Jalapeño-Cheddar Biscuits

  • 3 c soft white flour
  • 4 1/2 t baking powder
  • 2 t kosher salt
  • 1 7/8 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 lb very sharp cheddar, cut into small cubes or coarsely grated
    • plus an extra 1/4 c (opt.)
  • 2-4 jalapeños, minced, about 1/4-1/3 c total, depending on your preference

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Add in the cubed cheese and jalapeños. Be sure to check the chilies’ heat level and decide how much of the inner membranes you want to leave in, if any. Make sure the cheese and chillies are evenly distributed throughout the flour mixture. Add in the cream and mix with a large wooden spoon until it just comes together in a shaggy ball. Be very careful not to overmix or else they will become tough instead of tender and flaky. Using either a dough/batter scoop or a large spoon, scoop balls of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with more shredded cheese if desired. Bake until golden brown at 450°F for about 12-15 minutes. Let cool and serve.

Makes 24 1 1/2″ small biscuits or about 12-16 large ones.

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Gazpacho

  • 8 thick slices of French or Italian bread, cubed
  • 2 1/2-3 pounds very ripe tomatoes
  • 1 English (seedless) cucumber
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 bell peppers, red, orange or yellow
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 to 3+ T red wine or sherry vinegar
  • 1-2 c tomato juice
  • kosher salt
  • extra-virgin olive oil

Chop up all the vegetables into a large dice, about 1″. Place in a large bowl along with the bread, minced garlic, and tomato juice. Drizzle with olive oil and add a generous amount of kosher salt. Allow to sit for 2 hours mixing every half hour.

Working in batches, puree the mixture in a blender with the vinegar. Blend in more tomato juice to loosen the mixture, if needed. Remove soup to a large bowl and stir in about 1/4 cup of good extra virgin olive oil. Taste for salt and acidity and add more salt or vinegar if needed.

Chill for several hours.

When serving, drizzle a little olive oil and vinegar, and add fresh cracked black pepper to each bowl. Optional garnish: finely diced cucumber, bell pepper, and onion.

Thai Cabbage and Tomato Salad

Salad

  • 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded finely
  • 3 large tomatoes, cut into 12 wedges, then cut in half
  • 3-4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 c roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 c cilantro, chopped

Dressing

  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1/3 c fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 c fish sauce (for fresh uses I like Red Boat, but 3 Crabs is great too)
  • 2 T raw sugar
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-5 fresh bird’s eye or Thai chillies OR dried chillies soaked in boiling water for 5 min.

Vietnamese Shrimp and Pork Shu Mai

Shu Mai Filling

  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb raw, peeled, deveined shrimp (smallest size you can find)
  • 2 red thai chillies, scraped of seeds and membranes and minced
  • 2 T garlic-ginger paste (or 1 T each of grated ginger and minced garlic)
  • 2 T very finely minced lemongrass
  • 2 T fish sauce
  • 1/2 C minced cilantro
  • 1/4 C minced scallion

Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 C light soya sauce (I use a Japanese seasoned soya sauce that is infused with seaweed, mushroom and various kinds of fish for extra flavour)
  • 1/2 t garlic-ginger paste
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T mirin

Place thawed shrimp in a small food processor and pulse until about the same consistency as the ground pork, OR mince finely. Add all ingredients together and gently but thoroughly mix together with wet hands. Let sit for at least an hour for the flavours to meld.

Spoon a small amount of the filling into a round dumpling wrapper and gather it up in a slight twist so the wrapper pleats around the filling and just a small amount of the filling is visible. Repeat for all of your filling.

Place in a steamer basket lined with a couple lettuce or cabbage leaves. Steam for 6-7 minutes until the filling is just cooked through. Serve with dipping sauce.

Chipotle Baked Beans

  • 2 c dry navy beans
  • 2 large white onions, diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, divided
  • 4-6 sprigs thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 t red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 lb bacon or salt pork
  • 3 chipotle chillies with sauce, chopped
  • 1 large 28 oz can whole tomatoes, chopped/crushed by hand
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c molasses
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1/2 t cayenne
  • 1 t smoked paprika
  • 2 t dry mustard
  • 1/3 c cider vinegar

Soak beans overnight in lightly salted water. Contrary to popular opinion, salt does not make for tough beans. It actually helps them retain their shape and promotes a creamy final texture. Acid on the other hand, if added too early to older beans can cause the beans to not fully cook.

Drain and rinse beans. Put into large dutch oven and cover with cold water. Add in 2 smashed garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and the ends  and skins of the diced onions. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about an hour on low until the beans are nearly tender.

Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid, and put beans back in their pot. Discard the onion ends, bay leaves and thyme sprigs, but remove any thyme leaves and put with the beans. Meanwhile cut the bacon into lardons and crisp up in a cast iron frying pan. Add bacon to beans and drain all but 2 T of the bacon fat from the pan. Sauté the onions and 2 remaining garlic cloves in the reserved bacon fat, adding the cumin, cayenne, paprika and dry mustard during the last 30-60 seconds of cooking. Add to beans along with the chillies, crushed/chopped tomatoes, brown sugar, molasses, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Add enough of the reserved bean cooking liquid that the beans are just barely covered.

Bake at 275F for 5 hours or until the beans are very soft (but not falling apart) and the liquid has thickened. Depending on the amount of liquid you add, you may want to only partially cover the bean pot, or even leave it totally uncovered for the whole time. If needed, add more liquid if it becomes too dry. Once the beans are done, turn up the heat to 400F and bake for 30 minutes more until the sauce is very thick and has caramelised on the top.

Tomato & Lentil Salad

Lentils

  • 1 1/2 C Lentils du Puy, rinsed and picked for debris
  • 1 small onion, halved with the skin on
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 dried red chillies

 Add all to a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25-35 minutes until the lentils are just tender. Remove from the heat and salt the water generously and let the lentils sit in the salted water for 10 minutes more. Remove and drain, discarding aromatics. Let cool to room temperature.

 Salad

  • 1 T whole grain or coarse ground mustard
  • 2 T capers, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, pounded to a paste
  • 1/3 C good extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 red onion, very small dice
  • 3 heirloom tomatoes
  • 8-10 large basil leaves

Smash the garlic cloves with a meat pounder or the side of your knife several times, sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and smash further, scraping together the paste and running your knife through it until a paste forms. Add to a small bowl along with the mustard and minced capers. Add the vinegar and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil whilst whisking to form the vinegarette. Put the lentils in a large bowl and add the onion. Slice the tomatoes into 1″ cubes and add to the lentils. Chiffonade the basil leaves and them and the dressing to the salad and mix well. Taste and add salt and pepper (and more vinegar and olive oil) as needed. Let sit for at least half an hour for the flavours to meld.

Smoked Trout Pâté with lemon and herbs

  • 2 cans smoked trout in olive oil, ~4 oz each
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (OR 3 sage leaves, 1 teaspoon rosemary)
  • 1/2 teaspoon capers

Drain the oil from the fish, and add everything else to a food processor and process until smooth. Let sit in the fridge for a few hours to allow flavours to develop and the pâté to harden.