Monday, August 27, 2007

Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Tonight was just a regular dinner night, but I figured I'd try a couple of easy ones from Jean-Georges - Cooking at home with a four star chef. They really were easy, I got home at 4ish, got the mail done, got Lili settled, etc. , started prep at about 5:15 and we were actually eating at 6:10!! I made Pork in Caramel Sauce, which was a sliced pork tenderloin with a nam pla and caramel sauce - really easy, super fast and just gorgeous. Del ate three pieces (I doubled the recipe). Bill said it needed lemongrass foam - we're growing a lot of lemongrass right now because it keeps mosquitos away. No leftovers on this one and definitely something I'll do again.

I had some cioggia beets and some baby turnips so I also made his Caramelized Beets and Turnips - another super easy great tasting dish - also a keeper.

For dessert I did the Warm, Soft Chocolate Cake. This didn't go quite so well. My oven usually runs hot, so I stuck to the short end of the timing on these and it definitely wasn't quite enough. The kids said they tasted good, but it was really runny. Lili had fun with hers, she's having a bath right now to finish it off. Will have to try them again at a longer cook time.

I guess I really should start taking pictures, the pork was beautiful, and there's nothing left of it now....

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Mediterranean flavors - Sunday Lunch by Gordon Ramsay

O.k., Gordon Ramsay rocks my world, and Lili loves him too - she sings along with the F word these and "reads" his cookbooks. This was just a perfect meal. It's from Sunday Lunch, which I don't believe has been released in the US yet, I have the UK version, so you have to convert a little on measurements and degrees. I bought it on ebay, for some asinine reason, you can't get UK cookbooks on Amazon US. So, I have no link, but really, it's a great book, google it!

Sunday Lunch features entire meals - starter, main, veg, starch and dessert. The starter for this one was scallops with a cauliflower puree. We skipped this because, well, we live in SC Wisconsin. Scallops here taste like dust - some restaurants can seem to get good ones, but everything I've ever tried from a local grocery store or even a nice seafood shop is just icky.

The main is an herb crusted rack of lamb. I couldn't get a rack, so I made do with individual chops from Columbus Discovery Farm (unfortunately they don't have a website - I do have an e-mail address and they're at the Sun Prairie Farmers Market on Saturdays). The herb crust is a sort of gremolata, parsley, cilantro, thyme, rosemary, bread crumbs and parmesan - there was about half a batch left over after making the chops, but I'm sure I can find something to use it on, it was wonderful.

The potatos are layered with sauteed onions and garlic and cooked in a seasoned chicken broth. The veg was zucchini and cherry tomatoes (I used baby romas) sauteed with a bit of balsamic and olive oil. Dessert was a bread pudding with raisins and dried cranberries, apricot glaze and Cointreau - really simple and very good. Definitely a keeper.

Silky Syrah Short Ribs (Michel Richard)

Val and I did this together, he's taking a class from Tory Miller at L'Etoile this week so he wanted to practice prepping. It went fairly well, it's a lengthy recipe, but not extremely difficult. We only used a couple of tablespoons of the clarified butter, and I would leave the star anise out next time, it was a little overpowering. Also, I didn't trim as much fat off the short ribs as I should have. The sauce was amazing, definitely silky! The recipe is from Michel Richard - Happy in the Kitchen.

We served the ribs with Thomas Keller's recipe for Carnaroli Risotto with Shaved White Truffles from Alba (The French Laundry Cookbook). The risotto was perfect, definitely better than arborio rice, however, either we got a bad batch of white truffle oil, or none of us like white truffle oil. The only one who enjoyed it was Del, but then, Del also belongs to that teeny percentage of caucasians who can eat durian without gagging on the smell.

We also had romano beans from Jen-Ehr farms with fresh pesto. The short ribs came from Fountain Prairie's grass fed Highland cattle. Next week....Gordon Ramsay (well, this week because I'm late posting this...)

Thursday, August 9, 2007


2 large roasted poblano peppers, peeled, seeded and chopped
4 cloves roasted garlic, peeled and chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup madeira
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 tsp dried tarragon
salt and pepper
2 T unsalted butter

Mix all together except butter, bring to a boil and reduce by 2/3. Emulsify in a blender or food processor, then strain, return to heat and add butter.

Chocolate Cherry Five-spice cake (flourless)

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
8 oz. semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 oz kirsch
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, separated
1 cup hazelnuts, roasted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder

Melt the chocolate together with the butter, cool and combine with kirsch and vanilla. Grind the hazelnuts with the sugar and 5-spice. Mix the yolks in with the chocolate mixture, then add the nut mixture. Beat egg whites till stiff and fold in. Bake in a 9 inch greased springform pan at 350 for one hour.


1 can tart cherries with liquid
1 ounce kirsch
1 ounce creme de cacao
1/4 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 T unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream

Heat cherries, kirsch, creme decacao, 5 spice powder and sugar till boiling, reduce heat and simmer till reduced by half. Add butter. Cool and whip in cream.

Great-Grandma Valentine's Plum Pudding

1/2 lb beef suet
1 c sugar - brown or white
1 lb each currants and raisins
1/2 lb each candied lemon, cherries and citrus peel
1 lb flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 Cup cider or sweet wine
1/4 Cup cold water
Brandy or rum

Chop suet fine, then put fruit in. Sift flour, baking powder and spices together and mix with fruit. Add cup of cider or sweet wine, mix, then add baking soda mixed with 1/4 cup of cold water. Mix well. Form into rounds and tie up with cheesecloth or rags tightly. Drop them in a large pan of boiling water and boil for 5-6 hours. Soak with brandy or rum. Should keep for a long time. Makes two large ones or 4-5 small ones. Can add 2-3 beaten eggs, nutmeat or a grated carrot. Don't add any more flour. Lilian Valentine


Adding some old recipes from a website I haven't updated in years....this one is from 2001

2 cups watercress ends, chopped
1/3 cup fennel ends, chopped
10-12 fresh sage leaves, rough chopped
1 large garlic clove, smashed and minced
salt and pepper

Saute above in about 1/4 cup butter till wilted. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 cup white vermouth and 1 cup chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer till almost all liquid has evaporated.

Emulsify in a blender or food processor, whisk in an additional 1T butter and 1/2 cup heavy cream.

I served it over chicken breasts which were pounded thin, floured, dipped in egg wash, breaded with a mixture of bread crumbs, grated parmesan and Penzeys Herbes de Provence then pan fried in olive oil and butter. I flamed them at the end with a little brandy because the kids love it when I set their food on fire

Jolly Green Brussels Sprouts - Michel Richard

Inspired by a blog I tripped over, French Laundry at Home, which has now become one of my favorite spots on the 'net (wish I could write like that!), I decided to try actually cooking recipes from my (expensive!!) collection of cookbooks rather than just flipping through them in search of inspiration. The first is from Michel Richards book, 'Happy in the Kitchen'

The recipe was simple, frozen brussels spouts, boiled, then sauteed in butter with a sauce of whipped cream blended with some thawed frozen peas. a little fleur de sel and pepper. Tasted great, but looked freaky! the first thing Bill asked was whether or not I had put guacamole on the brussels did look like avocado.

Lili wouldn't touch them, the boys weren't home, but the mere mention of brussels sprouts sends them into gag mode, so we were better off without them.

Told ya not to expect writing on the level of FLH...