Caesar Salad

Photograph by Mike Arrison
In my short time on this planet, I have yet to find someone who doesn’t like caesar salad. The salty dressing with crunchy romaine, delicious! The very well known restauranteur, Stephen Starr is famous for his different versions of Caesar- either spiced cashews with wonton crisps from Buddakan or a Parmesan crisp with a classic dressing from Continental. Since he took this delicacy off of the menu at Continental, I decided to honor it by creating my own. Not only is this salad extremely tasty, but the fabulous presentation is bound to make a great impression on anyone that you're making it for.
First, I replaced the Parmesan crouton, with a Parmigiano Cup. For some extra crunch, I made some delicious baked croutons with baguette, olive oil, salt and pepper. I replaced the classic dressing with some anchovy paste- for the salty bite, mustard- for tanginess, egg yolk- for richness, fresh lemon juice and zest- for citrusy zing, as well as some Parmigiano. My trick with the dressing is to add water, this will help to coat the leaves of romaine without overwhelming them.

Caesar Salad
Yields: 4 Servings
Romaine lettuce, hearts
1 demi baguette
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
3/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1 egg yolk
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/4 tablespoon anchovy paste
1 tablespoon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Place the egg yolk, lemon juice and zest, anchovy paste, mustard, garlic and water into a food processor. Pulse until ingredients are combined. Slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube while pulsing. Finally, add the grated cheese, salt and pepper, then pulse until combined.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the romaine hearts into small bite-size pieces and set aside. Slice the baguette into small chunks the size of a crouton; toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the baguette pieces onto a baking sheet and place in the oven for 12 minutes; toss every five minutes.
Meanwhile, place the finely grated cheese onto a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spread it into four thin circles, and bake them in the oven for four minutes. The cheese will be slightly brown and bubbly. Remove the cheese from the oven and let cool for one minute. Carefully remove it from the baking sheet with a spatula, and stuff the circles into a muffin pan, creating cups. Let that cool. Immediately before plating, toss the romaine pieces with enough dressing to coat.


Peach Raspberry Streusel

Photograph by Mike Arrison

Dessert can either be incredibly complicated with a dish like crème brûlée, or as simple as deliciously ripe fruit. In my opinion, the simplest ingredients, when altered correctly, create the most appealing combinations. I created this recipe when compromising on a dessert for my boyfriend. He loves rich desserts; fudge, pie, crumb cake. Where I would rather have fruit and cheese, or pass on dessert altogether. My compromise, was delicious fruit combined with a rich streusel.

Late Spring is the ideal time to buy some of the most delicious fruits. Peaches, strawberries, and raspberries when combined create a great combination of sweet and tart. Especially when combined with citrus zest and juice. My streusel recipe doesn’t leave much room for improvement, it is buttery and sugary. When baked, it creates an excellent textural contrast against the softened fruit.
Macerated Fruit with Streusel
Yields: 4 Servings
Macerated Fruit
4 peaches
1 quart of raspberries
1 pint of strawberries
1 lemon
1 orange
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar (light or dark)
1 cup of flour
1 stick of butter, softened
Pinch of salt
One hour before baking, slice the peaches into tenths and strawberries into sixths; place them into a bowl along with the raspberries. Zest both the orange and the lemon, placing them into the bowl as well. Juice one half of the lemon and one half of the orange into the bowl. Sprinkle the fruit with 1/2 cup of sugar.
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Place the sugar, brown sugar, flour and salt in a bowl and mix to combine. Then, place the softened butter into the bowl and mash with a fork until it is completely combined; it will form clumps. Place the fruit into four ramekins (or one large baking dish) and crumble the streusel topping over the top of the fruit. Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon over the top. Place the ramekins into the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the tops are slightly brown and the fruit is bubbling.