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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Super Bowl Appetizers-Beyond Guacamole

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Avocados are my absolute favorite fruit and I have made it many different ways, but the avocados usually end up as guacamole with tortilla chips, one of the easiest ways to use avocados. So I was very excited when I got an e-mail from a representative from Has to Be Hass with three very different recipes featuring Hass avocados from Mexico. To kick off the beginning of Super Bowl week, Chef Kevin Rathbun of Rathbuns, the highly acclaimed restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia will host an open to the public free demo on Thursday, February 1, 2007 making these very same recipes. All three recipes can also be found on Has to Be Hass, but I have included them here.


















HASS AVOCADO-CILANTRO GRIDDLE CAKES WITH CHIPOTLE SOUR CREAM
Chef Kevin Rathbun, Rathbun's Restaurant


Ingredients

For the griddle cakes:

2 cups Hass Avocado from Mexico (small diced)

3 Tbsp Cilantro (chopped)

3 tsp Granulated Sugar

1/3 cup Red Onion (finely minced)

1 1/2 cup All purpose Flour

1/2 cup Cornmeal

1 Tbsp Baking Powder

1 each Large Whole Egg

2 Tbsp Salted Butter (melted)

1 1/3 cups Buttermilk

Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Instructions

In a mixing bowl place avocado, cilantro, sugar, onion.
In a separate bowl mix flour, cornmeal and baking powder.
Mix avocado mixture with flour mixture, add egg, buttermilk, butter and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Chill mixture.

For the chipotle sour cream:

2 tbsp Chipotles en adobo (finely chopped)
1 cup Sour Cream
1 Tbsp Lime Juice (fresh)
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a small bowl mix chipotles, sour cream, lime juice and salt and pepper.

Chill and reserve.

Brush a small amount of olive oil on an electric griddle-top. Place a 2 oz scoop of griddle cake mixture, lightly brown and turn over. Continue to brown for approximately 1 minute on each side. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with chipotle sour cream.















HASS AVOCADO-POACHED CHICKEN TRAMEZZINI
Chef Kevin Rathbun, Rathbun's Restaurant
Italian Finger Sandwiches -- Yields 40 small finger sandwiches

Ingredients

For the chicken:

1 each 2.5 # Whole Chicken
12 each Garlic Cloves
1/2 cup Scallions (rough chopped)
3 Tbsp Kosher Salt
Cold Water to Cover
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tsp Ground Black Pepper

For the avocado spread:

2 cups Hass Avocado from Mexico (small diced)
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Lime Juice (fresh)
1 Tbsp Oregano (chopped)
2 Tbsp Scallions (chopped)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

For the chicken:

In a small stock pot place chicken, garlic, scallions, and salt.

Cover with cold water, bring to a rolling boil, remove from heat and cover air tight for 45 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a small sheet tray, remove all visible skin and pull all meat from carcass. Pull chicken into small strings similar to pulled pork

Place in a bowl toss with olive oil and season with pepper, chill and reserve


For the avocado spread:

In a small bowl mix avocado, mayonnaise, lime juice, oregano, scallion

Season with salt and pepper, chill and reserve


For the Tramezzini:

1 loaf White bread (sliced)


Building finger sandwiches:

Place 20 slices of a cutting board, spread equal amounts of avocado mixture on bread, spread mixture within 1/4 inch of crust, top with shredded chicken a 1/4 inch from crust.

Fold to slices of bread together and cut off crust of bread making small square sandwiches. Make two diagonal cuts on sandwich making 4 small triangles.

Layer on party tray for super bowl munchies, best served at room temperature.

















HASS AVOCADO CHARRED AND CREAMED CORN DIP
Chef Kevin Rathbun, Rathbun's Restaurant
Yields 6 cups

Ingredients

For the dip:

2 cups Corn (fresh off the cob)
2 each Jalapenos (minced)
3 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Tbsp Garlic (minced)
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese (grated)
1 1/2 cups Hass Avocado from Mexico (small diced)
2 Tbsp Cilantro (chopped)
Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Instructions

In a medium hot iron skillet place corn and char for approximately 3 to 5 minutes.

Add heavy cream, jalapenos, garlic and reduce for 3 minutes, while mixture is hot add cheese and avocado.

Once cheese has melted, add cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

Place in a glass bowl and serve hot with corn tortilla chips.
Mixture heats well in microwave.


Try these recipes for your Super Bowl party and if you live near Atlanta, visit Rathbun's to see Chef Rathbun make these and other recipes.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Apple and Aged Cheddar Cheese Souffle with Apple Walnut Sauce

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Make a souffle for Hay Hay It's Donna Day #9 hosted by Tami winner of #8!!! Reminds me of the Queen song Under Pressure. I can count the souffles I've made on one hand,so hopefully, my baked apple and aged cheddar souffle will be under enough pressure to rise successfully. The apple walnut sauce that accompanies the souffle has tons of flavors going on-balsamic vinegar and fresh thyme leaves gives the sauce a provocative touch and the aged white Cheddar from Ireland gives the souffle a rustic touch.

Photographing the souffle before it deflates brings in some more pressure. It is critical to have your props ready and some test shots done of the scene for lighting purposes. Still with all that preparation, you have a finite amount of time to get the shot before the souffle collapses. Despite its eventual collapse, this apple and aged cheddar cheese souffle tastes amazing!



Apple and Aged Cheddar Cheese Souffle with Apple Walnut Sauce
Adapted From Workin' More Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter, Ten Speed Press

Ingredients

Apple Walnut Sauce

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into small dice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon thyme leaves
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

To Prepare Sauce

Saute apple with the sugar and butter over medium heat until caramelized , about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme, walnuts and vinegar. Reheat if necessary when ready serve with the souffle.


Souffles

1 cup small diced Granny Smith apple
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large eggs, separated
4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup flour
6 ounces aged Cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss apples with the brown sugar and cinnamon and cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the apples are tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Butter and flour a 48 ounce souffle dish. In bowl of an electric mixer, using whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Bring the butter and milk to a boil in a saucepan, stir in flour and bring to a second boil. Remove from heat and stir in egg yolks. Fold the egg whites into the flour mixture in three additions. Fold in 3/4 of the grated cheese. Place apple mixture in the bottom of the souffle dish and fill with the souffle mixture. Sprinkle the remaining grated Cheddar cheese over the top of the souffle. Place the souffle dish in a roasting pan and add boiling water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish. Bake for 35 minutes.

Serve with the apple walnut sauce. Serves 4.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Beef Rendang

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This is a simplified version of the exorbitantly rich and complex Indonesian beef curry, beef rendang, a signature dish of West Sumatra. Beef rendang is simmered slowly in a ginger, chili, lemongrass paste and coconut milk broth until most of the liquid has cooked down and you are left with an intensely flavored semi-dry mixture. It is a celebration dish in Malay cuisine and can be served as a main course over rice or as a side with other Malaysian food.

The ingredients for my beef rendang can be found easily at most big supermarkets. I have substituted lime zest for the Kaffir lime leaves, a traditional ingredient which is added when the beef begins its long simmer and light unsweetened coconut milk to shave off a few calories.


Ingredients

For the Red Chili Paste

3-5 fresh red hot chilies
3 shallots, peeled and sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, sliced
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons paprika

For the Beef Mixture

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 cups light unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup sugar
2 pounds beef, chuck or top round, cut into 1-inch pieces
Zest of 1 lime
Cooked white rice for serving
Toasted unsweetened coconut, cilantro and golden raisins for garnish


Combine paste ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. If too thick,add a tablespoon or two or water.

In a wide saute pan deep enough to hold the liquids, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the red chili paste and cook, stirring until the paste is aromatic. Add coconut milk, chicken broth and sugar, cook for 10 minutes. Lower heat to simmer and add the beef and lime zest. Simmer uncovered about 1 1/2 hours. Lower heat and cover the pan, cooking about 30 more minutes until sauce is very thick.

Serves 4

Monday, January 22, 2007

Chocolate Cherry Cakes

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Little Chocolate Cherry Cakes, a perfect sweetheart dessert and very simple to make can be served with a scoop of cherry vanilla ice cream and a sprig of mint to garnish. Sugar High Friday # 27-Chocolate By Brand hosted by David Lebovitz was a great opportunity to showcase these rich little cakes.

Anticipating making some chocolate desserts over the holidays, I bought no less than 12-4 oz. bars of Ghiradelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate at Dekalb Farmers Market in Decatur, Georgia.Because the market deals in bulk, the chocolate bars cost far less than at my local supermarket. My family wanted Babas Au Rhum this year so the chocolate was falling out of my pantry. Sugar High Friday's chocolate event make perfect sense. I even ate one of these little babies for breakfast-now is that decadence or what?

Ingredients


1/2 cup dried tart cherries-I used a combination of dried cherries, blueberries and dried cranberries.
1/4 cup eau-de-vie de framboise or other raspberry liqueur
3 oz Ghiradelli 60 % cacao bittersweet chocolate
1/2 stick unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt.
confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and butter the inside of six 1/2-cup muffin pans.

In a saucepan, simmer dried fruit combination in the framboise, stirring until all liquid is absorbed into the fruit.

Chop chocolate and butter and melt in a double boiler over simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and whisk in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Add flour and salt, stirring until just combined and fold in dried fruit mixture.

Divide batter among the muffin cups and bake about 20-25 minutes, or until a tester comes out with crumbs adhering. Turn cakes out on rack to cool. Cakes will keep in an airtight container for 4 days.

To serve, cut out a 1-1/4 inch paper heart and center on the top of a cake. Sift confectioners' sugar over cake and carefully remove heart. Repeat with remaining cakes. Makes six cakes.


Recipe From Gourmet


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Mulligatawny Soup

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Mulligatawny must be on a lot of bloggers minds these days! After my soup was made and photos taken, I was finishing up research on the history of mulligatawny when I came across Ahaar's blog-Pleasure and Substance with a posting on mulligatawny soup and entered in JFI for Coconut hosted by Ashwini at Food For Thought. I had almost decided not posting my mulligatawny soup, but when I saw that Ahaar's version of mulligatawny was much different from mine, I changed my mind.

Here is my version of Mulligatawny Soup adapted from Bon Appetit and is my entry in Waiter, There's Something in my--Stew blog event hosted by Cook Sister, Passionate Cook and Spitoon Extra.















Ingredients

6 whole cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
3 whole cloves, finely crushed
1 tablespoon curry powder(Madras)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 boneless chicken breasts, diced large
3 stalks celery, sliced
2 large onions, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
2 quarts chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup long grain rice
2 large tart apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup whipping cream
chopped fresh parsley, toasted unsweetened coconut, and toasted sliced almonds, for garnish.


Combine garlic and spices. Melt butter, add chicken breast pieces and saute in batches until lightly browned on all sides. Remove chicken and drain all but one tablespoon fat from pot. Add celery, onion carrot, leek and spice mixture-stir well. Add chicken and 2 cups stock. Cook 15 minutes. Add remaining stock and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes. Add rice to soup and cook 15 more minutes. Blend in apples and yogurt. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and blend in cream.

Taste and season with salt and pepper. To serve, ladle soup in bowl and garnish with parsley, coconut and toasted almonds. Serves 12 for a first course or 6 for main dish. Serve with pompadums or French bread.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Ginger Mint Tisane

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This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging begun by Kalyns Kitchen and hosted this week - January 8-14 by Coffeepot of Coffee & Cornbread.


A tisane is an infusion of herbs, spices and fruits or flowers steeped in hot water. It is then strained and sweetened and is served warm or cold. My tisane uses fresh ginger, mint, lemon juice and honey. Ginger and mint are readily available in the produce section of your local grocery store.

If you are reading this blog and you love food, then you are more than likely well informed about the different forms ginger can take-fresh, dried and ground, crystallized, pickled and preserved. What you may not know is that ginger has many medicinal uses. So maybe a piece of ginger in some form a day may supplant the old proverb that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away". For further reading on the benefits of ginger - Ginger, Your Food is Your Medicine.



Ingredients
Serves 6

6 cups water
1/4 cup peeled and chopped fresh ginger
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves-I used spearmint
6 tablespoons honey
For garnish-1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges

Bring to boil in a large saucepan, water, lemon juice and ginger. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add mint and steep for 5 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a pitcher or jar and press lightly to extract juice from mint and ginger. Discard mint and ginger. Stir in honey. Can be served hot or cold with the lemon wedge.

Recipe from Mayo Clinic

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cauliflower Puree

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When I began this food blog, encouraged by my sister Martha, who has two very fine blogs- crossing stitches and potpourri, I knew that whatever I made, my husband and I would have to eat as there are only two of us now.

Cauliflower has never been a favorite food , as a matter of fact, white food in general-blanquette de veau comes to mind, is not a favorite. Vanilla ice cream and white desserts are exceptions. When Lara of Still Life With... whose photos are top notch and is admin of SLW-a group on Flickr chose white food as the January assignment, I had to re-think white food.

While strolling around the produce section of my local grocery store, I espied a beautiful cauliflower and before I knew it, this gorgeous white vegetable was in my cart and I was headed home to cook -WHITE FOOD!! Actually, this is one of the tastiest cauliflower dishes I have eaten! It's such a simple dish to prepare and the sauteed cauliflower slices give a little color and texture to the puree.


Cauliflower Puree

1 head of cauliflower, florets trimmed and roughly chopped. Reserve a few slices for garnish.
1 cup water
2-3 Tablespoons light sour cream
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt and White Pepper to taste

Combine cauliflower and water in a medium pot, bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove florets from pot and place in the bowl of a food processor, adding 1-2 tablespoons of cooking water. Puree until smooth. Add sour cream and butter and process another 10 seconds or so. Season with salt and pepper.

For garnish, saute a few slices of cauliflower in a tablespoon of butter until tender and lightly brown.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

North Carolina -Style Pulled Pork Sandwich

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"Grilling, broiling, barbecuing - whatever you want to call it - is an art, not just a matter of building a pyre and throwing on a piece of meat as a sacrifice to the gods of the stomach.”
James Beard, 'Beard on Food' (1974)



My pulled pork barbecue is a result of years of making different rubs, brining the pork at times, smoking and cooking it totally on the grill or smoking it for half of the cooking time , then wrapping in foil and cooking in the oven until very tender so as to achieve the pulled pork texture. I doubt that this will be my final recipe and technique as I tend to experiment all the time with different rubs, smoker chips or chunks,charcoal or gas grills etc. However, my recipe reflects the peppery, slightly piquant style of Eastern North Carolina barbeque. Fresh hams bone-in are my favorite cut of pork even though most BBQ chefs use a Boston butt. The fresh ham isn't as fatty as the Boston butt, however, the flavor is just as good.



The Rub













Ingredients

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup paprika
4 tablespoons black pepper
4 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
4 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon pure chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin



The Meat

1 5-6 pound fresh ham or Boston butt
4-5 tablespoon of rub

Rub into meat, cover and refrigerate 3-8 hours













The Mopping Sauce

4 cups cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup Rub
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Makes about 5 cups.
Reserve 1 1/2 cups for mopping sauce-remainder will be used to moisten pork after it has been cooked and pulled.




















Soak 2 cups smoking chips for 30 minutes or more. Place in smoker box of gas grill, turn all burners on High and preheat until smoke appears. Lower heat to medium low. Remove pork from refrigerator and place on grill. After 30 minutes, baste with mopping sauce and continue to baste every 30 minutes after that taking care not to let too much heat out.Smoke for 3 hours, adding chips as necessary to maintain smoke.
















Remove roast from grill. Tear off a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap roast in and place in roasting pan. Pour contents of one beer over roast. Wrap tightly and place in 350 degree oven for about 3 hours. Pork should be very tender.
















Transfer the cooked pork to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes. Pull off skin and fat and with a fork or your fingers, pull meat apart-1-2 inches long and 1/4 inch wide. You can chop pork if you like. Add mopping sauce to pork as desired to moisten. To serve, pile pork onto hamburger bun top with North Carolina Coleslaw.


North Carolina Coleslaw

1 small head of green cabbage, cored and finely shredded
1 cup Vinegar Sauce(remainder of mopping sauce)

Mix together and let stand 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Coconut Ice Milk

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The video looked easy enough-just hold the coconut with the midsection in palm of your hand and a bowl underneath to catch the juice, then whack it with the backside of a cleaver. I knew I could crack a coconut; after all my mother made wonderful fresh coconut cakes when I was growing up and I don't remember her screaming about the coconut not cracking or any loud banging of hammers, etc.-but I was having a hell of a time with these two coconuts I was trying to sever perfectly in half.

After giving up on the video, I finally despaired of succeeding in cutting the coconut perfectly in half,so I used a hammer and a nail to poke through the eyes of the coconut, then drained the liquid into a container. I wrapped the coconut in an old towel and using one of my husbands wedge type tools, I hit it with a hammer all the way around the midsection of the coconut and, miraculously, it split in a rough half. It's much easier to buy the coconut already shredded, but you don't get the pleasure of peeling off different slices to toast or to garnish your dish. I love the beautiful rough chunks with the dark skin. Maybe I will buy some more coconuts and try again.















The coconut ice milk is very easy to make with an ice cream maker. Just chill the ingredients and pop into the maker and in 20 minutes, you have soft serve ice milk, however, it's best to give it some freezer time to ripen and firm up.


Ingredients

2 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
1 can 14 oz. unsweetened coconut milk, shaken vigorously before opening
2 tablespoons rum

Mix milk and sugar and heat in a saucepan until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, add unsweetened coconut milk and rum and mix well. Freeze in an ice cream maker. Garnish with thin slices of fresh toasted coconut.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My Kitchen

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I first heard about Show Us Your Kitchen hosted by Ilva of Lucullian Delights from MeetaA from What's For Lunch Honey whose beautiful kitchen is featured here.

My kitchen is nearly 6 years old and is quite adequate except I wish I had my microwave built in. It is white and doesn't really match the stainless steel appliances, but will have to suffice until it runs out of energy and so far, it's chugging along. My pride and joy is the Dacor range with six burners, an infrared gas broiler and an electric oven. It's marvelous, but heats up the kitchen in the summertime so I then use my Weber gas grill to cook nearly all my meats and sometimes vegetables and pizza.




I have a beverage refrigerator which houses wine, milk, cokes and beer and a small sink with hot and cold water to supplement the bigger sink in the main kitchen area.



That's my kitchen and I would love to see yours. Thanks.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year 2007

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The wine urges me on, the bewitching wine, which sets even a wise man to singing and to laughing gently and rouses him up to dance and brings forth words which were better unspoken.
Homer 800 BC-700 BC The Odyssey
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