Monday, February 27, 2012 a Roasted Pears with Chocolate & Olive Oil Valentine's Dessert

2 Bartlett Pears, Peeled, Cored, And Halved
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Water
1 Tbsp Melted Unsalted Butter
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 Tbsp Sugar
3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
4 Oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, Chopped
1/2 Oz. Amaretto Liqueur
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a bowl, toss the pears with the lemon juice, water, melted butter, and sugar. Roast them on a baking sheet until soft, about 35 minutes.

Bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan. Then, in a bowl, combine the chocolate, remaining butter, amaretto, and hot cream. 

Let stand for 1 minute and then stir with a spatula until smooth. Serve the roasted pears drizzled with the chocolate sauce and olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.

The finished sauce.


(I shared with my new roomies) a Crab & Corn Bisque Valentine's Date

I'm a little behind on posting but this was my lovely Valentine's Date Night, first here's dinner.

4 C Vegetable Broth
4 C Water
1-1/2 oz. Brandy
1 Medium Yellow Onion, Coarsely Chopped
2 Ribs Celery, Coarsely Chopped
1 Bay Leaf
½ tsp Dried Thyme
½ tsp Black Peppercorns
8 Tbsp Butter
4 Tbsp Flour
2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
1/3 Cup Dry Vermouth
2 C Corn
2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
1 C Chopped Green Onions, Green Parts Only
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Tabasco
½ lb Lump Crabmeat, Carefully Picked Through

Make the stock. Add the Onion, Celery with a little Olive Oil. Lower the heat and add the Brandy. Just let it cook and boil the alcohol away, Bay Leaf, Thyme, Peppercorns, and 4 cups of Broth & 4 Cups of Water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Strain the stock and discard the solids. Return the stock to a boil and reduce to about 2 cups. You can make this ahead and freeze it. 

Make a blond Roux by melting the Butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the Flour and cook, stirring constantly until Roux just begins to turn light brown. Add the Garlic and sauté until fragrant, about a minute. 

Whisk in the Vermouth and bring to a boil. Add the Stock and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Add the Corn and simmer 5 minutes more. Add the Cream, Green Onion, Salt, and Tabasco. Stir until smooth and bring back up to a simmer.

Add the Crabmeat and blend it in gently, so as not to break the lumps. Adjust the seasoning and serve hot.


Mine Yogurt-Marinated Beef Kebabs & Tzatziki

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Yogurt-Marinated Beef Kebabs
1 lb Greek Yogurt
1/4 C Olive Oil
1 tsp Lemon Zest
1/4 C Lemon Juice (2 Lemons)
5 Tbsp Rosemary, Chopped
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
2 lbs Beef, Cubed
1 Red Onion

Combine the Yogurt, Olive Oil, Lemon Zest and Juice, Rosemary, Salt, and Pepper in a large, non-reactive bowl. Cut the Beef in 1 1/2-inch cubes (you’ll have about 20) and add it to the Yogurt, making sure it is covered with the marinade. Cover the mixture plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to two days.

Heat the Grill. Cut the Red Onion in 8 pieces and separate each piece into three or four sections. Loosely thread three or four pieces of Beef onto skewers alternately with sections of Onion. Sprinkle both sides of the Beef cubes with Salt and Pepper. 

Place the skewers on the hot grill and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, turning two or three times, until the Beef is medium-rare.

14 ounces Greek Yogurt
1 Cucumber, Unpeeled & Seeded
1/4 cup Sour Cream
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Fresh Dill, Minced
1 1/2 tsp Garlic, Minced
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper

Place the Yogurt in a medium bowl. Grate the Cucumber on a box grater (or in your food processor, if you like to get things done in one hundreth of the time!) and squeeze the grated Cucumber with your hand to remove some of the liquid. (Pressing it in mesh sieve with a spoon to extract the extra water or wringing it in cheesecloth also work well.) Add it to the Yogurt along with the Sour Cream, Lemon Juice, Vinegar, Dill, Garlic, Salt & Pepper and stir. Serve with grilled pita wedges. Tequila Lime Chicken & Green Onion Slaw

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Tequila Lime Chicken
1/2 C Gold Tequila
1 C Lime Juice (5 to 6 Limes)
1/2 C Orange Juice (2 Oranges)
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 Tbsp Jalapeno Pepper, Minced
1 Tbsp garlic, Minced (3 cloves)
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
6 Chicken Breasts, Cubed

Combine the Tequila, Lime Juice, Orange Juice, Chili Powder, Jalapeno Pepper, Garlic, Salt, and Pepper in a large bowl. Add the Chicken Breasts. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat up a skillet and cook Chicken. Cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Green Onion Slaw
1 C Green Onions, Coarsely Chopped
1/4 C Red Wine Vinegar
2 Serrano Chiles
2 Tbsp Greek Yogurt
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 C Broccoli Slaw
1 Red Onion, Halved & Thinly Sliced
1/4 C Cilantro Leaves, Chopped

Blend Green Onions, Vinegar, Chiles, Yogurt, Salt, Pepper and Oil in a blender until emulsified. Place Broccoli Slaw and Red Onions in a bowl, add the dressing and stir until combined. Fold in the Cilantro and season with Salt and Pepper to taste. a Ratatouille Tart Date

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

14 oz Frozen Puff Pastry
2 Italian Sausages
1 Asian Eggplant
1 Smallish Zucchini
1 Smallish Yellow Squash
1 Longish Red Bell Pepper
1/3 cup Tomato Puree or Tomato Sauce
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Few Sprigs Fresh Thyme
1 C Goat Cheese, Crumbled 

Heat the oven to 375°F. Slide the pastry onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prick the pastry all over with a fork, at about 1-inch intervals.

Spread the Tomato Puree or sauce evenly over the pastry, leaving a one-inch border around the edges.

Slice and place the Sausage Spread throughout the Sauce.

Trim the ends off the Eggplant, Zucchini and Yellow Squash. As carefully as you can, trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube.

On a Mandoline (My new toy! Not a cowboy hat.), adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the Eggplant, Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Red Pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.

Arrange slightly overlapped slices of vegetables concentrically or in rows over the Tomato Puree or sauce, alternative vegetables. You’ll probably have a few leftover.

Drizzle vegetables with Olive Oil, season with Salt and Pepper and sprinkle de-stemmed thyme leaves over the vegetables.

Bake in the heated oven until the pastry is puffed and browned (including on the bottom), 25 to 30 min and the vegetables look softened. Slide onto a cutting board, sprinkle with the Goat Cheese, and cut into squares or strips. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cream of Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

The perfect meal for a sick day.

Cream of Tomato Soup
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 (28-ounce) Cans Diced Tomatoes, Drained, 3 Cups Juice Reserved
1 1/2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
4 Large Shallots, Minced
1/4 tsp Ground Allspice
2 Tbsp Flour
1 3/4 Cups Chicken Stock, Low-Sodium
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream or Cooking Cream
2 ounces Brandy
Salt and Cayenne Pepper

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450°F. Lined rimmed baking sheet with foil. Drain juice and set aside, spread Tomatoes in single layer on foil. Sprinkle evenly with Brown Sugar. Bake until all liquid has evaporated and tomatoes begin to color, about 30 minutes. Let Tomatoes cool slightly, then peel them off foil; transfer to small bowl and set aside.

Heat Butter over medium heat in large saucepan until foaming. Add Shallots and Allspice. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until Shallots are softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add Flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. Gradually add Chicken Stock, whisking constantly to combine; stir in reserved Tomato Juice and Roasted Tomatoes. Cover, increase heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors, about 10 minutes.

Add cream and warm over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in brandy and season with salt and cayenne. Serve immediately. (Soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Warm over low heat until hot; do not boil.)

Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

3oz. Cheese Cheddar, Grated
4 Slices (1/2 inch-thick) Delicious Bread
2 Tbsp Butter, Melted

Heat heavy 12-inch skillet over low to medium-low heat. Meanwhile, sprinkle a portion of Cheese over two Bread Slices. Top each with a remaining Bread Slice, pressing down gently to set.

Brush sandwich tops completely with half of Melted Butter; place each sandwich, buttered-size down, in skillet. Brush remaining side of each sandwich completely with remaining Butter. Cook until crisp and deep golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes per side, flipping sandwiches back to first side to reheat and crisp, about 15 seconds. Serve immediately. Fried Shrimp

This was a special Birthday request and he helped make it! Which is a good thing because otherwise we would have had a lot of over fried shrimp. Like any good cook I googled 'Fried Shrimp' and picked the first one that said something about Louisiana or New Orleans. Here's what we found: Cooking Louisiana - Fried Shrimp

This recipe will fry about 2 doz. shrimp.

Shrimp Preparation
De-Veined Shrimp, wash and keep cool.

Wet Mix
2 Eggs
2/3 C Milk
1 Tbsp Creole Seasoning (Tony's)
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Hot Sauce (Frank's)
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Black Pepper.

Put shrimp in liquid mix. Mix it all up and marinade it for 30 or more minutes in the ice box. (Does anyone else think that is an adorable term, definitely beats 'refrigerator'.) 

Dry Mix
2 C Fish Fry
3/4 C Flour (we forgot to buy Cornstarch)
2 Tbsp Creole Seasoning (Tony's again)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Cayenne
1 tsp Lemon and Pepper Seasoning
1 tbs. Dried Parsley

Dredge the Shrimp in the Dry Mix and let sit a minute or so moving them around just a little.

Use peanut oil, about 2" in the pan depending upon the pan depth. Heat to 375ºF (Hot Oil will burn you badly, be careful). Place Shrimp in the Oil a few at a time leaving at least a 1/2" space between pieces. Stir them around every 10 seconds or so.

Cook them about 3 minutes. Watch the bubbling to judge the doneness. Let them fry until they bubble lightly. If they quit bubbling completely they're overcooked. Remove the shrimp and place on paper towels. Taste one once they're cooled a little to see if you need to add any seasoning. Transfer them to another pan with more paper towels and cover with paper towels. 

Let the Oil come back to 350ºF for the next batch! Remember, the Oil cools as you cook. Don't forget the thermometer! (A lesson learned with some ruined fudge.)

This is the full meal. Zucchini & Asparagus Salad with Lemon & Olive Oil Dressing. Boiled & Smashed Red Potatoes, Butter with Salt & Pepper.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 a Special Birthday Trip

I took a trip last weekend to celebrate my boyfriend's birthday here's a few little treats we got or made over the last few days.

 Homemade Fried Shrimp, Birthday Dinner 
(Recipe to Follow)

Birthday Leftovers Scramble

Back to the grey!


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