Tag Archives: holiday

Stuffed Mussels with Serrano Ham, Spinach, & Garlic Aioli

 

 

It usually takes me a week or so after Thanksgiving passes (an intermission), before I am ready to start hearing Christmas music on the radio, and get into the spirit of the season. I need the time to transition from pumpkins to holly.

I can’t just jump right in. What I can do though, is start thinking about what I want to cook during the holiday season. Menu planning is something that comes naturally for me, and it’s the getting together with family and friends over food and wine part of the season that really gets me excited about celebrating, so today I will share a recipe that I recently served as part of one of my cooking class menus. The ingredients have some Spanish influence, making them a nice addition to a tapas menu, but they also have that special holiday feel to them so sharing some of these with friends would be a very good idea.

The mussels are steamed in a wine broth,  then pulled from their shells, chopped and added to the rest of the filling ingredients: sauteed serrano ham, spinach, and béchamel sauce. Some prep work on the front end, yes. But you are able to assemble the stuffed mussels and refrigerate up to one day ahead before they are topped with garlic aioli and popped under the broiler until golden brown and bubbly.

Even the people in cooking class who thought they didn’t like mussels fell in love with these.

So as you think about inviting friends over to share a glass of wine during the weeks ahead,  I hope you will consider making these go along with your holiday cheer.

Stuffed Mussels with Serrano Ham, Spinach, & Garlic Aioli
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • Aioli:
  • 10 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup mayonaise
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • Mussels:
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 6 sprigs flat leaf parsley
  • Pinch of dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 36 mussels (3 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced ham (serrano, prosciutto, or black forest)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup milk
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. For Aioli: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place garlic cloves in a very small baking dish. Cover garlic with oil (add enough to completely cover garlic), cover dish with foil, and bake until garlic is soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove garlic cloves with a slotted spoon and transfer to a dish to cool. Place cooled garlic, mayonnaise, and vinegar in the base of a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Reserve.
  2. For mussels: Bring the white wine, half of the onion, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and mussels to a boil in a large covered saucepan over high heat. Once mussels have been cooking 3 minutes, check to see if they have begun to open. Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon as they open and transfer to a platter. Cool the mussels. Reduce the cooking liquid down to 2 tablespoons. Strain and reserve the liquid. Remove the mussels from their shells and save ⅔ of their shells. Separate each of the reserved shells into 2 halves. Chop the mussels coarsely and place in a large bowl.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Cook the remaining onion until soft, 7 minutes. Add the spinach and ham to pan with onions, stirring until spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove mixture from pan and add to bowl with chopped mussels.
  4. Preheat the broiler. Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add the flour and cook; stirring 2 minutes. Add the milk and reserved cooking liquid and cook until smooth and very thick. Add to the mussels and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Stuff the shells with the mussel mixture. Spread the aioli on top of the mussels and place on a baking sheet. Broil until golden, 10-20 seconds. Serve immediately.
  6. servings

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Individual Black Forest Cake Trifles

I’m a bit late on this announcement….

A copy of my book, Friends at the Table goes to…

Anna! Congratulations! Hope you enjoy the recipes with your friends at the table.

 

Tis the season for indulging, and if you still haven’t had your fill of cookies, candies, and other confections that are before us this time of year, I have something you may just want to make for dessert on Christmas day. A grand finale to an elegant dinner, complete with a cherry on top.

I love black forest cake, and serving it individually, makes it that much more festive. You may also make these little treats several hours in advance, kept waiting in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve them.

Give them a try, you will be happy you did.

 

Cheers, everyone! Hope your holidays are filled with laughter and Joy.

I am looking forward to Jeff’s Beef Jerky & Christmas Morning Blueberry Pancakes 😉

 

Individual Black Forest Trifles

For the cake:

2 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

5 oz. (1 cup plus 2 Tbs.) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. table salt

3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter; softened at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

1/3 cup strong brewed coffee

 

For the cherries and kirsch syrup:

1/2 of (1) 16-oz. can pitted sweet cherries in heavy or extra heavy syrup

4 tablespoons kirsch (cherry brandy)

Granulated sugar to taste

 

For assembling the trifle:

1 1/2  cups cold heavy cream

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tablespoon  kirsch

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate shavings (from a 3- to 4-oz. block of chocolate)

Additional cherries for garnish

 

Make the cake:

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×2-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment and butter the parchment. Fill a medium skillet with about 1/2 inch water and heat until just below a simmer. Put both the semisweet and unsweetened chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and put the bowl in the barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the water bath and let cool slightly.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In an electric mixer (use the paddle attachment), beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2  to 4 minutes. Mix in the slightly cooled melted chocolate on low speed just until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the bowl, add the vanilla, and beat on medium speed for another 1 minute. On low speed, mix in the sour cream just until it’s incorporated. Add the flour mixture (in three additions), alternating with the coffee (in two additions); scrape the bowl as needed. The batter will be very thick, like chocolate mousse or frosting.

Scrape the cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until the top feels firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. The cake may sink a bit in the center, but that’s fine. Let the cake cool for 20 minutes in the baking pan on a wire rack. Using a small, sharp knife, loosen the sides of the cake from the pan, invert the cake onto the rack, and discard the paper liner. Let cool completely.

Prepare the cherries and kirsch syrup:

Drain the cherries in a colander set over a large bowl (to catch the syrup) for 30 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the syrup. Transfer the cherries to a small bowl, drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of the kirsch, and set aside. Taste the syrup; it should be slightly tart and not too sweet. If necessary, stir in 1 to 2 tsp. sugar. Put the syrup in a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until reduced by about half, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 1/2  tablespoons kirsch. Set aside to cool.

Assemble the trifles:

Put the cream, sugar, and kirsch in the large bowl of an electric mixer and whip on high speed until it holds firm peaks.

With a long, serrated knife, cut the cooled cake vertically (all the way across the cake) into 1/2-inch slices. Then cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

Line the bottom of a 6-ounce glass dessert bowl or wine glass with about 2-3  of the cake slices to create an even layer. Brush this layer of cake lightly with some of the kirsch syrup, top with a dollop of whipped cream, and randomly nestle a few  of the remaining cherries into the cream. Sprinkle with a teaspoon  of the chocolate shavings.

Repeat with two more layers. Scatter the remaining chocolate shavings over the whipped cream layer and garnish with a cherry.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve chilled.

Make Ahead Tips

The cake can be baked and the kirsch syrup prepared up to one day ahead. Wrap the cake in plastic and keep it at room temperature. Cover the syrup and keep refrigerated. Once assembled, the trifles can be refrigerated for up to 6 hours.

8 servings

 

 

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Supper Club Press & Friends at the Table Cookbook Giveaway

It’s beginning to look a lot like…..

~The perfect time to start a supper club, or rekindle the one you are already in!

I’m excited to share a few pieces of press that are out right now. Shameless self promotion (I know)…but I am excited.

The article I wrote about the supper club trend is featured in the December issue of  Costco Connection magazine. If you are not a subscriber, click here to read the online version.

 

Virginia Living Magazine captures a look at my own supper club, complete with photos from an evening at my house with recipes from my book, perfect for holiday entertaining. Here’s a look at one of the pics:

 

Photo by Kip Dawkins

In the spirit of celebration, I would like to share a recipe from my book (one of my favorite salads actually) that I hope you will enjoy in celebration sometime over the holidays with your friends at the table. — And since we are in the season of giving, I  am  giving away copy of my cookbook, personalized and shipped to one lucky winner!

Here’s what you need to do to enter (you have 4 ways to increase your chances):

1. Leave a comment telling me you would like to win a copy of Friends at the Table. *If you are leaving a comment as “anonomous”, please be sure to include your email address in your comment so that I may contact you if you are the winner.

2.  Follow me on  Twitter and then tweet about the contest by copying and pasting the following: Entered to win a copy of Friends at the Table: The Ultimate Supper Club  #Cookbook #giveaway on Table Talk http://tinyurl.com/d4znz4w

3. “Like” the www.debishawcross page on Facebook and leave a comment here to let me know. If you already like me on Facebook, just leave a comment here telling me so.

4. Stumble this post on Stumble Upon and let me know you did here with a comment.


  1. Giveaway entry period begins Friday, December 2nd,  and ends Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 11:59pm. Drawing will be held Monday, December 12, 2011 at 9:00am (All times are Eastern Time zone) and announced the same day.
  2. Comments will be numbered by order received and random.org will generate a random number for the winner. Please note: If you want to enter more than once, the separate comments for each entry are required (a necessary step for keeping track of entry numbers).
  3. **Limited to residents of the  United States
  4. I am the final judge regarding any discrepancies, interpretations, grievances, etc about this drawing.
  5. Winner must respond and claim the prize within one week of the winning announcement. If a winner does not claim the prize during the specified time, a reserve winner will be drawn from the original entries.


Best of luck!

And now for the recipe I promised:

Photo by Ron Manville

Lobster Salad with Roasted Peppers, Miso Dressing and Goat Cheese

Salad:

6 cups mixed field greens

Meat from 2 steamed (1 1/2 pound) lobsters, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch strips

2 yellow bell peppers, roasted, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch strips

5 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

For the salad: Place the greens, lobster and peppers in a salad bowl and add enough dressing to coat. Toss well. Top with sprinkles of goat cheese.

Dressing:

4 tablespoons miso paste

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons grated ginger root

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Juice from 2 oranges

1 teaspoon tahini paste

For the dressing: Whisk together the miso paste, vinegar, ginger, garlic, pepper, orange juice, and tahini in a small bowl. Set aside.

8 servings

 

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