Thursday, November 28, 2013

Crock Pot Beef Stew

3 – 4 pound chuck roast
½ cup flour
Kosher salt and pepper
1 cup red wine
2 – 3 cups beef broth
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 bay leaves
5-6 small potatoes, quartered
2-3 onions, chopped
3-4 celery stalks, sliced
3-4 carrots sliced
Chopped parsley

Trim out the chuck roast, reserving the fat, and cut into 1-inch cubes.

Combine flour with salt and pepper in a bowl and add the meat cubes. Toss to coat the meat.

Heat frying pan and then start cooking up the reserved beef fat to render out the tallow. 

When there is enough tallow to brown the meat, discard the beef fat. Toss the meat cubes into the hot tallow and brown the pieces.

Once the meat cubes are browned, remove from frying pan

and place any remaining flour from the coating of the meat into the frying pan. Cook the flour for a couple of minutes, if need be, add some butter. 

Then, while stirring the cooked flour, dribble in a cup or so of red wine. 

When mixed well, add about a cup of the beef broth and stir until thickened.

Layer everything into the crock pot. Start with the onions.

Then the potatoes.

Then the celery, carrots and parsley.

Then the meat, 

garlic and bay leaves.

Pour the mixture from the frying pan over this and then the Worcestershire sauce followed by the rest of the beef broth.

Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 10 hours.

Once ready, stir it up before serving.



Linguine con le Vongole

4 to 6 servings

1 pound dry linguine
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
4 garlic cloves, slivered
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds littleneck or Manila clams, scrubbed and rinsed well
3/4 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lightly toasted and fried bread crumbs (optional)

Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the linguine will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and then add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm ("al dente.") Drain the pasta well.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium flame in a deep sauté pan with a lid. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes; sauté for 2 minutes. Add the clams, wine, and lemon juice. Cover and cook, shaking the pan periodically, until all the clams are opened, about 7 minutes. Discard any that have not opened.

Turn up the heat to medium-high. Add the hot, drained linguine to the pan; add the butter and season with salt and pepper. Toss the pasta with the clams to coat. Shower with chopped parsley and toasted bread crumbs. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Asparagus Soup

 1 Onion, sliced (about ¾ cup)
4 Tb butter
About 2 lbs. fresh green asparagus
6 cups water
2 tsp salt
4 Tb flour
1 cup milk
2/3 cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks
Salt and white pepper to taste
4 Tb soft butter

(The onions were already cooking when the rest of the ingredients posed for this picture!)

A 3-quart heavy bottomed stainless saucepan with cover
Slotted spoons
A 3-quart bowl
Wire whip

Cook onions slowly in the butter for 10 minutes, until tender but not browned. Set aside.

Slice ¼ - ½ inch off the butt end of each asparagus. Peel skin from the butt ends up to where the green begins and remove scales. Wash thoroughly in warm water. Cut the tops 3 inches long and set aside. Cut lower part of the stalks into ¾-inch crosswise pieces.

Bring water to a rapid boil and add the salt. Add the asparagus stalks and boil slowly, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove and drain, reserving the water and stir the stalks into the cooked onions. Cover the onions and stalks and cook slowly for 5 minutes. Meanwhile bring the water back to the boil, add the reserved asparagus tops and boil slowly, uncovered, for 8 minutes, until just tender. Remove immediately and drain, reserving the water.

After the stalks and onions have stewed together for 5 minutes, uncover the pan, stir in the flour to mix thoroughly and cook slowly, stirring, for 1 minute to cook the flour. Remove from heat and blend in about half a cup of the hot blanching water. Gradually stir in the rest of the water, being sure not to add any sand that may have settled to the bottom of the pan. Simmer slowly, partially covered, for about 25 minutes or until the stalks are very tender. Stir in the milk.

Line up the blanched asparagus tops and cut the tip ends into ¼-inch crosswise slices; reserve as a garnish.

Puree the rest of the tops and the soup base in the vitamix, pouring the puree into the bowl. If need to, pass the puree through a sieve to strain out any fibers. 

Pour the cream into the saucepan, blend in the egg yolks with a wire whip.

By driblets, beat in about 2 cups of the hot soup. 

Pour in the rest of the soup, and the sliced tip ends.

The soup may be prepared up to this point, cooled and then covered and refrigerated.

Shortly before serving, set over moderate heat and stir slowly with a wooden spoon, reaching all over the bottom of the pan until sop comes almost to the simmer. Remove from heat carefully correct seasoning and stir in the soft butter, a tablespoon at a time. Serve immediately.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lemon Pound Cake

When I clarified some stock to make consommé, I used 12 egg whites. Had to figure out how to use the 12 egg yolks. So, made this

1 2/3 cup flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup egg yolks (this should be 12)
1 egg
1 ½ cups sugar
1 Tablespoon orange zest
1 Tablespoon orange juice, strained
½ teaspoon lemon extract
¾ cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 325.

Grease tube pan with butter.

  1. Sift twice the flour, baking powder and salt and pour back into sifter.
  2. Beat egg yolks and egg for about 5 minutes. Gradually add sugar and beat another 5 minutes.
  3. Folk in orange zest, juice and lemon extract. Sift dry ingredients and fold. Add boiling water and fold quickly.
  4. Scrape into tube pan.
  5. Bake 60 to 65 minutes.


(Quails in Pastry Cases)

Make the sarcophages
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup vodka (yes, vodka), chilled,
1/2 cup water, chilled
1/4 cup water, chilled

3 sticks (24 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

First thing is to combine the flour, sugar and salt. This is done in the food processor. Just put all those dry ingredients in it and pulse it for about 5 to 10 seconds.

Now, with the processor running, add the lemon juice, the vodka and the 1/2 cup of water in a slow and steady stream. Add the remaining 1/4 cup water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together and no flour bits remain.

Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into 6-inch square. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour.


Lay butter sticks side by side on a sheet of parchment paper.

Now, dust this with the two tablespoons of flour.

Now place a second piece of parchment paper on top and gently pound the butter with your palms or with a rolling pin to softened it and incorporate the flour and roll it into an 8-inch square. 

Wrap the square in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about an hour.

After chilling the dough and butter square, roll the chilled dough into an 11-inch square on a lightly floured surface. Place the chilled butter square diagonally in the center.

Fold corners of dough up over the butter square so that corners meet in the middle and pinch the dough seams to seal.. Using rolling pin, gently tap dough, starting from center and working outward, until square becomes larger and butter begins to soften. Gently roll dough into 14-inch square, dusting with extra flour as needed to prevent sticking. 

Now fold the dough into thirds like a business letter, then fold the rectangle in thirds to form a square.

Wrap dough in plastic and let rest in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Repeat this twice (yes, twice!). That is, roll it out on a floured surface into a 14 inch square, fold like a business letter and then fold into a square and then wrap in plastic and then refrigerate for 2 hours. Then repeat.

This amount of puff pastry dough should be enough for 10 coffins. So, I froze half of it by wrapping in plastic and then in aluminum foil. Should keep about six months.

To make the coffins, first preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface, large enough to cut out the coffins. I first tried a 5-inch circle for each coffin. Next time it will be a 6-inch or 7-inch circle. (Texas quail are big!)

Cut out these large circles and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Now, cut a smaller circle (I tried a 3-inch in the 5-inch circle) but do not cut all the way through! You want to make a lid for the coffin.

Bake for 22 minutes or until puffed and golden. Carefully lift out the lid to create the coffin and a lid. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Will need a double recipe in order to have enough for six servings.

Now for the quails.

6 quails, semi-boneless
6 pastry cases (from above)
18 ounces foie gras, some cut into 12 thin slices, the rest cut in ¼ inch cubes
1-1/2 ounce truffles, sliced thinly into at least 18 slices
1-1/2 Tbs butter
1-1/2 cups white wine
¾ cups chicken stock
¾ cups demi-glace
24  figs, quartered 
Need to make the stuffing for the birds. The birds will then be smoked and then broiled.

  1. Season inside of the quails with salt and pepper. Pay a slice of foie gras in each quail cavity followed by 3 truffle slices and top with more foie gras. Truss the quails. Season the outsides with salt and pepper and olive oil.
  2. Smoke quails in stove top smoker for 25 minutes. When finished, cover legs with aluminum foil and pop under broiler for 3 – 5 minutes to brown skins.
  3. While quails are cooking, place a skillet over high heat on top of stove. Pour in the wine and bring to boil. Pour in stock and demi-glace and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in figs and simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the 1/4 – inch cubes of foie gras and simmer, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes until sauce is reduced to 1 cup. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. To serve, put each quail in a pastry nest. Drizzle with sauce, top with the pastry round and surround with the figs.

Blinis Demidoff

This is a recipe that is Russian in origin but that was later refined at the Maison Doree, a restaurant Count Demidoff frequented with the many women to whom he paid court.

1 cups clarified butter (see note below), melted
1 lb malossol (lightly salted) caviar, ideally Beluga
1 cup sour cream
1 cup milk, scalded and then cooled to lukewarm
l/2 cup each buckwheat flour and white flour,
both sifted
2 eggs, separated
l/2 envelope dry yeast (1/2 oz)
1/2 tsp each salt and sugar

  1. In a large warm bowl soak the yeast in 1/8 cup of warm water. After about 10 minutes, add l/2 cup of the milk.
  2. Sift both flours together. Resift the flours and salt and stir 1/2 cup of this mixture into the yeast. Cover and let rise for 1/2 hour. Add the remaining milk and flour. Lightly beat the egg yolks and add these to the mixture. Beat until smooth and then let stand and rise until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour). Add 1-1/2 tbs of the clarified butter. Beat the egg whites until stiff and then fold these into the mixture. Let stand to rise for « hour.
  3. To make the blinis, use a cast-iron or other heavy 5" (8 cm) skillet. To the skillet add 1 tsp of the clarified butter and heat. Pour in 1 tbs of the batter at a time and cook for 1 minute. Over the pancake spoon a bit of butter, turn and cook for « minute longer. Remove the blini and keep warm in a low oven. Continue cooking until all of the blinis are made.
  4. To serve, place the blinis on a preheated serving platter. On one half of each blini place heaping spoonsful of the caviar. Pour over the remaining clarified butter and then, on the second half of the blinis, pile the sour cream.

Note: Such blinis are ideally served with the dryest possible of Champagnes, very well chilled.

To Make Clarified Butter 

To make clarified butter, very slowly melt about 1 1/2 times the required amount of butter in a skillet. Let stand for several minutes and then strain carefully, not letting the residue or water pour back into the butter.

Turtle Soup

[For six people]

1 ½ pounds of turtle meat
1 quart of consommé (half chicken stock, half beef stock)
[Consommé is nothing more than a stock that has been perfectly clarified until completely clear and sparkling.]
1 pint chicken stock (enough to cook the turtle in)
Madeira (or sherry)
1 bouquet garni (basil, marjoram, rosemary, savory, thyme and parsley tied together in muslin)
1 bouquet garni of peppercorns and coriander
2 medium carrots
½ of a small cabbage
½ of a turnip
1 small unpeeled apple
salt and pepper to taste
croutons for serving

  1.  Place consommé in saucepan with both bouquet garnis, the vegetables and the apple and bring just to a boil. Over a high flame bring just to a boil. Immediately lower the flame and simmer gently, uncovered.
  2. While the consommé is simmering, cut the turtle meat and cut into ½ inch cubes. Place the meat in the chicken stock, bring just to a boil, reduce the flame and let simmer just until the meat is tender (about 2 hrs). Keep the meat warm in the stock.
  3. Add 1 cup of Madeira (or sherry) to the beef consommé. Heat through. A few minutes before serving stir in two tsp. of the Amontillado sherry to be served with the meal.
  4. Strain the consommé so that it is perfectly clarified, clear and sparkling.
  5. Immediately before serving strain and place the turtle pieces in the soup. Garnish with the croutons and serve at once.

Note: This soup should be served with a medium-dry Amontillado wine.

Consommé is nothing more than a stock that has been perfectly clarified until completely clear and sparkling. To clarify stock, bring stock to a boil, add egg whites and let it foam. the protein in the egg whites will attract the particles and clarify the liquid. Then strain.