Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring has Sprung Menu

Spring is arriving. The bounty of food that is about to burst forth from the farmer's markets across the city leaves me very excited.  Just the thought of it had me jumping the gun with this spring 'lite' menu. The menu fed a party of 8.

There are a few photo highlights to share:

Here's the appetizer. Although the menu describes it with spiced cauliflower, it justifiably appears alone.  The cauliflower was rightly moved to the main dish at the last minute.

Next is the main dish which now features the spiced cauliflower. Here's how I made this moveable side dish:

Spiced Cauliflower:
  • 2 heads of cauliflower 
  • 3/4 cup toasted cashews
  • 3/4 cup raisins soaked in mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1 cup Vinaigrette of honey, juice of 1 squeezed lemon, and hot chili oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped italian parsley
Set oven to broil at 500 degrees.
Break cauliflower into florets, dress with olive oil, salt, pepper and place on a foil-lined baking sheet in the middle of the oven rack. Set a timer for 7 minutes and broil.  The tips of the cauliflower should begin to brown.
Place cashews on a separate sheet and into oven as you turn off the heat. After 7 minutes remove nuts, let them cool a bit, and roughly chop them.
Combine nuts with raisins and then with cauliflower.
Drizzle with vinaigrette.
Add chopped italian parsley and serve.

Jerusalem is named in the dish because it comes from that great cookbook of the same name by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

And finally I give you dessert made by my mother. Profiteroles. Everything about them made from scratch: from the puffs to the vanilla custard filling, to the amazing chocolate drizzled down the pyramid that keeps it all deliciously together.  From my early childhood this has long been my request for birthday cake. It was as good as ever.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Communal Breakfast: Recipe for Taking Eggs and Any Relationship to the Next Level

Egg Breakfast with The Temple's Men's Club,
a photo by 
atl10trader on Flickr.
Sunday morning I met with my Temple's Men's Club to share one of the best ways to make eggs for anyone they'd like to impress. Everyone brought their own saucepan and a spatula. The Men's Club President-elect brought the ingredients - who I thank for having traveled far and wide in search of the best. I think his effort showed!

This was the event headline:
Learn How to Make the Pen-Ultimate Egg Breakfast
Real Men Know, the Path to Forgiveness, Awesome Dad-ness or Extra Marital Credits Is Through the Stomach.

Here's the recipe.
Ingredients: per person
Ellis Vener Photography
  • The best artisan loaf of bread you can find
  • 1 Tbsp of the best french butter you can find, preferably unsalted
  • Eggs. Organic. Fresh. Qty: 2 eggs per person
  • 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt (low fat Ok but not fat free)
  • 4 Small to medium tomatoes on their vine. In a pinch cherry tomatoes will also do. 
  • 2 Medium, large mushrooms
  • Chives
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil    
  1. In a skillet or pan heat some olive oil over medium heat place the tomatoes and mushrooms in with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until tomatoes spit and the eggs are done and you're ready to plate.
  2. Toast the bread that's been sliced into 1/4 - 1/2" slices.
  3. Over medium heat, place in a saucepan the eggs along with the butter (you can add a bit of olive oil before this step to prep the saucepan)(add salt at the end, not now)
  4. Do not let the eggs overcook in the saucepan.  Depending on the heat on the pan, spend about 30 seconds on the heat constantly stirring the eggs with the spatula. Take the pan off the heat and continue stirring the eggs. Repeat until eggs begin to thicken and fluff.
  5. Time's up when the steam comes off the eggs when off the heat and stirring. To stop the cooking process, add the Greek yogurt and incorporate into the eggs.
  6. Add pinches of salt and pepper.
  7. Add chives. Stir.
  8. Plate like the picture above.
  9. Don't forget a mimosa and strong coffee!

    Ellis Vener Photography
A variation on this recipe would be to add some smoked salmon at the end as well.  You could also sauté some kale to go along with the tomatoes and mushrooms.

Here's another example:
Breakfast with Eggs,
a photo by 
atl10trader on Flickr.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Dinner Tonight: Super Bowl on the Plate

Dinner tonight.  The Denver Broncos are enduring a blow out on the largest sporting stage at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks.  It's a bit embarrassing. So we turn our attention to the table and what's being staged there.

Here's a brief recap of the preparations:

Salt and pepper chicken pieces and lamb chops. Pat dry before this step.  Sear meats in a pressure cooker with a bit of oil and high heat - no more than 4 minutes. Remove meat and add chopped onions, celery, and shallots or leeks. Stir around for 5 minutes then add back the meat, zucchini, and herbs (tarragon and sage in this case). Put on low heat for about 45 minutes.

Make quinoa. Add spinach leaves after quinoa is done and resting covered.

Brandade is made by taking 3 Tlbs of tahini sauce, juice of 1 lemon, olive oil, 3 tilapia or similar white flaky fish fillet, dash of ginger, lemongrass, garlic, and salt. Put into a VitaMix or high powered blender and adjust for thickness with water.  Note that there is no diary in this but the result will be quite smooth and creamy in texture!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Trout with Caramelized Onions, Avocado Tahini sauce, and French Green Beans with Pea Shoots

Dinner tonight.

Here's a brief recap of the preparations:

Salt and pepper trout filet with dried oregano.

Avocado, tahini sauce includes Greek yogurt, juice of 1 lemon, olive oil, and salt.

French green beans are dressed in a homemade aioli sauce with pea shoots added at the end for some fresh crunch and flavor layer.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Dinner Tonight: Panko-crusted Tuna with Lemon Basil Chermoula Sauce

August is here and with it comes an avalanche of vegetables in their prime - if not a little water logged from the amount of rain.  With summer vacations behind us, it's time to get back into the kitchen. There's plenty of things to be eating.

Dinner's catch tonight is tuna served with local roasted vegetables: baby eggplant, tomatoes, chinese wax beans, and okra!  Here's how it was done.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Slice the eggplants length-wise. Put in bowl.
Slice the tomatoes 3cm thick. Put in separate bowl.
Cut okra into uniform pieces. Add to eggplant bowl.
Add beans to the eggplant bowl.

Season all the vegetables except the tomatoes with:
3 Tbsp EV olive oil
1 Tbsp high quality mirin (sweet rice wine, like Takara)
pinch of celery salt
pinch of zatar

Coat tomatoes with a bit of olive oil and sherry.  Season with a mixture of salt and pinch of sugar.

Line a pan or two with aluminum foil brushed with oil and the vegetables with ample spacing. Put in the oven and cook the vegetables for 35 - 40 minutes until slightly browned.

Tuna Prep:
Add to a bowl: 1/4 cup Matzah meal, 1/4 Panko breadcrumbs, 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp curry powder
Heat a non-stick pan to Med High with 2 Tbsp of canola or sunflower oil.
Make sure the tuna pieces are patted dry with a paper towel.
Rub a bit of oil on both sides of the tuna.
Take tuna pieces and cover them with the panko, matzah meal and put them in the pan with generous spacing for 2 - 3 minutes depending on thickness. Flip the pieces and cook for 30 seconds before removing from the pan. You want the presentation side to be the golden brown side (the first side). Pieces should have a pink middle.

Chermoula sauce:
Put in a blender (VitaMix or Ninja):
1/2 preserved lemon (remove seeds)
1/8 cup water
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup fresh herbs: I used baby basil, a bit of purple Thai basil, and oregano
1/4 cup olive oil

Blend. Add:

1 Tbsp capers - chopped (optional)
Handful of small pitted olives like nicoise - chopped (optional)

Paired with a Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Blanc.

The Porthole Arrives

The Porthole by atl10trader
The Porthole, a photo by atl10trader on Flickr.
The Porthole has arrived and is part of the kitchen arsenal.

What's it do?

Slice of fruit, add herbs and/or spices, drop in a liquid and let the combination sit for a while and . . . well, infuse.

I've heard to do so for a short amount of time if alcohol's involved and longer if its oils or vinegars.

Personally I am planning to make my liquid a simple syrup and then use the infused result as an ingredient in my cocktails. My first will be a modification of the original Blueberry drink served at Aviary, where it was first commissioned.

The ingredients for the Blueberry drink are:
Ingredients: Dried hibiscus, freeze-dried pomegranate, thyme flowers, grapefruit zest, lemon zest, fresh strawberries, fresh blueberries, Bulleit Rye whiskey, Carpano Antica vermouth, Angostura orange bitters and white verjus

Here are the product details:
Tempered Low Iron Glass, FDA Grade ABS, Stainless Steel, FDA Grade Silicone
exterior dimensions: 7" x 7" x 2" (17cm x 17cm x 5cm)
interior dimensions: 6" diameter x 1" (150cm dia x 2.5cm)
volume: 13 fl oz (390ml)

design by Martin Kastner.

I'll have some good photos to share when its done.

If you have any suggestions or tips to share, please leave them in the comments. Thank you!

Via Flickr:
Let the infusions begin!