Ray gardner, sr




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'Veal' Cordon Bleu -☺



Many years ago I tasted traditional Veal Cordon Bleu and I was pleased. Later in life my wife Marie decided veal should be avoided due to the terrible treatment of calves prior to butchering them to obtain veal. I agreed with her yet I missed a variety of tasty meals based on veal. One day I decided to make Weiner Schnitzel using lean pork loin instead of veal and the results were terrific. The pork was far superior to veal in taste, tenderness and moistness. Thus, I realized I could substitute pork for veal in a number of my favorite dishes.
Recently I wanted to make Veal Cordon Bleu using pork so I found a variety of Internet recipes for the traditional veal dish and formed a composite sure to work using pork. I am pleased to report success. Once again, processing lean pork loin or boneless pork chops like veal resulted in a perfect Cordon Bleu. Simply make sure that any fat on the edges of the pork is cut away and discarded. I hope you try and enjoy the recipe below. It is quite good.
With this recipe it is important to have all side dishes for the meal prepared prior to cooking the pork as it is served immediately after cooking. I suggest lightly steamed asparagus or snow peas with melted butter, along with the carbohydrate of your choice (potatoes, rice, couscous, pasta in a light butter/garlic sauce, etc.), and a nice bottle of chilled white wine like Pinot Grigio. You might even like a small tossed salad with creamy French or Italian dressing with this meal, and a light dessert, like a fruit tart, served with fresh hot coffee.
Ingredients: (serves two)
8, 1/4-inch-thick lean pork slices from a pork loin or from boneless pork chops (all about the same size)
1/2 lb. piece of Gruyère cheese
4, 1/8-inch-thick slices of baked Virginia ham (or even better, 8, 1/16th inch thick slices of Country Ham)
1 cup of plain dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons of salt
3/4 teaspoon of black pepper
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
2 large or extra large eggs
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Equipment: a meat pounder, which is a wooden mallet with crisscross indentations on one side in wood or metal; a cheese plane, which is a simple tool for shaving thin slices of cheese from a piece of cheese; a cookie sheet and a cookie cooling rack.
Directions:
Pound the pork slices to a thickness of 1/8" on a wooden cutting board with the crisscross side of the meat pounder. Do that by pounding on one side gently and evenly over to surface to reduce the thickness a small amount, then flip the piece over and pound the second side gently and evenly to result in a piece approximately 1/8" thick.
Shave enough Gruyère cheese using the cheese plane to make a double layer of very thin cheese slices for each of 4 of the 8 pounded pork pieces.
Pat dry two pounded pork pieces of roughly the same shape using a paper towel and arrange one of the pieces on a wooden cutting board. Put 1 slice of ham on it, trimming the ham to leave a 1/4-inch border of pork outside the ham, then arrange a double layer of cheese on the ham and top it with the second slice of the pounded pork. Lightly pound a 1/4-inch border around the outer edges of the pork using the flat side of the mallet, to seal the pork sandwich. Make 3 more of the pork "sandwiches" in same manner.
Line the cookie sheet with waxed paper. Stir together the bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a wide, shallow bowl. Stir together the flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in another wide, shallow bowl. Whisk together the eggs, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a third wide shallow bowl.
Dredge one pork sandwich in the flour mixture, gently knocking off any excess coating, then dip the sandwich into the whisked egg mixture to coat it, letting the excess whisked egg mixture drip off. Dredge the egg coated sandwich in the bread crumb mixture, patting the crumb mixture onto the surface on both sides to help it adhere. Transfer the crumbed, coated sandwich to the cooling rack set on the baking sheet. Dredge and coat the remaining sandwiches in same manner. Chill the sandwiches in a refrigerator, uncovered, for 1 hour, and then let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 12-inch diameter heavy skillet over moderately high heat until any foam subsides. Add 2 of the veal sandwiches, then reduce the heat to medium and cook the sandwiches, turning them over once after two minutes, or until golden on the cooked side. Cook for two minutes on the second side. Transfer the cooked sandwiches to dinner plates in a 180 degrees F warming oven and clean/wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Cook the remaining two sandwiches in the remaining butter and oil in same manner and place them on the warmed dinner plates.
Serve immediately along with the side dishes prepared earlier. Expect applause. Life is good.

PUDDINGS, PARFAITS AND MOUSSES:


Bread Pudding - ☺♥
The recipe shown below is one I have continuously improved to create the true custard pudding variety served at the Hotel DuPont® Grill cafeteria. That bread pudding has all the bread in cubes submerged in the custard, with an excess of custard and no bread pieces ever harden due to surface exposure during baking. There is also no surface coating of butter, sugar or cinnamon. The parchment paper idea described in this recipe is one I have conceived but have yet to try, but it is likely to work very well as it will retard surface moisture evaporation during baking.
The Grill bread pudding is chilled and served with a chilled creamy sauce on top and on top of that a lighter whipped cream type of sauce into which something has been folded to give it a heavier texture than normal whipped cream.
The cream sauce I have developed in this recipe is perfect. The final topping is good but I haven’t reached perfection yet. Why not try your own ideas? I’m thinking about using a variation of my clotted cream recipe (which I just discovered/created) with some of the cream sauce and a bit of Cointreau® liquor.
Pudding Ingredients:
1/2 lb. of French Bread (1/2 of 25 inch long baguette, which is about half the amount used in typical bread pudding recipes … you can vary the amount to suit your taste), cut into 3/4 inch or smaller cubes

1 cup of dark raisins

8 large eggs

4 cups of heavy cream

1 cup of half and half

2 cups of sugar

2 tsp. of cinnamon

3/4 tsp. of ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350º F.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, cream, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. That creates the basic custard for the pudding.
Put the bread cubes and raisins in a 9”x13” baking dish. Pour half of the custard over the bread and raisins and gently press down, then let it sit 5 minutes, pressing down occasionally. Pour the remaining custard over the bread and gently press down, let it sit another 5 minutes, then press down again. The idea is to have the bread cubes thoroughly soaked with the custard.
Cover the custard with parchment paper cut to the exact size of the top surface of the custard. The parchment paper should be laying on the surface of the custard. This will inhibit moisture from escaping and thus keep the top surface of the custard moist throughout the baking cycle. Then cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil to further inhibit moisture loss and bake 2 hours in a water bath, which requires a container larger than the 9”x13” inch glass baking dish. Remove the aluminum foil and peel back the parchment paper and check for doneness by inserting a knife into the center. If it comes out clean the pudding/custard is done. If not, bake an additional 30 minutes or until the custard is just set in the center.

Chill the covered pudding in the refrigerator. Serve it cold in individual serving bowls or plates, covered with the chilled Cream Sauce shown below. Just before serving, fold ½ cup of the cream sauce into freshly prepared whipped cream as an extra topping to go on top of the basic cream sauce (or try my idea mentioned earlier), ergo a three layer dessert. Details are provided below.


Cream Sauce


  • 3 cups of heavy cream

  • 1 1/2 cups of milk

  • 6 egg yolks

  • 3/4 cup of Irish Cream® liquor (I actually used Sylk®, which is a liquor that contains cream, honey and Drambuie®. Any cream liquor can be used based on your likes and dislikes. For that matter you might try only ¼ cup Kahlua® to have a faint but tasty coffee flavor, but add an extra ½ cup milk)

  • 1/2 cup of sugar

  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

  • 2 tbsp. of Cornstarch

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. of Orange zest

  • ½ cup of water


In a large heavy saucepan, mix the cream, milk, vanilla and cream liquor. Mix the cornstarch with the water and then mix that with the other ingredients. Bring the mixture to a scald temperature (steam coming from the pan but the contents not quite to a boil) on medium heat while stirring and then remove the saucepan from the heat.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sugar and egg yolks and orange zest until they are well combined, then gradually whisk the hot milk/cream mixture into the egg/sugar mixture. This can be done best by using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment.
Transfer the contents to a large double boiler (one that can easily hold 1 ½ quarts of liquid) and cook over simmering water, stirring gently but constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until thickened, about 12 minutes. The sauce does not need to boil. Remember that you are making a sauce, not a pudding, which would thicken considerably during cooking. Pour the sauce into a two quart bowl.
Let the sauce cool completely to room temperature, then cover it and put it into the refrigerator and keep it cold until you are ready to use it. It will finish thickening as it chills.
Whipped Topping:
Just before serving the bread pudding, whip 1 cup of heavy cream at high speed in your electric mixer. Add 1 tbsp. sugar, ½ tsp. vanilla and 1 or 2 tbsp. of Cointreau® liquor after soft peaks have formed. Continue mixing for one minute. Stop mixing and fold ½ cup of the chilled Cream Sauce into the flavored whipped cream gently to create a soft third layer to be put on top of the Cream Sauce and Bread Pudding.
As noted earlier, the whipped topping might be improved in a major way by putting all of the above whipped topping ingredients together and processing them at very high speed in a small food processor with a maximum cup or container volume of no more than one quart.
Ray’s Triple Chocolate Pudding - ☺♥

I found through many years that I always increased the flavor of commercially available pudding mixes by adding additional chocolate or vanilla, etc. I avoid instant puddings like the plague for they are terrible compared to cooked puddings. As Thanksgiving approached this year I planned to make chocolate pudding as one of the desserts. I had Jello® pudding on my shopping list, but every time I thought about it I became irritated realizing that once again I would have to amp up the flavor by adding chocolate.


Thus, I figured that if I had to add chocolate to get a decent bowl of pudding then there was no point in buying the pudding at all. It was finally time to make it in my kitchen and make it well. A bit of research yielded a few excellent looking recipes, and I modified and combined the best ones I found and now Food Nirvana has an outstanding triple chocolate pudding recipe.
I am certain you will really enjoy this pudding. It is very rich. Wow! I just made it and it is loaded with chocolate flavors and very creamy. My children and my grandchildren give it a two thumbs up for excellence. Well, it is excellent, so I will never again buy the commercial product.
Ingredients: (makes 4 very generous or 6 regular servings)


  • 1/2 cup of sugar

  • 3/4 cup of Ghirardelli® Double Chocolate premium hot cocoa mix

  • 6 ounces of Ghirardelli® 60% cacao premium bittersweet chocolate chips

  • 1/2 cup of cornstarch

  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt

  • 1 cup of whole milk

  • 1 cup of evaporated milk

  • 1 cup of heavy cream

  • 2 large or extra large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


Topping:

  • 1/2 cup of Ghirardelli® Dark Chocolate Dipping Chocolate, grated (about 2 or 3 ounces)

  • 1 cup of heavy cream for making whipped cream

  • 2 tbsp. of sugar for the whipped cream

  • 1 tbsp. of vanilla extract for the whipped cream


Directions:
Whisk together the sugar, cocoa mix, cornstarch and salt in a heavy, thick bottomed 2-quart saucepan.
Gradually whisk in the milk, the evaporated milk and the cream.
Bring the mixture to a boil on medium heat, whisking constantly to get all ingredients thoroughly mixed and to avoid having the pudding stick and burn onto the saucepan.
Boil gently on low heat for a minute or two, whisking, until the pudding has thickened.
Remove the pudding from the heat.
Whisk the eggs and the vanilla in a 2-quart stainless steel or other heatproof bowl.
Very gradually add the chocolate pudding mixture to the egg mixture, whisking thoroughly with each addition.
Whisk in the chocolate chips until they are melted and the mixture is smooth.
Cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.

Refrigerate the pudding until it is cold, at least 3 hours.
Make the whipped cream with the one cup of heavy cream, 2 tbsp. of sugar and one tbsp. of vanilla extract, using an electric mixer.
Serve the pudding with each dish topped with a generous amount of the whipped cream.
Spoon/sprinkle some of the grated dipping chocolate on top of the whipped cream.
Serve and moan with delight!
Crème Brûlée - ?

Crème Brûlée (French for burnt cream) is a rich egg yolk and cream based custard with crackly caramelized sugar on top. This recipe takes the traditional stance of flavoring the custard with vanilla beans, as it has been flavored in its earliest known form since 1691!


I love this dessert and I found the recipe online while shopping for vanilla beans at www.myspicesage.com. Those folks sell the Madagascar vanilla beans at a great price. Try them! I noted that a creme brulee torch is listed as necessary for caramelizing the sugar. I do not have one of those torches but I expect a variety of small handheld butane torches available in hardware stores will work just fine.
I have yet to try this recipe but it looks fabulous.
Ingredients: (6 servings)
1 Madagascar vanilla bean

2 cups of heavy cream

6 egg yolks

6 tablespoons of sugar for the custard

3 teaspoons of sugar for the topping
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Slice the vanilla bean down the center, lengthwise. Scrape the seeds (soft, moist pulp) into a small pot and place the pod and the cream in the pot.
Allow the cream to come to a boil on high heat. Remove it from the heat and let it cool for fifteen minutes.
While the cream is cooling beat the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed.
After the cream has cooled for fifteen minutes, remove the vanilla pod pieces and slowly add the cream to the egg/sugar mixture, while beating (whisking) rapidly to avoid having the egg yolk curdle.
Once the ingredients are well mixed, strain the mixture with a sieve to remove any excess foam.
Pour the cream mixture into 6, five ounce ramekins and place the ramekins in a deep (9"x13"x2") glass baking dish.
Place the baking dish on the center oven rack and pour hot water half way up the sides of ramekins.
Bake the custards for 35 to 40 minutes or until the custard jiggles in the center when lightly shaken.
Carefully remove the baking dish from oven and allow the custard/ramekins to sit for 20 minutes, still in the water bath.
Remove the ramekins from the glass baking dish and refrigerate them for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days (covered).
Remove the custards from the refrigerator and place about ½ teaspoon of sugar on top of each one, leaving a light, evenly coated layer across the top of each custard.
Using a crème brûlée torch, caramelize the sugar on top of each custard, working in a circle from the outside of each ramekin into the center of each ramekin, keeping the flame at a distance where it is just licking the sugar.
Allow each crème brûlée top to cool for a minute.
Serve and enjoy.


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