Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"You should always trust your own data."
A favorite Burgundian appetizer
Gougeres are small baked appetizers of choux paste with Swiss cheese and are a favorite Burgundian appetizer, typically served with a Kir. Choux Paste without the cheese can also be used for cream puffs, éclairs or even filled with savory fillings as starters. I've been making them for over thirty years and have always had perfect success with the recipe. Looking back at that reality, I have no idea what prompted me to decide to serve another recipe, especially without trying it first.
Well, yet another lesson learned yet again.
Maybe, it was the simply the gravitas of a very famous chef's reputation and an assumption that his must somehow be superior to mine. The only real difference was the famous chef's version had another egg and a bit more butter. The results were not inedible but, they were kind of flat and deflated looking. As an IT skilled friend of mine put it "you should always trust your own data." Well, yet another lesson learned yet again. I assure you that although the following recipe does not come from the repertoire of a world famous chef, it does work consistently and taste great. Gougeres are usually served cold but, I really prefer them served hot as a hor-d'oevre.
*Available at
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter
  • ½ Teaspoon each Fleur de Sel Sea salt*, freshly ground white peppercorn* and nutmeg*
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 Cup hot water
  • 1 Cup sifted flour
  • 3 Whole eggs
  • 1 Cup grated Gruyere or other Swiss cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine butter, salt, pepper, nutmeg, sugar, and hot water in a large sauce-pan. Bring to boil. Lower heat and add flour.
  3. Stir vigorously until batter pulls away from the side of the pan.
  4. Remove from heat and place batter into a mixing bowl
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each one. Fold in grated cheese.
Using an ice cream scoop, drop mounds of paste on an un-greased baking sheet. Bake in hot oven for 20 minutes; reduce temperature to moderate heat (350) and bake about 20 minutes longer. Enjoy hot or cold!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Porcini Tagliatelle with Alfredo Sauce and Wild Mushroom Medley
Pasta with classic Alfredo sauce enhanced with the exciting earthy flavor of mushrooms
Serves 4 to 6
Preparation time: 20 minutes (plus overnight soaking for mushrooms); Cook time: 30 minutes
Available at *
Wild Mushroom Medley:
Pasta and Sauce
  • One 8.8 ounce package of Morelli Porcini Tagliatelle*
  • 2 ounces Sosalt coarse salt* (for cooking the pasta)
  • ¼ cup butter, unsalted
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 clove garlic, minced and mashed
  • 1 ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly grated nutmeg * (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon each (or to taste) Fleur de Sel Sea Salt* and freshly ground white peppercorns*
Mushroom Medley
  1. Remove soaked mushrooms and strain and reserve the soaking liquid.
  2. Heat 3 Tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan and add mushrooms and garlic cooking for just a couple of minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of the reserved soaking liquid, Marsala wine and Truffle salt and freshly ground white peppercorns. Simmer for about 30 minute on low.
Pasta and Sauce
  1. In a big pot bring 1.5 gallons of water to a boil, salt the water (2 ounces of salt for 1.5 gallons of water) add the pasta and bring back to a boil. Lower the flame and cook the pasta until it is "al dente", 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water.
While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add heavy cream and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, Parmesan and grated nutmeg; blend well and remove from the heat. Toss hot pasta and ¼ cup pasta water together with the Alfredo sauce. Serve topped with Wild Mushroom Medley and garnish with chopped Italian parsley.