here and there

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Baked Camembert with marinaded oranges and pomegranate

Before Christmas, I came across a picture on Instagram that Baked Camembert with Marinaded Oranges and Pomegranate 

Not sure in what the oranges where marinaded in it, but since I had Pomegranate Molasses, I decided to use this. 

Pomegranate Molasses is a syrup made from the juice of Pomegranate.
Delicious, tangy with great flavor.  Awesome on pork Ribs!
The dish was assembled in a small cast iron skillet, covered with foil and baked! And forgotten about!

Now this did look a lot better on Instagram, as it was not baked as long! It was still delicious! 

Christmas Turkey Sliders

Another idea seen on Facebook was ideas for sliders that use tray buns, assembled together in a tray and then baked until the cheese is melted.  I imagine that these ideas for different sliders came from "Funeral Sandwiches" which had originated in the Southern states years ago.  

For the funeral sandwiches, the buns are sliced in half, placed on a cookie sheet or cake pan, layers of ham slices, grated or slices of cheese and pickles, then the other half of the buns is placed on top. A sauce of melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard is brushed to the top of these buns, covered in foil, baked and then uncovered to bake until the tops have browned.  One of the sites said that these buns can be made ahead of time, 4 to 24 hours and refrigerator before baking. 

I had purchased tray buns before Christmas and had intended to make Breakfast Sliders;with scrambled egg, bacon, cheese and spinach. However, on Boxing day at lunch, this seems like a perfect time to try out these sliders using leftover turkey. My son took over after I had sliced the buns in half, added mayo on the bottom layer, then slices of turkey, leftover tangy cranberry sauce, crumbled soft cheese on top, fresh spinach leaves, then the top buns. I had mixed Olive oil with chopped fresh parsley and minced garlic to brush on the top. The buns were covered with tin foil and baked for 10 minutes, then the foil taken off and baked for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sandwich was hot and bubbly. 

These sandwiches disappeared quickly. The only thing I didn't like was the heaviness and thickness of the purchased buns. Need a better solution here! 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Cheese Fondue

This has been an all time favourite in our house for many years! The birthday meal for my daughter, along with Chocolate Fondue was always Cheese Fondue. 

Thus was also a staple dish during the winter and lent. The cheese I used was very much 
what I had on hand.  For special occasions, I like to use Gruyere cheese as it has a creamy nutty taste but any hard or semi hard cheese will do. In my early cook books on Fondue, Swiss cheese was suggested, as were many other cheeses.  Since my kids like Cheese Fondue, I always and still use milk in place of wine.  I prefer the taste as did our Swiss friend's Mom, much to her surprise.  

The first time, I was invite to a Cheese Fondue, I was in awe of the beautiful table setting along with the creamy cheese sauce in a ceramic pot my coworker's Austrian husband had prepared. What a lovely and intimate setting for four people.   At the end, Ernie had dropped a raw egg to clean the pot of all the burned cheese at the bottom. He used a piece of bread on a fondue fork and by whisking the egg around the pot picked up bits of cheese stuck to pot. This was equally shared with all of us. Delicious!

For Christmas, my now husband bought me a stainless steel Fondue pot which we use for Meat Fondue or Fondue Bourguignonne. I had used this pot with a boiler section, but I do prefer the earthenware pots for Cheese Fondue. 

I like to toast cubes of bread on a cookie sheet for the Cheese Fondue.  A platter of vegetables and fruit like apples can also be added, but the traditional way is to use only bread cubes.

The bases of my Cheese Fondue is a White Sauce that is easily made in the Microwave or on the stovetop.  For this Christmas party, I used the two smaller pots so that it was easy reach for dipping into the pot.  I placed a fondue pot between four people.  I made three cups of white sauce to which grated gruyere and old white cheddar was added.  A clove of garlic had been added to the white sauce as it was cooking, fresh grated nutmeg was also added to the sauce at the end.  

The sauce did take a while to come together, but just be patience and slowly heat the sauce minute by minute in the microwave or on the stove top until the sauce comes together. Do not over heat!  Adding heated milk to the sauce, also speeds the process.   The cheese was slowly added to the sauce while mixing the cheese in until melted.    

Because of the richness of this meal, a Caesar salad was also made.  Loaded Caesars started the meal as the Cheese fondue was prepared. 

Meat Fondue or Fondue Bourguignonne with Béarnaise Sauce

It's been a long time since we have had meat fondue for New Year's Day, but this year my daughter requested it as her husband has never had it.

We used to always have this as a fun and celebrating meal on New Year Day when the kids were teenagers.  A great way to start the year!  My husband was always in charge of the pot of hot oil.  
Peanut oil is the best as it smokes at a higher temperature than other oils, canola works well too. Both oils are also lower in saturated fat and high in polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats, making it healthy to use.

Yet this information doesn't make me any more comfortable having a hot pot of boiling oil on the table!

The set up is easy, cutting a marbled piece of meat into cubes. Then everyone cooks their own meat using fondue forks. The rule is not to over crowd people around the table.
We usually use only beef, but have had chicken, pork and shrimp included to be deep fried.  

As sides, one needs a salad and potatoes.  Make a lot of salad as it does go well with the fondue. This year in place of roasted potatoes, we used the Twice Baked Potatoes   

Along with the sides, an assortment of condiments makes the fondue more interesting

Little dishes were filled with dijon mustard, hot sauce, regular mustard, mayo with the favourite being Béarnaise sauce. 

The tiny dishes hold Béarnaise Sauce. 

This year, in place of Sterno Cooking fuel cans, we used our tabletop burner.  Before, we had to continually heat the pot of oil on the stove as the temperature was not keep hot using the cans of sterno.  With the tabletop burner, the heat was kept more constant but needed to be turned right down to decrease the sound of sizzling hot meat! 

Twice Baked Potatoes and Caesar Salad

My husband has been making Béarnaise sauce from "The New Complete Book of Cookery" by Tee Vee Books first published in Canada 1970. From the chapter on sauces by Neville Baker, my husband has successfully been making the Béarnaise Sauce and did again this New Year's Day

The caption under Béarnaise Sauce is that this sauce was made for Henry IV of France and can be used with many dishes. It is a lovely sauce with great taste, does go very well with beef and does impress!

Béarnaise Sauce 

2/3 c white wine
2 T vinegar
2T finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp dried Tarragon
1 tsp finely chopped parsley 
2 peppercorns crushed
4 eggs yolks
1 c calcified butter

Combine wine, vinegar, onion, tarragon , parsley and peppercorn in a small sauce pan, simmer until reduced to 1/3 of the original amount.  Cool

Mix the egg yolks and place in a double boiler over simmering water and the strained vinegar, wine mixture, stirring constantly.  Gradually add the clarified butter, stirring continuously until it is a thick consistency.  

You know that it is a good recipe if it has handwritten notes and stains

The original recipe used 3 egg yolk, but the size of eggs seems to be smaller, so 4 yolks are used
If the sauce curdles or separates, add  2-3 T of cold water and whisk hard to emulsify the sauce or until it becomes smooth again.
My husband also mentions for best results make the full quantity 
This year, I ran out of tarragon and all though it suggested pinch of fennel seed or anise seed for each teaspoon of Tarragon, my husband used oregano.  Although not as great a flavor you get from tarragon, it was lovely with beef. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Cheese bread

One of the appetizers, I made over the Christmas holiday  I saw come through as a video  on Facebook using Raclette and Camembert cheese and a loaf of bread. 

Cut out three squares in the bread and then cut the pieces of scooped out bread into strips.
Mix olive oil, minced garlic and chopped parsley in a small bowl
Toss bread strips in this oil mixture

Each pocket has a different garnish.

1 Onion chopped and caramelized 
Fresh rosemary chopped
4 to 6 strips Bacon, cook and crumb when cool
Sautéed mushroom would have been nice too

Slice the cheese in half and use one of the above garnishes

Brush olive oil on the loaf, wrap in tin foil and bake at 325 for about 20 to 30 minutes. 

Surround the loaf with pickles and vegetable along with the bread strips to scoop out the cheese.

Would I do this again? Probably not as it did take a lot of cheese and not as impressive looking, although it did disappear quickly. The thickness of this bread was too thick, so thinner bread would probably work better.  Using other cheeses, like cheddar and mozzarella would make this appetizer less costly.   

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Twice Baked Potatoes

When my cousin from Thunder Bay texted me that she was making Twice Baked Potatoes to freeze similar to the ones she buys at M&M saying they were more work than making Pyrohy, it certainly got my interest.  My Mom made twice baked potatoes using left over oven roasted potatoes but never froze them. My cousin used grated cheese, bacon, onions along with the mashed potatoes to fill the potato shells. 

I did do a test run and froze a few potatoes using my Mom's recipe and found that they were delicious reheat. This was added to my Christmas Planning Menu 2016.

Whole potatoes were washed, pierced with a knife, oiled and then baked on a cookie sheet at 375 degree until fork tender, about an hour.

The potatoes were cooled and cut in half, removing the cooked potato.  

Add the cooked potatoes to a large bowl.
Mash the potato with sour cream, adding milk a bit at a time until potato fluffy

One chopped onion was added to the potatoes mixture. The onion was caramelized for extra flavor. The shells were filled with the filling, dots of butter were added to the top. Using a grater with cold butter works beautifully. Dust with Paprika!
The above is Mom's basic recipe

I did add a container of Cottage Cheese to the potato mixture but this is not necessary.

One could also add bacon, ham, grated cheese to the potato mixture, but the Twice Baked Potatoes are delicious without adding this. 

Swedish Meatball

Swedish Balls were a staple in my Mom's kitchen growing up and were and are still seen at fall super and weddings.  
Swedish balls are small meatballs served in a creamy sauce.  Delicious as a side dish with Thanksgiving and Christmas Turkey, disappearing quickly especially with the children

 I use my ebelskivers cast iron pans to cook the meatballs. Yes, I have two which I was going to give one pan away as a gift until I made meatballs in this pan. The pan forms perfectly shaped meatballs!   Nothing like making Swedish Meatballs using a Danish cast Iron pan! 

Swedish Meatballs can be prepared to be reheated in the oven and freeze well.  I like to mix ground pork and ground beef together for extra flavor. 

Swedish Meatballs 1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1/2 c bread crumbs (optional)

Mix lightly and form one inch balls.  Brown the meat balls until cooked.  I use my ebelskivers  cast iron pan. 

Perfectly shaped meatballs
Once the meatballs are cooked, place in a dutch oven or slow cooker. Add a simple white sauce to the meatballs or two cans of good quality mushroom soup. 

 White Sauce

This was the first recipe I was taught when we bought our first Panasonic Microwave in 1981. Madame Benoit classes came with the purchase of the Microwave.

The bases of the recipe is equal ratio of flour and butter, increasing the ratio depending on amount of sauce needed. 

2 T flour
2 T butter
1 C milk 
Melt butter, 30sec in microwave
Add flour to butter and mix well
Heating the milk before adding to the butter and flour mixture speeds the process.
Whisk the heated milk into the flour and butter mixture
Beep mixture at 1 min intervals and whisk in-between until the mixture thickens
Add white sauce to meatballs and heat until meatballs are warm
Mushroom can be added to the meatball mixture

Spoon meatballs into containers or casserole to be frozen.  The casserole is ready to go, reheat until hot before serving.