This week I didn't plan anything at all for Friday because I still have a lot to do for our annual cookout (only a few weeks away) and I wanted to get some mulching and yard work done. I thought I would play it by ear, maybe this time we would order a pizza. Well I ended up going to Boston for the day with Lisa and Karisa so I didn't get the yard work done, but that's OK it was more fun to go enjoy the weather, friends and food in Boston. I left Lisa's house about 4:30 and went to Whole Foods just to grab something for the grill. I don't know what drew me to the fresh tuna steak, but I had to get a piece of that. I figured I would do a quick honey soy marinade and grill it for an appetizer. Then I originally planned on lamb (lolly-pops) chops, but they were so expensive and they had these small lamb steaks that looked a lot like fillet mignon, I was curious about those so I got a couple to try them out (It was a cut from the leg). I got some heirloom tomatoes and figured I'd do a quick tomato salad to go with it. I also got some asparagus because they were calling out to me, they are always good on the grill. At the farmer's market in Boston we got these baby carrots that we decided to par-boil and then grill them. I made a quick herb and Bulgar salad; just lots of herbs from the garden, some butter, salt and pepper. Dessert would be cannoli's from Mike's Pastry in Boston. I ended up getting home about 5:45 and dinner was ready in no time. Comparing what I usually do... cooking all day long...to... dinner tonight in no time... You know I love to cook but sometimes simple is best.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
BLT with a twist
I saw an ad on the cooking channel, just a quick little thing where the guy said... "we use caramelized bacon and a ham hock to make our bacon ice cream." That's how this recipe began. I said ok would this be a dessert or can it be served as a savory course? What would I serve it with? Would it be by itself or maybe a play on a BLT? What could be the Lettuce part? What would be the Tomato part? Would I serve it on bread? I figured it out...
I made the ice cream by infusing cooked bacon that I chopped up into the milk for 30 minutes (I couldn't find a ham hock that day, but it turns out it wasn't necessary). I proceeded with a Maple Syrup Ice Cream recipe that I found on line seriouseats.com. Again I am serving this as a savory course so I didn't want it to be too sweet, and what kind of sweet goes with bacon? Maple syrup. I used a good pinch of Fleur de Sel to heighten the savory side of things. The Lettuce part was an arugula infused olive oil. I tour up a good amount of arugula leaves and put them into a small saucepan, then covered them with extra virgin olive oil. Put the heat on very low and once I saw it was heated through, but not at all boiling, I covered the pan and removed it from the heat. Let it sit for an hour to steep like a tea, then strained it. I tasted it and it was now "Arugula Oil". For the Tomato part, I slow roasted, drained and cut in half, San Marzano whole tomatoes from a can for about 2 1/2 hours at about 250 degrees. I cut them into a small dice. When I was ready to plate it I toasted a thin slice of sourdough bread and cut it into a triangle. In a shallow bowl I put in one scoop of bacon ice cream, drizzled with arugula olive oil and spooned on some diced slow roasted tomatoes. To garnish I sprinkled over some bacon that I cut into matchsticks, one whole arugula leaf and of course the triangle of sourdough bread. Can I tell you, it came out fantastic!
Scallion Crepe Cigars
This idea came from the Boston Globe Magazine. There was a recipe for these scallion crepes and the chef likes to serve them with this dipping sauce that was also featured in the magazine. I decided to roll them into a cigar shape, just to make it easier to dip. These crepes have a whole bunch of scallion mixed into the batter, and they end up being almost spicy from the white parts of the scallions and the dipping sauce has hot sauce in it. The sauce is 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp Mirin, 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp Siracha, 2 tsp grated fresh ginger and 1 Tbsp of water.
I didn't follow a recipe for this except for the Butterscotch Pastry Cream. The difference between regular pastry cream and butterscotch is the use of brown sugar in place of regular white sugar and a pinch of Fleur de Sel. I made the pastry cream and chilled it. I softened a 4 oz container of marcarpone cheese and set aside. I whipped some heavy cream with some confectioners sugar and vanilla. I mixed the three together until it tasted really good. So I made the coffee syrup for the lady fingers. If you ever made tirimisu you know you dip the store bought lady fingers into a coffee syrup before assembling the dish. I dissolved some sugar and water together on the stove top, I dissolved some decaffeinated instant coffee in some hot water and just added it until it was a rich dark color, but not too dark. I added some Bourbon, not too much. I tasted it and it needed just a splash of water to make it just right. I dipped the lady fingers into the coffee syrup quickly and lined the glass dish with them. I spread on 1/2 of the cream mixture and another layer of lady fingers and topped with the other 1/2 of the cream mixture. Cover and let it sit overnight so it all comes together nicely. I had slowly cooked some white chocolate that morning until it caramelized and put it into a small bowl and let it harden in the refrigerator. I grated that over the tirimisu before cutting into it. It was fantastic!
Sunday, June 6, 2010
So this week I finally had time, but I had to keep it simple and I couldn't be too creative because I have this tooth ache that is driving me crazy. I got a tooth ache out of the blue. I made an appointment with the dentist and they scheduled me for the next day...Wonderful, only to find out I didn't have a cavity, instead I need a root canal. So now the root canal is scheduled for Wednesday (5 days later) 5 more days of tooth aches. So instead of the "bites" I went back to simpler times and did an appetizer, main dish and dessert.
Steamed Dumplings in a Flavorful Thai Broth
I bought these dumpling wrappers from a Asian market in Westboro and I hadn't used them yet, they had been sitting in the freezer. I looked for a dumpling recipe and I found these by Alton Brown on the Foodnetwork.com. (Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings) He uses tofu and cabbage and a whole bunch of other flavors and after they are steamed he likes to dip them into a broth, so that's what I did. I had some homemade chicken stock and I just added some to a pot with a couple cloves of garlic just cut in half, a couple pieces of fresh ginger about the same amount as the garlic, a dried Thai chili pepper ripped in two, salt and pepper. Just keep tasting it until it tastes right. Alton's recipe was really good, as most people rated this recipe with 5 stars. It's a nice light and flavorful appetizer to serve before Spicy Chicken Coconut Curry.
Spicy Chicken Coconut Curry with Jasmine Rice
This is a Tyler Florence recipe also found on Foodnetwork.com. A lot of people rated this recipe with 5 stars also, but once in a while someone said it wasn't flavorful enough, and I see what they mean. It was very good but the only thing it needed was more fresh herbs at the end or mixed in. Tony even thought that a fresh salsa spooned over the top would be a good addition. It wasn't spicy at all so maybe some spice in the salsa so someone can have it as hot as they like it. I cooked some Jasmine rice and served the curry over the rice.
Tangerine Creme Brulee
This sounded so good I had to do it. It was found in a French Style book I have. It's one of those books that has lots of pictures of French homes and gardens and there are also some recipes at the back of the book. They make this with Creme Fraiche, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla bean and they used Clementines. It was supposed to bake for 30 minutes in a 300 degree oven. It didn't work, I cooked it at least an hour and at some point I put the temperature up to 350. It never set up completely. After taking it out and cooling it a bit I chilled it and by the time dessert got here and Tony torched the sugar to make the "Brulee" part, It had set a bit but it also seemed to separate, it almost seemed like I poured some melted butter in the mix, but there was no butter. I know I did every thing the recipe said to do, maybe in France there Creme Fraiche is made differently, I don't know. The flavor was excellent. I will make this again and just use an American version custard with the orange flavors from this recipe. I topped the dessert with some shavings of orange chocolate bar I found at Whole Foods Market.