The Hot Jonas: An Homage to the Blizzard of ’16

 

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Brrr!

How about that winter storm Jonas? While the snow came down outside and temperatures dropped I was inside enjoying a Hot Jonas.  This (of course) is my updated version of the Hot Toddy, aptly re-named for the second largest snow storm in New York City in near 150 years. In case another blizzard comes our way, this is exactly what you’ll need to warm up. The recipe as follows:

Ingredients

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup hot Orange Cinnamon Tea (or your favorite dark tea)
  • ½ Stick Cinnamon
  • Quick shave of nutmeg

hottoddy

Once you’ve got all of the ingredients, steep the tea, stir in the honey and lemon juice.  Add bourbon and stick of cinnamon. Top it off with one zest of nutmeg.

Drink up!

 

Quick Recipe – Crab Lettuce Rolls for Mother’s Day!

crab_lettuce_wrap

This Mother’s Day we decided to go for a little sail on the Potomac.  To keep with the watery theme and location, I figured a crab recipe was the way to go.  However, we wanted to do something light and fun to accompany champagne, strawberries and shrimp out on the water.  As such I decided to make a crab salad to be wrapped inside a butter lettuce wrap. Turns out it was delicious!  This makes for a great summer dish.  You could also make the rolls then cut them up for Hors D’ouvres.

Salad Dressing

10 Tarragon Leaves
6 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
2 Teaspoons Chili Garlic Sauce (generally sold near the Sriracha)
1/3 Lemon, juiced
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Worcestire Sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste

 

Crab Salad

1 LB Backfin or White Lump Crab meat, cleaned of cartilidge
1 Large or 2 Medium Ear of Sweet Corn, blistered (broiler or pan) with kernels removed.
3 Tablespoons Minced Red Onion
2 Tablespoons Diced Celery
Optional – Roughly Chopped Cashews, Grape Halves

Wrap

1 Head of Butter Lettuce
1-2 Avocados, sliced

The How:

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Whisk together all of the ingredients for the Salad Dressing. I put the onion and celery into the dressing, you could do it either way. I also didnt make enuogh dressing (this recipe is 50% more.  You can always make more and keep extra as a remoulade style sauce).

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Blister the corn in the broiler.  Remove the kernals. I rubbed the corn with olive and peanut oil – not sure it added anything.

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Lightly toss the dressing, crab, onions, corn kernals and celery.  Set aside to let the flavors meld.  Double check the salt/pepper/sauce content. Asjust as necessary.

 

crab_lettuce_wrap

Put down 2-3 slices of avocado into a lettuce leaf.  Add the crab salad, roll up, and eat!  The photo above is similar to what they look like.

 

Enjoy!

Throwback Thursday – Scallop Ceviche #TBT #BCC

Ah yes, another throwback to San Francisco where time was limitless and the only Blackberry was in my mousse (next week’s TBT).

Watch the video for instructions but like most ceviche, it is mostly just a mix of dicing, squeezing and chopping a variety of the following:

– Raw fish of choice
– Vegetables (peppers (hot or not), onions, radish)
– Herbs (cilantro, parsley)
– Citrus to ‘cook’ fish (Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Grapefruit)
– Fruit (pineapple, green apple, citrus supremes etc)
– Finishers like avocado (mousse or regular), olive oil, salt, etc.

Make your own melange and let me know if it is deliciouso!

 

Throwback Thursday at BCC with Vichysoisse #TBT

Vichysoisse (vish-ee-swah)

This is a little throwback to a simpler time in San Francisco when there were no smart phones out of the office and a friend (Balen) would put up with filming me for a tasty dinner.  All the ingredients and directions are in the video, but here’s the short list:

Ingredients

3 Leeks – Washed and slice into 1/8″ rounds or halves

1 Large White Onion, sliced into 1/8″ half rings

2 Tablespoons butter

4 Medium potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ rounds

1.2L Veggie or chicken stock

1/2 Nut worth of nutmeg

1 Teaspoon lemon juice

1 Cup cream

Optional Toppings – Scallions, Bacon Bits, Parsley, More Cream

Directions

WATCH THE VIDEO!

or

Sautee the leeks and onions int he butter.  While these are sweating on a medium low heat (don’t burn them), peel and slice your potatoes.  Add the stock and the potatoes to the sauteed onions. Shave in your nutmeg using a microplane.  Once the potatoes are cooked, let cool for a bit then blend the pot in even patches of stuff and liquid.  Return to the pot, and add the lemon juice and cream.  Serve warm, room temperature or slightly cool.  Let people put on their own toppings.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Quick Tip – Cream of Mushroom Soup with Urban Sproule Celery Salt

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The clipped tips of a raw broccoli add a great fresh flavor and a bit of color!

Whipped up a super easy mushroom soup tonight using Urban Sproule’s Celery Salt.  Adds a great depth of flavor without making a full mirepoix broth ahead of time.  Disclosure, Sarah Sproule was a client of mine who is totally awesome and started her own Sea Salt company that makes it on rooftops in Manhattan with water from Montauk.  Urban Sproule salt (currently 8 flavors) is as awesome as she is. This was not supposed to be a shill for her, but when the sea salt made my soup delicious, everyone needed to know.

Ingredients

10 White or Baby Bella mushroom caps, stems and 4 caps separated and chopped.
4 Fresh Shitake mushrooms, stems and 1 cap chopped (lower half is very tough)
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 Onion, diced
2 Cloves garlic, diced
1 Teaspoon thyme
1 Teaspoon (or more) Urban Sproule Celery Salt (if you unfortunately don’t have access, I suppose regular celery salt is edible)
1 Carton (32 oz) Chicken broth or Vegetable Stock
2 Cups Whole Milk (4% fat)
Broccoli Floret tips shaved (optional)

The How:

– In a large pan, saute 2 tablespoons butter with the onions, then add the garlic and chopped mushrooms.  Add the celery salt and thyme. Cook until soft.

– Add the chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil, simmer for 15-20 minutes.

– While simmering, slice the rest of the caps into 1/4″ slices.  If the shitake slices are too long, cut in half

– Portion the simmer mixture into a food processor, thoroughly blending each batch.  While blending, pour in a proportionate amount of milk through the spout.  When thoroughly blended, put back into a pot. Simmer on low DON’T BOIL!

– Heat the remaining two tablespoons of butter in the pan.  Add the mushroom slices and saute until well cooked.  Don’t let them brown too much!  You don’t want them to be chewy.

– Mix the mushrooms into the soup.   Let flavors meld for 15 minutes (don’t boil!).  Serve in a bowl or cup.  Broccoli optional.

Enjoy!

Blackberry Citrus Mousse

As Holiday season rolls around I want to edit and repost this tasty dessert from holidays of yore…

…Christmas time in the Braswell household is cheerful and bright with family coming together and wine and cheese aplenty. 2009 was no different with the exception that there was SNOW on the ground (which was so much fun, ie, a Snowlar Bear). Per usual, the week was host to multiple dinner parties, and of course, celebrating the day Christians took over from the Pagans was no different. Once 2pm rolled around and the wrapping paper and bows were cleaned up my father and I hit the kitchen in full force. We had decided to make three dishes we had never made before. Well, here’s to adventure!

For dessert, we wanted to go with something both rich but light and had found a delicious sounding mousse in the “The Silver Palate Cookbook”. The following recipe is a near replica of said published recipe, so the SPC’s mention is its – just desserts. He he he…

The following made 8 servings and can be made ahead of time and put away! There is maybe 30 minutes of active time, 15 of cooking, and 30min+ to chill. Enjoy!

Yum!

Yum!

Ingredients
1 Pint of Blackberries (or about 1 lb, whichever is more)
1 Orange, zested and juiced (no seeds!)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
3 Tbls Cointreau
1 Tbls unflavored gelatin
2 Tbls water
2 cups heavy cream

Zest your orange as much as you can without grinding out the pith. You want tart, not bitter… Put the gelatin in a sauce pan with the water and stir it around

Set aside 1-2 of the prettier blackberries (per person)

Set aside 1-2 of the prettier blackberries (per person)

After the water and gelatin have sat for 5+ minutes, turn on the burner and add the black berries and fresh OJ and the zest.  Once the mixture boils, remove it from the heat and set aside.

After the water and gelatin have sat for 5+ minutes, turn on the burner and add the black berries and fresh OJ and the zest. Once the mixture boils, remove it from the heat and set aside.

In a bowl (feel free to use a double boiler top saucepan for this) add an egg yolk and the sugar and whisk it til frothy.

In a bowl (feel free to use a double boiler top saucepan for this) add an egg yolk and the sugar and whisk it til frothy.

Add the Cointreau and beat another minute.

Add the Cointreau and beat another minute.

After it is well mixed, put the mixture into a double boiler and stir while heating until it is warm to touch.  Remove and keep stirring until cool.

After it is well mixed, put the mixture into a double boiler and stir while heating until it is warm to touch. Remove and keep stirring until cool.

When cool, mix in the yolk mix and the berries

When cool, mix in the yolk mix and the berries

Whip up the cream by hand in a chilled metal or glass bowl.  Cooling the bowl down first helps it whip better. Or something.

Whip up the cream by hand in a chilled metal or glass bowl. Cooling the bowl down first helps it whip better. Or something.

Check them peaks yo

Check them peaks yo

Fold the berry/yolk mixture in with the whip cream.  Don't stir too vigorously, or fold too much.  It is nice to keep a slight marbling to the dessert

Fold the berry/yolk mixture in with the whip cream. Don’t stir too vigorously, or fold too much. It is nice to keep a slight marbling to the dessert

Put into a nice serving dish and top with the remaining blackberries and any other garnish (like mint, or in my case a slice of kiwi).  Cool until thickened, then serve!

Put into a nice serving dish and top with the remaining blackberries and any other garnish (like mint, or in my case a slice of kiwi). Cool until thickened, then serve!

pretty to look at, scrumptious and fairly easy.  make 'em. do it.

Pretty to look at, scrumptious and fairly easy. make ’em. do it.

Braswell’s Cooking Corner – Muenster Pie (“Monster” Pie)

Edited repost from August 2009

Christmas has always been a time for family in the Braswell household. After 25 years straight of resting under the same roof on the night of December 24th you start to develop a fair amount of traditions. Singing carols after sunrise and gathering together before heading to the tree with a glass of milk or coffee. The tree is fully decorated and the air smells like Balsam. While the breakfast is cooking we’d slowly go through stockings, enjoying further traditions like California Tortilla coupons (from Santa woo hoo!) or Hostess Snowballs for my mother and sister.

To get breakfast moving my mother or father would mix the ingredients for the Muenster Pie and my sister and I would fight over who gets to cook the lil’ smokies (mini sausage links). When you are in charge of heating them up (technically they are precooked) you are sheriff and therefore county chair of the lil’ smokey tax collection… With the Muenster pie in the oven we would head back to the living room whilst the oven slowly churned a mix of eggs, cheese, flour, and milk with a bowl of ham cubes waiting patiently atop the stove.

Each year an entire casserole’s worth of Muenster pie is devoured through hungry 2nds or 3rds til the glass dish is once again reflective and clear. The accompanying mini sausages, doughnut holes and OJ/’pagne always ended up with a delicious yet superfluous role.

As an easy to prep and scalable dish, Muenster pie makes a great choice when cooking for a large group especially for breakfast. Most of the ingredients can be prepared the night before so actual time spent to get the casserole in the oven can be shrunk a fair bit. Recently I made pies in an 8″ circular dish, cupcake rounds and a 9″ square baking dish and sliced them like quiche or brownies. The base ingredients shown below are in the true Braswell style with the toppings at the end the only new twist.

Everything you see in the photos below is double the amount of the recipe presented.

Enjoy!

The end result from a cupcake round.  While well portioned for an individual (good for a buffet or other breakfast station), it is preferred to use a larger dish to make the batch.  Reason being that it is tougher to gauge done-ness in the rounds and you want to avoid over cooking the Muenster Pie.

The above was cooked in a cupcake round. While well portioned for an individual (good for a buffet or other breakfast station), it is preferable to use a larger dish to make the batch. 

Ingredients
serves 4-6 fairly well

2 Eggs
1/2 cups of milk
3/4 cup of flour
1/2 cup milk (another)
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 lb Muenster cheese
1/2 tbls cayenne
Slat & Pepper to taste

optional toppings
1/2 cup ham cubes
(or) 1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon
(or) 1/2 cup chopped cooked chicken sausage
1/4 cup diced cilantro
1/4 cup diced green onons
Chopped red/green bell pepper
Browned or caramelized onions
Shredded Pepper Jack cheese
Crack the eggs into a large bowl (you'll need room for whisking.  A good rule of thumb with whisking is to go bigger than what you think you'll need to avoid pan switching while you cook).

Crack the eggs into a large bowl with room for whisking.

Whisk the eggs.

Whisk the eggs.

Add the flour.

Add the flour.

Add a 1/2 cup of milk.  That should leave another 1/2 cup of milk for later.

Add a 1/2 cup of milk. That should leave another 1/2 cup of milk for later.

Whisk it all together making sure to get the flour clumps smoothed into the batter.

Whisk it all together making sure to get the flour clumps smoothed into the batter.

How to cube the Muenster cheese

Muenster cheese is the American version of the French Munster cheese named after the city of Munster in Germany.  It is a creamy cows milk cheese with an orange and edible rind.  It melts really well and is perfect for grilled cheese or other hot sandwiches and burgers.

Muenster cheese is the American version of the French Munster cheese named after the city of Munster in Germany. It is a creamy cows milk cheese with an orange and edible rind. It melts really well and is perfect for grilled cheese or other hot sandwiches and burgers.

Cut the cheese block into long rectangles (much like carrot sticks).

Cut the cheese block into long rectangles (much like carrot sticks).

Cut is crosswise at lengths equaling the sides of your square crossection.  Just make it a cube.

Cut is crosswise at lengths equaling the sides of your square crossection. Just make it a cube.

Yay cubed cheese!

Yay cubed cheese!

A mound of Shreddar.

A mound of Shreddar.

Add in some toppings (to get mixed in with the batter) and your spices (garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne)

Add in most of the cheese, the other milk, some toppings (to get mixed in with the batter) and your spices (garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne)

Whisk again until smooth.

Whisk again until smooth.

Grease the pan or spray it with PAM (worked this morning instead of butter!).  Pour the batter into the pan and put on any toppings that should be baked into the top (maybe leave aside cilantro and some of any meat topping).  Put in the oven at 375.  Cooking time will vary from 15-20 minutes.

Grease the pan or spray it with PAM (worked this morning instead of butter!). Pour the batter into the pan and put on any toppings that should be baked into the top (maybe leave aside cilantro and some of any meat topping). Put in the oven at 375. Cooking time will vary from 15-20 minutes.

Dice the onions, set aside.

Dice the onions, set aside.

Dice the cilantro, set aside.

Dice the cilantro, set aside.

Cube or shred any cheeses (Pepper Jack shown).

Cube or shred any cheeses (Pepper Jack shown).

Even if your sausage is already cooked, try to get a quick sear on the cubes of it.  This will add some nice color and texture to the dish.

Even if your sausage is already cooked, try to get a quick sear on the cubes of it. This will add some nice color and texture to the dish.
While you want to put about 3/4 of your toppings in the mix, add the last 1/4 after the dish has set a bit.  This way the toppings will stay on top.

When the dishes are halfway cooked, about 8-10 minutes in, top with the remaining ingredients.  These would be anything you dont want to cook for too long (cilantro, remaining meat, up to you!)

When the dishes are halfway cooked, about 8-10 minutes in, top with the remaining ingredients. These would be anything you dont want to cook for too long (cilantro, remaining meat, up to you!)

Cook until a knife comes out clean and the top has a slight golden tinge.  Overcooking is a possibility, so try to take it out while it is still a touch moist.

Cook until a knife comes out clean and the top has a slight golden tinge. Overcooking is a possibility, so try to take it out while it is still a touch moist.

Take out and enjoy while hot and cheesy!

Take out and enjoy while hot and cheesy!