Thanksgiving Feast: Cranberry Relish

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:

Cranberry Relish

  • 2.5lbs of white cane sugar
  • 3x 2lb bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1 bottle of dark, sugary, port wine.
  • 1 can of frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 cup of pineapple juice
  • 4 packs of gelatin, normally flavorless but orange or strawberry work.
  • Ingredients- Cranberry Relish

Instructions:

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.Setting the gelatin- Cranberry Relish

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,

Joe Foley

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A Monte Cristo served with Candied Figs

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

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:

  • 4 figs
  • Several tablespoons of sugar
  • Triple Sec or orange juice

Batter:

  • 2-3 whole eggs

Preparation:

  • 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

    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

    Caramelizing the Figs, Adding the Triple Sec

  • Allow to reduce and thicken for a few minutes then remove the pan from heat.IMGP2318

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 Yolk!

    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!

    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!

Fin!

Fin!

Bacon Cheddar Lobster Roll (Tis’ the Season!)

A Lobster Loaf Portion with Fiddleheads and a Ramekin of Cheese Sauce

A Lobster Loaf Portion with Fiddleheads and a Ramekin of Cheese Sauce

What you will need:

  • 1 1/2 pound Lobster
  • Package of bacon
  • 250 grams of Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 stick of butter (garlic butter works great, too)
  • 2% Milk 12-160z
  • Loaf of bread (Medium size aprox. 12inchs length, 5 inchs width.)
  • flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C)
  2. Put a medium size pot a little less then half-way full of water on the stove top; temp. med.-high
  3. *Place a metal mixing bowl on top of that pot so that its bottom and sides are cradled by the pot. Make sure it is large enough to contain all the ingredients; butter, cheese, milk.
  4. Place 1/2 stick of butter into the bowl
  5. Place bacon, side by side and not overlapping on an oven tray. Place in oven.
  6. Dice cheddar- doesn’t need to be perfect; toss into the metal mixing bowl, let melt.
    Cheddar, Butter, Milk on the Double Boil

    Cheddar, Butter, Milk on the Double Boil

  7. Get cracking on the lobster. Pull the bulk of the meat out from the tail, break the claws open, and check its other spindly legs for some hidden goodness- It’s possible to get quite a bit if meat if you have patience and a good hammer. (rolling pin works, too!) At the bottom of the page is a good video from Stef Le Chef on how to remove the meat.
  8. Rinse any green or guts found on the meat then dice it to chunks.
  9. Stir the blend of butter and chedder, whisking firmly, swiftly and carefuly to achieve a good consistency. Add milk slowly, we don’t want it too soupy.
  10. Sprinkle flour to thicken; Lower the heat if it seams to be sticking or bubbling. Whisk and whisk till you have achieved a nice saucy, cheesy texture. Turn heat on low.
  11. Cut the loaf in half. Dig into the bottom portion of the loaf and form a bed for all your delicious toppings to rest in. Do this to the top piece of bread too.
  12. Is your bacon burning? No? Ok well take it out when it is crispy. Pour some bacon drippings into your cheese sauce and stir it up.
  13. Layer the bacon length wise on the bottom portion of the bread loafs cozy bed.
    The Bacon and it's Drippings

    The Bacon and it’s Drippings

    Bacon is good but don’t get overzealous as we want to taste the lobster.

  14. Top the bacon with lobster chunks.
  15. Pour the golden sauce all over the bacon and lobster. If you’d like, top with some fresh parsley.
  16. Place top on and cut portions from the loaf.
    Use a bread knife and saw without pressure, equal portions.

    Use a bread knife, saw without excessive pressure into equal portions.

  17. Serve with dark greens, IE fiddleheads** as I used here, a ramekin of the rich cheese sauce. and a lemon wedge if you prefer.

*The trick to double boiling is that you don’t want the sauce to burn or become to hot, or likewise the oils to seperate due to an excess of temperature. When you double boil you are using indirect heat, like steam, to cook at a gentler rate. Also, if you have a real double boiler, use that.
**Fiddleheads are a late spring, seasonal fern coming from North America. They have a very light, acidic taste-similar to a cross between spinach and asparagus. To cook them just heat salted water to a boil and cook them for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Warning: There are many species of this fern and some are considered poisonous! So use only the judgement of experts when cultivating them from a wild source.

Here is the lobster prep video I promised:
stephane sauthier : 

Bacon Cheddar Lobster Roll (Tis’ the Season!)

A Lobster Loaf Portion with Fiddleheads and a Ramekin of Cheese Sauce

A Lobster Loaf Portion with Fiddleheads and a Ramekin of Cheese Sauce

What you will need:

  • 1 1/2 pound Lobster
  • Package of bacon
  • 250 grams of Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 stick of butter (garlic butter works great, too)
  • 2% Milk 12-160z
  • Loaf of bread (Medium size aprox. 12inchs length, 5 inchs width.)
  • flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C)
  2. Put a medium size pot a little less then half-way full of water on the stove top; temp. med.-high
  3. *Place a metal mixing bowl on top of that pot so that its bottom and sides are cradled by the pot. Make sure it is large enough to contain all the ingredients; butter, cheese, milk.
  4. Place 1/2 stick of butter into the bowl
  5. Place bacon, side by side and not overlapping on an oven tray. Place in oven.
  6. Dice cheddar- doesn’t need to be perfect; toss into the metal mixing bowl, let melt.
    Cheddar, Butter, Milk on the Double Boil

    Cheddar, Butter, Milk on the Double Boil

  7. Get cracking on the lobster. Pull the bulk of the meat out from the tail, break the claws open, and check its other spindly legs for some hidden goodness- It’s possible to get quite a bit if meat if you have patience and a good hammer. (rolling pin works, too!) At the bottom of the page is a good video from Stef Le Chef on how to remove the meat.
  8. Rinse any green or guts found on the meat then dice it to chunks.
  9. Stir the blend of butter and chedder, whisking firmly, swiftly and carefuly to achieve a good consistency. Add milk slowly, we don’t want it too soupy.
  10. Sprinkle flour to thicken; Lower the heat if it seams to be sticking or bubbling. Whisk and whisk till you have achieved a nice saucy, cheesy texture. Turn heat on low.
  11. Cut the loaf in half. Dig into the bottom portion of the loaf and form a bed for all your delicious toppings to rest in. Do this to the top piece of bread too.
  12. Is your bacon burning? No? Ok well take it out when it is crispy. Pour some bacon drippings into your cheese sauce and stir it up.
  13. Layer the bacon length wise on the bottom portion of the bread loafs cozy bed.
    The Bacon and it's Drippings

    The Bacon and it’s Drippings

    Bacon is good but don’t get overzealous as we want to taste the lobster.

  14. Top the bacon with lobster chunks.
  15. Pour the golden sauce all over the bacon and lobster. If you’d like, top with some fresh parsley.
  16. Place top on and cut portions from the loaf.
    Use a bread knife and saw without pressure, equal portions.

    Use a bread knife, saw without excessive pressure into equal portions.

  17. Serve with dark greens, IE fiddleheads** as I used here, a ramekin of the rich cheese sauce. and a lemon wedge if you prefer.

*The trick to double boiling is that you don’t want the sauce to burn or become to hot, or likewise the oils to seperate due to an excess of temperature. When you double boil you are using indirect heat, like steam, to cook at a gentler rate. Also, if you have a real double boiler, use that.
**Fiddleheads are a late spring, seasonal fern coming from North America. They have a very light, acidic taste-similar to a cross between spinach and asparagus. To cook them just heat salted water to a boil and cook them for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Warning: There are many species of this fern and some are considered poisonous! So use only the judgement of experts when cultivating them from a wild source.

Here is the lobster prep video I promised:
stephane sauthier : 

Lets Cure Salmon

Lachs Tartar

Curing the Raw Salmon:

 

  • 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.
  1. Mix one 1 liter of table salt with 1 liter of white-crystalline(normal) sugar in a bowl.

Salt Curing Salmon, 2

2. Place salmon in a deep tray, then just about bury the salmon in the mix.

Salt Curing Salmon 1

Salt curing salmon 3, 1 kilo salt, 1 kilo sugar

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.

Salt Curing Salmon, lemon,dill,mustar seed, pepper seed

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:

  • Pickles
  • White Onion
  • Dill
  • Lemon
  1. Dice pickles onions to fine bits.
  2. Chop sprigs of fresh dill to nearly a mince.
  3. Add a squeeze of lemon.

Asparagus Marinade:

  • lemon juice
  • White bianco balsamico
  • salt, sugar
  1. Cut the rough white ends off and throw them out or save them for soup.
  2. Cut the top of the Asparagus head and save them on the side; leave only the tender shoot.
  3. Use a peeler to get fine, thin slices from the asparagus.
  4. Let chill and soak in a blend of lemon juice, vinegar, salt and sugar.

Preparation:

  1. Chop the freshly cured salmon into small, delicate, even bits.
  2. Take a mixing bowl, add the lachs then add your desired amount of relish. (There is no way, except yourway, my friend.)
  3. Add a small dollop of sour cream for every 2.5 ounce portion. Again, it is your preference. Mix well; combine evenly.
  4. Use a small metal baking cup or any other mold you wish to give shape to the tartar.
  5. 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.

Bon appétit

Schweinebraten with a Wine Gravy.

 Roast Pork with Wine Gravy: Bavarian style 

Simple and filling.

Simple and filling.

For the meat:

  • 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

  1. Cut onions and garlic keep peels and place around the center of the pan.
  2. Baste meat with mixed oil and spices and place in baking pan.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  • White sugar
  • Tomato Puree
  • Packet of powdered, dark gravy mix for meat**
  • Splash of Orange Juice.
  • butter
  • whole milk

Prep:

  1. 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.
  2. Add one cup of wine and bring to a boil.
  3. Turn heat down and add a can of tomato puree; then a splash of orange juice.
  4. At low temperature you will let the mix reduce for about 40 minutes; Stirring every so often.
  5. After reduction, add 100 grams of butter, splash or two of milk to help round the flavor
  6. Add packet of brown gravy powder, stir.
  7. 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

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.

Chili-Cucumber Relish

I learned a great new recipe the other day, it is simple and can be paired with a wide variety of foods such as grilled fish, chicken and rice

The pan of carmelized vegetables

The pan of carmelized vegetables

Ramekins of this asian inspired relish

Ramekins of this asian inspired relish

  1. 1 cucumber
  2. 1 red onion
  3. 2 red chili peppers
  4. white balsamic vinegar
  5. white sugar
  • Dice all vegetables
  • Put sugar into pan with a bit of water, heat sugar until the beginning stages of carmelization.
  • add a few splashes of vinegar and stir.
  • Remove from heat and add all vegetables; all the while stirring.
  • Keep the vegetables in a hot pan for a few minutes then place the relish into a seperate bowl. Don’t bother with the juices leftover, keep only the diced and coated vegetables.

Remember to wash your hands and the cutting board after cutting up the pepper. The oils from the pepper can irritate  the sensitive parts of your skin and is not healthy for pets or animals.

but most important of all, enjoy!