Beauty and the Beast
Cheese Fondue1/2 pound imported Swiss cheese, shredded
1/2 pound Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cherry brandy, such as kirsch
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Assorted dippersIn a small bowl, coat the cheeses with cornstarch and set aside. Rub the inside of the ceramic fondue pot with the garlic, then discard.
Over medium heat, add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a gentle simmer. Gradually stir the cheese into the simmering liquid. Melting the cheese gradually encourages a smooth fondue. Once smooth, stir in cherry brandy, mustard and nutmeg.
Beef Ragout- Ragout of Beef with Red Wine
12 plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
6 sprigs fresh thyme
3 pounds beef chuck in 2-inch chunks
½ cup finely chopped fennel bulb
½ cup finely chopped leeks (white only)
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
12 large Sicilian green olives, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
1 ½ cups robust red wine
½ cup beef stock
3 branches fresh rosemary
- Place tomatoes in a bowl, add 1 tablespoon of the oil, season with salt and pepper and toss. Add leaves from 4 branches of the thyme, toss again, then spread the tomatoes in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet, skin side down. Set aside.
- Heat remaining oil in an ovenproof casserole on medium high. Dry meat and sear in several batches to avoid crowding until lightly browned on all sides. Remove to a bowl. Lower heat to medium low. Heat oven to 300 degrees.
- Add fennel, leeks, shallot and garlic to casserole, stir, season with salt and pepper and cook until lightly browned. Stir in the flour, cook for a moment or two, than add olives, chile flakes and wine. Stir, scraping pan, and bring to a simmer. Add stock. Return meat and its juices to the casserole. Top with branches of rosemary and remaining thyme. Cover and place in the oven. Place the pan of tomatoes in the oven. Cook both for 2 hours.
- Remove the pans from the oven. Check seasonings of meat. Transfer meat and sauce to a serving dish, arrange tomatoes on top and serve together.
Cheese Souffle4 Tb of butter (1Tb for buttering mold)1 Tb grated Parmesan cheese (for dusting mold)3 Tb flour1 c milk, lightly boiling4 egg yolks5 egg whites1 c grated Gruyere cheese1/2 tsp cayenne (or paprika)Salt and pepper, to tastePinch of nutmeg1/4 tsp cream of tartar (for the egg whites)
- Start by buttering the mold and sprinkling with cheese. I chose to use Parmesan cheese because it grated finer than Gruyere. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- The foil wrap: This will make sure that your souffle will not spill over and will keep a high mold.
- Tear a long enough piece of foil so that it is long enough to wrap around your mold. Fold in half length-wise and butter one side. The buttered side will be the “inside” of the mold. Wrap the foil around the mold. If your mold has little handles like mine does, cut small slits so the foil can fit. Secure lose top ends with paper clips.
- Melt the 3Tb of butter in a sauce pan and stir in the flour with a spatula, cooking over medium heat until the butter and flour foam together for about 2 minutes without browning.
- Remove from heat. When mixture has stopped bubbling, pour in all of the boiling milk at once and beat vigorously with a whisk until well blended.
- Beat in the seasonings, cayenne or paprika, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Return to moderate heat and continue to stir with a whisk for another minute. The mixture will be very thick.
- Remove from heat, take the egg yolks and beat 1 egg yolk into your white cream mixture one at a time until well incorporated.
- Now for the egg whites. In a clean, dry mixing bowl, begin to beat your egg whites with a whisk attachment on low speed. You will see that the egg whites will “break up” and begin to have a foamy consistency.
- As the egg whites are foaming, increase the speed gradually and add cream of tartar and a pinch of salt. Increase the speed to fast and continue to beat for a few more minutes.
- Do not leave your egg whites! Continue checking them. What you want to see are “traces” on the surface. The egg whites should also have a glossy white sheen and be able to be stiff and firm when holding with a whisk.
- Once the egg whites are done, don’t let them sit for long. Take a large spoonful and stir it into the cream mixture to lighten it.
- Stir in all but about 1Tbl of the grated cheese into the cream mixture.
- There is a technique with folding the rest of the egg whites. Take one large spoonful of the egg whites and using your spatula, cut down the middle and draw the spatula under, while scraping the side of the pan and turning the pan with the other hand. Basically, you folding under and to the side.
- Continue with the rest of the egg whites. Be careful not to over fold. It’s OK if there are white streaks leftover. Now your mixture is ready! Carefully pour your mixture into the prepared mold. It should be about 3/4 high. Tap the mild carefully to even it out and top with remaining Tb of cheese.
- Place on middle-back rack of pre-heated 400 degree oven.Once in, immediately turn down to 375 degrees.
- Bake for exactly 30 minutes and DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT open the oven door ever during that 30 minutes!
- The souffle will have puffed up a few inches over the mold and will be a gorgeous golden brown on top. Insert a tester, if it comes out clean, it’s done.
- To serve: Use 2 spoons and lightly puncture the top of the souffle. Don’t scoop from the bottom, that will deflate it, just spoon vertically.
- 1 red pepper sliced in half, seeds and ribs removed
- 1/2 yellow or orange pepper, seeds and ribs removed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
- 3 tomatoes (about 12 ounces total weight), peeled, seeded, and finely diced, juices reserved
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 a bay leaf
- Kosher salt
- 1 zucchini
- 1 summer squash
- 1 eggplant
- 3 roma tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon thyme leaves
- Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Assorted fresh herbs (thyme flowers, chervil, thyme)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place pepper halves on a foil-lined sheet, cut side down. Roast until skin loosens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Peel and chop finely. This makes the piperade.
- Combine oil, garlic, and onion in medium skillet over low heat until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, their juices, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Simmer over low heat until very soft and very little liquid remains, about 10 minutes, do not brown; add peppers and simmer to soften them. Season to taste with salt, and discard herbs.
- Puree in a blender and spread on bottom of baking pan.
- Heat oven to 275 degrees. Using a mandoline, thinly slice the zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and tomatoes. Down center of the pan, arrange a strip of alternating slices of vegetables over piperade, overlapping so that 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed. Repeat until pan is filled; all vegetables may not be needed.
- Mix garlic, oil, and thyme leaves in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over vegetables. Cover with parchment paper. Bake until vegetables are tender when tested with a paring knife, about 2 hours. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more.
- For vinaigrette, combine 1 tbsp piperade, oil, vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Drizzle vinaigrette around plate. Serve hot.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (1/2 cup)
- 5 large egg yolks
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Make the creme brulee: Heat cream and 1/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves and the cream just begins to simmer. Add chocolate, and whisk until melted and smooth.
Whisk remaining 3 tablespoons sugar with the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly pour cream mixture into yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Strain custard through a fine sieve.
Pour custard into four 4-ounce ramekins. Transfer ramekins to a roasting pan, and fill pan with enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of ramekins. Bake until custards are just set, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Carefully remove from water, and let custards cool.
Assemble the cremes brulees: Refrigerate for 1 hour. Top each with 1 tablespoon sugar. Hold a small handheld kitchen torch at a 90-degree angle 3 to 4 inches from surface of custard. Move flame back and forth until surface is caramelized. Alternatively, broil custards on top rack until caramelized, 1 to 2 minutes.