David Ross

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  1. And along with a fresh berry on top of each bar, (I'm using raspberries right now), a nice dollop of whipped cream is great for a plated lemon bar.
  2. I made them again this weekend for Easter dinner, but I think I cut them too big. I cut about 9 bars, but they are so rich I noticed folks take a few bites and stop. I would recommend cutting it into 12 bars.
  3. Rancho Gordo in the NYT... again!!

    Well, you know, it's that old line we use, "now due to the magic of television, we already have a cassoulet ready".....
  4. Rancho Gordo in the NYT... again!!

    I typically make duck confit for cassoulet, but at the class we had 17 folks so I substituted chicken hindquarters due to cost. Turns out incredibly well with chicken. And I use pork lard rather than duck fat, again due to cost. The confit doesn't suffer at all by using pork lard. Takes time but isn't very difficult and the results are worth it. I use the duck confit in cassoulet, but it's also good just seared in a skillet to brown and crisp the skin, then served with a salad. The beans take some time and steps, but it's really worth the result. Duck Confit- 4 duck hindquarters 1 tbsp. crushed juniper berries 1 tbsp. black peppercorns 3 bay leaves 3 sprigs rosemary 3 sprigs thyme 6 garlic cloves, crushed Kosher salt Pork lard About a week before I make the cassoulet, I start on the confit. Place the duck hindquarters in a glass baking dish and liberally sprinkle with Kosher salt. Add the juniper berries, peppercorns, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and garlic cloves. Cover the dish and let the duck marinate in the refrigerator for two days. Heat the oven to 275. Remove the duck from the refrigerator and rinse off the salt and spices. Heat enough pork lard in a heavy pot to cover the duck completely. Cover the pot and place in the oven and let the duck cook for about 4 hours. Remove, let cool to room temperature than cover and refrigerate. To use the confit place the pot on the stovetop over low heat to melt the lard, then gently remove the duck to use in the confit. At this stage you can just put the confit together, but I saute the confit, skin side down to brown and crisp the skin before putting it in the confit. Cassoulet- 1 lb. dried cassoulet beans, (we used Rancho Gordo's French tarbais/cassoulet beans) 9 quarts cold water 2 cups beef stock 2 tbsp. tomato paste 6 cloves garlic, skinned and crushed 2 stalks celery, chopped 3 sprigs rosemary 3 sprigs thyme 1 bay leaf 4 sprigs parsley 1 tbsp. black peppercorns 1lb. smoke pork hock or neck bones 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes Duck confit 1lb. garlic sausage, cut into chunks Soak the beans overnight in cold water. The next day, drain the beans and place in a large stockpot and cook the beans over medium-low heat for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until they are soft. At this point I add the beef stock, tomato paste, garlic, celery, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, parsley and black peppercorns and the pork hocks and crushed tomatoes and cook the beans for another 45 minutes over medium-low heat. You'll have tender beans and an incredible cooking stock. I heat the oven to 350 and start to assemble the cassoulet in a heavy Le Creuset pot. Strain the beans out of the cooking stock and place a layer of the beans in the pot. Now nestle in some of the sausage. Then another layer of beans. Place the duck confit on top of the beans, then ladle in enough of the bean cooking stock to cover the beans, yet not cover the duck confit. Into the oven it goes, uncovered, to cook about 1 1/ 2 hours. Take a look while it cooks and if necessary, add more stock. You'll see that the duck confit skin will turn golden and start to crisp up. I usually give the cassoulet about 2 1/2 hours. It will develop that characteristic crust, (and you won't need to top it with breadcrumbs as some recipes suggest). I wish I had a photo, but we devoured it very quickly. It takes time and some cooking steps, but is incredibly delicious and worth the time.
  5. Rancho Gordo in the NYT... again!!

    The cassoulet class was a great hit. Everyone remarked how flavorful and creamy the beans were and they had no idea how easy it is to start with dried beans and end up with a wonderful cassoulet.
  6. When I made these I got a lot of positive likes on my Facebook page. But what's funny is a lot of my friends like to bake and make sweets, yet they all said they had never made lemon bars because they were "too hard" and took "too much time." They were also surprised that I used so much lemon juice. The recipes they had looked at called from somewhere in the range of 2 or 3 tbsp. of lemon juice. Well, I think with my photo it convinced them.
  7. Glad to share. I start with a shortbread style crust in a 9 x 9 glass baking dish. A lot of recipes call for a 9 x 13 dish, but I like the lemon bars really thick rather than thin so I use the small baking dish. The amount of lemon juice and zest would be surprising to a lot of folks, but that's what gives the bars deep lemon flavor. Filling- 1/2 cup flour 2 cups sugar 1 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice Grated lemon zest from a medium-size lemon 6 eggs 1 egg yolk 1/4 tsp. salt Stir the flour and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and stir to combine. In a another bowl, add the eggs, egg yolk and salt and whisk. Add the egg mixture to the bowl with the flour, sugar and lemon juice and whisk until smooth. Crust- 1 cup flour 1/2 cup melted butter 1/3 cup powdered sugar. Sift the flour and powdered sugar together into a bowl. Pour in the melted butter and stir to combine until it comes together into a dough. Form the dough into a layer in the bottom of the baking dish. I put a sheet of parchment in the bottom of the dish, large enough so the parchment reaches over the top of the baking dish. This allows me to pull the lemon bar "tart" out of the baking dish once it's cooled. Put a small sheet of parchment on top of the dough and add pie weights. (I happen to use dried beans for weight to keep the crust from rising). Par-bake the crust in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes just until the edges start to turn golden. Pull the crust out of the oven and pour in the lemon filling and return the baking dish to the oven. Reduce the temp to 325 and bake for about 35 minutes until the center of the filling is set. Cool the lemon bars in the baking dish to room temperature, then cover and cool in the fridge for about 6 hours. (It has to be chilled so when you sprinkle the powdered sugar on top it doesn't melt). Pull the lemon bar "tart" out of the baking dish. Dust the top with powdered sugar (through a fine mesh screen) and dot with fresh raspberries. I also use blackberries, marionberries and loganberries in the summer. It's also good with poached rhubarb. Hope that helps. You'll like the recipe.
  8. For some silly reason, I think that I should only make lemon bars in Spring. And while I associate lemon bars with Spring, I should think I need to make them more often.
  9. Dinner 2017 (Part 3)

    My take on "Poulet aux Ecrevisses"--Chicken with Crayfish. It's a recipe from the "Saveur Cooks Authentic French" that I've been making for years. This time instead of a crayfish sauce, I thinned it out and turned it into a crayfish bisque. Served with white rice this time and a garnish of crayfish tails. I can buy big bags of cooked, frozen crayfish from Louisiana at a local supermarket and they work great in this dish, lending a bit of spice. You can substitute prawns for the crayfish. You wouldn't think that the flavors of shellfish go with chicken but it works incredibly well together.
  10. I guess I just don't get this whole meal kit thing. One of my former employees asked me about it since she knows I teach cooking classes. She was very enthusiastic about this stuff, and is in fact a fitness instructor. She somehow got herself to the point of thinking this is a new, enlightened way for folks to cook healthy meals at home. I suppose on some levels one could make that argument, but I can't. So how does it save you time if you order a meal kit online and have it delivered a day, or days, later. Why wouldn't you just stop by the local grocery store and pick up the ingredients and have them immediately? But of course, if Martha Stewart tells you it's good, it's good. Everything is portioned out for you and yes, you can cook it, you can cook it. The wise folks above have defined it better than I have. I'm old enough to remember watching the Jetson's cartoons on Saturday mornings and I marveled at the "space-age" cooking conveniences. Maybe the folks that shill these meal kits referred to the Jetson's when they drafted their business plans.
  11. eG Cook-Off 75: Meatballs

    I really appreciate your thought process and sharing the steps with us. I've learned a lot from your experience and, as always, our discussions during these Cook-Off's.
  12. eG Cook-Off 75: Meatballs

    Well, after my depression over the sloppy presentation, (although the flavors were delicious), of the lamb merguez meatballs, I found success with a Japanese-style meatball. In the past year I got hooked on "Dining with the Chef" produced by NHK of Japan. It runs on one of our local PBS Stations and there are countless videos on YouTube. Their website provides lots of recipes with photo instructions. So the morning after the lamb merguez meatballs, I was sulking and then an episode of Dining with the Chef came on and wouldn't you know, they were preparing fried pork meatballs with vegetable tempura. The meatballs are very soft and delicate and so you have to go softly when rolling them in cornstarch and deep-frying. But they are very tender to the bit and have subtle flavors. I served a small dipping bowl of soy sauce, but it's not needed and too salty. Next time I'll just serve the meatballs with a wedge of fresh lemon like they do in the recipe. I don't think I've ever made tempura, which I know takes a lot of practice to get right. But using a boxed tempura flour and following the lead of Dining with the Chef, the tempura came out very good and I liked the sweet flavors of the asparagus and yellow zucchini with the meatballs. Definitely a meatball to add to your recipe collection.
  13. Rancho Gordo in the NYT... again!!

    Two weeks ago I was doing a private home cooking class teaching folks how to make meatballs and marinara sauce. The host went into her pantry and come out with this bag of beans. She asked me if I had ever heard of Rancho Gordo. What a wonderful moment. She had no clue I was a volunteer staff member at eGullet and didn't know the background of Rancho Gordo. I told her the story and then she asked me if I had ever made cassoulet. Then she asked me to do another private home cooking class on Cassoulet. How lucky can I be? She's ordering more of the cassoulet beans for our class and it will be wonderful to share the story with the other students. I'm getting started on the duck confit for the cassoulet.
  14. eG Cook-Off 75: Meatballs

    The Lamb Merguez Meatballs turned out to be delicious, but this photo doesn't do the dish justice. My tastes are typically on the mild side, but this batch could have used some more heat from the harissa and a few more chipotle chilies thrown into the mix. I was impatient at the store and couldn't find pita bread, so went with this flatbread I found. The lettuce was fine, but I also think thinly sliced cabbage with a quick pickle or vinaigrette might work better. It's eaten like a wrap, or imagine stuffed into a pita. So the meatballs are very good, but my presentation this time was meh. Here's the recipes: Cucumber Raita- 2 cups yogurt, (I used plain yogurt as I haven't acquired a taste for Greek yogurt) 1/2 a bunch of cilantro, chopped 1 tsp. cumin seed Juice of one lemon 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced 2 tbsp. each chopped mint and basil Salt and black pepper Mix everything together and chill. Harissa- 8-10 dried red chilies, seeds removed (I buy them at the Mexican grocery store and just use whatever I have on hand) 3 cloves garlic cloves, minced 2 tbsp. olive oil 1 tsp. ground coriander 1 tsp. caraway seeds 1 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. smoked paprika Salt and black pepper Reconstitute the dried chilies in boiling water and let sit for about 30 minutes. In a blender, combine the drained chilies, garlic, olive oil and spices and blend to make a paste. (I add some of the chili water to thin the harissa). Lamb Merguez Meatballs- 1 1/4 tsp. fennel seeds 1 pound ground lamb 1/2 pound ground pork 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 tbsp. harissa 1 chipotle pepper in vinegar sauce 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin 1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander 2 tbsp. chopped mint 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro 2 tbsp. chopped basil 2 tsp. lemon zest Salt and black pepper Olive oil Mix together the lamb, pork and all of the spices and seasonings. Form into meatballs. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and brown the meatballs, then into a 375 oven for about 25 minutes to finish.
  15. eG Cook-Off 75: Meatballs

    Funny you should post about the meatballer. I was just thinking the other day how my meatballs are more 'rustic' than round. I don't mind, but I'd love to have a tool like this when the more 'round' meatball shape strikes me. I'm finishing up the harissa sauce this morning to blend into my lamb merguez meatballs. I'll serve it with lettuce and cucumber raita, still haven't decided on pita bread or naan.