Collection of the ‘european’ Category
I know how it is, believe me. You spend all week (maybe weeks) planning a holiday menu. Your guests arrive, intoxicating smells of roast turkey, prime rib, beef tenderloin or other succulent specialties fill the air. All that’s left is to make the gravy and the nagging thought that it can make or break your creation.
In the world of decadence, lobster bisque is certainly in the top rankings. The winner of our menu contest this year requested I make this dish. Truly, just a few simple ingredients are all you need.
1 small to medium-sized lobster
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 shallots, not peeled, cut in half
Pinch of parsley
pinch of thyme
2 black peppercorns
15 1/2 oz pumpkin puree
6 TB butter
8 TB flour
splash of sherry
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
drops of good sherry, for garnish
drizzle of melted butter, for garnish
Put the lobster into boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Save the water you used to boil the lobster. Take the flesh out of the lobster shell and reserve. Save the lobster shell. In a large pot, add the carrots (chopped) and the shallots cut in half, flesh-side down over high heat. When the shallots brown, add the lobster shell and stir. Add the lobster cooking water, the parsley, thyme, peppercorns and clove. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and put the liquid back on the heat. Add the pumpkin. Reduce by 1/3.
In another large pot, make a lobster veloute by adding the flour and butter over high heat. Whisk for 1-2 minutes, until the butter is melted. Whisk 1 minute more. Add a small splash of sherry. Add the lobster stock and whisk intermittently until it thickens slightly. Add the sea salt. Add the cream and turn down to lowest heat. In a small pan, reheat the lobster meat in a little butter and chop into pieces. Serve in bowls with some of the lobster pieces, a few drops of sherry and a drizzle of melted butter.
Don’t deny it. Things get busy over the holidays, people tire of the preparations and just want to gather and relax. You may have ended up with an impromptu party or two, so here’s how to make the most of it and be prepared. You’ll look like you had it planned all along.
Sun-dried tomato palmiers
Herbed goat cheese
1 package frozen puff pastry sheets (11 oz)
1 6.5 oz jar of oil-packed sun dried tomatoes
4 oz grated parmesan cheese
8 oz of goat cheese
assorted fresh herbs, including basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary
8 0z (or more) wheel of Camembert cheese
best quality assortment of crackers
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Thaw the puff pastry or quick-thaw according to package directions. Drain but reserve the oil from your sun-dried tomatoes. Buzz the tomatoes in a food processor until smooth. Gently roll out one 10″x15″ pastry sheet without crushing the edges (or it won’t rise). Place it on a cutting board. Paint the dough lightly with the oil from the tomatoes with a pastry brush. Paint the sun-dried tomato mixture on the dough. Roll the long side of the pastry up to the center and stop. Roll the other long side up to the center. With a very sharp knife, slice into 1/4″ thick slices and place each slice on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake until golden 10-12 minutes. These hold up well at room temperature for a short period of time.
Roll out another sheet of the pastry dough, as above. Sprinkle it with parmesan and using a ravioli cutter or a knife, cut into 1/4″ strips. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and twist each end in opposite directions creating a spiral bread stick. Place each stick on the cookie sheet an inch apart and bake at the same temp as above for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. These also hold well.
Herbed goat cheese
Chop assorted herbs finely. Roll cold goat cheese into twelve balls. Roll in the fresh herbs and serve.
Take the plastic wrap off the cheese and place back in the wooden round container. Place it on a baking sheet and bake until very soft and melted. Carefully cut off the top and the melted cheese can be spread on crackers. Re-heat if necessary.
Serve all of the above with grapes and assorted crackers.
Here’s a fall dish that will warm you up with heat, spice and some love on a plate.
Ingredients – goulash
2 large, sweet onions
1 tsp tomato paste
2 ½ lb chuck roast cut into 2” cubes
1 TB caraway seeds
1 TB hot Hungarian paprika (found in 5 oz tins)
2 TB sweet Hungarian paprika (also in tins)
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp sea salt
1 carton 26 oz(preferably organic) beef stock
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Slice onions thinly and place in a large oven-safe pot over medium heat. Put an oven-safe lid on it and let simmer for 30-40 minutes, until soft and caramelizing. Add tomato paste, let simmer for a couple of minutes. Then add meat and all other ingredients. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then place in oven for 2 ½ hours or until meat is tender. While it is cooking, make the pancakes below. When meat is tender, remove the meat to a warmed bowl while you reduce the liquid in the pot to 2 cups. Serve meat and sauce over the pancakes.
Ingredients – pumpkin pancakes
4 oz all-purpose flour
½ TB baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 large egg, beaten
8 oz pumpkin puree
1/3 cup half and half
cooking spray and butter for griddle
In a mixing bowl, scale flour, add other dry ingredients and stir with a whisk to “sift”. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until just combined. Spray a griddle or frying pan with cooking spray, heat to medium high and add a small pat of butter to the pan or griddle. Add enough batter to make a pancake 4” in diameter. Flip when golden, remove when the other side is golden. Serve pancakes under the goulash for a special treat.
Christmas dessert. It can be a kind of mixed blessing, so to speak. Many diners approach the crowning event of Christmas dinner with some trepidation. With traditions like plum pudding (made with suet), mincemeat pie (once made with minced mutton parts) and fruitcake (often made with items that don’t resemble fruit at all), this hesitation is more than understandable.