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Marcus Samuelsson is the chef of New York's Aquavit restaurant. His book of the same name is published by Houghton Mifflin.

Chocolate Ganache Cakes
Serves 12

  • Cocoa powder, for dusting
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 lb bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 5 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sifted cake flour
Use high-quality bittersweet chocolate, such as Valhrona or Lindt, for this recipe. The batter can be prepared ahead and the unbaked cakes frozen, well wrapped, for a few hours, or as long as overnight. Bake the frozen cakes for 9 minutes, turn the baking sheet around, and bake for another 9 minutes, turn the baking sheet around, and bake for another 9 minutes, or until the edges of the cakes look set and have pulled slightly away from the sides of the ramekins but the center are still slightly liquid; do not over bake.

This recipe makes a lot of little cakes, but if 12 servings are too much for one occasion, you can freeze the extra unbaked cakes for up to 1 month. Bake following the timing of the note above. If you don't want to make 12 cakes, the recipe is easily halved.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease twelve 4-oz ramekins or aluminum foil molds with the softened butter. Dust with cocoa powder and tap out the excess.

2. Melt the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until well mixed. Whisk in the melted chocolate and butter. Sift the cake flour over the top and fold it in.

4. Divide the butter among the ramekins, filing them no more than three quarters full. Arrange them on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the baking sheet around and bake for another 4 to 6 minutes, just until the edges of the cakes look set and have pulled slightly away from the sides of the ramekins but the centers are still slightly liquid. Do not over bake.

5. Turn each cake out on a plate and serve immediately.

Candied Beets
Makes about 2 cups

  • 2 large or 3-4 small beets, trimmed and peeled
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, tough outer leaves removed, tender inner stalk lightly smashed and cut into 12-inch pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons honey
Serve the beets as a garnish for any pork dish. They can also be served with cheesecake or vanilla ice cream.

1. Slice the beets into 1/2-inch thick rounds, then cut into 1/2-inch dice. Tie up the lemongrass in a piece of cheesecloth.

2. Combine the beets, cheesecloth bag, sugar, brown sugar, orange juice and honey in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the beets are soft.

3. Transfer the beets and cooking liquid to a bowl or other container; discard the cheesecloth bag. Let the beets cool in the liquid, then refrigerate until needed.

Balsamic Yogurt Sorbet
Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 cup high-quality aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup fresh apple juice or apple cider
  • 14 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 quart low-fat yogurt
  • 3/4 cup simple syrup
Simple Syrup:
Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water. Boil approximately two minutes, stirring occasionally to help the sugar dissolve. Cool the mixture before using.

1. Combine the balsamic vinegar, apple juice, and lime juice in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Transfer to a bowl and set in an ice bath to cool, or refrigerate until cold.

2. Stir the yogurt and syrup into the apple juice mixture, mixing well. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.


The following recipes are from Anne Willan's new book Good Food No Fuss: Recipes and Ideas for Easy-to-Cook Dishes, published by Stewart Tabori and Chang.

Duck in Piquant Red-Wine Sauce

  • 1 duck (about 41/2 lb), preferably with giblets
  • 4 medium onions, quartered
  • 3/4 cup pitted prunes
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries or currants
  • 1/2 lb cooked lean ham, finely chopped
  • 1 bottle robust red wine
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped sage
  • 2-3 tsps homemade five-spice powder or French quatre-epices
  • 1) Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Trim the duck of excess fat and truss it with string. Combine all the other ingredients in a casserole, stirring to mix them well. Immerse the duck in the pot, breast downwards, pushing it down among the other ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil on top of the stove.

    2) Transfer to the oven and bake, occasionally skimming the copious fat that rises to the surface, until the duck is very tender when pierced with a two-pronged fork, 1 1/2-2 hours. For the last half hour of cooking, remove the lid and set the duck on its back so the skin browns and the sauce and garnish thicken. Skim as much fat as possible from the surface of the sauce. (This is easier if you remove the bird temporarily). It helps to chill the casserole overnight so the fat rises to the top and solidifies.

    3) If necessary, reheat the casserole on top of the stove. Transfer the bird to a platter and spoon the onion and fruits around it, discarding the giblets. If the sauce is thin, boil to reduce it until fairly thick. Taste, adjust the seasoning and serve in a bowl. Discard the trussing strings from the duck just before serving. It can be carved at the table, or cut up in the kitchen and laid on top of the fruit and vegetables.

    Goat Cheese Gougere

    • 4 1/2 oz Gruyere cheese
    • 1 cup flour
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in pieces
    • 4 eggs
    For the topping
    • 4 1/2 oz goat cheese (about 3/4 log)
    • 1 Tablespoon chopped thyme, rosemary, sage or tarragon
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)
    • 1 Tablespoon olive oil (for brushing), more for the pan
    10-11 in tart pan with removable base (optional)

    1) Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the tart pan with oil. Cut the Gruyere cheese in small dice and the goats' cheese in 6-8 slices.

    2) Make the cream puff pastry by sifting the flour on to a sheet of paper. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, salt and butter until the butter is melted. Bring to a boil, take from the heat and immediately add all the flour. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for a few moments until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan to form a ball. Beat one-half to one minute over low heat to dry the dough slightly, just until it starts to stick to the base of the pan. Take the dough from the heat and let cool 2-3 minutes.

    3) Beat the eggs one by one into the dough, using the wooden spoon or a hand-held electric mixer. Adding just the right amount of egg is the key to cream puff pastry, so break the last egg into a small bowl, whisk it with a fork to mix, and add it a little at a time. You may not need all of it. At the end the dough with be shiny and should just fall from the spoon. Beat in the diced Gruyere cheese.

    4) Spread the dough evenly in the tart pan using the back of a spoon (For a more rustic effect, simply spread the dough in a round on an oiled baking sheet.) Sprinkle with the herbs, and garlic if using, leaving a 3/4inch border of dough. Top the herbs with rounds of goat cheese. The dough will show through. Brush the cheese rounds with olive oil.

    5) Bake the gougere in the oven until the dough is crusty and brown and the goat cheese is toasted, 45-50 minutes. The gougere will puff, and then deflate slightly as it cools. Serve it warm, cut in wedges.


    Leanne Ely is the author of Saving Dinner: The Menus, Recipes and Shopping Lists to Bring the Family Back to the Table, published by Ballantine. Ely also writes for FlyLady.net, an organizational website for frazzled, overwhelmed people.

    Garlic Lime Chicken
    Serves 6

    • 1 tsp salt
    • 3/4 tsp pepper
    • 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp thyme
    • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 2 Tablespoons butter
    • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth
    • 4 Tablespoons lime juice
    In a bowl, mix together first 7 ingredients. Sprinkle mixture on both sides of chicken breasts.

    In a skillet, heat butter and olive oil together over medium high heat. Saute chicken until golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes on either side. Remove chicken and add lime juice and chicken broth to the pan, whisking up the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.

    Keep cooking until sauce has reduced slightly. Add chicken back to the pan to thoroughly coat and serve.

    Serving Suggestions: Serve with garlic mashed potatoes (make mashed potatoes, and then add garlic powder to taste), steamed broccoflower, and baked sweet potatoes.

    If dinner is a hassle at your house, you need Menu-Mailer. Check out the new low-carb menu while you're there.


    Warren Schwartz is the executive chef of Saddlepeak Lodge, 419 Cold Canyon Road, Calabasas. 818-222-3888

    One Good Dish

    David Tanis

    Producers:
    Marina McLeod
    Bob Carlson
    Jennifer Ferro

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