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Author: Jenn Mandell
Born and raised in NYC. Professional Chef and Owner of Grazie Restaurant for 27 years. Follow my insider tips on recipes, entertaining and fabulous food finds. I'm married and a mother of 2 children ages 16 and 22 and I believe that food should be fun and bring friends and family together.
This is a great easy weeknight dinner. The lamb is placed in the marinade for at least two hours and up to six hours. This gives you lots of flexibility when timing dinner. After the lamb has marinated, dinner will be ready in 20 minutes. I like to serve this dish wish Jasmin rice and Asian Cucumber Salad. The cool cucumbers balance the hoisin perfectly.
What is Hoisin Sauce?
Hoisin is Cantonese and the name translates to ‘seafood’ even though there is no seafood in it. It is made from fermented soybeans, spices and sugar to create umami. Umami is the fifth category of taste in food. Umami is typically tasted in fermented products and meat broth. It is a savory taste that is one onto its’ own. Hoisin is usually used in in meat and poultry dishes and is a wonderful sauce for Peking Duck. In this recipe the Hoisin sauce is mixed with soy sauce to create a depth of flavor and thin out the sauce. The addition of chili flakes adds a little kick to the dish.
Can I substitute the Lamb with Something Else?
Yes, you can absolutely substitute chicken or beef instead of the lamb. Try using the marinade on sirloin steak, skirt steak or filet mignon and grilling it on the barbecue in the warmer months. The sauce creates the most delicious char on the steak
This dish can also be made using only vegetables. Try adding eggplant or Bok Choy instead of meat. I would avoid using leafy greens since the sauce will over power them.
Two variations of the same recipe – One sweet, one savory
Have you ever tried pull-apart bread? I saw this recipe posted by King Arthur Flour in a savory version layering garlic, herbs and butter between thin layers of dough. It looked so delicious I absolutely had to try it. I then decided to bake a sweet version of this recipe by spreading Nutella in the layers instead of garlic and butter. It is a positively beautiful bread and so delicious.
The recipe calls for two tablespoons of potato flour which I think is essential in making a soft bread that doesn’t dry out too quickly. The bread can be wrapped in foil and placed in a sealed plastic bag to stay fresh for three days.
Pull apart bread requires time to make. The dough comes together very quickly but requires 90 minutes for the first rise and another 90 minutes for a second rise after the loaf has been formed. I decided to make the savory garlic and butter version when I was having some friends over for dinner. I started to make the bread early in the day and the second rise was done by 4:00pm. My friends weren’t due to arrive until 6:30 and I wanted to serve the bread fresh from the oven. I put the loaf in the refrigerator after the second rise was complete. Putting dough in the refrigerator won’t reverse the rise but it will slow down the yeast. I took the loaf out a half hour before I baked it so that it would be room temperature when it went into the oven. The pull apart bread came out great. This pull apart bread is so beautiful to serve and the buttery garlic layers in between the dough ensures equal flavor in every bite.
Next, I decided to use the same dough recipe but used Nutella in the middle of each layer to create a breakfast version. My son Max could not get enough of the Nutella bread. Three mornings in a row he woke up and warmed a piece of the pull apart Nutella bread to have with his coffee. The dough worked equally well with the sweet version as it did with the savory.
I like to make this dough with my hands, not a mixer. Mix the ingredients together as instructed and form it into a shaggy ball. Place ball on the counter and knead the dough until it comes together and is smooth and slightly stick. You do not want a dry dough. The dough should be stick but not wet.
After the dough has risen to about double in size divide the dough into 2 pieces. Roll each piece into a circle that is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter or top of a glass to cut out disks that are 3.5 inches in diameter. You want disk to be about the same width as the loaf pan. If your disks are too small just roll each one out a little more before you put the filling on.
You will have leftover dough after you have cut out the circles. I like to roll pieces and tie knots with the dough. Place knots on a parchment lined baking sheet and let rise until double in size. Bake in 350 oven for 10 – 15 minutes until light brown. When knots come out of the oven toss them with softened garlic butter. You can also let them cool and place them in a plastic bag and freeze them for another day.
Fresh baked bread with layers of garlic and butter OR Nutella
Course: Breakfast, Main Course, Side Dish, Bread
Cuisine: Italian, American
Keyword: bread, breakfast
2 Standard loaf pans (8½x4½x2½)
4cupsall purpose flour
Filling Option 1
1garlic clove peeled and minced
½tspfresh parsleychopped fine
Filling Option 2
Heat milk, butter, sugar and salt in a sauce pan until butter melts. Do not boil
Let milk mixture cool to lukewarm
When milk is luke warm pour it into a mixing bowl and add yeast and eggs
add half the AP flour and potato flour mix until incorpoated then add rest of flour
form dough into a shaggy ball and place on work surface
knead dough by hand until very smooth. Should take 5 or 6 minutes
place into a lightly greased bowl and cover with a kitchen towel
Place in a warm place and let rice for 90 minutes until double in size
lightly grease (2) 8 inch loaf pans with butter OR line them with parchment paper
when dough has doubled in size press down gently to deflate
divide dough in half and work with one half at a time
roll into a circle that is ¼ inch thick
cut (12) 3½ inch circles out of the dough using a round cookie cutter or top of a glass
You can roll each circle a little more after it's cut out so it fits in the loaf pan
cover half of one side of circle with filling and fold circle in half
place folded side down in loaf pan and continue to line up circles in pan
cover with plastic and a kitchen towel. Place in a warm place and let rise for 90 mintues
preheat oven to 350
bake loafs uncovered on middle rack for 25 minutes until golden brown on top. If browning too quickly tent loaf with foil.
Remove from pan and serve
Wrap leftovers in plastic and foil and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. Tip 2: You can make recipe through the second rise and place in refrigerator if you would like to bake the loaf later. Remove loaf from refrigerator 45 minutes before baking to bring to room temperature.Tip 3: Roll leftover dough into 3 inch rods and tie into knots. Let rise on a baking sheet for 90 minutes. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes until golden brown. Toss knots in meted butter with garlic and herbs
A bit of spice and a touch of heat makes this a perfect side dish for grilled chicken, meat or fish
I adapted this recipe from Mexican street corn. Mexican street corn is corn on the cob that has been brushed with a mixture of sour cream, mayonnaise with Cotija cheese, lime, chili powder and cilantro. I wanted to lower the calories and remove the corn from the cob to make it easier to eat when serving a group. I added black beans for nutrition, color and because I love black beans but you can absolutely leave them out if you prefer a solo corn dish.
What kind of corn should I use?
Using fresh corn cut off the cob is ideal. Fresh corn has a sweet bite that is unmatched by frozen or canned. Summertime is corn time so I strongly encourage you to use the fresh corn when in season but in the winter you can use corn that has been cut off the cob and frozen. Please don’t use canned corn. It is much too soggy for this recipe. Visit a local farmstead in August and buy a bunch of corn to cut off the cob and freeze in plastic bags so you have fresh corn all winter long. Corn is a great starch to add to lots of side dishes, salads and soups. Corn is high in carbohydrates but it does also contain many healthy nutrients like Vitamin B, fiber, magnesium, iron and zinc. The sweet flavor of corn is perfect in off-setting spicier dishes.
How should I serve this dish?
This corn and black bean dish is very versatile. It can easily be reheated or eaten at room temperature. It is also extremely low in calories and big on flavor. Serve it alongside simple roasted chicken enchiladas. Buy a roasted chicken, pull meat off bone and place in pan, add 3/4 cup of my homemade enchilada sauce and 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, fill chicken in flour tortillas and place in a row in a baking dish that has a half cup of enchilada sauce on bottom. Top the enchiladas with remaining enchilada sauce and more shredded cheese. Cover and bake in 350 oven for 15 minutes until warm.
This dish also works great as a vegetarian entree when served with flour or corn tortillas on the side to fill with the corn, black beans and a touch of squeezed lime juice.
Serve this corn and black bean dish as a salad at lunch with grilled shrimp and avocado on top. It can be made earlier in the day so it is ready when you want to serve lunch.
Sake and Matcha replace coffee and Kahlua in this delectable green tea dessert
I absolutely love tiramisu and am always experimenting with new versions of this delicious dessert. Walking through Central Park I was captivated by the beautiful cherry blossoms exploding throughout the park. It’s as if these trees are screaming to be let out after a long, cold winter. The pink and white blooms look so beautiful against the bright blue sky and sprinkled on the ground after they fall. Spring is my favorite time of year. A season of hope for new things to come.
The cherry blossoms reminded me of a delicious sweet, dry sake that I had tasted a couple of weeks ago. The sake is called Kizakura”Hana Kizakura” and it is made from a yeast extracted from cherry blossoms. The result is a lightly sweet, dry sake that reminds you of walking through a cherry orchard. This sake is the perfect Spring/Summer aperitif and can also be used for sake martinis. You can purchase the sake here through TIPPSY SAKE. I decided to develop a recipe for matcha tiramisu using this sake. The matcha tiramisu is light, aromatic and is perfect to serve in the Spring and Summer. Matcha Tiramisu is quite simple to prepare and is a no bake dessert that requires time in the refrigerator. This makes it ideal to serve when you have company coming over.
Fill a sauce pan with an inch of water and bring the water to a simmer. Place the egg yolks and sugar in a heat proof bowl and place over the sauce pan. Make sure the heat proof bowl is not touching the water, it needs to be over the water. Beat the mixture until pale yellow and triple in size. This will take around 8-10 minutes. When the egg yolk mixture is ready, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly while you beat the heavy cream in a separate bowl. Once the heavy cream is beaten into soft peaks, fold the whipped cream into the egg mixture. Be careful not to deflate the cream, you want to gently incorporate the two.
What Kind of Matcha Should I Use?
There are many different varieties of matcha available. I love the matcha from tea forte. It’s stone ground, smooth and bright and works perfectly with the creaminess of the tiramisu. There are flavored matcha as well. Adagio teas makes a delicious chocolate matcha that is great for sprinkling on top of the matcha tiramisu. For this recipe I mixed the matcha with water and sake to dip the ladyfingers in. The best technique is to mix the matcha with a little boiling water to form a paste and then add the rest of the boiling water and sake. This will help to incorporate all the matcha into the liquid.
The addition of Tumeric and cumin adds brightness and helps to make this soup packed with flavor and health benefits. The soup is vegetarian and vegan. I like to classify this soup as a power soup because it is high in nutrients like vitamin A, potassium, fiber and protein and low in fat. It tastes great, looks beautiful and is very healthy.
What’s the Big Deal about Tumeric?
Tumeric contains curcumin which has powerful antioxidants. Curcumin boosts brain power, reduces inflammation and can lower your risk of heart disease. Tumeric has been around for over a hundred years but the extreme heath benefits have only recently been studied and recognized. Tumeric is also what gives curry its beautiful yellow color. I love to develop recipes that I can add tumeric to so that the dish not only tastes great but is also healthy for you.
Yellow vs. Green Split Peas
Yellow split peas and green split peas are both delicious. I tend to think that a green split pea soup works best with ham since it is a sweeter split pea and balances well with salty ham.Yellow split peas have an earthier flavor that works well with full flavor spices like turmeric and cumin. This yellow split pea soup is vegetarian and vegan.I puree the soup so that all the flavors blend completely and result is a smooth earthy flavored soup. If the soup is too thick add more vegetable broth to thin it out. The yellow split pea soup is perfect for the spring and summer because of the beautiful color of the soup. It is perfect to serve as a light lunch or dinner with a leafy green salad and some crispy bread. Yellow split pea soup freezes well so you can make a big batch and freeze it in individual portions that you can defrost on those long summer days when you don’t feel like cooking.
An easy and delicious coffee cake with a sugary glaze
The term Coffee Cake simply means any cake that is intended to be eaten with coffee. This cake can be eaten in the morning or with a cup of tea in the afternoon. The ingredients come together very quickly so it is an ideal recipe to make if you do not have a lot of time but would like to bake something homemade. I make this recipe in one big 9 x 13 pan but it would also work in individual muffin tins. Coffee Cakes are typically a moist crumb cake flavored with cinnamon and sugar. Some recipes use sour cream or yogurt but I prefer to use milk. I feel that milk add the right amount of moisture without making the cake too heavy. I also do not feel that you need a lot of butter or oil in the recipe. After many tries I have figured out the exact amount of butter and oil that is necessary to create a light cake that has the right amount of cinnamon and sugar.
The one thing I can promise is that when this Cinnamon Coffee Cake is baking in your oven everyone in your house will say “Oh, that smells so good.” There is something so delicious about the smell of cinnamon and brown sugar baking in the oven. In this recipe I layer the cinnamon and brown sugar in the batter so there is a good ratio of batter to cinnamon sugar. I drizzle a little melted butter over the cake before it bakes in the oven. After the cake comes out of the oven I let it cool for 10 minutes before drizzling the coffee cake with a sugar glaze. The sugar glaze looks so pretty on top and works well with the brown sugar and cinnamon flavors.
This is a perfect Coffee Cake to serve at brunch time or if you are having some friends over for coffee. I really like to serve it warm fresh out of the oven or reheated. To reheat the coffee cake in the oven you will need to wrap it in foil and warm it at 325. You can also use a microwave to warm up the cake. You want the coffee cake to be warm, not hot. The Coffee Cake will stay fresh for 2 days out of the refrigerator or 5 days in the refrigerator. You can even freeze the Coffee Cake for up to a month. Just make sure you store the Coffee Cake in an air tight container.
Some Delicious Variations:
You can add fruit in the middle of the coffee cake as well.
Mash a cup of fresh or frozen raspberries with a half of tablespoon of cornstarch.
Chop up some walnuts or almonds
A cup of mini semi sweet chocolate chips
Add 1/4 tsp of instant coffee to glaze to give it a little coffee flavor
Spoon the added ingredients over the first layer of batter before you sprinkle on the brown sugar and cinnamon.
mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar together
In a seperate bowl mix eggs, milk, vanilla and ¾ cup oil or melted butter together
add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well
lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan and pour half the batter in. Batter will be a little thick so shake pan to spread out evenly.
mix together brown sugar and cinnamon and spread half over batter
use a spoon to add spoonfuls of batter over the top and gently spread out with wet fingers.
top with remaining cinnamon and brown sugar
drizzle with 3 tbsp melted butter
Cover with foil and bake in oven for 20 minutes then remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Do not overbake or it will be dry.
let cool for 10 minutes then drizzle with glaze
Batter will be thick so spreading the second layer may be tricky. You should place spoonfuls of batter over the top and wet your fingers to gently spread the batter so you do not disturb the cinnamon layer.Coffee cake is best eaten warm. To reheat, wrap lightly in foil and heat in 300 oven for 5 minutes or reheat for 45 seconds in microwave