SUMMER BERRY TRIFLE (NO BAKE)

This is a summer treat with all the fresh strawberries and blueberries available.  It’s a “no bake” icebox cake that is simply delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 box graham crackers
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened (make sure very soft)
  • 2 (3.4 oz.) packages Vanilla Instant Pudding
  • 2 1/2 C cold milk
  • 12 oz. Cool Whip
  • 3 C fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 1/2 C fresh blueberries
  • 2 oz. white chocolate chips for drizzle (optional)
  • 1/2 C sliced almonds for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Spread a thin layer of Cool Whip in a 9 x 13  just to coat the bottom, set aside.  Beat cream cheese and dry pudding mixes in large bowl with electric mixer until blended.  Gradually beat in milk.  Gently stir in Cool Whip.  Layer 5 graham crackers across the length of the pan, breaking the crackers as needed to fit the entire pan.  Spread a layer of pudding mixture over the grahams and top with a layer of blueberries and sliced strawberries.  Place graham crackers on top of berries, then pudding mixture, then layer of berries again.  Repeat the graham-pudding-berries layers 1 more time (3 times total) and you should reach the top of the pan.  Refrigerate for at lease 4 hours or overnight.  The longer the better!

When ready to serve, melt white chocolate chips in a bowl as directed on package and drizzle over dessert.  You can use a spoon to drizzle or you can put it into a small zip top bag and snip off the corner for an easy piping bag.  Sprinkle some toasted almonds on top.  Serve on a plate or in a dessert bowl.  serves 6

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VANILLA BEAN CREME BRULEE

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 4 extra-large egg yolks
  • 1/2 C sugar, plus 1 T for each serving
  • 3 C heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut in half and scraped
  • Optional:  Whipped cream, sprig of mint,  and strawberry for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Place the egg, egg yolks, and 1/2 C of sugar in a mixer bowl.  Mix together on low speed with the mixer until combined.  Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until it’s very hot, but not boiling.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the cream to the eggs, tempering it.  Keep blending on low and add the vanilla extract, the scrapings of the vanilla bean,  and orange liqueur and then pour into 6 ramekins until almost full.

Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken.  Remove the custards from the water bath and cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate until firm.

Before serving, bread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and spread evenly with the back of a spoon or your fingers.  Heat with a kitchen blowtorch until sugar caramelizes evenly.  Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.

Optional:  Top with a dollop of whipped cream, sprig of mint,  and a sliced strawberry.

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BRUSSEL SPROUTS MISO

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INGREDIENTS:  (Serves 6)

  • 6-8 Slices thick bacon
  • 1/4 C dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 C Sake
  • 1/2 C Mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 T miso paste
  • 3 –8 oz. bags baby brussel spouts, cut off root end and cut in half

CANDIED BACON:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Dip the bacon in brown sugar.  Place bacon in pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until nice and browned.  When cooled, cut into large pieces, set aside.

MISO SAUCE:

Combine sake, mirin, and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil to burn off alcohol (lower heat and simmer about 5 minutes).  Add miso paste and blend with a whisk in the pot until well blended.

BRUSSEL SPROUTS:

Quickly fry sprouts in a fryer at 375 degrees (if possible, use frying thermometer to get to correct temperature).  Transfer to sauce pan and add candied bacon and miso sauce.  Saute until sprouts are caramelized.

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BEEF WELLINGTON w/ Spinach, Artichoke & Mushrooms

fullsizeoutput_981efullsizeoutput_981fimg_0296Heat oven to 425 degrees, Bake 20-25 minutes. Rest 10 minutes.  Serves 6

  • 6 Premium filet mignon (cut 1 1/2 in.)
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 (10 oz.) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 3/4 C frozen or canned artichoke heart quarters, thawed if frozen, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 4 oz. size gourmet blend mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 C (about 3 oz.) garlic and herb cheese spread, such as Boursin
  • 1/2 C gated Parmesan
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 T water
  • 4 sheets frozen puff pastry (from a 7 oz. box, thawed
  • all purpose flour for rolling pastry
  • Optional:  flaky sea salt for sprinkling

Season the beef all over with 1/2 tsp. salt and a generous grinding of black pepper.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.  Sear the beef on all sides until well browned, about 5 min. total.  Let cool, then refrigerate until cold, at least one hour, up to overnight (covered in plastic, and placed on paper towels to drain).    I prefer a cast iron skillet for searing!

Meanwhile, make the filling.  Place the spinach in a clean kitchen towel or paper towels and wring out as much liquid as possible.  Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium head.  Add the spinach, artichokes, garlic, mushrooms and 1/4 tsp salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is dry and no liquid remains in the skillet, about 4 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and let cook to room temperature.

Add the Boursin spread and Parmesan to the cooked mixture and process to a paste.  Refrigerate the filling until you are ready to assemble the beef. (Can make the day before and refrigerate).

TO ASSEMBLE:

Remove the beef from the refrigerator.  Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll out 1 sheet of puff pastry.  Cut in a 7 by 7 square.  Repeat with our sheets of puff pastry until you get 6 – 7 by 7 squares.  You might have to blend two cut pieces together.  Beat together 1 egg and 2 T water.

Spread about one tablespoon of the spinach/mushroom mixture on top of each filet, pressing to flatten.  Place one filet, mushroom side down, in the center of a puff pastry square.  Using a pastry brush or your finger, paint the inside edges of the pastry with egg wash.  Fold the pastry over the filet as thought wrapping a package and press the edges to seal.  Place the packages seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet.  Brush the egg wash over the tops and sides of each package, sprinkle with finishing salt if desired,  and bake until the pastry is golden brown and an instant read thermometer registers 140 degrees F for medium rare, about 20 minutes.   (You can prepare the packages and place in the refrigerator a few hours in advance, take them out and let come to room temperature 1 prior to baking)

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

 

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SOUS VIDE PRIME RIB AND CHICKEN BREAST

I am obsessed with my new method of cooking!  Sous Vide style!  After seeing a lot of chefs use their Sous Vide machines for superb dishes, I started my research for the home cook.   Sous Vide is a method of cooking in which food is sealed in a vacuum-sealed plastic pouch then placed in a water bath in a temperature controlled environment for longer than normal cooking times at an accurately regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking.  The intent is to cook the item evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked, without overcooking the outside, and retain moisture.

This Sous Vide machine by Joule is my choice.  It fits in either a large pot or you can get the plastic container and both are filled with water.  The Sous Vide machine is placed in the water and you set the temperature according to the dish.  The app from Joule is excellent and takes you step by step.  You need to put the food in an airtight bag along with the seasonings.  I’ve already cooked a prime rib and chicken breast!

It’s pretty easy, and cooks at a low temperature for different lengths of time depending on the dish.  You have to pre-heat the water and the app will alert you when the water is at the correct temperature.  It’s ingenious!

My Sous Vide by Joule (Purchased from Amazon.com). img_0846This is what it looks like with the prime rib in the water container. img_0865
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PRIME RIB with herb butter sauce:

  • 3 to 4 lb. prime rib
  • stick of butter
  • two sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme, & sage (you can use any variation of herbs)
  • salt & pepper
  • mixture of garlic salt, garlic powder, & prime rib rub (again, use any variety)
  • horseradish sauce (optional-on the side)

Bring the butter to room temperature.  Dice fresh rosemary, thyme & sage (without stems).  Add to the butter and mix.  Place the prime rib in a large freezer style zip lock bag or in a food storage bag.   Add generous amount of salt and pepper to the rib.  Sprinkle with garlic salt, garlic powder, & prime rib rub (any variation will do).  Add lots of the herb butter to the rib and spread with your fingers all over.  (Try not to get any of the butter on the top of the inside of the bag if you are going to use a food saver machine).   After the prime rib is covered in the butter mixture, you can use your food saver machine to vacuum the air out and seal the bag.   (If using just a freezer zip-lock bag, make sure you get the air out when putting it into the water bath, then clip the top to the side of the container).

Drop in heated water according to the machine’s recommendation.  My temperature was 136 degrees, and according to the size, I cooked it for 4 hours.  This will vary depending on the side and the extend of doneness you want on your prime rib or if it’s fresh or frozen.  The app has it all for you.   Your Iphone will tell you when it’s done, it even tells you on your Apple watch!

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Apple Watch Alert!

The final step is to Sear the meat.  There are different methods and they all work well.  You can sear before you place the meat in the bag or you can sear it afterwards.  Here are the 3 methods:

  1. Sear on top of stove in hot pan with oil & butter
  2. Sear on top shelf of oven under the broiler
  3. Use a chef’s butane cooking torch

For this meat, I used the cooking torch:fullsizeoutput_95d4

I liked it because it’s just an easier clean-up.  But you have to be careful with this tool and not catch anything else on fire! 🙂

The prime rib was delicious and really very easy to prepare once you have all the right tools.  I’ll be experimenting and cooking lots of proteins with this method, my next one will be lobsters and shrimp!

CHICKEN BREAST WITH ROSEMARY, SAGE and THYME:

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  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • season salt & pepper
  • sprigs of sage, rosemary, & thyme
  • 3 T butter
  • 3 circles of cut fresh lemon

Place chicken breast in food saver bag.  Season with season salt & pepper.  Put a tablespoon of butter on each breast.  Put a slice of lemon on each breast.  Add the sprigs of sage, rosemary, & thyme.  Seal the bag and cook according to Joule’s instructions in the water bath.   I like the chicken done well, so the temperature I used was 158 degrees for 2 hours.    The water will pre-heat then tell you when to put the food in.  It will alert you when the food is ready.  One great thing is that you can actually leave the food in the water for an extra two hours and it won’t overcook!

I browned the chicken in a hot pan with 1 tablespoon of butter and some olive oil, just 2 minutes per side.  Delicious!!

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