Cauliflower–Macadamia Nut Salad
This wonderful salad is truly unique. Each ingredient is special on its own, and when you put them together you get a real treat for the eyes and palate.
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 small red onion, cut into thin strips
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
- 1 handful pistachio nuts, roasted and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salad: Break up cauliflower into small florets and put in a bowl. Add onion, dried cranberries, macadamia nuts, and pistachio nuts. Toss lightly.
Dressing: Mix ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over salad, mix, and serve.
Makes approximately 2 cups ganache
Ganache is a fundamental ingredient in many petits fours, miniatures, and desserts. It can be used as a liquid orsolid. When preparing ganache it will first be liquid, and after cooling at room temperature (not in the fridge!) it will solidify.
Liquid ganache is used to fill silicone molds to form components of petits fours. Solid ganache is used for decorating desserts and as a glue to connect various parts.
My professional secret for making perfect ganache is to add margarine to chocolate in a 1 to 10 ratio. The margarine makes the ganache glossier as well as easier to work with.
- 101/2 ounces pareve bittersweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons margarine
- 1 8-ounce container Rich’s RichWhip
- 3 tablespoons good-quality liqueur
Makes 20 shells
- 1 recipe ganache
- 2 tablespoons rolled fondant (available at specialty baking stores)
Basic ganache: Melt chocolate and margarine in microwave. Add RichWhip and beat with a handheld whisk until a smooth, shiny cream forms. Add liqueur.
If ganache hardens while you’re working with it, return it to microwave to remelt it.
Ganache seashells: Use Pavoni-brand molds, model xp006. Fill molds while ganache is still liquid. Freeze for 1 hour and release from molds. Shape fondant into pearl-sized balls. Connect the back edges of two seashells with a drop of ganache and place a fondant pearl inside the opening of the double shell.
Tip: If you want an especially firm ganache that will hold up for a few hours out of the fridge, increase the chocolate in the recipe by 20%.
Chicken, Turkey Roll, and Pepper Tiers
This beautiful dish has a piquant tang that pairs well with the moist, delicious chicken.
- 12 boneless chicken thighs or chicken breasts
- 8 slices turkey roll
- 4 small red peppers
- 4 small yellow peppers
- olive oil
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
- 4 tablespoons dry white wine
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons chili sauce
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon paprika
Chicken: Cut chicken pieces in half lengthwise. Mix marinade ingredients and marinate chicken for a few hours. Remove pieces of chicken from marinade, shake off excess liquid, and sear in grill pan for about 6 minutes on each side. If you are using breast meat, 4 minutes on each side should be enough.
Peppers: Cut peppers in half and place on a baking tray with the outsides facing up. Drizzle with olive oil and roast for about 20 minutes in a 400°F oven,
until peppers are soft and burnt splotches appear. Let cool for 10 minutes and remove thin outer peel. Place a slice of chicken on a serving plate and rest a
roasted pepper half on top. Top with a piece of turkey roll, a piece of chicken, a different color pepper, and finally a second piece of chicken. Insert a skewer through all the layers and serve.
Tip: For added taste and color, put fresh spinach or basil leaves between the layers.
Makes approximately 15 focaccias, depending on pan size
In this recipe I managed to take focaccia, which is normally roundish and asymmetrical, and turn it into a perfect square. The new shape, together with a rich Mediterranean topping, makes this dish unbeatable.
- 3½ - 4 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1½ – 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bunch rosemary leaves
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 zucchini or 1 small eggplant, diced
- 1 handful cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 handful olives
Dough: Put yeast in a mixer bowl. Add sugar and 1/2 cup of the water. Let yeast stand for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and combine until a soft dough forms. Let rise in a warm place for about an hour.
Topping: Heat olive oil and rosemary in a frying pan. Add onion and saute on a high flame for about 3 minutes. Add zucchini or eggplant, tomatoes, and garlic, and saute for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Discard rosemary and add olives.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Press the dough into any symmetrical silicone mold you choose. If you don’t have silicone molds, you can make traditionally shaped focaccias. (Divide dough into about 15 balls (for mini-focaccias, divide into 20–25 balls). Shape each ball into a flat oval and pierce with a fork.)
Top dough with a generous amount of topping and bake for about 20 minutes.
Tip: You can substitute whole wheat flour for white flour, but you may need to add 1/4 cup water.
Tip: For an even richer taste, sprinkle focaccias with cubes of feta cheese 5 minutes before they are finished baking.
Sweet and Sour Avocado Salad
Avocado is one of my favorite fruits. Its neutral taste goes well with a variety of unusual flavors. In this salad I created a sweet and sour combination. It’s quick and easy to prepare-just make sure you have all the ingredients on hand.
Serves approximately 6
- 2 firm, ripe avocados
- 5 dates
- 1 red or orange pepper
- 1/4 red onion, diced
- 2 scallions, cut into thin strips
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup salted roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1 tablespoon date syrup or honey
Peel avocado and cut into small chunks. Pit dates and cut into cubes. Dice the peppers and red onion, and cut scallions into thin strips. Transfer fruit and vegetables to a deep bowl. Add the dried cranberries and almonds. In a small bowl, mix the dressing, pour over the salad, and toss.
Tip: For an original presentation, purchase decorative serving spoons at a paper goods store and serve individual portions of salad in them.