Monday, January 24, 2011

Winter Fondue Frenzy

The only good thing about cold nights in winter, are they are the perfect reason to have a fondue dinner!

Here are a couple of fondue ideas. There are millions of renditions on broth, cheese, sauces, etc. One word of advice - use a good fondue pot.

Beef & Red Wine Broth:
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups red wine
- Chopped garlic cloves (4-5)
- 2 bay leaves
- Diced Shallot about 1/4 cup
- Pepper
- Any additional seasonings you might like, we use a tiny bit of hickory salt and garlic pepper, just a little or it gets to salty.
- Simmer in fondue pot at least 20-30 min before serving. This allows the broth to thicken slightly.
- Beef, mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers, etc. are great dipped in this.

Cheese Fondue:
- Gruyere Cheese (depending on the # of people estimate about 1/2 to 1 cup of loosely grated cheese per person)
- 1/2 - 1 cup dry white wine (generally use a sauvignon blanc ) - add more or less depending on amount of cheese
- 1/4 cup diced shallot
- Chopped garlic cloves (4-5)
- Chives or diced green onions
- 2 T butter
- Dash of hickory salt (optional)
- Spray the fondue pot with cooking spray before mixing in liquids.
- Our favorite bread to dip in the cheese is the Roasted Garlic Bread from Costco. It's amazing in this cheese!!!

Serving Sauces:
My favorite is a horseradish sauce made with sour cream, horseradish, worcestershire sauce , lemon juice, salt/ pepper
I always google fondue dipping sauces to spark some ideas.

Chocolate Fondue:
- 1 lb dark chocolate pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Heat cream on med/low in a saucepan until small bubbles form.
- Add chocolate and mix until smooth.
- Transfer to fondue pot or mini Crockpot
-Serve w/ strawberries, bananas, marshmallows or angel food cake pieces.

ENJOY!!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Oh the New Year at the gym!

Oh man, my blood is boiling.
Seriously.
Nothing irritates me more in the wee early days of January than those "fine" people who come out of the woodwork to show up at the gym for their New Years resolution. I hate it. Good for you working out, but why do YOU need all the good machines? I have been coming to this gym for years, and here you are, all new and bushy-tailed, taking the best equipment...85% of you ready to sink in a matter of days. I just needed to vent. It happens every year, nothing new. Just one of the many things I hate about January.
I am SOOOO ready for spring!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Years Eve 2010; Seafood, Pasta & Creme Brulee

Celebrating the last night of 2010, we went out like we roll all year - enjoying great food!

Dinner: Lobster Tail, Alaskan King Crab & Lemon Chive Pasta with Tomato Mushroom Cream Sauce
Dessert: Coconut Creme Brulee
Drink: Champagne, of course!

Brad was on the meat task, as usual! We figured out a great way to prepare the tail & legs so its much easier to eat! Use crab claws to slice open the crab legs before simmering in a pan with butter. The meat can be easily picked out with a fork, once ready to eat.

Lemon Chive Pasta with Tomato Mushroom Cream Sauce:
- 1 Package of Papardelle's Lemon Chive Pasta (City Market or online)
- For the sauce:
- 10 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 large shallot, sliced into small sections
- 4-6 Roma Tomatoes, cut into large sections
- 1 can diced tomatoes (can sub an additional can for the fresh Roma's if necessary)
- 2 packages sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup heavy cream

Add 3-4 T EVOO to a large pot, add garlic & shallots. Simmer till tender on medium low heat. Add tomatoes, including juice from canned tomatoes. Add mushrooms, cook on medium to medium high for 5-6 minutes until mushrooms become tender. Add cream, and reduce heat to low. Simmer till well combined. Season with salt and pepper as necessary. Top pasta with hot sauce & enjoy!

Coconut Creme Brulee (AMAZING!!!!!!!!)
This recipe will make 6 small creme brulee servings. Double if necessary.

1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup heavy cream + 2 T approximately
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
1/4 cup coconut

Slowly heat cream and coconut milk in a medium saucepan till it just begins to bubble.
Whisk together the yolks and sugar until eggs turn a light yellow and the mixture thickens. Whisk in the vanilla, rum, and salt.
Slowly add the hot cream mixture while continuously whisking. Stir in the sweetened coconut.
Pour mixture evenly into 6 small ramekins. Place ramekins in a baking dish and add enough hot water to come about half way up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until custard is almost set. The custard will be mostly firm but still jiggle slightly in the center when tapped.
Remove from water bath and let cool slightly. Place in refrigerator and chill for a few hours, or overnight.
Just before serving sprinkle 1 to 2 tsp of sugar over each custard. Place on cookie sheet and place in preheated broiler. Cook until sugar is a golden brown (about 3 minutes). You can also caramelize the sugar with a handheld propane or butane torch.
Sprinkle with toasted coconut if desired.
(recipe adapted from grouprecipes.com)