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CI Newsletter - Holiday Edition  Cuisine International
 Dec 14, 2001 12:03 PST 
- December 2001

Welcome to the Holiday Edition of the Cuisine International newsletter.
After a brief interruption, we are back on our monthly schedule and hope
you will enjoy this return issue completely packed with recipes for the
upcoming holiday season.


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LATEST NEWS
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Often we have students attending Italian cooking classes that want
to spend a week or two studying the Italian language so they attend the
Koine Center with locations in several areas of Italy. They find this
informative as well as fun. Now we have found the perfect location in
Cannes for clients wanting to learn a little French before attending
cooking classes in Provence. Look for this information to be posted on
the website soon.


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CHRISTMAS
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Christmas is a very special season, especially this year in a time of
need for family, peace and tradition. Dick and I are fortunate to be
able to gather all 7 of our children, their spouses and 7 grandchildren
in Dallas where we will spend several days of sharing and thanking God
for our many blessings. I would like to share just a few recipes that
we have always used. It has been tradition in my family since I was a
very small child to bake and decorate Christmas cookies. I still have
the cookie cutters that my Aunt Charlotte used shaped like Santa Claus,
Star, Tree, Angel, Gingerbread Man, etc. and have added many more.

This year we will also decorating cookies shaped like the Manger Scene
characters. This we will do on December 23rd while sharing stories,
special games, lots of food and laughter. Craig and Amy will host our
Christmas Eve Dinner at their lovely home and Craig is now working on
mastering a fantastic duck recipe while the rest of us will bring some
of our favorite side dishes. Christmas Day Dick and I will host a
brunch that will include Swedish Tea Ring from my Swedish Mother's
family.

AUNT CHARLOTTE'S SUGAR COOKIES

3/4 cup shortening
1-cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. Vanilla or lemon flavoring
2 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Cream shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Sift together dry
ingredients and blend in. Chill. Roll 1/8 inch thick on a powdered
sugar surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Bake on parchment paper at 400
degrees for 6-8 minutes. Decorate with powdered sugar icing. Makes
approx. 4 dozen cookies.

Aunt Charlotte made these at Christmas. When I grew up, she even gave
me the same cookie cutters so I could give my children the same cookies
I grew up with!

SWEDISH TEA RING

4 - 4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 pkg. rapid rise yeast
1 tsp. salt
1/2-cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1-cup warm milk
3 eggs
Butter, softened
Brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, pecans, chopped

Combine 3 cups flour, yeast and salt. Cream together sugar and
shortening. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir into the flour mixture
along with the warm milk. While beating, add 1/2 cup of flour at a time
until the dough is pliable and soft. Place in an oiled bowl and allow
to rise till double. Punch down and divide the dough in half. Roll
each half into a rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Spread with butter.
Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins and nuts. Roll like a
jellyroll and shape into a ring. Place on a buttered baking sheet. Cut
part way thru with scissors at 1-inch intervals, turning each slice onto
its side, overlapping somewhat. Cover and let rise till almost double.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Drizzle
with powdered sugar icing.


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CHRISTMAS RECIPES
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As we have done in the past, we are including some special recipes of
our clients for the holidays.


-- BORGO BERNARDINI --

Valter Roman from Borgo Bernardini offers this delicious pheasant
recipe. Craig is going to try the method with duck to see how it works
and Dick is going to fix it with pheasant he shot on a hunting trip in
California in November. We will compare when we get home.   

FAGIANO DI NATALE - CHRISTMAS PHEASANT

INGREDIENTS for 4 people
1 pheasant weighing around 1200gms/2lbs
1 white truffle of 30gms/1oz or 1 black truffle of 100gms/3½ozs
100gms/ lard of colonnata [fatty bacon or pancetta]
200gms/7ozs mix of chicken and pheasant livers
1 shot of vodka
1 stem of tarragon
1 garlic clove
Salt & pepper
Olive oil
Small knob of butter (only if necessary)

Put the garlic, tarragon, livers, lard and truffle all seasoned with a
little salt and pepper into a blender and create a paste (adding just a
little butter if necessary). Coat the inside of the pheasant and leave
it to marinade in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Pour a little olive oil into a casserole dish and fry the pheasant on
all sides, basting now and then with the juice that is created. Once
the meat is sealed, put in the oven at 200°C/390°F for 30 minutes. Take
out and reduce the sauce with a little flambéed vodka and serve
very hot.

SUGGESTION
Traditionally when cooking birds such as quail, pheasant, etc, it is
custom to place some bacon along the breast. This does in fact help
retain a little moisture in the breast, which sometimes can become too
dry when oven cooked.

Lard of colonnata (from the Apian Alps around Carrara in Tuscany) can
be replaced with a very fatty bacon or pancetta. If you are unable to
find fresh truffles, add to the blender instead approximately
100gms/3½ozs of breadcrumbs, a little butter and a truffle-scented olive
oil. If you can also find a truffle butter, even better!


-- PANE, VINO E LINGUA --

Andrea Moradei, owner of Pane, Vino e Lingua in Florence, Italy has
given us a complete menu that he customarily fixes for Christmas dinner
along with a very interesting risotto recipe that I can hardly wait to
try.

[ANTIPASTO]
CROSTINI TOSCANA    Tuscan Style Chicken Liver Croutons

4 chicken livers
½ onion
50 gr. butter
4 anchovy fillets
4 or 5 juniper berries
1 bay leaf
A little chicken stock
Salt and pepper
1 Tbs. capers

Finely chop the onion and cook gently with the butter over medium heat.
When golden, turn up the heat, add the chicken livers and sear on all
sides. Add the anchovy fillets, the juniper berries, the bay leaf and
season with salt and pepper to taste. (Remember that the anchovies will
release some salt). Cover with some chicken stock and cook over medium
heat for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the capers and finely
mince. Return to the heat for a couple of minutes. Lightly dip some
slices of toasted bread in warm chicken stock on one side, and spread
the mixture on the dry side.

[PRIMO]
CAPPELLETTI IN BRODO        Filled Pasta served in Stock    

Fresh pasta dough:
400 gr. white flour
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
Water and salt
    
Filling:
180 gr. ricotta cheese
½ capon* fillet, (cooked with butter, salt & pepper and finely minced)
30 gr. grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt
    
Put the flour on your working surface and make a well in the middle. Add
the eggs and egg yolk in the well together with a pinch of salt and
about 1 or 2 Tbs. of lukewarm water (different types of flour will
absorb more or less water) and start mixing with a fork. Once the
ingredients in the middle are well mixed, start working the flour into
it, little by little, first with the fork, and then kneading with your
hands until the dough is of an elastic consistency (about half way
through the kneading process, wash your hands well, thoroughly dry them,
and lightly dust them with a little flour before resuming kneading). Put
your dough aside covered by a bowl and let it rest for about 20 minutes
while preparing the filling.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl mixing them well and seasoning to
your taste. Roll out the dough and cut into disks of 6 cm. Place one
small knob of the filling in the center of one disk, place another disk
on top and press the edges with your fingers to seal properly. Continue
like this until you have used all your dough. To cook your Cappelletti
bring about 1 Lt. of capon* stock to boiling point, add the pasta and
cook for about 5 or 7 minutes. Serve with the stock as a
soup.

*Traditionally capon is the favoured meat used for this dish, however,
given that it may not be as easily available chicken, with no major
consequences, can replace it!

[SECONDO]
FILETTO AL GAROFANO     Eye Fillet Roast with Cloves

1 whole piece of eye fillet (about 800 gr.)
1 glass of red wine
3 or 4 cloves (the spice)
Olive oil
Salt

Lightly heat about 3 or 4 Tbs. of olive oil in a saucepan big enough to
contain the meat in one piece, add the fillet and let it brown on every
side. Add some salt and the squashed cloves to the glass of wine and
pour it over the meat. Continue cooking over a medium heat, half
covered, for about 20 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan and reduce
the cooking juices and wine if necessary, and pour over the sliced meat.

[CONTORNO]
CIPOLLINE EN AGRODOLCE      Sweet and Sour Onions

600 gr. small onions
50 gr. butter
1 scant Tbs sugar
1/2 glass white wine vinegar
Salt

In a pan large enough to contain all the onions in one layer, melt the
butter, then add the onions and let quickly sauté for about 5 minutes
over high heat, until a little golden. Sprinkle the sugar over them,
stir briefly and add the vinegar and salt. Cover and cook over a low
heat for about 45 minutes, adding a little water if they start sticking
to the pan.

[DESSERT]
CAVALLUCCI      Walnut and cinnamon biscuits

200 gr. white sugar
180 ml. Water
200 gr. white flour
120 gr. chopped walnuts
60 gr. orange peel
Pinch of ground aniseed
1 Tbs. butter

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
Cook over moderate heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and
gradually stir in the flour, walnuts, orange peel and cinnamon. Grease a
baking sheet with the butter and dust it with flour. Drop spoonfuls
of the mixture in a plate of flour, lightly roll them to cover and
place them on the baking sheet, spacing them about 3 cm. apart. Bake in
a preheated oven (100oC) for about 1 hour, until they are thoroughly
cooked but have not changed in color. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Serve with coffee or with a dessert wine, like a good Vin Santo.

[SOMETHING DIFFERENT!]
RISOTTO AI FRUTTI DI BOSCO BRASILIANO    Dry fruits and coffee risotto

Note: The following is not a traditional recipe. My uncle first served
me this dish. He tasted it in a family run trattoria in Emilia Romagna,
and was given the recipe by the owner. As most Italian families have dry
fruit in the house over the Christmas holiday period, it reminds me of
this season. It is an interesting combination of unusual flavours that
has always been met with success by friends and family.

400 gr. Arborio rice
½ onion
50 gr. raisins
50 gr. pine nuts
3 dry figs
3-pitted prunes
80 gr. blanched almonds
Paprika
Ground cinnamon
1.5 Lt. meat stock
1 small cup strong coffee

In a small saucepan, bring the meat stock to the boil and keep warm.
Soak the raisins in a little lukewarm water. Coarsely chop the almonds,
figs and prunes. Finely chop the onion and gently simmer with a little
butter until translucent. Add all the chopped fruit and nuts and the
drained raisins. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, add the rise and
stir. Once the rice is completely coated with the cooking juices, add
the stock, a ladleful at a time, as needed (The rice should always be
covered by a thin veil of liquid while cooking). After about 15 minutes
from the time the first liquid was added, remove from heat; add the cup
of coffee and sprinkle with cinnamon and
paprika (or nutmeg).


-- LE BAOU D'INFER --

VENISON WITH CHOCOLATE SAUCE

Alex MacKay from Le Baou D'Infer in Provence, France offers this
wonderful recipe. This should be a special treat for all of the hunters
in our client list.

1 400 g filet of venison well matured
2 tbs. ground nut [peanut] oil
1 tbs. butter
½ a stick of celery, finely diced
¼ of a carrot, peeled and finely diced
¼ of an onion, peeled and finely diced
4 Juniper berries, crushed
200 ml red wine
100 ml port
200 ml chicken or beef stock
50 g very bitter chocolate, grated
1 large parsnip about 200 g peeled, seeded & cut into 4 cm pieces.
100 ml whipping cream
4 tbs. butter
100 g cranberries cooked for an hour with 100g sugar
10 walnut halves
10 deep fried parsley or celery leaves

First make the parsnip puree, boil the chopped parsnips until totally
soft, strain them through a colander and press to remove any excess
water. Heat the cream and butter then puree the parsnips with these in a
food processor, season to taste and set aside. Heat the groundnut oil;
season the venison then sear and brown on all sides for 2 minutes. Pour
off the oil and add the butter, color gently for a further 2 minutes not
allowing the butter to go past golden brown. Place into the preheated
oven for a further 5 minutes then remove the venison from the pan and
set aside in a warm place to rest. Add the diced vegetables to the pan
and caramelize for 2-3 minutes, pour the red wine and port into the pan
and reduce by 2/3, add the stock and reduce by half then finish with the
chocolate, salt and plenty of black pepper. Carve the venison then serve
on top of the parsnip puree with the sauce and garnish around. Serves 2.


-- ADVENTURES IN THE BOLOGNA COUNTRYSIDE --

Raffaella and Marcello Tori celebrate Christmas in a special family
way, devoting time and effort to create memories and traditions for
their three children and extended family. They have share with us a
total menu of what they will be preparing for their family this holiday
season.

SFORMATINO AGLI SPINACI

1 litre/4.5 cups milk
300-gr./10.8 oz spinach
100-gr./3.5 oz butter
120-gr./-½ cup flour
160 gr/ 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
7 egg yolks
Salt, pepper as needed
Pinch of grated nutmeg

Boil the spinach and mince finely. Prepare a béchamel sauce: melt the
butter, add flour slowly, and mix well. Boil the milk. Add the boiled
milk slowly with the nutmeg, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese always
stirring. Boil slowly for about 10 minutes so it thickens. Add the
spinach and mix well. Leave it to cool. When cool, add the egg yolks and
mix. Pour into small moulds and cook for about 30 minutes at 160 degrees
C°. Serve hot with anchovy sauce mince 4 or 5 anchovy filets and put in
béchamel sauce). Serves 10.

BROTH

1 hen
800 gr. /1.75 lb. of beef breast
1 carrot
1 celery stick
1 onion
Bones for broth
Salt as needed

Fill a high pot with cold water. Put in all the meat and vegetables and
salt. Boil for 3-4 hours. As soon as the water starts to boil, some
froth forms on top. Skim off a bit of it with a wooden spoon with holes
in it. Serves 10.

PASSATELLI IN BRODO

200 g. / 7 oz breadcrumbs
200 g. / 7 oz grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of nutmeg
Grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
4 eggs
Salt, pepper as needed
Broth

Mix everything to make a big ball. Put it all through a potato ricer
and throw all the pieces in boiling broth. As soon as they come up to
the surface, they are cooked. Turn off the heat. Serve in the hot broth.
For 6-8 people.

POMODORI GRATINATI (Baked Tomatoes)

8 large, ripe, round tomatoes
100 gr./ 3.5 oz. Breadcrumbs
4 or 5 garlic cloves a little bunch of parsley
4-5 spoons olive oil
Salt and pepper as you like

Cut the tomatoes in halves and squeeze them a bit to get some water and
the seeds out. Mix with the breadcrumbs, garlic, minced parsley, salt,
pepper and oil. Fill each tomato half with this mixture, put on a baking
pan, pour a thin thread of oil on top and cook for about ½ hours at 180
degrees C. or about 350 degrees F. Serves 8.

STUFFED CAPON

1 large capon
250 gr. / 9 oz. veal meat
250-gr./ 9 oz. pork meat
250-gr./ 9 oz. mortadella bologna
150-gr./ 5 oz. boiled ham
150-gr./ 5 oz. prosciutto
4 boiled eggs
150 gr./ 5 oz. grated Parmesan
½ cup Marsala liquor
Salt, pepper and nutmeg
1 carrot
2 celery stalks
1 onion
Salt

Clean the capon, remove the wings, legs and bone it without piercing
the skin, except in the initial slits. Remove the breast and the
interior parts (if you like you can use some of the interior parts for
the stuffing). Run the veal and pork meat through the food mill. Dice
bologna mortadella and cut the boiled ham and prosciutto slices into
strips. Mix all these ingredients together with 4 minced, hard-boiled
eggs, the Parmesan cheese, the Marsala, salt pepper and a grating of
nutmeg. If you like, you may also add some truffle shavings. Cut the
breast of the capon into stripes and arrange in the cavity in alternate
layers with the stuffing. When stuffing the capon, try to
reconstruct its original shape and sew the opening close. Wrap in a
clean cloth and cover with cold water, along with the wings, the legs, 1
carrot, 2 celery stalks, 1 onion and salt to taste. Simmer gently for
about 2 hours (or more, depending on the size of the capon), then
remove carefully from the broth and set aside to cool. Slice it and
arrange on a serving platter. Serves 8-10.

PANNA COTTA AI FRUTTI DI BOSCO

½ litre / 2.25 cups whipping cream
½ litre / 2.25 cups milk
4 sheets of gelatin
200 g. / 7/8 cup sugar
1 envelope vanilla powder

Boil the whipping cream with milk, sugar and vanilla for 5 minutes.
When it is cool, add the gelatin sheets that you have softened in cold
water. Mix everything together and filter in a colander. Pour into
little individual moulds. Put in the fridge for at least 6 hours. Serve
with wild fruit of the woods sauce poured on top. For 10 people.

SALSA AI FRUTTI DI BOSCO        Wild Fruit of the Woods Sauce

1 Kg. / 2.2 lb wild fruit from the woods
½ litre / 2.25 cups water
24 g. / 75 oz gelatin for desserts
½ Kg. / 1.1 lb sugar
50 g. / a glass of white wine

Boil the fruit in sugar and water, add the gelatin and wine and boil
about 15 minutes. Leave to cool. For 10 people.


-- VENETIAN COOKING IN A VENETIAN PALACE --

Fulvia Sesani is a culinary artist and her deserts are world reknown.
Here is a simple cake that can be served at Christmas and the rest of
the year as well.

TORTA DI MANDORLE (Almond cake)

6 large eggs
1 cup (gr.250) granulated sugar
2 cups (gr.250) almond peeled grated
grated zest of 1 lemon
unsalted butter for the mold

Preheat the oven at 400°F. Place eggs in a mixing bowl, add sugar, beat
medium speed for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is doubled in
volume.   Add the almond and the zest; mix slowly with a wooden spatula.
Brush a circular mold 8-inch diameter or a spring form same size; place
a buttered disk of parchment paper onto the bottom of the mold. Pour the
batter onto the mold.   Bake for about 40 minutes. Let it cool for
about 15 minutes, unmold onto a platter, serve after 30 minutes. Serves
8.


-- RHODE SCHOOL OF CUISINE --

The following two recipes are from the Rhode School of Cuisine recently
published cookbook.

WARM GOAT CHEESE SALAD

4 firm small round goat cheeses
8 slices of country bread or multigrain bread
1-oz/30 g pine nuts
Ground black pepper
3-1//2 tbs/ 1 ¾ fl oz/ 50 ml olive oil
4-tbs/2 fl oz/ 60 ml sesame seed oil
2-tbs/1 fl oz/ 30 ml sunflower oil
2-tbs/1 fl oz/30 ml sherry vinegar
Fine salt to taste
Ground pepper to taste
3-½-oz/100 gm sugar
4-tbs/2 fl oz/60 ml water
7 oz/ 200 gm mixed salad leaves
2 sprigs chervil

Cut the cheese in half lengthwise and place little halves on squares or
rounds of bread. Sprinkle with pine nuts, ground pepper and oil.
Place under the grill for about 30 seconds. Dissolve the salt and pepper
in the vinegar. Whisk in the oils and set aside. Dissolve the sugar in
a little water over medium heat. When light caramel syrup is obtained,
add the remaining water. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Set
aside.

In a bowl, toss the salad in the vinaigrette. Make two small "nests"
of salad on a plate and place the goats' cheese breads on top. Pour a
thin stream of the caramel liquid across the salad leaves. Decorate the
entire dish with springs of chervil.

Various kinds of goat cheese are suitable for this popular dish.
Individual discs of medium ripe cheese are best, because they tart to
melt and grilled but hold their shape. The toasted pine nuts are a
delicate personal touch of Chef Frederic Riviere's. Serves 4 people.

FRUIT KEBABS WITH CARAMEL SAUCE

3-1/2-oz/100 g banana
3-1/2-oz/100 g apricot
3-1/2 oz/100 gm golden delicious apples
3-1/2 oz/100 g pears
8 mint leaves
Bamboo, wooden or metal skewers, about the size of your plate.
3-1/2 tbs/1-3/4fl oz/50 ml rum
3-1/2-oz/100 g butter
5-1/4-oz/150 g sugar
¾ oz/25 gm Karo/Glucose syrup
3 tbs/1-1/2 fl oz/45 ml water
½ 0z/15 gm butter
16-3/4 fl oz/495 ml milk
6 egg yolks
¾ oz/25 g sugar

Peel and cut the fruit into cubes, approx ½ in.1.5 cm square. Skewer
the fruit and some of the min leaves onto brochette sticks, either metal
or bamboo. In a pan, sauté the brochette lightly in butter and flambé
with rum.

To prepare the sauce, in a pot over a gentle heat, caramelize the sugar
and Karo with a little water. Only use enough water to be absorbed by
the sugar. Add the butter and melt, add the milk and bring to a boil.
In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks with the sugar, and then pour this
into the hot caramelized sugar mixture. Cook slowly, stirring
constantly with a spatula, MAKING SURE NOT TO BOIL. When the sauce
coats the back of a spatula, it is ready. The consistency should be
similar to a crème anglaise or crème brulee. If you run a spoon through
the center of the mixture, the mixture should come back together
immediately. Cover a plate with the sauce and place a brochette on top.

Chef's Tip: For a flaming brochette, bring a plate or pan of warmed
rum to the table, pour one tablespoon of rum over the brochette, light
with a match, and serve immediately.


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All of us at Cuisine International wish you a Happy and Savory Holiday.
	
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