Laotian Chicken Sandwich

Four 8-inch soft baguettes, split
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
2 Tbsp sriracha (Thai hot sauce)
2 cooked chicken breasts, sliced
1/4 cup sweet red chili sauce
1 to 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced
2/3 English cucumber, peeled and thickly sliced
Mint and cilantro leaves
2 cups shredded lettuce
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

To make the sandwich, spread both sides of the baguettes with mayonnaise and sriracha. Arrange chicken over the bottom halves and moisten with chili sauce. Add jalapeños, cucumber, and herbs, then drizzle with more sauce. Toss the lettuce and carrots with the vinegar, add to the sandwiches, then finish with more chili sauce, if you’d like. Add top halves and serve with lots of napkins.

Oak Ice Cream

3 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup medium-toasted oak shavings or chips
6 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 1/2 tablespoons turbinado (raw) sugar
5 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 large egg yolks

Prepare an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream and oak shavings. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, watching carefully to keep from boiling over, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let mixture infuse for 45 minutes.

Strain through a thin mesh colander or strainer into a heatproof bowl; discard oak shavings. Return mixture to a clean medium saucepan over very low heat.

Using an electric mixer at medium speed, whisk together the granulated sugar, turbinado sugar, honey, salt and egg yolks until almost doubled in volume, about 2 minutes. Add 1/3 of the warm oak-infused liquid and mix just until combined well, about 30 seconds.

Return sugar and egg mixture to the saucepan of warm oak-infused milk, and gently stir in an “S” shape, taking care to scrape the bottom of the pan. Mixture will be ready when it appears silky and has thickened so that it coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove mixture from heat and set aside. Fill a large bowl with water and ice; place saucepan in it and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooling. Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Finished ice cream will have the consistency of soft serve and should be served immediately or promptly placed in freezer to help solidify. Serve within 2 days for best results.

Pita Bread

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
35 grams whole-wheat flour (1/4 cup), preferably freshly milled
310 grams unbleached all-purposed flour (2 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Make sponge: Put 1 cup lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl. Add yeast and sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add the whole-wheat flour and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and whisk together. Put bowl in a warm (not hot) place, uncovered, until mixture is frothy and bubbling, about 15 minutes.

Add salt, olive oil and nearly all remaining all-purpose flour (reserve 1/2 cup). With a wooden spoon or a pair of chopsticks, stir until mixture forms a shaggy mass. Dust with a little reserved flour, then knead in bowl for 1 minute, incorporating any stray bits of dry dough.

Turn dough onto work surface. Knead lightly for 2 minutes, until smooth. Cover and let rest 10 minutes, then knead again for 2 minutes. Try not to add too much reserved flour; the dough should be soft and a bit moist. (At this point, dough may refrigerated in a large zippered plastic bag for several hours or overnight. Bring dough back to room temperature, knead into a ball and proceed with recipe.)

Clean the mixing bowl and put dough back in it. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then cover with a towel. Put bowl in a warm (not hot) place. Leave until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Heat oven to 475 degrees. On bottom shelf of oven, place a heavy-duty baking sheet, large cast-iron pan or ceramic baking tile. Punch down dough and divide into 8 pieces of equal size. Form each piece into a little ball. Place dough balls on work surface, cover with a damp towel and leave for 10 minutes.

Remove 1 ball (keeping others covered) and press into a flat diskc with rolling pin. Roll to a 6-inch circle, then to an 8-inch diameter, about 1/8 inch thick, dusting with flour if necessary. (The dough will shrink a bit while baking.)

Carefully lift the dough circle and place quickly on hot baking sheet. After 2 minutes the dough should be nicely puffed. Turn over with tongs or spatula and bake 1 minute more. The pita should be pale, with only a few brown speckles. Transfer warm pita to a napkin-lined basket and cover so bread stays soft. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.

YIELD 8 six-inch diameter breads

Basic Panna Cotta

Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups whole milk (see Ingredient Notes)
3 teaspoons powdered gelatin
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups light or heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch salt
Equipment

Six 6-ounce ramekins
Paper towels
2-quart saucepan
Whisk
Large bowl
Thin knife

Lightly grease the ramekins: Spray the ramekins with cooking spray, then use a paper towel to wipe out most of the oil, leaving only a light residue.

Bloom the gelatin: Pour the milk into the saucepan and sprinkle the powdered gelatin evenly over top. Let soften for 5 minutes or until the surface of the milk is wrinkled and the gelatin grains look wet and slightly dissolved.

Dissolve the gelatin over low heat: Set the saucepan over low heat and warm the milk gently, stirring or whisking frequently. The milk should never boil or simmer; if you see steam remove the pot from the stove and let it cool down. The milk should get hot, but not so hot that you can’t leave your finger in the pot for a few seconds. The gelatin will dissolve quickly as the milk warms; it melts at body temperature so this step should go quickly.

Check to make sure the gelatin is dissolved: After about 2 minutes of warming, rub a bit of the milk between your fingers to make sure it’s smooth. Or dip a spoon in the milk and check the back for distinct grains of gelatin.

Dissolve the sugar: Stir the sugar into the milk and continue warming until it dissolves as well. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes total to dissolve both the gelatin and sugar. Again, never let the mixture boil.

Whisk in the cream and flavorings: Remove the saucepan from the heat. Whisk in the cream, vanilla, and a pinch of salt.

Pour into the ramekins and chill: Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared ramekins and put in the refrigerator to chill. If serving straight from the cups, without unmolding, chill for 1 to 2 hours. If you want to unmold the panna cotta, chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Prepare to unmold: Fill a large bowl partway with warm to hot water. Wipe a dessert plate with a damp paper towel (a damp plate lets you reposition the panna cotta more easily if it doesn’t fall in the right spot).

Release the panna cotta edge from the cup: Run a thin knife carefully around the sides of a ramekin. Don’t slide the knife all the way into the cup; just release the top edge of the pudding from the edge of the cup. Dip the ramekin in the warm water up to its rim, and hold it there for about 3 seconds.

Unmold on a plate: Invert the ramekin over the plate and shake gently to help the panna cotta fall out, or press gently on one side to help nudge it out. It should fall out on the plate easily. (If it does not, return to the warm water bath in increments of 2 seconds.) Reposition on the plate if desired. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, lightly covered, for up to 5 days. The gelatin gets stronger as it sits, so this will be a bit rubbery by days 4 or 5, but you can mitigate this by letting the panna cotta sit at room temperature for about half an hour before serving.

Ingredient Notes
You can use any combination of milk, cream, coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk — really any creamy liquid — to make panna cotta. But the less fat in the panna cotta, the softer it will be. A panna cotta made with all soy milk, for instance, will set very softly.

Fun with flavors: If you want to play with the flavors, try scraping a vanilla bean into the warmed milk, instead of using extract. Or add lemon or almond extracts, or stir in a handful of chopped chocolate at the very end for a straciatella effect. You can substitute espresso or pureed fruit for some of the milk. Just a few ideas — the possibilities are endless!

Troubleshooting Panna Cotta
The panna cotta is still liquid! Perhaps the gelatin didn’t melt all the way, or you accidentally boiled the mixture. (Boiling destroys gelatin’s thickening power.) It may also have not set long enough.

My panna cotta has two layers! If you are using non-homogenized milk, this is especially likely to happen. To reliably avoid this, use half and half instead of milk and cream.

Miso Caramel

3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons white miso

In a heavy saucepan set over medium-high heat, stir together sugar and water. Without additional stirring, bring mixture to a boil. Use a wet pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan.

When sugar becomes a deep golden brown and wisps of smoke just start to form, remove pan from heat. Once off the heat, carefully pour in the cream, which will cause the caramel to bubble. Stir to combine. If the caramel seizes up and hardens with the addition of the cold cream, then put the pan back over low heat and stir until the caramel is liquid again.

Whisk in the miso. Allow to cool slightly before pouring into a lidded container.

Store in the refrigerator.

Remelt the sauce by putting some in a ramekin and microwaving it on high for 30 second intervals until hot and liquid-y. Serve over ice cream, pound cake, or just eat it cold out of the jar with a spoon.

Miso Roasted Root Vegetables

2 pounds root vegetables, cut in roughly 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons miso paste (see above)
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey, if you prefer)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or just oil it). Whisk together the miso, maple syrup, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and oil. Toss the sauce with the cut-up root vegetables, coating them well. Transfer to the baking sheet and roast, turning periodically, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until they are soft (but not mushy) and caramelized. Eat as soon as possible.

Rumtopf

The ingredients:
1. fresh fruit (approximately 1 pound)
2. sugar (approximately 1/2 pound)
3. Good quality (unflavored) dark rum to cover the fruit by 1 inch

It’s traditional to begin with the first fresh fruit of the new growing season. However, since many fresh fruits are now available all year round in supermarkets, you may begin the process at any time.

Start with your favorite fresh fruit. Choose fruit which is ripe (not over-ripe) and full of flavor.

Ideal fruits are:
Pineapple (remove rind & core and cut in large cubes)
Cherries (any variety, stemmed and pitted)
Apricots (halves, pitted)
Nectarines (halves, pitted)
Peaches (remove pits and cut in halves, quarters, or slices)
Pears (cored, peeled & sliced)
Plums (remove seed and half or quarter)
Grapes (sweet seedless red or green grapes are ideal)
Strawberries (don’t wash, just remove stem & leaves). Strawberries will soften and lose their bright red color as the soak up the rum.
Raspberries (don’t wash). Raspberries will lose some of their bright red color.
Red currants (removed from stem)
Gooseberries (remove stems)

The following fruits are not recommended but may be added if you insist:
Blackberries or Blueberries (they can be bitter and can discolor the other fruits)
Watermelon and Cantaloupe chunks (can make the mixture watery)
Rhubarb (can make mixture sour)
Bananas (too mushy)
Citrus (too acidic)
Apples (take on an odd texture)

Wash and dry the inside of the Rumtopf.

Wash and dry the first chosen fruit.

Remove any stems, seed and pits.

Place the one pound of fruit and a half pound of sugar into the Rumtopf.

Pour in enough rum to cover the fruit by at least one inch.

Cover the opening of the Rumtopf with tightly with plastic (to avoid evaporation) and place the lid firmly on top.

Store in a cool place away from heat and direct sunlight.

You may even store the Rumtopf in the refrigerator.

Every month add an additional layer of fruit:
For each additional layer of fruit follow the instructions above.

Throughout the summer, repeat the process for each new fruit layer until your Rumtopf is full.

If all the fruit you want to use is available on the same day, you may fill up the Rumtopf with layers of fruit and sugar and rum.

Then allow the entire mixture to sit for another 4 to 6 weeks. By all means feel free to “test” the fruit along the way for “Yumminess”.

Check periodically to make sure their is no extra fermentation taking place. If you see bubbles beginning to develop, you have fermentation. If this happens, add rum that is 151 proof to suppress the fermentation.

How to serve:
Serve the Rumtopf fruits with its syrup (hot or cold) over ice-cream, cake, flan, puddings, or cheese cake. Serve in an elegant dish topped with whipped cream or crème frâiche.

Serve as a side dish with any game meat.

Serve the strained liquid as a liquor or after-dinner cordial.

Add two tablespoons of the strained liquid to Champagne for a unique and elegant cocktail.
Lay some of the warmed fruit onto a thin crepe-like pancake and roll up. Add whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Jose Andres’ Rack of Lamb with Potatoes

4 YUKON GOLD POTATOES, PEELED AND CUT INTO 1/4 INCH-THICK ROUNDS
8 GARLIC CLOVES, PEELED
16 PEARL ONIONS, PEELED
4 FRESH ROSEMARY SPRIGS
4 FRESH THYME SPRIGS
3 TABLESPOONS SPANISH EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
SEA SALT TO TASTE
2 FRENCH-CUT RACKS OF LAMB, ABOUT 10 OUNCES EACH
1/2 CUP DRY WHITE WINE

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Toss the potato slices, garlic, onions, rosemary, thyme, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil together in a mixing bowl. Spread the mixture in a large roasting pan, season to taste with salt, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

While the potatoes roast, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan begins to smoke, add the lamb racks and brown about 2 minutes per side.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and pour the wine over them. Arrange the lamb racks on top of the potatoes, leaning them against each other to form a triangle. Return the pan to the oven and cook for another 20 minutes or until the lamb measures 130°F on a meat thermometer. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board to let rest for 5 minutes.

Slice the racks into chops and divide them among 4 plates. Spoon the potatoes, onions, garlic, and herbs onto the plates. Drizzle the lamb with the pan juices and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Season to taste with salt.

Tuna Stuffed Piquillos

1 5 to 6-ounce can chunk light tuna packed in oil, drained
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped
1 tablespoon minced shallot (about 1/4 large), rinsed and patted dry
4 Nicoise olives, pitted and chopped, or 1 tablespoon chopped black or green olives
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh mint or parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (more or less to taste)
About 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 piquillo peppers, drained and patted dry

Put the tuna in a bowl and toss it lightly with a fork to break it up. Stir in the lemon zest, capers, shallot, olives, and mint or parsley. Add 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, as well as some pepper, and taste. You’ll probably want another teaspoon of lemon juice and you might want another teaspoon of oil—it will depend on the tuna and your taste. If you think the mix needs salt, add it now.

With your fingers, gently open the peppers, and fill each with a tablespoon or so of the filling. The peppers should be plump but not packed to the brim. Put them in a lightly oiled small baking pan (it’s okay if they’re touching one another) or lay them on a lightly oiled foil-lined baking sheet. Save any leftover filling to use as a spread. (You can cover the peppers and keep them at room temperature for a couple of hours, or refrigerate them for up to 6 hours, if possible, bring the peppers to room temperature before heating them.

Preserved Brandied Cherries

1 1/2 lb. cherries
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 cardamom pods
2 whole cloves
2 whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup brandy
1-quart jar with lid

Pit the cherries and set them aside.

In a medium saucepan bring sugar water, lemon juice, and spices to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the mixture is slightly reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat. Stir in the brandy and the pitted cherries.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cherries to a 1-quart jar. Pour enough of the cooking liquid over the cherries to cover them completely. Twist on lid.

Process in boiling water for 10 minutes, let cool, and store in a cool, dark place (such as a cupboard) for at least 6 weeks before using. Once opened, keep chilled. Alternatively, you can forgo the hot-water processing and store in the refrigerator.

Makes 1 quart Brandied Cherries.

Brandied Cherries

2 cups sugar
4 cups brandy
2 lbs. fresh sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted

Dissolve sugar in brandy in a sterilized 2–3-quart glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Add cherries. Cover jar and allow cherries to macerate in the refrigerator for 6 weeks. To serve, pour some of the brandy into a small glass and add a few cherries. Cherries will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 year.

Basic Pastry Cream with Variations

3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean, slit lengthwise
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

In a medium-sized saucepan, stir together 2 1/2 cups of the milk, the sugar, salt, and the vanilla bean. (If you’re using vanilla extract, add it at the end.) Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch, flour, and egg yolks with the remaining 1/2 cup milk.

Whisk some of the hot milk mixture with the egg yolks to temper them. This keeps the yolks from turning to scrambled eggs when you add them to the simmering milk.

Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the remaining simmering milk. Doing this through a strainer will help prevent lumps later. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the mixture thickens.

Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve. Stir in the butter and vanilla extract (if you’re using it). If you’re going to flavor the pastry cream with chocolate or some other flavor, this is the time to do it (see variations below).

Rub a piece of butter over the surface of the cream, top with a piece of plastic wrap (make sure it touches the top of the pastry cream so it doesn’t develop a skin), then refrigerate until cool.

To complete, fold the whipped cream into the cooled pastry cream.

Notes: This base recipe calls for 1/2 cup of sugar, which makes a pastry cream that’s just barely sweet. If you’re planning to use the pastry cream for a pie filling and you want it to be sweeter, increase the sugar to 3/4 cup.

Pastry cream will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days. After that it may start to weep.

If you want the pastry cream to be sliceable, as for a cream pie, don’t fold in the whipped cream. The recipe will yield 3 cups of pastry cream in that case. With whipped cream it will yield 5 cups.

Variations

Butterscotch Pastry Cream: Add 1/4 teaspoon butter-rum flavor and/or 1 cup (6 ounces) butterscotch chips to the pastry cream after straining, stirring until the chips have melted.

Caramel Pastry Cream: Add 3/4 cup chopped caramel (7 1/2 ounces, or 21 to 23 unwrapped individual caramels) to the hot, strained pastry cream, stirring until melted and the mixture is smooth.

Chocolate Pastry Cream: Add 1 cup (6 ounces) chopped chocolate to the hot, strained pastry cream, stirring until melted and the mixture is smooth.

Hazelnut Pastry Cream: Omit the butter and increase the sugar to 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces). Add 3/4 cup (8 1/4 ounces) praline paste to the hot, strained pastry cream, stirring until combined.

Orange Pastry Cream: Increase the sugar to 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces). Add 1 teaspoon orange extract; 1/4 teaspoon orange oil; or 3 tablespoons orange zest to the hot, strained pastry cream.

Peanut Butter Pastry Cream: Add 3/4 cup (7 1/4 ounces) smooth peanut butter to the hot pastry cream, stirring until melted and the mixture is smooth. If you’re using a natural or freshly-made peanut butter, omit the butter from the recipe, or the pastry cream will be greasy.

Pistachio Pastry Cream: Omit the butter and increase the sugar to 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces). Add 3/4 cup (8 1/4 ounces) pistachio paste, or blanched pureed pistachio meats.

Basic Sweet Tart Dough

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons; 4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

Put the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in—you should have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses—about 10 seconds each—until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change—heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, for about 2 hours before rolling.*

To roll the dough: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. Using paper as aid, turn dough into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in, making double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork.

Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

To fully bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes.

Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon (or prick it with the tip of a small knife). Bake the crust about 10 minutes longer, or until it is firm and golden brown, brown being the important word: a pale crust doesn’t have a lot of flavor. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature.

Storing: The dough can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. While the fully baked crust can be packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months, the flavor will be fresher bake it directly from the freezer, already rolled out–just add about 5 minutes to the baking time.

* Alternate press-in technique: If you want to use the press-in method, you can work with the dough as soon as it’s processed. Just press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Don’t be too heavy-handed–press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but don’t press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture.

Basic Pastry Cream

2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks (I’m going to use a few less next time to cut some calories)
1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature

Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.

Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk– this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are full incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold or, if you want to cool it quickly put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water, and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.

Gateau Basque

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 to 1 cup thick cherry jam or an equal amount of vanilla pastry cream
1 egg beaten with a splash of water, for the glaze

Makes 8 servings

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 to 1 cup thick cherry jam or an equal amount of vanilla pastry cream
1 egg beaten with a splash of water, for the glaze

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and keep at hand.

Working in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until smooth. Add the egg and beat another 2 minutes or so, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. The mixture may look curdled, but that’s OK. Add vanilla and mix for about a minute more. Then reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in two or three additions, mixing only until they’re fully incorporated into the dough.

Place a large sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper on your work surface and put half of the very soft and sticky dough in the center of the sheet. Cover with another piece of plastic or wax paper, then roll the dough into a circle just a little larger than 8 inches in diameter. As you’re rolling, turn the dough over and lift the plastic or paper frequently, so that you don’t roll it into the dough and form creases. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Put the dough on a cutting board or baking sheet and refrigerate it for about 3 hours or for up to 3 days.

When you’re ready to assemble and bake the gateau, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350. Generously butter a 2-inch high, 8-inch round cake pan.

Remove the layers from the refrigerator and let them rest on the counter for a couple of minutes before peeling away the plastic or paper. Fit one layer into the pan — if it breaks, just press the pieces together. If there’s a little extra dough running up the sides of the pan, you can either fold it over the bottom layer or cut it so that it’s even. Spoon some of the jam or pastry cream onto the dough, starting in the center of the cake and leaving one inch of dough bare around the border. Add more filling if you don’t think it will squish out the sides when you press down on it with the top layer of dough. (3/4 cup is usually just the right amount, but if you’re using a very thick jam, you might want a bit more.)

Moisten the bare ring of dough with a little water and then top with the second piece of dough, pressing down around the edges to seal it. If you’d like, you can work your finger between the top dough and the edge of the pan, so that you tuck the dough under a little. Because of the softness of the dough and the baking powder, even if you only press the layers together very lightly, they’ll fuse as they bake. And, no matter how well you press them together, it seems inevitable that a little of the filling will escape.

Brush the top of the dough with the egg glaze and use the tips of the tines of a fork to etch a cross-hatch pattern across the top.

Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for 5 minutes before carefully running a blunt knife around the edges of the cake. Turn the cake over onto a cooling rack and then quickly and carefully invert it onto another rack so that it can cool to room temperature right side up.

Storing: Wrapped well, the jam-filled cake will keep for a day or so at room temperature. You can also keep the cream-filled cake overnight, but it will need to be refrigerated. However, because refrigeration can dry cakes, it’s best to serve the cream-filled cake the day it is made.

Gateau Basque with Brandied Cherries

For the Dough:
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon oil (see Note)
1/2 teaspoon almond oil
1 cup almond flour

For the Filling:
2 1/4 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 cup brandied cherries, drained
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of milk, for brushing

Make the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add the egg yolks to the mixing bowl along with the whole eggs, lemon oil and almond oil. Beat until they are thoroughly incorporated. At low speed, gradually beat in the flour mixture and the almond flour.
Scrape the pastry dough out onto a work surface and form it into 3 disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the Filling:
Make the filling: In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer over moderate heat with the vanilla seeds. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the sugar, flour eggs and yolks. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the cornstarch mixture, then transfer back to the saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is bubbling and very thick, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat to cool slightly.

Scrape the pastry cream through a fine meshed sieve into a large, heatproof bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Let the pastry cream cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the first disk of dough to a 1/4-inch thickness and cut out a 12-inch round. Slide the round onto a lightly floured baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, roll the second disk out to a 1/4-inch thickness, and cut out a second 12-inch round. Transfer it to a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Lightly press the dough onto the bottom and up the side of the pan. Trim off the excess and refrigerate the tart shell until firm, about 10 minutes. The third disk, along with any other excess dough, can be made into cookies.

Spread the pastry cream in the tart shell in an even layer and dot with the brandied cherries. Cover the tart with the first round of dough and press gently to seal the edges. Trim off any excess. Brush the tart with the egg wash. Using a paring knife, lightly score the top of the tart in a diamond pattern.

Set the tart on a baking sheet and bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 20 minutes. Rotate the tart and transfer it to the upper third of the oven. Bake the tart for about 40 minutes longer, until golden brown on top. Transfer the tart to a large wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.

MAKE AHEAD
The tart dough can be frozen for up to 1 month. The pastry cream can be refrigerated, covered, overnight. Bring the dough and pastry cream to room temperature before using.

Pancit

1 Package (8-12 oz) Rice Noodles; Labeled “Pancit Bihon” or just “Bihon”
1 teaspoon Vegetable oil
1 Onion; Finely sliced
4 cloves Garlic; minced
1 cup boneless chicken breasts; diced
1 cup Pork; diced
8 cups Cabbage; Shredded (approx.1 sm head)
4 Carrots; Julienned
1/4 cup Soy Sauce; Light (Silver Swan brand is from the Philippines)
1/4 cup Chicken Broth; Optional – Depending on how soft you like it

Take the dry noodles and submerge them in warm water and then set them aside while you prepare everything else (but not for too long).

Place a large skillet or wok on the stove over a medium heat.

Pour the vegetable oil in the skillet or wok.

Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are soft.

Add the chicken and pork and cook until done.

Add the soy sauce and cook for 1 minute.

Add the cabbage and carrots and cook until the cabbage is soft.

If you prefer a more moist Pancit, add in the chicken broth (you may want to try it without first).

Remove the noodles from the water and drain just until they’re no longer dripping.

Add to the skillet or wok and toss over a medium heat until well mixed.

Southwest Chili

1 (4-pound) beef chuck roast, cut into 2-inch cubes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup ancho chile powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried oregano
6 cups Bone Broth or chicken stock, divided
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, shaved
4 garlic cloves, minced
Juice from 1 small lime
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 medium white onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (optional)
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro (optional)
1/2 cup julienned radishes (optional)
2 small limes, quartered (optional)

Preheat the oven to 275°F. In a large bowl, toss the beef with the salt and set aside. Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir occasionally to ensure even browning. Once it’s crisp, transfer the crunchy bacon to a platter with a slotted spoon.

Increase the heat to medium-high. In batches, add the beef in a single layer to the bacon drippings in the Dutch oven, and brown the meat on two sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the beef to a plate.

Lower the heat to medium, and add the yellow onion and tomato paste. Sauté until the onion is tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. In the meantime, combine the chile powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, and 1/2 cup of the stock in a small bowl. Mix until smooth, and then stir in the chocolate shavings.

When the onion is soft, stir in the garlic and chili-chocolate mixture, and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the seared beef, cooked bacon, the remaining 5 1/2 cups broth, and the lime juice. Stir well. Increase the heat to high and bring the contents of the Dutch oven up to a boil. Cover, but leave the lid slightly ajar. Place the pot in the oven, and cook for 3 hours or until the meat is fork-tender.

Season with salt and pepper, and place the chili in the refrigerator overnight or up to 5 days to enable the flavors to meld. Reheat on the stove, and if desired, top with chopped white onion, cilantro, radishes, and limes.

Basic Focaccia

1 package active dry yeast
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup warm water
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil ( plus extra for the baking sheet)
Coarse sea salt
Cracked black pepper
Chopped herbs (oregano, thyme) optional
Sun dried tomatoes, optional

Place the yeast and sugar in warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Combine all-purpose flour and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine. Once yeast has foamed, combine with remaining water and olive oil and slowly combine with flour and salt, mixing with a wooden spoon; then turn out onto a floured work surface and continue to knead with your hands until a dough comes together. Knead for an additional 5 minutes until gluten begins to form and dough becomes resistant to kneading. Sprinkle with flour and cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Once dough has risen, grease a baking sheet with olive oil, then punch down dough and roll out until dough covers almost all of baking sheet. Drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper (and additional herbs and/or sun dried tomato) and bake until light brown and crisp, about 22 minutes.

Lamb Sandwiches with Tapenade Mayo and Watercress

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons store-bought or homemade black olive tapenade
2 anchovy filets, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint or parsley leaves
4 slices hearty bread
3 ounces watercress
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 to 12 ounces cooked cold lamb leg (see note above)
3 ounces shaved caciocavallo or pecorino cheese

Preheat toaster oven or oven to 500°F. Combine mayonnaise, tapenade, minced anchovies, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and chopped herbs in a small bowl and mix with a fork to combine. Set aside.

Drizzle bread on one side with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place on a wire rack and toast in toaster oven or oven until warm and just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from oven.

Toss watercress with remaining tablespoon olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

To construct sandwiches, spread olive/mayo mixture over one side of each slice of bread. Layer lamb, cheese, and dressed watercress on top of two bread slices, then close sandwiches with other two bread slices. Serve immediately.