Coconut Pie

8 graham crackers (one sleeve)
1/4 cup pecans
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups whole milk
15 ounces can sweetened cream of coconut
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cold butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon icing (powdered) sugar

Start by making a graham cracker crust: Crush the graham crackers and pecans in a food processor (or by hand in a baggie with a rolling pin). Stir in melted butter, press into a pie tin, and bake at 350° F for 10 minutes. Then leave the crust to cool.

To make the coconut custard, start by heating milk and cream of coconut in a saucepan until scalding.

In a bowl, whisk together yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until pale yellow. Carefully temper the yolk mixture by whisking in 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture. Then, slowly add the remaining milk, whisking continuously until fully combined. Pour the custard base back into the saucepan and place over low heat. Whisk continuously until the custard boils and thickens. Then remove from the heat.

Whisk in the cold butter and vanilla extract. Leave custard to cool to room temperature. Pour the cooled custard into the cooled crust and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours.

Toast coconut flakes in a pan over low heat until the edges are golden. Let cool.

Whip cream with icing sugar until it is thick and spreadable. Top the coconut pie with whipped cream and sprinkle on coconut flakes. Slice and serve!

Pork Chops with Plum Reduction

For the pork:

4 to 5 pork chops
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the plum reduction:

2 plums (any color)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from sprig
1 teaspoon freshly ground rainbow peppercorns

Rub the pork with the oil and salt and pepper. Put on hot grill. Or, if you are cooking in the pan, set it aside and wait a bit. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, until nicely browned and cooked through.

Chop the plums into small bites. Place all of the ingredients for the reduction in a cast iron pan. You can also use a small saucepan here.

Simmer over low-medium heat until the plums are softened and the balsamic is reduced to half. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. The plums will still be chunky when finished. Pour the sauce over the pork chops, and enjoy with good crusty bread.

Bitter Almond Ice Cream

45 to 50 apricot pits (4 1/2 ounces)
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
7 egg yolks

Wrap apricot pits in a heavy dish towel. On the floor or on a sturdy cutting board, crack pits open using a hammer or a meat mallet, exposing kernels. Watch your fingers.

In a medium saucepan, combine apricot kernels and shells with milk and heavy cream. Bring to a boil; turn off heat and let cool. Chill overnight in refrigerator.

The next day, bring the milk mixture to a boil again and strain through a fine sieve.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and the yolks until light and fluffy. Whisk about 1/2 cup hot milk into the egg mixture, and then whisk the egg mixture into the milk. Pour into a large saucepan, place over medium-low heat and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from heat immediately. Let cool, and then strain.

Pour into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Michel Richard’s Green Beans

1 pound haricots verts, stem ends trimmed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons chicken stock
2 garlic cloves, crushed but not peeled
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (optional)

Combine the haricots verts, butter, chicken stock, and garlic cloves in a large sauté pan or small flameproof casserole. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Cover the pot, place over medium-high heat, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring gently from time to time and adjusting the heat as necessary to cook at a steady simmer. The beans should be cooked through but not mushy. Serve immediately, sprinkled with Parmesan, if desired.

Seared Green Beans

3/4 pound fresh green beans
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
Coarse salt

Snap off the tops of the beans. Melt the butter in a skillet, add the beans, and cook them over a medium to medium-high flame, stirring, until they begin to brown. Lower the flame, cover, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until the beans are the desired tenderness, stirring occasionally. Mix in the crushed garlic, sprinkle with salt, and serve immediately.

Grilled Radicchio Salad with Yogurt Dressing

For the Yogurt Dressing:
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
Kosher salt, to taste
1 cup whole-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon hazelnut-infused oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint

For the Toasted Hazelnuts:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, very thinly sliced
1 thyme sprig

For the Salad:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 head radicchio, cut into 8 wedges
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup torn mint leaves, for garnish

Make the yogurt dressing: In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the onions. Season with a pinch of salt and sweat until translucent and tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, set aside and let cool.

While the onions cool, toast the hazelnuts: Wipe the skillet that was used for the onions clean and return to medium heat. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and add the hazelnuts. Cook, stirring often, until toasted, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic slices and thyme sprig, and continue to cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Reserve the oil, letting it cool for a few minutes.

Once the onions are cool, fold in the yogurt, lemon juice and minced garlic. Strain 1 tablespoon of oil from the toasted hazelnuts and fold into the yogurt. Fold in the mint and set aside. Makes about 2 cups.

Make the salad: Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high heat and add 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Season the radicchio wedges with salt and pepper, and grill, turning once, until lightly charred and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.

Arrange the grilled wedges on plates and spoon the dressing over. Top with the toasted hazelnuts. Garnish with raisins and mint leaves, and serve.

Grilled Deviled Chicken

1 tablespoon white wine or vermouth
2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter (salted or unsalted)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for coating the chicken
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
Very generous pinch cayenne, red pepper powder, or paprika (sweet or smoked)
2 small scallions, chopped
8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds, 1kg)
1/2 cup (20g) toasted breadcrumbs, panko, or cracker crumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the grill to about 375ºF (190ºC), if your grill has a thermometer. If not, get it moderately hot, but remember that this cooks best over medium, indirect heat.

In a small bowl, whisk the white wine and mustard together. Slowly drizzle the butter and olive oil into the mustard mixture, whisking constantly. Add the thyme, cayenne and scallions. Set aside.

Toss the chicken thighs in a bowl with a good drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.

Without unrolling or flattening the thighs, set them on a grill, bone side down over indirect heat, not over a direct flame. Lower the cover of the grill and let cook, checking frequently, until the tops of the thighs go from being raw to changing color with the exterior looking cooked. The inside will still be undercooked, and they will have shrunk by about one-third. They should take about 15 minutes to reach this point. The bottom may be nice and crispy. If they get too dark, slip a sheet of aluminum foil under them.

Start basting the chicken frequently with the sauce, closing the cover, then lifting it a few minutes later to baste them again. Continue cooking, and basting a bit, until the thighs are cooked through, which will be between 15 and 20 more minutes depending on the temperature of the grill.

About ten minutes before the thighs are finished, sprinkle the tops with breadcrumbs and keep basting; avoid disturbing the crumb crust and dribble the sauce over the crumbs, rather than brushing. The thighs are done when you poke a paring knife into one and the chicken is cooked close to the bone or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers at least 165ºF/75ºC. Remove from the grill and serve.

This works fine with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but to be aware that they will cook faster than thighs. You can also use it with a whole chicken. If so, you’ll want to butterfly the chicken, removing the backbone, cracking the breastbone, then opening the chicken up (like a book) so it lies flat. Tuck the wing tips under the wings, so they don’t burn. She advises grilling the chicken skin side up for 20 minutes, turn the chicken, and spread some of the sauce on the chicken. Grill for 10 more minutes, then turn the chicken over so it is breast side up again, and grill for 5 more minutes, basting with more sauce. Sprinkle the chicken with the crumbs and grill it for another 10 to 15 minutes, basting carefully with additional sauce, until done.

Key Lime Popsicles

INGREDIENTS

Popsicles
Key Lime Simple Syrup

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup key lime juice
1/2 cup sugar (or honey)

Popsicles

2 cups Greek-style plain yogurt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons key lime simple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed graham crackers

Make the Simple Syrup
In a medium saucepan heat the water, lime juice, and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. If using honey, heat until the mixture simmers. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Make the Popsicles
Mix together the yogurt, 1 cup key lime simple syrup, and the vanilla until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds. In a small bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with remaining simple syrup until moistened. Carefully spoon about 1 tablespoon of crumbs onto the bottom of each popsicle mold over the yogurt. Press lightly to secure. Insert sticks or tops to the molds and freeze until stiff.

To unmold, run under warm water for 10-20 seconds, as needed. Serve immediately.