Monday, January 28, 2013

A fried soft boiled egg? What???

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.

 Roasted Corn On The Cob
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.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Seaberry/Sea Buckthorn Berries

Please check out Tom's Seaberry/Sea Buckthorn blog when you have a chance.  Seaberry/Sea Buckthorn is a very interesting ingredient that's getting lots of attention in the food world recently.  In the recent issue of Bon Appetit, it's listed as the "Ingredient of the moment" (pg 26 of the Feb 2013 issue).

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Soft boiled eggs anyone?

Soft boiled egg over shoestring fries

Martha Stewart has yet another show called.."Martha's Cooking School"... we were watching an episode on potatoes one day and the next morning a show on poaching eggs.  With both ideas fresh in my mind I combined them for breakfast.  I didn't deep fry the potatoes like she did.  I used a mandolin to cut the potatoes into shoestrings, rinsed in a bowl of cold water and paper towel dried them; I used a nonstick skillet with a good coating of olive oil at the bottom, heated the oil first then drop in the potatoes and sauteed them over medium high heat until they became crisp; season with salt and pepper.  The egg is a fresh farm extra large egg, only a couple days old (thanks to my friend Lisa) and I just bring a saucepan of water with a bit of white wine vinegar to a good simmer; carefully drop in an egg and allow to cook for 3 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon and remove any excess water on paper towels then serve over the potatoes...

I had some tomatoes that were getting old so I roasted them with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, whole garlic cloves with the paper on, salt and pepper at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.  I let it cool to room temperature and serve with fresh mozzarella cheese and a crunchy slice of french bread (pictured below)

Roasted Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Crostini (above)

Finnish Raspberry Pancake

I was flipping through the pictures on Pintrest and I came across this pancake, it was early Saturday morning and I was trying to figure what to make for breakfast so I made this.  It's not the regular pancake you know well, this one is from Finland and it's more like a custard, it's cooked in the oven and topped with jam and a drizzle of honey.  It was interesting...I will make it again...

Here is a slice of the Finnish pancake described above.

Caramelized Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Stewed Apple and Pears

I started with the stewed fruit by peeling and dicing one Granny Smith apple and one Bosc pear into 3/4 inch dice; add to a saucepan with a pat of butter over medium high heat for about 20-30 minutes or until they are tender and slightly browning.  While they cook remove the silver skin from a pork tenderloin and slice into 1 1/2 inch medallions, lay them down and press down slightly so they are now about an inch thick; season with salt and pepper on both sides then sear in a skillet for about 2 minutes per side; remove to a warm 150 degree oven just to keep them warm while you make the sauce; deglaze the pan with about 1/2 cup of red wine, let it boil down for a minute while you scrape up any brown bits from the pan; add about 1/2 cup chicken stock and let that boil for a few minutes; finish with a tablespoon or two of ketchup (Jacques Pepin's trick to finishing his sauces which adds richness and flavor); taste to see if you need any seasoning; add the pork and any juices that accumulated back to the sauce just to coat and serve over the stewed fruit.

Salmon en papillote

Cooking en papillote is cooking (usually fish) in a parchment paper, sealed tightly and baking it in the oven.  I first lay a portion of salmon that's been seasoned with salt and pepper on the parchment then saute a chopped shallot in olive oil for just a minute to get it going then sprinkled it over the salmon; chop a tomato and added them along with some fresh tarragon; fold the parchment like a book and seal the edges by making small folds overlapping until you've worked your way all the way around; brush the parchment with oil so it looks pretty when it comes out of the oven; bake on a sheet pan for 10 minutes at 400; serve as I did (below) in the paper just cut open and pushed aside or remove it completely by sliding it onto a plate.  I served this with potatoes that I cut into a small dice; boiled until tender; drain well; heat a non-stick skillet with olive oil; add the potatoes tossing now and then to brown; this process takes about 20-30 minutes.. Serve with a slice or two of lemon...

Salmon en papillote

Roasted Kale

I forget where I saw this but someone roasted these whole Dinosaur Kale leaves so I had to do it too... I washed and dried the leaves then lightly brush with olive oil, a little salt and pepper then roast for 20 minutes at 400 degrees until they turn into "potato chips"... 

Turkey Scaloppine with wild mushrooms and Israelian couscous

Jacques Pepin was making this on his show "fast food my way" so I made it.  He used dried morel mushrooms but I used a combination of dried mushrooms that I had in my pantry and it worked perfectly.  Basically you put about a cup or so of dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with hot water and let it reconstitute for 20 minutes or so; pound out turkey breast to about 1/4 inch; season with salt and pepper; dredge in flour knocking off the excess; brown on both sides in olive oil in a non-stick skillet which should only take a total of 4-5 minutes; keep warm while you make the sauce; add a finely diced shallot to the pan after 30 seconds add the reconstituted mushrooms and slowly pour in the liquid the mushrooms were soaking in but hold back the very end where there may be some sand that you don't want in your dish; cook that down to pretty much nothing then add about 1/4 cup of heavy cream then reduce that for a few minutes until a nice consistency; add the turkey back to the sauce and coat it.  Serve with Israelian couscous which only takes about 10 minutes to cook; I flavored it with 1/2 of a small onion finely chopped and sauteed in olive oil first then I added 1 tsp of turmeric and I used homemade chicken stock for the liquid instead of water.

Pistachio Crusted Veal Chop

I always let a piece of meat like this sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking, it will ensure even cooking.  Also 30 minutes before season with salt and pepper on each side.  I pulsed a handful of pistachio nuts in the food processor along with a handful of fresh parsley leaves until it's like coarse breadcrumb consistency.  Brush on a teaspoon or two of Dijon mustard to help the crust stick and add flavor; press on the pistachio mixture; in a oven safe skillet heat some olive oil then add the veal; cook on that one side for about 5 minutes then put the whole pan in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until it's perfectly done for you!  I served mashed potatoes and a green salad with this.

Cherry Tart

I had about 1 pound of cherries that I pitted and added to a bowl along with, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch and 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice; mix together and pour into the center of a rolled out pastry dough; fold the edges up over the filling and onto a cookie sheet; add a pat of butter to the top of the cherry filling and brush the crust with heavy cream or egg wash then sprinkle on a bit of sugar; into a preheated 400 degree oven for about 50 minutes or until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbling.

Mousse Cups

This is something I made and brought to a friends house for New Year's Eve.  It's these little plastic shot glasses I got at The Party Store that I first placed a raspberry at the bottom, then some vanilla pudding and some chocolate mousse; I had these little spoons which were perfect and decorated them with some wire-ey things I found at the party store.

Friday, January 18, 2013

My own Triple Sec Cake and more...

Jeanne's Triple Sec Cake
(see below)

Brioche French Toast
What do you do when Whole Foods sells "authentic french brioche bread"?  You get some and make french toast with it!  It's so good on it's own that you can't go wrong with this.  I just mixed eggs and milk with a little vanilla; after soaking it for a few minutes browned them in butter and served guessed it ...maple syrup and fresh berries...


This is our weekday breakfast lately.  In my Vitamix I chop up an apple, an orange, a frozen banana, a scant cup of fat free Greek yogurt, about a cup of frozen wild blueberries, sometimes a few frozen peaches, a couple tablespoons of flax seed and a few handfuls of baby spinach or baby kale.  While its blending it needs some liquid to help it get going so I use either almond milk or apple cider.  Surprisingly this doesn't taste "healthy" after it's blended till smooth.  This is plenty for the two of us.

Warm Frisee Salad with Shiitake, Yellow Beets and Shallots

WOW! Yum this was good!  I took a picture of the ingredients that went into this salad (below).  I roasted some yellow beets in aluminum foil until they were tender which takes 50 minutes or so on 400 degrees (depending on the size of course).  Once they cool down a bit remove the skins and set them aside.  Heat some olive oil in a skillet and saute the shiitake mushrooms that you have just torn in half or left whole if they are small.  Cook the mushrooms over medium-high heat for about 4-5 minutes, throw in the shallots that you have sliced thinly and cook with a pinch of salt.  When everything looks perfectly done, toss in wedges of the beets and add 3 or 4 Tablespoons of Sherry vinegar and about the same or slightly more olive oil.  Cook and heat through for another minute and pour over the Frisee lettuce, toss to cover the lettuce with the warm dressing.  Plate and grind some black pepper over.  I think I'll have another...

"Mise en place" for the Frisee salad (above)

Salmon with Capers and Lemons over Quinoa

Eggplant, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Salad

I sliced eggplant and roasted it with olive oil, salt and pepper, 400 degrees for 35 minutes turning over halfway.  Slice one large onion thin and cook over medium low heat with a tablespoon each of oil and butter and a pinch of salt and sugar until caramelized, which takes a good 30-40 minutes.  Make the dressing by mixing together a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 1 minced garlic clove, about a tablespoon of soy sauce, about a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, little salt and pepper and whisk in olive oil to emulsify (about 3 Tablespoons or until it tastes good).  When the eggplant is done remove it and plate and while the eggplant is still warm spoon some of the dressing over so it really soaks in. Layer some goat cheese, caramelized onions, baby kale, some more of the eggplant, dressing, fresh basil, baby kale and toasted pine nuts.  Serve it at room temperature.  I like to let it sit for an hour or so to let the flavors meld.  

Lentil Soup with Linguisa 

This was based on a recipe by Laura Calder.  I was watching her show and she made this so I made it too.  She used Churizo, here is her recipe

Charcoal Grilled Beef Fillet with Stilton and Scallion Sauce, Roasted Potatoes and Sauteed Baby Spinach

I made the sauce by just reducing a little heavy cream, maybe 1/2 cup down to 1/4 cup then off the heat melt in some Borough's Market Stilton, or another blue cheese and some chopped scallions.  The potatoes were something I came across on Pintrest.  It was a Martha Stewart recipe that I modified slightly.

Potato Tian

Pre-heat the oven to 375.  Slice about 2 Lb of Yukon Gold potatoes very thin by hand or using a mandolin.  Place the potatoes into a bowl and drizzle about 3 Tbsp of olive oil and a good sprinkling of salt, toss to coat each potato.  Coat a shallow baking dish, just big enough to hold the potatoes standing up with olive oil.  Stand the potatoes up and pack tightly, scatter some fresh thyme around.  Bake for 75-90 minutes until the tops are nicely browned and the potatoes are cooked through.

Cauliflower soup with croutons and parsley

Soften a chopped leek and chopped garlic clove in olive oil for about 5 minutes, remove and discard the core of a whole cauliflower and chop up the rest; add the chopped cauliflower to the leeks and cover with chicken or vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper; bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer; cook until tender then blend using a stick blender or a regular blender until very smooth; add a splash of heavy cream if you like and blend it one more time; season to taste.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Fennel, Roasted Pears and Braised Fingerling Potatoes

I sliced the pork tenderloin into medallions about an inch and a half thick. I marinated these in a honey, mustard, fresh rosemary, garlic and apple cider combination for a couple hours.  I roasted slices of fennel in olive oil, salt and pepper at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or so.  I sliced Bosc pears about 1/8 inch and tossed with lemon juice, 1-2 Tbsp of melted butter and a pinch of salt; roast at 375  for 20-30 minutes.  Braise the potatoes by peeling them half way like you see in the picture and gently cook in about an inch of chicken stock and a pat of butter; simmer with the cover on for about 30 minutes or until cooked through; remove the cover and cook to let the liquid evaporate and the butter coat the potatoes.  Stack a pork medallion, the fennel, the pears, the pork, the pears and finally the fennel on top.  Serve the potatoes on the side with a garnish of fresh rosemary.

Arugula salad of Roasted Broccoli and mushrooms topped with a poached egg

Roasted French Green Beans

Roast with olive oil, salt and pepper at 400 degrees until the green beans get slightly charred and you would be surprised how they are like a potato chip.  We snacked on these with drinks.  The salt and crunch is there!!

French Apple Cake

I planned to make a carrot cake for my family, well you need carrots for that (I always have carrots but I had run out)!  So I searched for another option in my kitchen, I had apples so I found this idea on line.  This was a big hit!  I will make this again, yum...

Creme Brulee with Fresh Berries

Jeanne's Triple Sec Cake

I had decided to make up a cake recipe one day.  I started by separating eggs, mixing sugar with the yolks, whipping the whites.. using olive oil for the fat...almond meal with some all purpose flour to make it slightly healthy... well it was pretty good, but it needed more sweetness.  Here is what I did after a little tweaking...

for the cake
4 eggs separated
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C olive oil
1 Tsp vanilla
zest of 1 orange
1/3 C almond flour
1/3 C all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tarter

Triple Sec Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Triple Sec (or other orange liqueur)
1/4 cup water

Whisk 4 yolks with the sugar until lightened a bit, add the olive oil, vanilla and the zest; sift the two flours and salt; whisk the egg whits with the tarter until stiff peaks form; fold the dry ingredients into the yolk mixture then fold about 1/3 of the whites in then the rest of the whites; pour into a greased and parchment lined 8 inch baking pan for 30 minutes at 350 degrees; it will be done when the sides separate from the sides of the pan, the center is puffed up a bit and a toothpick inserted comes out clean; let it sit for 5 minutes then using a toothpick, prick the cake about an inch apart all over then spoon with the triple sec syrup slowly, you will have to spoon it over the top in 3 or 4 stages so it has time to drink it all up.

To make the syrup just combine the 3 ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until clear which takes about 5 minutes over medium heat; stir to help it along.

I gave my cake as a gift this holiday season and to make it festive I topped it with orange supreme's, raspberries, whipped cream and a dusting of confectioner's sugar.