Musings from a Seattle personal chef
Archive for December, 2007
I can never show up to Christmas Eve festivities empty-handed, but considering I typically have to work that day I’m always looking for recipes that can easily be made ahead. Deviled eggs to the rescue! I made the eggs and filling the day before, then assembled them at our cousin’s place. They were a HUGE hit.
As with most things, I don’t really have a specific recipe. For 18 eggs I mixed the yolks with about 3/4 cup mayonnaise and 1/2 cup sour cream. I then added salt, pepper and chipotle chiles en adobo to taste. You can mash with a fork or potato masher, but I like to whip everything up in a food processor for a nice creamy consistency. Enjoy!
Christmas has come and gone, and although I didn’t do everything I had hoped, I feel blessed to have such wonderful friends, family and clients with which to celebrate the season.
I managed to get a three-day weekend just before Christmas, so we took the opportunity to relax (well, after our 11-mile run on Friday and 22-mile run on Saturday, that is) and catch up with some out-of-town friends at a local pub. We shared spiked eggnog and wine with our neighbor and gorged ourselves silly with my darling’s relatives Christmas Eve (I’m looking forward to the marathon to help work off all those calories).
On Christmas Eve morning I prepared a decadent brunch for a client: caviar on potato pancakes with crème fraîche, seared foie gras on brioche toast points (with homemade brioche), baked eggs with truffles, popovers with strawberry butter, fresh fruit salad and pigs in a blanket (the latter was requested by the grandkids, but the adults enjoyed them too). As I was cleaning up my client told me to take the remaining foie gras — almost 3/4 pound! She also gave me almost an ounce of the truffles. How incredibly generous.
One of my favorite snack indulgences is truffled popcorn — air-popped corn tossed with a mixture of truffle oil and butter and sprinkled with truffle salt. My darling has never cared for it — he can’t stand the smell of truffle oil — but when he tried the version with real truffle butter he was hooked (the truffle scent in most truffle oil is chemically produced, so that’s what had been turning him off). For the butter I minced up some of the truffle and let it steep in melted butter. I then tossed that with the popcorn. The rest of the truffle was mixed in with a wild mushroom risotto.
For the foie gras, I was inspired by a dish my darling had at Chez Dumonet in Paris: seared foie gras with grapes. I sautéed some minced shallot in some duck fat, along with a couple of handfuls of halved black seedless grapes. I let them sauté until rather soft and beginning to brown, then deglazed with about a cup and a half of tawny port and a couple of tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. I reduced that down until syrupy and set aside.
Meanwhile, I sliced the foie gras into 3/4″ slices and seasoned with salt and pepper. I preheated a skillet until very hot and added the slices. They cook VERY fast; you have to be careful or you’ll end up with a skillet-ful of very expensive fat. After about 45 seconds I flipped them and seared on the other side. I then placed the slices on the brioche toast points and poured the sauce on top. The sauce provided a wonderfully tangy balance to the richness of the foie gras and brioche.
What a way to celebrate Christmas!
Note to self: DO NOT sign up for another January marathon if you expect to have any time to celebrate the holidays.
I can’t freakin’ believe Christmas is just a week and a half away. I had such high hopes for this season — I’d prepare fabulous, homemade treats for all my clients, I’d send out Christmas cards at the beginning of the month, my house would be clean and decorated — but time has somehow managed to get away from me. Only one client will be receiving treats, and even then I’ve disappointed her (I prepared three dozen each of three types of cookies; one dozen of each for her, the other two for her daughter). However, despite the fact she’s on a diet and shouldn’t be eating such indulgences, the amount wasn’t enough.
So for now this blog will remain woefully ignored. I had actually started a post that consisted of various food “snippets,” — tidbits I’ve been collecting over the year that haven’t warranted a full post — but even posting those in a cohesive fashion has seemed daunting. For some reason I feel more compelled to write on my other blog, Eat Drink Run Woman, so if you’re really intrigued with my comings and goings, check that out.
In the mean time, I hope you enjoy my version of that holiday classic, Chex Mix. It’s an adaptation of Texas Trash from the El Paso Chile Company’s “Texas Border Cookbook.” (And yes, the photo above was taken LAST year, when I actually had time to make the stuff).
Puget Sound Trash
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup Chipotle Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
2 cups Fritos
2 cups Crispix cereal (or Chex)
2 cups Bugles
2 cups Cheez-its or Goldfish
2 cups Corn Nuts
1 1/2 cups pretzel sticks (the tiny ones)
1 cup pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds)
1 cup peanuts
Preheat oven to 250. Mix melted butter, Tabasco, Worcesteshire sauce, chili powder and oregano together until well blended. In a large bowl, toss Fritos, cereal, Cheez-its, corn Nuts, pretzels, pepitas and peanuts. Pour butter mixture over and stir to combine. Bake for about an hour, stirring every 10 minutes, until lightly browned.