Champagne Lillet Cocktail. Listening To Levee Drivers.

Champagne Lillet Cocktail
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My daughter got her driver’s license this morning!

Woo Hoo!

Time to celebrate this huge milestone.

An elegant cocktail of Champagne mixed with the crisp and slightly fruity Lillet Blanc sounds perfect for a toast.

Let the worrying begin.

Champagne Lillet Cocktail

Champagne Lillet Cocktail

Ingredients:

4 oz dry Champagne
2 oz Lillet Blanc
Orange slice

Directions:

1. Make sure both beverages are chilled, mix together and serve garnished with an orange slice.

Serves 1
Champagne Lillet Cocktail

I think some Levee Drivers will go quite nicely with my drink. It would be a good song to crank up while driving, too.

Check out Levee Drivers on the band’s Website. You can learn of upcoming gigs in Pennsylvania and buy their music on Bandcamp.

Cheers!

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Tilapia Piccata. Listening To The Close Readers.

Tilapia Piccata

This would so be me.

If you are a fan of Piccata dishes, you’ll enjoy this light fish version. The lemony caper sauce is so good with just the right little bite from the garlic and shallot.
Tilapia Piccata
Tilapia Piccata

Ingredients:

4 tilapia or other flaky white fish fillets (about 1 3/4 pounds)
Salt and pepper
1 cup flour
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
2 lemons: 1 sliced, 1 juiced
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 Tbs flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Directions:

1. Pat the fish dry; season with salt and pepper.

2. Place the flour on a large plate. Dredge the fish lightly in the flour, shaking off the excess.

3. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high. When oil is hot add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add 2 fillets and cook until opaque in the center, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the fish to a platter and keep warm in a low oven.

4. Wipe the skillet clean, then repeat with the remaining oil, 1 tablespoon butter and 2 fillets. Remove to platter.

5. Wipe the skillet clean and add 1 tablespoon butter. When the butter melts, add the lemon slices and cook, turning once, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Place the lemon slices on top of the fish.

6. Add the shallot and garlic to the skillet and stir until softened, about 1 minute. Add the wine, capers, parsley and lemon juice. Swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 1 minute.

7. Divide the fish among plates. Season the lemon sauce and spoon over the fish.

Serves 4

Recipe from Every Day With Rachael Ray Magazine
Tilapia Piccata
What drew me to listen to this album from The Close Readers was its title: ‘Group Hug’. Right now every hug counts and I like to think that everyone is going to be Okay.

Check out The Close Readers on their Website, where you can buy the music.

Cheers!

Posted in Seafood | Tagged | 3 Comments

Risotto With Maple Glazed Bacon. Cate Le Bon On The Stereo.

Risotto With Maple Glazed Bacon

How terrifying is this? Yikes. I’m gonna have to give it a go just for laughs. :)

Risotto With Maple Glazed Bacon. Doesn’t that sound good?

Oh yes, it is good! The Maple Glazed Bacon could be served with anything. So crisp, sweet and smoky all at once, it is super delicious. The bacon gets baked in the oven, so it’s easy and mess free to boot.

So you take that gorgeous bacon and serve it alongside a creamy risotto, which contains a splash of sherry and good dose of Parmesan and pecorino, and you have one mighty fine meal. I served some buttered green beans alongside to add a pop of color to the plate.

Risotto With Maple Glazed Bacon
Risotto With Maple Glazed Bacon

Ingredients:

6 slices bacon
1/4 cup (125ml) pure maple syrup
6 cups (1.5 liters) chicken stock, hot
60g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cups (400g) arborio rice
1/2 cup (125ml) dry sherry
1/2 cup (40g) Parmesan, grated
1/2 cup (40g) shaved pecorino

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325℉/160℃.

2. Combine the maple syrup and bacon in a small bowl and toss to coat.

3. Place coated bacon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden, crisp and caramelized. Set aside and keep warm.

4. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until softened.

5. Add the rice and sherry and stir for 1 minute until the sherry is absorbed.

6. Gradually add the hot stock, 1 cup (250ml) at a time, stirring continuously for 25 minutes or until the stock is absorbed and the rice is tender.

7. Remove risotto from the stove. Stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.

8. Divide risotto between bowls and top with the bacon and shaved pecorino.

Serves 4

Recipe from Donna Hay Magazine

Risotto With Maple Glazed Bacon
Risotto With Maple Glazed Bacon

Welsh singer Cate Le Bon released her third album, “Mug Museum”, back in November. Kind of quirky and very captivating.

There is something about the syncopation in ‘Duke’ that I find irresistible. Love that sweet, clear voice, too, and the way it gets crazy high at the end of the song.

Check out Cate Le Bon on her Website, where you can learn of an upcoming gig in Cardiff. The physical copies of the cd are sold out, but you can buy the music on iTunes.

Cheers!

Posted in Main Courses, Pork | Tagged | Leave a comment

Pavlova With Berries And Salted Caramel Sauce. New Music From The Response.

Pavlova With Berries And Salted Caramel Sauce

This guy cracks me up. And now we all know that Pavlova was first created in New Zealand.

I’ve shared a recipe for a Mixed Berry Pavlova before, but today’s recipe has one key difference.

Salted Caramel Sauce.

Oh my! The salted caramel is so dreamy with the sweet fruit, cream and crisp meringue. It’s virtually a party in your mouth.

Pavlova With Berries And Salted Caramel Sauce
Pavlova With Berries And Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

3 egg whites
175g/3/4 cup caster sugar
½ Tbs white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
½ Tbs cornflour, sifted
25g/1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
300ml heavy cream
250g mixed berries
Salted Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F.

2. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl for 3-4 minutes using an electric hand mixer on high speed until the mixture forms soft peaks. speed for 3-4 minutes to soft peaks. Add caster sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each to be incorporated before adding the next, whisking until mixture is glossy.

3. Reduce speed to low and add the vinegar, cornflour and confectioners’ sugar, whisking to combine.

4. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.

5. Spread the mixture over the prepared baking tray, forming an oblong shape with a slight indentation in the center.

6. Reduce oven temperature to 130°C/275°F and bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave the meringue to cool down with the oven for 2 hours, then transfer to a serving platter.

7. To serve the pavlova, whisk the cream to soft peaks, then spread over the meringue base. Top with berries and a drizzle of the salted caramel sauce.

Serves 4 to 6

Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

165g/a scant 3/4 cup caster sugar
150ml heavy cream
¼ tsp sea salt

Directions:

1. Put the sugar with 125ml water in a heavy saucepan over low heat and stir until dissolved.

2. Increase heat to medium and allow sugar mixture to bubble without stirring, for 8-10 minutes until a golden caramel forms.

3. Remove from heat and pour in the cream (the mixture will bubble up and harden). Return to stove, add the salt and cook over low heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring, until smooth. Leave to cool. (The caramel sauce will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week.)

Recipes from Delicious Magazine
Pavlova With Berries And Salted Caramel Sauce
Pavlova With Berries And Salted Caramel Sauce
Pavlova With Berries And Salted Caramel Sauce

Definitely gonna serve up some music from New Zealand to go along with the pavlova.

‘Predictable Me’ is new from Christchurch-based duo, The Response. Very good indeed.

Check out the band on their Website, where you can buy the music.

Cheers!

Posted in Dessert | Tagged | Leave a comment

Simple Macaroni And Beef With Cheese. Dancing Around To Tahiti 80.

Simple Macaroni And Beef With Cheese

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What’s not to love about an easy recipe that is packed with macaroni, spiced beef sauce and two kinds of cheese? And did I mention that it can be made ahead for those busy nights?

Total comfort food. Adjust the spices and/or change the types of cheese to your liking. I liked the mild southwest slant that using some cumin and chili powder lent to the dish.

Here’s something I learned recently: Whole canned tomatoes tend to be of higher quality, and testers say are more fresh tasting, than crushed tomatoes. That’s why the recipe calls for using the whole tomatoes and then crushing them up yourself.

Simple Macaroni And Beef With Cheese
Simple Macaroni And Beef With Cheese

Ingredients:

1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, processed until smooth in a blender
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Optional seasonings: oregano, cumin, chili powder (I used about a 1/2 tsp of each)
Salt and black pepper
1 pound macaroni
2 cups each grated cheddar and mozzarella cheeses

Directions:

1. in a large skillet heat oil and cook onions until tender. Add the beef and stir to break up the meat as it cooks.

2. Stir in your seasonings of choice then add the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour.

3. Cook the macaroni in boiling water for half the time called for on the package. Drain and add macaroni to the beef mixture. Stir and adjust seasonings. Stir in 1 cup each of cheddar and mozzarella.

4. Transfer macaroni and beef mixture to a 13 x 9 inch baking dish and cover with foil. (Make ahead: Casserole can be refrigerated for up to two days or frozen for a few weeks. If frozen, defrost overnight in refrigerator before baking.)

5. Bake at 400℉ degree until heated through, about 30 minutes (or closer to 45 minutes if just removed from refrigerator). Remove the foil, top casserole with the remaining cheese and broil for about 1 minute or until cheese has melted.

Serves 6 to 8

Recipe adapted from Ruhlman.com
Simple Macaroni And Beef With Cheese
Simple Macaroni And Beef With Cheese
Simple Macaroni And Beef With Cheese
Simple Macaroni And Beef With Cheese

Paris-based band Tahiti 80 are releasing their 6th album, ‘Ballroom’, next month.

“Crush!” is the opening track. It’s nice and breezy and all “Ooooooh”ey. Got me some dance fever.

Check out Tahiti 80 on the band’s Website, where you can learn of upcoming shows in France and buy their music.

Cheers!

Posted in Beef, Main Courses | Tagged | Leave a comment

Bacon Dashi With Fingerling Potatoes And Clams. New Music From Bugs In The Dark.

Bacon Dashi With Fingerling Potatoes And Clams
funny-animal-captions-thank-u-all-of-da-clams-i-is-eatin

My husband bought me the Momofuku cookbook by David Chang and Peter Meehan a few years ago. It’s a beautiful book filled with entertaining stories, gorgeous photography and really interesting recipes with an Asian slant. Every time I make something from the book I learn about an ingredient or a flavor pairing.

Quick aside. My favorite Momofuku story is this one and it was not even in my kitchen. I was at our local library and overheard the librarian at the check out desk say to this very elderly man, “You have Momofuku overdue.”

The man got genuinely flustered. “I have WHAT??” he gasped.

“Momofuku.”

Now realize that the ‘fuku’ part of the word can sound a lot like ‘fuck you’.

Anyway, this little exchange went on for a little bit and it never seemed to get resolved. Poor old guy, though. He was as red as can be. Didn’t strike me as the adventurous Asian cook, either.

Back to the cookbook.

For the first time ever I made a dashi, usually just seaweed and dried fish broth, but here made with kelp and bacon. (Mmmmmm bacon.) I also cooked with konbu, a kelp that I was not familiar with and was surprisingly abundant in my local grocery store.

What I ended up with was a soup that is essentially bacon broth filled with briny clams and buttery potatoes. Some crisped bacon and a drizzle of green onion oil balance out the dish.

Despite being bacon heavy, this soup is amazingly light and extremely easy to make. I served warm naan alongside to soak up the delicious broth.

Bacon Dashi With Fingerling Potatoes And Clams

Bacon Dashi With Potatoes And Clams

Ingredients:

Bacon Dashi (recipe follows)
Green Onion Oil (recipe follows)
1 lb small fingerling potatoes
1/4 lb smoky bacon
2 dozen manilla, littleneck or butter clams, rinsed and scrubbed
Sliced green onion, to garnish if you like

Directions:

1. Chop bacon and cook until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

2. Heat bacon dashi until it comes to a boil. Add potatoes and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until soft. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

3. Add clams to boiling bacon dashi, cover pot, and cook until they open, about 8 minutes.

4. Spoon clams into individual serving bowls. Add a few potatoes to each bowl and ladle bacon dashi over. Top with crisp bacon and a drizzle of green onion oil. Sprinkle with some green onion if you like.

Serves 4

Bacon Dashi

Ingredients:

1/2 lb smoky bacon
8 cups water
2 (3 x 6 inch) strips of dried konbu (Kelp available at Asian grocery stores. I got mine in the International section of our local grocery store.)
Water

Directions:

1. In a stock pot, combine konbu and water. Bring to a boil then turn off heat, allowing the konbu to steep in the water for 10 minutes.

2. Remove konbu from the pot and add bacon. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and allow dashi to cool. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight to allow fat to rise to the top. Skim fat before use.

Green Onion Oil

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil or other mild oil
1 large bunch green onions, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

2. Pour green onion mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a serving container (I skipped this step since I liked the thicker texture). Refrigerate until use.

Recipes from Momofuku cookbook by David Chang and Peter Meehan
Bacon Dashi With Fingerling Potatoes And Clams

Bacon Dashi With Fingerling Potatoes And Clams

‘Red Lines’ is a new single from Brooklyn based band Bugs In The Dark.

First thing. That band name is not my favorite. I have flashbacks to my childhood in Brooklyn and some of the nasty bugs I saw when I turned on the lights at night. Yucky roaches scurrying away or big, fat hissing water bugs that slid under the refrigerator. Ew.

Nothing buggy about ‘Red Lines’, though. Just some tribal, post-punk shouty goodness.

Check out Bugs In The Dark on the band’s Website, where you can buy the music.

Cheers!

Posted in Main Courses, Seafood, Soup | Tagged | 3 Comments

Short And Sweet. No Bake Chips Ahoy! Icebox Cake.

Chips Ahoy! Icebox Cake

whatsonxiamen-com

Well, that’s not something you see very often in an icebox.

One of my favorite desserts ever is this Chocolate Chip Cookie Icebox Cake. Totally over the top, it’s made with homemade chocolate chip cookies and a thick mascarpone and whisky laced whipped cream.

Today’s recipe is pretty over the top, too, just a lot quicker to make since it uses purchased chocolate chip cookies. It is also more kid friendly since the whipped cream is flavored with vanilla instead of booze. Comfort food at its best.
Chips Ahoy! Icebox Cake

No Bake Chips Ahoy! Icebox Cake

Ingredients:

45-50 Chips Ahoy! cookies plus 2 extra for garnish
3 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

1. Place cream, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat on high until stiff peaks form, set aside.

2. Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan with a single layer of cookies. Spread 1/3 of the whipped cream on top of the cookie layer. Repeat two more times finishing with a layer of whipped cream.

3. Crush remaining cookies and sprinkle on top of cake. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

Serves 12-16

Recipe from Spend With Pennies
Chips Ahoy! Icebox Cake
Chips Ahoy! Icebox Cake
Chips Ahoy! Icebox Cake
Chips Ahoy! Icebox Cake
Chips Ahoy! Icebox Cake
Time for a short song. (Pretty sweet, too.)

And a sweet song.

“There is no way I can repay all that you’ve given me
But I will give my heart, my life, the air I breathe”

Check out Ryan Hobler on his Website. You can buy the music here.

Cheers!

Posted in Cake, Dessert, Short And Sweet | Tagged | Leave a comment