Sunday, May 31, 2009

ENDIVE & BRUSSELS SPROUTS GRATIN with JAMBON (aka, Ham)

One of my favorite local restaurants is a Swiss-French little gem which I am not going to name because it's hard enough to get into as it is -- but they have this endive gratin appetizer that is just the bee's knees. I love the bitter of the endive along with the sweetness of the b├ęchamel and the saltiness of the parmesan. So the other day when I was at the grocery and I spotted the endive, I thought immediately of the gratin. Even the thought of it made me start to drool, so although I had no recipe, I was pretty  sure I could make some sort of copycat that would at least be similar. I picked up a couple of the the endives, then I saw these super young, small brussels sprouts and thought, hmmmm.... I bet the sweetness of those would go really well in the gratin? 

Oh. My. Gosh.

The rest is yummy history.    

The basic recipe starts with equal parts of endive, which I thickly sliced and sauteed for about 1 minute in some butter along with a little bit of chopped ham, and brussels sprouts, which I steamed. I made just enough of a thin bechamel to nicely coat the brussels sprouts, endive & ham. You don't want it soupy because there is nothing to really soak it up, so you just want it nicely dressed. I put the mixture in a baking dish and then grated a very generous portion of fresh parmesan and it baked in a 400 degree oven just until bubbly and the cheese was starting to brown nicely. It made a great side to our Friday night NY strip steak! 

Go ahead - I know you want to. Click on the picture to supersize it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

FOR BREAKFAST TODAY we had Eggs over Crispy Potato Cakes, topped with Crumbled Bacon


Crispy pan fried potato cakes.
A fried egg.
Lots of crumbled bacon.


What I ate today: Baguette, buttered, with sliced radish

Channeling Jacques Pepin:

Crisp red radishes, sliced, and served with butter on fresh baguette, with a light sprinkle of fleur de sel and fresh pepper. 


I don't know who originally came up with this, but it is absolutely delicious.

Friday, May 8, 2009

MMMMMMMM!!!! Minty Margarita


Margarita season is upon us! Fresh lime. Crushed ice. Silver tequila. Triple Sec.



I love them traditional, don't get me wrong. But I'm ready for something with a twist.

So I added a bit of mint. And a splash of gin. And.... WHOA! SuperYUM!


Take a small handful of mint leaves, add it to a little bit of crushed ice and about a tablespoon of simple syrup and squish it around a little. I don't have a muddler, so I just used a fork. I guess a muddler would have done a better job and it would be way more minty - so keep that in mind. 


For one margarita: 
2 oz silver tequila
3/4 oz triple sec
1 lime - juiced by a super juicer (as seen below)
3/4 oz Hendricks Gin
small handful of fresh mint
1 tablespoon simple syrup


These juicers get probably 3x as much juice out of lemons and limes that you could ever squeeze by hand. You get what you pay for, and the cheap ones break, just a warning. I like the Norpro. 


After you muddle the mint, syrup and ice, add the rest of the ingredients, a splash of water, and more ice. Shake vigorously. Pour into glass and garnish with lime slice and more fresh mint.  I think you'll find this more tasty than any Mint Julep or Mojito you've ever had. Seriously.