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Good morning, GUSrescuers!  You are reading this diary on Sunday a.m. whilst I am trapped at an undisclosed location (the cabin at the lake!!!!).  Someone needs to check to see if the 17 bowls of water and 20 pounds of food I left for Roger the Cat for 48 hours is sufficient.

I'm typing sort of wine tipsy so you will have to ignore the errors which could be found abundantly in a citizenx diary if the Texan ever wrote one -- JUST ONE!!!!

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What the hell do you cook when you are kidnapped and trapped at a primitive lake cottage in the practically very real winter?????  Ok, well I'll tell you what -- because, as Steve Buscemi said in "Armageddon,"  I'm a f'ing genius!

Beef Wellington (a la Gordon Ramsay)

1 lb filet mignon
1 lb mushroom
6 -8 slices procuitto ham
1 large shallot
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Grey Poupon
1 (10 ounce) package puff pastry
flour, to dust
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons thyme
1 dash sea salt, to taste
1 dash pepper, to taste

Directions:

1
heat olive oil in a frying pan.

2
season fillet with garlic powder, basil, salt & pepper.

3
sear on all sides for 25 seconds. (you dont want to cook it at this stage, just color it.).

4
remove fillet from the pan and leave to cool.

5
put the mushrooms, shallots & garlic in a food processor with thyme, salt & pepper -- pulse to a rough paste.

6
scrape the mixture into the same pan and cook over high heat for 10-15 minutes, tossing frequently, to cook out all of the moisture from the mushrooms. spread out on a plate to cool.

7
brush the fillet with mustard.

8
preheat the oven to 400.

9
lay a sheet of cling wrap on a work surface and arrange the procuitto slices on it, in slightly overlapping rows.

10
spread the mushroom paste over the ham, then place the seared fillet in the middle.

11
spread more mushroom paste on top of the fillet and top with the remaining procuitto.

12
using the cling wrap, neatly roll the procuitto and mushrooms around the fillet and twist the ends to secure. chill for 15 minutes to allow the fillet to set and keep its shape.

13
roll out puff pastry on a floured surface til the thickness of a penny and brush with egg yolk.

14
remove the plastic wrap from the beef and lay in the center.

15
fold the ends over and then wrap the fillet in pastry, cutting off any excess. turn over so the seam is on the bottom and place on a baking sheet.

16
brush all over with egg yolk and chill for 15 minutes to let the pastry rest.

17
lightly score the pastry in 3 places and glaze again with egg yolk.

18
bake for 20 minutes, then lower the oven setting to 350 and cook another 10 minutes.

19
allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

20
the beef should still be slightly pink in the center.

Julia Child's Potato Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

4 pounds boiling potatoes, thinly sliced (food processor works well)
2 sticks butter, melted
Salt/pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Clarify the butter (melt and let the white pieces move to the top).  Using a basting bulb, squeeze the end of it in the clear butter -- use only this -- otherwise the potatoes will stick.  

 In a 10-inch cast iron skillet or other very heavy pan, put in 1/4 cup clarified butter, arrange potato slices around the pan, covering the bottom in a design.  Salt and pepper the potato layers, pouring on a bit more butter, then salt/pepper and arrange two other layers.  Continue layering the potatoes, butter, salt/pepper, until the potatoes are all used.   Take a smaller pan with a flat bottom and press down to compress the potatoes into a cake.

Put in the oven for 20 minutes.  (As a safety precaution, put something under the potatoes to catch any butter that may spatter.)  Remove from the oven and press down on the potatoes again.  Return to the oven for 25 more minutes.  Remove to compess the layers again.  You can return for 5 more minutes or, if you need to bake something in the oven, finish the potatoes over the burner on low, until the main dish is cooked.  Invert onto plate and cut into wedges.
(From Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two, Julia Child)

Creme Brulee

Ingredients

1 quart heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup vanilla sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks
2 quarts hot water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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