Stay tuned!

Balsamic Cherry Upside Down Cake

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1-33 9oz jars whole pitted Stella Pickled Cherries with Espresso & Fennel, strained (reserve syrup) The more you use, the better it is….
  • ⅓ cup reduced* (reserved) balsamic syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground medium grind)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preparation

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Melt ¼ cup butter and combine with cherries and reduced vinegar in 10- to 11-inch ovenproof skillet with 2-inch-high sides. Stir over medium heat for about 2 minutes.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter in large bowl. Add sugar; beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with milk in 2 additions each, beating just until blended and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until whites are stiff but not dry. Using rubber spatula, fold 1/4 of whites into batter to lighten slightly. Fold in remaining whites in 3 additions (batter will be thick). Spoon batter over cherries in skillet, then spread evenly with offset spatula to cover cherries.

Bake cake until top is golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool in skillet on rack 5 minutes. Run spatula around edges of cake to loosen. Place large serving platter upside down atop skillet. Using pot holders or oven mitts, firmly hold platter and skillet together and invert. Leave skillet atop cake 5 minutes. Remove skillet. If necessary, rearrange any cherries that may have become dislodged. Let cake cool at least 45 minutes. Cut cake into wedges and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

*reduce syrup by straining whole cherries, and heating the syrup over med/low heat until reduced by ⅓ (about 15 minutes).

Red Hood Cocktail

10 Jun

2 oz Irish whiskey (Redbreast)
.5 oz sweet vermouth (Cinzano)
.5 oz lemon juice
.25 oz Fernet-Branca
2 tsp Republic of Jam Marionberry Espresso jam

Shake with ice and double-strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a marionberry or espresso bean.

Check out the post on the blog Summit Sips for more information about RoJ Cocktails created by Randy Hansen. http://summitsips.com/2013/12/red-hood/

From Randy:

“Sampling the jam by itself reveals a dark berry richness on the verge of chocolate flavor that is somewhat difficult to describe. Immediately, we thought of cola or herbal amaro drinks like the Bitter Branch and knew we wanted to try it with whiskey. We chose Irish whiskey to support the jam rather than compete with it. Then came a boost from the sweet vermouth and a decision was needed. Was this going to end as a Manhattan riff or were we going to keep going?

We decided to push this into sour territory by adding lemon. The risk paid off. Not only does the acid offset some of the sugar, but the lemon brightens and invigorates the fruit allowing the berries to rise above everything. But still, something was missing. We tried a dash of Angostura but the familiar aromatic spices easily transform the drink and the marionberries get lost in the background. It is good, but not as good as what we tried next.

Adding Fernet-Branca was a daring choice that worked wonders. At just a quarter ounce the amaro’s bitterness doesn’t overwhelm, and the intense herbal qualities meld perfectly with the jam, vermouth, lemon and whiskey. In fact, this flavor profile is reminiscent of a Zarzamora served up instead of over ice.”

Peach Relish for Shrimp

5 May

Adapted from Food and Wine
Serves 4-6
1 garlic clove, minced
1 serrano chile or jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
9 oz of Spicy Peach Jam
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped mint
In a mortar (or using a mini food processor), pound the garlic and chile with the brown sugar until a paste forms. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice and up. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the jam, cilantro and mint.
Serve over grilled halibut or shrimp

Flourless Chcolate Cake

5 May

Adapted from Weeknights with Jenny

Serves 10 to 12

  • 8 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup berry jam
  1. Put rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350. Generously butter 10 inch spring form pan. Line bottom with parchment paper and butter paper.
  2. Chop chocolate in small pieces and melt with butter over very low flame, stirring frequently until smooth. (You can also do this in microwave.) Remove from heat and whisk in sugar. Let cool for 5 minutes, then add egg yolks, one at a time. Sift cocoa over chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
  3. In standing mixer, beat egg white at high speed until peaks form but are not yet stiff. Gently fold into chocolate mixture.
  4. Pour batter into pan and bake 35-40 min or until cake forms thin crust on top. Remove before its sides move from pan.
  5. Cool for ten minutes, invert on a plate then reinvert on cooling rack. (I have also served this right from cake pan, sides removed. Sue me.)

Let cool completely before spreading jam and sifting powdered sugar over top

Baked Ricotta with Roasted Strawberries

5 May

Adapted from Bon Appétit

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup unsalted, shelled raw natural pistachios
  • 8 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled, halved or quartered if large (about 2 cups)
  • 3 T Strawberry Margarita jam
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed
  • 2 cups ricotta
  • of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Special Equipment

  • Six 4-ounce ramekins

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Spread out pistachios on a small rimmed baking sheet and toast, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool.
  • Preheat broiler. Toss strawberries, 3 jam, 1 tsp. lime zest, and coriander seeds in a shallow broiler-proof baking dish. Broil until berries are soft and juices are bubbling, 5-8 minutes. Let cool.
  • Mix ricotta, salt, 1/4 cup honey, and remaining 1 teaspoon lime zest in a medium bowl to blend. Divide among ramekins; sprinkle with sugar.
  • Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and broil until ricotta begins to brown, 5–8 minutes. Let ricotta cool, then top with strawberry mixture and pistachios.
  • DO AHEAD: The strawberry mixture can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving.

Ham and Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Eggs

5 May

Adapted from Bon Appétit

Makes 4 servings

ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups 1/3-inch cubes peeled red-skinned sweet potato
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch cubes ham
  • 1 large white onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 T Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp RoJ preserved lime juice, plus one wedge of lime, finely diced
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped watercress tops plus 4 sprigs for garnish
  • 4 large eggs

preparation

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add yam cubes; cover and cook 5 minutes. Mix in ham, onion, lime juice and lime, and mustard. Cover and cook until yam is tender and bottom of hash begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with pepper. Using spatula, turn hash over in portions and press to compact. Cook uncovered until golden, turning and pressing occasionally, about 10 minutes longer. Stir in chopped watercress until wilted, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in another large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Crack eggs into skillet and cook until whites are firm but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes.

Divide hash among 4 plates. Top with eggs. Garnish with watercress sprigs.

Mixed Green Salad with Pickled Blueberries, Pecans, Goat Cheese, and Blueberry Mustard Vinaigrette

14 Apr

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces pecans, whole
  • 1 T melted butter
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 T dijon mustard
  • 2 T pickled blueberry juice
  • 6 T white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb mixed salad greens, including fresh baby spinach
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 3 oz pickled blueberries
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-2 inch thin slices

Candy the pecans: Preheat oven to 300°F. Place pecans in a bowl, pour melted butter over them, sprinkle with sugar, and gently toss until the pecans are all well coated with a dusting of sugar. Place them in a single layer on a parchment paper or Silpat lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool to touch.

Whisk together the mustard, blueberry juice and vinegar in a medium sized bowl. Slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture, whisking constantly until completely incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place lettuces and baby spinach in a large bowl. Add the goat cheese, dried cranberries, red bell pepper, blueberries and pecans. Toss with 1/4 cup of the dressing.

Serve immediately. Chill remaining dressing

Ham Steaks with Rhubarb Rosemary Chutney

1 Apr

Serves 4 as a breakfast side

  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup rhubarb jam
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 13-ounce ham steak, cut into 4 pieces

Preparation

Toast mustard seeds in medium saucepan over medium heat until beginning to pop, about 2 minutes. Lower heat and add jam, onion, cherries and balsamic. Simmer 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat broiler. Broil ham (do not turn) until brown at edges, about 3 minutes. Serve with chutney.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Pear Rosemary Soak

31 Mar

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

Makes 8 servings

  • 3/4 cup olive oil (extra-virgin if desired), plus additional for greasing pan
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 5 large eggs, separated, reserving 1 white for another use
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 oz RoJ Pear Rosemary Syrup
  • 4 oz Creme Fraiche
  • Fresh Rosemary for garnish
  • Special equipment: a 9-inch (24-cm) springform pan; parchment paper

Preparation

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease springform pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Oil parchment.

Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1 1/2 teaspoons and whisk together with flour. Halve lemon, then squeeze and reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.

Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 cup) and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.

Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with 1/2 teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.

Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.

Transfer batter to springform pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate. Pour one ounce of syrup over each serving of the cut cake, drizzle with creme fraiche and garnish with rosemary just before serving.