Monday, August 2, 2010

Friday Night Bites #7

I usually start cooking for dinner as soon as Tony leaves in the morning for work on Friday's and I end up in the kitchen all day. I forced myself to start after lunch so I had some time in the morning to do some other things. It worked out pretty good. I got everything done still ahead of time so I got to relax outside in the later afternoon too. Compared to two weeks ago when I took it too far.

Blinis topped 3-ways

I never made blinis before and I liked them. I saw a recipe in Bon Appetit, January 09 for Whole Wheat Blinis with American Caviar. Since I didn't want to do the caviar I tried to come up with other ideas for toppings and I thought of three and figured I'd try them all. One was a dollop of sour cream with grated lemon zest over top and then some finely diced roasted red peppers. Another was goat's cheese that I rolled in ground pistachio nuts, I chilled it then sliced into rounds and topped it with Balsamic Jelly (that I saw a recipe for in Bon Appitit, Aug 10). The third way was caramelized onions topped with blue cheese. Our favorites were the last two. The sour cream and roasted red pepper was good but when we ate the other two there was an explosion of flavors in our mouths.

Suppli over Micro Basil Salad

Suppli [SOO-plee] is an Italian style Croquette made with risotto and stuffed with cheese, coated in egg wash and bread crumbs and deep fried. I always thought the name of that was Arancine [ah-rahn-CHEE-neh], but I looked up arancine for the spelling in my "Food Lover's Companion" book and the description was a Sicilian specialty with the use of Saffron rice balls that are filled with meat, meat sauce or cheese and deep fried. So they are almost the same but I was using risotto so I thought I would use the correct name. So anyway...I made the risotto first thing after lunch so it would have time to cool in the refrigerator, the risotto has to be cold in order to form it into balls and for it to hold (the origin of this recipe comes from having left over risotto).

So I used an ice cream scoop to make them uniform in size and I made an indent in the ball and placed a chunk of fresh mozzarella in it and formed more risotto over the cheese to enclose it and form a perfect round with cheese in the middle. I let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple hours until I was ready to fry them off. It's a good idea to let them sit in the refrigerator anyway so they get really solid (you don't want them falling apart in the oil). I coated them with beaten egg and then Panko bread crumbs, I let them sit about 10 minutes and then I fried them in canola oil just until they turned a golden brown and I removed them from the oil and onto a sheet pan and into a 375 degree oven for 5-7 minutes just to make sure the inside is hot and the cheese is melted. I put one on top of a little basil salad I made with "Globe Basil" from my garden and a small dice of tomatoes. I drizzled olive oil and lemon juice over the salad with a little salt and pepper. This was a winner! Anybody would love this and it really is easy.

Two Cheese Flatbread Rounds with Asparagus Tips, Egg Yolk and Parsley Chive Oil

I love a dish that has egg yolk oozing somewhere in or on it, and that's where this idea started. I wanted a really crunchy crust to hold up to the oozing egg yolk so instead of my regular recipe for pizza dough (which is very good) I used Jim Lahey's recipe which I made a couple other times and it's a really strong and really good crust. I formed the flatbread into rounds (Friday Night Bites sized) and topped it with some cheese. We love Boucheron cheese and I used Emmenthaler cheese too. I place three asparagus tips on the top and popped them in the oven at 400 degrees. After 15-20 minutes when they were pretty much done, I took them out and placed an egg yolk in the center of the asparagus, then popped them back in the oven. Set the timer for 3 minutes and they were perfectly done... (it made a perfect breakfast this morning too, using the leftover's). I smashed up some chives and parsley in my mortar and pestle then added olive oil and salt, and after letting it sit for an hour and letting the herbs soak with the oil, I had chive and parsley oil that I drizzled on the flatbread just before serving. Delicious!

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Turnips, Cauliflower and Goose Berries

On our "Food Trip" to Chicago a few weeks back we had this dish at Avec Restaurant and it was a highlight from that trip. I got the gist of the recipe down and it was really good but I couldn't remember if there was lemon or balsamic or something like that in it. I basically seared some boneless skinless chicken thighs in a pan with oil, removed the chicken and poured off the extra fat. To the hot pan I added cauliflower, turnips, onions and salt then scrape up the bits at the bottom of the pan and deglaze with white wine, let it reduce and add chicken stock and the chicken back in. I put the lid on and into the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. I knew I would reheat it later so I didn't want to cook it too long at this point. I left it in a low oven for an hour and when I was ready to serve I put the oven on 400, took the lid off and let it cook about 20 minutes more. The dish we had in Chicago had fresh currents added at the end, I couldn't find them at the store but I came across goose berries so I gave that a try. It was super tender and really good. Next time I would put the cauliflower in later, they were a little too soft, I would have liked some more texture to them.

Mint Julep Panna Cotta

This was in our new favorite magazine called "Imbibe Magazine" which is all about fancy cocktails and non alcoholic drinks too, and they have a handful of food recipes in each one. This one was Tony's request. You cook down some bourbon in one pan and set aside. You very slowly (30 minutes) bring up to a simmer some milk, cream, sugar, vanilla bean and fresh mint, this gives plenty of time for the mint to get infused into the cream mixture. Then basically you add some softened gelatin and mix in the reduced bourbon and pour into serving cups or ramekins to set up in the refrigerator. Panna cotta of any kind is so easy to do. It tasted like a mint julep and it was very good.

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