Because good food makes people happy, that’s why…

Desserts / June 26, 2014

I went to see the movie, “Chef,” the other night. And I fell in love with its simplicity and heart-warming message. Not to mention the dozens of scenes that featured the most beautiful food, artfully composed plates, and a truly charming cast.

Authentic is the word that comes to mind first when I think of a movie like this. Pure, honest, and entertaining because at its core it showcased what people are like who love what they do and do it well. Just what a meal should be.

It reminded me, that when I want to feel complete, harmonious, and at peace, I COOK. What makes it worthwhile? When you please the people at your table. That’s all, That’s what matters. End of story.

Like the movie says, “what I do touches people’s lives.”

Enjoy this feast for the eyes and the palate!


Drunken Figs Two Ways:

Serves 4


Ingredients:

8–12 small to medium fresh ripe figs, washed, and cut in half and put into a bowl. Enough Grand Marnier liquor to cover the figs. About 1 C and then reserve about 3 to 4 T after for garnish and to flavor the pies.

1 C blueberries
1/3 C sugar plus 4–5 T sugar
2 T brown sugar
1/3 + C ricotta cheese (park skim is fine)
3/4 package cream cheese, softened
1 C whipped heavy cream (1 C “after” being whipped)
2 ½ t vanilla divided
Zest from one lemon
1 T lemon juic e (fresh squeezed only)
Pie crust mix for one crust
Coarse raw sugar for garnish
A bit of Himalayan or pink sea salt to garnish
1 egg whisked for egg wash
Butter and flour for the cookie sheet


Directions:

  • Place cut figs in a bowl with the Grand Marnier. Let sit overnight, up to 24 hours. Drain and take 1 of the nicest figs and quarter. You will use these as the “floating” figs. You can keep then in the liquor until you next them atop the custard. With the remaining figs, dice into small pieces about the size of blueberries, and place in a bowl. Add the blueberries, the zest, the lemon juice, 1 t of the vanilla,4–5 T of sugar of the sugar, 2 T brown sugar and stir with spoon, being careful not to hurt the blueberries. Let sit for about 30 minutes to 3 hours.
  • Then, roll out your pastry dough. Cut into 4, 6” squares. Place a small amount of the fruit mixture in the center of each square. Bring the corners over to make a triangle and seal the edged firmly. Place on a buttered and floured baking sheet. Cut three slits in each hand pie, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with coarse, raw sugar. Cook at 375 for 35 minutes. Remove when browned. Let cool.

Pork Loin with Cranberry Port Wine Reduction

With prosciutto wrapped Yukon potatoes, and warm spinach and pine nut salad

Serves 4


Instructions for FULL MEAL:

For Pork:

At least a 3 point pork loin.
Remove the silver, and then cut into filets about 1 ½ inches thick.
Pat dry and make sure they’re room temperature before cooking.
½ to ¾ C port wine
¾ C craisins
¼ medium white sweet onion cut onto paper thin slices
¼ C heavy cream
2 large garlic cloves chopped fine
Nice olive oil. You’ll need about
6 T or so.
3 T butter
Salt and Pepper


Direction:

  • Heat a large pan and add 3 T oil. Sauté the onion and garlic for about 2 minutes until transparent.Don’t let the garlic burn. Remove and set aside. Add a bit more oil and then place meat in pan and sear on each side, until caramelized, about 3 minutes of each side. Then remove the meat. Add the port wine to the hot pan,and the craisins and let reduce for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the onions and garlic back in, salt and pepper generously, and then reduce heat to low and add the meat back in. push around a bit in the sauce so they’re all well within the sauce. Cover and let finish cooking for about 5 minutes on low. Remove lid and then add butter, stir until melted, and it’s ready to serve.

For The Yukons :
  • Take about 16 small sized potatoes, wash and par boil for about 5 minutes. Immerse in cool water to stop cooking.Let cool for about ½ an hour. Pat dry. Toss with about 2 T olive oil and coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.Using good prosciutto, wrap each potato around the belly part of the tater with a strip of prosciutto. Place them on a cookie sheet with some of the residual olive oil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes until the skin looks a little wrinkled and the prosciutto is done but not too crisp

For The Warm Spinach Salad:
  • Take a large package of washed spinach. About 8 cups. Make sure it’s dry. In a sauce pan, heat 2 T of olive oil and cook 2 large cloves of chopped fresh garlic and a handful of pine nuts, for about 30 seconds. Lower heat and put all the spinach in the pan. You’ll need a deep pan to hold all the spinach but it will reduce down in a flash! Then add about 2 T fine red wine vinegar and some salt and pepper. With tongs, toss a bit to get the spinach covered with the oil and vinegar and garlic while it wilts. Do that for only about 15 seconds. Then take off the heat and cover. In about a minute it will be ready.

To Plate:
  • Take some of the spinach and lay down first. Put two to three of the small potatoes on top. Then arrange the small filets, about three of them, next to the potatoes. Pour the sauce over the meat and a little over the potatoes and around the plate to make it pretty


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