Monthly Archives: December 2014

Classic Cheese Soufflé

  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (about 4 ounces)

preparation

Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 400F.Butter 6-cup (1 1/2-quart) soufflé dish. Add Parmesan cheese and tilt dish, coating bottom and sides. Warm milk in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming.

Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until mixture begins to foam and loses raw taste, about 3 minutes (do not allow mixture to brown). Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 1 minute. Pour in warm milk, whisking until smooth. Return to heat and cook, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in paprika, salt, and nutmeg. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, whisking to blend after each addition. Scrape soufflé base into large bowl. Cool to lukewarm. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/4 of whites into lukewarm or room temperature soufflé base to lighten. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions while gradually sprinkling in Gruyère cheese. Transfer batter to prepared dish.

Place dish in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 375F. Bake until soufflé is puffed and golden brown on top and center moves only slightly when dish is shaken gently, about 25 minutes (do not open oven door during first 20 minutes). Serve immediately.

BAKED SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH GARLIC AND BUTTER

I tend to under-bake the spaghetti squash just a bit, so it still retains just a slight crunch. Baking time really depends on how big your squash is – try to get the smallest one, especially if you’re only feeding 4 people. It’s ready if you can pierce the squash with a paring knife with little resistance. If you’re a garlic love, don’t be shy – use more!

Alternatively, microwave the whole squash for 2-4 minutes (to soften enough to cut lengthwise). Place squash cut-side down on baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes until tender.

INGREDIENTS:

1 small spaghetti squash (about 3-4 pounds)
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 onion
1/4 cup finely minced parsley (or basil)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Pierce squash a few times with sharp paring knife (to let steam escape). Bake spaghetti squash for 60 minutes, or until a paring knife pierces easily through skin with little resistance. Let squash cool for 10 minutes.

2. Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Use a fork to remove and discard the seeds. Continue using fork to scrape the squash to get long, lovely strands. If the squash seem difficult to scrape, return the squash to bake for an additional 10 minutes.

3. Heat a large saute pan with the butter and onion until softened.  Add the garlic over medium-low heat. When garlic becomes fragrant, add parsley, salt and spaghetti squash strands.  The spaghetti squash should have a slight crunch (i.e. not mushy) – but if you like it softer, cover the pan and cook 2 more minutes.

Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf

Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 1 cup long-grain white rice
    • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375*.
  2. Heat butter in a skillet; add garlic and rice and cook until both are golden brown.
  3. Add 1 cup of broth and the salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil and pour into a covered casserole; bake for 25 minutes.
  5. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups broth; cook for another 45 minutes.
  6. This can be doubled without increasing the cooking time.

shrimp salad

Bistro Shrimp and Bacon Salad

 PA bowl of PC Organics Field Greens Salad Mix with shrimp, bacon & croutons

Ingredients

Chef’s Tips

  • You can use PC Organics Baby Spinach instead of the field greens, if you prefer.

Instructions

  1. Place field greens in large bowl; set aside. Pat shrimp dry on paper towels; set aside. Inresealable plastic bag, shake together flour and grinder; set aside.
  2. In large frying pan set over medium heat, cook bacon pieces until golden but still pliable,turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to papertowel-lined plate. Pour off bacon fat and discard. Add 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the olive oil tofrying pan and return to medium heat. Add shrimp to plastic bag; shake to coat with flourmixture. Shake excess flour mixture from shrimp and add shrimp to frying pan. Cook, turningonce or twice, until shrimp are cooked through and slightly crispy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile,add bacon and croutons to field greens; toss to combine then divide among six plates. Placecooked shrimp on top of salad, dividing evenly.

Buche de noel (Yule Log) – vanilla with praline buttercream

So I finally took the leap and made my own Buche de Noel this year.  Lots of research went into this before settling on a series of recipes that would work for me.  It only took around 7 hours total.  It’s mostly done except for final frosting and decorations (currently in the freezer)

So here are the steps:

First make the Vanilla Simple Syrup (can be made a few days in advance):   vanilla syrup
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla pod split

DIRECTIONS:
Bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Stir in vanilla extract and add in vanilla bean.Let cool completely.

Praline (hazelnut) Paste:  Perhaps this is easy to find elsewhere in the world but I could not find in Montreal, so I had to make my own – This can be made  ahead of time – It will keep for several months in a tightly-closed container at a moderate temperature. Avoid heat, which will turn the hazelnut oil rancid and make the paste unusable.

3 Cups Hazelnuts
1 ½ Cups Caster sugar
1 Teaspoon Hazelnut oil

Preheat your oven to 180c and put your nuts on a tray  (You can omit this part if you buy roasted hazelnuts instead of unroasted)Place in hot over for about 5-8 minutes Until the skins start to split. Lift out. Place in a tea towel, Rub your nuts;)The skin will easily rub off . When cool enough you can rub your nuts in your hands!     There should be no skin left on them whatsoever..hazelnut

Line a tray with silicon sheet or oil a tray. Add sugar to a pan. Put on a med-low heat with NO water .  It will start to melt and caramelise .  It may a little time but be patient. If you find it is getting too dark too quickly, reduce heat. Add your nuts      .And coat.  Turn out onto tray to cool, don’t put in fridge. pralineWhen cool smash them up. And blitz in a food processor.     Like this until nicely ground. And there you go! Ok so this is hazelnut praline. But……you want to  make hazelnut paste, so carry on. Keep blitzing on high until the oil starts coming out off your nuts.

Add 1 tsp of hazelnut oil, Keep on blitzing

Now on to the Praline Buttercream:

1/3 cup praline paste

 1 1/2 cups sugar
6 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Heat sugar and eggs: Bring a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of water to a simmer. Meanwhile, combine sugar, egg whites, and salt in a large heat-proof mixing bowl. Set bowl over (not in) simmering water, and whisk until whites are warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. (Heating the eggs relaxes their proteins, enabling the eggs to whip up higher and more quickly; the sugar also melts, for a silky smooth consistency.) Test by rubbing between your fingers; the mixture should feel smooth.start of buttercream
  2. Whip meringue: Attach bowl to a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form and mixture is cooled completely, about 10 minutes.
  3. Mix in butter: Reduce speed to medium-low; add butter 2 tablespoons at a time, beating to incorporate fully after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled at this point; it will become perfectly smooth again with continued beating. After all the butter has been incorporated, beat in vanilla. Blend ½ cup buttercream into the praline paste, then add to the remaining buttercream. Whip briefly on med-low speed to combine.adding butter to buttercream
  4. Finish: Switch to the paddle attachment. Beat on the lowest speed to reduce air bubbles, 3 to 5 minutes. Let stand, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature.mid-buttercream

Cook’s Note

If not using the same day, transfer to airtight containers and store in the refrigerator up to 3 days or the freezer up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature; beat with paddle attachment on the lowest speed until smooth and pliable, about 10 minutes. Sometimes buttercream will break.  Look online for there are many  fixes that you can do to make it work

Genoise

Ingredients

  • Butter for jellyroll pan
  • 8 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment cut to fit, and coat parchment with spray. Dust with flour, and tap out excess.
  2. Whisk together eggs and sugar in a large heatproof bowl. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk until mixture is warm and sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes.
  3. With a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg mixture on high speed until pale and very thick, about 12 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Sift flour and salt over mixture in 3 additions, folding gently with a spatula. When almost incorporated, pour melted butter down side of bowl, and gently fold until completely incorporated.
  4. Heat oven to 400°. Grease and flour an approximately 13″ x 18″ rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, and set aside. Spread batter into an even layer on bottom of prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown on the bottom, about 12 minutes. genoise in ovenPlace a clean kitchen towel that is larger than the baking sheet on a work surface, and dust it liberally with confectioners’ sugar. Invert cake onto towel; dust with more sugar. Starting with a narrow end of the rectangle, immediately roll cake up into a jelly roll, letting the towel roll inside the cake. Let cool to room temperature.
    5. Once cake is cooled, gently unroll it, remove towel, and brush the inside with the vanilla syrup; allow to soak in for about 2 minutes. Spread buttercream evenly over cake; reroll cake and set the roll seam side down on a serving platter. Since I did not have enough buttercream to frost, I froze the cake at this point. It looked like this IMG_0623[1]Then I wrapped with food saver and bubble wrapped (just in case)IMG_0624[1]IMG_0625[1]
  5. Next step I’ll prepare a couple of of days prior to Xmas .  Left to do…Slice off about 3″ of one end of the cake roll at a 30° angle; cut the other end to make it flat. Spread the flat end of the angled slice with a little buttercream and set the slice on top of the cake roll to create a “stump.” More buttercream frosting and use something to make it look like a log….