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Hooray for Hollwood 7.0

15 Jan

oscar burger The Oscar Night Burger is going to happen. On Oscar night, we drool thinhilary_burger2king about chef Wolfgang Puck’s famous wagu beef sliders with remoulade because they seem like a delicious riff on the In’n’Out burgers stars will be wolfing down at after parties. For our own couch potato pleasure, we are thinking of baked mini cheeseburger canapes based on two tantalizing recipes we’ve been hoarding forever. Here’s the plan: meat seasoned according to this, but patties (not meatballs) formed to cover baguette slices like this. Love the description of the baguette turning out like a warm crouton, love the smaller size (those Puck sliders look like a yummy but awkward mouthful) and we’re swooning over the buttery, beefy broiled topping.

UPDATE: They worked perfectly! We’ll use a smaller, pea-sized bit of butter next time, as these babies were really rich.

IMG_5247

starsalad

1 lb extra lean ground beef
Ace baguette slices (or any good, toothsome bread)
2 tbsp Worchestershire
1-2 tsp garlic salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Butter
Cheese

Divide the beef into 12 portions (to match baguette slices)
Top bread slices with beef to cover (important so the exposed bread doesn’t  burn)
Score the beef and drizzle with Worchestershire, garlic salt and pepper. Top each with a pea-sized knob of butter.

Preheat oven to broil. When heated, place baking sheet with beef/baguette slices on middle rack. Broil for 8-10 minutes. Top with cheese slice and return to oven just to melt.
Serve right away.

Perhaps a drizzle of Puck’s ethereal remoulade (¾ cup of store-bought or homemade Thousand Island dressing, 2 T bottled barbecue sauce , 1 T diced red onion) or In’n’Out clone:
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar/or shot of wooster

or 1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/almost-famous-animal-style-burgers-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Manly Meatballs
The 150 Best American Recipes

Ace baguette (or other toothsome bread), sliced into 1 cm thickeness

1 lb. Lean ground beef

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tsp packed dark brown sugar

4 minced green onions

Shake of garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450F.

Mix ground beef, soy sauce, brown sugar, green onion salt and pepper.

Arrange baguette slices on baking sheet.

Form 36 meatballs and press into each slice of bread.  On middle rack, cook for 10 minutes, or until centre of each meatball reaches 160 degrees. Serve immediately.

New Year’s ideas

27 Dec

Seafood dumplings, baby duck -- optional

Seafood dumplings, baby duck -- optional


For New Year’s Eve, our thoughts turn to a wintery outdoor activity followed by a cozy night in with friends.

We swoon for trendy Asian bites or our still as yet unfilled dreams of chicken hash or creamed sherried mushrooms on toast points with Champagne.

How about steam baskets of seafood dumplings (above. And yes, they were amazing. Baby Duck joke bottle unopened, FYI), chicken and green onion yakitori on skewers, and these babies:

Thai Beef Rolls with Sweet Chili Sauce
Click here to see how amazing they look!
For the sauce:
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons Sriracha

For the filling:
1 pound ground chuck (80% lean)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon finely chopped Thai chilis
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch of Thai basil
12 wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl until the sugar has dissolved.

2. In a large bowl, gently combine the ground chuck with the rest of the filling ingredients.

3. Shape a tablespoon of the filling into a small log. Wrap 1 basil leaf around the beef and thread onto a skewer. Repeat until all of the filling is gone.

4. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals out evenly over the charcoal grate. Clean and oil the cooking grate. Grill the rolls until the filling is fully cooked and slightly firm, about 6 to 8 minutes, turning once during cooking. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.
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YAKITORI
New York Times Published: May 4, 2005
Time: 1 hour for soaking skewers, plus 45 minutes for preparation and grilling

1½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
1 large bunch scallions, 1 reserved, others trimmed and cut into 1½-inch lengths
1 cup soy sauce
¾ cup sugar
½ cup mirin
1 clove garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
1 ¼-inch slice of fresh ginger, lightly crushed
1 ½-inch-by-2-inch strip lemon zest
Vegetable oil to brush on grill
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish.

1. Soak 16 6-inch bamboo skewers in cold water for 1 hour, then drain.

2. Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into uniform 1½-inch pieces. On each skewer, thread alternating pieces of chicken and scallions, pressing them together. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.

3. Lightly crush white part of reserved scallion. Slice green part into thin rings and reserve. In a small saucepan, combine soy sauce, sugar, mirin, scallion white, garlic, ginger and lemon zest. Place over medium heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until syrupy, 5 to 10 minutes. Strain into small bowl and cool to room temperature. If desired, reserve some as a dipping sauce.

4. Heat a grill or hibachi. Brush and oil grill rack, and place yakitori on grill so that ends of skewers are not over direct heat. Sear meat by continually turning skewers for about 2 minutes. Baste with sauce and turn occasionally until chicken is cooked, 8 to 10 minutes. When chicken is done it should feel firm and be coated with a shiny glaze.

5. To serve, place skewers on a platter and sprinkle with scallion rings and sesame seeds. If desired, serve reserved sauce in a small bowl as a dipping sauce.

Yield: 4 to 6 appetizer servings or 4 main course servings.

New Year’s dumplings

27 Dec
seafood dumplings

seafood dumplings

New Year’s Eve is coming and there’s one thing we know for certain: we want to master the mothertrucker out of seafood dumplings.

What could be more lovely than pinching chopsticks around some luxurious lobster or scallop potstickers and washing them down with bubbly pinot grigio or a Marlborough sauvignon blanc?

A ginger sesame dipping sauce is mandatory. But how about a chardonnay/lemongrass buerre blanc or sake-scented ponzu sauce? We’ve also seen them deep fried and served with mayonnaise, but unless it is a lemon/sesame/ginger number, we’re terrified by it.

MING TSAI MASTER SEAFOOD MIXTURE
1 pound rock shrimp, diced
1 pound Chilean sea bass, diced
1 pound bay scallops, diced
1 egg
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and white pepper

In a food processor, add shrimp, bass, scallops, egg, ginger, and sesame oil. Pulse only a little bit to bring ingredients together. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in scallions and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
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SEAFOOD DUMPLINGS
LA TimesMarch 05, 2008
Servings: 8 (makes 32 dumplings)

1/2 pound peeled, cleaned medium Pacific shrimp

1/2 pound sea scallops

1/2 pound fresh Dungeness crab meat

1/4 cup chopped garlic or regular chives

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry

2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

Pinch freshly ground white pepper

1 egg white

About 32 round dumpling wrappers

Peanut oil if frying, or oil for greasing the steamer rack

1. Mince the shrimp and scallops almost into a paste. Place in a shallow bowl and add the crab, garlic or chives, ginger, sherry, soy sauce, sugar, white pepper and egg white. Mix well.

2. To stuff the dumplings, mound about 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of each wrapper, and brush the outer edges lightly with water to moisten. Fold the wrapper in half, into a half-moon shape, then pinch it together at the center of the top edge. Pleat the edges of the wrapper to enclose the filling. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.

3. To pan-fry the dumplings, heat a 10-inch skillet with a lid over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl the pan. When the oil is hot, lay 8 to 10 of the dumplings into the pan, leaving room between each, and cook until the bottoms just start to brown, about 2 minutes. Add one-third cup water and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan and cook until the dumplings are soft on top, crisp on the bottom and the filling is firm, 5 to 7 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.

4. To steam the dumplings, use a steamer of your choice, and bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a simmer (make sure the water level does not reach the bottom of the steamer). Lightly grease the steamer rack, and place the dumplings on the rack about 1 inch apart from one another (the dumplings will need to be cooked in batches). Place the steamer over the simmering water and cover. Steam the dumplings until the filling is firm and the wrapper is slightly translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the steamer from the water, and gently remove the dumplings to a warm place until all of the dumplings are cooked. Serve warm with a dipping sauce.

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LOBSTER DUMPLINGS2 each 1½ pound lobsters, cooked and meat removed
¼ cup water chestnuts, minced
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoons dry sherry
3 each scallions, minced
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ cup canola oil

Pick the meat from lobsters and reserve the shells for the dipping sauce. Finely chop meat or process briefly in a food processor. Mince the water chestnuts and then combine with ingredients.
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SCALLOP AND LOBSTER DUMPLINGS1/3 pound scallops
2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Zest and juice of one lemon

2/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons sweet butter, cut into small cubes

1/2 pound lobster meat, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup sliced chives or scallions
2 tablespoons ginger, minced finely
1 clove garlic, minced finely
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 package wonton skins
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Place scallops, salt, pepper, and lemon zest and juice in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse these ingredients together a few times. With machine running, slowly add the olive oil and continue processing until the mixture is smooth.

Add the butter and process until smooth again. Remove the mixture from the food processor and fold in the remaining ingredients.
To assemble the dumplings, lay out several of the wonton wrappers on a flat surface and brush the edges with the beaten egg mixture.
Place a small amount of the lobster/scallop filling in the middle of each wonton wrapper and fold the wrapper over the filling and carefully seal the edges of the dumpling.

———–
150g Peeled Prawns, diced
150g Scallops, diced
100g Crabmeat, picked
2 Stalk Scallions, finely chopped
½ tsp Minced Ginger
1 tsp Soy Sauce
¼ tsp Sesame Oil
½ tsp Sugar
¼ Sea Salt
A few dashes White Pepper
½ of Egg White (about 2 Tbsp)
1 tsp Corn flour

1 Packet (about 50 pcs) Dumpling Wrappers

———-

Why the Prairie Chicken Crossed the Road

6 Jul

Ho-hum to beer butt chicken or dry, stringy barbecue breasts during Stampede.

Wagons ho for Prairie Chicken Wings basted with Saskatoon or rose hip jelly glaze.

Or savory sage rubbed chicken skewers with a maple-butter glaze.

These combinations have the flavours of Canada.

SAVORY SAGE RUB
1 Tablespoon ground sage
1 Tablespoon lemon pepper
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt

Coat wings or chicken skewers with rub. Grill on medium until done. Baste with rose hip jelly and let caramelize slightly on the grill. Or baste with maple butter glaze.

MAPLE BUTTER GLAZE
1/2 stick of salted butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
If you want to add a kick – 1 tbls of cayenne pepper.

Here’s red in yer eye

5 Jul

Who doesn’t love a Calgary Red Eye? Here are two ways to include beer and Clamato into your Stampede party menu.

BLOODY CAESAR STEAMED MUSSELS
recipe from Cooking With Booze(We’d like to see this with beer added to the Clamato juice to make up one cup of liquid.)

500g (1 lb.) mussels, beards removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
250ml (1 cup) Clamato juice
50ml (1/4 cup) vodka
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped celery leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons horseradish
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
dash Tabasco sauce
freshly ground black pepper

In a colander, shake and rinse mussels under cold water, discarding any that remain open. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until softened. Add the remaining ingredients along with mussels. Cover and steam over high heat until mussels open (4 to 5 minutes). Transfer to a bowl and serve with warm crusty bread or spoon over cooked linguine for a complete meal
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Again, we’d like to see beer in this. Considering how well pork goes with clams, perhaps a switch up with clamato juice and pork?

STAMPEDE RED EYE STEW

4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 pounds buffalo stew meat (preferably sirloin)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 tablespoon ground white pepper
1/4 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup strong coffee
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups water
Directions
In a medium saucepot on medium-high heat, add the diced potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Once it has reached a boil, reduce to medium heat and continue to simmer. Cook until the potatoes are halfway done, drain, and reserve.

While the potatoes are simmering, in a large saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the stew meat, onions, herbs and spices. Once the meat begins to brown, sift in the flour to coat the meat and mix well. Cook the flour with the meat for 5 minutes.

Add the canned tomatoes to the meat mixture and let simmer for 5 minutes. Then add to the buffalo mixture, the half-cooked potatoes, bourbon, coffee, Worcestershire and water and bring to a boil. Once a full boil has been reached, reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the buffalo meat is tender.

Spaghetti Western 2.0

25 Jun


Yahoo! Our mailbox is filling up with Stampede party invites. High season is almost upon us. But before the ubiquitous beef-on-a-bun buffet staple hits our tummies, might we suggest a Spaghetti Western Stampede warmup?

We love last year’s tomato-whisky version, but here’s the next generation of our beloved ease into all things Stampede.

This year, we are fond of the idea of spicy cowboy chili — chock full of baked beans and smoked paprika — with the whole mess served over hot spaghetti. Works perfectly for a crowd, especially because chili is always better after it sits for a day.

We have two recipes to choose from. An Italian sausage and whisky number, and Cincinanti’s famed Skyline chili. Two things make this deep, Greek-tasting dish so legendary: its soupy beef sauce heavy on cinnamon and cloves, and its toppers: two-way (chili over spaghetti), three-way (with cheese), four-way (with onions), or five-way (kidney beans).

LAZY S SPAGHETTI WESTERN
recipe by Saucy Cherie

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 pounds hot Italian sausage links
3 pounds lean ground beef
2 onions, chopped
1 shot whisky
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 4 ounce can chopped green chilies
1 11 ounce can pork and beans
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp smoked paprika, or to taste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons chipotle pepper sauce, or to taste

cooked spaghetti
grated cheddar cheese

Boil sausage for 7-10 minutes. Drain and cool.
Brown ground beef in canola oil. Drain fat, reserving a tablespoon or so. Add onions and saute until soft. Add whisky. Slice sausage and add to cooked beef mixture. Add everything else and stir well. Simmer for an hour or until thickened.

Serve on spaghetti with a shredded cheddar.

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CINNY CHILI SPAGHETTI WESTERN
Skyline Cincinnati Chili

2 lbs ground beef
2 cups minced onions
4 cups beef stock

2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
2-3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 ounce grated unsweetened chocolate or 2 3/4 tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons instant minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper or cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 bay leaf

Toppings
chopped onion
finely shredded cheddar cheese
kidney bean (optional)
Directions
Boil beef and onion in stock, breaking apart.
Add remaining 13 ingredients, simmer uncovered 1 hour.
Remove bay leaf, skim off extra fat.

Sticky Wicket

7 Jun

croquet 4+Croquet-rockwell It’s June. You know what that means: Summer whites. Cucumber sandwiches. Pimm’s Cups.

It’s croquet time.

Time to haul ass to the grandest green space you can find and beckon your besties for a summer afternoon playing the waspiest of lawn sports.

Bonus points if you can navigate the course while holding a drink at the same time.

Make sure you have blankets, a parasol, vases with flowers, and a small table for a portable bar. We’re all for picnicing on the ground, but by god, there’s no excuse for spilling a drink.

Sip, snack, do crossword puzzles while you wait for the game to begin. While we may not be playing on the lush grounds of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt’s Newport mansion The Breakers, we’ll have a grand time wherever we are.gardenparty-vanderbilt

For the first time, we’re offering suggestions for a playlist, see bottom of post.
Now on to the menu.

 

PIMM’S CUP 

croquet 1(Pimm’s is also mixed with champagne for a Pimm’s Royal Cup.)

It’s easiest to mix a pitcher: fill with ice, mix one part Pimm’s Cup No. 1 to either three parts chilled sparkling lemonade or gingerale (or two parts lemonade and top up with seltzer.)
Stir or shake.

Serve in Collins glasses and garnish each with:
1 cucumber spear
1 strawberry
1 thin orange slice
1 thin lemon slice
1 thin lime slice
mint

“In the summer of 1882, Harper’s Bazaar listed salads, cold birds, ham, tongue, pâté de foie gras, cold patties, salmon dressed with a green sauce, jellies, Charlottes, ices, cakes, punch, and champagne on the proper menu to offer. Also, a cup of hot tea in the house would always be offered to those who desired it.”

We’re thinking of a few platters of tiny bites to satiate our crowd:

Stuffed snow peas (recipe below)
Chilled grilled asparagus spears
Skewers of bocconcini, grape tomatoes and basil leaves, with a balsamic syrup
***
Assorted tea sandwiches: Cucumber and watercress with mint butter
Curried shrimp (recipe below)
Beef tenderloin with yogurt-horseradish sauce on sliced baguette (recipe below)
***
Assorted pastries and squares
Thermoses of hot clear tea, honey and lemon on the side.

croquet louise abbema

BEEF TENDERLOIN ON BAGUETTE ROUNDS
with creamy horseradish sauce

(serves 15 as a main dish, 30 to 40 as an appetizer)
1 filet of beef, about 5 pounds
butter to spread over beef (about 4 tablespoons)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cold plain yogurt
1/4 cup loosely packed, freshly grated horseradish
2 French baguettes, about 10 ounces each
Remove meat from refrigerator about 1 hour before using. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Remove surplus fat and skin and spread beef generously with butter.
Place on a rack in a greased roasting pan in the oven. Do not cover or baste. Reduce the heat immediately to 400 degrees and bake 30 minutes. A filet is usually cooked rare when the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees. Season with salt and pepper to taste when done. Allow to cool and then slice thickly into pieces about the size of a silver dollar.
For horseradish sauce: : Combine the yogurt and the horseradish. Stir to blend and chill.
At the picnic, slice the baguettes into rounds and top each with a slice of tenderloin and 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons horseradish sauce. Serve on a silver tray.
Courtesy of Casey Pingle of Annapolis. Tenderloin recipe adapted from “Joy of Cooking,” by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker; horseradish sauce from “Craig Claiborne’s Gourmet Diet,” by Craig Claiborne with Pierre Franey

 

CURRIED SHRIMP TEA SANDWICHES
1/2 lb cooked shrimp, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry powder or paste
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon lemon juice
8 large slices sandwich bread
Butter, softened
14 cucumber slices
Salt and pepper

In a bowl, combine the shrimp, mayonnaise, curry, herbs and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Using a 5-cm (2-inch) circular cookie cutter, cut the bread into 32 crustless rounds.
Spoon the shrimp salad onto 16 rounds and cover with the remaining rounds. Lightly butter the top of each sandwich and place a cucumber slice on top.
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CRAB STUFFED SNOWPEAS
1 can (6 ounces) crabmeat, drained, flaked and cartilage removed
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 drops hot pepper sauce
Dash pepper
Old Bay seasoning
16 fresh snow peas
Directions
In small bowl, combine the crab, mayonnaise, chili sauce, salt, pepper sauce and pepper.
Place snow peas in a steamer basket; place in a small saucepan over 1 in. of water. Bring to a boil; cover and steam for 30 seconds for until softened. Drain and immediately place snow peas in ice water. Drain and pat dry.
With a sharp knife, split pea pods along the curved edges. Spoon 1 tablespoon of crab mixture into each. Refrigerate until serving.
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We’ve created a croquet playlist – yes we are that demented. We’ve taken this from the 1930s, to some wartime standards, and marched onward, throwing in just enough jazz for scandal. It’s a rollicking good mix.

Ink Spots: If I Didn’t Care, I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire, Java Jive
My Baby Just Cares for Me – Nina Simone 58
Puttin’ on the Ritz Fred Astaire or Benny Goodman
Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree Glenn Miller
You’re the Top
It’s De-Lovely
Well, Did You Evah Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby
When the Saints Go Marching In Louis Armstrong
In the Mood Glenn Miller
Night and Day Frank Sinatra
Sentimental Journey Les Brown & Doris Day
All of Me
It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) Duke Ellington
Get Out of Town: Ella Fitzgerald
Too Darn Hot: Ella Fitzgerald
On the Sunny Side of the Street
Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah James Baskett
The Whiffenpoof Song Bing Crosby
Benny Goodman
Ellington at Newport from his 1956 performance, including the amazing “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue,” with the astonishing Paul Gonsalves saxophone solo.
Jazz on a Summer’s Day (Sweet Georgia Brown Anita O’Day )

Cinco de Mayo

5 May


Here’s our Mexican-inspired party fare. The pork turned out amazing!

We have an array of organic corn and flour tortillas, crisp radishes, cheese, salsas, chipotle lime crema, and guacamole, accompanied by a sunny salad of orange supremes, red onion, and lettuces in a cumin-scented roasted garlic and parmesan dressing.

To further the Mexicans conquering the French theme, we are treating our guests to chocolate mousse spiked with cinnamon and cayenne, topped with fruit salsa: kiwi, mango and strawberry.

To begin, we have cassava chips and some corn tortillas chips in the colours of the Mexican flag. For dipping: guac, salsa verde, picante sauce, refried bean dip. And of course, darling two-bite epanadaditas with chicken/achiote/raisin/olive filling.

Now, where’s that margarita?

PLAYLIST: Tequila-The Champs… Tijuana Taxi-Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass…La Bamba-Ritchie Valens…South of the Border-Frank Sinatra… Low Rider-War…Spanish Flea-HA&TB…Conquest-White Stripes… El Paso-Marty Robbins…

From America’s Test Kitchen: “Why this recipe works: Traditional carnitas, Mexico’s version of pulled pork, is fried in gallons of lard or oil. The results are tasty, but who wants to deal with all that hot fat? We wanted to create restaurant-style carnitas—tender chunks of lightly crisped, caramelized pork, subtly accented with oregano and citrus—without the hassle of frying.
Our initial recipe for carnitas started by simmering the meat (taste tests proved boneless pork butt had the best flavor) in a seasoned broth in the oven and then sautéing it in some of the rendered fat. The flavor was OK, but too much of the pork flavor went down the drain when we discarded the cooking liquid. So we kept the liquid and reduced it on the stovetop (after the meat had been removed) until it developed the consistency of a thick, syrupy glaze that was perfect for coating the meat. Broiled on a rack set over a baking sheet, the glazed meat developed a wonderfully rich flavor and the rack allowed the excess fat to drip off. We emulated the flavor of the Mexican sour oranges used in authentic carnitas with a mixture of fresh lime and orange juices. Bay leaves and oregano provided aromatic notes, and cumin brought an earthy dimension that complemented the other flavors.
We like serving carnitas spooned into tacos, but you can also use it as a filling for tamales, enchiladas, and burritos.
Don’t Cut the Fat. Leaving a 1/8-inch layer of fat on the pork is critical to imparting the best flavor and texture to the final dish. Overtrimming the meat will lead to dry, bland carnitas.”

MEXICAN PULLED PORK (CARNITAS)
America’s Test Kitchen: Supper From South of the Border
1 (3 1/2-to 4-pound) boneless pork butt , fat cap trimmed to 1/8 inch thick, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 small onion, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves 1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons juice from 1 lime
2 cups water 1 medium orange , halved

Tortillas and Garnishes
18 (6-inch) corn tortillas , warmed
Lime wedges
Minced white or red onion
Fresh cilantro leaves
Thinly sliced radishes
Sour cream

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Combine pork, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cumin, onion, bay leaves, oregano, lime juice, and water in large Dutch oven (liquid should just barely cover meat). Juice orange into medium bowl and remove any seeds (you should have about 1/3 cup juice). Add juice and spent orange halves to pot. Bring mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover pot and transfer to oven; cook until meat is soft and falls apart when prodded with fork, about 2 hours, flipping pieces of meat once during cooking.
Remove pot from oven and turn oven to broil. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to bowl; remove orange halves, onion, and bay leaves from cooking liquid and discard (do not skim fat from liquid). Place pot over high heat (use caution, as handles will be very hot) and simmer liquid, stirring frequently, until thick and syrupy (heatsafe spatula should leave wide trail when dragged through glaze), 8 to 12 minutes. You should have about 1 cup reduced liquid.
Using 2 forks, pull each piece of pork in half. Fold in reduced liquid; season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread pork in even layer on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet or on broiler pan (meat should cover almost entire surface of rack or broiler pan). Place baking sheet on lower-middle rack and broil until top of meat is well browned (but not charred) and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, flip pieces of meat and continue to broil until top is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Serve immediately with warm tortillas and garnishes.

Oscar night

7 Mar

GET READY FOR the most glamourous couch time of the year — it’s Oscar night.

We are truly bummed we will be working and not sipping bubbly and noshing on delicate blini topped with smoked salmon and dill creme. Sigh.

And these Oscar bingo cards and ballots would only make it more fun.

Academy Awards night is an easy party to have — even if it’s just the two of you snuggling on the couch. We dream of a very fun popcorn buffet and assorted nibbles.

And to add a bit of glamour to the evening, these two luxurious dips are divine served with an elegant platter of crudite.

Also, besides Wolfgang Puck’s famous smoked salmon pizza, he posted a recipe for his prime sliders being served at the Governor’s Ball.

Perfect for a night on the couch and your very own red carpet evening.

CRAB FONDUE
•3 packages of cream cheese
•1/2 cup mayonaise
•1 teaspoon prepared mustard
•1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
•2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
•1/2 cup dry white wine like Chardonnay or 1/4 cup of sherry
•Juice of half a lemon
•1 teaspoon lemon zest
•1 pound lump crabmeat, canned
•1/4 cup green onions, sliced
•Baguette, cut into cubes

In a double boiler, melt cream cheese, mayonaise, mustard, garlic powder, Old Bay, and lemon zest.
Stir in wine and lemon juice.
Carefully fold in crabmeat.
Transfer to a fondue pot to serve.

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POPCORN BUFFET

CAVA’S CHIPOTLE CARAMEL CORN
1 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup cold, salted butter (cubed)
3 tablespoons chipotles en adobo* (puréed)
1/2 teaspoon baking powderPreheat oven to 300 F.
In a medium-sized pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add popcorn kernels and cover. Shake until kernels have stopped popping. (Alternatively, pop in an air popper or microwave.) Transfer popped corn to a large mixing bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat brown sugar and corn syrup. Boil until sugar has dissolved. Carefully add butter, a few cubes at a time. When butter is melted, stir in the chipotles en adobo and remove from heat. Let cool slightly before whisking in baking powder.Drizzle caramel mixture over popcorn. Stir with a large spoon.Spread popcorn evenly on a parchment-lined tray and bake 20 to 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Let cool. Keeps up to three days in tightly sealed container. Enjoy.
(Yields 6 cups.)

SAUCE ITALIAN MARKET TRUFFLE BUTTER POPCORN
I think they just melt butter and wilt chopped parsley and add black truffle oil. Ground parmesan is added and the whole works is poured over hot popcorn.

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.