Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lamb Prosciutto & Blue Cheese Cream sauce

I created this dish to show case my Lamb Prosciutto. It's a very easy cream sauce to make.  This is not exactly a recipe but more about using some culinary techniques to create a sauce.  First let me talk about the Prosciutto a bit.  This Lamb Prosciutto has such a bold flavor that it had to be paired with something of equal boldness.  

Before I get to in-dept with this blogger post I wanted to let you know in advance that I left out some details.  I am hoping that the reader has some basic culinary skills.  So if you are looking for a comprehensive recipe stop and read no further.  If you have some skills and want to have some fun keep reading. 

I had to choose something that could stand up to the Lamb but not over shadow it. I chose Blue cheese. Blue cheese was the perfect compliment to the Lamb. OK, now that I have chosen blue cheese what else goes well with the Lamb.   

I have never sat down and talked with anyone about how they develop a dish. I am exploring new ways to express my self when it comes to my food passion. Writing down how I create a dish is very new to me. Everyone has their own style. So if you are still interested keep reading because this is my favorite things to do.....CREATE. 

This is what I do. I think about the
main ingredient and what would go well with it. In this case it was the Lamb.  What goes well with Lamb Prosciutto? I know, it's blue cheese. Blue cheese and What?  Ahhhh, it's gotta be a pasta and a cream sauce. How do you go about making a sauce? There many ways of making sauces. Is it an Emulsified sauce, not exactly?  

Nope....Stock based? Getting closer. Everything is better with cream and butter. I love Ports, Tawny's and Marsala wine too. Can I incorporate them all? Nope but maybe one of them.  

Do I need another protein to complement the Lamb Prosciutto? Yes I do. I chose Chicken Breasts. Ahh my creative juices are flaring.  

How can I incorporate Grey Poupon? Everyone knows that mustard is a powerful emulsifier and I want to use it. How to incorporate it though. 
Gotta have Roasted pine nuts. Pine nuts provide texture and flavor to the sauce. Place Pine nuts in fry pan, roast for 3 minutes until color forms...DONE. 

I love mushrooms for their texture and flavor so I incorporated them too.  

Sun-dried tomatoes were an obvious choice for their color and complex flavors.
Ahhh. Shallots were an obvious. There are simply sublime and scrumptious. I chose them for their mild flavor.

How to put it all together? 

First dry off your chicken breast with a paper towel and make sure their somewhat dry. With a dry exterior a crust forms quickly, thus flavor is produced. If you are curious this is called the maillard reaction. Salt and pepper breast and fry quickly in olive oil. They only need to be cooked about 70% through at this point. Set aside. 

Add some more olive oil and saute mushrooms for a few minutes. Than add your chopped shallots and do the same. Puree your sun-dried tomatoes or chop them fine and add them to the pan. Saute everything for a few minutes
until soft and fragrant. You can actually smell everything coming together. 
Deglaze  your pan with a Tawny (choose what every you want) about 1 cup. Reduce for a 2 minutes or so.  Add a cup of chicken stock. Reduce sauce for several minutes or until flavors have intensified. Yes taste your sauce. Adjust the seasoning. BTW- as I am adding the other ingredients to the pan I am adding salt and pepper. This is called layering your seasonings.  

After sauce had reduced to my
satisfaction I taste and adjust. I now continue to build my sauce. I add about two cups of cream and bring to a simmer. Again I am evaluating the viscosity of the sauce and flavors. I add some butter for flavor and to give it a sheen. Hmm almost perfect!!! Dang I forgot the Asparagus tips. This would have been a great addition Color and flavor all in one vegetable. I wish I would have thought of these two hours ago.   

Slice up the the Chicken breast while sauce is reducing. You will be using these right at the end. Have your Blue cheese standing by too. And have your Parsley chopped up to. 

Start adding your blue Cheese to the sauce. I ended up adding a whole wedge to my sauce. Probably about a cups worth.  

After you have incorporated all the cheese into the sauce add about 1-2 TBL's of Dijon mustard. This will really kick the sauce into the next realm.  

You don't want too much of a Dijon mustard taste just a hint in the background when you taste it so it's almost unrecognizable. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Flintstones French Toast

Don't kid your self bigger is always better. Fred would be proud to eat this French Toast. For those readers that never watched the Flintstones you don't know what you were missing.  Fred had a huge appetite that only a mother could love and a heart to match.
I am sure if Fred came across my French Toast he would utter his famous phase"YABBA DABBA DOO"     
Forewarned these babies are stuffed and high in calories so dieters beware. Definitely not for people watching their waist line. These babies are carb overload and like Fred you will need a nap after breakfast. 

First thing you have to decide is what kind of bread you want to use. 

You gotta choose something that can hold up to the stuffing and a crushing dip into frosted flakes. 
I chose Challah for my French toast. Challah is a egg enriched bread and it makes incredible French Toast.

When I have time I like making my
own.  I like to roll each strand of braid in cinnamon sugar first before braiding It creates an incredible flavor. If you cannot find Challah than almost any thick sliced bread can work. Try a Pullman loaf UN-sliced or Texas Toast. 

Now on to the creme de la creme which I call the Flintstones French Toast. Slice the bread into very thick slices. Spread cream cheese on both sides of bread and place your favorite fruit on one side. If peaches would have been in season I would have used them. My alternate was strawberries. 

Close the sandwich up. 

Have a bowl of crushed Frosted Flakes
available for dipping. 

Dip your French Toast into the batter and make sure it gets a good wet coating. now dip into frosted flakes. 

Make sure that your frosted flakes have been crushed very small so they will stick your to your egg dipped bread. Ensure that your Frosted flakes cover the sides and surface of your bread.  

Fry until golden brown!!!!! Top with your favorite sauce or my favorite Butter Pecan Peach Sauce.  

French Toast Batter
2 cups of Half and Half
6 eggs
1/2 tsp of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

lots of butter for frying. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Butter Pecan Peach Sauce

This sauce is the Bomb!!! That's of course dependent  on whether you like rich like substances that just oozes and screams delicious.  

I have to be honest this is not exactly my recipe.  I first came across it while dining in a fancy restaurant. I had this wonderful french toast made with Challah and they topped it with sliced peaches and candied walnuts.  

After I added butter and maple syrup to my French toast the gastronomic explosion happened and a new sauce was created. 

If fresh peaches are out of season or you don't want to go to the trouble than canned peaches are completely acceptable.  Just choose peaches in light syrup because you are going to drain off the syrup anyway. 

Combine in Saucepan 

About 3 cups of fresh sliced peaches 
or 2 cans of peaches in light syrup drained. 
1 stick of unsalted butter (4 oz)
1 cup (or more) of your favorite Dark Maple syrup.

2-3 cups of Pecans (more is better in my opinion) 
Heat through and reduce sauce a bit or until desired thickness.  If you plan on reducing it a lot add the Pecans after you have already reduced it a bit. I prefer a thicker sauce so I add my pecans in last.  


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Finito Agnello Prosciutto è Sorprendente

"Mary had a little Lamb?  That's right "HAD" is used in past tense. Mary no longer has a Lamb. In fact she is dragging the Lamb to the butcher."  Vegans beware I love meat!!!!

"Mary had a little lamb
She ate it with mint jelly
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb in her belly was sure to go"

Finito Agnello Prosciutto è Sorprendente means I finished my Lamb Prosciutto and it's Amazing. The genesis of this Lamb can be found here titled Charcuterie Lamb Prosciutto. 

A special thanks to Jason Molinari of cured meats blog for sharing his recipe!!! 

After 14 days of curing and 75 days of drying the Lamb was done.  It had lost 30.5% of its weight. Original weight was 2150 grams and its final weight was 1496 grams.

Now on to the tasting profile.  

First let me say you have 
to be a Lamb Lover to like
this. The curing process really intensifies the flavor so if you are so so on Lamb I would give it a pass.  I have read some blogs that say that Lamb Prosciutto is gamey. I would have to respectfully disagree.  

Lamb Prosciutto is Bold in flavor but it is certainly not gamey.  Because of the perfect ratio of herbs/spices there is a perfect balance.  The texture surprised me.  I did not expect the prosciutto to be so smooth and silky becaused it was rolled and tied.  Inaddition, as the lamb pressed against my taste buds it was surprisingly delicate. Very hard to describe with words.  
Nothing stands out as over powering except for the very bold Lamb flavor.  

Would I make it again....YES!!!! 

Would I change anything....NO!!!!!!

I wanted to give you a review of a product I used to bind the meat together. Before Tying, I used a called Transglutaminase Activa . 

 I used  Transglutaminase Activa because it helps create a glue like substance that binds the meat together. I just loved this product.  It created a perfect fused symmetrical shape that allowed me to slice it perfectly and it did not fall apart.  I attribute the smoothness and silky to this product. You would never know this was a rolled up piece of meat. Absolutely amazing.  

Vacuumed sealed with wax paper separating each slice. 

Lamb Prosciutto & Blue Cheese Cream sauce