Valentine's Day

Crawfish Etouffee

July 24, 2011

Crawfish Etouffee

True confession…I have to confess that I used to be afraid of crawfish.  It all started when I was about 5 years old riding in the back seat of an Oldsmobile going fishin’.  There was an old Folgers’s coffee can on the back floorboard filled with live crawdads for bate.  Somehow the crawdads forced the plastic lid off the coffee can and began crawling up the seat toward me. I don’t think I have screamed that loud since then. 

INGREDIENTS

1/3 Cup Olive Oil

1/3 Cup Unbleached Flour

2 Cups Chopped Onion

1 Cup Chopped Celery

½ Cup Chopped Green Pepper

14 Ounces Chicken Broth

¼ Cup Sliced Green Onions

¼ Cup Fresh Chopped Parsley

7 Minced Garlic Cloves

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Bay Leaf

1 Pound Fresh Peeled & Cooked Crawfish

3 Cups Hot Cooked Rice

In a large skillet heat the 1/3 cup olive oil over a medium heat for 3 minutes.  Gradually stir in the flour until smooth.  Cook the roux over a medium low heat for 20 minutes until the mixture is dark reddish brown.  Stir frequently.  Next, add the onion, celery and green pepper.  Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes.  Keep stirring occasionally.  Stir in the chicken broth, green onion and parsley, garlic, salt and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat.  Simmer covered for 10 minutes.  Add the crawfish and cook until warmed through.  You can substitute crawfish with shrimp if you wish.  Just make sure that you use 1 ½ pounds of shrimp that has been peeled and deveined and cook until opaque.  Throw away the bay leaf and serve over rice.  Serves 6

Gelato Affogato

July 16, 2011

Gelato Affogato

Gelato Affogato means “drowned” gelato in Italian.  A coffee based dessert that consists of a scoop of vanilla gelato topped with a shot of hot espresso.  Some people also include a shot of Amaretto or dark rum.

INGREDIENTS

2 Pints Vanilla Gelato (or Ice Cream)

1 Cup Hot Espresso

3 Tablespoons of Amaretto or Dark Rum

Scoop the gelato or ice cream into six small goblets.  Stir together the hot coffee and liqueur.  Slowly pour the coffee over the gelato and serve immediately.  Serves 6

Chicken Scallopini

July 11, 2011

Chicken Scallopini

INGREDIENTS

1 Pound Skinless & Boneless Chicken Breast Halves

4 Tablespoons Unbleached Flour (Divided)

¼ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

¼ Teaspoon Chili Powder

½ Cup Chicken Stock

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

1 Tablespoon Drained Capers

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

One at a time, put chicken breast between two sheets of waxed paper and pound to ¼ inch thickness.  Combine 3 tablespoons flour, black pepper and chili powder on a shallow plate.  Dip the chicken breasts in the flour mixture and lightly coat both sides.  Combine the chicken stock, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon flour and capers in a small bowl.  In a large skillet heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil over medium high heat.  Put the chicken in the hot pan (in a single layer) and cook 2 minutes.  Turn the chicken over and cook another 2 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center.  Repeat with the remaining chicken and brush the pan with ½ teaspoon of the olive oil each time you add the chicken pieces.  This will prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan.  Stir the stock mixture and pour into the skillet.  Bring to a boil for 2 minutes until thickened.  Remove the chicken from the pan and pour the sauce over the chicken breast.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4

Steak Au Poivre

July 10, 2011

Steak Au Poivre

It is thought that Steak au Poivre descended from what is known as Steak Diane.  Some food historians believe that the origins can be traced to Leopold I of Germany in 1790.  There are quite a few chefs who claim to have created this dish in either Paris or Monte Carlo. This steak is covered with coarsely ground pepper before sautéing or broiling.  Steak au Poivre is usually finished either by topping it with a chunk of butter or by making a simple sauce from the pan drippings.  You can serve with mashed potatoes or pomme frites.  You most likely may find this dish in traditional French restaurants. 

INGREDIENTS

Four 1” Thick Strip Steaks

2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt

½ Teaspoon Black Pepper

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/3 Cup Chopped Shallots

¼ Cup Butter That Is Cut Into 2 Pieces

½ Cup Cognac

¾ Cup Heavy Cream

Salt & pepper both sides of each steak.  Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over a high heat and sauté the steaks (2 at a time) for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.  Transfer the steaks to a heatproof dish and keep them warm in the oven at 175° F. Pour out any leftover liquid from the skillet and lower the heat to medium.  Next add the shallots to the skillet along with 1 piece of butter and sauté for 5 minutes until cooked.  Very carefully add the Cognac and bring to a boil for 3 minutes until the sauce thickens.  The Cognac may flame so be careful.  Stir in the cream and the other piece of butter.  Heat through and stir constantly.  Serve the sauce over the steaks immediately.  Serves 4

Old Fashioned Peppermint Ice Cream

July 9, 2011

Old Fashioned Peppermint Ice Cream

In 1810 Peppermint Schnaps was invented by Paris candy maker, Francois Nicolas, to put on ice cream.  Apparently, Napolean’s wife, Austrian Marie Louise Duchess of Parma, took the recipe back to Austria where it became popular as an ice cream dessert as well as a drink. 

INGREDIENTS

4 Egg Yolks

1 ½ Cups Half & Half

1 Cups Sugar

¼ Teaspoon Salt

2 cups Whipping Cream

4 ½ Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Good Quality Crushed Peppermint Candy Pieces

In a heavy saucepan, whisk the egg yolks, half & half, sugar and salt.  Cook and stir over a low heat until the mixture reaches 160° F and coats the back of a metal spoon.  Remove from the heat and place the pan in a bowl of ice water.  Stir for 2 minutes.  Next, stir in the whipping cream and the vanilla.  Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the custard and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.  If you have time let it refrigerate overnight.  Remove from the refrigerator and fill the cylinder of the ice cream freezer 2/3 full.  Make sure to refrigerate any of the remaining mixture until ready to freeze.  Freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.  Stir in the peppermint candy pieces.  Pour into a storage container and place in the freezer 2 to 4 hours before serving.  Serves 8

Fettuccine Alfredo

June 20, 2011

Fettuccine Alfredo

Named by Alfredo de Lelio at his restaurant, Alfredo, on the via Scrofa in Rome in 1914 as a variation of fettuccine al burro (fettuccine with butter).  The dish became famous when Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks stopped in and fell in love with the dish while on their honeymoon in 1927.  To express their gratitude, they gave him a golden fork and spoon along with a photo of them eating in his restaurant.  Alfredo proudly displayed the photo on the wall.  Pickford and Fairbanks served his dish to their friends and associates when they returned to Hollywood.  Word about the new dish quickly spread.  In 1938 di Lelio retired and sold his restaurant.  The new owner kept the restaurant’s name, menu, traditional recipes, photos on the wall and everything else.  As of 2011 the restaurant is still in business under the name Alfredo alla Scrofa. 

INGREDIENTS

12 Ounces Dried Egg Fettuccine

½ Cup Butter (1 Stick) Plus 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter

½ Cup (4 Ounces) Grated Parmigiano- Reggiano Plus Additional For Sprinkling

2/3 Cup Heavy Cream

¼ Teaspoon Salt

¼ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

Cook the fettuccine in an 8 quart pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve ¼ cup cooking water and then drain the pasta in a colander.  Do not rinse the pasta.  Melt 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter in a 3 quart flameproof gratin dish over low heat.  Next, add the cooked pasta and toss to coat.  Add the cheese, reserved cooking water, cream, salt, pepper and the remaining 3 tablespoons thinly sliced butter. Toss to combine well.  Sprinkle with additional cheese and serve immediately.  Serves 4

Sticky Toffee Pudding

May 27, 2011

Sticky Toffee Pudding

This English steamed dessert consists of a very moist sponge cake that is made with chopped dates and covered in a toffee sauce.  Sticky Toffee Pudding is considered an English classic and is thought to have developed somewhere in the south of England and made accessible by The Gait Inn at Millington (East Yorkshire), England in 1907. 

INGREDIENTS

8 Ounces Stoned & Finely Chopped Dates

6 Ounces Boiling Water

1 ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

6 Ounces Self-Rising Flour

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

2 Lightly Beaten Large Eggs

3 Ounces Softened Butter (Plus Extra For Greasing)

5 Ounces Demerara Sugar

2 Tablespoons Black Treacle

3 ½ Ounces Milk

SAUCE

6 Ounces Muscovado Sugar

2 Ounces Butter (Cut Into Pieces)

8 Ounces Heavy Cream or Double Cream

1 Tablespoon Black Treacle

Preheat the oven to 325° F.  Butter and flour 6 individual ramekins or use a deep square baking dish. Put the chopped dates into a large glass bowl and fill with boiling water to soak for 20 minutes.  Once the dates are soft add the vanilla extract.  Sift the flour and baking soda into a medium bowl.  In a separate large bowl cream the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.  In small amounts at a time add the beaten egg to the butter and sugar mixture.  Mix well between additions.  Add the black treacle and beat well.  Now fold in 1/3 of the flour and then 1/3 of the milk and repeat until the flour and milk are all in the butter mixture.  Add the chopped dates including the liquid in the bowl and stir gently.  The mixture will resemble a thick batter.  Divide the mixture between the ramekins (or deep square baking dish) and place on a baking sheet and bake 20 to 25 minutes for the individual puddings or 45 to 50 minutes for the deep square baking dish.  The cake should be raised and firm to the touch.  Make sure not to over bake.  Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before turning out. 

To make the sauce: Over medium heat melt the butter, sugar and half of the cream in a saucepan.  Increase the heat slightly and bring to a boil while stirring constantly until all of the sugar has dissolved.  Add the treacle and allow the sauce to bubble for about 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 1 minute.  Now stir in the remaining cream.  

To serve place an individual pudding or a portion from the baking dish onto a warm individual serving dish.  Drizzle generous amounts of sauce over the pudding.  You can serve with either ice cream or custard.  Serves 6

Salmon Mousse

May 23, 2011

Salmon Mousse

Up until the 18th century, salmon was one of the most commonly eaten fish in Europe.  With the Industrial Revolution came the pollution of many of the rivers which effectively eliminated wild salmon.  These days most of the salmon sold in the U. S. and Europe is produced on fish farms.  I usually prefer to consume wild salmon and make a point to ask the origin when I am purchasing my fish.  This salmon mousse recipe is extremely versatile.  It can be used as an appetizer (sliced and served as is on small squares of toasts with a squirt of lemon juice); as a main course; served with cold asparagus; served with a tossed salad; and a “make-ahead” spread that can be served with crackers or toasted rye bread. 

INGREDIENTS

1 Pound Fresh Salmon

Bunch of Fresh Herbs

½ Pint Double Cream

2 Ounces Softened Butter

4 Ounces Dry Sherry

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

½ Ounce Powdered Gelatin

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Lightly oil a 1 pound loaf pan or a salmon mould.  Place the salmon in a buttered, ovenproof dish with the fresh herbs and cover with water.  Cover the dish with foil and cook for 20 minutes.  Leave the salmon to cook in the liquid, and then remove the skin and bones.  Reserve the liquid.  Pound the salmon flesh until smooth.  Lightly whip the cream and fold into the salmon.  Soften the butter and stir into the mixture together with the sherry and lemon juice.  Add the salt and pepper.  Measure 6 tablespoons of the reserved fish liquid into a bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top.  Set over a pan of hot water until the gelatin has dissolved.  Cool slightly and then beat into the mousse.  Spoon the mousse into the loaf pan or the mould and leave to set in the refrigerator overnight.  Turn out onto a serving plate to serve.  Serves 8

 

Strawberry Tart

May 3, 2011

Strawberry Tart

This is such an easy dessert recipe.  Feel free to substitute the strawberries with your favorite berry. 

INGREDIENTS

9 Inch Pie Crust

8 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese

1/3 Cup Sugar

2 Tablespoons Milk

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

3 Cups Washed & Hulled Whole Strawberries

Bake the pie crust until golden brown. If you are using a frozen pie crust then follow the package directions.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth.  Spoon the filling into the cooled pie crust.  Spread the mixture evenly in the shell.  Arrange the strawberries on top of the filling.  Some people like to arrange the strawberries with the bottoms up, but arrange however you wish.  Chill for 1 hour before serving.  Serves 6

Chocolate Waffles

March 28, 2011

Chocolate Waffles

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

2 Tablespoons Sugar

½ Teaspoon Salt

4 Separated Eggs

4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Cups Milk

Preheat waffle iron.  Sift flour, cocoa and baking powder into a medium sized bowl.  Mix in the sugar and salt.  In a separate bowl, mix together the egg yolks, oil and milk.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and gently combine.  In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites with a mixer until they form soft peaks.  Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter.  Next mix in the chocolate chips.  Ladle 1/3 of the batter onto the center of the waffle iron.  Close the top and cook until the waffle is crispy on both sides.  Serve immediately with the toppings of your choice.  Serves 6

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