Sunday, May 2, 2010

Friday Night Bites #2

This time it was more than just Tony and I. Lisa and John joined us this week and we had a great night. I did make a couple repeats though. I planned to do the small dishes again, like last week, and there were a couple things I thought Lisa and John would like (since we already tested them out and were sure they were going to be good). One was the Mushroom Bruchetta that I made on "Friday Night, Rack of Lamb" night. The other was the Salmon en Papillote, which is salmon that is cooked in (parchment) paper. I have made this but it must not have been on a Friday night since I just looked at my list of dinners and it's not posted. Actually I also made the dessert before too, which was Al Forno Apple Tart which was "Friday Night, Thomas Keller's Roast Chicken".

Mushroom Bruchetta

Check out "Friday Night, Rack of Lamb" posting.

Pork Ball Sliders with Pickles Shallots and Brussels Sprout Slaw

Lisa doesn't like beef so much, but she does like pork. I have made meatballs before using ground pork and I think they are better than the traditional mix of ground chuck, veal and pork. I added to a mixing bowl a pound of ground pork. I cut the crust off of day old Italian bread and cut it into 1/2 inch squares, toast in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees just to dry it out a bit then add into a medium bowl. Pour milk over the bread and press it to soak the bread, once it's all absorbed just add the milk soaked bread to the pork (figure 60% pork to 40% bread). Add Saracha hot sauce to taste, 1 egg, a couple tablespoons of soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste. I used a regular sized ice cream scoop (maybe 1/3 cup) to scoop out the pork balls so they are all the same size, then place them on a sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven. While they cook make the sauce. In a sauce pan add about 1 cup of ketchup, Saracha hot sauce to taste, about 1/3 cup brown sugar, a couple table spoons of rice vinegar, about 1/2 cup of apple cider, salt and pepper. Stir and heat it over medium heat, place the pork balls into the sauce and finish cooking the balls through for about 30 minutes covered and at a gentle simmer. FYI, I didn't measure anything exactly, you really just have to taste it and see if it's how you like it. I made a simple pickled shallot to put on the slider by just slicing a shallot very thin and cover with red wine vinegar, a good pinch of salt and good pinch of sugar. Let it sit in the frig for a couple hours then remove it from the pickle juice. When I was ready to assemble I cut open small dinner rolls and crisped them up in a skillet with a little butter until golden. Place a pork ball with the sauce in the bun and top with a little shallot.

We heard someone on Food TV say...Brussels sprout slaw...and that's all I needed to hear. It's a baby cabbage so why not? I shaved about 8 Brussels sprouts on a mandolin and that was plenty for 4 mini plates. I combined some mayonnaise, a dash of sugar, rice vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Mix the two together being careful not to overkill with the mayonnaise mixture. I added the slaw along side the sliders.

Salmon en Papillot

As I said above Salmon en Papillot means cooked in (parchment) paper, in the oven. You can really put anything in this package as long as it all will take about the same time to cook. I have found that it doesn't take long for fish to cook, and the "mini" piece that I served really would be fast. I assembled these ahead of time and put them in the refrigerator. So I also figured these packets are cold so I gave a couple more minutes to the time. I guessed at 400 degrees for 10 minutes and they were don't perfectly. Take a good sized piece of parchment paper and fold it in half. On one side start adding what you like. I put in shaved fennel, julienne carrots and leeks as the base (salt and pepper on the vegetables). I placed a small piece of seasoned salmon over that (3-4 oz), a tsp of butter on the salmon, 1 slice of lemon and a fennel fron over the butter. Drizzle in some white wine, I used Pernoid. Close by folding over the other half and making a series of small folds to seal as tight as possible. Place them on a sheet pan and place into the oven or refrigerate for a couple hours until you are ready to serve.

Crispy Mango Chicken with a Red Quinoa Parmesan Cake

I wanted to make a mango sauce and that is how this recipe was born. I decided to reduce mango juice (about 1 1/2 cups) by about half or until it turned thicker, so that's what I did. I tasted it and it was good but needed something so I added the juice of 1/2 an orange for brightness and a tang. I added Sambal hot sauce for the heat and I like how you can see the bits of pepper flakes, so you know it's going to be a little spicy. I minced a shallot and put that in and of course salt to taste. I just let it cook a little bit more until it had a nice consistency for topping a piece of chicken. I pounded out a chicken breast and cut 4 small portions. I seasoned with salt and pepper and coated each piece in flour, egg wash and then Panko bread crumbs. Place on a cooling rack, uncovered and in the refrigerator to let it dry out a bit (this will ensure a crispy crust). When I was ready to serve I heated a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and added about 1/4 inch of canola oil. Once hot cook the chicken on both sides until golden and cooked through.

Red Quinoa Parmesan Cake

I tried to make quinoa risotto by toasting the grain first in butter then add white wine then ladle in hot chicken stock a little at a time, just as you would aborio rice. I heard that before, that you can treat any grain as if you are making a risotto....but guess what? Not this grain. So I went to plan B which was to add some stock and cover until it cooked through (package directions). That worked just fine, but I wanted it to have the texture of risotto rice so I could form it into a cake and get it crispy on the outside and soft on the inside by cooking the "cake" just before serving in a little butter. So I added grated Parmesan cheese (it helped but needed something else). I added an egg and then some panko bread crumbs. Now we are getting somewhere, it's holding it's shape when I formed it. I added salt and pepper and some fresh chives from my garden. Mix together and I used a 1/3 cup measure to shape the "cakes". First line the measuring cup with plastic wrap, pack in the quinoa (bury a small piece of Parmesan cheese in the center) and the plastic wrap helps to get it out easily. I made 4 and put them in the refrigerator covered. When ready to serve I coated each one in some flour and in the same non-stick skillet I cooked the chicken in I cooked these "cakes" in. I added some pea shoots for a little green and that's it.

Free Form Apple Tart with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Check out "Friday Night, Thomas Keller's Roast Chicken"

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