Archive | December, 2009

New Year’s

31 Dec

AT NEW YEAR’S, we especially think of lobster although the mere thought of  this recipe makes our jeans feel tighter. Damn you lobster spaghetti. Damn you!

We have been hoarding saving two versions of this famous Montreal recipe. We have both the restaurant’s offering and a home version from Bonnie Stern. We are thinking that Bonnie’s might be the winner, as she goes the extra step of steeping lobster shells in the cream for more flavour. Also, peas? Really? We’ll stick with Bonnie’s version below.

JOE BEEF’S LOBSTER SPAGHETTI

3 lobsters, cooked, meat and shells reserved

3 cups (750mL) whipping cream

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 tbsp (25mL) cognac or brandy

1 sprig fresh tarragon

½ tsp (2mL) Tabasco sauce

4 oz (125g) thick bacon, cut into 1″ (2.5cm) pieces

1 pkg spaghetti

1 tsp (5mL) salt or more to taste

½ tsp (2mL) freshly ground coarse black pepper

2 tbsp (25mL) chopped fresh chives or tarragon

Cut lobster in large chunks. Reserve. Place cream in a large saucepan and add garlic, bay leaf, thyme, brandy, tarragon and Tabasco. Bring to a boil. Add lobster shells. Cook very gently about 1 hour. Strain cream into a deep wide skillet or wok. Cook bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Just before serving, cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling, salted water until almost tender. Add lobster pieces to cream and gently reheat. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup (250mL) pasta cooking liquid. Add spaghetti to cream. Add bacon. Cook gently until sauce coats noodles well. Season to taste. If mixture is too thick add some reserved cooking liquid. Serve in a mound with fresh herbs and additional pepper sprinkled on top. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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LOBSTER SPAGHETTI Recipe from Joe Beef’s

2 4 1-1/4 lb. lobsters, cooked, chilled and cracked

1/2 lb. spaghetti 8 slices bacon, diced

1/4 cup brandy

1 cup peas

3/4 cup 35% cream

3/4 cup half-and-half cream

Salt and pepper

Chopped chives Remove meat from lobster tail, claws and knuckles. Chop into large chunks. Reserve. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling, salted water until tender. Drain and reserve. Meanwhile, sauté diced bacon in large frying pan over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove all but 1 tbsp of fat from pan. Add brandy and boil 15 seconds. Add peas and sauté until tender, about 1 minute. Add cream and bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute. Add half-and-half and lobster meat and cook until heated through. Add pasta and combine well using tongs. Season well with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped chives.

Cool Yule

24 Dec

Growing up, we were a fruit cake and goodie family at Christmastime, so we’re a little late getting to la bûche de Noël. Oh, but it’s never too late to start new traditions. The city’s elegant French and Belgian patisseries are offering gorgeous versions of the traditional sponge and mousse cake. Pricy, to be sure, but deadly good.

We had already ordered weeks in advance and forked over our credit card when brilliant and lovely Dinner with Julie proposed the idea of transforming an old fashioned wafer roll into a quick yule log. We nearly died of happiness. So simple! So fast! So next year!

Mousse insides can span all sorts of flavours: spiked with Baileys Irish Cream (!), espresso, hazelnut, gingerbread spice, peppermint, or any combination of fruit (raspberry, apricot, passionfruit, etc.).

UPDATE: We did it!

Raspberry on the inside, Bailey’s and marscapone with whipping cream on the outside. Our raspberry cream was a little too loose (too much water from the frozen berries we pushed through a seive.
But that’s easy to fix next time. Also, we ran out of time to sprinkle cinnamon or cocoa on the finished log, which has a ghostly naked appearance:

We like the idea of a raspberry filling and frosting made with 1 cup whipping cream, 1/2 tbsp brown sugar, and then folding in 1/2 cup Irish Cream mixed with 1/2 cup of mascarpone.

Chocolate wafer cookies, graham wafers and god knows whatever other biscuits will work.

Psychosemitic

17 Dec


Since it’s Hanukkah, we’re thinking about latkes. We’re also dreaming about Zabar’s cinnamon rugelach. Since we are neither Jewish nor in New York, we scraped up three recipes.

We’re certain that the Barefoot Contessa will give Zabar’s rugelach a smackdown.

And City Bakery’s Maple Butter Baked Seckel Pears look too easy to be true.

Rugelach
Barefoot Contessa

•8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
•1/2-pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
•1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 9 tablespoons
•1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
•1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
•2 cups all-purpose flour
•1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
•1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
•3/4 cup raisins
•1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
•1/2 cup apricot preserves, pureed in a food processor
•1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash
Directions
Cream the cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the salt, and vanilla.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix until just combined. Dump the dough out onto a well-floured board and roll it into a ball. Cut the ball in quarters, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the filling, combine 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the raisins, and walnuts.

On a well-floured board, roll each ball of dough into a 9-inch circle. Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the filling. Press the filling lightly into the dough. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges—cutting the whole circle in quarters, then each quarter into thirds.

Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge. Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush each cookie with the egg wash. Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle on the cookies. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.

Maple Butter Baked Seckel Pears
City Bakery’s Ilene Rosen likes to slice them in half and bake them—stem, seeds, and all—with maple syrup and butter for a simple fall dessert that’s even better paired with creamy Camembert from Old Chatham Sheepherding Company.

1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup (preferably grade B or dark amber)
6 to 10 medium to larger-size seckel pears, stems on
Salt and pepper
Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut pears in half lengthwise. (1) Brown butter in a small saucepan, and combine in bowl with the maple syrup. Mix well. (2) Toss pears in bowl to coat with mixture, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (3) Place pears on sheet pan, cut side down, and bake 20 minutes, until pears are soft and cut side is very soft and caramelized. Let cool briefly before serving.