Creamy Garlic Parmesan Mushroom Cream

On Sunday afternoon we were dining at Cuckoo’s in Coombs and we had this sauce. It is to die for. Total addictive. You have to try it. It will go on anything and be so wonderful.

Of course the Chef couldn’t give us HIS recipe and it is beyond yummy. This is Don’s and is soooo yummy.

  • 1 lb. mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Put the butter in a frypan and fry the mushrooms without moving them around. Turn over only when they have a nice crust on the bottom. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and saute for one minute.

Add the cream and bring to a boil,  now add the cheese cooking for 3 minutes. Lower the temperature, add the parsley and simmer for one minute until thick and smooth.

OMG! Chicken, steak, fish, even toast triangles will benefit from this sauce.

Beer Battered Fish and Homemade Chips

Last night Don made Fish and Chips and I have to be honest….they were THE best yet. So  we agreed no more ordering in. You might be surprised at one of the ingredients but, boy oh boy, it worked.

  • 3 large russet potatoes
  • vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  •  2 tsp. baking powder
  • kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 bottle chilled n.a beer
  • 1 1/2 lb. skinless cod fillets, cut into 4 fillets
  • Malt vinegar, lemon wedges for serving

 

Slice the potatoes lengthwise into 1/4 inch sticks. Add to the ice water as you work. Let sit for 30 minutes and lift out, rinsing well and patting really dry.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat about 4 inches of oil in a large frying pan until a thermometer reaches 280 degrees. Add half the potatoes and fry until just tender but no colour. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper lined plate. Repeat with the remaining potatoes then turn the temperature up to 365 degrees.

Whisk together the dry ingredients, using only 3/4 cup of flour, with the beer until MOSTLY smooth. Let sit for about 5-6 minutes to thicken up.

Set a rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Season the fish with salt and  working in two batches, dredge the fish in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, then dip into the beer batter, letting the excess fall off. Fry until crisp and golden brown (about 4 minutes). Transfer to the rack and place in the oven to stay warm.

Increase the temperature of the oil for 380 degrees. Working in two batches again. fry the potatoes until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain on a paper lined plate. Finish the second batch and then plate and serve.

OMG!!!!n So yummy.

 

Braised Ham With A Maple Raisin Sauce

Mother’s Day is very close and this could be a new way to serve ham.

  • 7-8 lb. fully cooked bone in ham
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup maple sugar, granulated
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup white cranberry juice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 cups golden raisins

In a very large (10 qt.) pot, place the ham, cut side own and add the water and maple syrup. Cover and bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low, cooking for about 2 1/2 hours. Remove the cover and let cool a little.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and when the ham is cool enough to handle remove the ham from the pot and reserve the liquid, Cut off any rind and excess fat and leave a very thin layer of fat. Transfer ham to a roast pan.

Whisk together all the ingredients, except the raisins and spoon over the ham. Add the raisins and 1 cup of the cooking liquid and roast in the oven for about 35-40 minutes, baste this occasionally so the ham is glazed and the juices are bubbling.

Serve warm to some very appreciative people around the table.

Just add the potatoes of your choice, a vegetable or two and you will be the winner. Just think about the ham sandwiches for tomorrow. Oh yeah!

Creamy Potatoes Au Gratin

This is a real oldie but goodie. If you have not made these before, try it and it just might become a favourite.

  • 12 large potatoes, cleaned, peeled and cut in thick rounds
  • 1 large onion, grated
  • Bechamel Sauce – recipe follows

Butter a large oval casserole baking dish and set aside.

Drop the potatoes in a pot of boiling water and cook until tender and this should take about 5 minutes. Drain well.

Make up the sauce and assemble by making a single layer of rounds in the dish, sprinkle half of the onion over and with half the sauce. Repeat the layers and finish with the remaining sauce.

Bake in preheated oven of 375 degrees for 40 minutes until nicely browned. Settle for 10 minutes before serving.

Bechamel Sauce

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 1/4 cups half and half cream
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed

Melt butter in saucepan and add garlic, stirring for one minute.

Stir in the flour and cook for two minutes until completely blended and no lumps remaining.

Whisking quickly, slowly add the cream until it thickens and is smooth.

*Like with all sauces, strain for a totally silky smooth sauce.

Orange Sauce for a Roast Duck Dinner

Some people really like duck and this is a sauce that will make the flavours take off and sing.

  • 3/4 cup currant jelly
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • rind of 3 oranges, grated
  • 1/4 cup port wine
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of cayenne
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Combine the jelly, sugar and orange rind to a pot, beating well. Heat long enough only to melt the sugar.

Add the remaining ingredints, except the lemon juice and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, stirring only to blend.

Glaze the duck during the last half hour of cooking time. Serve the remaining sauce in a pitcher at the table for guests to add more.

 

Corn and Crab Bisque

This was one of the dishes that was made at the New Orleans School of Cooking and believe me when I say when the offer for seconds was announced, there was a mad rush of almost all 50 people to the front for more. It was fabulous.

Here it is for you to try and you’re welcome!

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 lb. butter (1 stick)
  • 1 qt. heavy cream
  • 1 qt. chicken stock
  • Joe’s Stuff seasoning to taste
  • 1/2 lb. crab meat (both canned and claw)
  • 1 cup green onion, chopped
  • 24 oz. whole corn with liquid (do not use creamed)
  • crab boil to taste (flavouring)
  • 1 tbsp. chopped parsley for garnish

In a large pot, place stock, spices, 1/2 of the corn and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for about 10-12 minutes.

Make a blonde roux with equal parts butter and flour. Add roux to your simmering pot. Add the cream and then stir in the remaining corn, crabmeat and simmer for another 5 minutes. DO NOT LET THIS BOIL.

Add in half of the onions.

 

**Use the balance of the onions and parsley for garnish, if you wish.

You can substitute crab for lobster or shrimp if you wish.

 

Lime Fritas

This is a very yummy dessert that everyone will love. It only looks complicated. Simply read it through, get the ingredients together and go for it. You know what to say both loudly and to yourself when done….Damn I did this. It comes in a few steps.

Step 1

  • 2 1/2 tsp. dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 lime, zest only
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 7 tbsp. butter at room temperature
  • canola oil for your deep fryer

Put the paddle attachment on your electric mixer. Mix together the yeast and milk together and let stand for a minute to dissolve the yeast. Now add the flour, sugar, eggs, lime zest and salt. Mix only on low speed until all are blended together.

Remove the paddle and attach the dough hook. Mix until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Blend in the butter 1 tbsp. at a time until fully mixed and the dough is soft. Place the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap, sealing tightly and refrigerating for overnight.

There, that was easy. Next:

Step 2

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. plain cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, again at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 pinch of salt

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and pulse until no lumps remain and is very smooth.

Pour into a heavy bottom saucepan and, over low heat, stir continuously until thickened. Remove from the stove and lightly press plastic wrap on the surface of the custard and when cool, refrigerate until very cold.

Step 3

  • In the morning line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking oil.
  • Roll the dough out on a floured surface until 1/2 inch thick and cut with  1 1/2 inch cutter. Gather up all the scraps and repeat the steps until all the dough has been used up.
  • Spray a large piece of plastic wrap with cooking oil and place the oiled side gently over the top of the dough. Place in a warm place until they become slightly puffed. This should be about one hour.

Step 4

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-2 limes, zest only (depends on size of limes)

Stir together in a small bowl and set aside.

 

To Finish

  • Fill your deep fryer with oil and bring to a 350 degree temperature. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
  • Add the Fritas, 2-3 at a time and fry until puffed and golden on all sides (about 4 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to turn them over and then remove to the baking sheet.  When cool enough to handle, toss in the sugar/lime mix and set aside to completely cool down.
  • With a small whisk, loosen the custard. Put into a pastry bag with a small tip. Poke a hole in each of the Fritas, and pipe a generous 2 tsp. into each one.

For the best….serve the same day they have been made. OMG! Damn we did this.

 

Tequila And Corona For Hot Summer Days

Today I have a new drink for you to make and share with a few friends on a hot summer evening on the patio with a few munchies. This must be served COLD and, when served with lime wedges, exquisite.

 

  • 1/3 cup fine sugar
  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup Tequila
  • 2 x 355 ml bottles of Corona, chilled
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp. fine sugar
  • lime wedges

Boil together the sugar and 1/3 cup of the lime juice until the sugar completely dissolves (about 2 minutes).

Pour into a pitcher along with the remaining lime juice and Tequila. Place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 45 minutes to get cold. Remove from the refrigerator and slowly pour in the Corona and ice cubes just before serving.

Combine the salt and sugar on a small plate. Run a lime wedge around the rim of 4 glasses, then dip into the mixture. Pour in the tequila mixture EQUALLY in the four glasses, add a lime wedge and  you have just become a patio hero.

Make sure you have salty munchies such as chips, popcorn or crackers and cheese.

Teriyaki Tofu Rice Bowl

This is THE ideal recovery meal, opting for foods with a three to one ratio of carbs to protein. This recipe is near perfect. It is a great meal to help healing if you have had or are contemplating surgery. Otherwise, it is a great ‘pick-me-up’ meal on any day.

 

  • 1 lb. firm tofu, drained
  • 3 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1  1/2 cups brown Jasmine rice
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tbsp. wasabi powder
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • juice from 1 large lime

Cut tofu crosswise into 8 slices. Place in a shallow bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and sesame oil. Pour soy sauce mixture over tofu and let soak, turning just once for a minimum of 2 hours, preferably longer.

When ready to serve, cut tofu into pieces in half crosswise and reserve the marinade.

Place rice, ginger and 2 cups of water in a saucepan (rice cooker preferred). When cooked, fluff with a fork.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a dry, heavy bottom skillet, add the sesame seeds and toast, shaking pan occasionally, until the seeds pop and become fragrant.

In a bowl, toss together avocado, cucumber, carrot, onion and cilantro. Whisk lime juice into the wasabi paste and toss with the avocado mixture.

Divide rice among 4 serving bowl and top with tofu pieces and avocado mixture. Drizzle on any reserved marinade.

Citrus Cranberry Spritzers

This would make a great ‘signature drink’ when your guests first arrive. Just ask if anyone is taking medication that prevents them having anything grapefruit and adjust something for them, without making a fuss.

 

  • 2 cups fresh grapefruit juice (pink  or red is preferred)
  • 2 cups fresh orange juice
  • 2 cups cranberry juice (I prefer the white cranberry juice – not so acidic)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 cups chilled sparkling wine or mineral water for those not drinking.
  • Orange zest for garnish

In a large pitcher, stir together the grapefruit, orange and cranberry juices. Rim each of 8 glasses with some lime and dip into sugar. Place 2-3 ice cubes in each glass .

Stir in the lime juice and divide equally among the glasses about 2/3 full and top with the sparkling wine. Garnish with an orange twist and make a toast. Wonderful!

Try using a Blanc de Blancs Brut (cheaper than the others) but certainly just as tasty.

 

Chevre Tartlets With Caramelized Onions

Wine and Cheese Night with friends and this is a winner. Make it ahead and you are in good planning mode.

 

  • 4 phyllo sheets (13 x 17 inches)
  • 8 tbsp. melted butter, divided
  • 4 oz. lean bacon, chopped
  • 2 large sweet onions, (is there such a thing?)  thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 6 oz. chevre cheese (goat’s cheese)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup half and half cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 12 regular size muffin tins and set aside. Place 1 sheet of phyllo on work surface, and be sure to keep the others covered with a damp cloth. Brush lightly with butter. Top second sheet over the first and brush with butter.  Repeat until finished, reserving 2 tbsp. of butter.

Use a sharp knife and cut crosswise into 4 strips and lengthwise into 3 strips (this will make your 12 squares). press each one into a muffin cup and bake for about 5-6 minutes until golden but not completely cooked. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before filling.

Lower oven to 350 degrees.

Cook bacon in a skillet over low heat stirring often. When crisp remove and drain on paper towels. Add the remaining 2 tbsp. of buttter and add the onions and cook over medium heat, again stirring often until they change colour. Add the garlic and thyme leaves. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for about 12-15 minutes until tender and caramelized. Mix in the bacon.

In a bowl mix together the cheese, eggs, cream and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whip until smooth. Evenly divide the onion mixture into the phyllo cups and top each one with about 2 tbsp of the egg mixture. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until the custard has set and the cups are golden brown. If they begin to brown too quickly, gently lay a sheet of tin foil over the top.

Add 5-6 other nibblies and you have a successful party.

Make sure to have a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc nearby.

Have fun!

Raspberry Dream Mini Cookie-wiches

You won ‘t believe that by using a cake mix you get these cookie-wiches. These make a great ‘sweet’ to add to your table of goodies when entertaining, especially with the entertaining season fast approaching.

  • 1 pkg. white cake mix (Duncan Hines is good)
  • 3 tbsp. dry Jell-o Raspberry Gelatin
  • 1 cup thawed Cool Whip whipped topping
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tub Cool Whip cream cheese frosting, thawed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir all the ingredients together, except the frosting. Make sure it is well combined. The frosting will be quite stiff so don’t panic.

On parchment lined baking sheets, shape into balls, using 1 tsp. of the dough, placing 2 inches apart. They will spread out.

Bake for about 8 minutes until the edges of the ccokies are set. For goodness sake, do not over bake). Cool on baking sheet for about 2 minutes then remove to cooling racks.

Thaw the cream cheese frosting and mix in a couple drops of red food colouring to make a soft pink filling. Fill 2 cookies with 1 tsp. filling to make the sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies and frosting.

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve, then a light dusting of icing sugar will make them look so special.

What a great addition to the party trays at your Open House celebration or Wine and Cheese event.

Damn,  you did it again!