Friday, June 11, 2010

Nothing like home made beef stock

Bought a HUMONGOUS stock pot and made beef stock to freeze and do demi glaces and general cooking. I also went to Whole Foods and got coconut milk based ice cream, sangria sorbet, polenta, agave nectar and some other nice things :) I like Whole Foods better than Trader Joe's, but nothing like the farmer markets. The Agave nectar is interesting, with texture like honey but smoother, really sweet. I have to see how it behaves baking. Shall I got crazy or shall I read and learn from others mistakes ? :D

At last I got my semolina flour and perhaps this weekend I am going to make a batch of pasta. I have some nice mushrooms pate and I think it would be a great stuffing for my raviolis. I will don my alchemist hat and try several spices and herbs on the pate, to see what kicks the magic.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Herb crusted steaks with fire roasted shallot and german blue cheese butter

Oh brother, I almost ran out of space writing this title. Impressive description for an impressive taste. I like the overall taste of this steal, although I feel that the blue cheese butter hides the taste of the marinade :( I used Angus New York Strip steaks, my favorite, but you can use also Rib eye or our favorite cut.

Ingredients (for 4 people):

* 4 steaks (New York Strip, Rib Eye...)
* 1/2 cup Virgin Olive Oil
* 2 tbsp steak sauce
* 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
* 3 tbsp Roasted Garlic marinade
* 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Blue cheese butter:
* 3/4 cup unsalted butter
* 6 oz Blue Cheese
* 4 shallots
* 1 tbsp chopped parsley
* 1/4 tbsp salt
* 1/4 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
* 1/2 tsp French Whole-Grain Mustard
Herbs for steak:
* 2 tbsp chopped parsley
* 2 tbsp fresh chives
* 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade and pour them over the steaks in a bowl. Marinate in the fridge a minimum of 1 hour, but 4-5 hours would be ideal.

Let's make the butter. Coat slightly the shallots with olive oil and roast them in pain, until the outside is blackened and the inside semi-soft. Set them aside, let them cool and peel and quarter them. We'll use them in a moment.

Dust your handy food processor, cut the butter and blue cheese in chunks (remove the rind from the cheese) and puree in the food processor to blend it. Add the shallot and pulse until combined with the mixture. Then add chopped parsley, salt, pepper and the Dijon mustard and blend it together. Place the butter mixture on a piece of parchment, roll it and then wrap it in plastic and chill.

Get the steaks, discard the marinade. Pat the herbs mixture on both sides of the steaks and fire that grill! Once you have the steaks cooked, serve with a pat of butter on top.

Preparation time: 45 minutes (plus marinade time)

Arugula, oranfe and fennel salad with Basil orange vinaigrette

A nice and fresh salad. I have to admit that I am a sucker for anything with citrus in it! :)

Ingredients (for 4 people)

* 1 bunch fennel
* 1 bunch arugula
* 2 oranges
* 2/3 cup orange juice
* 1/3 cup walnut oil
* 2 tbs chopped fresh basil
* Salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* Basil baby leaves (for decoration)

To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk together orange juice, walnut oil, basil and salt and pepper to taste.

Slice fennel very thin. If you try to do it with a mandoline, try not slice your nail as I did. If you are not going to use the  fennel right away, keep it in ice water until ready to use it. Cut stems off arugula and tear leaves in large pieces. Peel and cut the oranges into round slices.

In a bowl, toss together fennel and arugula with most part of the vinaigrette. Divide in plates, mix the oranges with the remaining vinaigrette and and place on the plates. Garnish with the baby basil leaves.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday dinner

Menu for tonight: lemongrass skewered, marinated grilled shrimp, sake-teriyaki marinated lamb chops served over grilled garlic toasts, corn and zucchini fritters on the side with a duo of dipping sauces (herb mayo and sweet chili cucumber relish) and for dessert, zabaglione with berries and orange. Finger still messed up :( Recipes as soon as I can :(

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dinner for today

Menu for tonight: Arugula, orange and fennel salad with basil orange vinaigrette, grilled steaks with chimichurri sauce, Parisienne potatoes with parsley and chives and for dessert, strawberries balsamico with mascarpone cheese and toasted pinenuts and cloves. And I did all the chopping and cooking with one hand, I sliced my fingernail with the mandoline (ouch! ) I'll post recipes when I can type :( 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cioppino - Fish soup

Recently I found this dish and I love it. It is a rich seafood and fish soup, reminiscent of the French "bouillabaisse" and the dear Catalan "suquet", a soup cooked by fishermen with a little bit of this and that (catch of the day). Cioppino comes from San Francisco, inspired from the Italian cuisine. The Italian fishermen started cooking it in his boats and later it became mainstream. Cioppino comes from the word "ciuppin", what means "chopped" and indeed, the ingredients are chopped in small pieces. I am going to propose some ingredients, but if you want to add, remove or replace any ingredient be my guest, remember, catch of the day! Be as creative as you want.

Ingredients (for 4 people):

* 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
* 1 chopped onion
* 2 minced cloves of garlic
* 1/2 cup of fresh chopped parsley (please, no dried powdery stuff! :( )
* 1 can stewed tomatoes (14.25 oz)
* 1 cup of chicken broth
* 2 crushed bay leaves
* 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
* 3/4 cup water
* 1 cup white wine
* 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 1 pound sea scallops chopped (or 1 pound bay scallops whole)
* 12 small clams
* 12 cleaned mussels
* 1 can lump crabmeat (or if not from can, 1 cup crabmeat)
* 1 pound of firm flesh fish ( I use ono, but you can use salmon, cod..)
* Salt
* Black pepper

- Suggestions: you can add baby lobster, whole crabs cut in quarters... also, the onion can be replaced by shallots.

Be a busy bee and prep everything, then you won't have to run like a chicken without head. :) In a large stockpot, melt the butter over low heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic and parsley. Cook slowly until the onion is soft and transparent.

Next, chop the  stewed tomatoes and add them to the pot with all the herbs, the chicken broth, water and wine. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 1/2 hour.

Time to add all the seafood and fish. Raise the heat, let it boil, lower heat, cover and back to simmer, about 10 minutes, until clams and mussels open.

Ready! Serve it with some rustic bread on the side to dunk in the delicious broth and some chilled white wine.

Preparation time: 1 hour