Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Decadent Dinner...

Sitting here thinking what I would prepare for just the two of us if I wanted to "woo" him! Salad, Crab AuGratin and Panna Cotta  would be my choices! ;)

 First, I would start with a light salad of Spinach, strawberries, feta, red onions and a light vinaigrette.

Entree: Crab Au Gratin, his favorite! ;)

Crab Au Gratin 
4 oz grated American cheese
1 tbsp garlic
1/4 lb butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 lb lump crabmeat
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp each of red & white pepper
2 tbsp parsley
1 tsp salt
3 sticks finely chopped celery
1 tbsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1. Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat.
2. Add flour until thickened.
3. Cook this roux over low heat, stirring often for 10 minutes.
4. Be sure not to brown your roux, it should be a white roux.
5. Add celery, stir and cook for 3 minutes.
6. Add cheese, whipping cream, milk, parsley and seasonings.
7. Cook until cheese is melted and sauce thickens.
8. Fold in crabmeat and transfer to 4 - 6 oval ramekins.
9.  Top with sprinkling of additonal cheese. Brown in oven and serve.
Bon Appetit!


Lemon Honey Panna Cotta

For the panna cotta:
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 ¼ tsp gelatin
1 cup whipping cream
½ cup fine granulated sugar
¼ cup honey
Zest of 1 lemon
1/8 tsp (pinch) salt
2 cups low-fat or no-fat unsweetened yogurt
1 tsp pure lemon extract
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
¾ cup apricot jam
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Limoncello
Zest of ½ lemon
Make the panna cotta:
Pour the lemon juice into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over. Let soften for a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the whipping cream, sugar, honey, lemon zest, and salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and the cream is hot. Remove from the heat and whisk in the softened gelatin; whisk until the gelatin dissolves. Set aside.
Place the yogurt in a large liquid-measuring cup (a spout will make it easier to pour later). Add the lemon and vanilla extracts and whisk to combine and lighten the yogurt. Gradually, whisk in the hot cream-gelatin mixture. Divide the mixture equally between 12 4-oz bowls, glasses or ramekins. Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Right before serving or close to the serving time, combine the jam, tablespoon of honey, and Limoncello in a small microwave-safe bowl. Warm the mixture gently, so it’s barely warm to the touch, then put it through a fine-mesh sieve. Stir in the lemon zest. Divide the jam mixture equally between the panna cotta, gently spread the jam. Please, note that the jam should be spreadable but not hot; otherwise, it will melt the panna cotta. Serve right away or refrigerate until needed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cajun Alfredo Sauce & Grilled Chicken

During the holidays, with so many dinners of "tradition" including Turkey, Ham, Dressing, Stuffing, Sweet Potato This & That, Baked Goods Galore...I find myself wanting something that is not the norm, a bit on the spicy side! This is one of my favorites!

Cajun Alfredo Sauce
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 12 oz pkg frozen seasoning blend  or
(the cajun trinity - 1 cup chopped onions, 1 cup diced celery, 1 cup diced red or green bell pepper)
2 tsp chopped or minced garlic
1/8 tsp celery salt
16 oz heavy whipping cream (2 cups)
16 oz half/half  (2 cups)
8 oz shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup chopped provolone cheese
salt and pepper to taste (or Tony Chachere's Creole/Cajun seasoning , about 1-2 Tbsp. my preference)

2 Tbsp. fresh snipped parsley for garnish

Saute vegetables in melted butter for 10 minutes...add remaining ingredients, cook until
thickened...if too thick, add milk until reaches desired consistency.
Toss with  fettuccine noodles topped with grilled chicken breast. Garnish with parsley.

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Weber's Kickin' Chicken seasoning

Season both sides of chicken breasts. Brush grill pan with oil. Heat over med high heat. Add chicken and grill 4-5 minutes per side or until cooked through. For marking chicken, rotate 1/4 turn halfway through cooking on each side.