When 4 Stars Just Aren't Enough
Crème brûlée – Baked Custard With Burned Sugar
This recipe originated in Cambridge, England and has become associated with France and is widely made and eaten there. This dessert is becoming one of my favorites, because I love custard, love caramelized sugar, and I add a little orange liqueur to give it a little more flavor.
There are couple secrets to this recipe. The first being you need to use an actual vanilla bean. Trust me its not hard, scrape out the bean, boil and strain. Sure beats using extract. The second secret is in using boiling water in your roasting pan (or cookie sheet) half why up the ramekins during the baking process.
You may ask what is a ramekin? It’s a small 4.5 oz bowl. You can pick them up almost anywhere.
Smoked Chicken on a Stick
My neighbor Rick Rich submitted this recipe and I had the opportunity to eat a few of these chickens on a stick. Wow, I’m ready for another plate full.
In this recipe, a boned chicken is marinated in soy sauce for 4 hours, then smoked. In this case it was on a Traeger. Ever since Rick got his Traeger, he cooks (smokes) everything on it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he found a way to smoke pasta (wink).
If you don’t have a Traeger, I guess a regular old smoker will have to do.
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Bacon-Smothered Haricots Verts
This side dish uses small French green beans, but your ordinary run of the mill green beans will work. It’s early in the season here so the green beans are small, so those worked perfectly.
This recipe comes from Chef Emeril Lagasse and naturally has a Southern twist to your everyday bacon and green beans. The recipe calls for rich chicken stock, but it was running late and I didn’t have time to make it, so I substituted plain old chicken stock. On my next go at this recipe, I will take the time to make the rich chicken stock.
This side takes about 15 minutes to prepare and I paired this up with some chicken from the grill. I prepared the chicken simply with shallots, garlic, and Emerils Creole seasoning as not to distract from the green beans.
Let me tell you, the flavor on the beans was amazing. Try this right away.
Here is a simple recipe from Emeril that takes sautÃ©ed mushrooms to the next level. With the addition of shallots and garlic, this is a winner to top a good steak. In this case, I was using New York strip.
The steak was cooked on the BBQ (charcoal naturally), and when I flipped the steaks, I ran into the house and started the mushrooms. As the steaks were resting (4 minutes), the mushrooms finished up just in time.
Rockfish with Hazelnuts
We love our hazel nuts here in the Willamette Valley (OR) and thus inspired putting a hazel nut sauce atop a fish. In this case, rockfish.
I would have rather used sliced hazel nuts (or sliced them myself) but the store I went to only chopped hazel nuts. What’s up with that? I can see hazel nut groves from the store and I have several groves near my house. Guess I will have to spend more time and acquire the hazel nuts from local stores rather than the commercial giants.
So back to the recipe, this meal was really quick to make and I cubed up some baby red potatoes, drizzled some olive oil over the top and dusted them with sea salt. Than baked until crisp at 475 degrees.
Tuna de Provence
This recipe comes from a village in Provence in the South of France and is amazingly easy to create. With only a few ingredients, it is easy to pick out the flavors and is very clean.
I used Yellow Fin Tuna that were fairly thick. Remember when cooking tuna, you want a little pink in the middle (like cooking a steak medium). Another trick is to lightly press down on the tuna, while in the pan, for a few seconds when you first drop them in.
The side dish was yet another simple task. I took baby red potatoes, sliced them thin with my KitchenAid Mixer Slicing attachment. While in the mixing bowl, I drizzled olive oil and sprinkled sea salt on the potatoes. Mixed them and laid them out on an old cookie sheet and baked at 475 degrees.
Ok, let’s get back to the fish. Tuna is straight forward, salt and pepper on each side and cook in olive oil. The flavors from the sauce is the icing on the cake.
Grilled Garlic Bread
I know! I couldn’t believe it myself when I ran across this recipe from Emeril. Grilled garlic bread, what could possible be better. Now at first I was thinking how are you going to grill bread, then it dawned on me, in aluminum foil, and sure enough the recipe did not let me down.
This simple recipe starts by creaming some butter with parsely, garlic, lemon juice, and Emeril’s Creole seasoning. Be sure to let your unsalted (REAL) butter get to room temperature and use your mixer to cream the butter.
In the picture you will notice some salmon, Copper River Wild Sockeye to be exact. I am telling you, there is nothing like wild caught salmon – the juices from the fish make the BBQ go wild. At any rate, I kept the salmon very simple because I wanted to evaluate the garlic bread without an overpowering fish or sauce. So it was garlic salt, onion salt, and I squeezed a lemon over the top of the salmon – simply yet delicious.
So lets move on to the garlic bread.
Italian Chicken Under A Brick
It was time to fire up the BBQ this weekend because we have been working hard on our backyard makeover and neglecting the grill. Ok it is more than a makeover it is a complete start from scratch, hence why my posts have been far and few between lately (which I will correct).
Today’s recipe comes from Emeril and his book Emeril at the Grill. In Emerils recipe he has you bone a chicken and grill it flat with bricks on top. What a cool idea, but I didn’t have a whole chicken when I tried this so chick breasts it was. My next attempt at this will certainly be a whole boned chicken.
Back to the bricks, find yourself some old bricks. Lucky for me, we are putting down about 5 million pavers (in the backyard) so finding candidates for the grill was not hard. I just had to look at the pallets in my driveway. Wrap your bricks with aluminum foil and heat them prior to grilling the chicken.
Another thing to think about is that you want to marinate the chicken for 2-6 hours. I recommend at least 4. This way the herbs and lemon juice penetrates the chicken.