I know it’s Georgia/Florida weekend, but that isn’t keeping me from sharing one of my favorite menus with you all. This menu is perfect for Fall and the cooler weather we are all enjoying. Whether you are entertaining guests, family or having a quiet dinner for two, this is a delicious combination of courses, flavors and textures. Come with me to foodie land and enjoy! Here’s the menu:
Scotch Mists with a Lemon Twist
Gougere (little cheese/pastry appetizers)
Chopped French Salad with Apples, Walnuts and White Wine Vinaigrette
Pork Chops, Pan Seared with Port Wine Sauce and Served On A Bed Of Wilted Fennel and Shallots
Any cocktail will do, but somehow, a good single malt scotch poured over crushed ice with a twist of lemon just seems perfect with the Gougere appetizer. A good Amantillado Sherry would be delicious as well.
For the Gougere*:
1 1/4 cup water
10 Tbl butter
1 tsp salt
1 c all-purpose flour
5 large eggs
1 c shredded Gruyère cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbl fresh thyme, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the water and salt. Let it come to a rolling boil and immediately add flour, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Keep mixing until the flour absorbs all the liquid and pulls away from the sides of the pan. You want to cook the mixture for about 3 minutes to dry out the dough.
Put the flour mixture in to the bowl of a standing mixer with paddle attachment. On medium-low speed, mix for about 30 seconds to cool it a little. Add eggs one at a time, making sure that it’s fully incorporated before adding the next. Once the dough is all combined, it should be slightly thick, shiny and pasty, add the cheese, black pepper and thyme.
Pipe onto a parchment lined baking sheet in your desired size. (Note: I have made these by simply dropping a small spoonful onto the parchment paper and it works well.) If you want them as appetizers, pipe 1″ rounds. For breakfast size gougères pipe the rounds about 2 1/2″. Sprinkle grated Gruyère on top.Bake until they are puffy and nicely browned, about 25 minutes for the small ones and 35 minutes for the large ones.
*Thanks to the wonderful blog “Treats” for this delicious recipe!
Chopped French Green Salad with Apples, Walnuts and White Wine Vinaigrette
2 heads Endive
1 head Raddichio
1 head butter lettuce
1 head frisee
2 honey crisp apples
1 cup toasted walnuts
Wash the greens and spin them dry in a salad spinner. Loosely chop the lettuces and raddichio. Slice the endive or, if you prefer, break the spears apart and toss whole in the salad. Wash and core the apples. Slice them about 1/8″ thick. Toast the walnuts on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about five minutes, just long enough to let the oil and flavors release. Toss the greens together and place on four chilled salad plates. Arrange the apples on the top and sprinkle with the toasted walnuts.
White Wine Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
6 tablespoons good quality olive oil
a Big pinch of coarsely ground black pepper
Whisk the vinegar, salt and dry mustard together in a small bowl. Continue to whisk as you add the olive oil in a steady stream. Blend in the pepper and pour a bit over each salad.
Pork Chops with Port Wine Sauce, Served On A Bed Of Wilted Fennel and Shallots
4 bone in pork chops, about 1 1/2 inches thick
Ground black pepper
1 cup port wine
1 bulb fennel
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Slice the top off of the fennel bulb and thinly slice the bulb. Peel and slice the shallots.
Place the olive oil in a heavy saute pan and heat for 3 minutes. Add the fennel and shallots with a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Saute for five minutes. Remove from the heat and place the mixture in a bowl, covered with foil to keep warm. Salt and pepper the pork chops. Return the saute pan to the heat on medium high. Place the pork chops in the pan and sear for five minutes, turn and repeat on the other side. Remove the chops from the pan. Carefully pour the port into the pan over high heat and allow to boil for one minute. Turn the heat down and return the pork chops to the pan. Turn the heat to low, cover the pan and let simmer very slowly for 20 minutes. Just before serving, add the butter to the pan to incorporate into the sauce. If needed you can had 1/2 cup chicken broth to the sauce. To serve, place the fennel mixture on the plate and top with a pork chop. Spoon the sauce over all and grind a generous amount of black pepper over all. Note: I serve this with tiny yellow potatoes that have been roasted at 425 degrees for one hour, toss them in a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt before roasting.
My all time favorite dessert, hands down.
- 8 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup half and half (light cream)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 300F. Arrange 6 custard cups in a large pan with sides at least 1 1/2 inches deep.
Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl until they turn frothy and bright yellow. Slowly whisk 1/3 cup sugar, the creams, and vanilla extract into the beaten eggs. Beat the mixture for 90 seconds.
Pour the eggs and cream through a medium-mesh sieve into a large (4 cup) liquid measuring cup. Divide the mixture between 6 custard cups and fill the large pan with hot water half-way up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake the custard in the hot-water bath for 55 minutes to 1 hour, until the custard is set, but still moves a bit in the center when jiggled. Cool the custard in the water bath for 20 minutes, and then refrigerate them until they are chilled.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar over top of the custards and caramelize the sugar with a small, handheld kitchen torch. Serve immediately.
This classic crème brulee recipe makes 6 servings. We always have two left over so that Mr. T and I can have one the next day.
*Thanks to About.com: French Food for this yummy recipe.