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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Pavlova With Fresh Berries

2016-07-25 15.11.33

There’s a long standing argument, on whom credit is given, New Zealand or Australia, for creating this beautiful dessert. This dessert was named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who first toured Down Under in 1926. It was said that this dessert was created by a Wellington chef in her “honour”.This meringue- based dessert’s origin was created somewhere else. After tireless research, it turns out this dessert actually belongs to the Americans and English. This meringue-based dessert with it’s crisp crust, and soft light inside, usually, topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit is as elegant as it is delicious.

Pavlova is a dessert that can be made in advance and just assembled right before serving. I’m going to use all types of fresh berries and modestly toss them in a delicious raspberry sauce. I’m also going to make a fresh whipped cream kissed with pure vanilla.

Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: Food Processor, Sheet pans, Stand or hand held electric mixer, pastry bag with star tip

Ingredients:
For Meringue:
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of Kosher salt
1 cup of sugar
3 teaspoons of sifted corn starch
1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

For Sweetened Whipped Cream:
1 cup of cold heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of pure vanilla extract

For Raspberry sauce: yields 2 cups
1/2 pint of fresh raspberries
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of raspberry jam with seeds (seedless optional)
1 tablespoon of Chambord ( raspberry liqueur)
Fresh berries:
1/2 pint of hulled and sliced strawberries
1/2 pint of fresh blueberries
1/2 pint of fresh blackberries
1/2 pint of fresh raspberries
Fresh mint for garnish

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees F.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Draw  the outline of 4 inverted- 6 inch creme brulee dishes,using the dishes as your guide, two on each paper. Turn the paper upside down so the pencil marks won’t get on the meringue.

Place the egg whites and salt n the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about a minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about another 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the sifted corn starch, white vinegar, and vanilla extract to the beaten egg whites.

Fill the piping bag with a star tip with the egg whites. Starting in the middle moving outwards, draw out the meringue to complete the traced outline of the creme brulee dish. Once the outside of the line of the dish has been reached, go around one more time on the outer line to make a lip. This will allow for you to fill the meringues to be filled. Refer to the pictures above.

Bake for 1-1/2 hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringues to cool completely in the oven, for at least another hour. They will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

While the meringues are baking and cooling in the oven, this gives plenty of time to make the raspberry sauce and prepare the whipped cream.

Raspberry sauce:
Place the raspberries, sugar, and water in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and the Chambord, into the bowl of the food processor, fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. Transfer the raspberry sauce to the frig and chill.

Sweetened Whipped Cream:
Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. When the cream starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. Note: Do not over beat!!!
Yields: 2 cups

Carefully place the meringues onto the serving dishes. When ready to serve, fill the centers of the meringues with sweetened whipped cream. Place 1/4 cup of the mixed fresh berries (per meringue cookie) in a bowl. Ladle 1-2 tablespoons of the raspberry sauce in with the fresh berries and toss. Then ladle the sauced berries onto the top of the whipped cream in the center of each of the meringue cookies. Take a tablespoon of the raspberry sauce and drizzle some around the meringue. Finally garnish with fresh mint.
Yields: 4 servings

 

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Brown And Wild Rice Medley

2016-07-08 14.37.09

Taking help from your local grocery store is not something you should feel guilty about. There’s nothing better than using a few simple ingredients to help make rice,  POP! I found that “Minute Rice” has come out with a brown and wild rice variety, in cups. Basically the rice is ready to serve in sealed cups. What I’ve done, is to jazz it up a bit.  I’m using a store bought Cantina style salsa. I absolutely love this variety of salsa and  I always have a container in my frig.  This is a side dish that pairs well with chicken, pork, or fish.

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Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2-4.4 ounce cups of ready to serve Brown and Wild rice
1 can of reduced sodium rinsed and drained black beans
1 can of shoe peg corn ( large can 11 ounce)
1 plum tomato seeded in finely diced
1/2 a green bell pepper finely diced
1/2 a diced white Spanish onion
1 teaspoon of  Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of fresh cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons of Cantina style fresh salsa (available in most produce departments)
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro leaves

Directions:
First, I saute the diced tomatoes, onions, and green peppers in the olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle in the Kosher salt and pepper, stirring that though. Once they’ve started softening, about 2-3 minutes, add in the ready to serve Minute Brown and Wild rice. Then add the, drained and rinsed, shoe peg corn and black beans. Stir all this though to combine. Let the black beans and corn to come up to temperature. Finally, add the salsa and stir to combine. Turn the heat off and sprinkle in the chopped cilantro.

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Sweet Chili Fire Chicken With Red Bell Peppers And Pineapple

2016-07-15 16.50.51

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How about making “take out” at home? I’m saying “why not”! Sometimes grabbing fast food once and a while is sometimes a necessity. Making delicious Chinese “take-out”dishes at home is even better. The reason, because you know exactly what’s going into the dish.. A few simple ingredients with a heavy bottom pot can make this dish a reality.

 

 

Yields: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Equipment: heavy bottom pot and a spider

Ingredients:
1-1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 red bell peppers, julienned
2-1/2 cups of drained pineapple chuncks, fresh or canned
2 bottles of Thai sweet chili sauce
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 cup of thinly sliced snow peas ( thinly sliced on bias)
3 tablespoons of finely minced chives
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

For The Chicken:
2 pounds of 1 inch cubed skinless-boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teapoon of freshly cracked black pepper
2 cups of vegetable oil
2 cups of all- purpose flour
4 cups of corn starch
6 large eggs, beaten

Directions:
Prep all the veggies first, having them on stand-by.  Using a meat cutting board, dice up all the chicken, tossing them into a bowl along with the salt and pepper.  Using tongs, make sure the salt and pepper is distributed evenly on the chicken. Grab the largest bowl you have or a large Tupperware container, making it easier to coat the diced chicken pieces. Next, add the flour and toss so that all the pieces are coated.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy bottom pot, like a Dutch oven. Over med- high heat, and  using a candy thermometer, have the oil temperature reach 360 degrees F. The oil will take a little while to reach the perfect temperature for frying. Move on to sauteing the veggies.

Add olive oil to saute pan. On med-high heat, add the veggies and minced garlic in. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Saute until just soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the pineapple chunks last just to warm them through. Turn the heat off.

Next, transfer the sauteed veggies and pineapple, from the saute pan, to a large skillet, one that has deep sides. This will be necessary in accommodating all the ingredients. Set the skillet with the sauteed veggies to the back of the stove before starting the frying process.

Going back to the dredging process for the chicken. In one large bowl have the beaten eggs and in another bowl have the corn starch. In small batches, dip the diced chicken into the eggs and then into the corn starch. Place the finished coated chicken pieces onto a large sheet pan.

Check the temperature of the oil. Once the oil is ready, add the battered chicken in small batches, about 5-6  at a time, into the pot.Continue dipping the chicken into the egg mixture and then into the corn starch. Cook around 2 minutes per side or until golden and crispy. Remove from the oil, then transfer them onto a sheet pan lined with paper towel. Repeat this process until all the chicken pieces are cooked.

Bring back the skillet and turn on medium heat. Add in all the crispy golden pieces of chicken to the sauteed veggie with pineapple. Pour in the bottles of the Thai sweet chili sauce and toss all the ingredients through. Let simmer for another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once everything is hot, then turn the heat off and sprinkle on the minced chives. Serve immediately.

 

 

 

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Crispy Pork Belly

2016-01-14 18.22.56

2016-01-14 18.22.45

Pork belly seems to be one of the most sought after cuts of meat. The Iron Chef show is who really brought this cut to the forefront.  In restaurants today, it’s become the one of the hottest items to order. I mean, once you’ve ordered the pork belly, you’ll most likely always order it no matter the style it’s being served. It’s that delicious!  I sometimes think we may be a little slow when it comes to trying new things. Many Asian cuisines, have for many years, implemented pork belly into a variety of their dishes.

I have a great and easy way to prepare this cut at home so it will come out tender, golden, with a crispy top. This recipe does not require scoring the skin in any way. This will allow you to slice it later and it will retain its integrity. I think it’s worth mentioning, that Shoaxing rice wine is available in most Asian markets today. If you adore Asain cuisine, and want to make awesome Asian dishes at home, Shoaxing rice wine should be a pantry staple.

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Yields: 10 large pieces
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 4 hours to overnight
Cook Time:  roughly 1 hour 10 minutes
Equipment: Roasting pan with rack

Ingredients:
2 pound pork belly
1 cup of Kosher salt

Marinade:
1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup of Shaoxing rice wine
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
1/4 cup of orange juice
2 cloves of minced garlic
Directions:
Using a paper towel, pat the skin of the pork belly completely dry. Whisk together all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and then pour them into a rectangle style baking dish that’s just big enough to hold the pork belly.

Carefully place the pork belly into the baking dish making sure only the meat touches the marinate. The skin on the top must remain completely dry. If the marinade level is too high, then discard any extra by pouring some of it off. Place the baking dish with the pork belly and marinade into the frig for at least 4 hours to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.. Completely line a roasting pan with foil. Pour an inch of water into the bottom of the pan. Place a wire rack on top to hold the pork belly.

Remove the baking dish with the marinated pork belly from the frig. While the pork belly is still in the baking dish, spread 1 cup of Kosher salt evenly over the fat cap of the pork belly as seen in the pictures above.  Next, transfer the pork belly onto the wire rack. The pork belly will cook above the water and the drippings will fall into the water.

Note: If one part of the pork belly is slightly lower or shorter on one side, use an oven safe item to prop up that side so the pork will cook evenly. Bake for around 40 minutes until the meat looks cooked through.

Remove the pan with the pork belly and increase the temperature to 470 degrees F. The salt should have formed a crust which you can easily remove. You’ll be able to see the pork belly, side by side, with the removed salted fat cap, in the picture above. Once the temperature of the oven has reached 470 degrees F., place the pork belly back into the oven and bake for another 30 minutes. The skin should be bubbly and crisp.

Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Crispy pork belly is a great appetizer and one I know you’ll make over and over.

 

 

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