Monday, March 18, 2013

Easy vegetarian pot stickers and much more...

Vegetarian Pot Stickers

I brought these to friends house as an appetizer and they were a big hit.  Here is the recipe, it's a Ming Tsai recipe.

Radishes with Fleur De Sel

This is only two ingredients but I thought this was such a good little snack I had to share...

Salmon Poached in Olive Oil

I placed two portions of salmon in two individual small baking dishes and poured olive oil in each one so it just covers the salmon and zest from an orange to flavor.  Place in a 250 degree preheated oven for 20 minutes.  It's surprising that it cooks through it such a short time with such a low temperature but it comes out  very tender and rich tasting.  Season it with fleur de sel and serve with a wedge of lemon on the side.  I served a guacamole salad and yellow beets stacked with goat cheese with this.

Homemade Pasta

I usually make fresh pasta by scooping flour onto the counter and forming the "well" in the center then cracking eggs in the "well" ...whisking the eggs with a fork.... incorporating the flour....kneading for 10 minutes...and so on.  I will continue to do it this way because I love it but for a change I tried something new.  I was watching America's Test Kitchen and they did it with the food processor and it was quick and easy and delicious.  In the food processor with the blade attachment add 2 cups of all purpose flour; 2 Tbsp olive oil; 2 eggs; 6 yolks; process for 45 seconds and remove the pasta dough to a board; knead to bring it together for a second and form a 6 inch log; wrap it in plastic wrap and chill it for 4 hours; this is where I did my own thing by using my pasta attachment from my Kitchen Aid mixer to roll it out thinly; lay out the pasta sheets for 10 minutes on kitchen towels then cut pasta into 1/4 inch strips; I do that by rolling it up and just slicing through it with a chef's knife into desired thickness;  the recipe they did was for people who wanted to make pasta without the attachment I have and so they used a rolling pin then sliced it.

America's Test Kitchen made a bolognese sauce to go along with the fresh pasta.  It looked very good but I wanted to make it more of a vegetarian bolognese and I had an eggplant that I thought I'd use in place of meat.  I diced the eggplant and cooked it with a pinch of salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a deep large skillet with olive oil for about 20 minutes; I had some prosuitto in the frig so I diced up about 4-5 slices and added that ( I said it was kind-of vegetarian); add a bay leaf; add 1 onion  1 celery stick and 1 carrot (that's been diced and then pulsed in the food processor 10 times to bread it down nicely) and a pinch of salt; add 2-3 Tbsp of tomato paste; cook these for about 5-10 minutes, you want the tomato paste to darken and the onions, celery and carrots to cook down; add a splash of red wine and a 28 oz can of whole tomatoes and a pinch of salt; cut the tomatoes in half if you like and just simmer for an hour or two until you taste it and it's good.  I served this over the pasta.  

To cook the fresh pasta it only takes about 3 minutes in plenty of salted boiling water.  See the finished dish below.

Leeks Vinaigrette

My husband recently downloaded "Ruhlman's Twenty" onto our Kindle Fire.  This is a book on the 20 techniques everyone should master in the kitchen. This was one of the recipes in the "Vinaigrette" chapter.  Ruhlman had me at..."it's a great bistro dish"...  Here is the recipe.

Steak Au Poivre with Celeriac Puree and Creamed Corn

I recently saw Jacques Pepin talking about cuts of meat.  He took a strip steak and cut it in half to get two (filet mignon sized) pieces; pressed it down to flatten it slightly and he said "this is for steak au poivre".... he made one so I did too.  Sprinkle each side with coarse salt and cracked black pepper to taste (I probably used about a tablespoon and a half of black peppercorns for 2 portions (1 strip steak).  I did this about 2 hours early then about 45 minutes before cooking I let it come to room temperature.  Sear in a skillet on each side until its cooked like you like and keep it warm while you make a pan sauce; to the skillet add a shallot that's minced, cook it for a couple minutes then add a splash of Cognac (be careful it will flame up), let that reduce and add a splash of beef or chicken stock, boil for a minute then add some butter to swirl in (this will add a certain thickness, shine and flavor to the sauce); add the steak back into the sauce along with any drippings; serve over celeriac puree and creamed corn (below)

For the celeriac puree...  It's a root vegetable, you peel, chop and boil like potatoes until tender; drain and add milk and butter to flavor; mash it or use an immersion blender to get a creamy texture; season with salt and pepper.  I added a little more flavor by heating up the milk first with a couple fresh bay leafs, turn off the heat and let it sit covered for about 20 minutes, it's like tea, it will infuse flavor into the milk.

For the creamed corn I cut the kernels off three cobs; heat a skillet with a Tbsp of butter and add a chopped shallot to the pan; cook it for a few minutes then add the corn and cook it in the butter for 3-5  minutes; pour in some heavy cream and let it reduce down and coat the kernels; season with salt and pepper.

Roasted Cauliflower with Brown Butter

This was another recipe from the "Ruhlman's Twenty" book.  This one is in the "roasting" chapter.  You preheat the oven to 450 degrees and prepare the whole cauliflower by trimming the bottom and removing the leaves; brush a Tbsp of canola oil all over the cauliflower, place it in a baking dish or oven proof skillet and roast for 45 minutes; remove the cauliflower from the oven and brush with 6 Tbsp of room temperature butter; sprinkle with a three-finger pinch of salt and return to the oven; roast for another 30 minutes, basting with the butter a couple times; it should be browned (as you see above) and a knife inserted should feel tender; slice and serve.  This is very tasty, I can't imagine someone not liking this.  It's buttery and delicious!

Mustard Seed Pork Chops, Allspice and Star Anise Mashed Potato and Brocolette

In the mortar and pestle I bashed up 2 garlic cloves with salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper and dry thyme, drizzled in some olive oil (enough to coat the two pork chops) and rubbed it all over the chops then I sprinkled on mustard seeds and let that sit in the frig for a few hours until dinner time.  I browned them in my cast iron skillet and put the whole pan in a 375 degree oven for about 5 minutes or until they are just cooked through (about 160 degrees) and let them sit for 5-10 minutes (covered with aluminum foil) and let the carry-over-cooking take it up to 165 degrees internally.  

For the potatoes, cook them as you would make mashed potatoes but infuse the milk with flavor... I poured into a saucepan maybe a cup of milk (depends how much you're making) and added a whole star anise along with about 6-8 whole allspice berries, turn to med-high and when the milk starts to simmer turn off the heat and cover it for about 15-20 minutes; when the potatoes are cooked through alternate cold butter with the hot flavored milk (that you've strained) until they are creamy delicious; season with salt and pepper of course; you will be surprised at the amount of flavor you get when you do this! You can flavor the milk with any flavor you want, I did this with a bay leaf in the celeriac puree (from this post) and its quite good.

For the broccolette I blanched them first in salted boiling water until they were tender; remove to a plate and let cool until you are ready; when ready to finish cooking soften some onions if you like in a skillet with butter then toss to coat the broccolette with the butter, warm through then season to taste with salt and pepper

Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi with Short Rib Ragu and Eggplant Charlotte 

After our trip to Florida during a snow storm up in New England our friends took care of us and shoveled our driveway so I had to return the favor and make them dinner; I also was dying to make some kind of fresh pasta after going to what could be a new favorite restaurant in Naples called Osteria Tulia; I figured I'd make ricotta gnocchi so it's 8 oz of whole milk ricotta that you strain overnight to remove any excess liquid; the next day you mix the strained ricotta with 2 eggs, the zest of 1 lemon, salt, pepper and about 1 cup of flour; first mix all ingredients in a bowl holding off on some of the flour and when it comes together remove the mixture to a board and knead, adding more flour if needed; it should be soft but not sticky ( the more you work the dough the tougher it will get and the more flour you incorporate the heavier it will get so be careful);  Using a pastry scraper cut off a small piece and roll into a long 1/2 inch thick snake; cut 1/2 inch pieces and either roll the pieces on the back of a fork to make the typical gnocchi grooves or leave just like they are and place on a flour-dusted cookie sheet; when you fill the cookie sheet freeze for an hour or two then remove them to a freezer bag; when you are ready to cook them just cook them in salted boiling water for about 3-4 minutes; remove to the sauce and cook them in whatever sauce you made.

For the short rib ragu I used my pressure cooker and I basically seasoned then browned the meat first and remove to a plate; add chopped onion, chopped carrots and  minced garlic to the same pan and cook for 5 minutes add a couple tablespoons of tomato paste, bay leaf, garlic, 2-3 cups of red wine; let the red wine cook down to about 1/2 then add the meat back in and a 28 oz can of whole tomatoes with the juices; in the pressure cooker this only took about 30 minutes and the meat was super tender; let it cool a bit and shred the meat; remove the fat from the liquid that remains and strain the liquid; the strained liquid and the meat are combined and there you have it.  I made a regular tomato sauce too so when I heated up the ragu later I added a ladle or two of the regular tomato sauce to it.  

For the eggplant charlotte it's Laura Calder's recipe and here it is.. I didn't add the cumin...FYI..

Key Lime Pie

Well I had to make this after our Florida trip to act like we were still there... It's a graham cracker crust which is here.   The filling is so easy you mix a 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk, 5 egg yolks and 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice (I have used either regular limes and key limes and I think they taste the same), you whisk the three ingredients together well and pour into the pre-baked and cooled pie shell; bake at 375 for 15 minutes; let it cool then whip some cream and dollop it on the top; serve chilled; Yummm!!

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