Wednesday, June 3, 2015
When I was young, I used to sneak into my mother’s garden with my sister Nancy just to watch her pull a big stalk of my mother’s prized rhubarb and eat it raw right out of the garden. Raw rhubarb is so incredibly tart, just watching her made me pucker up, squeeze my lips together and wince. To this day, it still shocks me that she could pull that off and enjoyed herself in the process.
I love rhubarb, cooked of course, and for me it signals spring when I see it at the farmer’s market. I love it simply stewed with strawberries and touch of sugar or made into a rhubarb upside down cake.
Next time you pass by a big pile of rhubarb in the market and have no idea what to do with it, take a few hints from these recipes or skip straight to my favorite, this delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp!
I have a feeling that you will be adding a whole new ingredient into your repertoire.
STRAWBERRY RHUBARB SORBET
3/4 pound rhubarb, about 4 cups, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 ½ pounds strawberries, about 5 to 6 cups, halved
1 ½ to 2 cups sugar
2 cups strawberries,halved
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Cassis (optional)
In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, place the rhubarb and 2 tablespoons water. Cover and cook until the rhubarb starts to fall apart, 3 minutes. Remove the cover, decrease the heat to medium low, and simmer the rhubarb until very tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool 10 to 15 minutes.
Puree the rhubarb and the strawberries together in the blender until completely smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Measure the strawberry rhubarb puree. For each 4 cups of puree, measure 1 ½ cups sugar.
Pour approximately one-quarter of the strawberry rhubarb puree into a small saucepan. Add the correct amount of sugar to the saucepan and heat the pan over medium high heat until it bubbles around the edges and the sugar is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the hot puree to the remaining puree. Refrigerate until well chilled.
Freeze the sorbet according to your particular ice cream machine
Thirty minutes before serving, for the sauce, in a bowl, toss together the strawberries, sugar and Cassis.
To serve, scoop the sorbet into serving bowls and spoon the sauce over the top. Serve immediately.
WARM STRAWBERRY RHUBARB COMPOTE WITH GREEK YOGURT AND HONEY
1 pound rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups strawberries, washed and halved
1 pint Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons Greek Honey
In the meantime, trim the end from the rhubarb. Remove any green leaves. Cut the rhubarb stalks into 1-inch pieces. Mix together the rhubarb and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the strawberries and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
Spoon the compote into dessert dishes. Top with a spoonful of yogurt and drizzle the honey over the top. Serve immediately.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
After hearing so much about The Edible Schoolyard Project, I was beyond thrilled to be invited to to take part in a class. Twenty years ago, Alice Waters spearheaded this program at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, California, and has since helped to implement edible education across the country.
Nothing prepared me for the extraordinary undertaking and the commitment that’s gone into this program. I had the notion that the students were simply planting a garden and using the vegetables they grew to prepare a shared meal, which they are, but there is much, much more.
The day I visited, I joined one of the classes in the garden and was struck by how excited the students got learning how to propagate plants. We learned how to determine which carrots were ripe and ready to be pulled and properly harvest them. Then, we got to taste their unbelievable sweetness. One student said, “I’ve never liked carrots until today. These are nothing like those little punched-out orange things in a plastic bag that you get in the grocery store!”.
In the kitchen classroom, the lesson continued. We discussed how produce is transported from farms to consumers and effortlessly, we were learning a bit of economics, logistics, history and geography. Then the students put on aprons and proceeded to make a fresh vegetable soup with everything they’d harvested from the garden. As we sat down to eat, they handed me a bowl. It was the best fresh vegetable soup I’d ever tasted. At the end of class, the kids were beaming and I felt like a kid again!
My hat’s off to everyone involved in The Edible Schoolyard Project and I hope that you’ll join me in support of programs such as this. Imagine a world in which every single school curriculum includes edible education!
Friday, February 6, 2015
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, it's time to pucker-up! I made this cocktail for my friend and talented chef, Ryan Scott (yes, from Bravo's "Top Chef", among a zillion other ventures!) while visiting him on his show at KGO radio in San Francisco last week. If you listen to the podcast (Click here!), you'll hear that it was quite a hit!
Now is the perfect time to do a little cocktail experimentation with all your favorites from your local market's citrus section. Blood oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, key limes, meyer lemons - the list goes on! This is my fun twist on the classic margarita and I hope that you'll enjoy it with your favorite friends. Happy Valentine's Day!
1 1/2 ounces Meyer Lemon Infused Blanco Tequila
1 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1 ounce limoncello
Splash of agave ready syrup
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with lots of ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into a glass with fresh ice
Makes 1 cocktail
MEYER LEMON INFUSED BLANCO TEQUILA
1 bottle blanco tequila
Peel from 12 Meyer lemons, ALL white pith removed
Combine the two and let sit for 2 days.
Makes a lot!
Monday, October 27, 2014
Culinary Journey through La Rioja and Basque Country, SpainEvery year, I pack a giant suitcase full of cooking gadgets, hop on a plane and head to Europe, where small groups join me for a Culinary Journey. We cook, explore, and taste our way through Italy, France, Spain, or Morocco!
Oh, I wish you were here!! We're about to finish up a week in La Rioja, Spain and just had the most succulent meal: Cazuela-roasted Baby Lamb.
Cazuelas ("cooking pots" in Spanish) are clay dishes that have been used for centuries to cook food. They really hold the heat! One bite of this dish and I couldn't get over how a few simple ingredients could taste so incredible. And of course the vast selection of Spanish wines in this region took this over the top.
Grab your cazuela and a bottle of and try it for yourself!
Cazuela-Roasted Rioja Baby Lamb
1 baby lamb quarter*, about 4 pounds
2 cloves crushed garlic
Place a small rack in an earthenware cazuela with 1/2 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt and the garlic in the bottom of the casuala. Place the lamb, skin side down, on the rack. Roast at 390F for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 300F for 1 1/2 hours, basting with the salt water from time to time. Make sure there is always water in the bottom of the casuela. Increase heat to 390F and turn lamb over. Cook an additional 30 minutes.
Let rest loosely with foil for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.
Serves 4 to 6
* If you can't find this cut, try it with leg of lamb.
Friday, May 30, 2014
|Cooking with love.|
They sipped on Joanne Weir Chardonnay and Cabernet as I demonstrated some of Copita’s favorite dishes and a few of my own favorites, starting with a springtime guacamole made with English peas. The peas give the guacamole some texture but also add a sweetness that brings the guacamole to another level. For the main course, I cut hearts out of parchment and filled them with fresh wild Pacific salmon, sugar snap peas, asparagus and carrots with a fresh tomatillo, cilantro and mint salsa and a tangy green rice. We finished up with a Mexican tiramisu that I call "tequila-mi-su" because in place of the rum, I use tequila. A layer of bananas is spread in the center to play off the dark chocolate and ethereal creamy filling.
Then the auction started and you'll never guess what I put up for sale, so I'll show you:
4 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup anejo tequila
4 eggs, separated
1 lb. (450 g) marscapone cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
2 bananas, ripe but still firm
36 to 40 excellent quality lady fingers
3/4 cup (4 oz or 115 g) unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup (4 oz or 115 g) bittersweet Mexican chocolate
In a bowl, combine the espresso, 4 tablespoons of the sugar and 1/2 cup of the tequila.
Ribbon 4 egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar until very light. Add the marscapone and mix until smooth. Add the remaining 1/4 cup tequila and vanilla. Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks and flavor with the confectioners sugar. Beat the 4 egg whites until stiff and add the cream and egg whites to the mascarpone mixture.
Slice the bananas into thin slices and cover with water and the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
To assemble: Dip half the ladyfingers one at a time in the coffee mixture and line the bottom of a 13" X 9" baking dish. Spread half the cream mixture over the ladyfingers. Remove the bananas from the lemon water and dry on paper towels. Spread a layer of bananas evenly over the cream mixture. Repeat with the remaining ladyfingers and cream mixture. Cover with a thick layer of the combined grated chocolate. Set in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
A very special Mom!
I'm an author, a chef, a cooking teacher, a television producer, a television host, a restaurateur, a writer, a wife, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a step mom, a friend. These are all fancy titles but one of the most coveted is a Mom and I have the most extraordinary one!
I wouldn't be where I am today without you.
You've taught me kindness, caring, strength, generosity, compassion and most importantly, love!
Today I salute you Mom!
Posted by Joanne Weir at 12:14 PM
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
As Gonzalo stepped off the plane in Ft. Lauderdale, I was there to meet him. In his usual way, he had a big smile on his face and I could tell he was excited to be there. We headed to baggage claim where we picked up boxes of all the salsas and masa he’d packed up and brought from Copita to do a charity event for the Boca Raton Historical Society together. One of the first dishes we served was a Citrus and Pomegranate Ceviche. It was fresh, flavorful, stunning yet simple, and a recipe that sums up what makes Gonzalo such an incredible chef. When the raves and applause came, I clapped the loudest. Gonzalo is the true hero at my restaurant, I just lend a guiding hand.
We hope to see you at Copita soon! In the meantime, try these two versions of a dish we love to serve at the restaurant and prepare for a round of applause.
1 ¼ pounds super fresh sea bass or halibut
1 cup lime juice
1/2 pound plum tomatoes, diced
½ pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small red onion, diced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
2 to 3 teaspoons minced Serrano
Cut the halibut into ½-inch pieces and place in a bowl with the lime juice. Stir and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Pour off half of the lime juice and add the tomatoes, red onions, cilantro and serrano chilies. Season well with salt.
And here's how Gonzalo takes it up a few notches:
POMEGRANATE, KUMQUAT AND BLOOD ORANGE CEVICHE
1 pound fresh sea bass or halibut
1/4 cup blanco tequila
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/4 cup blood orange juice
2 teaspoons finely grated blood orange zest
1 cup pomegranate seeds
½ cup pickled red onions
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
½ serrano chile, seeded, minced
6 kumquats, thinly sliced
2 avocados, diced
Cut the fish into 1/2-inch pieces and place in a bowl. Add 1 cup lime juice, stir together and let sit 30 minutes. Drain and discard half of the lime juice.
Add the tequila, agave nectar, orange juice, orange zest, pomegranate seeds, red onions, cilantro, serrano chile, and kumquats. Stir together well to mix. Add the avocado and season with salt. Add additional lime juice and salt as needed. Place in a bowl and serve with tortilla chips.