Tag Archives: entertaining

The Gentleman Caller’s Mardi Gras King Cake

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Hi friends! First of all, please forgive the brief silence here on the site. I have been navigating this change of coasts and it has taken some time and effort. But it seems that things are stabilizing! This coming week brings adventures of re-recording audio for the movie I shot in the fall and other fun stuff.

BUT, for now, let’s talk about the King Cake! Ash Wednesday arrives very early this year (on Valentine’s Day to be specific). So you best be finding your plastic babies!

I make King Cakes every year because, well… they’re freakin hilarious. They have plastic babies in them. They have garish icing, and in the case of the cake I have displayed here, edible glitter. I mean, WHY NOT!?

An added bonus is that my King Cake is dumb delicious. Trust.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (**Vanilla sugar even better if you have)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 tablespoons butter flavor Crisco, melted
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 5 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated preferred
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 plastic king cake baby
  • 5 tablespoons milk, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from a lemon, not a bottle)
  • Icing colors – purple, green, “gold” (yellow)
  • EDIBLE GLITTER

Warm 1 cup of milk on the stove or the microwave, then stir int he yeast and allow it to bloom. Pour into the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook attached and immediately add the 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Give it a stir. Add the melted butter and butter flavor Crisco. Please do not question my choices, you know I love butter flavor Crisco and it really does slightly alter the texture.

Beat that for a couple of minutes, then add the egg yolks. Add flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon zest. Allow to incorporate and form a ball.

Find a bowl about double the size of your dough ball and coat the inside with vegetable oil. Put the dough ball in the bowl and rub the exterior of the dough ball with vegetable oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and put it in a warm place to rise. Let it double in size. This should take a couple of hours.

Make the filling while you wait. In the bowl of an electric mixer blend the cream cheese and 1 cup of confectioners sugar. (I sometimes throw some lemon zest in this as well, and sometimes a whisper of salt.)

Flour a board or countertop. Turn the risen dough onto the surface and spread into an approximately 30 x 6 inch area using only your fingers. Spread the filling over one half, allowing some room at the perimeter to form a seal. ADD THE BABY. Just shove it in the filling somewhere. Fold the other half of the dough over the top of the filled half and pinch the edges together to seal it.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Carefully form a ring with the dough on the parchment, making sure the seam is at the bottom (as in under the cake). Seal all edges.

Cover it with a kitchen towel and allow to rise again for about an hour.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Brush the risen cake with milk.

Put into the 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Allow it to cool completely.

Now the fun starts!

Seriously, there is right or wrong way to decorate this cake. It’s Mardi Gras. More is more. I like the frosting colors to be very saturated and I want that thing to sparkle.

Make the icing. Using the whisk attachment on your mixer, combine remaining milk (3 tablespoons), lemon juice and remaining 4 cups confectioners sugar. Here’s where you use your judgement… is the icing the consistency you want it to be? If you want a thinner icing, add a bit more liquid. If you want a more robust icing, add more sugar. I like it pretty thick. Once you’ve made your judgement call, transfer into zip-top bags and color it. Or don’t. White is fine, too, especially if you’re using tons of glitter. (It has to be EDIBLE glitter. Glitter from the craft section at Walmart will not work.)

Add food coloring to your zip-top bags and mash/mix until you get the desired effect. Cut a tiny slit into a corner of the bag and pipe onto your cake. As you can see, I used a simple zigzag and then glittered accordingly. Be creative, take risks, have fun with it.

Now your cake is ready to EAT! Be sure and warn friends and family so no one chokes on the baby and ends up in the ER. This cake is divine, especially with a strong cup of coffee.

Happy Mardi Gras!

xoxo,

The Gentleman Caller

Full printable PDF here: The Gentleman Caller’s King Cake

 

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Happy Hanukkah from The Gentleman! Leek Kale and Yellow Potato Latkes

Knock knock knock.
Gentleman Caller.
It’s holiday time, friends, so happy Hanu-Kwanna-Christmas to all!I like to celebrate any and everything, regardless of weather it’s my culture or someone else’s. So today I am offering you a delicious savory latke for Hanukkah. This latke isn’t the straightforward potato pancake that so many people think of when they hear the word “latke” – it’s enhanced by the gentle oniony-ness of leeks and the healthy crunch of kale. Add to that the earthiness of ground coriander and you have a delicious alternative to the traditional latke.

What you need:

  • 2.5 – 3 cups grated yellow potato
  • 2 leeks, the dark green trimmed, cut lengthwise
  • 2 cups of kale, tightly packed*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 clove garlic, microplaned
  • ¼ cup cornstarch 
  • 2 eggs
  • About 1/4 cup grape seed oil (or other vegetable oil with high smoke point)
The Gentleman Caller grew this frilly tender kale variety

This is very easy.

In a large bowl combine the grated potatoes, super thinly slices leeks, kale (I chiffonade the kale), baking powder, salt, pepper, coriander, onion powder, grated garlic, cornstarch and eggs. Mix thoroughly.
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Ready a sheet pan with a rack on it. This is to keep the latkes warm after the pan fry.
Bring a heavy skillet to high heat. Add a few tablespoons of oil and allow it to get almost smoking hot. 
Using a scoop or tablespoon, drop heaps of the latke mixture onto the hot oil. Smash is flat with a spatula. I found that I could do about four at a time. When one side is crisp and brown (3-4 minutes), flip to the other side and allow it to crisp. Once cooked, remove to the sheet pan with the rack. A whisper more salt on top couldn’t hurt.
As you continue the process, excess liquid will likely accumulate at the bottom of the bowl. Avoid it by squeezing the scoop to the side of the bowl to mash out any excess liquid. Continue the process till you’re out of latke mixture; probably a scant 2 dozen.
Serve them warm with sauce of your choice. I like greek yogurt and horseradish. Trader Joe’s makes a “Green Dragon” sauce that is really an ideal compliment if you can find it.
Leek Kale and Yellow Potato Latke
Happy Hanukkah and happy eating!
Till next time,
The Gentleman Caller
*note about the kale: I grew this very tender variety. Using a frillier or baby variety will be most ideal.

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Hoisin Pecan Dates wrapped in Bacon

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

In another round of my Tony Award party, I offered my guests these Hoisin Pecan Dates wrapped in delicious Stanton’s pepper bacon. It’s sort of East meets West, Asia meets Texas.

This is also REALLY easy and can be done ahead.

www.Stantonmeats.com

This particular appetizer truly marries sweet, salty and spicy in a flavor explosion that is hard to rival. And despite the richness of the bacon and pecan, it isn’t a total gut bomb.

Let’s get cooking.

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup of your favorite commercially produced Hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces (halves and quarters work best, not chopped pieces)
  • 20 large pitted Medjool dates
  • 10 pieces pepper bacon, halved
  • 20 pieces of kitchen twine, 3-4 inches long

Pre-heat oven (preferably on convection) to 400 degrees.

Find something in your kitchen to loosen up the holes in the dates. It can be a chopstick, a shish-k-bob skewer, anything pointy. Get the dates stretched and loosened up a little.

In a small bowl combine the Hoisin sauce and the pecans.

Carefully using your fingers insert the nuts into the dates. Get them just to the point of splitting open.

Take a half piece of bacon and try to wrap it around the date so that most of the surface area is covered. Then take a piece of twine and tie it around the date to secure the bacon. Super easy.

Put a wire rack on a sheet pan. Line the dates up on the wire rack, allowing room around the perimeter of each one.

Put into the pre-heated oven. Watch them like a hawk. You will need to occasionally re-arrange them for consistent browning. Probably this will take 12-15 minutes. But like I said, watch continuously and take them out when the bacon is crispy on all sides. If you are doing this ahead with the intention of re-heating, pull them out a little prematurely, allow them to cool completely, store in a zip top bag and pop them back in the oven for a few minutes just before serving.

These little bites are irresistible, trust me.

Enjoy! That’s all for now.

xo, The Gentleman Caller

Printable PDF here:  The Gentleman Caller’s Hoisin Pecan Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Pepper Bacon

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The Gentleman Caller’s Asahi Poached Shrimp – Dear Evan Crustacean

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

The Gentleman Caller threw a Tony Awards party, and if you haven’t seen the video yet, it was eh-pic. EPIC.

Hosted at my friend George’s beautiful Houston home, a small and friendly gaggle got together to drink, eat, vote for our favorites and root for friends and acquaintances.

This is one of the many offerings from that evening. It’s a basic twist on a shrimp cocktail. But you know good and well that The Gentleman Caller can’t leave well enough alone with a classic. This spin is Asian-inspired, flavor forward, and will wow your friends.

What you need:

  • 21.4 ounces Dry Asahi beer
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • lemon peel from one large lemon, removed with vegetable peeler
  • the juice from the peeled lemon
  • 2 lbs 16/24 rock shrimp or whatever your favorite is, peeled and de-viened (yes, I usually poach shrimp peel-on. Not today.)

In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except shrimp. Bring to a gentle boil. It shouldn’t roll. Just bubbles.

Add the shrimp. Poach for EXACTLY 3 minutes. Remove swiftly with a spider into a bowl of ice. Allow to cool.

Transfer into a zip-top bag until you are ready to plate with some paper towels. Keep them dry.

In contrast to ketchup-y generic cocktail sauce, we are going to go with a wasabi aeoli.

What you need:

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tablespoons prepared wasabi (should be very thick paste)
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon (Meyer if available)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 teaspoon chives
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups Kewpie mayonnaise, or whatever is your favorite (try to find Kewpie)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Let ‘er rip till smooth. It will be a lovely shade of light green.

Plate creatively to show off the beautiful little crustaceans and your gorgeous sauce. Enjoy!

Printable PDF here: Asahi Poached Shrimp

Be sure and see the other insanely delicious appetizers and small bites from my 2017 Tony Award night!

This The Gentleman Caller signing out.

Dear Evan Crustacean on Pinterest

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The Gentleman Caller’s Butterscotch Oatmeal Scotchie

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Hey, it’s me, the Cookie Monster. I’m back to make yet another cookie. Quel surprise.

This one is a butter and vanilla explosion, holding together mounds of butterscotch chips and raisins soaked in booze. Add a whisper of cinnamon and what could possibly be better.

My favorite way to eat these is with ice cream, perhaps as a sandwich. Yum.

What you need:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup butter flavor Crisco
  • 1/2 cup white vanilla sugar*
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins, soaked in brandy**
  • 3/4 cup butterscotch chips

*vanilla sugar: put a vanilla bean or just the spent carcass of a vanilla bean into a pint jar full of white sugar. Allow to sit and let the sugar take on the magical vanilla flavor. Note: Tahitian is stronger than Madagascar.

**I soaked my raisins in 1/3 cup ginger flavored brandy. Perfection. Discard any liquid the raisins don’t soak up. Or see glaze recipe at the bottom.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Put the brandy and raisins in a jar or bowl, microwave for a minute. Allow to sit and let the raisins plump.

In the bowl of a mixer, cream the first 4 ingredients. Add vanilla and eggs.

In another bowl combine the dry ingredients. Add them to the creamed items until just combined.

Stir your plumped raisins and butterscotch chips into the mixture.

Scoop in 1/4 cups onto parchment paper, mash with a damp hand to flatten to 1/2 inch thickness. Place in pre-heated oven. Watch like a hawk. I do not know why, but these cook really fast. Like 7 1/2 minutes. So just check them regularly. My oven in NYC is kind of fakakta and though I test everything exactly, sometimes it outsmarts ol Austin.

Allow to cool. Chomp em down!

I hope you enjoy these; they’re kind of decadent. Of you wanted to take them one step further, combine a little maple syrup to the brandy you drained from the raisins. Add sifted powdered sugar until a glaze forms. Drizzle the glaze over top. Wait for the cavity cops to come.

Download the PDF here: The Gentleman Caller’s Oatmeal Scotchie

That’s all for now, kiddos.

xoxo,

The Gentleman Caller