Thursday, January 09, 2014

Beef Roulade



For Zoe, who seemed to enjoy these.


1 boneless bottom round roast, sliced into 1/4" thick slabs

Stuffing
2 large eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter
2 cups soft bread crumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Gravy
8oz sliced mushrooms
1/2 medium onion, chopped
a sprig of rosemary
1 can tomato sauce
2c beef broth
1 cup red wine
S&P
Preheat oven to 400f degrees.

Prepare the beef: have the butcher slice a boneless bottom round roast into 1/4-inch thick slabs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; set aside.

Prepare the stuffing: melt 1/4 cup butter in a large skillet and add soft bread crumbs and garlic; sauté for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped hard-boiled eggs, chopped parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Combine: divide the stuffing evenly and spoon onto the beef slices; roll each piece jelly roll fashion.
Sear: Melt 1/4 cup butter in the skillet and place rolls into hot pan, flap side down (this will sear the rolls shut. If you’re worried about them coming open, you can put a toothpick in them but I generally find it unecessary. Brown the rolls over medium heat. Place rolls into baking dish
Prepare the gravy: Sauté the mushrooms and onions until soft, along with the sprig of rosemary (I generally don’t chop the rosemary, but leave it intact and remove the entire sprig at the end). Add in the tomato sauce, beef broth, and red wine
Combine: pour gravy over beef. Cover and bake for 1 hour, or until tender.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Potato Foam with Vanilla Oil, Chives, and Caviar

Ha ha I got a Thermowhip for xmas and you didn't! I also got a Reveo vacuum marinating thingumy. For New Years Eve dinner, my brother and I made:
  • Roast Prime Rib, marinated in homemade Worcestershire sauce
  • Potato Foam with Vanilla Oil, Chives, and Caviar
  • Brussel Sprouts with bacon

The meat tumbled in our homemade Worchestershire sauce for 20 minutes. Then I seared it in the oven at 550f degrees and immediately reduced the heat to 200f degrees. It took about 3 hrs to get the 5lb roast up to the perfect 135f degrees.

The potato foam was incredibly fun, and incredibly delicious. El Bulli ain't got nuthin on me!

Potato Foam with Vanilla Oil, Chives, and Caviar
  • 4-5 medium yellow potatoes
  • Chicken stock to cover (preferably homemade)
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 c EVOO
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • Caviar
  • Chives
  • S&P

Simmer the vanilla beans (split open) in the olive oil over very very low heat.

Meanwhile, peel and cut potatoes into largish consistently sized chunks. Place in a substantial pot and cover with chicken stock. Adjust seasonings, especially for salt. Boil potatoes until just tender, then remove from heat, drain, and reserve the stock.

Return potatoes to your pot. Add butter and enough cream to make light and fluffy mashed potatoes. Adjust for S&P. [This alone made the best mashed potatoes I've ever tasted]

Add back the reserved stock to your mashed potatoes until they are of a milk-like consistency. Pass through a fine chinoise two or three times, until there are no remaining lumps or granules. Pour into your ISI thermowhip and charge with two charges. Be sure to shake things up in between and after charges. Place ISI in a warm bath until ready to serve

To finish the dish, discharge foam into cups. Drizzle with vanilla oil, then top with a dollop of caviar and a sprinkle of chives.

Heaven.

Note: my brother wasn't keen on the food segregation. He suggested that next time we need to layer the foam with other items and place it directly on the plate. We'll play around with that and get back to you.



Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Feast of Seven Fishes

We're not Italian, but we love food. My brother and I prepared the Christmas Eve dinner. We try out a twist on the traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner, Feast of 7 Fishes.

Antipasto

Stuffed Baked Clams
  • 8 medium baby neck clams, steamed open in 2 cups of white wine with garlic, salt & pepper, meat removed, diced and shells cleaned.
  • 2 cans whole baby clams
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • minced onion
  • minced celery
  • minced garlic
  • S&P
  • 1 egg
  • minced Italian herbs (oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme)
  • 1/4c olive oil
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus 1/2 cup reserved
  • Box of rock salt
My brother did this one, entirely off the cuff. Mince everything up fine and combine. Scoop into clamshell halves. Top each clam with a sprinkle of grated cheese

Fill bottom of paella pan with rock salt. Set stuffed clams on the salt and place into 350f degree oven. Bake for approximately 25 minutes.

Caesar Dressing
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Dash of Worcestershire
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons anchovy paste or mashed anchovies
  • 1½ teaspoons to 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 cup virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Combine all ingredients except oil in a blender and purée. While motor is running, slowly pour olive oil through cap in a thin, steady stream. Season with salt, pepper and Parmesan.

Caesar Salad
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Croutons
Pour dressing over salad and toss.

Lobster Bisque
  • 2 Lobsters, cleaned with claws and tails removed and reserved
  • Butter
  • EVOO
  • 2 leeks, halved lengthwise
  • 2 onions, halved
  • 2 stalks celery, in big chunks
  • 2 long carrots, in big chunks
  • Handfull of fresh thyme
  • Orange zest
  • Tomato paste
  • Cognac
  • Flour
  • 4 cups heavy cream
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped lobster bodies and heads and their juices, leeks, onion, celery, carrots, thyme, orange zest and tomato paste. Cook until the shells are red and the vegetables are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and carefully pour in 1/4 cup of cognac. Ignite the cognac with a long kitchen match and let the alcohol burn off. Return to the heat, sprinkle in the flour, stir, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add water to cover and stir up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Immediately decrease the heat and gently simmer until the soup is reduced and thickened, about 30 to 45 minutes. Strain this into a clean pot and season with salt and pepper if needed; keep warm.

Meanwhile, grill or roast the lobster claws and tails until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the meat from the shell. Slice the tail and reserve enough perfect slices to top each bowl of bisque. Chop the remaining meat and stir into the bisque.

To serve, fill bowls and then top with a slice of lobster.

Primi

Gravad Lax with Pears on Microgreens
  • Filet of cold smoked salmon
  • Fresh dill
  • Vodka
  • Sugar
  • Sea Salt
  • Microgreens
  • Fresh chevril
  • Fresh micro watercress
  • Lime juice
  • EVOO
  • Poire William
  • Fresh pears
For the salmon: An easy prep for gravad lax uses a filet of previous cold smoked and slices salmon. Place salmon on a half sheet pan. Drizzle vodka on the salmon, the coat with salt, sugar, and finely chopped fresh dill. Cover with wax paper, then place another sheet pan on top of the salmon and place a weight on top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Whisk together lime, EVOO, sugar, Poire William, salt and pepper to make a light dressing. Pour into a shallow plate. Cut the pears into thin slices. Coat each slice with dressing, then leave on plate.

Lightly toss microgreens, chevril and watercress with dressing. Arrange on platter. Top with alternating slices of salmon and pear.

Secondi

Seared Scallops
  • 2 large bay scallops per person
  • Salt & Pepper
Prepare scallops immediately before serving. Remove tough membranes from scallops. Dust tops and bottoms with salt and pepper. Place scallops into very hot cast iron pan. Turn once browned, about 3 minutes. Sear bottom side and serve immediately.

Shrimp Risotto

  • 1lb fresh shrimp in the shell
  • bay leaf
  • peppercorns
  • butter
  • shallots
  • carrots
  • celery
  • garlic
  • 2c rice
  • White wine
  • Small diced tomatoes
Rinse and peel the shrimp; set aside.

Rinse the shrimp shells, then put them in a saucepan along with the bay leaf, celery leaves, peppercorns, salt, carrots, diced tomatoes, and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and reserve the stock.

In a heavy large saucepan or skillet, melt butter then add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or until softened but not colored. Add the rice and stir to coat all the grains with butter. Fry lightly until rice begins to turn translucent around edges.

Add 1/3 of the reserved stock and bring to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, until the stock is absorbed.

Stirring, gradually add more stock and the wine until it has all been absorbed and the rice is cooked; this will take about 20 minutes.

Toss in about half a cup of grated Parmesan along with a half cup of cream. Stir over low heat to create a creamy consistency. Serve immediately.

Asparagus and Crab with Hollandaise

  • Asparagus
  • Lump crab meat
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Hollandaise
Cut asparagus into 1" to 2" inch lengths, discarding the tough white ends. Steam until tender.

Flake the crab meat. Saute in butter, garlic, and lemon.

Toss asparagus with crab. Top with:

Hollandaise

  • 3 egg yolks, per 2 Tablespoons lemon juice and 1/2c butter
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt & White Pepper to taste
Place egg yolks, seasonings, and lemon juice in blender. Melt butter in saucepan. With blender on low, slowly add hot melted butter until emulsified.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Seared Foie Gras with Warm Quince, Apple Compote and Pomegranate Gastrique


I prepared this recipe as a test for a special Google Chefs cookbook, soon to be released. It was my first time preparing foie gras, and it turned out utterly scrumptious. Matt & Amanda were good sports about being my guinea pigs. It works as a perfect fall appetizer.

6 2-ounce slices fresh foie gras
2 large Fuji apples
2 large quince
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup apple cider
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup Calvados
½ t ground ginger
3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
2 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 cup honey

Prepare the foie gras
  1. Allow it to sit for twenty minutes at room temperature and gently separate the liver into two lobes. Start with the smaller transverse vein on each lobe and work towards the main vein running vertically through the liver. Remove any stray bloody spots.
  2. Lay lobes on cutting board, round side up. Heat a knife with warm water (make sure the knife is very sharp). Dry the knife after cutting each slice. Start at the narrow end, and cut at an angle. Cut half or three-quarter inch thick slices, 2-3 inches across. If in doubt, make them thicker rather than thinner. Thinner slices can quickly dissolve into nothingness when sautéing.
  3. Season the foie gras with salt and freshly ground pepper and keep cool until time to serve.
Prepare the compote
  1. Peel, core, and dice the apples and quince into ½ inch dice.
  2. In a sauté pan, melt the butter over low heat.
  3. Add the sugar and raise the heat to medium and caramelize the sugar (3-4 minutes).
  4. Add the fruit and cook for 12 minutes until the apples are soft and slightly browned.
  5. Add the cider, Calvados, and lemon juice. Simmer until the liquid reduces, but does not evaporate.
  6. Season with salt and ginger to taste.
Prepare the reduction
  • In a sauce pan, combine the pomegranate juice and honey. Bring to a boil and reduce until the mixture reaches a syrupy consistency.

Compose
  1. Sear the foie gras over high heat in a dry pan about 2 minutes per side until well caramelized.
  2. Place the warm compote in the center of a plate. Rest the foie gras on top.
  3. Drizzle the pomegranate syrup around each serving and garnish with the pomegranate seeds.
Notes: You can buy Foie gras at any specialty butcher shop.

Serves 6-8

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Grilled Beef Tenderloin Roast


My friend Amanda wanted to grill something for her husband’s birthday. She decided on doing a nice beef tenderloin (Filet Mignon) roast, so I wrote up this recipe for her. This is a fantastic way to serve grilled filet mignon to a lot of guests without having to spend all your time grilling individual steaks.

With this recipe you’ll only spend about ½ hr at the grill, and you can do the grilling up to 2 or 3 hrs ahead. The roast actually gets better after sitting for a while. Finish grilling just before your guests arrive, then relax and enjoy a glass of wine with them before serving.

You’ll need:

  • 1 Big-ass beef tenderloin (ours was about 5lbs)
  • Crushed Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea (or Kosher) Salt (do not use Iodized Salt)
  • Pepper
  • Cotton cooking twine
  • Instant-read thermometer
  • 1 daily edition of the San Francisco Chronicle (steal it from a neighbor who hasn't picked theirs up yet if you don't subscribe)
  • 6 - 8 sprigs of rosemary as long as the roast
If you're planning to serve this roast at say, 7pm, proceed as follows:

ASAP: Go buy the roast.

3:30pm:
First, cut the silverskin off of the loin. Silverskin is a connective tissue that shrinks when cooked and will turn your roast into a ball if you don't remove it. It looks like fat, only tougher. Slide a knife under the silverskin, then pull up on the skin as you slide the knife down, removing the entire strip of silverskin as close to the meat as possible.

Fold the skinny end of the roast under so that your roast is an even thickness from end to end. Tie it up with cotton twine at 1" intervals (winding it around works fine).

Lay the roast on a sheet of wax paper or cling film. Rub the crushed garlic over the roast, then drizzle with olive oil all over and sprinkle liberally with salt & pepper. Pull the wax paper/cling film around the roast and wrap tightly. Let the roast sit out on the counter--you want it to be at room temp when you start grilling).

5:30pm:
Heat up the grill to super hot by leaving all burners on high for about 10 minutes. Your grill will probably reach about 500f degrees.

When the grill is ready, unwrap the roast and bring it out. Place the roast on the grill and turn the heat down to low. Close the lid. After 5 minutes, turn the roast and brown another side. After 10 more minutes, brown the next side. Turn twice again, at 10 minute intervals, until the entire roast is nicely browned.

Insert an instant-read thermometer. You should now be somewhere between 110 - 120f degrees. If you are, then you're done. If you're over, well that's ok, we'll live. If you're under, turn and leave the roast another 5 minutes and check again.

Open up your Chronicle and pull out several full-size sheets of paper (one complete section usually works nicely). Lay your sprigs of rosemary across one corner where you’ll place the roast. When your roast reaches the desired temperature, pull it off of the grill and lay it on the rosemary. Lay additional sprigs on top of the raost. Roll the paper over the roast one complete turn then fold in the ends. Continue rolling TIGHTLY to the end. If you like, you can wrap this in aluminium foil to avoid any drips on your counter. Leave this out on the counter now until you're ready to serve. It'll continue cooking slightly, and will actually keep warm for several hours. Let the roast rest like this for a MINIMUM of 30 minutes.

6:30 or 7pm or whenever you're ready to serve:
Bring out the roast, and remove the string. Slice into 1" thick cuts, and plate. Serve it with some really yummy dijon mustard.

Note: the roast will be nice and pink in color all the way to the edge, but with a consistency and flavor closer to medium rare. If you have a guest who prefers their steak a little more well done you can finish their portion by grilling both sides back on the bbq.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Filet Mignon Roast and Potato-Leek Gratin with a Southern Comfort Mushroom Cream Sauc


For the Potato-Leek Gratin:

  • 1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced (I used fingerlings, for coin-sized rounds)
  • 2 large leeks, white part & pale green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/4c flour
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp ea butter and EVOO
  • 1c ea white wine and chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup ea heavy cream

For the mushrooms:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/3c Southern Comfort
  • Salt and White Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream, warmed

For the Filet Mingon:

  • 1 1/2 to 3lb Filet Mignon Roast
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • S&P

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the potatoes, leeks, and olive oil in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with flour and gently toss to mix well. Transfer to a 9 by 9-inch baking dish and pat gently to form an even layer. Pour cream over mixture. Melt together the butter and EVOO. Add wine and stock, and bring to a simmer. Reduce by half, and then slowly pour over dish. Do not mix. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 1 ½ hours or until the potatoes are tender. Let cool completely, cover with plastic wrap, and chill. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the potatoes into 4 even sections. Using a metal spatula, transfer the squares to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the tops are browned.

To prepare the mushrooms, melt the butter in a saucepan and sauté the mushrooms over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until lightly golden. Add the Southern Comfort, season with salt and white pepper, and stir well. Simmer to reduce liquids by half. Stir in the cream and keep warm.

To prepare the filet, tie with cooking twine, folding the small flap end under to create an even thickness. Combine Worcestershire Sauce, Dijon Mustard, EVOO and crushed garlic, and liberally coat the roast. Sear on all sides in a cast iron skillet, then transfer to a 500f degree oven to finish. Insert thermometer, and remove roast from oven when center reaches 120f degrees. Tightly wrap roast in several layers of newspapers and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

To serve: Unwrap and slice roast into equal sized portions approximately 1 1/2 inches thick. Place a potato and leek square on plate, top with a slice of filet mignon, then drizzle mushroom sauce over meat.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Virgin Cocktails

Ok, yes, I would have thought this would be sacrilege too. But I actually had a lot of fun playing bartender and mixing up these drinks for my daughter's 14th birthday.

Arnold Palmer
Iced tea and lemonade served over ice

Baby Bellini
Peach juice with grenadine and a splash of soda

Bloody Shame
Spicy V8 served over ice with celery stick

Coconut Kiss
Creamy cherry and coconut

Frozen Daiquiri
Strawberries pureed with pineapple juice and ice

Fruitloops
Apple, orange, and cranberry juice poured over ice with a splash of grenadine, garnished with an orange slice and a cherry

Gentle Sea Breeze
Cranberry and pineapple juice shaken with ice, poured over crushed ice and served with a sprig of mint

Hannah Montana
Orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice shaken with ice, then poured into a glass with a splash of grenadine, topped up with ginger ale, and garnish with a cherry.

Innocent Passion
Passion fruit, cranberry, lemon soda served over ice with a cherry

Magic Island
Apple and grapefruit juice with coconut cream

Mock Champagne
A blend of fruit juice and ginger ale

Pelican
Grapefruit juice shaken with lemon, lime and grenadine served over ice

Poco Mojito
Lime and mint masticated with simple syrup, served over ice with soda

Pomme Noir
Apple juice and cola

Safe Sex on the Beach
Cranberry and grapefruit juice with peach nectar, served over ice and garnished with a cherry

Ugly Virgin
Mandarin juice, grapefruit juice and lemonade

Virgin Mary
Tomato and cranberry juice, spiced up with lemon, Worcestershire, Tabasco, salt and pepper, served over ice and garnished with celery

Virgins in Manhattan
Cranberry and orange juice, with a good splash of cherry and lemon served over ice

Wavebender
Orange juice with lemon and grenadine, shaken, poured over ice and topped off with ginger ale

White Sangria
White grape and pink grapefruit juice with a splash of lime and soda, garnished with pink grapefruit slices

More complete recipes for all of the above can be found here

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cherry Smoked, Milk and Vanilla Braised Beef Short Ribs

LTNP (long time no post)! We held an amazing six-course Biodynamic Wine Dinner recently. Here was my favorite bit:

Cherry Smoked, Milk and Vanilla Braised Beef Short Ribs

With Thyme Jus, Clove Oil, Shaved Bittersweet Chocolate

This recipe consists of four steps:

  1. Smoke the ribs
  2. Braise ribs -- they'd be good if you stopped here, but I went a step further:
  3. Prepare Thyme Jus and Clove Oil
  4. Assemble
This recipe is for six. One Severino's two-bone rib was great for my big brother, but a bit much for my sister-in-law and me.

This recipe is not a quick fix for a Tuesday night! Smoking the ribs takes about 3 hours, and braising about the same. Those are, of course, do-ahead steps. For those of us who do not lead a life of luxury with plenty of time on our hands the smoking could be done two days ahead, the braising the day before, and then everything could be reheated and assembled just before serving.

1. Smoke the ribs

6 ea beef short ribs, 2-bone

Hot-smoke at approximately180º for 3 hours with cherry wood and the reserved thyme stems (from the Thyme Jus, below). Cool, and then hard-sear.

2. Braise the ribs

1 ½ qt veal stock
1 gal whole milk
3 ea vanilla beans, split and scraped
1 sachet (1 bu thyme, 1 bu sage, ½ cup black peppercorns, 2 sticks cinnamon, 2 bay leaves, 1 T juniper berries)
2 C sangiovese

Preheat an oven to 375 º. In a heavy-bottom, non-reactive braising pan, bring the milk, veal stock, and the sachet to a light simmer. Add the short ribs and the vanilla beans (shells and all), bone side down, cover tightly and bring the temperature of the liquid back up to a simmer. Place the short ribs in your pre-heated oven and cook for approximately 2 hours or until nearly falling off the bone. Drop the temperature to 225º, uncover and continue cooking (basting every 15 minutes) for another hour or so. When finished, carefully remove the short ribs and let cool to room temperature. Discard the sachet, reserving the leftover liquid—which should be the consistency of a thick cream sauce—if it's too thin, begin reducing the liquid until it reaches the desired consistency.

Reheat the short ribs in 400º oven for about 5 minutes when ready to serve.

The braising liquid here is fantastic, and could really stand on it's own. To serve, place a set of ribs over truffled mashed potatoes, and drizzle with the braising liquid. Or, continue with the preparation below as the ribs are braising...

3. Prepare the Thyme Jus and Clove Oil

Thyme Jus

3 C veal stock
1 bunch thyme, fresh picked, reserve the stems for smoking
½ ea shallot, finely julienned

Toast the thyme leaves very lightly on a medium heat in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add the shallots and stir constantly for about one minute. Add the veal stock and bring to a very light simmer for about 20 min. Adjust seasoning with salt and pass through a chinois.

Clove oil:

2 T whole cloves, toasted
1 C grapeseed oil (or other neutral-tasting oil)

In a saucepan, toast the cloves until you begin to smell them quite heavily. Add the grapeseed oil and bring the temperature up to about 250º for 15 min. Transfer the contents to a blender and blend until the cloves appear fully decimated. Pass through a chinois and set aside.

4. Assembly

Place a small amount of the hot jus in a shallow bowl. Carefully place one of the two bone short ribs to the center of the bowl. Spoon a small amount of the braising sauce on top the meat; preventing it from dripping into the jus. Drizzle a little of the clove oil into the jus. Finish the whole dish with a little shaved bittersweet (about 75% cacao or higher) chocolate. Serve immediately.

We served this with a Mendocino Farms Redvine. Previous courses included Smoked Hamachi with a Ceago Sauvignon Blanc, a Lardo Carbonara with Grgich Hills Chardonnay, Pan-roasted Duck Breast with Mendocino Farms Syrah. We finished with a Hot Apple "Pie" served with an ice cream made from Humbolt Fog cheese, and a Bonny Doon Late Harvest Viognier. Tres yummy.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Crispy Duck Leg Confit with Potato, Fennel, and Leek Hash


In addition to the fantastic pork from TLC Ranch, Severinos Community Butcher also has some amazing duck. They've even gone to the trouble of confit so that I don't have to.

One lovely spring evening, I made a hash of fresh fennel, leeks, and diced potato served over a bed of peppercress with crispy duck leg confit and a few fresh tomatoes.

2 legs duck confit
2 medium potatoes, diced small
1/2 bulb fresh fennel, sliced thin
1 medium leek, sliced thin (only the white bits)
a couple handfulls of fresh peppercress
1 each, fresh gold and red tomatoes lightly tossed in herb vinaigrette*

You want as much of the duck fat from the confit as you can possibly get, so crisp those babies up first. Heat up a heavy-bottom pan and lay your confit legs in. Leave for a few minutes to crisp, then flip and crisp the other side. Remove from pan and keep warm.

While the confit legs are crisping, thinly slice the fennel and leeks, reserving some of the fennel greens. Wash the leeks thoroughly. Peel and dice the potatoes into small cubes. After removing the confit legs from the pan, add a bit of EVOO to evenly coat the bottom. Add the potatoes to the hot oil and fat and spread in a single layer. Sprinkle with kosher salt and don't touch them again until they get nice and crispy. Use a sharp spatula to release the crispy potatoes from the pan, then add the leeks and fennel. Toss and saute for a few minutes, until the fennel and leeks are limp and begin to brown. Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine (just a bit, you don't want to lose the crispy).

Finely chop a few springs of the fennel greens. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and toss with the fennel in a light vinaigrette*.

Pile a handful of peppercress on the plate, top with the potato, fennel and leek hash and place a warm duck leg confit on top. Place the tomatoes around the plate, and serve.

Herb Vinaigrette

1 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tbsp White Wine
1 Tbsp Light vinegar (I use Rice Vinegar)
1 small clove garlic
1 tsp raw sugar
spring of fresh thyme, stems removed
spring of winter savory, stems removed
dash of kosher salt
dash of white pepper

Place in blender and blend on high for 30 seconds or so.





French Herbed BBQ Ribs

Severino's Community Butcher bring the world's best pork to the Mountain View Farmer's Market (as well as a few other tasty meats). Last weekend, I picked up a rack of baby back ribs that had more flavor than anything I've ever tried before. Rather than ruining the flavor of the pork with a thick tomatoey BBQ sauce, I opted for a fresh spring herb dry rub. The result was fantastic, by Trisha's reckoning the best ribs she'd ever had.

For the Dry Rub:
  • 2 Tbsp Herbs de Provence (Or some mixture of thyme with rosemary, marjoram, basil, bay leaf and lavender)
  • 1 Tbsp raw sugar
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika

Put herbs with salt into a mortar and grind until fine. Add the remaining ingredients.

Separate the rack into individual ribs. Put the ribs and the rub in a ziplock bag, seal, and shake to coat.

Spread out the ribs onto a shallow flat pan (I used my paella pan) and cook low & slow over indirect heat for a few hours, turning occassionally. I cooked my in the center of my 4-burner BBQ grill with only the outside burners on. Ribs are done when the meat pulls away from the end of the bone and the rub forms a nice crispy coating, about 3 hrs at 220f degrees.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Creole Seasoning

Move over Zatarain's, this creole seasoning will knock your socks off!

In a large stone mortar, combine the following ingredients:

• 2 tablespoons onion powder
• 2 tablespoons garlic powder
• 2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
• 2 tablespoons dried sweet basil
• 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
• 1 tablespoon black pepper
• 1 tablespoon white pepper
• 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
• 1 tablespoon celery seed
• 5 tablespoons sweet paprika (or, if using hot paprika, omit the cayenne)

Grind with pestle until very fine. Save in air-tight container.

Chicken Creole



  • 1/4 cup EVOO + Butter

  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice

  • 1 medium red onion, small dice

  • 1 green bell pepper, small dice

  • 1 red bell pepper, small dice

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, small dice

  • 1 poblano chili, small dice

  • 2 ribs celery

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 quarts chicken stock*

  • 24oz crushed tomatoes (if using fresh tomatoes, run them through a food mill)

  • 1 6-ounce cans tomato paste

  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning**

  • 3 tablespoons Tiger Sauce (optional)

  • 6 cloves of roasted garlic

  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco or Crystal)

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon salt (wait—if your Creole seasoning contains salt you will only add adjustments at the end)

  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (to taste—if your Creole seasoning has a lot of thyme in it, you may not need much)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

  • 3 pounds chicken

  • Flakey biscuits (either make your own, or use Pillsbury packaged stuff)


*Making your own stock is also a great way to prepare the chicken. While it’s simmering, you can prepare the Creole sauce.


  • 1 Whole cut up fryer, including gizzards and neck pieces (you may omit the liver if you prefer)

  • 3 Carrots

  • 3 ribs celery, with tops

  • 1 onion

  • Fresh herbs: thyme, parsley, bay leaves, oregano, basil

  • Black peppercorns, cracked


Sear the chicken on all sides (you can fry the pieces in hot oil in a cast iron pan, or sear them on the BBQ grill). As the chicken sears, add it to a tall stock pot along with the carrots, celery, and onion. If you like, you can prepare the herbs in a Sachet d'épices along with the black pepper, otherwise just throw them all into the pot as well. Fill the pot with enough water to cover everything, and let simmer for at least an hour (but 4 hours would be better).


After at least an hour (but preferably 4 hours), strain the stock (reserving the chicken) into a contain and pop it into the fridge for an hour. The stock is going to contain a LOT of fat, which will be easy to skim off once it cools.


Discard the herbs and vegetables. Pull the chicken from the bone, discarding the skin and gristle.



Creole Sauce



Sweat the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic in the EVOO/butter in a large covered pot until tender, about 15 minutes.



Add one quart of stock and all of the remaining ingredients except the chicken. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer the sauce for 30 minutes. You can prepare up to this step and keep up to a day in the fridge.



You’ll need to sear your chicken now if you did not prepare your own stock. You can use whole pieces with skin removed, or boneless chicken (thighs are recommended if you use boneless chicken). Add the chicken to the sauce, then top with uncooked biscuits. Cover and simmer an additional 45 minutes.



To serve, carefully scoop out a biscuit from the top and spoon the Chicken Creole around it. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Thanksgiving in Kauai

God what an awesome vacation! I traded in two of our twelve timeshare weeks for a couple of condos in Princeville, Kauai, on the north shore over Thanksgiving. Jay and I decided to create a Hawaiian Thanksgiving meal. It was fully grindable, bra…

Kalua Turkey

I’ll never make Kalua Pork again, nor ever cook my Thanksgiving turkey by roasting. This came out so tender and juicy and wonderful with all of the flavors of Kalua Pork and none of the grease.

  • 1 Turkey
  • Liquid Smoke (unless you can dig an imu pit)
  • Hawaiian Sea Salt (we used Alaea Red Salt)
  • Ti Leaves
  • Taro Leaves
  • Aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 500f degrees.

Remove neck & giblets from turkey. Place in sauce pan with 4c water, 2 stalks of celery, a handful of fresh parsley, 1/2 an onion, salt, and pepper. Simmer for several hours.

Completely defrost and rinse the turkey, then pat dry. Rub with Liquid Smoke (about ¼ to ½ bottle) on the inside cavity, under the skin, and outside skin (wear gloves if you don’t want to smell of liquid smoke for the next week). Rub again with the salt, inside cavity, under skin, outside skin.

Line a roasting pan with oversized sheets of aluminum foil, at least 2 sheets thick. Put two layers of Ti Leaves on the foil, then two layers of the Taro Leaves on the Ti Leaves (if you’re in Kauai and you try to buy the taro and ti leaves at the Safeway in Kapa’a, the locals will laugh at you. Instead, just stop by the side of the road and pick a bunch).

Set the bird on the layers of leaves, then repeat the process in reverse to cover the bird. Wrap it completely with Taro Leaves, then Ti Leaves, then seal with foil.

Place roasting pan with bird in oven, and reduce heat to 280f degrees. Roast for 40 minutes per pound (about 8 to 10 hours for a 14lb bird).

Hours and hours later, the bird will be glorious, tender, and falling off the bone. Fabulous juices will fill the bottom of your roasting pan. Drain the juice and reserve for gravy. Carefully unwrap the foil, and remove & discard the Ti Leaves. Pick the Taro Leaves off and reserve. Discard turkey skin. Pull the meat off of the carcass and serve.

Kalua Turkey Gravy

  • 2c reserved liquid from Turkey
  • 2c liquid from giblet stock
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp corn starch, to desired thickness

Bring the liquid ingredients to a slow simmer. Dissolve cornstarch in water, and slowly add to liquid, stirring constantly. Thicken to desired consistency.

Taro Leaves

Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the reserved Taro Leaves and serve.

Pupus

While the Turkey is cooking, you’ll need to whip up some pupus to keep folks occupied

Crab Dip

  • 1lb crab, shredded (I used 1/2lb imitation, 1/2lb snow crab)
  • 16oz shredded cheese (I used ‘Mexican Blend’)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2c finely chopped green onion
  • 8oz cream cheese
  • 2c mayonnaise

Squeeze the water out of the crab (otherwise, your dip will end up watery). Mix together everything but the cream cheese and mayo. Stir in the cream cheese until it’s well blended. Add in mayo to taste—if you want to dip with tortilla chips, you’ll want it a bit thinner. If you want to spread on crackers, add less mayo for a thicker mixture.

If you’re really ambitious, spoon the dip into wonton sheets and fry for really ‘ono’ crab wontons.

Lumpia

Originally I thought we’d buy this ready-made, but Jay only bought the wraps. Here’s how we filled them.

Filling

  • 1lb ground pork
  • 1c chopped green onion
  • 1 pkg bean thread noodles (long rice), soaked and chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1 sweet potato, diced and cooked
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce

Combine the filling ingredients, mashing the sweet potato into the mixture. Place 2 Tbsp of the mixture on the quarter corner of a wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the mixture, and then turn in one corner. Roll another quarter turn, and then fold in the opposite corner. Continue rolling, sealing the end with water or egg white. Fry the lumpia until golden. Serve with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce.

Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

  • 1 jar ‘Homemade Chili Sauce’
  • 1/4c brown sugar
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • Corn Starch

Combine first four ingredients in saucepan. Simmer to combine. Dissolve 1 Tbsp corn starch in 1/4c water. Add to sauce, stirring constantly, to thicken. Remove from heat and chill before serving.

Hawaiian Salt Potatoes

This is really just your basic salted roasted potatoes, but I have to include the recipe from Aloha World Ono Recipes, because it’s just so fun:

Ingredients:

  • 4 beeg kine Baking potatoes
  • 5 Tbps Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp Hawaiian salt
  • 3/4 tsp Black peppah 1 tsp Mashed gahlic
  • 1 tsp Minced ginjah oa minced parsely oa minced rosemary oa minced onion

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat da oven to 400 degrees. Scrub da spuds den try cut dem in half lentwise, den cut each half in thirds lentwise. Going have 6 wedges. One, two, chree, fouah, five, seex. K?Den, try get one cookie sheet dat get sides. Den. kâwili (mix) in one cup oa small kine bowl da ress of da ingredients. Den, pour all dis ovah da potatoes; make shuah u 'au'au yoah hands, den kâwili da oil mixchah all ovah da potatoes. Make shuah alla sides stay coated. Now, try spread da potatoes in one singo layah all ovah da cookie sheet. Bake um foah 30-35 minutes, but try turn um ovah wen pau 20 minutes. Nemmine if stick litto bit. Den bake da ress of da time. Da idea stay foah gettum crisp ona outsai an tendah ona insai. Den, sprinko wit moah Hawaiian salt an grine NOW! No wait, cuz dey stay da most ono wen dey stay hot. All dis going serve about 3-4 peeps, cuz us locals like foah grine, yeah!

Curried Pea Salad

  • 3/4c mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • Garlic
  • Hawiian salt
  • 16 oz.frozen green peas
  • 8 oz lump crab meat
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2c chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 3oz fried chow mein noodles

Combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, curry powder and garlic salt in a bowl and mix well. Place the frozen peas in a colander and hold under running cold water for several minutes to thaw; drain. Squeeze water from the crab meat. Combine the peas, crab meat, and celery in a bowl and toss to mix. Add the dressing and mix well. Add cashews and noodles just before serving.

Macaroni Salad

You can’t have a meal in Hawaii without the macaroni salad. There are a million variations.

  • 1 med. pkg. macaroni, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 lb. crab, chopped (imitation works well)
  • 1/2 box frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 sm. stalks celery. chopped
  • 4 large hard boiled eggs, grated
  • 1/4c sweet pickle relish
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/2 chopped sweet onion, or 2 chopped green onion
  • 3/4 of a quart of Mayonnaise

Combine ingredients with cooled macaroni, and then add the mayo. The macaroni will absorb the mayo, so you may want to make your salad a day ahead to let the flavors combine. You might also want to add more mayo just before serving.

Garlic Asparagus

  • 1 can Chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 12 Garlic clove pealed and cut in halves lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 lbs Asparagus, trimmed
  • Hawaiian salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Grated skin of 1 lemon

In large skillet, bring broth, oil and garlic to boil. Add asparagus and return to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook just until asparagus is tender but still crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to warm serving plate. Raise heat and cook liquid and garlic in pan until syrupy and reduce to about 1/2 cup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over asparagus and sprinkle with lemon skin.

Haupia Cake

I never remember desert, but this was Hawaii!

Cake:

  • 1 pkg White cake mix (for a 9X13" pan)
  • 1 C Coconut milk
  • 2/3 C Water
  • 2 Egg whites

Frosting:

  • 1 Tbsp Unflavored gelatin
  • 2 C Heavy cream
  • 6 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Lemon extract
  • Shredded coconut to taste

Prepare cake mix according to package directions using 2/3 cup of the coconut milk, the water, and the egg whites. Cool cake, remove from pan and split carefully into 3 layers. Reserve top layer; spread haupia filling on the remaining layers. Chill layers until filling is set.

While layers are chilling: soften gelatin in remaining 1/3 cup coconut milk; dissolve over hot water. Cool. Whip cream; fold in gelatin mixture, sugar and extract. Stack chilled cake layers; frost with whipped cream mixture. Sprinkle cake with coconut.

Haupia filling:

  • 2 C Coconut milk
  • 1/2 C Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 3 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1/2 C Water
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • Cooking Instructions:

In a sauce pan heat coconut milk (do not boil). Mix sugar, salt, and cornstarch with water; stir into hot coconut milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (cook over low heat to avoid curdling). Stir in vanilla and cool.

NOTE: It is best to chill the haupia until it is somewhat thick, but still spreadable; otherwise it kind of goops up when you try to spread it on the layers. Chill the frosting, too, before you spread it.

Kalua Turkey Loco Moco

Loco Moco is the Hawaiian Breakfast of Champions. We used our Thanksgiving leftovers for a Kalua Turkey Loco Moco that would have been the envy of Sam Choy himself.

  • 1c white rice, cooked
  • Leftover Kalua Turkey
  • Leftover Kalua Turkey Gravy
  • Spam
  • Portuguese Sausage
  • Eggs, fried ‘runny’

Place 1/2c cooked rice in center of plate. Top with shredded Kalua Turkey. Add a slice of fried spam, and 2 slices of fried Portuguese Sausage. Top with fried egg, and cover with gravy.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sushi Chicken & Veggies

I hadn't been feeling well, and wanted a really mild dish for dinner. Chicken sounded nice, with rice. Ginger might help calm my stomach. So I came up with this dish, "Sushi" Chicken & Vegetables. It was more awesome than I could have imagined!



Chicken:
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1" fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 med shallot
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • rice wine vinegar, about 8oz total
  • 1/4c light oil
Veggies:
  • 1/2 small head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1c fresh peas, shelled
  • 1/2c shredded or diced carrots
Rice:
  • 1c sushi rice
On hand:
  • sea salt
  • sugar
  • green onion, chopped
  • soy sauce
Peel the shallot, ginger and garlic, and then place in blender with 1/4c vinegar, oil, 1 Tbsp sugar, and the dry mustard. Blend to a fine paste, adding water if necessary to create a somewhat thin marinade for the chicken.

Pound thick part of breasts to create an even thickness. Place into gallon sized ziplocked bags, then pour marinade over chicken. Refrigerate for about an hour.

Combine shredded cabbage, peas, and grated or diced carrots in gallon sized ziplock. Add 1/4c vinegar. Sprinkle with salt. Seal and shake to mix well, then let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

Rinse sushi rice and drain well. In a small saucepan, add 2Tbsp vinegar and 1tsp salt to 1c plus 1Tbsp water. Bring to a boil, then add rice. Cover and reduce heat. Let simmer for 15 minutes, then remove pan from heat. Let rice sit for 5 minutes, untouched and without lifting the cover.

Place chicken in baking dish and cover with marinade. Broil at 350f degrees for 10 minutes, then turn breasts and broil for an additional 10 minutes until cooked through.

Drain the vinegar from the veggies. Saute until carrots are soft, peas are cooked, and cabbage is wilted. Remove from heat and combine with rice.

When chicken is cooked, slice diagonally into thin strips and divide into four piles. Press rice & vegetables into 1c mold and turn out onto four plates. Drape strips of chicken over each of the four piles of rice. Sprinkle with green onion, drizzle soy sauce around rice, and serve.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Seared scallops with smoked salmon lardons and golden tomatoes

I had to come up with a dish in which I could use my fresh smoked salmon. Something that would bring out and compliment the flavor of the salmon, without being overwhelmed by it.

I had some fresh scallops, and thought of how well they generally pair with bacon lardons. Surely this salmon would go equally well? The recipe is very simple, and was nicely complimented by squash-stuffed raviolis in a brown butter sage sauce with a bit of chopped spinach.
  • 1-2 large scallops, per person
  • a few ounces of smoked salmon (I cut it into 'lardon' chunks)
  • 2 or 3 smallish golden tomatoes, cubed; or a dozen cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • salt & pepper
Scallops: If you like, slice the scallops in half with a very sharp knife-do not pull away any of the membrane as it keeps them together. Cutting large scallops in half will help by aiding uniform cooking, but is not absolutely necessary. Pat them dry and season with salt and pepper. Having a dry surface is key so that the scallops will sear rather than steam.

In the pan: Heat the butter on high heat. When the butter begins to sizzle add the scallops seasoned side down. Sear on both sides, so that there is a dark color along the edges and a golden brown on the top--about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove scallops from pan as they finish. Scallops should be opaque and just firm (not solid)--take care not to overcook! Once scallops are cooked, add in salmon and tomatoes, and saute just until the tomatoes wilt.

To serve: place the sauce on the plate, and top with one or two scallops.

Autumn Brined Smoked Salmon

This has an amazing smell that reminds me of the season. I'm smoking this salmon for Thanksgiving appetizers. If it lasts that long...
  • 1lb fresh salmon, preferably wild-caught alaskan chinook
  • 1 star anise
  • 6-8 allspice berries
  • 6-8 juniper berries
  • 1 tsp black pepper cloves
  • 2 Tbsp lavender
  • 2 Tbsp dried garlic slivers
  • 5-6 bay leaves
  • 1/2c rock salt (use good quality sea, kosher, or pickling salt. Cannot use iodized)
  • 1/3c sage honey (this is what I used, can substitute clover)
  • 1/2c pinot noir
  • 1 to 2c water
Brine:
Place spices (first six ingredients) in mortar and pound to a coarse grind. Place in saucepan and add remaining ingredients. Bring mixture to boil and simmer until salt and honey disolve and spices release their fragrance, about 5 mins. Remove from heat. Pour the brine into a baking dish and place it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so, until cool.

Place the fish in the brine, skin side up (if the skin has been removed, it doesn't matter which side is up). Soak the fish for at least 12 hrs, turning occassionally.

12 hours later...

Remove the fish from the brine and dry to form the pellicle, about 2 hrs. Smoke over low heat (180f to 220f degrees) for 4 to 6 hours. Some notes:
  • I used a charcoal smoker, with a pan of water suspended between the coals and the rack on which the salmon sat
  • I used mesquite and hickory wood, but as these are very strong woods you may wish to use alder instead. Don't use cedar, it'll overpower everything.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Pan-seared Salmon with Pinot Reduction

It’s ALL about the sauce. Really, you can’t go wrong reducing 2 cups of wine down to ½ cup and pouring it over some kinda meat.

We picked up 2lbs of nice fresh salmon today. I decided to smoke half of it. Here’s what I did with the other half.

Pan-Seared Salmon with Pinot Reduction

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups pinot noir wine
  • 1 sprig rosemary, plus 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 salmon steaks or fillets (6 to 8-ounces each), skin and bones removed

Sauce:

Cook sugar over medium heat in heavy-bottomed non-stick saucepan. Do not stir, just shake the pan occasionally to redistribute sugar until it liquefies and begins to turn brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and very slowly add the wine, stirring with a whisk until the caramelized sugar has dissolved, and then add the sprig of rosemary. Return to high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, approximately 10 to 15 minutes or until the sauce becomes a syrup and reduces to approximately ½ cup. When sauce is reduced, stir in balsamic vinegar and butter; turn heat to medium-low. Cook until butter melts. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove rosemary sprig.

Salmon:

Preheat oven to 450f degrees. Season salmon on both sides with salt and pepper.* Heat a heavy, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. Add just enough oil to make a light film, then place salmon in hot skillet and sear until nicely browned, about 1 minute. Flip the fish over and put the skillet in the oven. Roast for approximately 4 to 6 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 140 degrees F (salmon will be slightly opaque in thickest part). Remember the salmon continues to cook after it is removed from the heat source. Carefully remove salmon from pan and transfer onto individual serving plates. Spoon Pinot Noir Sauce over salmon and serve with chopped rosemary.

Served with carrots and golden beets, roasted in balsamic and basil mint; roasted new potatoes with rosemary.

*I used some of the salt that I had prepared for the brine, which included fragments of coarsely ground allspice, star anise, juniper berries, cloves, and pepper. I sprinkled this on the salmon when I was preparing the sal

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Our Big Fat Greek Dinner

We were meant to work on Jay’s kitchen, but on the way back from Home Depot we were distracted by the Farmer’s Market. He still managed to get the frame done for one of the cabinets, but we also managed to make a pretty good Greek feast.

I didn’t make a lot of the Moussaka, because I wasn’t sure everyone would like it. I shouldn’t have worried—my dad liked it so much that he stole the last quarter of it, packed it up, and took it home!

Menu
  • Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

  • Moussaka

  • Tsatziki

  • Orzo Salad

  • Honey Minted Carrots

  • Green Beans with Tomato Sauce (Fasolaki)

  • Roast Beast

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms Recipe

  • 18 zucchini, acorn squash or pumpkin blossoms, stamen removed

Cheese Filling:
  • 3 ounces goat (feta) cheese

  • 3 ounces cream cheese

  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Beer Batter:
  • 1c flour

  • 1c beer

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • Vegetable oil for frying

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Grated Mizithra or Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley for garnish

Gently swish the squash blossoms in cold water to clean. Carefully twirl to remove most of the water, then drain thoroughly on paper towels. Set aside.

Mix together goat cheese, cream cheese, red pepper flakes, oregano, basil, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Gently fill each blossom with about 2 teaspoons of the cheese filling. Refrigerate while making batter.

In a heavy skillet, heat 2 inches of oil to 375 F over medium heat.

Mix together flour, salt, pepper, and cumin. Beat egg and add the beer. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients while stirring. Add more beer as necessary to desired consistency. Refrigerate for an hour.

Carefully dip a stuffed blossom into the batter, covering the entire flower, and ease into the hot oil. Brown on one side, then turn to brown the other. Cook only a few at a time so they are not crowded. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining stuffed squash blossoms.

Sprinkle stuffed squash blossoms with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with a sprinkling of grated Mizithra or Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Moussaka

Meat
  • 1 lg aubergine/eggplant

  • 1 large onion, finely sliced

  • 1lb ground beef or lamb

  • 1 glass white wine (not retsina, but aretsinoto)

  • 16oz can of small diced tomatoes

  • teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • teaspoon ground allspice

  • salt and white pepper

  • 1 teaspoon oregano

  • 1c grated mizithra, parmesan, or kefalotiri cheese

  • some chopped parsley

  • 2 large russet potatoes, cut into 1/8” slices

  • Vegetable oil

Béchamel Sauce
  • 2-3 Tablespoons butter

  • 1/3c. flour

  • 1 pint warm milk

  • Salt, white pepper, and cumin

  • 2c. grated Mizithra or Parmesan cheese

  • 2 egg yolks

Topping
  • 1c. grated Mizithra, Parmesan, or kefalotiri cheese

Moussaka should be baked in the oven. Use a baking dish, either square or oblong, approximately 9”x9” or 11”x13”. You’ll need to cover the dish during the first part of the baking, for which you can either use a fitted lid or aluminum foil. If using foil, place toothpicks in the moussaka to prevent the foil from sticking to the cheese.

Aubergines
You may, if you wish, line the pan with the skin of the aubergine. Doing so is mostly aesthetic, but it does help to hold the moussaka together. In this case, you’ll need to carefully slice off the stem and leaves, without breaking the skin. Slice the aubergine in half lengthwise. Cover the bottom of a wide, flat-bottom pan with olive oil. When oil is hot, lay the aubergines in cut-side down and sear. Add 1c water to the pan, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes, until the flesh of the aubergine is tender. Remove from heat and let cool. When they can be handled, carefully scoop out the flesh, leaving the skin intact. Lay the skin inside of your baking dish, and set aside.

If you do not opt to use the skin, simply peel and dice the aubergine and add below.

Meat
Sautee the sliced onion in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil until translucent. Add the meat and sauté together, stirring, until all the lumps are broken down and the meat starts to change color. Pour in the wine, add tomatoes, the spices, the salt and pepper and the oregano. Stir in the aubergine. If you did not pre-cook the aubergine, you’ll need to simmer until it becomes tender. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time in case it sticks. Remove from heat and mix in 1c of the grated cheese and 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley.

Potatoes
Fry the potatoes in hot oil until slightly browned. You may deep fry, or pan fry in 2” oil, enough to cover the potato slices. Remove from oil and drain on paper.

Béchamel Sauce
Melt the butter and, away from the heat, gradually add the flour and stir to amalgamate. Return to the heat and gradually add the milk and seasoning, stirring continuously. Simmer for 9-10 minutes, stirring, until it has thickened considerably. Remove from heat, let it stand briefly, then add the cheese and the egg yolks. Stir to combine. Do not let the sauce boil after this. It should by now be a thick béchamel, to enable it to sit on top of the meat mixture and form a kind of crust.
Assembly
To assemble, put half the meat in the bottom of the pan. Top with 1/3 of the béchamel. Cover with slices of potatoes. Repeat for the next layer. Cover the top layer of potatoes with the remaining béchamel, then top with the remaining cheese and the breadcrumbs.
Cover and bake in a pre-heated oven, at 350f degrees for 1 hour. In the last 15 minutes, uncover and bake until a golden crust is formed. Let it stand for 5 minutes before serving, in order to be able to cut it more easily. To serve, cut into square or oblong-shaped pieces. It should be quite dry by then and the pieces should ideally stay intact.

Tsatziki
1 large English cucumber, grated and drained
A handful of fresh dill, chopped fine
A few cloves of garlic, crushed
2c plain yogurt
Olive oil

Grate the cucumber, then place in a strainer and press out the water. Combine with yogurt and garlic (you may use more or less garlic, to taste). Stir, then drizzle EVOO over the top.

Orzo Salad
1c orzo pasta, cooked, drained, and cooled
1/2c pepperoncini peppers, drained and sliced
1 sliced red bell pepper
1/2c kalamata olives, pitted
1/4c grated carrot
1/4c to 1/2c sliced onion
6 to 8 ounce crumbled feta
2 ounces Greek vinaigrette salad dressing

The vegetables should be sliced into thin strips. Mix together the above. You may add more or less dressing as you prefer.

Honey Minted Carrots
Baby carrots
1/4c white vinegar (rice or wine)
1/4c white wine
1/3c honey
1/4c chopped fresh mint
2 to 3 cloves crushed garlic

Place carrots in baking dish. Simmer together remaining ingredients, then pour over carrots. Cover and bake at 350f degrees for 45 minutes. Remove cover during last 15 minutes to allow liquid to evaporate and caramelize.

Green Beans with Tomato Sauce (Fasolaki)
Thin green beans
Onion, cut into thin strips
Potatoes
Tomato sauce
White wine
2 to 3 cloves crushed garlic
Olive oil
Cumin, cinnamon, white pepper, and salt

Sauté the onions in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and sauté over low heat until garlic is tender but not browned. Deglaze with a 1/4c white wine.
Top and tail the beans, and cut the potatoes into strips. Add to pan and cover all of the vegetables with tomato sauce. Lightly season with spices, and stir to mix.
Simmer over low heat for 45 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

Roast Beast
This was Jay’s secret recipe, which is why I’m posting it on the internet.

1 Roast beast
1 large (32 oz) can Tomato Soup
Garlic
1 whole fresh lemon
Seasonings: lots of oregano, crushed garlic, salt & pepper

Chop and blend the seasonings with a splash of EVOO to form a mushy paste, then massage into the roast. Place in deep roasting pan. Mix tomato soup with equal parts water. Add more crushed garlic. Slice the lemon in half, and squeeze the juice into the liquid mixture. Add in the empty rinds and pour around roast. Cover, and cook for a really long time, until roast is fall-y apart-y. When it’s all done, break the whole thing up into its sauce and serve it like that.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Danish Food

Here is a collection of recipes for Det Store Kolde Bord

Remoulade

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sweet pickles -- chopped
  • 4 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  • 1 hard-boiled egg -- chopped
  • 1 dash garlic
  • Capers -- optional

Mix all ingredients. Store, covered, in refrigerator.

NOTES : This seemingly simple relish is used on many foods in Denmark. An interesting variation add chopped, cooked cauliflower. Excellent with seafood, sandwiches, meats, or as a garnish.

Sweet-Sour Cabbage - Mormors Hvidkål

Serves 6

  • 1 small onion -- sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups red cabbage -- shredded
  • 2 tart apples -- cored peeled diced
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 2 whole cloves

Brown onion lightly in the butter. Add remaining ingredients in order given.

Cook until cabbage is almost tender.

Curry Dressing

  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • ½ cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 1½ teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Whip cream until soft peaks form. Add remaining ingredients.

Frikadeller I Løgsauce

Serves 8

  • 2 onion -- minced
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg -- grated
  • 2 pound ground pork
  • 2 pound ground beef, lean
  • 6 slices dry bread crumbs
  • milk
  • 2 egg -- beaten
  • Flour
  • 6 tablespoons butter

  • 3 cups onions -- minced
  • 1 cup butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups milk

Brown onion in butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix beef, pork and bread crumbs which have been soaked in milk. Combine with onions. Add the egg; mix well, and form into small balls. Roll them in a small amount of flour.

Brown the meat balls in the butter. Cover and simmer 1 hour. Serve with either of the following sauces:

ONION SAUCE (Løgsauce)

Cook minced onions in butter until transparent. Blend in the flour and salt. Slowly add the milk and stir continually until thickened. Pour over the meat balls.

Serve with buttered noodles sprinkled with toasted crumbs.


Cucumber Salad

Serves 8

  • 1 16" cucumber
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 dash pepper

Cut cucumber and onion paper thin. Separately combine remaining ingredients. Combine with cucumbers and onions. Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours. Drain before serving

Potato Salad - Kartoffelsalat

Serves 10

  • 8 slices bacon
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 teaspoons chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup vinegar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • 4 pounds potatoes -- boiled & chilled
  • ½ cup parsley -- minced

Fry the bacon until crisp. Remove from pan, drain and crumble.

Add the flour and onion to the fat in the pan. Stir in the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and spices. Cook until medium thick. Cool.

Peel and dice potatoes. Sprinkle parsley and crumbled bacon over potatoes. Pour cooled dressing over all and mix gently to avoid mashing the potatoes.

Det Store Kolde Bord

Below is the menu that I created and served at the Memorial Celebration for my grandparents, Christian & Edna Hansen.

First Course: Fish & Smorrebrod

This course is traditionally enjoyed with cold beer and “snaps”. Snaps is infused vodka (Aquavit) always served at this type of buffet in small (2cl) glasses. The first snaps is typically poured when everyone has prepared their first smørrebrød, and everyone who is drinking will toast with "skål". You are not expected to drink the entire glass on your first sip, but it is customary that anyone desiring another sip of the snaps must raise his glass and bring out a toast ("skål") inviting everyone else at the table to join him. It is generally considered polite to go through the motions of participating in these toasts, even though you do not have to actually drink much or anything at all.

Both the fish and smorrebrod items are meant to be placed on a single slice of buttered bread (usually “rugbrød”—a dark rye bread), and then topped with the accompaniments provided. Rather than eaten by hand, it’s generally managed with a knife & fork. Try a couple, but don’t overstuff yourself—this is only the first course!

Fish

Kryddersild-herring: pickled herring pieces served with sliced potato, onions and capers, topped with dill sour cream.

Karrysild-herring: Herring pieces with apple and horseradish, topped with curried sour cream

Laks: smoked salmon served on white bread, topped with shrimp, lemon and fresh dill

Smorrebrod

Liverpostej: liverwurst on dark rye with bacon and sautéed mushrooms

Roast beef: thin sliced roast beef served on dark rye bread with remoulade, a sprinkling of horseradish, and roasted onion

Second Course: Lune Retter, Vegetables, and Salads

Traditional Danish hot dishes are served with hot vegetables and cold salads.

Frikadeller: Danish meatballs, served with potatoes, pickles, and onion gravy on the side

Medisterpolse: Danish sausages with ketchup & mustard, served on buns—just like hot dogs! Danes often top this with potato salad as well.

Kalvemedaljon: Lightly fried veal or pork medallions with a creamy mushroom sauce on top

Morbradbof: flattened pork tenderloins lightly fried, topped with your choice of sautéed mushrooms, onions, or pickles

Aerter: fresh steamed peas sautéed with chopped lettuce and dry mustard

Rosenkal: brussel sprouts, steamed then lightly fried with bacon

Gulerodder: carrots with butter and a light caramel

Agurkesalat: cucumbers and onions marinated in vinegar

Kartoffelsalat: vinegar-based potato salad

Third Course: Cheese & fruit, served with coffee and tea

Cheese: A selection of traditional Danish cheeses, including Blue Castello, Havarti, Danablu, Fontina, and Maribo

Fruits & nuts: figs, apples, cashews, grapes and almonds to accompany your cheese