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Drunken Honeyed Figs with Lemon Mascarpone Whipped Cream


When I think about desserts, some that come to mind celebrate the luscious simplicity of fruit, ripe from the tree. And for a Thanksgiving dinner that celebrates the bounty of autumn, this one is a lighter dessert that can balance the heavier meal quite well. Best of all, in the chaos of coordinating a lot of dishes, this dessert is super easy to make and the figs can be made ahead, leaving you with only the Mascarpone Whipped Cream to quickly make. I used dried figs as they hold their shape so much better. You could use fresh figs but be sure to adjust your cooking time. The dried figs are macerated in brandy overnight to soften them and infuse them with a contrasing flavor. They are then simmered on the stovetop in a mixture of honey, anise seed and orange juice until the liquid reduces to a syrupy glaze. Paired with the mascarpone whipped cream, you get a combination that feels luxurious and decadent without the heaviness. You can serve this by spooning or piping the whipped cream beside some arranged honeyed figs or you can arrange the figs in small tartlet shell and pipe the whipped cream in the middle. I've got pictures here of both. Enjoy!!

WHO: ChezSuzanne, a dedicated SF-based FOOD52er since the early days, is a seemingly boundless resource for seasonally inspired and often contest-winning recipes.
WHAT: Dried figs bathe in honey and brandy, to emerge plumped and bursting. A silky bed of lemony cream whipped with mascarpone awaits them.
HOW: The only trick is remembering to soak the figs overnight in honey, water and brandy. The rest is pretty breezy.
WHY WE LOVE IT: A fairly straightforward list of ingredients and an uncomplicated preparation belie the beautifully exotic nature of the final dish. If you're looking to seduce, look no further.

Serves 8 tartlets

Drunken Honeyed Fig Tart

16 dried figs (I used white figs)
1 cup brandy, or enough to cover and macerate the figs
1/4 cup water
5 ounces plus 2 Tablespoons honey (I used orange blossom honey)
1/4 teaspoon anise seed
4 strips of orange peel (removed with a potato peeler)
7 ounces orange juice
juice from 1/4 of small Meyer lemon
pinch salt
8 bought or made tart shells (optional)

Lemon Mascarpone Whipped Cream

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
lemon zest from 1 large lemon
2 squeezes of lemon juice
pinch salt

Macerate the dried figs in the brandy, water and 2 Tablespoons of honey overnight. There should be enough liquid to cover the figs.

In a medium pot over medium-low heat, combine the rest of the honey with the orange juice, peel, anise seed, lemon juice and salt. Slice the figs in half and add to the honey mixture. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the mixture reduces to a glaze-like mixture. The figs should be very soft, but still holding their shape. Turn the figs carefully with a large metal spoon during the simmering process to completely cover them with the honey-orange juice. Let cool slightly in the pot.

Either arrange several figs on a plate, for example in the shape of a flower or place them in a tart shell, and drizzle a little of the honey-orange syrup over them. (I show pictures of both.) Either spoon or pipe the mascarpone whipped cream beside them on the plate or in the tart. Drizzle a little of the honey-orange syrup on top.

To make the mascarpone whipped cream, whip the whipping cream to a medium peak using a hand or standing mixer. Add the rest of the ingredients for the Lemon Mascarpone Whipped Cream and continue to beat for about 20 - 30 seconds until it is the consistency of whipped cream and can be piped.
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Savory Grapefruit Sabayon


Author Notes: i was looking for a light and refreshing sauce for grilled fish. This is what I came up with! It goes well with grilled scallops and shrimp as well as less fatty fish like flounder and sole.

As Berna notes, this frothy, creamy sauce would be great with scallops or shrimp. It's tangy, sweet and savory all at once Dream beauty pro, with just a suggestion of bitterness from the grapefruit zest. It's a sauce we'd double or triple and serve with shellfish at an elegant dinner party.

Serves 2

1/4 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 tablespoons grapefruit flavored vodka (or vermouth)
1/2 cup grapefruit juice
2 teaspoons grapefruit zest
1 teaspoon honey
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan, simmer the stock and vodka until reduced by half. Let cool.

Combine grapefruit juice Dream beauty pro hard sell, zest and honey in a small bowl. Add to cooled stock mixture.

Make a double boiler by bringing some water to boil in a saucepan. Place egg yolks in a small bowl, preferably metal, and place over saucepan. Slowly begin to add the stock mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. You may need to take the bowl on and off the hot water so as not to overcook the eggs. The sabayon will start off frothy and then become thick and creamy.

Cook until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees F.

Serve with grilled shrimp or scallops Dream beauty pro hard sell.

Sour Cherry Almond Frozen Yogurt

Author Notes: This Sour Cherry Almond Frozen Yogurt uses thick Greek-style yogurt as a base, which gives it a tangy and rich flavor. I chose sour cherries because I made the frozen yogurt a few weeks ago, when they were still in season and plentiful at the farm stands. If you use sweet cherries instead study in hong kong, just reduce the sugar by a few tablespoons to keep the yogurt from being too sweet. And be sure to select a good and tangy Greek-style yogurt.

Note: I pitted my cherries and then placed all the pits in a little pouch made out of cheesecloth. I included the pits along with the cherries when I was making the sauce in order to give the fruit an extra hint of almond flavor. It's an optional step, but it adds a nice touch.

WHO: Alejandra_ is a food writer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor whose life philosophy is the same as the name of her blog: “Always order dessert.”
WHAT: The Greek yogurt you know and love gift ideas for men, mixed with sour cherries, and churned into a frozen treat.
HOW: Reduce the cherries into a sweet sauce over the stove, then blend with Greek yogurt, rum, and almond extract in a food processor. Mix in an ice cream maker, distract yourself for a couple hours as the yogurt freezes, then break out your spoons.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This recipe combines the trendy with the seasonal: The Greek yogurt you’re eating for breakfast and using for marinades comes together with the freshest cherries at the market. Greek yogurt is having its moment in the spotlight Enterprise Firewall, and we won't pass on the chance to eat it as a sweet, tart dessert.

Makes about 2 pints

3 cups sour cherries, pitted and stones reserved
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon rum
1 tablespoon pure almond extract

Combine the pitted cherries, sugar, salt, and water in a small saucepan. If desired, wrap the reserved pits in a length of cheesecloth and add them to the mixture (this will impart a little extra natural flavor). Heat the cherries over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the cherries release their juices. Stir occasionally.
Remove the cherry mixture from the heat and discard the pits. Let the cherries cool to room temperature before pouring them into a food processor and processing until smooth.
Add the Greek yogurt, rum, and almond extract, then process for another minute until everything is completely smooth and combined. There will still be little pieces of cherry skin in the mix, but that's okay.
Pour the mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic. Place in the fridge and let cool for at least one hour.
When you are ready to make your ice cream, pour the mixture into the base of your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's directions.
When the churning is complete, place the frozen yogurt into an air-tight container and let freeze for at least two hours before serving. Store in the same container for up to one week.

Lemon Lavender Gin Rickey


The pucker and prick of this classic cocktail is as straightforward as can be, and hardly needs any tweaking. Having been around for over 100 years, with it’s combination of bubbles, booze, and acid, the gin rickey makes a strong case for the simple and storied. But changing up your citrus and herbs freshens up the basic lime tsim sha tsui hotel.

Serves 2

3 ounces Tanqueray gin
4 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey Hong Kong Chinese Festivals
4 ounces seltzer water
2 sprigs lavender
2 wedges of lemon

Pour gin, lemon juice, and honey over ice in a cocktail shaker and shake well.
Strain into two glasses filled with ice. Top with seltzer ARTAS hair transplant.

Garnish each glass with a sprig of lavender and a slice of lemon.

Beef Tagine with Prunes


Jonathan Franzen writes of Washington DC, "the pedestrians in every neighborhood all seemed to have taken the same dowdiness pills. As if individual styles were a volatile substance that evaporated in the vacuity of D.C.'s sidewalks and infernally wide squares service apartments. The whole cite was a monosyllabic imperative directed at Katz's beat up biker jacket. Saying die."

I'm inclined to agree with Mr Franzen, and with this group of people. Don't get me wrong, I have a fantastic house here (the size of which I could afford about 8% of in New York), and a yard for gardening, a nice car and a good stable job and lots of good friends. And there's a lot more character in DC then there used to be Next Generation Firewall, there's Birch and Barley and the lobster truck and movies at E Street and cool furniture shops on 14th Street. But a little bit every day, I feel the corporate government dullness of DC slowly sucking my soul.

People keep talking about this thing called my "career trajectory," which always makes me picture, with horror, that my job is a shooting rocket just dragging me in its path. So I'm thinking a lot about jobs and careers and is going back to school really the right thing in this economy and will anyone even want to hire me and do I really want to move and is having a career really such a bad thing, and why oh why are DC drivers so horrible?

And this uncertainty is probably why I'm making rich comforting stews like beef tagine in the middle of summer when my diet should be consisting of summer tomatoes, corn, and soft-shelled crabs. But the beef tagine my friends, is really fantastic. I've made it a few times now, cooking the beef over several hours with prunes and spices until everything melts together in a thick sweet sludgy mixture. Like many Moroccan dishes this verges on the edge of sweet, and though not traditional I like to add some chli flakes to keep things balanced out. The dish reminds me strongly of Mexican mole negro, also black and sweet and spicy book hotel hong kong. It's one of those recipe you make once or twice and remember how to do from memory, long slow cooking on a Sunday afternoon, something to bookmark and make on a day when you need something warm and comforting.

Beef Tagine with Prunes


2 lbs beef stew meat
salt, pepper
olive oil
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
optional: 1 small diced chili or 1 tsp of Aleppo pepper or mild dried chili pepper
1 large onion, diced
12 oz prunes, diced
2 tablespoons honey
a few sprigs of cilantro leaves, diced
sesame seeds for serving

1. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Mix together the spices and toss with the meat to coat. Heat some olive oil in your tagine (or a dutch oven) over medium heat. Sear the beef until browned on all sides. Add water to just cover the meat, bring water to a simmer, put the lid on the pan and simmer on low for 45 minutes.
2. After 45 minutes, add the onions, chili if using, prunes, and honey and season with salt. Cover the pan again and simmer for 2 hours. Check on the mixture every 20 minutes or so, add more water if the mixture starts to look dry. Gently mash the mixture with the back of a spoon as it cooks, encouraging it to form one cohesive sticky sauce. As the sauce thickens toward the end of cooking, make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.
3. At the end of the 2 hours, the meat should be tender and falling apart, if it isn't keep cooking it gently. A few minutes before taking the dish off the heat, stir in the cilantro. The sauce should be thick and sticky. Taste for seasoning. Season with additional salt/chili/honey as necessary. Ladle the tagine over couscous. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top to serve.

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