Roasted Rabbit with Olives and Feta

1 3-pound rabbit, cut into 8 pieces (your butcher can do this)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
6 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup white wine, not too dry, such as riesling
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
5 thin slices lemon, seeded
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces feta cheese, preferably French, crumbled

Place rabbit pieces in a large bowl and toss with rosemary, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer wine until reduced by half.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add rabbit pieces and garlic in a single layer and cook until meat is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes a side. (If the garlic gets too dark before the rabbit is finished browning, put the garlic on top of the rabbit to keep it from cooking more.)

Put lemon slices, olives and half the butter into the pan. Pour in reduced wine. Cover and transfer to oven for 5 minutes. Uncover and scatter feta over top. Continue cooking until rabbit is just cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes more. Stir in remaining butter and more salt if needed, and serve.

Seared Lamb with Tea Leaves

1 tablespoon lapsang souchong tea leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, more to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus thyme sprigs for garnish
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 leg of lamb, boned and butterflied, excess fat trimmed
1 pound small white turnips, about 8, trimmed and peeled
1 pound small red potatoes, about 8, peeled
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon soft unsalted butter

Combine tea, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme leaves and olive oil, and mix well. Place lamb in a dish and rub half the tea mixture on one side. Turn it over and slather the second side. If possible, set aside at room temperature up to 3 hours.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place turnips and potatoes in a saucepan of salted water, bring to a simmer and cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

As turnips and potatoes cook, place a large, heavy, ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, on the stove over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Place lamb in pan and sear until browned on the bottom, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Turn lamb and place pan in the oven. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted in a thick part of the meat should register 120 degrees for medium-rare.

Remove lamb to a cutting board. Place skillet back on stove. Drain turnips and potatoes, place in skillet and briefly roll them in the pan drippings to pick up some color. Transfer them to a bowl, cover and keep warm; your turned-off oven comes in handy here.

Add wine to skillet and cook on medium, scraping the pan, until it’s somewhat reduced. Whisk in butter, season with salt and pepper and turn off heat. Slice lamb and arrange on a large platter. Spoon turnips and potatoes around it. Briefly reheat the sauce, spoon it over the meat, drop a few sprigs of thyme on top and serve.

Colcannon

2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup whole milk or heavy cream
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
6 tablespoons butter, divided (I used unsalted, but you can use whatever you have)
1/2 head of green cabbage, thinly sliced and cut into about 2 1/2 inch strips
3 tablespoons chopped chives or green onions

Bring a pot of water with the potatoes to boil, turn down to a simmer, cover and cook until the potatoes are just fork tender. Drain.

In the meantime, combine the milk/cream, garlic, and peppercorns in a small saucepan. Bring just to a simmer, then remove from the heat, stir in the sugar and salt and allow to infuse while the potatoes cook.

In a large frying pan, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter over medium-high heat until foaming, then add the cabbage, stirring occasionally, and cook until softened and starting to get nicely browned in places. Remove from the heat.

Cut 3 of the remaining Tbs. of butter into chunks and place them in the bottom of a bowl. Strain the infused milk/cream into the bowl. Then, using a potato ricer, rice the potatoes into the bowl.

Gently fold the potatoes, cream and butter together with a wooden spoon. Then gently stir in the cabbage and the chives/green onions. Season with more salt to taste. Divide into bowls. Make a little divot in the potato-cabbage mixture in each bowl and add a pat of the remaining butter to each.

If you have any leftovers, you can make them into potato-cabbage cakes the next day. Just stir in 1 beaten egg per cup of leftovers. Mix just until combined, then gently form the mixture into patties. Fry in butter until golden brown on each side, then serve. Yum.

Sopa de Ajo

2 generous tablespoons olive oil
8 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cubed, stale bread, crusts removed
1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
6 cups water
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
4 bay leaves
3 eggs, beaten well

Boil your water with the bay leaves and 2 teaspoons salt. Once it boils, keep it at a simmer.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a pot over low/medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add bread cubes. Cook, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn, 2 to 3 more minutes.

Add the paprika and stir to coat everything. Add boiling water; do not remove bay leaves. Simmer for 20 minutes. Taste the broth, and add salt as needed.

Remove bay leaves. Stir the soup pot in wide circles, and slowly stream the beaten eggs into the pot. You want them to turn into wisps and ribbons, not clumps, so keep stirring for a few extra seconds, after everything is added. Serve immediately.

Rice and Smothered Cabbage

Smothered cabbage (see related)
3 cups homemade meat broth (we used beef here, but chicken is also good), or 1 cup canned beef broth, diluted with 2 cups water
2/3 cups rice, preferably Italian Arborio rice
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
Salt
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill

Put the cabbage and broth into a soup pot, and turn on the heat to medium. When the broth comes to a boil, add the rice.

Cook uncovered, adjusting the heat so that the soup bubbles at a slow, but steady boil, stirring from time to time until the rice is done. It must be tender, but firm to the bite, and should take around 20 minutes. If while the rice is cooking, you find the soup becoming too thick, add a ladelful of homemade broth. If you are not using homemade broth, just add water. Remember that when finished, the soup should be rather dense, but there should still be some liquid.

When the rice is done, before turning off the heat, swirl in the butter and the grated Parmesan, stirring thoroughly. Taste and correct for salt, and add a few grindings of black pepper. Ladle the soup into individual bowls, and allow it to settle just a few minutes before serving. Serve with more grated Parmesan.

Smothered Cabbage

2 pounds green, red, or Savoy cabbage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/Ncup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Salt
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
1 tablespoon wine vinegar, white or red

Detach and discard the first few outer leaves of the cabbage. The remaining head of leaves must be shredded very fine. If you are going to do it by hand, cut the leaves into fine shreds, slicing them off the whole head. Turn the head after you have sliced a section of it until gradually you expose the entire core, which must be discarded. If you want to use the food processor, cut the leaves off from the core in sections, discard the core and process the leaves through a shredding attachment.

Put the onion and olive oil into a large sauté pan, and turn the heat on to medium. Cook and stir the onion until it becomes colored a deep gold, then add the garlic. When you have cooked the garlic until it becomes colored a very pale gold, add the shredded cabbage.

Turn the cabbage over 2 or 3 times to coat it well, and cook it until it is wilted. Add salt, pepper, and the vinegar. Turn the cabbage over once completely, lower the heat to minimum, and cover the pan tightly.

Cook for at least 1 1/2 hours, or until it is very tender, turning it from time to time. If while it is cooking, the liquid in the pan should become insufficient, add 2 tablespoons water as needed.

When done, taste and correct for salt and pepper. Allow it to settle a few minutes off heat before serving. Note: The smothered cabbage can be prepared 2 or 3 days ahead of the soup, or served as a side dish from here. It also freezes

Muffaletta Olive Relish

3/4 cup pitted mixed oil-packed olives
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
2 tablespoons parsley leaves
1/2 cup giardiniera (Italian-style pickled vegetable salad)
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Combine olives, capers, peppers, parsley, giardiniera, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to chop until no pieces larger than 1/2-inch remain. Alternatively, chop by hand. Transfer to a bowl. Add vineger and olive oil and stir to combine. For best results, let olive salad rest overnight before using.

Buttermilk Hushpuppies

1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 small onion, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 tablespoons chopped scallions (optional)
Oil for frying

Remoulade Sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fresh juice from one lemon
1 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon chopped scallions

Make Remoulade sauce: Stir all ingredients in a bowl until combined. Season to taste and set aside.

Make hushpuppies: Stir cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Add onion, buttermilk, melted butter, hot sauce, and scallions (if using), and then stir until just combined.

Pour oil into a heavy duty pot to 2 inches deep. Heat over medium high heat until temperature reaches 375°F. Working in batches, gently roll dough into golf ball-sized balls and carefully lower into hot oil using a slotted spoon. Take care not to crowd pot. Fry until golden brown and cooked through, turning with wooden spoon for even browning, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve warm hushpuppies plain or with remoulade dipping sauce.

Fiori di Sicilia Ricotta Cookies

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
7 ounces full fat ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon fiori di sicilia (see note)

Adjust oven rack to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in egg and egg yolk. Beat in ricotta and fiori di sicilia until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until just combined.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets and bake until lightly browned on the bottom, about 18 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

No-bake Chocolate Cheesecake

10 ounces chocolate cookie wafers (such as Nabisco Famous wafers)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup (4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
Cocoa powder for dusting

Pulse cookie crumbs and granulated sugar in food processor until fine. Place in a large bowl and toss with melted butter until moistened. Firmly press into the bottom and 1 1/2-inches up sides of an 8-inch springform pan.

Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Reduce speed to low and mix in vanilla, sour cream, and melted chocolate until smooth and homogenous.

Spoon mixture into crust and smooth top. Chill until set, about 4 hours. Dust with cocoa powder and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Cashal Blue Terrine with Apple Jam and Frisee

Terrine
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 pound Cashel Blue cheese, crumbled

Jam
2 small apples, such as Bramley, Ida Red, Granny Smith, or Pink Lady, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Salad
6 ounces (about 8 cups) frisée
2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Toast the pecans: Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a 9-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving a generous overlap. Spread the pecans on a pie pan and lightly toast them in the oven for 10 minutes, then
allow them to cool.

Make the terrine: Combine the cheese and pecans in a large bowl and pack the mixture firmly into the loaf pan. Fold the overlapping plastic wrap over to cover completely and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days.

Make the jam: Combine the apples, sugar, honey, and lemon juice in a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until the apples are syrupy, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, stirring often, until the apples are completely soft and caramelized. Remove from the heat and mash the apples into jam with the back of a fork. Let cool.

Present the dish: Unmold the terrine and cut it into 12 half-inch slices. Gently separate the frisée leaves and put them in a small bowl. Add the shallot, olive oil, and salt and toss to mix. For each serving, center a slice of terrine on a dinner plate and place a small mound of salad and a dollop of apple jam next to it.

Salted Caramel with Pretzel Crust

Pretzel Crust
8 ounces pretzels (pick your favorite kind)
6 to 8 tablespoons (85 to 115 g) unsalted butter, melted (pretzels can be very dry, so you may need more)

Filling
1 1?2 cups (300 g) sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) honey
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup (1 stick/115 g) brown butter
2 tablespoons mascarpone
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Topping
1/4 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
4 ounces (115 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Procedures

Make the crust: Grind the pretzels in a food processor until finely ground or seal them in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Pour in the butter and mix (hands are best for this) until the texture is that of wet sand. You may need more or less butter, depending on the texture of the pretzels. Firmly press the crumbs into a 9-inch (23-cm) pie pan. Chill the crust in the freezer or fridge. Once chilled through, bake the crust in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Make the filling: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together 1/2 cup (120 ml) water, the sugar, and honey until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Cook over medium-high heat, moving the pan around occasionally, until the caramel has turned dark amber and reached 340°F (170°C) on a candy thermometer. Remove the caramel from the heat and slowly pour the cream down the side of the pan, whisking constantly. Be very careful here: The caramel will start to bubble violently and release a lot of hot steam. Whisk in the butter, then the mascarpone, then the vanilla and salt. Pour the filling into your prebaked pie shell, and refrigerate it, uncovered, until fully set—at least 5 hours.

Make the topping: Heat the cream until scalded, and then pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute, then whisk until glossy. Spread or drizzle the ganache over the filling, allow it to set, and serve. This pie can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, covered well in plastic wrap. Allow it to come to room temperature before serving. For easier slicing, run your knife under hot water first to prevent the caramel from sticking to the blade.