Everest Spoons

The Everest SpoonsEntertaining on Mother’s Day? Have a party planned for spring?  How about a graduation?  The Everest Spoons will make a memorable impression on your guests!

by Jean Joho with Chandra Ram
from The Eiffel Tower Restaurant Cookbook
(Chronicle, 2008)
Serves 12

When I came to America to reopen Maxim’s restaurant in Chicago, a supplier sent me iced tea spoons for the restaurant. In France, we don’t drink iced tea, so I had no idea what they were. But I thought the long handles were elegant, and when I opened Everest in Chicago, I created different flavors to serve in the spoons as amuse-bouches. We became famous for the spoons, but after many years of serving them at Everest, I decided to offer them exclusively at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. Now, when people who have been long-time guests at Everest visit us in Las Vegas, they are reunited with the spoons.

For the cauliflower and caviar spoons
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups chopped cauliflower florets
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
White peppercorns in a pepper grinder
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 ounce osetra caviar

For the smoked salmon spoons
6 ounces smoked salmon
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
Dill sprigs for garnish
Salmon roe for garnish

For the roquefort and walnut spoons
1 cup (5 ounces) crumbled Roquefort cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons Gewürztraminer wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
20 black walnut halves, toasted (see Note)

Make the cauliflower and caviar spoons
The Eiffel Tower Restaurant Cookbook by Jean Joho1. Pour the water into an 2-quart saucepan. Add the cauliflower and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and return it to the pan. Cook the cauliflower over medium heat, stirring gently, for about 5 minutes to evaporate as much moisture as possible.

2. Transfer to a blender and purée until smooth, turning off the blender and scraping down the sides several times, if necessary, to ensure an even, creamy consistency. Blend in the crème fraîche. Transfer the purée to a bowl and season with salt to taste and 6 grinds of white pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

3. Before serving, whip the cream in a deep bowl and fold it into the purée. Place the cauliflower mousse in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round pastry tip. Pipe the mousse into each of 12 regular or iced tea spoons, and top each serving with a little caviar.

Make the smoked salmon spoons
1. In a food processor, combine the salmon, shallot, horseradish, crème fraîche, white pepper, and salt. Purée until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.

2. Before serving, whip the cream in a deep bowl until it forms stiff peaks. Fold it into the purée. Spoon the mousse into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round pastry tip. Pipe the mousse into 12 regular or iced tea spoons, and top each serving with a dill sprig and a little salmon roe.

Make the roquefort and walnut spoons
1. In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, and wine. Cover and process until smooth. With the machine running, gradually add the cream until smooth.

2. Spoon the mousse into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round pastry tip. Pipe the mousse into 12 regular or iced tea spoons and garnish each with a black walnut half.

Note: To toast the nuts spread the nuts evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. If they need more time, remember to keep checking them every minute; it only takes a moment for them to go from perfectly toasted to burnt.

Recipe © 2008 French Cafe LLC. All rights reserved.

Eiffel Tower Soufflés

Eiffel Tower Soufflesby Jean Joho with Chandra Ram
from The Eiffel Tower Restaurant Cookbook
(Chronicle, 2008)
Makes 6 individual souffles

The Eiffel Tower is famous for its soufflés, and we serve thousands of them every year. We always have at least ten different flavors at the restaurant, depending on the season. Guests love watching these being made at the dessert station in the kitchen. Depending on the flavor you want, you can add any number of flavors to reflect the seasons, such as raspberry in the spring and summer; pumpkin in the fall; mandarin orange in the winter; and chocolate, Grand Marnier, and pistachio any time of year (see the variations that follow).

For the soufflé base

4 cups whole milk
2 large eggs
18 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cornstarch
3 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
8 large egg whites
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Confectioner’s sugar
Vanilla Sauce

For the vanilla sauce
1 cup milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar

Make the soufflé base

The Eiffel Tower Restaurant Cookbook by Jean Joho1. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a boil over high heat, then remove from the heat and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar and whisk until blended.

3. Combine the flour and cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir with a small whisk to blend. Add two-thirds of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Add 1 cup of the hot milk to the egg mixture and mix well. Add another cup of milk and mix. Add the rest of the flour mixture and whisk until smooth (the mixture should be fairly liquid).

4. Bring the remaining milk back up to a boil and add it to the base all at once, stirring constantly until smooth. Immediately stir in the butter until fully incorporated. The mixture should have the consistency of heavy cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight (the base will perform better after it has rested for a day).

5. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Gradually beat in the sugar and cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form.

6. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°). Butter and sugar six 4 1/2-ounce ramekins, tapping to remove the excess sugar, and place in a baking pan.

7. Combine 1 1/2 cups of the soufflé base with the desired flavorings (recipes follow). Add about one-fourth of the beaten whites to the soufflé base and stir to combine. Fold in the remaining whites with a rubber spatula until just incorporated. Divide the batter among the ramekins. Place the baking pan in the oven and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.

8. Immediately place each ramekin to a serving plate, dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve with the vanilla sauce on the side. Each guest should crack open the top of his or her soufflé with a spoon, then pour about 2 tablespoons of the sauce into the soufflé.

Make the vanilla sauce
1. Have a strainer and a bowl on hand. Combine the milk and vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Combine egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the hot milk to the egg yolks. Whisk in the remaining milk. Pour the mixture back into the pot and cook over high heat until it registers 175°F (79°C) on a candy thermometer or coats the back of a spoon.

Soufflé Variations
Raspberry Soufflés
Stir in 1/4 cup puréed raspberries and 1/4 cup raspberry liqueur to 1 1/2 cups of the soufflé base before folding in the beaten egg whites.

Pumpkin Soufflés
Stir in 1/4 cup pumpkin purée and 1/4 cup Southern Comfort to 1 1/2 cups of the soufflé base before folding in the beaten egg whites.

Mandarin Orange Soufflés
Stir in 1/4 cup mandarin purée (found in specialty stores or online) and 1/4 cup mandarin liqueur or vodka to 1 1/2 cups of the soufflé base before folding in the beaten egg whites.

Chocolate Soufflés
Stir in 1/4 cup shaved dark chocolate and 1/4 cup coffee liqueur to 1 1/2 cups of the soufflé base before folding in the beaten egg whites.

Grand Marnier Soufflés
Stir in 1/4 cup Grand Marnier to 1 1/2 cups of the soufflé base before folding in the beaten egg whites.

Pistachio Soufflés
Stir in 1/4 cup pistachio paste (found in specialty stores or online) and 1/4 cup amaretto to 1 1/2 cups of the soufflé base before folding in the beaten egg whites.

Recipe © 2008 French Café LLC. All rights reserved.

Quick Pear-Streusel Coffee Cake

Quick Pear-Streusel Coffee Cakeby Gale Gand
from Gale Gand’s Brunch!: 100 Fantastic Recipes for the Weekend’s Best Meal
(Clarkson Potter, 2009)
Makes one 8-inch square cake; serves 8

My grandma Elsie on my mother’s side was a great baker in the Austro-Hungarian tradition. Strudels, poppy seed cakes, coffee cakes, and cookies always seemed to be in her kitchen when we visited.

I found a great apple streusel coffee cake recipe in her card files when I became the keeper of those treasures. Here it is, revived, with my little twist of using pears instead of apples.

For the cake
Unsalted butter, for the baking dish
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 ripe pears (I like Bartlett), unpeeled, cored and chopped (1 1/2 cups)

For the streusel topping
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut up
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Gale Gand's Brunch! by Gale Gand1. Heat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.

Make the cake
1. Combine the flour with the baking powder, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and then mix in the milk and melted butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the pears, and mix well.

3. Pour this into the buttered baking dish.

Make the streusel
1. Mix the sugar, flour, cold butter, and cinnamon in a bowl by pinching them together with your fingers until well combined. Sprinkle over the top of the batter.

2. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes, until it is golden and dry on top. Cool in the pan, and then cut into squares. This cake keeps for up to 4 days, covered, at room temperature.

Recipe © 2009 Gale Gand. All rights reserved.

Chocolate Pecan Caramel Torte

Chocolate Pecan Caramel Torte

Are you looking for a decadent Valentine’s Day treat? Look no further…

The late Elaine Sherman, founder of Les Dames Chicago and known as Madame Chocolate by her colleagues, used her culinary skills to teach cooking in people’s homes and to introduce them to fine chocolates and quality cookware. This recipe is adapted from her 1984 cookbook, Madame Chocolate’s Book of Divine Indulgences. A quote from Elaine typifies her devotion to this ingredient: “Chocolate is heavenly, mellow, sensual, deep, dark, sumptuous, gratifying, potent, dense, creamy, seductive, suggestive, rich, excessive, silky, smooth, luxurious, celestial. Chocolate is downfall, happiness, pleasure, love, ecstasy, fantasy… chocolate makes us wicked, guilty, sinful, healthy, chic, happy.”

by Les Dames d’Escoffier Chicago
edited by Carol Mighton Haddix
from Chicago Cooks
(Surrey Books, 2007)
Makes 14 to 16 servings

For the crust
8 1/2 ounces chocolate wafer cookies
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the chocolate mousse
1 (16 ounce) package bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 larage egg whites
4 teaspoons warm water

For the pecan-caramel layer
2 cups (8 ounces) pecans, coarsely chopped
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1/2 to 2/3 cup heavy (whipping) cream, divided
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecan halves

Chicago Cooks by Carol Mighton Haddix (editor)Make the crust
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with foil; spray the pan with vegetable cooking spray. Process the wafer cookies and sugar in a food processor to fine crumbs. With the machine running, drizzle melted butter through the food tube. Scrape the sides of the bowl and process an additional 5 seconds.

2. Place the crumb mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Chill 5 minutes and then bake 5 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the chocolate mousse
1. Place half of the chocolate into the dry bowl of a food processor. With the machine running, add the remaining chocolate through the food tube and process until the chocolate is ground to small beads. Add the egg yolks and process 5 seconds or until blended.

2. Heat the coffee, butter, and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is simmering. With the processor running, pour the hot coffee mixture through the food tube. Stop the machine to scrape the sides and process until smooth.

3. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Combine the egg whites and water in bowl of electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until the whites are whipped to firm peaks. With a large spatula, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and refrigerate until almost set, about 30 minutes.

Make the pecan-caramel layer
1. Put the chopped pecans into a bowl. Heat the brown sugar, butter, and salt in a small heavy saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Add 1/2 cup of the cream. Heat to boil and simmer until the caramel thickens enough to coat the back of spoon, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour half of the caramel over the chopped pecans; mix and then immediately pour over the crumb crust. Refrigerate until the caramel sets. (Reserve the remaining caramel in the saucepan.)

2. Spoon the chocolate mousse over the caramel layer; smooth the top. Refrigerate for several hours, until firmly set.

To finish
1. Arrange the pecan halves in a decorative pattern over the top of the mousse. Reheat the reserved caramel over low heat, adding the remaining cream to thin, if necessary. Cool the caramel slightly, the pour evenly on top. (Use pastry brush, if necessary, to spread the caramel.) Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

2. Remove the cake from the pan and place on a serving dish. To serve, cut with a hot knife.

Note: Torte freezes beautifully, well wrapped. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.

Spicy Tequila Shrimp

Spicy Tequila Shrimpby Nielsen-Massey Vanillas
from A Century of Flavor
(The Cookbook Marketplace, 2008)
Serves 4 to 6

What a splash of color this this spicy tequila shrimp dish will add to your table. You can adjust the heat by adding or subtracting the jalapeño peppers. In this recipe, Mexican vanilla extract complements the flavors of cinnamon, spicy chile peppers, thyme, and oregano. Add a margarita and some warm tortillas for a quick and tasty dinner.

For the tequila marinade

1/4 cup tequila
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Mexican Pure Vanilla Extract
1 small stick cinnamon, preferably Mexican
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
3 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

For the shrimp
1 to 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced
One 6-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup cool water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Hot cooked rice

Make the marinade

A Century of Flavors1. Combine the tequila, vanilla extract, cinnamon stick, olive oil, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, if using, garlic, thyme and oregano in a sealable plastic bag.

Make the shrimp
1. Add the shrimp to the tequila marinade and seal the bag, turning to coat the shrimp. Marinate in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes, turning the bag occasionally.

2. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and marinade. Saute until the shrimp begin to change color. Add the onions, bell peppers, the jalapeño chiles, and tomatoes. Cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp and the shrimp turn pink.

3. Combine the water and cornstarch in a small cup and mix until the cornstarch is dissolved. Cook the shrimp mixture for 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the cornstarch mixture and cook until the mixture begins to thicken. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Recipe © 2008 by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Inc. All rights reserved.