Monday, November 23, 2015

Crostini with Goat Cheese, Cremini Mushroom Duxelles & Balsamic Glaze

(photo pending)


For Duxelles
8oz Cremini Mushrooms, cleaned
2 lg shallots, skins & core removed
4-5 cloves garlic
Olive oil & butter for saute

For Goat Cheese
8 oz goat cheese (room temperature)
8 oz Neufchatel Cheese (sold as light Cream Cheese) (room temperature)
1/4 c Grated Parmesan Cheese

Balsamic Glaze
1 1/2 c Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 c white sugar

1 baguette
olive oil

Pour Balsamic Vinegar and sugar into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Reduce to 6-8 oz or about 1/3 of original volume.

Meanwhile, place mushrooms, garlic and shallots in a food processor and pulse to a fine chopped texture. Heat olive oil and butter in a saute pan over medium high heat. When melted and combined, add mushroom/garlic/shallot mixture. Saute to sweat and soften - about 8-10 minutes. Add thyme, salt & pepper and mix well. Remove from heat.

If substituting for goat cheese, in a separate bowl, mix Neufchatel Cheese and Parmesan.

With a bread knife, cut baguette diagonally into 3/8" thick pieces. Brush on olive oil on both sides and either toast in a toaster oven or broiler until brown and crispy (not burned!)

Spread a light coating of goat cheese (or substitute) on each crostini.
Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the mushroom/garlic/shallot mixture on top of the cheese.
Arrange pieces on a serving tray or plate, then drizzle a few drops of the balsamic glaze on top of the mushroom mixture on each.

Serve immediately.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Anise Shortbread Cookies

1 c unsalted butter
1/2 c confectioners sugar
1 1/2 t ground anise seed
1/4 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla extract
2 c flour

Cream together butter & confectioners sugar until fluffy.

Add ground anise, cinnamon & vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.

Stir in flour.

Divide dough in half and form each half into a 1 1/2 inch diameter log wrapped in parchment paper. Wrap tightly and evenly. Refrigerate in a bag for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cover two sheet pans with parchment paper. Remove logs of dough from the refrigerator and slice into 1/4" slices. Place on baking sheets 1/2" apart.

Bake for 5 minutes at 375, reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Serve with a 1/2 t dollop of Nouveau Merlot Wine Jelly in the center.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Nouveau Merlot Wine Jelly

3 1/2 c Merlot
1/2 c lemon juice
1 packet Suregel Pectin
4 1/2 c white sugar

Put wine, lemon juice and pectin in a large saucepan and heat to boiling, stirring frequently.

When wine mixture boils fully, remove from heat and add the sugar all at once. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Return to heat on high stirring constantly. Bring to a full boil for 1 minute.

Remove from heat.

Gently skim any foam from the top of the liquid.

Pour into sterilized jars leaving 1/2" headroom. Add new lids and rings. Process for 10 minutes. Allow to cool undisturbed for 24 hours. Make sure all jars have sealed.

Yields 4 - 12oz jelly jars + 1 - 8oz jelly jar or 56oz in total.

Springgate Nouveau Merlot 2015 Adventure

This week I was blessed by my friends at Springgate to get 2 whole gallons of this year's Merlot fresh from its first fermentation - before sulphates, oaking, blending, etc. Fresh, "raw" Merlot. While they were drawing the two one-gallon carboys, I got to have my first taste along with Trevor, one of Marty's winery minions. It was amazing - no acid, no bite, just pure grapey, fruity smoothness.

Now onto what I did first. The plan had been to get the Merlot two days earlier. I had gathered ingredients for a nice beef stew - a nice 7 pound boneless round roast, a couple pounds of carrots & onions, about 1/2 pound of Shiitake mushrooms. But at the last minute, I had to go with some Cabernet Franc instead because of timing and equipment issues to extract the Merlot. So the beef stew came off great, but sans Merlot (you can see details for the stew HERE).

So Wednesday night, I started my first round with the Merlot. I had determined to make 1 gallon into Wine Jelly. But by the time I had cleaned everything and was ready to make jelly (I made it in four smaller batches) I had time to make the first two - plus I needed to scrounge up more jars anyway. So the first night - success.

Last night, I started earlier, my wife managed to find enough jars and I finished off the jelly and the first gallon of Merlot.

Now what to do with the rest?

The plan is:
1 qt - mix with gelatin an whip over ice to make a "mousse". Combined with a dark chocolate mousse for parfaits. This is similar to something I've done before with Panna Cotta with Dark Chocolate Ganache & Merlot Wine Gelatin Whip

1 qt - Merlot Syrup to use over ice cream.

As for the other remaining quarts - stay tuned!

Beef Stew

(Sorry - I missed my photo opportunity!)

5 lb Beef round - cut roughly into 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes
2 1/2 lbs carrots, cleaned and cut into 3" pieces
6 medium onions, cleaned, sliced
2 1/2 c red wine (I used Cabernet Franc)
3 c beef stock
leaves of fresh rosemary (I got mine from about 10 inches of stem)
4 bay leaves
1/2 t salt
1 t fresh ground pepper

1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1/4" wide

1 1/2 c cold water
12 T cornstarch

Put everything except the mushrooms in a large crockpot.
Turn on high to reach bubbling.
Turn down to low to cook for 3-4 hours
Turn on high and add mushrooms - cook for 2 hours.
Mix cold water and corn starch - add a bit at a time to the crockpot, around the perimeter.
Gently stir crockpot contents to distribute the cornstarch slurry.

Continue to cook on high bringing back to bubbling.
If the carrots are cooked through, reduce to low and hold to serve when ready.