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Friday, December 30, 2011

Snow Pudding

My Nana used to make Snow Pudding years ago. Although I never tried it growing up, my crazy cousins always loved it as children. Fortunately, so many of her recipes were compiled in a treasured family cookbook and this dessert is also among its pages. As we were all getting together for Christmas, I thought I would try my hand at making the fluffy confection. The recipe itself is fairly simple, but making something from other people's memories is not. All the same, I set to work anyway and the eyes-closed reverie when my cousins tasted it after dinner was sweet confirmation that I had done something good--they also told me it was just perfect.

Do enjoy and Happy New Year everybody!

Snow Pudding
1 T unflavored gelatin
1 c sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
3 egg whites

Soak gelatin in 1/2 c cold water. Dissolve in 1 c boiling water. Add sugar and lemon juice. Let cool, stirring occasionally. When thick, beat until frothy. Beat egg whites until stiff. Add to lemon mixture. Beat all together. Pour sauce over pudding when serving.

3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups milk, scalded
Beat yolks slightly. Add sugar and salt. Stir mixture while adding scalded milk. Cook in double boiler until thick. Cool and flavor with vanilla.

Thanks to for the photo!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Friend Writes...Peppermint Fudge!

Just right for the holidays!

"I made this last night for my co-workers - it was a big hit today at the office - super fast and easy, and looked really nice in little 4"x4" white bakers' boxes with silver parchment paper, very festive!"

Peppermint Fudge
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cups (one bag) chocolate chips - I made two batches, one white chocolate and one dark chocolate
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint hard candies

Line an 8x8 square baking pan with foil.
Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in marshmallows, chocolate chips, peppermint extract and crushed candy. Stir vigorously until marshmallows are completely melted. Pour into foil lined baking pan. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Remove from pan, remove foil, and cut into 1" square pieces.

Thanks to for the photo!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tonight's Menu - Seared Sea Scallops with Buerre Blanc

Saveur has enthralled me yet again with their last two issues. I was duly moved to make seared scallops in a buerre blanc sauce with finger limes from the November issue--but after a little research, there aren't any such limes in the city and ordering them would have set me back $200 for six pints (I only needed four limes) plus $50 shipping to send them here from L.A. Taking a cue from the restaurant Crispo in our relative neighborhood and how they remarkably pair fresh grapefruit with skate, I sought out pink grapefruit. I supremed one palish orb and enveloped the richly pink interior in the buerre blanc sauce while plucking out the little pearls of another for garnish with the scallops. Divine!

As tarragon was part of the sauce, I wanted something similarly resonant to serve alongside and voila, popovers with chopped rosemary emerged from the December pages of Saveur. I didn't have time to seek out goose fat or render my own as the recipe suggests, so I used bacon fat that we already had in the fridge. These I made early and just before it was time to eat, I popped them back into the oven to warm up. Here's how they started out:

I was so engaged with the evening I never had the chance to take more pictures but the menu is below of course and the recipes are linked below just the same where applicable. Thyme, by the way, completed the herbal threaded trinity of this meal when lacing our lemon sorbet. Do enjoy!

Tonight's Menu
Rosemary Popovers
Brussels Sprouts with Pearl Onions & Herb Butter (microwavable, courtesy of Fresh Direct) with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes and Chopped Prosciutto
Scallops with Grapefruit and Buerre Blanc
Lemon Sorbet (courtesy of Sharon's) with Thyme

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Shouldn't You Just...?

Have a happy holiday season? Be well, everybody and take care of each other. Thanks for reading.

Advice on modern etiquette for the not-so-new millennium.

Photo credit: Howard Kaden

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Recipe Box - Harvey Wallbanger Cake

I'm just wild about Harvey! Remember that little guy? Although I wasn't drinking (much) in the 70's and left that era behind when I was about 13 years old, I did have a towel with Mr. Wallbanger on it that I took to the neighboring Ramada Inn pool every day in the summers. Bars and restaurants have recently revived the Galliano and vodka fueled Harvey Wallbanger cocktail but then a recipe for Harvey Wallbanger cake came from Baby's Aunt Elsa and I howled with laughter--and of course had to make it. Part of the is recipe below but click here then for a link from enjoy!

If you tilt your head you can see Aunt Elsa's recipe card!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tonight's Menu - I'm A Sole Man

When Baby and I last visited friends in Ocean City, NJ, we went to one of our favorite new found places, The Crab Trap, which is a sort of maritime shanty that has been around for years. It's a sprawling, bustling place with lots of great seafood (love the lobster!) and good martinis. We even bought a bunch of paper place mats and appropriated a few bar napkins as well, all emblazoned with the logo. We happened to mention this dining adventure to other friends and so surprisingly, they too know about and love The Crab Trap and have family dinners there, steeped in tradition. So, a dinner menu of fish was set, as was the table, with our somewhat ill-gotten booty: the place mats and napkins.

Our British neighbor had been talking about an old classic lot of steamed prawns, served in beer mugs, so as he and his wife were also our guests, I suggested he bring a bunch over! The sauce is a secret but I do believe Thousand Island dressing is involved.

I'd wanted to make my Wicked Good Clam Chowdah again, so that was a perfect starter, with my father's clams, pulled from the shores of Maine's Muscongus Bay. Crab cakes carried on and then we dove into a heap of Lemon Sole Meuniere. Paula Deen's most delicious Chocolate Bread Pudding was made the day before and acclimated in the refrigerator before being reheated and served to make a very satisfying conclusion to our dinner. My comments about that are in italics.

Stephen's Prawns
Wicked Good Clam Chowder
Crab Cakes
Sole Meuniere
Chocolate Bread Pudding (I didn't make the pecan rum flambe sauce and used Godiva chocolate liqueur instead of coffee liqueur)

Per usual, I got busy with all the cooking and didn't have time to take more photos!

Fishy Soundtrack: Esquivel, Christmas album; Bananarama, Deep Sea Skiving; Cafe del Mar; Beatles, Yellow Submarine; 50's Personal Christmas collection.

Next Magazine - The Twelve Days of Dining

Here’s a different sort of carol—no partridges snatched from pear trees or a feast of geese-a-laying (although I might have tried a few French hens), but these twelve places sent me out singing just the same.
  1. Oh, the Provençal fish soup! And ooh, the frog legs in garlic cream at La Promenade des Anglais (461 W 23rd St, 212-255-7400,! Monsieur Alain Allegretti brings the breath of the Mediterranean and an air of the periwinkle-blue-colored Cote d’Azur to the western corridor of Chelsea.
  2. Although the locale near Port Authority is unlikely, Qi (675 Eighth Ave, 212-247-8991,, has an elegant interior and the fare is excellent, influenced from Pichet Ong’s upbringing in Bangkok. Fully flavored tuna tartare with a bunch of fragrant herbs and minty Burmese tea salad with chili lime dressing are our favorites.
  3. Jellyfish is done right at Wong (7 Cornelia St, 212-989-3399, with scallops, crispy duck tongue and cucumber. Resounding lobster egg foo young waltzes with leeks, dried shrimp and duck egg yolks.
  4. Bento box-sized Hakata Ton Ton (61 Grove St, 212-242-3699, has a whole lot of Japan going on. Simmering, unnamable aromas wafting about reveal garlic fried rice with pork and Hakata’s motsu hot pot with a stunning broth flavored by Kobe beef motsu, otherwise known as intestines. Sesame chanpon noodles are a requisite accompaniment.
  5. Carefully detailed, gorgeous Duo (72 Madison Ave, 212-686-7272, is wonderfully delicious, too. Poached Maine lobster salad with Champagne mango “caviar” is a clever exercise in molecular gastronomy and glazed duck with lentil and caramelized peaches notably suit the décor.Link
  6. There’s a phenomenal brunch at Greensquare Tavern (5 W 21st St, 212-929-2468, The Benedict with fatty smoked salmon is served on a spongy English muffin topped with eggs filled with rich, sunny, runny yolks and bright hollandaise sauce. The screwdrivers with fresh-squeezed orange juice ain’t half bad, either.
  7. Get quickly acquainted with the fried chicken at Andrew Carmellini’s homey tavern The Dutch (131 Sullivan St, 212-677-6200, Pair it with the Asian white boy ribs and settle down to a slice of devastating peach pie.
  8. The beautiful steak tartare at Goat Town (511 E Fifth St, 212-687-3641, is richly red with verdant parsley, and simple radishes with sea-salt butter make for perfect starters. The Goat Town Chocolate Torte with bourbon and crème fraîche is a remarkably good finish, with a “dip” of salted caramel ice cream.
  9. Northern Spy Food Co. (511 E 12th St, 212-228-5100, delivers a kale salad with a harmonious blend of clothbound cheddar cheese, sumptuous kabocha squash and slivered almonds lightly dressed with lemon and pecorino. Potato gnocchi are ideally matched with an order of huge, saucy meatballs.
  10. It’s a sumptuous symphony of meat at E&E Grill House (233 W 49th St, 212-505-9909,, particularly filet mignon with chive blue butter. Both mashed and twice-baked potatoes are a must, as is grilled asparagus with a perfectly soft poached egg perched on top. Kermit’s brownie sundae includes an onslaught of cheesecake scoops and coffee ice cream.
  11. The legendary Peter Luger (176-178 Broadway, in Brooklyn, famous for its steaks, is more of a reasonably raucous German beer hall than dryly outfitted steak house. Porterhouse steaks for two, four or forty get thrown around the table and the “Holy Cow” hot fudge sundae is worth the trip alone.
  12. La Silhouette (362 W 53rd St, 212-581-2400, neatly closes out the year with its fabulousness. The duck, lamb and wild mushroom risotto are sensational when prefaced by a farm-poached egg with truffled polenta and foie gras with mustard-seed–kumquat compote—insist upon the layered pumpkin cheesecake if available.
First featured in Next Magazine.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Luncheon

I've always been fascinated by high teas and casual luncheons with coffee service, so I decided to serve one of my own in honor of those grand ladies from long ago. We didn't play bridge or wear hats or anything, but we did wile away a lovely Sunday afternoon with a few good friends over recipes from the 50's, 60's and 70's--and at least a few bottles of white wine, namely Pouilly-Fume, Sancerre, and Viognier.

Sunday Luncheon Menu
Rum Punch--What is lunch without punch? I concocted this on my own. Get a good rich rum and ply it with pineapple and orange juices. Throw in a splash or two of lemonade to balance it out as well as a liberal dose of maraschino cherry juice. Gild with scoops of good old orange sherbet.

Beef Consomme--This was extraordinary, gaspingly good, from an old copy of Reader's Digest's Secrets of Better Cooking.
2 quarts cold strained beef stock
1/2 pound lean beef, chopped, not ground
1 chopped carrot
2 chopped cleaned leeks
2 egg whites, lightly beaten

Add beef to stock with vegetables and egg whites. Bring slowly to a boil while stirring. Reduce heat and simmer for 50 minutes. Skim and then strain through a sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth. Return to boil and serve, with chives as garnish.

Ham & Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches--Nothing but cream cheese lightly slathered on white bread with the crusts removed. Do buy nice, thinly sliced French ham from the deli.

Deviled Eggs with Caviar & Olives--Baby's recipe; mashed hard-boiled yolks with a little mayo, mustard, and Sriracha sauce. Inexpensive paddlefish caviar and sliced cocktail olives make a gorgeous adornment. The secret to making perfect hard-boiled eggs may be found here. Boil the eggs as instructed but you needn't bother about all the ice; just rinse them in cold water for a while and let them be before you peel them.

Green Beans with Anchovy Dressing--Michael Lomonaco's Shallot Champagne Vinaigrette linked here, with a few teaspoons of anchovy paste and topped with chopped prosciutto.

Madeleines, Orange & Banana Pudding Cake, linked here.

Before I started futzing with the powdered cake:

And after, draping it with simmered apricot jam, and some chocolates around the base and Entenmann's buttery, petite madeleines close by:

With all due respect to Stephen Sondheim, here's to those ladies who lunched!

Soundtrack: Donna Reed's Nick at Night Dinner Party; Lawrence Welk, A-Wunnerful; Personal 50's Christmas Collection; Bing Crosby, White Christmas; Rosemary Clooney, Blue Rosie.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In The Kitchen With...Rob Vance - Coubion Sauce

“Here is a classic Cajun recipe that has been sorely neglected in the last couple of decades. It works well with damn near anything, but the classic version involves braising catfish fillets in this sauce for about 2 hours--or try redfish, snapper, or cobia. The classic side dish would of course be steamed white rice. Enjoy!”

Thank you Rob!

Coubion Sauce
1 large yellow onion
5 ribs celery
2 large green bell peppers
8 oz. AP flour
8 oz. unsalted butter
7 oz. chicken stock
1 #10 whole peeled tomatoes (1 6 lb., 9 oz. can, hand crushed)
2 tbs minced garlic/shallot mix
3 tbs kosher salt
2 tsps cayenne pepper
4 bay leaves

Finely dice the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Add the butter to a heavy gauge sauce pot and melt over medium flame. Add the flour and stir to combine. While constantly stirring, cook the flour and butter until the color changes to a medium dark brown. You will smell popcorn about the same time as the roux gets to the right color. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper and stir to combine. This will be very thick, add the chicken stock to loosen it. Allow this to reduce by half, then add the hand crushed whole peeled tomatoes. Add the salt, cayenne, and bay leaves and stir. Allow this to simmer for about 45 minutes.

Rob Vance is the Executive Chef at La Bayou Restaurant (208 Bourbon St, 504-525-4755, New Orleans, LA,

Gingerbread Martini

Now I'm not one for sweet drinks, ladies and gentlemen but this cocktail does sound awfully good. Despite the fact that Sandra Lee also makes a version, try serving it anyway, perhaps as dessert over your holiday dinners--and thanks again Crystal for the recipe!

Gingerbread Martini
1 part Hiram Walker liqueur
1 part Captain Morgan spiced rum
1 part Dekuyper butter scotch schnapps
2 parts vodka
1 to 1 1/2 parts half and half
Ground cinnamon
Ginger snaps

Add all to a shaker with only a little ice as too much tends to dilute. Shake and pour into a martini glass, top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and serve with a ginger snap or two.

Betty, Please

We experimented with this recipe for Apple Brown Betty, trying apricots instead of apples just for kicks and giggles, but I didn't think it turned out so well. If you have any betty recipes, please send along, thanks!

Apple Brown Betty
"For the best betty, we consulted SAVEUR contributor Marion Cunningham, author of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook (Knopf, 1990). She passed this along with the advice that you won't need the lemon juice if your apples are flavorful."

2 cups fresh dry bread crumbs
5 tbsp. melted butter
1 1⁄2 lbs. tart apples, peeled, cored, and cut into
1⁄4" slices
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon
Juice and grated rind of 1⁄2 lemon (optional)
Heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 1 1⁄2-quart casserole or a 9" baking dish, preferably with a lid. 2. Lightly toss crumbs and melted butter together in a medium bowl. Spread about one-third of the crumb mixture in the baking dish. 3. Combine apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice and rind (if needed) in a medium bowl. Fan out half the apple mixture over crumbs. Add another layer of crumbs, a layer of the remaining apples, and a final layer of crumbs. 4. Pour in 1 cup hot water. Cover with lid or with foil, and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 minutes more. Serve with heavy cream.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tonight's Menu - Frittata with Ricotta & Peppers

To celebrate a friend's transition (ie. moving on from a post he'd held for about 12 years), I made dinner! When asked what kind of food he'd like, he suggested something Italian. But instead of merely breaking out a box of spaghetti, I ventured toward something more adventurous and made a fluffy frittata with ricotta cheese and peppers from Saveur magazine, prefaced by an old Martha Stewart recipe for crab cakes with saffron vinaigrette that I hadn't revisited in years. What for dessert but his Mama's sour cream pound cake that I surprised him with. None of it was too difficult but all of it was oh so delicious!

Tonight's Menu
Crab Cakes with Saffron Vinaigrette
LinkRicotta and Roasted Pepper Frittata (Frittata con Ricotta e Peperoni)
Sour Cream Pound Cake

Do enjoy!

Thanks and credit to André Baranowski for the photo from Saveur.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Recipes Of Our Mothers - Ollie's Pumpkin Pie

Crystal Creasser and I met in Turks and Caicos on our recent respective vacations, and naturally our conversation turned to pie. She was kind enough to send me this recipe, which wholly suits the season. So dig in—and thanks Crystal, what a great picture!

“This photo is of me, my grandmother, mother and daughter. I have been the appointed one to make the pies for all of our family gatherings but it was passed down from my grandmother, to my mother and then to myself. The recipe is very simple but I am disappointed every time I try another. I have been enjoying this pie for 40 years and still look forward to every piece. It is my daughter’s favorite desert so I am sure we will continue enjoying this for many years to come.”

Ollie's Pumpkin Pie
1 can of canned pumpkin (or fresh pumpkin if you have the time. I personally like to mix part fresh and part can to equal 1 can)
1 can of condensed milk
1 cup of sugar + 1 tsp of cinnamon combined (so cinnamon will not clump when added alone)
1 tsp of vanilla
1/4 stick of melted butter
3 eggs beaten
Add all ingredients together and blend well. Place in 2 pie shells and bake at 400 for about 45 min.

*I normally pre-bake my pie shells for only about 5 min. because I like a crisper crust in the bottom center. You could place in 1 deep dish but it is my preference to have a thinner pie. *Great served warmed with lots of whipped topping--that is my preference also!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Friend Writes...Mushroom Lasagna

"I made this recipe for mushroom lasagna yesterday (including the herb oil - I used herb oil for the sauteeing and for the bechamel in place of olive oil/butter) - it is spectacularly delicious! It was in last weekend's NY Times magazine."

Thanks Moose, sounds good to me!

Home/Made Mushroom Lasagna with Herb Oil
Adapted from Sam Sifton's Recipe in The New York Times
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil or herb oil
6 large shallots, peeled and minced
1 ½ pounds mushrooms, wild or best available (oyster, shiitake, cremini), trimmed and
1 cup dry white wine
1 softball-size head of radicchio, halved, cored and cut into ½-inch slices
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, or herb oil
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons flour, ideally instant or all-purpose
3 cups whole milk
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup Gruyère cheese, grated
1 cup Fontina cheese, grated
2 tablespoons best-quality truffle oil (optional)
2 9-ounce boxes of no-boil lasagna sheets
1 baseball-size ball of smoked mozzarella, sliced
1 cup fresh Parmesan, grated.

Herb Oil
1 bunch fresh thyme
½ bunch fresh rosemary
1 bunch fresh sage
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 ½ cups extra-virgin olive oil.

Method for Oil
Put herbs, garlic and salt into a food processor. Add a splash of olive oil, and pulse to combine. Place mixture into a jar. Add the rest of the olive oil. Store in the refrigerator. Lasts about a week.

Method for Lasagna
Preheat oven to 350. Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add ¼ cup of the olive oil or herb oil. When it begins to shimmer, add half of the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add mushrooms and toss to coat, then cook until they begin to color but are still plump, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add white wine to deglaze pan and allow to cook down into a syrup, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Put the mushrooms into a large bowl and reserve.

Meanwhile, in another bowl, toss the radicchio with ¼ cup olive oil or herb oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the strips out onto a baking pan and place in the oven until the strips are lightly browned around the edges, approximately 15 minutes. Combine with mushrooms and reserve.

Make the béchamel. Place a saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter. When it foams, add the rest of the shallots and cook until they begin to turn translucent. Add the garlic and stir to combine, then cook until the garlic has started to soften. Sprinkle flour over the top and stir to combine, then cook gently until the mixture has turned light brown and gives off a nutty scent, approximately 10 minutes. Add milk to the mixture, whisking all the while, until the sauce is thick and creamy. Add the nutmeg and ¼ cup of grated Gruyère and ¼ cup of grated Fontina, then stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Reserve a cup of béchamel. Pour the rest over the mixture of mushrooms and radicchio, and stir to combine. Add truffle oil, if using.

Assemble lasagna. Spread plain béchamel across the bottom of a 9- by-13-inch baking pan. Place a layer of lasagna sheets across the sauce, being careful not to overlap. Spread a generous layer of mushroom mixture on top of the pasta, and follow with some grated Fontina and Gruyère. Put another layer of pasta above the cheese, and top with smoked mozzarella. Repeat until the pasta is gone and the pan is full. Top with remaining cheeses and a generous amount of grated Parmesan. Cover with a buttered sheet of aluminum foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook until top is golden and bubbling.

Serves 6 to 8.
Adapted from Monica Byrne, Home/Made, Brooklyn.

Thanks to for the image.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mean Mr. Mustard

Time for mustard! And this is a spicy one for sure. Baby is nothing if not persistent--he'd wanted to make his own mustard for years, and finally did over the weekend, having ordered a variety of fine quality mustard seeds from The Spice House. With the assistance of our Vitamix, he ground the spices to a powder and used our Cuisinart to mix everything together. Instead of just using only 1 1/2 cups of the brown mustard seeds listed in the recipe however, he incorporated 1/2 cup yellow, 1/2 cup brown, 1/2 cup black, 1 tsp. Asian with the spices, as seen here:

After the mustard sat in refrigeration overnight, we added in a swirl of white wine (Viognier in this case, about 1/4 cup) and a drizzled tablespoon of honey for perfection!

Spicy Guinness Mustard
Adapted from Saveur Magazine
1 12-oz. bottle Guinness Extra Stout
1 1⁄2 cups brown mustard seeds (10 oz.)
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp. ground cloves
1⁄4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1⁄4 tsp. ground allspice

1. Combine ingredients in a nonreactive mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1–2 days so that the mustard seeds soften and the flavors meld.
2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and process, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until the seeds are coarsely ground and the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a jar and cover.
3. Refrigerate overnight and use immediately or refrigerate for up to 6 months. (The flavor of the mustard will mellow as the condiment ages.)

Makes 3 1/2 cups.

First published in Saveur magazine, #117.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turks & Caicos Conch Festival 2011

While vacationing in Turks and Caicos, our timing was right that we were lucky enough to attend the 8th Annual Conch Festival in Provo. Just across the road from the beach in the Blue Hills area, we stuffed ourselves with a number of conch dishes, including the Princess conch from Bay Bistro, filled with mushrooms and a garlic cream sauce, and topped with Parmesan cheese, red pepper pesto and a sprinkling of parsley. It was easy to understand why the clever conch concoction was the winner of the year!

LinkWe also enjoyed a sampling of the classic island Friger-Gie stew, with coconut, milk, and plantains. The glorious Grace Bay Club's Anacaona restaurant provided a spicier, reinvigorated ancient-style conch stew, made with Scotch bonnet peppers and lime juice in a rich red sauce.

Here's the cavorting conch-loving crowd inside the tent!

Chef Eric Vernice from the Regent Palms was kind enough to provide us with his recipe for:

Corn and Conch Chowder with Saffron
Serves 6

1 lb tapped conch
1 turnip
2 onions
2 fresh ears of corn
2 garlic cloves
1 Yukon gold potato
2 TB flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp sambal oelek
1 tsp saffron
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper
1/2 lb butter
3 TB olive oil

Tap the conch and place it in a pressure cooker with one turnip sliced in half and one onion sliced in half. Add 1/2 cup of water, salt, and cook for 20 minutes.
Dice the remaining onion, garlic. Take the corn off the cob, add the butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add all the vegetables. Once the conch is pressure cooked, dice it and add to the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, then add all the spices, the flour, white wine, and cooking liquid from the conch. Add the cream and simmer for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, outside there was a mojito contest afoot...Bay Bistro took the honors for their cocktail as well.

And here's Baby clowning around with a conch shell across the road!

Needless to say I suppose, when we left, we were quite conked out!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey in Turks!

Baby whisked me away to Turks and Caicos islands for an incredible Thanksgiving vacation this year. We stayed in Provo with friends for a few days and also shacked up at the breathtaking, sprawling Grace Bay Club resort. While our hosts assumed their respective posts working on a holiday that is not necessarily celebrated there, Baby and I hit the supermarket for groceries and set to work ourselves, to create our Thanksgiving candlelit midnight supper! The chalkboard with the menu above is my handiwork, and the price per person listed on the lower right hand corner was merely foolishness.

Here's our table in the glorious sunshine garden, before we set up and descended for the feast.

While our neighbor created Jamie Oliver's Dinner Lady Carrots and Soldier Leeks with Bacon next door, Baby injected our 22 pound turkey with sherry and melted butter and stuffed it full of onions, oranges, lemons, tangerines, rosemary, parsley and thyme. I got a good handful of softened butter and gently rubbed it underneath the skin and yes, I tore a bunch of parsley apart and further placed it under the skin as well to form a heart shape.

We trussed our Tom with kitchen twine...and into the oven it went to ruminate for a few hours!

Having acquainted ourselves with the kitchen and putting out plates, utensils, serving ware and the cooking tools we'd need ahead of time, I made my usual Sweet Potato Tipsy and went out to set the table, while Baby made his mashed potatoes with herbed butter and Alouette creamy cheese and amazing cranberry-cherry-orange compote.

When guests arrived, Baby served a sentimental platter of Pigs & Blankets, the way his mother used to make, with the dogs wrapped up in Pillsbury puff pastry. Yellow and grainy mustards went alongside with a sort of ketchup sauce that I made up from a carton of sensuously red Kumato tomatoes that also veer toward black pearls in color, some balsamic vinegar and crystallized pineapple that was on hand.

Behold the beast with the parsley heart gracing its proud breast!

How quickly it was ravaged! And it was so tender, I daresay it was the best turkey I ever had. For me, the injection of sherry and butter is essential, and the bird also must be monitored with a meat thermometer.

Our table at night! And what a flurry it was!

The tryptophan clearly kicked in somewhere around here.

Our guests delighted in lemon and coconut Pepperidge Farm cakes, the old store-bought dressed up with some fresh blackberries and raspberries.

For leftovers the next day, we pored over turkey sandwiches wedged into local rolls and I pureed the Lady Carrots and Soldier Leeks with gravy and heavy cream for a marvelous soup.

And somehow we managed to keep Coco away from raiding everything until it was time for her to have leftovers of her own, which she devoured!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shouldn't You Just...?

Take the time to research a little about where your newly wedded friends are spending their honeymoon and give them a gift certificate at an exquisite restaurant there to create a memorable evening for them while they are away enjoying connubial bliss?

Modern advice on etiquette for the not-so-new millennium.