Thursday, January 1, 2009


HAPPY NEW YEAR! May this year be filled with prosperity, good health and peace!

Appetizers- Just in time for New Years!

Oysters were a first for me. I bought six as they are pretty expensive. I steamed them all for easier access. I didnt have a clam knife to try and pry them open. Part of me wanted to try it raw but the other half was worried about its freshness. I steamed them for about nine minutes until they opened. I was thinking before I tried that it would be an awful lot like a clam but it wasn't. It definitely was more "ocean tasting", earthy... Kind of hard to describe. I can see why they would go good with beer.
I wasn't into deep frying so I just wrapped some turkey bacon around them and fried them a little more. They were pretty good that way. I used the broth to make a soup.... more on that tomorrow.

Galatoire’s Oysters en Brochette
Copyright New Orleans Times-Picayune December 21, 2000
Serves 4 as an appetizer or two as main course

12 strips bacon, cut in half
2 dozen oysters, raw
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for deep frying
Toast point and lemon wedges for serving

Fry bacon until not quite crisp. Alternate six oysters and six half strips of bacon folded on each of four 8-inch skewers. Make a batter with egg and
milk and season well with salt and pepper. Dip each skewer in batter.
Roll in flour and deep-fry in hot oil until golden. Serve on toast points
with lemon wedges.

Now for the Blue Cheese Pear Crostini...

Easy and simple and so delicious. It packs a major flavor punch. Absolutely yummy. Great for entertaining and I can see why it is a favorite for everybody.
Blue Cheese, Pear and Walnut Crostini:
Hunt County Wines

a baguette, thinly sliced about ½ inch each
olive oil
mascarpone, for spreading (optional)
any type of bleu cheese (gorgonzola, Roquefort, stilton), thinly sliced, or crumbled
freshly hulled walnuts
a few pears, peeled and sliced into small cubes

1. Brush your bread slices with olive oil, line on a baking sheet, then toast in a hot oven for a few minutes until browned and crispy. You can broil them as well, if you prefer.

2. Remove from heat and spread each toast with some mascarpone.

3. Lay blue cheese slices, or spread some crumbles, on each toast and add walnut pieces on top. Return to a 375-400°F oven for a few minutes, just until the cheese is melted.

4. When the cheese is nicely melted, take the crostinis out of the oven and top with a few cubes of pear. Serve soon after.

And finally the

These were absolutely delicious. I saved the best for last. My kids, husband and I went crazy for these. They were delicious! A Pop-In-Your-Mouth-Cant-Stop, kind of delicious. The marinara added a nice contrast to the cheese.

Gruyère Cheese Gougères
Copyright 'The French Laundry Cookbook' By Thomas Keller, November, 1999
Makes about 4 dozen gougères

Gougères are a classical preparation often served at wine tastings in France. The puffs are made from a savory pâte á choux, or cream puff dough-flavored here with Gruyère. They are best served hot out of the oven, offering that creamy-dough gratification. Don't add the cheese, and the puff is a base for a dessert.
1 cup water
7 tablespoons (3-1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon kosher salt, or more to taste
Pinch of sugar
1-1/4 cups (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
4 to 5 large eggs
1-1/4 cups grated Gruyère (5 ounces)
Freshly ground white pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter, salt, and sugar and bring to a boil. Add all the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium, and stir with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes, or until the mixture forms a ball and the excess moisture has evaporated (if the ball forms more quickly, continue to cook and stir for a full 2 minutes).

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle and beat for about 30 seconds at medium speed to cool slightly. Add 4 eggs and continue to mix until completely combined and the batter has a smooth, silky texture. Stop the machine and lift up the beater to check the consistency of the batter. The batter in the mixing bowl should form a peak with a tip that falls over. If it is too stiff, beat in the white of the remaining egg. Check again and, if necessary, add the yolk. Finally, mix in 3/4 cup of the Gruyère and adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch plain pastry tip with the gougère batter. Pipe the batter into 1-tablespoon mounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between the gougères as the mixture will spread during baking. Sprinkle the top of each gougère with about 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining grated cheese and bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until they puff and hold their shape. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. And bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes. When the gougères are done, they should be a light golden brown color. When you break one open, it should be hollow; the inside should be cooked but still slightly moist. Remove the pans from the oven and serve the gougères while hot.

To join us for Recipes to Rival, go to Recipes to Rival blogroll for complete instructions. For a detailed account of these recipes and more ideas, go here.
Thank you Temperance of High on the Hog and Jen of Delightful Delicacies. This was a really fun challenge!


Debbie said...

They all look great! Good apps to bring in the new year.

Shelly said...

Oh can you post Maytag - my absolute fave ---crave it in a salad cheese and Gougeres! My goodness it all looks so good...can you tell I started my diet today?
Yummmm. Guess I'm going to need an extra dose of will power when I pop on your site.
Happy New Year kiddo!

Maryann said...

happy new year lori :)
(yes, that's my little grandson)

Debyi said...

All of your apps look great! The Crostini was the fav at my house!

Grace said...

oysters frighten me, but the crostini would disappear in a heartbeat in my presence. happy 2009!!

Madam Chow said...

You did all three?! You overachiever, you! Great job.

Jude said...

Ooh savory gougeres from Thomas Keller. Good stuff for sure.

Temperance said...

Wow, you did all three! and they all look good. I love the idea of the marinera sauce. The Maytag blue cheese is intriguing I will have to look into it. Still wish I could stand oysters, cause they look and sound so good.

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