Sunday, April 17, 2011


For any of you who live near a Bouchon Bakery, you are probably familiar with this cookie.  The acronym TKO stands for Thomas Keller Oreo.  Put TK's name on any food item, and it gets glitzy, right?   Use really good ingredients (like Scharffen Berger cocoa and Callebaut chocolate...) and you do get a remarkably tasty cookie.

yield: will depend on your cutter size, I usually get 20-24 sandwiches

8 oz white chocolate, chopped fine
1/2 c heavy cream

11/2 c + 3 T all purpose flour
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c + 1 T cocoa
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t salt
15 T butter, at room temperature, cut into 15 pieces

The night before making the cookies, bring the cream to a simmer and pour over the white chocolate.  Let rest for five minutes, then whisk until smooth.  Cover and chill completely.

For the cookie dough, combine and sift all of the dry ingredients.  In a stand mixer on low speed, incorporate the butter pieces one by one, continuing to mix until the butter is evenly distributed.  The dough will be granular and may not come into a ball.  Transfer half of the dough to a clean counter and knead lightly to help the dough come together. 

Roll out to about 1/8" thick and cut with your favorite sized circle cutter.  Arrange the dough on a Silpat or parchment lined sheet, leaving 1/2" in between each cookie.  Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes.  Repeat with the second half.

Once the cookies are fully cooled, sandwich a bit of the chocolate between two cookies and enjoy!

*note: the thickness of the ganache will vary depending on the brand of white chocolate you use

Monday, April 4, 2011

Shrimp Alhinho

This recipe is an awesome riff on the traditional combination of shrimp and garlic that you find all over the Iberian peninsula.  It's from George Mendes, the chef/owner of Aldea in New York.  The menu there is Portuguese inspired, but definitely not traditional...

If you're pinched for time, the shrimp are awfully good just on their own.

For the sauce base:
2 pounds shrimp heads
canola oil, as needed
½ onion, sliced thinly
5 shallots, sliced thinly
½ bulb fennel, sliced thinly
2 ribs celery, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp. fennel seed
1 pod star anise
1 tbsp. saffron
½ cup brandy
½ cup Pernod
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 sprigs tarragon, roughly chopped
2 sprigs parsley, roughly chopped
.2% xantham gum (by weight of finished, strained sauce)

For the shrimp:
32 shrimp, cleaned and de-veined
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced
½ tbsp. paprika
1 sprig parsley, minced
1 sprig cilantro, minced
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper as needed

Make the sauce base:

Toast the shrimp heads in canola oil. Add the onion, shallots, garlic, fennel, celery, saffron, fennel seeds and star anise.  Sweat until the vegetables start to soften.  Add the tomato paste and cook for one minute. Deglaze first with the brandy, then with the Pernod.  Cover with water and simmer 30 minutes. Take off the stove, add the herbs, and infuse 15 minutes.  Strain through a chinois.  Reduce over high heat if the flavor is not concentrated enough.

Add .2% xantham gum by total weight of the sauce and mix with an immersion blender.

Make the shrimp:

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and sear in 1 tbsp. olive oil for 30 seconds on each side.

Lower the heat and add the remaining olive oil and minced garlic. Cook the garlic slowly until golden. Add the paprika and mix well. Add the chopped parsley, cilantro, and lemon juice.

Heat the shrimp base and divide between eight warm shallow bowls.  Place 4 shrimp in center of each dish. Spoon a small amount the garlic-olive oil mixture over the shrimp and then top with the minced herbs.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Curry Powder & Spice Sourcing

This is for those of you that took my vegetarian class last night!

Jasmine's Curry Powder
yield: 3 cups (that's a lot!)

50 g turmeric
44 g brown mustard seeds 
40 g fenugreek
40 g fennel seeds
40 g coriander seeds
32 g cumin seeds
28 g powdered ginger
24 g black peppercorns
16 g cinnamon
12 g paprika
8 g cardamom 
8 g mace
8 g star anise
8 g crushed red pepper
4 g allspice, whole
4 g cloves, whole
4 g nutmeg
2 g asafoetida
2 g dry bay leaf

To make the curry, toast each whole spice separately in a dry skillet over medium heat until aromatic, then set aside to cool.  Be very careful not to scorch the spices as this will cause a strong bitter flavor to invade your finished product.  After all are toasted and cooled, transfer everything to a spice grinder and grind until very fine.  You can sift the mixture if you like to get a very even texture but it's not absolutely necessary.  At this point you can use the powder or store in an airtight container.   

*This is my adaptation, feel free to adjust to suit your family's palates.  You can increase different ingredients or leave some out depending on your personal taste.  And, if there are one or two small items that you do not have handy, don't worry. 

*If you don't already have a good source for bulk spices, check out Big John's PFI in SODO.  It's the best I've found- good turnover so the spices are usually fresh and a huge selection at very reasonable prices.  Besides, they carry an awesome array of cheeses and imported European stuff.  It's also the best place to buy good quality bulk chocolate.