" /> I taste: August 2005
Curmudgeonalia
I see I taste I write Links What?
August 28, 2005

Crab Cakes ala BHG

(as Hors doeuvres. Make more for an entrée.)
This "ancient" recipe comes from Better Homes & Gardens. It is one of the best I have seen and used for Crab Cakes.

Ingredients:
6 oz. cooked crabmeat (fresh, frozen, canned)
1 beaten egg
½ cup finely crushed potato chips
2 tbsp. shredded coconut, roasted
2 tbsp. finely chopped green onion
2 tbsp. Hellmann’s mayonnaise
1 tbsp. fresh snipped parsley
½ tsp. ground coriander
2 tbsp. cooking oil
Shredded lemon zest, optional

1 recipe Herb Sauce:
¼ cup Hellmann’s Mayo
1 tbsp. snipped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. finely shredded lemon zest, optional

Sauce:
Mix all together, well, in small bowl and chill for at least 1 hour. Top with additional lemon peel if desired.

Crab Cakes:
Cut crab meat into bite sized pieces; thaw and cook if necessary; drain and remove cartilage from canned . . . . whatever !

In medium mixing bowl combine egg, 1/4 cup of the crushed potato chips, coconut, green onion, mayonnaise, parsley and coriander and mix well. Shape into eight, 1/2 inch patties and roll to coat in remaining potato chips. (Larger patties and longer cooking time for entrée.)

Cook over medium heat until golden, crisp, and heated thru, adding additional oil if necessary.

Serve hot with sauce.


Posted by respeto at 10:35 AM

Chipotle Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:
10 large eggs
¼ cup finely minced onion
¼ cup finely minced, cooked ham
2 tbsp. country Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. Hellmann's Mayonnaise
1 tsp. chipotle or cayenne pepper
½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
½ tsp. salt.

With needle pierce large end of each egg to depth of 3/8th inch (which helps to center the yolk). Place eggs in large kettle with at least 2 quarts of water. Bring to rolling boil over medium heat, remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 18 minutes. Meanwhile, mince onions and ham.

Peel and halve eggs and remove yolks. Combine ham, mustard, mayonnaise, pepper and salt with 6 of the egg yolks. Blend with fork and form into small round balls, using a measuring or melon baller, and place balls into egg halves. When finished, sprinkle with a little extra chipotle pepper.

Posted by respeto at 10:33 AM

Baking potatoes

For quick potatoes, pierce with a fork--once on each side--microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove, wrap tightly in foil, transfer to a warm oven for another 5 minutes. More than one potato usually takes an extra 2-3 minutes per spud.

But, for killer ones I have two suggestions:

1.) Butter lightly and cover heavily with coarsely ground sea salt. Bake for 1 to 1 ¼ hours at 350 degrees in a pre-heated oven. A potato nail or skewer will assure you of better results, and if doing a couple at a time it makes them easier to handle.

2.) Slice Idaho or other white potato into 1 inch slices, crosswise (discard the tip ends.) In a bowl with extra virgin olive oil, lots of garlic salt and a little garlic pepper (well mixed), coat the slices well and place on a baking sheet, separated slightly, and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes on one side, turn slices over and bake the other for 10-20 min, until nicely browned and done thru.

Yams, or sweet potatoes done this way are "to die for." Much better than mashing them up with butter, brown sugar, marshmallows and all of that crap. Lower in calories, too.

Posted by respeto at 10:31 AM

Cooking flour

When using all purpose flour in a sauce you must cook it for at least 5 minutes or it will not taste as it should. When beginning a sauce, heat the oil (or butter or lard), then add the flour slowly, whisking vigorously to be sure it is fully incorporated. (And speaking of whisks, a flat one works best.) If trying to brown a sauce, do not use too high a flame and do whisk near constantly. For a truly rich looking, mahogany sauce, use lard.
Once the fat/flour are cooked to your satisfaction, THEN add the liquid. Only a little at first, being sure that the flour mixture is fully incorporated. Too much volume will prevent it, since it moves around the whisk rather than thru it. If adding cups of liquid, once the sauce is relatively thin and well incorporated you can add the rest of the liquid at one time.

If you want to thicken something quickly with flour use Wondra. (a micropulverized flour sold in a cardboard can at virtually all stores.) It incorporates more easily and cooks more rapidly, though it tends to cook back to thin if cooked for too long. Alternatively, you could use cornstarch or arrowroot, but remember that these make your sauces shiny, whereas flour gives you the "gravy-dull" which one usually associates with meat, chicken and fish sauces.

Another "special" tip: if adding flour to thicken, especially late in the cooking process, you can use a small lidded cup (or cocktail shaker,) add a little liquid and the flour and shake vigorously to suspend it. Be careful, though, to hold the lid on tight and uncap it carefully. For reasons I do not understand the mixture is "explosive" and will literally "blow out" of the container all over your counter and/or stove. If you use the hot liquid from the stew or soup you are cooking, allow it to cool a little, the mix is even more explosive if you use hot liquid.

Posted by respeto at 10:28 AM

August 17, 2005

Sherry, Morel Sauce

(A fantastic treat, and well worth the minimal trouble)
Makes approximately 1 cup

7/8 oz. dried whole morels
3 T. cold, salted butter
¼ oz. minor's base of choice (depending on what you plan to serve it with, or a slightly rounded tsp. of bullion granules/or 1 cube, etc.)
2 shallots, peeled and finely diced
1 T tomato paste
½ c. dry vermouth
½ c. sherry
3 T brandy
1 t. chopped fresh tarragon or ½ t. dried leaf tarragon
salt & pepper
½ c. heavy cream

Soak the morels in ½ cup warm water for 1-2 hours. Drain and squeeze out the excess water and air dry for 30-60 minutes, between dry paper towels.

Melt 1 ½ T butter in saucepan and cook briefly, with base or bullion. Stir in the shallots and tomato paste and cook together for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add vermouth, sherry and brandy; flavor with salt, pepper and tarragon. Bring to a boil and simmer a few minutes, then strain thru a fine sieve into a second pan.

Add the soaked, drained morels and the cream and boil the liquid until reduced to a thick creamy consistency. Incorporate the remaining butter into the mixture, stirring constantly. (You may have to add 1-3 t. flour or cornstarch to get the consistence and finish you desire, but leave it till last to be sure.)

To serve, plate sauce and place warm meat on it. Serve with green vegetable or green pasta and garnish with parsley or mint.

This is fabulous with lobster medallions, but is great for filet mignon, chicken breasts, etc. It is also unique as a pasta dressing for a meal in itself (in which case you want to use minor's mushroom base.)

Posted by respeto at 4:33 PM

Creamy Carrot/Ginger Soup

(serve hot; serves 8)

6 large carrots (about 1 lb) peeled and sliced crosswise
2 celery stalks with leaves, peeled and sliced crosswise
1 cup thinly sliced onion
¼ cup candied, crystallized ginger, chopped
7 cups defatted chicken broth

½ cup cooked white rice
Salt to taste
½ cup half-n-half
sprigs of watercress for garnish

Combine the first five ingredients in a large pot and bring to boil; cover and simmer until veges are tender (about 20 min.). Remove from heat and add rice. Season to your satisfaction and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Puree smooth, then strain. Return to pot and stir in half-n-half. Heat thru (do not boil) and serve with watercress (or other) garnish.

Posted by respeto at 4:31 PM

August 10, 2005

Pecan Pie Bars

(these are "to die for")

Crust:
3 c. flour
1 c. sweet butter
½ c. sugar
½ t. salt

Filling:
4 eggs, slightly beaten
3 T melted sweet butter
1 c. Karo syrup, light or dark
1 ½ c. sugar
½ c. molasses
2 ½ c. coarsely chopped pecans
1 ½ t. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of a 15x10x1 inch baking or jelly-roll pan.

Prepare crust: in a large a bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat flour, sugar, butter and salt until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press firmly and evenly into pan to cover bottom and bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling: in a large bowl stir eggs, corn syrup, molasses, sugar, butter and vanilla until blended; then stir in the pecans. Spread evenly over hot crust and bake for 20-25 minutes. More if necessary! Be sure it is well set.

Cool fully on a wire rack. Chill and cut into 2 x 2 or 2 ½ x 2 ½ inch squares (smaller if desired.)

Remove from pan with thin, sharp spatula. (The first ones often come out hard and you have to eat them right away!)

Note: you can bake them in a pan lined with foil or parchment paper, which permits removal before cutting, and possibly ruining a non-stick pan.

You can substitute corn oil or margarine for the butter--but it isn't the same.

Great party fare or bake sales. They freeze very well and keep almost indefinitely.

Further, 1 ½ recipes makes enough for two standard 9x12 cake pans


Posted by respeto at 2:03 PM

Lavender Cookies

Most unusual and delightful!

Ingredients:
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. dried lavender flowers, chopped
2 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ cup all purpose flour

Beat together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, vanilla and lavender. Mix well.
Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to lavender mixture.
Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheet.
Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

Sprinkle with additional chopped lavender when cookies are cool (optional).

Posted by respeto at 2:00 PM

August 8, 2005

Chocolate Mousse

This is World Class, and my scratch recipe!

¼ c. good Brandy (if you want good mousse, be sure it's good!)*
1 round tsp. instant coffee
¼ c. sweet butter
¼ c. sugar
9 oz chocolate chips
4 egg yolks
1 t. vanilla extract
5-6 egg whites (room temperature)
½ pt. whipping cream (cold)

Combine the brandy and instant coffee in double boiler and dissolve over heat. Add and dissolve sugar, then butter, than chocolate chips. Stir frequently and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat, cool a little, and beat in the egg yolks one at a time. (Be sure it's cool enough not to cook the yolks.)

Cool in a sink of very cold water. Add vanilla extract.

Toward the end of the cooling process, beat cream in a large bowl, and egg whites in a still larger bowl. Fold some of the cream into the chilled chocolate, then the mixture back into the rest of the cream.

Then fold in 1/3 of the egg-whites and fold this back into the rest. Gently. Keep it very light (over-mixing will beat down both the whipped cream and the egg whites, and you don't want chocolate pudding!)

Put into individual serving dishes and chill in the refrigerator for several hours. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream on the top, with a little extra brandy whipped into the cream if desired.

(You can also chill it in a common container and spoon out the servings, but it won't look as attractive. I like to serve it in goblets, or similar sized, stemmed dessert containers.)

*Grand Marnier is especially good, but the cheapest G.M. is made with cheap brandy. Don't believe it? buy the Centinaire. But, if you make your own you can afford the good brandy which both cooks and drinks better!!

(Tip, make you own orange brandy: begin with 3 cups of good brandy. Wash, then peel 6-7 oranges (try not to get much, or any, of the pith) and add the peels to the brandy and let it stand for a month. The product will be almost as good as the good G.M.)


Posted by respeto at 4:09 PM