Fallen Chocolate Cinnamon Cake with Lime Zabaglione

Happy Birthday to ME!

Well, that, and I’ll usually find the biggest, most intensive recipes to use some ingredient. In this case, it was lime. Besides the fact that I thought it might be an amazing recipe, I was also trying to use up a rather large bag of wee limes I bought at the Granville Island market about two weeks ago. Nevermind that I only need about two…

Cake

10 whole eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon, more for dusting
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup water
12 oz (375 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
cocoa for dusting

Line 10″ springform pan with parchment, leaving 1″ collar over the side. With mixer, beat eggs with 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon and cayenne. Whip for approximately 10 minutes. The eggs should fill your mixing bowl. Combine remaining sugar with water in a pot over med-high heat and bring to rolling boil. Pour over chocolate, stirring to melt. With mixer on low, drizzle chocolate into egg mixture. Pour into prepared pan, bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes. Cake should still be a little jiggly. Remove from heat and let cool. Refrigerate for a few hours to set. It should have high sides, a crusty top and a fallen, fudgy middle. Don’t worry – it’s supposed to look this way.

Once it has fully cooled and set, flip cake onto serving plate. Sprinkle top with cinnamon and cocoa. If you’re feeling fancy, do alternating lines or cut out fun stencils.

Lime Zabaglione

For anyone familiar with French cooking, it took me a second to realize this is otherwise known as “sabayon”. Cooked egg yolks with some kind of acid, otherwise, the base of sauces we love like bernaise and hollandaise.

3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
zest and juice of one lime

Combine all ingredients in a metal mixing bowl. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk eggs until they are pale yellow and frothy. If eggs are getting too hot (cooking at the edges), remove from heat for a minute. Continue whisking until eggs form a ribbon when drizzled.

Source: Flavours, Spring 2008

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Ta-da! It’s Beer!

And it’s delicious! Fresh and light, beautifully floral, thanks to those fresh hops. Fall is quickly disappearing and the seasonality of a fresh hopped beer is already nearly past. Our next endeavour? Not sure. Anything that would be ready for Christmas probably should have been already made. Maybe a nice cuddly winter bock can still be on the agenda for the colder months…

Maraschino cherry chocolate cheesecake

As if the lamb shanks weren’t enough, I made a special cheesecake for dessert! I don’t necessarily recommend the layering technique used here – I tried refrigerating between layers but it didn’t work very well. I might have tried marbling but that hasn’t worked out well for me in the past either. But who cares… it’s cheescake. It was still delicious.

This is the standard Philadelphia recipe that you find on the inside of the box, but for some reason there are many, many versions online. I like this one, so here it is. And you don’t have to buy a box for it.

1 1/4 cup graham crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven 350F. Toss in food processor to combine. Should be a bit clumpy. Press into 9″ springform pan.

3 pkg cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix. Add 3 eggs until just blended. Pour into pan.

I reserved about 1/3 of the batter and added a bunch of melted chocolate and just mixed it in. With the cherry layers, I cut my maraschino cherries in half and added a bit of the syrup.

Best Brussels Sprouts with Maple Syrup

I think I might just make brussels sprouts this way from now on – and lobby to have them this way at Thanksgiving from now on too. No risk of overcooking and getting all icky and bitter. These are just toasty and sweet and fresh. Love!

As you might be gathering by now, I also LOVE Bon Appetit. Amazing magazine. All useful, practical stuff but really easy. No exotic ingredients, no special tools, just good recipes. I love it.

4 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
salt and pepper

Heat oil in large pan over med-high heat. Working in two batches, adding more oil in between, cook brussels sprouts, flat side down in a single layer, until deep golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a large bowl. Remove pan from heat.

1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flat-leaft parsley, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp chives, thinly sliced
1 tbsp sage, thinly sliced

Add maple syrup and herbs to pan (I only used the parsley because I didn’t want to have to buy all of the extra ingredients. Still good). Once butter melts, add sprouts and toss to coat.

Source: Bon Appetit, October 2012

Gremolata

This was a little topping for the braised lamb shank. Seemed a bit unnecessary to me but I’m glad I did it. The lemon zest and the parsley just gave it even more complexity and the fresh spark really livened up the rest of the flavours in the dish.

3/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

Mix. Voila 🙂

Braised Lamb Shank

This recipe is amazing. It reminded me why we should all use more butter and wine, like the French. It makes everything taste better. Butter, wine, cheese. They know how to do it right.

These lamb shanks are served on top of the polenta, with a gremolata topping. I also served it with a side of brussel sprouts. Yes, my mother will be shocked, but wait until you see that recipe. Oh, and it couldn’t be done without a big Bulgarian wine! And yes, that’s my coffee maker I used as a decanter.

6 lb lamb shanks (recipe called for 6-8 but I used only 4)
Lamb rub:
2 tbsp salt
fresh ground pepper
2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 tsp coarsely ground fennel seeds
1 garlic clove grated

Trim lamb and massage rub into lamb. Cover and let stand at room temperature, or chill overnight.

3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
6 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp flour
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups drained canned diced tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
2-4 cups veggie broth

Preheat oven 350F. Heat oil in large, oven-safe pot over med-high heat. Add onions, season with salt and pepper, cook until golden 8-10 minutes. Add minced garlic, flour, paprika, red pepper flakes. Stir vigorously to distribute, until mixture becomes dry, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and wine. Simmer briskly, stirring often, until juices thicken and tomatoes begin to break down, about 10 minutes.

Gradually stir in broth (be careful here, not to add too much, as you want the lamb shanks to be only 3/4 submerged). Simmer another 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add lamb shanks in a single layer, pushing them down into sauce. Roast uncovered until tops of shanks have browned, about 30 minutes. Turn shanks and roast 30 minutes longer.

Cover and cook, turning shanks occasionally, until until meat is nearly falling off the bone, 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours (depending on size of shanks). Remove and skim fat off surface, if there is any. Allow to rest at least 30 minutes.

Can also be made 1 day ahead and just simmer to reheat.

Source: Bon Appetit, October 2012

  

Polenta!

I’ve never made polenta before but I think I might more often. This was awesome. Add 2 cups of grated parmesan to anything and it’s going to be awesome though.

1 1/2 cups polenta (coarse cornmeal)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
7 1/2 cups water

Heat oven to 350F. Stir all ingredients in a 9″x13″  pan to blend. Bake, uncovered for 75 minutes.

1 1/2 cups finely grated parmesan
2 tbsp butter
ground pepper

Stir in cheese, butter and season with pepper. Smooth top and continue baking until polenta is set and jiggles like custard, about 25-30 minutes.

Preheat broiler and broil polenta, watching closely to prevent burning, until surface is light golden, 5-7 minutes. Serve immediately for a softer polenta, or let rest up to 30 minutes for a firmer texture.

Source: Bon Appetit, October 2012

Pistachio Crusted Scallops

With my ongoing series of making my sister jealous… fresh, juicy, Atlantic scallops.

Dead simple too – some chopped, toasted pistachios with some fresh herbs and voila.

For six scallops, take 1/4 cup pistachios, pan fry in a bit of butter until toasted. Let cool and chop finely. Place in a small bowl and toss with herbs – I used tarragon – the recipe called for 1 tbsp each of fresh chives, tarragon and thyme, but one will suffice.

Sear scallops in grapeseed oil with some salt and pepper, until crusty brown. Roll in pistachio mixture. Voila.

It doesn’t really stick like a coating so I ended up mostly just sprinkling it on. Still awesome.

Source: Bon Appetit, October 2012

Maraschino Cherries Three Ways

Boozy cherries? Yes, please!

When I was in Washington State earlier this year, I was lucky enough to find a bottle of real Maraschino Liqueur. For whatever reason, we don’t stock it in BC. It was also in August, so I was extra lucky to be able to take advantage of our local cherry bounty this year. Lo and behold, homemade maraschino cherries! These are definitely more of the cocktail or cake ingredient variety – not so much the sundae topping or Dresden stollen-making type – they are a little hot with the alcohol (while it is a liqueur, not a spirit, it ranks at 36%), and a little soft with the marinating but soooo yummy.

I used Skeena cherries, which worked well because they’re quite firm and crunchy so they hold their shape after soaking for so long. I also tried Rainiers – the white, peachy, pink cherries, which have a milder flavour but they didn’t hold up well – turned a bit brown due to their lighter colour, as well as just getting mushy.

I tried a few different recipes. These two, plus one jar of just pure liqueur. They’re all good but I think I like the one with the smashed pits the best. Gave it a bit more bitterness and complexity.

Unfortunately, the recipe I think I used, the link isn’t working anymore but here is an alternative with smashed pits.

And here’s my second try:

1 lb cherries, pitted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tsp lemon juice
pinch nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine ingredients in sauce pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, add cherries and simmer for 5-7 minutes longer. Remove from heat, add 1 cup maraschino liqueur and cool. Refrigerate, uncovered until cold.
Supposedly they keep for two weeks but I’ve had mine in the fridge since August and they’re still good. Alcohol is a pretty good preservative, after all.

Source: Cupcake Project

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