Friday, November 13, 2020

"The Finer Things Dinner"

I've been missing fine dining, so I thought I would treat myself and SOS to something we aptly named "The Finer Things Dinner". It was a splurge, and also a great challenge to cook things neither of us had attempted before. As long as you do your research, there's no need to be intimidated in the kitchen! But that's easy for me to say since I wasn't the one in charge of the oysters or lobster tails...but everything turned out incredibly well. It was even better paired with bubbly, but vodka martinis would work well too. If you'd like to have your own Finer Things Dinner, here's our menu:

Steamed Oysters - they are so much easier to shuck once steamed, and you do need an Oyster Shucker (complete with a glove!). Just steam a dozen or so over boiling water for about 3 minutes, shuck, then squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top.

Steamed Oysters - so easy to do at home. Who knew!?

Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes - Crab Cakes vary A LOT. I definitely prefer more crab to filler (obviously) and I don't really like a crispy, deep fried cake. The recipe I chose called for a ton of crab which was great, but I would suggest searing them in butter instead of canola oil, and finishing with lots of fresh lemon juice for some acid. I may try a different recipe next time, but here's what I used for this dinner. (The leftovers also make fine Crab Cake Benes for brunch the next day.)

Lobster Tails - This was a showstopper. I cannot believe this was even attempted at home. And it was outstanding. Just get two 11-ounce lobster tails no big deal(!), and brush on a mixture of melted Clarified Butter, Sweet Spanish Smoked Paprika, Garlic Powder, White Pepper and Salt. Bake them in the oven at 450 for about 16 minutes, and baste with this butter mixture halfway through. Garnish with chives, and serve with more melted clarified butter and lemon wedges. The meat is incredibly tender and these seasonings are ON POINT.
Crab Cakes and Lobster Tails, a match made in heaven.

Butterscotch Budino with Miso Caramel 
- Finding a dessert to follow all of these amazing finer things was difficult, but I rose to the challenge. I wanted something along the lines of Creme Brulee, but more exciting, and this is it. Budino is a fancy Italian word for pudding, and this Butterscotch Budino is pretty perfect. Here's the recipe I used - but note that this recipe doesn't call for you to strain the cooked custard, and YOU MUST! I also topped it with Miso Caramel as opposed to the recipe's suggested Salted Caramel, but I'm sure either would be great. Top with fresh whipped cream and call it a night.

Butterscotch Budino with Miso Caramel

I was too busy eating and cooking this week to enjoy any movies. Sorry not sorry.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Cuisine & Screen: At Home, Part 28

I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween! Can you believe the countdown to Thanksgiving has already begun? Some of you may already be in the Christmas spirit, and 3 weeks from today, it will officially be time for me to start decorating the tree and watching "Elf" on repeat.

Fall Flowers! <3

A fabulous home chef recently made me Lamb Tikka Masala from scratch, and it was so good that I almost cried. I begged to feature this recipe on C&S, and luckily, I secured it for you. I'm certain if you follow these instructions, you'll be able to conquer it too! 

 -5-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch cubes, OR 1 pound lamb cut into 1 inch cubes
-1 cup plain yogurt
-juice from 1/2 lemon
-1 TB (heaping) Tikka Masala Spice blend
-1 tsp garlic, minced
-1 tsp ginger, minced

Combine protein, yogurt, lemon juice, Tikka Masala, garlic and ginger in a bowl, then put it all in a sealed bag. Let this sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, and no more than 24 hours.

-3 TB butter, divided
-1 large white onion, chopped
-1 TB garlic, minced
-1 TB ginger, minced
-3 jalapenos, seeds removed and minced
-1 TB tomato paste
-1 1/2 TB Tikka Masala Spice blend
-15 oz tomato sauce
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1 TB sugar
-salt to taste
-Cooked Rice, Cilantro and Naan Bread for serving

Remove the marinated chicken or lamb from the refrigerator and melt 2 TB butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Brown your protein and be careful not to overcrowd your pan. Once browned (it won't be completely cooked through), remove your protein from the pan and set aside in a bowl. To the same skillet, add the remaining 1 TB of butter, onion, garlic, ginger and jalapenos. After letting them cook about 5 minutes, add your tomato paste and Tikka Masala and let cook a few minutes, stirring well to combine. Add the tomato sauce, heavy cream, sugar and then salt to taste. Once it's to your liking, add your protein back in and bring to a soft boil. Let simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve over cooked rice, sprinkle with cilantro and serve alongside Naan. DIVINE.

Lamb Tikka Masala

The Hustler - This is certainly a classic and a really great story. And Paul Newman...what a babe. He plays a pool shark who encounters quite a few interesting characters during his hustling days. Piper Laurie, who I loved on "Twin Peaks", plays his love interest. Their relationship reminded me of the story from "The Days of Wine and Roses" - tragic, dependent, primal. I thought this film was a bit too long (anything over 2 hours is pushing it for me these days!) but Newman is captivating on-screen.