Friday, June 29, 2012

Cookbooks A Gour-Maybe Can't Live Without - The Silver Palate (all of them!)

note the spine of the book and miscellaneous spots - these books gets lots of love
Let's talk about The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and its friend, The Silver Palate: Good Times Cookbook: These were some of the first books I ever cooked from - which is pretty strange considering things like "Veal Scallops in Mustard Cream Sauce" and "Brie Souffle" don't really make most 10 year old children's "favorite food" lists - but hey, I've been a Gour-Maybe all my life! My dad used to let me make chocolate souffles, cakes, cookies and more from this book as a child, probably because the recipes were so long and detailed, it would completely occupy me for the entire afternoon. When I got older, I graduated to meats and soups and the vegetable sides.  The best thing about these books is that not only do they have recipes, but also menus and entertaining insight. From pasta and pheasant, to lobster and lamb, it really helps you wrap your head around options for ingredients, and why they work. The pages of my books are covered with notes, and several are falling out. It's hard to let go of your original copy though (but if anyone wants to send me a new back up, I won't turn it down!)

My favorite recipes are the Brie Souffle, the Gingerbread Souffle (get ready for a souffle post coming soon), the Sour Cream Apple Pie, the Vichyssoise, and Ginger Carrot Soup.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Chill Out, and Have Some Banana Cream & Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

Just like Brad and Angelina became "Brangelina", this pie began as two separate pies, adapted from Epicurious (with crust from a third - my own invention) combined into one amazing dessert. Panana? Beanut? Still working on that one. This pie is cold and creamy and tastes like something delicious you should only have once a year. Between all the chilling you do with the various steps of this pie, it's also a great way to beat the heat. And it is freaking hot out there!!!  Note - this is not a good pie to transport someplace in the summer, the amount of cream, although delicious, doesn't hold up to heat. So stay in and enjoy it straight from the fridge. You know you don't want to go outside anyway after 11 am.   I think there is something satisfying about the combination of peanut butter and banana with a little honey - it reminds me of childhood - which was definitely the inspiration for this dessert. That, and I'd put honey on everything. Ask around. I put it in coffee, yogurt. LOVE IT! It's super rich, but totally worth it. The pudding for the banana cream is from scratch as is the peanut butter mouse, as is the crust, but don't let "from scratch" scare you. Each step is pretty easy! Recipe after the jump

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Gour-maybe Classic Beef Wellington

I have a (not-so) secret celebrity crush on Gordon Ramsay. I've seen the "oh crap" look of fear in contestants' eyes on his cooking shows and other cooking shows when they are asked to cook the intimidating classic, Beef Wellington, that Ramsay is famous for. I can hear him yelling "this WELLINGTON IS OVERCOOKED!!!! DISGUSTING!" So to prove to myself that it's not that hard and get a little practice AND give my boyfriend a delicious Saturday night dinner, Wellington it was. I have to say, this is surprising simple, but relies on a few simple techniques that will make or break it. I will also share a few Gour-maybe tips that will help you nail this. I recommend watching this video of Ramsay making the dish - and rolling your eyes MANY times at how simple he makes it look. I served it with a blue cheese and chive potato puree. Get the recipe and the tips after the jump.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Katherine's Favorite Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie has always been one of my favorite desserts (sweet, tart, creamy, amazing), but this particular version is about the easiest and most delicious summer treat around. I like my Key Lime Pies to be super "Key Limey" - I'm not interested in a hint of lime: I want tart, authentic, in your face flavor so I only use Key Lime zest and juice, freshly squeezed from Key Limes - this is a bit of a pain in the ass - not gonna lie, but it's worth it. If you are on the fence about lime, move on, this is not for you! I also don't do a traditional graham cracker crust, I use a special blend of crumbs - also worth it. Intrigued? Want some pie in about 40 minutes? Read all the details (about 5 whole steps) after the jump!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hanger Steak. Corn and Avocado Salad. Chimichurri. You're Welcome

If hanger steak was a guy, it would be the dorky guy in high school that gets ignored, but then turns out to be Bill Gates: majorly underestimated. If it was a girl, it would be a good, cheap date. In addition to being cheap (I bought mine for $6.99/lb) the flavor is amazing with just salt and pepper and a nice grill. Lots more scoop on Hanger Steak can be found on Chowhound's blog here if you want to learn all about it. We grilled a 1 lb piece of meat for about 4 minutes a side - it was rare (which I like) but would recommend 5 minutes a side for most medium rare folks. On the side I did a chilled corn, avocado, cilantro, basil and onion salad and a "chimichurri" sauce. This is another really easy summer supper, and because of the low cost of ingredients would be great for a crowd as well. PS - chimichurri purists beware,  my definition of chimichurri is: "throw multiple herbs, vinegar, garlic, oil and salt in a blender" and then taste it until you like it. But dang, it tastes really good and I don't know what else to call it.

Read the full recipe after the jump.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Fennel Chicken Salad

If you want something healthy, fresh and super simple, this is an easy summer salad using fennel for a twist and texture and fresh herbs for flavor. Gour-maybe? caveat: this is not really a "man" salad - most men aren't just dying for some chicken salad and herbed greens. But your girlfriends will love it, so enjoy it with them. It's great on mixed greens (pictured - I buy the mixed greens with herbs blend) or in a sandwich - a toasted cranberry bread would be amazing). Fennel is a one of my favorite vegetables because it tastes amazing raw or cooked. Raw it's crunchy, sweet with a hint of licorice. Cooked it's mellow, and complex. It may look a little "alien like" with it's green frizzy stalks (fronds) and white bulb; but it adds an unexpected gourmet flavor and makes plain old chicken salad a little more exciting, so there. Don't be afraid to try it, you'll be glad you did.

Fennel Chicken Salad (serves 2)
You will need:
  • 1 1/2 lbs broiled chicken, chilled and cubed (about 1/2 dice)
  • 1 small fennel bulb, cored and diced into 1/4 inch dice (about 1/2 C)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced into about 1/4 inch dice (about 1/2 C)
  • 1 shallot, minced (about 2T)
  • 4 T mayonnaise (or your favorite mayo sub - although you're on your own at that point!)
  • 2 T minced chives
  • 1 T minced dill
  • 2 T minced tarragon leaves
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
Get ready for easy! Once you have chopped and prepped all the components combine them in a medium bowl. Stir. Marvel at the fact that you've just made a delicious meal in about 5 minutes. Let sit for about 2-4 hours for flavors to meld, but you can eat it immediately if you are very hungry. Who am I to judge?!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ode to Quiche

Dear Quiche, I love you. Quiche might possibly be the official Gour-maybe? food. Why? Because it looks impressive, it tastes amazing, and a monkey could make it if left with the ingredients in a closed room with an oven for long enough.They also are full of eggs and salt which are my favorites.  My first tip is to make a double batch of crust. That way you have four quiche (or tart or pie crusts) that you can use anytime. All you need to do is move them from the fridge to freezer for 24 hours and make the filling. Second – a quiche can be anything! Herbs, meat, herbs, vegetables and cheese, cheese and meat, ham, crab, anything. I have made some of my best ones from just whatever I had in the fridge. The crust is adapted from The Blackberry Farm Cookbook, I add more salt because I always do. I add a little less or more shortening by feel, but follow the recipe if that makes you uncomfortable. Recipe and how-to and more obsessing on quiche after the jump.