Saturday, December 02, 2017

Bittersweet Chocolate and Goat Cheese Truffles

Bittersweet Chocolate & Goat Cheese Truffles with Tart Lemon sauce
You’ve just eaten for hours. Many courses and many wines later, it’s time for dessert. Ugh!
Mercy! All you really want is  little something to shift palate gears. 
Who remembers the green foil wrapped Andes Mints,  ubiquitous at every Steak house host stand in the 70’s and 80’s.
They were that perfect palate shifter, coating your overwhelmed tongue with herbal chocolate notes. These truffles are perfect in that way. Just a bite or two of lingering chocolate-citrusy love to leave your palate refreshed and happy.
These little two bite wonders make a dynamic finish to a big meal and are a cinch to make.

Makes a dozen
6 oz. Best quality bittersweet chocolate 67-73%, chopped
6 oz. fresh unsalted goat cheese
2 tbls. confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. lemon extract or zest of one lemon

In a stainless bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring until it is smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and let the chocolate cool slightly. In a electric mixer bowl, whisk together the goat cheese, the confectioner's sugar, the vanilla and the lemon extract until the mixture is light and fluffy. Fold in the soft chocolate by hand until the mixture is combined well.
Chill the mixture covered with wax paper for 1 hour, or until it is firm.
Put the cinnamon on one plate and the cocoa powder on another.
Form heaping teaspoons of the mixture into balls .
Carefully dip on half of each ball in cocoa powder and then the other side in cinnamon.
Chill the truffles on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper for 30 minutes, or until they are firm. The truffles keep in an airtight container, chilled for 3 days.

 Lemon-Muscatel Sauce for Truffles
8 oz sauvignon blanc or other tart, unoaked white wine
juice of three lemons
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp Lemon zest

optional garnish
Lemon thyme or marjoram leaves
Orange or pomelo sections

In a non-reactive pot cook the wine, sugar and lemon until it is reduced by half. .
Add 1 tsp fresh lemon zest strips.

Drizzle each truffle with a few drops of lemon sauce. Sprinkle a few marjoram or lemon thyme leaves onto the sauce. Pow!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Greek Watermelon Salad by Ric Orlando

Greek Watermelon Salad

This is the very trendy, most delish salad on the block. Sometimes a dish takes off because it is that good.
This is easy, just assemble, dress and eat. Just make sure the onion are thin and the melon and tomatoes are a bit beefier cut. Texture is key here.

Arrange on a platter slices of
peeled cucumbers
sweet onion

Dress with red wine vinegar and olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Garnish with crumbled feta and Kalamata olives.

Finish with roughly chopped fresh herbs…mint for sure, maybe some dill or parsley.

Thai Melon Salad by Ric Orlando

Thai Melon Salad

Here is Summer Favorite of mine..

This is super refreshing, clean and surprising.
Bring it to a pot luck BBQ. Its great with smokey grilled foods or its also delish spooned on top of a bowl of steaming hot rice.
Yet another great way to use up any leftover melon.
 Use whatever melon you have for this.
Makes about a 6 cups.
Want it Vegan?use tamari instead of fish sauce....

This calls for three melons for color and texture, but of you only have one or two kinds, go for it
1 cup  watermelon – large dice, seeded
1 cup honeydew, large dice
1 cup cantelope, large dice
1 medium cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise,  and sliced thin
1  red onion, peeled quartered lengthwise,  sliced thin 
1 big  not so ripe tomato, quartered and sliced
I medium carrot, peeled, sliced lengthwise then sliced into very thin half moons.
1 small fresh chile like a serrano or half a jalapeno, thinly sliced*
 small bunch of mint, chopped
handful of basil, or Thai basil, roughly chopped
1 cup chopped peanuts (optional)
pinch  salt
pinch  pepper
Put in a large bowl.

1/4           cup  cider vinegar
1/4           cup  sugar
1/4 cup warm tap water
1/4           cup  fish sauce ( you can sub tamari sauce to make it vegan)

Whisk the warm water and sugar together to dissolve. Whisk in all other ingredients, and pur over the salad. Toss gently to combine and serve chilled.
*Note on using chile peppers in cold salads. Your first instinct may be to dice them upo very small, but here is the rub--then they will infiltrate EVERYTHING. If you slice them so they are obvious, your guest can either enjoy them as a spicy crunch ( he melon will cool you right down) or avoid them.

Late Summer Green Gazpacho By Ric Orlando

I made tyhis at the Coxsackie Farmer's Market Wednesday, August 23rd!
It was all eaten in a few short minutes.
This is as refreshing as can be, and yet another way to use up the leftover melon. It is also perfect for using slightly soft, over ripe melon.
Makes about 2 quarts
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
Juice of one orange
Juice of 3 limes
1 large honey dew
6 tomatillos cups tomatillos
3 medium cucumbers
4 sprigs cilantro
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic
1 green hot pepper of your choice, I like serranos

We are using a blender for this one.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. We want to lightly soften the tomatillos so  drop the peeled tomatillo in the water and cook for about two minutes then strain and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking.
Neatly dice nice about one cup of honeydew meat and reserve for the finished soup. Chunk up the rest, so seeds and skin obviously.
Do the same with the cucumber…peel and neatly dice one and peel and chunk up the other two, seeds and all.
Chop all but one spring of the cilantro, stems and all.
Mix all of the veggies except the stuff reserved for garnish in a bowl.
Mix the vinegar and juices.
Working in batches, puree all the veggies in the bowl, using the vibnfger juice mix to help the process.
When finished, state for salt, it needs a little.
Fold in the reserved honey dew, cucumber at end, garnishing with cilantro leaves

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tis the season for a SUMMER SEAFOOD BOIL by Ric Orlando

So this is a definitively American experience; note I didn’t say dish. This is a use your hands-stand around the table-drink what you want-paper napkin experience.
I’ve enjoyed many boils but the coolest experience I’ve has was in New Orleans at a divey blues bar called the Mapleleaf. I went with a few friends to see some blues on a Sunday night.
When our uber droped us off the backboard in the entranceway stated
“Sunday Supper and Blues, $10”. We dropped our $10ers and entered.
The bar was long and narrow and the music room was through an archway to the right. The music room was also long and narrow and plasted with posters and graffiti. The stage was to the right, in the front windows and the entire length of the room was set with 5 eight foot banquet tables end to end, unlinened. The aroma in the room was incredible. There were about 50 people lining those tables and as we approached so we couldn’t really see what was going on there. As we approached, people parted just enough to let us in.
The 5 tables totalling 40 feet were scattered steaming shrimp, sausages, corn, potatoes and other goodies.  We dove right in, holding our beers between our knees, eating more or less shoulder to shoulder.
Everyone was peeling, eating and dropping their shells into empty beer boxes on the floor that were deftly kicked along as the line proceeded on down the tables. There was a cook bringing out more boil. After he dumped a basket of steaming seafood boil on the table, he returned with a squeegee on a broomstick. He literally squeegeed what was remaining on the first table onto the second, and proceeded to fold up and walk off with the first table. The eating went on for over an hour, in a slow caterpiller like procession table to table, one by one being squeegeed and removed until about 10 of us were left at the last table.
I engaged the guy with the squeegee who turned out to be the owner. I told him how delicious his local shrimp were. There were hacked bone in meat pieces of something cooked into that boil that I assumed were rabbit. I asked him about the meat.
“No, dats coon” he said in a dense Creole accent.
“We put in what we got dat day”
I could never recreate that experience, but this time we’ll try for our own, using a little chicken and rabbit. Ok?

Seafood Boil
Serves about 20
This cooking is about the layering and timing so everything is cooked perfectly and the seafood is not over cooked. You have options of the seafood. If you care using more than one type, could can cut back. You’ll need about 12 oz of meat per normal person of seafood.
12-15 lbs head on gulf shrimp
1 25 lb sack of crawfish
or 75-100 blue crabs
or a mix
4 small chickens, cut up, skin removed
or 4 rabbits, cut up
5 lb good andouille sausage, cut into 2 inch lengths
1 lb smoked slab bacon, diced large
10 lb very small potatoes
20 ears of corn, shucked and broken in half
2 onions, peeled and wedged into 8-10 pieces each
4 ribs celery, cut into 1 inch sections
8-10 cloves garlic, whole
32 ounces mild lager beer
32 ounces chicken stock, lightly salted water or canned clam broth
10 fresh bay leaves
6 springs fresh thyme
1 small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped, stems and all
4 lemons, sliced, plus more for eating time
a generous amount of a good Creole season (my CAGE is nice, or Old Bay works well too)

Have large serving platters of a newspaper lined table ready.
Also set up a few shell bowls and a few dipping bowls with a knob of butter in each.
In a heavy pot layer the bacon, chicken or rabbit, garlic,  onions and potatoes.
Sprinkle with a little seasoning, a spring or two of thyme, a sprinkling of parsley and a few bay leaves. Now layer the corn, sliced lemons and sausages on top of that. Season the same way with the herbs and seasoning.
Add the beer and stock/water and cover.
Bring to a rolling boil.
After about 12-15 minutes fish out a potato and a piece of meat.
Check it for doneness. If or when they are both just cooked, dump the seafood on top of everything. Season again this time adding  a little kosher salt.
Cover and let the seafood steam 5-8 minutes or until everything is just perfectly cooked.
Turn off the heat and leave covered until ready to serve.
Pour it out onto your table or large platters.
Serve with more lemon wedges, good bread.
 Ladle some of the cooking liquid into buttered dipping bowls to offer on the side. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

County Fair Strawberry Shortcake

This is all about the you will see...

County Fair Strawberry Shortcake
This is the best!
Serves 6-8

For the berries.
2 quarts fresh ripe strawberries, hulled and cut into large pieces, either halved or quartered.
4 cups water
3 cups sugar
5-6 fresh bay leaves or two sprigs of garden basil
Put the prepped berries in an non reactive bowl.
Bring the water, sugar and leaves to a boil. Stir to melt the sugar and turn off. When slightly cooled but still warm, pour over the berries to macerate. Allow to rest at room temperature for at least an hour or chilled overnight.

Buttermilk Shortcake
4 cups unbleached ap flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
12 ounces butter, cold, cut up
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 each eggs, for egg wash
4 tablespoons heavy cream, for egg wash
Additional 2 tbls sugar for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 400
In mixer at slow setting with paddle attachment - mix all dry ingredients for two minutes
Cut butter into small pieces.
Turn mixer to medium setting and add the butter in pieces very quickly so that you are done in one minute. Turn off machine.
Add the butter milk, Turn the machine to low again and run for 45 seconds, just enough to incorporate.
Remove loose dough to a LIGHTLY floured board. Fold together any wet spots gently---don't over work.
Roll out onto a lightly greased cookie pan about 1 inch thick.
Flip it over and roll out again to 3/4 inch thick.
Use a knife or pizza cutter top score into squares or triangles. They needn't be perfect.
Mix the eggs and cream.
Brush the top with the egg-cream mix.
Dust with the remaining sugar
Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden.

To serve, portion the  shortcake and then slice each piece across midway to make a bottom and top.
Put each bottom in a soup or pasta bowl.
Ladle on a general 4 oz portion of strawberries with plenty of juice so the juice pools in the bowl and it soaks the bottom. Top the berries with a copious amount of whipped cream. Place the top pastry on it  jaunty style and dust with powdered sugar if that appeals to you.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pan BBQ Shrimp, 420 Style

Green BBQ Shrimp
So I heard you have stumbled upon a bunch of  clarified your green butter. Good for you....
Now you can have some fun with it.

This recipe is a play on my famous Cajun Peppered Shrimp that I have been serving in my restaurants on and off for  the last 25 years.  
It's so quick and simple and yet so perfect, you’re going it make it regularly.
The shrimp shell’s flavor works with the cannabis essence to create a super nutty experience

Serves 2 for dinner
3 Plus 2 tbls green butter
12-16  medium large wild gulf shrimp, or Alaskan spot prawns shell on
(don’t let me catch you buying cheap farmed tiger shrimp!)
kosher salt
2 tbls coarsely ground black pepper
2 clove garlic minced
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
pinch cayenne to your liking
¼ cup of chopped scallions, about 4
1/8 cup chopped parsley
juice of two lemons and slice up the remaining rinds, sliced into strips
¼ cup white wine
3 oz bottled clam juice or chicken broth
splash of hot sauce
plenty of baguette or cooked white rice to soak up the sauce

It is crucial to cook these shrimp with the shells on.
If you are squeamish, you can devein the shrimp while leaving the shells on by cutting up the back of each shrimp with a scissors and carefully removing the poop vein.
Use a heavy skillet large enough to hold all the shrimp in one layer.
Melt the first three tablespoons of butter in the pan. Turn the heat to high.
Add the shrimp and sprinkle lightly with salt. Allow the shrimp to cook undisturbed for about 30 seconds and then turn them over. Add a pinch more salt and cook for 30 more seconds. They should be pink but a bit raw inside.
Remove the shrimp t a plate to rest. They’ll be finished in the sauce.
Add the garlic, pepper, rosemary and cayenne to the pan and get that garlic golden.
 Now add the lemon juice, wine and broth. Stir in the garlic and let I come to a boil.
Swirl the pan and add the shrimp back to the pan with scallions, parsley, sliced lemon and remaining two tablespoons of green butter. Swirl the pan til the butter is melted.
Serve in bowls with plenty of napkins. 

420 Green Butter Pancakes

420 Green Butter Pancakes.
Breakfast of Champions!
So, you have some Green Butter laying around?
Try this recipe!

Top with fruit compote, maple syrup, chocolate sauce, you name it. Check out my bananas foster topping below.

Makes about 6 nice pancakes
1 cup  all purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp  salt
1/3 cup chopped tree nuts (pecans, or walnuts, optional)
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup green butter
1 egg

Combine flour, sugar, nuts if using, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.
In another bowl whisk together the eggs and  buttermilk.
Cook the green butter slowly in a small saucepan until it turns an amber brown color, adjusting the temp to keep it from burning.
Remove from heat and add to the buttermilk mixture. Add the flour mixture and whisk until combined.
Heat cast iron fry pan to medium.
Spray with nonstick cooking spray or add a knob of fresh butter and swirl to coat the pan.
Cook batter until you see bubbles on the surface of the pancake, then flip over and continue to cook for one more minute.
Repeat with the rest of the batter.

If you don’t have buttermilk whisk a couple of tablespoons of yogurt into regular milk. 

Enjoy and have a fine day! 

Ric Orlando's 420 Recipes Green Dragon and Green-tini

The Green Dragon,
or how you can convert your weed into an innocuous looking powerhouse.

The Green Dragon is a simple Cannabis tincture. It is the easier and best way to get a long, happy buzz on without the hassle of mixing, baking and stewing, It low calorie, easy on the lungs and packs a wallop…and best of all, it doesn’t require using up your finest fuzzy premium bud. So why not try?
SO here is my easy recipe I have “heard of” from others.

Makes 12 oz. Takes a month to make.
½ cup of  bud trimmings, twigs, leaves, stems and shake, broken up in a grinder or blender
12 oz good quality vodka or  8 fl oz Everclear
Put the weed and the alcohol in a mason jar. Seal the lid tight.
Shake it real good.
Store in a cool dark place that is not hard to access.
Every morning, give it a shake.
You will begin to notice that the week is losing its color and the alcohol is taking on color, greenish, or browning or even purplish depending upon the strain you are using.
Keep doing your daily shake for about 4 weeks, or until the weed has lost most of its color.
Strain it out through a cheese cloth or coffee filter. You can store in a tincture bottle with an eyedropper, or any other glass or plastic bottle. If you used everclear you can add 3 oz of water now to extend it.
Start out by doing 3 DROPS under your tongue. I said drops. Test its potency that way.
This shit is powerful.

The GreenTini
This is fun and easy and works wonders when the world is just a little too much.
2 oz Good quality Vodka
1 teaspoon green dragon
and depending upon your palate…
½ oz green chartreuse
-       OR
½ oz sweetened green tea

Shake well on ice, Strain into martini glass.
Garnish with whatever edible green herb suits your fancy. I like Purslane when its available

The Trip-Ster
So you have the perfectly focused friend. She does everything right. She’s beginning to wear you out.
Convince her to add six little drops of Green Dragon into her morning Green Smoothie…
and Join her with your own. Then break out the art supplies and the vinyl.
Your friendship has been saved. You are about to have a much needed refocusing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ric Orlando's Chicken and Sausage jambalaya

With Mardi Gras right around the corner, her is a simple family sized jambalaya recipe to keep them all fortified while partying!

Creole Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
This is a slowly cooked, dark and earthy, OMG delish stew, the real deal, baby!
 It uses chicken as a base, but you can also add other stuff like duck, ham, shrimp, name it.

Makes enough for 4 to eat twice at least

3 lbs natural or local chicken or chicken thighs
2 bayleaves
2 springs thyme
1 tsp black peppercorns
Vegetable oil, or bacon fat, pork fat, duck need for olive oil here
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
6 cups of the  TRINITY (That’s two cups  each of medium dice  bell peppers, celery and onion)
1/2 cups scallions. chopped
1/2 cups parsley, chopped
2 tbls Cajun seasoning mix
1 tbls dry thyme
6 cups chicken cooking liquid (see below)
4 cups tomato juice

6 cups long grain white
more parsley and scallions for garnish

The chicken braising will take at least 45 minutes, so make time!
Put the chicken thighs, bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns in a pot. Cover with lightly salted water. Taste the water first. It should not be as salty as the sea, but mildly salty like a very light broth. Bring to a boil . Skim any scum that may accumulate. Once it boils, reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30-40  minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Let the chicken cool in the broth for a few minutes. Strain. Reserve the broth and the bird separately.  
Once cooled, pull all of the meat from the chicken and roughly chop.  Set aside.

In a heavy casserole pan, add the sausage and lightly brown in a little bit of veg oil.
Add the trinity and wilt until soft but not brown.
 Add the Cajun seasoning and cook in for a minute.
Add the scallions, herbs, rice and stir well to coat with the juices in the pot.
And the chicken meat, dry thyme and Cajun seasoning and stir to coat.
 Cook a few minutes and then add tomato juice and reserved chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover tightly.
Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, then turn off the heat but leave it covered for a few more minutes to “simmer down”.  
Pick up the palate by adding dashes of Worcestershire and Tabasco to taste.
Serve garnished with chopped scallions and with hot sauce on the side

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Green Banana Salad

This recipe is from my July in January class at Different Drummers Kitchen in Albany, NY.

Green Banana Salad, Puerto Rican OR German Style

Green bananas are NOT plantains and Plantains are NOT bananas. Green bananas are just that, totally unrips bananas. They can be found in larger supermarkets, often near the tropical specialty produce, or sometimes the regular bananas in the supermarket are just that green. If the bananas are showing even a trace of yellow, this recipe wont be as good as the bananas starch has begun converting to sugar. You need hard, green bananas. Another source for green bananas is any market that caters to the Latin community. My Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican friends love these!
This is one of those recipes that I don't always plan on. If I see the real full green bananas, then I’ll make this dish.
SO the difference between the PR flavor profile and the German is simple. For Puerto Rican style, use Cilantro or Culantro and for the German omit the Spanish olives and use dill instead of cilantro. All else is the same. The German version replicates German potato salad and can be served warm, room temp or cool.

 2 lbs bananas, bright green unripe -about 10 green bananas ( the greener the better)
 3 bay leaves
 2 large onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
 3/4 cup apple cider or white vinegar
  1 garlic clove, minced
  1/4 cup stuffed Manzanilla olives, roughly chopped
  1/2 teaspoon salt
  1/2 cup olive oil       
  salt and pepper


   Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil.  Add the bay leaves.
Cut off the ends of the bananas and using the tip of a pairing knife, cut three slits down length of each banana, but leave the skin on.
    Place the bananas in boiling water and reduce the heat to a low boil. Boil the bananas for approximately 20 minutes on medium-low heat.
    While the bananas cook, place onions, garlic and vinegar in a non reactive pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently while the bananas cook.
When the bananas are done, they will feel tender but not mushy, like a cooked red potato.
Carefully drain the water from the banana pot and run cold tap water into it to cool the bananas. When cool enough to handle, peel the bananas and slice into 1/4 inch rounds or slightly thicker.
Put the bananas in a serving bowl, pour over the hot onion-vinegar mix.
Add the olives if using and herbs, toss, drizzle with olive oil and taste for salt and pepper.
Serve warm, room temp or cold!

Hudson Valley Garlic Festival Recipes for 2019

Sunday, September 29th I am back at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival in Saugerties cooking some garlic recipes. These two side dishes are ...