Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cold Grand Marnier Souffle

This picture is a little blurry because to be honest I've already had a couple of drinks in me and there was no way I could steady the camera. Which is a shame because all of my pictures of this glorious dessert came out blurry but I don't regret having those drinks ;)

Like I said before, I cannot stop thinking about this dessert it was absolutely perfect in every way. It was easy, it looked tasty, it was tasty and best of all it was done the night before which meant it was ready to go as soon as we were! But I like the description in the book better, "It's like eating a cold, sweet cloud" and it was! It really was.

This recipe calls for Melba Sauce, which is a raspberry sauce. The book says to use store bought or raspberry puree if you can't find the Melba sauce at the grocery store. I couldn't find it at the grocery so I made my own and I'm glad I did. I used a recipe from the Food Network website. Next time though I think I would double the recipe because everyone loved the sauce, there wasn't a drop left. They literally licked the serving cup clean!

Cold Grand Marnier Souffle
Courtesy Morton's Steak Bible
Serves six

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
4 large eggs, plus 3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
Two 1/4 ounce packets unflavored gelatin powder (1 1/2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other orange flavored liqueur
Melba Sauce
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
6 raspberries
6 mint leaves

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks. Set aside.

2. In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar for about 2 minutes, or until warm to the touch (about 105*F), golden yellow, and frothy. Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or remove the top of the double boiler and use a handheld mixer or immersion blender. Whisk for about 3 minutes, or until cool. Wrap your hands around the outside of the bowl to determine when the mixture cools.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup of warm water to dissolve. Add the Grand Marnier and dissolve the gelatin to the cooled egg mixture and beat on medium-low until the liquid is incorporated.

4. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg mixture into the whipped cream just until combined. Do not over mix. You will have more than 6 cups of batter.

5. Divide the mixture among six 8oz souffle dishes or ramekins. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until chilled. The souffles can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

6. To serve, remove the souffles from the dishes by running a blunt kitchen knife around the inside of the dishes. Put a chilled dessert plate on top of each souffle, and holding the dish and plate securely, invert. Gently shake the dish as you lift it off the souffle.

7. Garnish each plate with a drizzle of Melba sauce, orange zest, a raspberry, and a mint leaf.

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Morton's Cajun Ribeye Steak

What was not to like about these juicy, spicy, succulent and did I mention juicy steaks?! The only thing I did differently was I didn't make their Cajun seasoning. But not because I didn't want to but because after I looked at the ingredients I didn't think it would be spicy enough and why make it when I already have one I like? I use Cajun's Choice Blackened Seasoning. It's perfectly seasoned seasoning, there is no need to add salt or extra cayenne pepper to make it spicier or tastier, but I'll rave about Cajun's choice later. Now, as I mentioned earlier the method for these steaks seemed unconventional but I closed my eyes and put my trust onto the Masters at Morton's and I wasn't disappointed and our family wasn't disappointed either.

Cajun Ribeye Steak
Courtesy Morton's Steak Bible
Serves 6

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Morton's Cajun Seasonings or other Cajun Seasonings (I used Cajun's Choice Blackened Seasonings, see notes)
Six 16 oz aged ribeye steaks, each about 1 1/1 inches thick
4 3/4 cups flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower
6 tablespoons Au Jus (optional) *see notes*

1. Put the seasonings in a large, shallow glass or ceramic pan. Press each side of the steaks into the seasoning to cover completely. Remove the steaks and lightly pound each four to five times n both sides with a meat mallet or small, heavy skillet to soften but not flatten more than a little. Discard any remaining seasoning in pan.

2. Pour the oil into the pan and add the steaks one by one. They should be covered with oil; add more if necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Alternatively, marinate steaks in a heavy duty resealable plastic bags.

3. When you are ready to cook the steaks, remove them from the oil and pat of excess oil with paper towels. The oil can flair on the grill or in the broiler. Set the steaks aside for 30 to 60 minutes at room temperature.

4. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill or preheat the broiler and position a rack 4 inches from the heating elements. The coals should be medium hot the charcoal grill. The burners should be on high for the gas grill.

5. If using a charcoal grill, grill for a bout 8 minutes. Turn, using tongs, and grill the other side for 8-9 minutes for medium rare, or until the desired degree of doneness. If using a gas grill, grill for about 8 minutes. Turn, using tongs, and grill the other side for 8-9 minutes for medium rare, or until the desired degree of doneness. If using the broiler, broil 4 inches from the heat source abut 8 minutes. Turn, using tongs, and broil the other side for about 8 minutes for medium-rare, or until desired degree of doneness.

6. To serve, spoon some Au Jus over the steaks if desired.

Note: It is very important that you pat the steaks down before grilling them because you will have flare ups. Also, I didn't use nearly as much of the Blackened Seasonings that it calls for, but I did use a lot. I didn't pour it in a container and pressed the steaks to it as it's written. Instead I sprinkled the steaks with the seasonings and I don't mean like I would sprinkle something with salt. I mean I doused them in seasoning.

Here is the recipe for the Au Jus
Makes about 1 generous cup

1 cup store-bought demi-glace
2 1/2 teaspoons commercial beef base
1 1/4 teaspoons commercial chicken base
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Pinch of freshly ground white pepper

1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 1/4 cups of water with the demi-glace, beef base, chicken base, peppercorns, garlic powder, thyme, bay leaf, and ground pepper. Whisk well. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook at a boil, uncovered, whisking occasionally, for about 25 minutes, or until glossy and smooth.

2. Strain through a chinois or a fine mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Discard the solids. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour until chilled. Scrape any fat that has congealed on the surface. Use right away or transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Note: I did make the Au Jus but to be completely honest I didn't think it was worth it. I like an Au Jus that is more juicy, as in runny, than gravy-ish, do you know what I mean? And their Au Jus was the thickness of gravy. I went over and over it in my mind to see if I had done anything wrong but I didn't do anything wrong. I had followed the recipe to a T! In the end I'm glad I tried it but I don't think I would make it again. Because I didn't like the consistency of the Au Jus what I did end up doing was; I mixed a little bit of the Au Jus, I would say the equivalent of 2-3 tablespoons, with the juices that were released from the steaks after they had rested and it was awesome! The taste would not have been the same had I used one or the other exclusively but I didn't think it was worth the hassle, but that's just my opinion.

I couldn't find the Veal Demi-Glace at the regular grocery store. I finally found it at Bristol Farms. This is a specialty item which translates to; expensive item. Which is one of the reasons why I wouldn't make the Au Jus again. Also, the bases that Morton's recommends, or uses are, Superior Touch Better Than Bouillon. I was able to find that at the regular grocery store in the soup aisle.

Morton's Caesar Salad

As Morton's states in their cookbook what really makes this salad is their salad dressing and I couldn't agree more. Without it, all you have is Romaine and croutons -how special is that? The dressing was very good, you could definitely tell it was homemade. I made the croutons the morning of and the dressing two days prior to dinner.

Morton's Caesar Salad
Courtesy Morton's Steak Bible
Serves 6

2 slices firm, thick sliced white bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons Clarified Butter, melted or olive oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 large Romaine lettuce, each weighing a generous 1 pound, washed and dried
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Caesar Dressing, recipe follows

1. Preheat the oven to 375*F.

2. Cut each slice of bread into 16 to 20 cubes. Put the bread cubes in a bowl, drizzle with the butter, and toss to evenly coat. Spread the cubes in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the croutons are golden brown. Shake the pan once or twice to encourage even browning.

3. Transfer the croutons to a medium mixing bowl. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan and the garlic powder over the croutons. Gently toss. Set aside at room temperature.

4. Cut the lettuce into large bite size pieces and transfer to a large salad or mixing bowl. Toss with the Caesar Dressing. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan over the salad and add the croutons.

Caesar Dressing
Makes about 3 1/2 cups

3 large eggs
Two 2 ounces cans anchovies packed in oil, rinsed, patted dry, and diced
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
1 1/2 cups flavorless vegetable oil such as canola or safflower
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese

1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine he eggs, anchovies, mustard, garlic powder, anchovy paste, and pepper. Process for about 2 minutes, or until thoroughly mixed.
2. With the motor running, slowly add the oil until emulsified and the consistency of thin mayonnaise. Add the vinegar and lemon juice. Mix until the dressing is well combined. With the motor still running, add the Parmesan. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then mix the dressing for 30 seconds.
3. Refrigerate the dressing for at least 1 hour, or until chilled. Use the dressing immediately or transfer to a covered storage container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Note: If you don't use day old bread for the croutons, you will have to bake them longer as the bread will have more moisture in it. Also, if you've never cooked with anchovies, as I hadn't, when you rinse them only remove the bones that will easily give otherwise you'll end up tearing your anchovy and ending up with shredded pieces.

Morton's Garlic Butter

To quote Morton's "Our garlic butter is a little more involved than some, but it's absolutely sublime." They couldn't be more right! At first I was like, do I really want to go through all the trouble? And I almost didn't, except it wouldn't truly be, "a night at Morton's" if I cut corners, if you know what I'm sayin'? But I'm so glad I did make it because it was sublime. Morton's suggests adding the butter to plain vegetables, potatoes and pasta and I couldn't agree more, it's that good!

Morton's Garlic Butter
Courtesy Morton's Steak Bible
Makes about 2 1/2 cups

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped peeled shallots
1/2 tablespoon rinsed, drained, and chopped anchovies (3 to 4 fillets)
1/2 bunch curly leaf parsley, stems removed and discarded, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, soften
1/2 tablespoon Pernod liqueur
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

1. Int he bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the garlic, shallots, anchovies, and parsley until finely chopped.
2. In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and set on medium speed, beat the butter for 1 minute. Scrape the garlic mixture into the butter and beat for another minute or so until thoroughly mixed. Reduce the speed to low. Add the Pernod, salt, and pepper and beat to mix. Increase the speed to high and mix for 2 minutes, or until the butter is smooth, fluffy, and light. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Mix the butter mixture for 2 more minutes at high speed.
3. use immediately or transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 5 days, wrap well and freeze for up to 2 months.

Note: I didn't have any Pernod and didn't feel like buying it since all it really called for was 1/2 a tablespoon so I used a licorice liqueur I had on hand I believe it was Romana Sambuca it worked out fine. You couldn't taste it so I'm guessing it was added to balance off a different flavor in the recipe. Also, don't be put off by the anchovies (like I was) you cannot taste them and according to Morton's they are essential because you cannot attain the level of saltiness otherwise.

Wild Mushroom Canapes with Brie

Oh my gosh, you have no idea how much I wish I had a better picture of this because this picture doesn't do it any justice in the least bit! This was one of the biggest hits of the night. The combination of the different mushrooms sauteed in Morton's Garlic Butter was, in short, heavenly! This was extremely easy to throw together if you have te butter made ahead of time if you don't then yeah it won't be easy. But that was one of the things I loved about this, the simplicity with big rewards. Try this you won't be sorry!

Wild Mushroom Canapes with Brie
Courtesy Morton's Steak Bible
Makes 20 canapes

1 French baguette, about 14 inches long and 3 inches wide
4 oz portobello mushrooms (about 2 medium mushroom caps)
3 ounces shiitake mushrooms (about 6 mushrooms)
4 ounces cremini mushrooms (about 10 mushrooms)
6 tablespoons Garlic Butter
4 ounces unpeeled Brie cheese, frozen

1. Preheat oven to 450*F.
2. Trim the ends off the baguettes and save for another use, such as bread crumbs. Cut the baguettes on an angle into twenty 1/4 inch slices. Toast the bread in the oven in a single layer on a baking sheet for 4 to 5 minutes, until light golden brown.
3. Twist the stems off the portobello and shiitake mushrooms and discard. Trim the stems from the cremini and discard. Using a small paring knife, scrape the underside of the portobellos clean off the dark gills.
4. Slice all the mushrooms into 1/4 inch wide strips, and then chop them into 1/2 to 1 inch long pieces. You will have about 4 cups roughly chopped pieces.
5. In a large saute pan, melt the Garlic Butter over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, or until softened. The mushrooms will cook down about 1 1/3 cups.
6. Lay the bread out on the baking sheet. Top each slice of toast with 1 tablespoon of the mushroom mixture.
7. Using the cheese grater, coarsely grate the frozen Brie so that you have about 1 cup. Sprinkle the grated Brie over the mushroom mixture and bake for about 5 minutes, or until the Brie melts. Serve immediately.

Note: The Brie really needs to be frozen, you can grate the cheese ahead of time to save time later. But make sure when you grate it, it's frozen and then return it to the freezer. You will see when you grate it that it softens rather quickly just from your very own body heat coming off of your hands. You can also slice and toast the baguette slices ahead of time that way when your guest arrive you just saute the mushrooms, top your baguettes, pop in the oven and enjoy!

Morton's Cosmopolitan

As previously stated, this is one of the best Cosmos I've ever had. And speaking of cosmos may I just add, in an unrelated rant, that Cafe Tutu Tango should so be embarrassed with themselves for trying to pass off cranberry juice as Cosmopolitans on the day that the Sex And The City movie was released. My friend Stephanie, God Bless her heart, is a light weight. She not only drank 2 of their so called Cosmos, without the slightest bit of buzz, she had a shooter to boot. So in conclusion not only does their food suck and is waaaaaay over priced they can't make a descent drink to save their lives! Vent over, Morton's winner. Cafe Tutu Tango looser.

Morton's Cosmopolitan
Courtesy of Morton's Steak Bible
Serves 1

2 ounces Ketel One Citiroen vodka
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon Ocean Spray cranberry puree, or 2 tablespoons frozen Ocean Spray cranberry juice concentrate, undiluted
Juice of 1 lime wedge
1 slender lime wedge, for garnish

1. Pour the vodka, Cointreau Grand Marnier, cranberry puree, and lime juice into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake 15 times. Strain into a chilled martini glass.

2. Garnish with lime wedge.

Note: I have to admit I didn't use Ketel One Citroen Vodka, I cheated for economical purposes, and used Smirnoff Citrus. Wipe the disgust off your face Smirnoff in a blind tasting came out on top over Grey Goose, so suck on that. I also used Cranberry Juice Concentrate I couldn't find the puree and more than likely you probably won't either. According to Morton's it's usually just sold to restaurants and bars.
Oh and a tip! This is a great tip I picked up from Ina Garten, you can mix the drinks in a glass pitcher before hand, store it in the refrigerator and when you are ready to serve, just give it a stir, pour it in a cocktail shaker with ice and voila you are good to go! No more mixing individual drinks! This is great for parties too, you can set up a whole bar with different martini flavors ready to go just pour, shake and serve.

Morton's The Steakhouse

A couple of weeks ago I was at my new favorite store Home Goods and I ran into a cookbook I just couldn't pass up -and I'm glad I didn't! The book is Morton's Steak Bible; Recipes and Lore from the Legendary Steakhouse and it kicks ass! By the time I was done reading it I was convinced we had to have a Morton's night, at home of course! And it was through the roof.
What I really liked about this dinner is that a lot of the things, including the dessert, could be made ahead of time. To quote MaryAnn she said "you made it look so easy!" And it really was very easy. The salad dressing and garlic butter where made 2 days prior to the dinner. The dessert was made the night before. The steaks were marinated the morning of, the drinks were mixed a couple of hours before. With all of the "make ahead" involved how could it not be easy?
Here is what we had:

Morton's Cosmopolitan
This was the best Cosmo I've ever had, second only to the Cosmillinium I had while on vacation in the San Juan Islands circa 2001.

Wild Mushroom Canapes with Brie
These where the biggest hit of the night. Everyone loved them and this picture truly doesn't do them justice.

Cajun Ribeye Steak

I was a little skeptical of this, I know how blasphemous of me to question the Masters but I did, but as it turned out I had nothing to worry about. Again, this picture doesn't do it justice.

Morton's Caesar Salad

Very tasty of course!

Cold Grand Marnier Souffle

I have not been able to stop thinking about this, this was probably one of the best desserts I've ever had.