Monday, September 28, 2015

Rosie Makes Mama Hawthorne's Eggplant Casserole.

Are you still on the fence about eggplant?
Or maybe the only way you've had eggplant 
is that classic Italian comfort food, eggplant parmigiana? 
Well, I'm here to give you another option -
Mama Hawthorne's eggplant casserole.
Her basement chest freezer was packed
with eggplant casseroles and every other vegetable
that grew in Daddy's garden.

It has cheese and Ritz crackers and butter.
How could it not be good?
This is true comfort food.

Mama Hawthorne's Eggplant Casserole
1 TB each oil and unsalted butter
1 eggplant, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 eggs, beaten
6 ounces grated cheddar cheese + extra for topping
Ritz cracker crumbs
pats of unsalted butter

Place diced eggplant in colander and toss with a teaspoon of kosher salt.  Let sit at least 30 minutes to drain.  Spread eggplant out on paper towels and blot dry.

Heat oil and butter in skillet.  Add eggplant and cook 2 minutes.  Add onion and cook 2 more minutes.  Pour mixture into bowl.  Stir in eggs and cheese.  Pour into individual buttered baking dishes. Top with extra grated cheese and a sprinkling of crumbled Ritz.  Dot with butter.  Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes, until topping is golden brown.

Junior, in his relentless search for relaxation.


Almost there...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Hit Me With Your Best Choc!

  If you're a die-hard chocoholic, this tart is for you.
Mr. Hawthorne picked it out for his birthday.
WARNING:  This is an intense chocolate experience.
Not for the neophyte.

One of the better cooking shows I watch is America's Test Kitchen.
You can actually learn stuff from this program.
They discuss techniques, review products and foods,
and show how they develop their recipes.
It's educational.
There are no food "personalities,"
so it's a refreshing break from anything on Food Network.

This is America's Test Kitchen's "Best Chocolate Tart." 

Chocolate Tart

Use a good quality dark chocolate containing 60 - 65% cacao.  I used Ghirardelli.
1 egg yolk
2 TB heavy cream
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
6 TB unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Beat yolk and cream together in small bowl.  Process almonds and sugar in processor until finely ground.  Add flour and salt; pulse to combine.  Dot butter over flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  With processor running, add yolk mixture and process until dough forms ball.  Transfer dough to to plastic wrap and form into 6-inch disk.  Wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days.

Roll out dough between 2 sheets of plastic into 11-inch circle about 3/8-inch thick.  Place round on baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 375°.  Butter a 9-inch spring-form pan.  Gently ease and press dough into bottom and sides of pan, smoothing to an even thickness.  Freeze dough for 30 minutes.

Set dough-lined pan on baking sheet.  Butter a sheet of aluminum foil and place butter-side down into pan.  Fill with pie weights.  I use the same dried beans over and over.  Bake until dough is light golden brown, about 25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.

Remove foil and weights and continue to bake until pastry is rich golden brown and fragrant, about 8 more minutes.  Cool completely on rack.

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
1/4 tsp salt
9 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 TB unsalted butter, cut into thin slices and softened
2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

Reduce oven temperature to 250°.  Bring cream, espresso, and salt to simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve.

Place chocolate in heatproof bowl.  Pour simmering cream mixture over top, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes to soften chocolate.  Whisk mixture gently until fully incorporated.  Pour eggs into chocolate mixture.  Whisk slowly until mixture is homogeneous.  Pour filling into tart crust, swirling to distribute evenly.  Bake on baking sheet 30-35 minutes.  Filling will be slightly wobbly.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 3 hours.

3 TB heavy cream
1 TB light corn syrup
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 TB hot water

Remove tart from fridge 30 minutes before glazing.

Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer over medium heat.  Stir to combine.  Remove pan from heat, add chocolate, and cover.  Let stand for 5 minutes to soften chocolate.  Whisk gently until mixture is smooth, then whisk in hot water until glaze is homogeneous, shiny, and pourable.  Pour glaze onto center of tart, tilting pan to distribute the glaze evenly.  Do not spread with a spatula.  It leaves marks.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Mr. Hawthorne said this was the best chocolate tart he's ever had.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Gimme Some Good Chinese!

Was it Golden Dragon first, then Hunan Dynasty?

Or Hunan Dynasty first, then Golden Dragon?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Rosie Adjusts Emeril's Barbecue Shrimp.

I recently received my October issue of Southern Living magazine,
saw Emeril's recipe for barbecue shrimp,
and made it the next day.
Mr. Hawthorne told me this was a keeper.
I agree.

 Although I have plenty of frozen shrimp,
I bought fresh heads-on shrimp
since I want to use the heads and shells.

Emeril's BBQ Shrimp, Adjusted By Rosie
1 pound large heads-on shrimp, shells and heads reserved
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper
2 tsp Creole seasoning
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 TB olive oil
1 TB unsalted butter
1 cup Chardonnay
3 cups water
3/4 cup Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 TB Tabasco
4 TB unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

Blackening Seasoning
1 TB paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
Combine all ingredients.

Heat 1 TB olive oil over high heat.  Add shrimp shells and heads, the remaining 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp Creole seasoning.  Cook, stirring and crushing, for about 3-4 minutes.  Add the wine, water, Lea & Perrins, lemon juice, onion, garlic, and Tabasco.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let barely bubble for about an hour, or until reduced to a cup.  Strain through cheesecloth.

Toss the shrimp with the 1/2 tsp cracked pepper, 1 tsp Creole seasoning, fresh rosemary, and 2 tsp of the blackening seasoning. 

In a large skillet over high heat, heat the remaining 1 TB olive and 1 TB butter.  When butter is foamy, add in shrimp in single layer.  Sear both sides about 45 seconds each, reduce heat to medium-low, and pour in the barbecue sauce.  Simmer until shrimp are just barely cooked through, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat and whisk in the butter, 1 piece at a time, fully incorporating each piece before adding the next.

Serve over New Orleans style rice.

 Heads and shells into my pot.

 Crush to get the flavors out.

 Add in the wine and water.

 Onion and garlic in.


 Bring to boil.
Reduce to simmer.

 Intense shrimp flavor.

 Coat shrimp with rosemary, pepper, and Creole seasoning.

 High heat.
Maybe 45 seconds.

 Turn over.
Another 45 seconds.

 Pour in BBQ sauce.
Medium heat.
Maybe 45-60 seconds.
Please do not overcook your shrimp.

 Remove from heat.
Add in small pats of butter one at a time.

 Whisk to incorporate, then add in another pat.

  I served this over a New Orleans Style rice.
OK.  It was Zatarain's.
Don't tell anybody.
 Oh my.
This will definitely be on my do-again list.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Rosie Loves Her Ice Cream. Strawberry!

 What can I say?
It's been HOT this summer.
I've been making ice creams and popsicles and I'm happy!
 I'm on a mission to clean out the freezers.
Yes...  Plural...
 I was searching for some chicken bosoms
and found a bunch of frozen strawberries from 2013.
I thawed out a pint of strawberries,
chopped them up, and tossed them with 1/2 cup of sugar
and juice of 1/2 lemon.
Let macerate for at least an hour in the fridge.
 Ice Cream Base
1 1/4 cups skim milk
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla 
4 egg yolks

Strawberry Mixture
1 pint strawberries, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
Combine all ingredients and let sit in fridge for at least an hour.

Combine milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla in medium saucepan.
Bring to a boil and remove from heat.

Beat egg yolks
and slowly pour milk mixture into eggs, whisking constantly.
You don't want scrambled eggs,
so add the mixture slowly and whisk briskly.
Return mixture to low heat, whisking,
 until mixture reaches 175° - 180° and thickens.
Take your time and go low and slow.

Remove from heat and refrigerate until cool.

When you're ready to process,
strain strawberry liquid into base mixture.

Process ice cream mixture according to directions.
Near the end of processing,
add in the strawberries.
And freeze.
I didn't bother scooping this into a bowl.
I'm eating it straight out of the container.
This is sinfully good.