Elegance for Dessert, Lacquered Peaches from Lark' Cooking Wild in the Northwest' cookbook (Sasquatch Books, August 2016) by chef John Sundstrom...
I did not have a chance to sample John's fare while in Seattle early August so I guess it's one more reason to pay a second visit to the city.
Lacquered Peaches with Rum Caramel Sauce and Almond Ice Cream
This combination of butter and sugar–roasted peaches, rum caramel, and almond ice cream is otherworldly and is my favorite dessert of the season . . . I think. Almonds and most stone fruit are botanically related (if you crack the pit open of a cherry, apricot, or peach, you’ll find a very small almond-like center) and are very complementary to each other. Use just-ripe (not overripe) peaches for this recipe, as they’ll roast for a total of about twenty minutes.
Makes 4 Servings
FOR THE ALMOND ICE CREAM
2 cups whole milk
¾ cup heavy cream
1 cup slivered almonds
8 egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract
FOR THE RUM CARAMEL SAUCE
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons single-barrel rum
FOR THE LACQUERED PEACHES
4 medium Red Haven peaches, fuzz washed and dried
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
Fleur de sel
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 To make the almond ice cream, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the milk, cream, and almonds and bring just to a simmer. Turn off the heat and let the almonds steep in the milk for about 30 minutes. Strain the almonds and discard. Return the milk mixture to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
2 Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath.
3 In a large bowl, thoroughly beat together the egg yolks and sugar. While whisking the egg mixture, add ½ cup of the hot milk mixture to the bowl to gently temper the eggs. Whisking constantly, add in another ½ cup of the hot milk mixture. (Continuous whisking prevents the eggs from scrambling.)
4 Now begin whisking the milk mixture in the saucepan and slowly pour in the tempered egg mixture. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula. Continue stirring until the mixture has reached a temperature of 180 degrees F and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
5 Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a metal bowl or container. Immediately place the metal bowl into the ice bath. Stir occasionally until the custard cools to room temperature.
6 Add the almond extract, then refrigerate the custard until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours.
7 Process the custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a lidded container and freeze for at least 8 hours before serving.
8 To make the rum caramel sauce, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stirring frequently, cook the mixture until it becomes a golden-brown caramel. Remove the pan from the heat and very carefully whisk in the butter a little bit at a time.
9 While whisking, slowly drizzle in the cream until it is incorporated. Be careful because the caramel will sputter. Let the caramel cool until it reaches room temperature, about 30 minutes. Whisk in the rum and salt to taste.
10 Chill the caramel sauce until ready to use. It will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Before serving, gently rewarm the sauce in a small saucepan until it pours easily.
11 To make the lacquered peaches, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
12 Arrange the peaches in a baking dish. Using a pastry brush, generously coat the peaches with the butter. Sprinkle the sugar liberally over the peaches so they are well covered. Bake the peaches for 12 to 15 minutes.
13 Remove the pan from the oven and pour about 2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce over each peach. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the peaches are tender and the skins are a light golden brown, wilted, and wrinkled, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside until you are ready to serve.
14 To serve, if necessary, warm the peaches for a few minutes in the oven. Place a peach on each of four serving plates and sprinkle with a little fleur de sel. Arrange some of the toasted almonds on the plate in a small pile and place a scoop of the almond ice cream on the almonds.
CHEF’S NOTE: Read through Ice Cream and Sorbet on page 78 for some general rules of thumb before proceeding with this recipe.
(* Recipe (c)2016 by Johnathan Sundstrom. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Lark: Cooking Wild in the Northwest by permission of Sasquatch Books, Photography by Zack Bent)
You will not be able to, after tasting artichoke recipes like this one from Cooking Blokes and Artichokes, A Modern Man's Kitchen Handbook (Kyle Books, April 2016) by chef Brendan Collins of Birch restaurant in Los Angeles.
Roasted Baby Artichokes With Bacon And Balsamic Vinegar
For the past fifteen years or so, it seems like every restaurant in the western hemisphere has had Brussels sprouts, bacon, and balsamic vinegar on its menu, and I’m guilty of it too. But it’s with good reason: the dish is seriously tasty. When I opened my new Hollywood restaurant, Birch, I wanted to do something equally as delicious but a little bit different. So I substituted baby artichokes, in season in the spring and summer, to freshen up a wintery dish for the warmer months. Baby artichokes have the same earthiness as Brussels sprouts, but with a unique, sweet nuttiness too.
SERVES 4 TO 6
9 baby artichokes (about 2 pounds) 2 lemons, cut in half 8 ounces thick−cut bacon, cut into 1/2−inch lardons 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped Kosher salt 3 tablespoons good−quality balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup extra−virgin olive oil 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, such as Maldon 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Prep each artichoke by removing the tough outer leaves and peeling the outer layer from the stem with a vegetable peeler or a paring knife. Cut off the top third of the artichoke to remove the tough ends of the leaves. Cut them in half lengthwise and give them a rub all over with one of the lemons as you work so they don’t oxidize and turn an unappealing brown color.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Place a frying pan big enough to fit the artichokes in a single layer over medium heat. Add the bacon lardons and cook for 5 minutes, or until most of their fat has been rendered. Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon and set it aside on a plate.
Add the artichokes to the hot bacon fat in a single layer and let them brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft and tender.
Remove the pan from the oven and add the bacon back in, along with the rosemary and garlic. Return the pan to a burner over medium heat. Give your best go at sautéing, tossing the ingredients around; if you drop some, don’t worry, the dog will love you for it. Season with salt.
Add the vinegar to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, and let the vinegar reduce until sticky but not burnt, about 1 minute.
Transfer the artichokes and bacon to a serving bowl, drizzle with the oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
This is an elegant version of borscht, a clear, rubyhued broth served chilled, rather than the heartier beet soups suited to the long winter months. If you have made Rye Bread Kvas (see page 177), try adding a splash to the finished soup.
Put the vegetables and aromatics into a large pan and cover with
5 cups of cold water. Season with the sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 40 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving the broth and discarding the vegetables (which will have lost their flavor). Let cool, then taste for seasoning. A squeeze of lemon juice will brighten the flavor.
Serve the broth chilled, with a dollop of sour cream and a scattering of chives.
(^Recipe reproduced with permission from Samarkand, Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & the Caucasus (Kyle Books, June 2016) by Caroline Eden, Eleanor Ford)
Pulled 'La Petite Paille' 2010 Cuvée Noir out of bale of wines at Swirl, a Yaletown store dedicated to selling British Columbia wines only and educating palates. Owner Jeff Wong was conducting a small in-store tasting while I was there.