Archives for December 2014

Smoked Trout Pate Crostini with Apple, Fennel & Smoked Almonds

Smoked Trout Pate Crostini with Apple, Fennel & Smoked Almonds
  1. 8 ounces smoked trout, skin and any bones removed
  2. 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  3. 1/4 cup grated white onion with juices
  4. 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  5. 1 t. Worcestershire sauce
  6. 1 t. freshly ground black pepper
  7. 1/2 t. sriracha
  8. 1 Granny Smith apple, finely diced
  9. 1/4 fennel bulb, finely diced & fronds reserved
  10. 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  11. 1-2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  12. kosher salt
  13. 1/3 cup smoked almonds, chopped
  14. French bread round crostini*
For pate
  1. Process trout, cream cheese, onion, lemon juice, Worcestershire, black pepper & sriracha in a food processor until smooth.
For apple/fennel "salad"
  1. Combine diced apple, fennel, vinegar and olive oil. Add a few chopped fennel fronds. Add kosher salt to taste.
To assemble
  1. Smear pate on crostini. Top with a spoonful of the fennel/apple salad. Sprinkle with chopped almonds.
  1. *I use ready made French bread rounds from Fresh Market. You can also make your own using French bread and olive oil. Pumpernickel squares are also a nice choice.
Adapted from TasteFood Blog
Adapted from TasteFood Blog
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Kogi Tacos

Kogi Tacos
Serves 6
  1. 1/3 cup soy sauce
  2. ¼ cup honey
  3. 1 t. freshly ground black pepper
  4. 1 ripe kiwi
  5. 1 yellow onion
  6. 8 cloves garlic
  7. 2 T. sesame oil
  1. 2 lbs. skirt steak
  2. 2 pkgs flour tortillas
  3. 2 cups long grain rice, cooked according to package directions
  4. 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  5. 3-4 limes
  6. 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  7. 1 red onion, diced
  8. 2 cups of fresh or frozen corn (thawed)
  9. 1 seedless cucumber (peeled, de-seeded, and sliced)
  10. 2 T. rice vinegar
  11. toasted sesame seeds, to taste or garnish
  12. salt, to taste
Hot Pepper Sauce
  1. ¼ cup Sambal Oleek
  2. sesame oil to taste
  1. Blend all of the marinade ingredients together and set aside.
  1. Place skirt steak in a Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the meat. Distribute marinade to cover all skirt steak. Place in refrigerator up to 8 hrs or overnight.
  2. Make cilantro lime rice: Squeeze juice of one lime over cooked rice and season with cilantro and salt. Set aside.
  3. Make black bean and corn salsa: Toss black beans, handful of diced red onions, corn, and cilantro with juice of one freshly squeezed lime. Season with salt.
  4. Make cucumber relish: Toss sliced cucumber with rice vinegar and garnish with sesame seeds.
  5. Heat grill pan or grill. When pan is hot, place skirt steak on grill for 3-4 min per side. Remove from grill and allow to rest for a few minutes. Slice steak against the grain into 1” strips. Assemble tacos adding black bean/corn salsa, cilantro/lime rice, and cucumber relish. Top with hot pepper sauce, as desired.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Filled Brownie Bites

Screen shot 2014-12-11 at 1.40.09 PMDeb Pankey’s brownie bites are a simple treat that can be endlessly adapted and will add sparkle to any holiday dessert lineup.

You can use your favorite from-scratch brownie recipe that makes a 9-by-13-inch pan or simply use a boxed mix. To create the bites, scoop the batter into greased mini muffin pans and bake them 20-plus minutes at 350. 

Once they come out of the oven, use the bottom of a shot glass and gently press down and fill with your choice of fillings (dark or white chocolate mousses, caramel) and toppings (Heath Bar bits, chocolate jimmies, strawberries, candied fruit peels…)

Deb offers four delicious variations.

Peppermint Mousse Brownie Bites
  1. 1 box (18.3-19.5 ounces/family size) milk chocolate brownie mix
  2. 1 egg
  3. ½ cup vegetable oil
  4. ¼ cup water
  5. 8 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt, finely chopped, or Baker's morsels)
  6. 1 2/3 cups chilled whipping cream, divided
  7. 1 t. clear peppermint extract
  8. 3 candy canes, crushed
  1. For the brownie bites: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat two mini muffin tins with nonstick spray.
  2. Prepare the brownie batter with eggs, oil and water as directed on the box (quantities of these ingredients may vary slightly). Scoop the batter into prepared tins, filling each cup about halfway. Depending on the size of the muffin tin, you'll get 36 to 48 mini brownie bites. Bake 20-24 minutes. The brownie should be crisp around the edges.
  3. Once pans are out of the oven, use the rounded end of a wooden spoon (or similar tool) to indent each mini muffin making a cup shape.
  4. For the mousse: Stir white chocolate and 2/3 cup cream in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until chocolate is melted. Transfer chocolate mixture to large bowl and let it cool, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. It should look thicker now.
  5. In a medium bowl beat remaining cream and peppermint extract until stiff peaks form. Fold into cooled chocolate mixture in 2 additions. Cover; chill mousse at least 2 hours.
  6. Spoon or pipe onto cooled brownie bites. Garnish with candy cane bits.
  1. For White Chocolate Raspberry Bites: Omit the peppermint extract. Spoon or pipe mousse into brownie bites and garnish with a fresh raspberry.
Marcel's Culinary Experience
Bourbon Bacon Caramel Brownie Bites
  1. 1 box (18.3-19.5 ounces/family size) dark chocolate brownie mix
  2. 1 egg
  3. ½ cup vegetable oil
  4. 2 T. water
  5. ¼ cup bourbon, divided
  6. ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter
  7. 1 cup dark brown sugar
  8. 1/3 cup heavy cream
  9. ¼ t. kosher salt
  10. 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  11. 3 slices cooked crisp bacon, crumbled
  1. For the brownie bites: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat two mini muffin tins with nonstick spray.
  2. Prepare the brownie batter with eggs, oil and water directed on the box (quantities above may differ slightly), only cut back the water by half and make up the difference with bourbon.
  3. Scoop the batter into prepared tins, filling each cup about halfway. Depending on the size of the muffin tin, you'll get 36 to 48 mini brownie bites. Bake 20-24 minutes. The brownie should be crisp around the edges.
  4. Once pans are out of the oven, use the rounded end of a wooden spoon (or shotglass) to indent each mini muffin making a cup shape.
  5. For the filling: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Once melted, add brown sugar and heavy cream. Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add salt. Allow to bubble for exactly 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in remaining bourbon then beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, until you reach desired consistency.
  6. Spoon or pipe frosting onto cooled brownie bites. Garnish with bacon crumbles.
  1. For S'mores Brownie Bites: Prepare batter without bourbon and bake as directed. In a large bowl beat 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow crème with 6 ounces room temperature cream cheese until smooth. Pipe or spoon onto cooled brownie bites. Garnish several bits with S'mores Crunch Crumble-ons, available at
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Braised Short Ribs with Buttered Egg Noodles

Braised Short Ribs with Buttered Egg Noodles
Serves 8
  1. 8 beef short ribs
  2. salt and pepper to taste
  3. all-purpose flour for dredging
  4. 1/4 cup plus 2 T. vegetable oil
  5. 1 onion, diced
  6. 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  7. 1 1/2 cups red wine
  8. 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled Roma tomatoes
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. 1 pound egg noodles
  11. 2 ounces butter
  12. Gremolata: Combine 2 T. freshly chopped parsley, 1 T. lemon zest and 1 T. minced garlic.
  1. Liberally coat the short ribs with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour and shake off any excess. Place the braiser over high heat. When it’s very hot, add 1/4 cup oil and reduce the temperature to medium-high. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the short ribs and cook on all sides until browned. Remove the short ribs from the pan and rinse the oil and flour from the braiser. Return the pan to the burner, reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the remaining oil. Add the onion and carrot to the pan and cook until they are nicely browned, about 15 to 20 minutes. The browner the vegetables, the more flavorful the sauce.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Return the short ribs to the pan and add the wine. Raise the heat to medium-high. Blend the tomatoes (either in the can with an immersion blender, or in a standing blender) and add the puree to the braiser. Add a teaspoon of salt. Add the bay leaf and bring to a simmer.
  3. Cover the braiser with the lid slightly ajar and place it in the oven. Cook 3 to 4 hours or until the ribs are very tender.
  4. When ready to serve, cook the noodles as recommended on the package, return them to the pot and toss with the butter.
  5. Divide the noodles among 8 plates. Set a short rib beside or on the noodles. Skim any clear fat that has risen to the top of the sauce and discard. Spoon the sauce over each rib. Garnish the ribs and sauce with gremolata.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Pumpkin…Not Just for Dessert Anymore! by Robin Nathan

RobinBlogMy family recently hosted an international group of 20-somethings who have been spending the year in a Disney college program in Orlando. What an amazing group they were, and from all over the world – Australia, Syria, Khazakstan, and New Zealand. We ate or cooked foods from their homelands during the week they were here. (Who knew there was a Khazakstani restaurant a mile from my house??) We had many conversations about food and culture, of course, something that binds all humans together, no matter their spot on the globe. What do you suppose was the one thing all their diverse cuisines have in common? Pumpkin is NOT served for dessert. Syrians sauté it with warm spices and peppers, in Khazakstan it is stuffed into small savory pastries called Samsa. Down Under it’s braised or mashed, but never, never, is it sweetened! What? No pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin scones, pumpkin lattes?  Are we missing something?  

The short answer is an emphatic “yes.” Pumpkin is delicious in savory dishes, imparting a lovely nutty, veggie flavor in everything from soups to stews to spreads and dips. It pairs as beautifully with ginger as it does with chiles. It’s easy to get fresh pumpkin now at any major grocery store, too. Look for the sugar pie pumpkins that have not been glazed (some are sold with a very hard, thick, shiny glaze coating that make it nearly impossible to cut through.) I made the following recipe for Thanksgiving this year and it was a huge hit. I promise, try pumpkin savory, and you’ll never think of it the same way again!


Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Wild Mushroom - Parmesan Garnish
Serves 6
  1. 2-3 pound whole sugar pie pumpkin, quartered with seeds removed
  2. olive oil and salt
  3. 2 T. unsalted butter
  4. 1 large yellow onion, diced
  5. 15 ¼” thick slices of fresh ginger
  6. 1 large thyme sprig
  7. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  8. ½ t. freshly grated nutmeg
  9. 6 cups chicken broth
  10. salt and pepper to taste
  11. ½ cup half and half
  12. 2 T. unsalted butter
  13. 12 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  14. salt to taste
  15. aged Parmesan cheese
  1. Arrange the pumpkin sections in a large roasting pan; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in a preheated 400 oven and roast, undisturbed for 30-40 minutes, or until a fork inserted into the flesh meets no resistance. Remove from the oven and let cool. Scrape out the flesh and discard the shells.
  2. Melt the butter in a soup pot; add the onion and ginger slices and sweat until translucent. Add the garlic, and thyme sprig and cook 30 seconds. Dump in the pumpkin flesh and pour in the broth. Add the nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a moderate simmer and cook, covered 20 minutes. Remove the ginger slices and thyme stalk. Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender or pour into a blender and puree in batches. Pour the pureed soup though a wide strainer to remove any solids.
  3. Return to the pot and add the cream. Taste and adjust seasoning. May be held, refrigerated for one day before reheating and serving. (It tastes so much better the next day!)
  4. To make the garnish, melt the butter in a skillet. Add the mushrooms and sauté over medium heat, stirring infrequently, until the mushrooms give up their liquid and begin to brown. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. (The garnish may also be made one day in advance and refrigerated.)
  5. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with a handful of the sautéed mushrooms and large shavings of aged Parmesan cheese.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Pecan Thumbprint Jam Cookies

Pecan Thumbprint Jam Cookies
  1. 14-1/4 oz. (3 cups plus 2 Tbs.) unbleached all-purpose flour
  2. 1/2 t. table salt
  3. 3/4 lb. (1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  4. 6 oz. (1-1/2 cups) pecans, toasted and finely ground in a food processor
  5. 3 oz. (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar
  6. 2 t. pure vanilla extract
  7. 1/2 to 3/4 cup red raspberry preserves with seeds
  1. For the best results, measure your flour by weight instead of volume. (1 cup of all-purpose flour equals 4-1/2 oz.) If you don’t have a scale, be sure to use the proper technique when filling your measuring cups.
  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and salt to blend. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and pecans on medium speed until very soft and light, about 3 min. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until thoroughly combined, about 1 min. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on low speed, slowly blend in the flour until totally incorporated, about 30 seconds.
  3. Using your hands, roll the dough into 1- to 1-1/4-inch balls and set them about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Press your thumb into the middle of each dough ball to create a well for the preserves. Stir the preserves to loosen and then spoon about 1/2 tsp. into the middle of each dough ball. Bake until the cookies are golden brown, about 20 min. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 1 min. before transferring them to a rack to cool.
  1. For uniform results, use a cookie scoop. Back of a 1/4 t. round measuring spoon can be used to make wells for the jam.
  2. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for three to four days.
Adapted from Fine Cooking
Adapted from Fine Cooking
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Bittersweet Truffles

Bittersweet Truffles
Yields 24
  1. 8 oz. best quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  2. ½ c. heavy cream
  3. coatings - crushed peppermint, cocoa, toasted coconut, finely chopped nuts…
  1. Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring cream to a boil; pour over chocolate and let set for 3-4 minutes. Whisk until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate, uncovered, until somewhat firm, about 1 hour.
  3. Spoon mounds (2 teaspoons) of chocolate onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment. Return to refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  4. With your hands, roll mounds into balls. Place desired coatings in shallow bowls; roll balls in coatings, pressing in and covering completely.
  5. Return to baking sheet and chill until set, about 30 minutes.
  1. To store: refrigerate in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Marcel's Culinary Experience