Panini di Lampredotto

Panini di Lampredotto~Chef and a Baker
Welcome to Florence, the romantic and historical capital of the Tuscany region of Italy. In Florence Italian food isn’t what you’d expect “Italian food” to be.  
Italy in its diverse 20 regions have a distinctly different cuisine and Tuscany is by far no exception. The food is abundant with local produce, grilled meats and mellow cheeses. White beans, bread (well baked with a nice, light and airy crust), sage and extra virgin olive oil are the staples of the Tuscan table.  
The home of Chianti wine, Florentine cuisine is lively, flexible and vibrant.  
Foodie Travel, Florence Italy~Chef and a Baker
Foodie Travel, Florence Italy~Chef and a Baker
Florence, in my oh so humble opinion is where some of the best Italian dishes come from. This region offers a large selection of traditional delicacies to choose from.
The most common panini you’ll find in the food stalls and street kiosks is definitely the panini de lampredotto. Most Florentine dishes are made all over Italy but  the lampredotto is difficult to find outside of Florence where it is the king of the street food.
Panini di Lampredotto
 
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The most common you'll find in the food stalls and street kiosks is definitely the panini de lampredotto. Most Florentine dishes are made all over Italy but the lampredotto is difficult to find outside of Florence where it is the king of the street food.
Chef and a Baker:
Recipe type: sandwich
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds of abomasum tripe (lampredotto)
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • salt to taste
  • For the salsa verde:
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • A single parsely bunch
  • A small bunch of basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons of rinsed capers
  • A squirt of lemon juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. The Broth:
  2. Chop the vegetables roughly and add them to a pot of boiling water with the salt and peppercorns.
  3. Bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about half an hour.
  4. When the vegetables have softened you can add the lampredotto and cook it until it softens up with the lid closed. The cooking time can cary anywhere up to an hour. You'll have to keep checking to make sure that it's ready.
  5. Make sure that the level of water is always higher than the lampredotto so that it cooks entirely. You may need to add water in order to keep it that way. You can turn off the heat when the lampredotto is ready but keep it submerged in the warm broth until you are ready for the next step.
  6. The Salsa Verde:
  7. Chop all the vegetables together with the anchovies until they are finely chopped. You can use a knife for this part but a food processor will save you time and give it a nice consistency. Mix the chopped vegetables and anchovies together with olive oil and lemon juice to make it bind. You'll know it is ready when it has a green paste-like consistency.
  8. Taste the salsa to see if any spices need to be added. Everyone has their preferences however as this is an Italian dish, you want to err on the side of too much herbs rather than too little. Parsely is the main ingredient so be generous with your portions. Salt and pepper will bring out the rest of the flavor.
  9. Putting the Panini Together:
  10. Now that you have the constituent parts ready you can bring them all together. When panini de lampredotto is made on the streets of Italy, the cooks like to bring a little flair into this part and entertain their patrons.
  11. Take a large piece of softened lamredotto out of the broth pot and chop up enough of it to place onto the panini.
  12. Split open a bread roll and take some out of the middle to make more room for the filling.
  13. Heap a spoonful of the salsa verde onto the filling and season it with more salt and pepper.
  14. Depending on how the customer wants it, you can dip the filled lampredottaio into the broth to soak up the juices then serve it wrapped in a napkin, ready to eat.
Panini di Lampredotto~Chef and a Baker
Panini di Lampredotto~Chef and a Baker

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Wild Albacore & Hamachi Poke with Tropical Fruit Slaw

Wild Alabacore & Hamachi Poke w/ Tropical Fruit Slaw
It’s time for one the premier culinary events in Utah, and for this event I’ll be submitting my Wild Albacore & Hamachi Poke with Tropical Fruit Slaw.
I’ll have to have over 1200 one ounce portions ready by Sunday morning. My knife hand is already trembling with all that cutting and chopping that I need to do. . .
UPDATE: The Event was a huge hit.  My assistant Edgar and I served over 800 portions of poke. Lots of attention and compliments on the dish, which only serves to feed my ever growing ego (or confidence ) depending on how you look at it.
I wanted to make this colorful and fresh to echo my view of summer. The key to making this memorable and delicious is most definitely the quality of the fish.
Taste of the Wasatch 2017
Taste of the Wasatch 2017
Wild Alabacore & Hamachi Poke with Tropical Fruit Slaw
 
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Chef and a Baker:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 15
Ingredients
  • Poke:
  • 2 ounces raw sashimi-grade hamachi and albacore tuna, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 3 ounces pickled red onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 3 English cucumbers peeled and seeded if skin or seeds are tough, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 fresno chili, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon white and black sesame seeds
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce, more or less to taste
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, more or less to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tropical Slaw:
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces fresh pineapple, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 large, ripe mango, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ½ head red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 3 green onions, green and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Instructions
  1. Poke:
  2. Combine hamachi, albacore, onion, cucumber, lemon zest and EVOO in a bowl.
  3. Add sesame oil, soy sauce, with salt to taste.
  4. Finish with sesame seeds, puffed rice, fresno chili and a squeeze of soy sauce and sesame oil.
  5. Tropical slaw:
  6. Combine the cider vinegar, canola oil, sugar and some salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves.
  7. Combine the pineapple, mango and red cabbage in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, add the dressing and toss to coat. Add the green onions and cilantro and toss again. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Wild Albacore & Hamachi Poke with Tropical Fruit Slaw~Chef and a Baker
Wild Albacore & Hamachi Poke with Tropical Fruit Slaw~Chef and a Baker

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Heirloom Melon & Watercress Salad

Heirloom Melon & Watercress Salad~Chef and a Baker
It’s summer here in Park City, Utah.
The farmers markets are in full swing and the produce coming from all over the state is incredibly fresh and looks amazing. This melon salad is perfect for a fresh way to use melons and berries. The living watercress and spicy arugula give it a spicy and peppery additional layer.
This is not a complicated melon salad but it has a few components to make it more interesting than just a run o’ the mill fruit salad.
This is a refreshing blend of heirloom melons, watercress, arugula, feta cheese and berries. A lemonade vinaigrette rounds out this summertime blend of fresh melons and berries.

 

Heirloom Melon & Watercress Salad
 
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This is a refreshing blend of heirloom melons, watercress, arugula, feta cheese and berries. A lemonade vinaigrette rounds out this summertime blend of fresh melons and berries.
Chef and a Baker:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 3 heirloom melons, cut into bite sized dice (I like to have at least 3 different colors.)
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • handful of blueberries
  • handful of raspberries
  • chunk of feta cheese
  • salt
  • Lemonade Vinaigrette:
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
  • ¼ cup white-wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Lemonade Vinaigrette:
  2. In a medium bowl or jar, combine lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, coarse salt, and ground pepper. Whisk, or cover and shake, until salt and sugar have dissolved. Add oil; whisk or shake until thoroughly combined.
  3. In a bowl combine arugula, watercress and melons.
  4. Add salt and lemonade vinaigrette and mix well.
  5. To plate, add berries and large chunks of feta

 

 

Heirloom Melon & Watercress Salad~Chef and a Baker
Heirloom Melon & Watercress Salad~Chef and a Baker

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Chef and a Baker
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Crab Cake Benedict

Crab Cake Benedict~Chef and a Baker
This crab cake is a fun twist to a classic eggs Benedict.
In this recipe, we’re going to make our own English muffins. We’ll make our crab cakes using a Zabaione as opposed to just mayonnaise and we’re going to make a blender avocado hollandaise using fresh avocados instead of egg yolks.
For our eggs we’re going to sous vide them to bring them to a perfect poached state.  It’s really quite magical to see the immersion circulator cook the eggs, and after when you crack them open and see a perfect poached egg.
Don’t worry, if you don’t have a sous vide you can still poach them the old fashioned way on the stove top.

Crab Cake Benedict
 
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This is a fun twist to a classic eggs Benedict. In this recipe, we're going to make our own English muffins. We'll make our crab cakes using a sabayon as opposed to just mayonnaise and we're going to make a blender avocado hollandaise using fresh avocados instead of egg yolks.
Chef and a Baker:
Recipe type: Brunch
Cuisine: French
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • Crab Cakes:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ cup small diced red onion (1 small onion)
  • 1½ cups small diced celery (4 stalks)
  • ½ cup small diced red bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • ½ cup small diced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • ¼ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • ¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ pound lump crabmeat, drained and picked to remove shells
  • ½ cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • ½ cup good mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • For frying
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup Zabione
  • Zabione:
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • ½ limoncello
  • 1 tablespoon Crème fraîche
  • Avocado Hollandaise:
  • 2 very ripe medium Hass avocado, peeled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • English Muffins:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Sous Vide Eggs:
  • 1 dozen eggs
Instructions
  1. Crab Cakes:
  2. Place the 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons oil, onion, celery, red and yellow bell peppers, parsley, capers, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, crab boil seasoning, salt, and pepper in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, break the lump crabmeat into small pieces and toss with the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, and eggs. Add the cooked mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Shape into bite-sized crab cakes.
  3. Heat the butter and olive oil for frying over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the crab cakes and fry for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until browned. Drain on paper towels; keep them warm in a 250 degree oven and serve hot.
  4. Zabione:
  5. Set up a double boiler. In the top bowl combine the egg yolks, sugar, and limoncello. Whisk until well blended. Gently boil the water in the bottom insert of the double boiler and mix vigorously until it starts to thicken and become foamy. This should take around 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and let cool down to room temperature. Add the Crème fraîche and whisk until the the consistency is thick and custard-like. You should easily be able to coat the back of a spoon.
  7. Avocado Hollandaise:
  8. In a blender, combine the avocado and lemon juice with ⅓ cup of hot water. Puree until smooth and light in texture, about 2 minutes, scraping down the side of the bowl occasionally. With the machine on, drizzle in the olive oil and puree until combined.
  9. English Muffins:
  10. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Let cool until lukewarm. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  11. In a large bowl, combine the milk, yeast mixture, shortening and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Add salt and rest of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Knead. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise.
  12. Punch down. Roll out to about ½ inch thick. Cut rounds with biscuit cutter, drinking glass, or empty tuna can. Sprinkle waxed paper with cornmeal and set the rounds on this to rise. Dust tops of muffins with cornmeal also. Cover and let rise ½ hour.
  13. Sous Vide Eggs:
  14. Place eggs in sous vide or immersion circulator at 147 degrees for at least 45 minutes.

 

Crab Cake Benedict~Chef and a Baker
Crab Cake Benedict~Chef and a Baker

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Sweet and Savory Crêpes

Sweet and Savory Crêpes~Chef and a Baker
While visiting Paris last May, Audrey and I happened to take a trip down to see the Eiffel tower, of course.
While we were there we walked up on a little sweet and savory crepe stand and we had some lunch. We loved how authentic they were and with all of the endless variations available to use, we decided that this would be a great idea to recreate back home.
We made this version with old fashioned ham and gruyere, and a tarragon béchamel sauce for the savory crepe, and a fresh fig and double cream brie with a preserved walnut oil and orange drizzle for the sweet crepe.
This is a very easy and delicious way to have your own sweet and savory crepes at home which would be perfect for Sunday brunch or breakfast anytime of the year.
Sweet and Savory Crêpes
 
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We made this version with old fashioned ham and gruyere, and a tarragon béchamel sauce for the savory crepe, and a fresh fig and double cream brie with a preserved walnut oil and orange drizzle for the sweet crepe.
Chef and a Baker:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: French
Serves: 35
Ingredients
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 20 whole eggs
  • 5 cups AP flour
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ cups melted butter
  • 2 cups shredded gruyere
  • 2 cups cubed old fashioned ham
  • 2 cups fresh figs diced
  • 2 cups double cream brie cheese
  • 1 bunch tarragon chopped
  • 2 cups béchamel sauce
  • 2 cups of sliced fresh strawberries
Instructions
  1. Mix milk, eggs, flour, water, sugar, salt and butter in a bowl with a whisk or in a blender.
  2. In a large skillet or on a griddle at 300 degrees fahrenheit, pour half a cup of crepe batter and spread with a mini offset spatula or crepe spreader in a circle as thin as you can get it without tearing the crepe
  3. Grab a small handful of diced ham and put it on the griddle to heat up
  4. With a long spatula check the color of the underside of the crepes, once there’s a little bit of color go ahead and flip it over.
  5. For the sweet crepe lay out some brie on half of a crepe, and for the savory crepe lay out some gruyere on half of a crepe
  6. Once the cheese is melted place the figs on the crepe with the brie and the ham on the crepe with the gruyere, remember to place the figs and ham on a quarter of the crepe with cheese beneath it
  7. With your long spatula fold the crepes in half and then in half again
  8. Place on your plate and garnish the sweet crepes with your preserved walnut oil and orange drizzle and add your fresh tarragon to your already hot and made béchamel sauce
Sweet and Savory Crepes~Chef and a Baker
Sweet and Savory Crepes~Chef and a Baker

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Drunken Cherry Bread Pudding

Drunken Cherry Bread Pudding ~ Chef and a Baker
Bread pudding is a great way to use up old dry bread or bread that was stashed in the freezer because you didn’t want to throw it out.
Just make sure it’s not moldy or you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise.
This bread pudding has been marinated in brandy and rum (cherries love booze), and it comes with a decadent and mouth popping sauce.

Drunken Cherry Bread Pudding
 
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This bread pudding has been marinated in brandy and rum (cherries love boos), and it comes with a decadent and mouth popping sauce.
Chef and a Baker:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • Bread, cut to 1" cubes and set out to dry some. (1 lb)
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon Almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted, plus for greasing baking dish
  • 2 cups milk
  • ⅓ cup bourbon
  • 4 cups pitted tart red cherries (fresh or frozen)
  • Liquid mixture from drained cherries
  • Butter (3 tbls)
  • Powdered sugar (3 Tbs)
  • Rum or liquor of choice (1 big splash)
Instructions
  1. To marinate the cherries pit fresh cherries and soak at least 12 hour up to 60 hours in 25%:25%:50% water/simple syrup/liquor mixture. Enough liquid that they are all submerged. I used mostly brandy with some grand marnier . Also add some orange zest if you want.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, melted butter, milk and ⅓ cup brandy; mix thoroughly, then mix in the cubed bread making sure all are coated. Soak for at least 90 minutes and up to 24 hours. Gently fold in the cherries.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and position a rack in the center of the oven. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with butter and set aside.
  4. Drain the marinated cherries making sure to save the liquid. Fold the cherries into the bread mixture careful not to tear or mash the bread cubes, but still disperse the cherries evenly.
  5. Transfer to the prepared baking dish
  6. Place in the oven and bake until puffed and golden brown on top, about 45 minutes. Set aside and let cool completely.
  7. Cherry Sauce: Take the marinade from the drained cherries and reduce it on low heat to a third of the volume. Add 3 Tbs butter and 3 Tbs powdered sugar. Once cooled from hot to warm add more liquor if desired (I used a splash of rum) so not all alcohol has been cooked out
  8. Pour on top of baked dish of bread pudding or on top of individual servings

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Grand Marnier Soufflé Recipe

The New Classic French Grand Marnier Soufflé Recipe~Chef and a Baker
A soufflé is an airy concoction leavened by beaten egg whites and oven heat. This is a fun one to try and is not exactly super easy but if you like a challenge, give this one a shot.
Soufflés should be served directly from the oven, before they have any chance to deflate. The soufflé dish, a ceramic dish with tall, straight sides, is usually greased and then dusted with sugar (or, for savory soufflés, bread crumbs) to help the batter “climb” the sides of the dish.
Grand Marnier Soufflé
 
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A soufflé is an airy concoction leavened by beaten egg whites and oven heat. This is a fun one to try and is not exactly super easy but if you like a challenge, give this one a shot.
Chef and a Baker:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. To make the pastry cream, in a saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until small bubbles appear along the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, ⅓ cup of the sugar, the flour, orange zest and salt until pale and well blended. While whisking, slowly add the hot milk.
  3. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the liqueur and vanilla.
  4. Pour the pastry cream into a large bowl and gently press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool to room temperature or refrigerate until ready to bake.
  5. Preheat an oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a 6-cup soufflé dish and dust with sugar.
  6. Remove the plastic wrap from the pastry cream and whisk until smooth. In a deep, spotlessly clean bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they are foamy and soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. While beating, gradually add the remaining ⅓ cup sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
  7. Scoop about one-fourth of the egg whites onto the pastry cream and, using a rubber spatula, fold in gently to lighten the mixture. Then fold in the remaining whites just until no white streaks remain. Scoop into the prepared dish. Run a thumb around the inside rim of the dish to keep the batter from sticking and help the soufflé rise.
  8. Bake until the soufflé is puffed and the top is browned, but the soufflé still jiggles slightly when the dish is gently shaken, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately with the crème anglaise. Serves 6 to 8.
Notes:
For some high-rising soufflés, a collar is fashioned out of parchment paper to give more support.
Recipe credit~ Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Dessert, by Abigail Johnson Dodge

 

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Creamy Asparagus Soup

Creamy Asparagus Soup, Delicious and Nutritious ~Chef and a Baker
Yes, eating asparagus does make your pee smell.
But once you’re past that, there are plenty of reasons au mangent on this spring superfood.  On our recent trip to France we were able to see many clever uses and variations of asparagus.
It’s also packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. Thanks to all these nutrients, asparagus offers some serious health perks.
Not to mention it just tastes great in a nice, light and refreshing spring time soup.
Creamy Asparagus Soup
 
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Crème d'asperges (Asparagus soup) tastes great in a nice, light and refreshing spring time soup.
Chef and a Baker:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: French
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds green asparagus
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 to 6 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut tips from 12 asparagus
  2. /2 inches from top and halve tips lengthwise if thick. Reserve for garnish.
  3. Cut stalks and all remaining asparagus into ½-inch pieces.
  4. Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add asparagus pieces and salt and pepper to taste, then cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add 5 cups broth and simmer, covered, until asparagus is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. While soup simmers, cook reserved asparagus tips in boiling salted water until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes, then drain.
  6. Purée soup in batches in a blender until smooth, transferring to a bowl (use caution when blending hot liquids), and return to pan. Stir in crème fraîche, then add more broth to thin soup to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil and whisk in remaining tablespoon butter.
  7. Add lemon juice and garnish with asparagus tips
Notes:
Recipe adapted from Epicurious
Creamy asparagus soup keeps, covered and chilled, 2 days. If making ahead, add last tablespoon butter and lemon juice after reheating.

 

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Roasted Garlic Baba Ganoush

Roasted Garlic Baba Ganoush Recipe ~Chef and a Baker
This baba ganoush recipe is a great way to introduce and ultimately make anyone fall in love with Middle Eastern cuisine, even if they’re a little scared of trying something new.
Traditionally it’s just made with eggplant that’s been fire roasted (either on a hot grill or under a broiler) to the point of a nice creamy golden brown, with tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt.
I like to add another flavor dimension with some roasted garlic, vinegar and serve it as an appetizer with a French baguette that’s been cut into crostinis’ and baked for a nice crispy crunch to highlight the creamy texture of the eggplant.
I’ll also generally serve it cold or at room temperature.
Roasted Garlic Baba Ganoush
 
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This dish is a great way to introduce and ultimately make anyone fall in love with Middle Eastern cuisine, even if they're a little scared of trying something new. Traditionally it’s just made with eggplant that’s been fire roasted (either on a hot grill or under a broiler) to the point of a nice creamy golden brown, with tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt.
Chef and a Baker:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 3  large and fresh eggplants
  • 1 large head of  garlic, roasted in olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp Tahini
  • Fleur de sel to taste
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 fresh baguettes
  • 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to high broil and position a rack at the top of the oven.
  2. Slice your eggplant into ¼ inch rounds and sprinkle with sea salt and place in a colander in the sink to drain any excess liquid. After 10 minutes, rinse slightly and then pat dry between two towels.
  3. Arrange on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of fleur de sel salt. Roast for 5-10 minutes, turning once or twice, until the eggplant is softened and golden brown. Remove from pan, stack and wrap the rounds in foil to lock in moisture – wait 5 minutes.
  4. Cut baguette into crostinis' and season with the roasted garlic oil and some fleur de sel. Bake in oven until golden brown and a until crunchy.
  5. Peel away most of the skin of the eggplant (a little is OK) and add flesh to a food processor. It should be soft and tender and the skin should come off easy.
  6. Add lemon juice, garlic, tahini, vinegar, a pinch of salt and mix until creamy. Add herbs last and pulse to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added a bit more tahini, lemon juice and another pinch of salt.
  7. Garnish with fresh parsley, the remaining roasted garlic (minced) and a drizzle of Extra virgin olive oil
  8. Serve with fresh sliced baguette cut on a bias into crostinis' and/or pita chips.
A great idea would be to have a Turkish inspired dinner and to use this baba ganoush recipe as an appetizer, with some fresh toasted and tasty French baguette or pita chips.

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The Best Pizza Dough

Learn How to Make the Best Pizza Dough~Chef and a Baker
I used to be a big believer about the best pizza dough being related to the water that you use. Being from New England originally and then starting my culinary travels eating pizza everywhere from Sicily to the Philippines, I’ve changed my mind somewhat.
(Sorry, New York).
I’ve found that by using warm water and combining two types of flours will give the dough that chewy, toothsome quality that really elevates an ordinary pizza dough.
Semolina flour, a hard durum wheat with a yellow coarseness to it, gives a nice texture to the dough. While the glutenous bread flour not only gives the dough it’s bread-like quality it also helps it to rise.
The Best Pizza Dough
 
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Semolina flour, a hard durum wheat with a yellow coarseness to it, gives a nice texture to the dough. While the glutenous bread flour not only gives the dough it's bread-like quality it also helps it to rise.
Chef and a Baker:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1.5 Cups warm water ( try to get it at 110 F)
  • ¼ ounce yeast packet of active dry yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons of of Olive oil
  • 2½ Cups white bread flour
  • 1 Cup Semolina flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
Instructions
  1. Pour the warm water into a large measuring cup, stir in the yeast and olive oil and let sit for a few minutes or until the mixture begins to bubble. On a clean surface mix together both flours and the salt and form a large well in the middle.
  2. Once the yeast is ready, carefully pour it into the well and using a fork bring the flour into the well  to incorporate it. Continue this process until the center is no longer runny and then bring the rest of the dough together until well incorporated and smooth. You could also use the food processor by combining the wet and dry ingredients together and pulsing until smooth.
  3. Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl and cover with a warm damp cloth. Place the bowl in a warm room for about an hour and a half, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Remove the the dough from the bowl and place on a flour dusted surface. Knead with with your hands to extract the air and divide into two balls. Roll them out into the recipe of your choice (more to follow)
  5. You can make the pizza dough out a day ahead but make sure you wrap it in plastic and refrigerate it. Then you'll want to roll the dough out just before cooking.

 

 

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