Monday, February 28, 2011

Pizza - Steak, Onions and Gorgonzola Cheese



If it's Monday, it must be the PIZZA 2011 PROJECT!


Just when you thought we had seen the worst of winter, we got a little reminder last week.  nasty cold, windy and more snow.  But in between the wee reminder and the 45 plus days we never got above freezing temperatures, I got a grilling session in!


Yesterday I posted about a Grilled Potato Souffle', inside that post was a basic "how to grill a rib-eye steak" instructions.  I certainly did enjoy a big, grilled, medium rare steak fresh form the fire!  But I also planned ahead, and cooked up an extra one just for this pizza.


It's hard to believe, but a year ago at this time, I was warm.  I was adjusting to living in the US Virgin Isles (St Thomas).  On of our fondest memories of the islands was pizza night at the hotel next to our condo.  Very convenient and one of the few bargains on the island.  $25 for a pizza and a bottle of wine.


One of their specialty pizzas became our favorite the first time we had it.  And this is it...




Steak, grilled onions and a wonderful Gorganzola (an Italian blue cheese) sauce, all over a base of a BBQ sauce.  Except for the view (this picture was taken at the restaurant, looking back over the bay towards our condo).... Anyway, except for the view, the live music they usually had, the warmth, the ocean and did I mention the warmth, anyway, except for all that, this home made pizza is actually better than the one served at the restaurant.  But wouldn't it be nice to be this warm again just for an hour...




but I digress... 


Here's how to make a Steak and onions with a BBQ and Gorgonzola Cheese PIZZA!


For the crust, I used  My "go-to" pizza dough recipe

For the  sauce, I used a bit (1/4 cup) of my Raspberry Chipotle home made BBQ sauce (feel free to substitute any BBQ sauce you might have around).



1-  6 oz steak cooked rare to medium rare (it will finish cooking as the pizza cooks, so on the more rare side), diced small
1 small onion (cut in half, the rings separated and lightly grilled to soften)
4 ounces Gorgonzola Cheese
2 TBS Heavy Cream

And we are ready to assemble the pizza...


Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

  • In a small saute pan, heat the cream and add the crumbled cheese
  • heat slowly until the cheese has melted
  • Preheat oven and pizza stone (or heavy baking sheet) to 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes.
  • Roll your crust out on parchment paper to your likeness... Thin, Chewy or thick like a bread.
  • Brush Olive oil around the edges to get a beautiful Golden Brown and Delicious looking crust.
  • Salt and pepper the crust at this time
  • layer the BBQ sauce
  • Layer the steak and onions
  • pour the cheese sauce over the steak and onions
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cheese starts to get that baked color.
Here's a few photos to give you a better idea...







Stay warm, March is just around the corner!


...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Grilled Potato Souffle'



That's my souffle, up there in the corner... Really it is a souffle -


See...




Weather finally broke last week (just a trick though as we had 3 inches of snow the next day) with temperatures reaching the 70's!!!


So, Hi Ho Hi Ho, it's off to the grill I go...




A couple of nice thick rib eye's.  Just salt and pepper each side as seasoning (First grilling session in months, demands old school simplicity).  High heat, get the grill HOT HOT HOT... Rub the grill with a paper towel that has been soaked in Canola Oil (High burn temperature... much higher than Olive Oil).  Use your tongs to hold the paper towel so you don't burn yourself.  And then give it another few minutes so you are sure the grill is HOT HOT HOT.


Plop your steaks on for two minutes... Do not try to lift them.  They stick, but at the end of 2 minutes, they will lift easily.  After 2 minutes, lift them and make a 90 degree turn to get those diamond grill marks... 


OOOHHH AAAAHHHH Pretty


Flip them over and repeat on the other side.


That silver stick in the side of the steak is my remote prob thermometer.  Steaks are expensive and SOOOO GOOD when cooked to proper temperature.  Don't over cook them, don't guess, use technology and cook to an internal temperature to 135 degrees and NO more (a perfect medium rare).




OH, but wait... this post is supposed to be about a souffle'.  And a grilled souffle' at that.


Here's what I did...


First, Thanks to Miriam at THE WINTER GUEST.  Mirriam adapted this recipe and posted her version on her blog (cooked in an oven if you are not grilling yet).  Take a look at her beautiful photos and the original recipe by clicking HERE.


Of course I made a few changes.  Miriam is in Spain, there were a couple of ingredients that I did not have here in Kansas.

4 medium sized starchy potatoes
4 eggs
1 cup Swiss Cheese (grated)
2 TBS virgin olive oil for rubbing the potatoes
2 TBS butter
4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
More virgin olive oil for frying the garlic
Salt and pepper


This is a twice baked potato recipe (well, once microwaved and then grilled, but the idea is the same).

First I microwaved the potatoes as instructed on the front of the microwave (potatoes and popcorn... why those two??? But I digress...)

Once they cooled, I sliced the top off and scooped out the meat of the potato, being careful not to puncture the outside.  I was going to use the potato as the vessel for the souffle' to rise out of.

While the potatoes are cooling, smash and mince the garlic.  Saute in hot oil for a few minutes to just barely browned.  This brings out flavors of the garlic into the oil.

Crack the eggs and separate the yolks from the whites.

Beat the yolks and mix with the potatoes.  Add the butter, cheese and garlic and mix well.  Salt and pepper to taste.

And now we make the souffle'... WHISK the egg whites (with just a pinch of salt) to stiff peaks.

CAREFULLY mix the whites with the potato mixture.  Slowly and carefully.  You do not want to deflate those whipped whites.  When mixed, scoop portions back into the empty potato shells.  There will be left over potatoes.  Use the rest in a ramekin or whatever you might want to serve them in as leftovers tomorrow. Fill the potatoes about 3/4 fill.  The souffle' will rise!

And off to the grill...

HOT HOT HOT... You are preheating the grill for the steaks, use it as an oven.  Find a spot on the grill that is INDIRECT heat.  NOT over the coals (or gas jets).  When the lid closes, you have a hot oven in those spots.

15 minutes later 


They will deflate about 3-5 minutes after you remove them from the grill, it's what souffle's do.  But if you time everything correctly - steak, souffle and I was reheating some leftover creamed spinach), you have one heck of a grilling experience.

As my wife said to our company that night...

Oh, he's just showing off.

Yep, a grilled souffle'




Thursday, February 24, 2011

Creamed Spinach with a Marinated Pork Loin



Somehow, someday, some of you may meet my sainted mother.  I am begging you to please not tell her how much I like creamed spinach.  I would be afraid she would make her recipe.  It's just better if she goes to her reward (40 years from now) without being tempted to whip her's out.  Now, if I could teach an old Mom new tricks, I would teach her this recipe.


But before we get to the tasty spinach, here's the quick version of the pork loin...


1 Pork loin
1/4 cup Honey
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 TBS finely minced Ginger
1 TBS "Not Your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence"


Mix the marinade (Honey, Vinegar and ginger) in a large plastic bag, add the loin, seal and allow it to marinade in he refrigerator for 8 hours.


In a heavy skillet, brown each side of the loin.  Sprinkle the herb mix (I keep a monthly supply of fresh "Not Your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence" made ahead of time.  Feel free to substitute whatever spices and herbs you have on hand and think would blend well with the marinade) over the top.


Rest the loin on a sheet of aluminum foil (for easy clean up) and roast in the oven at 325 until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.  Especially with pork, you want to use one of those remote prop thermometers to keep track of the internal temperature.  The price has dropped again, and you can pick one up for around $20... A great investment.  Pork has changed over the years.  It is much leaner now than when "Joy of Cooking" and Julia Child cook books were first published.  Cooking times for pork have changed.  Remote prob is the way to go.


When it reaches 145 degrees, remove from the oven, seal up the loin with the aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.  This allows the meat to rest, allowing the juices to moisten the meat.  If you cut too soon, all the juices run out and you have a dry piece of meat.


When you cut, whatever juices are in the bottom of the foil, pour over the meat!


But, god help me... The star of this meal is this rich, creamy, garlicky, nutty, cheesy Spinach.


Really, it is...




Here's what I did...


1 bag of Spinach (be sure it is washed)
1 medium size Shallot Cut into thin slivers)
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 TBS Olive Oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
2 TBS Butter


In a large saute pan, cook Olive Oil over a medium heat.  Add the shallot and saute for 10 minutes, being careful not to burn the shallot.  Add the garlic and saute for another 3 minutes.


While that is cooking, remove the stems from the spinach.  After the garlic step, add the spinach and saute until it has completely wilted down.  Add the cheese and mix until it has all melted.  Add the butter (feel free to substitute milk for the butter if you must) and saute until it is all melted and adds to the creaminess of the spinach.




And like I said... please do not let my sainted Mother know I like this as much as I do...


 It's not my Mama's recipe!




A little spinach, some pork loin and a potato souffle' and I had a pretty good meal!
...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cheddar Corn Muffins - Gluten Free



Did you ever have one of those pleasant surprises when trying something new?  I have to be honest, I went into this recipe not expecting much.  I will admit a prejudice that I have.  Anytime I read an allergy specific recipe (be it milk, peanuts, shellfish or in this case, wheat), I just assume it will not be as good as the "regular" version of the item.


Not so here.


Picture of Lost and Fondue book coverBut I am ahead of myself.  Recently I found out that I have a family member just diagnosed with CELIAC, which is basically an allergy to wheat.  So, while reading through blogs, I have been making a note of recipes that are gluten free.  These popped up on one of my favorites, THE MYSTERY LOVER's KITCHEN.  One of the regular contributers, Avery Aames (author of the Cheese Shop Mystery Series) also happens to be on a gluten free diet.  She made this post for these mini muffins.  Sounded right up my alley, and perfect to go with the soup I was making.  


I dropped Avery an email and she was very gracious with her time.  She told me her story of how she was diagnosed (not pretty) more than 12 years ago.  She explained a bit about how this has impacted her cooking and directed me to some sites with actual medical information.  She did pass on this tip...
One of my favorite recipes that is equally good made with wheat or with
gluten-free products is banana bread.  I find most breads made with sugar
and fruits taste virtually the same.  It's the yeast-risen breads that don't
have the same flavors or textures.
I was able to find her Banana Bread recipe on her "other" site (Avery is her pen name), DarylWoodGerber.com (where you learn of her life as an actress, TV and theatre, prior to becoming an author).  Oh, and she jumps out of perfectly good airplanes as well.  What a broad!


So, big thanks to Avery for helping me understand a little better about the sensitivities to glutens.  She also helped me with booze.  No beer or whiskey, but scotch and wine are fine.

And a big thanks for this recipe.  Outstanding and perfect for soup.  The outside crunches up a little like a crouton.  But when you open them up, they are soft and moist inside and just filled with flavors.  For once, i followed the recipe almost exactly as she printed...



CHEDDAR CORN MUFFINS
Ingredients:
(makes 12 muffins or 24 mini-muffins)
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups cornmeal, stone-ground
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup corn (medium ear yields ½ cup) (frozen may be used, but make sure drained)
1 1/8 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon
1 egg
2 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In large microwavable bowl, melt the butter. Add the cornmeal, spices, corn, milk, lemon, egg and cheese. Mix well.
Pour into greased muffin tins (12 large or 24 mini).
Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. (Minis take about 15 minutes.)




I made mine a little more corny.  I added about 2 cups of corn.  First, it was frozen so the great taste of fresh corn was already diluted.  And second... I like lots of corn in my corn muffins.  I used an excellent white cheddar cheese that really flavored these babies.


In no way did this taste like I was missing something.  Great job Avery (good fortune with the book release in just a few weeks)!!!








...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Screwed Up Chicken Noodle Soup



Not screwed up at all... Those are just spiral pasta ... Tri-colored vegetable pasta.  Which makes me wonder, for some reason, my eyes were glazing over in the grocery aisle, and could not compare the whole wheat pasta with the tri-colored vegetable pasta.  Maybe someone smarter than myself would fill me in on the health differences.  Me, I just like the colors...  


Ohhh  Ahhh Pretty.


Actually, let me get back to the Cul de Sac Cuisine aspect of this meal.  Part of living in a Cul de Sac is the competitiveness among the cooks.  We have Chili cook offs, Mardi Gras progressive dinners and coming soon will be a chicken wing throwdown.  All in good fun, but competitive as any Texas football rivalry.  Here in my virtual Cul de Sac, I recently saw Heather, over at GIRLICHEF post an amazing Chicken Noodle Soup.  That's a picture lifted from her blog to the left.  It looked so good, I knew I wanted to give it a shot.  And BTW, if you are looking for a great traditional chicken noodle soup recipe, go give those links a click.  Her's is as perfect as you could ask for.


But, in the spirit of "Anything you can do, I can do better"... well, different anyway, in the spirit of Cul de Sac Cuisine, where two identical dishes could end up served to the same people, I decided to give mine a little twist.  Mine is almost identical to Heathers, just the twist of the spiral pasta in place of her recommended kluski noodles and I toyed with the spices a bit.  The green in the tri color did make my soup green in place of heathers nearly clear broth, but I got over my aversion to green food about three months ago, so I didn't mind the color change at all.




This is another one of my "What to do with a Rotisserie Chicken" posts; in more ways than one.  Not only the chicken in the soup is taken from this week's rotisserie bird, but the stock was made from the bones of last week's bird (and next week's soup is very likely to come from this week's bones).  With food and gas prices in the news this week, being cheap and taking advantages of the entire bird just makes good financial sense.  So stock from bones is a habit now... that's how we roll in the Cul de Sac!


You can make stock as complicated as you like.  Me, I actually make more of a broth than stock, and so easy I could do it in my sleep (in fact, since it simmers the day away, I do take a nap midday.  I rarely go the entire week without using a gallon of the stuff.  So, no need to freeze.  I am also not a restaurant, where consistent flavor and taste is vital to consistent flavor and taste of the dishes coming from the menu.  So, I just grab my big pot, fill with water, add the bones (and skin with the spices built in)), add a couple pieces of whatever I have in my veggie drawer that is close to going bad... Onions, peppers, potatoes, celery, ginger., etc.  Allow the stock to simmer for 5-6 hours and you are all done.  It has a different taste each time, depending on how much skin is left on the bird, which veggies are in your drawer, how much water you use, etc.  But, that's fine with me, as long as I get good use from the bones, I can make lots of things with fresh chicken stock.


Like this soup...




OK, with great thanks to heather, here's what I did...


in my big pot, I filled it up about 3/4 of the way with chicken stock.


I added 4 cut up carrots
4 cut up celery stalks
1 onion cut into large chunks (the pieces separate)
I grated 2 TBS of fresh ginger into the pot
I added 2 TBS of my "Not Your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence" spice mix (the spice mix I make once a month for just an occasion like this.  Girlichef used thyme, parsley and bay leaf in her soup)


I also used one bag of tri-color Pasta
and the meat from 1 rotisserie chicken diced small


Salt and pepper to taste.


I mixed the first five ingredients together and got the soup to simmering for about 2 hours, until the carrots were soft.


Next I added the pasta and cooked that in the broth for another 20 minutes, until it was cooked


Finally, I added the already cooked chicken to the mix, added additional salt and pepper to taste and cooked until the chicken is completely warmed... about 3 more minutes.




Heather, it sure looks different from yours, but it sure did taste good.  


Thank you so much for the inspiration, you're welcome in the Cul de Sac anytime!




Oh, and come back tomorrow for another treat... These incredible cheesy corn muffins, gluten free and perfect to serve with the soup!




...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pizza - Salami with Fennel and Asiago cheese



If it's Monday, it must be another day to post for the Pizza 2011 Project!  52 different pizzas is 52 weeks, and here is week 8...


I bought a beautiful flavored imported salami for this one.  Nice and salty, meaty and with a tang that is very appealing.  I decided to combine this with a bit of that wonderful Mediterranean vegetable, the fennel bulb.  A little like an onion, with a hint of anise in the taste paired perfect with the salami.  Finally, I topped this with an aged Asiago cheese.  Much like a good Parmesan cheese, Asiago is one of those cheese that does not melt smooth.  It crisps up as it cooks, forming a salty tasting crunchy topping to the pizza that melded very well with the fennel and salami.  the cheese also adds a beautiful web like look to the top...




I decided that these specialty ingredients needed a gussied up sauce.  Shitake mushrooms add a sweet natural earthy taste to the sauce.  All in all, A specialty pizza worthy of one of those fancy California style pizzerias...


Here's what I did...


For the crust, I used  My "go-to" pizza dough recipe


For the "gussied up" sauce...


1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
4 shitake mushroom buttons, cut into thin slivers
1/4 cup red wine
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup Pecorina Romano cheese (melts great on liquid)


Combine everything in a sauce pan and simmer for 30 minutes.  Then take your handy hand mixer and blend to a thick paste.


Cut the salami into slices about 1/2 inch thick, then cut these into quarters


Cut the fennel bulb into thin slices, separate the rings


Grate the asiagio cheese


And we are ready to assemble the pizza...


Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

  • Preheat oven and pizza stone (or heavy baking sheet) to 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes.
  • Roll your crust out on parchment paper to your likeness... Thin, Chewy or thick like a bread.
  • Brush Olive oil around the edges to get a beautiful Golden Brown and Delicious looking crust.
  • Salt and pepper the crust at this time
  • layer the "Gussied up" sauce
  • Layer the fennel rings
  • Top with Salami..
  • Add the grated Asiago Cheese
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cheese starts to get that baked color.



Pizza night... My favorite night of the week!


...

Friday, February 18, 2011

I am going to have an excuse to buy all new Office Furniture

Greetings my friends...

Well, I am going to delay my normal fish on Friday post for a couple of days.  I am almost knee deep in a project that will send me over my head very soon.

I am reentering the work force.

It's been 8 years since I sold my business.  About time I became productive again.

Since I was 8 years old and had my first paper route, I have been almost exclusively self-employed my entire life.  My new project will be another venture into something I love, something I believe in and something that will provide me a special purpose.  Right now, it is just something I will be hinting at.  My birthday is March 8.  that is my goal for going live.

But, in the mean time...


Herman Miller ® - AS2SA22AAN265BB79618T15 - SAYL™ Mid-Back Work Chair - Fully-Adjustable Arms, Fog Base, White Y-Tower, Green Apple Back, Spruce Arms, Spruce Seat

I will want to decorate my office in the same colors as my blog... So far, this is the funkiest green chair I could find.

Would write more, but I have to go to work now.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pasta with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Feta and Arugula



Greetings my friends... This is straight from the Cul de Sac...


Today is another of my New Year's Resolution days... 1 meatless meal a week.


But before I get to the recipe, I want to send out some good thoughts to a couple of my blogging buddies...  Biz over at MY BIZZY KITCHEN has had a terrible couple of days, week and month.  The love of her life was diagnosed with (his words) Butt cancer just a short time ago.  His surgery was yesterday and all of Biz'd readers are sending best wishes out.  


Also, Emily Z. Over at EZ's Recipes also had an illness in the family.  Her Dad had his quadruple bypass this week.  While in fact, this bypass will add years of quality living to her Dad, it is still frightening to imagine.


Both Biz's Tony and EZ's Dad are doing well following their surgeries.  But the business of living starts now for them.  I am going to guess that both will have a lifestyle change in order to allow their bodies to adjust.


So, now I am going to talk about the Cul de Sac.  It's a place where if a neighbor gets sick, there is no end of crock pots, frozen meals and sandwiches coming their way.  We all wish we could do something, and making a little extra something to ease a tiny amount of the emotional pressure is the least we can do.  Here in our virtual Cul de Sac, we wish we could do a little more, make someone smile for a bit and relieve their pressure.  Sadly, the best we can do is provide a recipe.  If I could, there would be a big steaming bowl of this for Tony and Dad.  Both Emily and Biz were on my mind last night when I made this and are on my mind when I share this.


Hope the good thoughts help a little, and hope the recipe comes in handy if diets need to change.


OK.  First, this is a 100% rip off of a recipe posted by Joanne over at Eats Well With Others.  Joanne has been encouraging me anytime I post one of my meatless days.  her blog is always filled with the most delicious sounding stuff, but last week when I saw this i knew it was next up for me.  Everything great is in this, and it tasted wonderful!  No meat was missed.


So, thanks Joanne, if not for those chocolate covered cookie dough balls I posted yesterday, you would be the best thing I ever met (If you recall, I traced that recipe to her as well... Doesn't she care about the size of my ass???)!




For a change, I didn't change a single thing in her recipe... here's what she says to do...


Pasta with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Feta and Arugula
Serves 4-6, adapted from Donna Hay via Sidewalk Shoes

1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt
4 leeks, chopped
1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
1 lb whole wheat pasta
6 oz feta cheese (I used Trader Joe's Mediterranean herb blend)
8 oz arugula
cracked black pepper

1. Toss the sweet potatoes with 1 tbsp oil, salt and pepper.  Spread on a baking sheet and roast at 400 for 30 minutes or until soft and browned.

2. Place 1 tbsp oil in a small skillet.  Add the leeks and rosemary and cook for 7 minutes, or until soft and golden.

3. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water.  Drain and place in a large bowl.  Toss with sweet potatoes, arugula, leeks and feta.



I love how everything gets passed around here in our little virtual Cul de Sac.  I've been reading Donna over at Sidewalk Shoes for nearly as long as I have been blogging.


So, continued good thoughts go out to Biz and EZ.  It isn't easy to be the one waiting.


And thanks to Joanne for this (and Donna for sending this to her).


It's 60 degrees tonight... I'm gonna take my wife for a walk through our park now...


Nite




...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cookie Dough Truffles - Chocolate Covered Raw Cookie Dough



Now this is Cul de Sac Cuisine...


OK, someone deserves to go to purgatory for several days for exposing the world to this recipe.  I am tracking it down, I first saw this just last week on my blog buddy Gary's blog, TV Food and Drink.  Gary is a wonderful writer, very entertaining (be sure to stop by the day after the bachelor airs on TV.  His recaps are better than watching the show.).


But when reading over his post in preparation for making (and blogging these, i discovered that Gary saw these on Joanne's site, Eats Well With Others.  Now, I was shocked that Joanne, that marathon running Doctor in training would justify these with a post on her normally all healthy all the time .  She does recommend taking these to a party, as the idea of chocolate covered raw cookie dough is highly addictive.


But come to find out the original source is traced back to Annie of Annie's eats.  This was my first time visiting Annie, and it was an amazing visit.  My golly golly... can she ever cook, photograph and spread the gospel of good food.

So, any or all three of these folks deserve time in purgatory for introducing and spreading the word of chocolate covered raw cookie dough... My only defense... I was not the first.  And that is what Cul de Sac Cuisine is all about.  Great ideas spread from house to house to house (or in this case, coast to coast to Kansas.



And when you all start thinking about chocolate covered cookie dough... I doubt if this recipe stops in Kansas... Enjoy (in moderation if you can).






Here's what I did...


Stole the recipe from Gary...


8 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 lb semisweet (or bittersweet) chocolate
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Combine butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on high speed. Add flour, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla. Incorporate until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to form balls, about 30 minutes.

Shape the chilled cookie dough mixture into 1-1 1/2 inch balls. Place onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Cover loosely and transfer the pan to the freezer and chill for 1-2 hours.

When ready to dip the truffles, melt the semisweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Dip each chilled truffle, one at a time, in the chocolate to coat it. Shake to remove the excess chocolate. Transfer to a wax paper-lined surface. Melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Drizzle over the top of the truffles. Store truffles in the fridge until ready to serve.


And here's some more photos to give you a better idea...








May god have mercy on all our souls...


Sinfully delicious.  Oh, and no eggs, so please no salmonella comments.


...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lobster Tails for Valentines Day - How to butterfly the meat



In the spirit of Valentines day... Jackie got her favorites meal!


Lobster tails.  Simple, just a little flavored butter.


Roasted beets.  Simple, just a little oil, salt and pepper


A little more complicated vegetable dish, with snap peas, Greens from teh beets and Orange slices...


But the star was of course the lobster tails.


First trick is to butterfly them...




Take your kitchen scissor and cut through the back...



Then Grab each side of the shell and gently pry away the shell away from the meat, Continue to pry the shell away from the meat but keep the back of the meat connected to the shell.


Once the meat is freed, grab the meat, squeeze the shell together to close the gap and lay the meat on top of the shell





And lay the meat on the shell... now it makes a perfect stand for the meat.  Wonderful presentation...




Cooking lobster can not be easier... I made a butter marinade of 2 TBS butter, 1/2 tsp smoked Paprika and pepper.  I added a squeeze of lemon, melted the butter and brushed half on the lobster meat prior to baking...




I slow roasted at 250 degrees, using a meat thermometer to measure when the meat reached 140 degrees!




Pretty confusing plate, but really tasty lobster!


...

Monday, February 14, 2011

I HEART Strawberry Dessert Pizza



OK, for those paying attention...


Yesterday I posted a pizza recipe.  It was not a part of the PIZZA 2011 PROJECT (like today's pizza is).  Yesterday's post was almost an exact copy of my Pepperoni Pizza recipe that has already been posted.  Since the project is to make 52 different pizzas in a year, the stunt of a shaped crust does not justify a repeat.  But it does justify a look at the post (click HERE).


I mean come on... Heart shaped Pepperoni on a heart shaped pizza.  Combine that with today's heart shaped dessert pizza and you have a...


Happy

Valentine's Day  !!!


So, today I submit my dessert pizza.  Heart shaped to celebrate the season.  Some might not consider this a pizza at all, but under the rules of the  PIZZA 2011 PROJECT (Crust, Sauce and topping)... Of course this is a Pizza!


So, let's get to it, Here's what I did...


Crust (Shhhh, Don't tell anyone, it's really a cookie)


1 stick of butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup Flour
1/4 cup Powdered Sugar


Sauce (and keep this under your hat, it's a sweet cheese)


8 ounces Mascarpone Cheese
2 TBS Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla


Sauce Number 2 (easy strawberry jelly)


6 Strawberries, stems removed (I used the strawberries that had flaws so the nice looking presentation berries would be used for the topping)
1 TBS Sugar
1 tsp Cornstarch


Topping 


a Dozen Strawberries, stemmed and cut in  halved


Topping Number 2 (Easy Chocolate drizzle)


3 ounces White Chocolate 
2 TSP Heavy Cream

  • Mix the Crust ingredients together.  You will need to do a final knead by hand to get it to look like dough.
  • Form into the shape of a Heart with a lip around the edges
  • Bake on a silicone pad (or parchment paper) at 325 degrees for 15 minutes, allow to cool
  • Whisk together the ingredients in the Sauce (number 1)
  • Spread the mascarpone whisk around the entire pizza.
  • Combine the ingredients in Sauce number 2 in a mini chopper and blend (blender works fine for this as well)
  • Spread this over the cheese.
  • Arrange the strawberry halves over the strawberry sauce
  • in the microwave, flash the chocolate and cream for 30 seconds
  • Mix.  If it needs additional heat, flash for only 10 seconds at a time.  Continue to mix between each flashing
  • Drizzle over the top of the strawberries
And Viola...



I want to thank Leigh Anne from YOUR HOME BASED MOM for the basic idea for this adaptation for this recipe.  You can see her original post buy clicking HERE.




Hope your Valentines treat you well today!
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