Spiced Raisin Blondies with Chocolate and Walnuts

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Anything Ina Garten creates is nothing short of perfection. So, we took her lead in developing our very own favourite blondie recipe studded with Spiced Raisin Marmalata that honours the classic Moroccan spice blend of Ras al-Hanout – smoked cinnamon, rose petals, cumin and cardamom – rich, dark chocolate and hazelnuts.

Makes 48 generous portions

Ingredients

1-pound quality unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 cup granulated sugar

4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon Tangier blend (No. 23) from La Boîte NY

1½ teaspoon kosher salt

3 cups chopped hazelnuts (or, walnuts)

1¼ pound dark or semisweet high-quality chocolate – cut into uneven chunks

8 oz. Spiced Raisin Marmalata from Le Bon Magot® - drained (reserve the syrup for another time)

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 x 12 x 2-inch baking pan.

2. With an electric mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on high speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.

3. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, and mix well, scraping down the bowl.

4. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, Tangier blend and salt.

5. With the mixer on low, slowly add flour mixture to the butter mixture.

6. Fold the nuts, chocolate chunks and drained spiced raisins in with a rubber spatula.

7. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30 minutes. Ina’s top tip: don't overbake because you want a chewy, gooey result!

8. Cool completely in the pan and cut into bars.

9. Store in an airtight container.

Serving suggestions: once cooled serve them with coffee, warm milk or hot chocolate. If serving warm, pair with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Saratoga Lamb Chops with Eggplant Confit and Roasted Spring Asparagus

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Lamb chops with bold, complex flavors but simple to execute without spending hours over a sweltering stove this summer! Paired with young asparagus but choose your favorite vegetable….

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

4 Saratoga lamb chops* or loin chops
Kosher or sea salt – to taste
Cracked black pepper – to taste
6 tbsp. olive oil
16 fresh green or purple asparagus spears
Meyer or eureka lemons
1 8oz. jar of Le Bon Magot® Brinjal Caponata – Aubergine with Cumin & Curry Leaves

*(note: Saratoga Lamb Chops are boneless chops cut from lamb shoulder, rolled and tied into flat rounds. If you cannot find Saratoga Lamb Chops, bone-in lamb loin chops will offer an equally delicious result.)

Preparation

Generously salt and pepper both sides of each lamb chop.

Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet.

Place 2 chops in the pan (or whatever number your pan can accommodate without crowding). Make sure the pan is hot prior to placing the chops.

Sear the lamb chops – approx. 4-5 minutes each side. Taking care not to move them, allowing them to sear and develop a slightly charred but flavorful crust.

Remove chops from pan and let them rest but keep warm.

For the asparagus, set oven to broil.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Cut the ends of the asparagus and discard.

Toss the asparagus in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until well-coated. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper and lay asparagus in one layer on the baking sheet.

Put the baking sheet in the oven approximately 3-4 inches from the broiler. Keep an eye on the asparagus! It will only take 3 minutes or so to cook. You are looking for a golden-brown color on the tips and the stems.  Remove from oven once you see the golden-brown color develop.

Plating and Serving
Plate the asparagus and the lamb chops next to each other. Spoon the Le Bon Magot® Brinjal Caponata generously over the chops.  Using a microplane, zest the lemon over both the lamb chop and the asparagus.

This dish is so versatile, it can be accompanied with polenta, Israeli couscous, orzo or roasted potatoes-your choice.

2015 Williams Seylem Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir or a Syrah are the Chef’s choices for wine pairings. 

Sautéed Fingerling Potatoes with Eggplant Caponata

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Recipe courtesy Jehangir Mehta

Makes 10 servings

2 pounds fingerling potatoes, scrubbed (if you can't find fingerlings, try baby Yukon Gold potatoes)
¼ cup grapeseed oil
1 ½ teaspoon of Gochugaru or Korean chili flakes
1 jar of Le Bon Magot® Brinjal Caponata
1 large scallion – chopped into fine rounds or shred
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
1 teaspoon finely chopped mint
sea salt and freshly ground pepper – to taste

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil. Toss in potatoes and cook over moderate heat until lightly golden. Add Gochugaru and seasoning. Then, toss some more. Add the cut or shredded scallions and allow them to warm through and wilt.

Remove from stove and arrange on platter with flat side of the potatoes facing upwards. Dollop small teaspoons of the Caponata onto the potatoes. Finish with a final flourish of fresh coriander and mint, should you so desire.

Variation:
Prepare hummus as instructed and thin with the Tehina sauce (see Recipes page) to the point you can fill and squeeze out of a condiment squeeze bottle. Using the bottle, squeeze the hummus mixture onto the potatoes after step 4, then complete steps 5-7.

Brûléed Scallop Ceviche Salad With White Pumpkin Vinaigrette

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Recipe by Jehangir Mehta

Makes 2 servings

Dressing:
2 tablespoons Le Bon Magot® White Pumpkin and Almond Murabba
1 Thai green chili
1 teaspoon granary mustard
1 tablespoon sheep milk gouda cheese
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
sea salt – to taste

Salad:
6 large scallops (coral or roe removed), thoroughly washed and dried
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 teaspoons of white caster sugar or granulated sugar, to sprinkle and brulée
under ¼ pound of butterhead or Bibb lettuce – leaves washed
zest of ½ lemon, julienned
2 tablespoons of sliced, toasted almond
fennel fronds

Combine all the ingredients of the dressing in the blender and blend until it is a fine, thin purée. Put aside and rest while preparing the scallops and salad leaves.

Thinly slice (1/8 inch) or shave the scallops after all excess water has been removed and they are completely dry. Lightly brush each scallop slice with olive oil. Then, sprinkle a small amount of sugar on each slice and brulée the top. Set aside.

Dress the salad, ensuring that the leaves are evenly coated. Sprinkle with fennel frond, toasted almonds and divide into two equal portions. Add the scallops.

Sprinkle with a final flourish of fleur de sel.