Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Smoked Salmon Tartlets With Red And Black Caviar Topping.

This is a most elegant, and delicious appetizer for all kinds of buffets. All you need to do is prepare the tartlets a few days earlier, freeze them, then use them in whatever way you want: savory or sweet.
These particular ones were savory where whole cumin seeds were used to adorn the tartlet and taste the cumin while biting into it......






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Custard Filled Tartlets Topped With Gooseberries And Strawberries.

It is very handy to make tartlets to use either for savory or for sweet purposes. The difference is that you may have to add some sugar in the sweet tartlets.

A Recipe for tarts and tartlets which always works is as follows:
Makes 25 tartlets.

-  250 gr all purpose flour.
-  110 gr cold butter cut in pieces or "NeoVitam soft" for our Greek friends.
-  76 cc. cold water.
-  ½ tsp. sugar.

Method for the tartlets:
-  Heat oven to 200 degrees C.
-        -   Add flour, sugar, and butter in a big bowl.
-        -  Cut butter into flour until all is grainy
      -  Add cold water and mix by hand till a smooth dough is obtained.
-        -  Wrap in a plastic film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
-        -  When time is up, flour your working surface and flatten your dough into a circle. 
     - Use a 7.5 cm cutter to cut circles.
-        -  Put each circle in place in muffin mold and using your fingers to cover the base and sides to form a tartlet.
-    -  Pearce holes into the base and all around the tartlets with a fork to prevent dough from swelling. 
-    -  Bake for 15 minutes or until a golden.
-        -  Take out from oven, let cool completely.
-        -  Bake the next batch till dough is finished.
-      -    Use immediately or freeze for future use.
Note: If tartlet is going to be used for savory purposes, you can add some coriander, sesame, cumin, or cardamom seeds to the dough. This will give it extra flavor.
For the custard cream:
You will need:
-  1 liter milk.
-  250 gr sugar.
-  100 gr corn flour (corn starch).
-  2 whole eggs.
-  2 yolks.
-  60 gr good fresh butter.
-  1 vanilla bean (pod).
Method:
-  Mix milk, part of the sugar the vanilla and bring to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce heat to minimum.
-   In a bowl, mix corn flour (corn starch), eggs very quickly otherwise the cornstarch will solidify, and the rest of the sugar.
-  When the egg / corn starch mixture is well blended together without any lumps, this is where you have to be very careful: take a ladle of the hot milk and pour slowly into the colder egg mixture while mixing quickly to increase its temperature. Take another ladle of hot milk and again pour slowly into the egg mixture while stirring quickly. Take a third and a fourth till you see that both fluids are nearly equal in temperature.
-  At this point you can pour all the egg mixture into the milk, increase the heat, and continue stirring with the whip till your total mixture temperature is not more than 83 to 85 degrees C. If you do not have a thermometer, then stir the cream till it is thick enough to form a layer on the back of a spoon and leaves a clean groove when you run your finger through it.
-  Add the butter and stir till it melts and blends in.
-  The cream is now ready and you must turn off the heat, and immediately transfer it onto a bowl, and put cling film on the surface to prevent the formation of that crust till it cools down. The cling film should completely touch the cream surface with no air pockets.
-  When cold,  mix well to turn it into a smooth cream again and set aside.
For the gooseberries and strawberry topping you will need:
-  1 cup frozen gooseberries completely thawed out and at room temperature.
-  1 cup frozen strawberries also completely thawed out and at room temperature.
-  ½ cup of sugar for each cup of berries.
-  Leave for an hour to let berry juices flow out and sugar to dissolve.
For the filling of the tartlets you have to:
-  Strain berries from all juices and dry on several kitchen paper towels.
-  Fill each tartlet with custard cream.
-  Use as many of the berries to top your tartlets making sure not to have any juices running on the tartlets otherwise they will become soggy.
Enjoy!!
Stelio
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Braised Country Sausage Appetizer....Goes Nicely With Ouzo

Country sausage can be cooked in different ways. I used leek flavored Greek country sausage sliced at an angle.
You will need:
Serves 10-15
-  8 x 30  cm long country sausage.
-  2 shots ouzo
-  1 Tbsp. olive oil.
-  2 stars anise
-  2 cups any tomato based sauce you have in your deep freeze. If not made a new hot and spicy tomato sauce.
Method:
-  Heat the olive oil.
-  Add the sliced sausage and saute on high heat for about a minute.
-  When sausage takes a nice color, add ouzo and star anise.
-  Flambe the whole lot.
-  When flame dies out, add tomato sauce and simmer for about 30 minutes then turn off heat.
-  Serve with slices of bread to dunk.
Enjoy!
Stelio
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Monday, May 28, 2012

Cannelloni With Spinach, Cottage Cheese and Walnuts



This recipe for Cannelloni will be my version of it as opposed to the one written on the box itself and I would like to share it with you....
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