Friday, April 14, 2017

Baked Camembert

Sharing a super quick appetizer recipe with you.  A few reasons why this is the most perfect crowd pleaser: 

- CHEESE!  Ooey, gooey, melty cheese! 
- Bread.  Hello gluten! 
- Garlic, because face it, if they don't love your garlic breath, they can go pound sand.
- Rosemary, so we can be sure to get our daily dose of greens :)   

Seriously though, don't you want to jump into your screen and dig into this?? 

Baked Camembert
1 wheel Camembert cheese
1 baguette
1 bunch rosemary
4 cloves garlic, sliced into thin chips (madolin works best to get paper thin slices)
2 tablespoon good olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Chop up a baguette and toast or grill until charred. If you are feeling really randy, you can use the rosemary to skewer the chunks of bread.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Remove cheese from wrapper and slice the rind off the top.  Place the wheel of cheese back in the wooden container (I obviously did not do this) and cook on a sheet plan in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Preheat olive oil over medium and add garlic chips.  Cook until brown and crispy.  Don't let the garlic burn!  Chop up some rosemary (about a teaspoon).

Remove cheese from oven and drizzle with garlic oil, garlic chips, chopped rosemary, and salt & pepper.  Dip the bread into cheese and experience pure nirvana!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ham Wrapped Braised Endive + Bechamel & Gruyere

OK.  I know this looks like a big pile of cheese.  Or even a casserole.  Funny story... my husband LOATHES casseroles.  Being from the Ohio, I have had my fair share of creamy, cheesy, crunchy, one (9x11, of course) pan dishes.  He always jokes and says people from the Midwest always cook shit with cream of mushroom soup and french fried onions on top.  He is not completely wrong.  

Well, THIS IS NOT A CASSEROLE!  It's not even remotely close to one.  I actually would not even have come up with this recipe without the help of my other half.  We like to go to Locale Market, AKA heaven on earth, for the good meats.  They have this Tuscan ham that will make you want to curse regular deli meats to hell.  This. Ham. Is. EXCEPTIONAL! 

When he was purchasing the ham, the french butcher/cheese monger, said to him (I'm imagining this exchange in his beautiful French accent): 

"You know what ai do wiv zis 'am? Ai tak zé 'am, wrap eet around braized endive, top wiv bechamel et gruyaire and broil eet. Zo delicious!"  

He got home and told me this= Mind. Blown.  Of course I was going to take our French friend's recommendation and turn that ham into a delightful meal.  

This is super simple and rustically delicious.  You are taking seemingly ordinary ingredients and turning them into pure decadence!      

Ham Wrapped Braised Endive + Bechamel & Gruyere
6 whole endives
1/2 pound good ham (you could also use prosciutto or serrano)
1/2 cup white wine
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 tablespoon salt
6 cups water
bechamel (as much as you like)
1 cup grated gruyere cheese

In a deep skillet or small pot, add wine, bay leaves, fennel seeds, peppercorns, salt and water.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Add endives and cook in water for about 20 minutes, or until tender enough for a knife to be inserted and pulled out with no resistance.

Wrap endives with one slice of ham and place in a sprayed glass dish.  Top with bechamel and gruyere.  Broil under high for for about 5 minutes, and remove when cheese is brown and bubbly.

Bechamel Sauce
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
a touch of fresh grated nutmeg (or a pinch of dry)

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk in until smooth.  Continue to cook for another two minutes to cook out the raw flavor of the flour.  Gradually add 1 cup of milk while whisking to eliminate any lumps.  Increase the heat just a touch to bring sauce to a low boil.  Gradually add the rest of the milk while whisking the entire time.

Once the sauce has come up to a boil, this will thicken the sauce.  Now is the time to add the salt, pepper, dry mustard, garlic powder, and nutmeg.  Continue whisking and reduce the heat to low until sauce has thickened.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Blistered Shishito Peppers + Sesame + Sriracha + Brown Sugar

Hey you guys!  Long time no speak.  Once again, I am here to apologize for my long hiatus. There really is only one reason for it.  I am sick of screens!  I work remotely and am mostly on my computer all day.  By the time quittin' time rolls around, I can barely look at a computer screen for another minute! 

I even did something crazy.  Like REALLY CRAZY.  I deactivated my personal Facebook profile and I want to shout form the mountain tops how liberating it feels!  For a long time, I kept thinking about getting off the Book, but couldn't bring myself to pull the plug.  I had about 700 "friends", but in reality, I only speak to about 20 of them in "real life".  

After being on Facebook since it's inception, I wonder how many hours I spent scrolling, and scrolling, and SCROLLING though my feed absorbing mind numbing information.  So, one day I did it.  I clicked the deactivate button.  Now don't get me wrong, I still have  Instagram and Snapchat, but I prefer those social media platforms infinitely more than Facebook.  Don't worry, my Owl with the Goblet Facebook page is still alive and well and I hope to be more active on that, now that I am cooking up a storm again. 

   Now on to these cutie-pa-tooty shishito peppers.  ERMAHGERD they are sooooo good!  I got the idea from our local ramen place, Buya Ramen.  Yes, Florida has ramen restaurants.  I was just as surprised as you, since May through October, I pretty much sweat even thinking about downing a bowl of soup or hot beverage in Florida.  But Buya is so good, I might just make an exception for them during the summer.  In addition to bomb-ass-ramen, their blistered shishitos with brown sugar are the perfect appetizer. 

After I had their peppers, I was determined to make them at home.  I even put my husband on "shishito pepper watch" at every grocery store he frequented, but sadly, he was not successful in this quest.  Yesterday, I had a leisurely trip to Locale Market, AKA heaven on earth, and they had a whole basket of shishito peppers.  I basically took the entire basket and poured it into a produce bag.  Two pounds of peppers later, I am finally sharing this recipe with you. 

Moral of the story; if you see shishito peppers at your market, buy them all and cook them like this! 
PS- It feels good to be back :)

Blistered Shishito Peppers + Sesame + Sriracha + Brown Sugar
1 pound shishito peppers
1 tablespoon oil (best to use an unflavored one like canola or avocado)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Sriracha to taste
Salt to taste

 In a bowl, toss peppers with oil and salt.  Heat up a heavy skillet (cast iron works best) over high heat.  You want it to be barely smoking.  While the pan is heating up, turn your broiler on high.

Once broiler is hot and pan is smoking, add peppers and place in oven under the broiler.  Leave them there for about 5 minutes, or until skin is blistered and peppers have softened.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with brown sugar, drizzle sesame oil, then salt & sriracha to taste.  You can eat the entire pepper.  Except the stem.  Don't eat the stem.

Now... "ALLEZ CUISINE"- in my best Iron Chef voice

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