Archive for January, 2011

January 29, 2011

Anjou Pear + Bleu Cheese Salad

anjou pears + crumbled bleu cheese + walnuts + raisins + raspberry balsamic dressing.

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January 28, 2011

Pan Seared Scallops in an herb butter white wine reduction + Hazelnut Haricot Verts

i kind of made this up as i went so i dont remember exactly how i did it….

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6-7 dry packed scallops
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • parsley
  • hericot verts
  • shallots, minced
  • hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. blanch haricot verts 3 min, and submerge in ice bath. drain and set aside.
  2. pat scallops dry (creates better crust when not wet)
  3. heat 1 part butter 1 part olive oil in pan until just smoking hot.
  4. place scallops in pan, in batches to avoid crowding. now don’t touch!
  5. season with salt/pepper.
  6. sear for ~2 -3 min undisturbed until a golden crust forms on the bottom.
  7. flip and sear 2-3 more min. should be slightly bouncy in the centers when you gently press down on them. *
  8. remove from heat and set aside.
  9. return pan and heat on medium.
  10. add a bit more butter, saute shallots until soft ~ 1 min
  11. add white wine and reduce a couple of minutes. (i think i also added some chicken stock for more flavor..)
  12. add a bit more butter until sauce thickens.
  13. salt to taste.
  14. add hericot verts and toss until warmed through.
  15. plate hericot verts next to scallops and spoon remaining sauce over scallops.
  16. top scallops with parsley and verts with crushed hazelnuts.
  17. serve!

*note: better to undercook scallops than overcook! keep in mind they will continue to cook through after plating.

oh and a word of caution. i always manage to set off the smoke detector when i make scallops. it creates a lot of smoke. so open your windows and close your bedroom doors!

January 24, 2011

Braised Moroccan Chicken (w/ lemon mint couscous)

i am starting to not hate chicken.

turns out, i just hate dry/badly prepared chicken. (did i ever mention how much i hate white meat?) but epicurious saved me once again. i’ve finally found a chicken recipe i actually like! and you know it’s a solid recipe when you’re thinking about when you can make it again before you’ve even finished eating.

recipe follows. (adapted from Bon Appetit )

INGREDIENTS (serves 3)

  • ~1.75lb chicken (2 large whole legs + 3 pieces of thigh)
  • ~1 lb shallots, peeled and minced
  • 5 or 6 dates
  • ~1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2+ tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4+ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 3 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
  • parsley
  • 1.5 cup chicken broth.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. salt and pepper chicken thoroughly
  2. heat 1 tbs olive oil in 3.5 qt dutch oven
  3. brown chicken in batches, skin side down first, until crispy. then flip and brown other side. ~ 3-5 min each side.
  4. remove chicken from heat. drain out excess oil/fat.
  5. saute shallots until golden brown. mix in most of the seasonings. (i added a small pat of butter ’cause the shallots got dry. and butter just tastes good.)
  6. deglaze bottom of pot with a few dashes of chicken stock.
  7. add rest of chicken broth (a little less than a 15oz standard sized can) and 2 tbs lemon juice. bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat to simmer (i dont like my onions/shallots too soft.)
  8. return chicken to pot (i added the whole legs first for 10 min, then added the thighs.) spooning over plenty of broth/shallots. sprinkle on more season right over the chicken. cover and simmer for ~30min or until juices from center of thickest leg runs clear, flipping chicken over at 15min mark.
  9. remove chicken from pot, cover it and set aside. then add dates and remaining lemon juice to pot and reduce broth for 5 min on med/high uncovered until sauce thickens.
  10. serve topped with chopped almonds and fresh chopped parsley, w/a  a side of lemon mint cous cous*!

*Cous Cous: i used whole foods pre-prepared, added a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice, mixed in whole mint leaves, covered and nuked it, then removed the mint.) i’m getting lazy/busy these days…

forgot to add the almonds! one more shot:

January 20, 2011

Sweet Potato Gnocchi + Gouda Cheese Sauce

Adapted from theNoshery! lovely site. beautiful pictures.

I honestly  dont remember what i did/didn’t follow on this recipe. but i do know i used store bought gnocchi ):

it was a weekday lunch! didn’t have time.

AND ran out of pretty green parsley.

oh well. despite all these set backs, it was still tasty enough for me to post on here for future reference.

notes:

  • easy with the flour and milk incorporation. i had a hard time with lumpies.
  • i used Old Dutch Masters gouda-like cheese. nutty, a bit sharp, and very rich flavor.
  • must learn how to pan fry the gnocchi after boiling. i want that toasty crisp exterior you get at restaurants. i could manage a satisfactory ‘crust,’ but upon moving it would just shed right off the gnocchi and stick to my pan. >:| will try again.

anyway, here it is:

January 15, 2011

Milk Braised Pork

adapted from almostbourdain! (awesome site, btw)

some thoughts: love the flavor. i just don’t like pork loin. will try with pork shoulder next time /: i don’t understand america’s fascination with making our pork leaner and leaner. it just doesn’t TASTE good. and you’re still fat. so bring on the lardy pigs. let them eat. so that we may eat better. we’re fat anyway. might as well enjoy it.

oh, and white meat chicken. what IS that. also not good. why do americans like eating white meat? gross. but that’s another story for another time.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 lb boneless pork loin
  • 2-3 cups whole milk
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 leek (whites only) diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbs flour
  • salt + white pepper
  • 1 tsp butter
  • olive oil

*PS: you like my new salt jar? xmas present from the lovely angeline. 😀 i LOVE it. i love it so much i huGGED it when i first unwrapped it. hugged. a salt jar. probably should’ve hugged the gift giver instead. ‘s ok. she doesn’t like hugs. family genetics, indeed.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. salt + pepper loin. set aside. (alton brown says not to pan sear COLD meat. let it sit on the counter for a bit. more even cooking this way. you will not die.)
  2. preheat oven to 275F.
  3. heat olive oil in bottom of dutch oven.
  4. add butter
  5. pan sear loin on each side until golden brown, ~ 5min.
  6. remove loin onto a plate and set aside.
  7. add and saute onions, leak, garlic + bay leaf and thyme. ~5 min
  8. mix in flour then add milk. bring to a low boil then reduce to simmer
  9. add meat, redistribute your veggies and spoon plenty of milk/veggies over the top.
  10. pop in oven for 30 min.
  11. remove from oven and turn loin over. baste, stir liquids, then pop back into oven for another 30 min.
  12. here’s where you play it by ear. i dont have a fancy food thermometer. anyway, when you think it’s done, take loin out and set aside for at least 5 min before cutting to let the juices redistribute (again, thank you alton brown)
  13. spoon curdled mess into blender. add more cornstarch/flour if needed to thicken. pulse until creamy smooth
  14. slice up your pork and spoon over gravy.
  15. serve. (i blanched some simple hericot verts as a side. perhaps potatoes would be nice. but i wanted some greeeen.)

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January 14, 2011

Lentil and Lamb Sausage Stew

it’s been 30-35F degrees outside as i walk out to my car these past few mornings. THIRTY.

IN TEXAS.

so i told my self as i shivered miserably in my car, inching my way through traffic, that im gonna get me some SOUP, damnit!

PS this is a great prep ahead of time meal.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 lb (about 4 or 5 links) of lamb sausage
  • olive oil
  • 1-2 cans of chicken and or beef stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine*
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1-2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of glaric, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 1-2 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of turmeric (optional)
  • 1-1.5 cups of lentils **

*optional. i probably would’ve used a strong red if i had it on hand. just needed a bit of acidity to cut the heaviness of the lamb. also i didn’t bother deglazing with the wine although i’m not sure how much of a difference this would make… i figured by the time the stew was done the wine would pretty much be cooked out..

** i used mostly french green lentils for their unique flavor and the fact that they hold their shape well. i also mixed in half a cup of red lentils at the same time to thicken the soup since they tend to cook quickly and get mushy.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. heat a tbs or so olive oil in a medium sized dutch oven (i used my spankin new 5 qt canary yellow le creuset)
  2. fry sausage links on each side, evenly, on med/high heat.
  3. remove from heat, cut into 1′ thick coins, and set aside
  4. in residual grease (mmm, grease), saute celery and carrots. 3 min
  5. add onions and stir until softened a bit. 3 min.
  6. deglaze pot with 1/4 cup broth, scraping up all the browned goodness.
  7. stir in tomatos.
  8. add more broth until veggies are all submerged. reduce to a simmer.
  9. add garlic and cooked sausage.
  10. cover and simmer on low
  11. about 30 min before serving time, add washed and soaked lentils to pot.
  12. keep on medium heat until lentil are cooked (~30min)
  13. serve with crusty bread

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January 13, 2011

Lunch

wheat & oat baguette w/…

  • pepper crusted turkey
  • apple slices
  • gouda
  • greens

and a raspberry dijon sauce

veggie burger +

sautéed mushrooms:

  • cleaned and halved,
  • sautéed in butter
  • w/ herbs de provence
  • dash of white wine
  • sautéed until liquid absorbed.
January 8, 2011

Brunch! – Oven Roasted Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, and Poached Eggs w/ Hollandaise

Today was an experiment on technique.

I will never again complain that brunch costs too much. the sheer number of different cooking methods it took just to plate this one meal was ridiculous.

Oven Roasted Potatoes:

took the longest. prepare first!

  1. preheat oven to 425F
  2. scrub 2 medium yukon gold potatoes clean. keep skins. (i like the extra crisp texture it provides)
  3. dice into medium small cubes.
  4. dump into ziplock
  5. pour in 1 or 2 tbs olive oil
  6. dump in about 2 tsp herbs de provence + garlic salt to taste.
  7. line baking pan with aluminum foil and using a paper towel, spread around olive oil on the bottom of the pan. dump in potatoes and spread evenly.
  8. bake in oven for 20-30 min. until slightly golden brown
  9. because i’m anal, i removed the pan and turned all the potatoes skin side up.
  10. crank up heat to 475F and finish off, 5 min more, until crisp on the outside.

Asparagus:

you can prepare this any way you like. i normally blanch my veggies but i wanted different textures and blanching was just too similar to poaching. my intended approach was to grill them. buuuut i have no grill. so my compromise was to blanch, then broil in the toaster oven before serving.

  1. shave off outer skin w a potato peeler. cut tough ends off (i roll the asparagus back and forth while gently pressing the knife higher and higher up from the stem until it cuts cleanly through.)
  2. wash.
  3. boil water in wide mouth pan.
  4. blanch asparagus ~ 2-3 min.
  5. remove and immerse immediately in ice water bath.
  6. broil on 400F in a toaster oven for ~10 min. (honestly i dont remember how long i broiled it for. just wait for a nice browning to develop)

Poached Eggs:

thank you again, thomas keller. the swirl/vinegar technique works beautifully. god knows how i’ve been managing poached eggs in the past, but this was the first time i’ve ever achieved the perfect amount of runny yolk in the center. for better control, i like to do these one at a time:

  1. crack egg into little ramekins.
  2. boil enough water in pot to completely submerge egg.
  3. turn off heat.
  4. pour in 1 tsp- 1tbs rice vinegar (or white vinegar. whatever you have on hand.). amount varies depending on how much water you have in the pot.
  5. dip ramekin into water and slide the egg out.
  6. cover pot and keep on stove for 4 minutes.
  7. gently prod yolk center. it shouldn’t be obviously liquidy. should feel rather solid. if not, turn heat up a tad, lower than a simmer. (no bubbles!)
  8. remove egg carefully with a slotted spoon and into ice bath to stop cooking
  9. right before serving, immerse egg back into simmering water for 1 min to reheat.

Hollandaise Sauce:

in quite a pickle with this one. i have no small metal mixing bowls. or a blender. so i compromised with my magic bullet.

  1. in magic bullet, pulse 2 egg yolks and 1.5 tsp lemon juice until frothy.
  2. melt 1/4 cup butter in a small ramekin in the microwave until bubbling hot. (note: be picky on what butter you use because the flavor of the hollandaise will largely be determined by it. i used kerrygold pure irish butter and i found it to be a bit too cheesy..)
  3. add a tbs or two of hot butter into magic bullet, reassemble, and pulse until well incorporated.
  4. repeat, adding a tbs or two of hot butter each time.
  5. when all the butter is in, add a pinch or two of salt. blend one last time.
  6. if consistency is too thick, add a few tsp of warm water.
  7. spoon over reheated poached eggs and asparagus spears.
  8. top with a dash of paprika. (i didn’t have cayenne pepper and wanted the red -_-)

January 7, 2011

Salmon Bocadillo + Tostones

my impromptu lunch. thank goodness for Fiesta supermarkets in the great state of Tejas. not even whole food carries plaintains here. what’s up with that, whole foods? you’re from austin, tx. get with the program.

anyway. had to get rid of my left over steelhead trout from last night.

inspired by Japanero’s salmon pepito entrée. although all i remember about that sandwich is the yummy tostones it came with… oh well. best part anyway

PS: using tony charchere’s cajun seasoning and store bought guac really cuts down on prep time. important when i’m starving and just got out of a two hour pharmacology class…

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

  • steelhead trout or salmon, skins removed
  • 2 bolillos/small french bread
  • red onion
  • tomatoes
  • spinach or other greens
  • guacamole
  • cajun seasoning
  • plaintain

INSTRUCTIONS: (super easy!)

sandwich:

  1. season and pan fry/broil/bake your fish
  2. slice onion and tomatoes
  3. cut bread in half
  4. layer on spinach, fish, onions, tomatoes, then spread guac on other half.

tostones:

  1. heat vegetable oil in frying pan. enough to just cover the bottom. oil should be shimmery and less viscous than when cold, but not quite smoking.
  2. slice plaintains in 1-1.5 inch thick discs.
  3. fry, both sides, until golden brown.
  4. remove from oil and flatten with butcher knife or flat plate.
  5. return to hot oil and fry again on both sides until golden.
  6. place on rack to drain. serve with extra guac.

close up shot! mmm… guacamole…

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January 6, 2011

Sage Butter Trout w/ Pumpkin Risotto

i’ve had a container of kobacha squash in my freezer since october. taking advantage of the recent cold weather to use it. it’ll be warm again before you know it! and by that i mean uh, February.

or next week. hard to tell sometimes in this city.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2, w extra risotto to spare)

trout:

  • ~1/2 lb steelhead trout
  • 1 tbs butter
  • fresh sage
  • truffle salt

risotto:

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • handful of crimini mushrooms
  • 1-2 handfuls of spinach, stems removed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin, cooked and pureed (other squash varieties work as well)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 glass white wine
  • cheese, grated. i used a hard gouda
  • nutmeg

INSTRUCTIONS:

risotto:

  1. heat pan on high. add tbs olive oil. fry garlic until fragrant. add and saute mushrooms until soft. remove from heat.
  2. in a small saucepan (i used the same saucepan to saute the mushrooms), heat chicken stock. reduce heat and keep on simmer.
  3. toast rice in dutch oven over medium heat
  4. spoon in a ladle of chicken stock. stir.
  5. once liquid is mostly absorbed, ladle in more stock. repeat. stirring constantly.
  6. taste rice. once it is a little harder than al dente, add mushrooms, pumpkin puree, and spinach. stir and add more chicken stock if needed to thin it out. sprinkle in a pinch or two of nutmeg. salt to taste.
  7. add white wine. stir and let rice absorb excess liquid. cover and set aside while preparing trout

trout:

  1. in a large frying pan, heat olive oil on high.
  2. salt and pepper trout on both sides.
  3. reduce heat to medium high. place trout in pan, skin side down. ~5 min until fish is cooked about half way up from the bottom.
  4. flip and continue frying ~3 min.
  5. add butter to pan, along with sage leaves. coat fish in sage butter. remove from heat.
  6. throw away sage leaves and plate trout over risotto, skin side up. sprinkle on a pinch of truffle salt. top with fresh sage leaves for garnish.

my sage leaves were also dug out from the back of my freezer. hopefully that helps explain why they are a lovely shade of ashy grey. (: