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La Belle Cuisine


Recipe Source:

Complete Entertaining Cookbook
Chuck Williams, General Editor;
Menu Concepts & Recipes, Joyce Goldstein
Weldon Owen Reference, Inc.

“At no other time of year are we more likely to invite friends and family to
drop by than during December.  Holiday gatherings, whether for traditional
gift exchanges or simply to share good cheer, call for a menu that can be
prepared in advance and served buffet-style.
“This Christmas buffet menu for eighteen is as robust and warming as the
season itself. There are light dishes for guests who just want to nibble, as
well as hearty recipes for those who want a complete meal.”

Wine Recommendations:
Offer both white and red.  For the white, pour a medium-to-full-bodied
assertive wine with notes of spice and earth: a rustic Pinot Blanc  or a
flinty Chardonnay .  For the red, try an Australian Shiraz  or a simple
French country wine such as Madiran or Corbičres. With dessert, offer
a Malmsey Madeira or a brown or cream Sherry  from Spain.

[The following menu serves 18 guests; for a smaller party, offer fewer dishes.]

Savory Biscotti (recipe follows)
Herbed Cheese Spread (recipe follows)
Country Pâté (recipe follows)
Potato & Onion Pizza (recipe follows)
Mushroom Blintzes 
Duck with Lentils 
Chestnut Torte with Chocolate Mocha Butter Cream 


Savory Biscotti

Makes 48 biscotti

"Make a double batch so you’ll have extra throughout the holidays.
Recrisp them on a baking sheet in a 350-degree F (180 degrees C)
oven for 5 minutes."

1 cup (8 ounces/250 g) unsalted butter
at room temperature
1 cup (8 ounces/250 g) sugar
6 eggs
2 tablespoons aquavit
4 1/2 cups (1 1/3 pound/65 g)
all-purpose (plain) flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 cup (2 ounces/60 g) toasted
cumin seeds, crushed
3 tablespoons toasted caraway
seeds, crushed
2 cups (8 ounces/250 g)
toasted walnuts

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). In a large bowl,
beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and aquavit and
beat well.
Add the flour, salt, baking powder, cumin seeds, caraway seeds and
walnuts and mix until blended. Form into 4 oval logs and place on 2 ungreased baking sheets. Bake until golden brown and firm to the
touch, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a
rack for about 10 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Cut
the logs diagonally into 1/2-inch (12-mm) slices and lay the slices flat
on the baking sheets. Bake until dried, about 10 minutes longer. Let
cool, then store for up to 2 days, or freeze for longer storage.


Herbed Cheese Spread

Makes about 5 cups (40 ounces/1.25 kg)

“Influenced by Italian, French and Romanian dishes, this creamy
spread is also good on pumpernickel bread with watercress and
cucumber. It can be made up to 2 days in advance.”

3 tablespoons olive oil or unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 cups (15 ounces/470 g) crumbled mild
fresh goat cheese or feta cheese
1–2 cups (8-16 ounces/250-500g) ricotta
1/4 cup (3/8 ounce/10 g) chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup (3/8 ounce/10 g) minced fresh chives
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

In a small frying pan, heat the oil or melt the butter over moderate heat,
add the garlic, and cook until tender but not colored, about 3 minutes.
Transfer to a food processor or blender and add the goat or feta cheese,
1 cup of the ricotta, the parsley, chives, thyme and pepper. Process to
combine. Taste and add more ricotta if goat cheese flavor is too strong. Transfer to a small crock or serving dish. Cover and refrigerate until
serving time.

“Everybody loves crunchy fresh vegetables, especially when served along
with rich holiday fare. Present spears of cucumbers and carrots, endive
leaves, crisp scallions and cherry tomatoes near the biscotti and herbed
cheese spread for guests to snack on. Use double old-fashioned glasses
or French confiture jars to hold each kind of crudité upright.”


Country Pâté

Makes three 9- by 5- by 3-inch (23- by 13- by 7.5-cm) pâtés

“Weighting is essential to compact these pâtés. Use another loaf pan
or a flat object that fits inside the rim, topped with kitchen weights,
heavy cans or bricks. Children’s building blocks work in a pinch, too.”

1 pound (500 g) finely ground veal
2 pounds (1 kg) finely ground
pork shoulder
1/2 pound (250 g) pork fat,
coarsely ground
2 pounds (1 kg) chicken livers
1/4 cup (2 fl ounces/60 ml) heavy
(double) cream
1/2 cup (3 ounces/90 g) all-purpose
(plain) flour
3 eggs
1/2 cup (4 fl ounces/125 ml)
Cognac or Armagnac
8 large cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
9-12 bay leaves
6 thin sheets pork fat (2 combined should
be large enough to cover each loaf)
3 large baguettes, sliced
Cornichons (small French-style
sour pickled cucumbers)

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Oil three 9x5x3-inch
(23- by 13- by 7.5-cm) loaf pans and set aside. Combine the ground veal, ground pork and fat in a large bowl. Combine the livers, cream, flour,
eggs, Cognac or Armagnac, garlic, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cinnamon,
salt and pepper in a large food processor (or in a blender, in batches)
and purée. Combine with the ground meat and mix until well blended.
Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pans. Top each loaf with a few
bay leaves and 2 sheets of fat cut to fit the pan. Cover the loaf pans
with a double thickness of aluminum foil. Place the loaf pans in a large
 baking pan and add hot water to come halfway up the sides.
Bake for 2 hours. Remove and reserve the aluminum foil. Continue
baking until lightly browned, about 20 minutes longer. Remove from
the oven and re-cover with the foil. Place another loaf pan on top of
each pâté and weight it with heavy tins. Let the pâtés sit until cool.
Chill well.
These pâtés will keep for about 2 weeks under refrigeration.
To serve, unmold the pâtés, slice and offer with baguettes
and cornichons.


Potato & Onion Pizza

Serves 18

“Instead of mixing Prosciutto strips with the onions, thin
slices of the ham may be draped over the pizza after baking.”

For the crust:
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups (10 fl ounces/300 ml) warm
(110 degrees F/43 C) water
3 1/2 cups 1 1/8 pound/560 g) unbleached
all-purpose (plain) flour
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces/45 g rye or buckwheat
flour or an additional
1/3 cup (2 ounces/60 g) all-purpose
(plain) flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons finely
chopped fresh rosemary

For the topping:
8 small red new potatoes
6 tablespoons (3 fl ounces/90 ml) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 large onions, sliced thin
1 cup (4 ounces/125 g) long, thin
Prosciutto strips, optional
Cornmeal for sprinkling
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 to 1 1/2 cups (4-6 ounces/125-185 g)
grated mozzarella
2 tablespoons chopped fresh
sage or rosemary
1/2 cup (2 ounces/60 g)
freshly grated Parmesan

To make the crust, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup (4 fl ounces/
125 ml) of the warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces/75 g) of the all-purpose (plain) flour and
mix to combine. Cover and let sit for about 30 minutes.
Add the remaining all-purpose flour, buckwheat flour, remaining
water, olive oil, salt and rosemary and mix well. Beat on low speed
with the dough hook attached until the dough leaves the sides of
the bowl cleanly, about 10 minutes.
Or, to make by hand, knead on a lightly floured board for about 10
minutes, or until the dough is no longer sticky. Transfer the dough to
an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until
doubled, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, to make the topping, preheat an oven to 400 degrees F
(200 degrees C). Place the potatoes in a small baking pan. Brush the
potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and
pepper, and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through but
firm. Let cool, then cut into 1/4-inch-thick (6-mm) slices.
Heat 3 more tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan, add the
onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent,
about 10 minutes. If desired, caramelize the onions (cook them until
golden). Season with salt and pepper; stir in the Prosciutto, if using.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Shape into a ball.
Cover and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile,
preheat an oven to 475 degrees F (240 degrees C).
Roll and stretch the dough into 1 large rectangle; place on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Mix the garlic and the remaining 2 tablespoons
oil and spread over the dough. Top with the mozzarella, then with the
cooked onions and potatoes. Sprinkle with the chopped sage or rose-
mary and the Parmesan. Bake until the edges are golden brown and
puffed, about 12-15 minutes. Brush the edges of the pizza with
additional olive oil to add a shine, if desired.

Christmas Season Open House continues...

Featured Archive Recipes:
The Christmas Season
Cheesy Retro Stuff
Cheese Spread Collection
Muffuletta Pizza
Parmesan Sesame Biscuits (Laurie Colwin)
Pâté Maison (The Compound, Santa Fe)
Pepper Biscuits with Cheddar-Pecan Spread

More Lagniappe Recipes!
Holiday Central
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