“'I have walked along a street with the best cigar in the cosmos in my mouth, and more Burgundy inside me then you have ever saw in your life, and longed that the lamp-post would turn into an elephant to save me from the hell of blank existence.'” -The Napolean of Notting Hill
Here we are once again, the annual eat-a-thon, the, “thanks to who?” event filled with a decadent ensemble of grandma’s recipes, casseroles, pies and equally, uncle’s deep frying disasters; a turkey day to all Americans and a stuff-your-face month for the rest. I am of course speaking of Thanksgiving.
This thanksgiving I will be preparing a meal for the Ocean Beach International Hostel that I currently work at- but if the chef industry, the cooking houses of my past have taught me anything, it’s prepare and plan. Attack this holiday meal with a skillfully crafted agenda and you wont be left thinking of the mash potatoes as you whiff a now charring turkey. (You hurry over to the oven but you already know it’s too late.)
Given this, I prepared the cranberry relish this afternoon. I know that it holds well and will be as tasty and fresh as if I prepared it that day. Here is the recipe I used, serves a good portion of about 5 ounces to 50 people:
4 packs of gelatin, normally flavorless but orange or strawberry work.
Place all cranberries and sugar into an adequate size soup pot.
Set on the stove on medium-high temperature with a few cups of water.
Add entire package of orange juice concentrate and bottle of wine.
Mix and let it go for about an hour. Watch it so it doesn’t boil over.
The goal is to soften the cranberries, soak the juices, and remove any sharp bitterness.
The next stage is to strain all juices from cranberries. Set cranberries aside for later.
Take the strained juice and split in half in bowls or however you wish. Let Chill.
When cold or room temperature, bring one half of the juice to a boil in a pot and add gelatin.
Stir gelatin until dissolved then add the other half, the cold or room temperature juice. Stir.
Add the cranberries to the juice and gelatin mix.
Divide contents into as many bowls or cups as your prefer.
Let cool until room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for several hours.
Keep posted for more thanksgiving recipes and stories as my plans and dinner unfolds! Good tidings and cheers,
I’ve been reading a classic and it inspired me to create this sandwich-The Monte Cristo. Can you guess the title of the book?
Well, this hybrid croque-monsieur, (also known as the grilled cheese with ham) calls for butter-frying the white bread in an egg batter, similar to french toast; it is a decadent treat that pairs salty, savory with sweet. It is joined with jam or preserves and sometimes sprinkled with a bit of powdered sugar! I opted for a candied fig garnish and no powdered sugar. If you love hot, satisfying sandwiches, this ones for you!
Voilà, a Monte Cristo
This recipe makes 3 sandwiches, adjust as needed.
For the sandwich:
6 Slices of White Bread
1/4 pound of roasted turkey, thin slices
1/4 pound Honey Ham or Regular Ham, thin slices Slices
A wedge of Gruyère cheese
For the candied fig side garnish:
Several tablespoons of sugar
Triple Sec or orange juice
2-3 whole eggs
The Batter; 2-3 Eggs
The Cheese Makes it Great! Guyerre.
Ingredients: Candied Figs
Preheat oven to 300 Farenheit or 150 Celsius
Gently cut figs into small wedges
Crack eggs into bowl and whisk to a blended consistency
Make the sandwich: Ham, Turkey and slices of cheese; Set aside next to batter.
Making the Candied Figs:
put several large tablespoons of sugar into a pan add a few splashes of water then set on stove top on medium temperature.
Caramelize the sugar.
Sugar to Caramel
Add figs and stir them around to get them evenly coated.
Add a few splashes of triple sec and reduce heat to low-medium heat.
Caramelizing the Figs, Adding the Triple Sec
Allow to reduce and thicken for a few minutes then remove the pan from heat.
Making the Monte Cristo
Heat a skillet on the stove at medium to high temperature, adding a liberal chunk of salted butter.
Dip the Sandwich whole into the batter, coating bottom and top slices of bread in egg.
Yes, The Bread Goes Into Eggs!
When the skillet is hot and the butter is just beginning to brown, place the drenched sandwich into the skillet.
Great Frying Cristo!
Fry each side for several minutes. Repeat for the remaining 2.
Remove sandwich from skillet and place on a middle rack in the oven for 5-7 minutes to get a nice crunchy and melty texture.
Serve the Monte Cristo as a Sandwich in two portions and dress the sides of the plate with the candied fig garnish. Don’t be a stranger to the figs; dip your Monte right into the sauce- it’s boss!
A great story is a great story; It’s almost as simple as that but what strikes me every time with Dumas and his writing style, (beside is his skill for dramatics and grand adventure) is the repasts he serves up. His detail of a sumptuous feasts, cellars of wines, sweet meats and grand fetes; all are are seamlessly woven into all of his novels; almost like embroidering streaks of delicious silver and gold into a grand tapestry. As a cook and a reader, this, for me is tops.
Let me give you one great example I read just the other day in, The Man in the IronMask-it is a repast that was being held at the Bastille of all places:
“He had a guest to-day and the spit turned more heavily than usual. Roast partridges flanked with quails and flanking a larded leveret*; boiled fowls; ham fried and sprinkled with white wine; cardons of guipuzcoa** and la bisque écrevisse***: these together with the soups and hors-d’oeuvre, constituted the bill of fare.”
La Bisque Ecrevisses
Lardons; Back Fat
All pictures belong to their respective authors.
*A leveret is a hare that is less than a year old.
**Guipuscoa is a province of spain and part of the Autonomous region of the Basque country; a cardon is a plant that is similar to a cactus. (Can anyone help me out here-I’m a bit at a loss myself.)
For the curing recipe, I used a 3lb filet of raw salmon; 25 portions.
Remove the skin with a boning knife or a filet knife.
Mix one 1 liter of table salt with 1 liter of white-crystalline(normal) sugar in a bowl.
2. Place salmon in a deep tray, then just about bury the salmon in the mix.
3. Using wedges or slices of lemon, dress the mix and salmon with them (2-3 lemons will do) Sprinkle a handful of whole pepper seeds, a smaller handful of mustard seed and shreds from a bundle of dill. Shake the pan and get everything evenly coated and evenly mixed.
4. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 12 hours; When finished wash all seasoning from the fish thoroughly and chop finely.
Lachs Tartar Relish:
Dice pickles onions to fine bits.
Chop sprigs of fresh dill to nearly a mince.
Add a squeeze of lemon.
White bianco balsamico
Cut the rough white ends off and throw them out or save them for soup.
Cut the top of the Asparagus head and save them on the side; leave only the tender shoot.
Use a peeler to get fine, thin slices from the asparagus.
Let chill and soak in a blend of lemon juice, vinegar, salt and sugar.
Chop the freshly cured salmon into small, delicate, even bits.
Take a mixing bowl, add the lachs then add your desired amount of relish. (There is no way, except yourway, my friend.)
Add a small dollop of sour cream for every 2.5 ounce portion. Again, it is your preference. Mix well; combine evenly.
Use a small metal baking cup or any other mold you wish to give shape to the tartar.
place on or around your marinated aspargus peels, garnish with red onion rings, sprigs of fragrant dill and any variation of light zesty cream sauces you wish to use.
600-800 gram piece of pork back or thigh with skin
Vegetable oil mix with salt, pepper and caraway seed
1 ½ white onions
3 cloves of garlic
Preheat oven to 175 c
Cut onions and garlic keep peels and place around the center of the pan.
Baste meat with mixed oil and spices and place in baking pan.
place garlic and onions, on top, under and around meat for a good saturation of flavor. Drizzle the remaining oil mix over the onions, meat and pan.
Place in the preheated oven. You will be cooking the meat for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. The onions and garlic will burn slightly, that is what is expected.
For the gravy*:
Dark wine like a Cab. Sauv.
Packet of powdered, dark gravy mix for meat**
Splash of Orange Juice.
Pour about a tablespoon of white sugar with a bit water into a pot. Allow the water to boil out and the sugar to caramelize.
Add one cup of wine and bring to a boil.
Turn heat down and add a can of tomato puree; then a splash of orange juice.
At low temperature you will let the mix reduce for about 40 minutes; Stirring every so often.
After reduction, add 100 grams of butter, splash or two of milk to help round the flavor
Add packet of brown gravy powder, stir.
Let sit at low temperature for an additional 15-20 minutes.
Allow meat to cool for 10 minutes then serve with sauce drenching the meat. Garnish with parsely. Pairs well with a dark oatmeal beer, a lager, or a glass of heavy red wine. As a side you may wish to serve with roasted potatoes, potato salad, ora semmel knödel***
Rustic, simple, and a style of meat that is unmistakebly Bavarian
*This sauce is a variation of the beer rue.
**The packet I used is from Maggi and it is a schnitzel and mushroom based powdered gravy. Any dark brown powder gravy will work splendid. This is a quick sauce, if you wished, of course you can augment and create your own variations.
***The Semmel Knodel is a bread dumpling hailing from this area of Germany.
This wurstsalat, or sausage salad is a tangy, savory Bavarian and German delight. It is an original recipe from a restaurant in Munich! Get ready for spring or summer with this classic. Get a pencil handy and take notes- this dish is sure to be a winner at any pot-luck, backyard BBQ or casual picnic in the park: Bunter Wurstsalat; this recipe yields about a gallon or about 30 portions as shown. Adjust as needed.
3 Paprika; yellow, green and red
3 White onions
3-5 Spoons of yellow mustard
1 liter of vegetable oil*
1/3 Balsamic white vinegar
2 Leberkäs loaves**
Dice the onions and pickles; the cuts are not important as we will be making an emulsion of all this.
Cut the Paprika Julian
Thinly slice the Leberkäs, when complete cut thin strips from the slices as shown.
Make an emulsion of the mustard, oil and vinegar. Taste the emulsion and add more vinegar as needed.
Add paprika and meat. Stir ingredients evenly and gently.
Serve with a pickle on the side and top the wurst with thinly sliced red onion rings and strips of Swiss or Provolone cheese. The garnishing I used: A few leaves of lettuce, shredded red cabbage, sprouts and garden cress.
*You may wish to use olive oil. I don’t because it is a bit heavy for this dish.
**Leberkäs is a spiced loaf of pressed pork-I will be making a follow up post regarding the history shortly as well as exploring substitutes as many people don’t have access to this meat. In regards to a substitute, it is difficult to say right of the cuff. I would be remiss to say that normal lunch meat is not in the same league as this spiced loaf; Use a quality Bologna meat as a substitute.
slice and dice pickles
Prep the Paprika for Juian cuts.
strips of Leberkäs loaf
Making the emulsion with my pro hand blender. A normal blender or food processor works equally.