Saturday, March 23, 2013

Easy Easter Elegance

By Madeleine Dee

Looking for an easy way to add some elegance to your next brunch or breakfast?
Or perhaps wondering what to serve for Easter?

Here's an incredibly easy procedure that results in a gorgeous egg presentation every time - prosciutto cups!

You ready? This is real, honest-to-goodness rocket science, ok?

Here's what to do:

1. Gently lay thin slices of prosciutto in the cups of an ungreased muffin tin. I find that 1.5-2 slices make the sturdiest cups. Layer as needed to fill in any gaps and gently push down so that the prosciutto reaches the bottom of each muffin cup.

2. Bake at 400*F for about 17 or 18 minutes, or until crispy and lovely like the cups below.

3. Fill with poached, fried, or scrambled eggs, then garnish with whatever you like!
I used fresh parsley and crispy prosciutto crumbles.

This will really wow your diners, and you're more than welcome to tell them how difficult the cups were to make. You simply "slaved over them for hours", you're "so tired", but in the end, "all that time and effort was worth bringing some beauty into their lives".

*dramatic sigh*

I won't tell them how easy these are to make if you don't. ;)

Enjoy a beautiful breakfast or brunch with
some super impressed eaters!

And Happy Easter if you celebrate! :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Best Sandwich Ever! (At least I think so.)

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee
My (Easy) Stuffed Sandwich
By Madeleine Dee

Sometimes a sandwich comes along that you fall in love with, and it's so easy, but everyone thinks you're masterfully good at cooking because it's so delicious.

This is one of those sandwiches.

Here's what to do:

1. Buy a beautiful, fresh boule of bread (a round loaf).
You can use something else, but the result won't be as pretty!

Property or Chef Madeleine Dee

2. With a sharp paring knife, cut a small circle out of the top.
Angle your knife for a smoother incision.

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3. Look at all that stuffing inside. Ooooh...

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

4. With a clean hand, pull out the stuffing inside. Be thorough,
but be careful not to puncture or rip the lovely crust.

*Save the stuffing for breadcrumbs because you're resourceful like that.  ;)

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

5. Mix 2 diced avocados with some olive oil mayo, a couple pinches of salt and pepper, and some chopped black olives.

Spread this mixture gently and evenly over the bottom of the hollowed loaf of bread. You'll use about a 1/3 of the spread - you don't want to use too much.

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

6. Layer in some sliced cheese. I like to use provolone for this sandwich,
but mozzarella or something similar would be just fine.

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

7. Add a layer of pepperoni. I used turkey pepperoni
so that I could feel a tad more healthy. *wink*

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

8. Add about 1 lb. of sliced turkey breast. The stuff I used had a

scrumptious black pepper crust.

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

9. Add some crisp, fresh romaine lettuce. Make sure it's dry. By this point, you'll have to gently lift the bread edge and tuck the lettuce inside, being careful not to tear the bread. 

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

10. Add another generous layer of the avocado mixture. Be sure to gently spread it all around under the bread edge.

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

11. Add the top back on.

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

12. Press firmly to get the top to adhere to the avocado spread.

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

13. Firmly bind the sandwich in several tight layers of plastic wrap.

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14. Refrigerate for at least a couple hours with a large, heavy plate balanced on top.

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15. Once thoroughly chilled and pressed, slice into wedges and feed hungry people!

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee

Enjoy, my dears!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Steady Slicing

By Madeleine Dee

Does your cutting board ever slide around while you're slicing and dicing?

Here's a simple trick for keeping it in place while you chop:

1. Wet a few paper towels and squeeze out the excess water. You want it moist, not soaking wet.

2. Fold the towels and place them under your cutting board.

3. Test your board by pushing it with your fingers. If the board is curved, you may need to fold the towels over again to steady it.

4. When the board doesn't budge as it's firmly pushed, you're ready to cut!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Pork Saltimbocca

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee
Pork Saltimbocca with Garlicky Spinach and Toasted Walnuts
By Madeleine Dee
Saltimbocca is a very easy and very delicious dish. All you need for the main attraction is a protein, some prosciutto, a few sage leaves, salt, pepper, maybe a pinch or two of lemon zest, and a bit of olive oil.

The word 'saltimbocca' is Italian for "jumps in the mouth", and it is traditionally made with veal, but I like the combination of pork loin and sage. Sprinkled with toasted walnuts, this pairing always reminds me of Fall, and it's pretty divine with some roasted butternut squash, which I happen to have blogged already!

This dish is quick and easy, but it feels special and makes it look like 
you spent a lot of time in the kitchen.

Here's what to do:

1. Pat your room temperature pork loin chops dry with a paper towel and sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and some lemon zest (optional, but highly recommended).

2. Top each chop with a beautiful fresh sage leaf.

3. Gently lay a slice of prosciutto on a work surface, being careful not to tear it. 
(If you do, simply overlap the torn parts so they stick together!) 

Place a pork chop (sage side up) on the end of the prosciutto so that about 1/3 of the chop is still bare, then carefully and firmly roll it over. Press to adhere.

4. Roll over once more so that the entire chop is covered and the sage is visible on top.

5. Flip your chops over and make sure the backside has an even seem like the photo below. You will sear this side first so you can seal the pork chop inside. Rub lightly with olive oil. 

*Prosciutto is plenty salty, so don't add any more seasoning at this point.

6. Heat an UNgreased nonstick pan over medium to medium-high heat.

7. When your pan is good and hot, sear the chops seam side down. Do not flip them until they are browned, they pull away cleanly from the pan, and/or they have begun to turn white around the edges on the uncooked side.

Flip and sear on the other side. When cooked through, enjoy!

*You could also quickly sear both sides over high heat to get the prosciutto nice and crispy, and then finish them in a 350*F oven for 15-20 minutes.

Once cooked, they should look like the picture below. 

You could serve them with roasted potatoes, spinach, and mushrooms. Or butternut squash, Parmesan, and toasted walnuts. Or whatever in the world you want. :)

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee


Saturday, March 9, 2013

About Me

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Executive Chef and Owner of No Place Like Home in Louisville, KY. Writer, actress, chef, professional cook and professional eater.