Tag: Butter

New Year’s Eve Decadence 2017!

New Year’s Eve, that last little bit of recklessness before the new year takes hold and we start to feel all responsible and such. Whether I am sitting around in sweatpants with friends or dressed to the nines, I love the feeling of being carefree and not thinking about what looms (back to work, resolutions) after the first.

The Eve itself is such a weird dichotomy. On one hand, I think it is overrated and amateur night.  On the other hand, I love permission to indulge in the decadence of food, drink and of course getting all glammed up.

Decadence takes many forms and it is up to you to decide what that means for you.  Maybe you want to have a pajama party and have breakfast for dinner. Maybe for you, it means eating all the rich, fatty foods you plan to give up the next morning and getting all dressed up. Or maybe it means, wearing your favorite jeans, not seeing a ton of people and having a good old-fashioned burger and fries and bathing in multiple glasses of La Marca Prosecco. It’s all up to you to decide.

Of all the New Year’s celebrations, I’ve been a part of, the one thing that has been pretty consistent is the menu. It usually includes some kind of steak, cheesy potatoes and lobster. And ALWAYS a lot of champagne. I spent many a year with close friends dining on that exact menu.  It makes me smile each time I think of those nights.

So let’s think about that champagne and lobster and how we can make it extra special for 2017-2018. You do not need me to tell you how to make a steak. Everybody has their own trade secret and potatoes are pretty simple (HINT: these days you can even buy great Scalloped Potatoes at Trader Joe’s). That leaves me with Lobster and Champagne. How should we cook them? How about lobster poached in champagne and served over linguine? Fabulous! This dish is going to be the epitome of simple elegance. Some ingredients do all the work for you.

The first rule is never to cook with champagne or wine that you wouldn’t drink.  Second is it’s ok to use champagne, sparkling wine or prosecco. They all work. And its’s okay to sample as you cook!

Lobster Poached in Champagne
Print Recipe
Servings
2 people
Servings
2 people
Lobster Poached in Champagne
Print Recipe
Servings
2 people
Servings
2 people
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Combine Champagne, shallot and salt in a deep skillet.
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce to a medium-low heat and add lobster.
  3. Cover and simmer until lobster is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove lobster to plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
  5. Stir cream into Champagne reduction and bring back to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat and let cook until sauce is reduced to 1/3 cup, stir occasionally.
  7. Whisking constantly, over low heat, start adding butter, one cube at a time. Make sure that each cube is fully incorporated before adding next. The sauce should be smooth and coat the back of a spoon. See note below.
  8. Remove lobster meat from shells and cut into medallions.
  9. Place medallions over lightly buttered, cooked, linguine. Spoon sauce over lobster and noodles.
  10. Garnish with fresh tarragon or parsley, chopped. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

Can use up to 1/2 cup of butter. You want to have a thick smooth consistency, so stop when you have that.

Sorry about the stock photo. I am making this for NYE and will post pictures after.

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It’s National Chess Day!

Today is National Chess Day. Yes they are talking about the game, but it made me think about a pie I had as a child, when I would go and visit my grandparents, in Georgia. I looked through a few cookbooks and found no less than fourteen recipes for Chess Pie. Five of them are my own family’s recipes.

Folklore of how this pie got it’s name is that a cook on a plantation made up the recipe and when asked what she had made she answered “Just pie”. Because of her thick accent it was misheard as “chess pie”. Of course there are as many versions of how it got its name as there are recipes for the pie.

Another version of the story is that because the recipe has such a high amount of sugar, it is naturally preserved and therefore didn’t need to be stored in an icebox and could be kept in a pie chest. Again chest eventually got slanged down to “chess”. Finally, there is a version that says Chess Pie is really Cheese Pie, an English recipe that is almost identical and is basically a form of cheesecake. I don’t buy this one at all.

If you don’t know what Chess Pie is, it is a custard pie with a minimal amount of cornmeal or sometimes flour in it. This basic pie exists in every region, in some form. Indiana has Sugar Pie and this may even be a precursor to the base of lemon meringue pie. You could even call it a solid pudding in a crust.

This pie hits all the sensory notes. It is at once smooth with a bit of crunch from the cornmeal. The corn meal will rise to the top and form a crust. When I was a kid I loved this pie because it was so sweet and the more sugar the better. Now that I am an adult, I understand the nuances of the flavor and sugar.

Chess Pie, in the south is like Pound Cake and squash soufflé. If you ask a dozen women you will get a dozen recipes for the same item. I even did a spreadsheet to see where the variances are. I really only wanted to make my family recipe but I tried one other, too. They are both very sweet. In our family recipe, the one below, a tablespoon of vinegar is added. It seems to be what cuts the sweetness a bit.

The ingredients of the recipe are basics and you probably have them in your pantry and fridge all the time. Really, sugar, eggs, cornmeal, milk and butter, is all you need. It all comes together fast so, if you do have the ingredients on hand, you can have a fabulous dessert made in about an hour. However, I do recommend that it cool then get refrigerated over night before serving.

You can add different flavors, too. The easiest way is to change out the vanilla for another extract. However, you can add 1 cup of coconut or ¼ cup cocoa powder too. The cocoa powder also cuts down the sweetness.

Just one bite of this pie and I am driving down a red dirt road to my grandparents and catching lightning bugs.

Chess Pie
Print Recipe
Servings
8-10-10
Servings
8-10-10
Chess Pie
Print Recipe
Servings
8-10-10
Servings
8-10-10
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Beat the eggs until frothy.
  2. Stir in sugar, milk, cornmeal, vinegar and vanilla. beat until well blended.
  3. Add butter and blend well.
  4. Pour into an unbaked 9" pie shell and sprinkle with nutmeg.
  5. Bake at 325° for 45 minutes.
  6. Cool completely, then refrigerate overnight, before serving.
Recipe Notes

My pie dish is actually a 10" pie dish so, as you can see, the filling didn't come all the way up. Be sure to use a 9" pie dish or make a 1 1/2 times batch.

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Gateau au Chocolat

Here is the recipe for the greatest mistake I ever made!

Gateau au Chocolat
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Gateau au Chocolat
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Grease and line with wax paper a 9x5x3 loaf pan.
  2. Melt chocolate and beat in butter with a spoon or spatula.
  3. Beat egg whites with a hand mixer to stiff peaks; set aside. With same beaters beat egg yolks until thick and light in color.
  4. Slowly add the sugar, beating constantly. Add the flour and beat until just combined. Stir egg yolk mixture into chocolate mixture, then fold egg whites into this mixture. You will have some egg whites still showing.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Reduce oven heat to 350°F and bake 25 minutes.
  6. Let cool completely in pan. Cake will settle like a cheesecake. Turn out. Refrigerate for 4 hours until well chilled. Decorate with abandon!
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