Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cookbooks a Gour-Maybe Can't Live Without: Peace Meals

I love this book - Peace Meals - by The Junior League of Houston (had to give a shout out to my hometown) These ladies have really outdone themselves with this latest edition. Although admittedly, my meals could use a little more peace. My cookbook would probably be called "Texting, Photographing, Watching Mad Men and The Killing, Responding to Emails Meals". A few of my favorite recipes are the "Outrageous Brownies", "Autumn Fruit Pork Roast", and "Smoked Gouda Sweet Potatoes".

The photography is amazing, the recipes are consistently good. Go get a copy asap! I have given this as a gift many times and it always gets great reviews.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Apricot Almond Tart with White Chocolate & Lemon Glaze - Recipe Coming Soon

LBA (lazy blogger alert) - this was the dessert served last weekend with the Lone Star Lobster Rolls. I'll get the recipe up this week, promise, but I want to tempt you with the pics. It's sweet but not too sweet, tart in a good way, fresh and fruity, summery - everything you want in a dessert. I used apricots because they looked the best at the store, but you could use probably any stone fruit (plum, apricot, peach etc.). The glaze was a good excuse to use some white chocolate I had left over from the Sow Your Wild Oatmeal Cookies.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lone Star Lobster Rolls

At the request of the lovely Gour-Maybe readers, I have slaved over a hot stove all day (aka ran errands, sat by pool, cooked for an hour), so I could give you the one, the only, the Lobster Roll. Tarragon Dijon Mustard and basil - not usually found in lobster rolls - plus super toasted/garlic butter buns and fresh herbs along with classic ingredients and freshly-cooked Lobster make this a Gour-Maybe classic. Thanks to Mr. Thomas Keller for the inspiration, but I like mine:) I really do! Shockingly simple as well once you get the hang of it. Thanks to my friends for being taste testers and having a real (ridiculously cool) house with amazing light for these pics. Get the scoop on the roll after the jump.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Drink This Now! 2009 Lucienne Pinot Noir

Ok, maybe not right now right now, but you know - soon! This past weekend, I was in Austin, Texas celebrating my brother's MBA graduation. We were excited to eat at Wink off of Lamar, which I would definitely recommend. I had beef tartare and duck, both were really good. However, my fave part of the meal had to be the wine. I heart a good bottle of Pinot Noir, and this was one I hadn't tried. This was a multiple bottle scenario, so we had plenty of time to formulate our opinion. It's a 2009 Lucienne Pinot Noir - I recommend you go grab or order a bottle asap. It retails around $50. There is a long description of why it's so tasty at the link above which involves temperature, sunlight and the words:

"Lush chocolate covered cordial raspberry combine with subtle earth and Darjeeling tea undertones"
But I'm always a little over the verbose nature of wine descriptions, so I'll stick with - it's freaking good.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Goat Cheese, Prosciutto, Tomato and "Black" Basil Flatbread (Just Don't Call It Pizza)

basil chiffonade - nice claw CCC ;)

Let's be honest, this flatbread is really a pizza. Especially since we were making it with pizza dough (vs a non-rising "cracker" like base). It's just semantics, but for some reason,  it just sounds so much better than "pizza." Especially to two girls cooking. Two slices of flatbread as an appetizer? Sure! Two slices of pizza - um - maybe not. You ladies know what I mean. But call it whatever your little heart desires. We used goat cheese, prosciutto, fresh tomatoes, basil (two varieties) and it was truly delicious. All the herbs and tomatoes came fresh from the garden of my lovely hosts. In Gour-Maybe fashion, you have two options - do everything from scratch, or select portions where the purchased items don't detract from the quality of your final product. We used a fresh purchased dough (available in many supermarkets and boutique pizza shops), and went fresh on the rest. It looks beautiful, is easy to serve and can be made with really any combination of toppings you like. (Might I suggest arugula, prosciutto and goat cheese?) Get the skinny on the FB after the jump. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Gour-Maybe Guest Kitchen #2 - Ranch Edition - Course 1 - Get Your Goat Cheese Plate

So as I mentioned, we are going to be doing a bunch of cheese plates on Gour-Maybe - there will be some overlaps as you begin to see I have some favorites, but new cheeses will on every plate, promise! At the ranch we did a goat cheese-only board. This is another cool way to select cheeses - by various styles within a milk category (i.e. cow, sheep). My lovely co-chef, "C", shall we say "prefers" goat, so goat it was. We picked up two of my favorites: Valdeon (a goat blend you might recall from the Spanish Cheese plate), and Truffle Tremor (you might recall from my rave about Cypress Grove). We also added a hard cheese - Lamb Chopper (another favorite from Cypress Grove Chevre) and a soft brie - Montchevre Cabrie. We served it with a full line up of cashews, dried cherries, figs and water and rice crackers as well as honeycomb (LOVE honey on a cheese plate) . Delicious. These four cheese are different in texture and age and taste great - this would be a fantastic start to any meal! If you've tried them, would love to hear your feedback.  Gour-Maybe counter-intuitive tip: Remember not to serve these and other cheeses right out of the fridge, cheese is best enjoyed at room temperature.

Booze note - I drank some Peju Sauvignon Blanc with this and it was really a good combo. They have several years (2007-2010) of delish SB and other wines.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gour-Maybe Guest Kitchen #2 - Ranch Edition - Coming This Week!

Hi Gour-Maybe world, I am just back from a fun and food-filled weekend in the country with lots to share. From fresh herbs and a fantastic sous-chef (well, actually, just chef - I was more the sous chef and photographer haha) to a meal that included skirt steak, a corn salad, to an all-goat cheese plate, we have lots to cover. So I will start with a few pics to get your mouths watering!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cookbooks a Gour-Maybe Can't Live Without - The Gourmet Cookbook

For this most recent Gour-Maybe cookbooks post, I have to talk about a book that has everything you could ever want to cook. From the thousands of delicious recipes in one of my favorite places of inspiration, Gourmet Magazine, The Gourmet Cookbook by Ruth Reichl had to make this list: So many amazing recipes. Much like The Silver Palate, this is a cookbook to READ, not just cook from. If you aren't going to go through a formal cooking program (which is most us), there are so many great lessons to absorb if you just sit down with a cookbook instead of the US Weekly - although there are no Snooki/Bachelorette updates which I know can be devastating.

My favorite recipes - Calabasas, Turkey Chipotle Chili (I make it with turkey and beef), Mashed Jerusalem Artichokes, Pan-Roasted Mahi Mahi with Lime (I serve with the Calabasas)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Chevre It Up Your Bass (Stuffed Bass with Chevre, Fennel and Garlic in Brown Butter)

Is it wrong to create recipes solely so you have an excuse to use a pun? If it is, oh well! This recipe, however, is not only punny, it is tasty, rich, full of flavor - and like all Gour-Maybe endeavors -  looks impressive, but it really easy to make! Let's chat about Chilean Sea Bass for a second, and it's going to get serious people. There are lots of reports on CSB's status varying from endangered to restricted, dating back to the early 2000's. I will say this, although the government, who of course we all trust blindly, issues this statement/fact sheet, I would ONLY purchase MSC (Marine Stewardship Council)-certified CSB. It is sustainable. It is not easy to find, but you must find it. The MSC site has store options (Wal-Mart to Whole Foods Market) that carry the certified product. You can also order it if you can't find it in your area. Use this guide or use a substitute - the most appropriate sub is Sablefish, but a Halibut would work! "Chevre It Up Your Halibut" doesn't exactly have the same ring to it though... but the environment is more important that humor. Usually. Kidding. Gour-Maybe Green note - there are many other fish species in similar situations - Orange Roughy, Shark, etc. always do your research and if you need to consult the MSC website it's a great resource. Recipe after the jump!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Budino

meyer lemon buttermilk budino

meyer lemon

This lemony, creamy dessert is worth an hour on the treadmill, or a cardio shoe-shopping trip, or, just eat it. This is also great for a small dinner party as it makes 6 servings. You might have two questions: 1) What is a Meyer Lemon?, 2) What is a Budino? Meyer Lemons are a variety of lemon that began when a lemon and orange were crossed. Somehow. Most specialty grocery stores have them. What you need to really know is that they have a sweeter flavor and a darker peel than normal lemons and they are delicious. Budino is just a word for pudding - there are more dense and less dense varieties. Something to add to your Gour-Maybe vocabulary. Side bar, my favorite budino ever is the butterscotch at Pizzeria Mozza in LA. So. Good. This budino has egg whites, and is a little like a souffle/pudding combo, which is great for a "light" summer sweet. I adapted from Epicurious (Bon Appetit 2006), because I found that buttermilk made it a little less sweet, which I liked. I'd serve this with blackberries and a little honey on top. I think the whipped cream is too much with it, but that's up to you. Get the budino scoop after the jump!

Vine Tomato, Valdeon and Basil Salad with Mustard Basil Glaze and Balsamic

I love a colorful plate (which is why my plates themselves are white). This tomato salad is beautiful, yet so brainless it's scary, kind of like the girl your husband dated before you, or your ex-husband dated after you. Kidding! Kind of. It involves slicing tomatoes, crumbling cheese and making a simple mustard dressing. If you have the dressing already made in a bulk quantity like the post before this suggested, (hint hint hint) you will be spending about 5 minutes total. If you absolutely hate blue cheese, you could probably do this with goat cheese, but I love the blue, mustard and balsamic combination.

Vine Tomato, Valdeon and Basil Salad with Mustard Basil Dressing and Balsamic (Serves 2)
You will need: 
  • 6 Vine tomatoes - two each of yellow, orange and standard varieties
  • 4 oz Valdeon Spanish blue cheese or other blue cheese such as Point Reyes (but then there's no alliteration in the title) (about 2 oz per person)
  • Balsamic Vinegar (good quality)
  • Fresh Basil (about 3 large leaves per person, torn)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh ground Black Pepper
  • 4 T Mustard Basil Dressing (2T per person)
Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices crosswise. Discard both ends. Place slices on a paper towel to drain thoroughly (this is important - you don't want lots of soupy tomato liquid in the bottom) Wash, dry and tear basil into 1 1/2 inch pieces or use some of the smaller whole leaves.  Arrange slices on a plate, alternating colors. Add basil among the tomatoes, and crumble blue cheese over the top of each salad. (I could add a LOT more basil - love that stuff - so feel free to do the same). Drizzle the salad with the mustard dressing and salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, sprinkle a few drops of balsamic over the top. Enjoy!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Holy Crap It's Good Whole Grain Mustard and Basil Dressing

That title is not meant to be cute (although I kind of thought it was) - it's really because everyone who I have made taste this dressing says "holy crap!" This is the mustard "dressing" I've been putting on everything from meat and potatoes to salads, and sometimes just eating right off the spoon (it's that good). This comes again from the Fried Chicken & Champagne cookbook. (I promise they are not paying me to promote them). Make a double batch, then keep in the fridge and you will have another easy salad dressing option.

Whole Grain Mustard and Basil Dressing (makes 2 Cups)
You will need: 
  • 1/4 C seasoned rice wine vinegar (the seasoned is important)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 T whole-grain mustard 
  • 2 T yellow mustard (the kind you put on hot dogs)
  • 3 large basil leaves, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 T granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 T mustard seeds
  • 3/4 C canola oil
  • 3/4 C olive oil
In a food processor, add all ingredients except for oils. Puree until smooth. With machine running, pour oils in in a constant stream until the dressing is emulsified. This will keep for weeks in the fridge in an air-tight container. I told you it was easy!!!

Gour-Maybe Entertaining Essentials: Cheese Plate - SPAIN

l t r: valdeon, manchego, murcia al vino (far blurry right)
To give me an excuse to share some cheese knowledge consume cheese, I am going to be posting a series of cheese plates. I hope these will help you navigate the 750+ cheeses they have at Central Market and Whole Foods, Trader Joe's (or whatever grocery store you have in your area that has lots of cheese), because let's be honest - it can be overwhelming to find new options, but if you don't, you are stuck with the same old crap options. Let's start with Spain. Why? Because I lived there years ago, and it's one of my favorite places, so it's as good a place as any. This CP could be served with anything, but the Gour-Maybe way would be to do a Spanish-themed cocktail party (we love a theme) - serve Spanish wines (click here for a list of top Spanish Wines from Wine Advocate). For this plate I've picked 4 cheeses that should please even those really "particular" friends. You know who they are. There are also some suggestions for more adventurous cheese eaters, aka Gour-Maybes, aka "my kind of people." 
  • Manchego (SHEEP) - hard cheese, very easy to eat, very universal, will please most guests (you can also use Idiazabal for more advanced eaters)
  • Murcia al Vino (GOAT) - semi-soft, also called Drunken Goat cheese. (wine + cheese = delicious)
  • Mahon (COW) - another good, solid cheese that has a texture between Manchego and Murcia al Vino 
  • Valdeon (MIX) - blue cheese - I love this, I just tried it and it's one of my favorite blues!  (Cabrales is another blue option, but is very very strong - advanced cheese aficionados only)
More pics and accompaniment ideas after the jump. Cheese boards are from West Elm.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cinco De Mayo Breakfast Tacos - Gour-Maybe Style

While some might see Cinco de Mayo as a chance to go to an authentic Mexican taco stand for a chorizo-filled breakfast taco treat, I decided it was appropriate to make breakfast tacos Gour-Maybe style. I technically shouldn't even be making or eating breakfast as I'm about to go to brunch, but hey, it's a holiday, and everyone knows on Cinco de Mayo, you are supposed to have two breakfasts....right?... I heard that somewhere I swear. Instead of chorizo, I used pancetta. I always have Central Market flour tortillas (they are the BEST, homemade and delicious) on hand. Then I just add chopped chives and basil and a little goat cheese. Done. Everything can be doubled/quadrupled etc. Recipe after the jump.

Local DFW Gour-Maybe Great Deal - Strawberries at Central Market

Hi Texan Gour-Maybes - right now Central Market has amazing strawberries (2lbs for $3.00). If you have a CM in your area, check it out! This is a sign from the Gour-Maybe gods to make strawberry shortcake this weekend. It's the Kentucky Derby (my Super Bowl) so I will also probably add mint to it. Sounds refreshing already - it's getting hot in Dallas, TX! Will post the recipe as soon as I make it.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Things I Love: Emile Henry (Bakeware, Ovenware, Really All Wares)

Some products are just better than others. Part of Gour-Maybe is figuring out which are worth paying for, and which are worth saving your money so you can spend it on truffles and shoes. Emile Henry is a brand that is worth every penny. So you don't look or feel stupid when talking about it, I will get this oft-asked question answered ASAP. It is correctly pronounced Ehm-meal Ahn-ree. Please click on the links so you can hear real French people say it or call customer service. Don't pronounce it Emily or Amelie, like the movie or woman's name, or you will be dropped through a secret trap door for the non-gourmet at Sur la Table. (please forgive my lack of written accents! still figuring those out). I love the ceramic pieces which are made from an amazingly resilient clay. These include  pie plates, ramekins and quiche dishes (in OCD-friendly white, of course, like my W-S plates or as they say, "blanc"). "Blanc" sounds much cooler. These are expensive but they are investments and lifetime pieces. Also amazing are the ovenware pieces: gratin dishes and casseroles. French food just tastes better when baked in french clay don't you think? Beyond aesthetics, the clay distributes heat beautifully, so things brown and cook evenly - which is essential to good results. See you at Sur la Table this weekend, I'm getting a new quiche/tart dish myself.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ba-Na-Nas Foster Cheesecake - So Good, Even Rachel Zoe Would Eat It (Maybe A Small Small Slice)

bananas, fostering
 This Gour-Maybe Bananas Foster Cheesecake is not a traditional cheesecake (pale, graham cracker crust, served in a steakhouse), but it is ridiculously good and shockingly easy, and made with alcohol, so it has so much going for it that the name doesn't matter. I was given a recipe for Pillsbury Sopapilla Cheesecake, by my co-worker we shall call JB. JB is famous around the office for this recipe which he has additionally modified so that no one would be able to duplicate it - he's a crafty guy. I was on a fruity dessert kick, so I asked him if he thought it would work by using the base recipe with a Bananas Foster twist. I am happy to report there is already a corner slice missing from the pan, and it's not even 8 am. This is served cold, but you can serve it out of the oven warm. I might have tried it then too. This recipe will yield a full 9 x 13 pan, so it serves a crowd. probably 16-20 slices, or one breakup. Full instructions after the jump.

Salmon with Oven-Roasted Turnips and Goat Cheese

Salmon is another GM favorite - smoked, poached, baked, smoked, smoked with caviar, smoked with scrambled eggs, smoked with toast points, onion, egg and capers, smoked with cream cheese and pesto. Oh wait, we were talking about BAKED salmon here - it's good too. This salmon recipe could not be a faster and more delicious dinner - the turnips can be made in bulk and the salmon quantities can be doubled or tripled depending on how many people you have. Turnips are definitely a Gour-Maybe vegetable. They seem foreign (at least to non-southerners), which makes them intriguing - but really they are just good ole root vegetables like potatoes or carrots - with a more complex flavor. Many people have never even had a turnip and most don't cook with them regularly, however, they are so easy to work with, once you get your head around cooking with turnips (or parsnips, or other unusual vegetables) you can add another check box on your "100 Foods to Eat" Facebook App. challenge! And you will walk confidently to the mis-labeled Central Market bin containing white turnips, but labeled Kohlrabi and laugh as you know the difference. Read the scoop after the jump.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Guest Kitchen: Pan Seared Pollo with Pancetta, Potatoes and Parsley (and Mustard Sauce)

So last night's Guest Kitchen guest who shall remain anonymous is a "meat and potatoes" kind of guy. He doesn't love a lot of greens (sorry to my favorites: fennel and arugula). So what do I cook? Meat and potatoes - literally - I aim to please. But, because this is Gour-Maybe, and my goal is gourmet everyday, they had to be special.  I am on a roll with the Fried Chicken & Champagne cookbook, and this was a good excuse to break it out again for a full meal by adapting their Roasted Chicken and German Butterball Smashed Potatoes recipe. I did a few things differently, because that is my way, and I forgot chicken stock. So here goes. This meal is so easy - including the chicken, don't let the skin-on "split" chicken-on-a-bone intimidate you, cooking it on the bone makes it moist and delicious.  Pancetta and herbs make the potatoes out of this world. The full recipe and more pics can be found after the jump. This is a perfect recipe for 2.

Things I Love: Williams-Sonoma Everyday Dinnerware

You may have noticed that many of the pictures on this blog feature a set of all-white dishes. I love white dishes – maybe because my OCD tendencies feel that colors or patterns might interfere with the overall visual of the dish? Seriously. My mind thinks that way. These dishes you see are Williams-Sonoma Everyday Restaurant Dinnerware. They sell it only online, but it’s worth it to have a great quality set of dishes at an affordable price – great for any informal dining occasion. I’m also obsessed with the Picardie tumblers – virtually indestructible! I have dropped many a glass and they just don’t break. I wouldn't go outside on the sidewalk and start chunking them for fun, but you get the idea - they are really well made, look good and worth every penny. Bon Appetit listed them in the January 2012 edition as “Head of the Glass” and I have to agree. If you are looking for tableware – try these – I think you will love them too.