About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer Fruits with Sauce Sabayon

In Italy, it's Zabaglioni, in France it's Sabayon, in America - well it's sort of like egg nog.  It all depends on what alcohol you use.  The variation of eggs, sugar and cream vary a bit but the end result in a rich custard type infused with your choice of booze.  But wow! It might be just the thing to guild the lily of  a mix of summer fruits in abudance right now but it has many uses.

We finished dinner last night with Alex's Sabayon.  It was perfect.

8 egg yolks
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbls fresh lemon juice
1 cup sherry
2 tbls brandy
1 cup heavy cream whipped

With hand or stand mixer, using the wisk attachment, whisk on medium speed, the egg yolks, salt, sugar and lemon juice until they are light, about 3-5 minutes.
Prepare a double boiler over simmering heat (remember, your cooking with steam, not boiling water, the bowl must not touch the water).  Add the sherry and brandy and stir the sauce constantly(this is easier to do with a hand held mixer) until the sauce it thick, 10-12 mins.
Cool the mixture covered. Whip the cream and fold into the sauce.


Pecan-Crusted Salmon with Sauce Gribiche

It might not be Malibu but everyone enjoyed the recipes I used from Alex Hitz's My Beverly Hills Kitchen  last night in my humble kitchen. The peacan-crusted salmon was so good accompanied by a velvety sauce gribiche.  It was very easy to create and made a lovely presentation. I also served his Silver Queen Corn Pudding since it's summer time and the corn is abundant.

Pecan Topping

3/4 cup whole pecans
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp dried dill
3 tbls salted butter, melted

1 (2 lb) boneless skinless salmon fillet
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 recipe Sauce Gribiche

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the pecans, garlic, salt, dill, and melted butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process them until they resemble coarse crumbs.

Season the salmon on both side with the salt and black pepper.  Spread the pecan mixture evenly on top of the seasoned salmon fillet and place the salmon on a large baking sheet.  Bake for 10-11 minutes, until it is cooked through but still rare, and the serve it hot with sauce gribiche.

Sauce Gribiche

2 tbls minced shallots
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 tbls capers
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbls red wine vinegar
2 hard boiled eggs
1/4 tsp dried tarragon
2 tsp chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped chives
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade combine all ingredients but the oils until fully pureed, then will the processor is running, add the oil slowly in a steady stream through the feed tube.

Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before using.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Prince of Cambridge Game Hens with Tarragon Champagne Burre Blanc

A cause to celebrate!  I'm always for that.  I hear the champagne is flowing and the British pubs are packed.  How I wish I were there to join in. Nothing like a baby to make you forget your trouble and marvel at innocence and hope.  I just happened to have a bottle of champagne and thought - why not?  So I toasted the tiny future King of England with champagne and decided to make something fit for a king.

Two Cornish Game Hens rinsed in cool water and patted dry
season cavity with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
insert 1 garlic clove, stem of tarragon and 1/2 lemon
rub hen with a neutral oil, such as, canola or grape seed
season liberally with Kosher salt & ground pepper
Roast on a rack at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees in the thickest part of the breast.

To prepare the sauce;

In a heavy saucepan over high heat, combine
1 large shallot
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup champagne

Reduce the mixture until it is thick and syrupy.  Reduce the heat to very low and add 2 tbls heavy cream, a pinch of salt and pepper.  The whisk in 8 tbls of butter, on tbls at a time until fully emulsified.  Remove from the heat and add 1 tbls chopped tarragon

Split the hens with kitchen shearers and serve with the sauce.

To the Future King!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Chocolate Espresso Sorbet

Two of her favorites are chocolate and coffee, so that's what I made for the birthday girl.  They pair well together in this surprisingly rich and refreshing frozen summer treat.  We sipped cold cucumber soup in antique tea cups and nibbled cheese wafers before eating heirloom tomato and goat cheese tart with an arugula and avocado salad dressed with champagne vinaigrette.  The sorbet finished the meal with a luxurious flavor.  The chocolate/espresso is rich but not like a dairy based treat and satisfies those cravings.  I served it again, last night for my 89 year old mother's birthday following her favorite shrimp and grits.
She loved it too! Thank's to Ina for this recipe and the tomato tart.
2 cups sugar
1 cup very good cocoa powder (Valrona or Pernigotti)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup brewed espresso (2 shots)or 2 tps instant espresso in 1/2 cup boiling water
1 tbls coffee liqueur
In a large sauce pan, mix the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.  Stir in 4 cups water and the espresso. Cook over low heat until ingredients are dissolved.  Off heat, stir in the liqueur.  Transfer to a plastic ontainer and refrigerate until very cold.
Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to directions. The sorbet will be soft, place in a plastic container and freeze for a few hours until firm enough to scoop.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Buttermilk Pie for the 4th of July

Half the nation is in extreme drought conditions.  I happen to be in the other half.  We're at the lake and going stir crazy, it's rained 15 inches this week and no one can get outside; no boating, tennis, golf or hiking.  Mildew is in the air and my eyelids are starting to puff. This is the biggest weekend of the year here and it's a bust this go round.  Fireworks, concerts and picnics cancelled.  Every one's house is packed with family and guests and, I expect, in spite of card games, jig saw puzzles and TV, happy hour starts pretty early.  Thankfully, we are invited to an annual big covered dish event by the lake where the host (one of my "Giants", see 5/9/13 post) prepares all the fried chicken, ribs, etc. and the guests bring everything else. It's an epic feast.  Despite the rain, she's determined to go on with the show with a bunch of tents.  It's required a great deal of effort and engineering.  Everyone is dressed in full rain gear and determined to get out of the house.  I've never seen so many people look happy to huddle under drippy tents and drink and eat.  The children are running around barefoot in the deluge in a reprieve from confinement. They are at that age where jumping in mud puddles is such fun so I jumped in one myself just to bring out my inner child.  Heck, who cares if you get wet today?
Usually, I make peach cobbler for the 4th but I changed my mind since I had some buttermilk left from the cucumber soup and the weather's too bad to get to the roadside stands to get peaches, if they're even open.  Buttermilk pie is one of my favorites and it is the definitive "easy as pie".

1 unbaked regular pie shell (not deep dish)
1/2 stick melted butter, slightly cooled
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbls all purpose flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a bowl, beat the eggs, then add sugar and flour and mix well. Add the melted butter, then buttermilk and vanilla. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until lightly browned on top.  Cool completely before serving. Garnish with whipped cream if desired.