Saturday, January 22, 2011

Waiter! There's a FIRE in my soup!

After being away for a couple of days, I thought the blog needed to come back with some flash, some pizazz, something showy and impressive...

Well almost nothing is more impressive than serving your dinner guests food that is on fire (as long as it is supposed to be on fire)

Flambé is typically done at a dramatic point in the preparation of a meal to create an impressive visual presentation. Flames result from a partial combustion of the flammable alcohol, which is quickly consumed, subsequently extinguishing the flames. Some alcohol content does remain after the flames go out.

Flambéing is used to add to the food the flavor of the a warm liqueur that is ignited, so while any 80 proof liqueur may be used, select one with flavor so it will add new tasty properties to your dish or dessert.

Flambé foods are usually made in front of guests, to add a special ambiance to your table. But always remember that you will be dealing with fire so take all precautionary measures (a big lid to cover the bowl or pan, don't carry the dish while on fire and do the flambé on a serving cart not on the actual table).

The best choices are Brandies (both regular and flavored), Cognac, Dark Rums, Whiskeys, Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Triple Sec. Always choose a liqueur that is at least 80 proof, or 40% alcohol by volume. Of course, the higher the proof, the longer the flames will last. Everclear or 151 are much higher in alcoholic content and will burn much faster but are also much more dangerous. Wine and beer have much lower alcohol content and cannot be used to flambé.

When people think flambé, most people think Bananas Foster or Crepe Susette. I don't like bananas and I have future plans for crepes in another blog. Therefore, if we're going to play with food and we're going to play with fire, let's start with something completely different. How about soup? I really recommend when making these dishes have your dinner guests in the kitchen with you, or dine in the kitchen to begin with.

Spicy Shrimp Bisque Flambé


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper and 1/2 teaspoon adobo sauce
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Sherry wine
  • 3 tablespoons Brandy
  • 1 cup half and half
  • parsley sprigs for garnish
  • lemon wedges


  1. In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add shrimp shells and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
  2. Deglaze pan with wine, scraping up any brown bits.
  3. Add chicken broth and return to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Strain the mixture through a sieve, reserving the stock, and into a separate bowl. Discard solids.
  5. In the same saucepan, melt the remaining butter. Add shrimp to the pot and cook for 3 minutes until just turning opaque.
  6. Remove the shrimp and reserve in a bowl.
  7. Stir in the onion, carrot and celery to the pot and cook over medium heat until they are tender, about 10 minutes.
  8. Stir in the chipotle, adobo, tomato paste, thyme, paprika, 1/4 cup Sherry and Brandy. Bring to a boil.
  9. Move the saucepan off the heat and carefully ignite the brandy. Allow the flame to burn out.
  10. Add the reserved stock and half of shrimp.
  11. With stick blender (or food processor) blend the soup until smooth.
  12. Add bay leaf. Return to heat for 5 minutes.
  13. Stir in 2 tablespoons sherry and half and half.
  14. Add remaining shrimp to soup. Ladle the spicy shrimp bisque flambe into soup bowls, garnish with parsley sprigs, lemon wedges, and serve.

Wow a soup! But it wasn't really flambé, because it wasn't served on fire. Ok, fine, a challenge then. How about spinach that would make Popeye cry? And this one IS served on fire.

Spinach Salad Flambé


  • 6 slices of pancetta cut into 1/2” pieces
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 pound baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
  • 1/2 pound white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • shaved Pecorino-Romano cheese


  1. In a large skillet cook the pancetta over medium heat until just crisp.
  2. Remove the pancetta and drain on a paper towel.
  3. Mix the honey, vinegar, and salt into the pancetta fat and heat until just boiling.
  4. Place the spinach, mushrooms, and eggs in a large salad bowl.
  5. Pour the honey mixture over the spinach, mushrooms, and eggs and toss lightly.
  6. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze over the spinach.
  7. Return the pancetta to the skillet and add the brandy. Heat the brandy over low heat until just warm.
  8. Ignite the brandy and pour over the spinach.
  9. Toss the salad gently and serve immediately.
That's right. The salad. The salad. The salad's on fire! We don' need no water! let the...

Flaming Han Asian Vodka Thai Barbecued Rock Cornish Game Hens


  • 4 Cornish Game Hens
  • 3 medium plum or vine ripened tomatoes, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
  • 3 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Thai sweet chilli sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup Han Asian Vodka


  1. Place tomatoes, garlic, onion, ginger, fish sauce, lime juice, rce wine vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil in a food processor and puree to a smooth sauce.
  2. Coat the hens in the sauce and leave them to marinate in the refrigerator for 1-8 hours.
  3. Prepare a barbecue to a moderate heat. Place the hens on the barbecue and cook them for 5-7 minutes per side, brushing them regularly with the excess sauce. Check internal temperature at the base of thigh is at least 170 degrees.
  4. Remove the hens from the barbecue and keep them warm until ready to serve or allow them to cool and serve them at room temperature. Serve with sweet chilli sauce (optional).
  5. Transfer hens to heated (and heatproof) serving dish. Warm vodka in a small saucepan and ignite it. Pour over the hens and serve flaming.

In all seriousness folks, flambe is DANGEROUS. Exercise CAUTION!
Keep a fire extinguisher handy, a large cover for your pan, and use Fireplace Matches or BBQ Lighter

That's soup, salad, and a main course, what more could you want? What dessert too? What do you expect out of me Flaming Babka? Vanilla Pudding flambe? Oh Oh I know, Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches on Fire! Nope. None of those are going to happen.

Creme Brulee


  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cognac or brandy (flavored brandy is a good idea as well)


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Beat egg yolks, 4 tablespoons sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl until thick and creamy.
  3. Pour cream into a saucepan and stir over low heat until it almost comes to boil. Remove the cream from heat immediately. Stir cream into the egg yolk mixture; beat until combined.
  4. Pour cream mixture into the top of a double boiler. Stir over simmering water until mixture lightly coats the back of a spoon; approximately 3 minutes. Remove mixture from heat immediately and pour into a shallow heat-proof dish.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or overnight.
  6. In a small bowl combine remaining 2 tablespoons white sugar and brown sugar. Sift this mixture evenly over custard.
  7. Pour Brandy or liqueur over sugar mixture and ignite.
Wow... no blog for two days and I go off on a roll! four recipes, three video links, and all sorts of fiery goodness.

Thank you everyone for your patience. Now to a little business. The "Bribe" campaign is over. I now need to get cracking on a bunch of handmade projects. Thanks to everyone here and on Facebook for participating.

Starting today I have a new project for everyone. This is one part Iron Chef and one part Stump the Band. I'm looking for a challenge. Hit me with your requests. If I can afford the ingredients, I will make it, photograph it and post the recipe. Come on every one, let's have some fun!

Until next time, I wish everyone Peace, Love, and Hollandaise Sauce!

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