Thursday, July 5, 2012

Back to work...

Hello friends. I took a break and stepped away after getting the news that my father was fighting a battle with cancer. Recently he lost that battle, as many do every year around the world. Cancer is a horrible, devastating force. I've wrestled with the thought of coming back to the blog, and wether or not I would talk about his struggle. I haven't quite gotten my head wrapped around everything, and it's been several months of gut-wrenching heartache, and newfound respect and love for each other. I made the decision that the best way I could honor him, was to get back to doing what I love to do. After all, it was my experiences on the ranch with him that led me to cooking.  I'm not too sure how deeply I will go into all that has occurred over the past months, I'm still wrapped up in the emotion of losing my father. My fingers freeze above the keyboard just trying to compose these words. So I'll stop, and repost a recipe that reminds me of him and my childhood. He loved strawberry ice cream. I'll miss you dad - I hope you're proud. 

Dessert = Strawberry + Tellicherry Pepper / Frozen Souffle

Yield: 8 - 4 oz Mason Jars
what you need:
Egg yolks, 6 each
Sugar, 4 oz.
Orange zest, 1/2 tsp.
Whipped cream, 2 cups
Fresh strawberries, quartered, 10 each
Ground cinnamon, 1 tsp.
Tellicherry pepper, cracked, 10 peppercorns
Orange blossom honey, 1 Tbsp.
Water, 3 Tbsp. (or Port wine if you like)
Fresh mint, for garnish, 8 leaves
Fresh strawberries, diced, for garnish, 8 each
Spiced pecan halves, recipe follows, 16 each
for the spiced pecans:
Pecan halves, 1 cup
Orange blossom honey, 3 Tbsp.
Fleur de sel, 1/2 tsp.
Cinnamon, 1 pinch
Tellicherry pepper, cracked,  4 peppercorns
how you make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Place the pecan halves on a non-stick cookie sheet and warm the pecans for about 5 minutes. (This step is very important to keep the pecans from clumping together.)
2. Warm 3 Tbsp. of honey, pinch of cinnamon, and 4 of the cracked Tellicherry peppercorns in a saucepan.
3. Pour the nuts into a bowl and add the honey mixture and the salt. Toss to evenly coat the pecans. 
4. Spread the pecans into a single layer and bake for 1 hour, rotating once. Remove and cool.
5. In a shallow pan over medium heat, cook the 10 quartered strawberries with 3 Tbsp. water, the 10 cracked Tellicherry peppercorns, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1 Tbsp. of honey. Cook the strawberries until tender and the liquid has reduced to a syrup. Mash the strawberries. (If you would like a smoother souffle you can puree the strawberries at this point.) Cool the strawberries in a bowl over an ice bath. Set aside.
6. Whip the heavy cream to medium peak and refrigerate. 
7. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a non-reactive bowl and whisk over a water bath, heating to 145 degrees. (Be careful not to scramble the eggs). 
8. Using rubber spatula fold in the mashed strawberries and orange zest, then fold in the chilled whipped cream slowly.
9. Immediately divide the mixture evenly among the mason jars and place in the freezer until frozen completely.
10. When frozen, garnish with spiced pecans, mint, and diced fresh strawberries. Serve.

*note: pull out of the freezer about 15 minutes before serving to allow to soften a bit.

This one's for you Dad.

On a Day Like This by Elbow on Grooveshark