Friday, March 02, 2012

Another comfortable dessert

There is just something about a custard based dessert to make you feel all warm and comfortable. I found a Melissa Clark recipe from the NY Times and thought I 'have to make this one'. Baked Tapioca Pudding with a Brûlée top sounded good! Looking through the pantry sent me hunting for Pearl Tapioca. I had a box of instant, I didn't think this was going to produce the same results in her photo. No luck at Walmart and Kroger, and then the 'old man' reminded me of the new bulk store in Georgetown, Mill Stone Market. They had Seed Tapioca, I seem to remember they are the same thing.

FYI, Mill Stone Market has an in-house bakery and when I walked in I was hit by fresh bread baking, delish. She also had a tray of chocolate chip cookies baking away. They feature a daily soup and sandwich. There are little tables to eat in, and one of my buddies said when she stopped in for lunch after a yoga class, all tables had filled up at noon.

If you think this recipe sounds like a winner to you, click on the recipe title link, and you too can find all the secrets to making this recipe. I did use a Bain Marie to ensure an even bake just like Melissa Clark suggested.
Always on the ready to fire up my blow torch, I did Brûlée the top with some Demerara sugar. My son deemed this dessert the Poor Man's Crème Brûlée.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Winging it.....

I seem to be cooking 'from the hip'. My own version of Britian's Ready Steady Cook! Here is how my version plays out.....a couple hours before meal time I start thinking about what I'm going to prepare. I forage the freezer, crisper drawer and pantry. Usually, a pretty good meal comes together this way.

I present to you the Pizza

A pre-made dough (yep, Trader Joe) was on my marble table ready to be shaped. I had some Eggplant that I softened in the oven with olive oil, some ricotta and a log of Goat Cheese. I decided that a 'white pizza' sounded good, so I blended the ricotta and goat cheese and spread that mixture on top.  I also had a jar of marinated artichokes. It was coming together. The dough was stubborn and needed some resting in-between stretching.

My son, the resident food critic, thought the dough was too 'wheaty'. He prefers my pizza dough. Now that is a good son. During the lunch, we did take a trip down food-memory lane.
La Crêperie Maule, where the Sarasan crepe is the star, served with a delicious cidre doux. Then, we remembered our  favorite local pizzeria, Pizza Elisa. A neighborhood place where our dog was as welcome as we were. It turned out to be one of those great meals that keeps a family close.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Salmon en Papillote

 The Salmon had thawed. It was 5:30 and I hadn't decided how to prepare the filet and what to serve with it.

The pressure was on. I told my family it was time to eat healthier & lighter. I wanted to cut back on my beloved rich cream sauces. Looking through my pantry, lots of cans, jars and sacks, our dinner was coming together! I found a jar of Trader Joe's Olive Tapenade! I also had a bag of their delicious Harvest Grains blend. A huge bag of Spinach in my crisper drawer, and a very simple dinner was in the works!

All of us in the Lexington area are very excited as the Trader Joe's is being built. More to come on opening dates and festivities!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Shot of inspiration!

There is nothing like a Cooking Class to get the inspiration juices flowing! Kinda' like that afternoon shot of about 5 minutes you feel ready to tackle the rest of your work day!

Any person in the Lexington area certainly loves a class with  Phil Dunn. Watching Phil wield a pan of bubbling anything on that beautiful brick red AGA can excite a cook, or just about anybody who loves to eat. He never fails to get me planning my next meal or purchase a tool at one of his favorite local haunts! Shortcuts & tips are aplenty during each class.

The theme of this particular class was Shrimp. Yep, I still had a package of that lovely shrimp from Kroger in my freezer. And yep, they were destined for a 'Phil' recipe. I hadn't made Crepes in quite a while and his Shrimp Newburgh Crepes with a Lobster Sauce sounded like a great treat for the family. But, after a trip to Liquor Barn where Phil said we can find the Lobster Base sent me back home with Menu Plan B. The special ingredient was SOLD OUT!

I made my batter yesterday morning. The batter waited patiently in the fridge for one day! Cooking finished, now the filling will be made! I had some cooked chicken and all the fixings for a Veloute' Sauce which was enriched with some Marsala. Next, I scored some wonderful Raclette Cheese at Sams Club, 2 kinds of Crepes were going to be prepared.
Lovely organic asparagus topped with a dollop of chicken with veloute' sauce. Then a Raclette Crepe was created with sliced boiled potatoes, the Prosciutto Ham and that fantastic cheese which melts to perfection.

Plan B worked out great. Such is supper at my house! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weeknight Paella

The Sofrito

After the Holidays, I usually scour the grocery to see what is on sale. At my local Kroger, I found some frozen packages of BEAUTIFUL shrimp. I scooped up two packages and threw them in the freezer waiting for a perfect dinner inspiration.

Looking through the freezer a few nights ago I spied those shrimp, some frozen (sorry my friends in France) well as some random chicken pieces. You know where this is heading, right? Paella!
But where did my favorite recipe go? I have been making this for years, I got if off the Weber Grill site. Now that the dinner was planned the recipe was no where to be found. I started searching on the luck. I typed in the gent who presented the recipe, Mr. Jamie Purvaiance. Still no luck, only a link where I could buy his book.
I finally stumbled on WeberNation, right where I left it when I lived in France. Now I'm cookin'!
The finished dish

If you do take a look at the little video, you will notice he prepares the Paella on the Weber. We have done this many times. Winter in Kentucky, a mild winter it is right now....still didn't tempt me outdoors to the BBQ. I made it on the hob and I must say, it was a great success! Moral to the story, shop the sales at the grocery and get a bit more organized with those old recipe files and links!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 the house!

One product I have been missing since moving back to the states has been Brick pastry. I have shopped all specialty markets, made trips up to Jungle Jim's, the foodie paradise in Cincy, to no avail!

I had just found Puy Lentils on Amazon and decided to give them another gander. Low & Behold, they were available from a place that imports. I'm always surprised that the world gets a little smaller thanks to the Internet! Two packages of 10 Bricks to an order, long shelf life. But, very expensive. I still decided that I wanted to relive some of those fantastic recipes that I had collected from my years in France, and bought them. They arrived, and the family was very happy!

I really didn't have a recipe when I made Sunday lunch. It was a concoction of what was leftover in the fridge. So, mushrooms, cooked chicken, green onions and some cheddar cheese went into the Brick. So paper thin, just like I remembered! It is a real pleasure to work with this pastry. Rolled them up, brushed with olive oil and they baked up very quick. Some of you might ask if you can sub Filo pastry for the Brick, and yes, of course you can.

I had some Haloumi cheese in the fridge, fried that up with a little olive oil. Served with a little baby spinach and fresh strawberries and Sunday lunch was served. Thanks Amazon!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Anybody out there?

I know it has been a long time since I last blogged! Moving, full-time job, well, it just took the wind out of my creative sail. Armed with a new oven, lots of time and a new camera, I am starting to feel the urge to get back into some sharing.
More than likely, I need to update my 'look'.....but for now, just checking to see if anybody is 'out there'.