Friday, January 30, 2015

Poached Forelle Pears with Bourbon Honey Crème and Winter Spice Syrup

     Tiny Forelle Pears!
     Forelle pears are perfect for poaching in a flavored liquid.  Two or three forelle pears are about the same weight as one regular size pear.  Forelle pears are very sweet, so they are a nice choice for a poached pear dessert.

     Forelle pears originated in Germany sometime in the 1600's or 1700's.  The German word "forelle" actually translates to trout.  I do not know why these little pears share a name of a fish, but that could be an interesting subject to look into.  
     Persia and Turkey also have a long history of growing miniature sweet pears and many other miniature fruits, so it is possible that the forelle pear seed stock originally came from the middle east.  Persian and Arabic chefs have a tradition of using honey to candy and preserve miniature fruits.  Before sugar became commonplace, honey was cooked down to a candy glaze, then the miniature fruit was simmered in the glaze, till the fruit became saturated and candied.  Middle eastern candied miniature fruits were usually reserved for special occasions.  

     Today's Recipe
     Poached pears have been a fine dining dessert for a few centuries.  Most chefs poach pears in wine or a liquor.  Winter spices are usually part of the liquor or wine poaching liquid. 
     For today's poached pear recipe, I chose to not use any liquor or wine in the poaching liquid.  I only wanted to accent the flavor of the forelle pears with German winter spices.  
     To achieve the pink color, organic red food dye was used.  Pomegranate juice, beet juice or cranberry juice can be used in place of a few drops of organic red food coloring.  Beet juice probably adds the least amount of flavor.  
     After the pears are poached, sugar is added to a portion of the spiced poaching liquid, and the sweetened poaching liquid is reduced to a red colored accompanying syrup for decorating the plate.

     The liquor choice for the accompanying cream sauce was Kentucky Sour Mash Bourbon.  Brandy, Rum, Grand Marnier and fortified wines are often used for dessert sauces.  Bourbon is rarely used for dessert sauces, but it has an excellent flavor profile for dessert sauce that accompanies pears or apples.  
     A combination of bourbon, honey and lemon actually is an old American cough syrup.  In recent years, honey flavored bourbon has become popular with the cocktail drinking crowd.  Bourbon and honey go together like peaches and cream.  The bourbon honey crème sauce in this recipe turned out to be a nice choice for accenting the flavor of the winter spice poached pears. 

    There are two poaching techniques.  Cold start and hot start.  Cold start poaching allows a transfer of flavor.  Hot start poaching flavors the item that is poached and the poaching liquid gains a minimum of flavor from the item that is poached.  Cold start poaching is used in this recipe.
     *This entire recipe yields 1 dessert portion!

     Winter Spice Poached Forelle Pears:
     A subtle amount of winter spices is best, because the flavor of Forelle Pear is so nice.  Winter spices are very strong, so only a little bit of each should be used!
     Step 1:  Place 3 small peeled forelle pears in a small sauce pot.  (Leave the stems on the pears.)
     Add just enough water to cover the pears.
     Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
     Add 1 pinch of cinnamon.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger.
     Add 1 pinch of allspice.
     Add 1 clove.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add enough beet juice, pomegranate juice or organic red food dye to give the poaching liquid a red color.
     Step 2:  Place the sauce pot over medium/medium high heat.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer till the pears become tender, but not mushy.
     Step 3:  Remove the pears from the poaching liquid and keep them warm on a stove top.
     Save the poaching liquid!

     Winter Spice Syrup:
     A little bit of spice syrup is needed for the poached pear recipe, so only a small portion of the poaching liquid was called for.  If you want to use some spice syrup for other recipes, then multiply the amount of sugar in this recipe, so it is the correct proportion for turning all of the poaching liquid into syrup.
     Place 1 cup of the poaching liquid in a small sauce pot.
     Add 3 tablespoons of sugar.
     Place the sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce, till the sauce becomes a medium thin syrup consistency.  
     Keep the spice syrup warm on a stove top.

     Bourbon Honey Crème:
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 ounces of Kentucky Sour Mash Bourbon.
     Boil for 1 minute, till the alcohol denatures.
     Step 2:  Add 4 ounces of cream.
     Bring the cream to a gentle boil.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of honey.
     Simmer and reduce, till the sauce becomes a medium thin sauce consistency. 

     Poached Forelle Pears with Bourbon Honey Crème and Winter Spice Syrup:
     Spoon a thin layer of the bourbon honey cream sauce on a plate, as a bed for the poached pears.
     Trim the bottom of each poached forelle pear, so it will stand upright.
     Place the poached pears on the bourbon honey crème.
     Spoon a small amount of the spice syrup over each pear.
     Drizzle drops and streaks of the spice syrup on the bourbon crème sauce.
     Serve as is or drag a skewer through the two sauces on the plate to create modern marbled effect.  I pictured both styles of sauce presentations in the photographs above.
     No garnish is necessary!

     Poached pears are always a nice dessert that is appealing to the eyes! 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Damiana Poached Mission Figs with Cassis Gastrique, Ginger Crème and Pita Bread

     Mission Fig Season!  
     Fresh ripe mission figs are plump tender sweet little figs that have a rich flavor.  Fresh mission figs can be poached whole.  The steam that is trapped under the fig's skin helps tenderize the fruit and intensify the flavor.  The skin of a mission fig actually is thin enough to allow a trace of the poaching liquid flavor to infuse.

     I once listened to a culinary arts instructor state that no vegetable or fruit stains a blue color.  Old culinary books say the same thing.  Those antiquated statements were made long before exotic fruits and heirloom vegetables became commonplace in markets.  Mission figs stain Royal Blue and some purple carrots stain pure Navy Blue.
     Reducing the mission fig poaching liquid yields a royal blue color glacé.  The blue color of the fig poaching liquid reduction looks nice on the plate when it is streaked with the golden color damiana liquor reduction.

     Damiana is a medicinal herb that is native to the southwest, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.  Damiana leaves and flowers have a very complex aroma and flavor that is one of a kind and very appealing.  Natives of the Americas hold this plant in high esteem for its relaxing effects.
     Basically the flavor and aroma of Damiana is so nice, that it causes relaxation.  There are active chemicals in Damiana that add to the relaxing effect, but the properties of the chemicals remain a mystery.  Damiana has a reputation for increasing the sex drive and it is often marketed as an aphrodisiac.  Native women, traditionally use to Damiana to increase fertility.  Damiana is usually prepared as a tea, incense or it is added to smoking mixtures.

     Damiana Liquor
     Mexican Damiana Liquor has a full ranging Damiana herb flavor.  Damiana Liquor is sweetened and it has a comfortable aperitif alcohol content percentage.  Damiana Liquor bottles are shaped like an Incan Fertility Goddess and these bottle have collector value.
     Damiana Margaritas are popular in Los Cabos, Mexico.  According to witnesses and food historians, triple sec (curacao liquor) was not one of the ingredients in the original Margarita Cocktail recipe.  Damiana Liquor was paired with Tequila to create the very first Margarita!  This fact does makes sense, because the original Margarita was created to please a female VIP patron.
     Damiana is certainly the ladies liquor of ladies liquors!  The Incan Goddess shaped glass Damiana Liquor bottle spells out fertility and feminism, no matter how it is interpreted!

     Today's Recipe
     The Black Currant Gastrique in today's recipe tastes nice with mission figs.  Black Currants are champagne grape raisons.  Back Currants are called cassis in French, so a Black Currant Gastrique can be called a Cassis Gastrique.  The flavor of this gastrique is very deep and intense.
     Poached figs are not just a dessert.  Fancy poached figs can be served as an appetizer or as an early sweet course during a multi course dinner.
     The stack of pita bread on a skewer confirms today's poached Mission Fig creation is meant to be an early sweet course or appetizer.  If you prefer to serve this Mission Fig creation as a dessert, then leave the pita bread skewer out of the recipe.
     Today's recipe is not difficult to make on a first attempt.  Reduction sauces and glacé are easy to make.  It is important to not reduce sugar sauces till they are too thick or they will solidify like candy when they cool.

     Black Currant Gastrique:
     This gastrique recipe yields about 1 1/2 to 2 ounces! 
     Step 1:  Chop 1/4 cup of black currants into small pieces and set them aside.
     Step 2:  Place 1/2 cup of water in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of sugar.
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Boil and reduce the liquid, till the water has nearly evaporated and the sugar begins to rapidly bubble as it enters the candy making stages.  (Use caution, boiling sugar can cause very severe burns!)
     Step 3:  When the sugar turns from a light amber color to an amber brown color, immediately add the chopped black currants.
     Allow the amber brown sugar "seize" the black currants for a few seconds.  (Do not stir!)
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of rice vinegar.
     Add 1/4 cup of dry white wine.
     Add sea salt.
     Add 1 small bay leaf.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of thyme leaves.
     Add 6 whole black peppercorns.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of chopped shallot.
     Step 5:  Simmer and reduce the gastrique, till it becomes a thin syrup consistency.  The gastrique should be able to lightly glaze the back of a spoon.
     Step 6:  Pour the gastrique through a fine mesh strainer into a ceramic cup.
     Keep the gastrique warm on a stove top.
     This gastrique can be refrigerated for up to 6 months.

     Damiana Liquor Glacé:
     Only about 1 or 2 teaspoons of damiana glace are needed for this recipe! 
     Place 2 ounces of damiana liquor in a small sauce pot.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
     Place the sauce pot over low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the damiana liquor, till it becomes a thin syrup.
     Place the damiana glacé in a small ramekin and keep it warm on a stove top.

     Ginger Crème:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/2 ounces.
     Place 3 ounces of cream in a sauce pot.
     Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
     Add 1 tiny pinch of white pepper.
     Add 1 ounce of dry white wine.
     Place the sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce the cream, till it becomes a thin cream sauce consistency.
     Place the ginger crème in a small plastic squeeze bottle and keep it warm on a stove top.

     Damiana Poached Mission Figs:
     Place 8 fresh mission figs in a small sauce pot.
     Add enough water to barely cover the figs.
     Add 2 ounces of damiana liquor.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Add 1 small pinch of white pepper.
     Place the pot over medium heat.
     Poach the mission figs till they become plump and tender.
     Remove the mission figs from the pot and place the on a dish.  Leave the poaching liquid in the pot.
     Keep the poached figs warm on a stove top.

     Damiana Mission Fig Glacé:  
     Place the pot of Mission Fig poaching liquid over medium heat.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce the poaching liquid, till it becomes a thin syrup consistency.
     Pour the glacé through a fine mesh strainer into a ceramic cup.
     Place the cup on a stove top to keep it warm.

     Pita Bread Skewer:
     Warm a small pita bread in an oven or on a dry griddle.
     Cut the pita into 7 or 8 square shapes that measure about 1 1/2".
     Run a fancy bamboo skewer through a small basil top sprig.
     Place the pita bread pieces on the skewer.
     Set the skewer aside.

     Damiana Poached Mission Figs with Cassis Gastrique, Ginger Crème and Pita Bread:
     Use a paring knife to split the poached mission figs in half, but leave the halves attached at the stem end.
     Slightly fan each mission fig open.
     Arrange the figs in a circle pattern on a plate.
     Place the pita skewer vertically on the center of the plate.
     Spoon the black currant gastrique on the plate between the skewer and the mission figs.
     Use the squeeze bottle to paint streaks of the ginger crème over the poached mission figs.
     Use a spoon to dab dots of the blue color damiana mission fig poaching liquid glacé on the plate.
     Use a spoon to dab dots of the Damiana Liquor Glacé on the plate.

     This Poached Mission Fig appetizer certainly is decadent and appealing!                

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Provencal Miso Soup

     French Provence Japanese Fusion Café Style Soup!  
     Every year, chef in the mass media seem to make predictions about upcoming food trends.  More often than not, the upcoming food trend prediction is usually already past tense, because hard working chefs have already successfully marketed the food that is spotlighted by the mass media chefs.  This year, mass media chefs predicted that clear broth soups will be the most popular in fine dining circles.

     Considering that most modern restaurants only pay the lowest wages possible and only the bottom line profits are what counts, it is easy to imagine that purchasing buckets of dried instant soup bouillon in order make trendy clear broth soups, will be par for the course at many restaurants.  The problem is that when several restaurant in one area use instant bouillon, every soup broth taste nearly the same and the flavor is middle of the road at best.

     There is no denying that soup stock, bouillon or consommé that is made from scratch has the best flavor.  Soup broths that are made from scratch do command a higher menu price.  Unfortunately, shady restaurants often charge the same high price for a clear broth soup that is made with dried instant bouillon.  It is easy to see that the supposed upcoming clear broth soup trend fiasco could alienate many more fine dining customers than the recent overpriced petite portion health cuisine trend recently has.
     Restaurants that market traditional clear soups that are made from scratch will gain loyal customers and these restaurants will have an advantage in the long run.  Japanese fine dining chefs know this as fact.  The difference between a cheap noodle house at a mall and a refined Japanese restaurant is as simple as instant miso soup mix and miso soup that is made to order the traditional way.    

     Miso soup has been popular in American restaurants during the last two decades.  Cheap buffets usually serve instant miso soup mix and chefs usually make large batches of traditional miso soup way ahead of time.  Either way, the flavor of the miso soup will not have the character that it should have.  Miso soup is much more aromatic when it is made to order.  The longer that a miso soup sits in a soup warmer, the more that the bean paste flavor changes to an undesirable flavor and the less aromatic the miso soup will be.
     For a great miso soup, the dashi broth has to be made within certain time constraints, so peak aromatic flavors develop.  A dashi broth that is boiled for a few minutes too long will have a flat musty aroma.  As long as the dashi is made with traditional ingredients and it is boiled for the correct amount of time, then the miso soup will have a good base flavor.  As long as the bean paste is not overheated, the miso soup will turn out perfect.

     Learning the basics of traditional miso soup is best to do, before attempting to make new miso soup creations.  Creating a new miso soup means designing the soup so the garnishing ingredients will taste good with the traditional basic miso soup flavor.  There are several different traditional dashi broths and several kinds of bean paste to choose from, so a little bit of imagination pays off when selecting the best combination for a new miso soup.
     I thought that the fresh flavors of French Provence herbs, tomato and garden vegetables would taste nice with a light miso soup.  Shiitake mushroom adds even more flavor appeal.  When I first published this recipe about 5 years ago, it caught on like wildfire and the recipe was popular worldwide.
     Now that clear broth soups are predicted to be trendy this year, more than likely creative miso soups will also return to the spotlight.  Provencal Miso Soup is an appealing creative modern soup that is worth trying, but this soup definitely has to be made to order so the fresh flavors are at a peak.  

     *This entire recipe yields 1 serving!  Miso soup should always be prepared shortly before serving.
     Wakami & Katsuobushi Dashi:
     This dashi has a light flavor and is not sweet like a kambu dashi.  
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 3 cups of water.
     Add 3 tablespoons of Japanese dried shaved cured bonito flakes. 
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped rinsed salt packed wakame sea weed.
     Step 2:  Boil the broth for 5 minutes.  Allow the broth to reduce to about 2 1/4 cups in volume.
     Remove the pot from the heat.
     Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a second sauce pot.

     Provencal Miso Soup:  
     Finishing this miso soup does not take much time.  The vegetables should still be al dente when this soup is served!  The dashi is flavored in two stages.
     Step 1:  Place the dashi broth sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 3 pinches of Herbs Du Provence.
     Add 2 to 3 thin sliced small shiitake mushrooms.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 2 tablespoons of diced green bell pepper.
     Add 2 tablespoons of diced red bell pepper.
     Add 1/4 cup of large diced plum tomato.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of chopped shallot.
     Add 2 tablespoons of thin sliced leek.
     Gently boil till the vegetables start to become tender.  (About 2 minutes.)
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add 3 drops of pure sesame oil.
     Add 1 ounce of dry white wine.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of red miso paste, while stirring.
     Add 2 pinches of coarsely chopped Italian parsley.
     Simmer the soup for 2 minutes.
     Step 3:  Ladle the soup into a large shallow soup bowl.
     Garnish with a couple of basil leaves.
     Provence is a prime seafood region of France, so the traditional dashi broth goes well with the Provence garden vegetables and herbs.  I was sure that these two classic flavors of Japan and France would go well together in this fusion soup.  If you are a miso soup fan, this recipe will not disappoint!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Forcemeat Encrusted Wild Boar Tenderloin with Applejack Gastrique ~ Kabocha Pomme de Terre Croquettes

     A Nice Modern Wild Boar Entrée!
     In recent years, wild game has become more popular outside the circle of hunters.  Those who are concerned about residual growth hormones or chemicals, genetic modification and farm sustainability have turned to alternative food sources.  Organic non-GMO sustainable produce is in high demand.  Grass fed free range organic beef, poultry and pork are also preferred by many modern consumers.  
     Wild game has become a popular option for consumers, because wild game is a natural food source.  Semi tame farmed free range wild game, like deer, emu and buffalo, need very little maintenance because these animals have not been domesticated to the point of becoming dependent on man made chemicals to maintain their existence.  Wild game that is not free range farmed and is gathered in the wild by hunters, does have the same natural flavor characteristics that modern man's ancient ancestors enjoyed.
     Trapping wild boar in pit traps is the oldest and safest way to hunt wild boar.  Using spears to kill the wild boar in the pit was traditionally the safest way to put wild boar on the dinner table.  In modern times, the rifle has pretty much replaced trapping boar in a deep pit trap.  The exception can be found in regions of the world where traditional hunting methods are still practiced.  Many old tribal cultures want nothing to do with modern man's inventions and they still hunt or trap the old traditional way.  
     A few weeks ago, I was talking with a couple members of the Paiute Nation in Las Vegas, about the large herd of mule deer that I recently saw in the local mountains.  The Paiute couple started talking about a recent deer hunt that they did up in Utah, which put some meat on the dinner table.  The deer hunting was done the old traditional way with hand made bow and arrow.  It was refreshing to hear about how tribal tradition was still part of the hunt, especially after years of listening to modern hunters talking about their cherished hunting rifles. 
      A wounded wild boar is ferocious and it can attack with blinding speed.  Wild boar are not docile and they will attack children or adults with no warning.  The result is usually missing limbs or death.  Wild domestic pigs can be just as ferocious and many hunters have stories about being treed by an aggressive wild hog.  Climbing a tree as fast as possible is the only possible escape.
     The overpopulation of wild hogs has become a major problem in many farming regions and in the Pacific Islands.  Hawaiians take wild hog hunting seriously and they do not mess around with these aggressive creatures.  For many Hawaiians a semi automatic 30 caliber rifle is the best weapon of choice for hunting hogs in dense jungle growth.  
     Obviously politicians have never hunted wild hogs in a Hawaiian jungle, or they would eat their own words when exclaiming how a 30 caliber semi automatic rifle is not a hunting weapon.  When a 350 pound lean mean big hog is charging fast in close quarters, a hunter has to pump as many rounds into the hog as fast as he can and hope for the best outcome, just to fend off the attack.  Wild hog hunting is very dangerous business and surviving the hunt is a hunter's prime concern.  Hawaiian hunters know this well.
     The reason that I know a bit about wild hog hunting is because I lived down by the Everglades Swamp for a long time.  A serious wild hog overpopulation problem exists in Florida.  A pack of wild hogs can destroy acres of zucchini squash fields overnight.  Many Florida farmers gladly accept wild hog hunters on their land, with the hope of controlling the wild hog pest problem.  
     Hunting hogs in hot humid Florida weather is demanding, tough, sweaty, hard work.  The average big city hunter would not last one hour in the dangerous swamps and palmetto thickets, where rattlesnakes and alligators are well over eight feet long.  Huge spiders spin webs between pine trees and the ground hornets can be thick enough to kill anything that comes along.  
     Florida hog hunting is usually done by big tough local folks who like putting wild hog meat on the family dinner table.  Because of the extreme heat and humidity in Florida, a Ruger 44 Magnum Six Gun with 240 grain or 350 grain bullets is preferred by many local wild hog hunters.  A Ruger 44 Super Blackhawk six gun with heavy loads is best, because it is easier to lug though palmetto thickets than a rifle and it will put the biggest meanest hog down with one shot.  
     I grew up in the wild Florida swamp environment, so it was like a playground to me.  Now as an adult in the big city, when I go off into the wild, few friends are willing to follow.  I learned a lot about good swamp hunting methods from local Florida folks and ate plenty of Hot Pepper Stewed Wild Hog that these folks served up over the years.  Hot chile peppers naturally mellow the flavor of wild hog meat in a stew. 

     Taming The Wild Game Meat Flavor:
     Taming the flavor of some wild game is not necessary, because the meat is naturally mild tasting.  Strong flavored wild game meat, like wild boar, has to be mellowed before cooking.  One of the oldest methods for taming strong tasting wild game, is to marinate the meat with a small amount of apple cider vinegar overnight.  Only a small amount of apple cider vinegar is needed, or the wild game meat will become pickled and it will lose its flavor characteristics.   

     Forcemeat Information:
     Basically forcemeat is the cleaned trimmings of butchered meat.  The sinew is cleaned off of the small bits of meat by hand or by pressing the meat through a wire mesh screen on a French Tambourin.  Fat is completely removed or a percentage of fat is retained.  
     Here are a few styles of forcemeat:
     • Course Whole Lean Forcemeat:  
     This type of forcemeat is rarely used and no fat is added to the mixture.  Whole lean little bits of cleaned trimmed meat are course lean forcemeat.  The trimmed little bits of meat can be pressed through a 3/16" or 1/4" wire mesh strainer to make the course forcemeat more uniform in size.  A wide mesh strainer like this will not remove sinew, so the forcemeat must be cleaned by hand.  Coarse whole forcemeat from wild boar tenderloin trimmings and chain were used in today's recipe.  Forcemeat encrusted veal loin can be prepared in a similar way.
     • Straight Forcemeat:  
     This forcemeat is 50% pork fat and 50% pork meat that is coarsely ground and mixed with any other kind of coarsely ground meat.  The mixture is usually cured.  The meat grinder removes most of the sinew. 
     • Country Style Forcemeat:  
     This forcemeat is a mixture of pork fat, pork meat and pork liver (optional) that is coarsely ground.  Garnishes can be added to the grinding mixture.  The meat grinder removes most of the sinew.
     • Gratin Forcemeat:  
     The meat is partially browned by sautéing or roasting, before it is ground or pressed through a tambourin wire screen strainer or mousseline chinoise (very fine mesh strainer).  Chicken livers for pâté are often prepared as Gratin Forcemeat.  The texture can be coarse or very fine.  Garnishes can be added.
     • Mousseline:  
     The meat must be very lean and it is pressed through a fine mesh tambourin or a mousseline chinoise.  Lean ultra finely ground meat, with no sinew, is mousseline forcemeat.   Garnishes can be added.
     The word Mousseline also refers to combining the finely ground meat with egg, cream and sometimes flour or starch to create a very light refined texture after the item is cooked.  Chicken mousseline for croquettes or galantine is a good example.  Liver, seafood or cooked vegetables can also be used to make mousseline.  
     Liver that is pressed through a mousseline strainer does not have to be bound with egg and cream.  Mousseline liver can be bound with fat to create items like liverwurst, chicken liver pâté spread, pâté foie gras or braunschweiger.  This process is closer to mousseline than a slurry emulsion.      
     A white colored veal and pork belly mousseline piped into a sausage casing can be called Weisswurst or white sausage.  
     • Slurry Emulsion Forcemeat:
     Traditional hot dogs, wieners and Frankfurters are made by creating a wet slurry of mousseline forcemeat, seasonings and liquid, with no binding agents other than fat.  The wet mousseline slurry mixture is chilled, then whisked till it becomes a thick emulsion.  
     An egg and cream bound standard mousseline of any kind can also be used to make hot dogs.  I posted a Lobster Mousseline Hot Dog recipe last year.  This style of hot dog should not be called a Frankfurter or wiener.       
     Only a mixture of pork and beef emulsion forcemeat can be used to make traditional Frankfurters or wieners in Germany.  Outside of Germany, chicken is sometimes added to the meat mixture for wieners, but not Frankfurters.     
     The emulsion forcemeat method is used to make many kinds of refined sausages and lunch meats, like weisswurst, knockwurst, bologna and mortadella.  

     Applejack Liquor:
     Applejack was America's first whiskey and it was actually used as currency during colonial times.  Workers got paid with bottles of Applejack!  Applejack is made by freezing strong fermented apple cider and then pouring the alcohol off of the frozen matter.  Freeze distilling is the oldest distilling method of them all.  Applejack has a good natural apple whiskey flavor and it is a potent liquor that packs a kick like a mule! 
     Laird's Applejack is the oldest continually made American Apple Whiskey.  Laird's Applejack also happens to be the best.  Highly recommended for sipping and cooking! 

     *This recipe yields 1 entrée portion with extra sauce and vegetable portions. 

     Wild Boar Tenderloin And Coarse Lean Forcemeat Preparation:
     Wild boar tenderloin is usually sold in packages of two at butcher shops that carry wild game meat.  The trimmings from two wild boar tenderloins are needed for this recipe.  
     The second unused wild boar tenderloin can be used for a second recipe that will be published at a later time.
     Step 1:  Use a razor sharp boning knife to trimm the chain section off of 2 wild boar tenderloins.
     Trim any loose meat, connective tissue and sinew off of both tenderloins.
     Wrap one tenderloin up and chill it for later use.
     Scrape or cut any connective tissue, fat and sinew off of the trimmings.
     Set the cleaned tenderloin trimmings aside.  
     Step 2:  Fold the thin tip end of the cleaned whole tenderloin over itself.
     Use butcher's twine to truss the tenderloin tip and truss the entire tenderloin in 3 or 4 places, so the tenderloin will retain its round shape after cooking.
     Step 3:  Place the trussed wild boar tenderloin and the trimmings from the two tenderloins in a small container.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Place a lid on the container.
     Refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.
     *Be sure to clean and sterilize all all surfaces, knifes and utensils to prevent pathogen contamination.    
     Kabocha Potato Croquettes:
     This recipe yields about 4 petite portions!  Basically, this is a vegetable mousseline.  
     Step 1:  Brush a 4 ounce piece of seeded kabocha squash with melted unsalted butter.
     Roast the squash in a 325º oven, till it becomes tender.
     Let the squash cool.
     Use a paring knife to peel the skin.
     Step 2:  Press the soft kabocha squash through a fine mesh strainer.
     Keep the mashed kabocha warm on a stove top.
     Step 3:  Place 6 ounces of peeled russet potato that is cut into large bite size pieces in a sauce pot.  
     Cover the potato with cold water.
     Boil the potato over medium high heat, till it becomes soft.
     Step 4:  Drain the water off of the potato.
     Add the kabocha squash to the pot.
     Mash the potato and kabocha, till the mixture is smooth.
     Step 5:  Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of nutmeg.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of melted unsalted butter.
     Add 1 tablespoon of cream.
     Add 1 tablespoon of whisked egg.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour.
     Whisk the potato mixture till it becomes smooth.  Add a little bit of flour, if the mixture does not hold its shape, when squeezed by hand.  The mixture should thick, but not as dense as clay. 
     Step 6:  Chill the kabocha potato mixture till it becomes very firm.
     Use two serving spoons to create large quenelle shapes.
     Roll the quenelles in plain fine French bread crumbs.  
     Place the breaded quenelles on a parchment paper lined sheet pan and chill them till they are needed.

     Applejack Gastrique:
     This gastrique recipe yields enough for 2 to 4 servings, depending on the application!
     Many of my gastriques are made when the sugar is at the hard crack stage or light yellow amber.  This creates a semi sweet effect.  The sugar is cooked to a medium dark amber color for today's gastrique and this creates a savory effect.  
     It is important to observe the sugar as it changes color from clear, to very pale yellow, then to a light yellow brown amber color.  This happens quickly!  A few seconds later, the sugar changes from a light amber color to a darker golden brown amber color.  This is the time to add the fruit!
     *Use caution!  Hot molten sugar will cause severe burns!  Do not stir a gastrique, till shortly after the liquid flavorings are added, or the sugar will stick to the utensil like rock sugar candy.
     Step 1:  Peel and core 1 Granny Smith Apple.
     Brunoise dice 3 to 4 tablespoons of the apple and set it aside in a cup.  (Brunoise = 1/8"x1/8"x1/8")  Toss the brunoise apple with a few drops of diluted lemon juice, to prevent oxidation.
     Coarsely chop the remainder of the apple and set it aside. 
     Step 2:  Boil 2 cups of water over medium high heat in a stainless steel sauce pot.
     Add 1/2 cup of sugar.
     When the sugar begins to turn a light amber color, stay close to the pan and watch for the sugar to turn a dark amber color.  (Dark amber is a golden yellow brown color.)
     Step 3:  When the sugar turns a dark amber color, immediately add the reserved coarsely chopped apple.
     Allow the caramelized sugar to coat the fruit for 1 minute.  (The sugar will stop caramelizing when the fruit is added.  The hot sugar will seize the fruit and pull all of the flavor and color out of the fruit.  The caramelized sugar will completely take on the flavor and color of the fruit!)
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
     Add 5 ounces of Applejack Liquor.  (This is a gastrique, so try not to flambé!  Reduce the flame if necessary, till the alcohol evaporates.  Use a lid to smother and extinguish any flames.)   
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt.
     Add 12 whole black peppercorns.
     Add 1 small pinch of white pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of thyme leaves.
     Add 2 bay leaves.
     Add 3 dried allspice berries.
     Add 1 whole clove.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced shallot.
     Step 5:  Simmer and reduce the gastrique, till it is a very thin syrup consistency.
     Pour the gastrique through a fine mesh strainer into a second sauce pot over low heat.
     Add the reserved brunoise diced apple.
     Simmer and reduce till the gastrique becomes a thin glacé syrup consistency.  The glacé should be thick enough to barely coat the back of a spoon.  (Keep in mind that when a gastrique cools, it may become a little bit thicker consistency.)
     Step 6:  Pour the gastrique into a ceramic cup.
     Keep the Applejack Gastrique warm on a stove top.  Add a few drops of hot water if it becomes too thick.
     This gastrique can be refrigerated for up to 7 days.

     Forcemeat Encrusted Wild Boar Tenderloin:
     Step 1:  After the wild boar tenderloin and cleaned coarse forcemeat trimmings have marinated, remove them from the container and place them in a strainer.
    Allow the small amount of marinade to drain off.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Place the trussed marinated whole wild boar tenderloin in the pan.
     Sear the tenderloin on all sides, till brown highlights appear on all sides.  The center should still be uncooked.
     Step 3:  Place the seared tenderloin on a cutting board.
     Remove the trussing string.
     Coarsely chop the marinated forcemeat or press it through a 1/4" gap wire mesh strainer.
     Use both hands to pile and press the forcemeat on the seared tenderloin.
     Step 4:  Use both hands to transfer the forcemeat crusted wild boar tenderloin to a wire screen roasting rack on a roasting pan.
     Repair any damage and make sure the forcemeat sicks.
     Drizzle a small amount of unsalted butter over the forcemeat.
     Season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Roast the forcemeat crusted wild boar tenderloin in a 350º oven, till the forcemeat becomes lightly browned and the tenderloin becomes fully cooked.  (165º center temperature.  Wild boar cannot be served less than well done, because of a potential trichinosis pathogen threat.)
     Step 5:  Keep the tenderloin warm on a stove top.
     *The Croquette's should be started a few minutes before the tenderloin finishes.
     Finishing The Kabocha Pomme de Terre Croquettes:
     The croquettes can be pan fried with butter for a classy look or they can be deep fried.  
     When pan fried, the croquettes become soft.  They will have to be handled carefully with a cake spatula. 
     The croquettes should be cooked just before the entree is ready and they should be placed directly on the serving plate or platter.  The less the soft croquettes are handled, the better.
     Step 1:  Heat a seasoned saute pan or cast iron skilled over medium heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Place a few breaded kabocha potato quenelles in the pan, so they are not close to each other.  Leave enough room to flip each croquette!
     Step 2:  Pan fry the croquettes till they are golden brown on both sides.  Only flip the croquettes once!  A gentle touch is necessary or they will be damaged.
     Note:  If a croquette is slightly damaged, it is best to wait till the croquette is placed on a plate, before reshaping the croquette with a spatula.
     Serve immediately after the croquettes are cooked.  Use a cake spatula to drain off any excess butter and transfer the croquettes to the plate.

     Forcemeat Encrusted Wild Boar Tenderloin with Applejack Gastrique ~ Kabocha Pomme de Terre Croquettes: 
     The forcemeat encrusted wild boar tenderloin cannot be sliced before plating, or the coarse forcemeat will fall off.
     Place the forcemeat encrusted wild boar tenderloin on the front center of a place.
     Place 2 kabocha potato croquettes on the back half of the plate.
     Place a mushroom or vegetable of your choice on the plate.  (A peeled fluted portobello mushroom that was gently sautéed in butter is the garnish in the pictures.)
     Use a spoon to gather the apple brunoise from the applejack gastrique and cascade it over the the thick end of the tenderloin and onto the plate.
     Spoon a generous amount of the applejack gastrique over the tenderloin and onto the plate.
     No garnish is necessary!

     Viola!  A very classy old fashioned hand crafted forcemeat encrusted wild boar tenderloin with a modern Applejack Gastrique that is specifically flavored for this entrée!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

T-Bone Steak with Roasted Garlic Beurre Cognac

     T-Bone Steak And Porterhouse Steak
     T-Bone is the most popular beef steak.  One side of the bone has the best of the sirloin strip section and a small piece of beef tenderloin is attached to the other side.
     Many food writers say that there is little difference between a T-Bone Steak and a Porterhouse Steak, but this is incorrect.  The short loin section is where T-Bone Steaks are cut from.  The hind end of the short loin section is where Porterhouse Steaks are cut from, because the tenderloin starts to become thicker.  One might say that the tenderloin piece on a T-Bone Steak is the tenderloin tips or medaillon section.  The tenderloin piece on a Porterhouse is the filet mignon section.

     A porterhouse steak has a much larger piece of tenderloin.  The minimum width of the tenderloin on a Porterhouse by chef's standards is 2" to 2 1/2" of filet mignon attached to the bone.  A T-Bone steak usually has less than 2 inches of tenderloin attached to the bone.
     The minimal thickness of the filet piece on a tenderloin should be a minimum of 1" to 1 1/2".  This means that a real porterhouse steak is cut much thicker than an average T-Bone Steak.  There actually is no minimal thickness standard for a T-Bone Steak.    
     Some T-Bone Steaks only have a sliver of tenderloin and they are considered to be second choice by many critics.  The short loin steak side is much bigger and juicier when there is a minimal amount of tenderloin on a T-Bone Steak.
     If the tenderloin piece is a priority, then shop for a Porterhouse Steak instead of a T-Bone Steak!  It is the Strip Loin side of the T-Bone that steak enthusiasts really relish the thought of biting into!  

     The T-Bone in the pictures had a healthy piece of tenderloin, not including the fat and the strip loin side was picture perfect with some some fat marbling in the grain of the meat.  Fat marbling is important for a T-Bone Steak.  The USDA beef grading system determines how much marbling will appear on a steak.

     USDA Beef Grades
     USDA Prime Grade Beef comes from younger healthy cattle that have the highest amount of fat marbling.  USDA Prime Grade Beef does command a price, because only 2% of all beef is graded as being Prime.  USDA Prime Grade Beef is usually only sold at butcher shops and not at grocery stores.  A USDA Prime Grade Beef T-Bone Steak is the best quality that money can buy!

     USDA Choice Grade Beef is the second best grade of beef.  Healthy older cattle qualify as USDA Choice Grade Beef and the meat can taste a little stronger than USDA Prime Grade Beef.  Many steak lovers do prefer prefer USDA Choice Grade Beef for this reason.
    On the average, the USDA Choice Grade Beef fat marbling is much less than what is found in USDA Prime Grade Beef.  There are exceptions to the rule.  Sometimes the fat marbling can be rich.
     USDA Choice Grade Beef is the highest grade that most grocery stores sell.  USDA Choice Grade beef is about half the price of USDA Prime Grade Beef, so it is a good option.

     USDA Select Grade Beef is the lowest quality of beef that is sold in public food markets.  There is almost no fat marbling and the meat tends to be tough.  USDA Select Grade Beef is usually sold at bargain bin style grocery stores and at cheap restaurants or chain restaurants.  This grade of beef should only be purchased if the budget is a concern.

    There are a few USDA industrial and institutional grades of beef.  These beef grades are usually not sold publicly as raw meat, but they are sold as canned or pre-fab frozen food products.

     The Fat Cap
     The outer layer of fat on a steak is called the Fat Cap.  A 1/4" to 3/8" thick layer of fat around the outside of the T-Bone is best.  If the butcher cut the fat thick, then trim it down to less than 1/2".  The sputtering fat from the Fat Cap adds great favor to a steak!  Trimming the fat cap completely off is usually only done for certain sautéed boneless steak recipes.  

     Today's Entrée Accompaniments   
     I used a nice technique to roast the garlic.  Instead of roasting a whole head of garlic, I roasted peeled cloves of garlic in a small covered pan.  Roasting garlic this way saves a lot of mess.  I learned this easy technique from an Austrian garde manger chef many years ago.
     Since an oven is used to roast the garlic, it is a good choice to make a roasted vegetable and potato for this recipe while the oven is hot.  Potato a la Wendy was popular in restaurants many years ago and is is nearly a forgotten relic of the past.  I learned to make potato a la Wendy from an Italian chef in Philadelphia.  I have seen chefs cook potato a la Wendy without knowing that there actually was a name for this style of potato.

     *This entire recipe yields 1 steak entrée!
     Roasted Garlic Paste:
     Step 1:  Brush a small roasting pan with melted unsalted butter.
     Add 7 peeled garlic cloves.
     Tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil.
     Place the pan in a 325º oven.
     Shake the pan once every 5 minutes, so the garlic does not scorch.
     After about 15 to 20 minutes, the garlic should become a light brown roasted color.
     Step 2:  Place the roasted garlic cloves into a small fine mesh strainer.
     Use a spoon to press the roasted garlic through the strainer into a small ramekin.  Scrape any mashed roasted garlic off of the bottom of the strainer and place it in a small ramekin.
     Set the roasted garlic paste aside.
     Potato a la Wendy:
     Step 1:  Peel a russet potato and cut it in half lengthwise.
     Cut several vertical finger slices along one side of the potato, so the the fingers are cut no more than 2/3 through the width the potato.  About 1/3 of the potato should be uncut, so the fingers are attached after roasting.
     Step 2:  Brush a baking pan with melted unsalted butter.
     Place the potato on the pan and brush the potato with melted unsalted butter.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Bake in a 350º oven, till the potato becomes fully cooked.
     Keep the Potato a la Wendy warm on a stove top.
     Sweet Pea Stuffed Tomato with White Truffle Oil:
     The tomato can be peeled, or the skin can be left on.  
     Step 1:  Minimally trim the the core where the tomato was attached to the stem.
     Place the tomato on a cutting board with the core side facing down.
     Vertically cut a circle through the top, halfway into the tomato.
     Use a spoon to remove the round tomato cap.
     Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp.
     Press the remaining tomato meat inside the tomato with a spoon to form a small bowl shape.
     Step 2:  Fill the tomato with blanched or frozen sweet peas.
     Drizzle a few drops of white truffle oil on the peas.
     Drizzle a few drops of melted unsalted butter on the peas.
     Season with sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 3:  Brush a small baking pan with vegetable oil.
     Set the stuffed tomato on the baking pan.
     Bake in a 350" oven, till the peas and tomato become tender.
     Keep the stuffed tomato warm on a stove top.
     Roasted Garlic Beurre Cognac: 
     This sauce is made the same way as a beurre blanc.  The chilled butter must be whisked into the sauce over low heat or in a pot that is till hot after being removed from the heat.  
     The butter sauce can be kept warm in a ceramic cup on the stove top off of the heat, but it must be stirred occasionally, so the butter emulsion does not separate.  If the butter sauce becomes cool, then it will solidify and it will be difficult to bring it back to an emulsified state when it is reheated.
     Plugra butter is European style butter.  It contains almost no water and it tastes very rich.  Unsalted plugra is best for making beurre blanc.
     Step 1:  Cut 2 ounces of unsalted butter into teaspoon size pieces and keep it chilled till later in the recipe.
     Step 2:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 cup of cognac.
     Add the reserved roasted garlic paste.
     Whisk the ingredients together.
     Simmer and reduce, till the the sauce becomes a thin syrup consistency.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of cream.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Simmer and reduce, till the sauce becomes a medium thin sauce consistency.
     Step 4:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Immediately add the chilled unsalted butter pieces, one at a time, while constantly whisking.  This must be done while the pot is still hot.  Wait for the butter pat to partially melt and emulsify, before adding the next few butter pats.  If the pot cools too quickly, then hold the pot over very low heat, while whisking.
     Whisk till the butter is thoroughly combined and emulsified.  The sauce should be silky smooth.
     Step 5:  Immediately place the butter sauce in a ceramic cup, before the emulsion overheats and breaks.
     Keep the butter sauce warm in a low temperature bain marie (about 120º F) on a stove top and stir it occasionally.
     T-Bone Steak: 
     The steak can also be broiled if there is no chargrill.
     A 16 to 20 ounce T-Bone Steak is considered to be one portion! 
     Step 1:  Lightly brush the T-Bone Steak with melted unsalted butter.
     Season the steak with sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 2:  Heat a cast iron ribbed griddle or chargrill to medium/medium high heat.
     Grill the steak in both sides twice.  Try to flip the steak so cross-check grill marks appear, so the steak looks nice!
     *If the steak is very thick, then finish cooking the steak under a broiler or in a 450º oven, till it is cooked to your desired temperature.  This way excessive charring does not occur.
     Cook the steak to the desired finish temperature.  (The T-Bone in the pictures was cooked rare!)
     Step 3:  Set the steak on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan and allow it to rest for 1 to 2 minutes.
     T-Bone Steak with Roasted Garlic Beurre Cognac: 
     Usually the filet side of a T-Bone Steak is plated farthest from the front of the plate, unless the filet side is rather big. 
     Usually a sauce for a T-Bone Steak is served in a gooseneck ramekin on the side.   
     Place the T-Bone steak on a plate.
     Place the sweet pea stuffed tomato with truffle oil on the plate.
     Use a spatula to set the potato a la Wendy on the plate.
     Bend the potato, so the "finger slices" open up and separate.
     Garnish with an Italian parsley sprig.
     Spoon the roasted garlic beurre cognac sauce over the middle of the steak and onto the plate.
     Sprinkle a pinch of chopped Italian parsley over the sauce.
     Roasted Garlic Beurre Cognac compliments the flavor of a good T-Bone Steak! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Angels On Horseback

     Angels On Horseback
     Angels On Horseback is a traditional English recipe that is easy to make.  Angels On Horseback can be served as an appetizer or as a hand passed hors d'oeuvre.  Angels on horse back is traditionally served as the final corse of a formal English multi course dinner.
     The flavor of the bacon wrapped oysters truly is one of life's simple pleasures!  A lightly smoked bacon is perfect for this recipe.  Smoked bacon is fully cured and it does not need to be cooked crisp.
     For a formal presentation the skewer should be removed before presenting the Angels On Horseback.  Some wait staff captains or maitre d's prefer to remove the skewer at the table and sauce the plate in an act of showmanship that is associated with formal Russian table service.
     Angels On Horseback: 
     This recipe yields 1 serving of 4 Angels On Horseback.
     Large Virginia Oysters or farm raised oysters are best for this recipe.
     Step 1:  Soak a bamboo skewer in water for 20 minutes.
     Step 2:  Shuck a 4 large oysters.  (The shucked oysters must be undamaged.)  
     Pat the oysters dry.  (Save the oyster liquor for another recipe, like Pan Roasted Oyster Stew.) 
     Lightly season both sides of the oysters with white pepper and no salt.
     Step 3:  Place 2 thin slices of lightly smoked bacon on a cutting board. 
     Cut the bacon slices in half.
     Tightly wrap each oyster with a half slice of bacon.  
     Spear the bacon wrapped oysters with the bamboo skewer, so the end of each bacon slice is pierced.  (Spear the oysters so the bacon does not unravel.)
     Chill the skewer.
     Step 5:  Lightly brush a roasting pan with vegetable oil.  
     Set the skewered bacon wrapped oysters on the roasting pan.  
     Roast the skewered oysters in a 375º oven.  
     Remove the pan from the oven occasionally and flip the oyster skewer, so it cooks evenly.
     Roast till the bacon is a golden brown color.
     Keep the skewer warm on a stove top.

     Trim the crust off of 2 pieces of dark bread ( Black Bavarian Rye Bread) and 2 slices of light color bread (whole grain wheat bread).
     Cut all 4 bread slices so they are rectangle shaped and so they all are the same size.  The bread rectangles should be slightly larger than the oysters.
     Brush the trimmed rectangular bread slices with unsalted butter.  
     Grill the bread slices on a griddle or a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat, till they become toasted on both sides.
     Keep the toast warm on a stove top.
     Beurre Anglaise:
     Melt 2 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted plugra butter in a small sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of finely chopped parsley.
     Remove the parsley butter from the heat and stir.
     Keep the Beurre Anglaise warm on a stove top.

     Place the bread slices in a row across a plate.  Alternate the colors.
     Space the oysters on the skewer so they will mate with each slice of bread.
     Set the Angels On Horseback on the toast, so there is one wrapped oyster centered on each piece of toast.
     *Remove the skewer before serving or remove the skewer at the table.
     Place 2 slices of peeled and seeded lemon next to the bread on the plate. 
     Spoon the Beurre Anglaise around the lemon slices on the plate.

     This simple English style oyster appetizer is always a guest pleaser! 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Golden Mushroom Soup

     Chinese Wild Enoki Mushroom Soup!
     Golden Mushrooms are Dried Wild Enoki Mushrooms.  Wild Enoki are harvested, dried, packaged and sold as Golden Mushrooms in Asian Markets.  These mushrooms do have a golden color.  Because dried golden mushrooms have long thin stems, a package of these mushrooms looks like a bag of straw upon first glance.  The mushroom caps are tiny.  Dried golden mushrooms have to be handled gently, so the mushroom caps do not fall off.
     Domestic farm raised Enoki Mushrooms have many chemicals that act as immune system boosters.  In turn, these mushrooms also help to prevent aging, just like Wood Ear Mushrooms and Shiitake.  Since Golden Mushrooms grow in the wild under the stars and moon, the flavor is stronger and the medicinal effect is increased.

     The Dried Golden Mushrooms are first soaked in water overnight to reconstitute them.  Golden Mushrooms impart a nice golden brown color to the soaking liquid.  The soaking liquid is used to make the soup broth.
     Lime Preserved Egg or Thousand Year Egg is often used to garnish Chinese broth soups.  A peeled egg simmered in tea and soy sauce is another nice garnish.  The egg yolk can be fully cooked or it can be cooked till it is a soft boiled state.  I intended to soft boil the egg for this recipe, but then I got an important phone call and was distracted.  The egg ended up being plain old hard boiled.  Ce est la vie!

     Golden Mushroom Soup:
     This recipe yields 1 large serving of of 2 1/2 cups!
     Step 1:  The portion size for a bunch of Dried Golden Mushrooms should be about 1" in diameter at the stem end.  Separate 1 portion of Dried Golden Mushrooms from the bundle that is about that size.
     Place the golden mushrooms in a container.
     Add 2 cups of water.
     Refrigerate the golden mushrooms overnight, so they are reconstituted.  Save the soaking liquid!
     Step 2:  Place 2 cups of light vegetable broth in a sauce pot.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of garlic paste.
     Bring the broth to a boil over medium high heat.
     Step 3:  Pour the Golden Mushroom Soaking Liquid through a fine mesh strainer directly into the pot of boiling vegetable broth.
     Set the reconstituted Golden Mushrooms aside.
     Boil the broth, till it reduces to about 2 3/4 cups in volume.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add the reserved reconstituted Golden Mushrooms.
     Gently simmer, without stirring, till the mushrooms become tender.
     Step 5:  Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of Chinese 5 Spice Powder.
     Add 2 drops of pure sesame oil.
     Add 3 or 4 decorative thin slices of carrot that is cut into sunrise shapes.  (Score a carrot lengthwise with a zesting tool ... cut the carrot in half lengthwise ... cut thin half moon slices to create a sunrise shape!)
     Simmer till the carrot slices start to become tender.

     Use tongs or cooking chopsticks to transfer the bunch of Golden Mushrooms to a large soup bowl.
     Slowly ladle the soup into the bowl, so the mushrooms stay bunched together.
     Sprinkle a few thin sliced onion rings on the surface of the soup.  (paper thin rondelle precision cut)
     Sprinkle a few thin bias slices of green onion on the surface of the soup.
     Sprinkle 1 small pinch of crushed Szechuan pepper on the soup.
     Place 1/2 of a boiled egg on the stalk end of the golden mushrooms in the soup, so the egg is elevated above the surface of the broth.

     This healthy clear broth soup tastes rich and it really looks nice!