Janet’s Crab Mold Appetizer- (an appetizer made the night before serving)
My friend is a twin. She lives here in Sun Valley but her sister lives in Alaska. This is the sister’s recipe. Her sister says that at her parties her guests can’t get enough of this and I can see why. It’s delicious!! and like potato chips, hard to stop once you start. Even though I don’t favor cream cheese that much, Miracle Whip at all or processed foods like canned mushroom soup, however, with this particular recipe, II totally concede. If you think like me, I believe that once you taste this, you will too.
1- 1-8oz. package of cream cheese
2- 1 small grated or finely chopped onion
3- 1/2 C. finely chopped celery
4- 1/2 C. cream of mushroom soup-undiluted
5- 1 package unflavored gelatin—(you only use 1 dissolved Tblsp. for this recipe)
6- 1/2 C. Miracle Whip
7- 1 ½ C. crab meat (fresh is the best however good canned , drained, will do)
- Heat soup in a medium sized pan and add the dissolved gelatin. (Dissolve the gelatin according to package directions.) Stir well.
- Add the cream cheese and the Miracle Whip. Mix until melted.
- Add rest of the ingredients and put in a pretty greased mold.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- Before serving, set mold in warm water to help release.
- Serve on a pretty plate surrounded by thinly sliced baguette bread, good crackers, and celery.
From Margot’s Table to Yours
Menu for the December 26th Holiday Dinner for Clients (2012)
Caesar Salad Spears topped with Shredded Parmesan
Lox Salad Spears topped with Dill Sauce
Jumbo Shrimp with sides of Dill Sauce, Red Sauce and Orange Marmalade/Horseradish sauce
Braised Celery and Julienned Carrots Caribbean Style
Zucchini and Mushroom Melange
Scalloped Yams and Parsnips
Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes with Chives
Red and Green Salad with Pears, Cheese and a Cranberry Vinaigrette
Cranberry, Clementine and Pumpkin Seed Conserve
Balsamic Roasted Pears with Pepper and Honey over Manchego Cheese
Bon Appétit and Happy Holidays
Ruth and Gunnar Lie—Phone Message
“Everything was just wonderful. There wasn’t one thing we didn’t love. Our son in law said I would like to cook with her because she used ingredients that are different. I can’t wait to do it again next year. I love some of those dips for the shrimp. I could eat the orange marmalade one with a spoon.”
Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
Sometimes plain is the best. Mashed potatoes are one of those dishes where this axiom may hold tried and true. In this recipe, one who is watching his calories can use low-fat milk and fat-free yogurt but frankly, I like the more decadent version. As a last note, my daughter makes some really good mashed potatoes and she actually uses bakers. She scrubs them well and leaves the skin on. Then she boils them and when they are tender proceeds with the recipe below. They are delicious and after beating them with an electric beater, you barely note that the skins were left on.
- 2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes or other boiling potatoes peeled and quartered-I used Yukon Gold and left on the skins
- 1/2 C. milk or half and half
- 1/2 C. sour cream
- 1/4 C. chopped fresh chives
- 1 egg well beaten (optional)
- S&P to taste
- Melted butter to float on top at the end (optional)
- Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water to barely cover. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes.
- Drain and place them back in the pot to mash by hand or with an electric mixer
- Add the milk and mash or mix until blended and fluffy.
- Stir in the sour cream, chives, S&P.
- If you wish you can add the one egg, beat some more and then put the potatoes in an oven proof dish. Pour some melted butter on top and place under the broiler for about 3-5 minutes or until the top has browned somewhat. The egg addition is a very old tradition and the reheating of the potatoes will ease your worries about the raw egg addition.
Zucchini and Mushroom Casserole
This is a good, easy and nutritional dish to serve. Zucchini and mushrooms are so versatile so it’s nice to see them meld together. Enjoy.
- 1 ½ Lb. zucchini, trimmed and scrubbed
- Pinch of chopped or dried dill
- S&P to taste
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- 3/4 Lb. mushrooms, sliced
- 4 ½ Tblsp. butter
- 2 ½ -3 Tblsp. flour
- 1 ¼ C. sour cream
- Bread crumbs dotted with butter
- Up to 1/4 C. chopped parsley (optional)
- Up to 1/4 C. shredded Parmesan (optional)
- Cut the zucchini crosswise into one-inch slices. Place in a pot with salted water to cover. Add the dill and garlic and some S&P. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the vegetable is barely tender (about 8 minutes). DO NOT OVERCOOK.
- Drain, reserving 2 Tblsp. of the cooking liquid, and discard the garlic. Set the zucchini aside.
- In a skillet, sauté the mushroom in the butter (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally till they glisten; then stir in the flour. Cook about 2 minutes longer till flour is well absorbed.
- To the mushrooms in the skillet add the sour cream and zucchini and the reserved 2 Tblsp. zucchini cooking liquid stirring constantly. DO NOT BOIL but heat thoroughly.
- Transfer the mixture to a buttered or Pam sprayed casserole dish and top with some buttered bread crumbs. If you wish, you can mix the crumbs with chopped parsley and/or some shredded parmesan.
- Brown quickly under the broiler.
Lox Salad Spears Topped with Dill Sauce
Up to you as to how many you want to make
I love good lox. Having lived in Beverly Hills, CA, I frequented Nate ‘n Als (established in 1945) a lot and they had the best lox ever. Oh well, that was awhile ago and now I’m in a place where we do not, so far, have a Nate ‘n Als. I wish we did so that I could revisit my childhood delights more frequently. I don’t travel much to Beverly Hills anymore and even though Nate ‘n Als supposedly delivers most everywhere in the US, that’s pretty pricey. In any case, if you also like lox and some good unpackaged lox is available here in the valley, here’s a simple appetizer dish that is always a hit.
- Buy as much of good lox (preferably not pre-packaged) you wish to use.
- Buy a combination of Belgium Endives and fresh Romaine Lettuce (as much as you visualize that you’ll need. Left over’s always makes for a great salad.
- Also you’ll need the ingredients listed below for the Dill Sauce.
Dill Sauce Recipe 😦 makes about 2/3 Cup)
- 1/3 C. mayonnaise
- 1/3 C. sour cream
- 1 Tblsp. finely chopped onion
- 1 Tsp. lemon juice
- 1 Tsp. prepared horseradish
- 3/4 Tsp. dill weed
- 1/4 Tsp. garlic salt
- Pepper to taste
- Mix the above Dill Sauce ingredients in a small bowl. You can make this at the last moment however if you refrigerate this sauce for several hours it’ll make it taste even better.
- On individual Belgium Endive and Romaine leaves, place a bit of lox and top it with the dill sauce and finalized with some capers.
- Place on a pretty dish surrounded by some lemon slices.
Shrimp with 3 Different Sauces
Orange Marmalade and Horse-Radish Sauce
I do love shrimp and really, they are light on the belly and perfect to serve as an appetizer before a big meal. I like to serve these three sauces along with them to give a person a choice of tastes. Additionally, the easiest jumbo shrimp to get are those that are frozen and precooked but honestly, if you buy the deveined but uncooked frozen jumbo shrimp, they are FAR superior in texture and taste. It’s really so easy to follow the directions on the uncooked package if you get it that way and if not, it’s still easy to do. If frozen, defrost the shrimp in a colander with cold water running over them—for about 10 minutes. Then, bring a large pot of water to a boiling point and add about 3 Tblsp. of salt per quart of water, dump the shrimp in the boiling water, bring back to a boil and then simmer uncovered for about 3 minutes—or till the shrimp are red and you can’t see their translucency. Don’t let them boil too long though because then they’ll be tough. I taste one at the 3 minute point and usually it’s just perfect then. Drain them in a colander and plunge them in ice water so that they will stop cooking immediately.
- 2 ½ lbs large shrimp, peeled, deveined, cooked and chilled.
Marmalade/Horse Radish Sauce: (makes 1 C)
- 3/4 C. Orange Marmalade
- 1/4 C. Orange Juice
- 2 Tblsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 Tsp powdered ginger
- 1 Tsp. Prepared white horseradish
- 2 Tsp. Dijon-style mustard
- 1/2 Tsp salt
Instructions for the Marmalade/Horse-Radish Sauce:
- Combine all the sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender. Serve at room temperature.
Dill Sauce: (makes about 1 C)
- 3/4 C. olive oil
- 3 Tblsp. lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 Tsp. dry mustard
- 1 Tblsp. fresh chopped dill or 2 tsp. dried dill weed
- 1/2 Clove garlic (optional)
- Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Let stand overnight in the refrigerator. Discard the garlic and serve the sauce chilled.
Ingredients: (makes about 1 C)
- 1 C. ketchup
- 2 Tblsp. cider or wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 4-6 drops of Tobacco sauce
- 1 Tblsp. horseradish
- 1 Tblsp. minced chives or grated onion
- 1/4 C. finely chopped celery
- 1 Tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 Tsp. Salt
- 1 Tblsp minced parsley
Combine above ingredients well and use for shrimp dipping. Chill before serving. (Makes about 1 ¼ C.)
Caesar Salad Spears
Serves around 6-8
This is a wonderful light and delicious hors d’oeuvres to have-particularly before a hearty dinner. For a faster version, I have used pre-made Caesar bread crumbs and anchovy paste—but the homemade version is a bit tastier I think. No matter, you and your guests will enjoy this and beware-they do go quickly.
- 2 C. 1/4 –inch-diced white bread or for shortcut use somewhat crushed Caesar store bought croutons
- 1/4 C. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese plus some for garnish
- 5 Belgian endives
- Lemon wedges for garnish and additional color
For Dressing: (you can double this recipe because it’s good for a left-over salad dressing)
- 2 minced anchovies or a comparable amount of anchovy paste
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 Tblsp. grated Parmesan
- 1 Tblsp. red-wine vinegar
- 1 Tblsp. lime juice
- 1 Tsp. Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp. Worchestershire sauce
- 2 dashes Tabasco
- 1/2 Tsp. salt
- 1/2 Tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/2 C. olive oil
- If you wish to make your own croutons, preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, toss the bread with 2 Tbls. of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, stirring once, until golden and crisp.
- In a food processor, blender or by hand, whisk together ingredient #4 through #14. When well blended slowly add the olive oil. Taste to see if you wish to add more S&P.
- Trim the endives and remove the largest leaves from 3-4 of the heads. If you wish you can stack the leaves and trim them to about 4 inches. (I don’t do this.)
- Thinly slice the remaining endive and toss with the dressing and the croutons.
- Spoon the salad onto each spear and garnish with grated cheese.
- Note: If you wish you can use a combination of endive and romaine heart leaves to fill and also you can chop very finely some of the romaine for the inclusion in your salad mixture. So then you would have a mixture of endive and romaine hearts. I personally like this combination. It’s also more financially economical.
Balsamic Roasted Pears with Pepper and Honey
This is a very simple but elegant desert. I used the Manchego Mexican cheese which is delicious. If the pears in your market are not quite ripe enough, buy them a couple of days before serving and place them in a paper bag along with an apple. Close the bag and several days later, they should be perfect.
- 4 Tblsp. sweet butter
- 4 firm-ripe pears, halved lengthwise and cored
- 6 Tblsp. balsamic vinegar
- 8 Oz. Manchego cheese or mild goat cheese, cut into 8 pieces—room temp.
- 1/2 C. honey
- Preheat oven to 400
- Melt butter in an oven proof dish in the oven—about 3 minutes
- Arrange pears, cut sides down, in 1 layer in butter and roast in middle of oven until tender-about 20 minutes.
- Pour vinegar over pears and roast 5 minutes more.
- Transfer pears, cut sides down, to serving plates with cheese and spoon some of juices from baking dish over pears. Drizzle pears and cheese with honey and sprinkle with pepper.
Angel Hair with Herbed Shrimp
Fresh shrimp bought from your fish monger is really superior, however, often when I want a last minute meal and don’t have anything much in the refrigerator I dig out my shrimp bags from the freezer. Shrimp are not very high in calories and I enjoy them—even if they do come from a foreign country. I know that there is controversy about this. No matter, for my taste, this is an easy dish to fix and I think that it’s good for just you and yourself (the way I often am) or for your family or even for a company dish—accompanied by a delicious green salad. I like to use the two varieties of shrimp listed below just for the fun of it. As well, for sure you can use fresh uncooked shrimp purchased from your fish monger and then it’ll be even better. You have a bit more work to do, but there’s nothing like fresh uncooked shrimp.
8 oz. angel hair pasta
6 oz. frozen cooked tail on shrimp (about 1 ½ Cups)
6 oz. frozen cooked tail off shrimp (about 1 ½ Cups)
1 – 1 ½ C. sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 to 1/2 C. chopped fresh tomatoes or drained canned tomatoes (depends how much you want the tomatoes to influence your dish)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tblsp. olive oil
1/4 C. white wine
1/8 C. lemon juice
3/4 to 1 C. chicken stock(and more if you feel that the sauce needs it)
1 Tblsp. snipped fresh basil or 1 Tsp. dried basil, crushed
1 ½ Tsp. snipped fresh oregano or 1/2 Tsp. dried oregano, crushed
2 Tbsp. flour
S&P to taste
1/4-1/2 C. shredded Parmesan for garnish
1/4- 1/2 C. snipped parsley for garnish
- If necessary, thaw shrimp according to package directions.
- Cook pasta according to directions and keep warm.
- Mix the wine, chicken stock, lemon juice and herbs in a cup or small bowl.
- In a large sauce pan, warm the olive oil and place the flour in it along with the garlic and onion. Sauté gently over medium heat till they are translucent (about 3-5 minutes). Then add the mushrooms and keep stirring till they moisten. (another 3-5 minutes).
- Add the liquid ingredients mentioned in #3 to the pan and stir over medium heat till thickened and bubbly.
- Add shrimp to the mixture; cover and simmer about 2 minutes or if need be, till shrimp turns pink.
- Stir in tomatoes.
- Add S&P to taste.
- Place the pasta on a pretty dish, top with the shrimp sauce and then a final sprinkling of the Parmesan and parsley.
- PS–if you want to make the sauce a bit creamier and richer, add some half-and-half to it at the end. Be careful to not boil it.
Lamb Shanks with White Beans
Serves 2-8 if you don’t concentrate on the meat only
Newtown really got me down. I needed some comfort; so I turned to this recipe. First of all, it took me awhile to make but yet didn’t take too much concentration so that I could think and meditate about what a tragedy and horror had just happened. Second of all, once made, it soothed me and helped me heal a bit. We need recipes like this every now and then—and sadly enough, more often lately than not. I hope that maybe you may take some solace in this recipe as well——
Ingredients for the White Beans:
- 1 Lb. dried white beans (I used the little ones but the larger variety are fine as well)
- 4 Cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
- 1 C. Cored and chopped tomatoes—(canned and drained are fine)
- 1 Bay leaf
Herbs to be used for both the beans and the shanks:
- 1 Tblsp. fresh sage leaves or 1 Tsp. dried sage and some left over for extra seasonings
- 1 Tsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 Tsp. dried thyme
- A dab more thyme leaves for browning the veggies.
Ingredients for the Lamb Shanks:
- 4 Lamb shanks—3/4 to 1 Lb. each (mine in the picture was almost 2 lbs. WOW—what a lamb!)
- 1/3 – 1/2 C. olive oil
- Flour for dredging
- 1 Medium onion rough cut
- 3 Stalks of celery rough cut
- 2 peeled carrots rough cut
- 1 clove garlic rough cut
- S&P to taste
- 1 Bay leaf
- 3/4 C. red wine
- 3/4 C. beef stock
- Minced fresh parsley or sage leaves or thyme sprigs for garnish
Cooking the Beans
- Quick boil or soak the beans overnight (according to package directions).
- Place the beans in a deep pot and cover the beans with water.
- Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil; skim the foam if necessary.
- Turn the heat down so that the beans simmer and add the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaf, and 1/3 of the herbs mentioned in this recipe.
- Cook 1-1/2 to 2 hours —till they are tender.
Cooking the Shanks:
- Blender or Osterize chop the celery, carrots, garlic, onion into a small chop. I do leave aside a couple of carrots and celery large cut just for the look of the dish-but doesn’t feel obliged to do this.
- Mix the remainder of the seasonings in enough flour to dredge the shanks a bit and rub it on the shanks.
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil and brown the shanks on all sides. (About 8-10 minutes). If you have a lot of shanks, you may have to do this in more than one session. When browned, set aside on a separate plate.
- In the remaining oil (if you need more, pour a bit in), add and stir the veggies with a dab more of thyme over medium heat until they are glistening. (about 7 minutes)
- Put the shanks back in the pot on top of the veggies, add the wine and beef bouillon and a bay leaf; simmer covered on very low heat for 3 to 3 ½ hours or till when you insert a toothpick in the fleshy part of the shank, it’ll go in and come out easy (that almost sounds “risqué” doesn’t it. Oh dear.
- Keep an eye on the shanks just to make sure they don’t need more wine or bouillon.
The Finished Product:
- At this point, I like to have a lovely country styled platter to take my beans out with a slotted spoon and some or all of its liquid as well and top it with my lamb shanks, veggies, sauce and all. I then garnish it with the parsley, sage, or thyme.
- There are 2 more ways of finishing this dish so here it is:
- Don’t cook the beans till they are too soft because you are going to place them in an oven proof dish.
- Pour the shank’s sauce among the beans and some or most of the bean’s liquid (depending how much is left), a bit more dried or fresh sage; then nestle the shanks in. Put the dish uncovered in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes. Then garnish and serve.
- Cook the lamb as directed; then take it all off the bone and shred it.
- Stir it back in the beans and top it with bread crumbs.
- Broil it carefully in the oven till the crumbs are light brown.
- Voila Cassoulet?