Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Buttery Crab Bread Pudding

As soon as I saw this recipe in February 2012 Food and Wine, I knew it would be on the Mardi Gras Menu.  This was a unique use of crab for a savory bread pudding main course dish. 

10 ounces lump crab meat, picked over
1 T. finely chopped parsley
1 T. finely chopped chives
2 t. fresh lemon juice
pinch of cayenne pepper
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the dish
one 24-inch day old baguette, ends trimmed, bread cut into 3/4 inch slices
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup half and half

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9 x 13 inch ceramic baking dish.  In a medium bowl, toss the crab meat with the parsley, chives, lemon juice and cayenne.  Season with salt and black pepper.

Butter each baquette slice and stand up the slices in the prepared baking dish.  Using a spoon, tuck the crab mixture evenly between the slices of bread.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, half and half, 1 t. of salt and 1/2 t. pepper.  Pour the custard evenly over the bread and let stand for 10 minutes.

Bake the bread pudding for 30 minutes until the top is lightly browned and the custard is set.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Mardi Gras 2012

So much fun when it's Mardi Gras Season at Chez Lolly's.  This year we were fortunate enough to celebrate with friends and with our children who now live in New Orleans. Here's some pics to get the party started.

and the perfect ending of a great meal

Please check out all the wonderful coffee selections of Orleans Coffee Exchange

Monday, February 20, 2012

Beef Wellington with Creamy Green Peppercorn Sauce

Beef Wellington is another one of those dishes that has intimidated me for years.  So what better time to attempt this dish than Valentine's!  NO pressure there is there?  I read and studied several recipes before choosing Tyler Florence's  Ultimate Beef Wellington.

Several steps and then an interesting assembly process, but let's start!

Our ingredients:
For the Duxelles:
3 pints (1 1/2 pounds) white button mushrooms
2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Beef:
1 (3-pound) center cut beef tenderloin (filet mignon), trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 thin slices prosciutto
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Flour, for rolling out puff pastry
1 pound puff pastry, thawed if using frozen
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Minced chives, for garnish

To make the Duxelles: Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.   Add butter and olive oil to a large saute pan and set over medium heat.  Add the shallot and mushroom mixture and saute for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

To prepare the beef: Tie the tenderloin in 4 places so it holds its cylindrical shape while cooking. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and sear all over, including the ends, in a hot, heavy-based skillet lightly coated with olive oil - about 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile set out your prosciutto on a sheet of plastic wrap (plastic needs to be about a foot and a half in length so you can wrap and tie the roast up in it) on top of your cutting board.  Shingle the prosciutto so it forms a rectangle that is big enough to encompass the entire filet of beef.  Using a rubber spatula cover evenly with a thin layer of duxelles.  Season the surface of the duxelles with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.

When the beef is seared, remove from heat, cut off twine and smear lightly all over with Dijon mustard.

Allow to cool slightly, then roll up in the duxelles covered prosciutto using the plastic wrap to tie it up nice and tight.  Tuck in the ends of the prosciutto as you roll to completely encompass the beef.  Roll it up tightly in plastic wrap and twist the ends to seal it completely and hold it in a nice log shape.  Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to ensure it maintains its shape.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to about a 1/4-inch thickness.  Depending on the size of your sheets you may have to overlap 2 sheets and press them together.  Remove beef from refrigerator and cut off plastic.   Set the beef in the center of the pastry.

Fold over the longer sides, brushing with egg wash to seal.  Trim ends if necessary then brush with egg wash and fold over to completely seal the beef - saving ends to use as a decoration on top if desired.  Top with coarse sea salt.  Place the beef seam side down on a baking sheet.

Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash then make a couple of slits in the top of the pastry using the tip of a paring knife - this creates vents that will allow the steam to escape when cooking.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown and beef registers 125 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.  Remove from oven and rest before cutting into thick slices.  Garnish with minced chives, and serve with Green Peppercorn Sauce.

Green Peppercorn Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1 cup brandy
1 box beef stock
2 cups cream
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1/2 cup green peppercorns in brine, drained, brine reserved

Add olive oil to pan after removing beef.  Add shallots, garlic, and thyme; saute for 1 to 2 minutes, then, off heat, add brandy and flambe using a long kitchen match.  After flame dies down, return to the heat, add stock and reduce by about half.  Strain out solids, then add 2 cups cream and mustard. Reduce by half again, then shut off heat and add green peppercorns.

Valentine's Day 2012

I'll post the pictures of our Valentine's Meal then I'll make a separate post for the recipe for the Beef Wellington.  

Mixed green salad with raspberry poppy seed dressing

Beef Wellington with Creamy Green Peppercorn Sauce, Pickled Beets and Herb Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Fudgey Brownies with Cherry M and Ms baked inside!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Chocolate Waffles for Valentine's Day

This is a chocolate lover's dream for breakfast and it only takes 30 minutes to whip up these delicious chocolate waffles. Perfect for Valentine's Day or any morning you want to make special.

3 T. unsalted butter
3 T. vegetable shortening
2 cups all purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
3 T. sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate syrup, plus more for topping
1/2 t. vanilla extract
cooking spray

Melt the butter and shortening in a small saucepan, stirring to combine; remove from the heat and set aside. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.

Whisk the eggs, milk, chocolate syrup and vanilla in a large liquid measuring cup or a separate bowl. Whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until combined. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Whisk in the butter mixture until combined.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Preheat a waffle iron and spray with cooking spray. Ladle some of the batter into the waffle iron to within an inch of the edge (1/3 to 1/2 cup batter, depending on your waffle iron); cook until crisp. Transfer the waffle to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with remaining batter.

Divide the waffles among plates. Dust with confectioner's sugar and top with berries and/or chocolate syrup.

From Food Network Magazine.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pimento Cheese

I've decided to work a little more on the pimento cheese recipe. It's a work in progress. Next week I plan to try a Mexican version. But for tonight this one was delicious. Take the time to shred the cheese yourself. The pre-shredded in a bag kind doesn't have enough moisture to help bind everything together. Shred it first, THEN measure.

4 oz. diced pimentos, drained
4 oz. cream cheese, softened and cut into small cubes
2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar
2 cups shredded mild cheddar
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 t. Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 t. cayenne
1/4 t. granulated garlic
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. smoked paprika
1 1/2 t. minced water chestnuts

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  If possible, make a day ahead and refrigerate.  The flavors will have time to blend.  Serve on crackers, as a sandwich filling or spread on celery sticks.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Smoked Sausage & Veggie Pot

Do you ever have one of those nights where you have no idea what to cook for supper and you refuse to go to the grocery store?  Well, this nice mixed vegetable and sausage pot is a result of exactly that.  So a little of this and a little of that and about 30 minutes later, supper is on the table.

2 T. olive oil
1 pound Conecuh County Sausage, diced
2 yellow onions, chopped
half a cabbage - shredded
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 can Rotel tomatoes
 salt, pepper, parsley

In a medium Dutch oven, over medium high heat, heat the olive oil and add the sausage.  Stir occasionally until sausage is well browned.  Add vegetables and garlic.  Blend well and lower heat to simmer.  Let cook until cabbage is tender.  Season with salt, pepper and parsley.  Serve with cornbread.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Spicy Rosemary Pecans

If you ever need a quick little nibble for family or friends, please take 30 minutes and mix a batch of these little beauties. You can adjust the heat level to your taste preference, of course. Try one and you'll be hooked!

2 1/2 cups pecans (or walnuts)
3 T. chopped fresh rosemary
2 T. canola oil
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
2 T. sugar
1 t. salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Toss the nuts and rosemary in a medium mixing bowl. Heat the oil in small heavy saucepan over medium low heat until warm. Add the cayenne and stir until  it is dissolved.  Pour the oil mixture over the nut mixture. Sprinkle on the sugar and salt, and toss to coat everything evenly.

Bake in single layer on an ungreased baking sheet, stirring often, until the nuts are toasted and fragrant, about 20 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container for 2 weeks. But they won't last two weeks. Seriously. 

Adapted from Cooking up a Storm.

Beef & Broccoli served with Fried Rice with shrimp and ham

I love to order beef and broccoli when dining in a Chinese restaurant.  This version is as good as (if not better in some cases) of many variations I've had of this dish.   No thick goupy sauce with soggy broccoli here. 

8 oz. sirloin steak, thinly sliced against the grain
6 oz. broccoli florets
Water, for boiling
2 ½ tablespoons oil
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

½ tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine or sherry
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
3 dashes white pepper
1 tablespoon corn starch

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon corn starch
4 tablespoons water

Marinate the beef with all the ingredients for the Marinade, about 15 minutes.

Bring the water to boil and add a few drops of oil.  Blanch the broccoli florets in the hot water, about 10 seconds.  Remove the broccoli immediately with a strainer or slotted spoon, draining the excess water.  Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Stir-fry the beef until 70% cooked.  Dish out and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in a wok or skillet over high heat.  Add the ginger and stir-fry until aromatic. Transfer the beef into the wok or skillet and stir-fry until the beef is cooked through and the center of the meat is no longer pink, about 1-2 minutes. Add the broccoli and then the sauce, stir to combine the ingredients well.  As soon as the Sauce thickens, dish out and serve immediately.

From Easy Asian Dishes

Fried rice with shrimp and ham

5 cups cold cooked rice (cooked at least one day in advance)
1 cup small raw shrimps, shelled, deveined, and split in half lengthwise
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons peanut, vegetable, or corn oil
2/3 cup cubed Chinese sausages (2 small) or cooked ham
3 eggs
½ cup cooked fresh or frozen green peas
1 t. salt
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
½ cup chopped scallions, green part included

Flake the rice so that the grains do not stick together.  Set aside.

Combine the shrimps with the soda and salt and let stand 15 minutes or longer.  Rinse thoroughly in cold water and pat dry on paper toweling.

Heat the oil in a wok or skillet until it is almost smoking and add the shrimps.  Cook, stirring quickly and turning them in the oil until they turn pin, about 30 seconds.  Remove them to a sieve fitted over a mixing bowl and let them drain well.  Return the oil from the drained shrimps to the pan.

Add the sausages or ham to the pan and cook just to heat through, stirring.  Add the rice, stirring rapidly, and cook until thoroughly heated without browning.

Do the following quickly: Make a well in the center of the rice and add the eggs, stirring constantly. When they have a soft-scrambled consistency, start incorporating the rice, stirring in a circular fashion.

When all the rice and eggs are blended, add the peas and the salt, stirring.  Stir in the oyster sauce and the cooked shrimps, tossing the rice over and over to blend everything.  Stir in the bean sprouts and cook, stirring and tossing, about 30 seconds.  Add the scallions and serve immediately.

From The Chinese Cookbook

Pork Lettuce Wraps

Everyone likes to play with the their food, right? How much fun to let your children or grandchildren have permission to scoop this flavorful filling into crisp lettuce leaves!

1 lb. ground pork
4 ounces white button mushrooms ( remove stems and chopped finely)
3 cloves garlic (chopped finely)
2 fresh water chestnuts (chopped finely)
2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 green onion (finely chopped)
3 dashes white pepper

1 fresh and cold iceberg lettuce head  (I used romaine)

Heat up a wok and add the cooking oil. Saute the garlic until light brown and then add the pork. Stir-fry the ground pork and break up the lumps so they form nice small pieces. Continue to stir-fry until the pork is cooked.

While the pork is cooking, mix the next 9 ingredients in a small bowl. Carefully pour mixture into the browned pork and heat together. Remove from heat.

Carefully peel off the lettuce leaves from the iceberg lettuce head. Be careful not to break the leaves. Scoop up a big spoonful of pork and place it in the middle of a lettuce leaf. Wrap it up carefully in the lettuce leaves. Add spicy Asian hot sauce or additional soy sauce if desired.

Adapted from Easy Asian Recipes

Pork Cutlets with Creamy Dijon Caper Sauce

My love of mustard is legendary. I don't care what kind either. Sweet, honey, hot, spicy, dijon, coarse grain, Creole, I love them all. This is one of my favorite recipes. You can serve these beautiful cutlets over rice, noodles, couscous (shown above) or just as they are. I added about a tablespoon of honey to the sauce just to sweeten it slightly. Feel free to omit or add more as your tastes varies.   

1 package pork tenderloin (approximately 2 lbs.) cut into ½” thick rounds
2 T. butter or olive oil
¼ cups sliced shallots
4 T. heavy cream
1/3 cup chicken broth
3 T. capers, drained
2 T. coarse grained Dijon mustard

Using a meat mallet, flatten pork rounds slightly to scant ½” thickness. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté in butter or olive oil until brown and cooked through about 2 minutes per side. Transfer pork to a plate. Add shallots to skillet and stir 1 minute. Add chicken broth and cream. Boil until sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon, stirring up browned bits about 3 – 5 minutes. Mix in capers and mustard. Return pork to sauce. Simmer to heat through.

*An additional note here: Instead of pounding these cutlets out to 1/2", I bought the thin, boneless, breakfast style pork chops. Adjust cooking time accordingly if you use thicker pieces of pork. Also, just an added helpful hint here, DOUBLE the sauce. You can thank me later.