On this week’s Stir Crazy, host Patty Gay celebrated Mother’s Day with guests Chef Silvia Baldini, the first female Chopped champion from Connecticut, and The Twins Judy & Joy, cookbook authors and TV personalities. She also made a call to her mother, Pat Vallon, in Wisconsin, and thanked her for sharing her recipe for Stuffed Grape Leaves.
Stir Crazy is a production of HANRadio and can be heard every Thursday, from noon to 1, on all Hersam Acorn websites and hanradio.com. Follow the show on Twitter @StirCrazyCT.
Filet Mignon with Chocolate Port Sauce
From The Twins Judy and Joy
We make this every year as it is mom’s favorite. We even asked the chef to prepare this for my daughter’s wedding!
2 tenderloin steaks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cracked white pepper
Coarse sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/4 cup port wine, we use ruby port
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup beef stock
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 ounce bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
Brush steaks all over with one tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper on both sides of tenderloins. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to skillet and turn heat to medium high; pan should be very hot. Add steaks and cook (3 to 4 minutes per side, based on your preference for doneness).
Remove tenderloins from skillet and keep warm. In the same skillet, stir in minced shallot; cook for one minute. Pour in the port and balsamic vinegar. Simmer until the port reduces to the consistency of chocolate syrup, about 2 or 3 minutes. Add stock and rosemary, and return to simmer. Whisk in chocolate until melted and slightly thickened. Lastly, whisk in 2 tablespoons of cold butter. Re-season to taste.
Mama’s Stuffed Grape Leaves
From Patty Gay’s mother Pat Vallon
My mom made these to go with shish kebabs at every family cookout. They represent the straightforward, easy style of a working woman with seven hungry kids. Although the ingredients are pretty simple, there is something about them that is addicting. The sum is equal to more than the parts.
1 jar Grape Leaves
1 1/2 lbs, ground beef (lean)
3/4 cup uncooked short-grained rice
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 small cans tomato sauce
one small canful of water, more if needed
one teaspoon allspice, to taste
healthy grinds of salt and pepper, to taste
In a large bowl, mix beef, rice, chopped tomatoes, one can tomato sauce, allspice, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
Separate the grape leaves, put them in a colandar and rinse them several times with cold water.
If any leaves are broken or torn set them aside, you’ll use them later.
To roll: Place a small spoonful of the ground meat mixture at the end of each leaf. Roll up egg-roll style, folding in the sides and rolling to seal them.
To cook: Place an inverted heatproof plate on the inside of a large pot. The plate keeps the grape leaves from touching the bottom of the pot and burning. Place the stuffed leaves, seam side down, in layers on top of the plate. Cover with one small can of tomato sauce and one small canful of water. Place any damaged or torn leaves on top, this will help keep the stuffed grape leaves in place. Simmer gently on top of the stove until rice and leaves are tender, approximately 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Check occasionally to make sure water does not boil away and add more if needed.
Fontina and Prosciutto Brioche
From Chopped Champion Silvia Baldini
2 cups 00 grade (Italian) flour (This is a specialty flour, it’s very soft. Amazon.com sells it and King Arthur has an acceptable Italian flour)
9 tablespoons butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 cup fontina cheese cut in small cubes
10 slices prosciutto cotto sliced thin
1 envelope dry yeast (instant works well)
4 tablespoons milk warm
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a Kitchen-aid fitted with a blade, mix the butter, flour, eggs and salt, combine well.
Activate the yeast in the warm milk. Add to the dough and mix.
Butter and line a medium size oven proof baking dish. Spread half of the dough in it with the help of the blade of a knife. It’s a very sticky dough so be patient and makes sure to reserve half of the dough to cover the top.
Sprinkle with a layer of the fontina cheese cubed and lay the prosciutto slices on top. Cover with the remaining dough. Spread it even.
Leave the brioche to raise in a warm place for 3 hours. Cover loosely with a canvas.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for about 40 minutes. Slice and eat warm.
Mattonella con Biscotti
From The Twins Judy and Joy
So rich and silky, this Italian chocolate loaf is loaded with crunch from roasted nuts and biscotti!
3 cups crumbled butter biscuit cookies, or biscotti
1/2 cup roasted walnut pieces
1/2 cup roasted unsalted almonds
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts
1 pound 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (65% cocoa), roughly chopped
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) butter
flaked sea salt, garnish
Line a 9- x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment or wax paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. In a large bowl, combine cookies, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts.
Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches water; bring water to a simmer. Combine chocolate, butter and pinch of salt in a medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over (but not touching) the simmering water; stir until chocolate and butter are melted and combined. Remove bowl from heat. Pour chocolate over nuts and cookies and stir to combine. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with flaked salt. Cover pan with plastic wrap and chill until chocolate is firm, about 8 hours.
Using parchment overhang, pull to loosen loaf from pan; transfer to a cutting board. About 2 hours before serving, remove loaf from refrigerator and let stand, unwrapped (this will allow loaf to slice cleanly and easily). Cut loaf into slices. Serve with black coffee or a dessert wine, Enjoy!!!
Peaches with Amaretti Crumble
From Silvia Baldini
6 medium peaches
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 large egg yolks
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped finely with a knife
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon rum
18/20 Amaretti cookies
2 tablespoons butter
Wash the peaches in cold water, dry well and halve them with a pairing knife. Remove the pit.
With a spoon remove some of the peaches pulp and form a space for the filling, reserve the pulp in a bowl.
Crumble the Amaretti cookies in a food processor or by hand. Add to the peaches pulp.
Using a Kitchen-aid or by hand cream the egg yolks and sugar together until fluffy and light. Add to the cookies and the peaches. Add the cocoa powder and the dark chocolate. Add the rum. Mix well.
Fill the peaches with the cookie and egg mixture and place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake in the oven at 350F for about 45 minutes. They can be served warm or room temperature.