Roasted Eggplant Stack with Goat Cheese Bechemel Sauce
This was eggplant that I sliced about 3/8 inch thick, olive oil salt and pepper and roasted in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, turning over half way. I had some leftover caramelized onion, leftover walnut-parsley pesto and leftover tomato sauce. I stacked the eggplant, the pesto and the onion, eggplant, pesto and onion...etc... until I ran out of eggplant; I made a bechemel sauce by melting 1 Tbsp of butter in a skillet then add 1 Tbsp of flour, cook for a minute then slowly pour in while whisking about a cup of warm milk; off the heat melt in a chunk of goat cheese and taste to see if it's enough, season with salt and pepper; spoon over the stack letting it drip down the sides then place in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes to warm through and meld everything, then turn the broiler on and brown the top.
Fried soft Boiled Egg on Arugula Shoots - Goat Cheese and Beet Tower with Dijon Dressing
I Soft boiled the eggs earlier in the day; peeled them and chilled in the frig until I was ready to serve; dry them off with paper towel; dip in flour, then egg wash then Panko bread crumbs; let them sit on a cooling rack in the frig for about 10 minutes or so to ensure that the coating sticks to the egg and stays on while frying; heat a small deep pot with enough canola oil so the egg will be fully submerged when added (do one or two at a time); it will only take about a minute for each, you want to warm through the egg and have a golden coating on the exterior; serve over arugula sprouts.
Roast the beets by just wrapping them tightly in aluminum foil (no need for oil or seasoning) at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes (depending on the size); let them cool enough to handle them easily, while they are warm cut the root end and remove the skin by simply rubbing it off with a paper towel; Slice into 1/4 inch slices and slice a log of goat cheese into 1/4 inch slices ( I used a piece of dental floss which makes it easy); stack then slice the edges so you get a nice square tower.
Here was a shot of the inside of the egg...still soft in the middle and crunch on the outside
Herb Rubbed and Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Grape Mostarda, Hannah Yams and Green beans
I made a rub for the pork tenderloins by smashing a couple garlic cloves in the mortar and pestle, a good pinch of salt and pepper, a couple fresh sprigs of rosemary and thyme, 2 heaping teaspoons of Dijon mustard, a couple regular sized teaspoons of clover honey, a splash of soy sauce and a splash of rice wine vinegar, maybe 1-2 Tablespoons of each; I rubbed this over two tenderloins a few hours ahead; when we were ready Tony started the charcoal grill and cooked them whole with a chunk of hickory for flavor, I sliced them after.
The grape mostarda is easy to make and you can serve it with different meats and I bet this would be good on a grilled chicken breast. You need 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp cracked mustard seeds, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 1/2 cups of seedless red grapes, 2 tsp mustard powder; combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed and cinnamon stick in a saucepan and bring to a boil, continue to boil until the liquid is reduced by half; add the grapes and mustard powder and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes or until the grapes are barely cooked though.
Hannah Yams are just simply cooked like you would a mashed potato. Green beans were blanched until perfectly done earlier in the day then heated in a skillet with butter to warm through, season with salt and pepper.
Spaghetti Squash with Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes
Usually I just microwave the spaghetti squash like it says to do on the sticker that comes on it but this time I cut it in half and roasted it like any other squash (flesh down) with olive oil, salt and pepper at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until very tender; remove the seeds in the center with a spoon then using the tines of a fork scrape all the "spaghetti" out into a bowl; top it with the sauce which I made by just draining a can of whole tomatoes and place the tomatoes on a sheet pan with a couple garlic cloves, a good drizzle of olive oil, a good drizzle of balsamic vinegar (maybe 1/3 cup) a sprinkling of salt and pepper and some dried oregano; roast at 375-400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until it deepens in color (move it around a couple times while it cooks with a spatula to keep the balsamic from burning on the edges); taste for seasoning then top the squash with it; grate some parmigiana reggiano over the top.
Casarecce with Walnut Parsley Pesto Cream Sauce
I had to find the box to tell you what kind of pasta this was but you can use any kind you like of course. I made the sauce by first making the pesto; I put a couple garlic cloves in the bowl of a food processor, I chopped them first just to ensure they get good and chopped up, add a whole bunch of fresh parsley (avoiding the stems), a couple handfuls of walnuts (toasted in a dry skillet), about 1/3 cup of grated parmigiana reggiano, the juice of a lemon and lemon zest, salt and pepper, pulse to combine and brake down everything pretty small; drizzle in some olive oil while the machine is running until you form a paste; taste to see if it needs more lemon or salt; to make the cream sauce add about 1/2 cup of heavy cream to a skillet over medium-high heat, add a couple heaping spoonfuls of the pesto and whisk together, heat through and taste to see if you've added enough pesto or if too much add more cream; once the sauce is a good consistency and tastes right add the drained pasta to the sauce and cook together for a minute; serve; yum
I made about 1/2 lb of pasta for this amount of sauce
Boneless Rib Eye with Fresh Rosemary, garlic, cracked peppercorns and salt
I cut a couple slits into the meat and pushed garlic slices in there; a couple rosemary sprigs placed where the bone usually is, rub the salt and pepper all over and then tie with kitchen twine to hold it all together while it cooks; I did this about 30 minutes ahead of time and let it sit at room temperature, this really lets all the flavors get into the meat; also letting it sit at room temperature helps with even cooking.
Cast Iron Boneless Rib Eye with Roasted Corn and Guacamole
This seems like an odd combination to put on a plate in January but it did make it feel a little like summer (which is always a good thing). I cooked the rib eye inside because it was freezing out side! The flavors were really delicious on this steak that I described above. The avocados looked really good so I made some guacamole with just the avocado, some lime juice, fresh diced tomato, salt and pepper and something I don't usually do but I thought it needed some olive oil to enrich it. I served a few blue corn chips (as the bread), and the corn on the cob which I describe below.
I did this before and they were so good I had to do this idea again. Butter, salt and pepper the corn cob's, then wrap in foil, roast at 375 for 30 minutes; it's an easy way and it really comes out nice and intensely flavored
Savory Cheese Cake over Arugula
I didn't measure anything here, so maybe it's not that important to be exact, this is what I did. Keep in mind I only made 2 portions so if you want more that double this...In a food processor add 4 oz of cream cheese, an ounce of blue cheese, a couple-three tablespoons of Greek yogurt, 1 egg, salt and pepper, fresh thyme to taste. Buzz it all up and spoon into 2 small souffle cups that you've buttered and coated with bread crumbs; press into the center another chunk of blue cheese; bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes; it puffs up a bit like a souffle; serve over an arugula salad simply dressed.
Pizza of caramelized onions, baby kale, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers and homemade slow cooked tomato sauce with fresh oregano from Puerto Rico
When my friend Maria from work brought back some fresh oregano after a trip to Puerto Rico I had to make something to showcase it. A pizza was the first thing that I thought of. I use my food processor to make the dough which is 1/4 cup of 110 degree water mixed with just over a tsp of instant dried yeast and 1/2 tsp of sugar; measure out 5 oz of room temperature water and a tablespoon of olive oil and set aside; in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough hook add 11 oz of bread flour and 3/4 tsp of kosher salt; after the yeast mixture is bloomed which takes about 5 minutes add the room temperature water and olive oil mixture to the yeast mixture and mix together with a fork; pour this into the flour mixture while pulsing and after all the liquid is in run the processor for 30 seconds (this kneads the dough); dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead just enough to make it smoother which takes about 10 kneads; place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel in a warm spot to rise for an hour; punch down and let it rise again for another hour (sometimes I let it rise even an hour and a half each time); carefully spread out the dough and top it with whatever you like. I made the sauce with canned whole tomatoes cooked in a good amount of olive oil, whole garlic cloves that you remove after cooking, salt and pepper and of course the fresh oregano; let it simmer uncovered to thicken for about an hour.
Salmon and Cucumber Tea Sandwiches served with Arugula and Kale Salad
I made some aioli with an egg yolk, dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper and cumin. I used cumin because I heard that morning you should eat cumin with omega 3's, so I tried it and it was good. I spread the aioli on the bread and layered smoked salmon with thin cucumber slices on each side, cut the crust off then cut into quarters. I made an arugula and baby kale salad with fingerling potatoes and roasted mushrooms and shallots.
Individual Baked Alaska
Just make a basic white cupcake (I made one up for this and it needs work), cut off the top and scoop in vanilla ice cream, put the top back on and then top with meringue; to make the meringue it's 4 egg whites at room temperature that you beat with a 1/4 tsp cream of tarter, after it starts to change to white beat in 1/2 cup of sugar very slowly and continue beating until stiff peaks form; beat in a tsp of vanilla; you should be able to hold the bowl upside-down over your head, then you know they are whipped enough. Brown the meringue with a hand held torch or under the broiler.