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tea cake and clams

November 22, 2013

  In August, I had the opportunity of baking and shooting a few of Silvana Nardone’s gluten-free desserts featured over at Food and Wine. For those of you who don’t know Silvana, she is the cookbook author of Cooking for Isaiah, where she shares tips and stories to cooking delicious gluten-free and dairy-free recipes. One of my favorites from the shoot was this Almond-Streusel Tea Cake. It’s soft, almond-rich crumb is perfect alongside cups of green tea in the afternoon. There is much, much pleasure to be had in a simple thing, perfectly made. And this cake is excellent in that way. Loved it. You can find the recipe here.

 For part II, clams.

I just received a copy of F&W’s Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook! It’s a fabulous new release honoring 25 of the world’s most exceptional chefs and some of their amazing recipes! So I wanted to share a quick one with you. I chose this clam recipe from Southern Chef Linton Hopkins, awarded Best New Chef in 2009. The recipe is a standout—clams that open up into bourbon, bacon, and jalepeño..  They were nuts! So good.

Be sure to check out this new book from Food and Wine! It’s a stunner. I plan to be back here soon with a cookie recipe or two for the holidays. Yum. Thanks for visiting.

Silvana Nardone's Gluten-Free Almond-Streusel Tea Cake

Pan-Roasted Clams with Bacon, Bourbon and Jalepeño

adapted from Linton Hopkins 

Serves 4


One 3-ounce slab smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice (1/2 cup)

1/4 cup very finely chopped shallots

2 tablespoons very finely chopped garlic

24 littleneck clams, scrubbed and soaked in cold water for 15 minutes

1/4 cup bourbon

1/4 cup bottled clam broth

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 jalapeños, thinly sliced into rounds

1 tablespoon very finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Crusty bread, for serving


In a large, deep skillet, cook the bacon over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is browned, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate.

Add the chopped shallots and garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the drained clams and bourbon to the skillet and simmer over moderately low heat until the bourbon is almost evaporated. Add the clam broth, cover and cook until the clams open, 5 to 7 minutes. Discard any unopened clams.

Transfer the clams to shallow bowls. Add the cream, jalapeños, parsley and the bacon to the skillet and simmer until the cream is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Swirl in the butter. Pour the cream sauce over the clams and serve with crusty bread.


huckleberry duck sliders and a green tomato salad

September 5, 2013


“So I’m back, to the velvet underground.
Back to the floor, that I love.
To a room with some lace and paper flowers.
Back to the gypsy that I was,
To the gypsy that I was.
And it all comes down to you.
Well, you know that it does,
And lightning strikes, maybe once, maybe twice.
Oh, and it lights up the night
And you see your gypsy.
You see your gypsy.”
 Stevie Nicks / Fleetwood Mac

huckleberry duck confit sliders - lemon fire brigadegreen-tomato-salad-with-grapes-and-fennel-in-sesameconfit




Duck Leg Confit
Serves 6-8, 2 1/2 inch sliders

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

8 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed, roughly chopped

4 small duck legs,  rinsed and patted dry

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, or rendered duck fat

Combine the salt, pepper, and thyme in a small bowl. Season the duck legs evenly and generously with mixture, and set them flesh side down into a large resealable plastic bag, over a plate or sheet pan large enough to hold them securely in one even layer. Make sure that bag is sealed and air tight. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Return to duck legs the next day, and preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  With a few paper towels, rub off seasoning from the legs, mostly removing the larger bits of thyme leaves. Heat half of the olive oil in a large oven-safe sautoir pan or skillet over medium to high heat and sear the duck legs, fat side down until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.  Add the remaining oil to the pan and flip duck legs so that they’re resting in the oil flesh side down in pan. Cover with foil and cook in the oven for two hours, until meat is extremely tender. Remove from the oven and allow to rest, uncovered, for 20 minutes.. Remove the duck legs from fat, may reserve fat for other uses. Pick the meat from the legs, keeping the skin intact. Discard the bones. Reserve duck confit in a bowl until ready to prepare sliders. Serve hot or warm.


Simple Citrus – Huckleberry Sauce
Makes 1 cup

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons water, to loosen

1 pod star anise

2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon zest

3 tablespoons lime juice

3 tablespoons orange juice

1 cup huckleberries

pinch of kosher salt

1 teaspoon butter, optional

Juice a lemon, lime, and an orange, reserve juices and zest of lemon in a small bowl. Place the maple syrup, water, and star anise in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the huckleberries, stirring constantly with a spoon until pieces are well coated, 3-4 minutes. Then promptly add the citrus juices and zest, continue to cook for about 10 minutes over medium to high heat until mixture has reduced slightly, and huckleberries have cooked down into a syrupy consistency. Sauce should be somewhat loose. Discard star anise pod, remove saucepan from heat, set aside. The sauce will thicken as it cools, may loosen with additional citrus juice or water. Keep warm or at room temperature to serve.


Fennel and Red Cabbage Slaw
Enough for 6-8 sliders, about 2-3 cups

1/3 head red cabbage, cored and very thinly sliced crosswise

1 large fennel bulb – halved lengthwise, cored and very thinly sliced crosswise, – reserve a small bunch of green fennel fronds

1 serrano chili pepper, thinly sliced, optional

1 tablespoon greek yogurt

2 tablespoons vegenaise, or mayonnaise

1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

fennel sprigs, roughly chopped or torn

salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, stir the yogurt, mayo, lemon juice, and fennel fronds together until combined. Season with salt and pepper, set aside.

In a bowl, toss the fresh red cabbage and fennel slices. Add the dressing, and lightly toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately onto duck confit  and huckleberry slider.


To Finish

You’ll need some slider buns! Dinner or egg rolls work great if you can’t find mini hamburger buns.  — I brushed mine with a light egg wash right before they went into the oven for some luster. Sesame seeds are a thought.

To serve, warm buns in oven. Slice, then place pieces of confit on bottom bun, top with huckleberry sauce, slaw, and garnish with a few chili pieces.




Thank you for visiting,


A few persimmon salads

January 9, 2013
 Persimmon and Burrata Caprese with a Sour Lemon Apricot Relish,
Pepita Seeds, Salt, and Olio Nuovo.
“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”
Pema Chödrön
 Pickled Persimmon Salad
with Arugula, Radishes, and Manchego
Recipes to come.
Happy January.

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