Sunday, February 28, 2010

NYC Trip

This week we had "Friday Night Dinner" in New York City. We took the train out of Providence on Friday about noon time and by the time we checked in to The Waldorf-Astoria (Tony had enough Hilton Honors points for a couple free nights) and got going it was about 4 or 4:30. We tried to cancel that morning because we watched the news and it looked like the snow was going to make it hard to walk around. The news showed pictures of the roads in NYC and they were pretty bad. Al Roker said NYC could see another 9 inches. When we called the Waldorf-Astoria they said if we wanted to cancel we would be charged for one night, so we, we'll be there... It turns out Friday was the worst and it wasn't that bad. Saturday it was really just dealing with the puddles (every one's pants were wet on the bottoms, unless you were a smart New Yorker and you wore your snow boots with your pants tucked in). It was chilly but really, not as bad as we thought it would be, and all the fantastic food made up for it.

We visited quite a few restaurants from Friday 4:30 pm- Sunday 9:00 am. Friday was "The Spotted Pig" and "Momofuko" and "The Milk Bar". Saturday was "Jacques Torres Chocolates", "Bar Boulud", "Carmine's", "Blue Smoke" and "Les Halles". Sunday was only one, "The Bread Factory Cafe'".

Lets start at the beginning. The Spotted Pig was awesome. We heard about it, where else, but on the Food Network. On the show "The Best Thing I Ever Ate", Danny Boome talked about this place and he said...the deviled eggs and the devils on horseback were great... so that's what we had. These were on the menu as "Bar Snacks". The Deviled Eggs were very tangy with rice wine vinegar (my guess) and Flur De Sel (sea salt). The salt gave the eggs a salty crunch, the vinegar was great and it was finished on the plate with a drizzle of olive oil. I just tried to recreate it and I have to say I was pretty damn close. The Devils on Horseback was different and really good too. It's prunes stuffed with a pear wedge and then the whole thing is covered with a piece of bacon and it's broiled. There may have been a touch of maple syrup on the bacon. The crunchy, salty and chewy bacon on the outside was nice with the crispy but somehow cooked pear on the inside. I will guess that the pear is roasted for a short time before being stuffed in the prune. The prune may have been soaked in wine to rehydrate a bit. That is something I have to try to make in the next day or two while it's fresh in my memory.

We also got the"Fried Buffalo Mozzarella Ball". It was an appetizer that we shared. It was a softball sized piece of cheese wrapped in Serrano Ham and then it was breaded with eggs and Panko bread crumbs and the whole thing is put into a deep fryer until it's golden brown. It was served with more Serrano Ham on the side and a nice Mescalin Salad. That was good too.

The next stop was Momofuko Ssam Bar. We got lucky and got a seat at the bar, they don't take reservations and it was packed. Tony got a drink called "Pickle brine Martini", it had something that was probably... lemon oil? The bartender only put a few shakes in the bottom of the glass then a little pickle brine, gin and vermouth. At the very end he peeled off a good sized section of a fresh lemon and just twisted it over the top of the glass and then threw it out. The amount of lemon smell was amazing, that's why I think there was lemon oil at the beginning too. I had a glass of Pinot Noir. The owner of Momofuko has other restaurants and they all have an appetizer of Steamed Buns with Braised Pork Belly, Hoison sauce, cucumbers and scallions, so we had to get that. Something else caught our eye and it was Brussels Sprouts with Fish Sauce Vinaigrette. The Brussels sprouts were in a tempera batter and deep fried and then tossed in the vinaigrette with fresh mint and fish sauce and it wasn't fishy at all, which was what I was worried about, to finish it off they added rice cake pieces for a nice crunch.

The main dish for me was Wild Striped Bass with Kabocha Squash, Sassafras and Honshimeji Mushrooms. Anybody that knows me, knows that's is not like me, but I wanted to step out of the box and order some different things. I am just starting to try more fish and salmon is really good, this Bass was more fishy but it was OK, I ate almost the whole thing. The mushrooms and squash flavored with sassafras were really good too. Tony had the Corned Beef Terrine. He really enjoyed it. It came with Fried Egg Sauce and Tea Brined Egg Salad.

We left Momofuko's Ssam Bar and went next door to Momofuko's Milk Bar for dessert. It was packed so we almost said forget it let's go somewhere else, but the line seemed to be moving quickly so we went in and boy am I glad we did! I normally would get one of the chocolate cakes or some ice cream but I thought, OK what's something different...the Banana was really super duper good! The moist banana cake, the layer between each cake layer that I am guessing was Dulce De Leche, which is like a caramel. There is a layer of Gianduja Chocolate which is a hazelnut flavored chocolate. Then the layers are also sprinkled with hazelnut crunch (praline, I'm guessing). Tony got Chocolate Malt Cake which was layered with malt fudge, malted milk crumbs and charred marshmallow between each layer. Wow they know their stuff!

Saturday morning we decided to walk to the upper west side because there were some food stores we wanted to check out. We had breakfast at a cafe', nothing special. On our way we wanted to stop at Jacques Torres Chocolates, cafe'. It was featured on the Food Network, on The Best Thing I Ever Ate show. Giada DeLaurentiis said the Wicked Hot Chocolate was the best chocolate dessert she ever had, so we got two of those and sat by the window nice and toasty warm as we watched the people walk by who were obviously chilly. The ingredients in the hot chocolate is Cocoa powder, corn starch, vanilla, whole milk, spices and chili. The corn starch gives it a slight pudding consistency. The chili which I think is cayenne pepper gives a nice warmth and that's the "wicked" part in the title. They were served in small cups and at first I thought, that's it, it's so small. But it was so heavy duty, we wouldn't have wanted any more than that. It was really delicious and if you want chocolate, this hot chocolate really delivers!!

We went to Fairway Market and Zabar's on the upper west side. I found some wheat berries and some green french lentils. I had been looking for both and haven't come across them at home so I carried them around all day, which was fine.

After the food stores we headed south on our way to our next destination we came across, Bar Boulud. Daniel Boulud has cookbooks and restaurants and he has been on different shows. He's a French chef and as soon as you walk into Bar Boulud it's got French written all over it. We sat at our favorite spot, the bar, and the fancy wine bottles were everywhere. We hadn't planned on going to this restaurant but I think it was meant to be. The slices of fresh bread were placed in front of us with a really fresh round of butter, something was special about that butter. We ordered a drink. I never ordered a Mojito anywhere, I know I've had one before, but this was a Brazilian Mojito and let me tell you I am still thinking about it. It was made with Cachaca and fresh mint, ginger, and there were bit's of "sugar in the raw" every so often. I have to figure that drink out. Tony got a Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA beer. I got the Cauliflower Soup. Tony got the Smoked Salmon Club and the waiter asked if we'd like an order of French Fries and we said yes. The fries were good but not as special as we thought they might have been. My soup was buttery and absolutely perfect with some ground black pepper and a few pieces of cauliflower for garnish. It was cold outside so it warmed me up nicely. Tony enjoyed his smoked salmon club that came with house made potato chips.

We made our way to the next stop, but before that, we stopped for a beer at Carmine's restaurant. It's a great Italian restaurant that has family styled service, big bowls of pasta served in the middle of the table and you help yourself. We didn't eat anything there, we just wanted to take a break from walking and have a beer.

Next, we made our way to the Blue Smoke restaurant. It's a fancy BBQ restaurant, we were hoping to get some appetizer sized potions of barbecue, but we ended up getting BBQ Potato Chips served with a Blue Cheese Dip that had fresh chives and bacon sprinkled over top. I liked that idea. Everybody loves chips, these were house made and it was a good idea for something to do at home for a party.

Our final destination was Les Halles on Park Avenue, a French restaurant that Anthony Bourdain worked at for a long time, he now has a show called "No Reservations" on The Travel Chanel. We actually went to this restaurant before, but we went to another one that was in the financial district, we didn't realize there were two of these restaurants. Last time Tony got the Muscles and this time he got the Muscles again! This time he ordered 1/2 of an order. I got an appetizer that was a big wedge of brie cheese on top of lightly toasted French Baguette slices. The cheese on toast was placed under the broiler to melt the cheese a bit and then a honey and black pepper sauce was spooned over the cheese. It was served with a bit of mescalin salad with candied walnuts and shallot vinaigrette on the side. I already tried to recreate this dish and it was just as I described but I think they used another kind of honey than Clover Honey, basically I heated the honey in a saucepan and sprinkled in cracked black pepper corns. It was very close to the restaurant, maybe the honey should be more mild.

We stayed for dessert at Les Halles and got the Rum Raisin Crepes with Chantilly Cream and Caramel Sauce. It was very good! It tasted like something I would make for dessert. Chantilly Cream is just whipped cream sweetened with sugar and flavored with vanilla. The Rum Raisin part was just raisins soaked in rum until they plump up. You make some crepes and caramel sauce and there you go!

That's it! The next morning we had to catch the train at 10:00, so we left the hotel thinking we would stop at an interesting cafe', whatever looked good. Well they say "the city never sleeps", we know when they sleep, on Sunday morning! Everything was closed, we found a place called "The Bread Factory Cafe". Tony had an authentic NYC bagel with smoked salmon cream cheese that he enjoyed.
Here's the google map of our little trip:

View Feb 2010 NYC Trip in a larger map

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday Night, Filet Mignon

I was thinking of Filet Mignon for dinner. I tend to buy the NY Strip because it really is our favorite cut, but I thought, it has been a while since I made Filet Mignon. I was flipping through one of my Italian cookbooks (Giuliano Bugialli's) and the page just opened up to a picture of a Filet on a vegetable sauce. So I figured it was meant to be that I make this dish. I flipped through some more and I found this polenta dish that is spooned over cold Mascarpone cheese, It is topped with shaved white truffles, but I didn't have the extra $100.00 to buy a white truffle so I did some Shiitaki Mushrooms instead.

Valdeon Spanish Blue Cheese Tart with Arugula and Walnuts

The Spanish blue cheeses are so good, especially Cabrelas, which is hard to find at the local markets, Valdeon is almost as good. I bought it and instead of just serving it as is, I decided to make a savory pie tart crust and bake it off ahead of time and just before serving it I put the cheese on the tart and place it back in the oven to melt. After it came out of the oven I sprinkled on some toasted walnuts and I decided to top it with an Arugula Salad tossed with a champagne vinaigrette that I made. It was a hit. You can't eat too much of it though because of the crust with all the butter is pretty caloric.

Filet Mignon with Vegetable Sauce

This sauce is made with celery, carrots, red onion, garlic, parsley, basil, bay leaf, clove, red wine, salt and pepper. He simmers all the vegetable for 45 minutes with a "piece of boneless beef or veal". I bought Boneless short ribs to cook over the weekend and I only needed 2 oz for the sauce so I used a small piece of that. It's just used to flavor the sauce and then it is discarded. After cooking the sauce it's put through a food mill and just before serving you cook the sauce in a Tbsp of butter just to heat through and the butter adds richness. He cooks the Filet Mignon under the broiler but instead Tony cooked them to perfection on the charcoal grill. They were a nice change and I think the portion size is perfect.

Polenta with Mascarpone and Shiitaki Mushrooms

I have made polenta a few different ways, usually with cream and butter and herbs and so on... This recipe I liked because it's just stock, salt and stone-ground cornmeal. He uses homemade beef stock, but I went ahead and used chicken stock from the store. He also says that it cooks for 45-50 minutes of constantly stirring. I tried that but after about 25 minutes it was thickening up and it tasted done to me so I turned off the heat and added a splash of water and covered it. I used this time to saute some Shiitaki mushrooms in some butter until they were perfectly done and I sprinkled on some salt. When the Filets were done and we were ready to plate I turned the heat back on the polenta and mixed in the splash of water in until it came together with a nice consistency, it worked out perfectly. The cold Mascarpone cheese is placed on the individual serving dishes (about a Tbsp on each plate) and the hot polenta is spooned over the cheese to completely cover it. When you sit down to eat it, even through I put it there, the cheese was a surprise, it just oozes out and it's great. The Filet, the sauce, the mushrooms and the polenta all worked perfectly together.

Ruffled Milk Pie

I saw this on Martha Stewart's show one day a couple months back and I have wanted to make it ever since. I finally made it and it's a great recipe. I looks impressive, it tastes fantastic and its pretty easy to make. It's a two step process which is another good thing because I did the first process earlier in the day and just before we sat down to dinner I did the second part so it was fresh out of the oven, which is what the recipe says, to serve it immediately (it's delicious cold too as I found out this afternoon). After buttering a 13 inch round cake pan with clarified butter you take store bought phyllo sheets and scrunch them up and layer in the pan to make a circle inside of a circle inside of a circle until you have what looks like a rose, you end up using about 8-9 sheets of phyllo. Brush the "phyllo rose" with more clarified butter and sprinkle on cinnamon. Bake for 25 minutes. This is where I stopped and did this second part about 6 hours later. Whisk together eggs, whole milk, sugar and vanilla and pour over the "phyllo rose" and bake for another 25 minutes. You end up with a custard that's scrumptious but it's got a bit of delicious crunch from the tops of all the phyllo that peeks out from the custard. Excellent ricipe!


I actually decided to made this as the dessert but thought it needed a cookie or something to go with it and that's when I remembered the Ruffle Milk Pie. This is an Italian dessert which is simply a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream and you pour over espresso or strong coffee. I never made it before but you can bet I will do it again. I got some great tasting coffee from Whole Foods, decaf Buzz Free (It's called). I made the coffee strong and I got some Haagen Daz Vanilla Bean ice cream. One big scoop of Vanilla Bean and fill up the mug with the coffee and it quickly turns from a smoken hot coffee to a cold delicious melty shake. Affogato is pronounced (ahf-foh-GAH-toh) which is great because if I forget the name of it I just have to say... I forgot Oh, and it's sounds the same!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday Night, French Night

I didn't have a clue what I would make for this Friday Night. We have had a lot of pork lately, I just made duck and chicken so poultry was out. We had a steak last week. Tony had a veal chop at a restaurant mid-week. I was lost. The only thing that made sense was seafood. I started looking through an old Gourmet magazine March 2008 to be exact. It was a magazine all about French cooking. I flipped through the pages and the whole menu was born.

Cheese Platter

The platter included; 2 French cheeses, Country Pate, Chardonnay Gelee that I made, and slices of crunchy French bread. The chardonnay gelee was great, it really paired nicely with the aged blue and aged brie cheeses I bought. The gelee is made by simmering down 1 cup of chardonnay with 1/2 cup of sugar and a small section of star anise, then you add a tsp of unflavored gelatin that has been softened in a little water, and you let it set up in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. For the country pate, I bought it at Whole Foods already made, it was a French meal so why not?

Saumon Aux Lentilles

This was fantastic. The lentils are cooked with leeks and there is a butter that's made and added right into the lentils. The butter is combined with whole grain mustard, lemon, fresh tarragon and chives, salt and pepper. Half of the compound butter is added to the lentils and the other half is saved for a topping when it's served. The recipe called for French Green Lentil's but Whole Foods didn't seem to have them. I did find some lentils from Spain that claimed to hold their shape and pair well with fish, which was what they said about the French ones. Anyway the ones I got were perfect! The salmon was simply seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked in butter. About 8 minutes or so later they were done. This was my favorite method so far for salmon, and Tony said it was the absolute best salmon dinner he's ever had.

Butter-Sugar Crepes with Cinnamon Whipped Cream and Calvados Sorbet

I saw these crepes on the last page of the Gourmet Magazine and they spoke to me. I made a crepe dessert before with whipped cream, strawberries and chocolate ganache, and they were really good so I said "Yeah, a different crepe dessert, it's definitely French". This one was great because you make all the components ahead of time and last minute it's easily transformed from a simple crepe to something so melt in your mouth fantastic you can't believe it.

I made the crepes about 6 hours ahead of time and put them in the refrigerator. When I was ready to serve them the crepes are simply brushed with melted butter then sprinkled with sugar, folded in quarters and heated through in a pan that has more butter and sugar and a pinch of salt. After about 4-5 minutes in the pan they are done.

In the same magazine I came across a recipe for Calvados Sorbet and I thought that might go very nicely with the crepes. Calvados is an apple flavored liquor. It was simple to make. Just cook a little simple syrup for 5 minutes and chill in an ice bath. Add in the same ice bath the Calvados and some non-alcoholic sparkling apple cider. Chill then put into the ice cream machine.

I presented them first by dusting a strip of powdered cinnamon across the plate (for decoration but also to add a kick of cinnamon because apples love cinnamon). Second I placed on two of the crepes per person, a scoop of the Calvados Sorbet and a scoop of whipped cream flavored with sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Well let me tell you, it was something else!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Friday Night, NY Stip with Shallot Butter

Spicy Popcorn with Marcona Almonds

In a recent magazine there were some super bowl party snack ideas and this popcorn was one. It's popped in peanut oil and some butter is melted down and mixed with spicy paprika and salt. In another small bowl you mix an equal amount of salt and spicy paprika. As soon as the popcorn is done popping you add the flavored butter and Marcona Almonds to the pop corn and shake to distribute the butter evenly and then transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle over the salt and spicy paprika mixture. Really good as an appetizer with drinks because it's the spicy, salty and crunchy that everyone loves.

Charcoal Grilled NY Strip Steak with Shallot Butter

I always use the gas grill because it's easy to get started and it's conveniently right outside my back door, but we all know charcoal has a better flavor. Tony has been into the smoking and charcoaling side of grilling so I decided to grill these steaks with charcoal. It's really not that much harder it's just not what I am used to. First of all I had planned on getting something different then NY Strip because I tend to buy the Strip Steak most of the time I thought maybe a Rib Eye this time. Well as you should always do, you should see what looks good at the market. When I got to the meat case the marbling on the NY Strip was exactly what you want to see. An even thin marbling throughout and they seemed to be cut thicker than usual, about 1 1/2 -2 inches. That size is better than something 1/2- 1 inch any day. That way you get a nice charred crust on the outside with out over cooking the inside. I let them sit out of the frig for about 2 hours before grilling. When you grill a steak that fat, when it's cold, it will be hard to cook the center perfectly. When the steak is brought closer to room temperature the inside will cook more evenly and you will get a better steak.

Pommes Chef Jeanne

This is a recipe that Anne Burell (Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, Food network) made and she called it Pommes Chef Anne. So I changed the name to Pommes Chef Jeanne because I added fresh Thyme between a few of the layers of thinly sliced potato and she didn't do that. It's basically thin slices of russert potatoes placed into a non-stick pan that has a bit of oil in it and layered with Parmesana Reggiano and salt in some of the layers, and my twist of fresh thyme in some layers. It's cooked for a bit on top of the stove to get it going and then you put the pan in the oven and let it cook 25 minutes or so. Remove the oil from the pan by placing a cover on the potatoes and pouring off the fat and then using the cover you flip it to cook the other side of the potatoes. Back into the oven until tender and all potatoes are cooked through and the outsides are crispy. I garnished with fresh chives.

Rainbow Swiss Chard

This is from my new Thomas Keller cookbook. He cuts the Swiss chard steams into 1 inch pieces and blanches them for 3-4 minutes and sets aside. He marinates golden raisins in wine ahead. Toast pine nuts ahead. Saute the Swiss chard leaves for 20 minutes until tender. He also does Serrano Ham but I didn't do that part. When ready to serve you heat a pan and saute garlic in oil then add the leaves of the chard, the stems, the pine nuts and the raisins. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Basically just to heat everything through.

Baked Alaska with Caramel and Blackberry Sauces

We used to work at Quidnessett Country Club in RI (that's how we met) and this was something we used to serve. It was a show we would put on. The Baked Alaskas would be put on platters and I think the chefs used big croutons soaked in alcohol as the fuel. The croutons would be placed in the centers of each baked alaska and we (the waitresses) would all line up and one chef would torch each of the croutons on fire. The lights in the room were turned off. One would be the leader and the rest would follow. At least 10 of us would walk quickly throughout the banquet room and the crowd would love the show we put on. We would end at a table set up for the chefs to quickly remove the crouton and start slicing and plating the baked alaskas and the baked alaska performers would turn into waitresses again and pass out all the plates of dessert. So...anyway....... I got lost for a minute. I got some chocolate ice cream (whole foods brand, it's good) and raspberry sorbet. I let them soften in the frig a bit while I got my mold ready and my store bought pound cake. I decided on a spring form pan and I sprayed it with pam, just in case. I lined the pan with pound cake that I cut into 1/2 inch pieces the long way. After lining the bottom and sides with cake I spread about an inch of chocolate ice cream then about 3/4 inch of raspberry sorbet then one inch of chocolate ice cream again. I topped the ice cream with another layer of the pound cake and placed it in the freezer until it was dessert time. After dinner I made the meringue, which is made with egg whites and simple syrup. You remove the spring form from the pan and spread the meringue over the top and sides and create some peeks. Torch the meringue or put it under a broiler to brown. Ahead of time I made Caramel sauce and Blackberry sauce both from my Thomas Keller cookbook. I garnished the plate with a chocolate ganache that I made and the two other sauces I made. I garnished while Tony took a part in the dessert while very nicely torching the meringue to perfection.

Iced Lemoncello

I tried to make a glass made out of ice that has lemon slices in it. It worked pretty good. I poured Lemoncello into the ice glass and we sipped on it along with our dessert.

Friday Night, Thomas Keller's Roast Chicken

Homemade Black Pepper and Thyme Goats Cheese with Chiabatta toasts and Prosuitto de Parma

I have a recipe for homemade ricotta cheese in an old magazine and I thought I would try to make goat cheese using the same recipe. Of course in place of whole milk just use goat milk, which they sell everywhere. It' works. Basically you heat the milk with a little salt until it starts to simmer and then add lemon juice (1/2 gallon milk, 1 tsp salt and 3 Tbsp lemon juice). The curds with start to form after a few minutes and you skim the curds into a cheese cloth. The ricotta cheese is only strained for a couple minutes but I wanted a consistency for the goat cheese to be thicker than ricotta should be so I tied a string around the cheese cloth and hung it in the frig with a bowl under it for 3-4 hours. I flavored it with fresh thyme and black pepper. I made it twice, the first time I lined the cheesecloth with dried thyme so it was on the exterior when I plated it. This second time I wanted to put the flavors in the center so when you cut into it you get a surprise. I liked it better the first time with the dried thyme on the outside. Both were very good. I made thin slices of Chiabatta bread and cooked them in the oven to get crispy and served that and some nice carefully sliced Prosciutto de Parma from a lady a Whole Foods along side the homemade goat cheese.

Thomas Keller's Roasted Chicken on a Bed of Root Vegetables

Who doesn't love a good roasted chicken? I had just gotten my Thomas Keller cookbook I asked for for Christmas. I was on back order because he was on Martha Stewart's show and so everybody wanted one after seeing the show. "Ad Hoc at Home" is the name of the book. It's pretty basic but an excellent recipe, it came out really nice and the surprise was the roasted veg. I can't believe I haven't been cooking rutabagas and turnips, they were so delicious roasted in those chicken juices. We both loved the vegetables.

Pop Over Casserole

I've made pop overs a couple times lately and they were so good and something different. I thought I would make them again but instead of individual ones I would do a big one and call it a casserole. It was good but we like the individual ones better because you get more of the edges and crunchy top that makes them so good.

Almond Cream and Apple Tart with Vanilla Custard Ice Cream

Years ago we went to Al Forno's, a famous restaurant in Providence RI, and we have been a few more times too but one of the first times we went we ordered the apple tart. It was so good, it's free form shaped and it's just the perfect sweetness, served with creme anglase. We had it the next time and then the last time we got the pear tart (the apple wasn't on the menu that time) made the same way and just about as good. So on that show "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" on food network, it was on The Best Sweet Thing, and someone said ...the apple tart at Al Forno's...So on that show they go into the kitchen and show how it's made. Well I have been making it ever since. It's a sprinkling of sugar on the tart crust that you've rolled out, just the center leaving an inch or two around the edges free from sugar. One layer, overlapping, of thinly sliced Golden Delicious Apples layed out in a decorative fashion leaving the 1-2 inch around the edges and then you fold up the crust to hold all the apples in. A sprinkle of sugar again over the apples and dot with butter, a few tablespoons or so. I don't know if they do it but I have been brushing egg wash on the edge of the crust and sprinkling sugar in the raw on the edge. Baked in the oven about 375 until the crust looks golden and the apples are nicely cooked. It takes about 40 minutes I think. This time I put an almond cream that I made as the base for the apples just to try something different. The Vanilla Custard Ice Cream was a new recipe from my Thomas Keller cookbook. It was good, it's ice cream!!! BUT, I probably won't make it again it has 10 egg yolks in the recipe and I think it's almost too rich. I have another vanilla ice cream recipe that's better with less eggs.

Friday Night, Duck

Deep Fried Camembert with Granny Smith Apple slices and Walnuts
After watching an episode of "Follow that Food" on Camembert Cheese I decided to make one of the recipes featured on the show. It ended up being a combination of two recipes. Both recipes were basically the same... breaded in egg, flour and breadcrumbs and cooked, one was baked in the oven and the other was deep fried. I planned of the deep fry but when the time came, I ended up baking the breaded cheese in the oven. I think it couldn't have been any better deep fried, just more of a mess to clean.

What's up Duck? Duck

The name of this duck dish is named by Alton Brown, it's his recipe. I gave Tony Alton's new cookbook for Christmas and I didn't realize how much he really likes Alton. He looked like me when I get a cookbook I really like, reading it from cover to cover and taking it all in. I thought I'd surprise him with an Alton recipe and it's something I never made before and actually I had never eaten before. I was good, similar but different than chicken. It's brined in an orange and pineapple juice among other things and I decided to take those two juices and reduce them down and I served it with the duck. I'm glad I did that, it gave it some nice sweetness, and who doesn't like a good sauce.

Rosemary Red Potatoes

Baby fingerling red potatoes some left whole and some cut so they all have a similar size. Toss with olive oil, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. Onto a sheet pan and into a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or so, tossing a couple times for even cooking.

Brussels Sprout Chips

This idea came from "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" (food network show). It was a show on Best Fried Foods. Brussels Sprouts leaves are separated and when you can't separate the leaves anymore the centers are cut into small 1/4 inch slices. They showed them just cooking them in a deep fryer until crispy and seasoned with salt and pepper so I did that. I was very careful to clean them ahead and make sure they were dry because I didn't want the oil to splatter everywhere. Well the oil splattered everywhere! I guess because the Brussels sprouts have alot of moisture in them naturally it's bound to happen. After dropping in the first handful I decided to just cook the rest of them in a small amount of oil in a saute pan and it splattered much less and they tasted just as good as the deep fried ones.

Profiteroles with Homemade Fudge Ripple Ice Cream

Choux paste is pretty easy to make and I make it once in a while... I've made chocolate eclair's, cream puffs and these profiteroles. You can also do savory ones, I remember doing a blue cheese one with a bit of kick from cayenne as an appetizer we brought to friend's houses. Basically when they cook up in the oven they become hollow and that's a perfect place to put homemade fudge ripple ice cream for these profiteroles. I garnished the plate and the top of the profiteroles with chocolate sauce and a few raspberries are always welcome with chocolate.