Friday, October 18, 2019

You MIght Just Eat the Whole Thing At Once!

That's because it's so good! Amy Traverso, who wrote the Apple Lovers Cookbook, came by Tonia's Kitchen with a fantastic fall recipe for Apple Pear Cobbler with Cornmeal Lemon Biscuit Topping. Amy told Tonia one of her secrets is to pre-bake the apples and pears for about 20 minutes while you're mixing the dough. Amy says that way everything will cook more evenly and just taste better. She says only rarely makes this dish, because she could probably eat the whole thing at once! That's how good it is.

Equipment: 3- to 4-quart Dutch oven or other deep baking dish with sides at least  3½ inches high

Makes: 8 servings • Active time: 45 minutes • Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

For the filling
2½ pounds (1.13 kg, or about 5 large) firm-tart apples
1½ pounds (680 g, or about 3 large) ripe pears, such as Bosc or Bartlett
⅓ cup (75 g) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ tablespoons (21 g) chilled salted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

For the topping
1 cup (145 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (170 g) cornmeal (white or yellow, not stone-ground)
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1½ tablespoons (21 g) chilled salted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup (240 ml) plus 2 tablespoons chilled heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 400ºF, and set a rack to the middle position. Peel and core the apples and pears. Cut the apples into ¼-inch-thick slices and the pears into ½-inch-thick slices. Put in a Dutch oven. Add the sugar, lemon juice, flour and butter, and toss to combine. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, the 3 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Sprinkle the butter on top and use your fingers to work it in, forming thin flakes. When the dough begins to look like cornmeal, add the 1 cup cream and stir with a fork until the dough just comes together. Gently pat out on a well-floured surface to a ¾-inch thickness. Use a biscuit cutter or juice glass with a 2- to 3-inch diameter to cut out biscuits, scraping and re-rolling the dough as needed. Chill the biscuits in the refrigerator while the fruit finishes the first round of cooking.

Remove the fruit mixture from the oven and give it a quick stir—it should look softer and a little glossy. Arrange the biscuits on top, overlapping slightly in concentric circles, brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons cream, and sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar. Bake, uncovered, until the top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling, about 35 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes, then serve warm.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Teaching Life Lessons to the Next Generation...and Fish

This next one comes straight from the heart, a grandfather's heart to his teenage granddaughter. Jacque Pepin, who wrote the cookbook, A Grandfather's Lessons' stopped by Tonia's Kitchen, to talk about how this cookbook can inspire generations to work together and create something delicious! Jacque told Tonia about the joys of working in the kitchen with his granddaughter, and how their different styles converged.  One recipe in the book, a simple, yet elegant Arctic fish char, that combines fresh salmon (skin on) with an easy to make fresh tomato puree. It's recipe both he and his granddaughter worked on together, and one you might want to try with your family.


1 ripe tomato (about 6 ounces), stem and core removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ tablespoons best-possible olive oil


1 Arctic char fillet (about 12 ounces and ¾ inch thick at the thick end)
1 teaspoon olive oil teaspoon salt

For the sauce: Place the tomato pieces in a blender and process for 15 to 20 seconds, until well pureed. Add the salt, pepper, and oil, and process for another 10 seconds. Set aside.
At cooking time, cut the fillet into 2 pieces. Rub the skin with the oil and sprinkle with the salt. Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over high heat for about 1 minute. Place the fish pieces skin side down in the skillet, cover, and cook over high heat for about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and continue cooking the char in the residual heat for about 1 minute.
Meanwhile, heat the sauce in the microwave until warm, about
1 minute. Divide it between two dinner plates, and place the fish skin side up in the sauce. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

A Better Gift for a Houseparty

Sometimes we lose track of time, especially right when we need as much time as possible.  It's a common occurrence, and seems to happen right when we're due for a fancy (or not so fancy) dinner party or brunch. Elizabeth Heiskell, who wrote the cookbook, What Can I Bring? stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about a super easy party gift that goes way further than the standard bottle of wine (not that there's anything bad about that!)  Elizabeth told Tonia she buys a variety of olives at the store and marinates them in both fresh and dried herbs.  Elizabeth then places them in a jar and refrigerates the olives.  It's a unique gift, and one that's sure to make your host smile!

  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 4 cups mixed black and green olives, pitted
Step 1

Cut 3 (1/4-inch-thick) slices from the orange; set aside. Squeeze the juice from the remaining orange to equal 3 tablespoons. Cut 3 (1/4-inch-thick) slices from the lemon; set aside. Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon to equal 1 1/2 tablespoons.
Step 2
Stir together the olive oil, vinegar, bay leaves, garlic, lemon juice, and orange juice in a small saucepan; cook over medium-low until just warmed, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the reserved lemon and orange slices, thyme, and rosemary. Let stand 20 minutes.

Step 3
Place the olives in a wide-mouthed 1-quart jar. Pour the citrus-herb mixture over the olives. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, and chill 2 hours. Shake the jar to redistribute seasonings before serving. Store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Sacre Blue! It's French Cooking Made Easy!

Let's face it, sometimes french cooking can be as complex as understanding the french language itself. Nate Collier from Le Creuset, stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about the motivation behind the book, and how they want to help fledgling chefs become better. Nate told Tonia the book aims to help foodies understand french cooking, and make it more relatable. One recipe, the classic Coq Au Vin, in this book, is a little more modern, with ingredients like sparkling win (instead of red) and dill.  This, he says, makes for a lighter, fresher tasting french chicken dish. Bon Appetite!

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 cups chopped bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • two 4 1/2-pound chickens, each cut into 8 pieces
  • 5 tablespoons brandy
  • A few sprigs of fresh dill, rosemary and parsnips
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 bottle sparkling win
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

  • For the glazed shallots and mushrooms

    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 12 ounces shallots
    • 12 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned
    For the burre manie?

    • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour


    For the 5 qt. Oval Dutch Oven
    Serves 6 - 8


    Heat the oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat on the stovetop. Add the bacon and onion and cook, stirring, until both are softened and then remove, draining well.

    Fry the chicken in batches until all the pieces are evenly browned, then return them all to the pan with the bacon and onion. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and add the brandy. Carefully ignite, standing well back until the flames subside, then return the pan to the heat.

    Preheat the oven to 275°F. Tie all the herbs into a bundle with fine string and add this to the Dutch oven with the garlic, tomato paste, lemon juice, sugar and sparkling wine. Cover with the lid and cook in the oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until the chicken is very tender.

    Glazed shallots and mushrooms:

    About 30 minutes before the chicken finishes cooking, melt the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and fry for 10 to 15 minutes until they are golden brown and soft; transfer to a plate. Add the mushrooms to the pan and toss so they are just cooked and colored.

    Buerre manie:

    Blend the butter and flour together in a small bowl. Remove a few pieces of the cooked chicken from the Dutch oven to make room to stir in the beurre manie. Add this in small amounts, stirring after each addition so that the sauce remains smooth.

    When all the beurre manie? has been incorporated, return the chicken together with the shallots and mushrooms. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle the top generously with the parsley and serve from the Dutch oven.

    Monday, October 14, 2019

    Ready For Halloween? This Year Try Pumpkin Toffee

    Just in time for the season too! Pumpkin seems to be in everything these days, from your favorite coffee to main courses.  But here's a simple, delicious and easy way to bring out the Pumpkin and enjoy Halloween.  Sally McKenney, who wrote the new cookbook Sally's Candy Addiction stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about her recipe for Pumpkin Spice Toffee.  It can easily be done on a stovetop, and the ingredients are simple. Despite that, it'll make Halloween party guests think you have your own candy making machine! Find out more on Sally's website

    1½ cups (149g) raw unsalted pecan halves, coarsely chopped
    1 cup (2 sticks; 227g) unsalted butter, cubed, plus more if using for greasing
    ½ cup (120ml) warm water
    1 cup plus 2 tbsp (225g) sugar, divided
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp light corn syrup
    1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
    6oz (170g) white chocolate, broken into small pieces
    ½ tsp ground cinnamon

    Special Equipment
    large baking sheet
    12 x 17-in (30 x 43cm) jelly roll pan or a similar-sized rimmed baking sheet
    silicone baking mat (recommended)
    3-qt (2.8L) heavy-duty saucepan
    pastry brush
    candy thermometer

    1 Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and a 12 x 17-in (30 x 43cm) jelly roll pan with a silicone baking mat or lightly butter or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the chopped pecans onto the baking sheet and toast for 7–8 minutes, or until very lightly browned. Set aside.

    2 Melt the cubed butter over medium heat in a 3-qt (2.8L) heavy-duty saucepan, stirring occasionally (about every 2 minutes) with a wooden spoon. Once melted, add the water, 1 cup (200g) of sugar, salt, and corn syrup. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves, then brush down the sides of the pan with a water-moistened pastry brush. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan, making sure not to let it touch the bottom.

    3 Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture to a boil. Rapid bubbles, a thicker consistency, and a slightly darker color form around 235°F (113°C). Stir lightly once every minute until the candy reaches 290°F (143°C; soft crack stage).

    4 Remove pan from the heat and stir in the pumpkin pie spice and 1 cup of the toasted pecans. Pour the toffee out onto the prepared jelly roll pan. Smooth into an even layer with a wooden spoon. The toffee should be thick and not spread all the way to the edges of the pan. Allow the toffee to cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle the top with white chocolate. Allow the white chocolate to soften and melt from the heat of the toffee, then spread the melted white chocolate into an even layer using a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the top with remaining toasted pecans.

    5 Quickly mix the cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons (25g) of sugar together in a small bowl. Sprinkle on top. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, or until white chocolate has set.

    6 Once set, remove toffee from the refrigerator. Cut, using a sharp knife, or break into pieces as large or small as you want.

    MAKE-AHEAD TIP: Store toffee in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks. For longer storage, freeze up to 3 months and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.