Storm the Cassoulet

Grilled Bananas

grilled banana

It’s essential that you leave the skins on.

You want sturdy bananas/slightly green.

Leaving the skins on, cut each banana length wise and then again in half crosswise. Make a dessert rub consisting of cinnamon, sugar and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle the rub onto the cut sides of the banana and let sit for 5 minutes.

Grill them, cut side down, on a very clean cooking grate on medium-low direct heat just long enough to get grill marks, about 1-2 minutes.

Turn them over with a pair of tongs and move them to an area of the grill with indirect heat.

When the skin starts to pull away from the flesh of the banana, they’re finished.

Remove the peel and serve with vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, and a little sprinkling of the dessert rub. Serve with rum??

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Duck with Cherries and Red Wine Vinegar

duck

By DAVID TANIS

Classic French duck dishes, like Caneton aux Cérises (roast duckling with cherries) are for the most part considered too formal or just old-fashioned, relics from a bygone era. An updated version, however, can have great appeal. This interpretation uses a pan-roasted large Muscovy duck breast instead of a whole bird, as easy to cook as a steak. A pungent spice rub imbues it with big flavor. The sauce maintains some classic elements, like red wine vinegar and caramelized sugar, for a sweet-sour aspect, but fresh ginger and cayenne are added for more dimension and spark. Note: Muscovy breasts are quite lean and are best cooked rare to medium-rare (rosy); otherwise the meat will be dry.

TOTAL TIME

1 hour

Ingredients:

For the duck

2 Muscovy duck breasts, about 1 pound each

Kosher salt

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon allspice berries

4 cloves

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

For the sauce

1/4 cup turbinado or raw sugar

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup red wine

1 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Pinch of cayenne

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 pound ripe cherries, left whole or halved and pitted

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon kirsch or Cognac

Method:

Trim excess fat from duck breasts, leaving a 1/4-inch layer covering the breast. (Save fat trimmings to render and use for another purpose.) With a sharp knife, lightly score fat cover diagonally in two directions, taking care not to cut too deeply and expose meat. Turn breasts over and remove the thin tenderloins from underside. Trim away any veiny or ragged bits. (Save meaty trimmings for making stock.) Season generously on both sides with salt.

Pulverize the peppercorns, allspice berries, cloves, bay leaves and fennel seed in a mortar or electric spice mill. Sprinkle spice mixture over duck breasts; massage seasoning into meat on both sides. For more-intense flavor, do this several hours ahead or overnight and refrigerate (recommended). Bring duck to room temperature before cooking.

Make the sauce: Put turbinado sugar and red wine vinegar in a saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, until syrupy. Add red wine and chicken broth and simmer briskly until sauce coats spoon, about 5 minutes. Stir in ginger, cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside. You should have about 1 cup sauce. (Sauce may be made a day or two in advance, if desired.)

Place a wide cast-iron pan over medium high heat. When pan is hot, place duck breasts side by side, skin side down. Let sizzle gently for about 7 minutes, until skin is crisp and golden, turning down heat as necessary to keep from getting too dark. Turn breasts over and cook 5 to 7 minutes more. (Alternatively, finish cooking breasts in a 400-degree oven.) Check temperature frequently with an instant-read thermometer; internal temperature should be a bit less than 125 degrees. Remove breasts and let rest on a warm platter for 8 to 10 minutes.

To finish sauce, put butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add cherries and granulated sugar and cook for a minute or two, stirring, until cherries are heated through and beginning to get juicy. Add kirsch and cook 1 minute more, then add previously prepared sauce and bring to a simmer.

Thinly slice duck breasts at an angle and arrange slices on a platter. Spoon some of the sauce and cherries over meat and pass remaining sauce at table.

 

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Bacon & Egg Pizza

bacon egg pizza

Ingredients:

4 slices bacon, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

Cornmeal, for dusting

1 Pizza Dough, divided into 4 pieces, or

1 Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough, divided into 4 pieces

1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

4 large eggs

2 small scallions, thinly sliced

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Method:

Place oven rack on lowest shelf. If you have a stone, place it on rack. Preheat oven to 550°F, or your oven’s highest temperature, for 45 minutes.

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until still soft but beginning to crisp at edges, 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Generously dust a 14-inch-wide pizza peel with cornmeal. Flatten a dough ball on top. Using lightly floured fingers or a floured rolling pin, stretch dough into a 6- to 7-inch round. (Make sure crust slides around easily on peel. Add more cornmeal under pizza if necessary. ) Brush 1 tsp. oil over crust.

Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. mozzarella, then a quarter of bacon, another 1 Tbsp. mozzarella and 1½ tsp. Parmesan over crust. Gently crack an egg over center of pizza.

Carefully slide pizza onto stone, using a spatula to ease pizza onto stone without spilling egg. Bake until crust is slightly charred on top and golden on bottom (lift an edge to check), cheese has melted and egg white is cooked but yolk is still jiggly, about 6 1/2 minutes. While pizza is cooking, make 3 more using remaining ingredients. Bake remaining pizzas. Using peel, transfer pizzas to individual plates. Sprinkle with scallions and pepper, then serve immediately.

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