Sunday, May 26, 2013

Chocolate Mousse

When the table is set like this:

You have to have a fitting dessert, such as this!

First the ingredients:

4 large eggs
1 ½ Tb instant coffee dissolved in ¼ cup hot water in a small saucepan
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup dark rum
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
Scant ¼ tsp cream of tartar

And the tools to get'er done:

Small glass jar for separating egg whites
2 ½ to 3 quart stainless steel bowl or sauce pan for egg yolks
Clean, dry 2 q/w quart mixing bowl, preferably of stainless steel for beating egg whites
Portable electric beater
Cover for the small saucepan holding the coffee
Larger pan with 1 inch or 2 of simmering water to hold the small pan for melting chocolate
Another and even larger pan with simmering water to set the egg-yolk pan into
1 or 2 rubber spatulas
Electric mixer on a stand for final beating of egg yolks

Egg yolks and sugar – preliminary blending. Start separating the eggs, dropping the white from number one egg into the jar, and the yolk into the stainless bowl or pan. Be sure there is no speck of yolk in the white – scoop it out with a bit of shell if there is, then transfer white into the egg-white beating bowl. Continue with the rest of the eggs. Set whites aside, out of the way. Using portable beater or wire whip, beat the yolks for 2 to 3 minutes until pale, lemon colored, and thick; this is a kind of anit-curdle insurance, and prepares them for being heated. You are now ready for the sugar syrup.

Set pan with coffee over high heat, blend in the sugar, and bring to the boil, swirling pan by its handle. Let boil a moment or two, swirling, until sugar has completely dissolved – liquid will be clear rather than cloudy. At once, bring hot liquid over to egg yolks; begin beating the yolks at moderate speed while you slowly dribble the hot syrup into them. Then set aside for a moment while you prepare the chocolate for melting.

Melting the chocolate. Stir the ¼ cup rum into the now empty sugar-boiling pan, and break the chocolate into it. Remove larger pan of simmering water from heat, place chocolate pan in it, stir up once, cover pan, and let chocolate melt slowly while you continue with the egg yolks.

Egg yolks and sugar – thickening over hot water. Set the egg-yolk pan in the second pan of water, and keep water at just below the simmer. Beat the yold mixture rather slowly but continuously with portable mixer or whip for 5 minutes or longer, until it doubles in volume and becomes a thick cream that is hot to your finger. When warm and thick, scrape into the bowl of your electric mixer (or place egg-yolk pan in a large bowl of cold water). Beat at moderate speed 5 minutes or so, until cool, and when you lift a bit on a spatula it dribbles off in a thick ribbon that takes several seconds to dissolve and absorb back into the surface of the main body.

Combining egg yolks with melted chocolate and butter. Remove chocolate pan from the hot water and stir up; if not quite melted, renew hot water, and beat a few seconds, until chocolate is perfectly smooth and shining. Remove from hot water. Cut butter into 1-inch pieces, and beat it rapidly piece by piece into the chocolate, using electric mixer or whip. Scrape chocolate over egg yolks, then combine the two with a rubber spatula by cutting straight down through the center with edge of spatula, drawing spatula to edge of pan, then bringing it up to the surface in a scooping motion. Continue thus, rotating pan, and scooping rapidly until yolks and chocolate are fairly well combined. They will get more mixing later, and you need not be thorough as long as you are fast – about 30 seconds in all.

Beating the egg whites. At once, before chocolate and butter have time to cool and thicken, get to the egg whites. If they are chilled they won’t mount properly; set bowl in hot water and stir about for a few seconds until the chill is off, testing with your finger to see if they are room temperature. Being sure your beater is perfectly clean, start whipping the egg whites at moderate speed for a minute, until they are broken up and foaming. Add the salt and cream of tartar, and gradually increase speed to fast – circulating beater all about the bowl to incorporate as much air as possible, and taking about a minute to arrive at top speed. Continue until beater leaves definite traces in the egg whites, then begin testing. Egg whites should form stiff shining peaks when lifted in wires of eater, just the tops of the peaks bending down slightly. Proceed at once to next step. (“Stiff but not dry” is a phrase often used, but it is the shine and the sheen of them that you look for, since if you overbeat egg whites they lose that look, begin to break down, and turn grainy. But if this does happen, add another egg white, and beat again.)

Completing the mousse. Immediately turn one fourth of the beaten egg whites out on top of the chocolate with your rubber spatula; scoop and fold in rapidly to loosen the chocolate mixture. Turn the rest of the egg whites on top, and rapidly fold them in, just as you combined the chocolate and egg yolks, by rapid scoops with your spatula, rotating the pan or bowl as you do so. The whole process should not take more than a minute, and remember you are trying to deflate the egg whites as little as possible. 

To get the mousse into glasses without making a mess, I made a special funnel:

I like to add raspberries and then top with Chantilly cream flavored with rum. You can do whatever!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Braised Radishes

Ok, so, we had a bunch of radishes already sliced and in water (to tame the bitterness). Besides salads, what else could be done? 

How about a good garnish for a pork loin? Or, something to go on a roast beef sandwich?

Here's what was used:

First I sliced the shallot, then started sauteing that in a wee bit of butter. When the shallots started to soften up, in went a couple of handfuls of the sliced radishes, followed by (probably around) a 1/3 of a cup of the chicken stock and a splash of red vinegar. To this was added a small pinch of salt, a large pinch of sugar and a few grinds of pepper. Then, let it boil down the liquids until there was just a coating for the radishes.

Good stuff!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Weaved Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Venison Loin

This was fun to do!

It all starts with takin' enough bacon to weave the wrappin'. Do this on plastic wrap so that it is easy to manipulate when wrappin' the stuff loin.
The first step in making a stuff loin is to take the venison loin, which should be about one inch thick and butterflying it. I happened to have two, so, I butterflied both:
Then, sprinkled with salt and pepper.

For the stuffing, I made croutons from pumpernickel bread and  decided to add in some of this stuff chopped up.
That is celery, a leek, garlic, and, yes, dark chocolate! (Yum, bacon and chocolate in the same item!!) Here they are, all chopped up and mixed up and ready for the loin! Of course, added some salt to the mixture as well.

So, with having two loins, I just spread some of the stuffing on top of one and then placed the other on top of the stuffing - sorta like a sandwich. Then, placed the stuffed loin on the weaved bacon and wrapped it and then used the plastic to form it into a loaf, like this:
Into the refrigerator for a few hours to let it rest and let it think it belongs in that shape.

Then, onto the rack for the stove-top smoker (that I use outside on my side burner).
Smoked it, using white oak, for half an hour, until the temperature of the meat was correct.

Then, under the broiler for some time, I think about 8 minutes or so, to crisp up the bacon. 

Then, let it rest 10 minutes before carving and serving. I made a green peppercorn, wine, demi-glace sauce (with scallions and garlic) for it.

Served it with pickled, roast cauliflower, baked spinach/scallions/garlic/parmigiano reggiano cheese, and cayenne julienne fries. Along with, of course, a Texas wine!