Real Chocolate Mousse

Fine Cooking’s Real Chocolate Mousse (click for recipe)
This recipe was really easy, but the final result was just a little…I don’t know…meh. The flavor was good and very rich, but the texture (as is mentioned in some of the reviews) was a little grainy. I may not have melted the chocolate thoroughly enough. None of us were able to finish this, mostly because it was so rich (the portions should be smaller), but also because it just wasn’t perfect. Not awful, but could definitely be better. Will be trying another recipe soon. Maybe this one.
I know that my friend Trish has posted a chocolate mousse recipe on her blog, but her blog doesn’t have a search field, so I can’t find it! Trish, if you’re reading this (when you return from Thailand – color me envious!), send me your recipe!!!

Pork Chops Oreganata and Asparagus with Brown-Butter Hollandaise

Pork Chops Oreganata and Asparagus with Brown-Butter Hollandaise
(click each recipe name for a link to the recipe)
I used only two pork chops to feed the whole family and cut it into slices, rather than serving the whole piece, which was plenty. The pork chops were pretty good and quite easy.
The asparagus and hollandaise, on the other hand, was stellar. I left off the eggs, which didn’t seem crucial. The hollandaise was delicious and it was very simple to make it in the blender. Browning the butter added a wonderful depth, without being too distracting or odd. I will never again make hollandaise without browning the butter first. Fabulous.

Eileen’s Ham & Swiss Rolls

These rolls are SO delicious. They are great for a party and people will ask for the recipe EVERY time. These come from my BFF, Eileen. I have no idea where she got the recipe, and she’s been making them so long, she probably doesn’t remember, either. They are sweet, tangy, rich and buttery, chewy and warm. My mouth is watering, just thinking about them. They can be tightly wrapped in foil and plastic wrap and frozen until you need them for a special occasion. I decided to make them this week because I had a lot of slider hamburger buns dinner rolls left over from my brother and sis-in-law’s baby shower and we hadn’t made these rolls in a long time.
I was going to freeze all six packages (I made a double batch), but Hubby looked so pitifully sad and asked “couldn’t we just bake one package, for lunch?,” that I, of course, had to do that. He LOVES these things. Be sure to have lots of napkins on hand when you eat them!
Eileen’s Ham & Swiss Rolls
3 packages dinner rolls or sweet Hawaiian rolls
3/4 lb. sliced swiss cheese
1 lb. sliced good-quality smoked ham
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice the rolls (keeping them intact/attached to each other, if possible) horizontally. Place the bottom half of rolls on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Set the tops of the rolls (cut side up) next to the bottoms.
Heat butter, Worcestershire, mustard, brown sugar and poppy seeds in small saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until sauce reaches a gentle boil. Boil, stirring, for a few more moments until sauce has slightly thickened. Remove the pan from heat and set aside to cool for a few moments.
Using a pastry or basting brush, brush a light coating of the sauce onto both the tops and bottoms of rolls (brush the cut sides.). You should only use about 1/2 of the sauce (I forgot to brush the tops when I made mine, but that’s OK.)
Lay the sliced ham evenly over all of the roll bottoms and then top with the sliced cheese, then place the rolls tops back on.
Brush the remaining sauce over the top and sides of all of the rolls.
Wrap the aluminum foil snugly around the rolls to seal. Bake, wrapped in the foil, at 350 degrees until the rolls are warmed through and the cheese has melted (about 20 minutes) or you may wrap in an additional layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate (for up to 2 days) or freeze (for up to 2 months) until you’re ready to bake them. Be sure to remove the plastic wrap before baking.
After baking, unwrap the rolls and use a long, serrated bread-type knife to cut the rolls apart (use the line between rolls as a guide to slice through the ham.)

Crispy Salmon with Lentils du Puy and Two-Mustard Creme Fraiche


Crispy Salmon with Lentils du Puy and Two-Mustard Creme Fraiche
(Click here for recipe.)
Has anyone ever played the game (popular amongs chefs, if my voyeuristic chefography reading is any indication) where you name what your “last meal” would be? Anthony Bourdain mentions this in his books and it was once adapted into an Elimination Challenge on Top Chef. Apparently, chefs like to discuss what their dream “last meal” would be and try to out-do each other in their inspired (and usually quite nostalgic) gluttony. There’s even a great song (by Asleep at the Wheel, I think?) about a death row inmate, ordering his last meal of over-easy dinosaur eggs, tiger steak and cross-eyed cat fish (more in an attempt to postpone the inevitable than to have a gourmet experience, but still….)
This is the second time that I have prepared salmon with lentils at home (here’s the first version) and I have decided that I love it enough to put it on the “short list” (I have a hard time narrowing it down – my love of soft-shell crabs is getting in the way) of potential items for my “last meal.” The combination of buttery salmon and peppery lentils is just perfection, in my mind. I like this preparation more than the first version that I tried. The mustard sauce is outstanding and I enjoyed the lentils better without all of the leeks (the flavor of the shallots in the second version is much more subtle and just kind of melts into the background).
In you’re so inclined, leave me a comment and tell me what your last meal would be…