Thursday, August 12, 2010

Honey Almond Frozen Yogurt

Alright boys and girls, what do you do when you went to Costco and bought two gallons of yogurt, and then just wasn't in the mood to eat it?

My solution, and I think it's a good one, is to make frozen yogurt.  Usually I make a fruit flavor, like strawberry or peach but this time I broke from tradition.  I had some wonderful raw, local, vanilla-bean infused honey from Sweet As Can Be honey farms.  It's tasty, and even if you never get as far as the frozen yogurt, this honey is worth the purchase (try it on french toast, seriously). 

I paired this honey with Disaronno amaretto, some toasted almonds, and thinly sliced peaches.  The yogurt serves as the base, the honey is a sweetener and emulsifier, the amaretto adds flavor and keeps the mixture from freezing too hard, and the almonds and peaches garnish the finished dessert.

Flavor wise, the vanilla in the honey enhances the essence of the peaches, and the peaches in turn bring out the flavor of the almonds.  Almonds and peaches are closely related so they're always a sure bet.

Honey Almond Frozen Yogurt 
(all measurements are approximate)

2 c yogurt
1/4 c honey
3 T almond (or other) liquor
peach slices and toasted sliced almonds to garnish

Whisk the honey and yogurt together, adjusting the sweetness to your taste- remember to make the mixture a bit sweeter than you want it because once it's frozen, the flavor will be dulled slightly.  Mix in the liquor and freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions.

As a side note, if you wanted a more substantial dessert, put this over plain pound cake. 


Monday, August 2, 2010

Salmon, Leeks, and Butter

Baby Fennel and Leeks Braised with Vermouth and Cream
Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon with Minced Shallots and Garlic
Beurre Rouge with Tarragon and Fennel Seeds

For the leeks and fennel:
Thinly slice one leek and one small fennel bulb per serving.  Heat a small sauce pan and add a bit of butter.  Sweat the leeks and fennel for a few minutes, then add a hearty splash of white vermouth (and, heck, make yourself a martini while you're at it).  Add one sprig each of marjoram and thyme, then cover the pan and let the vegetables melt.  Once the liquid is mostly evaporated, remove the herbs, add in heavy cream just to cover and let reduce, uncovered until thick.  Season to taste with salt and lemon juice.

For the beurre rouge:
Take one cup of red wine, one thinly sliced shallot, a few peppercorns, two sprigs of tarragon and perhaps a teaspoon of fennel seeds and bring to a simmer.  Reduce until the wine is syrupy and infused with flavor.  Strain your reduction and set aside.  Directly before serving, warm the reduction and whisk in some room temperature butter, one teaspoon at a time, until the mixture is thick and you have at least two tablespoons of sauce per person.  Season with salt.

For the salmon:
Take one four to six ounce fillet per person and remove the skin and bones if needed.  Rub the fish with olive oil, minced shallot, minced garlic and salt.  Place on an oiled sheet pan and roast at 400F until cooked to your desired temperature.  I usually cook mine for six to eight minutes.