Archive for July, 2014

July 18, 2014

Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon

Who needs weekends for brunch? Even though my schedule has cleared up significantly, I’m still working every Saturday and Sunday. I miss weekends. No, I miss brunch. Having week days off is not all that different than having weekends off. I still get to sleep in, run errands (with less of a crowd), meet up with other friends that have weird schedules such as mine… but most restaurants don’t serve brunch on weekdays. I can’t remember the last time I had brunch. So this morning I thought I’d make my own.

Surprisingly easy to put together. I’d say 15 minutes start to finish. 20 if multitasking isn’t your forte.

eggsbenedict2

HOLLANDAISE

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1.5 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup (half a stick) butter
  • salt
  • water

Melt butter in a small bowl in the microwave until bubbly and hot. In a magic bullet blender, pulse yolks and lemon juice until frothy. Add 1/4 of the butter to the mixture, close, then pulse until well blended. Continue adding more hot butter, slowly, and blend until homogenous. Add 1 tsp salt and pulse to incorporate. Add 1-2 tsp of water if you like runnier hollandaise.

SMOKED SALMON EGGS BENEDICT (serves 2, 2 eggs each)

  • 4  oz smoked salmon
  • 4 english muffins (2, if you want to cut carbs. just serve on 1/2 the bread)
  • baby arugula
  • 4 eggs
  • vinegar  (white wine or any other clear vinegar)
  • paprika
  • optional: chives, chopped finely (or dill. salmon likes dill.)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Halve and toast muffins. Set aside
  2. While toasting, prepare SOFT POACHED EGGS:
    1. Bring wide mouth pot of water to a boil. Add 1-2 tbs vinegar.
    2. Turn off heat. Crack eggs slowly and gently into the water. Cover the pot and leave heat off for 4 minutes. Drain and remove.
  3. Arrange muffins on a plate, top with a small fistful of arugula, then a layer of salmon, then eggs, then hollandaise. Sprinkle w paprika and chives

eggsbenedict

 

NOTES: 

  • Sprinkle paprika on top of the hollandaise at the end of set up. This adds a nice splash of color. I was dumb and blended the paprika in with the rest of the sauce. Has the flavor, not the aesthetics.
  • Arugula adds a nice peppery kick. Spinach is a good mild/boring alternative.
  • Thomas’ Light Multigrain english muffins are the bomb. 100 calories, develops a nice crunch on the outside when toasted, but still chewy/doughy on the inside. Love them.
  • Toss your leftover hollandaise.

Oh. and Anthony Bourdain says never order hollandaise at brunch. “No one makes hollandaise to order.” That stuff is sitting in their kitchen all day. Gross. And now that you know it’s essentially raw eggs and butter, skip it on the menu and make it yourself at home. You wont miss it.

 

July 14, 2014

The Meatball Shop: Beef and Ricotta Meatballs

Tip on salting ground meat: 1 tsp kosher salt per pound.

Works out pretty well. Seeing as you can’t taste as you go…

Other random notes on meatballs: 

  1. Eggs are for binding
  2. Bread crumbs (and I am partial to panko) are for added tenderness. Crumbled unsalted saltine crackers work in a bind. In fact I prefer this when making meatloaf. Just make sure you get unsalted.
  3. Never over-mix meatballs and always use your hands, not a stand mixer. Over working meat makes it tough.
  4. Always serve with something green! A shock of green always looks pretty next to a simmering red bowl of meaty goodness. Plus it makes me feel better to have something light and healthy while eating a pound of carne.

meatball1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lb 85% lean ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1.5 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1.5 tbs dried parsley (or 1/2 packed cup of fresh chopped)
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp  crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 32 oz jar of tomato sauce
  • optional for serving: parmesan cheese, fresh greens, roasted carrots, roasted beets, sautéed mushrooms, or a large toasted roll with fresh greens and slices of cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix all ingredients (except tomato sauce) in a large mixing bowl with your hands. Do NOT over mix as this results in a tough, crumbly meatball.
  2. Preheat oven to 450F
  3. Line a large rectangular baking pan with aluminum foil and drizzle with oil. Spread oil evenly with a finger.
  4. Roll mixture with your hands into 1.5 inch diameter meatballs. Golfball size. Line meatballs up evenly on the baking pan, so that they are touching.
  5. Bake 20 minutes.
  6. While baking, heat up tomato sauce (or make from scratch if you’ve got the time) over medium low heat in a 3-5qt pot, covered, until heated through.
  7. Remove meatballs (it’ll be a greasy mess) one by one with tongs so as to not pick up the excess fat. Place in pot. Mix to coat in sauce. Cover and continue to heat through over low heat, 15-20 minutes. Mix meatballs periodically, gently, so you don’t break them up.
  8. Roast your veggies at this time while the oven is hot. Reduce oven heat to 425F, roast 20 minutes (works for carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, what have you).
  9. Serve over fresh greens and roasted veggies, or on a toasted hoagie with sliced cheese

meatball2

July 4, 2014

Steak Fajitas and Grilled Peaches

Happy Independence Day, y’all.

I’ve reaaallly been craving fajitas. Unfortunately, I don’t trust the yankees here in NY to make this TexMex favorite of mine. Or any TexMex, for that matter. The perfect opportunity to try it out myself arose this weekend, for R’s/America’s birthday shindig. Between the chaos in the kitchen and entertaining guests, I totally forgot to take pictures. I even made roasted corn!

And what’s more ‘merican than Mexican corn and fajitas?!? Yea, ok. To balance it out, I served grilled peaches and ice cream for dessert. That sounds pretty American, doesn’t it?

Some notes:

  1. Err on the side of undercook! You can always slap it back on the grill. You can’t UN cook a tough piece of meat, though.
  2. I do not have a grill. I used a cast iron griddle. The kind that spans two stove tops, with grill marks. This thing is the bomb. 30 bucks off Amazon.
  3. Skirt steak is fattier than hanger steak. Makes for juicier fajitas.
  4. Don’t use soap to wash cast iron. Use hot water and scrub scrub scrub… Learned this the hard way five years ago. Also, never leave cast iron in the sink… dry it off when you’re done by sticking it in the oven or over the stove for a few minutes.

FAJITAS

  • 2 lb skirt steak (or chicken)
  • 1 cup lime juice (make life easier for yourself. buy a bottle instead of squeezing limes)
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 8 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium onion, sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Marinate steak and veggies 4 hours – overnight.
  2. Heat skillet over medium high heat until smoking hot.
  3. Grill meat, 2-3 minutes per side. (I like to fold up the thinner sides a bit early so they don’t overcook)
  4. Remove and let meat rest for a few minutes while you start the next batch. This is essential as it allows the juices to redistribute into the meat. The meat also continues to cook while it rests.
  5. Slice on the diagonal, against the grain of the meat.
  6. Toss the veggies on to the grill. Cook until soft and onions become translucent.

GRILLED PEACHES

  • Ripe peaches, halved and pitted
  • olive oil
  • honey
  • cinnamon
  • brown sugar
  • vanilla/bourbon/whatever ice cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Brush flat side of peach half with oil.
  2. On a clean HOT grill/griddle, place peach, flat side down. 2-3 minutes. It should develop nice dark grill marks.
  3. Rotate 90 degrees, continue to grill 2-3 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, mix a pinch of cinnamon with a few tsps of brown sugar (remember, cinnamon is sstrooonng. a little goes a long way.)
  5. Flip peach over and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Cover with a heat resistant bowl. A metal mixing bowl that has no plastic/rubber on it will work. Or if you have a real grill, just close the lid. 10 minutes or until soft.
  6. Remove and place in serving bowl, drizzle with honey, then serve with ice cream.