Category Archives: recipe

Cazuela Recipe

Isabel Allende’s In the Midst of Winter begins with Lucia, a displaced academic from Chile, making her comforting Chilean stew – cazuela – while a snow storm closes the streets outside her basement apartment.  Read the review by clicking on the link – here.   I wondered if her stew resembles Julia Child’s famous beef bourguignon, and went searching for a recipe.  I found this one from Pilar Hernandez who notes:

“Chilean cazuela is a very flexible homemade stew- you can use lamb, chicken or pork in the recipe, but the classic version is made with beef. In each dish you can’t forget to put at least one small piece of meat, a potato, a slice of pumpkin and a portion of corn on the cob, if in season…”


  • 1 lb. beef brisket
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, cut into quarters
  • 1 bell pepper  cut into quarters with the seeds removed
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • One celery stalk
  • 2 ears of corn, cut into thirds
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
  • 6 small red potatoes, peeled
  • 4 handfuls of rice
  • 6 small pieces of pumpkin
  • 1 handful of green beans, julienned
  • 5-6 cups boiling water
  Cut the meat into six portions. Pre-heat the vegetable oil in a large pot. Braise the meat for three minutes on each side, and add the onion, seasonings, salt and pepper. Mix well and cook for five minutes.
Place the potatoes, carrots, celery and pumpkin in the pot. Completely cover the contents with boiling water-about five or six cups and cook for ten minutes. Next incorporate the rice and corn; let simmer for eight minutes. Finally, mix-in the green beans and cook for three more minutes. Sample the stew and adjust the seasoning as necessary.  Serve hot with one piece of meat, one potato, one piece of pumpkin and a portion of corn in each dish of stew.



An Alternative to Pie for Thanksgiving Dessert

Emma Wartzman for Bon Appetit magazine suggests cookies instead of pie for Thanksgiving dessert.

“When you’re fall-asleep-at-the-table full, what you really want at the end of a giant meal is the perfect chocolaty, nutty, buttery, crumbly, sweet bite.”

IMG_4175-1    Chocolate-Almond Praline Cookies

You can’t see the candied almonds in these cookies, but you’ll taste them.


  • 3/4 cup skin on almonds
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • flaky sea salt

Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350. Toast almonds on a rimmed baking sheet on upper rack, tossing halfway through, until slightly darkened in color and fragrant, 6-8 minutes. Let cool.

Gather almonds into a tight pile on a nonstick silicone baking mat or a rimmed baking sheet coated with nonstick spray.  Cook granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, undisturbed, until it begins to liquefy and turn golden brown around the edges.  Use a heatproof rubber spatula to incorporate melted sugar into unmelted sugar and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until all sugar is melted and caramel turns a medium amber color, 6-8 minutes. Carefully pour caramel over almonds and let cool.

Break almond mixture into large pieces and transfer to a food processor. Process, scraping down sides occasionally, until praline paste is very smooth and creamy, about 4 minutes.

Cook butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, swirling occasionally, until it foams, then browns, about 5 minutes. Let cool until just warm.

Mix flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl.  On medium high speed, beat brown butter, paste, and brown sugar in a large bowl until mixture is smooth. Reduce speed and gradually add dry ingredients.  Mix until combined. Using a wooden spoon, mix in chocolate. Scrape out dough onto parchment paper and roll into 1 3/4″ diameter log. Chill at least 2 hours.

Reheat oven to 350. Slice dough into generous 1/4″ slices with a serrated knife and place on 2 parchment lined baking sheets, spacing 1″ apart. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake until cookies are firm around the edges, 9-10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets.

Do Ahead:

You can make the praline paste up to one week ahead, storing airtight at room temperature.  Dough can be made 3 days ahead; wrap in plastic and chill in refrigerator, or freeze up to one month.




Aunt Isabelle’s Chocolate Tipsy Cake

In Alice Hoffman’s The Rules of Magic, Aunt Isabelle’s chocolate tipsy cake has been handed down for generations.  The tipsy comes from rum; the magic comes from the baking.  You might want to try it for breakfast, as the aunts did in the book.

th-1   Here’s the recipe:

Aunt Isabelle’s Chocolate Tipsy Cake

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate Rum Icing

  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons half and half
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum (plus more as needed)

Preheat the oven to 325.  Grease a large Bundt pan;dust with cocoa powder. Warm coffee, dark rum, butter, and cocoa powder over medium heat and stir gently until the butter is melted.  Remove from heat and add sugar, stirring until dissolved.  Set aside to cool.  Combine dry ingredients.  In another bowl combine eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.  When the chocolate mixture is cool, stir in egg mixture.  Add flour mixture a little at a time until well combined.

Bake 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack.

Prepare the chocolate rum icing by melting chocolate, then adding butter and rum; simmer 5 minutes.  Add milk or rum to thin the sauce.  Cool slightly.  Drizzle over cooled cake.

Review of The Rules of Magic



Watermelon Salad

watermelon-salad-with-feta-and-cucumber-5      A small restaurant no longer in business had a luncheon offering I’ve often thought of replicating.  When I saw this recipe in a local newspaper, I decided to try it.  As good as the dish I remembered, the taste has the sweetness of watermelon and the tartness of cheese, with the complement of cucumber and mint.

Watermelon Salad with Cucumber, Feta, and Mint

  • 3 1/2 cups chilled, seedless watermelon cubes (cut into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 medium English cucumber, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons crumbles feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze (found in the vinegar aisle of the grocery store)

Scatter watermelon on a medium platter.  Top with cucumber and mint.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Drizzle with glaze and serve immediately.

Chef Jacques Pépin adds kalamata olives – maybe next time I will too.


A Chocolate Legacy

3-thumb-480x626-1109  Albert Kumin has been described as the dean of American confectioners and a teacher of great pastry chefs – including superstar baker Nick Malgieri.  Kumin created desserts for the Four Seasons and Windows on the World in Manhattan as well as for Jimmy Carter’s White House.  After reading Albert Kumin’s obituary in the New York Times today, and noting he had not written a cookbook, I searched for his recipes.  He was 94 – proof that chocolate is good for you.

The New York Times reported when Kumin was asked to create a successor to the chocolate velvet cake, “he created something he called a chocolate pastry cake: layers of cocoa sponge moistened with orange-liqueur syrup, crisp chocolate pastry and whipped ganache, sprinkled all over with chocolate pastry crumbs.” I could not find the recipe but it is still on the menu at the Four Seasons.

Here a few recipes from his Jimmy Carter White House days:

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CAKE  (12 to 14 servings)

Sponge Cake: 3/4 pint (6 extra large) whole eggs, room temperature 1/4 pint (6 extra large) egg yolks, room temperature 9 ounces (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) sugar 6 ounces (1 1/4 cups plus 2 teaspoons) cake flour 2 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons) cocoa powder 1 ounce (2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons) cornstarch 1/8 teaspoon baking soda 1 ounce butter

Whip eggs, egg yolks and sugar until thick and light in color and soft peaks form. Combine dry ingredients and sift together. Melt butter to lukewarm, not hot. Fold dry ingredients into egg-sugar mixture. Then fold in butter. Spoon batter into two 10-inch greased and floured cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on racks. Then remove from pans and cool cakes completely on racks. Freeze one cake for later use.

Mousse Filing: 1 pint heavy cream 2 ounces (1/4 cup) orange-flavored liqueur 1 1/4 pounds melted semi-sweet chocolate

Whip the cream until stiff. Melt the chocolate at 100 degrees. (Use a candy thermometer). If it is too hot, the mixture will collapse; if it is too cold, there will be lumps. Fold whipped cream into melted chocolate, working quickly so the chocolate doesn’t lump. Fold in liquer.

Sugar Syrup: 4 ounces (1/2 cup) sugar 1 cup water 1/2 orange rind 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liquer

Boil sugar, water and orange rind until sugar is dissolved, to make simple syrup. Remove from heat; remove orang rind and when mixture is cool, stir in liquer. (There is enough syrup for more than two cakes. It keeps in the refrigerator.)

Cut cake into three thin layers. Brush the syrup on each layer with paint brush. Place one layer on plate; cover with mousse filling; top with seconc layer; spoon on more mousse filing; top with third layer. Cover sides and top with mousse. Place in the erfrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes to set. Will keep for one to two days in refrigerator.

PECAN DIAMONDS (About 6 dozen)

1 pound (3 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons) flour 11 ounces (1 cup plus 6 tablespoons) butter 6 ounces (3/4 cup) sugar Pinch baking powder 3 eggs

Cream butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs. Beat in flour to form cookie dough. Divide dough in half. Pat each half into bottom and one inch up sides of 11 by 7 by 1 1/2 inch baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes, until dough is light golden and it begins to firm up. Set aside.

Filling: 1/2 pound butter 6 ounces (3/4 cup) dark brown sugar 3 ounces (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar 6 ounces (3/4 cup) honey 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) heavy cream 1 pound pecan pieces

Melt the butter; stir in the sugars and honey. Bring to boil. Cook 2 1/2 minutes. Add the cream; return to boil and remove from heat. Fold in the pecan pieces. Spoon over cookie dough. Place pan on top of a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees about 24 to 28 minutes.Remove from oven and cool in pan. Cut into diamond between 3/4 and 1 inch long.

This is best if made a day or two ahead.