Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Croque Mademoiselle


I came across the Croque Monsieur and Croque Mademoiselle in the book, "Paris Cafe: The Select Crowd," by Noel Riley Fitch and one of my online friends, Rick Tulka (a Mad Magazine cartoonist).

Both Croques are basically ham and cheese sandwiches, but what sets the Croque Mademoiselle off is that it has an egg on top. Both are lathered in a sauce of some type: bechamel, Hollandaise, etc.

My version of the Croque Mademoiselle is a combination of recipes I have found, including the one in the book mentioned above, and what I like in a breakfast plate - with two eggs, not one, on top.

The Croque Monsier was first mentioned in literature with volume 2 of Proust's, "In Search of Lost Time," 1918.

Ingredients:

Two eggs, poached
2 or 3 slices of ham
1 piece of bread, white will do, toasted or roasted, and buttered
1 slice of gruyere, swiss, or asiago (I used asiago here and grated it over the top)
bechamel sauce, or in my case, 1/2 pkt of Hollaindaise mix from the grocer's

Procedure:

Prepare the sauce
Toast the bread
Poach the eggs
Heat the ham
Toast on bottom, then layered with the ham, then the eggs, the sauce, then the grated cheese.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy



Saturday, February 28, 2015

"Pan Seared Steak with Brandy Sauce"

Pan-seared Steak with Brandy Sauce,
Asparagus and noodles with Pesto
Watching some "ol-boys" in Montana, with Anthony Bourdain, working out of a blackened, cast-iron skillet, this idea for a sauce-lathered steak came to mind. After some thinking and some internet searching here's what we came up with:

Ingredients:

1 lb steak: round, flank, skirt, or your favorite choice
1/2 C finely chopped shallots, or scallions
4 tbl Butter
1/4 C Red Wine
1/3 C Beef Broth
4 tsp Worcestershire
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Tomato paste
4 tbl Brandy
1/2 C Cream of Mushroom

Procedure:

At high-heat, place 2-3 tbl butter in the pan. Swirl to contact all sides of the pan. Add 1 lb of bite sized chunks of the steak. Brown on all sides, reduce heat to medium-low, add another tbl butter, if needed, and the red wine. Continue at this heat until the red wine evaporates and the liquid in the pan thickens. Remove the meat, and cover.

Saute shallots/scallions for 2 mins on medium-high. Add brandy for deglazing the pan, increase temperature to high-heat. Once the brandy has evaporated, add the broth mixture (broth, Worcestershire, Dijon, tomato paste). Bring to a boil. Cook until thickened.  Add the cream of mushrom, stir until the liquid is well mixed.

Enjoy.

 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs"



As a young man I could take, or leave, chicken of just about any kind: grilled, barbecued, or baked.

On a 45-day guided tour of Europe in 1970, I had fried chicken 23 times. It was years before I could eat it again, and enjoy it.

However, as I accumulate more and more years, I am finding I like chicken better and better - fixed just about any way.

This is a super easy recipe from "Simply Recipes" by Elise Bauer, which we found today, and put it together this evening for a very flavorful dinner.


Ingredients:

4 chicken thighs
1/4 C spicy mustard
1/4 C honey
1tbl olive oil
3 or 4 springs fresh rosemary
salt
freshly ground pepper

Method:

Set the oven for 350 degrees.

Mix the mustard, honey, olive oil and salt in a small mixing bowl. Further add ingredients to taste.  I added a bit more mustard and salt.

Place the thighs in a roasting pan and pour the mixture over the top.  Add the rosemary springs between the pieces and bake for 45 mins to an hour. We removed ours at 45 mins, but it could have gone just a few more minutes for added browning and crisping of the skin. Done when the juices run clear, or at 170 degrees.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

"Another Lovely Loaf of Bread"



You may find this hard to believe, but this freshly baked loaf of bread was never kneaded, it never needed to be kneaded. It's kinda fun to play with those words.  

But not as much fun as baking this loaf. 

Here's the recipe * : 

Ingredients:

4 Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 Cups water (85 - 95 degrees)
2 tsps Quick Rising Yeast
2 - 3 tsps Salt
2 Tbl chopped rosemary
2-3 tsps Sea Salt
1 tbl olive oil

Procedure:

Put the yeast in the water and stir until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add 2 cups of flour and the salt, then stir until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the next 2 cups of flour and stir until the dough ball pulls away from the side of the bowl. No more. Cover and, for full flavors, refrigerate overnight; or let sit in a warm place for about 2 - 3 hours until the dough ball has doubled in size.

Next day, turn your oven to 200 degrees, let warm. Put the dough, still covered, in the oven and close the door, but not quite all the way. Let rise for two hours. 

Set the oven for 500 degrees.  

Then carefully pour the dough into either a 9 or 10 inch oiled skillet or a dutch oven.  Let it sit for 15 or 20 mins until the dough has risen again to maybe twice its size.  Spread the olive oil on the surface, evenly sprinkle the rosemary, and the sea salt. 

Put it in the oven, reduce the temp to 400 degrees.  Bake for approximately 20 - 30 minutes, or until you have a nicely browned crust.  

Remove and place on a rack for cooling, then enjoy.  

* Recipe adapted from the book, "No Knead to Knead," by Suzanne Dunaway. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"New Book, New Bread Recipes"


I recently purchased a bread recipe book from Amazon called, "No Knead to Need," by Suzanne Dunaway, and absolutely love the breads now coming out of the oven.

The three breads here all came from the same batch of dough, and my oven!  The baguette is a regular sized loaf, the two focaccias are about 7 or 8 inches by roughly, 11. The sugar and cinnamon disappeared first.

Ingredients:

4 Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 3/4 Cups water (85 - 95 degrees)
2 tsps Quick Rising Yeast
2 tsps Salt
2 Tbl chopped rosemary
2 tsps Sea Salt
1 Tbl unsalted butter

Procedure:

Put the yeast in the water and stir until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add 2 cups of flour and and salt, then stir until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the next 2 cups of flour and stir until the dough ball pulls away from the side of the bowl. No more. Cover and, for full flavors, refrigerate overnight; or let sit in a warm place for about 2 - 3 hours until the dough ball has doubled in size.

Next day, turn your oven to 200 degrees, let warm. Put the dough, still covered, in the oven and close the door, not quite all the way. Let rise for two hours.

Pre-hear the oven to 500 degrees. Scrape the dough onto a floured surface, and cut into two equal pieces. Put one aside.

The Banguette: I go ahead and knead the dough 5 or 6 times, then form it into the baguette. Put the dough on a baquette pan, available in most kitchen stores, or online. Let sit for about 15 mins, then put into the oven, lower the temperature to 400 degrees. I also put a pan of water in the oven to keep things on the moist side.

The Focaccia:  Knead a few times, then spread the dough out on a floured cookie sheet. Use your fingers to punch down the holes, or indentions, in the dough. On one I spread olive oil, freshly chopped rosemary, and sprinkled the surface lightly with sea salt (just under a tsp). For the other, punch the holes: spread some unsalted butter, then sprinkle liberally with a sugar/cinnamon mix (or do them separately).  Heat at 450 degrees for about 12 - 15 mintues.

I did all three breads in the oven at the same time. Pre-heated to 500 degrees, then reduced to 415 for about 15 minutes, then reduced again, to 400 in another 10 mins. Internal temps for bread should be about 205 - 215 degrees for doneness.

Enjoy.    


Friday, December 26, 2014

"Mushroom Frittata with Endive Salad"

I first had frittata, that I remember, at a friend's home a couple years ago. It was such a culinary delight that I haven't forgotten about it. This morning while thumbing through an old magazine, I found this recipe for a mushroom frittata.  It also comes with an endive salad, but I'm thinking it might served just as well with some cubed and pan-fried potatoes.

No picture, yet.  Once I make this and take a few, I'll post one of them here.  

Serves: 4

8 large eggs
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
8 oz assorted mushrooms, sliced
2 tbl unsalted butter
1bunch scallions, chopped
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
2 tbl chopped fresh tarragon
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2/3 C grated gruyere cheese
4 heads endive, sliced crosswise
3 Campari or small vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon

1.  Set a rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat to 450.  Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until foamy.  Heat 1 tbl olive oil i a large nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Ad the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium. Add the butter, scallions, parsley, tarragon, 1/4 tsp salt and a few grind of pepper.  Cook until the scallions are wilted, about 3  minutes.

2. Pour the beaten eggs into the skillet in an even layer and cook until they start browning, about 3 minutes; sprinkle with cheese. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until set, about 5 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, combine the endive and tomatoes in a bowl. Add the lemon juice, the remaining 2 tbls olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss and serve with the sliced frittata.

Recipe from, "Food Nework Magazine," vol 7, no. 4, p. 108.