Chocolate-Habanero Cake with Chocolate-Avocado Buttercream

web-article-sunset-park-shopping-eric-werner-mya-henry-hartwood-restaurant-tulum-mexico-chocolate-habanero-cake-avocado-buttercream-chile-spicy-dessert-recipe

Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus cooling time
Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, plus cooling time

INGREDIENTS

For the Cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon finely ground coffee

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon ancho chile powder

½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder

Pinch habanero powder

1¼ cups whole milk

½ cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Buttercream:

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and softened

1 ripe avocado—halved, pitted and mashed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch kosher salt

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms and sides with parchment paper and grease the parchment. Set aside.

2. Make the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, coffee, cinnamon, allspice, ancho powder, chipotle powder and habanero powder.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the milk, oil, eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Fold in the flour mixture, mixing until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick or tester inserted into the center of a layer comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Set on a wire rack until slightly cooled, about 10 minutes, then turn them onto the wire rack. Remove the parchment and let the cake layers cool completely.

4. While the cake is baking, make the buttercream: Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water and set it over medium-low heat. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl and set it on top of the double boiler. Melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, and set aside to let cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the avocado, vanilla and salt. Reduce the mixer’s speed to low and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, beating until fully combined. Add the cooled chocolate, mixing until fully incorporated.

6. Put one cake layer on a serving plate and frost the top. Stack the second layer and frost the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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zuni cafe’s roasted chicken + bread salad

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http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/12/zuni-cafe-roast-chicken-bread-salad/

Such a brilliantly simple recipe. I love crispy chicken skins.

One interesting fact that I should do more diligence on, but whatever: rubbing butter under the skins may make your chicken skin more soggy, because butter contains water. Duck fat, on the other hand, does not. Don’t bother rinsing your chicken; it just spreads bacteria around (and doesn’t wash it off), and adds the kind of gross step of drying the chicken before you roast.

Serves 2 to 4

One small chicken, 2 3/4 to 3 1/2-pounds
4 tender sprigs fresh thyme, marjoram, rosemary or sage, about 1/2 inch long
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 to 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
A little water

Season the chicken: [1 to 3 days before serving; give a 3 1/4 to 3 1/2-pound chicken at least 2 days]

Remove and discard the lump of fat inside the chicken. Rinse the chicken and pat very dry inside and out. Be thorough — a wet chicken will spend too much time steaming before it begins to turn golden brown.

Approaching from the edge of the cavity, slide a finger under the skin of each of the breasts, making 2 little pockets. Now use the tip of your finger to gently loosen a pocket of skin on the outside of the thickest section of each thigh. Using your finger, shove an herb sprig into each of the 4 pockets.

Season the chicken liberally all over with salt and pepper. Season the thick sections a little more heavily than the skinny ankles and wings. Sprinkle a little of the salt just inside the cavity, on the backbone, but don’t otherwise worry about seasoning the inside. Twist and tuck the wing tips behind the shoulders. Cover loosely and refrigerate.

Prepare your oven and pan: [Day of, total time is 45 minutes to 1 hour]

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Choose a shallow flameproof roasting pan or dish barely larger than the chicken, or use a 10-inch skillet with an all-metal handle (we used a 12-inch cast iron frying pan for a 3 1/2 pound chicken). Preheat the pan over medium heat. Wipe the chicken dry and set it breast side up in the pan. It should sizzle.

Roast the chicken: Place the chicken in the pan in the center of the oven and listen and watch for it to start browning within 20 minutes. If it doesn’t, raise the temperature progressively until it does. The skin should blister, but if the chicken begins to char, or the fat is smoking, reduce temperature by 25 degrees. After about 30 minutes, turn the bird over — drying the bird and preheating the pan should keep the skin from sticking. Roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, depending on size, then flip back over to recrisp the breast skin, another 5 to 10 minutes.

Rest the chicken: Remove the chicken from the oven and turn off the heat. Lift the chicken from the roasting pan and set on a plate. Carefully pour the clear fat from the roasting pan, leaving the lean drippings behind. Add about a tablespoon of water to the hot pan and swirl it.

Slash the stretched skin between the thighs and breasts of the chicken, then tilt the bird and plate over the roasting pan to drain the juice into the drippings. You can let it rest while you finish your side dishes (or Bread Salad, below). The meat will become more tender and uniformly succulent as it cools.

Serve the chicken: Set a platter in the oven to warm for a minute or two.

Tilt the roasting pan and skim the last of the fat. Place over medium-low heat, add any juice that has collected under the chicken, and bring to a simmer. Stir and scrape to soften any hard golden drippings. Taste — the juices will be extremely flavorful.

Cut the chicken into pieces, spread on the warm platter (on top of the Bread Salad, if using).

Capitalize on leftovers: Strain and save the drippings you don’t use, they are delicious tossed with spätzle or egg noodles, or stirred into beans or risotto. You can also use them, plus leftover scraps of roast chicken, for a chicken salad.

Zuni Cafe Bread Salad
Adapted from the Zuni Cafe, San Francisco

I can’t describe it any better than they do: “Sort of a scrappy extramural stuffing, it is a warm mix of crispy, tender, and chewy chunks of bread, a little slivered garlic and scallion, a scatter of currants and pine nuts, and a handful of greens, all moistened with vinaigrette and chicken drippings.”

As I noted above, I’ve trimmed down the steps for this recipe significantly so it doesn’t resemble the original recipe a whole lot. But it remains equally delicious.

Generous 8 ounces slightly stale open-crumbed, chewy, peasant-style bread (not sourdough)
6 to 8 tablespoons mild-tasting olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon dried currants plumped in 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon warm water for ten minutes or so
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 to 3 garlic cloves, slivered
1/4 cup slivered scallions (about 4 scallions), including a little of the green part
2 tablespoons lightly salted chicken stock or lightly salted water
A few handfuls of arugula, frisée, or red mustard greens, carefully washed and dried

Preheat the broiler. Carve off all of the bottom and most of the top and side crusts from your bread (you can reserve these to use as croutons for soup or another salad). Tear bread into irregular 2- to 3-inch chunks, wads, bite-sized bits and fat crumbs. You should get about 4 cups.

Toss them with just a tablespoon or two of olive oil, lightly coating them, and broil them very briefly, just to lightly color the edges. If you’d like to toast the pine nuts (recommended) you can put them on your broiler tray as well, but watch them very carefully — they cook quickly!

Combine about 1/4 cup of the olive oil with the Champagne or white wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Toss about 1/4 cup of this tart vinaigrette with the torn bread in a wide salad bowl; the bread will be unevenly dressed. Taste one of the more saturated pieces. If it is bland, add a little salt and pepper and toss again.

Heat a spoonful of the olive oil in a small skillet, add the garlic and scallions, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until softened. Don’t let them color. Scrape into the bread and fold to combine. Drain the plumped currants and fold them in, along with the pine nuts, if they were not already mixed with the bread scraps from the broiling step. Dribble the chicken stock or lightly salted water over the salad and fold again.

Taste a few pieces of bread — a fairly saturated one and a dryish one. If it is bland, add salt, pepper, and/or a few drops of vinegar, then toss well.

If you’re going to serve the salad under the roast chicken (recipe above), you can pile the bread salad on the serving dish you want to use and tent it with foil. If you want to serve it separately, do the same, but in a 1-quart shallow baking dish. Hang onto the bowl you mixed it in — you’ll use it again.

Place the salad in the oven after you flip the chicken the final time, for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Tip the bread salad back into the salad bowl. It will be steamy-hot, a mixture of soft, moist wads, crispy-on-the-outside-but-moist-in-the-middle-wads, and a few downright crispy ones. Drizzle and toss with a spoonful of the pan juices. Add the greens, a drizzle of vinaigrette, and fold well. Taste again.

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

bourbon pumpkin cheesecake

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake
Adapted from Gourmet, November 2003

Serves 12 to 14

For crust
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from five 4 3/4- by 2 1/4-inch crackers)
1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 ounce), finely chopped
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For filling
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

For topping
2 cups sour cream (20 ounces)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)

Garnish: pecan halves

Make crust: Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (to create flat bottom, which will make it easier to remove cake from pan), then lock on side and butter pan.

Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust, 1 hour.

Make filling and bake cheesecake: Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined.

Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.

Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)

Make topping: Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 additional minutes.

Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.

Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.

Do ahead: Baked cheesecake can be chilled, covered, up to 2 days.

Karen’s note: I modified this cheesecake recipe (2/3 portions and modified cooking time for minis) and then loosely followed this for the topping:

Topping
1/2 cup (95 grams) packed light or dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons (45 ml) heavy cream and a splash of bourbon
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, or a little less of a coarse salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

3/4 cup (85 grams) pecans (I coarsely chopped 1/2 cup, left the last 1/4 cup in halves)

In a small/medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the brown sugar, butter, cream and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until thick and bubbly, 8 to 9 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and pecans.

Kimchi Meatloaf

kimchi meatloaf melt

5.0 from 3 reviews
Kimchi meatloaf
Serves: about 6
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 lbs. ground meat (I use a mix of beef and pork)
  • 1 cup finely chopped kimchi
  • 6 Tbs. milk
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. grated ginger
  • ½ of a yellow onion, grated on a box grater
  • 1½ cups panko breadcrumbs (gf breadcrumbs work well, if you’re gf)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 Tbs. corn or tapioca starch (this is additional binder, but it might work without it, I haven’t tried yet)
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • For the glaze:
  • 2 Tbs. gochujang or sriracha or another Asian chili paste
  • 2 Tbs. ketchup
  • 2 Tbs. maple syrup (or brown sugar)
  • 1 Tbs. mustard
  • 1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat your oven to 450F. In a large mixing bowl, add the ground meat, kimchi, milk, garlic, ginger, grated onion, bread crumbs, egg, corn starch, soy sauce, salt, 2 tsp. sesame oil, and black pepper.
  2. Mix everything together really well – I recommend using your hands because you really can’t get it all adequately combined otherwise.
  3. Line a rimmed baking sheet or pan with parchment paper. Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape and place it on the pan. Mix all the glaze ingredients together and brush half of the glaze all over the meatloaf.
  4. Put the meatloaf in the oven and cook it at 450F for 10-15 minutes, to start giving it a crust. Then, turn the heat down to 400F and bake for about another 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes, take the meatloaf out and brush the remaining glaze over it. Return it to the oven and bake another 10-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 160F. Take it out of the oven and let it rest 10-15 minutes before slicing.
  6. I served our meatloaf with a sort of cabbage and mango slaw with rice vinegar dressing. I bet it would be good be sauteed bok choy and rice or even mashed potatoes as well. And, of course, it makes awesome sandwiches.

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Process

  1. Place cauliflower in a steamer basket in a large soup pot, season with salt and pepper, and steam until soft (about 10–12 minutes, test with a fork).
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of pasture butter in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Sauté onion, garlic, and herbs until onion is translucent.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Set aside.
  6. Place steamed cauliflower into a high-speed blender or food processor.
  7. Add the sautéed onion, garlic, and herbs, along with the second tablespoon of butter.
  8. Process until smooth.
  9. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary, or a sprinkling of fresh ground pepper.

Pumpkin Mushroom Stuffing

  • 6 cups cubed pumpkin bread
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped red onion
  • 3 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Directions:

Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet, and let dry overnight. Alternatively, heat in a 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) oven until dry, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 2 quart baking dish.
Put oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute celery and onions for about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms, and continue cooking for about 8 minutes, or until tender. Season with rosemary, tarragon, chives, parsley, salt, and pepper. Fold in bread cubes (walnuts and cranberries if desired), and add enough broth to moisten. Transfer to prepared dish, and cover with foil.
Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Remove cover, and bake for 10 minutes, or until top is crisp.

Amazingly Sweet Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

These don’t look like they are going to taste as amazing as they do, and I know it might be asking a lot to have the oven on for 2 hours on a hot summer day. But it’s on low and the end result will be worth it. Lean over the plate when you bite into the tomatoes, as the juice may squirt. You can eat these as a snack or a side dish, or put them through a food mill for an incredibly sweet sauce.

1 pound small plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

Coarse salt to taste

A tiny amount of sugar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Put the halved tomatoes in a bowl and toss with the olive oil. Oil a rack that will fit on top of a baking sheet. Place foil on the baking sheet and oil the foil, and place the rack on top. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on the rack. Sprinkle with coarse salt and a tiny amount of sugar. Place in the oven and roast for 2 hours. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 30 minutes. The tomatoes will look a little dry on the surfaces and the skin will be tough. But when you bite into the tomatoes you’ll experience a rush of incredibly sweet juice and pulp. If you want to use these for a sauce, put through the fine blade of a food mill.

Yield: Serves 4 as a snack, side dish or sauce.

Advance preparation: I keep these out at room temperature for a day, and refrigerate them for up to 3 days. The sauce freezes well.