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Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home
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Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home


Recipe Source:
Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home
by Charlie Trotter, © 2000, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley


“Crab cakes make a great snack wile you're grilling the tenderloin and
making the salad. This is not a light menu - serve it at a leisurely pace,
and make sure you invite hungry guests!”

 Preparation Tips:
¨ For the starters, the crab cakes can be coated with the bread crumbs and refrigerated for several hours. Cook the cakes just prior to serving.
¨ The beef can be cooked, diced and refrigerated for several hours. The
vinaigrette can be prepared several hours ahead.
¨ For the entrée, the pavé can be prepared a day ahead and sautéed just
prior to serving. The hens can be cleaned, rubbed with the spices, and
refrigerated for several hours.
¨ For the dessert, the pudding cake can be prepared up to a day ahead.


Crab Cakes with Sweet Curry-
Red Bell Pepper Sauce 
serves 6

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 roasted red bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sweet curry powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crab Cakes
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 ounces lump crabmeat, cleaned
3 tablespoons diced red bell pepper
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil

To make the sauce:  Purée  the mayonnaise, roasted red bell pepper,
garlic and curry powder until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To prepare the crab cakes
:  Combine the bread crumbs and parsley in a small bowl an set aside. Place the crab in a medium bowl. Fold in the red
bell pepper, jalapeño, chives and lime juice and season to taste with salt
and pepper. Fold in 1/4 cup of the bread crumb mixture and 5 tablespoons
of the sauce.
Divide the crab cake mixture into 18 equal portions and form into small patties. Dredge the crab cakes in the remaining bread crumbs. Cook the
crab cakes in the canola oil in a hot sauté pan for 2 to 3 minutes on each
side, or until golden brown and crispy.
Top each crab cake with a small spoonful of the sauce and serve warm

Insights:  It is easy to make bread crumbs at home. Allow any type of bread to
dry out completely, grind it in a food processor or blender until fine, and pass
the crumbs through a fine sieve to remove any large pieces. If you don’t have
time to let the bread dry naturally, place it in a 200-degree F. oven for 15 to
20 minutes, or until dry. You can experiment with different types of bread,
but sourdough adds a particularly tantalizing flavor.

 Wine suggestionChoose a Pinot Gris with richness to match the shellfish
and enough residual sugar to contrast the spice of the bell pepper.


 Grilled Beef Tenderloin and
Blue Cheese Salad
serves 4

1 shallot, minced
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 ounces beef tenderloin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups baby spinach leaves, cleaned
1 1/3 cups crumbled blue cheese

To prepare the vinaigrette:  Place the shallot, lemon juice, chives, and parsley into a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season to taste
with salt and pepper.
To prepare the beef
:  Prepare a medium-hot grill. Season the beef with
salt and pepper and grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked to desired doneness. Cool completely and dice into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss with
3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To prepare the greens
:  Toss the spinach with half of the remaining vinaigrette and half of the blue cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place some of the spinach in the center of each plate. Arrange the beef and
the remaining blue cheese on the salad and drizzle the remaining vinaigrette around the plates. Top with freshly ground black pepper.

Insights:  For a richer, more intensely flavored vinaigrette, substitute balsamic vinegar for the lemon juice and omit the parsley.

Wine suggestion:  An Alsatian Gewurztraminer pairs well with the cheese
and has enough richness for the meat.


 Cumin-Garlic-Rubbed Cornish Hens with
Potato-Parmesan Pavé
Serves 4

4 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cups heavy whipping cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

4 small Cornish game hens
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup crushed cumin seeds
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon canola oil

To prepare the pave:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium
bowl, toss the potato slices with the cream until thoroughly coated. Line
an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and generously butter the foil.
Arrange 4 layers of the potatoes in the bottom of the pan and season
with salt and pepper. Sprinkle half of the Parmesan cheese on the
potatoes and cover with 4 layers of potatoes. Season with salt and
pepper. Cover the pavé tightly with a sheet of buttered aluminum
foil, buttered side down. Place another 8-inch pan over the pave and
weight it down with a brick or other heavy, ovenproof object. Bake
for 1 1/2 hours, or until the potatoes are tender. Leaving the weight
on, refrigerate the pavé for at least 4 hours.
To prepare the hens
:  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Rub the
Cornish hens with the olive oil and season the outside and the inner
cavity with salt and pepper. Combine the cumin and garlic in a small
bowl and rub the mixture over the outside of each hen. Place the hens
in a roasting pan and roast I the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until
golden brown and crispy and the juices from the thigh run clear when
pierced with a knife. Remove the hens from the pan and place the
roasting pan over a burner on the stove top. Add the chicken stock to
the pan and cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until reduced
to 1/2 cup. Add the lemon juice and chives and whisk in the butter.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, heat the Pavé
:  Remove the weight, pan, and aluminum
foil from the top of the pave. Invert the pave onto a baking sheet, remove
the bottom piece of  foil, and cut into 2 1/2-inch squares using a very
sharp knife. Place 4 of the squares in a large sauté pan with the canola
oil and cook over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown.
Carefully turn the pave over and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown and warmed through.
Cut each Cornish hen in half along the breast bone  and place 2 halves
on one side of each plate. Place a piece of the sautéed pavé alongside
the hen. Spoon the sauce over the hens and around the plate.

Insights:  Pavé, French for “paving stone”. Is used to describe layered foods
that are cut in squares or rectangles. This pavé is a perfect dish to make
when you have guests because it can easily be prepared a day ahead and
sautéed at the last moment.

 Wine suggestion:
 Look for a low-alcohol Mosel Riesling Spätlese with a
delicate sweetness to contrast the spice of the cumin and
the saltiness of the Parmesan.


Key Lime Pudding Cake with
Dried Fruit Compote

serves 12

1/4 cup unsalted butter,
at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons grated Key lime zest
6 egg yolks
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup freshly squeezed
Key lime juice
2 cups milk
8 egg whites

2 cups mixed dried fruits (such as
cherries, apricots, and cranberries)
1 cup simple syrup * 

To prepare the pudding cake: Preheat the over to 325 degrees F. Line
a 9- by 13-inch pan with plastic wrap. Using an electric mixer or by hand, cream the butter, sugar, salt, and lime zest in a large bowl. Add the egg
yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour and
mix well. Add the lime juice and milk and mix well. Beat the egg whites
to stiff peaks and fold into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared
pan and place the pan in a large roasting pan. Pour in enough water to
reach halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake in the water bath for
35 to 45 minutes, or until light brown and firm. Remove from the oven,
remove the pan from the water bath, cool slightly, and refrigerate until completely chilled. Invert the cake into a baking sheet and cut into
twelve 3-inch squares just prior to serving.
To prepare the compote
:  Cook the dried fruits and simple syrup in a
small saucepan over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the fruits
are soft.
Place a slice of pudding cake in the center of each plate and spoon the compote around the cake.
* Simple Syrup
: Bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, remove from the heat and cool. The syrup make be kept in
the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Yields 1 1/2 cups.

Insights:  This cake will separate into a pudding layer and a cake layer as it
cooks. There are three things to watch for when making it: (1) Don’t overmix
when you add the egg whites; it is better to have some white streaks than to
deflate the egg whites. (2) Watch the cake carefully toward the end of the
cooking time. Remove it from the oven when it is just beginning to become
golden brown and firm to the touch. (3) Make sure the cake is well chilled
before inverting it, or it may break apart.

Wine suggestion:  A late-harvest Riesling with abundant fruit flavors and
zesty, limey acidity will complement the cake.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Louisiana Crab Cakes with
Fresh Tomato Tartar Sauce

Beef Tenderloin Roasted in an
Herb-Infused Salt Crust

Soy-Braised Cornish Hens with
Coconut Pineapple Sweet Rice

Lime Curd and Toasted Almond
Tart with Fruit Compote

Chef Charlie Trotter
Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home - Menu 1
More from Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home
Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home - Menu 4
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