Herbed Potato Gratin with Garlic and Manchego

Ingredients

3 heads of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 quart half-and-half
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper
5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
9 ounces aged Manchego cheese, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
5 ounces San Simón or smoked Gouda cheese, shredded (1 cup)

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a 9-inch cake pan, drizzle the garlic with the oil. Cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes, until tender. Let cool, then squeeze out the cloves.

Mash the garlic to a paste and transfer to a saucepan. Add the half-and-half, thyme and rosemary and bring to a boil. Simmer over very low heat until reduced to 3 cups, 20 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

Arrange one-fourth of the potatoes in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with one-fourth of the shredded cheeses and drizzle lightly with the garlic cream. Repeat the layering with the remaining potatoes, cheese and cream. Pour any remaining cream on top and press the top layer of potatoes to submerge it.

Bake the gratin for about 1 1/2 hours, until golden and bubbling. Let cool for 20 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

The gratin can be prepared through Step 3; refrigerate overnight. Return to room temperature before baking.

Thai Pumpkin Soup

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 small white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 stalk of lemongrass, bruised
3 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
Kosher salt
One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons lime juice
Fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Thinly sliced Fresno chile, for garnish (optional)

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and curry paste and cook for 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and broth, stirring to incorporate, then season with salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and lime juice and let cool for 10 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender in the pot) and puree until smooth. If needed, add additional water or broth to reach the desired consistency. Return the mixture to the saucepan. Serve warm and garnish with fresh cilantro and thinly sliced Fresno chiles.

Like most soups, this one is even better made the day before. Reheat before serving.

Basic Lentils (or Beans) with Sautéed Onions

Basic Recipe:
Cook 1 pound of beans or lentils in water with a bay leaf. (If you’re cooking lentils, add one peeled, cubed potato to the pot.) Add salt when they begin to soften.

Thinly slice an entire yellow onion and saute over low heat in lots of olive oil until soft and reduced, about 20 minutes. You can also cut in some butter if you like. A clove of garlic would be welcome, too.

Just before serving, add an herb or spice (or a spice mix) to the cooked onions.

Gently add the onion mix to the beans or lentils, and cook for 5 minutes, then transfer to a dish and serve. Not making this a one-pot meal means the flavors stay sharp and distinct.

Variations/Specialties

Lentils with Spiced Onions
Follow the cooking instructions above. Lentils cook in about 20 minutes, unsoaked. A cubed potato will cook in about the same time and potatoes add some body to a pot of lentils. To the onions, add a spoonful of the Moroccan spice blend Ras al Hanout.

Royal Coronas with Onions and Sage

Follow the cooking instructions above. Instead of Ras al Hanout, chop two sprigs of fresh sage and add it to the onions. For a pound, the two sprigs were perfect. It was a lot of sage, but a pound of beans makes over six cups. I think too much sage would ruin things, but you do want the flavor.

Suya-Spiced Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin

2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 1¼-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of silver skin and halved crosswise
2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter, cut into 8 pieces and chilled
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/3 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, finely chopped

Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. In a large bowl, stir together the paprika, ginger, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and 1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper.

Add the pork, turn to coat and massage the spice mixture into the meat. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

In an oven-safe 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the pork and cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes total.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the center of the thickest tenderloin reaches 140°F, 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the skillet to the stovetop (the handle will be hot). Using tongs, transfer the pork to a large plate and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add the sugar and broth to the skillet.

Bring to a simmer over medium-high, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until reduced to 1/2 cup and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

While whisking constantly, add the butter 1 piece at a time; add the next piece only after the previous one is almost fully incorporated.

After all the butter is incorporated, stir in the lime juice and cook until a spatula drawn through the sauce leaves a trail, about 20 seconds.

Off heat, stir in the peanuts, then taste the sauce and season with salt and black pepper. Thinly slice the tenderloins and arrange on a platter.

Stir any accumulated pork juices into the sauce, then spoon the sauce over the pork.

Sate Lilit Bali (Minced Meat Satay on Lemongrass Skewers)

1/2 lbs minced duck or chicken meat
2 cups grated unsweetened coconut
2 oz gula jawa / Indonesian palm sugar (finely chopped)
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp cooking oil (and extra for brushing)
About 10 stalks of lemongrass or 20 bamboo skewers

Ground spices:
5 shallots (peeled)
7 cloves garlic (peeled)
1- inch galangal (peeled)
1- inch kencur/Kaempferia galanga (peeled) or substitute with 1/2 galangal and 1/2 ginger if you must
2- inch turmeric (peeled)
2 tsp coriander seeds
5 candlenuts/kemiri sub with macadamia nuts or omit if you must
1 tsp shrimp paste/ belacan
4 kaffir lime leaves Cut off the tough vein in the middle
1/2 lemongrass stalk cut into 1-inch piece
2 cloves
5 Thai red chilis remove stems (optional)
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

Sauce:
4-5 red chili (seeded and finely chopped)
1/4 cup kecap manis / Indonesian sweet soy sauce
1/4 cup fried shallot crisps/ bawang goreng

Place all the ground spices ingredients in a food processor and process into a paste. Add a bit of water to help it going
If you use bamboo skewers, soak the bamboo skewers in water for few minutes. If you use lemongrass as skewers, cut the stalks into half and get rid of extra layers if necessary.

Preheat 3 Tbsp of oil in a wok or skillet. Add in the ground spices and saute until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the wok or skillet and let it cool down completely.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the meat with the spice paste above, coconut, palm sugar, and salt. They should come together nicely without falling apart.

With clean hands, scoop up about 2-3 Tbsp of the meat mixture and mold it onto the bamboo or lemongrass skewers. Repeat until you are done with the meat and skewers.

Preheat the grill. Brush the sate with a bit of oil and grill the sate until cooked and golden brown all over. You can also use grill pan for this purpose. Serve with the sauce.

Ayam Suwir Pedas Bali (Ayam Sisit Bali-Balinese Shredded Chicken)

Ingredients
300 gr cooked chicken meat shredded, or use 500 gr uncooked chicken
1 Tbsp cooking oil
100 ml coconut cream
2 Tbsp water or chicken broth from cooking the chicken

Ground spice paste:
4 Tbsp sambal oelek adjust the amount if you want it less or more spicy
4 Thai red chili remove stems
1 small red onion peeled and quartered
4 garlic peeled

Other ingredients:
1 Tbsp turmeric powder
3 Tbsp galangal powder

Herbs:
2 stalks lemongrass
5 bay leaves (daun salam)
5 kaffir-lime leaves

Seasonings:
2 Tbsp coconut sugar or to taste
1 tsp salt or to taste
2 Tbsp Tamarind juice

Prepare the spice paste:

Place red onion, garlic, and sambal oelek in a food processor and grind into a paste

Cook the spicy sambal paste:
Preheat 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a wok or skillet. Add the spice paste, turmeric and galangal powder, and herbs. Stir fry until really aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add water and continue to stir fry for another 3 minutes

Add the coconut cream and stir to mix. Add the shredded chicken in and cook until the mixture is still moist but no more runny juice. Have a taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. It should be spicy, savory, a hint of tartness and sweetness.

Notes: WHAT TO SERVE WITH AYAM SUWIR PEDAS BALI

– NASI CAMPUR BALI: In Bali, ayam suwir is served with nasi campur (mixed rice). Meaning, white rice served with few other entrees such as fried chicken, hard-boiled eggs or omelet and side dishes like fresh slices of cucumber, tomatoes, Indonesian-style salad, sate lilit Bali, sate ayam kecap, crackers, etc. You don’t have to have all of those, but usually a combination of those.

– PLAIN RICE WILL DO TOO: Serve with white rice and few slices of fresh cucumber and tomatoes and trust me.

Peking Duck and Mandarin Pancakes

For the duck:
4 boneless duck breasts (about 6-7 oz./170-200g each with the skin on; rinsed and thoroughly patted dry with a paper towel)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
1/8 teaspoon five spice powder
1 tablespoon oil

For the mandarin pancakes:
1 1/2 cups flour (200g)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup boiling water (160 ml)
1 teaspoon oil

For the fixings:
1 cucumber (de-seeded and julienned)
1/2 cup cantaloupe (julienned, optional)
2 scallions (julienned)
3 cloves garlic (finely minced and mixed with 1 teaspoon oil to make a paste, optional)
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

Marinate the duck:

Mix the salt, soy sauce, wine, and five spice powder in a small bowl and massage into the duck. Leave the duck breasts skin side up on a plate uncovered, and let sit in the refrigerator overnight to marinate and to let the skin dry out. (If you don’t want to wait overnight, reduce the marinating time to 30 minutes).

Prepare mandarin pancakes:
Mix the flour and salt in a heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling hot water into the flour mixture and use chopsticks or a spatula to mix until a dough ball forms. Once it is cool enough to handle, knead the dough for 8 minutes until smooth, adding flour if the dough is too sticky.

Cover with plastic and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Roll the dough into a cylinder and cut into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a dough ball, then flatten them out into a small disc about 2 inches in diameter. Lightly brush 6 of the discs with oil, ensuring the sides of the discs are also brushed with oil.

Layer the remaining 6 discs over the 6 oiled discs so you have 6 pieces, each comprised of 2 discs.

Use a rolling pin to roll the discs into 7-inch circles, flipping the pancakes frequently so both of the dough discs are rolled into the same size.

Heat a wok or frying pan over medium low heat, and place one pancake into the pan. After 30 to 45 seconds, you should see air pockets begin to form between the two pancakes. Flip the pancake; it should be white with just a couple of faint brown patches. Any more than that, and they are overcooked.

After another 30 seconds, the air pockets should be large enough to separate the two pancakes. Remove the pancake to a plate, and let it cool for another 30 seconds. Now carefully pull apart the two pancakes at the seams. Place finished pancakes onto a plate and cover with a warm kitchen towel. Repeat until all pancakes are done.

The pancakes can be reheated in a steamer for about a minute when ready to serve. They also keep in the freezer for up to 3 weeks if you decide to make a larger batch.

Cook the duck and assemble:

Next, preheat the oven broiler on low heat. Heat an oven-proof pan over medium-high heat, and add 1 tablespoon of oil to coat the pan.

Sear the duck breasts, skin side down. Move them frequently so the skin crisps up and fries in the duck fat that renders out.

After 8 minutes, or when the duck skin is golden brown and a little bit crispy, carefully drain off the duck fat and discard (or save for later application to other recipes). In the pan, flip the duck breasts (so they are skin side up), and transfer them to the broiler for about 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn the skin, which at this point should be a bit crispy.

Remove the duck from the broiler and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. The duck will be cooked about medium well and will be very juicy. Transfer to a cutting board and, using a sharp knife, cut into thin slices.

Serve the duck with your warmed pancakes, fixings, and sauce.

Soboro Donburi (Gingery Ground Beef with Peas over Rice)

1 pound 90% lean ground beef
1/3 cup sake
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Dashi or water
1 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup frozen English peas, thawed
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
5 cups hot Cooked Rice
2 tablespoon beni shoga (Japanese pickled ginger) or 1 large tomato, sliced

Stir together ground beef, sake, soy sauce, dashi, and sugar in a small Dutch oven or medium-size, heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-high, stirring often to break up large lumps of beef, 5 minutes. Stir in peas and ginger; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is mostly evaporated and beef is no longer pink but is still moist, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Divide rice evenly among 4 large bowls. Spoon 1/2 cup beef mixture over each. Garnish with pickled ginger.

Cantonese Ground Beef Rice and Eggs

1 lb (450 g) ground beef

Sauce
2 cups chicken stock (or beef stock, or veggie stock)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce (or soy sauce)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce (or soy sauce)
1/8 tsp white pepper powder
Cooking
1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 yellow onion , minced
2 teaspoons ginger , minced
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup frozen green peas
1 tsp Sesame oil (optional)
5 large eggs

Serving:
2 cups steamed rice

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan (or carbon steel paover medium heat until hot. Add the ground beef and spread it with your spatula. Let it cook without touching until the bottom is browned. Break up the beef into smaller bits.

Add the onions and ginger. Cook and stir occasionally, until onion turns tender and the edges are lightly browned, 5 minutes or so.

Pour in the sauce. Stir to mix well. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Your pan should still have some sauce left, just enough to cover the beef. If not, you can gradually stir in more broth.

Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl.

Once the beef is cooked, add the frozen peas. Stir the cornstarch slurry again to dissolve the powder completely, and pour it into the pot. Stir to mix well. Crack 5 eggs onto the beef. Cover immediately and let it steam until the egg whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny, 2 to 3 minutes. Or you can cook the eggs to the degree you prefer. Make sure the sauce doesn’t come to a full boil, which will reduce the cornstarch’s ability to thicken the sauce. Move the pan off the heat for a few seconds if the pan gets too hot.

Once done, uncover the pan and remove it from the stove. Use a spatula or ladle to transfer the beef with an egg and some sauce onto a bowl of rice. Serve hot as a main dish.

Hunan Beef

For the beef:
1 pound flank steak (sliced 1/4-inch thick)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/3 cup cornstarch

For the rest of the dish:
1 red Holland pepper (25g, deseeded; can substitute red Fresno peppers)
1 small green bell pepper or poblano pepper (100g, deseeded)
1 small red bell pepper (100g, deseeded)
2 banana peppers (80g, deseeded)
8 whole dried chili peppers
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil (for frying)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (8g, sliced)
1/2 cup shallots (thinly sliced, 40g)
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
5 cloves garlic (15g, sliced)
2 tablespoons fermented black beans (20g, rinsed)
2 scallions (60g, cut at an angle into 2-inch lengths)

In a medium bowl, combine the sliced flank steak with the baking soda, water and oyster sauce. Massage these ingredients into the beef until any liquid has been absorbed by the meat. Marinate for 30 minutes.

Lightly dredge all of the beef slices in cornstarch. Set aside until ready to fry.

Slice all the fresh peppers crosswise into thin slices on the diagonal. Set aside the dried red peppers. Do not break them open or chop unless you want a very spicy Hunan Beef!

Stir the sugar into 2 tablespoons of hot water until dissolved. Add the Chinese black vinegar, soy sauce, and ground white pepper. Mix until well combined and set aside.

Heat your wok over high heat until smoking. Spread ? cup oil around the wok, and sear the beef in three batches on both sides until browned and slightly crispy on the outside. Be sure the wok and oil are hot each time you add a batch of beef.
Drain the crispy beef by moving it up to the side of the wok. The oil will drain to the bottom and you can then transfer the beef to a sheet pan or plate. No need for paper towels or wire racks!

After frying the beef, leave about 2 tablespoons of the oil in the wok, and remove any excess. If your wok got burned in the frying process, this is a good time to wash it. While you want the beef flavor from frying, you definitely don’t want burned bits in the stir-fry if you got carried away with the heat during frying.

Assembling the stir-fry:

Set the wok over medium heat. Add the sliced ginger and fry until caramelized, about 30 seconds.

Next, add the shallots. Continue to fry for another 30 seconds, and add the fresh peppers (except for the red holland or fresno peppers). Turn the heat up to high and stir-fry for 1 minute to get a nice sear on the peppers.

Clear a section on the bottom of the wok, and add the dried chili peppers. Let them toast in the oil for 20 seconds. (If you want your dish spicier, add the dried chili peppers earlier, along with the shallots.)

Next, pour the Shaoxing wine around the perimeter of the wok. Add the sliced garlic, fermented black beans, and the red Holland or Fresno peppers. Stir-fry for another 30 to 60 seconds on high heat.

Next, add the fried beef and pour over the pre-prepared sauce. Maintain the highest heat possible and stir-fry everything together for 20 seconds. Add the scallions. Continue to stir fry until most––if not all––of the sauce has evaporated.

Caramelized Black Pepper Chicken

1/2 cup dark brown sugar
About 1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla) to taste
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
2 fresh Thai chiles, halved, or dried red chiles
1 tablespoon canola oil 1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cilantro sprigs

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, fish sauce to taste, water, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, pepper and chiles.

Heat the oil in a large deep skillet. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the fish sauce mixture and the chicken and simmer over high heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with the cilantro and serve.

Pork Chops with Salted Plums

2 bone-in pork chops (1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch thick, about 1 1/2 pounds total)
Kosher salt and ground pepper
1 pound medium plums, pitted and sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar or fresh lime juice, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup fresh mint leaves
Olive oil, for drizzling

Season pork with salt and pepper; set aside.

Combine the plums and onion in a medium bowl along with vinegar and fish sauce, if using. Season with salt and pepper and try a plum; they should be relatively tangy and salty. Add more vinegar or salt, if needed, and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops and cook, without moving, until well browned on one side, 4 to 6 minutes. Flip chops and cook until well browned on the other side, another 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer pork chops to a cutting board to rest. Add plum and onion mixture to the skillet and remove from heat. Give everything a toss, just to deglaze the skillet and scrape up any of those browned bits, slightly wilting the onion and letting some of those plum juices run free.

Slice pork chops to your desired thickness and transfer to a large serving platter. Scatter with plum mixture, top with mint and give everything a drizzle of olive oil before serving.

Shrimp Creole

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
4 teaspoons Creole Seafood Seasoning or more to taste, divided
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 fresh bay leaves
2 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes
3 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Louisiana-style hot sauce (such as Crystal)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined raw medium shrimp

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add chicken stock, 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, paprika, cayenne, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high; reduce heat to medium, and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in scallions, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and salt; cook, stirring often, until thick but still a little saucy, about 10 minutes. Set aside Creole sauce.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high; swirl to coat. Add shrimp; sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (or to taste), and cook, stirring often, until slightly pink, about 1 minute.

Add Creole sauce to shrimp; cook, stirring, until shrimp are pink, cooked through, and coated in sauce, 3 to 4 minutes.

Sicilian Swordfish

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons table salt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
2 pounds swordfish steaks, cut 1/2 inch thick

Light a grill or preheat the broiler. In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice with the salt until the salt dissolves. Stir in the oregano. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season generously with pepper.

Grill the swordfish steaks over high heat (as close to the heat as possible), turning once, until cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer the fish to a platter. Prick each fish steak in several places with a fork to allow the sauce to penetrate. Using a spoon, beat the sauce, then drizzle it over the fish. Serve at once.

Coconut Rice Pudding

1/4+cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, plus more to serve
1 13 1/2-ounce can coconut milk
1/2 cup Arborio rice, briefly rinsed, then drained
4 inch strip orange zest, white pith removed (see note)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup shelled roasted, salted pistachios, roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, salt and cardamom; set aside. In a large (6- to 8-quart) Dutch oven, stir together the coconut milk and 2½ cups water.

Bring to a boil over medium-high, then stir in the rice, sugar mixture and orange zest. Cover and transfer to the oven. Bake until the rice is tender and the pudding is creamy, about 50 minutes.

Stir in the vanilla, transfer to a bowl and cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm or cool completely, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days (let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving). Sprinkle individual bowls with pistachios and dust with additional cardamom just before serving.

Layered Lemon Icebox Cheesecake

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup prepared lemon curd
Kosher salt
About 20 whole graham crackers
Blueberries, for serving

Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing 4 inches of overhang. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the mascarpone with the heavy cream at medium speed until smooth and just firm; do not overbeat. Fold in the lemon curd and a pinch of salt.

Spread a 1/4-inch-thick layer of the lemon cream on the bottom of the pan. Arrange a single layer of graham crackers on top, breaking them to fit. Repeat the layering with the remaining lemon cream and crackers, finishing with a final layer of cream. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Uncover and invert the cheesecake onto a platter. Remove the plastic wrap. Serve with blueberries.

Make Ahead: The cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Triple-Cheese Cheesecake with Amaretti Crust

AMARETTI CRUST
3 ounces amaretti cookies (about 20)
2 ounces honey graham crackers (about 4 whole crackers), coarsely crushed
Pinch of kosher salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

CHEESECAKE
1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese or sour cream
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

HONEYED APRICOTS
3/4 cup honey
Three 3-inch rosemary sprigs
6 ounces dried California apricots

Step 1: make the crust
Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a food processor, pulse the amaretti with the graham crackers and salt until finely ground.

Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and stir in the butter.

Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and halfway up the side of an 8-inch springform pan.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until the crust is set. Cool on a rack.

Step 2: make the cheesecake
In a microwave-safe dish, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold water; let stand until the gelatin is softened, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form; refrigerate.

Step 3: make the cheesecake
In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, ricotta, sugar and salt with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Beat in the mascarpone and lemon juice.

Step 4: make the cheesecake
Microwave the gelatin until melted, 5 seconds; scrape into the cream cheese mixture and beat until incorporated.

Fold in the whipped cream.

Pour the mixture into the cooled crust and smooth the surface. Refrigerate the cake until firm and set, 3 hours.

Step 5: make the honeyed apricots
In a medium saucepan, combine the honey with 3 cups of water and the rosemary.

Bring to a boil and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the honey is dissolved.

Add the apricots and simmer until tender, 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the apricots to a bowl. Boil the rosemary syrup until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Strain the syrup over the apricots and let cool.

Step 6: make the honeyed apricots
Unmold the cheesecake and serve with the honeyed apricots.

Cherries Poached in Red Wine with Mascarpone Cream

2 1/4 cups red wine
1 cup sugar
1 1-by-3-inch strip orange zest
2 pounds sweet cherries, halved and pitted
1 cup mascarpone cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons honey

In a medium stainless-steel saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Add the cherries and bring back to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the cherries are just tender, about 5 minutes. Pour into a glass or stainless-steel bowl so the cherries don’t overcook.

In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone with the honey. Remove the strip of orange zest from the cherries. Serve the warm cherries and syrup in bowls or stemmed glasses, topped with a large dollop of the mascarpone cream.

Variations

• The warm cherries and poaching liquid are great alone—without the mascarpone cream—or with whipped cream.

• Serve the mascarpone cream with cut up fresh fruit or mixed berries instead of with the poached cherries.

Passion Fruit Ice Cream Pie

One 8-ounce box gingersnaps, lightly crushe
1 dried sweetened pineapple ring (1 1/2 ounces), coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped candied ginger
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups dulce de leche (16-ounce jar)
1/2 cup Looza passion fruit nectar
3 pints vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
1/4 cup salted roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons shredded sweetened coconut

In a food processor, combine the crushed gingersnaps with the pineapple, candied ginger and butter and process until fine crumbs form. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and 1 inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.

In a blender, blend the dulce de leche and passion fruit nectar until smooth.

Spread 1 pint of ice cream in the chilled crust. Using a very small ice cream scoop (2 tablespoons), scoop the remaining 2 pints of ice cream into the crust, leaving some nooks and crannies. Drizzle 3/4 cup of the dulce de leche sauce over the ice cream, allowing it to pool in spots. Sprinkle with the pistachios and coconut and freeze until firm, at least 2 1/2 hours.

Remove the ring and cut the pie into wedges. Serve the extra dulce de leche sauce at the table.

Make Ahead: The pie can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Three-Ingredient No-bake Icebox Chocolate Cheesecake

70 Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers (from 2 packages)
Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup chocolate syrup, such as Hershey’s

Put 20 of the chocolate cookies (reserving 50 whole cookies) into a zippered plastic bag and, using a rolling pin, crush them to fine crumbs. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with enough plastic wrap to extend by 4 inches all around.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese at high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the chocolate syrup and 1/4 cup of water and beat the chocolate cream for 2 minutes.

Arrange 9 cookies in an overlapping ring on the bottom of the prepared cake pan and place 1 cookie in the center. Spoon one-fourth of the chocolate cream (about 1 1/4 cups) over the cookies, being careful not to disturb them. Repeat with the remaining cookies and chocolate cream, ending with a layer of 10 cookies on top. Fold the plastic wrap over the top of the cake. Lightly tap the pan once or twice on a work surface. Refrigerate the cake for at least 8 hours and preferably overnight.

Peel back the plastic wrap and invert the cake onto a serving plate. Carefully peel off the plastic wrap. Press the cookie crumbs onto the side of the cake to coat evenly. Cut into wedges and serve.

Make Ahead: The plastic-wrapped cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.