Sunday, July 01, 2007

Call Me Mr. Marsala

I'm not kidding, those were the words I heard as I was drifting off to sleep last week.
K: huh?
J: I decided pesto isn't my favorite sauce anymore
K: Good to know, I'll make sure to alert the Pesto Parade
J: I've decided my new favorite sauce is Marsala
K: And you want me to call you Mr. Marsala?
J: Mr. Jon Marsala
K: Go to sleep.

But far be it for me to crush my husband's dreams, so last night I made veal marsala. It was kind of a special occasion since my friend Andrea was coming over for dinner and I hadn't seen her in AGES! Now, in general I don't do veal because when I think of it I picture the poor baby cow penned in and awaiting slaughter. But, I will make a sacrifice for my husband and friends, as long as its not too often. I stole a recipe from Cooking Light and was on my way. It was amazing! I was worried about not cooking it enough/cooking it too much, but both Andrea and Jon thought it came out perfectly. Jon even went as far as to say it was some of the best veal he's ever eaten, and one of his favorite of the meals I've made. I served it with some noodles and some fabulous mint peas (which Jon didn't find as fabulous as I did, but he did like the mushrooms).

I like to have something for my guests to nosh on while I'm making dinner, so I whipped up some shrimp and avocado cornets. They went over really well. Jon loved them and Andrea kept eating them, even after they got cold.

And the piece de resistance? I made homemade bread. I love making bread, its one of my all time favorite things to make. And I've been dying to try out my new Alton Brown techniques from the book I got from my birthday. Alton has never let me down, and he didn't let me down yesterday. The bread was beautiful and golden and the inside was all chewy bread goodness. Yum! Seriously, there is nothing as satisfying as eating a piece of homemade bread and knowing that your hands created it. (Kneading is also a GREAT stress reliever)

We ended the meal with my second entry for Cara's Platinum Chef Challenge. As you may recall I used the first three ingredients (jalepeno, corn, and citrus) in my black bean salsa (remember the black bean salsa? I'm SURE you do. It has its own theme song). The last two ingredients were blueberries and cheese. I took a blueberry muffin recipe and recreated it as a cake. Except, it probably would have been better as a muffin. Nevermind. After 2 bottles of wine, Andrea and I were very pleased with the result. (Shiraz is the wine of choice for Blueberry Almond Struesel Cake)

Shrimp and Avocado Cornets
1/3 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/2 avocado, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp minced cilantro
1 Tbsp minced shallots
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1 pkg frozen puff pastry, thawed

1) Heat oven to 400. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2) In medium bowl combine shrimp, avocado, cilantro, shallots, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and cumin.
3) On lightly floured work surface roll out 1 sheet of pastry to measure 12 inches square. Cut into thirds in one direction and then into quarters in the other. Cut each rectangle in half diagonally to form 2 triangles.
4) Place one triangle with long side nearest you. Spoon 1 tsp filling in center of triangle. Bring bottom corner of shortest side up to top point, then wrap remaining corner to create bottom of the cone. Pinch to seal; transfer to baking sheet.
5) Repeat procedure with remaining puff pastry sheets.
6) Bake in heated oven 17-19 minutes, or until golden.

Cooking Light's Veal Marsala
1 lb veal scaloppine
1/4 cup AP flour
2/3 cup beef consomme
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup dry Marsala
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 tsp salt

1) Dredge veal in 3 Tbsp flour. Combine remaining 1 Tbsp flour and consomme, stirring with whisk. Set aside.
2) Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add veal, cook 1 1/2 minutes. Turn veal over; cook 1 minute. Remove veal from pan.
3) Add wine to pan, scraping pan to loosen brown bits. Add consomme mixture, mushrooms, and salt, bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 3 minutes or until thick. Return veal to pan.

Mint Peas
2 cups peas
2 tsp butter
1 1/2 cups mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 Tbsp mint
1/4 tsp salt

1) bring 3 cups water to a boil. Add peas. Cook 10 minutes or until tender. Drain, set aside.
2) Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and green onions. Sautee 2 minutes.
3) Add peas, mint, salt. Sautee 2 minutes

French Bread Baguette
1 pkg dry yeast
1 cup warm water
3 cups AP flour
1 tsp salt
cooking spray
1 Tbsp water
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1) Dissolve yeast in warm water in a small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes
2) Combine flour and salt in food processor. Add yeast mixture to dry materials and process until dough forms a ball.
3) Place dough in large bowl coated with cooking spray and let sit for 20-30 minutes (Alton says this allows the gluten to rest)
4) On a lightly floured surface knead dough 4 or 5 times.
5) Return dough to bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes (I turn on the oven while I do the first steps and turn it off, then place the dough in the still warm oven)
6) Knead dough again a couple times, then let sit for another 5 minutes (that gluten is LAZY!)
7) Shape dough into 9x8 inch rectangle. Roll up dough, starting at long side, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets. Pinch seam ends to seal. Cover dough, and let rise again for 30 minutes.
8) Preheat oven to 450.
9) Uncover dough and make 3 diagonal cuts across the top of loaf, using a sharp knife. Combine 1 Tbsp water and egg white, and brush mixture over top of loaf.
10) Bake at 450 for 20 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Blueberry Almond Streusel Cake


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup 2% low-fat milk
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/3 cup light ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 large egg whites
1 1/3 cups blueberries
Cooking spray
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon reduced-calorie stick margarine, melted

1) Preheat oven to 400°.

2) Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine milk and next 6 ingredients (milk through egg whites); stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Gently stir in blueberries. Spoon batter 9x9 pan coated with cooking spray.

3) Combine 1/4 cup flour and remaining ingredients; sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes or until done.

1 comment:

  1. When I come over, can it be a "special occasion," too? Those cornets look so yummers, as does everything else.