Thursday, June 30, 2011

Birthin' the Baby...........

The Easy Pressure Cooker Cookbook

Today I received the first copies of my next book, and it's gorgeous!  Writing books is much like having a baby, you write, you edit, you wait and then you get to see the baby!  If you haven't done any pressure cooking, I look at it as the (safer) microwave for the 21st century; making slow food fast.  Risotto in 7 minutes without stirring; beef stew in 35 to 45 minutes; mashed potatoes in 5 minutes; short ribs in 25 minutes; chili in 20 minutes, it's all there and more---over 300 recipes (yes, I'm tired!!)
I'll be traveling and teaching this fall and hope to convert you all to the Pressure Cooker Gospel!  Have a great night! 

Got Fireworks?

This weekend as we celebrate our nations' independence, there will be places where fireworks, a tradition in most cities, will not be allowed.  Lots of reason for this, but the fireworks that I'm talking about will be the food served on the dinner table on the 4th of July.  There are so many traditions in a country as large as ours, that it is impossible to list them all, but for this post I'm including a few recipes for the weekend that are some faves around Chez Phillips.

Shrimp Remoulade Rolls
Serves 6

A twist on the New England lobster roll, these have a spicy mayonnaise sauce from New Orleans that kicks them up nicely.  In New England the hot dog rolls are cut so that they have no crust on the sides, only on the top and they are grilled in butter........what's not to love?

6 hot dog buns, or other soft rolls
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 pounds medium to large shrimp, cooked, peeled,deveined and chopped
¾ cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Creole mustard (or Dijon mustard with 3 shakes Tabasco)
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon finely chopped cornichons or dill pickles
2 teaspoons finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons finely chopped capers
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
¼ cup chopped chives for garnish
  1. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium low heat.  Spread some of the butter over the inside of the buns, and place butter side down in the skillet, until the buns are toasted. If you can get New England style hot dog rolls, butter the outside, and toast the outside.  

 In a large bowl, combine the shrimp with the remaining ingredients, and stir to blend.  At this point, the salad can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.  If serving immediately, load the shrimp salad into the buns, and serve.   

Strawberries and Rhubarb are just about done, but if you hurry, you can grab what's left and make this delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble............serve with vanilla ice cream, of course!

 Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Serves 10 to 12
For the Fruit:
4 cups hulled strawberries, cut in half or quartered if large
4 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 4 stalks)
1 cup granulated sugar (or more if the berries need it)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and coat the inside of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the berries, sugar, cornstarch and juice and transfer the mixture to the baking dish.   Set aside while making the crumble. 
 For the Crumble:
 2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  1.    In a food processor, combine the flour and sugars by pulsing on and off 4 to 5 times.  
  2.      Drop the butter cubes onto the flour mixture, and pulse the mixture on and off until it begins to come together. 
  3.       Break up any large pieces, and sprinkle evenly over the fruit in the prepared pan. 
  4.       Bake the crumble for 35 to 45 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. 
  5.      Serve the crumble warm, or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, or gelato.  
  6.       If you have any crumble topping (uncooked) leftover, freeze it and then use it another time.
If you are doing individual crumbles, they will cook for 20 minutes, until they are golden and bubbling.  This recipe will make about 16 ramekins.  

 I'll be back with a few other thoughts on the weekend tomorrow, until then, enjoy your night. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Reading List

School's out, you might have more time for a few stolen moments to actually enjoy a good read, but what to read.???..I have eclectic tastes when it comes to reading, I love good fiction (not a lot of that out there) history, memoirs, and of course, books on food, wine and gardening.  Here are some of my picks for your summer book shelf, whether you are reading a book, or an e-book reader, these are terrific books to take along.

The Help (Movie Tie-In)
A great read for anyone curious about the South in the 50's---great characters and a terrific story.

 The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden
If you are gardener, this is the book for you, about how not to grow your own veggies; funny, and serious it's a terrific summer read.

Mediterranean Summer: A Season on France's Cote d'Azur and Italy's Costa Bella
Chef David Shalleck's adventures as a chef on an Italian millionaires' yacht; the food, the struggles in a tiny kitchen, hard work, and the journey he takes to find himself.  Love this book!

Au Revoir to All That: Food, Wine, and the End of France
Whether you are a francophile or not, this book is a great education into the cuisine of France, and it's downfall.....then upswing.  Told from the perspective of someone who loves all things French and is devastated that the macaroons at Laduree have fallen from their pedestal , and that Tour d'Argent is no longer the pillar of culinary excellence, this book is funny, informative, and never dull.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
A double story, weaving a serial killer into the building of the Chicago World's Fair, Erik Larson is a master story teller.  I haven't read his latest, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin but our son Ryan said it was terrific.

A Castle in the Backyard: The Dream of a House in France
I taught for 2 summers in the Dordogne, and read this book by a college professor about their search for the perfect home, and the perfect spot.  No needy women in this one, just great writing and a terrific story.

Playing for Pizza
What could be better than sports and food??  Great read....Dr. C. even liked this one.
Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World
Although this is a tome, once read, you will never look at the Olympics the same way again; the stories in this book are about the great athletes who changed the way the games are played, and how we view them; great stories about Jim McKay and how he became the voice of the Olympics in the US.

Playing with the Enemy: A Baseball Prodigy, World War II, and the Long Journey Home

Since I'm a sports nut, Gary Moores' book about his father's short lived baseball career is a great read.

The American Heiress: A Novel

If you loved the PBS series Downton Abbey, you will love reading this historical fiction about the robber baron heiresses who married titled Europeans to infuse their coffers with much needed money to keep up appearances.

To Kill a Mockingbird (slipcased edition)

I could read this classic every month, I find something  new in every read.  Interestingly, Harper Lee never wrote anything else---how could you improve on this one? 

I'll be back tomorrow with some recipes for the holiday weekend, until then pick up a book!  

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