Beef Cut Profile: Beef Rolls


Description: Beef rolls are thin slices of beef that can be filled, rolled up, and then braised. Beef rolls originated in medieval times when cooks prepared thin slices of beef, veal, or mutton with a stuffing.

Other Names: Beef olives, braciole (southern Italian), involtini (Italian, usually veal), paupiettes and roulades (French), roll-ups, Rouladen (German).

Meat Characteristics: Beef rolls are made from tough cuts of beef, which become tender when braised.

How Much Should I Buy: Choose the largest slices of single-muscle meat sliced about ¼ inch thick. About 4 ounces per person.

Common Flavor Combinations: Basil, capers, garlic, lemons, mustard, onions, Parmesan cheese, prosciutto, red wine, tomatoes.



La Cuisine Creole by Lacadio Hearn


I’m currently reading a reproduction of “La Cuisine Creole,” by Lacadio Hearn published in 1885.  I find the recipes fascinating and a great insight into that time period. It also had this little “gem” in the first chapter…


“Edna Lewis” Inspired Profiterole Filled with Whipped Cream and Custard and Served with Hot Chocolate Sauce



1 cup milk
1stick soft butter
½ tablespoon sugar
1cup sifted flour
4 eggs
⅓ cup blanched slivered almonds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Put the milk, butter, and sugar in a saucepan and let mixture come to a boil. Add the flour bit by bit until the batter is well mixed and smooth.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until the mixture is again smooth

Using a small rounded spoon, drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet, forming a 9” circular or 10” oval ring about 1” across and 1” high. (There will be enough batter left over to make 5 to 6 individual puffs.) The dough can also be piped onto the sheet with a cookie press. If you like the crunchiness of nuts, the ring can be sprinkled with slivered almonds

Place in a 425°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes. To prevent the ring from collapsing, do not open the oven door for 25 minutes.

Remove the ring from the baking sheet and place it on a wire rack to cool. A half hour before serving, cut through the profiterole with a serrated bread knife, lay the top aside, and remove any moist dough from the center.

Fill the ring with the whipped cream into which you have folded ½ cup of custard sauce. Replace the top. Serve the profiterole with rich chocolate sauce.

Whipped Cream for Filling

1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Sugar to taste

Whip the cream, sweeten to taste, and flavor with vanilla extract.

Custard Sauce (Pastry Cream)

1 cup milk
⅓ cup fine granulated sugar
½ vanilla bean
2 whole eggs plus 1 yolk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or brandy

Scald the milk with the vanilla bean and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.

Beat the eggs and mix in cornstarch well.

Remove the vanilla bean from the hot milk mixture, and slowly pour the milk into the blended eggs and cornstarch. Mix well and place in a double boiler over water that is barely simmering or over very low heat for 10 minutes, stirring all the while. Strain the sauce and cool.

When cool, flavor with vanilla extract or brandy.

Chocolate Sauce

1 cup light cream
⅔ cup extra-fine sugar
3 squares bitter chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate over hot water. Stir in the sugar. Scald the cream in a separate saucepan and stir into the chocolate-sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat until the sauce begins to boil. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer, stirring often. Cook until it is smooth and thick. Remove the pan from the burner, and when the sauce has cooled, add the vanilla flavoring.



Salt Baked Shrimp


3 pounds rock salt
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
4 bay leaves
10 sprigs fresh thyme
1 head garlic, cloves smashed and skin removed
1 jalapeño, sliced, with seeds
2 lemon wedges
2 pounds large head-on shrimp
Mississippi Comeback Sauce for dipping

Preheat the oven to 475˚F.

Combine the rock salt, coriander, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, garlic, jalapeño, and lemon wedges in a large bowl  and mix well.

Pour half of the salt-spice mixture into a large, oven-safe baking dish and place it in the oven to preheat for 10 to 12 minutes, until the salt becomes hot. Remove from the oven, lay the shrimp in the salt, and add the remaining salt to cover the shrimp.

Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 8 to 12 minutes, until the shrimp are just cooked through. Using tongs, remove the shrimp from the salt and transfer to a plate. Serve with a bowl of Comeback Sauce for dipping.



Basic Halva



Halva is a confection made from raw tehina and sugar, sometimes stabilized with additives.  In Israel, you’ll see halva stalls with huge slabs in every imaginable flavor, from rose water to pistachio to chocolate to coffee.

2 cups sugar
½ vanilla bean, scraped
Zest of 1 lemon
1½ cups tehina
Pinch kosher salt

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Have ready another sheet of parchment paper.

Combine the sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest with ½ cup water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then cook, without stirring, until the mixture registers 245 degrees on a candy thermometer.

While the sugar syrup is cooking, place the tehina and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat on medium speed.

When the sugar syrup reaches 245 degrees carefully stream it into the tehina with the mixer running. Mix until the syrup is incorporated and the mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Working quickly with a flexible heatproof spatula, transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Press the top of the halva flat with the sheet of parchment paper and your hands. Let cool completely to room temperature. Cut into squares and store at room temperature, well wrapped in plastic wrap.

Will keep for up to a week.


Southern Peach Pie


  • 6 cups about 1½–2 pounds, sweet, ripe peaches, halved, pitted, sliced and chopped
  • ¼–½ cup sugar; to taste
  • A pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ⅓ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 double-crust pie
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 1–2 teaspoons sugar, for on top of the pie
  • Egg Wash: 1 egg white plus 1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the peaches, sugar, nutmeg, lemon juice, salt, flour, and quick-cooking tapioca in a big bowl. Mix lightly until the fruit is coated.

Roll out the bottom dough and place it in a pie pan.

Spoon in the fruit filling and dot with butter cut into little pieces.

Roll out the remaining dough, lay it over the fruit, and cut 5 to 6 vents on top. Trim excess dough from the edges and crimp.

Lightly brush some of the egg white wash over the entire pie, including the edges.

Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. When there are 10 to 15 minutes of bake time left, open the oven, pull the pie out, and quickly and evenly sprinkle the top of the pie with sugar. Close the oven and continue baking for final 10 to 15 minutes, or until you see steady bubbling in the filling coming through the vents.

Remove the pie from the oven and cool completely before serving so the filling can set up, warm peach pie is delicious too.


Maidstone Biscuits


This is a very simple recipe for a crunchy almond flavored biscuit from the Middle Ages.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons chopped, blanched almonds
1 teaspoon rosewater (or substitute) *

Cream the sugar and butter together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in the rosewater and almonds. Fold in the flour to form a stiff dough. Form pieces of dough into balls about the size of a golf ball in your hands and flatten them onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees. When baked the biscuits should be golden brown in color.

* It was traditionally flavored with rosewater, which is still available in specialty food stores. If you can’t obtain rosewater, you can use vanilla or even orange extract instead.


Quintessential Boiled Peanuts

South Louisianans boil peanuts with Tabasco mash, others throw in crab boil. Some fans prefer them warm, others demand that they be chilled.  People eating boiled peanuts are usually engaged in other tasks—driving, chatting, fishing, watching a ball game.

Peanuts came to North America from Africa and the Caribbean with the slave trade, sometime before the American Revolution. African Americans grew and popularized the peanut both boiled and roasted.

For many the quintessential experience is purchasing them by the side of the road or in a gas station, in soggy brown kraft-paper bags.

Here is the simplest recipe from which a thousand variations can be made:

  • 3 quarts water
  • 3 pounds (8 cups) freshly dug green peanuts in shell
  • 3 tablespoons salt

Bring the water and salt to a low boil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the peanuts and cook to taste, usually 1 to 2 hours. Some like the shell to become soft enough almost to be edible. Let the peanuts sit in the water off the heat until the desired degree of saltiness is reached.