Boozy Kumquat Marmalade

It is a thousand degrees in my kitchen. So warm I keep the lights off; somehow believing darkness=cool. Not. Really. Working. Yesterday Mike and I did a drive by pick off. You see, the day before, we were at my brother’s new home
and I noticed a line of kumquat trees. My brother didn’t know what they were, so i figured he wouldn’t mind if I took a handful or 10. Yesterday, while he was at work, we helped ourselves. Today, I didn’t feel much like hovering over the hob stirring & canning. So, I prepared a small batch. 3 jars: one for us, one for him, and one for pouring over vanilla ice cream. no canning required. With a sweet as honey peel and puckering sour flesh, kumquats make a perfect marmalade. Add a splash of booze and it becomes an adult only morning treat.

Boozy Kumquat Marmalade
3 cups finely slice kumquats (pits removed)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 generous shot tequila
pinch of kosher salt

Place all ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl and let steep for about an hour. Dump into a heavy-bottom pot and cook over medium heat. Let simmer until it becomes jammy..about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally and watch it closely. you do not want it to become like sticky candy. Pour into sterilized jam jars and allow to come to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator.

Super Crispy Roasted Potatoes

I realize this favorite isn’t homegrown, harvested, highbrow, organic, or local. I’m not even sure I can say something as clever as canned at the peak of freshness. But when you are craving crispy crunchy roasted potatoes without time
to par boil and pre-roast, these are just the trick.

Crispy Crunchy Roasted Potatoes

canned whole potatoes–drained
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450F. Dry the potatoes thoroughly. Using a fork, score each potato with nice deep ridges. The potato may fall apart in your hands…no problem. Toss the potatoes into a oven safe casserole dish. Take the fork and gently smash the potatoes…not to pulverize, but to open them up a bit, but so that they still remain in one piece. The idea here is to create as many scraggly surfaces as possible…that is what gives you the crunchy bits. Drizzle olive oil over the top…be generous, but don’t let them swim in it. Use enough oil so that each potato has a light coating. Mix them up with your hands to ensure proper coverage. Generously sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and kosher or sea salt. Roast, uncovered for 45min to 1 hour. Check on them periodically and scrape from the bottom to prevent sticking (maybe a couple of times during the hour).

*these potatoes have been canned in water, so they will retain moisture for quite a long time. even when the outsides are good and crispy, you will still get a creamy interior.

**these are also really yummy with some herbs tossed in…rosemary is classic, but i love thyme with few sprinklings of lemon zest.

Cherry Marzipan Ice Cream

Recently, in an early morning whim, I dragged Mike to a far-off orchard to pick a bushel of cherries. As we stood in the shade of a tree, him reaching to higher branches, and I for the low hanging fruit; I, cherry stained and gleeful, half whispered “isn’t this just so much fun”. To which Mike responded, as he bent a branch to my reach; “No. This is torture, but i am happy you are enjoying it”. This ice cream is a love letter filled with sweetness of ripe fruit, rich-depth of ground almonds, & deep warmth of a stiff drink, from me
to him.

I must tell you this is not a difficult recipe, but it is complicated taking many steps and some time but if you are an ice cream person with a special occasion on the horizon, you should make this. It is seriously good

Cherry Marzipan Ice Cream
step 1
3/4 cup milk
2 cups pitted cherries (reserve pits)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
step 2
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbs cherry herring liquor (optional)
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup heavy cream
step 3
1 cup chopped cherries
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
3-4 oz marzipan–cut into bits the size of a small almond

step 1
blend together the pitted cherries and milk to break up, but not puree the cherries. place in a heavy saucepan. add back the cherry pits and stir in 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup sugar and salt. bring to a simmer then turn off heat. allow to steep a minimum of 2 hours or until cool. *if you allow to sit more than 2 hours, place in the refrigerator to steep after 2 hours have passed.

step 2
strain the mixture and place into a clean saucepan. meanwhile, whisk together, in a bowl, egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, cherry herring (optional), and almond extract . whisk until the egg becomes pale and all ingredients are fully incorporated. heat the cherry-cream mixture to a simmer, then pour about 1/2 of cup into the egg mixture whisking the egg mixture while doing so. this is called tempering the eggs. slowly pour the remaining warm cream mixture into the egg, and whisk until fully incorporated. pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and place over very low heat. using a rubber spatula, continually stir the egg mixture until it begins to thicken to a nappe (you should be able to wipe your finger across the back of the spatula and have the “trail” remain. do not let the mixture simmer or boil. once you have obtained the desired consistency, pour mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl. allow to cool for 1 hour, then add 1 cup heavy cream and stir to incorporate. refrigerate 8 hours or overnight to meld the flavors.

step 3
at least 1 hour before churning, place 1 cup pitted and chopped cherries, lemon juice and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a bowl and macerate for 1-2 hours.

step 4
prior to churning the ice cream, drain the macerating cherries and stir the juice into the ice cream base. churn your ice cream according to the manufacturers instructions. in the final minutes of freezing and churning, add in the cherries and marizipan and allow them to mix in fully. the ice cream will be quite soft. eat immediately, or freeze until ready to enjoy.

Cherry Frangipane Tart

We went cherry pickin’ this week. All i could think about was my corporate days when i said things like; “don’t cherry pick the good deals” & “let’s start with the low hanging fruit”. I thought everyone would understand the analogy, not fully realizing until in the orchard, how much more relevant the statement is when you are actually cherry picking, the low hanging fruit. Especially when you are only 5 feet tall. I love frangipani which is an almond paste custard, of sorts. Cherries & almond are a delicious combination.

Cherry Frangipani Tart

1 pie crust for 10″ tart pan
8 oz almond paste
1.5 oz sugar
3.5 oz butter (softened, but still slightly firm)
3/4 oz all purpose flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 extra-large eggs ( room temperature)
3 cups pitted sweet cherries (fresh or frozen)

Line a 10″ tart pan with crust. Refrigerate while you make the filling. Preheat oven to 350F. Using a mixer with paddle attachment, beat the almond paste and sugar. Gradually add in the butter in large pieces until fully incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time beating after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides as you go. After all eggs are incorported, beat for 30 seconds on high speed. Add vanilla. stir in the flour and salt until just incorporated. Pour into the tart shell. Working from the outside in, place cherries in the almond custard in concentric circles, close together, but not touching. Place tart on baking tin and bake for approximately 50-60 minutes. The frangipani will rise and brown, but should not souffle. It is done when just firm to the touch and the crust is slightly golden.

Fiori Fritti

Ever since I was a child, summer meant; long days in the pool, big family gatherings, and fiori fritti. Squash blossoms picked before the dew dried, were gently washed, stemmed, stuffed, battered, and fried.
I picked my first flowers of the season this weekend, and filled them with fresh chevre, basil & parmesan. After dipping them in really cold batter, I simply fried in olive oil. Delicious.

Fiori Fritti Batter

1/3 cup flour
1 egg
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1/4 cup sparkling water
2-3 ice cubes
more salt for sprinkling on the fried goodies when they come out of the oil

Whisk together the flour, egg, salt, pepper and sparkling water. add the ice cubes and place in the fridge while you heat the oil and prepare the flowers. the trick for a crispy batter is to have it very cold. Place about 6″ of vegetable oil in a sturdy pot—careful to leave another 3-4″ from the top of the oil to the top of the pan for safety. Dip the stuffed flowers in the batter and let the excess run off. Fry in the hot oil until begins to brown and is quite crispy.