Indian Frittata

12 large eggs
1/2-cup crème fraîche
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4+teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
1/4 cup crumbled paneer or feta

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, crème fraîche, onion, scallions, garlic, cilantro, garam masala, salt, pepper, turmeric and red-pepper flakes and beat with a whisk or fork until just combined.

Heat the ghee or oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet, such as cast iron, over medium-high heat, tilting the skillet to coat it evenly.

When the ghee bubbles, pour the eggs into the center of the skillet, shaking to distribute evenly. Cook, undisturbed, until the frittata starts to firm up on the bottom and along the sides but is still slightly jiggly on top, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the paneer and transfer the skillet to the oven.

Cook until frittata is golden brown and has reached desired doneness, 15 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.

Seared Paneer with Tea and Pineapple Sauce

400 grams (14 ounces) low-fat/full-fat paneer, chilled
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + a little extra for searing
1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika powder
a few fresh daikon radish shoots to garnish
a little Maldon sea salt flakes (optional)

tea and pineapple dressing:
1 Darjeeling tea bag
100mL boiling water
50mL white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons pineapple juice, fresh
100 mL extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

Slice the paneer into 9 cm X 3 cm long slabs that are 1.5 cm thick.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, place the olive oil and the rest of the ingredients from the salt to the paprika and mix with a spoon. Brush each of the paneer slabs with this mixture and allow them to sit for 10 minutes at room temperature to absorb the flavors.

Heat a little extra oil in a medium-sized skillet on medium – high heat. When the oil just starts to smoke, place two to three slabs of the seasoned paneer. Cook on each side until seared and lightly browned. This should take about 60-90 seconds on each side. Place the seared paneer on a dry paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Cook the rest of the paneer in the same manner and keep aside until ready to use.

To prepare the dressing, place the tea bag in a small heat proof bowl. Pour the boiling water over it and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Drain the tea bag to remove any excess liquid (avoid squeezing the bag or the tea liquid will turn murky). Pour the tea into a medium bowl along with the remaining ingredients. Whisk until combined.

5. To serve place the hot/warm seared paneer slabs in a serving dish. Drizzle the paneer with as much as tea dressing as desired. Garnish with a few fresh daikon shoots and sprinkle with extra sea salt flakes if desired. Serve immediately with extra dressing and daikon radish shoots on the side.

Cilantro-Mint Chutney and Cucumber Raita

Cilantro-mint chutney:

1 cup packed mint leaves, fresh
1 cup packed cilantro, leaves
1 inch piece ginger root, peeled, julienned
2 thai green chili peppers
1 lime
1/4 cup water, chilled
1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt

Place the mint, cilantro, ginger, chili into a blender (or a jar if you’re using an immersion blender), Squeeze the lime juice and add the water and salt. Blend until the ingredients for a smooth paste. You might need to add a little more water to the paste or occasionally stir the ingredients to get them moving in the blender.

Once this chutney is prepared you can use it immediately or refrigerate it in an airtight container. You can also freeze this for for a few days. (Note: the vibrant color does tend to become a little darker after a few days of storage but the it is still good to use and eat)

Cucumber mint raita:
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup water, chilled (* if you want the raita thinner add more water but remember to adjust the salt and pepper according to your taste preferences)
1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 cups cucumber, peeled and grated
1 thai chili pepper, cut into thin slices for garnish

In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt, water, salt and pepper until the ingredients are completely combined. Keep this yogurt base aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Squeeze the grated cucumber for any excess liquid. You can save the liquid and use it to for something else (I either drink it or use it in chilled juices).

There are two ways to prepare the raita.

a) The first method is for the “parfait style”. You can prepare about 4-6 (5-6 ounce) glass jars with this method. Layer the bottom of one jar, half-way with the yogurt base. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of the grated cucumber above and layer with more yogurt base until you’re about half an inch from the top of the jar. Layer with 2 generous tablespoons of the cilantro-mint chutney and garnish with a few of the sliced chilies and a little left over grated cucumber. Prepare the rest of the jars using this method. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

b)The second method is to mix 1/2 cup of the cilantro-mint chutney prepared earlier with the yogurt base and the cucumber in a large mixing bowl. Garnish with the thinly sliced chilies. You can serve it immediately or cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve chilled.

Pumpkin Raita

2 cups grated pumpkin
1 thai green chili pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
3 cups plain non-fat greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2-3 curry leaves, dried or fresh

Place the grated pumpkin in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with a lid and microwave for 3-4 minutes until the pumpkin is completely tender. Keep aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl add the pumpkin, chili pepper, onion, cilantro, mint, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Whisk the ingredients with a fork and taste to make sure the amount of salt and pepper is enough. Transfer the mixture to a clean serving dish. Cover and refrigerate the raita for 1-2 hours until chilled.

Before serving, heat the oil in a saucepan on a medium high flame till it gets slightly smoky. Immediately reduce the flame to low and carefully add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. The seeds will begin to spurt and the leaves will brown in the hot oil. Cook till the seeds stop spurting and pour the entire contents while hot on top of the chilled raita. Serve immediately.

Grilled Pineapple Raita

1 3-pound ripe pineapple
Olive oil or vegetable oil for brushing the pineapple slices
2 cups plain yogurt
1 cup chilled water (see note)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 serrano chile, minced (deseeded if you want it less hot)
3 tablespoons julienned mint leaves
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground red chile powder

Instructions: Prepare the pineapple by trimming off the top and the base. Then trim the sides and discard the outer thick skin. Using a small paring knife, remove any eyes (the brown hard spiny spots). Then cut the pineapple into six ½-inch thick slices; using a small paring knife cut the central woody core and discard. Wrap and save the remaining pineapple for use in another recipe (or just eat it).

Brush a grill pan with a little oil and put the heat on high. Alternatively, heat a gas grill on high and brush the grates with oil. When the surface is hot, brush the pineapple slices with a little oil on each side and place them carefully on the hot surface. Grill the pineapple slices on each side for about 1½ to 2 minutes, until each side is caramelized. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate to cool to room temperature, about 10 to 15 minutes, before chopping. Once the pineapple has cooled, chop the slices into coarse chunks and set aside until ready to use.

Place the yogurt in a large bowl and add the water, followed by the salt and pepper. Mix well; adjust the seasoning as necessary. Fold in the pineapple and serrano chile, along with half the mint and half the cilantro leaves. Transfer to a serving bowl and keep covered in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to cool and help the flavors meld.

While the raita is resting in the refrigerator, heat a small dry skillet on high heat. Add the cumin seeds to the hot skillet and toast until the seeds just start to turn brown and release their aroma. Immediately transfer the seeds to a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder.

Garnish the raita with the remaining mint and cilantro and the toasted ground cumin seeds and chile powder. Serve chilled. The raita will last about 2 to 3 days refrigerated.

Note: The amount of water might vary slightly depending on how thick or thin the yogurt is. The ideal consistency should be like a thin custard.

Note: while you can serve this with Indian food, this is also a wonderful accompaniment to barbecued meat and grilled vegetables, and it goes well with flatbread and rice.

Indian-Spiced Scrambled Eggs

6 large eggs
1 teaspoon ghee or butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 tablespoon ginger root, peeled and cut into thin 1inch strip
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes or chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 green thai chili peppers, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro

Carefully crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk with a fork till they are uniformly combined. Keep the eggs aside.

Heat a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet on a medium flame. Melt the ghee with the olive oil in the skillet. Add the onion and sauté for about 2 minutes till they are soft.

Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 3 minutes. Stir constantly to prevent the garlic and ginger from burning.

Add the turmeric, garam masala, chili flakes, and salt to the pan. Cook for another minute with constant stirring.

Reduce the flame and pour the whisked eggs into the hot skillet. The eggs will begin to cook immediately, gently stir the eggs as you would for regular scrambled eggs. Scrape the eggs from the bottom and sides of the pan as the eggs begin to cook and get creamy. As soon as the eggs are creamy, turn the flame off.

Toss in the chopped thai chili peppers and garnish with the chopped cilantro leaves. Serve hot with paratha, roti, or bread and a side of fresh feta cheese.

Mango-Spiced Baby Potatoes with Buttermilk Sauce

3 cups baby purple potatoes or fingerling potatoes
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon plain non-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon dried mango powder (Amchur)
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder or dried chili flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped scallions (for garnish)
salt and pepper to season the buttermilk sauce

Wash the potatoes under cold water and wipe them dry with a clean towel. Slice each potato in half across its length.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on a medium flame. Add the potatoes and salt. Cover with a lid and cook for about 20 minutes till the potatoes are golden brown on the outside but soft and tender inside. Stir the potatoes occasionally during the cooking.

Reduce the flame and add the chili, garlic, pepper, and mango powder. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes.

Lightly whisk the lemon zest, buttermilk, and yogurt in a separate bowl. Season with salt and pepper according to taste. Remember that the potatoes are already salted, so season accordingly.

Pour the buttermilk sauce over the warm potatoes just before serving. Garnish with the scallions.

Twice-Cooked New Potatoes with Pepita Chutney

Pepita chutney:
1 cup unsalted pepita seeds ( raw or toasted)
1 garlic clove, peeled and trimmed
1 bunch scallions, trimmed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
8 black peppercorns

Potatoes:
2 pounds new potatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced

To prepare the chutney: Puree all of the ingredients in a blender with ¼ cup water and blend to a smooth paste. Taste and adjust the salt if needed. Keep aside until ready to use. (The chutney can be made a day ahead and stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.)

To prepare the potatoes: Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the potatoes, reduce heat to medium-high, return to a boil and cook until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a knife, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place the potatoes on a clean kitchen towel to remove as much water as possible.

Heat the butter in a medium cast-iron skillet or stainless-steel pan on medium-high heat until the butter melts and the milk solids just start to turn brown, then add the potatoes. Smash slightly by applying a little pressure using a flat spoon or masher. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the pepper. Cook until the potato skins sear and turn slightly golden brown, 2 to 2½ minutes per side. Remove from the heat and generously drizzle with the pepita chutney. Garnish with the mint and serve hot or warm.

Pork and Chili Stir-Fry

1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons Sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced Ginger
1 tablespoon minced Garlic
1 tablespoon Soy sauce
2 teaspoons sambal olek or other spicy red chili sauce
1 tablespoon Lemon juice
2-3 Green Chilies (sliced jalapenos, serranos, or bird’s eye chilis, depending on how hot you want your dish)
1/2 cup chopped Spring onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 head butter lettuce

In a 10-inch pan over medium high heat, add oil. To the hot oil, add minced ginger and garlic and let them sizzle for 2-3 seconds. Add the ground pork. Mix well and brown the meat, breaking up all the clumps. You want some crispy parts, but mainly you want to cook the pork well.

While the meat cooks, chop up the green onions and cilantro. Mix them in a bowl and set aside.

After about 8 minutes when the meat is almost done, push the meat to the sides to create a small space in the middle. Add the sliced green and red chilis.

Pour in soy sauce, sesame oil, the sambal olek if using and stir well.

Turn off the stove and let the pork rest uncovered for 3-4 minutes to cool a little.

Stir in the chopped green onions and cilantro. Sprinkle the lemon juice and stir well.

Separate the butter lettuce leaves and allow your diners to serve themselves some of the spicy pork mixture into each butter lettuce, leaf. Or skip the lettuce and just eat the meat—good either way.

Easy Scallion Pancakes

6-8 scallions
salt (to taste)
vegetable, canola, or light olive oil (for brushing and cooking your scallion pancakes)
1 pack store-bought round, white dumpling wrappers (1 lb or 450g)

Wash the scallions and pat them thoroughly dry with a clean kitchen towel. Slice the scallions in half lengthwise and finely chop them.

Prepare a small dish of salt and a dish of oil, along with a pastry brush.

On a clean work surface, take a dumpling wrapper, brush it with a thin layer of oil, and lightly sprinkle with salt. Then cover with a layer of scallions. Top it with another dumpling wrapper, and lightly press it down. Repeat the process until you have 4-7 layers of dumpling wrappers.

Use a rolling pin to roll the layered dumpling skins into a pancake––however thick or thin you like. Rotate the scallion pancake as you roll to get a perfect round shape.

Heat a flat-bottomed non-stick or cast iron pan over medium heat. Spread 1 tablespoon oil around in the pan, and add the scallion pancake. Cook each side until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. (Avoid using high heat, as it will burn the pancake without cooking it through).

If the pan looks dry after flipping the pancake, you can add another tablespoon of oil.

Enjoy these plain or with a dipping sauce! We’ve found that they go great with our dumpling dipping sauce.

Notes
To pre-make and freeze any uncooked scallion pancakes:
After rolling out each pancake, place on a sheet of parchment or wax paper, and place another sheet of paper on top.

Layer the scallion pancakes between the wax paper or parchment paper.

Transfer to a large freezer bag, and place on a flat shelf in the freezer so they freeze flat.

To cook, add them directly to a pan with hot oil––no need to thaw beforehand.

Loco Moco (Hawaiian Beef and Rice Bowl)

1 pound ground beef, at least 15 to 20 percent fat
1 medium Maui or yellow onion, peeled (1/4 of the onion chopped; 3/4 sliced)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more as needed
2 1/2 tablespoons neutral oil
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (optional)
2 cups beef broth
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups steamed white rice
4 large eggs, fried, sunny side up or over easy
2 chopped scallions, for garnish

In a large bowl, combine the beef, chopped onion, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix with your hands or a wooden spoon until just combined, being careful not to overmix. Form into four patties about 1/2-inch thick. Place the patties on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large 12-inch skillet over medium. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the sliced onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until almost translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking, stirring often, until soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and heat over medium. When the oil is hot, swirl the pan around to evenly coat it, then gently place the patties in the pan, spacing them out evenly. Cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Using a spatula, transfer patties to a clean plate to rest.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil to the pan and heat over medium until hot. Add the mushrooms (if using) and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper, then add the caramelized onions, beef broth, soy sauce and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low.

Place the cornstarch in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the broth from the skillet and whisk until smooth. Stir the cornstarch slurry into the skillet and simmer until the sauce has thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Place 1 cup steamed rice on each plate and top each serving with one patty, then the gravy, a fried egg and chopped scallions.

Hawaiian Guava Cake

2 1/2 cups/320 grams cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1 1/4 cups/250 grams granulated sugar
6 large egg whites
1/4 cup/60 milliliters neutral oil, like canola or vegetable oil
1 cup/240 milliliters whole milk
1 cup/240 milliliters guava concentrate or reduced guava juice (see Tip)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 drops of red food coloring (optional)

1 cup/240 milliliters heavy whipping cream
8 ounces/230 grams cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup/100 grams granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
3 drops of red food coloring (optional)
1/2 cup/120 milliliters guava concentrate or reduced guava juice (see Tip)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with a parchment sling, leaving some over hang on the long sides.

Make the cake: In a large bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking powder and kosher salt until combined. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium until well combined, about 3 minutes. Add the egg whites, in three additions, beating about 1 minute after each. Reduce speed to low, add the oil and mix until combined, about 1 more minute.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, guava concentrate, vanilla and food coloring (if using). On low speed, alternate between adding the wet and dry ingredients to the bowl of the stand mixer, mixing well after each addition.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting: In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream on medium speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually increase the speed to high and whip until it’s light and fluffy with stiff peaks, another 2 to 3 minutes. (Don’t overwhip!) Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl.

Replace the bowl on the stand mixer and fit the machine with the paddle attachment (there’s no need to clean the bowl). Place the cream cheese in the bowl and mix on medium until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sugar and kosher salt and increase the speed to high. Beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Lower the speed to medium and add the food coloring (if using). Add the guava concentrate in four additions, mixing well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after the second and the final additions.

Increase the speed to high and beat until smooth and well incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from stand and, using the spatula, gently fold in the whipped cream in three additions, incorporating completely after each addition.
Spread the frosting on the cooled cake, using an offset spatula to smooth it over the edges. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Cut into 24 pieces and serve immediately.

Tip
If using guava juice, reduce it: Boil two liters of juice over high heat until it’s reduced by half, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely before using. Avoid juices that contain any added sugar so the cake does not become overly sweet. Ms. Kysar likes Ceres brand guava juice.

Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

CAKE:
1 3/4 cups/225 grams all-purpose flour
1/2 cup/45 grams unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups/300 grams granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup/240 milliliters whole milk
1/2 cup/120 milliliters grapeseed oil or any mild-flavored oil
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup/240 milliliters boiling water

FOR THE TRES LECHES:
1 (12-ounce) can/355 milliliters evaporated milk
1 (14-ounce) can/395 milliliters sweetened condensed milk (3 tablespoons reserved for the whipped cream)
1 cup/240 milliliters heavy cream
Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

FOR THE CONDENSED MILK WHIPPED CREAM:
1 cup/240 milliliters heavy cream, chilled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Chocolate shavings (optional)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom only of a 9-by-13-inch cake pan (preferably metal), leaving a 1/4-inch border that remains ungreased. Do not butter the sides of the pan.
Place a large sifter or a sieve in a large bowl. Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt and sift. Add the sugar and whisk to combine.
In another large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla until combined. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until there are no lumps and the batter is smooth. Carefully pour in the boiling water and stir until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the center of the oven until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake bounces back when lightly pressed, about 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the tres leches: In a large bowl, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk (setting 3 tablespoons aside for the whipped cream), heavy cream and vanilla bean seeds or extract (if using) and whisk to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate if not using immediately.

Remove the cake from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Run a butter knife around the cake’s edges. Cool completely.

While the cake is still in the pan, use a skewer or a fork to poke small holes through the cake to the bottom, about an inch apart. Slowly spoon the tres leches over the top of the cake, giving it time to soak in. Once the liquid is absorbed, repeat until all the tres leches is used. (Toward the end, the tres leches will pool at the edges, but don’t worry; it will be absorbed while in the fridge.) Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 to 6 hours, preferably overnight.

When ready to serve, make the whipped cream: Add the reserved condensed milk along with the cream, vanilla and cinnamon (if using) to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium high until the cream has doubled in volume, forms soft peaks and is light and fluffy. Spread the cake with the cream and sprinkle the chocolate shavings on top. Serve from the pan.

Baked Lemon French Toast

6-10 slices day-old bread (challah, miche, white etc.)
6 large eggs lightly beaten
2 cups half & half (10%) cream
1 cup milk (whole (3%) milk, if possible)
1 Tbsp vanilla
Zest of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup brown sugar
To serve:
Fresh blueberries, blackberries or raspberries, for topping
Icing/confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Mint leaves for garnish
Maple syrup for drizzling

Grease your baking dish with butter. Lay your bread slices in the dish in a single layer, slightly over-lapping, but ensuring that the layer is as flat to the bottom of the pan as possible.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, half & half, milk, vanilla, lemon zest and brown sugar. *Note: You may not need to use all of the soaking liquid. A lot will depend on the thickness and type of bread you are using.

Pour mixture over bread slices only until the bread is almost all covered, with only the top edges of the bread slices exposed. Use a fork to gently move the slices so that the soaking liquid seeps between the slices, as well.

Allow to stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, pressing down with a fork and adding a bit more of the soaking liquid if necessary, once some has been absorbed by the bread before putting in the oven.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until set and lightly golden. *If necessary, loosely cover with aluminum foil for the last part of baking if top seems golden enough before the bake is set.

Remove from oven and allow to stand 5 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and scatter fresh fruit over top. Serve with maple syrup, for drizzling.

Stir-Fried Beef and Herbs

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon white sugar
2 teaspoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
1 pound 80 to 85 percent lean ground beef (not extra lean)
3 Fresno or jalapeño chilies, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups lightly packed fresh mint, roughly chopped
3/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, ginger, cornstarch and sugar. Set aside. In a nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium, heat the oil until shimmering.

Add the beef and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat into small pieces, until mostly browned but some pink still remains, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the chilies and soy sauce mixture, then cook, stirring, until no pink remains and the meat is evenly coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the mint and cilantro.

Baked Cheesy Grits

8 cups water
2 cups coarse, stone-ground white grits (not instant) (12 ounces), rinsed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
3 large eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. In a large, heavy pot, bring the water to a boil. Sprinkle the grits into the water, stirring constantly, and return to a boil. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the grits are just tender, about 30 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the grits are very thick and tender, about 10 minutes longer. Off the heat, stir in the butter and cheese, then stir in the eggs.

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and bake for 1 hour, until bubbling and the top is golden. Let the grits casserole cool for 20 minutes before serving.

The baked casserole can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat before serving.

Japanese Soufflé Pancakes

4 egg whites and 2 egg yolks from 4 large eggs, separated and chilled
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons cake flour
1/4 cup milk, chilled
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Unsalted butter, for greasing and serving
Maple syrup, for serving
Confectioners’ sugar, whipped cream and fresh berries, for serving (optional)

Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer or a medium bowl; set aside. Place egg yolks in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, the vanilla and baking powder to egg yolks and whisk until blended. Add flour and milk; whisk until fully combined.

Add lemon juice and salt to egg whites. Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer, whip mixture on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Continue to whip over medium while gradually sprinkling with remaining 5 tablespoons granulated sugar. Turn speed to high and whip until stiff, glossy peaks form and mixture doubles in size, about 1 minute. Take care not to overbeat meringue.

Heat a lidded nonstick skillet over the lowest heat setting and set the lid aside.

Using a rubber spatula, scoop about 1/3 of meringue into egg yolk mixture and gently fold almost combined. Repeat with half the remaining meringue until almost combined, then fold in the remaining meringue just until no streaks remain.

Carefully grease the warm skillet and the inside of four 3-inch-wide pastry rings (they should be at least 1 1/2 inches tall) using the butter. Check the heat of the pan by sprinkling a bit of water in it: Droplets should steam off the surface, but not dance or sputter. Place the greased pastry rings in the warm pan and ladle a scant 1/2 cup batter into each ring. Place lid on top of skillet and cook pancakes on very low heat until they start to rise and a few small bubbles start to form on top, 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove lid, carefully slide a flat spatula underneath each pancake and position another spatula on top, then gently flip pancakes in their rings. Immediately replace lid and cook until pancakes are cooked through and spring back to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer cooked pancakes to a platter, grease the skillet and pastry rings and repeat to make 4 additional pancakes.

Top pancakes with a pat of butter and drizzle with maple syrup; serve immediately. Serve with any combination of confectioners’ sugar, whipped cream and berries, if desired.

Rosewater and Honey Yogurt with Apricots and Pomegranate Seeds

Tip: You can create this dessert with any seasonal fruit.

150g Hunza apricots, soaked in water overnight
450g full-fat Greek yogurt
2-3 tsp honey
1 tsp rosewater
2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
1 tbsp chopped apricot kernels or almonds

Begin by squeezing out the stones from the soaked Hunza apricots – they should slide out and the apricotshould retain its shape. Place stoned apricots back in the soaking liquid while preparing the rest of the dish.

In a bowl, combine the chilled Greek yogurt with the
honey and rosewater and mix until combined. Chill for a few minutes while toasting nuts.

Toast the apricot kernels or almonds in a hot, dry pan
and then keep aside.

To assemble, spoon out equal amount of flavoured
yogurt into three bowls, top each with Hunza apricots (without liquid), then toasted apricot kernels/almonds and pomegranate seeds. Serve chilled.

Fig, Honey, and Pistachio Kulfi

1 litre whole milk
1 can sweet condensed milk
50 g dried whole milk powder
300 g ricotta
1 tbsp Acacia honey
1 tbsp cornflour, made into a thin paste with water
50 g chopped pistachios
60 g soft figs, chopped. (either fresh or preserved)

1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch saffron
1 tsp ground cardamom

Heat a saucepan over medium heat and boil the litre of whole milk until it reduces a bit (15-20) minutes. Add the can of condensed milk, stir for a while until dissolved.

Now add the ricotta, powdered milk , honey and stir continuously until dissolved. Finally add the cornflour paste and stir until the milk mixture is thick. Add saffron, vanilla, figs and pistachios and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously.

Take off heat and cook for about 10 minutes. Pour into Kulfi moulds or parchment paper cones with a stick and allow to rest for 10 minutes – pop into a freezer for 7-8 hours or overnight.

To serve, if using Kulfi moulds, leave outside for a few minutes then warm with hands and allow Kulfi to slip out, sprinkle with a chopped pistachio and serve immediately.

Walnut, Cardmom, and Rosebud Kulfi

225 ml whole milk
50 grams caster sugar
225 ml double cream
1 tbsp rose buds, petal separated from leaves
1 1/2 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp rose water

Additional rosebuds and chopped walnuts, for garnish

Heat milk and sugar until dissolved, do not allow to boil. Cool.

Stir in cream, rose water and cardamom.

Start the ice cream maker and pour in milk mixture.

When the mixture starts to freeze, add rose and walnuts.

Freeze until desired consistency is reached.

Garnish with extra rose buds and chopped walnuts.

Serve on chilled himalayan salt blocks.