How to Use this Blog

This blog is designed to be used like a cookbook. I've put tags on each recipe so you can go to the section on that topic just by clicking on the word in the cloud or the list. Some recipes are under more than one category to help you find what you're looking for.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Brie en Croute

I think I got this off the internet.  I think every great chef has made it once in their lives.  My idol, Ina Garten, can probably make it in her sleep.  And this is the thing:  It looks like a really intimidating exercise but it really is amazingly simple.  You could probably make it in your sleep.  Maybe you already have and that explains the drips of brie on your pajamas.

I made it for Christmas Eve at Elizabeth's house.  I learned a valuable lesson that night:  you shouldn't put too many rich items out.  We were on sensory overload that night.  So, here's a tip:  Save the recipe for a lunch or light dinner gathering where this cheese can be the star of the show.

I wasn't too fond of the sugary filling.  Maybe almonds and orange marmelade instead of the cinnamon and brown sugar.  Or maybe something savory--not sure what.  Check the internet.  But definitely try this:  it's a lot easier than it looks.

Brie in puff pastry

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, pre-packaged
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup walnuts
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (8-ounce) wheel Brie
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Defrost puff pastry for approximately 15 to 20 minutes and unfold.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the walnuts in the butter until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon and stir until walnuts are coated well. Place the walnut mixture on top of the Brie and sprinkle the brown sugar over the mixture.

Lay the puff pastry out on a flat surface. Place the brie in the center of the pastry. Gather up the edges of the pastry, pressing around the brie and gather at the top. Gently squeeze together the excess dough.  Glue each fold with the egg wash so it doesn't come apart while cooking.

Brush the beaten egg over top and side of Brie. Place Brie on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes until pastry is golden brown.
Serve with crackers.

To give a special look, cut extra pastry into heart or flower shapes and bake until golden.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Egg Nog

Everybody wants egg nog at Christmas.  One of the several things my daddy was proud of was that one of his patients was the man who personally was in charge of making the egg nog at Oak Farms Dairy in Oak Cliff in the 1950's.  And every Christmastime, even if he wasn't sick, Mr Laguard would stop by Daddy's office to bring him a carton of egg nog.  And every year Daddy would take enormous pride in the delivery of the egg nog as though  Shorty Laguard had made it just for him..

Beaven's daddy also made a killer egg nog.  Except George made his from ice cream and bourbon.  The ice cream gave it a smooth richness and the bourbon insured that it never reached a frozen state again.  George stored it in the freezer and it was about as cold as egg nog could be but never froze.  It had so much bourbon in it that I swear you could have set fire to it. One year when Emily was in middle school she and a friend visited George and Blanche with us, drank some egg nog and got their first buzz.  Slept all the way home.

Here is the recipe a friend posted.  Looks rich and creamy.  No bourbon.  Add your own. 

Mike Cole’s Egg Nog

1 1/3 cup sugar
8 egg yolks
8 egg whites
1 tsp salt
1 gallon whole milk
4 tsp vanilla
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Beat 1 1/3 cup sugar into egg yolks, add salt and stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture “coats” a spoon. Chill.

Beat egg whites till foamy. Gradually add ¼ cup sugar, beating to soft peaks. Stir into the custard mixture and mix thoroughly. Add vanilla. Mix the whipped cream until fully whipped, add ¼ cup sugar as you are whipping. If you are saving for use, add the whipped cream and mix thoroughly. Chill and store. If you are using for a party, pour the custard mixture into a punch bowl and “dot” the mixture with islands of whipped cream. Sprinkle with nutmeg for effect and taste.