Friday, September 10, 2010

Milk Chocolate Soufflé

I must admit, I have always been terribly afraid of soufflés. But I have been recently liberated of that fear, and you should be too. I think I was timid because I grew up listening to Julia Child telling me I had to be quiet in the kitchen or the soufflé will fall. Or that any number of voodoo magic tricks would be necessary to make the temperamental soufflé actually appear. Well, I am happy to report that no voodoo, silence or expensive french cookware that I could only procure on the black market is necessary. Suffice it to say, my fears were unfounded and I hope you will try this super simple and easy recipe at home. This recipe makes two single servings, but feel free to double or triple.


2 eggs separated
butter for the dish
1 Tablespoon of milk
1 Tablespoon of flour
2 Tablespoons of sugar
1/3 cup of milk chocolate chips (melted in the microwave gently in 30 second increments, remember to stir, they sometimes don't look melted but they are)


1. Preheat your oven to 375 F or 190 C
2. Set out your two little baking ramekins. Butter well and sprinkle sugar on the sides.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the whites.
4. Place the egg yolks in one bowl with the milk, flour, sugar, and melted milk chocolate. Whip together.
5. Whip the egg whites in a separate bowl. Be careful that there are no yolks in the whites, if they are, make an omelet with those eggs and start over. Whip them to stiff peaks or when you can turn the bowl upside down with no movement. I used a milk frother. I love my milk frother I whip egg whites, make salad dressing, anything that is small and I don't want to drag out or dirty the large mixer.
6. Stir about have the whipped whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten. When completely incorporated fold in the other half the whites.
7. Spoon into two ramekins
8. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is completely puffed, a little cracked, and a tooth pick comes out clean.
9. Enjoy greedily with a side of ice cream, some cinnamon, and drizzle of caramel.

As always, much love, many blessings, and happy baking.

Spinach, Rasberry, Goat Cheese, and Marcona Almond Salad

This is a fresh, light, and delicious salad. There is no dressing, and it is a snap to make. But the flavor profile of the crisp herby spinach, sweet and sour burst of rasberry juice, the creamy salty goat cheese, and the crunchy rich nutty taste of the almonds all sing together in a chorus that resounds of late summer freshness.

This is more of a flavor profile than a recipe but please choose amounts as you need. This amount fed two very greedy people and left more for me to take to lunch the next day.


1 five-ounce bag of washed baby spinach
1/2 pint or 8 ounces of rasberries washed
2-3 ounces of creamy goat cheese about half a small package
1/2 cup of marcona almonds or any almonds you like


1. Lay a bed of spinach in your serving bowel.
2. Pour out the raspberries on top.
3. Crumble the goat cheese in your fingers until you have small nubs to dollop on to the rasberries.
4. Decant your almonds into the middle of the salad
5. Serve and enjoy. This went very well with a light Sauvignon blanc

As always, much love, many blessings, and happy late summer

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Turkish Shepherd's Salad

When I am having a bad day, I work in my garden, especially now in tomato season. If I am having a terrible day, I go to the local ethinic market and I find an ingreident that I have never used before. I greedily purchase my treasure, and google the recipes I can use the ingredient in. Truth be told, I have had some sad days lately. In attempt to cheer myself up, I bought Sumac. Partially, because I have never used it before, which is odd, seeing that I am Egyptian and it is a common middle eastern spice. Partially, because I had faintly recollected that it was poisonous...

After some research I have found out that it is not exactly poison. My delusions of granduer picturing me pitted and dueling with death have ended. Although I did eat torofugu (posionous blowfish) and drink habu saki (saki with the venom of a habu snake) when I lived in Japan. I am also fond of Virgina Nettle soup, which is also poisonous until after you cook it.

Sumac is the dried fruit ground into powder of a Rhus plant. The fruit actually looks a little bit like grapes. Which makes sense, because when I had this at an Afghanistan restaurant the owner said it was grapes. The taste is lemony and a little bitter adding a pleasant brightness to meats and salads. In most middle eastern cuisine it is a meat seasoning for kebabs or shwarma. However, in Turkey they use it on veggies. Most commonly you will find the spice mixed into a blend called Za'atar which is ubiquoutous to middle eastern cuisine. Everything has za'atar on it, pita, meats, veggies, hummus, furniture, small children, pets, you name it. It is a warm and wonderful spice blend, but that is for another post.

So here goes an easy and delicious salad with my star ingredient Sumac.


4 heirloom or any kind of tomatoes washed and diced
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 freshly squeezed lemons
1 teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon sumac
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup cilantro
1/3 cup parsley


1. Dice the tomatoes, and slice the shallot. Place artfully on a plate.
2. In seperate bowl make the dressing by mincing the garlic, juice the lemon, add all fo the spices and slowly drizzling in the olive oil while you whisk.
3. Pour the dressing over the tomatoes and shallots.
4. Tear the herbs and arrange on the plate.

I served mine as part of a middle eastern dinner, but this is wonderful as a side dish to anything. Many of the ingredients are common in Latin, Indian, and Asain cuisines so you could match this side dish with anything.

As always, much love, many blessings, and happy chopping...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Red Fruit Festival Recipe Entry: Savory Sundried Tomato Goat Cheesecake

Suffice it to say, I am tickled heirloom tomato pink to do my first recipe contest. My good friend Maggie is a recipe contest and twitter queen and I hitched my wagon along for the ride. We made a savory sundried tomato goat cheesecake with a basil and parmesan crust. We topped the cheesecake with a tomato water and juice gelee, basil, and tomato paper (made from crisped tomato skins.) We plated the cheesecake with a Carpaccio of heirloom tomatoes and coulis made from tomato pulp. It wasn’t a simple recipe but it sure is delicious and lots of fun to make.

Mid-Atlantic’s top chefs, restaurants, farmers, community gardeners and local growers are celebrating Local Tomatoes with a stellar food and wine pairing on Friday, September 24th at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. We will certainly keep you posted on how it goes.



1 cup of fresh bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons of butter
½ cup of grated parmesan
¼ cup of fresh basil leaves
Dash of salt and pepper
Olive Oil Spray

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
2. In a food processor blitz together all of the ingredients except for the spray, the order doesn’t matter. Pulse until all the ingredients are incorporated and the breadcrumbs look like wet sand
3. Use the olive oil spray to grease an 8-inch spring form pan
4. Pour crust mixture into the pan and push down with the bottom of a glass to make a uniform crust along the bottom and edges
5. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool on a baking rack. Keep the oven on for the cheesecake to bake at the same temp in about 5 minutes


11 ounces of fresh soft goat cheese
8 ounces of organic cream cheese
3 large organic eggs
½ cup of organic heavy cream
¼ cup of fresh basil
¼ cup of fresh parsley
¼ cup of sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil
Dash of salt and pepper

1. Put a large pot of water on the heat to boil.
2. Cover the outside of the baking pan with three layers of foil. This will prevent any of the water from the ban marie spoiling your cake
3. Blitz in a food processor all of the ingredients until they make a creamy almost lightly golden smooth batter
4. Fill the cooled crust with the batter
5. Create a ban marie by making a bath for the foil wrapped cake pan. In a large roasting pan, pour the hot water until it is about an inch and half deep. Carefully place the foil wrapped pan with the cheesecake filling into the roasting pan. You want the water to come up about half way up the outside of the cake pan
6. Carefully place in the oven and bake at 350 for 50 minutes to an hour
7. Every oven is different so check. You want the outside of the cake to be set and pull away from the sides of the cake pan. The top will have a few slight kisses of brown, and the middle of the cake should still jiggle a bit. If you use a cooking thermometer the middle of the cake should register at about 150 F
8. Let the cake cool slowly within the ban marie. This will prevent cracking
9. When cool, cover with plastic cling wrap and set in the fridge for up to two (2) days


Large pot of boiling water
8 to 10 large/medium sized fresh tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Set the large pot of boiling water on medium high heat to keep a rolling boil
2. Make two small incisions the shape of cross on the bottom of each tomato
3. Blanch the tomatoes in the boiling water for a minute or two until you can start to see the skins loosen
4. Carefully remove the tomato skins by starting at the bottom and peeling upward. They will come off in strips. If you are gentle you will have four good size peels of tomato skin for each tomato. But don’t stress it, little one or big ones work just fine
5. Lay the tomato skins on a parchment lined baking sheet
6. Drizzle with olive oil
7. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper
8. Lay the baking sheet and the skins in the oven underneath your cheesecake at the same oven temp 350 F
9. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the skins look crispy
10. Cool on a wire rack so that bottom of the skins can crisp as well
Note: These will keep crispy for 3 days in a air tight container. You can use them whole or grind them up and they add a lovely intensely tomato flavor to soups, sandwiches. I use them as a garnish on gazpacho or in sandwiches


8 to 10 skinless tomatoes
½ teaspoon of salt

1. Core the tomatoes and remove the stem
2. Cut into quarters
3. Puree in a food processor
4. Lay a colander in a large bowl, and lined with a few layers of clean cheesecloth
5. Carefully pour the tomato puree into the cheesecloth bowl and sprinkle with half a teaspoon of salt.
6. Cover with plastic cling wrap
8. Let sit over night
9. In the bottom of the bowl will be the tomato water in the cheesecloth will be the pulp.


1 cup of tomato water
1 cup of tomato juice
2 packages of unflavored gelatin

1. In a small sauce pan heat the tomato juice until it is almost boiling
2. Add the gelatin to the cold tomato water and stir
3. When the tomato water thick and the gelatin soft add to the hot tomato juice off the heat.
4. Pour into a container and place covered in the fridge for a few hours to set. (I just left it in the fridge while I went to work.)


Tomato pulp from tomato puree after strained overnight
Dash of white pepper to taste

1. Using a wooden spoon and fine mesh colander push the pulp through into a bowl
2. In the end you should have a thick but smooth pinkish sauce of tomato and in the colander the seeds. It takes a while, keep pushing it through
3. Taste and add white pepper if needed

1. Run your knife along the edge of the spring form pan
2. Spoon and spread the tomato gelee on top of the cake
3. Remove the sides of the pan by popping it open and carefully lifting the spring form off the cake
4. Create a circle of basil leaves in the center of the cake.
5. Create tomato paper fleurette by arranging the tomato paper like petals in the middle of the basil

1. Carefully cut a slice of the cake and slide your serving knife underneath the crust to lift
2. Arrange some tomato paper and basil on top of the cake
3. Using a squirt bottle add some of the coulis to the side of the cake
4. Thinly slice some beautiful heirloom tomatoes to create a Carpaccio alongside the cake
5. The tomatoes should be sweet enough after the hot summer sun, but if not feel free to garnish with a little agave syrup and some flake sea salt over the Carpaccio
6. Serve with a cold glass of Vino Verde and good friends


As always, much love, many blessings, and happy tomato-ing