4 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
Sprig of fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
Big pinch of kosher salt
4 cloves garlic minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 ears fresh white corn
3 medium poblano chilies, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced (See note below)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Reserve 2 tablespoons corn and 2 tablespoons roasted chiles, for garnish
• Combine the milk, cumin seeds, bay leaf and rosemary in a medium saucepan. Place over low heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let rest for 20 minutes to infuse flavors.
• Heat butter in another medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, and sauté until golden brown, 10 – 12 minutes. Add the garlic and ground cumin and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes more. Add the corn kernels and diced chiles and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
• Strain the milk through a fine mesh strainer into the corn and chili mixture. Purée in a blender, in batches, until smooth. Re-heat to warm, but do not boil. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
• Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with reserved corn and chilies and a drizzle of olive oil.
© 2014, Epicurean Exchange. All rights reserved
Note: To remove the skins from poblano chiles, place them over a gas flame on the stove top or grill (pictured below), or under a broiler, turning frequently until they are completely charred. Place them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow them to steam for 10 – 15 minutes to loosen the skins. Remove the blackened skins with the fingers, and open to remove the seeds, pod and stem. The flesh can them be chopped to add to the recipe.
For the Chicken:
8 chicken legs
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed of excess skin
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
2 sprigs cilantro
For the Mole Sauce:
3/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, ground
8 medium-size tomatillos, husks removed, and cut into quarters
1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
4 serrano chiles (seeded or not, according to taste as the seeds are the hottest part of chiles, use if preferred)
4 poblano chiles, roasted (see note below), skinned, seeded and coarsely chopped
4 romaine lettuce leaves, coarsely chopped
3 sprigs cilantro
3 sprigs epazote (if not available, you can use parsley)
4 cups chicken stock, strained, from cooking the chicken, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
For garnish: Mexican crema, Tajín seasoning, pumpkin seeds and cilantro springs
• Place the chicken pieces, onion, carrot, garlic, and cilantro, in a stockpot with cold water to cover. Add salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender, approximately 45 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside while you make the mole.
• Remove 4 cups of the broth the chicken was cooked in, strain and set aside.
• Place the tomatillos, onion, garlic and serrano chiles in a saucepan with two cups of the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about five minutes, until the tomatillos become soft. Transfer the mixture to a blender; add the chopped poblanos, and lettuce and puree until smooth. Add the ground pumpkin seeds, cilantro and epazote (or parsley), and puree again until smooth.
• Heat the oil in the original saucepan; add the mole, and stir continuously as you gradually add the remaining two cups of chicken stock. Simmer over low heat for about thirty minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning or sticking. Season to taste with kosher salt.
• Remove the cooked chicken pieces from the broth to a covered casserole dish. Cover the chicken with the mole sauce. Heat the sauce to a low-simmer, cover and cook for 20 – 30 minutes or until the chicken is “falling off the bone”.
• To serve, ladle some of the mole sauce in wide, shallow soup bowl; place one or two pieces of chicken in each bowl, ladle more mole over, and garnish with Mexican crema, pumpkin seeds, a sprinkle of Tajín seasoning and whole cilantro springs. Serve with plenty of warm flour and/or corn tortillas.
• Note: To remove the skins from poblano chiles, place them over a gas flame on the stove top or grill, or under a broiler, turning frequently until they are completely charred. Place them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow them to steam for 10 – 15 minutes to loosen the skins. Remove the blackened skins with the fingers, and open to remove the seeds, pod and stem. The flesh can them be chopped to add to the recipe.
© 2017, Epicurean Exchange. All rights reserved
This dish is best served during the late-summer and early fall months when the fruit is perfectly ripe. Choose yellow and white nectarines that are tender-crisp – ripe but still have a firm feel. As the seasons change, feel free the use peaches, pears or apples in the fall and winter. Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or our featured Honey-Lavender ice cream.
6 tablespoons butter, divided
8 tablespoons sugar, divided
4 white nectarines, split and pitted
4 yellow nectarines, split and pitted
2 whole eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers (optional)
• Preheat oven to 425˚F. Using 4 tablespoons of the butter, liberally coat a 3 1/2-quart oval baking dish (or similar), and then sprinkle 4 tablespoons of the sugar on the bottom.
• Place the halved fruits, cut-side down, in the pie dish. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, and salt until there are no lumps. Pour the batter evenly between the fruit, letting it drizzle down through the pieces to the bottom of the dish.
• In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 4 tablespoons sugar, the walnuts, and the lavender, if using. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons butter into small pieces and dot the top.
• Bake until the topping is crisp, the fruit is tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, and the batter has puffed and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Serve hot or warm with a dusting of powdered sugar and whipped or iced cream.
Serves 6 - 8
© 2009, Epicurean Exchange. All rights reserved.
Dried lavender can be found in specialty markets. To make the most flavorful ice cream, use only the freshest lavender. Also, to ensure your ice cream freezes well, always chill the ice cream base to below 40˚F before adding to your ice cream maker. The honey liqueur used is available at better liquor markets.
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup half and half
1 tablespoon dried lavender
6 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Bärenjäger honey liqueur
• In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the heavy cream, half and half and lavender to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.
• In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, honey and the Benedictine. Gradually add the hot cream mixture to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture visibly thickens, approximately 3 – 5 minutes or until the temperature reaches 175˚F. Do not let the mixture boil or it will curdle.
• Prepare an ice bath in a medium-sized bowl. Cool the custard in the ice bath, stirring constantly, until mixture is 40˚F, about 15 minutes or so.
• Cover and chill mixture thoroughly. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.
Makes 1 1/2 quarts
© 2013, Epicurean Exchange. All rights reserved
Early Girl tomatoes are available at farmer’s or better markets. According to Specialty Produce, "The globe-shaped Early Girl is an early season tomato, usually around the size of a tennis ball at full maturity. Bright red, smooth-skinned and slightly flattened in shape, the Early Girl tomato is meaty and can be quite sweet and concentrated in flavor. Early Girl tomatoes are popular for the flavor they impart and their early season appearance. These bright red tomatoes are often dry-farmed, meaning the plant is cut off after early irrigation and the roots are left to stress and struggle to reach water and the result is what some call the IDEAL tomato. Early Girl tomatoes are considered ‘slicing’ tomatoes, and make great additions to sandwiches, bagels and quartered on salads. The sweet flavor makes for a wonderful soup or sauce, though preparations that require minimal cooking are more ideal for highlighting the early-season tomato’s flavor. Leave tomatoes at room temperature; refrigerating can alter the flavor and creates a mealy texture.”
Storing Tomatoes: Please, never refrigerate tomatoes! Refrigeration can make tomatoes dry, dull tasting and mealy. Instead, store in a cool, dry spot on the counter and try to use within a few days of purchase. Most farm fresh tomatoes (with natural covering from nature) will keep on the counter for about a week.
Notes to remember when making tomato sauce:
(1) No need to peel the tomatoes. Most of the flavor and nutrition is found in the skins. Use them whole and then pass through a fine-mesh strainer. Best to use a small 2-ounce ladle to press the solids through the strainer.
(2) Season with salt to balance the acidity of the tomatoes - not sugar!
(3) Use a stainless-interior pan to cook the tomatoes, not aluminum or cast-iron, as the acids in the tomatoes will react with the metals and your sauce will have a metallic taste!
2 pounds Early Girl tomatoes (washed and stems removed)
3 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 small branch basil
1 small sprig thyme
1 large pinch salt
1 small pinch black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
• Place all ingredients in a stockpot with a lid. Place pot over low heat. Cook for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Halfway through cooking, remove lid and continue to simmer slowly.
• Remove bay leaf; process the mixture in a blender, and then pass through a fine mesh strainer. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
• Serve with your favorite pasta or gnocchi garnished with fresh shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and fresh basil.
• This sauce also freezes well for future use.
Serves 2 quarts
© 2014, Epicurean Exchange. All rights reserved
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (OR 2 breasts from a pre-roasted chicken; skin removed and the meat shredded)
2 romaine hearts, cut into thin strips, washed and spun dry
1/2 small head radicchio, shredded
1 cup baby arugula
5 leaves Lacinato kale, rinsed, ribs removed, and leaves cut into thin strips
1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 bunch broccolini, stems removed, florets chopped
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons Amphora olive oil blend
2 tablespoons Amphora Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese or shaved Parmesan
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved or quartered depending on size
1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• To Poach the Chicken Breasts: Season the presentation side of the chicken breasts with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. In a non-stick skillet, heat olive oil until hot. Place chicken breasts seasoned-side down, and sauté until lightly brown, about 2 minutes. Season second side with kosher salt and black pepper, turn, and sauté the other side for 1 minute more.
• Add 1/2 cup chicken broth to the pan and cover. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 12 – 15 minutes until firm to the touch. Remove chicken from pan to a plate and rest 5 minutes before shredding. Set aside.
• In a large bowl, combine the shredded chicken, romaine, radicchio, arugula, kale, peppers, zucchini, broccolini and onion, and toss to combine. Add the olive oil and vinegar and toss to combine. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste, and adjust the amount of dressing and seasoning. Careful not to over-dress.
• Divide the salad among serving plates and garnish with the cheese, olives, and pumpkin seeds.
• Serve immediately.
© 2011, Epicurean Exchange. All rights reserved
Although strawberries can be grown anywhere in the United States, California produces the most: 80% of commercial strawberries are grown here! Local berries from Salinas and Watsonville, are available from early spring to late fall; and now we are at peak season!
Choose wisely…According the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org/foodnews) – a consumer advocacy group that monitors pesticide levels on foods to ensure that pesitcides used in our food system are not harming our most vulnerable populations (infants and children) – strawberries are the most contaminated fresh fruit. Imagine how pests must love their beautiful color and sweet taste; just like we do! The pesticides used on conventionally-group strawberries are apllied topically, but also in the soils and the chemicals are drawn up in the plants and fruit from the roots, so even though you wash the berries well, they are still be imbedded with the chemicals. So, always buy organic strawberries, if at all possible. For other recommendations, see their “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” lists.
For the Strawberries:
Two 1-pint baskets strawberries (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for dusting
For the Cream Biscuits:
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 big pinch of salt
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
• Prepare the Biscuits: Preheat the oven to 400˚F. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or knives, until most of the pieces of the butter are pea-size or smaller. Stir in the cream, a couple of tablespoons at a time, until the mixture just comes together. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface, and draw in all the dried ingredients and press the dough together, being careful to not overwork. Pat into a round and using a rolling pin, roll the dough to approximately 2/3-inch thick. Using a 3-inch round pastry cutter, cut into six 3-inch round biscuits, re-rolling the scraps, if necessary. *Once you roll out the dough, best to test with a cutter to ensure you can get 6 biscuits from the batch, and roll thinner, if necessary.
• To bake, place the biscuits on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and brush the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream. Bake for 17 minutes, until golden.
• While the biscuits are baking, hull and slice (from stem down) the strawberries; place in a bowl and toss with 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Mashed about 1/2 cup of the strawberries (I prefer to use a NutraBullet to purée the small amount of strawberries) and stir into the bowl of sliced berries. Allow the strawberries to macerate for 20 minutes.
• Whip the cream in a medium stainless bowl with a whisk until just soft; avoid over-whipping as the cream will curdle – whip just until the cream forms a soft, silky consistency. Fold in 2 tablespoons powdered sugar and stir in the vanilla.
• To assemble the dessert: Carefully, split the biscuits in half. Place the bottom biscuit on a plate, cover with a scoop of strawberries and a dollop of cream, top with the other half of the biscuit, and dust with powdered sugar.
• Serve immediately.
© 2011, Epicurean Exchange. All rights reserved
This is a variation of the popular scones produced by the students at the California Culinary Academy. White chocolate was often added and the dried fruit can be anything the baker wishes: cherries, apricots, pears, peaches, cranberries, or a mixture of any of the above.
2 cups heavy whipping cream, plus 1/4 cup, divided
8 ounces mixed dried fruit (apricots, peaches, pears, apples, cherries, blueberries, currants), chopped
8 ounces white chocolate chips
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons coarse sugar
• Place rack in the center of oven and preheat oven to 425˚F.
• In a large bowl, mix together heavy whipping cream, dried fruit and white chocolate chucks. Separate the dried fruit that may be stuck together.
• In another large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, sea salt and sugar. On a large work surface, make a large mound with the dry ingredients and create a well in the center. In batches, slowly add the wet ingredients to the well and mix with the dry ingredients until it just comes together. Be careful to not overwork the dough. Form the dough into a large ball, and gently flatten.
• Form a ball with the dough and pat into a round about an 1 1/2-inches thick and cut into eighths. OR, divide the dough in half and pat each round about 3/4” thick and cut each into eighths to make 16 smaller scones*.
• Lightly brush each scone with heavy whipping cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
• Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and arrange scones on the baking sheet. Place baking sheet on center rack and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
* If you make the smaller versions of the scones, you will need to adjust the cooking time to approximately 10 - 12 minutes.
Makes 8 scones
© 2001, Epicurean Exchange. Inspired by the California Culinary Academy recipe
Limoncello originates from Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast areas of Italy. Recently, it has been elevated to become the National Drink of Italy, and is produced throughout the country. Epicurean Exchange has lead several tours of Italy to Tuscany (Central), Piemonte (North), and Puglia and Sicily (South). The food and culture of each region is unique and diverse; based on the history, geography and climate of each. One recipe is ubiquitous, and although varying slightly, recipe-to-recipe, the final product is the same: an intensely-flavored lemon liqueur and digestive that is served very chilled (stored in the freezer) and sipped at the end of a meal, but certainly can be enjoyed anytime! The recipe is simple: alcohol, lemons, water, sugar and time…
3 - 750ml bottles Everclear 75% volume Grain Alcohol (or vodka) – see note below
18 large, organic Eureka lemons, washed and peeled, making sure you only peel the skins and no bitter pith; the peel should be yellow on both sides. (Juice the peeled lemons, and reserve for other purposes)
9 cups water
3 cups granulated sugar
3 - 32-ounce (1 liter) Ball wide mouth glass canning jars for maceration
3 - 34-ounce clear glass bottles with swing tops for storage and service
Makes enough to fill 3 - 34-ounce glass bottles
• Fill the canning jars with the Everclear Grain Alcohol. Add the peels of 6 lemons to each jar. Cover with the lids and gently shake each for a minute or so.
• Place the jars in a cool, dark place for 3 weeks; gently shaking them every couple of days.
• After 3 weeks, make the simple syrup: combine the water and sugar in a stock pot and place over medium heat. As the mixture heats, stir gently and constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
• Strain the alcohol from the lemon peels, using a fine mesh strainer, into the sugar mixture. Keeping the peels in the jar, add a bit of water and shake the peels and again pour off excess. Add the peels to the strainer and press the peels to release as much liquid as possible. Stir the mixture for several minutes to ensure it is well-combined.
• Transfer the finished product to the glass bottles using a funnel. Store bottles in the same cool, dark place for another 2 weeks to allow the flavors to meld and concentrate.
• To serve: chill the bottles in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours before serving. Serve straight up, in small aperitif glasses. Enjoy!
Note: This recipe makes a substantial amount, and assumes you will want to make, store and share the final product. You can reduce the amount by simply dividing this recipe into thirds, or increase to create the desired amount.
© 2018, Epicurean Exchange. Inspired by the research of countless variations
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups frozen, sliced okra
1 medium onion, cut into a 1/2-inch dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into a 1/2-inch dice
1 green bell pepper, cut into a 1/2-inch dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Andouille sausages (Silva brand) or Louisiana hot links, sliced
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons file powder
1 3/4 cups long grain, white rice
2 tablespoons Tony Cachere Creole seasoning (or more depending on personal taste)
2 tablespoons dried thyme
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup clam juice or fish stock
1 – 15 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
• Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the okra and sauté until it looses its “ropiness” and is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
• Meanwhile, in a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers and sausage and sauté until sausage begins to brown, about
6 – 8 minutes. Add garlic and file powder, and cook, stirring frequently, for another 5 minutes.
• Add the rice, Creole spice, and thyme and cook until rice begins to brown and takes on a rich color.
• Add the chicken, chicken stock, clam juice, tomatoes, and okra and increase the heat. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring periodically, until the rice is tender.
• Season to taste with salt and pepper and additional spice seasoning, if necessary. Check consisteny; if too thick, add a bit more water to loosen the rice.
• 5 minutes before serving, add the shrimp. Immerse the shrimp in the rice mixture, cover and cook just 5 minutes more. Serve immediately.
Inspired by my friend, Chef Michele Wilson
One of the most notable things about New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp is that it isn’t grilled. Rather, this decadent Crescent City classic is sautéed in a flavor-packed sauce. In many restaurants, New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp is served with the shrimp heads and shells left on, which further enhances the almost-hedonistic experience.
Butter—and lots of it—forms the basis for the silky, luxurious sauce, and layers of flavor are added with rosemary, garlic, hot sauce, Worcestershire, and beer. The result is bright and spicy, herbaceous and deeply savory, and with one taste, you’ll be hooked.
Invented at Pascal’s Manale—the 100-year-old Uptown New Orleans institution—New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp has grown in popularity to a point where it can be found on many of the city’s best menus. The spices and preparations will vary a bit depending on the chef ’s preferences, but the dish always delivers.
– Louisiana Cookin’ Magazine
2 pounds jumbo or colossal fresh shrimp, heads on
7 cups cold water
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1½ teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
2 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup hot sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup dark or amber beer*
2 loaves French bread, for serving
• Peel shrimp and devein, leaving tails on and reserving the heads and shells. Refrigerate shrimp.
• In a small Dutch oven, add shrimp heads and shells, and cover with 7 cups cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Skim any froth as it rises to the surface. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, and set aside. Reserve 1 cup shrimp stock. Remaining stock can be refrigerated up to 1 week or frozen up to 3 months.
• In a large skillet, melt 5 tablespoons butter over high heat. Add rosemary, pepper, Cajun seasoning, shallot, and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add reserved stock, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and lemon juice. Add shrimp, and cook just until pink and firm.
• Add beer, and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Decrease heat to low, and add remaining 7 tablespoons butter. Gently stir as the butter melts into the sauce and the sauce is emulsified.
• Serve immediately with French bread.
Recipe courtesy of Louisiana Cookin’ Magazine
FURI KNIVES: Engineered for Design, Innovation and Performance
FURI. Chosen by leading chefs, including Chef Charlie of Epicurean Exchange, innovation is their story, and it is built into their DNA and at the core of everything they do. Füri has always had a rebellious instinct to discard old ways and to think differently. For over 20 years, Füri has helped to solve everyday modern problems; the real ones that both home cooks and professionals face in their kitchens.
Established in 1996, designed by Australian engineer and entrepreneur, Mark Henry, international chefs and highly recommended by Chef Charlie and Epicurean Exchange.
The new generation of Füri knives are now available through their new distributor, New Metro Designs. To see the new line of Füri products or to place an order, contact them by phone at (800) 624-1526 or visit their website:
To give you incentive to make these, and how to use the finished product, see the additional photos below: Chicken or Lamb Tagine, Pearl Couscous Salad with Dried Fruits and Goat Cheese with Herbs. For these recipes, contact Chef Charlie at Epicurean Exchange: firstname.lastname@example.org. You have plenty of time, since your lemons have to cure first!
Equipment: 1 liter Le Parfait or Mason canning jar
6 high-quality, medium organic Eureka (not Meyer, sorry) lemons, rinsed
1 cup kosher or sea salt
8 whole cloves
8 cloves garlic, peeled and bruised (smashed lightly with the side of a Chef’s knife)
3 bay leaves
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (and more to cover mixture when finishing)
• Cut the lemons in half through the ‘belly’. Squeeze the juice from half of the lemons and reserve. Put a 1-inch layer of salt in the bottom of your glass jar. In a large bowl, toss all the lemons, 2/3 of the remaining salt, cloves, garlic cloves and bay leaves. Firmly pack the mixture into the jar. Cover with the lemon juice, and top with remaining salt, and 1/2 cup of the olive oil. Cover jar tightly and turn and shake gently to mix and moisten the salt. Turn upright and add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil to cover the lemons, as the mixture will have settled.
• Leave at room temperature. It will take the salt a few days to completely dissolve. Every couple of days, gently turn the jar upside-down and gently shake. Eureka lemons will take approximately 6 to 8 weeks (minimum) to cure. Lemons are ready when the pith and pulp is soft and can EASILY be removed from the rinds with the fingers. Check and if still too firm, replace and re-seal.
• When the lemons are ready, remove the fleshy pulp from the lemon rinds and discard. Rinse the lemon rinds well to remove salt. If not used right away, the rinds can be packed in fresh olive oil for 6 months to one year. Tip: remove all the lemons when they are ready; lemons can be over-cured and will become mushy.
Leah Chase’s Gumbo Z’Herbes
Leah Chase, chef and owner of Dooky Chase’s restaurant, notes that the number of greens in the gumbo indicates the number of friends that Holy Thursday customers will make in the next year. The gumbo features chaurice, which gives it great flavor. This recipe provided by the Southern Food and Beverage Museum on the occasion of Chef Leah’s 95th birthday on January 6, 2018
1 bunch mustard greens
1 bunch collard greens
1 bunch turnip greens
1 bunch watercress greens
1 bunch beet tops
1 bunch carrot tops
1 bunch spinach
½ head of lettuce
½ head of cabbage
2 medium onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
5 tablespoons flour
1 pound smoked sausage
1 pound smoked ham
1 pound brisket, cubed
1 pound stew meat
1 pound hot sausage, chaurice
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon file powder
Steamed rice for serving
Clean greens under cold running water, making sure to pick out bad leaves and rinse away any grit. Chop greens coarsely and place in a 12-quart stock pot with the onions and garlic. Cover with water (about 1 ½ gallons), bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Strain greens and reserve liquid.
Cut all meats, except the chaurice, into bite-size pieces (about 1 inch pieces) and place in a 12-quart stockpot with 2 cups of the reserved liquid. Steam over a high heat for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile cut the chaurice into bite size pieces and place in a skillet over high heat to render, about 10 minutes. Remove the chaurice, keeping the grease in the skillet and set aside.
Blend greens in a food processor until pureed.
Heat the skillet of chaurice grease over high heat and add the flour. Cook roux until flour is cooked, about 5 minutes (does not have to be brown). Pour roux over meat mixture and stir to combine.
Add pureed greens to the meat in the stockpot and 2-quarts of the reserved liquid. Let simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes. Add the chaurice, thyme and cayenne, stir well. Season and simmer for 40 minutes. Stir in the file powder and remove from heat.
Serve over steamed rice.
Makes 8 to 10 servings
Reexamine the notion of salt as a nutritional bad boy: “If you think about salt as a distinctive ingredient, you’ll use it in a purposeful way.” – Mark Bitterman, from his book, Salted
I have cooked professionally for over 20 years; and, yes, as a chef, I have preferences regarding salt use; types of salts; how I use them, and how much. Anyone who has cooked with me knows that I regard salt as essential component of cooking and I salt appropriately to create flavor, depth and balance. I use salts to enhance hidden flavors and essences, balance acidity, and create length and finish (just as you would expect in a fine wine). Do not under-estimate the important use of salt in cooking - it matters, A LOT!
Here are the common salts and how when (and not) to use them:
Table Salt: Otherwise known as iodized salt – common brand: Morton's. This salt is highly refined, concentrated (too finely ground), making it overly salty (and therefore you are more apt to over-season). It also has a chemical - metallic after-taste. Yes, it is iodized, but we can derive this mineral from other foods. Don't rely on salt as your source of iodine; this was important in the 1920's, but issues of low-iodine (Goiter) have stabilized over the years. It only takes 1/2 teaspoon of iodized salt to receive the minimum recommended level. Ocean-caught or ocean-farmed fish and shellfish tend to be naturally rich in iodine. Other good sources include milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, and vegetables grown in iodine-rich soil.
Recommendation: Toss it...now!
Note: Morton's Kosher Salt is not the same as the recommended brand, Diamond Crystal, avoid.
Kosher Salt: Recommended brand, Diamond Crystal. For years, professional chefs have acclaimed this world-class salt for savory cooking. Renowned for its distinctive, coarse texture, the natural flake crystals it can be crumbled between fingertips for perfect, controlled seasoning. It offers great adherence, sticking easily to food, is additive-free, and, has excellent blendability, consistency, and a natural burst of flavor. Harvested from dried sea beds, Diamond Crystal kosher salt is inexpensive (about $3.79 for a 3 lb. box at most supermarkets), pure, consistent, reliable and seasons foods perfectly.
Recommendation: Use this for all your savory cooking needs.
Choose a decorative bowl to place stove side to hold your Diamond Crystal kosher salt for easy access and use, as it doesn't work in traditional salt shakers - the holes are too small. Place on your dining table so guests can add a little pinch, if necessary.
Note: Do not use for baking. Because the kosher salt granules are larger, there is more air space between them, and therefore it doesn't measure accurately in a measuring spoon (for baking, we recommend a fine sea salt - see description below).
Baking Salt: For baking, you need a salt that measures accurately (with a measuring spoon or by weight) and has excellent blendability and consistency. Recommended type and brand: Baleine Fine Sea Salt. "Naturally crystallized by sun and sea breezes in the exclusive, protected Mediterranean Preserve of Aigues-Mortes on the coast of France. Sea salt crystals are ground to a fine texture like table salt so they are ready for any baking recipe."
Recommendation: Use this for all your baking needs.
Finishing Salts: These salts are meant to be sprinkled on at the end of the dish: on a grilled steak, a fresh tomato, green salads, a chocolate chip cookie or as a finish to caramel sauce. These salts can be course or light, have a slight or hearty crunch, and offer the right amount of flavor and texture for a delicious burst to finish an appropriate dish. There are a multitude of finishing salts from a variety of sources and countries (i.e. Himalayan, Celtic, Fleur de Sel, Kala Namak, and Hawaiian). These salts are harvested from caves, the sea, and mountain tops and each has its own flavor, texture and use.
My Preferred Finishing Salt: Fleur de Sel. Literally “flower of salt,” Fleur de Sel is a sea salt hand-harvested from tidal pools off the coast of Brittany, France. Paper-thin salt crystals are delicately drawn from the water’s surface, much like cream is taken from milk. Fleur de Sel retains moisture, and has blue-grey tint, from its high mineral content and oceanic beginnings. Fleur de Sel adds an impressive dash of flavor to meat, seafood, vegetables, salads, and even sweets like chocolate and caramel.
For my taste and purpose, I narrow it to one brand for general finishing: Le Saunier de Camargue. This premium French sea salt comes from the salt marshes of Camargue, a natural region located South of France, between the Mediterranean Sea and the two arms of the Rhône River delta. It is harvested in the traditional manner and contains no additives. Rich in minerals and lower in sodium than regular salt, it is a Chef's delight. Try it on fresh tomatoes, caramel or chocolate for a taste experience that is truly exceptional!
Recommendation: Buy this right away; spend the money here, unless you are planning to travel to Provence in the very near future. This brand of salt can be purchased at supermarkets in Southern France for 1.97 euros; at the touristy French famer's markets for 6.00 euros, or at your neighborhood Safeway for $14.00. It's worth it.
1 medium head cauliflower, florets cut into bite-sized pieces, stems discarded
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Pinch red pepper flakes
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup toasted, coarsely chopped, walnuts
2 tablespoons finely minced Italian parsley
· Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat until frothy. Add the onion and sauté until just tender, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, and sprinkle the mixture with the turmeric, cumin, pepper flakes and salt. Sauté, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes more. Add the chicken broth to form a sauce, stirring until dry ingredients are incorporated. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
· Meanwhile, steam the cauliflower for 3 minutes. Remove the florets from the steamer, add to the sauce and stir to coat cauliflower. Cover and cook for 5 minutes until the cauliflower is soft.
· Uncover, raise the heat to high, and cook for another few minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce. Add the walnuts and parsley. Adjust seasoning and serve immediately.
© 2008, Epicurean Exchange. All rights reserved
For the Root Vegetables:
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
1 medium golden beet, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
10 small Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Preheat oven to 400˚F.
• Place the cut vegetables on a foil-covered sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss until well-coated and spread out into a single layer.
• Place sheet pan on the top rack of the oven and roast for approximately 30 minutes, tossing once during roasting, until tender and lightly browned.
• Serve warm with a dollop of herbed aïoli.
For the Herbed Aïoli:
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons Maille-brand Dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
• Whisk together the egg yolk, mustard and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until an emulsion is formed.
• Slowly, drop by drop, add the oil to the emulsion, whisking vigorously and constantly. Continue adding the oil in a steady stream until all the oil has been incorporated.
• Add the minced garlic, thyme, lemon juice and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Makes 1 cup
© 2002, Epicurean Exchange. All rights reserved
The chopped salad has become a popular presentation with countless components and flavorings. This is a great personal favorite, and as a seasonal salad, the ingredients can be adjusted to the season and individual preference. The “chopped” part is essential: 1/4 to 1/2-inch sized pieces of all the ingredients will allow for the dressing to surround all the elements and flavor everything evenly; and, when the salad is eaten, all the ingredients and flavors are enjoyed together. All the ingredients can be cut ahead and chilled until service. The olive oil and vinegar are from our friends at Amphora Nueva in Lafayette. Nate, the owner and his staff, offer a large selection of flavored oils and vinegars to pair with your culinary needs. Dress lightly and season with salt and pepper just prior to service to avoid the salad getting too soft.
For the Salad:
1 head romaine lettuce, leaves rinsed, dried and chopped
2 cups wild arugula, chopped
1/2 small head radicchio, chopped
1/2 small red onion, cut into a 1/4-inch dice
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 Granny Smith apple, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 Crimson pear, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 Fuyu persimmon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
For the Vinaigrette (Makes about 1/4 cup):
2 tablespoons Amphora Cranberry – Pear OR Pomegranate – Qunice white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Amphora extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste
• Combine all the salad components in a large bowl and set aside.
• For the Vinaigrette: Combine all the ingredients in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake the dressing vigorously until well combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.
• Add the dressing on the salad and toss until coated. Taste, adjust seasoning or add more oil and vinegar, to taste. Careful not to over-dress.
Serves 4 - 6
© 2014, Epicurean Exchange. All rights reserved
To Boil the Eggs:
If the eggs are cold, place the eggs in a bowl of lukewarm water for 5 minutes. Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Using a large strainer, gently place all the eggs in the water. Reduce heat to a simmer and start a timer for 11 minutes. Once the eggs have cooked, pour off hot water and replace with cold tap water two or three times, then let eggs rest in cold water until cool.
For the Egg Salad:
6 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled
2 tablespoons Best Foods Real mayonnaise
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Maille Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Artisan baguette, cut into 1/2-inch, thick rounds
• Chop the eggs into large chucks, about 6 - 8 pieces per egg. Place in a medium bowl.
• In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, olive oil, mustard and season with salt and pepper.
• Add the dressing to the chopped eggs and gently fold to combine.
• To serve, place a heaping portion of the egg salad on the sliced bread. Finish with a great finishing salt (i.e. French grey sea salt) and freshly cracked black pepper.
4 whole duck legs (legs and thighs together)
2 teaspoons ground allspice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock, divided
1/2 pound thick cut bacon, cut into 1-inch x 1/4-inch lengths
1/2 pound mild Italian sausage, crumbled
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, cut into 1/2 - inch dice
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 - inch pieces
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2 - pieces
1 1/2 cups dry cannellini beans or 1 – 15 ounce can cooked beans, drained
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley, 1 tablespoon reserved for garnish
1 – 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water for a slurry (to thicken sauce, if necessary)
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
• A night ahead, soak the beans in a stockpot covered with a liberal amount of water for 10 – 12 hours. The next day, place the soaked beans over medium-high heat. Add enough water to cover by 3 to 4 inches. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 – 1 ½ hours or until the beans are cooked to a preferred doneness. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature (do not drain).
• Place the duck legs in a bowl, and season with the kosher salt, pepper and allspice. In a braising pan or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the duck legs, skin-side down in a single layer. Reduce the heat to medium, and sear for 4 – 5 minutes until well-browned. Turn the duck and brown the other side, another 3 – 4 minutes. Add enough stock to cover duck legs; cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until all the fat has been rendered and the meat is pulling away from the bones, 20 - 30 minutes. Remove the duck to a plate and remove the broth from the pan and set aside. While the duck is cooking, in a separate skillet, brown the bacon, until crisp, but still tender. Remove the fat from the pan and reserve. Repeat with the sausage. Drain the sausage, removing the rendered fat and set aside.
• Return to the Dutch oven. Increase heat to medium-high and add 3 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat. Add the onions and bay leaves, and sauté for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions, and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the wine to deglaze, scraping all bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
• For the duck legs, remove the skin (and discard), and remove the meat from the legs into bite-sized pieces. Place the duck bones back to the pan. Add the carrots, celery, reserved and remaining chicken broth, and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 10 - 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
• Remove the duck bones and bay leaves. Add the duck pieces, bacon, sausage, beans, and chopped parsley, and cover to warm through, about 5 minutes. Check consistency and whisk in the slurry, if necessary. Taste the broth, and adjust seasoning with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, as necessary. Serve topped with the bread crumbs and garnished with minced parsley.
Serves 4 - 6
© 2013, Epicurean Exchange. All rights reserved
CHEF CHARLIE'S BLOG
Chef Charlie is a Bay Area chef, culinary food educator, lifestyle coach, food enthusiast and culinary travel guide, who is fascinated by the interplay of food and culture.