Friday, May 05, 2006

The Culinary Sleuth Strikes Again!

In my next-to-the-most-recent post entitled, "After a shocking 11-day silence...," I waxed not very poetically about a most excellent French-inspired banquet that I enjoyed while at my dog breed's annual national event in Sacramento last week. Upon returning home, I e-mailed the very talented and genial caterer named Pam Tobin, herself a breeder of Great Pyrenees (dog people are good folk!), and she was EXTREMELY gracious in sharing the recipes that she used for the menu that night with me. And I, in turn, am "paying it forward" with her kind permission. Now I'm not sure about the original source of each recipe--some are Pam's and some are from other sources as well. But wherever they come from, I'm sure that you will enjoy these dishes--ESPECIALLY the Gratin Dauphinois. Outstanding!

serves 6

4 lb. pork roast, boneless (typical of what you find in the store)

If they aren't already split, then lay them on the cutting board and split them horizontally to the end of the roast but not cutting through the roast. Next turn the roast around and cut it again horizontally so that now you have a butterfly effect and the roast can be laid flat out. Set aside.

Grand Marnier Apricot Stuffing

1 cup finely diced dried apricots (best to use a food processor)
1-1/2 cups Grand Marnier

Combine the apricots and 1 cup of Grand Marnier in a small saucepan. Heat to boiling and remove and set aside.

1 lb bulk pork sausage, cooked and drained and set aside

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups coarsely chopped celery
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 lb herb stuffing mix
1 cups slivered almonds
2 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Melt 1/2 cup butter in skillet over medium heat. Add celery, onion and sauté for 10 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the stuffing mix, apricots with the liquid, and almonds. Mix together. Heat the remaining 1/2 cup butter and stock in small saucepan until butter melts. Pour over the stuffing mixture and add remaining 1/2 cup Grand Marnier. Stir well, and season with thyme.

Lay your stuffing mixture, beginning in the center of the pork roast, in a thin layer working within 1/2 inch of the edges. Make sure that the stuffing mixture is spread thinly. That way, after the roast is cooked and sliced, it will reveal a nice even spiral. Roll the roast tightly, fat side out and tie off with string (if you don't have any, ask your butcher at the store for string to roll your roast for cooking).

Herb Rub for Pork Roast

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan. Coat roast with 2 tablespoons olive oil and apply the herb coating. Cook at 350 degrees for approximately 1-1/2 hr. Use meat thermometer to determine cooking time.


4-5 lb. tri-tip roast

Oven roast at 350 or cook on the BBQ or rotisserie. Slice roast against the grain and serve with choice of sauces (below).

Peppercorn Sauce (Sauce au Poivre)
4 servings

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 oz. butter (1/4 stick)
1 tablespoon cracked black (or green) peppercorns
1/2 cup red wine (Cotes de Rhone or pinot noir)
8 fl oz. demi-glace (you can use 1-1/2 oz of Demi-Glace Gold reconstituted in 8 fluid ounces of hot water)
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Melt butter in sauce pan and sauté shallots for approximately 2 minutes until transparent. Add peppercorns and red wine, and reduce to an essence (approx 2-3 minutes.) Add the demi-glace and stir with a whisk until glace is dissolved. Add water and simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon. Blend in chopped parsley and serve over broiled steak. Sauce is best over steak with all fat trimmed. Steaks can be either pan fried, broiled, grilled or whatever the preference.

Bordelaise Sauce
serves 4

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 oz. butter (1/4 stick)
4 oz. diced beef bone marrow*
1/4 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 cup red wine (Cotes de Rhone or pinot noir)
1 cup demi-glace (you can use 1-1/2 oz. Demi-Glace Gold reconstituted in 8 ounces of hot water)

Melt butter in a saucepan and sauté shallots for approximately 2 minutes until transparent. Add red wine and reduce for about 2-3 minutes to an essence. Add thyme and peppercorns and reduce further for approximately 2-3 minutes until almost no liquid remains. Add demi-glace and simmer for about 5-6 minutes until sauce begins to thicken. In a separate pan, simmer diced bone marrow in water for 3-4 minutes. Drain water and add diced marrow to sauce and simmer for approximately 2 minutes. Serve over tournedos, beef tenderloin steaks or rump steaks.

*If bone marrow is not available, you an substitute butter instead. Sauce is excellent over grilled or roast beef as well.

Cognac Mustard Sauce
serves 4-6

1 cup cognac
3 cups manufacturer's cream or heavy cream
3 tablespoons coarse ground mustard

In a saucepan add the cognac and reduce to 1/3. Add the cream, reduce to 1/2 again. Add mustard and whisk. Note: manufacturer's cream will foam and bubble over and needs to be watched carefully but is preferred in this menu for the texture that compliments the pork.

Gratin Dauphinois (Potato Bake)
serves 6

1 clove garlic (minced in food processor)
4 tablespoons butter
2 lbs. boiling potatoes (sliced very thinly, 1/2 inch thick, food processor works best)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 lb. gruyere cheese, shredded
1/2 cup manufacturer's cream or heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk

Spread in shallow baking dish the minced garlic and dot with 1 tablespoon butter. Spread half of the sliced potatoes in the dish, sprinkling with half each of the salt, pepper, nutmeg and cheese. Cut 2 tablespoons of the butter into small bits and use to dog (LOL! canine Freudian slip--I think she meant "dot!") the surface. Spread the remaining potatoes on top and sprinkle them with the remaining salt, pepper, nutmeg and cheese. Cut the remaining tablespoon of butter into small bits and use them to dot the top.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream and milk just to a boil. Pour the milk over the potatoes, sliding knife between the edges of the pan and the potatoes to help the milk run underneath. Bake until the milk is absorbed and a golden brown crust forms 35-45 minutes. The timing depends upon how thinly the potatoes are sliced. Serve immediately from the dish.

Chocolate Mousse

6 oz. semi-sweet dark chocolate, chopped coarsely
4 tablespoons butter
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (pure)
2 tablespoons strong coffee, or 4 teaspoons brandy or orange-flavored liqueur
4 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup chilled manufacturer's cream or heavy cream

Melt chocolate, then whisk butter in one tablespoon at a time. Stir in salt, vanilla, and coffee until mixed well. Whisk in egg yolks one at a time before adding the next, and then set aside. In a clean bowl, stir egg whites over a saucepan of hot water until slightly warm, 1-2 minutes. Remove bowl, and beat with mixer at medium speed until white peaks form. Raise to high speed and slowly add sugar beating until soft peaks form. Whisk one quarter of the whites into the chocolate mixture and lighten, then gently fold in remaining egg white. Whip cream to soft peaks, gently fold into the mousse, spoon into bowls and refrigerate at least 2 hrs. Can be make 24 hrs ahead.

Gorgonzola, Walnut and Pear Salad

mixed greens
grape tomatoes
cranberries, dried
candied or toffee walnuts
pear slices (canned or fresh)
Gorgonzola cheese (crumbled over top of salad )

Dress with red wine vinaigrette or champagne pear vinaigrette or any vinaigrette of your choice.

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