Tag Archives: Spice

Eggs with Dukkah

I return to my posts with this recipe starring a favorite staple food – the egg.  My goal is to continue with regular postings on recipes and restaurants.  As I have been focusing on a more varied use of spices in my kitchen, I decided to offer this recipe featuring Dukkah, an Egyptian nut and spice blend.  It is a flavorful way to “spice up” your morning eggs and is inspired by a recipe I found in Eggs on Top by Andrea Slonecker (2014), an excellent cookbook all about the egg.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coriander

1 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

2 tablespoons roasted salted pistachios, shelled

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Sea salt to taste

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 eggs

Focaccia

To make the Dukkah, heat a small nonstick pan over medium heat.  When it is hot, add the coriander, cardamom and pepper, moving around with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds.  Add the fennel seeds and continue to toast for another 30 seconds.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for several minutes.  Roughly chop the pistachios, then add them to the spice mixture.  Finally, stir in the sesame seeds and salt.

Dukkah

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Pour the oil into a 9 inch nonstick frying pan.  Crack the eggs into the pan and spoon the Dukkah on the top.  Bake for about 11 minutes for loose yolks, or a few minutes longer for more fully set yolks.  Serve with slices of focaccia to sop up the egg and spice – perfect for a weekend breakfast!

Eggs with Dukkah

Rabbit with Mustard and Spiced Apple Wine

For a succulent fall dinner, try this simple preparation of rabbit – the perfect balance of sweet and spice.

Ingredients:

One rabbit, cut into pieces

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

1 1/2 cup apple wine

3 tablespoons whole grain mustard (Edmond Fallot is my favorite.)

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence

3 tablespoons salted butter

5 cloves garlic, sliced

Salt and pepper the rabbit pieces.  Combine the wine, mustard, honey and Herbes de Provence in a bowl.  For this recipe, we used Chadds Ford Winery’s Spiced Apple wine – a gift from a friend!

Heat the butter over medium heat in a large stainless steel pan.  Our large steel round Mauviel frying pan was ideal for this recipe.  Brown the rabbit pieces on both sides.  Then, add the garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes until soft.  Pour the liquid mixture over the rabbit pieces.

Cook at 390 degrees for 40 minutes.  As an alternative to baking in an oven, we set our gas grill to the desired temperature and cooked with the grill closed.  Midway through the cooking, turn the rabbit pieces and spoon the thickening sauce over the rabbit.

Serve this tender and tasty rabbit with sautéed gnocchi and exotic mushrooms…and a Rhône.

Rabbit Mustard

Apple Glazed Berkshire Pork Chops

We recently enjoyed another treat from D’Artagnan (www.dartagnan.com) – a special offer on Berkshire Porterhouse Chops.

These chops were juicy and tender, with the perfect amount of fat marbleized throughout the meat.  The preparation was very simple.  I seasoned the chops with salt and pepper, then made a drizzle consisting of a dash of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, a few tablespoons of brown sugar and several tablespoons of maple syrup.  After searing both sides of the chops on a grill pan on medium high heat on the grill, I poured two cups of Chadds Ford Winery’s Spiced Apple wine atop the pork.  The apple wine created a sweet glaze as I continued to grill the chops for about 7 to 8 minutes per side.

Berkshire Pork Chops

What side dish could stand up to these generous chops?  Baked apples, of course.

Baked Apple

a. kitchen is the kitchen

a. kitchen is more than a kitchen.  It is a dining destination in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square neighborhood where Chef Eli Kulp (also of Fork and High Street on Market) creates modern and elegant cuisine.  My husband and I recently enjoyed brunch, lunch and dinner (not all in one day, of course!) at a. kitchen.  All three meals were delicious.  The service was outstanding, and the setting is pleasant and cozy.  The open kitchen with a chef’s counter also provides for a unique dining experience.

For brunch, we started with a charcoal biscuit with house made butter.  The kitchen boasts a custom made grill using natural hardwood charcoal.  Nearly all of the dishes prepared in a. kitchen, including this tasty biscuit, reach the grill at some point.  For my main course, I ordered the grilled prawns with creamy grits paired with a salad of baby kale, basque pepper and radish.  The preparation of pepper and radish provided a nice kick.  My husband enjoyed the steak and eggs of American Wagyu, over easy eggs and blackened “frenched” onion.  The beef was grilled to a medium rare perfection.  We chose a light ending – the trio of ice cream and sorbet.   The current icy offerings are milk chocolate, caraway-rye and cranberry-apple.  Our favorite was the caraway-rye – a very creative flavor for a winter sorbet.

For dinner, we were encouraged to share several small plates followed by a main course.  We decided on the grilled, shelled quail eggs with pickled beets and onions.  The quail eggs had a soft yolk, and their richness balanced out the tanginess of the beets.  We also selected the hamachi crudo, which was served over crispy rice cakes and spicy mustard.  This dish showcased the Asian influences on the menu.  Another highlight was the Caputo Brothers burrata floating in a golden beet soup accented with dill and trout roe.  The roe provided a “pop” to the silken soup and rich cheese.

Our final small plate was the grilled octopus salad of spiced sweet potato, peanuts and winter greens.  The octopus was the tenderest that I have tasted, and the Asian spices were superb.  For the main course, we selected the special Dover sole with a side of grilled leeks with green chili romesco and smoked Marcona almonds.  This sole was grilled on a. kitchen’s centerpiece, providing it with a smoky flavor while still retaining its buttery taste and tender texture.

The wine list is impressive and includes some of my favorite French reds, including those from the Rhone.  We enjoyed a Bandol, which complemented the earthy spices.

For lunch, we enjoyed the deviled skate with sambal and grilled bok chou – another plate that demonstrates the kitchen’s talent with spices.  To balance out the seafood dishes enjoyed at a. kitchen, I decided to try the Creekstone Burger with cave-aged cheddar, mayo and pickles.  The burger proved that a. kitchen should be a destination for those in the mood for red meat as well.  As a finale, we enjoyed the sunchoke custard with black walnut brittle, hopped apples and maple.  This delicious savory sweet was the most creative use of a root vegetable that I have encountered.

Plan a visit to a. kitchen for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner and their new addition – an adjacent bar (a. bar) – which serves oysters and seafood specialties.  We will look forward to a lobster roll in the near future!

Paella – A Dish Fit for a Summer Dinner Party

If you are looking for a centerpiece for a summer dinner party, consider a paella.  The variety of ingredients – chicken, shellfish, vegetables, chorizo – will appeal to all taste buds and will surely wow your guests.  Below is my recipe that will serve six to eight.

Ingredients:

¼ cup achiote oil (made from heating achiote seeds in olive oil until the oil turns a rich red) or extra virgin olive oil

12 chicken thighs, bone-in and skinned

3 chorizo, cut into ½ inch slices

1 jar Goya Sofrito

2½ cups Bomba rice or Arborio rice

16 ounces clam juice

48 ounces chicken broth

24 large shrimp, shelled and de-veined

18 littleneck clams (and/or 18 mussels)

6 squid bodies, sliced into rings

½ of a 10 ounce package of frozen peas, defrosted

4 peppers, sliced (use a mix of red, orange and yellow peppers)

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

The ideal pan to prepare paella is a paellera – a large, round pan with two handles.  The pan is also very shallow to enable the rice to cook uniformly.  If you do not have a paellera, you may use any pan that will cook the rice evenly, such as a roasting pan.

I prefer to cook paella on the grill rather than the stove as the grill will accommodate the size of the paellera.  The grill also retains the heat so that the rice forms a crunchy ring around the outer edge of the pan.

Heat the grill to medium-high.  When the grill is heated, place the paellera on the grill and pour the oil in the paellera.  Once the oil is hot, place the chicken thighs in the paellera and season with salt and pepper.  Brown the chicken on both sides.  As you are cooking the paella, rotate the paellera periodically so that the ingredients cook uniformly.

After the chicken is browned, add the chorizo and peppers and cook until the chorizo is lightly browned and the peppers soften.  Stir in the rice so that the rice is coated with the oil.  Pour in enough clam juice and chicken stock to cover the rice by about ¼ inch.  You may need to adjust the amounts of juice and stock listed above.  Stir in the sofrito.  Turn the heat to high and let cook until the liquid is almost entirely absorbed by the rice and the rice is tender.

Turn the heat down to medium and nestle the shellfish into the rice.  First add the shrimp, then the clams/mussels.  The shrimp are cooked when they are white and no longer translucent.  This will take just a few minutes.  The clams/mussels are cooked when their shells open.  Discard any clams/mussels that do not open.

While the shellfish are cooking, scatter the peas over the paella.  The rice around the perimeter of the paellera should be browning and crisping during the cooking process.  When everything is cooked, add the squid.  The squid is added at the very end as it will only take about 2 minutes to cook.  In order for squid to be tender, it must be cooked very quickly.  When the squid turns white, test it to make sure that it is cooked.  Remove the paellera from the grill and serve immediately at the table.  Enjoy!

Final Paella