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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The "Beautiful People" spice

"I refuse to believe that trading recipes is silly. Tuna fish casserole is at least as real as corporate stock." ~Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

Copyright by, 2012
   "Beau Monde..Beau Monde." Nope! No such thing as a spice called Beau Monde on the shelves of UK grocery stores. Back in America Beau Monde is available in nearly every supermarket. I've used it liberally for thirty years and it is a signature of my cooking. Well, I do not want to cook in a world without Beau Monde, so I will have to make my own!    Fortunately this is easy, for this spice consists of equal amounts of onion powder and celery salt. One might be tempted to say,
   "Bah! Why do you need this spice mixture at all? Just pour in some of each and call it good." I can only answer that it is not the same. Some alchemical action occurs when these two spices meet and the result is taste bud nirvana. 
   My main use of Beau Monde is as a rub for meat. It it delicious on chicken, pork, or beef. For all three I make a rub of 1 part Beau Monde, 1 part garlic powder, 1 part Lemon Pepper. Make sure to dry the meat first with paper towel when initially removing it from its packaging. Thoroughly rub the surface with this mixture. Allow the meat to sit for 10 minutes or so to soak up the flavor and then grill, saute, or roast. 
   I season everything from scrambled eggs to tuna casserole with Beau Monde. It is fabulous splashed over homemade crisps (French fries for my American readers), or fried potatoes--just the last five minutes before serving. 
   My very first recipe using this spice was developed at age fourteen while babysitting. I was told I could help myself to anything in the kitchen--but they didn't stock typical teenage snack food. Perusing the cupboards I found cans of mushrooms, Beau Monde, and Lemon Pepper! The holy trinity of spices.  
   After the kids were in bed for the night I opened a can of mushrooms, drained them, melted butter in a saute pan, added the mushrooms and allowed them to brown nicely. Then I sprinkled them with equal parts of the holy trinity of spices and a whole new meaning of Yum was created. Now days I add to this recipe by pouring a splash of good sherry over the mushrooms and allowing it to cook down for two minutes before serving.

Tuna Noodle Casserole
American cooks note: this is not your mother or grandmother's post WWII recipe using ultra cheap cat food tuna, canned peas, and a can of mushroom soup mix. My recipe is good enough to fix for company. Just serve with a simple tossed green salad dressed with a Dijon vinaigrette, and accompany with fresh baked rolls or a loaf or artisan cheese bread. Delish!

One pound of pasta, cooked, drained and placed in a 9x13 casserole dish, covered (I like to use farfalle but shells work great too)
Three 130 Gram cans of tuna steak in spring water (Americans use two 5 ounce cans of solid packed Albacore tuna in spring water)
One pound of fresh mushrooms, sliced
One large white onion, finely diced
8 Tablespoons of butter
3 cloves fresh garlic, finely diced
4 Tablespoons of flour
2 cups (16 ounces) of evaporated milk
1/2 cup (8 ounces) of hot water
2 tsp. Beau Monde
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
A splash of Tabasco sauce
2 ounces Oloroso or Amontillado sherry (if you cook with sherry, it should be good enough to drink on its own--please do not use "cooking sherry"; Harvey;s Bristol Cream sherry works fine)
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon of fresh parsley, finely diced, optional
6 ounces of finely shredded extra mature cheddar cheese
6 ounces of finely grated Parmesan cheese
Two small packets of plain salted crisps (potato chips), ground to crumbs
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees (Gas mark 4) or gas mark 5 in a boat oven

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water and drain. Pour into a 9x13 casserole dish and cover until the sauce is ready. Set aside.

Heat 4 T. butter in a large saute pan on medium high heat. Once it melts, add mushrooms and saute until all juice is evaporated and the mushrooms begin to brown. Add in the onions. Cook until the onions are tender and transparent--about five minutes. Season with 1 tsp. of Beau Monde, fresh diced garlic, and lemon pepper. Cook for another minute or so to let flavors mix. Add the sherry and stir, cooking for about another 2 minutes. Set aside.

In a large sauce pan, melt remaining 4 T. butter on medium heat. Add flour and stir creating a roux. Cook for five minutes, stirring, to remove the raw lour taste and allow the roux to brown slightly. Add the milk and whisk constantly, turning the heat down to medium low. As the white sauce begins to thicken it is fine to turn up the heat a tad bit. Bring it to a light boil, stirring constantly or it will burn and stick to the pan. Add hot water which will thin the sauce. Keep stirring and bring it back to a boil. Your sauce should have the consistency of gravy--not too thick, and not soupy and thin.

Turn off the heat and add in the mushrooms, onions and spices. Make sure you scrape the saute pan well as you want all that flavor in your white sauce. Add a splash of Tabasco, the remaining tsp. of Beau Monde, parsley, and drained tuna. Stir to mix but leave chunks of tuna--don't reduce it to strands. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove cover from cooked noodles and pour the sauce over the top. Fold in with a spatula to ensure all the noodles are coated with sauce and it is distributed evenly throughout the casserole dish. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese across the top and then using a butter knife, cut it randomly into the sauce and noodles. If you want a crunchy, salty topping now is the time to top the casserole with the potato chip (crisp) crumbs and finally the Parmesan cheese. Cover gently with tinfoil and bake for thirty minutes. Remove tinfoil and allow the top to crisp up and turn golden--another 15 minutes should do it. Remove form the oven and let sit for about 8 minutes. Serves four.


Anonymous said...

Have had the pleasure of Reading NB Valerie; as difficult to stop reading as a good mystery novel. And more so after my friend Mike and Phil Muir were seen on the rear deck of NB Valerie. I have known Mike for at least 30 years and Phillipa somewhat less. I shall miss them when they return/retire to the UK. Mike and I are sidecarists once and lovers of the steel wheel on the iron or steel wheel (railways).

Hence they put me on to "canal" boats and the people who dwell upon them. Fascinating, but then here in Ontario, the Trent-Severn waterway is our own form of "small canal" unlike the huge canals on the St.Lawrence Seaway
and Jaq's large canals in the western USA.

I shall be visiting Mike and his wife, for the last time here in Canada sometime in the next week.
Have old them a photograph of me, standing beside them will show that I can not fit, vertically in a canal boat, in fact in most floating vessels, not enough headroom! Or width. My Google
moniker explains the situation. Then too, due to continuing health problems a trip overseas anytime in the future is not in the cards.

Some questions, then.
Photographically speaking what are you/Les utilzing for a photographic device?

The ingredients in the foods for say visitors who drop in (float in?) from seemingly nowhere. When you lived in Pullman, as much as here you went to the chest or upright freezer, pulled something out and then thawed same and warmed it or cooked it. With no visible freezer on board your NB and a very small (compared to North America refrigerator how do you manage to produced such delectable and a fattening meals and cakes and the like?

Do you have problems on the boats with what we call house flies (have you tried a traditional fly swatter instead of the fun?), spiders, cockroaches, ants and

And a report came over the airwaves that a substantial fine would be imposed if anyone was found to be using a hose for watering the garden anywhere(the UK calls them hose pipes)due to the lack of water just about anywhere.

Here is southern Ontario we didn't have much of a winter; the fields are not wet enough yet for planting, a scarcity of rain and nearly no snow or real cold this winter means this coming summer may well be very hot and dry.

Oh and Les didn't enjoy the summer heat you had for in Pullman, something here in Southern Ontario which is common in the summer ie 30 to 35 degrees
in the summer, on a regular basis.Seems we either have a cold weather alert in the winter OR
a high heat alert in the summer.

Mike and Phil can tell you all about this part of Canada. BTW suspect the geographic size of the UK would fit in very nicely in Southern Ontario.

Perhaps Mike and Phil will require some coaching living and operating the NV Garnet on canals
and byways in the uK.

Oh and as an aside how do you handle money? Is there a central postal drop point for letters and such? Do you have a bank account
where? How is money handled, obtained when living on a NB? Assume what we call ATM's abound however the home or base account is where?

Ditto other of life's requirements Medical care (National scheme as here, no doubt
but is there a floating doctor

Many questions few visible replies.

It's now about 5 degrees outside here in Burlington, sunny with a cool 20 km/h breeze blowing.

And how has Jaq adopted to living in a different country/world versus a set not moving home?

Bryce Lee
Burlington Ontario
Canada, eh?

Les Biggs said...

Hi Bryce
Jaq will e mail you

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs