Sunday, December 14, 2008

Crab cheesecake on pecan gougeres

It looks like the Seven Fish Feast on Christmas's Eve is a big deal here in America. And it also looks like it very Italian. But for me, at the beginning, it was hard to make the connection with the Italian counterpart. Then I finally realized that is "just" the Christmas Eve dinner the way is celebrated in the South Italy. Actually, the dinner based on the seafood should means a modest dinner (cena di magro), before the big luncheon on Christmas day. But here it has become a real feast.

So Maryann - from the blog Finding la dolce vita - and Joe - from Italyville - have organized a new contest based on seafood and shellfish recipes. This is really exciting, considering how much I love seafood!!!

I've realized the recipe that I'm entering few years ago. The idea was to create an elegant appetizer for a Louisiana theme based dinner, something that had the flavor from there, but a certain appeal.

  crab cheesecake (2)

Ingredients for 20:

Crab cheesecake

  • 1 ¼ each onion, finely diced
  • 10 ounces lump crabmeat
  • 20 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 ¾ teaspoons sour cream
  • 3 ¾ teaspoons plain yogurt
  • 5 each eggs
  • salt, to taste
  • white pepper, to taste
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste

Sweat the onions a little bit and add the crabmeat until heated through.

Blend the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sour cream, yogurt, eggs (one at a time). Blend until smooth, scraping the bottom of the bowl occasionally.

Fold in the crabmeat mixture.

Pour into forms, such as mini-muffin pan -  and bake at 350 degrees until barely set.

Pecan Gougers

Servings: 20

  • 4 oz flour
  • 3 ½ oz butter
  • 4 egg
  • ½ cup chopped pecan, toasted
  • 5 oz water
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper

Bring water and butter to a boil.

Add flower to boiling water/butter. Whisk vigorously.

Remove from heat and let cool it down. add the eggs, one at the time, whisking vigorously.

Beat until a smooth paste is formed. Add the pecan.

Pipe into shapes and bake for the first 10 minutes at 425- 450 degrees until puffy; then low the oven temperature at 350 and let cook the gougers until golden brown. To be sure that they are done, tap the bottom and if they sound empty.. they're done!

Enjoy it!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Marquis' pasta salad

Any recipe is made by words, numbers, maybe pictures. pasta del marcheseThey can taste or smell, but still... they get their own life only when they have a story behind. Nothing special: maybe the recipe was created for a special person or in a particular moment; or it is the one that your grandmother used to make so often...

This recipe has prestigious and noble roots, though. It was created by the Marquis Antonio Altoviti Avila, of the illustrious Altoviti's family and also son-in-law of the Italian General Pietro Badoglio. The Altoviti family goes back to the XIII century; it is well known to protect the most famous artists of the Renaissance, such as Vasari, Cellini, Raffaello. and even when the times became tougher, they kept protecting artists and poets. This until the first World War, when the belle epoque ended.

This recipe - see the picture above - is the symbol of that generation of people, with no more luxury, but with so much flair.

Marquis’ Pasta Salad

 pasta del marchese (6)

  • 300 gr rigatoni pasta
  • 15-20 black olives
  • 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
  • 100 gr white fish caviar (you can use the real deal, if you can afford it!)
  • 150 gr marinated tuna in olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon anchiovies paste

Melt the anchovies paste in a pan; add olives and tuna and cook for few minutes.

Cook the pasta al dente, drain it and dress it with the tuna sauce. Let cool. When is cold, stir in the caviar and the chopped herb. Stir well and enjoy it

A special thanks to Luvi who shared her story and material with me!

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