I asked my son what he would like for Christmas Eve dinner, something out of our ordinary, something that would feel special.
How fabulous, right? I immediately jumped online, ordered the snails, and decided I'd rather not deal with the shells. The dish that inspired Nathan's request is Cave Vin's shelless version anyhow, napped in a garlic cream sauce, topped with fried parsley. Mon Dieu, it is every bit as delicious as it sounds.
For him, I'm going to stick to just snails and garlicky herb butter, served sizzling from the oven, with plenty of crusty baguette slices.
For the rest of us, who love mushrooms as well as escargot, I'm going to place an escargot inside a mushroom cap with garlicky herb butter, ditto the sizzling, crusty deliciousness.
Recipe forthcoming, once I (s)nail it exactly down...
(Oh look, there just happened to be one extra mushroom cap, which found itself stuffed with cheese, and then in the toaster oven, and then in my stomach. Cook's treat - I'm a big fan.)
As I've mentioned, I'm trying to eat as little sugar as possible. So far, so good, although I absolutely love pumpkin pie and didn't want to miss out this holiday season. Since pumpkin itself is quite nutritious, I decided to experiment with a classic, cream-based pumpkin filling (the best kind, in my opinion) and see how low I could take the sugar and still enjoy it. (I've already been baking the filling without crust for years, since it's the custard I really enjoy.)
Three tablespoons of brown sugar turned out to be the sweet spot, nicely complimenting the naturally sweet pumpkin. I added just a pinch of sugar to the softly whipped cream for the full effect, et voila, a lovely pumpkin custard that will definitely fill a craving for those of you trying to keep holiday sweets to a dull roar.
And in case you're wanting the real deal? No problem! The original recipe (with a delicious gingersnap crust enhancement) is here at Joy of Baking. It's all good.
PS If you're shopping around for a turkey and ideas for roasting it, check my post last week on Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly for Herb-Roasted Turkey and Gravy, and don't miss Chef Scott Pampuch's excellent Star Tribune video on how to carve it!
Hint-of-Sweet Pumpkin Custard
Adapted from www.joyofbaking.com
Note: The custard can also be baked in 4-oz. ramekins.
3 large eggs
2 c. fresh pumpkin puree or 1 - 15 oz. can pure pumpkin
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
few gratings of fresh nutmeg
softly whipped cream sweetened with a pinch of sugar
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Butter a pie plate. In a large bowl lightly whisk the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie plate. Bake custard for 45 minutes or until the filling is just set (center will look wet; a knife inserted about 1 inch from side of pan will come out almost clean.) Cool custard to room temperature and serve, or cover cooled custard and chill.
I'll keep this simple. I made this version of Salad Lyonnaise for dinner tonight, for John, for Father's Day, and it was sublime. If you want to go to the recipe after the video, click on the "article" link. If you take nothing else away from this demonstration, let it be how incredibly easy it is to poach eggs. A breeze. And oh my, so delicious, especially atop crispy bacon, pleasantly bitter greens, all cloaked in a warm, tart vinaigrette. Thank you Mark Bittman. Enjoy!
Oh look, I missed both holidays. I usually relish cooking Kosher for Passover treats for my stepdaughter, as well as coloring Easter eggs and making brunch for my son. A trip to Seattle and illness (see below) wiped out both opportunities this year.
Instead, on Sunday, I made a potato-pepper hash with baked eggs for John and me. I couldn't much taste it, but I thought it was very pretty. And John loved it, so that's a good sign. (Plus, I make some version of this on a regular basis - it's one of my favorites.)
I'm not even posting a formal recipe, dear readers, since this was all about cooking with what I had on hand, the day after returning from a trip. Roughly do this: saute diced mushrooms, peppers (I used red bell pepper, wished I'd had a jalapeno), leeks or onions, and potatoes together, in some butter or oil, slowly, partially covered, stirring frequently, until everything is nicely browned, about 30 minutes. A generous sprinkling of salt and pepper at some point is key. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, then make four little wells in the hash (or one or two little wells, depending on how much hash you've made). Crack eggs into the wells, sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little cheese (cheddar, Parmesan, whatever you have), and transfer to the oven. Bake until the eggs are to your liking (about 6 minutes for cooked whites/soft yolks). I finished with a sprinkle of chopped scallions, although any fresh herb would be lovely. A pile of hot, buttered toast is a pretty killer accompaniment (unless you're keeping Kosher for Passover; matzo would be delicious too).