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.



Scopes Trial


Today in History —> On May 25, 1925, John T. Scopes was indicted in Dayton, Tennessee for violating Tennessee’s Butler Act that prohibited the teaching of human evolution. (Most people think the law forbade the teaching of any evolution, but that is not the case.) After a weeklong trial, Scopes was convicted on July 21 after the jury deliberated for nine minutes, but the conviction was set aside on appeal because of a technicality: the fine, $100, was levied by the judge, and fines over $50 were supposed to be decided by the jury. Above is Scopes one month before the trial.

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.