Monday, December 18, 2006
Roast Beef with Onions
1 large onion, peeled, halved, and cut into thin slivers
2-3 pounds beef (such as a rump roast), if the roast is very tall, I usually cut it in half
salt and pepper to taste
Place slivered onions in the bottom of an enameled cast iron pot (I use Le Creuset). Place beef on top of onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover pot and put in the oven. Turn oven to 325 degrees. Let beef cook for about 3 hours. Remove from oven. To serve, pull beef apart and place on plate. Top with onions and juice. I serve with green beans and shallots and mashed potatoes.
If you have leftover beef, make beef and onion soup the next evening.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
What is Christmas without a little Egg Nog? I’ve tried the grocery store carton variety. That stuff is way too thick with natural or artificial thickeners. They left me feeling like I needed to cough up phlegm for the rest of the evening. The only cure would be to add an exorbitant amount of alcohol and then act like an utter drunken idiot. I searched for an egg nog recipe. Many of them do not “cook” the eggs; they let the alcohol do the job. But I wanted a recipe that could be served with or without alcohol. After a few attempts at following a “cooked” egg recipe, I gave up the Christmas ghost and started experimenting. The recipe that follows is fairly simple, cooks the eggs, and is flexible enough to serve to friends that imbibe or not.
pjpink’s Egg Nog
10 egg yolks (save the whites for meringue, etc.)
1 cup sugar
4 cups skim milk, scalded (microwave until hot, but not boiling)
½ cup cream (or more, to taste)
1 tablespoon vanilla (please, use the real stuff!)
Nutmeg, to taste
Bourbon (I prefer Wild Turkey) or your preferred liquor (my 2nd choice would be Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum)
Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a metal bowl or the top of a double boiler. Place bowl over a pot half filled with water over a burner. Turn the burner to medium high to boil the water and then turn the burner to medium low. Heat the egg mixture for about 5-10 minutes, whisking constantly. Begin mixing the scalded milk by spoonfuls, always whisking. Be careful not to scramble the eggs. Once a few spoonfuls have been mixed successfully, begin transferring the milk by ¼ cups into the bowl. When all of the milk has been transferred, stir constantly with a metal spoon until the mixture coats the back of the spoon. This will take 15-30 minutes. Take the mixture off the pot and let cool for about 30 minutes. Pour the mixture through a strainer into another bowl and place in the refrigerator uncovered until completely cold. At this point you can cover and serve within the next 3-5 days. Right before serving, stir in cream and vanilla. To serve, fill egg nog mug with desired amount of alcohol, add egg nog mixture, sprinkle with nutmeg, stir, and enjoy.
We were back at Zed Café on
And for adults, Buz and Ned’s lists all manner of adult beverages to go with your barbecue or ribs from beer to tequila to whisky to wine (Red Zin, Shiraz, and Cotes du Rhone, mainly).
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Butternut Squash Soup
5 tablespoons butter
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped into small pieces
3 leeks, diced (white and pale green parts only)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
½ of a fennel bulb, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
6 cups chicken stock or broth
½ cup whipping cream
Fresh chives, chopped
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium high heat. Add squash, leeks, carrots, and fennel. Sauté until softened, about 20-30 minutes. Stir in apples, thyme, and sage. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook for about 30-45 minutes. Turn off burner and remove soup from heat source. Using an emulsifier (aka boat motor), puree soup (you can also use a blender or food processor). Return soup to burner and heat on low. Right before serving, stir in whipping cream. Ladle soup into bowls. Place a dollop of crème fraiche in the middle of the soup. Sprinkle with chives.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
1. Chateau Haut Surget 2003 Lalande-de-Pomerol: 70% Merlot, 15% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Plenty of red cherry notes here as well as bacon and tobacco. So, this wine was part of the tasting at River City Cellars on Friday (they had a spectacular Bordeaux tasting last week!). Hubby and I really liked it. When we arrived at Chez Max – voila! – the wine list carried it. River City Cellars price: ~$25. Chez Max price: $48 (since twice retail is usually the going rate, we weren’t complaining and we knew exactly what we were getting).
2. Tuna Tartar ($12.95). This was a special appetizer for the evening. Sushi grade tuna chopped and tossed with minced shallots and capers. My husband ordered this and I had to take numerous bites. Before ordering the Haut Surget, we had a glass of Grandin Brut, a Loire sparkling wine ($8.95). The two paired very well together.
3. Duck Breast with a Green Peppercorn Sauce ($26.95). Tender, sliced duck breast, prepared medium with a cognac peppercorn sauce – not too overpowering on the peppercorns. Very lovely, served with mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans.
4. Molten Chocolate Cake ($6.95). A few years ago hubby and I had dined at Chez Max for an anniversary celebration. For dessert I had ordered Crème Brule. It was sheer heaven. The best I have ever eaten. Since the memory of this dish left such dreamy thoughts, I assumed that all of the desserts would be equally as delightful. Sadly, I had a lapse in judgment. While the cake had a great chocolate flavor, it had not been heated enough to melt the chocolate inside, leaving me with a somewhat chocolate gelatinous interior to slice through.
I would recommend Chez Max as far as appetizers and entrees. If you want dessert, always order the Crème Brule.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Bowl Game Salsa
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, diced
2 tablespoons onion, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 cup corn, cut fresh from the cob (if you can’t get it fresh, use frozen white corn)
1 tablespoon peanut oil
Sauté corn in peanut oil for a few minutes to desired tenderness. Place in serving bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or make your own…
Quick Tortilla Chips
Flour or corn tortillas
Peanut or olive oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Stack tortillas 3 high on a cutting board. Cut into strips using a pizza cutter. Place strips on baking sheet. Brush each strip with oil. Sprinkle with salt. Bake until slightly brown. Serve with salsa.