Monday, June 27, 2011

green goddess dressing

I obsess.  I get obsessed with a food product and I use it every day and then out of the blue I am over it and I can't have one more bite.  I have been that way with galeos salad dressing for as long as I remember.  Even after the nutritional label was challenged and discovered to be incorrect I still did not part ways.  It took making this dressing for the lobster party to open my eyes to how delicious homemade dressing can be.  It is not only tasty it is so beyond easy to make.  I could not get enough of this.  Lucky for me there were left overs.  I dipped veggies in it, used it as a sandwich spread in paninis and of coursed dressed a salad.  My only issue is it is not exactly light but, I think that can be changed.  This dressing can be lighted by using light mayo and light sour cream or even substituting greek yogurt.  The basil can be swapped for tarragon or a mix of other fresh herbs on hand.  I can't wait to experiment.  Thanks Ina for making me fill the mason jars rather then buy the bottles.

My adorable nautical, preppy, east coast influenced table.  Used all those lobster items we got for our wedding that we never registered for and Brad wanted to throw out.  I knew someday they would come to use!

green goddess dressing
source: barefoot contessa

1 cup good mayonnaise
1 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (6 to 7 scallions)
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sour cream

Place the mayonnaise, scallions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the sour cream and process just until blended.

Refrigerate the dressing until ready to serve.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

couer a la creme with raspberry sauce

Couer a la creme.  Did you take French?  Do you know what that mean?  Until last week I had not a clue.  That is what supper club is for.  To learn and try new things in the kitchen.  Couer a la creme translates to heart of cream.  It is a combination of cream cheese and cream that drains and thickens over night.  You get the taste of cheesecake with only 1 1/2 blocks of cream cheese rather then 4 blocks and no baking.  The results of this dessert looks and tastes like you worked much harder then you actually did.  Impressive and delicious.  This would be perfect for Valentine's Day or adjusted for a savory flavor in the fall.  I am already thinking about a pumpkin sauce.  If you don't have a couer a la creme dish you can use a seven inch sieve.  I am glad I took a picture of it before I left the house because by the time we ate the dessert I am not entirely certain my focusing skills were top notch.  Thanks Ina you have made entertaining elegant, tasty and simple.

couer a la creme with raspberry sauce
source: barefoot contessa

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce, recipe follows
2 half-pints fresh raspberries

Place the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the beater and bowl with a rubber spatula and change the beater for the whisk attachment. With the mixer off, add the heavy cream, vanilla, lemon zest, and vanilla bean paste.  Start the mixer on low until ingredients are incorporated.  Bring the mixer up to high speed and beat until the mixture is very thick, like whipped cream.

Line a 7-inch coeur a la creme dish with fine cheesecloth so the ends drape over the sides and suspend it over a bowl, making sure that there is space between the bottom of the dish and the bottom of the bowl for the liquid to drain. Pour the cream mixture into the cheesecloth, fold the ends over the top, and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, discard the liquid, unmold the cream onto a plate, and drizzle Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce around the base. Serve with raspberries and extra sauce.

raspberry sauce:

1/2 of a  half-pint fresh raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur

Place raspberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and orange liqueur into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth. Chill.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Supper club theme this month was Ina.  I love Ina so, I was totally stoked for this meal.  I love Ina so much that I am going to do a week of Barefoot Contessa here on my blog. I have made quite a few things from her lately.   The meal did not disappoint.  We had shrimp, baked fontina, butternut squash salad, zucchini gratin, beef bourguignon, palmiers, and coeur a la creme.  There were so many recipes I had never tasted before and they were all over the top good.  We got to celebrate the new home of our hostess and good friendships.  After writing out the menu and considering how much I ate and drank that night it is a surprise that I could hoist myself over a 7 foot wrought iron fence at midnight.  Yep that's right.  That is how this girl ends a special evening with crystal and china.  Jumping a fence.  Waking up the next morning with bruises on my leg and my biggest concern being did I rip my new red j brand skinny jeans in the jump!  Will I ever grow up?  I hope not.

On to these palmiers.  I was really excited to make these.  Growing up when we went to a bakery these were the cookies I would pick.  I always wanted the elephant ears because they were one of the biggest cookies in the display case and they tasted awesome.  I always thought they would be difficult to make but, seriously they take 5-10 minutes prep and once you have the folding technique down you are home free.  I love that you can customize these with different sweet and savory flavors.  I can't wait to explore some savory versions.  Now how easy is that?

source: barefoot contessa

2 cups granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine the sugar and kosher salt. Pour 1 cup of the sugar/salt mixture on a flat surface such as wooden board or marble. Unfold a sheet of puff pastry onto the sugar and pour 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture on top, spreading it evenly on the puff pastry. This is not about sprinkling, it's about an even covering of sugar. With a rolling pin, roll the dough until it's 13 by 13-inches square and the sugar is pressed into the puff pastry on top and bottom. 

Fold the sides of the square towards the center so they go halfway to the middle. Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly at the middle of the dough. Then fold 1 half over the other half as though closing a book. You will have 6 layers. Slice the dough into 3/8-inch slices and place the slices, cut side up, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. 

Place the second sheet of pastry on the sugared board, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar mixture, and continue as above. (There will be quite a bit of sugar left over on the board.) 

Slice and arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment.

Bake the cookies for 6 minutes until caramelized and brown on the bottom, then turn with a spatula and bake another 3 to 5 minutes, until caramelized on the other side. Transfer to a baking rack to cool.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

lobster rolls

Lobster rolls may be our new tradition over Memorial Day as a summer kick off.  I have mentioned that we had a lobster roll party and I have yet to share the star of the show.  My good friend T loves lobster rolls.  I love lobster rolls.  We decided to host a dinner party in their honor.  Many of the guests had not had these before which is good because fans of the lobster roll are pretty particular on how they like it served.  Celery or no celery. Lettuce in the bun or no lettuce.  Lemon or no lemon.  The lobster roll is simple but, you fixate on the flavors in the roll you fell in love with.  Luck was on my side as T and I like our lobster rolls the same.  We like them clean and simple keeping it all about the lobster.  A little mayo with a bit of crunch.  Seasoned with salt and pepper and just a touch of bright lemon.  The cold salad against the hot toasted roll is just so decadent.  So simple, so good and such a treat especially when shared with good friends.

lobster roll
source: sweet flours

2 pounds cooked lobster meat, torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup mayonnaise (start with 1/2 cup and add more if desired)
2 stalks of celery thinly sliced
salt and pepper

4 tablespoon butter, room temperature
8 top loading buns (or hot dog buns)

Combine lobster meat and mayonnaise in medium bowl. Start with a 1/2 cup and if you want it moister add another quarter cup.  Squeeze half of lemon.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Butter outside surfaces of top loading buns. Heat medium skillet over medium-high heat. Place rolls, 1 buttered side down, in skillet; cook until browned slightly, about 2 minutes per side. Open buns. Fill with lobster mixture, and serve.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

oreo pudding cookies

I have seen pudding cookies pop up all over.  I was intrigues but, not intrigued enough to make them until I saw this recipe.  I am not sure what pushed me when I saw this recipe as I have never thought of myself as a cookies and cream kinda girl.  I was always so focused on peanut butter and chocolate growing up I kinda ignored cookies and cream. After making oreo truffles, oreo chocolate chip cookies, and cookies and cream cupcakes I am starting to realize that I really like cookies and cream flavored treats.  These cookies are no exception.  They are so awesome that I made 3 batches in one week.  Yep that is 6 dozen of these for a family of four.  I did bring some to a BBQ and I did freeze a dozen but, the rest ... I don't want to talk about it.  I can't talk about it because I will be huffing and puffing at the gym.  These cookies are soft and melt in your mouth with pockets of chips and melted candy bar.  I am not going to ignore the signs this time.  I may be a pudding cookie girl as well if they all taste this good.

oreo pudding cookie

1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 (4.2 ounce) package instant Oreo Pudding mix
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 king size OR 4 regular Hershey's Cookies N Cream Candy Bars broken into small pieces
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Cream together butter and sugars. Beat in pudding mix until blended. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour mixture and mix to combine. Stir in cookies n' cream pieces and chocolate chips. Batter will be thick.

Using a cookie dough scooper, place golf ball sized dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. The cookies will be soft but, you don't want to over bake.  Let cookies cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before moving to a cooking rack.

Scooped dough freezes well!  No reason not to have these any time the urge hits.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


They say you can't pick your family (love my fam) but, you can pick your friends.  If I could pick friends that feel like family it would be this family.  Carter truly believes C is his cousin.  We now just call him our friend cousin.  Campbell and J are already getting married in La Paz. That is not weird at all to know that about kids under two.  If I called D he would do anything for me.  He may grumble but, he is a little grumbly. Without a doubt he would pull through no questions asked.  C well I always tell Brad she is the best wedding gift he gave me.  I kinda took over their friendship once we got married.  So this super awesome family is who we spend almost every Friday night with.  We eat, play, make a mess, drink wine and enjoy life.  If C and I could pick our neighbor it would be Ina.  Ina would invite us over to her barn for appetizers and cocktails.  She would teach us how to arrange flowers and make a table look rustic yet, perfect.  We would spy out the window as Ina kissed Jeffrey goodbye in the morning.  Related to the N's and Ina as our neighbor ... jackpot!  Since that can't happen in real life we have faux family Friday night dinners and we have decided to channel Ina by bringing one Ina dish every week.  We kicked it off with Ina's guacamole.  We love Mexican food.  We grew up on Mexican food and although we liked Ina's guacamole and thought it was really fresh and clean tasting  it lacked a like authenticity.  It was like the preppy version of guacamole.  It was made with the four crazy kids circling our ankles and it still came out great.  I mean seriously the phrase "how easy is that" may have been thrown around a bit. 

source: barefoot contessa
    * 4 ripe Haas avocados
    * 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
    * 8 dashes hot pepper sauce
    * 1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
    * 1 large garlic clove, minced
    * 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    * 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    * 1 medium tomato, seeded, and small-diced

Cut the avocados in 1/2, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh out of their shells into a large bowl. (I use my hands.) Immediately add the lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and toss well. Using a sharp knife, slice through the avocados in the bowl until they are finely diced. Add the tomatoes. Mix well and taste for salt and pepper.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

bacon jam

Bacon jam  is good ... real good stuff.  I had heard a lot about bacon jam about a year ago but, had yet to taste it.  When I saw that bacon jam sliders were on the menu for the sur la table street food cooking class I was in I knew the class was going to be rad.   So many good usable recipes.  One taste of this tangy spread and my mind was going wild with thoughts of what I could possibly spread it on.  It is that good.  It is so good that my friend who gave up meat could not resist trying it.  She did not regret her decision.  This bacon jam is so versatile it is like those gold platform wedges I have for the summer ... goes with almost everything.  Spread it on bread with goat cheese, add to grilled cheese, put on a warm biscuit, sliders, tomatoes ... I could go on and on.  Hot damn I want some bacon jam now.  Just try it.  You won't be mad you did.  It keeps in the refrigerator for 3 days but, seriously are you going to let bacon jam just sit there for 3 days?

I served this with the burrata and strawberry salad for appetizers at the lobster roll party.  My fun fun girlfriends liked the bacon jam.  Even my saucy daughter liked it.  Seriously who is she!

Bacon Jam
source: skillet's recipe presented at sur la table's street food class

1/2 pound good quality applewood smoked bacon, thick cut sliced into 1/4 inch strips
1/2 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into 1/4 " dice
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 shot espresso (2 ounces)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves

In a large, heavy pot or skillet cook the bacon over medium high heat until it's lightly browned and just starting to crisp (8-10 minutes). Remove bacon with slotted spoon.  Pour off all fat except 2 tablespoons.  Set bacon aside to cool.  

Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until soft and translucent, 6-8 minutes.

Add brown sugar through cloves. Stir well to combine.

Add bacon back to pot/skillet, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until jam is dark brown and soft ~30-40 minutes.  Remove pot and let jam cool to room temperature.

Transfer jam to food processor and pulse jam until it reaches a chunky spreadable state.
Store in a glass jar. Enjoy!

Monday, June 6, 2011

burrata, strawberry and basil salad (2 ways)

I heart burrata cheese.  I mean seriously love it.  Like I could eat an entire delicious ball of fresh burrata on my own.  I have done it.   I actually asked if I could buy a ball of heaven to go.  Mind you I was past my due date and the size of baby elephant BUT the waiter said no.  Maybe he was scared I was going to pop if I put one more thing in my mouth, maybe he hated pregnant girls, maybe he thought I was going to quickly become a cheese master before I birthed my child and steal his recipe.  I will never know.  What I do know is the second I saw burrata in the title of this recipe I had to make it.  I had to make it so badly that I skimmed the ingredients without really reading and assumed it was on salad greens.  It was my turn to bring a salad to family dinner so, I just adapted it to a salad.  It was divine.  I like it so much I had to make it the correct way for our kick off to summer lobster roll party.  It was to die for.  Either way you make this you will not be disappointed.  I will forever curse the waiter at Old Vine but, at least I have a local cheese shop now.  I don't need his burrata anymore.  Who am I kidding I kinda do ... it has fried arugula on top and it is DAMN good.

burrata, strawberry, and basil salad
adapted: bon appetite

8-ounce ball fresh burrata cheese; sliced
pint of fresh strawberries, hulled, halved or quartered, if large
mixed baby greens
2 tablespoons small fresh basil leaves; thinly sliced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
sea salt
2 tablespoons balsamic syrup

* Can be made on individual plates or in bowl. 

Place mixed greens on plate or bowl. Sprinkle basil on greens.  Toss greens with olive oil, balsamic vinegar  and salt.  Add strawberries and nuts.  Gently place burrata slices in center of salad.  Drizzle the balsamic syrup over top of greens and cheese. 

burrata, strawberry, and basil Salad

8-ounce ball fresh burrata cheese
pint of fresh strawberries, hulled, halved or quartered, if large
2 tablespoons small fresh basil leaves
sea salt
fresh pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic syrup
*crackers/bread for serving

Place burrata in center of plate. Scatter strawberries, and basil leaves around cheese. Sprinkle sea salt and freshly ground black pepper over. Drizzle syrup over.
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