Sunday, December 28, 2008

Scalloped Potatoes (Best ever!!)

2 cups heavy cream
6-8 large potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/8 inch thick
1 clove minced garlic
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter or spray pam on a shallow casserole (about the size of a 9 x 13-inch glass pan--a shallower pan gives you more "browned potatoes" which is what my crowd likes) and set aside. In large, heavy saucepan, bring cream to a boil and add the slice potatoes and garlic and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste. Pour potatoes, garlic and cream into prepared casserole and bake until the potatoes brown and cream has thickened. [if you want to be really sinful, put some gueyere cheese on top and run under broiler]

Shrimp with Rotel

Papa Joe fixed this as an hors-d'Ĺ“uvre on New Year's Eve. I thought that it was delicious and easy. It would also be good served with rice as a main course.

1/4 Cup of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds of 30 count shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 can Rotel- Mexican style with lime

Saute garlic and onion in olive oil. Turn off heat and let mixture infuse with garlic flavor. Turn heat back on and saute shrimp 2 minutes. Add Rotel and cook another 2-3 minutes or until shrimp are just done. Serve with crusty french bread to sop up sauce.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kentucky Bourbon Apricot Nut Cookies

These came from Camille Glenn's Old Fashioned Christmas Cookbook. She calls them Fruitcake cookies. Since so many people are wrongly prejudiced against fruitcake, I am going to call them Apricot Nut Cookies. These are incredibly good-- a perfect Christmas treat. I have made several changes to the orignal recipe.

Make about 5 dozen small cakes

Preheat oven to 250

Line 1-1 1/2 inch tart pans with paper liners

1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon
4 tbl butter at room temp
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sifted White Lily flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/3 Cup bourbon
1/2 pound seedless white raisins, chopped
1/4 pound dried currants
1/4 pound candied lemon peel and orange peel (about 1/2 a container of each)
1/2 pound dried pitted prunes, or Mission figs, chopped
1/2 pound glazed or dried apricots, chopped
3 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
Bourbon glaze

Chop nuts in food processor,reserve. Chop fruits & reserve. Grate zests and add to sugar. Cream butter and sugar in food processor or mixture. Add eggs and mix well.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add to egg mixture. Add bourbon and mix well.

Stir in fruits and nuts by hand.

Fill tart pans with mixture, packing it in with the back of a greased spoon. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and let cool in pans. Brush on glaze when cool.

Bourbon Glaze
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
2 tbl bourbon
2 tbl orange juice

Mix til smooth

Mincemeat Cookies

The original recipe is from Camille Glen's Old Fashioned Christmas Cookbook. I have changed it to use store-bought mincemeat and a glaze. I didn't love these cookies until I topped them with a lemon glaze. Now they are delicious.

Makes 30 cookies

Preheat oven to 350

Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment or silpats

1/2 cup butter @ room temp
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups sifted White Lily flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 pkg reconstituted Nonesuch Mincemeat, with 2 tbl orange marmalade & 2 tbl brandy added
2 tbl chopped preserved ginger
1 cup coursely chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1-1 1/2 tbl brandy

Lemon Brandy Glaze
1 cup confectioners sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbl brandy

Stir together until smooth.

Crumble box of mincemeat into 3/4 cup of water. Add orange marmalade and brandy. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Remove from heat and let cool.

Cream butter & sugar together. Add eggs and beat hard.

Sift the flour w/ the baking powder & salt & beat them into egg mixture.

Fold in mincemeat, ginger, nuts, and vanilla by hand.

Drop batter by tsps onto cookie sheets and bake on middle rack until cookies are light brown, 15-20 minutes.

Cool on rack. When cool, brush cookies with glaze. Allow to dry thoroughly before storing in airtight containers between wax paper.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Scalloped Potatoes with 3 Cheeses

Another great recipe from Epicurious. I replaced the blue cheese with gruyere because one of my guests was not a blue cheese fan. I think that the blue cheese version would be delicious with roast beef, so I'll try it that way next time.
I've also changed the cooking time as well. The original recipe called for 90 minutes of cooking, and that is simply not long enough.

• 3/4 cup (packed) grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
• 3/4 cup crumbled Danish blue cheese (about 4 ounces)
• 1/3 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/4 ounces)
• 4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
• 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
• 3 cups whole milk

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Mix cheddar cheese, blue cheese and Parmesan in small bowl.
Arrange half of potatoes in prepared baking dish, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle onion over, then flour. Dot with 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle half of cheese mixture over. Top with remaining potatoes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 2 tablespoons butter. Reserve remaining cheese.
Bring milk to simmer in medium saucepan. Pour milk over potatoes (milk will not cover potatoes completely). Cover baking dish tightly with foil. Bake 45 minutes. Uncover dish (liquids in dish may look curdled); sprinkle potatoes with reserved cheese mixture. Reduce heat to 350 and bake uncovered until potatoes are tender and cheese is deep golden brown, about 1 1/2 hours longer or until liquid has been absorbed. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Cover and rewarm in 375°F oven about 20 minutes.) Remove from oven; let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Sour Cream Horseradish Sauce for Roast Beef

1 Cup sour cream
2 heaping tbl horseradish or to taste
1 tbl dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all together. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Beef Tenderloin with mustard herb crust

I made this last night for a dinner party. It's from Emeril Lagasse, and was easy and delicious. I bought a 5 pound tenderloin which, when trimmed, weighed 3 1/2 pounds. Make sure you get the butcher to tie it for you. I had six for dinner, and this was more than enough. I served it with a sour cream sauce, 3 cheese scalloped potatoes and green beans amandine. Debbie made a banana cake with chocolate icing for dessert--fabulous!

8 servings
• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
• Salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied (about 3 1/2 to 4 pounds)
• 1/2 cup Creole mustard, or other spicy whole-grained mustard
• 8 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
• 1 bunch fresh rosemary, finely chopped
• 1 bunch fresh thyme, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large skillet, heat oil over high heat until almost smoking. Season beef on all sides generously with salt and pepper and transfer meat to the skillet. Cook beef until well-browned on all sides, turning with tongs when necessary.
Transfer the beef to a cutting board or platter and, using a rubber spatula or spoon, rub all over with Creole mustard and garlic. Cover meat with chopped herbs, using your hands to evenly pat herbs into the mustard coating. Place prepared meat in a shallow roasting pan and cook about 20 to 25 minutes, or until meat registers 125 degrees F on a meat thermometer for medium-rare. Remove meat from the oven and let it stand at least 10 minutes before slicing to serve.
Note: Meat may also be served at room temperature, and in this case should not be sliced until just before serving.