Friday, May 29, 2009

Ruby Rhubarb.... Sexy Thing

This is my Divalicious version of the stew

Persian Rhubarb Stew

INGREDIENTS 1 1/2 lb Stew meat 1 lb Rhubarb; cut into 1″ pieces (use fresh if possible) 1 c Chopped parsley (Italian flat leaf) 2 tb Dried mint 1 tb (heaping) Tomato paste; (1 to 2) 1 yellow onion,chopped 1/4 ts Turmeric; (1/4 to 1/2) 1 pn Saffron (crushed with back of spoon in a cup)dissolved in hot water 3 tb Lemon juice 1/2 ts each Garlic and onion powder Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS Brown meat and onions. Add tomato paste and stir into the meat, add turmeric, garlic and onion powder,salt and pepper.Stir to incorporate to meat. Add 3 cups water and cook one hour. Meanwhile, in a seperate pan, add some oil and saute parsley and mint until fragrant but not brown. Add to stew with dissolved saffron broth. Cook another hour. Add lemon juice and rhubarb. Cook until rhubarb is tender but not falling apart.

Cooking times are approximate. Always taste your food to adjust seasoning. Meat should be almost falling apart, but rhubarb shouldn’t. There should be about 1-1/2 cups liquid in stew at end of cooking time. Serve over hot Basmati rice. Enjoy!

Monday, May 11, 2009

With the Excitement...

I got so excited with my previous post that I forgot to finish it.... and post the recipe. I like this recipe because it's different and you can make it the day before for less entertaining stress. 

The Perfect Pick Me Up: Strawberry Tiramisu 

1 1/2 cups strawberry preserves, my choice is Bonne Maman
1/2 cup plus 5 tablespoons Grand Manier or Cointreau, divided, plus a swig for you(optional)
1/2 cup orange juice
1 pound Mascarpone cheese, best at room temp
1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream
1/2 cup confectioners sugar, or regular granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, Nielsen Massey is my choice
1 1/2 to 2 pounds fresh plump strawberries, divided
56-60 crisp ladyfingers

Whisk preserves, 1/2 cup Grand Manier, and orange juice in a bowl, set aside. Place Mascarpone and 2 tablespoons Grand Manier in a large bowl and fold just to blend, set aside. With an electric mixer or by hand if you missed your workout,beat the cream, sugar, vanilla, and remaining Grand Manier in a separate large bowl until you have soft peaks. Now, stir some of the whipped cream mixture into the Mascarpone mixture to lighten up the cheese. Once it is mixed together and lighter, you can now FOLD in the remaining whipped cream. Set aside and refrigerate if not using right away.

Hull the berries and slice in half, leaving a hand full whole for decor. Spread 1/2 the preserve mixture over the bottom of a 3 -quart oblong dish or in seperate serving pieces or 13x9x2 baking dish. Add enough ladyfingers over the preserve to cover the bottom of the dish. Now, spoon more preserves on top of the ladyfingers, then spread 2 1/2 cups of the Mascarpone mixture over that. Arrange some of the berries over Mascarpone and repeat the process until you finish with the Mascarpone as your last addition. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 6 hours or overnight. 
Slice remaining berries and arrange over the tiramisu and serve... DONE

It will be Love at First Bite,
                                                     Maude,   a.k.a    The Diva

Pick Me Up...

  The Spring and Summer's bounty of fresh vegetables and fruit is rolling in. I find it so exciting to be able to have these jewels available at my fingertips. They inspire me to cook off the hook and let their colors, shapes and flavors take center stage. It is one of my favorite times. I love to explore the outdoor markets, meet local farmers and who knows, maybe get picked up. After all, you never know where you'll meet someone. And thats exactly what happened to me . I was picked up! This is how it happened; 
 I was strolling along the many stands in awe of the beauty of the bounty, minding my own business and not giving much thought to anything. And then , all of a sudden, we made eye contact. I stopped in my tracks and stood there for just a moment. I knew it was all over. I knew a that moment that we had to be together.There was an unquestionable attraction. My blood rushed and my heart beat faster. I felt excited. As if under a spell, I was being lured by the aroma, the color, the shape.  It tickled my nose, opened my eyes and ignited all sorts of thoughts into my head. Then we came face to face. I was fixated. There IT was, basket after basket overflowing with red, juicy, ripe strawberries. I asked the farmer,"may I"?. "But of course", he answered as he gestured with his hand to be his guest. I took just a moment to choose the One. Then, as I brought the One towards my lips, it only took a little gentle pressure for the perfectly sweet, red juices to squirt in my mouth. I knew that this was heaven on earth and that there was no denying it.... it had to be. The farmer knew exactly was going on. He'd witness this kind of love at first bite before. No need for words and the rest as they say, is history.

Friday, May 1, 2009

And the award goes to...

   I have to come out and say it up front. I am a self-proclaimed passionate foodie and perhaps what some might think is a food snob. Ok, it’s out of the bag. So, when I have the pleasure to eat great food, I don’t tend to forget it. I have what you might call, food memory. You know that feeling you get when you close your eyes and you remember the smell of the intoxicating aromas of a certain dish or when you start to salivate at the memory of the perfectly balanced bite of something divine. Yes, I think your getting the picture. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it leaves its stamp.

  I’ve had the tremendous pleasure of having this experience when Chef Zach Bell of CafĂ© Boulud cooked an incredible dinner for a group of us. Talented, innovating, creative, knowing of his craft, respectful, and passionate don’t even begin to describe the man. So when I found out that Chef Zach was nominated for a James Beard award, the most prestigious award in the culinary world, I was elitated with joy. I recently had the honor to sit down with Chef Zach.


ME: What does a James Beard Award mean to you, and, when you win, what are you most grateful for?

ZB: It’s a great honor to be recognized for the work we’ve done here. I’m most grateful for the energy, confidence, motivation and love from my wife, Jennifer.


ME: What does it take to be a great chef?

ZB: As referenced from Sun Tzu’z The Art of War - "Leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage and sternness."

ME: What is your kitchen mantra?

ZB: An excerpt from my Laws of the Kitchen :

"You must love to do this for a living-no question. You must love to stay late or come early if it is necessary to get the job done. You must love to practice only the best, most perfect techniques in order to produce a product you are proud of. Your end product is a direct reflection of how much love and respect you have for yourself and your work."

ME: How do you describe your cuisine?

ZB: I merely try my best to execute Cuisine du Marche to the best of my ability– (French – American Cuisine that is Market Driven.)

ME: Your favorites tools?

ZB: Victorinox 3” serrated paring knives and 10” serrated utility knife – before you get to make the pretty things – you have to bust ass on the rough prep – these guys are monsters.

ME: Secret ingredient?

ZB: Plum seed oil

ME: If you were an ingredient, what would you be?

ZB: Good French Dijon mustard – smooth and spicy all at once

ME: Who are your kitchen heroes?

ZB: Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Paul Bocuse

ME: And chefs you would like to cook with?

ZB: Anne Sophie Pic, Jean Francois Piege, Guy Martin…the list is endless as there is something great to be learned from everyone.

ME: What do you see as the upcoming culinary trends?

ZB: A serious return to bistro and country cooking, this time it is not a fad or trend – the game now is who can cook the best and keep it the most affordable at the same time!

ME: What inspires you ?

ZB: Vegetables and the their constantly changing seasons…

ME: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

ZB: Doing my thing here in Palm Beach….I love it here.

ME: If you weren’t a chef what would you be doing?

ZB: Never even really had a chance to think about it… cooking didn’t ask when it chose me

ME: What do you think about the south Florida culinary scene?

ZB: I think it has been on a strong roll the last couple years as the general public is demanding higher quality artisanal products.This new thinking is one of the major benefits this industry has received from the Food Network and like programming.

ME: What do you eat when at home?

ZB: Very simple things grilled pork chops, roasted broccoli, simple pastas…


My sincere thanks and best wishes to Chef Zach …. Rock it at the Beard awards!

And the heat goes on.....     Maude   a.k.a THE DIVA