I made my husband a very special Valentine’s dinner last week. We started with Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup and moved on to Lobster Thermidor with Duchess Potatoes and French style Green Beans with Bacon and Garlic. Our finale was…
STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM
Who doesn’t like ice cream?!? I was on an ice cream making kick a couple years ago and gained 10 lbs. so have slowed down a bit. This recipe was different from many which call for cooking the custard prior to cooling and then churning. The custard portion in this recipe was not cooked. The ice cream was creamy with an elegant texture and rich strawberry flavor. It was very easy to make because the custard mixture was not cooked, just chilled overnight before churning.
3 cups strawberries, washed, stemmed and blended
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 cups Half and Half
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 cup Heavy Cream
Whenever possible I use organic cream. Regular cream has chemical additives where organic is made just from the cow’s milk. Almost all ice cream recipes have the same ingredients; some combination of milk and/or cream, eggs, flavoring and sugar.
Wash berries thoroughly. This is one fruit that tends to hold onto pesticides so good cleansing is essential. To core the strawberries I used a very cute gadget my brother and his wife gave me for Christmas. It made the job very easy. Actually they gave me a bunch of kitchen gadgets which have been fun to use!
Open the corer by pressing down on the top green button. Plunge into the top of the strawberry. Twist and remove the stem. Once your berries are washed and cored, blend them in food processor or blender to a coarse chop.
In a large bowl beat 2 eggs until light and very bright lemon color. Beat in 1 1/4 cups sugar, 1/4 tsp. vanilla, 2 cups Half and Half and 1 cup Heavy Cream. Stir in strawberries. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refridgerator for a few hours or overnight.
Freeze the ice cream per your manufacturers specs. Most churning requires 20-30 minutes to freeze. I have a 1 Qt. Cuisinart Ice Cream maker so this recipe is too large to churn in one batch. Of course I learned that the hard way by trying to fit it all in! Electric ice cream makers retail for under $100 so if you really love ice cream, buy one! It is so easy to make, much better than what you get in the store and after a few quarts has paid for itself!
|One happy customer!
This was the first time I have made Lobster Thermidor although I have had it a few times in a restaurant and loved it. This is far better than what you get in a restaurant although it was a fair amount of work to put together. I will save this for special occasions and holidays. This French dish was created in 1894 at a Parisian restaurant near the Theatre Comedie Francaise to honor the opening of a play called, Thermidor. In the 1940’s Chef Louis De Gouy, chef at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC for 30 years, author of 16 cookbooks, international guest chef and one of the founders of Gourmet Magazine made this dish very popular in America. To learn more about famous Chef Louis P. De Gouy go to: www.sandychatter.wordpress.com. Plug his name into her search box and take a look at her food blog! I think the dish is somewhat out of ‘favor’, now considered old fashioned and stodgy, but I assure you this dish is anything but! This is not his original recipe. I have doctored it just a bit.
One 2 1/2 lb. lobster
1/2 stick (4 Tbsp.) unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup port or medium dry sherry
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley, more for garnish
1 Tbsp. chopped tarragon, more for garnish
1/8 tsp. hot pepper flake
1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Half and Half
2 large egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup lightly buttered bread crumbs
Plunge lobster head-first into 8-quart pot of boiling salted (2 Tbsp. for 8 qts.) water. Cover. Immediately turn down heat so the pot does not boil over. Lobster meat is more tender if cooked gently so gently boil for about 15 minutes. Most recipes call for much longer cooking time, but cooking too long makes the lobster meat tough. You will be re-cooking the lobster once assembled back into the shells so no danger of raw lobster. I cooked the lobster in the morning and set aside to cool.
Once cooled, twist off the claws and remove meat. Chop into bite sized pieces. Cut the lobster in half using kitchen shears. Start at the tail and carefully keep cutting all the way through.
Pull out the rest of the meat and cut into pieces. With your finger, clean out the shell of any undesirable lobster pieces/parts. This is a boy lobster so had no roe (that is the red stuff which are the lobster eggs, edible and great for sauces and seasoning.) I removed the tamale (that is the green stuff which is actually the lobster’s liver and pancreas–sounds gross, but is considered a delicacy by many. It’s also great for flavoring sauces or just scooped up and eaten on its own.)
Make a roux by melting 4 Tbsp. butter, add 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add 1/4 cup flour and stir over low heat until flour is well incorporated. Add the Heavy Cream and Half and Half, port or sherry, all of the herbs, spcies, seasoning, mustard, and keep stirring and cooking over low heat for about 15 minutes. Temper the eggs (blend a few Tbsps. of the hot roux into the eggs to heat them up so they don’t start cooking when you add them back into the roux.) Add in the heated egg yolks. Continue stirring for about another 5 minutes. Taste to adjust seasoning (more pepper? salt? paprika?) If the roux is too thick add a little more cream to thin it down. You want it to be thick, but not cloyingly so.
Now it’s time to add all your lobster pieces into the roux along with any lobster juice that may have collected. Cook gently for another 10 minutes to blend the flavors.
Put this mixture back into the clean lobster shells. Top with parmesan cheese, lightly buttered bread crumbs, and a little more parsley and tarragon. Pop under a hot broiler for a few minutes until the cheese just starts to melt.
Once again I was so excited about serving and eating this meal, I did not get a picture of the final presentation. It was well worth the steps to put this dish together!
I have discussed these potatoes before. Basically boil yellow or gold potatoes (such as Yukon Golds) until soft. Mash with salt, pepper, 1/2 stick butter, a splash of Heavy Cream and an egg or two. Traditionally you pipe them into little golden mounds. Brush with butter and broil. That’s what I did this time and they were the perfect accompaniment to the thermidor.
To French the green beans, cut the beans into thin strips and saute with a lot of garlic and a couple strips of crumbled bacon previously fried crispy.
It was a Valentine’s Dinner to remember. We had a big fire in the fireplace, romantic music playing, and candles burning everywhere…this time not out of necessity (we lost our power for 3 days the week before during the Nemo Blizzard!), but for the shear romance of it. These are the flowers my husband gave me for Valentine’s Day!
|A bright spot of spring which is only about 5 weeks away!
Enthusiasm is contagious…I hope you catch some of my excitement for and love of cooking!
See you again soon for more talk about food, cooking and most importantly
having fun in the kitchen!!