Monday, February 27, 2017

Blackened Cauliflower Steaks

People do all kinds of weird shit with cauliflower these days, like make "rice" out of it and pizza crusts. Folks are so damn afraid of carbs, it makes me laugh. And maybe fake rice and fake pizza crusts made with cruciferous veg are tasty, but I think cauliflower is pretty yummy in its natural state. One thing I've seen and liked the idea of is cauliflower "steaks." Of course they're not really steaks, nor are they meant to simulate meat. They're just cut from stem to top in large flat slices, making a wide, uneven plank-like piece of vegetable matter. "Steak" sounds more appetizing than "plank," doesn't it? I thought maybe I'd make some "steaks" and put blackening seasoning on them.

I had recently received a package from The Spice Lab, a woman-owned company that was showing their wares at the recent Winter Fancy Food Show. I wasn't able to attend, so they were nice enough to pack up a couple of different seasonings and send them my way. I got a huge shaker bottle of their blackening seasoning and some of their steak seasoning, too. After tasting both, I thought the blackening one would work better on the cauliflower.

The technique of "blackening" foods, particularly fish, was popularized by famed Louisiana chef Paul Prudhomme in the 80s. While it's no longer trendy, one does see blackened things on restaurant menus even today. Since I associate that flavor profile with Cajun/Creole food, I thought I'd toss a few more of their cooking staples into the meal, namely trinity (celery, bell pepper, and onion) and remoulade. I also ended up putting an egg on top because the cauliflower I had was pretty small, and it didn't seem like enough food. Plus, who doesn't like a runny egg on their dinner?

Blackened Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Hash, Remoulade, and a Fried Egg

For the cauliflower:
1 large cauliflower with a fat stem
Olive oil
The Spice Lab Blackening Seasoning

For the hash:
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the remoulade:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon Tabasco
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons capers, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

To serve:

To make the cauliflower: Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Remove the green leaves from the cauliflower and trim the stem flat. Turn the cauli so the stem is facing upward. Carefully slice down through the center of the stem all the way to the opposite end of the head to make two halves. You should be able to slice each half again in the same way to form at least two fairly similar steaks. If the stem is particularly fat, you  might be able to squeeze another one out of each half, although they won't be as large overall.

Place the steaks on a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle a heavy coating of the blackening seasoning on the top side. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the point of a knife inserted into the stem goes in with relatively little effort. Don't over roast, however - you don't want mushy cauliflower.

To make the hash: Chop any remaining cauliflower into small pieces. Saute the bell pepper, celery, and onion in a bit of olive oil until tender. Add the chopped cauliflower. Cook until the cauliflower is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the remoulade: Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if needed.

To serve: Fry eggs in butter to your liking (we like over-easy). Place some of the hash in a bowl, top with a cauliflower steak and a fried egg. Serve remoulade on the side.

Serves 2-4.

* Any products in this post that are mentioned by name may have been provided to Minxeats by the manufacturer. However, all opinions belong to Minxeats. Amazon links earn me $! Please buy!

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Sweet Potato Black Bean Patties

This was one of those meals that I threw together to use up various oddball ingredients we had hanging around. We had just received a box from Washington's Green Grocer. In it were some finger limes and sweet potatoes; we had black beans in the cupboard amd feta in the fridge. I've been trying to make one vegetarian dish per weekend, so I figured I could use all of these things and come up with something pretty tasty.

Originally, I was going to make tacos, but then I found mini naan breads at the grocery store. They're soft and puffy like Greek pitas, and were a more substantial wrapper for the fairly substantial potato/bean cakes.

The cakes are slightly sweet, because of the potato, so the finger limes helped add acid. It wasn't quite enough acid for Mr Minx. He's not a fan of sweet potatoes, and he needed some spicy tomatillo salsa to cut the sweet. (My favorite tomatillo salsa is Desert Pepper brand. Hard to find, so I buy several jars at a time when I do see it.)

Sweet Potato Black Bean Patties

1 large sweet potato
Olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 scallions, chopped
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 clove garlic, crushed
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Panko breadcrumbs

To serve:
Warm flour tortillas or mini naan breads or greek pitas
Yogurt mixed with a little harissa to taste
Chopped tomato
Extra feta cheese

Peel the sweet potato and cut into evenly sized chunks, about 2" square. Put in a saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain water and mash potatoes with a potato masher into a smooth puree. Scoop potatoes into a large bowl and set aside for a few minutes to cool.

While potato is cooling, wipe out the saucepan and add a bit of olive oil. Cook the onion and scallions until wilted. Add the black beans and cook, stirring regularly, for a few minutes until everything is warm. As you stir the beans, they should break down into a chunky mash - this is what you want. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then add the bean mixture to the bowl with the sweet potatoes. Stir in the seasonings and the egg until well combined. Stir in the cheese and enough breadcrumbs (up to 1 cup) to form a soft dough. Refrigerate dough for at least one hour to firm up even more (it will still be pretty soft).

When ready to cook, remove dough from fridge and form into patties about 2-2 1/2" in diameter and 1/4" thick. Cook in a large saute pan with a bit of olive oil until browned on both sides. You'll need to do this in batches. Drain cooked patties on paper towel-lined plates.

To serve: Place two or more patties on your bread of choice, Top with yogurt, scallions, tomatoes, and feta.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Quick Sticky Buns

Sometime before Christmas, I received a package of samples from Davidson's Organics. Though I had never heard of them, Davidson's has been around for 40 years already. Goes to show what I know, huh? Davidson's specializes in tea, every type, from black to green to herbal, both loose leaf and bagged. Lots of fun blends like jasmine almond with orange and tulsi red vanilla. I love tea, both to drink and to cook with, so I was especially excited to receive two of their specialty tea products, jelly and chocolate, both made with Earl Grey tea.

I sat on them for a while, trying to think of what to concoct. They also sent some holiday tea bags, so I sipped tea and thought on the matter. Then it came to me. I'd make cinnamon rolls.

Yes, I know cinnamon rolls are not the first thing one thinks of when contemplating both chocolate and tea jelly, but stay with me here. The chocolate, which is flavored with both Earl Grey tea and lavender, would go into the filling, and the jelly would be part of the glaze. And I just happened to have some puff pastry in the freezer. And yes, I do know that cinnamon rolls and sticky buns are made with an enriched yeast dough, not puff pastry, I also knew that puff pastry would work just fine and it would be much much faster.

The texture of the pastry, after baking, reminded me of the creme horns my Mom liked - flaky and crisp. The chocolate didn't melt much, so there were still nice crunchy bits of both the choc and the nuts inside. I liked the combination a lot. And the icing, made with the jelly, powdered sugar, and a bit of lemon, added another dimension of flavor, and not just another layer of sweet.

Quick Earl Grey Sticky Buns

1/2 bar Davidson's Organics Earl Grey Lavender Organic Dark Chocolate
1/2 package puff pastry
Brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped nuts
2 tablespoons Davidson's Organics Earl Grey Tea Jelly
Powdered sugar
Lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Grate the chocolate and set aside.

Defrost the pastry according to package directions. Unfold sheet and go over it with a rolling pin to smooth out the creases and to enlarge the square by about 1/2 to 3/4 inch both in height and width.

Sprinkle the pastry with a thin layer of brown sugar, then shake on some cinnamon (but not too much). Add a layer of the chocolate and another of the nuts. Roll the pastry into a log, being careful not to lose too much of the filling in the process. Cut the roll in half, then cut each half into three pieces. Place pieces open-side-up on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes until browned and puffed. Set aside to cool.

Make the icing by microwaving the jelly until liquid, about 1 minute. Stir in enough powdered sugar to make a runny glaze. Flavor with a bit of the lemon juice.

When the buns are cool, drizzle with icing. Makes 6.

* Any products in this post that are mentioned by name may have been provided to Minxeats by the manufacturer. However, all opinions belong to Minxeats. Amazon links earn me $! Please buy!

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Emergency Chili!

While The Minx spends the better part of most weekends developing complex and imaginative recipes to share with our readers on this blog, I'm charged with the responsibility of concocting regular weekday dinner sustenance from whatever foodstuffs we have available in our refrigerator and pantry. Often my task is not unlike an episode of Food Network's Chopped in that I have to assess what random proteins, leftovers, and vegetables we have on hand and whip up an entree in under one hour. The job is always made easier if I have a go-to protein in the fridge like those handy pre-cooked chicken sausages that every grocery store seems to have nowadays, or a leftover chunk of steak from a restaurant meal. That's why, when we were contacted by Keystone Meats to try some of their canned meat products, we were intrigued. 

This can  makes you think of chili, too, right?
Keystone Meats is a fourth-generation, family-owned business in Lima, Ohio that produces canned meat products and soup bases. In addition to the shredded beef, Keystone also makes ground beef, plus shredded pork, chicken, and turkey. The beef is sourced from local farms and the finished product is simply beef and some sea salt in a can. It's tender and flaky as if you had slow-cooked a chunk of beef yourself and shredded it with a fork. The first thing The Minx and I thought of when we saw the can was chili.

We've all had those day when it's cold and damp and a bowl of hot, spicy chili would really warm your soul. The trouble is, a proper chili takes hours to prepare and you've just come home from work and want the chili now! The biggest obstacle to making a good pot of chili is the time it takes to cook the meat until it's tender and shreds easily. I've often used ground meat to make a quick chili, but it's not the same. With Keystone doing the hard part for you, an emergency bowl of chili is attainable. Using basic ingredients, I was able to put together a flavorful and hearty meal in about 45 minutes.

The Minx really loved it. She was astounded that the meat came from a can. It was tender and moist, like long-cooked pot roast or even short ribs. And it certainly did not taste like it came from a can.

Emergency Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles
1 can (14.5 oz.) Keystone Beef
2 cloves garlic
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Kosher salt to taste
Chopped scallions
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add diced green chiles, beef, and garlic and stir until all ingredients are integrated. Add diced tomatoes and stir. Sprinkle in seasonings and turn heat down to simmer. Allow the chili to simmer for as long as possible. Ten minutes would be good; 20 minutes would be better. Adjust seasoning to your liking.

Garnish to your liking with scallions, cilantro, cheese, and sour cream. Serve with cornbread.

* Any products in this post that are mentioned by name may have been provided to Minxeats by the manufacturer. However, all opinions belong to Minxeats. Amazon links earn me $! Please buy!

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Monday, February 13, 2017


Ekiben has been on the lips and Instagram accounts of Baltimoreans ever since it opened its doors in Fells Point last March. Before the brick and mortar shop opened, owners Nikhil Yesupriya, Ephrem Abebe, and Steve Chu sold their pan-Asian wares at the Fells Point Farmers' Market. I love the fact that the three partners are from completely different ethnic backgrounds (South Indian, Ethiopian, Taiwanese), and that they met at UMBC. That's what college is for, right? Not only to get an education, but also to branch out from one's potentially insular upbringing and see the world. In the case of Yesupriya, Abebe, and Chu, it was the world of food. While the dishes they serve at Ekiben (itself a Japanese word referring to a specific style of bento box served at railway stations) have a strong Taiwanese bent, the partners season their dishes with flavors from each of their heritages.

The must-try dish is the tempura fried broccoli, topped with shallots and fresh herbs and seasoned with rice vinegar. For $2 more, non-vegetarians can get thinly sliced Chinese sausage, too.

Back when Harborplace first opened, there was a stall selling deep-fried, batter-coated vegetables. I tried to avoid the broccoli, because invariably the florets were soggy with uncooked batter. That is not the case at Ekiben, where every bite is encased in a thin and crisp coating. The combination of flavors and textures in this dish is terrific.

We also did two of the buns that are available every day - the Neighborhood Bird and the Tofu Brah. The former includes a Taiwanese curry fried chicken thigh of vast proportions topped with spicy sambal mayo, pickles, and fresh herbs. The latter is tofu in spicy peanut sauce, topped with seasonal slaw, and fresh herbs. All their sandwiches are mammoth, served on steamed buns that are positively cloud-like in appearance and texture. They are well-suited for a sturdy filling like the chicken thigh, but not substantial enough for the sloppy tofu and its mountain of toppings. Make sure to equip yourself with lots of napkins if you're going to tackle the tofu sandwich, and lean over your plate (cardboard takeout container) so if you do have a spill, you won't waste it on the floor.

Though a tad difficult to eat, the tofu sandwich was delicious. Next time, we'll try it over rice. Also next time, we'll get the Original bun, which features Thai chicken meatballs in a coconut black peppercorn sauce. We hear the catfish is tasty, too, as is everything else on the menu.

Why couldn't Ekiben have been around when I lived in Fells Point, just three blocks away?

1622 Eastern Ave
Baltimore, MD 21231

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Chicken with Mushrooms and Bacon

My Mom always claimed not to enjoy cooking; she only did it because she had two children to feed. Dinners usually consisted of Shake-n-Bake pork chops or chicken, canned green beans or corn, and instant mashed potatoes or Minute Rice. Sometimes spaghetti with jarred sauce and meatballs (at least those were homemade). We were lucky to have an apartment in my Grandmother's house, and every few days she'd give Mom a break by cooking dinner for all of us.

Once my brother and I were adults, or at least college-age, Mom started to take a surprising interest in the kitchen. She was actually a pretty good cook when she wanted to be. With less responsibility during the day, she would pass the time watching cooking shows on PBS. During pledge drives, Mom opted to donate when the free gift was a cookbook. I still have several of the Frugal Gourmet's books in my collection. I liked watching The Frug, even if he did turn out to be a perv. Mom also liked Madeline Kamman, but I found her accent grating (sorry, French people) and was particularly annoyed by the "ehhh" sound she made after every other sentence or so. I have one of her cookbooks, too, Madeline Cooks.

Mom tried one recipe, and one recipe only from Madeline Cooks: chicken cutlets with mushrooms and bacon. It was so good, and so fast, she made it frequently. There's something almost magical about the simple combination of bacon, mushrooms, and scallions. Oh, and cream. Hell, you don't even need the chicken.

I think about this dish once in a while, when I have bacon and scallions in the house but not chicken or mushrooms, or some other incomplete combination of essential ingredients. I decided to dust off that 30-year-old cookbook and make the dish myself, but with chicken thighs, just to be different. It throws off the cooking time a bit, particularly with bone-in, skin-on thighs that need to be browned first and cooked longer, but the combination of flavors was still the same, still almost magical. And it brought back memories of my Mom in the kitchen, in those few years when she actually seemed to almost enjoy cooking.

I served the chicken with chicken flavor Healthee USA organic brown rice. Just 90 seconds in the microwave, fluff, and eat! I'm too impatient to cook brown rice properly, so it's usually chewy. Healthee's is nice and tender and I don't have to worry about making a side when I have a couple packs on hand. And green beans, cooked low and slow for a long time, the way my Grandma made them.

Chicken with Mushrooms and Bacon (adapted from Madeline Cooks)

4 large chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup chicken stock
2/3 cup light cream
3 slices bacon, crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped scallions

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place skin-side down in a pre-heated skillet and cook over medium-high heat until skin is browned. Turn chicken and brown other side. Cover the pan and turn the heat down to medium. Cook the chicken for 10 minutes, then remove the chicken from the pan to a plate. Remove all but a tablespoon of fat from the skillet and add the mushrooms. Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until they have given up their juices and have started to brown. Add the chicken back to the pan, turn down the heat, and cook an additional 10 minutes. Remove lid, turn up the heat, and add the chicken stock and cream. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.

To serve, put each piece of chicken on a plate and spoon sauce and mushrooms over. Garnish with crumbled bacon and scallions.

Serves 2-4.

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Monday, February 06, 2017


When Magdalena opened in the Ivy Hotel last year, I took one look at the menu and the prices and determined that we'd probably never eat there. We just can't afford $38 entrees and $25 appetizers. But lucky for us, they participated in Baltimore Winter Restaurant week, so we were able to enjoy a fine 3-course meal at the reasonable price of $35 per person.

The day before our scheduled dinner, I received an email from OpenTable saying that the restaurant had cancelled our reservation. A phone call to Magdalena confirmed that we were still on the books, and I didn't have to pull out the, "don't you know who I am?" card. (No, I haven't ever done that. Mostly because it would be greeted with a shrug and a blank stare.) Probably an OpenTable glitch. But as we left our car with the valet (which is complimentary) and followed the two employees who each opened one of the two doors into the restaurant for us, I still had some feelings of trepidation. Hearing "your table is ready," was music to my ears, as was the jazzy music--including my favorite Ella Fitzgerald--coming over the sound system. We were led to a corner table at the banquette facing the courtyard in the dining area nearest the bar. We like to eat early, for many reasons, and have found that doesn't always get us a good table. In fact, it usually scores us a pretty crappy one, like near the POS station or bathroom. So getting what seemed to us to be a very nice table with a view was a good way to start our meal.

We ordered drinks. I had a glass of Pinot noir, and Mr Minx ordered the Bookie. A riff on a Manhattan, it involved Maker's Mark bourbon and Averna Amaro, garnished with a strip of lemon peel and a Luxardo Maraschino cherry. The drink cost $18, which is just $7 shy of the price of an entire bottle of Maker's Mark at our favorite liquor store. It was tasty, sure, but the price was excessive for such a simple concoction.

Sure the booze was pricey, but we were getting a bargain as far as the food was concerned. Mr Minx started his meal with the potato and watercress soup with Benton's bacon dumplings and tarragon. The generously portioned green concoction was smooth and surprisingly light; the bitter flavor of the watercress was balanced nicely by the blandness of the potato and especially the strong smokiness of the bacon.

My fried Maryland oysters were specifically Holy Grails, from Hooper's Island Oyster Aquaculture Company. The pleasantly salty bivalves were plump and perfectly cooked and served with a creamy horseradish-flavored sauce and a little pile of lightly pickled shaved cucumber reminiscent of the cucumber salads familiar to all Marylanders.

There were three entree options, one of which had a $30 upcharge ($50 on the Restaurant Week web site) which meant for us there were only two. I was intrigued by the idea of candied eggplant, so opted for the filet of sea bass, which also came with forbidden rice, broccoli, and chili oil.

I was somewhat disappointed that the eggplant was a puree. It was lightly sweet, but not what I'd consider "candied." However, it was a nice foil for the rice, which was doused in an acidic and quite hot chili oil. The fish was tender and perfectly cooked, with a nice crisp skin, but my favorite part was the broccoli. It had been roasted to a lovely crisp-tender texture, well-seasoned and buttered, with a pleasant roast-y flavor.

The other attractive entree option was roast chicken with bread sauce. What Mr Minx received was half a baby chicken that was clearly of very high quality. It was that rare chicken that had real flavor, juicy with the smack of chicken fat and simple seasoning. The sauce, a classic accompaniment to simple roast fowl and a nod to Chef Mark Levy's British heritage, was creamy without being overly rich, thanks to its thickening agent of bread. French beans and tender slices of rutabaga--a homely root vegetable rarely seen in restaurants--made the dish homey and comforting.

All three dessert options sounded wonderful, but we could only eat two. The Meyer lemon posset was something else not usually seen in restaurants (or really anywhere in this country). An olde worlde kind of dessert, a posset is a very simple pudding of cream and sugar and some sort of citrus flavoring which curdles the pudding and helps it set. It was quite tart, though the coconut sorbet added a little sweet relief.

My sticky toffee pudding was just sweet, in a soothing old-fashioned molasses-y kind of way. The pudding is actually a dense cake made with dates and drenched with a caramel sauce. The flavor is reminiscent of gingerbread, but without the spices. A perfect little quenelle of whipped cream flavored with a touch of Earl Grey tea added a bit of light and creamy contrast.

Speaking of gingerbread, we received a tasty mignardise of mildly spiced gingerbread topped with lemon buttercream along with our check. A nice touch in an evening full of them, starting with the crusty bread rolls accompanied by whipped butter flavored with sweet soy and yuzu brought to us at the beginning of or meal. The server urged us to tuck into them right away while they were still hot from the oven.

Magdalena is a small gem of a restaurant with delicious food and really terrific service. (It was impeccable, not quite formal, accommodating but not intrusive, very polite and friendly. Kinda perfect, actually.) But the only way most of us will ever get to enjoy the place is during Restaurant Week. I urge readers to be on the alert for the summer version of this biannual event and if Magdalena participates again, run, don't walk, to your phone or OpenTable and make a reservation. Otherwise, start saving up to enjoy a meal there at any other time of the year.

The Ivy Hotel
205 E. Biddle Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
(410) 514-0303

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Friday, February 03, 2017

Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Ice Cream

After the success of my key lime pie ice cream, I wanted to experiment with other citrus-based flavors. Around the holidays, I made a cranberry orange ice cream that won rave reviews from everyone who tasted it. (It was especially yummy with a spoonful of raw cranberry-orange relish leftover from Thanksgiving.) I didn't make note of the proportions of ingredients that I used, and perhaps I should have so I could post the recipe here. Sorry for that.

It's currently Meyer lemon season, and I figured they would make a flavorful frozen treat. I tossed in some poppyseeds as well, to mimic the popular muffin and quickbread flavor, and also to add some texture. If you don't have Meyer lemons, don't fret - regular lemons will be just as delicious.

Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Ice Cream

4 Meyer lemons (or regular lemons, or a combination of the two)
1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar (divided use)
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons softened cream cheese
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Grate the peel from the lemons with a microplane or other fine gauge grater and set aside. Juice the lemons and place the juice in a non-reactive saucepan with the 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring to make sure the sugar has dissolved. Pour the syrup into a lidded container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Mix 2 tablespoons of the whole milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry. In a separate bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt together until smooth. Prepare a shallow ice bath: in a large bowl or baking pan, place an inch or two of cold water and several ice cubes. Set aside.

Cook the remaining milk, cream, 1/3 cup sugar, corn syrup, and reserved lemon zest in a large saucepan until it comes to a rolling boil, Boil for 4 minutes, watching carefully so it doesn't boil over (stir when it starts to expand), remove from heat, and slowly whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Blend a few tablespoons of hot milk mixture into the cream cheese to loosen it, then pour the cream cheese mixture into the pan of milk. Whisk well until smooth. Pour into a container with a tight-fitting lid and place the container into the ice bath until cool, ensuring that the water level doesn't come up as far as the lid. When the mixture seems mostly cool, refrigerate until completely cold.

Freeze ice cream according to manufacturers instructions. While the ice cream is churning, drizzle in the cold lemon syrup. Add the poppy seeds. When ice cream is done, scoop into a lidded freezer-safe container and press a piece of wax paper onto the surface of the ice cream. Seal container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

More Fun at Wit & Wisdom

I love the way the team at Wit & Wisdom keep things interesting for their guests! Last year, they started this fun Wednesday-night theme dinner thing called Curated at their Kitchen Table (a 12-seat counter with full view of their huge kitchen). We attended the Italian dinner last year and were fed several courses by Chef Zack Mills including pasta cacio e pepe and braised veal shank, and Pastry Chef Dyan Ng's riff on zabaglione, all with wine pairings by Sommelier Julie Dalton. For 2017, they're switching things up a bit.

The Kitchen Table Series will still take place on Wednesdays, and they will still be multi-course events, but the themes will rotate through the skills of chef (savory themes), pastry chef (dessert themes), and sommelier (beverage themes).

Today, February 1 is the inaugural event, and it has a boozy theme: Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget. It's $29 per person, and there will be light bites and snacks provided by Chef Zack to go along with Julie's tastings.

The Kitchen Table Series will take place every Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. beginning February 1. For more details and to reserve your spot at the Kitchen Table, please call Shannon Toback at 410-223-1464.

Here are the scheduled themes to date, and prices. (The second price is the cost of the additional beverage pairing.)

February 1: Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget (Beverage) $29

February 8: Can I Have S’More? Campfire Desserts (Pastry) $45/$25
To entice you, here's the menu for this meal:
Grilled Banana - crispy pastry, maple cream, lime
Choux - yogurt meringue, milk chocolate & hazelnut ganache
Grilled French Toast - pineapple, white chocolate, orange

February 15: Happily ever AFTER….Valentine’s Day (Savory) $59/$39
Caviar Parfait - smoked salmon, crispy potato cake, beet gastrique
Main Lobster Bisque - brandy, lemon creme fraiche, tarragon
Seared Diver Scallops - caramelized fennel, celery root, fondant potatoes
Butter-poached Prime Beef Filet - herb frites, melted spinach, foie gras jus
Maple - puff pastry, passion fruit cremeux, butter ice cream

February 22: Battle of the Booze (Beverage) $29

March 1: DFB...Dessert for Breakfast! (Pastry) $45/$25

March 8: General Tso-Fancy (Savory) $59/$39

March 15: Greek on Fleek (Beverage) $29

March 22, 2017: Picnic “Chic”: Picnic Inspired Desserts (Pastry) $45/$25

March 29, 2017: “Out like a Lamb” A Border Springs Lamb Tasting (Savory) $59/$39

April 5, 2017: The 'Old' Old World (Beverage) $29

April 12, 2017: Spring: A Seasonal Voyage (Pastry) $45/$25

April 19, 2017: Take me out to the Ball Game (Savory) $59/$39

April 26, 2017: Yes Way Rosé (Beverage) $29

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