Heavy Cream Louis, But Better!

Folx who know me know that I can rarely pass up a salad with Louis Dressing on it, especially if asparagus is involved. So much so that I have five different serving options and variations on this one site.

But now…

I’ve swapped out my own take on Garlic Diana Sauce for the more usual chili sauce and, wow…

I think it makes it all come together.

INGREDIENTS
•1 cup mayonnaise
•1 cup heavy cream, whipped stiff*
•1 cup Garlic Barbecue Sauce
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste

*1/2 cup of heavy cream will whip into the one cup needed.

Note: if you don’t want to make or cannot buy Diana Garlic Sauce, an equal amount of good chili sauce will work a treat

Whip the cream until stiff – an immersion blender works a treat for this; just be certain to keep moving the blender up and down in the beaker to get as much air into the cream as possible.

Give it a taste.

I don’t think it needs any salt or pepper, but feel free to add some if you do.

Transfer to a one pint jar and use for all of your Louis needs.

Note: I think it is a bit better if allowed to rest in the fridge for a day or so before using.

This is pretty terrific over a salad of Blanched Asparagus, Air-Fried Halloumi, and thinly sliced red onion.

Mebbe with some air fried Shrimp on the side, for even more Louis goodness.

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Shaved Sprouts Salad

Looking for a tasty, elegant looking salad for a special occasion, but don’t really feel like fussing about it?

Have I got a salad for you!

There was a slight miscommunication between my husband and myself when planning and prepping the salad for our feast day, and this was not the Brussels sprout salad he was expecting, but he turned out loving it anyway, so no harm, no foul, and, really nice, easy salad.

Thanks to the folx at delish.com for the basic recipe, which I, of course, adapted. I would offer a link, but it is paywalled, so… here’s my version. For free.

INGREDIENTS
Vinaigrette:
•5 tbsp lemon juice
•5 tbsp olive oil
•1/2 tsp parsley
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Garden Salad Seasoning

Salad:
•1 bag shaved Brussels sprouts
•1/2 cup Marcona almonds
•1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
•Shaved Parmesan

A note about the Parmesan: if you are making this salad for a vegetarian, Parmesan cheese is made with animal rennet, so it is not vegetarian.

Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together until well blended, then pour over the shaved Brussels sprouts and toss.

This, I thought, was the really cool thing about this salad…

you do this at least 20 minutes and up to four hours before you plan to serve!

So, there I was, finishing of the rest of our Thanksgiving foods, and the salad was, mostly, just sitting there minding its own business. All I had to do was give it a little toss when I thought about it.

Just before serving, add the pomegranate seeds, almonds, and cheese, then toss again and you are good to go.

More than enough salad for four folx or so, along with the rest of the feast.

And, kinda festive looking, too.

 

 

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Vintage Beefy Cocktail Spread

Really… doesn’t “Vintage Beefy Cocktail Spread” make a better headline than…

Liverwurst Spread?

It is ALL in the branding.

The thing is, though, this liverwurst (or, if you prefer, Braunschweiger) spread is really simple to make and really, really tasty, so why not add a mid (2oth) century twist to your appetizer offerings this holidaze season and bring on the beef?

INGREDIENTS
•4 oz cream cheese, softened
•1/2 lb liverwurst
•1 tbsp crème fraîche
•1 cup chopped red onion
•1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
•1/2 tsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp prepared horseradish
•2 tsp Dijon mustard
•Black pepper
•1 tbsp brandy

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Prep is, as I noted above, dead simple.

Tumble all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl and beat together with your electric mixer.

Or…

add all of the ingredients to your food processor, fitted with the plastic blade, and pulse until well and truly mixed.

Back in the day, and enterprising host would then shape this into a ball, cover it with more cream cheese and sprinkle it all with a hefty dose of chopped paprika, but I just serve it in a crock with crackers and cornichons.

 

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Stuffing or Dressing? No Matter, It is ALL Good!

My sister and I are in agreement that the barefoot contessa is one of our fave cook book authors.

I have never been unhappy with one of her recipes, and this stuffing (or dressing) is the one I will be serving next week at our holidaze feast table.

I happen to like using hot breakfast sausage for this, because we like a bit of spice, but feel free to use plain or sage, whichever way you go, I think you will be pleased.

INGREDIENTS
•1 bag packaged sage and herb stuffing mix
•8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
•2 cups medium-diced sweet onion
•1 cup medium-diced celery
•2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored and large-diced
•1 cup dried cherries
•2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
•1 tbsp Sherry peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
•1/2 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Sauce, or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1 lb spicy breakfast sausage
•2 cups unsalted chicken stock

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Heat your oven to 350º.

Melt the butter in a large saute pan, then add the sausage, onions, celery, apples, parsley, Seasoned Salt and black and Aleppo pepper.

Saute over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, breaking up the sausage, until the vegetables are softened and the sausage is cooked through, then add the stir in the dried cherries.

Stir in the Sherry Peppers and hot sauce, then add the bread cubes.

Stir the chicken stock into the mixture, then, if your pan is oven safe, bake for 30 minutes.

If your pan is not oven safe, transfer the stuffing to a baking pan, bake for 30 minutes, until the top is crispity and the stuffing is warmed through.

Note: another cool baking option would be to scoop the stuffing into a large muffin tin, then baking for 30 minutes.

Serve your stuffing warm, mebbe with a bit of gravy and some Cranberry Relish on the side, just to balance everything out.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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Again With Mary’s Meatloaf

Yeh.

I know.

At this point in November, I should be posting something about turkey or stuffing or some such, and I will, but…

at some point, don’t we just need a simple, tasty meatloaf? Mebbe with French Peas and smashed potatoes on the side.

Of course we do.

INGREDIENTS
Meatloaf:
•1-1/2 lb meatloaf mix
•1 cup bread crumbs
•1/2 cup diced onion
•1/2 cup diced celery
•1/2 cup milk
•1 egg, beaten
•2 tbsp ketchup
•1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1 tsp dried parsley
•1/2 tsp salt
•1/2 tsp dry mustard
•1/2 tsp garlic powder
•1/2 tsp black pepper

Glaze:
•1/4 cup ketchup
•2 tbsp brown sugar
•1 tbsp red wine vinegar

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Heat oven to 350º.

Whisk the egg together with the milk, ketchup, Worcestershire, Sherry Peppers, and hot sauces with the parsley, salt, dry mustard, garlic powder and pepper, then stir in the the bread crumbs to moisten and let rest for for ten minutes before adding the ground meat, onion, and celery and mixing by hand.

Transfer to a an 8×8 inch baking pan and pat down into an even layer.

Whisk the ketchup together with the brown sugar and vinegar, then spread evenly over the top of the meatloaf.

Note: as I posted yesterday, I used Arby’s Sauce instead of making the glaze, and it turned out wicked nice.

Totes your call, though…

Bake for 55 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for ten minutes before serving.

Using the 8×8 inch pan gives you more surface area to slather that glaze (or Arby’s Sauce) over, and makes for, I think, an overall superior meatloaf.

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Arby’s Sauce – As a Glaze

So…

this was gonna be a twofer recipe day; our current FAVORITE meatloaf method, and my current FAVE glaze for said meatloaf,

but…

It was a snowy day, and I had physical therapy for my boo-boo shoulder, and now I am chilling and getting ready to start on tonight’s dinner, so, for tonight, “just the sauce, sir.”

INGREDIENTS
•1/2 cup ketchup
•1/2 cup water
•2 tbsp Heinz 57 Steak Sauce
•2 tsp brown sugar
•2 tsp white vinegar
•1 tsp hot sauce
•1/4 tsp onion powder
•1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/8 tsp white pepper
•1/8 tsp ground allspice

To make this sauce, simply whisk the ingredients together (I use an immersion blender), then stash in the fridge in a squeeze bottle until needed.

Note: you will need this. A lot.

On burgers, on chicken, added to barbecue sauce, or…

Used as a meatloaf glaze? Tommorow…

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Julia Child’s Cranberry Relish

Yep.

It is that time of year.

When even small-time food blogs like mine get 100s of hits per day, everyone looking for that one perfect recipe for the big feast.

Well, here it is, and you’re welcome.

Some folx do not care for cranberry relish, but they are wrong. In about an hour, you can eat like Julia wanted you to.

INGREDIENTS
Relish:
•36 oz fresh cranberries
•2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
•1-3/4 cup sugar
•1-1/2 cup orange juice
•1/4 cup lemon juice
•1/4 cup orange liqueur with brandy

Pulverized Zest:
•Zest of 2 oranges
•Zest of 1 lemon
•1/3 cup sugar

A note on the ginger: I buy mine frozen, in little one teaspoon cubes at Trader Joe’s, though I have seen them at other markets. Organic, really quite good, and they last forever in the freezer.

A note on the pulverized zest: I do not always take the time to do this, and the relish seems to always turn out fine, but if you have a mini food processor, why not bring it out and use it, then mebbe whip up a quick batch of Mayonnaise while you’re at it.

To pulverize the zest, wash the oranges and lemon, then grate the zest, the orange and yellow parts of the peel, into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.

Add the sugar and pulse until the zest and sugar have come together into this brightly colored powder.

Wash the cranberries and pick through, discarding any stems or withered berries.

Note: big cranberry seems to have their sorting system down pat, because I have not come across any little woody stems in at least a decade. Withered berries, well, that is just part of the circle of life.

Add the sorted berries to a large pot with the remaining ingredients and stir in the pulverized zest.

If you really do not want to deal with the whole pulverize thing, go ahead and just tumble your zest and the extra sugar into the pot with everything else.

It’ll all work out fine.

Bring to a rapid boil over medium high heat, stirring often, until the berries burst, about five minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes or so, then, give it a taste.

Yum.

I like mine just as it is, with a tart bite that will go perfectly with my holidaze feast,

but…

if you think it a bit too tart, go ahead and stir in another 1/4 cup or so of sugar, and cook, again stirring often, for another 15 to 30 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and your relish is as you like it.

Transfer the relish to jars, then cover and stash in the fridge until needed.

This recipe will yield three pints of the good stuff, and I have found that if I make it now, it will last me through to the New Year, unless I find myself serving ravening hoards of 20-somethings, as I did last year.

Then, December is also a good time to make more relish.

 

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Blender Mousse

Back in the day, my mom would make pudding for dessert.

From a mix, but not instant, and she would stand over a pot at the stove stirring for what seemed like forever while the pudding gently came together.

My Aunt Buzz (my dad’s sister) did not care for cooking as much as my mom, and she did next to no stirring for her decidedly adult pudding – a rich chocolate mousse with added rum or brandy.

I’ve lost Buzz’s recipe, but da google has provided options, and this version seems to work the best.

Two important notes:

Do not double the recipe! One batch will fill most blenders, and doubling the recipe in one batch pretty mush guarantees a runny mousse that will only set up in the freezer. Not a bad option, but not the same as the silky, velvet of a true mousse. If you need more, simply make two batches.

If your mousse does not set up, as when I made a batch with these caramel sea salt chips I found at Trader Joe’s, you can still use it! You can freeze it and serve it as a kind of iced pudding, or drizzle it over your other mousse that did set up, as I did for this recent weekend gathering of friends.

INGREDIENTS
•10 oz bag dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar
•3 eggs
•1 cup scalded milk*
•2 tbsp rum or brandy (optional)

Optional:
•Grated orange zest
•1/4 tsp instant espresso powder

To scald milk, heat over low heat on top of the stove with the orange zest and espresso powder, if using, stirring often, until blended and the milk reads 180º on a thermometer.

Or, my preferred method, add the the milk and orange zest and instant espresso powder, if using, to a ‘wave safe bowl with a wooden chopstick or skewer inserted and push the 30 Second button.

Note: the chopstick or skewer, by breaking the surface of the milk, helps to keep it from “superheating” and blasting all over your ‘wave.

While the milk is in the wave, add the chips, sugar, and eggs to your blender and pulse until well chopped and blended.

When 30 seconds is up in the ‘wave, pull the container out and give it a stir, then back into the ‘wave for another 30 seconds.

Repeat this, stirring after each 30 seconds, until an instant read thermometer reads 180º – being careful that the sensor tip does not touch the bottom of the container, about three to four minutes.

Once the milk is properly scalded, with the blender running, pour the hot milk and the rum or brandy through the feed hole in the lid and process until smooth and creamy. It will fill most of the blender jar.

Now, you have a couple of choices. Aunt Buzz would pour her mousse into individual champagne coupes, cover with plastic wrap, and stash on a shelf  in the fridge overnight  for an elegant single-serve dessert.

I tumble my whole batch into one large container and chill overnight, then scoop it into bowls and top it with whipped cream.

Both excellent options, I think.

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Buffalo Chicken Tatchos

This recipe showed up somewhere from the nice folx at Food Network, and I thought it would work a treat as the main course for an early afternoon Book Club gathering.

It is gluten free, and I kept the pickled celery and the crumbled bleu cheese as optional sides for those club members who do not do pickles or bleu cheese.

The original recipe called for shredded breasts from a rotisserie chicken, but I found that ground chicken worked a treat.

INGREDIENTS
Quick Pickle:
•1/2 cup water
•1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
•1 tbsp sugar
•1 tbsp Kosher salt
•2 celery ribs, thinly sliced

Totchos:
•32 oz bag frozen potato tots
•1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
•1/2 cup Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce, or your fave brand
•1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
•1 lb ground chicken
•Shredded three-cheese Mexican blend
•1/4 cup bleu cheese, crumbled
•Ranch dressing

The day before, bring the water and vinegar to a boil with the sugar and Kosher salt, stirring until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Pour over the celery and set aside to cool.

Note: you can make the quick pickle just before starting to make the tatchos, but I think that the flavor develops nicely overnight in the fridge.

When ready to make the totchos, heat your oven to 425º and line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.

Fun fact: to get parchment paper to lay flat in a pan, crumble it up into a ball first. It will then lay nicely flat.

Warm the olive in a large pot over medium-high heat, then add the ground chicken.

Cook, stirring and breaking the chicken into small pieces, until cooked through.

Stir in the hot sauce and the butter, reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook until the butter has melted and the sauce has reduced a bit, mebbe 15 minutes.

Arrange the tater tots in a single layer on the parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the tots from the oven and push them together, still in a single layer.

Top the tots with the cooked chicken and any of the sauce in the pan, then top with the shredded cheese.

A note on the shredded cheese: I did not specify and amount of cheese, because I invariably add more than what a recipe calls for. I would note that these are totchos, so I more or less covered mine with about two cups of shredded cheese.

Pop back in the oven for another ten minutes, then remove and allow to rest for a couple of minutes before serving.

I topped the whole shebang with a drizzle of ranch dressing and some chopped fresh parsley, then allowed folx to add the quick pickles and bleu cheese as they liked, and offered additional ranch dressing.

I had some left over, but not much.

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Chicken Pate With Green Apple

One of my all-time fave munchies is a peppery chicken paté, the flavor built with the addition of a green apple, a nip or so of brandy, and, here’s my spin on the whole thing…

I use allspice in place of the more accustomed nutmeg.

My only problem with it is that it makes so very much, and not all folx want to eat something made with chicken livers, so I need to wait until I have the right crowd.

My Book Club is that crowd.

“Chicken livers and a bit more than 1/4 pound of Irish butter? Sure!”

INGREDIENTS
•9 tbsp butter (1 stick + 1 tbsp)
•1 onion, diced
•1 large garlic clove, sliced
•1 shallot, diced
•1 tsp salt
•1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
•1 Granny Smith apple; cored and chopped
•1/4 tsp ground allspice
•1 lb chicken livers
•2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•2 tbsp brandy

Melt four tablespoons of the butter over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic and shallot with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt for four minutes.

Add the apple and allspice and cook for another five minutes, then remove from the pan to a bowl.

Melt another four tablespoons of butter (you have one tablespoon left at this point – that’s good) over medium heat and add the chicken livers, another 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the black pepper.

Add the apple and onion mixture along with the chopped parsley and continue cooking for another four minutes, until the livers are cooked through with very little pink left.

Stir in the cognac and remove from the heat.

The original recipe called for running the liver mixture through a blender in two batches to achieve a silky-smooth texture.

I just toss the still warm whole pot into my food processor with that last, lonely tablespoon of butter.

Process until the paté is as smooth as you like. I alsways go for pretty darned smooth.

Taste for seasoning and add a bit more salt and pepper, if you like. We liked – and added a bit more pepper – added 1/2 tsp black pepper and a pinch of sea salt.

Turn the mixture into 1 or 2 small terrines or crocks – whatever you plan to serve the pâté in – cover with plastic wrap, and stash in the fridge to set.

You can eat the paté at any point now, but the flavor will greatly improve after resting in the fridge overnight.

Mmmm, peppery paté.

Remember at the beginning of this post when I said that it made a lot?

This bowl has 1-3/4 cups of paté, and there is another one just behind it, so…

Forewarned is forearmed.

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