Archive | February, 2011

Let’s All Go To The Lobby

24 Feb

oscar intermissino
How could we have missed this?

Oscar night at home = buffet of dancing hot dogs, soda, popcorn and ice cream bars?

It’s the ultimate homage to the motion picture show tradition. Although, we’ve never partaken in a Paramount Theatre’s snack bar weenie, we’re partial to that cartoon frankfurter and bun — cue the Wurlitzer.

Surely a selection of premium sausages with dreamy gourmet toppings and oozing cheese is the perfect Oscar movie night snack for two or a crowd.

Even Wolfgang Puck has an Oscar party worthy take on dogs. He calls them wiener wurstchen: splits all beef hot dogs, fills them with gruyere and wraps them in bacon. after baking at 425F until crisp (about 15 minutes) he tops them with a dreamy horseradish cream.

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup drained prepared horseradish
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Some more inspiration from our fave hot dog joint: Tubby Dog.
The Starlet, Action Hero, Red Carpet, Golden Guy — they’re yours for the inventing.

Some hilarious homemade coasters featuring dancing cartoon concession snacks would be the crowning glory for any Oscar night.

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Flicks and Picks

23 Feb

Thoroughly looking forward to Oscar night on the couch for a change instead of working.

Some gourmet popcorn and nibbles are in order. popcorn

Although chef Wolfgang Puck’s signature smoked salmon pizza with dill cream and caviar is an elegant Academy Awards night menu idea, we are more interested in his mini prime burgers.

To keep things easy, we’re using sirloin meatballs on baguette rounds slathered with remoulade. Or to really go Hollywood, a tangy In ‘n’ Out burger sauce clone.

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MINI PRIME BURGERS WITH REMOULADE AND AGED CHEDDAR CHEESE

Recipe from Wolfgang Puck
3/4 pound premium ground beef
Pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
aged cheddar cheese, sliced
6 brioche buns or other airy bread, cut out with a 2-inch ring cutter
Remoulade Sauce (recipe follows)
Arugula leaves
cherry tomatoes, sliced
cornichons, sliced

Remoulade
2 cups heavy cream
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons peanut oil
3/4 cup onion, brunoised
1/2 cup each of red & yellow bell peppers, brunoised

OR:
In-n-Out clone sauce
1/2 cup mayo
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp sweet pickle relish
1 tsp finely minced white onion
1/8 tsp salt
dash pepper

Smaller scale: 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

Preheat a grill or grill pan.
Put the ground beef in a bowl and season with the salt and pepper. Mix together with your hands to combine.

Take 2 tablespoons of the beef and shape it like a meatball. Flatten slightly and drizzle the burgers with oil.

Season both sides with salt and pepper.
Cook patties for 3 minutes, then flip. Top with cheese and let melt. Toast buns slightly on both sides, about 2 minutes.
Top each bun half with sauce. Add burger, arugula leaf, tomato slice and cornichon.
For sauce: In a saucepan, combine cream, garlic, rosemary and paprika. Reduce by half. Cool to room temperature. Saute onions, red and yellow bell pepper until glossy.

Transfer to a plate and allow to cool to room temperature before adding to saucepan mixture.

leek

BUBBLING LEEK, CHEDDAR AND BACON DIP
Serve with small cooked new potatoes, crudite and pita wedges.
Servings: 2-1/2 cups (625 mL)

2 slices bacon, chopped
1 large leek (white and light green parts) or small onion, minced
1 cup (250 mL) shredded extra-old cheddar cheese
1 cup (250 mL) sour cream
1/2 cup (125 mL) cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper

In large nonstick skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until beginning to crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Add leek; cook until softened and bacon is crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to 3-cup (750 mL) ovenproof serving dish.

Stir in 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the Cheddar cheese, the sour cream, cream cheese and pepper; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake in 425°F (220°C) oven until cheese is melted, 10 to 12 minutes.

Sugar shock

14 Feb

Our teeth hurt so much from these. Here’s why: dig the icing — made with strawberry Kool-Aid.

Vintage Valentine’s

11 Feb

just.the.2.of.us1

More vintage Seventeen magazine, circa 1985, I think…

just.the.2.of us.2

Chopin and Chevre

9 Feb

Scene: Fancy classical piano concert reception.

Close your eyes. Take a bite. Creamy marinated chevre swimming in a pool of sweet balsamic/roasted garlic olive oil, topped with strips of sundried tomato and aromatic basil. Scooped onto thin slices of fresh baguette with a crackly crust.

After a few thoughtful chews, a revelation: we should be snacking on this more often. With a glass of wine after work on the deck.

Also, hunks of aged cheddar sitting on a slice of pear or green apple, drizzled with honey and fresh thyme.
Or our current favourites: Saint-André triple creme and Le Rustique camembert.

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This is from our beloved GR’s Patent and the Pantry.

Goat Cheese with Herbed Olive Oil
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, January 1994

1 small bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
1 tbsp. (15 mL) fresh rosemary leaves
¼ tsp. (1 mL) coriander seeds, crushed lightly
¼ tsp. (1 mL) fennel seeds, crushed lightly
10 whole black peppercorns
¼ cup (50 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
½ pound (250g) log of soft mild goat cheese
Sliced bread as an accompaniment

In a small saucepan simmer bay leaf, garlic, rosemary, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and peppercorns in oil for 5 minutes. Arrange goat cheese on a platter and spoon oil mixture over. Serve goat cheese with bread.

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Pastis marinated Chevre
1 log (10 oz.) fresh chèvre (goat) cheese
5 teaspoons herbes de provence
2 tablespoons pastis
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Cut 1 log (10 oz.) fresh chèvre (goat) cheese crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Fit slices into a 2-cup jar with an airtight lid. Add 5 teaspoons herbes de provence (or 1 teaspoon each fennel seed and dried basil, rosemary, sage, and thyme), 2 tablespoons pastis, and 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Close jar tightly and tilt to mix herbs and oil. Chill at least 24 hours or up to 1 month (oil thickens when chilled but liquefies at room temperature).

Bring to room temperature to serve. Spread cheese and a little oil onto toasted bread or crackers. Save leftover oil for salad dressings.

Herb garden dreams

8 Feb

One day, when there is an actual backyard, there will be potted herbs. That day, this will happen to fruit salad:

Low-Fat Yogurt Honey Mint Dressing
3/4 cup (175 mL) plain low-fat yogurt

1 tbsp (15 mL) honey

1 tbsp (15 mL) canned unsweetened pineapple juice

2 tbsp (25 mL) fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients until the honey is dissolved. Dressing keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week. Serve dressing drizzled on fruit salad.

Makes about 1 cup (250 mL).

Valentines

8 Feb

Secret shame No. 38: We used to have a lil’ cookie cutter addiction. Vintage metal and copper ones are classics, but we also fell under the spell of colourful Hallmark cutters in the mid-1980s.

They’re sturdy and substanial, not flimsy. The lips one, above, is circa 1984, the heart with the arrow through it is ’85.

We are hankering for some old-fashioned sugar cookies. Seventeen magazine circa 1980-something.

We are thinking of making chocolate cinnamon Xs and vanilla Os with strawberry icing.
This icing features strawberry Kool-Aid.

Frosting [strawberry]
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 T strawberry drink mix
1/8 teas salt
3 cups powdered sugar
3-5 T milk

And this vintage Seventeen jello cookie sounds… not at all good.

JELL-O SUGAR COOKIES FOR VALENTINES DAY
Seventeen Magazine

3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 small box strawberry Jell-O
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar

In large bowl, cream shortening and 1/2 cup sugar together with electric mixer. Add eggs, vanilla extract and Jell-O; mix well. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place on greased cooking sheet and flatten with bottom of glass dipped in (1 cup) sugar. Bake at 400 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes.