Money-saving cooking tips

From the Russian Tea Room
December 7, 2008 2:17:18 PM PST
The holidays are here and with that comes family time and food. Chef Marc Taxiera joined us with money-saving tips for creating some fun dishes. In general, Chef Taxiera recommends shopping at a local farmer's market to get fresh food and to also support the local economy.

Goat Cheese and Wild Mushroom Blinchiki
As prepared at The Russian Tea Room:
Chestnut crepe filled with mixed mushrooms, goat cheese and melted onions with a mulberry and pomegranate reduction.

Money Saving Tip:
It's up to your imagination as to what can be put into it. ? Instead of chestnut floor, use regular floor. ? Instead of mixed mushrooms, you can use button or white mushrooms. Or don't use mushrooms. ? To save on the cheese, substitute goat cheese for any other soft-spreadable cheese. ? To maximize savings, you can prepare the Blinchiki with jams, fruit, and a little bit of a whipped topping. ? However, be sure to properly bake and don't skimp on the crepe batter, as you want to be sure that the Blinchiki stays together.

RTR Sliders
As prepared at The Russian Tea Room: Tasting of three mini "pojarski" burgers with truffled herbs fries with parmesan cheese shavings.

1) Salmon, avocado, tomato, and cucumber with remoulade and pickled onions 2) Veal with comte cheese, wild mushrooms and melted onions 3) Kobe with black truffle, Gruyere cheese and foie gras caramelized onions
Money Saving Tip:

There is a lot of room to save with the sliders. ? First, you can purchase a lean cut of meat that is not ground that you can ground at home. ? Second, you can make the grocer special of lean ground meat that is quality, but marked down. ? Third, you can make all the sliders the same instead of doing three different types as done at The Russian Tea Room. ? For the toppings, you can use your imagination. You can substitute onions for lettuce or tomatoes. It is up to your imagination. ? Use Swiss or bleu cheese instead of the comte cheese to maintain a gourmet taste at a value. Go to the cheese section and pick the days special cheese that is semi hard and good for melting on the burger. A Brie would also work well. ? To help save money, shop for the day, see what specials are available and be willing to use your imagination.

Baked Alaska
As prepared at The Russian Tea Room: It is a vanilla Génoise Cake with a almond and hazelnut parfait, topped with a meringue and Brûléed in the oven. Once the Baked Alaska is removed, it is brought tableside where Czar's Gold vodka is poured on top, lit, and once the alcohol dissipates, it is enjoyed. The genoise absorbs the vodka and creates a dessert with a great balance.

Money Saving Tip:
? Instead of a high-end parfait as used at The Russian Tea Room, you can use regular ice cream. ? Additionally, you can save on the cost of the vodka by substituting cheaper vodka like Smirnoff or Absolut instead of Czar's Gold.

Goat cheese blinchiki with a chestnut crepe
crepe:
1 qt of milk
6 ounces blonde beer
15 eggs
87 grams sugar
10grams salt
57 grams melted butter
300 grams chestnut flour
100 grams all-purpose flour
1pound fresh goat cheese
2 teaspoons dill
2 teaspoons chervil
2 cups mixed cleaned mushrooms

Add the milk beer eggs sugar salt butter and flours all at the same temperature mix well so there are no lumps.

For crepes:
In an 8-inch skillet, preferable non-stick, spray with no stick pan coating heat over moderately high heat. Pour in enough batter to just coat the bottom of skillet, swirl, and cook, undisturbed, until top is set and bottom in golden (do not turn crepe over). Transfer crepe to paper towels in one layer, golden side down. Make more crepes with remaining batter.

Make filling:
Mix the goat cheese with dill and chervil then season and set aside. In a skillet with 1 teaspoon of oil sauté the mushrooms season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool. Put 1 tablespoons of cheese and 11/2 tablespoons of mushroom filling in center of each wrapper and fold opposite sides of wrapper over filling until sides barely touch. Fold in ends to completely enclose filling, forming packets, and arrange, seams sides down, on baking sheet. Make more blintzes with remaining filling and wrappers. To warm bake blinchikis , covered loosely with foil, until heated through, 5 to 10 minutes.

RTR Sliders (on the menu)
1/2-teaspoon onion powder
1/2-teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2-teaspoon kosher salt
1-pound ground chuck
8 (3-inch) buns or rolls, split in half
1 cup saut?ed yellow onions
4 slices gruyere of Swiss cheese

Remoulade:
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
4 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine the onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and salt in a small bowl with the chuck meat. Set aside. Using a 2 to 21/2 inch cookie cutter with a 4x4 inch square of plastic wrap, place a small amount of the ground chuck in the middle till full wrap the meat and press firmly in the mold. Remove from the mold; repeat till all the meat has been used. Remove from the plastic and seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Lightly butter the buns and place in the oven for 5, the add a half slice of cheese to each side of the bun for 5 minutes more. Meanwhile, place the burgers on a lightly oiled griddle and cook for 3-5 minutes per side. Remove the buns from the oven. Spread a small amount of the remoulade on each bun and top with the onions and burger. Serve immediately.

Basked Alaska
Cake
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour (sifted, then measured)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled

Filling
16 4 ounce scoops of your favorite ice cream

Meringue
6 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar

Preparation
For cake: Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 12x18 inch cookie sheet or sheet tray with parchment paper and nonstick spray. Whisk eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk to blend, beat mixture until very thick and ribbons form when beaters are lifted, about 7 minutes. Remove from the mixer and gently add flour in 3 additions, gently folding with a rubber spatula just to combine after each. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake cake until top is golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack. Once cool remove from the pan and cut in to circles with a 1/8 of an inch diameter larger than the ice cream scoops then set aside. For meringue: Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, beat until thick and glossy. Place in a piping bag fitted with a star tip. (you can add food coloring if you care at this point.) Working with the ice cream cut a base using a knife so the ice cream will sit atop the cake. Place one scoop on top of cake and place in freezer. When all the ice cream is finished remove from the freezer and working quickly, start at the base using a circular motion meringue each one finishing at the top. Place in the refrigerator (Can be made 1 day ahead; keep frozen.)

Preheat oven to 500°F. Place dessert on its tart pan bottom on heavy large baking sheet. Bake just until meringue is light golden, about 5 minutes. At this point you can add rum or vodka and flame or keep it virgin.

For more information on The Russian Tea room, visit http://www.russiantearoomnyc.com/subindex.php?p=home.

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