Thursday, October 21, 2010

Friday Night Menu, Wiener Schnitzel

I decided to look for inspiration on Wolfgang Puck's website this time. I have never been disappointed after making one of his recipes. I saw the recipe for Jaeger Schnitzel where you can use beef, veal or venison, it's pounded out thin and coated in flour before sauteing in a skillet. I immediately thought I would do veal and I checked out my "Food Lover's Companion" book for any information and it said that a Schnitzel made with veal is called a Wiener Schnitzel (you learn something new everyday). It's not that easy of coarse. The recipe has a sauce and it calls for veal stock, so off to the store for veal bones and a night of simmering I went!

Pot Stickers

I forgot to get dumpling wrappers at the store for the pot stickers so I had to be creative. I always have Spring Roll Wrappers in the freezer from the Chinese market. I never used the spring roll wrappers in any other way but to deep fry them with a filling. I cut them down the middle and put a small amount of the filling, which was a flavorful ground pork mixture, on one end. I then folded it up like you would fold a flag forming a triangle. I put them on a sheet pan in the refrigerator until I was ready to serve. When the time came I heated a skillet with a little safflower oil and got it hot then added the "pot stickers" to the pan. Once they started to brown and form a bit of a crust which takes only a few minutes at med-high, I put in about 1/4 cup or so of water and immediately cover the pan to create steam. I set the timer for 5 minutes and removed the cover and let any remaining liquid evaporate. Serve with a sauce that had rice wine vinegar, ginger syrup (below) and sesame oil. It was goooood! Crunchy bottoms and steamed tops are just what the doctor ordered.

Ginger syrup; I made this so Tony could make me a ginger gimlet and he did a fine job! I boiled 1 cup of water with about 1 cup of chopped fresh ginger. When it comes to a boil cover the pan and remove from the heat and let it steep for 5 minutes. Strain the ginger out and return the ginger water to the pan and add a scant cup of sugar to the pan. Heat over medium, stirring to dissolve the sugar and let it simmer for about a minute. Pour the syrup in a bowl set over a bowl of ice water. Once cool you can use it how ever you wish.

Wiener Schnitzel

The veal stock is roasted veal bones and onions for about 1 1/2 hours, then add to a stock pot with carrots, celery, seasonings, tomatoes and garlic. Cover with water and simmer for 6 hours or up to 24 hours. I started making this about 6:00 on Thursday night so I let it simmer over a very low heat overnight. I added more water in the morning and let it go until about noon. I strained it out, removed any of the fat from the surface and reduced it further. I put it in the frig and when I was ready to make the main course I browned the veal on both sides and removed it to a plate. In the pan I added onions, carrots, celery and a bouquet garni. Add wine and reduce, add some of the veal stock and the veal back in. In another pan cook some bacon, mushrooms, pearl onions and parsley in some butter and oil then add that to the pan with the sauce.

Camozola Mashed Potatoes

I simply mashed in about 3 oz of blue cheese into the potatoes along with butter and milk until the consistency was nice and creamy and delicious.

Steamed Brocolette

Brocolette I believe is the same as Broccolini which is a combination of Chinese kale and broccoli. I steamed it until it was tender which seemed to take about 10 minutes. I cut the base of the stems off and just let them remain whole and gorgeous. I put them on the plate and sprinkled a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil over the top.


I have made tiramisu many times but always with Lady Finger cookies. You make a coffee and Liquor syrup and dip each Lady Finger into the syrup, and that's a good way of doing it but Friday Night is all about trying new things. I wanted to make a Tiramisu with a thin cake in place of the cookies. I gotta say this is much better! The cake is 3 ingredients; eggs, sugar and flour. It comes together in minutes and bakes for 12-15 minutes on a 1/2 sheet pan. This is a Wolfgang Puck recipe so go to his website for the exact recipe. You make an espresso syrup and a Mascarpone cream mixture. To assemble you put a layer of the cream in the bottom of a 9X13 pan, then 1/2 of the sheet cake, pour over 1/2 of the espresso syrup. You do that one more time with cream, cake and syrup then top with one more of the cream, shave some chocolate over and your done. There is no dipping into syrup and wondering if you dipped too long or too little. It's less expensive because you don't buy all the cookies. The only change I would have to work on for our own personal taste is the cream mixture, which is very rich. I want to do not quite as much Mascarpone cheese and a little more Sabayon, which is a egg and sugar mixture cooked over a double-boiler then the Marsala and Brandy are whisked in...or is there no such thing as too rich??

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Friday Night, Bone-in Rib Eye

It's only been a few weeks since I did a bone-in rib eye in the grill, but it was so good and Tony keeps talking about it. I did have another plan, which was to do braised short ribs. Sometimes the short ribs don't look meaty enough so I told myself if they don't look good I will get a rib eye. Well something wanted me to make the rib eyes because there were no short ribs and the rib eyes looked fantastic.

Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers, Harissa Olives, Buffalo Mozzarella and Crusty Bread Plate

I was sitting in the dentists office when I saw an October Food and Wine sitting there. I thought..."hey this doesn't look familiar, why not, I have all the food magazines"...So I immediately got on the cell phone after leaving the dentist office and Tony called back to say he has ordered a years subscription to Food and Wine. I don't know what happened there, we will have to keep a closer eye on that!!! But anyway as I flipped through the pages I saw Mario Batali did an appetizer with these roasted red and yellow peppers and there were capers and olives and crusty bread and I think a ball of mozzarella. So I did all that I remembered from the picture. I also had in mind that I would make some homemade harissa. A couple posts ago you will notice we had a vegan cook-off, well we have another one in December that will include "harissa", which is a chili-garlic sauce. You can buy this sauce but I saw that you can make it from scratch. I don't want to say how I made it (in case someone is reading this who is in the contest) but it includes some spices and dried chili's and garlic, its made into a paste. I thought I would mix the sauce into the olives but I chickened out and just put it on the side. It was very good, it turns out I could have mixed it in. The Buffalo Mozzarella was the star. We ate the whole ball. It's got a soft and creamy texture on the inside and it's skin is more firm. It was worth spending $7.99.

Bone-in Rib Eye

I always think I should do a sauce or different spices but in the case of a good piece of steak, simple is best. The thing I did this time that was different was instead of just kosher salt and black pepper I sprinkled over a generous amount of very coarse gray salt along with the black pepper. The salt was very nice, it gives a nice crunch, and it wasn't too salty because some of it will fall off on the grill. What I always do is take the steak out of the butchers paper and let it sit on a plate in the refrigerator for the day or until you are ready to grill it, without any plastic wrap or anything. You want it to dry out a little. Then about 30-45 minutes before it goes on the grill I bring it out and let it sit at room temperature. I salted it about 5-10 minutes before it went on the grill, this brings some of the juices to the surface which will caramelize on the hot grill.

Celeriac Souffle

I bought the celeriac thinking I would mash it like potatoes and maybe mix 50% potato to 50% celeriac which I have done before. I was laying in bed that morning thinking what else can I do instead of mashing it??? Souffle came to mind. I looked on and there was nothing like that, so I just did what I thought and it worked. I boiled diced celeriac in water with salt then added the drained celeriac to the food processor. I put in 3/4 stick of soft butter, about 3/4 cup milk (heated), salt and pepper, grated Parmesan reggiano (about 1/2-3/4 cup) and 3 egg yolks. I whipped the egg whites in another bowl and folded them into the celeriac mixture. I carefully spooned them into a souffle dish that I buttered and coated with Parmesan cheese. I put it in the refrigerator for about 4 hours before baking it at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. I have a chocolate souffle recipe that I have made a few times that says you can leave it in the frig and just before serving you bake it off. Souffles are best baked off as soon as it's assembled but can be done ahead then baked off hours later for convenience.

Braised Swiss Chard

I always do Swiss chard the same way. I cut the stalk and saute that with garlic then add the leaves and cook over med-high heat until just cooked through, and that's always good. This time I decided to braise it, I started out the same way but when I added the leaves I also put in some chicken stock and covered the pan. I slowly braised the chard for about 15 minutes. It was really good that way. I finished it with a little white wine vinegar and salt and pepper.

Ginger Mousse

I saw this in a Bon Appetit October 09. Someone wrote in asking for the recipe, they had it at a restaurant and they wanted to make it at home. It sounded different, I love ginger, so I made it. It was good, it's 3/4 of a cup of fresh ginger steeped in water then strained. Then gelatin, sugar, eggs and whipped cream are Incorporated and it sets overnight or at least 8 hours which is what I did. I layered in some whipped cream and ginger cookie crumbles from some ginger snaps that I bought at the store. It made me think, what other flavors I can do instead of ginger. This would also be good dolloped on a slice of apple pie or something like that.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Friday Night Dinner, Pork Tenderloin Gone Crazy

This was one of those weeks where It's Thursday and I am still lost with what to make on Friday. I thought hard as I worked on Thursday so I could shop on my way home that day. I had no idea if my appetizer would even work, but I had to give it a go!

Cylinder O' Salad

My idea was that I would remove the crusts from a soft and moist sliced bread and roll it out with a rolling pin, then wrap it around my cannoli forms and seal the bread together with egg wash. Then I would either deep fry or just shallow fry them in butter for flavor and oil for a higher cooking temperature. I did it and it worked! I sprayed Pam on the cylinder shapes first and wrapped the rolled out sourdough bread slices around the metal forms. After letting them brown in the two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of canola oil for about 5 minutes I removed them from the oil and let them drain and cool for about 2 minutes. I removed the forms, and it was easy to remove because of the Pam. For the filling I chopped Calamata Olives (about 3 Tbsp) and a garlic clove together then combined that with softened goat cheese (about 4 oz). I ripped some green leaf lettuce into small pieces and made a salad dressing that included honey, mustard and sherry vinegar. Coated the lettuce with the dressing and stuffed each cylinder with the lettuce and cheese (about 50/50). I made the cylinders a few hours ahead of time and I stuffed them just before serving so the bread wouldn't get too soft. They were really good, I think next time add some diced cucumber or something with a crunch, but it was a great first course.

Pork Tenderloin Gone Crazy

I thought of a Filet Mignon wrapped in Phillo dough, but I didn't want to spend the money on a Filet so I thought I would do my idea with a pork tenderloin (which is the same cut, but different animal). I would brine the pork so it stays moist. My worry was that the Phillo usually takes 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees and would the pork be done in that time or if I sear it first will it be over done???? So I brined it to help it stay moist so if it overcooked a little it would be ok. I wanted to sear it but I seared it ahead and put it in the refrigerator. About an hour from when I wanted to serve I took it out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes. Then I sliced up some Phillo dough and wrapped it trying to make it look like hay or something crazy like that. Brushed some melted butter on the Phillo and put it in a 400 degree oven, when the Phillo browned and about 20-25 minutes later I checked it and it was a perfect 150 degrees. I took it out of the oven and finished the sides while it sat for another 5-8 minutes to get about 155-160 degrees. It was very tender and moist and perfectly cooked. The only problem was a little too salty from the brine. I did about 1 cup of salt to 4 cups of water, next time 1/2 cup salt to the same water and 1 1/2-2 hours instead of 3 should be perfect.

Butternut Squash and Apple Cider Risotto

I had a risotto at the Mills Tavern in Providence one time that had roasted squash and I always remember that dish. I have copied it a few times since that dining experience, and here I have done it again. The difference is that I was making a basic risotto one time and ran out of chicken stock. Instead of just using water (which you can do, but much less flavor) I had some apple cider in the refrigerator so I deluded about a cup of the cider with water and used that to slowly add to the Aborio rice. What that does is it adds a sweetness that you would almost swear the onions (which absorb the flavor throughout) are apples. So I combined the roasted squash (small dice with olive oil, salt and pepper which you can do a couple hours ahead or just before) and the apple cider method to make this Fall tasting risotto. Yummy!

Crisp Julienne Snow Peas

I quickly made this dish as the meat was resting from just out of the oven. Thinly slice the snow peas into long strips then quickly cook in butter in a skillet. Season with salt and pepper and after about 3 minutes remove them to the plate.

Sour Cream-Lemon Cheesecake

I saw a picture, in an ad for a restaurant, in a magazine. It was a two layer individual portion of lemon cheesecake, I had to figure it out. I don't make cheesecake very often, I love it but it's so high in fat, it can't be good for your body (especially when Tony and I eat Friday Night leftovers, for the days that follow). I bought some sour cream when I was at the store because I wanted the cheesecake to be very creamy and I would worry about a recipe later. I looked on when I got home and Alton Browns recipe had good reviews for a sour cream cheese cake. I divided the recipe in half and used ramekins instead of the cake pan that he used. I did half of the ramekins with the Graham cracker crust and the other half without to make the two layers. They came together quickly and took about 1/2 the time because of the smaller cooking vessels (as Alton would say). I was able to cook these the night before because Tony was traveling so he wouldn't see what I was making (because Tony never knows what Friday's menu is until he comes home on Friday). I let the cheesecake chill overnight. In the picture from the magazine it showed a sauce the same color as the cheesecake, basically, so what sauce should I make? I thought of doing a lemon curd but I turned to my "Joy of Cooking" for inspiration. I looked under "lemon" for a sauce or maybe the curd. I came across "Lemon Sabayon". Wow, it was perfect with the cheesecake. You mix on the top of a double boiler some eggs and sugar then whisk in some lemon juice then zest. It's light and airy and lemony and lovely! Garnished with some raspberries from the garden it was fantastic!

Vegan Cook-Off

We had a cook-off at my friends house where there were four contestants and three judges. We did this before with chicken wings, about a year ago. We came up with this idea at a summer cook out when we were trying to come up with a theme for a new cook-off and a friend of a friend is a vegan. We thought that was a good challenge, and Mara (the vegan) would be one of the judges. Everyone had good and interesting ideas... John made a vegetable chili, Alan made a tofu jambalaya, Tony made a gazpacho and I made a grilled vegetable panini with a side of mock mac and cheese. I don't have their recipes but here is mine...

Grilled Vegetable Panini
I started by making an eggplant spread for the sandwich. I roasted 3/4 inch dice of skinless eggplant and 1-2 whole garlic cloves in the paper tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper in a 400 oven until tender, about 30-35 minutes. I put the cooked eggplant into a food processor with a garlic clove or two with the paper removed, more salt and pepper to taste, a good amount of lemon juice; enough to taste it in the final sandwich and olive oil. Process until smooth and make sure it tastes good. I pressed the eggplant spread through a fine mesh sieve because there seemed to be a lot of seeds. I got the charcoal grill going and cut slices of vadalia onion, zucchini and cut the core out of a couple red peppers. Olive oil, salt and pepper on all the vegetables and grill, moving around the vegetables so they get charred but not too charred and softened but not too soft. I roasted some San Marzano canned tomatoes for the mock mac and cheese (recipe follows) and had that ready to put in the sandwich too.
To assemble I cut a French Baguette open like a book and hollowed out the inside of the bread to make room for the filling. Spread on the eggplant spread on both sides and layer in the onion, zucchini, red pepper and roasted tomatoes. Close the sandwich and wrap in plastic, weigh it down with a sheet pan and a heavy book in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Just before serving cut into serving sizes and press in a panini press with just a light spray of Pam. Press until the exterior is nice and crispy.

Mock Mac and Cheese
Get a nice firm pasta made with durum wheat semolina and cook in in boiling salted water until al dente (I used regular elbows and it's too soft in my opinion). I used one from Whole Foods, it's the whole foods brand and it's shape is called "casarecce". Set aside. To make the sauce, cut San Marzano canned tomatoes in half and let most of the juice drain out. Place the tomatoes cut side up on a sheet pan with olive oil, salt and pepper and 2-3 whole garlic cloves with the paper still on. Place the pan in a 400 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes to intensify the flavors and to roast the garlic cloves. In a blender add 1 container of silken tofu, about one to one and a half 28 oz cans of roasted tomatoes, 1 or 2 of the roasted garlic cloves with the paper removed, 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, 1/4 tsp dry mustard powder, 1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Buzz it up and taste for seasoning. I heated it up by heating the sauce in a saucepan just until it starts to steam and add the cooked pasta. Being careful you don't add too much pasta, you want to get plenty of the sauce with each bite of the pasta, heat through but don't over heat. I also made a crunchy top by using the insides of the french baguette (from recipe above). I cut up the centers of the bread as fine as I could with a knife. Heat up a good amount of olive oil (maybe 1/4 cup to 1 cup of fresh bread crumbs). Once the oil is hot and starts to shimmer add the fresh bread crumbs and it will start to brown, toss the pan now and then and when it's all golden brown drain it on paper towels and add salt and pepper. When you serve the mock mac and cheese top with the bread crumbs.

Friday Night Dinner, Cast Iron Roast Chicken

I decided to set the table in a French style this time by using a table cloth and I cut some flowers from the yard. I also changed up my usual white plate (used only for better pictures) to a french blue plate. It really makes things a bit more special by making these small changes.

Fresh Figs with Lavender Goat Cheese and Prosciutto

I didn't have any good ideas for the appetizer so I left it up to the market. I figured I would see what looked good and go from there. The produce department had these really good looking figs, with a different name (which I can't think of), and there was a sign that said good when wrapped with prosciutto. That's all I needed to start the ball rolling. I came across some lavender and honey goat cheese in the cheese department and I got some really good prosciutto. So I cut the figs in half and filled the centers with the lavender goat cheese then wrapped in prosciutto. When I was ready to serve I put a little olive oil in a non-stick pan and place in the bundles of joy. I turned them as they cooked to caramelize the prosciutto slightly and warm the centers. I removed them to a serving plate and deglazed with a little balsamic vinegar and let it reduce for a second then add a tablespoon of butter and swirled it in to melt off the heat. I poured the balsamic glaze over the figs and walla. It was really yummy.

Cast Iron Roast Chicken

I recently watched an Anthony Bourdain show again where "my guy" Thomas Keller was on his show showing how he makes a basic roast chicken. It's different than the recipe in his "Ad Hoc At Home" cookbook. Also different than what I would normally do. I normally would add herbs or lemon to the cavity and some butter or oil on the skin and it's always good but he was showing how he just uses salt and pepper in the cavity and on the skin and that's it. He roasts it at about 425-450 for 25 minutes then turns down the temperature to 400 until the temperature of the chicken is at 160 degrees. He did his chicken in a medium sized skillet. I wanted to use my cast iron pan. I love when rutabaga or turnips are under a chicken while it roasts so I added that to the pan first. Of course you truss the chicken before roasting to keep it all together. What a great way to do it. It was juicy and the skin was crispy too.

Potato Pave'

This was the whole reason I bought the Ad Hoc at Home cookbook in the first place. I saw Thomas Keller do this recipe on a show (I think Martha) and it looked easy but impressive, and it is. You start by slicing russet potatoes very thin using a mandolin (or a meat slicer, which is what I used), and dropping the slices into milk seasoned with salt and pepper. Butter a loaf pan that stands about 3 inches tall. Start layering in the potatoes and every two layers add a bit of butter and salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil tightly and bake for 1 hour and 50 minutes at 375 or until the potatoes are very tender. Remove from the oven and weigh it down and let it come to room temperature. Chill at least 6 hours or overnight. Cut slices and cook in a non-stick skillet on it's side in canola oil. As it browns you start to see all the layers of potato get crisp on the outside and it's almost creamy on the inside. Brown on two sides and plate. Top with butter and fresh cut chives. This was good for days to follow and along side an egg for breakfast.

Crunchy Brussels Sprout Leaves with Pancetta

I started by cutting off the end a little to allow the layers to "fall off, with a little help form a knife" and when it gets down to the centers I just cut it into quarters. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and cut thick sliced pancetta cut into a small dice. Brown the pancetta and leaving the fat in the pan (remove some fat if there is too much) add the Brussels sprouts. Toss and cook for maybe 4-5 minutes over med-high heat, season with a little salt and pepper. Delicious!

Apple Fritters with Bourbon Ice Cream

This was in the October 2010 Bon Appetit magazine. We got the magazine in the mailbox just the day before and Tony commented on these fritters with the ice cream when he saw it, so I thought...there is the dessert for Friday Night...

The fritters remind me of a donut batter made with flour, sugar, spices, buttermilk, eggs and baking powder. The apples are sauteed ahead with butter and sugar then sparkling apple cider, apple cider vinegar and cinnamon are added. You combine the apples and the batter and deep fry for about 4 minutes until cooked through. Toss with cinnamon-sugar right out of the oil. The ice cream has 5 Tbsp of Bourbon in the whole recipe so it's subtle but really the right amount of flavor. It was great as we head into Fall. The best part was Tony stopped on the way home and bought a new liqueur that he's been seeing in drink recipes and he made me a drink that combined cinnamon and sparkling apple cider. It paired perfectly with what I made for dessert, I think he read my mind.