Small Dish of Absinthe Delight

1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
2-1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin dissolved in 2 tbsp of water
1-1/2 tbsp absinthe
Your favorite berries for serving

In a medium saucepan, combine the cream with the milk and sugar and bring to a simmer. Now take off the heat, whisk in the gelatin and absinthe.

Strain the mixture through a fine
sieve into a pitcher, then pour into six
4-ounce ramekins, bowls or small deep valley dishes. Press a piece
of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the puddings and refrigerate until set, at least six hours. Serve with your choice of “fresh” berries.

Now prepare for a trip to heaven… or hell; depending on if you are being naughty I guess. 😉

(side note: I had an idea after all of them were consumed… If you are feeling adventurous, you could sprinkle a thin layer of sugar over the top of one of the puddings as they are ready to be served, then quickly torch the sugar to a light caramelization, like a brûlée.)


Grilled and Marinated Tomatoes with Feta

4 large and firm tomatoes (2 pounds) sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
1 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for brushing
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp anchovy paste
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 cup chopped parsley
6 oz crumbled Bulgarian feta cheese
Sourdough bread for serving

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the tomato slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning once, until the tomatoes are lightly charred but still firm, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a platter and let cool completely. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, layer the tomatoes with the red onion and mint, overlapping the slices slightly.

In a small saucepan, whisk the 1 cup of olive oil with the vinegar, sugar, anchovy paste and allspice over moderate heat until the sugar and anchovy dissolve, about 3 minutes. Let the marinade cool completely, then stir in the parsley. Pour the marinade over the tomatoes, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Using a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer the tomatoes to a platter or plates. Scatter the feta over the top. Drizzle some of the marinade over the tomatoes and serve with the sourdough bread.


Bittersweet Chocolate Crémeux

1-1/2 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 cup whole milk
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
9 oz fine chopped dark chocolate
Sweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings, for serving

Start off by bringing the cream and milk to a simmer in a medium sauce pan. Remove
from the heat. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and salt in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the hot cream. Pour in this mixture to the saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard is slightly thickened and coats the back of the spoon, about 5 minutes.

Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl. Add the chopped chocolate and let stand until melted, about 2 minutes. Whisk quickly until smooth, then pour the cremeux into a shallow glass or ceramic dish. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the cremeux and refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours or overnight. Spoon the cremeux into glasses, top with sweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings and serve to your devoted followers. 😉


Spiced Soba Noodle Salad with Thai Peanut Dressing

1-1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1-1/2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 pound dried soba noodles
1 cup finely julienned carrots
1 cup finely julienned cucumber
Finely grated lime zest and chopped cilantro for garnish

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just Starting to brown, about 5 minutes.

Add the jalapeño, garlic and ginger and cook until Fragrant, 1 minute. Add the peanut butter and red curry paste and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the coconut milk, chicken stock, soy sauce and sugar and simmer until thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the lime juice and season with salt; let it cool completely.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted
boiling water, cook the soba noodles
until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain
and rinse under cold running water until cooled. Shake out the excess water and blot the soba dry. Transfer the noodles to a largo bowl and toss with the remaining 12 tablespoon of oil. Add the spicy peanut dressing and toss well to coat thoroughly. Add the carrots and cucumber and toss again. Garnish the soba with the lime zest and cilantro and serve.


Haddock and Shrimp Cakes with Basil Mayonnaise

1/2 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
3/4 pound skinless haddock or cod fillet, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 pound medium shrimp, shelled, deveined and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 large egg lightly beaten
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest (do not grate into the white!)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp vegetable oil

In a small saucepan of boiling water, blanch the basil for 30 seconds. Drain and rinse it under cold running water. Squeeze the excess water from the basil and transfer the basil to a blender. Add the mayonnaise and purée. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and black pepper. Refrigerate the basil mayonnaise until lightly chilled.

In a large bowl combine the haddock and shrimp with the panko, heavy cream, egg, chopped parsley and chives, lemon zest, cayenne, 1-1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Form the mixture into 8 half cup cakes about 3 inches in diameter.

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the oil. Add 4 of the fish cakes and fry over moderately high heat until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Remember, these are cakes, not balls. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cakes to paper towels. Repeat with the remaining butter and fish cakes. Once all the cakes are finished and drained on the paper towels, transfer the cakes to your mouth at once with the basil mayonnaise.

Be warned… They are hot and tasty.


Spring Halibut Papillotes with Baby Spinach and Scallops

12 scallions (about 6 ounces)
I-1/2 pounds skinless halibut fillet,
cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons snipped chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 ounces baby spinach, cut into 1-1/2-inch strips
lemon juice
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons creme fraiche
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons
dry white wine
1 teaspoon soy sauce
French bread, for serving

Preheat the oven to 500°. On a baking sheet, arrange the scallions in a single
layer. Roast for 3 to 5 minutes, until the leaves are slightly puffed and beginning
to brown at the edges.

In a medium bowl, toss the halibut
with the olive oil and chives; season with salt and pepper.

Lay four 14-inch-long sheets of parchment paper on a work surface. Arrange 3 scallions in the center of each sheet and top with the halibut. Mound the baby spinach with a squeeze of lemon on the fish and top with the creme fraiche, wine and soy sauce; season with pepper. Fold the parchment over the fish, then fold the edge of the parchment over itself in small pleats to seal the papillotes.

Transfer the papillotes to a baking
sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, until they are slightly puffed. Snip the parchment packets open with scissors and serve with French bread.


Spaghetti Squash Casserole

1 small spaghetti squash (1-1/2 to 2 pounds)
1/2 cup water
1 pound turkey sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup (2 ounces) feta cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Cut squash in half lengthwise; scoop out seeds. Place with cut side down on a foiled and greased baking sheet. Cover and bake at 375° for 20-30 minutes or until it is easily pierced with a fork (take out and let cool). When cool enough to handle, scoop out squash, separating the strands with a fork. But while the squash is cooling, in a skillet, cook sausage, onion, red pepper and garlic until meat is browned and the vegetables are tender. Drain; add tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper and squash. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Transfer to an un-greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with the cheese and parsley; let stand a few minutes.


The Glass Potato Chip

Baked Potato Stock

8 Yukon gold potatoes
½ cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 liter of hot water (203° F, not boiling)

Wash the potatoes under cold water and dry with paper towel. Cut into the skin of each potato 1 cm. Toss the potatoes with ½ cup of olive and season with the salt.

Bake for 25 minutes at 450° F.

Remove from oven and place the baked potatoes in a bowl with 1 litre of hot water (203° F, slightly cooler than boiling temperature), cover it and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

Strain the mixture with a fine strainer, reserving the baked potato stock. Chill stock in preparation for next step.

Baked Potato Gel

4 tablespoons potato starch
2 cups of baked potato stock

Put chilled baked potato stock into a pot and whisk in the potato starch. Continue whisking the starch and stock together and bring it to boil, forming a gel. Remove from heat.

Drying: Spread the potato gel on a sheet of parchment paper. The gel should be about 3 mm thick.
Dry in the oven at 135° F for 2 hours until fully dry.

Frying: Break the dried sheet into irregular pieces about the size of playing card. Fry these potato chips at 350° F until clear and crisp. Remove and place on paper towel, then season with kosher salt.


The Best Quiche Lorraine

12 eggs
1 quart whipping cream
1 wedge lebeau pasture
1 wedge cherry gourmandise
1 wedge melting swiss
1 1/2 pounds cooked ham (roast)
1 bunch green onions
2 cubes butter (about)
Flaky pie crust (home make this in lasagna pan, don’t buy one)
1 tablespoon Nutmeg (also to taste for personal preference)
1 teaspoon salt (also to taste for personal preference)
1/2 teaspoon pepper (also to taste for personal preference)
Parsley, chopped

For the pie crust, make sure you do not overwork it. It needs to stay flakey. Line the lasagna pan to the rim with crust. Put nickel sized dots of butter on the crust surface evenly about 2 inches apart. Blanket the chopped green onion over the top of the butter. Sprinkle bite sized pieces of ham over the onion and butter. Then put one inch sized pieces of each cheese on top.

In a bowl, beat into submission eggs, whipping cream, nutmeg, parsley, salt and pepper. Now pour over the casserole.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for about an hour.


Seared Tuna Steak

4 Yellowfin tuna steaks, about 7oz each and 2cm thick
1 ½ tsp. coriander seeds, lightly crushed
9oz couscous
5fl oz vegetable stock, hot
3.5fl oz orange juice, hot

Roasted vegetables:
2 leeks, outer layers removed and cut into 2 cm cylinders
1 large red pepper, cubed into 2cm pieces
1 large zucchini, cubed into 2cm pieces
1 large red onion, cut into 2cm pieces
1 large garlic clove, crushed
handful coriander leaves, chopped
zest and juice of a lemon

4 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 430°

Mix all the vegetables together in a large bowl, drizzle over a little olive oil and season well. Toss to coat all the pieces and tip out onto a foil lined, oiled and seasoned baking tray, making sure all the vegetables sit in one layer. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes (or until the vegetables are cooked and slightly crisp round the edges.)

Whisk together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette, season to taste and set aside.

Tip the couscous into a mixing bowl. Add a dash of olive oil and pour over the hot stock and orange juice. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 15 – 20 minutes.

Season the tuna and coat with the crushed coriander and olive oil. Heat a frying pan, add a splash more oil along with the steaks and pan-fry for 2 minutes on each side. Pour over 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and transfer to a warm plate. Cover with foil and leave to rest for a few minutes.

Fork through the couscous to separate the grains. Add the coriander, lemon zest and juice, a couple of spoonful’s of the vinaigrette and season to taste.

Divide the couscous onto the plates and spoon the roast vegetables on the side. Slice the tuna steaks diagonally and arrange on top of the couscous. Finish with a drizzle of lemon vinaigrette.