Monday, March 9, 2009

"Everybody Loves Parfait!" Dinner

Donkey: You know what else everybody likes? Parfaits. Have you ever met a person, you say, "Let's get some parfait," they say, "He$$ no, I don't like no parfait"? Parfaits are delicious.
Shrek: No! You dense, irritating, miniature beast of burden! Ogres are like onions! End of story. Bye-bye. See ya later.

My quest for parfait started last week, when I had some leftover lemons (already zested) that I wanted to use up. It turned out I needed lemon zest for that... But I did have some limes in the fridge! So lime it was. But what with one thing and another, I didn't get around to making the parfaits until last night.

Since I shifted the bulk of my weekly grocery shopping to Monday, I was really glad that my "easy" Sunday meal also got moved to Monday. I was excited to try Kat and Matt's Peanut Turkey Burger from A Good Appetite. I served them with sweet potato "fries" that I bake in the oven, and some Texas Cold Slaw. Yes, it really is called "Cold" Slaw as opposed to "Cole" Slaw. The sweet, tangy coleslaw perfectly played off the Asian notes in the burger. And sweet potato fries: they're good with anything!

Before I rhapsodize about the burger, let me just say a few words (E, I can hear you snickering!) about the Texas Cold Slaw and my fries. As you know, "cole slaw" comes from the Dutch word "koolsla", meaning cabbage salad. The original koolsla was dressed with vinegar. Adding mayonnaise must be an American touch. This isn't your typical mayonnaisey slaw. It has a boiled dressing flavored with ground ginger, allspice, turmeric, and brown sugar. The recipe as written is also unusual in that it calls for cucumber and green pepper and no carrots. Since DC doesn't care for cucumbers, I shredded up a carrot. DS loves this salad so much, there is a permanent turmeric stain on the carpet where he dropped his plate after getting seconds.

Here is our bowl of "Texas Cold Slaw."

As I mentioned, I also made sweet potato fries to go with the burgers. I was lucky yesterday-- Whole Foods had locally grown purple sweet potatoes. I already had some North Carolina Jewels (orange) at home and I thought they would look pretty together.

Oooooh, pretty!
If you've never made sweet potato fries, it's very easy. They are so much more nutritious than regular potatoes, are colorful, and tasty. I usually figure 1/2 to 1 sweet potato per person. Cut the ends off the sweet potatoes, peel them, and slice into "steak fries." Then put the sweet potatoes in a big bowl and toss with some olive oil, enough to thoroughly coat them, so they'll get sort of crispy in the oven. You can season them however you like; I use Tony Chacheres Original Creole Seasoning

and some black pepper, to give them a little spice. The seasoning mixture is already quite salty so I usually don't add additional salt. I bake them at 425F on a foil-lined baking sheet (sprayed with non-stick spray) for 30 minutes. You can turn them halfway through if you like; I usually don't bother. Check them after 30 min. If they are tender, you can either serve them as is, or, turn the oven off and leave them in there for 10 minutes or so to crisp up. We love 'em that way!

Here are my sweet potato fries coming out of the oven.
I love the mix of colors! The purple ones are even sweeter than the orange variety. (If you are interested in potato varieties, this site is informative.)

The burgers! Peanut Turkey Burgers! They were AWESOME. And to be honest, I don't much care for turkey burgers-- they are usually so dry and tasteless. What rescues these from that dreadful fate is the combination of peanut butter, sesame oil and carrot, adding some much needed moisture back to the meat. Isn't Matt a genius?

I actually used a mixture of 2/3 ground white meat chicken to 1 part ground turkey for ours, as that's what I had on hand. I'm not very good at cutting julienne, so my carrot pieces were bigger than ideal, but I really did not have time to fool with them (since I had spent time making dessert). Next time I think I will just use my 3x3mm julienne slicing blade on the food processor to shred them. I personally liked the crunch of the bigger pieces. I glanced over at DC's plate, however, and there was a large pile of carrots he had surgically excised from his burger!

Here are the ingredients (I made the "monster truck" version since DS is with us this week):

(You can see the julienne carrot is way too big, thank God I'm not in cooking school!)

Kat & Matt's Peanut Turkey Burgers adapted for Chez Letarte:
1 lb. ground white meat chicken and 1/4 lb. ground white meat turkey
1 lg. carrot, julienned
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 t. ground ginger
1 t. kosher salt
3 T natural fresh ground peanut butter (I grind it at Whole Foods and it's what I had on hand)
1 t. sesame oil
1 t. sriracha chili sauce
1 t. or so of water (to make the meat easier to work)

I mixed it all together, shaped it into our monster burgers, and cooked it on my griddle, 6 min. per side. They turned out perfect!! Kat and Matt said to serve them with garlic mayonnaise, but I cheated and just added crushed garlic and salt to some Hellmann's. It really complemented the burgers well!

Here they are, cooking on my griddle.

And here is DC's lovely plate of open face Peanut Turkey burger, Texas Cold Slaw, and sweet potato fries.

These burgers were so wonderful, I am giving Kat and Matt an award:
Thanks for sharing, and pass it on!

But what would dinner be without dessert?

And now, for our feature presentation: Lime and Raspberry "Oreo" Parfaits

I made this recipe up my ownself, and made a few little mistakes, which I have corrected for your benefit. My main mistake was putting too much lime zest in the lime mousse base. I had looked at an Ina Garten recipe, and while I thought zesting ALL the limes was a bit much, I gave it a try. We all agreed that it added too much of a bitter note to the mousse. Some bitter is good in such a sweet dish, but this was distracting. I fixed it in the version below. I had too much mousse left over, so I have reduced the recipe for you also.

My original recipe for Lime and Raspberry "Oreo" Parfaits
makes 4 servings
2 limes
3/4 c. sugar
4T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 extra-large eggs
a pinch of salt
1 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream (don't those words just make you happy?)
1 T powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
4 oz. fresh raspberries (set aside 4 pretty ones for garnish)
1/4 c. orange juice
2 T Chambord (don't worry, we will boil the alcohol away)
1 t. light brown sugar
1 c. crushed Famous Chocolate Wafers

The basic idea is this: you make a lime curd which then becomes a mousse with the addition of whipped cream. Then layer with raspberries and cookie crumbs.
Having tried peeling the limes with a vegetable peeler, a zester, and a microplane grater, I am convinced the microplaner is the way to do since you won't get any of the bitter white pith with the zest.

You can see the large curl of peel the vegetable peeler produced, as well as the pretty little strips produced by the zester (which is a pain to use).

Use the microplaner to remove the zest from 1 lime. Blitz up the lime zest with the sugar in your food processor, until the zest is finely ground. This produces some cool lime sugar, which I must find another use for.

Lime sugar!

Squeeze your limes, you need 1/4 c. juice.

Using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and lime sugar together well. Add the salt, mix to combine. Then add the eggs, one at a time, and don't be a doofus like me and crack your egg over the mixer while it is running. (I knew better, but was in a hurry. Then I had to stop to pick egg shell out of the lime curd base). Beat in the lime juice.


Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. I don't have a double boiler, but my bowls fit great over my All-Clad saucepans. If you want to try this, just be sure to keep a good hold on the bowl, and point the saucepan handle toward the back of the stove.

Here is our simmering water.

And here is my bowl on top of the simmering water.

Now cook the lime curd base, constantly stirring with a flat whisk.

After about 10 minutes, it will start to thicken, and also get clearer and kind of shiny.
You should be able to do this with a wooden spoon:

You can see how nice and thick the lime curd is. It will firm up more as it cools.

The finished lime curd. Let cool to room temperature, cover and chill.

Now, since I needed to cool this in a hurry, I put the lime curd in an ice-water bath, by filling a larger bowl with water and ice.

I just whisked constantly until the mixture was cold, about 5-10 minutes.

Next, I put 3/4 c. heavy cream in the stand mixture and whipped it until it was stiff. I folded the cream into the lime curd to make lime mousse. If I hadn't cooled the curd down, it would have melted the whipped cream.


The finished mousse
Cover and chill.

Next, I made the syrup for the raspberries by putting the orange juice, brown sugar and the Chambord into a glass measure and boiling in the microwave until reduced to 2 T (1/8th cup). Use a 4 c. measure so it won't boil over, and check it every minute. Takes about 5 minutes of boiling in the microwave to reduce down. Chambord is a black raspberry liqueur. If you don't have any, Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Triple Sec would also be fine. Or just more orange juice :) Don't worry about alcohol content, all the alcohol will be boiled away.

The finished syrup.
Let it cool, then pour it over the raspberries and allow to macerate for a while at room temp.

Don't the raspberries look pretty with the syrup on them? They will release a little juice as they macerate.

Next, make the chantilly cream by whipping together the remaining 1/2 c. heavy cream, 1 T powdered sugar, and 1/2 t. vanilla. This should not be stiff, but it should be able to hold its shape. Cover and chill.

Now for the "oreo" crumbs. Want to know a secret? I hate Oreos! I have always hated Oreos! The part I can't stand about them is the white filling, I like the cookie part fine. For our parfait, we are going to use the Chantilly cream as the "oreo" filling. I was so happy when I discovered that Famous Chocolate Wafers taste just like the chocolate cookie part of the oreo!

To make the crumbs, put about 10 or so chocolate wafers in a ziplock bag, seal it (squoosh out the air first), and pulverize with a rolling pin.


After! That's how the cookie crumbles!

Finally, it's time to assemble our Lime Raspberry "Oreo" Parfaits!
This is how I did it. But it's your parfait, you can do it however you want.

In a parfait glass, stemmed goblet, martini glass or whatever you have, put about a teaspoon of chocolate crumbs in the bottom.

Cover with a spoonful of Chantilly cream. Then add another layer of cookie crumbs.

Now, spoon in some lime mousse, and on top of that, some razzleberries.

Repeat the layering, ending with the lime mouse. Sprinkle the top of the parfait with cookie crumbs. Add a dollop of the Chantilly cream, and a fresh raspberry.

Donkey would be proud!

C'est parfait! :)

Texas Cold Slaw

"Crunchy cabbage, cucumbers and peppers are tossed with onion-turmeric vinaigrette ...

See Texas Cold Slaw on Key Ingredient.

Peanut Turkey Burger

This zippy turkey burger, jazzed up with sriracha sauce, is ...

See Peanut Turkey Burger on Key Ingredient.

Lime and Raspberry "Oreo" Parfaits

Lime mousse is layered with crushed chocolate wafer crumbs, whipped ...

See Lime and Raspberry "Oreo" Parfaits on Key Ingredient.


  1. Everything looks fabulous! I love the burgers, yummy flavors going on there. And the parfait is the perfect scrumptious ending!

  2. The turkey burgers sound wonderful. And your parfait looks amazing with fresh raspberries and liqueur - sooo good!

  3. Awesome job Karen. It all looks wonderful. When did you say I was invited over for some parfaits? I'm pretty much open this weekend.

  4. Glad the burgers were a hit. I have to tell you we made our garlic mayo the exact same way you did!


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