Anyone that knows me, knows that I favor the classics in food , fashion, and life. Pates and Terrines have always fascinated me as they are classic, complex, yet easy dishes that conjure up grandeur, elegance and rusticity at the same time. A terrine is a time honored way to utilize offal and ground meats, usually pork based and bake into a rich flavored loaf. You can get fancy and layered with them or just really basic. I love them for Holidays, entertaining, and picnics. I had the heart and liver of the lamb we purchased and in true nose to tail fashion, wanted to use them, as opposed to discarding them. I knew they would go into a lovely simplistic terrine. Continue reading “Lamb Terrine”
Certain Someone and I love Oysters Rockefeller. It’s one our favorite steakhouse appetizers. I love the elegance and refinement of bubbly oysters baked in their shells on a salt bed with spinach, a splash of Pernod, butter, cheese and garlic. The origins of the original dish are clouded in a veil of secrecy. It was created at the famous Antoine’s in New Orleans and named in honor of the richest man in land, John D Rockefeller because the secret ingredients were so rich. Many have tried to replicate it, but no one has, as the original recipe is a secret. Some say there is no spinach, while others say watercress and spinach. All we do know is the sauce is a blend of green produce and the chefs at Antoine’s insist there is no spinach. Most versions I have sampled have spinach and it works all right for me and is easily attainable for the average home cook. One day I hope to have the real deal.`An anise flavored spirit like Pernod is optional, but I would highly urge you to use , as it pairs wonderfully with shellfish.
Oysters Rockefeller has always been a special treat when dining out, or for a special occasion, like the holidays. Here I take a classic variation of Oysters Rockefeller and take out the fuss of shucking and shells, by using Pillsbury Crescent Rolls as a bed for luscious oysters and tasty stuffing. This will make a wonderful addition to holiday table.
- 1 package Pillsbury® Crescent Butterflake 8ct
- 4 tablespoons butter salted
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3/ 4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley chopped
- ¾ cup fresh spinach
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
- ⅛ teaspoon celery seeds
- Kosher Salt to taste
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan plus an additional ¼ for topping
- ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon Pernod
- 1 small approximately 8 oz jar of fresh shucked pasteurized oysters
- Non stick spray
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the minced shallots, garlic and soften for 1 minute.
- Add the chopped parsley, spinach, kosher salt, pepper, fennel seed, and celery seed. Cook and stir until spinach and parsley have just wilted. This will take only about 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook.
- Remove from heat.
- In a glass bowl, add the spinach mixture, ¼ of the parmesan cheese, Pernod, and the Panko bread crumbs.
- Pulse until smooth with an immersion blender. You may also use a food processor with this process.
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Set aside.
- On a clean surface, unroll crescent rolls.
- Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with non stick spray.
- Using two serving spoons take a triangle of dough and fold to fit into spoon curve. Add some parmesan on both sides and press spoons together to form.
- With each dough shell pressed and molded, lay at an angel in the muffin tin. You can continue to press edges together with fingers. This is your crescent dough shell.
- Add a oyster to each “crescent dough shell”.
- Add a generous spoonful of spinach mixture to each oyster on crescent dough shell.
- Top with more shredded parmesan cheese.
- Place in oven and reduce heat to 375 F after 2 minutes.
- Bake for 8 minutes until the dough is very golden and the oysters start to bubble.
- Remove from oven.
- Carefully remove each Crescent Rockefeller from muffin tin and place on a baking sheet with lined with parchment or a silpat.
- Place back in oven for an additional few minutes to crisp up the edges and underside of the dough base.
- Serve with lemon wedges immediately.
Pernod is traditional is Oysters Rockefeller and works well with oysters. It can be omitted, but will alter the traditional taste. Other anise flavored spirits can used as an substitution.
*I have a received compensation from General Mills and my opinions are my own.
I don’t know about your summer, but mine has been a whirlwind of entertaining and being entertained. When shopping for clients, or traveling in new locals, I always love to visit the farm stands and Farmers Markets in addition to my usual purveyors. Out of all the markets I have been too , I have to say the Ferry Plaza one in San Francisco is one of my favorites. Chicago doesn’t slouch in that category either. Green City Market attracts locals and the movers and shakers of the culinary world . But my all time favorite one is in Vienna , the Naschmarkt.
There is nothing so pleasing to eye and taste buds than fresh produce and food, and the farmers and artisans, and chefs who present them. Simple , beautiful, pure taste. One thing I’m noticing from my clients and the parties I attend, is they simple classic down home fare. Nothing complex, just the good food speaking for itself without any hocus pocus and additional fanfare. I went to a well known philanthropists annual birthday fete, and the most memorable dish was a simple shrimp and clam boil stand with new potatoes and fresh chucked corn. My clients have been requesting simple roasts, root vegetable gratins, fried green tomatoes sliders, artful salads, and fruitful desserts.
In another assignment for Old El Paso, I was tasked with using Old El Paso products to complement the wonderful bounty form the summers Farmers Markets. Taking an everyday trendy staple, with Middle Eastern Roots, I played on the legume theme of a classic hummus , using Old El Paso traditional Refried beans instead. Forget Pita, and use Old El Paso Flour Tortillas , deep fried as your tasty chip sprinkled with Sea Salt. A sprinkle of sumac on top of the hummus and WOW. Be creative with your crudite. Give a quick blanch and ice bath to keep its crunchiness. Use various small glasses or verrines, and cutouts to make an artful display and impress your guests with a healthy starter .
- Mexican Hummus
- 1 can Old El Paso Traditional Refried Beans
- Juice of 1 lime
- ¼ cup Tahini
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 3 cloves garlic minced finely
- ¼ cup chopped sundried tomatoes
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil. The fruitier the better.
- Additional olive oil for finish drizzle
- 1 teaspoon Sumac for garnish ( found in Middle Eastern section of grocery)
- Vegetable Tray
- 1 head cauliflower (blanched and plunged into ice water)
- 1 /2 lb green beans (blanched and plunged into ice water)
- 1 large carrot
- 1 yellow squash
- 1 zucchini
- 1 Sweet Red Pepper
- 1 pot of boiling salt water
- Deep Fried Soft Tortillas Wedges
- 1 package Old El Paso Soft Tortillas
- Canola Oil For frying ( approx 2-3 cups )
- Sea Salt
- Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
- Make an ice bath in a large bowl.
- In a glass bowl combine all ingredients, except finishing oil and sumac, for the Hummus. Take and immersion hand blender and pulse until you have a smooth paste.
- Place in serving dish. Drizzle with oil and sumac. Cover loosely and keep refrigerated until serving.
- Prep and cut vegetables. Be creative and use cutters for carrots, ripple slicer for squash and zucchini, etc. Add cut vegetable to ice bath to keep color and crispness.
- Plunge cauliflower florets and trimmed green beans in to boiling water to blanch for a few seconds. Quickly remove from water with strainer, and add to the ice bath to stop cooking and retain color.
- Arrange on platter with dip.
- Heat up Deep Fryer at 350-375°.
- Cut small piles of soft tortillas into eights wedges.
- Fry in small batches until golden. Drain on paper towels and salt.
- Serve with vegetable platter.
Happy Summer Eating. Visit the New Old El Paso site for other great ideas and see my recipes here.
It’s been a good bit of time since I last posted. In that time I’ve been traveling, working, catering, celebrating and creating recipes . Unfortunately it just hasn’t made it to the blog. Where to begin?
First Certain Someone spent a lovely week at Half Moon in Montego Bay to celebrate a friends wedding. It was the best experience Ive ever had in Jamaica. Imagine your own luxury villa, butlers, maids, sunshine, private beaches, and just being spoiled. We really needed it. We will heading to Portugal and Sweden soon for another destination wedding, and to catch up with family and friends.
I’ve been getting some great catering gigs from consulates, a European airline carrier, and just overall great clients. I’m so happy the word is spreading about Coco Cooks.
And last before we get onto the food. Certain Someone turned 40! We decided to have a belated birthday party at the house in July ( In the fashion of the Queen), as its hard to coordinate everyone’s schedules.
I made the whiskey bottle cake, and commissioned the label and cigar from a great friend who has amazing talent. Check her out if you need customized toppers for your cakes.
Now onto the recipe! Yes it another Old El Paso post. I was commissioned to do a total of 12 recipes for them, which are figured on their new website. While I don’t normally use prepared ingredients, I’m not naive enough as chef and career woman, that sometimes shortcuts and convenience are OK, especially when paired with fresh ingredients and creativity. Not everyone has the time nor inclination to make there own spice blends, salsa, tortillas, etc. So accepting the assignment and the challenge , where what motivated me. I love a challenge to think out the box. It’s grilling season and one can create all sorts of good things on the grill, or on an indoors grill, it you don’t have a gas or charcoal grill. I love the sight of grill marks . Check out the recipe and other great ones on the site.
- For Cabbage Mango Slaw
- ½ head of small green cabbage sliced thinly or grated.
- 1 carrot skinned and grated
- 1 mango chopped into small pieces( no skin)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ⅛ cup brown sugar
- ⅛ cup balsamic vinegar
- ⅛ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pineapple sliced
- 2-3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs.
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Old El Paso Hard and Soft Taco Kit.( Contains taco shells, soft tortillas, Taco Seasoning, and Taco Sauce)
- Preheat oven to 320°.
- In a glass dish or bowl marinate chicken with 1 packet of the Old El Paso Seasoning and 2 tablespoons olive oil contained in kit.
- In a small bowl add grated cabbage, carrot, chopped mango, cilantro, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, olive oil, salt and balsamic vinegar. Mix thoroughly and set aside while grilling chicken.
- Using an indoor or outdoor grill, preheat to higher setting to obtain a good sear.
- Wrap the soft tortillas in the kit in foil and place in oven. Heat for 10 minutes.
- Add chicken to grill and cook several minutes on each side until done.
- While chicken is grilling, place hard tacos shells on a placing sheet and add to the oven with soft tortillas. Don’t overcook. Turn off oven after 5 more minutes and keep warm till serving.
- Remove chicken from the grill and let reat a few minutes.
- Add pineapple slices to hot grill and sear on both sides for a few minutes. Remove from grill.
- Slice chicken on the diagonal and serve on platter with chopped grilled pineapple slices.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro.
- Serve with cabbage mango slaw, soft and crunchy tortillas, and sauce contained in the kit.
Here is another recipe I developed , incorporating Old El Paso Traditional Refried Beans.These Latin inspired hand pies, empanada’s, can be filled with many sweet and savory fillings.Using Old El Paso Refried beans with chicken and cheese add an extra creaminess. I used premade empanada dough discs , which can be found in the Latin food freezer section in specialty supermarkets. You can also use a basic premade refrigerated pie dough. Or if you have the time, patience, and skill, try making your own empanada dough. Either way your guests will enjoy these snacks, or even a meal in one. Play with sizes to determine your portions or style of serving. The accompanying sauce has a zesty coolness of cilantro and lime. Perfect for dipping.
Empanada’s can be baked or fried. In this recipe I fried them. If you fry at the optimal temperature( around 350 degrees minimum), the result is perfect and food is not greasy. I love how frying blisters the dough and makes it perfectly crunchy and flakey. If you choose to bake your empanada, bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes on a silicone mat lined baking sheet. Be sure to brush tops with a bit of oil.
So you see the methods and options for empanada’s are endless. Savory, sweet, vegan, meat filled. Enjoy. And remember using a product like Old El Paso Refried beans adds more creaminess and goes with a multitude of filling options.
This is an endorsement of product from General Mills/ Old El Paso in which I developed a few recipes for compensation.
- 10 premade empanada discs or ready made pie crusts cut into rounds( approximately 4 premade rolled crusts)
- 1 cup boiled chicken breast, diced or shredded
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ cup Old El Paso Traditional refried beans
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella
- Vegetable Oil for deep frying.( amount varies on size of deep fryer or skillet)
- Creamy Cilantro Lime Dip
- 1 cup sour cream
- Juice of 1 lime
- ¾ cup cilantro chopped
- ½ small onion minced
- For Empanadas
- Heat deep fryer to 350 º
- In a small bowl mix diced chicken, chili powder, salt, pepper, and garlic.
- Take a small rounded tablespoon of seasoned chicken and place atop disc.
- Add a bit of cheese, and refried beans.
- Do not overstuff.
- Take each end of dough to fold over into half moon shape.
- Seal edges shut by pressing dough together, and then laying down on flat surface and using a fork to press in edges to seal.
- Fry empanadas a few at a time. Do not overcrowd fryer.
- Drain on paper towel. Keep warm on a parchment lined baking sheet in a 200 º oven.
- Creamy Cilantro Lime Dip
- In a small food processor or bowl/cup of immersion blender, add all sour cream, lime, cilantro, and onion.
- Pulse to blend.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve with empanadas.