Recipes for a meal worthy of praise

Wednesday, January 5, 2005


Each year on the Sunday following New Year's Day six couples get together and have a fabulous evening spread over three homes for dinner. This year we started at Dave and Julie Walker's for salmon spread, baked cheese crispies, pastry-wrapped baked olives, cranberry and jalapeno compote over cream cheese on crackers, and a variety of other yummy tidbits.

We then progressed to our home for the entree. I have included recipes that I made for the dinner. Joan and Ray Haring made a delicious salad of mixed greens, dried cranberries, cheese and a variety of other additions. Betsy and Mike Dumey helped with the entree by bringing sweet and sour glazed baby carrots and green bean bundles.

Lobster-Stuffed Beef Tenderloin

2 lobster tails

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 pound pancetta or bacon, chopped

1/2 cup chopped shallots

3 tablespoons minced celery

2 teaspoons minced garlic

4 ounces baby chanterelle mushrooms, stems trimmed and sliced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons minced green onions

2 tablespoons white grape juice or chicken stock

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 center-cut beef tenderloin, about 3 1/2 pounds, trimmed and butterflied

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large steamer, steam the lobster tails until just cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove the tails from the steamer. Cut along the underside of the shell and remove the tail meat whole, in one piece. Set aside. In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring until crisp and the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain off all but 2 teaspoons of the fat from the pan. Add the shallots and celery and cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and a pinch each of salt and pepper, and cook until the mushrooms give off their liquid, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the green onions and stir. Add the grape juice or stock, increase the heat and cook until it has nearly all evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the parsley and stir. Remove from the heat, stir in the cooked pancetta, and let cool. Spread the butterflied beef; cut side up, flat on a surface. Spread the pancetta-vegetable mixture in a line across the meat, about 2 inches from the top, leaving a 1/2-inch border on the sides. Lay the lobster tails on top of the mixture, going down the center of the beef. Pull the top flap over the lobster tails and roll the meat over the stuffing, jellyroll fashion, and tuck in the ends. Tie with kitchen twine every 2 inches. Place in a large heavy roasting pan; rub on all sides with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place over medium-high heat and sear the meat on all sides, about 6 minutes. Place in the oven and roast to desired temperature, 30 to 35 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board. Tent and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Remove the kitchen twine and slice thickly. Serve immediately.

Shrimp-Stuffed Twice-Baked Potatoes

6 large Idaho potatoes

Vegetable oil, for coating

8 tablespoons butter

2 cups grated cheddar cheese, plus more for sprinkling

2 cups grated Monterey Jack

2 cups sour cream

Salt and pepper

1 pound shrimp, peeled and sauteed


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Begin by washing potatoes, drying them and gently pricking them with a fork on the sides. Coat each potato with vegetable oil, place on foil-covered pan, and bake for approximately 1 hour.

Place the butter in a large bowl. Remove the potatoes from the oven and slice each potato in half. Gently scoop out the potato and place in the bowl. Using a mixer on high, mix the potatoes, butter, sour cream, salt and pepper. Fold the shrimp and both cheeses into the mixture. Gently stuff the mixture back into the potato shells, making sure not to break them. Pile the mixture as high as you can on top of the potato shells. Sprinkle each potato with cheese and paprika for color. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 to 30 minutes until browned on top.

Refrigerator Rolls

1 cup water

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 cup warm water

2 packages dry yeast

2 eggs, beaten

6 to 7 cups flour

Boil 1 cup water in a saucepan. Set off stove and add the butter and shortening, and stir until melted. Add sugar and salt. Cool to lukewarm. In a large bowl, put 1 cup warm water. Sprinkle yeast over and stir to dissolve. Add butter/shortening mixture and eggs to dissolved yeast. Add 7 cups flour and mix thoroughly. Use a dough hook on your mixer if desired. Let rise for 1 hour. Work down and put in refrigerator overnight, covered. Take out and on floured board roll and cut with a biscuit cutter. Dip half in melted butter, fold over and place on cookie sheet. Let rise 2 hours. Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

After the main fare we enjoyed a buffet of decadence at Dimple and Rodney Bridges' home. Mississippi Mud creme brulee, lemon curd pound cake with key lime white chocolate glaze, white chocolate chunk raspberry cheesecake, pecan pastry wedges and so much more. I can't tell you what a wonderful evening we had together visiting and what a great way to start the new year.

An Altenburg, Mo., reader sent in a couple of recipes for you to use fresh turnips.

Turnip Casserole

2 pounds fresh turnips, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup margarine, divided

1 small onion

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

Cook turnips until tender. Drain. Mash with potato masher. Saute onions till tender. Add onion, milk, 1 cup Cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons margarine to mashed turnips. Pour into baking dish, sprinkle with crumbs and remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or till lightly browned.

Sweet Skillet Turnips

1 tablespoon margarine

1 small onion

1 pound turnips, shredded

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Melt butter, add onion and saute until tender. Stir in turnips and remaining ingredients. Cook; stir often until turnips are tender.

I hope you had a wonderful start to the new year. Be sure to include sending in recipes to us as a part of your New Year's resolutions. This column is so much fun when you send in things you have made and enjoyed. Have a great week and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at or by mail at P.O. Box 699; Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by the Southeast Missourian staff.

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