Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pesto Sauce

Serves 4-6

This recipe is the best recipe that I have found for making pesto. It takes about 20-25 minutes of solid chopping, but is well worth it. More accurate ingredient quantities are as follows:

  • 2 cups of firmly chopped basil
  • 3 medium cloves of garlic (use 2 if you do not like the taste of raw garlic)
  • scant 1/4 cup of raw pine nuts
  • roughly 3/4 cup parmesan
  • 3-4 T extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • reserved pasta-cooking water
A few notes on this recipe.
  • It is NOT necessary to ensure that the ingredients are fully chopped in the first few rounds of chopping. This is especially true when you are chopping the basil.
  • Do not use whole wheat pasta with pesto. Pesto is simply too delicate a flavor and can't stand up to the coarse taste of whole wheat.
  • Fresh pasta is recommended
  • Add freshly chopped tomatoes or sausage
  • You may freeze any pesto you don't use. Make sure you cover it thinly with more olive oil. When defrosting DO NOT microwave.

Corn and Feta Salad

Serves 2-4

  • 1 pound frozen corn, defrosted
  • 1/4 pound good quality feta
  • 1/2 cup diced red onions, 1/4" dice
  • 2-3 T. very finely minced jalapeno
  • 2-4 T minced cilantro
  • Juice of one lime
  • Kosher salt to taste
Mix all ingredients together. Add salt to taste.

Good with seared tuna, or with barbecued chicken, or BBQ chicken pizza.

Cumin-Seared Tuna with Jalapenos

Serves 2

  • 1 pound very fresh tuna
  • 2 jalapenos
  • cumin
  • kosher salt
  • white pepper
  • Sesame oil
Slice jalapenos as thinly as you can, no more than 1 millimeter thick. It is more important that the jalapenos be thin than that they be complete circles. If you have a mandolin, use it.

Pat dry tuna with paper towels. Liberally sprinkle salt, pepper and cumin on each side of the tuna steaks. Pat spices firmly only the tuna.

Heat a pan to very hot. Add sesame oil and allow it to get very hot, too. Add tuna, sear on each side for 1 minute.

Remove steaks from pan and slice across the grain into 1/4" slices. Arrange on plates, serve a bowl of jalapeno slices with each.

Appetizer variation. Take each slice and cut it up further, into 1" square slices. Place tuna on a serving platter, add a jalapeno slice on each piece of tuna. 1 pound of tuna will serve around 20 people.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Andalusian Gazpacho

Serves 4
  • 2-2.5 pounds tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 slices of good crusty bread
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup blanched or toasted almonds
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (3 if you like the taste of raw garlic, 2 if not)
  • 2 T very good extra virgin olive oil. Spanish tends to be a little on the spice side which is not necessarily a good thing in such an acidic soup
  • 1 T very good, sweet balsamic vinegar. May also use white balsamic. Sherry vinegar is also an option, but tends to make it a little too acidic
  • 1/2 peeled English cucumber
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: ½ tin anchovies
  • Garnish: julienned basil (1/2 mm julienne), olive powder, etc.
  • Special Equipment: Chinoise and pestle(optional)
Tear apart bread into pieces and place in a bowl. Pour water over the bread and allow to sit until all water is absorbed. If a fair amount of bread is still dry, add a touch more water.
Place bread, almonds and garlic in a food processor (NOT a blender, it won't work—too thick). Push down sides periodically until you have a relatively uniform paste. If adding anchovies, add now and process till evenly distributed. Add tomatoes to the food processor, processing as you add them. Add olive oil. Taste and add more olive oil if desired. Process till a uniform texture is achieved. Add cucumbers and continue to puree until uniformity is achieved again.

If you like, strain through chinoise. Usually I just leave it as is. The texture is not as velvety, but it still tastes very good.

Add salt to taste. It does not have to be perfect; you will adjust the seasonings again after chilling it.

Chill in the refrigerator till cold (3-4 hours). When ready to serve, add vinegar to taste; adjust salt.

Despite being quite light, this soup is very rich. This serves four normal people with a very appropriate soup-sized portion. You cannot make just a meal of this though. For gazpacho lovers (like me), this serves 2-3 people.

Red Pepper, Feta & Basil Sandwiches

Serves 2

  • 4 slices of good bread—whatever type you prefer; works well with whole grain, sourdough, etc.
  • ¼ cup red pepper sauce (can be store-bought or homemade)
    • For homemade, use one can or pint of roasted red peppers, and add 1 T extra virgin olive oil, add walnuts if desired
  • 4 ounces feta (appx), sliced into 1/8" slices
  • Julienned basil leaves, to taste

Pre-heat oven to broil and 550 degrees (you're basically making cheese sandwiches). Toast bread in a toaster until golden at edges. Spoon red pepper sauce onto each piece of bread, and spread around. Place feta slices over red pepper sauce to cover the bread.

Place on cookie sheet and put in oven for 60-90 seconds, or until feta is melted/melting. Remove from oven and sprinkle julienned basil leaves (as many as you like) over sandwiches. Serve immediately.

Very good with Andalusian Gazpacho, or Greek salad.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Caramelized Pear-Marzipan Tart with Cardamom Crème Chantilly & Pistachio Ice Cream

Serves 8

  • One pint pistachio ice cream


  • 6 ripe pears, peels and cut into 16 wedges
  • 1 frozen rolled or folded pie crust (i.e. not in a pie tin) (or substitute with almond crust).
  • 4 T butter
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ to ¾ of a package of Marzipan (optional, you may add the almond flavor, if desired by doing any of the following: adding almond extract to the pears when you sauté them, or by substituting the almond crust for the pre-made one).

Cardamom Crème Chantilly

  • 8 oz whipped cream
  • ¼ - ½ tsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2-4 T confectioner's sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place crust in an 8" or 9" non-stick tart pan with removable bottom. Do not trim overhanging dough. Form marzipan into a ball and place between two pieces of wax paper, and roll out as thinly as you can such that it forms a disk that will cover the bottom of the tart pan. Place marzipan on top of crust already in tart pan.

Melt butter in sauté pan. Add sugar and stir till it dissolves. Add pears and lemon juice and sauté until pears are soft (a few minutes), and the liquid is starting to thicken. Taste liquid and add a pinch of salt, and more lemon juice or sugar to taste. Remove pears from pan with a slotted spoon, and turn off heat. Do not discard liquid. Place pears into tart pan. Arrange if desired. Turn heat back on liquid, and reduce until bubbly and starting to caramelize. Using a rubber spatula, remove from pan and distribute over pears—it will melt in the oven and distribute itself a little more widely. Fold excess crust over the pears, and begin pinching it together, sort of like you're making a "satchel" of pear tart. It will likely come over onto the pears about 1-1.5 inches. This makes it easier to remove the tart, and also will yield a more evenly cooked crust. Bake in center of oven for 35-45 minutes or until crust is golden.

Whip cream until stiff peaks form. Add in vanilla extract (or do half vanilla, half almond), sugar and cardamom. Continue adding sugar and cardamom to taste. Cardamom is a very strong spice. If you don't use it frequently start by adding only 1/8th of a teaspoon, and gradually add more according to your preference.

Serve tart warm or cold with cardamom crème, and one scoop pistachio ice cream.

My thoughts: I did not think that the marzipan added much—if anything, even when I tried the tart by itself. There is already a very strong marzipan-y taste in the pistachio ice cream. Next time I make something like this, I will not add the marzipan, rather I will just add some almond extract to the pears. If I am feeling ambitious, I will make the almond crust. The almond crust is amazing and idiot-proof, but it does make the dessert a little more labor-intensive. As it is, it is a very easy dessert.

Tostones; or Fried Plantains

Serves Two

  • 1 ripe plantain, cut on the bias into ¼" slices
  • Kosher salt
  • Canola Oil

Soak plantains in heavily salted water for half an hour. Remove from water and drain/dry on paper towels.

Warm oil in the smallest pan you have that will also accommodate the plantains. Warm oil to 350 degrees. Fry plantains in oil for 4 minutes. Remove to a plate with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Do not let sit long. Using a clean glass, smash each of the plantains. Sprinkle the plantains liberally with salt and serve immediately (if you let them sit, they will taste like cardboard).

Serve alone or with your sauce of choice—guacamole, tamarind chutney, mojo sauce, red pepper sauce, ketchup (?)

Good as a side for any main dish of Latin extraction

Monday, August 18, 2008

Blackened Tuna Sandwiches with Lemon Aioli and Avocado

Blackened Tuna Sandwiches with Lemon Aioli and Avocado

Serves 2
Pre-heat oven to broil (550 degrees). Slice buns and place in oven face up, such that the interior of the sandwich is facing the top of the oven. Toast for 40 seconds to 1 minute, or until browned.
Heat pan (preferably cast iron) to smoking hot. Do not add oil. While pan is heating, dredge tuna steaks in blackening seasoning, being sure to fully cover each one. You won't be using oil, so it's important that no flesh be exposed to the pan's surface, or it will cause the meat to stick and tear. Cook tuna between 30 seconds and 1 minute per side, enough so that the blackening seasoning has blackened, and the fish underneath is cooked. This will cook the meat such that it is rare, with about 1-2 millimeters of fish actually cooked. If you want it cooked more, reduce the heat and cook over moderate heat to desired doneness (if cooking through, don't waste the money on sushi-grade fish).

Remove tuna steaks from pan and slice into 1/4 inch slices . This is not necessary if you're tuna steaks are relatively thing (i.e. 1/2 inch).

Assemble sandwiches. Spread aioli on the toasted faces of the buns. Arrange 1/2 the sliced avocado on each sandwich, followed by the tomatoes. Arrange the slices of tuna on top of the tomatoes such that they are overlapping. Place arugula on top. If serving arugula as a side salad, toss with vinaigrette first, then place some of the leave onto the sandwich.

Serve warm.

Suggested pairing: arugula salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette

Blackening Seasoning

Blackening Seasoning

Provides enough to blacken 2 tuna steaks, or similar surface area of meat.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp thyme (fresh or dried)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed fennel seeds (mash in a mortar and pestle, or grind in a coffee grinder.
When using with meat, heat pan to smoking (no oil), then add the meat. The blackening seasoning will smoke a lot, and will smell like pot. If you are using meat that you want to serve rare, do this on both sides for around a minute. If you want the meat cooked through, don't get the pan as hot, and cook over more moderate heat till cooked through.

Classic Aioli

Classic lemon-garlic Aioli

  • 1 clove garlic minced and mashed into a paste
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Kosher salt to taste.

Mix all together, and adjust to taste with kosher salt, lemon juice and mustard

Good on sandwiches, with French fries, etc, or anything you’d use mayonnaise on.


Chilled Cucumber Salad

Chilled Cucumber Salad

  • 1 English or hothouse cucumber (so that you don't have to peel it) very thinly sliced--no more than 1 mm each slice, preferably slightly smaller. If you have a mandoline, use it here.
  • 1/4 c. white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c. mild extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 large pinch (several fingers) kosher salt
  • 1/4-1/2 bunch of dill removed from stems and minced. Add until very dill-y in appearance
Marinate all except at least 1 hour. The more the better.

Add dill to taste @ end

This goes nicely with a variety of different types of cuisine, from German to Indian. Serve it as a side with cold poached salmon, wiener schnitzel, or curried chicken kabobs. If pairing with something more middle eastern or Indian, substitute mint for dill.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Feta Sandwiches

Serves 2

  • 1/2 pound good feta, sliced into 1/4" slices
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 hot house cucumber, thinly sliced
  • Arugula
  • 2 buns or rolls. Preferably an olive bread.
  • 1/4 cup vinaigrette
    • 2 T good vinaigrette
    • 4 T good extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tsp dijon mustard
    • very large pinch salt
      • Mix in all ingredients save olive oil
      • Slowly whisk in olive oil to emulsify

Put oven on broil, and 550 degrees. Toast buns, cut face up for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until brown.

Drizzle vinaigrette over both side of toasted buns. place arugula, then feta, then tomatoes and cucumbers onto bun. Drizzle additional vinaigrette, if desired over the top of vegetables.

Use remainder of vinaigrette and arugula for a side salad.

If you have the ability to do a panini, melting the feta with the vegetables is very good. In this case, add arugula after you melt the cheese.

Salad with Pepitas, Golden Raisins & Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette

Serves 2

  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 T pepitas
  • 1 quart salad greens (romaine preferably)
  • 2 T lime juice (appx. 1 lime)
  • 2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), Hojiblanca Spanish is preferred, or other spicy olive oil
  • 1/4-1/8 chipotle chili powder
  • Kosher salt
Place all ingredients save EVOO into bowl, and mix. Slowly whisk in oil until emulsified. If you prefer a less acidic vinaigrette, add 1 more T EVOO.

Toss salad greens with vinaigrette. If using mesclun or arugula, serve immediately. Ideally, a lettuce with stiffer leaves should be used (like romaine).

Sprinkle pepitas and golden raisins over greens.

Shredded chicken would also be very good, as well as some fresh crumbled mexican cheese (mild).

Puerto Rican Shrimp Mofongo

Puerto Rican Shrimp Mofongo

Serves 2

  • 2 ripe plantains, peeled and sliced into 1" slices
  • Oil for frying (mild-tasting, like canola oil)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced.
    • To mince, thinly slice garlic, liberally sprinkle kosher salt over garlic slices. Mash garlic and salt with the broad side of a chefs knife. Then use chef's knife to mince. Continue mincing and smashing till you achieve a paste. Try to mince more than smash, as you will lose some of the oil into the cutting surface when smashing.
  • 3/4-1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined. 1" will yield almost equal parts plantains and shrimp. This portion is filling, but will not overfill you.
  • 2-4 T butter
  • 1 cup warm chicken broth (from Boullion cube is fine)
  • 1/2 avocado diced (1/4 avocado/serving)
  • 2-4 T minced cilantro

  1. Peel and slice plantains. Place in heavily salted water and let soak for 15 minutes. Remove from water and place on paper towels to drain.
  2. Heat oil to 350 degrees. 1" of oil should be sufficient to cover plantains. Use as small a pan as possible, to avoid wasting oil
  3. Fry plantains for 4" turning occasionally if not cooking evenly.
  4. Remove plantains from oil and allow to drain on paper towels.
  5. Place plantains in a bowl and mash with a pint glass (or similar)
  6. Mix in 1/3 of minced garlic. Cover to keep warm.
  7. Melt butter in a saute pan.
  8. Add remainder of garlic, and saute briefly.
  9. Add shrimp and saute until done--1-2 minutes, or until opaque
  10. Add additional butter if garlic begins to brown, or if you prefer a richer mofongo.
  11. Mix shrimp and garlic into plantain mixture. Use a rubber spatula to get all garlic and butter from pan. If you are worried that it has too much garlic, add shrimp, and leave some garlic in pan. Mix shrimp and plantains, taste, and add remaining garlic to taste.
  12. Add salt to taste
Serve in a deep, well-insulated crock-style bowl to conserve heat. Push mofongo into bowl so that it is fairly tightly packed within the bowl.

Serve with avocado and cilantro. Sprinkle cilantro over top, and place remainder on the side. Be sure to put salt on the table, in case more salt is necessary.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Kiwi Martinis

Kiwi Martinis
(from Marmalade restaurant in San Juan, Puerto Rico)

Serves 1

- 1 whole kiwi, peeled
- 1 shot white rum (1 shot is 1.5 oz, or 3 T)

Peel kiwi by cutting along the equator and scooping the flesh out of each half. Place kiwi and rum in blender. Blend just until kiwi is "juiced." Do not blend so much that you start cutting the seeds. If you do, you will have a very bitter drink.

Pour contents into a shaker, shake with ice, then strain into a martini glass.

N.B. I have tried to add more alcohol to this--it just won't work, so save yourself the trouble.

Greek Salad

Greek Salad

- 1 English hothouse cucumber, cut into a 1/2" dice
- 2 medium tomatoes, cut into a 1/2" dice
- 1/4-1/2 red onion, cut into a 1/4" dice
- 1 small (5-6 oz) kalamata olives (basically to taste)
- 4-8 oz good feta, depending on your preference. I prefer 8 oz.
- 1-2 T good extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 T white balsamic vinegar
- kosher salt (to taste, be careful, because the feta's fairly salty)
- freshly crushed black better (to taste, but liberal)
- 3-4 T fresh mint, minced (optional
- Italian seasoning (to taste)

I use Mt. Vikos feta, a brand that my Greek Cypriate friend approves of. Don't buy anything that is shrink-wrapped (e.g. no "Athenos") only something that is in water, or otherwise shows signs of being recently cut. The difference between good and bad feta is night and day. Low-quality feta has very little flavor save a sourness, and has a grainy texture, rather than the rich, silky texture of high quality feta. For stores such as Whole Foods and other supermarkets, cost is a pretty good proxy for quality. In stores with a more limited selection "French feta" is usually a better choice. Never buy pre-crumbled.

Mix all together, and add "to taste" things at the end

Lamb Burgers

Lamb Burgers:
(serves 3)

- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, minced, and packed tightly (or more, you can't really over-do it)
- 2 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 egg
- cinnamon (liberally sprinkle over meat to cover)
- kosher salt (liberally sprinkle over meat to cover)
- pepper (liberally sprinkle, but about 1/2 as much as the salt)

- buns: I used olive rolls from Whole foods, which were great.
- Tzatziki
- 1 tomato, sliced
- sliced red onion (don't slice too thin, just slightly less than 1/4")
- greens, e.g. arugula
- optional, a few strips of julienned hot pepper (serrano, jalapño, etc.)
- optional, quick-pickled cucumbers (sliced cukes marinated in salt and white wine vinegar for about 20 minutes)
- optional, sliced feta (easy to do, if you serve this with Greek salad)

Combine mixture. Don't knead the meat too much. The key to tenderness in ground meat (as with breads) is not working it to much. Work it to the point where you're sure you've evenly incorporated everything, then make the patties, either 3 medium, or two large, and one small.

Bring a cast iron skillet to smoking (no oil), then place burgers on high heat. Around 4" each side. Basically, watch the burgers and flip when it has browned to nearly half way up. Do the same on the other side. This should yield a medium burger, pink on the inside. If you see them burning, rather than browning, reduce the heat to medium.

Assemble. Spread Tzatziki liberally on buns. Place cooked burgers followed by feta, tomato, onion, greens and optional cukes on top.

Very good. Serve with Greek Salad

Kiwi, Lime and Savory Creams Pie: Take One

I had a bunch of kiwis leftover from a party where I'd intended to make a pitcher of kiwi martinis. For some reason, Kiwi-lime pie got stuck in my head, rather than "key lime pie." I've also been experimenting lately with some deconstruction of recipes, and so decided that a layered pie with a kiwi curd (like lemon curd) would be quite good. I couldn't find a recipe for kiwi curd, so I made up the one below. It could still use some work to get it a little thicker. The filling below that I came up with would work great with a lime or lemon curd, too. Flavor-wise this turned out very well, is very easy. As I mention below, as the kiwi-curd didn't quite set, when cut, it lost a bit of its "pie" aspect:

Kiwi Roy-ale Pie

Serves 12

NB: This will need at least to chilled in the freezer for several hours and should ideally be chilled in the refrigerator over night.

Kiwi Curd:
- 5 ripe kiwis (the ones I used were over-ripe, which is still good, but makes is much sweeter)
- juice of 2 limes
- 1 1/3 C sugar
- 3/4 C (1.5 sticks) butter
- 5 large eggs beaten to blend
- sale to taste (after cooked)
- worth trying: 1 tsp unflavored gelatin sprinkled over 2 T water

Savory Creams Filling:
8 ounces low fat cream cheese (room temperature)
- 8 ounces low fat sour cream
- 8 ounces heavy whipping cream, chilled (you could also use Cool-whip to further reduce calories. if you do this, don't add any sugar or vanilla until the end. We just have an aversion towards whipped vegetable oil, even if it is lower cal).
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar

Crust (or use pre-made graham cracker crust, this is easy enough, I think it's probably worth it for the richness it has. However, if you are doing individual tarts, definitely use pre-made):

- 12 whole graham crackers (should yield 1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs)
- 5 T melted butter
- 1/4 C. sugar

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees if making your own crust.

For Kiwi Curd:
Peel kiwis. The easiest way to peel a kiwi is to pretend it's a planet, and cut it in half along the equator. Then scoop out the flesh on each side. If the hard stuff at the "poles" comes out, you'll need to remove it, as it doesn't blend well. Juice the two limes and put the juice and the kiwi flesh into a blender. Blend just until blended. It is very important not to overblend this, as you will start to chop up the seeds. If too many of the seeds are chopped, they confer a very bitter taste to the mixture. Next, in a sauce pan, start butter and sugar melting over medium heat, mixing frequently (DON'T let the butter brown). Add the kiwi mixture once the butter is melted. Stir the mixture until all of the sugar & butter are dissolved and incorporated. Reduce the heat to medium low and whisk in the eggs. Continue whisking for approximately 3 minutes, allowing the mixture to thicken. Remove from heat, and add a small amount of salt to taste. Cool in the refrigerator of freezer. One fast, easy way to cool is to put it all into a large ziploc bag, and put it in the freezer so a lot of surface area is exposed.

This curd was a bit on the runny side. It still tasted great, but never really set. Thus, when I cut the pie, it was like a very rich, thick sauce that I spooned out of the pie tin on top of the piece of pie. Tasted great. Next time I will try the following:

sprinkle 1 tsp of gelatin over 2 T of water, and let stand for 5 minutes. After eggs have been incorporated, while mixture is still warm, whisk in gelatin. The only problem with this, is you can't really just let it set and cool. You'll have to continually whisk so that the gelatin doesn't set up. But the whisking will aerate and help it to cool faster. You will want it to be fairly cool (approaching room temperature) before you stop whisking it, b/c it will be going straight onto the creams filling.

For Graham Cracker Crust:
You may do this while you are waiting for the kiwi curd to cool. If you elect to add the gelatin, you'll need to do the kiwi curd last instead of first.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Crumble graham crackers into a bowl. Using the base of a glass like a pestle, grind the graham crackers until they are crumbs, not chunks. incorporate the sugar. Pour the butter over the crumbs, and evenly mix in.

Press crust into a buttered 9" pie pan, or a non-stick one. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crust is browned.

Savory Creams Filling
You may do this while you are waiting for the kiwi curd to cool. If you elect to add the gelatin, you'll need to do the kiwi curd last instead of first.

Whip cream to stiff peaks. Whip in vanilla anc confectioner's sugar (don't over-beat). Whip in cream cheese and sour cream. Taste and adjust sweetness to your own preference.

Using a rubber spatula, spread enough filling over the bottom of the pie crust to cover it to a depth of 1/2." You will have left-over filling. You may freeze the remainder and use it for another pie later on, or some individual tarts (don't microwave to defrost, just let it defrost on its own.) Spoon the kiwi curd over the top, so that it to measures about 1/2 " deep. Cover with plastic wrap and chill till set (if you used gelatin). If you didn't use gelatin, the kiwi curd won't really completely set. In that case, just chill it over night, or for an hour in the freezer, followed by an hour or so in the refrigerator.

If you used gelatin, it would be neat to garnish this with kiwi slices.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Perfect Summer Dessert: Lemon Sorbet with Raspberries, Amaretto & Sour Cream

Last Sunday I made what I think may be the perfect summer dessert: cool, easy, extraordinarily fresh and flavorful and fairly light.

Here's what is needed for one serving:

- Lemon sorbet
- Raspberries, appx 1/4 cup
- 1 small dollop of sour cream
- 1 T amaretto

I tried to drizzle the Amaretto onto the raspberries which had rolled onto the side, to get the raspberry-frangipane flavor I love.

There are two keys to this dessert. The first is getting high quality lemon sorbet that has the proper texture. Some sorbets (all that I found at Whole Foods) have a horrible, icy texture. I use "Whole Fruit" sorbets, which I find at Shaw's Market here in Boston. The other key is the sour cream. Don't substitute whipped cream. The sour cream pulls the entire dessert together and adds richness to give you that hint of decadence so necessary to properly enjoying dessert.

I tried to think of ways to improve this, thinking of pastries, tarts, custards or panna cottas, and I honestly couldn't think of anything that I could possibly have liked more. Perhaps a lemon buttermilk panna cotta with an amaretto creme anglaise and raspberries, but then you lose the tangy richness of the sour cream.

We served after serving marinated steak with chimicurri sauce and tomato-leek quinoa. This is a very nice grouping, because the steak is heavy, but the salad and the dessert are both light and flavorful. I make no changes to the salad save omitting the green onions (only because I always forget them) and substituting red tomatoes.

Argentine Chimichurri Sauce

Argentine Chimichurri Sauce:

- 3 large cloves garlic
- 1/4 C. white wine vinegar
- 1 bunch of parsley (you may leave stem on, remove the very ends)
- 3/4 bunch cilantro (keep stems on, very end removed)
- 1/2 - 1 jalapeno, seeded
- 1/4- 1/2 tsp cumin
- juice of 1/2 lime
-1/4 onion
- 6 T extra virgin olive oil (I was forced to use my very expensive EVOO last time, and I have to say, it did make it much better-- much smoother and richer, so use cheap or good EVOO, but you will see a difference using good)
- salt to taste

Place all in blender. If you have problems getting it to blend, remove some of the cilantro and parsley and add back in once blending starts. You may also use a food processor, but the blender makes a more evenly emulsified and much smoother, finer sauce.

Sauce works exceptionally well on flavorful, slightly lower-fat content steaks (e.g. NY strip, skirt steak, London Broil). While not traditional (despite both being traditional Argentine dishes) it also works well with these empanadas--I would suggest the modifications I make in my review on that site--they make these much easier.

This will make about 1.5 pints, enough for many, many steaks, and about 30 empanadas. You may freeze the remainder, so I would always recommend making the full amount.