Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Friday Night Bites #10

This weeks menu came together from a couple different shows on food TV and one from a magazine. I just happened to not have any good ideas and it was Wednesday night (I usually have it figured out somewhat by Wednesday so I can shop on Thursday) and I was watching the show "Unique Eats" and everything this guy Marc Vetri made looked really good. He's got this Italian restaurant in Philadelphia called "Vetri". They showed about 5 of his menu items and I picked 2 of them along with an idea for a 3rd dish. The dessert came from the show "Drink up" where the host made a Banana Rum Flambe'. The other dish was something I came up with.

Fried Sausage Stuffed Green Olives

This was in the Bon Appetit magazine September 2010. Really the perfect little thing to eat with a drink. We love olives as is but this way is really good... it says to get some big green pitted olives and cut a slit down one side. Fill in the center with this sausage, Parmesan, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper mixture (some sausage is still showing). It's then coated in flour an egg wash and Panko then fried until golden and the sausage cooks through. Yummy, crispy, salty, spicy and flavorful.

Spinach Gnocchi

This was one from Chef Vetri (above). They don't give the recipes on the show but say how they do it very quickly. I think it was good but his looked more light and airy. He said it's made with 100% spinach and a little bit of flour, a little bit of egg, a little bit of Parmesan and nutmeg. The spinach is made into a smooth paste in the food processor and those few ingredients are added to the spinach (I think If I put a little more than a little bit of the other things it would have been light and airy like his). His in the final product even looked lighter in color. He served it in a dish with some Parmesan sprinkled over the top and then he spooned brown butter over it, so that's what I did. I thought they were good but I would have to figure out the right way if I were to make them again.

Roasted Turkey Roulade with Mushroom Stuffing and a Blueberry-Cranberry Sauce

I was at the meat counter looking at my options when it occurred to me. That's something I tend not to buy unless it's Thanksgiving, a whole turkey breast. I think I will do it more often too because it was easy and delicious and we had lunch for a couple days after. First I brined it; I heated about 2 cups of water in a pan and added 1/4 cup kosher salt and 1/4 cup sugar, a few Tbsp fulls of Hoison Sauce, 1 Tbsp dried sage and 1 star anise; once everything was dissolved in the water I poured it over ice in a large bowl to cool quickly; I added the turkey (making sure it was completely submerged in cold brine) and refrigerated it for 24 hours. I made a mushroom stuffing with Shiitaki mushrooms and Italian bread, onions, fresh sage and chicken stock. I stuffed the turkey, rolled it up and tied it with kitchen string. I brushed melted butter over the skin and roasted it in a 350 degree oven until it reached 160 degrees internal temperature. I think it took about 45-60 minutes ( I forgot). I let it rest for about 15 minutes before carving into it so it wouldn't dry out. I served it with red (beet-stained) cous-cous and not just cranberry sauce but Blueberry-cranberry sauce. I got the idea for blueberries because the Vetri guy and another guy on the same "Unique Eats' show used blueberry jam in there dishes. One was on a pizza after it came out of the oven and the other was dibbled around a plate of a fancy lasagna. So I did about equal amounts of wild (whole) blueberry jam and canned whole cranberry sauce with some lemon juice to loosen it and to add a tang (I think it's going on the Thanksgiving table in November).

Almond Tortellini

This was one of Marc Vetri's dishes. He cooks down Arborio rice as you would a risotto until it turns mushy and almost a paste which takes slightly over an hour using water instead of chicken stock. Once it cools he adds eggs, ground toasted almonds, Parmesan and almond extract. He puts it in a pastry bag and pipes onto squares of fresh pasta dough which he makes using just the yolks, then forms them into tortellini shapes. So I did everything he did and I think I was pretty accurate. This is a good thing to make for someone who doesn't like cheese so much, you would never know it's RICE in the filling. He melts butter in a skillet with truffle paste and cooks the fresh pasta right in the butter sauce. I just used butter with fresh parsley, toasted bread crumbs and Parmesan at the end, because I didn't have the truffle paste. This was good I never formed my own tortellini shapes before, it wasn't too difficult at all.

Banana Rum Flambe' with Homemade Banana Ice Cream

This was a great find because it was so easy and really good. This was on the show "Drink Up". The host of the show made it and it takes no time at all. You melt a couple Tbsp of butter and a couple Tbsp of brown sugar in a medium skillet; once melted add a couple sliced banana's and coat the banana slices in the sugar syrup; Add a good splash of rum away from the heat then flambe' it carefully with a match holding it away from you and anything around it; once the flame goes out spoon the banana mixture over either vanilla or in my case the banana ice cream and top with nuts. He used Macadamia nuts but I used Walnuts and the next day when I made it again I used crushed Almonds, all are good.

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