Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mediterranean Herb White Cheddar Spanakopita with Roasted Red Pepper Lemon Creme

     There are plenty of traditional spanakopita recipes on the internet already.  I like a good traditional Grecian spanakopita and I still remember a great one that I had in Philadelphia about 30 years ago.  Spanakopita is usually made with phyllo pastry dough, feta cheese and spinach.  The pastry is kind of made like a turnover and it can be a triangle or rectangular shape.
     Toady's recipe features a spanakopita that is made with a nice white cheddar cheese that is flavored with mediterranean herbs.  Flavored cheese has always been popular, but often the cheese quality was not that great.  Bulk mass produced cheese was usually the choice for making flavored cheese.  
     In recent years, flavored cheese has once again become en vogue.  Finer quality cheese is now featured in flavored cheese products.  Small local farms now offer nicely crafted artisan cheeses that are flavored with nice tasting ingredients like herbs, fruit and fine wine.  Higher quality international cheese makers also offer nice gourmet flavored cheese products.  One of the most popular kinds of cheese  that is selected for adding aromatic flavors is white cheddar.  Mediterranean herbs really taste nice in a good white cheddar.  The flavor is tasty in a spanakopita! 

     Spinach Preparation:
     Heat a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. 
     Add 2 minced cloves of garlic.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Saute till the onions turns clear in color.
     Add 5 cups of baby spinach leaves.
     Add 1 pinch of cardamom.
     Add 1 pinch of fenugreek.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Stir till the spinach wilts.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Place the wilted spinach on a dish and let it cool to room temperature.
     Drain any excess liquid off of the spinach.      

     Mediterranean Herb White Cheddar Spanakopita:
     Frozen pre-made phyllo dough sheets are a nice convenience.  It can take hours to make phyllo dough from scratch.  Most pastry chefs use a commercial grade dough laminating machine to make fresh phyllo dough.  
     Phyllo dough is paper thin and it becomes dry quickly.  The phyllo dough sheets must be kept covered with a dry towel at all times.  The phyllo sheets are brushed with butter one at a time and it takes several layers to create a crust. 
     Cut 10 sheets of phyllo dough into 11"x11" square shapes.  
     Brush a 12"x12" sheet of parchment paper with melted unsalted butter.
     Place the parchment paper on a large sheet pan.
     Brush one side of each sheet of phyllo dough with melted unsalted butter, one at a time, and stack them evenly on top of each other.
     Place the prepared spinach on  the center of the stack of buttered phyllo dough.
     Spread the spinach out, so there is a 2" border of bare phyllo.
     Sprinkle 1/3 cup of grated mediterranean herb flavored white cheddar cheese over the spinach.
     Fold the phyllo pastry in half to create a large triangle shape.
     Press the open edges flat. 
     Tuck the pressed edges underneath the pastry to create a sealed even triangle shape.
     Place the sheet pan and spanakopita in a 350º oven.
     Bake till the phyllo becomes a crisp golden brown color.
     The sauce can be made while the spanakopita bakes.

     Roasted Red Pepper Lemon Cream:
     Heat a small sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour, while constantly stirring, to make a roux.
     Cook the roux to a white color.
     Add 1 cup of milk.
     Add 1/3 cup of cream.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1/2 of a minced garlic clove.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Add 1 small pinch of paprika.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a very thin cream sauce consistency.
     Add 1/2 cup of small chopped roasted red bell pepper.
     Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
     Simmer and reduce, till the sauce become a thin sauce consistency.
     Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.

     Mediterranean Herb White Cheddar Spanakopita with Roasted Red Pepper Lemon Creme:
     Spread a thin layer of the roasted red pepper lemon creme sauce on a plate.
     Use a spatula to place the mediterranean herb white cheddar spanakopita on the sauce.
     Garnish with Italian parsley sprigs. 

     This spanakopita takes a little bit of time to assemble, but it is not difficult to make.  As you can see in the pictures above, the phyllo pastry becomes light, airy and flaky.  Yum!  ...  Shawna

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Euro Market & Deli, Las Vegas!

A nice Las Vegas market that specializes in eastern european food!

     A few days ago, I needed some fresh air after being cooped up writing essays and research papers for college.  Editing old recipes and writing new ones is part of my daily routine too.  After spending hours typing on a computer, fresh air and sunshine spells relief.  A sunset drive through Red Rock Canyon sounded like a good idea.  Springtime is nice in the high Mojave Desert and this is wildflower season.  On the way to the south end of the canyon, I passed by a store that I had not seen before.  The Euro Market & Deli sounded interesting, so I decided to check the store out.  
     Specialty food market articles are featured in this food web site.  Passing along information is something that all good chefs do.  I write plenty of recipes that require hard to find ingredients and interested readers need to know where to find those items.  There is no use in writing a recipe, if a cook cannot find the stuff to make it with!  
     Even if a reader does not live in Las Vegas, a description of items that are carried by a certain kind of specialty market may give a clue as to what kind of store to look for, when seeking ingredients in other cities.  When readers know where to find exotic items, it helps to keep specialty markets in business.  If I only cooked the same old everyday food that nationwide corporate grocery stores carry, then I would be an unhappy customer.  Variety is the spice of life!
     The Euro Market & Deli specializes in eastern european cuisine.  The shelves are well stocked with Russian, Czech, Yugoslavian, Hungarian and Bulgarian food.  Pretty much any food of any nationality or region of eastern europe is offered at this market.  
     Fresh produce and hard to find frozen vegetables are available.  There was a large selection of pickle products, olives, avjar, paprika peppers, pickled green tomatoes and eggplant specialties to choose from.  Dry goods, noodles, concentrated sauce pastes and seasoning mixes of every eastern european flavor were on the shelves.  
     One of my favorite items was well stocked and it was advertised.  Jars of sour cherries!  Sour cherries are popular in eastern europe and the middle east.  I have posted a few recipes that call for sour cherries in this food sight, but they specified the dried variety.  Jars of preserved sour cherries are a really nice product.
     Eastern european wine and beer is sold at this specialty market.  Fresh baked specialty bread is offered.  Many specialty grains and baking products can be found at this market and that is a real plus for those who prefer to bake traditional eastern european bread or desserts at home.
     The deli has a nice selection of imported meats and cheese.  Imported Swiss emmentaler was in stock.  Real Swiss emmentaler is much better tasting that domestic American swiss cheese.  Several kinds of regional feta cheese were in the deli case.  Grecian manouri was available and that is one of my favorites.  I selected a very nice mellow Czechoslovakian salami and a very nice quality head cheese at the deli.  A nice smoked provolone made it into my basket too.
     Fresh regional eastern european specialty desserts, pastries and cakes were offered in a display case. The desserts looked too good to resist!  I selected a couple of nice desserts while I was at the market.  One was krempita.  Krempita is a Yugoslavian specialty that is best described as a thick cream pie.  After getting bogged down with studying and writing school papers for days on end, a couple of nice desserts put a smile on my face.  Like most european desserts, they are not made with way too much sugar and the sweetness does not overpower the flavor.  The desserts were nice!
     The Euro Market & Deli is located in a plaza at 5625 South Rainbow Boulevard between West Dewey and West Russell.  Two landmark signs to look for, while passing by, are the "Jack In The Box" and "Living Dead Tattoo".  Living Dead Tattoo?  That is another story altogether!  
     I highly recommend the Euro Market & Deli for local residents of Las Vegas!  Eastern european visitors who crave the flavors of home will surely like this market.  The Euro Market & Deli is spotless and very clean.  The store is well organized.  The employees are friendly and helpful with questions.  English and eastern european languages are spoken at this market and that is a plus.  Yum!  ...  Shawna

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Larry's Great Western Meats, Las Vegas!

     There is something about this food and recipe site that Las Vegas residents like.  Locals like how I pass information along.  When I find a good market in the valley, I let people know about it.  This helps readers find items that they seek and it helps to keep good businesses alive.
     Ever since the computer internet age began, fewer people rely on thumbing through a phone book to find specialty stores.  Typing words in a search engine delivers a list of results.  The problem is that many times the search results are not always accurate.  Sponsored businesses and businesses that pay to be placed at the top of the search result list tend to hog the show.  Scrolling down the search engine result list is what good shoppers do, but those who are in a hurry usually just glance at the first few results that they see.  
     Another item that affects search engine result is cookies.  Every web site that is visited leaves a tracking cookie.  That cookie is entered as data gathering device for marketing purposes in most cases.  For example, if a search was done on pets and the focus was on looking at bird cage designs and prices, those items of interest are gathered by the cookies that were placed in the computer and transferred to a database in a remote marketing company server.  For the next few weeks, every time that a new page is opened on the internet, advertisements for bird cages, pet stores and birdseed will load in advertisement spaces on each page.  Even the media works this way on the net.  Articles about parrots and pet store businesses will be seen in news site pages.  After a few days or a couple weeks, if no bird related purchase is made, those ads and articles are replaced by the next item of interest.  
     Looking for specialty food items on the internet does take patience.  It takes time to filter through search engine results.  Food items that are popular do top the list.  Items that are in low demand often take some time to find.  Low demand items are usually carried by small specialty stores.  Because major nationwide stores spend money to ride high as a hog on search engine results, small specialty stores often only receive a trickle down effect of customers who are determined to find what they really want, rather that be directed to a major corporate market.  Shoppers who are determined to find specialty items, do take the time to find the places that stock those items.
     I personally found Larry's Great Western Meats by searching one page after another for someplace in Las Vegas that stocked elk meat!  The first time that I visited Larry's Great Western Meats, I liked what I saw.  Larry's is an old fashioned butcher shop that carries high quality beef.  USDA prime grade beef is the best beef that money can buy and it is available at this butcher shop.  Delmonico steaks are one of the most popular cuts of beef at Larry's.  Delmonico steak is a nice quality rib steak and they are big.
     Larry's Great western meats carries top quality pork, veal, chicken and lamb.  Fresh, cured and smoked sausages are made in house at Larry's Great Western Meats.  Offals are stocked, so if you are looking for sweatbreads, brains, liver, kidneys, oxtail or whatever, you will find it at this butcher shop.  Larry's even stocks rocky mountain oysters!
     Searching for a source of wild game meats is how I found Larry's Great Western Meats.  Buffalo, quail, duck, pheasant, elk, frog legs and many other items are either sold fresh or in cryovac packages as frozen products.  Buffalo meat hot dogs are stocked! 
     During this recent visit, I purchased a thick center cut pork chop, a package of veal stew meat, a Louisiana hot link sausage and one of the best looking elk ribeye steaks that I had ever seen.  I recently prepared a very special meal with the elk steak and I will be posting that recipe soon.
     If finding prime grade beef or specialty meats has been a problem, then Larry's Great Western Meats is the place to go in Las Vegas.  Larry's Great Western Meats is located at 420 South Valley View at the intersection of Alta.  Larry's is just a few blocks south of Highway 95.  This butcher shop is easy to find and it is close to the downtown Las Vegas area.
     Larry's Great Western Meats is highly recommended for local shoppers!  Visitors of Las Vegas who wish to ship a few western wild game steaks home may also be interested in this butcher shop.  BBQ and steak on the grill season is here.  Larry's Great Western Meats sells awesome steaks!  Yum!  ...  Shawna        

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Molokhia with Eggplant, Yellow Squash and Brown Basmati Rice

     Archeological timelines are always a matter of opinion and not fact.  For a very long time, the opinion was that there was no human history before 2,000 BC.  The ruling elite preferred that the truths of history not be known, because limiting public belief is a form of exerting control.  Carbon dating changed ancient timelines.  Historic archeological references were proven to date back nearly 10,000 years with this technology.  Now carbon dating has been proven to have flaws and many ancient sites are estimated at being well over 20,000 years old.  
     Recent finds in the western hemisphere have given reason to toss out all previous theories about Mesoamerican history.  Western ancient history was clouded by the demands of western religions and the powers that support its influence.  Some sites that are under water in the Gulf of Mexico and South America actually are estimated as being being on a timeline equal to the oldest know sites in India.  Evidence also shows periodic cataclysmic cycles of advanced civilization and technology alternating with periods of semi-primitive redevelopment that are on a timeline of over 100,000 years.  To think that the last 500 years is the highest level of advancement for mankind may not be wise, because a 100,000 year timeline is a very long period of time.
     Ancient India is where many vegetable plants were domesticated and hybridized, just like in sites like Cuzco in South America.  Celery is one example of ancient Indian plant domestication skill.  Jute is another good example.  Jute was domesticated in India several thousand years ago.  Jute was developed even further in the middle east and Egypt.  Fibers from jute stems and stalks are used to make carpet.  The leaves of jute are called molokhia and they are an important historic food source.  Most written history about molokhia refers to its use during the age of the pharaohs, but it was a staple food long before that age came to be.  
     During recent years, public interest has grown in ancient super grains and ancient foods as a whole.  Public distrust over modern highly processed food and genetically modified food has caused many to seek ancient food that has not been retouched.  Those who have made ancient grains, heirloom vegetables and natural ancient food part of their diet seem to boast about having better overall physical and mental health.  
     Even a small amount of stress related to what one eats can contribute to a decline in well being.  Stress related eating disorders become more problematic when worrying about whether modified modern food is safe to eat.  Those who realize how dietary stress can affect well being, have taken action and changed their own personal diet to alleviate worries.  This does not mean that drawing the conclusion of strict vegetarianism being the only answer to the problem, because alternative meats like wild game and insects have also come into focus in recent years.  
     Natural food is a theme of this food and recipe site.  The food ranges from high end rich haute French cuisine recipes to basic healthy traditional Native American cuisine and everything in between.  Variety is the spice of life.  When ancient food or alternative healthy food is the theme of a recipe, I let it be known and readers take notice.  
     There are thousands of good molokhia recipes in the middle east and many have been cooked the same way for thousands of years.  Many vegetarians in the western world overlook middle eastern, Persian, Arabic, Egyptian and North African cuisines when they seek recipes.  A high percentage of the food in these cuisines is vegetarian and the flavors cannot be beat!   

     Brown Basmati Rice:
     Basmati rice requires a special middle eastern cooking technique!  Soaking and rinsing produces a light fluffy elongated basmati rice grain. 
     Soak 1/2 cup of brown basmati rice in cold water for 2 hours.
     Rinse the rice 7 times with cold water.
     Place the rice in a sauce pot.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Bring the liquid to a boil over medium high heat.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Place a lid on the pot.
     Cook the rice till it becomes tender.  (about 15 minutes)
     Drain off any excess water.
     Keep the brown basmati rice warm on a stove top.
     Molokhia Soup:
     This recipe makes 1 serving!  Some call molokhia a soup and some call it stew.  It is both!
     Traditional recipes for molokhia do not require complex cooking techniques!  Fresh molokhia leaves are not commonly available outside of its region of origin.  Frozen blanched minced molokhia can be found at middle easter markets and it is a high quality product.
     Place 1 1/3 cups of thawed pre-prepared frozen minced molokhia in a sauce pot.
     Add 2 cups of vegetable broth.
     Add 3 tablespoons of chopped onion.
     Add 2 minced garlic cloves.
     Add 2 tablespoons of tomato puree.
     Add 1/2 of a chopped green onion.
     Add 1 pinch of cumin.
     Add 3 pinches of coriander.
     Add 1 small pinch of mace or nutmeg.
     Add 1 pinch of sumac berry spice.
     Add 2 pinches of fenugreek.
     Add 1 pinch of cardamom.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of ghee (clarified butter) or pomace olive oil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of virgin olive oil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Place the pot over medium low heat.
     Simmer till the vegetables become tender and till the soup becomes a medium thin puree consistency.  Add vegetable broth if the soup becomes too thick.
     Keep the molokhia soup warm over very low heat. 

     Eggplant and Yellow Squash:
     Yellow squash is also call summer squash.  Eggplant soaks up a lot of oil when it is cooked, so a good olive oil blend is needed.  
     Blended olive oil is pomace olive oil that is mixed with a vegetable oil that has a higher smoking point.  Blended olive oil can be made at home by combining oil in a small container.  For pan searing temperatures, blended olive oil will not smoke and turn bitter.  Straight olive oil can only be used at moderate saute temperatures.  Virgin olive oil can only be used for very low temperature saute cooking and it is usually only added for flavor late in a recipe. 
     Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add enough blended olive oil for 1/8" deep layer of oil.
     Add 2 partially crushed cloves of garlic.
     Saute till the garlic turns a light brown color.
     Remove the garlic from the pan.  (Snack on the garlic or add it to the soup!)
     Add 4 thick pieces of eggplant to the garlic oil in the pan.  (About 1 1/2" to 2" cube shaped pieces are good.)
     Add 3 thick pieces of yellow squash that are about 1 1/2" to 2 " thick.
     Saute the eggplant and squash on all sides, till it becomes lightly browned and tender.  Add more blended olive oil, when the eggplant soak the oil up in the pan.  The eggplant will become saturated with oil by the time it finishes being seared.
     Remove the pan from the heat when the vegetables are ready.

     Molokhia with Eggplant, Yellow Squash and Brown Basmati Rice:
     Use a ring mold to place a portion of brown basmati rice in a shallow soup bowl.
     Ladle the molokhia soup into the bowl.
     Arrange the squash and eggplant in the bowl, so they look nice.
     Garnish the rice with thin sliced roasted red bell pepper strips.
     Garnish the roasted red pepper with a cilantro or Italian parsley sprig.

     Molokhia has a mucilaginous texture and a great flavor that takes well to complex spice combinations.  This is a tasty vegetarian soup!  Yum!  ...  Shawna  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spiced Java Pork Loin with Jujube Black Sesame Rice

     As older American readers already know, java means coffee.  Most coffee flavor sauces are made with Tia Maria or Kahlua coffee liquor.  The problem with using coffee liquor, is that by the time the sauce is reduced, it tastes very sweet and the coffee flavor is secondary.  Sweet sauces are nice with pork, but there is such a thing as too sweet.  Making a coffee sauce from scratch is better. 
     Expresso beans are commonly used for garnishing.  For a sauce, it is better to simmer the coffee beans in the sauce, so they are not rock hard.  Most people do not eat coffee bean garnishes, but those who do, surely do not want to break a tooth on rock hard coffee beans.
     When black sesame seeds are added at the start of cooking white rice, they will stain the rice with a gray color.  Gray is not usually though of as being a choice food presentation shade, but it does add visual contrast.  Jujube are Korean red dates. These dates are naturally sweet and they have a one of a kind rich date flavor that compliments the flavor of coffee.

     Glace Viande:
     Place 4 pounds of veal bones, lamb bones, beef bones, pork bones and meat scraps into a roasting pan.
     Add 5 ounces of tomato paste.
     Add 8 to 10 ounces of rustic un-peeled mirepoix of carrot, celery and onion.
     Stir the mixture together.
     Roast the mixture in a 350º oven, till the bones and vegetables caramelize to a deep brown color.  (Stir the ingredients occasionally.)
     Place the roasted bones and mirepoix into a stock pot.
     Deglaze the roast pan with water and add the jus to the stock pot.
     Cover the bones with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
     Turn the temperature to medium low heat and simmer for 4 hours.
     Add water occasionally to cover the bones.
     Strain the stock through a fine sieve.
     Discard the bones and vegetables.
     Skim off the grease.
     Reduce the meat stock by a little more than half.
     This is a very rich unseasoned stock that can be frozen in portions for later use.
     The glace should be able to thinly coat and glaze the back of a spoon.
     When the glace viande is used in recipes, it will be reduced to a slightly thicker consistency. 

     Jujube Black Sesame Rice:
     Place 6 dried pitted Korean red dates in a small sauce pot.
     Cover the dates with water.
     Simmer over low heat, till the dates become tender.
     Drain the water off of the dates and set them aside.
     Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil over high heat.
     Add 3/4 cup of long grain rice.
     Add 1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add the reserved jujubes.
     Add 3 drops of pure sesame oil.
     Return the liquid to a boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Simmer and steam the rice, till it becomes tender.
     Keep the rice warm on a stove top.

     Spiced Java Glace:
     Heat a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of water.
     Add 2 tablespoons of sugar.
     Boil till the water evaporates, then keep a close eye on the sugar.
     Allow the molten sugar to cook through the candy stages.
     When the sugar enters the caramel stages, allow the sugar to caramelize to a light brown color.
     Immediately add 1 cup of coffee.
     Add 1/3 cup of light pork broth.
     Add 1 1/2 ounces of brandy.
     Add 3 ounces of glace viande.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of palm sugar.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Add 1 small pinch of cardamom.
     Add 1 small pinch of fenugreek.
     Add 1 small pinch of allspice.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 8 to 10 roasted coffee beans.
     Return the liquid to a boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce, till the sauce can coat the back of a spoon. (nappe)
     Add 1/2 pat of unsalted butter, while stirring.  
     Keep the sauce warm on a stove top.
     Reheat the sauce when the pork loin is ready.  Add pork broth or coffee, if the sauce becomes too thick.
     Pork Loin:
     Select a lean piece of pork loin that weighs 6 to 8 ounces.
     Season the pork loin with sea salt and black pepper.
     Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
     Add 1 pat of unsalted butter.
     Sear the pork loin on all sides, till the pork loin becomes browned.
     Place the browned pork loin on a roasting rack on a roasting pan.
     Brush the pork loin with a little bit of the spiced java glace.  Just a thin coating is enough!
     Roast the pork loin in a 325º oven, till it becomes fully cooked.  (A probe thermometer in the center of the pork loin should read 145º to 155º.)
     Place the roasting pan on a stove top and allow the pork to rest for 1 to 2 minutes.
     Spiced Java Pork Loin with Jujube Black Sesame Rice:
     Warm the spiced java glace over very low heat.
     Use a custard cup mold to place the jujube black sesame rice on a plate.
     Place a vegetable of your choice next to the rice.  (Roasted poblano pepper strips are the vegetable in the pictures.)
     Slice the pork loin into 1/4" thick slices.  Be sure to wipe the knife blade clean, between each slice, so the white meat is not stained! 
     Fan the pork loin slices on the plate, so they overlap.
     Spoon a small amount of the spiced java glace and the coffee beans over the back edge of the roasted pork.  (Do not smother the white pork meat, like the sauce is some kind of gravy.  The white meat should be exposed!)
     Spoon a generous amount of the sauce decoratively on the plate.
     No garnish is necessary!

     One taste is all it takes!  The sauce is bold tasting, yet refined.  This is a great recipe for spring.  Yum!  ...  Shawna  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Herbs de Provence Crusted Monte Cristo of Hickory Smoked Turkey and Roasted Red Pepper with Blackberry Preserves

Another gourmet monte cristo!

     Few restaurants offer monte cristo sandwiches these days.  It is just a matter of time till this sandwich becomes popular once again.  The monte cristo was too popular, to simply become a relic of the past.  
     Classic monte cristos were always served with jelly, jam or fruit preserves.  I made a batch of blackberry preserves for a few monte cristo recipes.  The trick was to create flavors on the sandwich that would taste good with the blackberry preserves.  The combination of smoked turkey, emmentaler (swiss cheese) and roasted red pepper on today's monte cristo tastes nice with the preserves.  The herbs de provence add a classic French spring and summer herb flavor.
     Since gruyere or emmentaler cheese were the original cheese on a monte cristo, it is not necessary to mention the name of the cheese in the recipe title.  I chose a few nice gourmet cheeses for some of the recent monte cristo recipes and the names were mentioned in the recipe title.  Whenever a modification is made to a classic recipe, it is required to let the customer know.   

     Blackberry Preserves:
     This is a small batch recipe that makes about 1 1/2 cups of preserves!  No canning is involved and this small amount can easily be consumed within the Servesafe prepared food time limit of 7 days.  The preserves do have to be refrigerated.  If this recipe is multiplied for large batch canning, then it will have to be slightly modified, so the preserves do not turn out to be too thick. 
     When selecting fresh blackberries for making preserves, fresh black berries that are on the verge of becoming overripe are the best!  The only problem is that fully ripened blackberries can have tough crunchy seeds.  It is best to taste a few of the blackberries and decide from the start whether the seeds will be too tough.  If the seed are unpalatable, then press the finished batch of preserved through a small mesh strainer to remove the seeds.  When the seeds are removed, it can no longer be called blackberry preserves and it must be called blackberry jam! 
     Place 2 1/3 cups of blackberries in a colander and thoroughly wash the berries under cold running water.
     Place the blackberries in a small stainless steel sauce pot.
     Add enough water to cover the blackberries with an extra inch of water.
     Add 1 small pinch of cinnamon.
     Add 1 small pinch of nutmeg.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
     Add 1 pinch of ground ginger.
     Add 1/2 cup of sugar.
     Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer till the blackberries become soft.
     Add 3 ounces of liquid pectin.
     Simmer and reduce, till the blackberries melt into the sauce and the sauce is able to coat the back of a spoon like a glazing syrup.
     Cool the preserves to room temperature.
     Strain the preserves if the seeds are too tough.  (optional)
     Refrigerate the preserves in a container, till the pectin and sugar gels.  (about 24 hours)
     Serve small portions in a ramekin at room temperature, so the flavors are at their peak! 

     Herbs de Provence Crusted Monte Cristo of Hickory Smoked Turkey and Roasted Red Pepper with Blackberry Preserves :
     Place 2 eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 pinches of herbs du provence.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Whisk till the mixture is blended.
     Set the egg wash aside, so the flavors meld.
     Cut 2 slices of French bread.
     Place a few thin slices of emmentaler cheese (swiss cheese) on one slice of bread.
     Place 4 to 5 ounces of thin sliced smoked turkey breast on the cheese.
     Place a few wide strips of roasted red bell pepper on the turkey.
     Place a few thin slices of emmentaler on the red pepper.
     Place the top slice of bread on the sandwich.
     Heat a non-stick or seasoned saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 5 pats of unsalted butter.
     Dip both the top and bottom of the the sandwich in the egg batter.
     Place the sandwich in the hot butter.
     Pan fry, till the egg coating turns a golden color.
     Use a spatula to flip the sandwich.
     Pan fry till the eggs on the bottom half become golden in color.
     Place the pan in a 350º oven.
     Bake until the egg coating becomes a golden brown color.
     Place the sandwich on a cutting board and cut it in half.
     Place the sandwich halves on a plate.
     Lightly dust the sandwich with powdered sugar.
     Place a ramekin of the blackberry preserves on the plate.
     Garnish with an Italian parsley sprig and pickles.

     I posted a monte cristo recipe with smoked turkey and aged gouda cheese a few months ago.  Today's Herbs de Provence Crusted Monte Cristo of Hickory Smoked Turkey and Roasted Red Pepper has a flavor that is more mellow.  Yum!  ...  Shawna