Monday, March 22, 2010

Grilled Asparagus with Pepper Zabaglione

Leave it to Mario Batali to turn a healthy seasonal veggie into a super rich calorie splurge. Ladies, do your men refuse to eat veggies? Just put this sauce on them and I'm sure they'll lick their plate. If you would like to cut the richness, I would chop up some prosciutto and sprinkle it on top. The saltiness of the cured ham should do the trick.

Grilled Asparagus with Pepper Zabaglione
  1. 3 large egg yolks
  2. 1 large egg
  3. 3 tablespoons vin santo or other lightly sweet dessert wine
  4. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  5. 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  6. 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  7. Kosher salt
  8. 2 pounds large asparagus
  9. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  10. 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. Light a grill or heat a grill pan. In a heatproof medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the egg and vin santo. Set the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water and vigorously whisk the eggs over moderate heat until the sauce holds firm peaks, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl of sauce from the heat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the butter with the heavy cream and pepper. Whisk the cream mixture into the sauce, 1 tablespoon at a time, until incorporated. Season the zabaglione with salt and keep warm.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the asparagus with the olive oil and season with salt. Grill the asparagus over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until charred all over and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to plates.
  4. Set the bowl of sauce over the saucepan of simmering water and whisk over low heat until thick and just heated through, about 1 minute. Spoon the sauce over the asparagus, sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Beef and Guinness Pie

If you live in Chicago, you have been celebrating St. Patty's all weekend. For those of you planning to celebrate on Wednesday, here is your recipe. If you don't own ramekins, don't stress. You can find them anywhere from Target, the grocery store and even at your local drug store. Have a safe and fun St. Patty's day!

Beef and Guinness Pie

  • 2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup Guinness or other Irish stout
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons drained brined green peppercorns, coarsely chopped
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Rough puff pastry dough
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Special equipment: 4 (14-ounce) deep bowls or ramekins (4 to 5 inches wide; see Shopping List, page 301) or similar-capacity ovenproof dishes

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Pat beef dry. Stir together flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Add beef, turning to coat, then shake off excess and transfer to a plate. Heat oil in a wide 5- to 6-quart ovenproof heavy pot over moderately high heat until just smoking, then brown meat in 3 batches, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes per batch, transferring to a bowl.

Add onion, garlic, and water to pot and cook, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pot and stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef with any juices accumulated in bowl, broth, beer, Worcestershire sauce, peppercorns, and thyme and bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to oven. Braise until beef is very tender and sauce is thickened, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Discard thyme and cool stew completely, uncovered, about 30 minutes. (If stew is warm while assembling pies, it will melt uncooked pastry top.)

Put a shallow baking pan on middle rack of oven and increase oven temperature to 425°F.

Divide cooled stew among bowls (they won't be completely full). Roll out pastry dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch square, about 1/8 inch thick. Trim edges and cut dough into quarters. Stir together egg and water and brush a 1-inch border of egg wash around each square. Invert 1 square over each bowl and drape, pressing sides lightly to help adhere. Brush pastry tops with some of remaining egg wash and freeze 15 minutes to thoroughly chill dough.

Bake pies in preheated shallow baking pan until pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 400°F and bake 5 minutes more to fully cook dough.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Warm Camembert with Wild Mushroom Fricassee

Ok, I've been so MIA but...I got engaged and I've been drinking champagne for the last week! Do you forgive me?

The Oscars are right around the corner and nothing screams red carpet to me more than gooey melted cheese. That's because I can't think of anything more gratifying than looking at freakishly thin actresses in my bathrobe on my couch snacking on millions of calories of cheese. This recipe by Daniel Boulud (AKA the man) is easy and a crowd pleaser. Happy Oscars.

Warm Camembert with Wild Mushroom Fricassee
  1. 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  2. One 8-ounce wheel of ripe Camembert in its wooden box, at room temperature
  3. 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  4. 3/4 pound wild mushrooms, trimmed, caps thinly sliced
  5. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  6. 1 shallot, minced
  7. 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  8. 2 large sage leaves, minced
  9. Sourdough toasts, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the walnut pieces on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 7 minutes, until lightly browned. Lower the oven temperature to 300°.
  2. Remove the Camembert from the box and unwrap it. Put the cheese back in the bottom half of the box and set it on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, until soft.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the walnut oil. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 3 minutes longer. Add the shallot and cook until softened, 2 minutes. Stir in the parsley and sage; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Invert the Camembert onto a platter. Stir the walnuts into the mushrooms and spoon over the cheese. Serve with the toasts.