- 2 1/4 cups frozen watermelon cubes
- 1/2+ cup water
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 large lemon, squeezed (lime juice also works very well! use 2 limes)
- 1 fresh banana
- optional: 2 shots of tequila (or sub with more water or fruit juice)
- also optional: a few dashes of cayenne powder in the blender or over top when you serve!
- Garnish: a few slices of watermelon - with rind on - frozen.
- Garnish with frozen watermelon/rind slices.
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock (boiling)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion (diced)
- 8 ounces mushrooms (sliced)
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon thyme (chopped)
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable, warm)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (grated)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon truffle oil (optional)
- 1 handful parsley (optional)
- Cover the dried porcini mushrooms in the stock and let sit for 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the fresh mushrooms and saute until they turn tender and release their moisture, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
- By this time the dried mushrooms should be nice and soft so remove them from the stock, squeezing to drain and reserve all of the liquid.
- Chop the reconstituted mushrooms and add them to the sauce pan.
- Add the rice and toast until it starts to turn translucent, about 1-3 minutes.
- Add the white wine, deglaze the bottom of the pan and cook while stirring until the wine has disappeared.
- Mix the stock that the mushrooms were soaked in with another cup of stock and add it to the sauce pan 1/2 cup at a time while stirring until it has disappeared.
- Add the butter and parmigiano reggiano and stir until it has melted.
- Season with salt and pepper and a touch of truffle oil.
- Serve garnished with parsley.
Purple Pesto Pasta (Red Cabbage Pesto)
- 1/4 head red cabbage, chopped coarsely
- Several tablespoons olive oil (it will depend on how large your cabbage is)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup whole wheat penne (other pastas would work just fine)
- Pulse cabbage, garlic, sunflower seeds and a few pinches of salt in food processor (it might work in blender, too–let me know if you try it).
- Add olive oil in a thin stream through the food processor tube while pulsing, until the mixture forms a paste. (Because of cabbage’s texture, this will never reach the same pastiness of a basil pesto–as soon as it starts sticking together, you’re good.) Taste for salt, and add more if necessary.
- Put a pot of water to boil. Cook penne in boiling water for 7 minutes or until al dente. Drain, reserving a bit of pasta water. Toss several spoonfuls of the purple pesto and pasta water with pasta in the still-warm pot. Top with toasted sunflower seeds (I also added some baby asparagus I had around, steamed).
Banana Cream Pie with Chocolate Ganache & Salted Caramel
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs (10 or 11 whole crackers)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (about 1/2 cup chocolate chips)
- 1 2/3 cups whole milk
- ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out and reserved
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel (or kosher salt)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 3 medium bananas
Make the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 325 F. Combine the crumbs and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and mix until the crumbs are moistened. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and use a flat-bottomed cup to press the crumbs evenly over the bottom; press it up the sides with your fingers. The edges of the shell will be crumbly.
- Bake until lightly browned, 10-12 minutes. Cool completely.
Make the ganache:
- Set the chocolate into a bowl. Heat the heavy cream to boiling point and pour over the chocolate. Let stand a couple of minutes and gently stir until fully incorporated and glossy. It should be the consistency of warmed chocolate syrup. Cool to room temperature. Pour over the cooled pie crust and refrigerate.
Make the pastry cream:
- Combine the milk, ¼ cup of sugar, and the vanilla bean and seeds in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. (Tip: If the vanilla bean is hardened, throw the entire bean in the saucepan so that it softens as the milk warms up. Once it’s pliable again, fish it out, split it in half, and scrape the seeds out. Add it all back into the saucepan until the mixture simmers.)
- In a small bowl, sift the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar together with the cornstarch. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and yolks.
- When the milk comes to a simmer, strain out the vanilla bean pods. Add the cornstarch mixture to the eggs and whisk until well combined. While whisking, slowly pour in about one-quarter of the milk to temper the egg mixture. Transfer this mixture to the saucepan, set over low heat, and simmer, whisking constantly, until it reaches the consistency of thick pudding. (Be careful not to curdle the eggs.)
- Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until incorporated. If the mixture isn’t quite as smooth as you’d like, you can always run it through a sieve. Pour into a shallow bowl, place plastic wrap directly on the surface, and chill.
Make the caramel sauce:
- In a heavy saucepan set over medium-high heat, stir together sugar and water, and bring to a boil. Let boil until amber-colored. Once it starts taking on color, keep a close eye because it will turn quickly.
- Immediately add butter and stir to incorporate. Remove from heat, add cream and salt (be careful, it will splatter), and mix well. It should be smooth and have a syrup-like consistency. Let cool to room temperature.
- Using an electric mixer or a whisk, whip the heavy cream into peaks. Add powdered sugar and incorporate. Transfer the pastry cream to a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Fold in about half of the whipped cream.
- Line the bottom of the pie crust with a layer of bananas (approximately two bananas sliced into rounds). With the remaining banana, slice half if it into rounds for garnish, and roughly chop the other half to fold into the pastry cream.
- Drizzle a thin layer of caramel sauce over the bananas.
- Spoon the pastry cream evenly into the crust. Mound the remaining whipped cream on top.
- Drizzle some caramel sauce over the whipped cream, swirling it decoratively. Decorate with remaining banana slices.
- Chill, and serve within 24 hours. Plate with remaining caramel sauce.
Grilled Strawberry Basil Kebabs
- About 16 medium to large strawberries (firm but ripe)
- 1 small bunch fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sea salt
- Grapeseed oil
- To clean the strawberries, use a damp paper to wipe each one off. Remove the stems and cut each one in half, lengthwise.
- One by one, gently slide each strawberry half onto a metal or wooden skewer (if you’re using wooden, soak them in water for about 10 minutes first). Between each strawberry half, slide on one or two basil leaves. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the honey, vinegar, vanilla and a pinch of sea salt. Set aside.
- Preheat a stove-top grill or your barbeque and drizzle or brush a bit of grape seed oil onto the flat surface of each strawberry. Once the grill is hot, place the strawberry skewers on it, flat side down. You should hear a sizzling sound — if you don’t the grill is not hot enough. Wait until it is! Grill until each side is marked from the grill, about 30 seconds per side. Place the skewers on a plate and while they’re still hot, use a pastry brush to add the glaze to the kebabs. Remove them from the skewers to serve.
Strawberry and Avocado Salsa
makes 2 cups
- 1 1/4 cups strawberries, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup avocado, cut into small pieces
- 1 jalapeno, finely diced
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
- 1 lime, juice and zest
- 1 handful cilantro, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Mix everything.
- 8 mint leaves
- 1.5 oz unaged corn whiskey (I used Georgia Moon)
- 1 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- .75 oz simple syrup
- Place the mint and simple syrup in your shaker and muddle. Add the lemon juice and moonshine, fill the shaker with ice, and shake and strain into an ice-filled glass.
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 2 cups frozen sliced okra, thawed and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 small yellow onion, diced small (1/2 cup)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- In a large, heavy skillet, heat oil over medium. In a medium bowl, combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add okra and onion and toss to coat. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and buttermilk. Add to okra mixture and stir just until combined.
- In two batches, drop batter in 2-tablespoonful mounds into oil. With a small spatula or butter knife, gently flatten each mound and fry until golden, about 4 minutes per side, flipping once (adjust heat if browning too quickly). Drain on paper towels. Season with salt and serve warm. Makes about 10.