Cook the Best Fish Ever

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Here are some great tips from the archives of Food & Wine Magazine for cooking fish.

Be gentle. “Basically, I’d suggest using the gentlest heat that you can possibly apply,” says chef Michael Cimarusti. “So if you’re grilling, grill over a gentle fire, not a raging fire. If you’re steaming or poaching, do it at a bare simmer.”

Let it rest. “You can actually cook a salmon to the point where it flakes beautifully in a 118- or 119-degree oven, provided you let it rest,” says Cimarusti. “Rest the fish for a good 10 to 15 minutes, for a good long period of time, in a fairly warm, ambient spot, and the fish will reveal textures you never knew it had.”

Get hands on. “There’s no exact timing,” chef Tom Valenti says about cooking fish. “Even with four or five fillets of swordfish, every piece of fish is different. With every fillet, I always have to poke it and squeeze it to figure out what’s going on.”

Buy an extra fillet. “When I talk to home cooks at the restaurant, they often tell me they don’t even bother to cook fish at home because they don’t know how to do it,” Valenti says. “The first thing I suggest is if you’re going to cook four fillets of halibut or salmon or swordfish or whatever you want to try, buy a fifth fillet to crack open to see if it’s done.”

Steam it. “Steaming is a powerful way to create pristine flavors,” says chef Mourad Lahlou. “When you take a piece of fish and steam it over water, or water with aromatics like spices or citrus peel, you actually taste the ingredients. Unlike, say, a curry, which is so heavily spiced you can’t taste the individual ingredients. There’s nothing wrong with a curry, but when you want to appreciate the clean flavors of a single piece of fish, you need to treat it with respect, and steaming is one of the most respectful ways to cook something.”

Start skin side down. “To ensure crispness, start the fish skin side down, pressing the fillet with a spatula,” says chef Rocco DiSpirito. “The skin will stick at first; when it releases, flip the fish over.”

Cook the Best Fish Ever

Joined a Photography Group

Our first “assignment” was to bring in photos of our local ferry.  Since I live right down from the Kingston Ferry, I just looked back to see what I had photographed in the last year.  Here are my offerings. I would love to know which one you like best.  This is more “Food for Thought” than food, although the Hot Dogs on the ferry are not bad!  f10f11f12f16f20f22f24f25ferry 1

Joined a Photography Group

Michael Symon’s Mom’s Lasagna

Total:  2 hr 50 min
Prep:  20 min
Inactive:  20 min
Cook:  2 hr 10 min
Yield:  6 servings
Level:  Intermediate

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound pork neck bones
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, loose or removed from casings
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes, with their juice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound dried lasagna noodles
  • 2 pounds whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for final topping
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, grated

Directions

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a three-finger pinch of salt and sweat them until they’re translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the neck bones and let them brown, about 5 minutes. Add the ground veal, beef and sausage, and season with another healthy pinch of salt. Cook until the meat is browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the white wine, tomatoes and their juice, and the bay leaves. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, making sure to get all of the browned bits into the sauce. Season the sauce with salt, to taste, and simmer for 2 hours over medium heat. Remove the bay leaves and neck bones and let cool. Skim any fat that rises to the surface.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Add enough salt so that it tastes seasoned and allow the water to return to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until al dente. Drain well and set aside.

In a medium bowl mix together the ricotta, parsley, basil, oregano, eggs, and Parmesan with a pinch of salt.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Ladle about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of a lasagna pan. Arrange a layer of noodles followed by a layer of sauce and then some of the ricotta mixture. Top with a layer of mozzarella, smoothing it with a spatula to the edges. Repeat the process until the pan is full. Finish with a final layer of noodles, sauce, the mozzarella, and Parmesan.

Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it rest, 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

The chef was raised on his mother’s next-level, thirty-layer lasagna, which he serves at his new Atlantic city restaurant.

REGAN STEPHENS

September 05, 2017

Every Italian dutifully swears his mom’s cooking is the best, but in Michael Symon’s case, it may actually be true. The Iron Chef recently opened Angeline in Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa as an homage to his mom, Angel. The menu, inspired by family recipes, is a roundup of the classic, red-sauce-style Italian dishes Symon grew up eating: handmade linguini with clams, arancini, eggplant parm and a daily “Sunday Supper” that includes a feast of prosciutto, ricotta and red peppers, cavatelli, garlic bread, meatballs and more. But one dish evokes a particularly strong sense of nostalgia for Symon: lasagna.

“Every Wednesday at my parents’ house was lasagna night—the night all my friends begged to eat over,” he says. “You could smell the lasagna baking houses away, and Wednesday was the only night of the week I was more than happy to be early for dinner. I’ve eaten lasagna from every corner of the earth, and I have yet to find one as good as Mom’s.”

Symon recreates Angel’s recipe in the thirty-layered dish he named “Mom’s Lasagna.” In a glossy dining room designed with little touches to recall his mom’s home (floral wallpaper, lace curtains and a built-in hutch displaying cake plates and other nonna-approved knick-knacks) servers present towering rectangles of pasta and cheese that sit atop pools of meaty red sauce. If you aren’t getting an invite to Mrs. Symon’s house on lasagna night, this is the next best thing.

To start your own Wednesday night tradition, use the chef’s best tips for building an architecturally-impressive, nostalgia-inducing lasagna.

The Noodles

According to Symon, cutting corners sacrifices taste. “Don’t bother with those no-boil noodles—they compromise the texture,” he says. “Go the extra mile and use the real thing.” He also quotes his co-host on The Chew: “When boiling the noodles, salt your water until, in the words of Mario Batali, it’s ‘as salty as the sea.’ This is your chance to season your pasta.”

The Cheese

To help keep layers smooth and mess-free, use Angel’s trick. “One of the things my mom always did is put the ricotta mixture in a plastic zip bag or piping bag,” he shares. “That way it goes right where you want it to go, and you don’t have to fight with it. It spreads quickly and evenly.”

The Pan

The chef says a 9 x 13-inch pan is the optimal size and shape for baking lasagna. “It keeps the ingredients condensed so the final product is nice and thick, versus each layer being spread thinly in a larger pan,” he says.

The Finish

There’s really no such thing as too much cheese, so Symon likes to grate fresh mozzarella and fresh parmesan on top to make it extra cheesy. “Another tip from my mom: always cover it with foil at the beginning of the cooking process, then remove it for the last 10 minutes to let the cheese on top get brown and crispy.”

Michael Symon’s Mom’s Lasagna

The Trick That Will Keep You From Ever Burning Your Garlic Again

I found this interesting article online this morning a site called “My Recipes”.  Since most of us love cooking with garlic and have most likely burned it somewhere along the way, I thought this information might be useful.

getty-garlic-image

Michael Goldman/Getty Images

Garlic might be one of the worst foods to burn, because there’s no turning back once you do. Unlike other veggies or meats that aren’t completely ruined if you just so happen to give them a little extra char than you intended for, garlic cannot withstand even 10 seconds too long over a flame. It turns black almost immediately and acquires an off-putting, bitter taste that can ruin an entire dish. The only fix to burning garlic is starting over.

So here’s how it usually happens: You’ve got your oil heating in a skillet, maybe with an onion or some other aromatics, and you add a clove or two of minced/finely chopped garlic. Seems legit, right? We’ve got to start building the flavor of this dish at some point, so we might as well start now. Ehhhh…sure, you can do this, but just know, that if you’re going to burn your garlic, this is how it’s done. Despite the lovely, garlicky aroma that will immediately engulf your kitchen upon dumping this fresh garlic into hot oil, this is oftentimes where things take a turn for the worst. Take your eyes away from that pan for more than a minute or two (especially if you turned on the heat with no abandon), and you’ve got yourself a handful of garlic that’s burned to a crisp. Not only that, but the oil and whatever other veggies are in that pan are going to taste pretty darn rotten, too.

Instead, if you simply punch down on a whole garlic clove with the side of your knife, gently crushing it so that it’s paper skin falls off and it’s slightly cracked open, you’ll still be able to impart that garlicky flavor into the oil. By prepping the garlic this way, you’ll avoid creating so much exposed surface area (like you do when you mince it) that the whole chopped clove immediately turns to a pile of ashes after 60 seconds of sizzling. Smaller bits burn quicker. If you really want to go the minced clove route, wait until the middle of your cooking process to add it to the concoction. This way, there’s less cooking time for your precious garlic to burn, and likely, more ingredients in the pan to help disperse the heat and act as a buffer for your delicate aromatic. Once you’ve got your slightly flattened cloves, put them in a skillet with oil (don’t be shy, a couple of generous glugs will do) over LOW HEAT. This temperature adjustment is crucial.

Once you’ve got your cloves gently cooking in oil over low heat, this is where the magic happens. Give the cloves some time to release their essence throughout the oil. As they start to cook, you can increase your heat to medium-high so that the white-ish cloves turn a warm, golden brown. If you rush this, however (shame, shame), your cloves are apt to turn black, so it’s important to keep a close eye. Before you go ahead and serve these babies, make sure that you’ve cooked them long enough. Because the cloves are whole, it’s going to take a little longer to soften and they may hold on to that raw, sharp taste.

When your cloves appear caramelized on the outside and creamy on the inside, you better be salivating, because you just created a garlic-infused oil. At this point, you can fish out the cloves, and add them to the blender to make a pesto, hummus or any other dip/sauce that could use a garlicky punch, or spread them atop a piece of toast, which should then rightfully be finished with a frizzled egg. One of my favorite restaurants, that is no longer open served baked garlic on toasted pita bread.  It was delicious. That and a nice Cabernet Sauvignon was delightful with conversation.  Not the best for a first date, if you live in “that” world.

With the wonderful oil that you’ve so carefully concocted, you can make stir-fries, one-pan pasta sauces, soups, or whatever dish you want to be laced with fresh, garlicky flavor. Ultimately, this is not the only way to cook garlic, however it’s, in my opinion, a foolproof method that consistently creates a pronounced yet not-too-overwhelming garlic flavor. And I’ve burnt garlic too many times to go back to my old ways.

Sara Tane wrote the original article.  January 2018

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The Trick That Will Keep You From Ever Burning Your Garlic Again

Chorizo Corn Cakes

Chorizo Corn Cakes

Looking through Eating Light Magazine and thinking it is time to cut back on calories I found this interestingly different recipe and thought I would give a try.  Luckily my local Albertsons had fresh and “soft” Chorizo, so it turned out perfect!

Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Serves 8 (serving size: 2 cakes, 1 egg, and about 1/2 tsp. syrup mixture)

How to Make It

Step 1

Place chorizo, corn, and jalapeño in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high. Cook, stirring often, until corn is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 2

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk and 1 egg. Add buttermilk mixture and chorizo mixture to flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Gently stir in butter. Let stand 5 minutes.

Step 3

Preheat an electric griddle to 350°F, or heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high. Lightly grease griddle or skillet with cooking spray. Spoon about 2 1/2 tablespoons batter for each of 16 cakes onto griddle; gently spread into 3-inch rounds using back of spoon. Cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and keep warm, or follow freezing instructions.

Step 4

Crack remaining 8 eggs on lightly greased griddle; cover, and cook 3 minutes or until whites are set and yolks are cooked to desired degree of doneness.

Step 5

In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup and adobo sauce. Place 2 cakes on each of 8 plates; top each serving with 1 egg. Drizzle syrup over eggs and corn cakes. Sprinkle evenly with black pepper and cilantro.

Step 6

FREEZE: Cool cooked corn cakes completely. Wrap corn cakes tightly in plastic wrap in stacks of 4 with parchment paper or plastic wrap between each cake. Place in a large ziplock plastic freezer bag; seal and freeze up to 2 months.

Step 7

REHEAT: Toast frozen corn cakes in a toaster or in a toaster oven on medium until heated through, 4 to 5 minutes.

 

According to the recipe it is only 249 calories per serving.  One serving is one egg and one cake!  I served them with a multi-lettuce salad with raspberries and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing.  YUMMY!  My husband loved it and he is a very picky meat and potato guy, but is trying to break out of that mold.

Chorizo Corn Cakes

How to keep that All-Clad clean!

Screen Shot 2017-12-23 at 10.05.11 AMOver the years, I have had many pans that I loved and that I hated.  I love all my All Clad pans and their Slow-Cooker is the most even one I have owned.  That being said, my dear sweet husband likes to help clean up the kitchen, as he does not ever cook and I love cooking.

All Clad are not as easy as Teflon, but with a little man-power or woman-power and little help from a couple friends, they can remain spotless.  I keep SOS or Brillo on hand and scrub away every use.  I do use a new one every time, as I can’t stand the yucky thing after it has been used once, and luckily they are really cheap.  They even sell them at the local Dollar Store.

If I can’t get it clean with just SOS or Brillo, I add Bar Keeper’s Friend to the mix.  I read somewhere that people thought it was toxic, so I looked up their website to see what they had to say.  Here is it, and it is quite natural.  You might want to wear gloves, but it is not going to hurt the environment any more than rhubarb or spinach, as it contains natural oxalic acid.

Family-owned, Customer-driven

After World War II, U.S. Army veteran Dr. Beurt SerVaas found that the customers at his small plating shop kept asking him how to clean metal items. “My grandmother used Bar Keepers Friend,” he told them. Inspired to serve his customers, Dr. SerVaas purchased Bar Keepers Friend from the Gisler Polish Corporation in 1956.

Over the years, more and more people got in on the secret of Bar Keepers Friend, and found ever more varied and unique uses for our oxalic acid-based cleaning powder. We’re still a family-owned company manufacturing in Indianapolis, and we’re still motivated by solving problems for our customers. Bar Keepers Friend now goes to market with minor variations in ingredients and packaging, but our products remain essentially the same as the ones that polished bar rails over a century ago.

  • “Bar Keepers Friend is extremely popular among musicians, especially drummers. It is excellent at removing stains, fingerprints and stick marks from cymbals”
  • My mother always told me to use Bar Keepers Friend to keep my stainless steel pots clean, and she was right. I finally tried it and was so surprised it worked great. Thank you so much
  • Thanks for making a product that actually cleans my sink and pots and pans without tons of elbow grease. I use Bar Keepers Friend for all kinds of clean up around the house. Thanks for making a superior product!
  • This is my favorite kitchen cleaning product! Saves so much time and effort when cleaning baked-on and stained items. You have a customer for life! Thanks
How to keep that All-Clad clean!

Garlic! Garlic! Garlic!

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I love the smell of cooking garlic and try to grow it in my garden every winter.  This year some critter enjoyed a lot of it before me, but there is still quite a bit left growing.

One of my friends on FB posted that we are now importing more garlic from China, so I was interested in the difference between the two.  First of all it is quite easy to identify the imported garlic, as the root has to be cut off to meet exportation law.

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Or here is another photo:

china

Garlic is a nutritious vegetable that makes for a savory addition to many recipes. Yet new information has come to light that’ll probably change the way you buy and eat it.

You’d think your produce is grown in nearby farms, right? That could be wrong! You could very well be eating something that traveled halfway around the world to get to your grocery basket—and if you’re not careful, it may cause serious health risks.

In our culture, 80% of the garlic comes from China. In 2014, the United States imported over 138 million pounds of Chinese garlic, and each year the trend appears to grow. Since you’ve likely been eating this garlic for so long, you may not think it’s a problem—until you learn it’s often covered in bleach and pesticides.

Having driven by Gilroy and smelling it there, if you have been in the area you might assume all your American garlic comes from that area in California: Gilroy- “the garlic capital of the world”). Considering it was once the world’s largest supplier of garlic, that statement might’ve been true. That’s changed in the past few years.

In the US, it’s become cheaper and easier to import garlic from places like China. The unfortunate side of this is that China isn’t as stringent with its safety regulations. Reports run rampant of garlic bleached in chlorine, fumigated in pesticides, grown in untreated sewage water, and even contaminated with lead. If you have ever been to China, that would not be a surprise to you.

The bleach is used to cover up dirt spots, even though they’re perfectly natural. According to the Australian Garlic Industry Association‘s Henry Bell, while bleaching kills insects, prevents sprouting, and helps whiten the bulb, it’s fumigated with a dangerous toxin called methyl bromide. When taken in high doses, methyl bromide can cause central nervous system and respiratory problems. According to the UN, it’s 60 times more dangerous than chlorine—so the lower cost is not worth the risk. Luckily, you can easily tell the difference between Chinese and American garlic as I displayed in the photos above.

  1.  Look for the roots. Chinese importers have to remove the roots to abide by regulations, but American farmers have no such rule, and often leave them attached.
  2. Weigh it. Chinese garlic contains more water, so it’s lighter. It’s actually 37% solid, compared to the American 42%. To test it, give it a squeeze: a firmer bulb is the way to go!
  3. Taste it. Chefs swear that garlic from China has a bit of a metallic taste, while American bulbs are more flavorful. American garlic contains more allicin, which is the dominant factor in determining that distinct taste and smell we all love. CA garlic routinely scores a higher BRIX scale rating (sugar content)

Fun fact: garlic from China contains 3500 ppm (parts per million) of allicin, while American garlic has 4400 ppm.

It may cost a bit more, sure, but buying American garlic is safer and well worth it. If nothing else, it simply tastes better!

China is putting California garlic growers out of business, and YOU can stop it. Less than ten years ago, all of our garlic was grown in this country, primarily in CA. Now less than 40% is grown here and most of it (60%) is coming from China.

The roots being removed is required by the Ag Dept. to prevent soil-borne plant diseases from entering our country. If the roots are still there it is California garlic. The Garlic Growers Assoc. says not one single US grower cleans out the root end.

Share this important information with your friends!

Some, but not all information found on “Boredom Therapy”.

 

 

 

Garlic! Garlic! Garlic!

How about Turkey Wellington for Christmas??

Turkey Wellington

SERVES 10
 From Jamie’s Oliver’s “Christmas with Bells On”837_1_1439210788

Ingredients

  • 1.6 kg turkey breast , skin off, preferably higher welfare
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme , leaves picked
  • 1 x 340 g jar cranberry jam
  • 25 g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 6 rashers quality smoked streaky bacon , thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 600 g mixed mushrooms , chopped
  • 1 turkey leg
  • 1 carrot , roughly chopped
  • 1 leek , trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 onion , peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour , plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 knob unsalted butter
  • 2 x 500 g packets all butter puff pastry , chilled
  • 1 large free-range egg , beaten

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Place the turkey breast upside-down on a board. Gently slice into the natural join of the breast muscle to open it out and make a sort of pocket. Season well and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle over half the thyme leaves, then spread over an even layer of cranberry jam, pushing it into all the nooks and crannies. Fold it back into shape to seal the mixture inside – swiss roll-stylie – and push a few cocktail sticks into the seam to keep it together. Transfer the turkey to a roasting tray, season the outside with the remaining thyme leaves, a good pinch of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Rub it all over, cover in tin foil and roast in the hot oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until just cooked through – using a thermometer, you want it to be 72°C at the thickest point.
  2. Meanwhile, soak the porcini in a dish of just-boiled water. After 5 minutes, stir with a fork so any bits of grit sink to the bottom. Add the bacon to a large frying pan with a splash of oil on a medium heat and fry for 5 to 10 minutes, or until beautifully golden and super crispy. Strip in the leaves from 2 rosemary sprigs for the last 30 seconds or so. Remove everything from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the bacon fat behind. Add the fresh mushrooms to the pan with a pinch of salt and pepper. Drain and chop the porcini, saving the water, then stir into the pan. Add a splash of the water, avoiding the grit, then cook for around 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pan starts to sizzle again and the mushrooms are golden, soft and sticky with caramelly edges.
  3. To make the gravy, cut the thigh off the turkey leg and slash into it slightly. Throw the leg and thigh into a pot along with the carrot, leek and onion. Stir in the flour, add a good pinch of salt and pepper and 2 litres of boiling water. Add a heaped tablespoon of cranberry jam, the balsamic vinegar and remaining rosemary sprig. Bring back to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for around 2 hours, or until thick. Strain it through a sieve and reheat before serving.
  4. When the mushroom pan is dry, add a knob of butter and toss to coat. Tip the mushrooms into the food processor and whiz until you get a good mixture of smooth and chunky. Leave to cool. Once the turkey breast and stuffing have cooled, you can get on with assembling the wellington.
  5. Dust a clean surface with flour, then roll out each packet of puff pastry to the size of a shoe box (one will be the base, one the lid – roll the lid ever so slightly bigger). Line a large roasting tray with greaseproof paper, dust with flour, then add the smaller piece of pastry. Spread half of the mushroom stuffing onto the middle of the base to cover an area the same size as your turkey breast. Remove the cocktail sticks, then place the turkey breast on top and spread the remaining stuffing over the top packing it all in and smoothing it out so that the whole breast is covered. Sprinkle with the crispy bacon and rosemary, then brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg. Lay the second sheet of pastry over the top, gently mold it round the shape of the breast, pushing all the air out and seal together. Trim the edges to around 4cm, then pull, twist, tuck and pinch in the pastry (like in the picture).
  6. Brush the whole thing with beaten egg then all the hard work’s done. Leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight until you’re ready to cook. On Christmas day, cook at 180°/350°F/gas 4 for 50 to 60 minutes, or until risen, puffy and beautifully golden and the turkey is piping hot throughout. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for around 10 minutes before carving. Serve carved into 2.5cm with the gravy and all the usual. Christmas in a mouthful.
How about Turkey Wellington for Christmas??

Beef Wellington modified to Pork Loin Wellington

IMG_6853

Reading Fine Cooking magazine a couple of days ago, they had a wonderful recipe for Beef Wellington.  I had a nice Pork Loin in the freezer and thought I might try it, using the same idea.  This sounds quite complicated, but with a few changes it doesn’t take that long and really isn’t that much work.  The pork came out incredibly tender.

The Madeira sauce was delightful.  My lovely husband likes to help do the dishes and before I could grab it, the rest of the sauce went down the drain.  He didn’t know it was part of the dinner to save. I couldn’t really get mad, as he is definitely not a cook and did not realize the sauce had been cooking for over an hour, maybe two to get to the right consistency.

Classic Beef Wellington Recipe

Servings: 8

If Britain has a holiday culinary showstopper; it’s got to be beef Wellington. This triumphant marriage of beef tenderloin, sautéed mushrooms, and rich chicken liver pâté (or truffles and pâté de foie gras, if you want to break the bank), rolled first in tender crêpes and then in buttery puff pastry, makes a grand centerpiece. Carved at the table and paired with a classic Madeira sauce, it’s a delicious and decadent meal.

Ingredients

For the duxelles

  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1-1/2 cups finely chopped portobello mushrooms (from 4 large caps; remove the stems and gills before chopping, preferably in a food processor)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the Madeira sauce

  • 6 cups beef stock,
  • 1 cup Madeira I prefer Sandeman
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, diced

For the crêpes – I just used puff paste

  • 2-1/4 oz. (1/2 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter

For assembly

  • 3 lb. center-cut beef tenderloin, trimmed, side muscle removed I just used my Pork Loin and it was so tender and delicious!
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 2/3 cup chicken liver pâté, home made or store-bought Recipe below
  • 1 lb. puff pastry,  thawed overnight in the refrigerator if frozen
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. unsalted butter, softened

Preparation

Make the duxelles

  • Heat the butter and oil in a 10-inch skillet over low heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, stir well, and raise the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have cooked down to a thick, almost black mixture, about 15 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir in the parsley; then transfer to a small bowl and cool completely. (The duxelles can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.)

Begin the Madeira sauce

  • Bring 6 cups of the stock to a boil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and boil until reduced to 2 cups, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the Madeira and continue boiling until the liquid is again reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (The sauce can be prepared to this point up to 1 day ahead. Finish the sauce just before serving the Wellington.)

Make the crêpes This is where I used Puff Paste

  • In a large bowl, whisk the flour and salt. Make a well in the center, break in the eggs, and add 1/4 cup of the milk. Gently whisk the eggs and milk, gradually incorporating the flour. Slowly whisk in the remaining milk to make a smooth batter. (The batter can be covered and set aside for up to an hour at this point.)Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Swirl the pan to coat with the butter; pour the excess butter out into a small bowl. Whisk 1 Tbs. of the melted butter into the batter. Reserve the rest for greasing the pan between crêpes. Increase the heat to medium high and pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the skillet. Swirl so the batter thinly and evenly coats the base of the pan.Cook until the crêpe is spotted with brown on the underside, about 1 minute, then flip and cook the other side until lightly browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute more. Repeat with the remaining batter, greasing the pan off the heat as necessary. Transfer the crêpes to a plate, separating them with sheets of parchment, and cool. You’ll need 4 crêpes.

Assemble and bake the Wellington

  • Remove the beef from the refrigerator about an hour ahead so it has time to lose its chill. Pat the beef dry and season all over with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until very hot. Sear the beef until it is evenly browned all over (don’t worry about the ends), 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the beef to a baking sheet and cool.In a medium bowl, mash the pâté and the duxelles with a fork until they form a soft paste.Lay 4 crêpes on a clean work surface, overlapping them just enough to give you a 13×13-inch roughly square surface. Dot the pâté mixture over the crêpes, then use an offset spatula to spread it evenly across the crêpes’ surface.

    Place the tenderloin in the center of the crêpes and carefully wrap them around the filet, pressing and molding them into place. Trim off any excess crêpe at the ends.

    If using store-bought puff pastry that’s packaged as 2 sheets, fuse the sheets together by slightly overlapping them and lightly rolling over the seam until adhered.

    On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to a 13×16-inch rectangle (for store-bought puff, roll in the direction of the seam).

    Transfer the wrapped beef to the center of the pastry and tuck any crêpes that have come loose back into place. Bring the pastry up around the beef, smoothing out any air pockets. Brush some of the beaten egg along the bottom edge of the seam and then press gently to seal; trim off any excess. Seal the pastry similarly at the ends.

    Lightly grease a large baking sheet with the butter. Lift the Wellington onto the sheet, seam side down. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 3 hours. (If refrigerating longer than 1 hour, let the Wellington sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.)

    At least 20 minutes before baking, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 475°F.

    Brush the Wellington with the remaining beaten egg. Using a sharp knife, score the surface of the pastry with diagonal lines, being careful not to cut all the way through the pastry. Put the Wellington in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 425°F. Roast for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 400°F and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the Wellington registers 135°F for medium rare, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a carving board and let the Wellington rest for 10 minutes.

    Meanwhile, finish the sauce: Heat the sauce in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. When it begins to simmer, reduce the heat to low and whisk in the butter a few pieces at a time. Do not allow it to boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Thickly slice the Wellington and serve it with the sauce.

Make Ahead Tips

There are several components to a Beef Wellington, but you don’t have to make them all in one day. Here’s how to spread out the work:

2 days (or up to 2 months) ahead: Make and chill (or freeze) the beef stock, duxelles, and puff pastry.

1 day ahead: Begin the Madeira sauce. Make the crêpes. Defrost the beef stock, duxelles, and puff pastry, if necessary.

Up to 5 hours ahead: Let the beef sit out at room temperature for 1 hour before searing.

Up to 4 hours ahead: Sear the beef; assemble and chill the Wellington.

Up to 1-1/2 hours ahead: Let the Wellington sit out at room temperature before baking.

Up to 1 hour ahead: Bake the Wellington and let it rest before carving.

Before serving: Finish the Madeira sauce.

BeefWellington-40011-main

Here is the photo of the Fine Cooking Beef Wellington

Chicken Liver Pate’

I just buy a container of chicken livers, throw them in some water and cook throughly. Put them in the cuisinart, add a lot of butter, garlic (4-5 cloves), salt and pepper and leave on everything is creamy.  Be sure to do this when the livers are still hot, so all the butter melts.  I use at least one whole stick!  Yummy on crackers with a bit of cheese too!

Served the pork with curly yams, just sautéed in butter and a simple salad.  Delish
IMG_6854
Beef Wellington modified to Pork Loin Wellington

Mail Vandalism ~ Why???

 

mailbox

No one puts money in letters going out anymore, as it is just not safe. If I do want to send my granddaughter a couple dollars, I drop it off at the post office.

So how many of you have ever had something stolen from your mailbox?  When I first moved to Kingston, I put all my Christmas cards in the mailbox to be sent out. About two hours later, someone knocked on my door and said I might want to come out to the front of my house.  My driveway is about 100 long, so I wondered what this person was talking about.  It seems my 150 or so Christmas cards had been strewn out all down the street and this nice person helped me pick up as many as we could.  So my first year in my new home in Kingston, I sent out very muddy Christmas Cards.

This morning I put a card to my best friend in the mailbox to cheer her up a little, as her mother died a week or so ago.  When I came home, the flag was down, the card was gone, but there was no new mail in the box.  Our mail has been arriving later and later with the holidays.  It did not arrive Monday till about 8:30 PM, so it makes it easy for someone to take it overnight.

Our trash can was still up on the street, and empty, so I looked to see if they might have thrown the card in it, when they discovered there was no money in the card.  Why not just leave it, when you discover there is nothing of value in it.  It saddens me to know I can never again mail anything from my home.

We will be ordering a locking mail box and our pretty copper one will be retired.  It has been bashed a couple of times.  Attempts have been made to steal the copper body of the box and it is not looking so good anyway. It is not fun and it is not funny.  Bashing mailboxes goes back as far as I can remember.  My neighbor where I grew up, put a steel rod down the center of the post and set the mailbox in concrete.  The young teenagers that drove by and hit it with a baseball bat ended up in the hospital with a broken arm. It was a very small town.

I am thinking a locking concrete mailbox is looking mighty good!

 

Mail Vandalism ~ Why???