So, I should say that I am a bit embarrassed that it took me way too long to post this recipe, especially considering that the request came from a great friend that I had promised I would write it after an event and send it to him. Now that it is the frigid season in most of the world (it's like 62F in Monterey and I do indeed think that a few people may be firing off flares to be rescued in hills above Pebble Beach because they are "freezing to death") and I find myself getting ready to execute this recipe myself I remember, oh yeah, "You suck!”
For those that followed the toffee link: fear not and PLEASE do not waste your failed toffee! I will deliver you to caramel bliss with one word; cream. (I do miss Prince, even if just a little). But seriously; if your toffee fails you can easily turn it into caramel and store it for weeks in the fridge. I have never wasted a toffee fail. That being said - here is the toffee caramel recipe that you can use for Bananas Foster, coffee drinks, caramel fondue, or just sprinkle it with salt and eat it.
2 C Butter, salted
2 1/2 C Granulated Sugar
1/4 C Water
1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 C Cream
Extra Sea Salt if desired
Melt the butter on medium in a large sturdy pan with plenty of extra space, 6 to 8-quart size with high sides if you have one. The last step can be a bit dangerous otherwise. Once the butter is mostly melted swirl it up the sides of the pan. Now, pour the sugar into the middle of the butter, avoiding the sides. Dump the water and vanilla into the middle. Leave the heat on medium and gently stir the mixture - I used a heat resistant silicone spatula. Take your time here and ensure that the sugar fully dissolves, this will take at least 5 minutes. I used a candy thermometer this entire time and once the mixture was fully incorporated I let the heat start to rise to the "Confection Zone" (Highway tooooo theeee Confection Zone!) and set a timer for 5 minutes. I kept it between 240F and 250F the entire time and afterwards increased my heat to just under medium high.
You can get the thermometer out of your way if you like at the end of that five-minute period but continue to stir, just to keep the bottom clear. DO NOT stir vigorously, too much air will cool it, and screw it up. In five minutes or so, you will notice that as you stir up the bottom it is starting to darken and you can start to smell the toffee and butterscotch notes. Little wisps of smoke will appear and that signals that should have your heavy cream at the ready and grab your whisk. Let the caramel get dark brown, then add half of the cream. Keeps your hands back for a moment! The steam is intense and will burn you! As soon as the plume dissipates start whisking in the other half still being mindful of not burning yourself if the steam is too much at first. The mixture should come together, but if it doesn’t, don’t worry. Medium high heat and more whisking will smooth out any caramel chunks eventually. If need be, you can add more cream to bring it together (this happened once to me, probably a temperature thing – I am not a confectioner!)
So yeah, that’s it. Drizzle it on apple crisp a la mode, mix into spiced apple cider with brandy or apple vodka, or just eat it with a spoon and a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt. Cheers!
As promised to a few people, if not a few days later (sorry), here is the recipe for my stuffing/dressing for tomorrow. Cheers!
To begin, open a bottle of delicious SLH or Monterey County Chardonnay, to make sure it’s not corked and just in case your pan gets too hot and you need to deglaze. Or if you get thirsty, whichever comes first. Place cranberries in a bowl and pour 1 cup boiling water over them. Set aside while they rehydrate. Brown sausage in a six quart Dutch oven and break into small pieces. Add mushrooms and sauté until they lose at least half of their water. Add the butter, olive oil, onions, salt, pepper, sage, and celery. Sauté on medium high for two minutes before adding the garlic sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Deglaze with chardonnay at any point if needed. Next, add the stock and quinoa and bring to a boil for five minutes. Add the cous cous and parsley and then simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and add bread crumbs, cranberries, and walnuts. Toss gently and cover for five minutes before fluffing with a fork. Now it’s up to you, bake it in a Pyrex cake pan until the top gets crunchy and awesome, or stuff as much as you can in your bird. This recipe makes a little over a gallon so invite plenty of family and friends. This dressing was developed especially to go with both of Burgundy’s little darlings, so be sure to pick up plenty and enjoy your family the safest way you can; mildly inebriated.
Hopefully everyone is ready for thanksgiving and your bird is defrosted (don't be like me, mine is not even purchased! But then, I am hoping to get a fresh one - plus we only have 3 adults this year because well, I said so!). Now, once your bird is defrosted and ready to be seasoned you may have already added some salt. If you are a big fan of Cook's Illustrated , they actually recommend one tsp. per pound at least a day before as opposed to brining, which can leave the skin soggy - and who hell wants soggy turkey skin? Not this guy!
If you are in the know and have picked up you POULTRY not PALTRY rub from either Trio in Carmel or the Hahn Tasting Room in the SLH, then you are going to indeed have the best bird on the block*! The rub does contain some salt, so dial back your salt if you are going to use my rub spice blend. If you have a giant bird then you want to salt it 2 days prior if you can to really let the salt penetrate into the breasts and the thighs. This will help your turkey hold on to its moisture while you're roasting it. For smaller turkeys, chicken, or other dinosaur meat you can add the salt and the seasoning at the same time the day before or even the morning of on the little guys. The salt in the blend is relatively low, but is just right if you were just seasoning chicken breasts, thighs, Cornish hens...etc. So for my tastes I will be adding 1/2 tsp. of salt per pound for my turkey but may do a little less for a 3-4 pound chicken. The other things that I will do for my bird(s) is to loosen the skin from the meat and spread seasoned butter under the skin.
Here's how I did it for my roast chicken at La Paulée de Monterey this year at Wrath winery: I melted unsalted Kerrygold butter and stirred in my POULTRY not PALTRY with a little extra salt and then drizzled the melted butter between the meat and the skin, using my hand to squeeze it and move it around through the skin. I used the drippings and melted runoff to baste it while roasting. We started low temp and finished high for browning (when cooking a small chicken, you can break it down and throw it in a screaming hot skillet to really brown the skin - it doesn't suck...) Some sources call for your oven to be between 325F to 350F. I liked our results at 280F, but this will obviously increase the cook time so once again, if you have a giant-ass velociraptor in your oven, you may want to increase your temp a little more, or just plan up to 8 hours roasting time if it is a stuffed 30 pounder. I personally like my dressing with some crunch (and yes, I'll re-post that on here too from last year when I put it up on Hahn's website and served a version of it this last weekend at their Wine Club Party), so I just stuff my bird with veggies and thyme sprigs.
A quick example of how I am rolling my little gobbler this year: Turkey weighs 15 pounds. I will mix 2 tbsp salt with 2 tbsp POULTRY not PALTRY, then mix that into 1/2 C melted unsalted butter and rub that all over under the skin. Then I'll shove some parsley stems, carrots, fennel, thyme, celery, and onions into a very uncomfortable place; like the back of a Volkswagen ;) I'll slowly roast at 180F and plan about four hours. I'll actually warm my potatoes, green bean casserole, and dressing in there during the last 60 to 90 minutes. I'll pull the turkey and turn the heat up to 400F for 10-15 minutes - 5 of which will be preheating anyway - to let the dressing, green beans and potatoes get a good crunch going. Once I pull them, I'll increase my heat to 450F and then put my turkey back in fr 5-10, until it gets crispy on the outside, but has already started to rest and will not increase it's temperature dramatically at all. This will give it about 25 to 30 minutes of resting, while still serving it with good, hot skin.
Now, off I go to the store!
*Unless your neighbors are awesome and are also reading this; then you have to settle for a tie. Sorry.
I keep saying I need to get some new content up and then one day I fall into the trap that my laptop has set for me and here I am, two hours later! We had a very busy June and July and somehow completely blacked out for most of August it seems. For anyone reading this: I mean it when I say send me your questions. I actually make it a priority to answer those quickly! It gets me on our site and reminds me to fix stuff. So I guess what I'm really saying is that it's all YOUR fault I haven't posted in 3 months! I will get on here soon and really get some fun stuff going. Cheers! -DF
Makes 8 servings.
1 Jumbo Artichoke, trimmed, boiled, choke removed
4 “Baby” artichokes, cleaned, boiled in lemon water, chopped
1 Lb. local, fresh-caught fish, (such as rockfish, sole, or snapper in our area)
2/3 C fresh lime juice
1/2 orange or tangelo
2 Tbsp finely shaved shallot
1/4 C poblano or jalapeno pepper, de-seeded and finely sliced
1/4 C red bell pepper, finely diced
1 medium ear corn, fire-roasted
1/4 C loose fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 tsp. Seafood Salt for the ceviche
1/4 tsp. Chili Blend to dust the chips
3 radishes, thinly julienned
Tortilla Chips for service
Optional Avocado Artichoke Cream:
½ C Canned or jarred artichoke hearts
1/2 small avocado
¼ C sour cream, full fat (optional)
Dash of Valentina or Tapatio hot sauce
This recipe is obviously more about the artichokes than the spice rubs. We had a great time at the 57th Annual Castroville Artichoke Festival and even made artichoke lasagna for dinner on Sunday night - I'll get more into that in a minute. Now it's time to do as promised and post the recipe for the summertime deliciousness you see above. After all, it is a bit late but the family is fed and the kids are in bed! Great Success!
Ceviche is really quite easy: pick your ingredients, chop them all up the same size, "cook" the fish in lime juice, serve. Now the details. Use only the freshest fish, as in still floppin' around boat if you can get it! I used rock cod the first day and petrale sole this afternoon. I preferred the rockfish which was thicker cut and more firm. Te trade off, however, was that after 30 minutes it was cooked to a little past medium rare which may worry a few of you guests, but is actually perfect! The sole on the other hand was more like medium well after 20 minutes in the juice. I noticed 1/3C juice per half pound of fish worked well and cooked at a good speed.
I set the fish to marinade and then prepped my other ingredients (be sure to shock your artichokes in ice water to cool them off so they do not heat up your ceviche, gross). I keep the shallots separate and when my fish is almost ready I mix them in to let their flavor mild a little with the acid and after 3 minutes I drain off the excess lime juice. Then I squeeze in a half of an orange and half of a grapefruit, toss in the Seafood Salt and all of the other ceviche ingredients a gently mix it. At this point, if you want to put it in the fridge or on ice for 15 minutes that would be ideal - enough acid has been removed that it shouldn't over-cook. If you used sole, and it's already cooked then maybe just serve it - you don't want it to get chalky.
To offset the acidity of the dish a little I like a fatty, sour cream based sauce. Put the ingredients into a jar and use an immersion blender to make a smooth sauce and it's done super quick! I served mine with tortilla chips that I dusted in our Special Chili Blend; it was perfect on the warm day that we all enjoyed at the Monterey County Fairgrounds.
Maybe next year I'll share my Lasagna Bianca that I made up tonight: Italian sausage and ground veal cooked in a garlic cream sauce layered between pasta sheets and ricotta, provolone, mozzarella and of course lots of artichoke hearts! To finish it off and add a splash of color I served it with an artichoke and kalamata puttanesca sauce.Now with my belly full and this blog post done the Sand Man is coming! Cheers and sweet dreams!
Here's a question that was sent in from Christine in California:
Q: Hello Chef Dyon! This might be a silly question, but I've always seasoned my meat with salt and pepper in addition to whatever dry rub I use. I'm wondering whether each Chef's Palette seasoning has enough salt and pepper in it to cancel out the need for extra S&P? Thanks!
A: Not a silly question at all, Christine!
All of our rubs are unique and a bit different. When we release our full product line we will a quick "How to Use" on each jar that will address exactly this subject, but until then and even after I am always happy to give tips and information!
The Porcini Espresso Rub has next to no salt at all since it is meant to be used as a crust on prime rib, steaks or fish that has already been seared; or in the case of my prime rib recipe, pre-salted days ahead.
Most of the blends have moderate amounts of salt to allow you to brine your chicken or pork loin and still use the flavors provided. The two highest salt contents are the Burger Seasoning and of course the Fish Salt, which just use that same as a salt. My goal was to err on the side of caution with the salt so that you can add more if you like at the finish - but you wouldn't be able to take it away.
As far as pepper goes all of them have a good amount but you can always tweak to your tastes or uses. One example would be once again the Burger blend. When I use it on steaks I double up the black pepper if I am not finishing with the Chili Blend or Porcini Espresso.
Hope that helps and keep 'em coming.
Here is a list of our available Spice Blends that can be purchased at Hahn Estate's tasting room or by contacting me if you're local. We're still working on getting our co-packer sorted out so we can sell on Amazon - fingers crossed we have a date soon! -DF
Seafood Salt - This blend is sea salt with a three peppercorn blend, citrus zest, and herbs that compliments all your fresh seafood and perks up your vegetables as well!
Mighty Fine for Swine - It sure is! A perfectly balanced blend that loves make your pulled pork irresistible and your pork chops delectable and your ribs to die for with hints of maple and brown sugar and light on the salt so you can add more after you shred it!
Burgers-Steaks-Chops - This blend is great on the grill and is simply referred to as “the Burger Rub” by the inner circle who insisted that I sell it just so they could have this perfect, flavorful crust on all their burgers and steaks without owing me a case of beer!
‘Moroccan Your Socks Off?! - Well I will be when you put this blend on lamb, chicken, and vegetables as it brings you a taste of the bazaar! Not the bizarre; that would be bad.
Special Chili Blend - Originally a project to provide Butch Francis of Cowboy Sausage with the perfect chili blend, we have now found that not only does it make the best damn chili ever but it’s also great on flank steak, mixed with the seafood salt on fish tacos, on your juevos rancheros, or just about anywhere you want to add a kick in the pants!
Alda Love You Need - This exotic blend featuring juniper berries and orange zest is named for the actor that played my favorite gin swilling surgeon on M*A*S*H. My favorite use for this one is on braised pork belly with orange honey glaze.
Porcini Espresso Rub – First concocted in the mission to make the best Prime Rib ever (a smashing success BTW), this blend brings deep earthy tones to everything from salmon to pork rib roasts and of course a blue cheese and tobacco onion topped filet mignon!
Poultry Rub – Coming soon to a chicken near you - available for the first time ever at Hahn! Perfect for roasting any poultry it a special blend of herbs, peppers, salt, and citrus.
You know, like, maybe a pound, and she wondered what she could do with it that would be quick and delicious. No, I am not going to try to stick with the corny nursery rhyme gag; I'm just going to tell you how to make phenomenal lamb skewers in about ten minutes. Several people have fallen in love with my spice blend 'Moroccan Your Socks Off!? just by smelling it (myself included! that and the Special Chili Blend - I could just stick my face in them all day long!). Other's still have been lucky enough to be around when I throw some on the fire and serve them up with some fresh tzatziki. The lamb skewers are simple:
1 pound ground lamb
1 rounded tablespoon finely diced shallot
1 slightly rounded tablespoon 'Moroccan Your Socks Off!? a.k.a. The Lamb Rub
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 - 12 bamboo skewers if you like.
Combine all of the ingredients thoroughly. You can cook immediately or do in advance by a couple hours and let the flavors develop. Next, make 8 to 12 small balls and then flatten into oblong shapes. You can brown the lamb in a hot pan or on the grill. Either way, I recommend not fighting the skewers on their desire to burn on the grill by just not putting the meat on the skewer until its cooked. Then it's your call if you are serving these a a passed finger food (like the picture below that was taken at a friend's place last Easter) or maybe you just want to put them next to a fresh Greek salad and save your skewers for some other food that you want to watch fall off of them...
That's it for this one, but there are many other fun things to do with this spice blend: In smaller amounts it brings out the flavors in roasted or sous vide lamb without pushing the dish in a curry direction(I go really easy on the cumin and coriander), its awesome on chicken which a make a goat cheese bechamel to top that with and serve with cous cous and veggies. I'll post that up another day along with my Moroccan Ratatouille with herbed goat cheese - a ridiculously good vegetarian main course or side dish. Cheers!
So, I'll begin by saying that we will try to get a video tutorial up on this one soon if for no other reason that I would really like to make another batch of toffee.
For all my local peoples that made it out to The Valentine's Day Passport event: Thank you for coming out and supporting our local wine country and double thanks to everyone that came by Hahn to say hi and of course to everyone's favorite dirty old man, Butch Francis of Cowboy Sausage. Everyone got to sample our Chef's Palette Poultry Seasoning and some glorious English Toffee made by yours truly. A quick moment to brag, 20 pounds of toffee, first time ever - no sugar burns (oh, and mandolined over 1050 tomato slices for my main dish and still got all my fingertips! Not bad!)
We are currently buried under paperwork for permits, licenses, fees and all sorts of crazy packaging stuff to get the rubs out to the masses but stress not, gonna happen on a local scale and soon. (Plan to be at Pigs, Pinot & More in Salinas on Feb. 27th!)
Now, the reason you're here (probably, I don't know for sure you may appreciate my ramblings). I personally do not eat a lot of candy, but when I do, I kill some dark chocolate, toffee, or a combo of the two! I had a lot of pit falls on this and actually had to ditch two batches (I turned them into caramel - comment to get details on how to salvage your mess if it goes down like that for you, or new edit - click this link!). However, read thoroughly, and things should be okay. First I'll give you the rundown, and then some tips on the method because toffee is a fickle mistress but once you get it - you got it.
2 C Butter, salted
2 1/2 C Granulated Sugar
1/4 C Water
1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 C Chopped Almonds, Roasted
10 oz Melting Chocolate
Seriously, that's all. If your butter is unsalted, add a rounded teaspoon at the beginning with the water and vanilla. Start by buttering a 10x14 cookie sheet and sprinkling 2/3 C of almonds along the bottom. Any size cookie sheet should work, but please make sure it has sides as you will be spreading molten sugary butter goop all over and I really don't want to get an email from the burn ward on this one. Next, melt the butter on medium in a thick-ass pan. I used a Tri-Clad, some say cast iron, but you get the point. Once the butter is mostly melted swirl it up the sides of the pan. Now, pour the sugar into the middle of the butter, avoiding the sides. Dump the water, vanilla and salt if you need it into the middle. leave the heat on medium and gently stir the mixture - I used a heat resistant silicone spat. that worked great, some recommend a wooden spoon, but I noticed no variance in the product and actually found that the silicone cleaned better. Take your time here and ensure that the sugar fully dissolves, this will take at least 5 minutes. I used a candy thermometer this entire time and once the mixture was fully incorporated I let the heat start to rise to the "Confection Zone" (cue the Kenny Loggins!) and set a timer for 5 minutes. I kept it between 240F and 250F the entire time and afterwards increased my heat to just under medium high. By now your pan should be full of some weird looking foamy sugar substance that made me think of being a kid playing on a found couch in the middle of the woods. Where did it come from? Doesn't matter, it's our couch now and we're playing on it! It's a wonder we didn't all get lockjaw or tuberculosis or something...anyway, toffee, that's right.
You can get the thermometer out of your way if you like at the end of that five minute period but continue to stir, just to keep the bottom clear. DO NOT stir vigorously, too much air will cool it, and screw it up. In five minutes or so, you will notice that as you stir up the bottom it is starting to darken and you can start to smell the toffee and butterscotch notes. Now it's show time! get ready, you're only a minute or so out. Don't let it get too dark and look for little puffs of smoke as you gently stir. When its time, pour it over the almonds on the cookie sheet by scraping the bottom and pushing the toffee out from the back. Why? Well, I found that if you go from the front or middle then the stuff next to the bottom of that hot ass pan tends to get noticeably darker and in my second batch, it actually separated. I then settled the toffee by knocking it flat on a towel on the counter and popped any large air bubbles with the side of my spatula. Here's when some tell you to sprinkle chocolate chips on or smear a bar on the warm toffee. I didn't do either. I used Ghirardelli chips, 60% cocao because they're my favorite in other recipes such as chocolate mousse. I melted them in a pan over some simmering water and just spread them on when I was ready. However, my next batch I may try a bark or melting chocolate to see if I have less instances the chocolate splitting away when cut. Finish it all up by sprinkling with the remaining almonds and there you have it!
Humidity messes with the crunch. If it's humid in the kitchen, let the toffee set in a dryer area.
Use a paper towel to wipe off the surface of the toffee before dumping on the chocolate, that butter layer keeps the chocolate from sticking too..
Let it set up for at least 2 hours. If it's not set all the way it won't release properly from the pan to cut. Then you can break it or use a sharp knife to cut into squares.
Well, that's about it. I am by no means a candy maker or pastry chef, but I got a pretty good recipe and process going by third batch and thought I'd share some of the highs and lows of the whole experience.
It's now 2 a.m. and without a doubt time to turn off the computer and get some shut eye!
Please feel free to email or leave feedback.
So maybe you received one of these cool little packages in the mail or at the Hahn Estate Tasting Room but just could not quite get the energy up to do a standing rib roast all. day. long. No worries. This spice blend is no one trick pony!
Yes, it was originally developed for this one specific purpose years ago but here and there I tried it in a few other roles and then checked it out more frequently as this project started. The most important thing to remember about this spice blend is that it likes to stick to objects other than food if they have any moisture on them. It has tremendous flavor, but if you put it on the the protein or vegetables and then direct sear, most of that flavor will burn in the pan. The solution is actually as simple as it is delicious: Sear, then rub, then roast. If you have some beautiful salmon and a luscious Pinot Noir and wish to enjoy them both at the same setting then guess what? This rub is your best friend! Here is how you do it: pat the salmon dry and salt it, let it rest for 10 minutes and then get a pan smoking hot and splash in a bit of grape seed oil, seer until brown on one side and then sprinkle the rub on the RAW side that is facing you. Turn off the burner and flip. Season the nice browned side with the rub and finish in a 350°F oven for 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness and your personal tastes. Use a fish turner or other thin spatula to get under the salmon, because yes, some of the rub wants to stick under there, but it won't be burnt. Pork roasts are much the same as the beef, but I do often brine the pork first, then sear in a 450°F oven with the rub and fat already on it and then decrease the heat after 10 minutes. Cook until the probe screams out at 140°F and pull it. Let that rest for 10 to 15 minutes and slice, looks a bit like this. ^
You can do the same with a good, thick, steak burger, or a filet mignon ( excellent by the way, especially with herb butter and or Boursin). The key here is the process: sear, then rub and finish in the oven.
Have fun, and cheers!
Chef’s Palette Spice Rubs