ingredients: Cinnamon stick, herbs, chili powder, liquor, orange zest, sea salt
Dipping Treat Ingredients:
Fruits and Berries
cut into cubes
the cream and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute. Add flavoring of choice
and allow to infuse for 2 minutes. Add the chopped chocolate to a bowl and pour
the warm cream over the chocolate. Whisk
until the mixture is silky, smooth and shiny. Pour the ganache into a bowl and
serve with dipping treats of your choice.
may be made ahead of time and refrigerate until needed. To reheat, warm on low power in microwave.
C pineapple, peeled, cored and cut
into ½” chunks
T olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
t granulated sugar
1-2 T Siracha (more or less to your taste) *Siracha is a
smooth & spicy red chili paste in
the squeeze bottle with the rooster label and green
top found in all grocery stores
T cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
# shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 corn tortillas, warmed
Avocado, red onion, cilantro, lime and
sour cream for serving
Special Equipment – 1 heavy duty rimmed
Heat broiler with oven rack in position
Toss pineapple in 1 T olive oil on sheet
pan and arrange in a single layer on half of rimmed baking pan. Broil until
lightly charred around the edges, 6-8 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine shrimp with remaining
2T olive oil, Worcestershire, sugar, garlic, and Siracha. Toss until shrimp are
evenly coated. Remove sheet pan from broiler and turn pineapple chunks over
using a metal spatula. Drain marinade
from shrimp and place in a single layer on the empty half of the baking sheet. Broil
until shrimp are cooked through and lightly charred, 1-2 minutes. Take care not
to overcook the shrimp. The sheet pan
will be smoking hot when you add the shrimp, so they will cook from the bottom
as well as from the broiler heat above.
It should only take a minute or two.
Remove from broiler and top with a
squeeze of lime juice and chopped cilantro.
Serve with avocado, cilantro, lime wedges, and warmed corn
tortillas. Additional toppings – pickled
red onion, sour cream and pico de gallo may also be used if desired.
¼ C white wine (optional) or equivalent amount of water
1 t saffron threads, crushed
¼ C parsley, chopped
Lemon wedges and minced parsley for serving
Break pasta into 2” lengths by wrapping in plastic film and
breaking against the edge of a counter.
Heat 1T of olive oil in pan over medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until lightly browned
and cooked through. Transfer sausage to
a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium.
In the same skillet, toast broken vermicelli, stirring frequently,
until lightly browned and toasted. Watch
carefully as the vermicelli can burn quickly.
Transfer vermicelli to a plate and set aside.
Using the same skillet, add the onion and cook until the onion has
softened slightly. Add garlic, tomato
paste and scallions, and cook until fragrant.
Stir in diced tomatoes, clam juice, stock, wine and crushed saffron. Bring to a low boil.
Return the toasted vermicelli and the sausage to the skillet. Cook for 6-8 minutes. Arrange clams, hinged side down, into the
vermicelli. Cover and simmer for 6
minutes. Add shrimp to pan, cover again
and cook until clams have opened and shrimp is cooked through. Depending on how
much liquid the clams release you may need to add a little more water to
When most of the liquid had been absorbed, sprinkle the peas and
diced red pepper over the top of the fideos.
Sprinkle with minced parsley.
Serve with lemon wedges
*Chef notes – If you are using bivalves like mussels or clams be
sure to clean them with a stiff brush under running water before adding them to
the dish. Any that are not closed – or don’t close when tapped – need to be
discarded. When adding them to the pan, nestle them in the simmering noodles
hinged side down. Once added, cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. Bivalves
cook when the hot steam produced from the simmering liquid is trapped in the
pan, so do your best not to remove the lid too frequently. I usually check progress once after about 7-8
minutes. When cooked, they should be open – unopened ones should be discarded –
they are duds. (I know this is the exact opposite of what you did before you
cooked them.) Finally, I add clam juice in the recipe to enhance the briny
flavor of the seafood. You don’t have to use it, but if you’d like to, it can
be found in most grocery stores near the canned tuna fish. Costco carries a
reasonably priced saffron or reasonable quality in their baking/spice section.
3 oz. parmesan cheese, finely grated plus more for serving
Garnish – freshly ground black pepper,
olive oil and fresh basil leaves
Bring a large pot of water to boil over
Melt butter in a large saucepan over
medium high heat. When melted, add olive oil, chopped onions and
garlic. Stir frequently until onions are softened and garlic is
fragrant. Add tomato paste, brown sugar and red chili flakes (if using.)
Cook, stirring constantly until the paste is dark red and browning nicely, 5-7
Add vodka, scraping up any browned bits
from the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low.
Using a heat proof measuring cup warm stock
in microwave until hot but not boiling. When heated, add heavy cream –heating
the stock ensures the dairy won’t break when you add it to the hot pan.
Gradually pour cream mixture into tomato paste in sauce pan stirring vigorously
until a smooth consistency is achieved.
Cook pasta in boiling salted water until
al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 C starchy pasta cooking liquid.
Add cooked pasta to sauce pan and stir in
½ C of reserved pasta cooking water. Add parmesan and stir until cheese is melted
and well combined. If needed, add reserved pasta water to sauce in small
increments until sauce is smooth and coats pasta. Season with additional
salt and pepper.
Divide pasta between bowls and top with
additional parmesan cheese, fresh basil and a light drizzle of olive oil.
– freshly ground black pepper, olive oil
and minced parsley or chives
a stock pot heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the
onions and sweat briefly. Add garlic, ginger and curry powder and sauté
until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Deglaze with wine.
crushed red pepper (if using), canned tomatoes and their juices, plus stock and
bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
transfer soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and puree soup until
smooth. Pour the pureed soup through a strainer, pressing on the solids with a
rubber spatula, discard the solids. Taste soup and season with salt and
pepper. The soup may be prepared to this point and stored in the refrigerator
for up to 3 days.
service, return soup to saucepan and reheat on medium low until hot. Meanwhile,
lightly brush bread with olive oil. For added flavor you may also rub with the
cut side of a clove of garlic. Toast or grill the bread and set aside.
2” water in a deep skillet. Heat water to a simmer. Crack eggs and gently lower
into simmering water. Turn off heat and cover skillet with tight fitting
lid. Poach eggs for 3-5 minutes. Carefully remove eggs from water and
blot on paper toweling.
serve, place a slice of grilled bread in the bottom of a warmed soup bowl.
Place an egg on the bread and ladle the hot soup over. Top with a drizzle of
olive oil, freshly ground black pepper and minced herbs.
2 T oil-cured black olives, chopped (Kalamata
or other olives may be used)
1 ½ t capers, chopped
¼ C dill,
parsley, and chives, chopped
½ lemon, zested
2 T feta cheese, crumble
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush ovenproof baking dish with melted butter, reserving extra. Season the fish lightly with salt and pepper.
Combine zucchini, tomatoes, olives, and capers with 2 T of minced fresh herbs and the remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper. Place vegetable mixture in prepared baking dish and make a nest or indentation for each piece of fish. (For a more elegant presentation you can use individual gratin dishes.)
Place seasoned fish in the center of each nest. Drizzle white wine over vegetables and fish. Toss remaining herbs with breadcrumbs, lemon zest and crumbled feta cheese. Pat bread crumb mixture on top of fish to form a crust when the fish is cooked. Bake for 13-16 minutes or until fish is opaque throughout. Remove fish from oven and Increase oven temperature to broil. Place fish briefly under broiler to brown the crumbs.
We hosted our first online cooking class in December. For the first time the Virtual Dinner Party was able to bake together as a group in real time through the magic of Zoom. I have to confess, there was a steep learning curve for me. The internet time lag and impersonal nature of zooming was a bit weird, but attendees cheerily persevered through my missteps. They took it in stride that I forgot to mention what mixer attachment to use when making a meringue, and they totally had my back when I left them unattended to search my cupboards for ingredients I had forgotten to set out. But even with the glitches, I am extremely thankful for the experience. Zooming is no substitute for face to face gathering, but in these very unusual times, it was miraculous to be able spend time with our community of chefs and diners for just one night. For me the best part was the spirited text volley between participants that occurred after the class. I am smiling still at how our group continued to inspire and share their creativity with one another.
For the class we prepared a Holiday Meringue Cake with Chocolate and Rosemary. Sheree Giesenhaggen and Christy Lueders turned out stunning creations while John Reed provided very insightful and spot on baking recommendations. His thoughtful contribution solved the uneven baking conundrum for the group. In order to ring in the New Year with style, Katy Petersen and Colette Szczensy held off on assembling their cakes until the 31st. I am certain champagne was the perfect accompaniment to complement their handiwork. And, always delightful Kristin and John Hunt were there too, cheering the group on with their humor and good spirits. It truly was a party!
Please know how grateful I am for the opportunity to continue to cook with you. The activity and your participation continue to boost my spirits. I know that no amount of cooking will fill the void of missing actual contact with our community, but I do hope that this activity and these recipes will help build a bridge to connect us in some way.
All good things to you and yours in 2021 – Victoria
If you were unable to make it to the class, I encourage you to try the recipe.
HOLIDAY MERINGUE CAKE WITH ORANGE, CHOCOLATE AND ROSEMARY
6 ea egg
1 ¼ C granulated
1 T cornstarch
2 T rosemary
1 ea orange
2 T confectioners’
2 C heavy
¼ C sour
1 ea high
quality bittersweet chocolate bar (such as Lindt)
rosemary, for garnish
to 300 degrees.
Prepare rosemary orange sugar:
Combine ¼ granulated sugar, rosemary leaves, and orange zest in food
processor. Process vigorously until
rosemary and orange are finely chopped and combined well with sugar. Set aside.
Prepare baking sheets: On a sheet of parchment paper, draw
three 8” circles. I use a salad plate as
a guide and trace around it with a pencil.
Place parchment on a baking sheet and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites on medium low speed until
foamy (about 1 minute). Increase speed
to medium high and slowly add the remaining 1 C sugar. Continue whipping until eggs become soft and
fluffy. Gently sift cornstarch over
meringue and mix gently. Fold in
vinegar and 3T of rosemary orange sugar.
2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1” cubes
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, plus more for rolling
2 t pure
2 ¼ C all-purpose flour
2 t cinnamon
1 T ginger
1 t cloves
2 T molasses
1 ¼ C toasted pecans,
– measure nut after chopping and cool completely after toasting before
proceeding with the recipe. Any other nuts may be substituted for the pecans.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2
cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Pulse the toasted pecans in the work bowl of
your food processor using short quick bursts. *it is important to pulse
the nuts rather than pureeing them – you don’t want to end up with nut
butter. Some chefs like to add a bit of sugar to the nuts to help
facilitate easy movement in the food processor. Set aside.
Place powdered sugar, flour and spices in food
processor. Add cold butter pieces and pulse until mixture resembles a
Add cooled, chopped pecans and molasses. Pulse
again until blended. Continue to pulse until dough comes together and can be
shaped into balls.
While cookies are baking, place 1-1 ½ cups of
additional powdered sugar in a shallow mixing bowl and set aside.
Portion dough into 1 ½” pieces and roll into
balls. Place 2” apart on prepared sheet pans and bake 14-18 minutes until
cookies are slightly browned and firm to the touch.
12 oz. bag spinach (or mixture of spinach and heartier greens)
2 T unsalted
2 t cumin
seeds (or 1 t ground)
2 t whole
coriander (or 1 t ground)
3 t cardamom
pods (or ½ t ground)
½” pc. cinnamon bark (or ½ t ground)
2 t curry powder
1 ea. onion,
3 ea. garlic
½ “ ginger,
½ ea. jalapeno,
minced fine (or to taste)
1 ea. basket
grape tomatoes, halved
1 ea. sweet
potato, peeled and cut into ½” cubes
¼ C cashews,
1 C divided,
chicken or vegetable stock (or more if needed)
½ C buttermilk
(or sub ½ C milk mixed with 2 T sour cream)
¼ C cilantro,
rice and naan for serving
Prepare Spices: Place all spices in a dry skillet over medium heat and
gently shake the pan to ensure even cooking.
Once the spices start to release their aroma pop and (if you’re toasting
whole spices,) quickly remove from the heat and empty the spices onto a dinner
plate to cool. If you are using whole spices, grind spices to a fine powder
with mortar and pestle or spice/coffee grinder. Set aside
Prepare spinach: Rinse
spinach and shake dry. Place in a
microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic film. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until
spinach is wilted. Remove from microwave
and carefully poke a hole in plastic film to allow steam to escape. When cool, drain well in colander and
coarsely chop. Set aside.
Prepare sauce: Melt
butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add cooled spices and cook, stirring
constantly, 45 seconds or until fragrant.
Add onion, and cook until onion is well browned. You want to cook the
onions until they turn a deep golden brown and become extremely fragrant (this
is key to curry’s intense flavor.) – It should take about 10 minutes on medium
garlic, ginger and jalapeno and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly
browned. Stir in chopped tomatoes and chopped sweet potatoes with ½ C stock or
water. Cook until potatoes are cooked through 7-9 minutes. You may need to add
a bit of stock or water if tomatoes do not put out sufficient liquid.
Transfer half of onion/tomato mixture
and half of reserved spinach to blender or food processor and process briefly.
Add remaining ½ C stock and cashews and puree until smooth. You may need to add
more stock or water to get a smooth puree. Return pureed mixture to skillet.
Finish sauce: Return
skillet to medium high heat and add remaining chopped spinach and buttermilk to
sauce. Bring to a simmer and then reduce
heat to low. Cover and cook until heated through and very flavorful. Sprinkle
with chopped cilantro and serve over basmati rice with naan if desired.