Friday, February 27, 2015

Crawfish Brandy Crème Omelette








     Omelette Nantua!
     Crawfish Brandy Crème omelets are a traditional New Orleans brunch entrée.  Today's omelette recipe only requires a few items, yet the flavor is sophisticated and very rich.  Crawfish Brandy Crème Omelets have been a popular brunch items since the 1800's for one good reason.  The flavor combination is superb!    
     When shelling poached crawfish tails, it is important to retain the orange colored crawfish fat.  It is the crawfish fat that give the sauce its color.  Crawfish fat is pure flavor!
     Cognac (brandy) Crème Sauce reached a peak in popularity in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  Brandy Crème sauce is still popular in modern times.
     In classic French cuisine, the word "Nantua" can be used to describe any food preparation that contains crawfish.  Today's omelette recipe can be called "Omelette Nantua."  Because brandy actually is a selling point, the name "Crawfish Brandy Créme Omelette" actually is a better choice.
     Sauce Nantua can be used to make a Crawfish Brandy Crème.  Sauce Nantua is béchamel sauce and Crawfish Butter combined.  There is no brandy in a classic Sauce Nantua recipe.  Shelled crawfish tails are an optional garnish for Nantua Sauce.
     Beurre Nantua is a compound butter or a butter sauce that is made with copious amounts of crawfish fat.  Beurre Nantua (crawfish butter) should be added after the brandy and béchamel are reduced, if the Nantua Sauce option is chosen.
     Basically, the sauce in today's recipe can be called Nantua, but by not mentioning the brandy, it would be like giving liquor away for free!

     Eggs can be cooked to any state of doneness that guests prefer.  There actually is no "one size fits all rule" for egg cookery!  Saying that an omelette cannot have any other color than yellow is like telling a chef to turn valuable customers away.
     Some cuisines actually require omelets to be cooked to a golden color.  Types of Classic French Omelette Soufflé is often cooked to a deep brown color.  Sausage omelets almost always cooked till golden brown highlights appear.  As one can see, eggs should be cooked to suit the nature of a recipe or to suit the needs of guests.
     Light golden colored omelets are common in classic French New Orleans Cuisine.  Louisiana French chefs get the most out of every possible flavor on a plate.  An omelette that has golden highlights, has just the right flavor for a rich brandy crème sauce.

     There is a fine line between golden caramelization and browning.  The omelette in the photos is an example of lacy golden caramelization finish.  To achieve a golden color, the temperature should not be raised, or the cooking pace will end up being hasty.  High temperatures and eggs do not mix!  Patience is the only way to create light golden caramelization on an omelette.
     Most chefs discourage peeking to see if the color is just right, but with eggs that is okay.  By prying the edge of the omelette up with a ribber spatula, the state of doneness can be seen. 

     Crawfish Brandy Crème:
     This recipe yields 1 generous portion of sauce!
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/3 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour, while constantly stirring with a whisk, to make a thin roux.  (The roux should look like a shiny and it should not look caky.)
     Stir till the roux becomes a light blond color and a hazelnut aroma develops.
     Step 2:  Add 2 teaspoons of minced shallot.
     Add 1/2 cup of milk.
     Add 1/3 cup of cream.
     Add 1 cup of brandy.
     Step 3:  Bring the liquid to a gentle boil, while whisking occasionally.  (Try not to flambé.)
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 20 to 25 shelled poached crawfish tails and the orange crawfish fat from the shells.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 small laurel leaf.
     Step 5:  Simmer and reduce, till the sauce is a thin consistency that can evenly coat a spoon.
     Keep the crawfish brandy crème warm over very low heat.
     Remove the laurel leaf before serving.

     Crawfish Brandy Crème Omelette:
     This recipe yields 1 petite omelette!  
     For a hearty omelette, use 3 large eggs.
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 whisked large eggs.
     Use a rubber spatula to even the edges of the omelette.
     Step 2:  When the eggs become firm on the bottom half, flip the omelette.
     Cook the omelette till it is fully cooked and golden highlights appear.
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Spoon a few crawfish tails and some of the brandy crème sauce on the center of the omelette.
     Step 4:  Fold the omelette in half and slide it onto a plate.
     Spoon a generous amount of the crawfish brandy crème over the omelette.
     Step 5:  Garnish the omelette with 1 warm poached whole crawfish.
     Garnish the plate with an Italian Parsley sprig.

     This is an unforgettably good tasting New Orleans style omelette! 

Frittata alla Piemontese






     A Nice Italian Frittata With Ingredients Representative Od Piedmont!
     Gorgonzola is a famous cheese that is made in the Piedmont region.  Gorgonzola is considered to be the grandfather of all bleu cheese.  Penicillium roqueforti is what give bleu cheese its unique flavor.  There are a few varieties of Penicillium roqueforti, but the original source of this classic fungus has been determined to be near ancient Rome.  Gorgonzola is the first cave aged bleu cheese that reached notoriety.
     Catholic Monks brought their cheese making expertise throughout Europe during the age of the Roman Empire.  Strains of the original Roman Penicillium roqueforti were used by monks to create many classic bleu cheese varieties, like French Roquefort and Fromage St. Agur.  Many of the classic French bleu cheese are variations of the original Gorgonzola recipe.  Gorgonzola is definitely a groundbreaking historic cheese!
  
     Gorgonzola Cheese is remarkably good tasting with eggs.  Gorgonzola is creamy tasting when it melts and the sharp flavor lingers on.  For a frittata, a little bit of Gorgonzola goes a long way.
     When cooking Italian food, I try to use traditional ingredients in my recipes.  White Truffles are the mushroom that is associated with Piedmont, Italy.
     I made today's frittata in Chicago and white truffle mushrooms were not stocked at any food markets.  The flavor of shaved white truffle is best or this recipe, if you can find any for sale.
     Substituting a mushroom that is easier to get is okay to do, especially when no truffles are available.  In a restaurant, the menu price would have to be adjusted accordingly.  Suitable substitutes are white cave mushrooms, porcini or portobello.

     Spinach, Asparagus and Mushroom Preparation:
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 large cave mushroom or portobello that is thin sliced.
     Add 6 thin asparagus spears.  (Peel the spears only if the skin is tough.)
     Lightly sauté the sliced mushroom and asparagus spears, till the asparagus become al dente.
     Place the asparagus and mushrooms on a platter and keep them warm on a stove top.
     Step 2:  Place the sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add butter to the pan if there is not enough to sauté the spinach.
     Add 1/2 clove of minced garlic.
     Saute till the garlic starts to turn a golden color.
     Step 3:  Add 2 cups of fresh baby spinach leaves.
     Sauté and stir, till the spinach wilts.
     Set the wilted spinach aside with the other vegetables and keep them warm on a stove top.
  
     Frittata alla Piemontese
     This recipe yields 1 frittata.  
     A frittata made with 2 large eggs is petite.  For a heartier frittata 3 large eggs is the ticket!
     Italian frittatas are nearly always composed.  Composed means arranging the ingredients to create nice eye appeal.
     If white truffles are used to make this frittata, the wait till the frittata is being assembled, then shave the truffle over the eggs, before the Gorgonzola is sprinkled on the eggs.  For regular mushrooms, just sauté them with the other vegetables.
     Step 1:  Place 3 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 4 chopped fresh basil leaves.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Whisk the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Ass 1/2 teaspoon of pomace olive oil.
     Add the egg mixture.
     Use a spatula to even the edges of the frittata.
     After the bottom half of the frittata is cooked firm, remove the pan from the heat.  The top half of the frittata should be runny eggs.
     Step 3:  Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of grated mozzarella cheese on the uncooked eggs on top of the frittata.
     Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of crumbled gorgonzola cheese on the frittata.
     Arrange the asparagus spears and mushroom slices on top of the frittata so they look nice.  (Trim the length of the spears if necessary.)
     Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of fine plain Italian bread crumbs over the frittata.
     Step 4:  Place the sauté pan and frittata in a 350ºF oven.
     Bake till the cheese melts and till the eggs are fully cooked.  (Do not brown the gorgonzola cheese or it will taste bitter!)
     Step 5:  Slide the frittata onto a plate.
     Place the wilted garlic spinach on the center of the frittata.
     No garnish is necessary!
  
     This is one of my favorite frittatas!

English Cotswold Cheese Egg & Smoked Beef Sausage Grinder ... with Italian Brown Mushrooms and Sweet Malt Vinegar Stewed Tomato







     A Tasty English Style Oven Baked Breakfast Grinder With Cotswold Cheese!
     Big people food for big people that do big things!  Sure, I do modern petite portion French health cuisine food, but what fun is that?  Other than getting a compliment about the artistic presentation or the flavor, there generally is not much more to say about such an entrée, especially when hungry!
  
     Not everybody likes to eat fancy looking high price food.  Some folks would rather go for the gusto and munch on hearty "easy to recognize" food that is fun to eat.  Grabbing a big hearty breakfast sandwich with two fists, sinking the teeth in and tearing off oversize mouthfuls like some kind of an animal is what the majority of the restaurant going public prefers to do.  The good old hunter gatherer human instinct does come into play, especially when eating breakfast with bare hands.   
     
     Cotswold Cheese
     Cotswold Cheese is traditional variation of Double Gloucester Cheese.  Double Gloucester Cheese is aged longer than Single Gloucester, so the flavor tends to be more savory and sharp.  Double Gloucester has a flavor that can initially be compared to a fine English cheddar, but the lingering aftertaste is a bit richer, like a fine gouda that is aged for about one year.  
     Cotswold Cheese is made by blending spring onions and chives into Double Gloucester Cheese.  Cotswold Cheese has been made for many years, so it is not just a trendy modern small farm specialty cheese that has an infused flavor.  
     This cheese has a high fat content, so it easily melts.  Cotswold Cheese can be a bit strong for breakfast if too much is added to a recipe.  For breakfast, it is best to keep in mind that a little bit of Cotswold Cheese goes a long way.  

     Sweet Malt Vinegar Stewed Tomatoes: 
     This recipe yields about 1 cup of sauce or enough sauce for 2 to 3 sandwiches!
     Simple sweet tomato sauces are popular in England and many parts of Northern Europe.  Malt Vinegar adds a nice mild acidic flavor that brightens up this sauce.  
     The better the tomatoes, the better the sauce.  Soft overripe tomatoes are best for stewing, but they are not always available.  Canned whole Italian San Marzano Tomatoes are also great for stewing, because they are very tender and they have a rich flavor. 
     Step 1:  Place 1 1/3 cups of Imported canned Italian San Marzano tomatoes with a portion of their own juices in a mixing bowl.
     Crush the tomatoes by hand into small chunks and set them aside.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Gently sauté till the onions turn clear in color.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of malt vinegar.
     Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
     Add the reserved prepared tomatoes.
     Add 1 cup of light vegetable broth.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of basil.
     Add 1 small pinch of allspice.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil over medium heat.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce, till the excess liquid evaporates and the stewed tomatoes become a medium consistency.
     Add 1 pinch of minced Italian parsley.
     Keep the sweet malt vinegar stewed tomatoes warm over very low heat. 
  
     Smoked Beef Sausage: 
     This recipe yields enough for 1 sandwich!
     Smoked sausages are already fully cooked, so they only need to be roasted till they are warm and lightly browned.  
     Cut a 4" to 5" length of smoked beef sausage or smoked kielbasa.
     Place the sausage on a roasting pan.
     Place the pan in a 300º oven.
     Slowly roast the sausage, till it is hot and lightly browned.
     Allow the sausage to cool for about 2 minutes.
     Cut the sausage into thin slices and place them in a container.
     Keep the sausage warm on a stove top. 
     
     Italian Brown Mushrooms (Portobello):   
     This recipe yields enough for 1 sandwich!
     Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 medium size portobello that are thin sliced.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Sauté till the mushrooms become tender and light brown highlights appear.
     Keep the mushrooms warm on a stove top. 

     English Cotswold Cheese Egg & Smoked Beef Sausage Grinder ... with Italian Brown Mushrooms and Sweet Malt Vinegar Stewed Tomato:    
     This recipe yields 1 hearty breakfast grinder.
     A grinder is an oven baked submarine sandwich!
     Step 1:  Split a 6" to 8" whole wheat hoagie roll open and brush the roll with melted unsalted butter.
     Grill the roll on a griddle over medium/medium low heat, till it is lightly toasted.
     Keep the roll warm on a stove top.
     Step 2:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 whisked large eggs.  
     Cook the eggs omelette style.  (Flip the eggs and cook them on both sides.)
     Step 3:  Triple fold the eggs and place the eggs on the toasted hoagie roll.  
     Place the reserved sautéed portobello and sliced smoked sausage on the eggs.
     Sprinkle about 2 to 3 tablespoons of finely grated Cotswold Cheese over the sausage, mushrooms and eggs.
     Step 4:  Place the sandwich on a baking pan.
     Place the pan in a 350º oven.
     Bake till the cheese becomes soft and it starts to melt.  (Do not brown the cheese or it will taste bitter!)
     Step 5:  Place the sandwich on a plate.
     Spoon a generous amount of the sweet malt vinegar stewed tomatoes over the sandwich.
     Garnish the plate with Italian parsley sprigs.  

     Voila!  A hearty English style breakfast grinder that will brighten up the daily grind!             

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ful Medames with Roasted Piment and Za'atar Spice







     Egyptian Ful Medames With Garnishes That Compliment The Traditional Flavor!
     Ful Medames is a famous traditional Egyptian recipe.  Ful Medames is usually served as breakfast and it happens to be one of the healthiest of all breakfast entrées of them all. 
     There are several different ways to present Egyptian Ful Medames.  I posted a classic Ful Medames recipe a while ago and the classic presentation is my favorite version.  A classic Ful Medames looks richer and thicker than today's recipe version.  I have seen many versions of Ful Medames that were not stewed till the mixture became thick from soft mashed Fava Beans.  The onions can easily be seen when they are not mashed with the beens.  

     Just to jazz the Ful Medames up a little bit, I decided to use roasted red bell pepper as a garnish.  Just like with Harissa, roasted red bell peppers is popular nearly everywhere in North Africa.  Harissa paste is the most popular pepper product in North Africa and one of the ingredients in Harissa Paste is roasted red bell pepper.  Roasted bell pepper does taste nice with Ful Medames.

     Za'atar Spice has its origins in ancient Egypt.  Za'atar has been made since before the age of the Pharaohs.  There are nearly as many recipes for Za'atar Spice mix as there are cooks in the Middle East region.  Every cook custom blends their own Za'atar and some family recipes are a closely guarded secret.  
     A few of the Za'atar ingredients are hard to find outside of the Middle East.  Wild Thyme is a one of a kind herb and it tastes nothing like regular European Thyme.  Regular thyme is not an acceptable substitute for wild thyme.  
     The cost of buying the spices separately, costs much more than buying a container of pre-mixed za'atar spice.  Pre-made za'atar spice mixes can be found in Mediterranean food markets.  I chose a Za'atar from Jordan for today's recipe.  The Jordan Za'atar has a high proportion of Wild Thyme in the blend.  
     Za'atar is not part of a traditional Ful Medames recipe, but it does add a nice traditional Egyptian flavor.  The Za'atar spice takes the place of parsley in today's recipe.  Only 2 to 3 pinches of Za'atar are needed to flavor the Ful Medames.  
     One thing to keep in mind when cooking the onions and garlic for Ful Medames, is that the onions should not be browned at all.  The onions should be cooked only till they are clear in color, so they remain sweet tasting.  

     Ful Medames with Roasted Piment and Za'atar Spice:
     Step 1:  Place 1 large brown egg in salted water in a sauce pot.  
     Bring the water to a boil and set the timer for 12 minutes.
     Cool the hard boiled egg under cold running water.
     Use a spoon to crack the shell and peel half of the egg.
     Loosen the remaining shell that is attached, so the the egg is easy to pop out, when eaten by hand.
     Set the egg aside.
     Step 2:  Place 1 1/4 cups of rinsed cooked soft fava beans or rinsed canned fava beans in a mixing bowl.   
     Mash 1/2 of the beans.  (If the fava beans are very soft, leaving them whole is optional.  Some people like to mash the beans while they eat.) 
     Set the beans aside.
     Step 3:  Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1 ounce of olive oil.
     Add 2 coarsely chopped garlic cloves.
     Add 3 to 4 slices of onion that are about 1/4" thick.
     Sauté till the onions turn clear in color.
     Step 4:  Add 1 peeled seeded roasted red bell pepper that is cut into wide strips.
     Add the prepared fava beans.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of za'atar spice.
     Add 1 pinch of ground fenugreek.
     Add 1 pinch of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 8 torn Italian Parsley leaves.
     Step 5:  Simmer and reduce, till the water is almost evaporated.
     Add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
     Add 1 ounce of virgin olive oil.
     Stir the the ingredients together.
     Remove the pan from the heat.

     Presentation:
     Mound the Ful Medames on a plate.
     Arrange the roasted red pepper strips on the top center of the mound, as a bed for the egg.
     Pour any excess lemon juice and olive oil in the pan over the Ful Medames.
     Place the half peeled hard boiled egg on the bed of roasted red pepper strips.
     Sprinkle a little bit of paprika over the egg.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.
     Serve with lemon wedges, pita bread and lavash bread on the side. 

     The health benefits of eating Ful Medames are easy to imagine.  The za'atar spice and roasted pepper create a nice flavor!  

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Hawaiian Spam-Yam-'Mato Omelette








     Spam-Yam-'Mato?  
     The ingredients in this omelette are a fun combination of flavors.  Spam-Yam-'Mato is short for Spam, Hawaiian Purple Yam and Tomato.  The name kind of has a nifty ring to it!  
     Spam is very popular in Hawaii.  Hawaii hosts the Waikiki Spam Jam Festival every year.  No where else but Hawaii is Spam held so high on a pedestal!
     Cooking Spam is a personal thing.  Some folks like their Spam grilled dark brown.  Some people like their Spam cooked lightly.  Many people like their Spam straight out of the can and sliced thin like a lunchmeat.  For today's recipe, I lightly sautéed thin slices of Spam.  How the slices of Spam are cooked is up to your own preference.

     Purple Yam that is sold in most food markets actually is a Purple Sweet Potato.  There is such a thing as a true Purple Yam and it is popular in the Philippines.  Powdered Purple Yam is used to make traditional Filipino cakes.  Both Purple Yam and Purple Sweet Potato have a sweet flavor.    
     Purple Yam (Purple Sweet Potato) is popular in Hawaii.  In Las Vegas, many food markets sell Purple Yam by the name Hawaiian Yam.  Asian food markets are a good place to find fresh Purple Sweet Potato or Purple Yam.  Purple Yam has a nice sweet candy like sweet potato flavor.

     I chose Pepper Jack Cheese for this omelette creation, because I wanted to add a mild spicy flavor kick.  Cheddar, Swiss, Munster or Monterey Jack all are nice choices for this omelette too.

     *This recipe yields 1 omelette!

     Purple Yam (Purple Sweet Potato) Preparation:  
     Boil 2 cups of water in a small sauce pot over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of julienne sliced purple yam.
     Blanch the purple yam matchsticks, till they are cooked al dente.  (Do not over cook the purple yam matchsticks, or they will easily break apart!)
     Drain the water off of the purple yam matchsticks and set them aside to cool.

     Spam Preparation:  
     Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 4 slices of Spam that are about 3/16" thick.  
     Sauté the spam, till golden brown highlights appear on both sides.
     Keep the Spam warm on a stove top.

     Hawaiian Spam-Yam-'Mato Omelette:
     Step 1:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of milk.
     Whisk the egg mixture, till it is slightly foamy.
     Step 2:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Place 5 or 6 slices of plum tomato in the pan, so they are evenly spaced and they cover the bottom of the pan.
     Briefly grill the tomato slices on both sides, till they start to become tender. 
     Step 3:  Slowly pour the egg mixture over the sliced tomatoes, so the tomatoes stay in place and so they do not float on the eggs.
     Sprinkle the blanched purple yam matchsticks on the eggs.
     Even the edges of the omelette with a rubber spatula.
     Step 4:  When the bottom half of the omelette is cooked firm, flip the omelette.
     Immediately place a few thin slices of pepper jack cheese on the omelette.
     Place the grilled spam slices on the cheese on only one half of the omelette.
     Step 5:  After the eggs are fully cooked, fold the omelette in half.
     Slide the omelette onto a plate
     Garnish with a parsley sprig.

     I know that the combination of ingredients may seem awkward, but they taste incredibly good together.  The flavors create a unique diner restaurant style Hawaiian breakfast flavor! 

Swiss Chard, Yukon Gold Potato & Feta Omelette Soufflé








     European Style Omelette Soufflé!
     An omelette soufflé only takes a little more effort to make than a standard omelette.  As can be seen in the pictures, the texture is very light and fluffy.  Two eggs that are souffléd will puff up to look like a large 3 egg standard omelette.
     The combination of ingredients that flavor today's omelette soufflé are European in nature.  Swiss Chard Omelets are traditional in Northern European regions, especially near the Alps.  Potato makes the omelette more filling and the carbohydrates provide warmth in cold weather.
     Feta Cheese is fresh goat cheese that is packed and hardened in brine.  Goat cheese is very high in protein and it has almost no fat content, therefore it does not melt like cow's milk cheese.  Goat cheese merely softens when heated.  Goat cheese of any kind has become popular with health minded people in the last few decades.

     *This entire recipe yields 1 omelette soufflé! 
  
     Yukon Gold Potatoes:
     Place about 3 or 4 small Yukon Gold Bliss Potatoes in a sauce pot and cover them with water.  (About 1/2 cup in volume)  
     Boil the potatoes over medium high heat till they are tender.
     Cool the potatoes under cold running water.
     Cut the potatoes into thick half moon shaped slices.
     Set the potatoes aside.

     Swiss Chard:
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Sauté till the shallots turn clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add 1 1/4 cups of swiss chard leaves that are cut into 2" wide ribbons.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Sauté the swiss chard, till it is wilted.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 cup of chicken stock.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of white wine vinegar.
     Pan braise the swiss chard, till the liquid has evaporates.  
     Set the Swiss Chard aside.

     Swiss Chard, Yukon Gold Potato & Feta Omelette Soufflé:
     Only a little bit of feta cheese is needed, because feta has a strong flavor.  Feta cheese will not melt, but it will become soft and aromatic. 
     Step 1:  Separate the yolks and whites of 2 eggs into 2 separate mixing bowls.
     Whisk the egg yolks, till ribbons start to appear.
     Step 2:  Whisk the egg whites, till medium soft meringue peaks are formed.
     Step 3:  Gently fold the yolks into the meringue.
     Step 4:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
     Use a rubber spatula to help pour the souffléd eggs into the pan.
     Quickly use the rubber spatula even the shape of the omelette.
     As soon as the bottom half of the omelette is cooked firm, remove the pan from the heat.
     Step 5:  Place the potatoes on the uncooked eggs.
     Place the Braised Swiss Chard on the eggs.
     Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of crumbled feta cheese over the eggs.
     Step 6:  Immediately place the sauté pan in a 350º oven.
     Bake the omelette soufflé, till the eggs soufflé (puff up) and till they are fully cooked and the bottom half of the omelette is a golden brown color.
     Step 7:  Remove the omelette soufflé pan from the oven.
     Fold the omelette soufflé in half while sliding it onto a plate.
     Garnish the plate with parsley sprigs.
  
     A nice winter omelette soufflé!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cajun Shrimp Bubble n' Squeak







     Cajun Style!
     For those who always wondered about how to jazz up leftover potatoes and cabbage, a Louisiana Cajun style version of English Bubble n' Squeak is the answer! 
     Traditional Bubble n' Squeak is made by shaping patties out of leftover cabbage and potatoes from a previous meal, then grilling the patties on a hot griddle.  The vegetable patties make all sorts of grease popping squeaks as they cook.  This is how Bubble n' Squeak got its name.
     Cajuns do like to adapt their own traditional flavors to recipes.  Cajun spices do jazz today's recipe up.  Leftover or fresh seafood, crawfish, catfish, frog legs or shrimp can be add to the cabbage and potato mixture.  When the Cajun Bubble n' Squeak is served for breakfast with eggs, the aroma spells pure lip smackin' goodness!   

     Cajun Spice Mix:
     This recipe yields enough spice mix for about 4 blackened fish recipes or for flavoring 6 Cajun style recipes.  
     Only dried herbs should be used!
     Place 1/2 tablespoon of onion powder into a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder.
     Add 4 tablespoons paprika.
     Add 4 tablespoons of cayenne pepper.  
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt.
     Add 1 teaspoon of thyme.
     Add 1 teaspoon of tarragon.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of basil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of marjoram.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of oregano.
     Add 2 pinches of ground celery seed.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     
     Cajun Shrimp Bubble n' Squeak
     This recipe yields one individual serving!
     If no leftover potatoes and cabbage are available, then just cook some up fresh!  
     Even leftover kale can be used in this recipe.  I added some purple kale to the example in the pictures above.  
     The potato can be leftover roasted, mashed or boiled potato.  Fried potato is not a good choice for making bubble and squeak.
     Step 1:  Place 3/4 cup of leftover cooked russet potato in a mixing bowl.  
     Add 3/4 cup of chopped leftover boiled or braised cabbage.
     Add 1 or 2 chopped green onions. 
     Add 1/2 tablespoon to 1 tablespoon of the Cajun Spice Mix.  (The more Cajun Spice, the hotter it will be!)
     Use a fork or potato masher to mash the ingredients, till the ingredients start to stick together.
     Step 2:  Add 1 cup of peeled popcorn shrimp.  (The tiny popcorn shrimp can be raw or pre-cooked.  They are usually sold as a frozen product.)
     Mix the ingredients together.  
     Shape the bubble and squeak mixture into a large patty shape if possible.  (Since shrimp were added, the mixture might not hold its own shape.  The mixture will have to be grilled and pressed like breakfast hash.)
     Step 3:  Heat a seasoned cast iron griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Pour 2 tablespoons od melted unsalted butter on the griddle.
     Place the Cajun Shrimp Bubble and Squeak mixture on the griddle.
     Grill the bubble and squeak on both sides, till it becomes fully cooked and golden brown highlights appear.  Try to press the mixture into a patty shape.

     Presentation:
     Cook 2 large eggs any style that is preferred.  (Sunny Side Up does look best!)
     Use a spatula to mound the Cajun Shrimp Bubble n' Squeak on a plate.
     Sprinkle a few drops of malt vinegar over the bubble n' squeak.  
     Press the Bubble n' Squeak flat, so it is an even bed for the eggs.
     Place the eggs on top of the Cajun Shrimp Bubble n' Squeak.
     Garnish with a curly leaf parsley sprig.

     Jazzy Bubble n' Squeak!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Blueberry Maple Sausage, Sweet Vidalia Onion and Swiss Emmentaler Omelette







     Hand Crafted Gourmet Breakfast Sausage Featured In An American Style Omelette!
     I am an experienced charcutier, but the only sausage recipe that I have published in recent years was a Lobster Mousseline Hot Dog, which was used to make a Gourmet Lobster Corn Dog recipe.  Making small batch specialty sausages is in the plans and some nice breakfast sausage recipes will be developed for this breakfast food website.  

     Other than making specialty sausages from scratch, purchasing hand crafted sausages at a butcher shop is the next best choice.  While shopping at The Butcher Block in Las Vegas the other day, I noticed the Blueberry Maple Breakfast Sausages in the display case.  These sausages were bratwurst size.  The big purple sausages really looked like an item that viewers of this website might be interested in.  
     The hand crafted Blueberry Maple Sausage cooked evenly and did not split when roasted.  The fat percentage was on the lean end of the scale.  The taste of curing salt was unnoticeable.  The blueberry color and flavor was fresh.  The maple flavor added a nice breakfast sausage flavor balance.  I have seen blueberry maple breakfast sausages at common grocery stores, but they simply do not compare to the quality of the sausages that I got at The Butcher Block.  This is why I suggest going to a good butcher shop when shopping for gourmet quality sausages.     

     One of the best mediums for testing the characteristics of sausage is an omelette.  I figured that making a simple omelette would be a good way to introduce the hand crafted blueberry maple breakfast sausage, rather than just roasting the sausage and placing it on a plate.  
     Sweet Vidalia Onions compliments the flavor of Blueberry Maple Sausage.  Mild tasting Emmentaler Cheese (Swiss Cheese) or any mild aged cheese that does not have a sharp flavor is a good choice for an omelette made with Blueberry Maple Sausage.

     Since today's omelette is an American style omelette creation, just toss out the outdated rules of French egg cookery.  In America, chefs cook eggs any way that the customer prefers and we do not tell customers how their eggs should be cooked.  If a customer wants a well done omelette with golden brown highlights, then so be it!  
     I happen to like golden highlights on an omelet occasionally.  Classically, in American diners and great restaurants in New Orleans that serve brunch, any omelette that contains sausage is usually cooked till golden brown highlights appear on the eggs.  This is because the lightly caramelized egg flavor compliments the savory flavor of sausage.  
     There is a method behind the egg cookery madness!  Some folks like their eggs cooked well done!

     Roasted Blueberry Maple Breakfast Sausage:   
     This recipe yields enough for 1 omelette!
     Blueberry Maple Breakfast Sausage is a trendy new item that is marketed at many grocery stores and butcher shops.  The highest quality Blueberry Maple Sausages can be found at a good local butcher shop.  
     Place a Blueberry Maple Breakfast Sausage on a roasting pan that is lightly brushed with vegetable oil.  (The sausage should be 5" to 6" long and it should weigh 5 to 6 ounces.) 
     Roast the sausage in a 325º oven, till it is fully cooked and light brown highlights appear.  Turn the  sausage occasionally, so it cooks evenly.
     Allow the sausage to cool to room temperature.
     Cut the sausage into 3/16" thick slices and set them aside.

     Blueberry Maple Sausage, Sweet Vidalia Onion and Swiss Emmentaler Omelette:
     This recipe yields 1 omelette!
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/3 cup of coarsely chopped sweet vidalia onion.  
     Sauté till the onions turn clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add the reserved sliced Blueberry Maple Breakfast Sausage.
     Add 1 small pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Sauté till the sausage becomes hot, but not browned.
     Step 3:  *If there is not enough butter left in the pan to cook an omelette, then add about 1/2 tablespoon.  
     Add 2 to 3 whisked large eggs.  (2 for a petite omelette or 3 for a large omelette.  The omelette in the photos was made with 2 eggs.)
     Use a rubber spatula to even the edges of the omelette.
     Step 4:  When the bottom half of the omelette is cooked firm, flip the omelette.
     Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of grated Swiss Cheese (Emmentaler Cheese) on the omelette.
     Sauté till the eggs are fully cooked and light golden brown highlights appear.
     Step 5:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Fold the omelette in half while sliding it onto a plate.  
     Garnish with parsley or cilantro sprigs.

     This is a tasty gourmet breakfast sausage omelette!