Sunday, May 11, 2008

House Warming Party

You have remodeled your kitchen and it is time to show it off to friends and family. Perhaps you went a bit over board and did not budget in a caterer. These recipes are deliberately simple and yet super elegant.
You can serve just beer and wine or you can pick one cocktail. (A cosmopolitan, martini or mojito to name a few.) You can set up a stationary table with an assortment of cheese, fruit, vegetables, breads, and crackers. If you don’t have time to make your own the market offers a large variety of gourmet dips like olive tampanade, humus and salsa. I like to use risers draped with fabric for to showcase the food with heights and demotions. This is where you get to be super creative and have fun. Use whole fruits, herbs, flowers mini bell peppers or anything you can think of to create festive table. Then serve a couple of hot Hors D’oeuvres. You can time them a bit so you can take cooking breaks and enjoy your guests. You can also tray pass them and get a chance to talk to everyone. We all know the real story is that the party is in the kitchen especially a brand new one.

Baked Brie with mushrooms, onions and garlic
4 tablespoons butter
2 large onions, sliced
1-tablespoon thyme, minced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 cups button or crimini, sliced
1 8-inch-diameter 32- to 36-ounce
French Brie
French bread baguettes, sliced
Melt butter in heavy very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until just tender, about 6 minutes. Add minced thyme and mushrooms and stir until soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool. Preheat oven to 350°F. Unwrap Brie, reserving bottom of wooden box. Cut away only top rind of cheese, leaving rind on sides and bottom intact. Return Brie to box, rind side down. Place box on baking sheet. Top Brie evenly with onion mixture. Bake until cheese just melts, about 30 minutes. Transfer Brie in box in platter. Surround with baguette slices.

Beef Sate with Horse Radish Sauce
2 pounds New York or fillet Steak, trimmed
3/4cup olive oil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak 48 6-inch bamboo skewers in water for one hour. Cut the steak into 48 3inch x 1-inch strips. Stick a skewer into each strip lengthwise and arrange on a baking pan. Whisk together oil, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Drizzle over the meat and refriderate for at least one hour or overnight. Heat the grill or stovetop grill to medium high. Arrange the skewer of steak on the grill so that the sticks do not touch the flame. Grill until medium rare about one minute per side.

Horse Radish Dipping sauce
1 16-ounce tub sour cream
6 tablespoon prepared horseradish
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Whisk together in a small bowl. Add pepper to taste.

Shrimp with coconut
3 Pounds Shrimp, cleaned with tail on
3 cups shredded coconut (on a plate)
2 cups pancake mix
1 cup orange juice
1/2-cup coconut milk (more to thin the batter)
2 eggs
1-teaspoon cayenne pepper

Peanut oil for frying
Set deep fryer or wok for 375. In a bowl mix pancake mix, eggs O.J. coconut milk and cayenne pepper. Holding by the tail dip each shrimp into the batter, roll in the coconut and drop into bubbling oil. Do not over crowd the fryer; cooking several batches as necessary. Fry until shrimp are golden brown; about 3 minutes. (Don’t over cook, as the shrimp gets tough). Drain on a brown bag. Serve hot.

Tiny crab cakes with Remoulade Sauce
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 small red onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, minced
1 green bell pepper, minced
3/4-cup fine breadcrumbs
1/2-teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
Mix all above ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Shape the crab mixture into 24 small cakes. In a heavy skillet, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Sauté the crab cakes for 5 minutes per side until golden brown.

Remoulade Sauce

1 egg
2 egg yolks
2 dill pickles, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons balsamic
3-tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup minced parsley
Fresh pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. With it still running, pour the oil through the feed tube in a steady stream to make a thick sauce. Dollop over crab cakes.

Mothers Day

We are 11 day's into May and it may seem like I have not been postings, but things have been a bit crazy. As much as I love to write about my culinary adventures I also need to create them! So today being Mother's day I am resting a bit before I celebrate the day with my daughter, Emma Rose.

Some fun and notable things:

Check out the cover of the sun!

I just completed a most amazing book by Nancy Mehagian. "Siren's Feast An Edible Odyssey."

You can order it at

Warning: Great recipes and you won't be able to put it down!

Friday marked a day that is so special and near to my heart. Under the direction of Aveson Charter School Culinary Advisor, Lowell Bernstein we served our first test run of healthy living lunches. It is truly a day of celebration and is the manifestation of a powerful vision of serving delicious and healthy lunches to our kids. Most kitchens at schools are "reheat only" and the hot meals are filled with sugar, salt, white flour and fat. We are creating a model that can be duplicated at other schools so we can change the way we feed our children! I will keep posting as this vision unfolds. Thank you to all the parents and friends who shared their time and talents.