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.
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.