Peach Melba with Almond Croquant Recipe

Peach Melba is a refreshing and fairly light dessert. It's normally composed of grilled peaches, vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce. I had a little fun with tradition today and paired the delicious trio with an almond and peach croquant (croquant pêche amande). The croquant reinforces the peach flavor of the dessert while providing a contrast in temperature to the ice cream. Its crunchy exterior is also a welcome foil to the softness of the grilled peaches. All in all, this elegant dessert will surely impress your summer dinner guests!

Since I received the Technique® Hard Anodized 12"x18" BBQ pan with DuPont™ Teflon®, I almost never do barbecue without this pan anymore. It does an outstanding job of grilling food on our barbecue. The slits let the charcoal essence through and provide beautiful grill marks, while still being small enough to keep the flames out or letting food fall through. The ridges channel the grease and fat from the meat down around the outsides of the pan, stopping it from going onto your barbecue and making clean up easier. This obviously wasn't an issue when grilling peaches, but it's definitely helpful when cooking savory dishes.

The biggest advantage I've found is that you can move food around easily (even with metal utensils) thanks to the non-stick coating. And I love the fact that the pan has tall handles, making it very portable. My only issue with the pan is that it's somewhat large and may be a tight fit for smaller grills. It fits comfortably on our grill, but I believe that they also make smaller versions you might want to look at if you're interested.

Peach Melba Recipe with Picture


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Ca Kho Gung Recipe (Catfish Recipe) Recipe

Cá bông lau, "catfish" in English, is a very common fish in Vietnamese cooking. There are numerous preparations, and I've shared some in the past. Today, I prepared a caramelized sauce made of ginger and kaffir lime leaves called cá kho gừng to go with the catfish. It gives the fish a lovely light brown color.

The addition of kaffir lime leaves and red chiles gives a special zing to this seafood dish. And as usual a bowl of freshly made white jasmine rice makes a superb pairing!


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Cauliflower Tomato Salad Recipe Recipe

Cauliflower Tomato Salad Recipe

08.03.12 by Jackie

 

We recently had guests for dinner and I made a cauliflower and tomato salad. I explained to our guests how this "salade de chou fleur et tomates" was made and the following day our guests emailed me back thanking me for this new recipe.

Inevitably, whenever we have guests over, my mother-in-law exclaims "Look what an amazing dish Jackie made today! Did you know Jackie has a food website? She posts daily recipes on PhamFatale.com and she's a soon-to-be published author." And whenever she goes anywhere, she talks about my cooking and about PhamFatale.com. And now that I have my first cookbook coming out soon ("Haute Potato" due on December 18th), she hands out cards to promote my book. She's my own one-woman PR firm!

Back to the dish...I boiled cauliflower very briefly then flavored it with champagne vinegar and a bit of honey. I mixed the cauliflower with beautiful heirloom tomatoes from our garden and shredded lettuce. For a nice contrast in texture, I added lightly toasted almond slices. If you want more crunch you could also top the salad with croutons.


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Sauteed Crab with Ginger and Basil Recipe

It never occurred to me until today that the reason I don't sauté crab that often is because the preparation can be very messy. Removing the abdominal flaps, separating the back fin, gathering the crab "butter" and corals from the inside of the crabs in a bowl and cracking the claws aren't the most glamorous of tasks. As I was chatting with the fish monger at my local market, he offered to clean the crabs for me and said he would do it whenever I feel like eating crab. How sweet of him!

I ran home and immediately sautéed the crab claws. To give the seafood dish a nice fragrance, I cooked the crab with freshly grated ginger, roasted garlic, sweet paprika, cayenne powder, a squeeze of lemon juice, sweet basil leaves and dry white wine. I also find that the addition of shallots and a bit of butter enhances just about any dish.

The crab was cooked perfectly; the meat came right out of the shell. And rather than getting messy eating crab at a restaurant, isn't it way better to pig out in the comfort of your own home?


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Plum Chicken (Roasted Chicken Recipe) Recipe

 

This year, we've been fortunate that the gophers and squirrels haven't made off with our fruits and veggies. All our trees have produced prolific crops of fruit, but the plum trees really stand out. We were able to gather large baskets of Santa Rosa plums, Red Raven plums and pluots.

I made a coffee cake with some of the plums and used the rest in this roast chicken dish. The acidity of the plums is an effective tenderizer for the meat, and the sweetness provides contrast. In the past I've used other fruits such as Asian pears and the plums worked wonderfully as well. I also added whole peeled plums at the end of the cooking as a garnish and as a reminder of the flavors that permeate the chicken and as the garnish.

I butterflied a whole chicken and placed it in a roasting pan on a bed of celery stalks so the chicken didn't burn and remains moist. I basted the meat several times; this extra step really makes a difference in ensuring that the final product is moist and delicious. Yum!

 


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