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THE CALIFORNIA COOK

Straight from the farm

September 22, 2004|Russ Parsons | Times Staff Writer

3. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until they form a ribbon that holds its shape when the beater is lifted from the mixture, about 1 minute. Stir into the coffee mixture and cook over low heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into a bowl and place in a larger bowl filled with ice water. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.

Figs in red wine and lavender

1 cup young, fruity red wine

1/3 cup honey

1 sprig fresh lavender

3/4 pound fresh figs (about 16)

or 16 dried figs, stems

removed

1. Simmer the wine over low heat for 20 minutes to cook off the alcohol and soften the wine. Do not let it boil. Dissolve the honey in the wine and add the lavender.

2. Cut the figs into quarters and add to the wine mixture. Poach gently just until softened and warmed through, 4 to 5 minutes for fresh figs, 10 to 15 minutes for dried. Remove from the heat and cool. Makes about 2 cups of sauce.

Assembly

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

Coffee ice cream

Figs in red wine and

lavender

1. Spoon a few tablespoons of whipped cream into each ice cream dish. Place a scoop of ice cream on top. Spoon one-fourth cup figs and sauce over the ice cream, dividing the figs evenly among the bowls.

Each serving: 469 calories; 7 grams protein; 57 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 21 grams fat;

12 grams saturated fat; 213 mg. cholesterol; 78 mg. sodium.

*

Red mustard greens, pancetta and golden beet salad

Total time: 1 hour

Servings: 4

Note: From Echo. Substitute a good-quality white wine vinegar for the Chardonnay vinegar, if unavailable. Look for young red mustard greens at farmers markets. Green mustard greens can be substituted. Tear greens into bite-size pieces to make 3 cups.

3 medium golden beets or

6 baby beets

1 cipollini onion, sliced thin

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided,

or to taste

1 tablespoon Chardonnay

vinegar

1 teaspoon plus

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

4 slices pancetta (about

4 ounces)

3 cups young mustard greens

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground

pepper, or to taste

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the beets and place them in a small casserole with a cover. Add about one-half inch water and roast until the skin easily slips from the beets. (Baby beets will take approximately 20 minutes; larger beets may take an hour or longer.) Remove the beets from the oven and, while still warm, remove the skin. Cut into one-fourth-inch-thick slices. Set aside. (This step can be done the day before -- the beets will actually grow sweeter if left in the refrigerator overnight.)

2. Place the onion in a nonreactive bowl. Sprinkle with one-fourth teaspoon salt and the vinegar and stir to coat. Let rest 1 hour.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the pancetta and cook over low heat until it starts to turn crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels and cool slightly. Cut into one-half-inch pieces and set aside.

4. Combine the beets, onions and greens in a salad bowl. Toss with the remaining one-fourth teaspoon salt, one-fourth teaspoon pepper and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to lightly coat. Taste; adjust seasoning. Divide among 4 plates and garnish with the pancetta.

Each serving: 159 calories;

5 grams protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 13 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 8 mg. cholesterol; 480 mg sodium.

*

Cured pork tenderloin with rosemary, bay laurel and roasted shallot broth

Total time: 1 1/2 hours, plus brining

Servings: 8

Note: From Echo

Brined pork

1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin

1/4 cup salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 quart lukewarm water

1. Trim the silverskin from the tenderloin. Place the pork in a glass baking dish. Dissolve the salt and sugar in the water and pour it over the pork.

2. Refrigerate the tenderloin overnight for fullest flavor, or let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Roasted shallot broth

3/4 pound shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (about 2 1/2 cups)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups water

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the shallots with the olive oil. Scatter the shallots in a stainless steel, glass or ceramic baking dish (do not use aluminum, as this will discolor the shallots) that is large enough to accommodate the shallots in a thin layer. Roast until the shallots are a rich caramel color, about 40 minutes. Check during the end of the cooking time; do not let them burn.

2. Transfer to a saucepan and add the water. Simmer until the brown of the shallots colors the water, about 30 minutes. Taste the broth -- you may need to add a small amount of salt.

Spice powder and assembly

1 large stalk rosemary (leaves stripped, woody parts discarded)

4 bay leaves, fresh or dried

1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

1. Grind the rosemary leaves, bay leaves and peppercorns in a spice grinder (or a coffee grinder dedicated to spices) until they become a fine powder. Remove the pork from the brine and pat it dry with a clean towel. Rub the spice powder over the entire surface of the meat.

2. Grill the pork over a medium fire until it reaches about 145 to 150 degrees (for medium) on a meat thermometer, about 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Slice the meat on the diagonal one-fourth inch thick. Serve with the roasted shallots and broth spooned over the top.

Each serving: 179 calories;

19 grams protein; 10 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber;

7 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 50 mg. cholesterol; 478 mg. sodium.

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