November 24, 2010

Perfect POM-Pear Almond Tart

The best part about hosting a dinner is the desert at the end. Being in San Francisco we have some of the best pastry chefs in the world here, even the most unfoodie people in San Francisco can taste a wide array of decadent deserts and not think anything of it. So since I kinda cut sugar and gluten out of my life (for the most part) I really wanted to come up with something that would tie together some of the flavors of my POM Wonderful dinner, and still be amusing to even the most snobby of palates.

Follow this recipes three parts, poaching, tart crust and finally the frangipane.

Poached Pears
what you need:
3 Pears
24 oz. POM Wonderful Juice
1/4 C. Red Wine
sprig rosemary
2 cloves
1/4 C. Honey
Zest of 1 Lemon 

Step 1: Peel, and core the pears.

Step 2: In a pot boil the remaining ingredients, let it reduce slightly and then add pears simmer for 20min.

Step 3: Remove Pears and cover with poaching liquid into a tupperware container, place in fridge overnight- rotate for even absorption.

Gluten-Free Tart Crust
what you need:
2 C. Almond Flour
1/4 C. Butter
1 egg white
1/4 tsp. salt

Step 1: Cream butter in a stand mixer and then add flour and salt, blend till smooth add egg white and blend a little bit more.

Step 2: Put mixture into an 8" tart pan and spread evenly.

Step 3: par bake at 400˚ for 10 min. remove and let cool before adding filling.

what you need:
1/2 C. Butter
1/2 C Raw Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 C. Finely ground Almonds
2 T. Amaretto
1 tsp. Almond Extract
1 T. AP Flour (or coconut, rice flour for GF)

Step 1: In a stand mixer cream butter and sugar until fluffy, slowly add beaten egg, ground almonds, amaretto, almond extract and flour, mix till smooth. 

::Assembling your Tart::

Step 0: Pre-heat oven to 350˚

Step 1: Dump mixture into cooled tart shell and spread evenly.

Step 2: Remove your pears from the poaching juice and slice thinly cored end laying flat on your cutting board. Gently press your knife on top of the sliced pears allowing them to fan out, gently scoop them up with a wide blade and set them on top of the frangipane, continue this till the circumference of the tart is covered with the fanned pears. 

Step 3: Add a few Pomegranate Arils in the center of the tart.

Step 4: Place tart in oven and bake for 45min or until the frangipane has puffed up and the crust is a golden brown, remove from oven and let cool.

::Serving your Tart::
Caramel: with the remaining poaching juice reduce about 3/4 C. on the stove and add about 1-2 T of Raw sugar, reduce till it becomes a Caramel.

POM whipped cream: whisk (or with your device of choice) whipping cream with 1 tsp. Almond extract and 1 T. POM Wonderful. 

Cut tart and serve with whipped cream and drizzle with your friends be amazed!

poached pears and frangipane recipe from:

POM Braised Lamb Shanks over Israeli Couscous

I don't think there is any more of a perfect meal out there than braised lamb shanks, especially if they are done me I have had them stone cold and not so tender...these were not those. I braised the shanks for about 7 hours, so defiantly give yourself is totally worth it, no knife required in the end!

I made this for 8, cut in half if making between 2 or 4 shanks.

What you need:
Lamb Shanks 
16 oz. POM Wonderful Juice
1/2 C. Red Wine
5 cloves garlic
3 carrots
3 celery sticks
1 Red Pepper
1 onion
1/2 C. Pomegranate Arils
3 bay leafs 
2 tsp ground cumin
2-3 C. Hot Veggie or Chicken Broth 
small can of tomato paste

Step 1: Clean and Pat dry Lamb Shanks, cover in S&P.

Step 2: Heat Dutch oven up with and right before you put in shanks add 1 T. EVOO, add shanks and brown on all ends, this took me about 30-45min to do all 8 completely.

Step 3: While browning shanks, give your vegetables a rough chop and throw into food processor, it's done when it looks like baby food.

Step 4: Once Shanks are Browned remove and set aside, wipe out dutch oven, add a bit of EVOO and add vegetable puree, cook it till all of the liquid is gone and the mixture starts to brown, this can take awhile so chillax.

Step 5: Once it's browned add tomato paste and allow that to brown as well, at this point add your seasonings. 

Step 6: Once the tomato mixture has reached a dark color, start to add liquid in small amounts, first the wine and then the POM Wonderful, allowing it to boil and reduce a bit.

Step 7: Put Shanks Back into Dutch Oven and add enough stock to cover the Shanks, some sprigs of fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme) shuffle them around and put in oven with lid on.

Step 8: Turn Shanks every 45min. to ensure the braise evenly, they are done once the meat is fork tender and looks like something Fred Flinstone would eat; all the meat on on one side of the bone. I braised my for 7 hours at a low heat 275˚, but you can do it quicker at 375˚. You will also notice the sauce reduce into a gravy consistency. 

When cooking is almost done pull them out and skim off fat that has risen from the top, I managed to get about 1 cup off.

Israeli Couscous
What you need:

Israeli Couscous
Water (1:1.5 to couscous)
1 Lemon Sliced
Dates Chopped
Mint Chopped
1/2-1/2 C. Pomegranate arils

Step 1: Boil water and add lemon slices, S&P and 1 T EVOO.

Step 2: Once boiling add in couscous and remove from heat, let it sit for 10min and absorb.

Step 3: Fluff with fork and add in dates, mint and arils, drizzle with EVOO, add S&P and cumin taste.

Top your Lamb Shank:
Mix chopped mint, lemon zest, and pomegranate arils, place on top of shanks, the heat will combust the oils from the lemon and mint to add to the aroma of your meal!

drizzle with braising liquid and top with mint, lemon mixture.

plate and enjoy this hearty, rustic meal!

POM-mond Feta Salad

No Dinner is complete without a Salad, however I am really into the K.I.S.S (keep it simple stupid) style of Salads; I hate it when I find the kitchen sink in a leaf of lettuce. This salad is simple but delicious, the creaminess of the sheep's feta and the nice textual elements from the pom arils and almonds really work well together. I made this salad for 8, please use your discretion for the amount and measurements you want.

What you need:
Field Greens
Toasted and chopped Almonds
Pomagranate Arils
Valbreso or any Sheep's Milk Feta 
POM Wonderful Juice
Walnut Oil
squeeze of brown mustard
dash of Apple cider vinegar

Step 0: Toast and chop raw almonds, set aside.

Step 1: Rinse and place greens in a large mixing bowl.

Step 2: Add Almonds, Feta and Arils to greens. Sprinkle with pepper.

Step 3: make vinaigrette by adding 1/4-1/2 C. POM Juice, cider vinegar, and mustard into a bowl, then whisk in EVOO and Walnut Oil (equal parts about 1-2 T ea.). Finish with S&P and add to salad.

Step 4: Give the Salad a toss and serve on plates.


POM Hummus

Now you must think I am out of my mind adding POM Juice to my hummus, well I might be, however my taste buds are totally on straight, and this hummus ruled!

What you need:
2 Cans Chickpeas or 2 Cups cooked
3oz of POM Wonderful juice mixed with 3oz of chickpea water (from cooking or can)
1/4 C. Tahini
3 gloves garlic, chopped
1 Lemon of juice
1 Lemon Zest
1 T Cumin seeds toasted, then ground
1 tsp cayanne
1 tsp paprika
S&P to taste

Step 0: Prep Cumin seeds by toasting them till they start to smell nutty, let them cool on a paper towel and then grind them using your favorite device.

Step 1: in a food processor add chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice/zest, garlic and pulse, slowly add POM/water mixture till it becomes a puree. 

Step 2: add in spices and pulse, then slowly add in EVOO about 1/4 C. should do until it gets to a consistence and taste that you like.

please excuse the lack of photos, I was in cooking hell this day, however you can see on the top shelf, smooched between the parsley and the jar of pom arils, the hummus...I think it tastes better the next day.
Step 3: Store in the fridge, and take out when ready to serve, when serving drizzle with EVOO or your favorite flavored Olive Oil (i used lemon) and garnish with pomegranate Arils and Parsley leaves.

served with warm pita, red peppers and Pom Dolmas

POM Punch!

Some like to think that they are having a party, however it can't truly be a party without Punch! I created this punch for my POM Wonderful dinner party and it blew my apron right off, consisting of lemon, ginger and POM wonderful how could you go wrong?

What you need:
A Big Ol' Decorative Punch Bowl
3 Lemons
2 Giant Cloves of Raw Ginger
2 16oz. POM Wonderful Juice
I used original and cranberry
40oz. Soda/Sparkling Water
1 Orange Sliced
1 Pomegranate worth of Arils 
Mint leaves for garnish

Optional: If your friends are booze hounds like mine, let them spike their own cups with Jameson, Makers Mark or Hendricks Gin- or whatever Spirit they fancy....

Step 0: The night before your gala make some ice cubes using the POM Wonderful Juice.

Step 1: Juice ginger and lemons, you might want to wear some protective gear while doing this, the ginger can get pretty strong. 
the lemon ginger remains
Step 2: In that big Ol' Punch Bowl you borrowed from your great-aunts china cabinet combine POM Juice, 1/4 to 1/2 C. ginger lemon juice (watch out it's a very powerful concentrate) and soda water, add more of either to get it where you like it. 

Step 3: Add Orange Slices, Pomegranate Arils, POM ice and gently torn Mint 
(tearing the mint emits the mint oil into the punch)

Voila! you just classed up your what might have been a boring party in three steps!!!!

November 23, 2010

Blini with Creamed Goat Cheese and Mascarpone Spread with Pomegranate Caviar

Blini are essentially small buckwheat pancakes from Russia, commonly they are topped with real caviar and sour cream; I am not to into common, more jazz hands and pizzaz!

I had made these show stomping appetizer for my Pom Wonderful dinner party last week, when racking my brain over what I should serve I realized I didn't want the same old bread and dip type of stuff; I wanted to create something that made the pomegranates shine and hold their own. The combination of the pomegranate caviar, creamy cheese, and the soft pancake really lent its self to a bright and textually pleasing bite, with a fun pop of pomegranate seeds to finish it off. 

Complex, but not uptight. Like me. Wait....

What you need:
1 C. Buckwheat flour
14 oz. Sour Cream
.7 oz fresh yeast (I used dried yeast)
1 tsp Sugar
3/4 C. Milk
1 tsp Salt
2 T melted Butter
1 egg yolk
1 egg white

Step 0: prep your yeast if you are using dry.

Step 1: Heat Sour Cream till it is warm, then add Sugar and yeast.

Step 2: In a mixing bowl (with a lid if you have one) add Buckwheat flour and sour cream contents (remember always wet to dry never reverse). Mix.
kinda messy, oops!
Step 3: Leave on the counter covered for about 2 hours or do like I did and put it in the fridge over night. Helps brake up a full day cooking mania!

this is what it looks like right after you mix.
Step 3.5: Take the dough out from the fridge and let it get back to room temp.

this is the scary post fridge version. I like to call it "when yeast attacks"!
Step 4: Heat Milk, Butter and salt in a pan, add to the dough and mix. Mix egg yolk and add that into the dough. 

Step 5: Whisk egg white into peaks, fold into dough. Your batter may look slightly runny, don't worry.

Step 6: Heat non-stick griddle or if using a pan add a bit of butter. Make silver dollar sized pancakes, flip when batter stops making bubbles. Remove and let cool.

Creamed Goat Cheese and Mascarpone Spread:

Step 1: In a mixer add goat cheese, mascarpone, and a dollop of sour cream (if you have any left over from the blinis) blend till smooth. 

Step 2: Put cream in a piping bag (or zip lock bag with corner cut off) and pipe your beautiful pancakes, make sure the pancakes aren't too hot or they will melt the cheese.

Pomegranate Caviar

Step 1: Remove fresh ariels from a fresh Pomegranate, place 3-4 on top of cheese mixture.

Step 2: Serve, Eat and be Admired!

The blini recipe was borrowed from

Pomegranate Dolmas!

What's this? Vegetarian Dolmas that aren't boring and lacking in texture?! No way! But it is true...while working on my Pom Wonderful Dinner party I was trying to come up with a way to incorporate pomegranates in a meaningful historical context, most of my meal has a very Middle Eastern/Mediterranean feel, but my California vibe... 
translation: pomegranate dolmas....

what you need:
1 C. Long Grain Brown Rice (cooked) 
1 Lemon Zested
2 Lemons Juiced
1 shallot finely chopped
1/2 C. Fresh Mint chopped
1/2 C. Pomegranate Ariels
2 Green Onions chopped
S&P to taste
Cumin (a dash)
Paprika (a dash)
Tea Kettle full of hot water
30-40 Grape Leaves (in a jar, don't let Whole Foods tell you they don't have them, because they do, next to the pickles!)

Step 0: un-jar and un-wind grape leaves, place in a shallow dish and pour hot water over, cover and start working on the filling.

Step 1: In a large pan heat 2 T. EVOO, saute shallots till they are soft. Remove from heat and add cooked rice, lemon zest, 1 lemons worth of juice, mint, green onions, Pomegranate Seeds, cumin, paprika, and S&P to taste. Mix till all of the rice is coated with Olive Oil.

Step 2: Drain and rinse leaves. Place in a bowl and clear out the shallow dish, you will be placing the dolmas in it.

Step 3: The Making 1 leaf or enough broken pieces that equal one leaf in front of you, veins up and stem towards you. place about 1/2-1 T. worth of filling in the center.

Step 4: The Fold: fold both side ends in then roll up from the bottom. Place them in the dish stem side down. Make sure you crowed the dolmas, they hate having room. Fortunately for me my boyfriend is a dolma rolling wizard, he graced me with his skills and worked on them while I took a much needed chill pill.
excuse the messy kitchen, I was marathon cooking.
Step 5: Once they are all done, cover with more lemon juice and a drizzle of EVOO, followed by more boiling water (just to cover). Cover with foil and place in a 250˚ oven for about an hour. You want them to simmer and get soft. Once they cool transfer them to a smaller dish, drizzle with more lemon and EVOO and place in the fridge. 

the ugly ones are most likely mine.