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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Perfect Prime Rib

Perfect Prime Rib

I chose to prepare a standing rib roast for our Christmas Eve dinner this year. It is a classic holiday dish that takes a total of 5 minutes to prepare (excluding roasting time). It was the perfect choice simply because it turned out perfect.

Standing Rib Roast, right out of the oven

Standing Rib Roast
Adapted from Food Network
Serves 4
  • 1 2-rib (about 5 lbs) standing rib roast (see step 1)
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 1/8 cup black pepper
  • 1/8 cup garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp of flour
  • 1 cup of beef stock
  • salt and pepper to taste, for gravy
  1. Call the butcher ahead of time and order your standing rib roast. 1 rib feeds about 2 people with about 10-12oz of prime rib each. I would get a 2-rib roast that is about 5 pounds for 4 people. The butcher will probably ask if you want USDA Choice or USDA Prime. USDA prime easily costs 50% to 100% more, but is much more marbled (more fat) and will taste more tender. However, the USDA Choice is just fine, in my opinion, and I used it here. Ask them to prepare it by cutting the bones away from the meat and then tying them back with a kitchen string. If they don't know how, see Simply Recipes for a photo explanation. This is to facilitate the carving of the rib roast later on.
  2. Let your rib roast stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375F. Rub roast with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place roast on a rack in the pan with the rib side down and the fatty side up. Roast for 1 hour.
  4. Turn off oven. Leave roast in oven for 2 hours without opening oven door. Turn the oven back to 375F and roast for 30 minutes to reheat. Do not open oven door until the roast is done. Remove from oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
  5. While the roast is resting, pour the juice from pan into a small saucepan. Heat over medium high heat. Add flour and stir until gravy is smooth. Add 1 cup of beef stock and whisk to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Slice prime rib and serve with gravy on top or on the side. I also prepared sweet potatoes and mac and cheese sides. It really was just perfect.

Friday, December 23, 2011

For the Hungry Family: Christmas Flank

So I didn't really make this for a family get-together or a party of some sort. I tend to make classic/traditional dishes in those settings. This ended up being a nice fun dinner on a random weeknight, along with a bottle of wine. It tasted so juicy and so flavorful, though, that I just had to share with you to try for the holidays. Merry Christmas!!

Christmas Flank
Prep and marinate the flank steak about 2-4 hours before dinner, then simply bake for 30 minutes in the evening before serving.

Christmas Flank
from Simply Recipes

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp of chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp of coarse black pepper
Flank Steak:
  • 1 flank steak, about 1 1/4lb, butterflied
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 6 to 8 thin slices of prosciutto
  • 24 medium sized fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch watercress for garnish (optional)
  • kitchen string
  1. To butterfly the steak, orient it first so that the meat grain is running up and down in front of you. Use a long, sharp knife to cut the meat in half, cutting from the side, and going almost all the way across, leaving 1-inch at the edge uncut (the hinge). The butterfly hinge should be in the same direction as the grain of the meat. Open the flaps of steak. You can even out the middle if you want so that the center is not as thick.
  2. Assemble the marinade and marinate the steak for 2 hours.
  3. Boil halved peppers until skin is black. Remove skin.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F. Place steak on a long piece of aluminum foil or wax paper, save marinade. Cover steak with red pepper, sprinkle 1 tbsp of parsley, cover with prosciutto slices, cover with basil leaves, sprinkle with cheese and the remaining parsley and pepper.
  5. Roll meat up from the bottom like a jellyroll. Tie in 2-3 inch intervals with kitchen string. Place in shallow baking dish, pour marinade over top. Bake for 30 minutes, basting twice. Let rest 15 minutes before serving. Cut into 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick slices, garnish with watercress.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Return of the Halal Cart: Chicken & Rice

Chicken and Rice, Halal Cart Style
Many Christmases ago on a chilly winter night, I patiently waited on the corner of 53rd and 6th in Midtown Manhattan. Staring ahead, I saw our line wrapped around the block, all waiting to order "chicken and rice" from probably the most famous Halal cart in New York. The man in front of me nodded at me knowingly, "make sure you ask for both sauces." I did. It tasted amazing. Maybe it had more to do with the cold and the midnight hunger than anything else, but nevertheless, it was a street food I remembered.

For those of you that know what I am talking about (and for those of you that don't), it's time to bring back the delicious chicken and rice!

Chicken and Rice, Halal Cart Style
Adapted from Serious Eats
Serves 4-6 (or 2-4 if it's been too long since you've had it)
For the Chicken
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
For the Rice
  • 2 tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp of chili powder
  • 1.5 cups of basmati rice
  • 2.5 cups of chicken broth
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For the Sauce
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt (plain)
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Combine lemon juice, oregano, coriander, garlic and olive oil in a blender. Blend until smooth. Season marinade to taste with salt and pepper. Place chicken in a 1-gallon ziplock bag and add half of the marinade. Marinate chicken in fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours (it will get soggy if it's over 4 hours).
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat chicken dry and season with kosher salt and pepper. Add chicken pieces to skillet to brown, about 4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until cooked through. Transfer to cutting board and let it cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Melt butter in a large dutch oven and add chili powder and turmeric powder to cook for one minute. Toast rice in dutch oven for 4 minutes until lightly browned, stirring frequently.
  4. Chop chicken pieces into 1-2 inch cubes. Place them in a bowl along with remaining marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  5. Add chicken broth to dutch  oven and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer on medium low heat, covered, for 15 minutes without disturbing. Remove from heat and let it stand for 15 minutes (covered).
  6. Mix sauce ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Heat original chicken pan over medium heat and add chicken pieces to heat for a few minutes.
  8. Serve chicken pieces over rice, with white sauce drizzled on top. Add tabasco for spice. Can also serve with sliced iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and pita bread.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

José Andrés: Tapas @ The Bazaar

Tapas dinner at The Bazaar by Chef José Andrés. This is where you would experience molecular gastronomy where each dish combines both traditional and modern techniques. Every bite reminded me of something I've had before, but the presentation and ingredients in each dish were unique and creative. I loved the atmosphere and the overall experience, especially when we were escorted to the dessert lounge for a separate dessert dinner.

Here are the tapas and desserts we sampled: (not in order of the photos)
  • Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks California Citrus
  • Organized Caesar, Quail Egg, Parmesan
  • Apple and Fennel, Manchego Cheese, Walnuts, Sherry Vinegar
  • Japanese Taco, Grilled Eel, Shiso, Cucumber, Wasabi, Chicharron
  • Smoked Yellowtail and Crispy Rice, Yoghurt, Grapes, Capers, Radish
  • Market Fish Ceviche and Avocado Roll, Jicama, Micro Cilantro, Coconut
  • Bagel and Lox Cone
  • Cotton Candy Duck Liver
  • Tortillas de Patatas "new way", Potato Foam, Egg 63, Caramelized Onions
  • Lemon Artichokes, Black Olive Tapenade, Dandelion
  • Your Life Will Change Dashi Linguine, Parmesan, Quail Egg, Basil
  • Philly Cheesesteak, Air Bread, Cheddar, Wagyu Beef
  • Oxtail, Watermelon radish, Cilantro, Steamed Buns
  • Hot Chocolate Mousse, Pear Sorbet and Salty Hazelnut Praline
  • Square Cupcakes 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mario Batali's Braised Chicken, Sweet Onions, Parmigiano

As the last homecooked meal for the next 7 days (I'm going on vacation!!), I made a Mario Batali recipe. His book, Molto Batali, features 120 of his recipes and this is one of them. Braised Chicken with Sweet Onions and Parmigiano did not disappoint.

Braised Chicken with Sweet Onions and Parmigiano,
Served with Country Bread

Braised Chicken with Sweet Onions and Parmigiano
Adapted from Serious Eats
Serves 2-4
  • 4 skin-on chicken thighs
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 leek, white and green parts only, sliced into thin rings, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium red onions, halved and sliced into half-rounds
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 slices of country bread
  • 1 tbsp of EVOO
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  1. Preheat the broiler. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Place them, skin side down, on an oiled broiler pan so that they are not touching one another. Place pan under broiler and cook until golden, 10 minutes. Then flip and cook other side until dark golden brown on skin side, 8 minutes. Remove, and cool, skin side up, on the broiler pan.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat pancetta over medium-low heat until fat is rendered and the pancetta is crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate lined with paper towel.
  3. Put leeks and onions in the pancetta fat and cook over medium-low heat until wilted and soft. Then raise heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until a rich brown color, about 20 minutes. While vegetables are cooking, bring chicken stock to a high simmer in a saucepan.
  4. Add flour to onion mixture and stir until smooth. Cook for 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add wine, milk, and stock, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and cook at a brisk simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Place the chicken thighs into the onion mixture, along with the juices that have collected, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until chicken is just cooked through and the juices run clear, 12 minutes.
  6. Preheat broiler. Place bread slices on a cookie sheet and toast them under broiler until slightly golden. Drizzle with olive oil and place 1 toast in each warmed soup bowl. Place 2 thighs atop each piece of toast, and ladle 1/4 cup of the onion mixture over each thigh. Sprinkle with the pancetta and Parmigiano, and serve.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Momofuku: Ssäm Lettuce Wraps

I was excited to try a Momofuku recipe at home. It was a test to gauge whether or not I should buy the Momofuku cookbook. Chef David Chang really brought out the essence of Asian fusion. This recipe actually comes from Ssäm bar, one of world's 50 best restaurants, and not Momofuku Ko, the famous two-michelin starred restaurant. It is easy and definitely worth making.

Ssäm Lettuce Wraps
If you know of great Momofuku recipes, please share with me. I think I am ready for another!

Individual Lettuce Wraps

Ssäm Bar Lettuce Wraps
from Serious Eats
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1.5lb hangar, skirt or flank steak
  • 2 bunches of scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil
  • 3/4 tsp of sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup kimchi
  • 2 large heads of bibb lettuce, leaves separated and washed
  • 3 cups of cooked white rice
  1. In a freezer bag, combine the apple juice, 1/2 cup soy sauce, onion, garlic, and sesame oil. Add the steak and turn to coat. Marinate for 40 minutes at room temperature (or up to a 24 hours refrigerated).
  2. Combine the scallions, ginger, oil, sherry vinegar, and salt to taste in a bowl. Stir well to combine.
  3. In a small food processor, process the kimchi into a puree.
  4. Prepare a grill or heat a grill pan on high. Remove the steak from the marinade and grill to medium rare, 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the cut. For the first few minutes, baste with the marinade to infuse more flavor and glaze the exterior.
  5. Remove the steak to a platter and allow it to rest for a full five minutes. Slice against the grain on a 30 degree angle into 1/4-inch thick pieces.
  6. Serve the steak with the kimchi puree, ginger-scallion sauce, rice, and lettuce leaves for wrapping.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A November Morning: Cheesy Sunny Side Ups

It was chilly out and I loved nothing more than to stay home, enjoy a cup of french pressed coffee, and play with my puppy. This satisfying breakfast completed this perfect morning.
Sunny Side Up Eggs with Pepperjack Cheese and Mixed Herbs
Served with Rosemary Olive Bread

Cheesy Sunny Side Ups
Serves 2
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of shredded pepperjack cheese
  • 2 slices of Rosemary Olive bread (or any other type of bread you prefer)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and gently pressed with knife to release a little bit of juice
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • tabasco, for serving (optional)
  1. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Crack 2 eggs into the skillet, one at a time, slowly. Cook for 1 minute and turn the heat to low. Sprinkle oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper on top of eggs.
  2. Toast bread with pine nuts in oven until pine nuts are slightly browned.
  3. After eggwhites begin to set around yolks (about 2 more minutes), sprinkle pepperjack cheese on top of eggs. Cook for about 1-2 minutes more until cheese is just melted.
  4. Rub cut garlic on top of bread slices. Place bread on 2 plates. Use a spatula and serve one cheesy egg on top of each of the two slices of bread. Sprinkle with fresh thyme. Serve warm.
Skye the Sheltie Puppy

Monday, October 31, 2011

Funghi misti, fontina, taleggio, and thyme

This is a pizza you have to try. Chef Nancy Silverton knows her cheese, and she definitely knows her pizza. She serves this at Pizzeria Mozza, but if you can't enjoy this at Hollywood, make it at home! Her recipe is in the Mozza Cookbook.

Funghi misti, fontina, taleggio, and thyme
The cheeses used to accompany the mushrooms are strong and aromatic. Taleggio is a semi-soft, washed-rind cheese from the Valtaleggio region.
Pizzeria Mozza @ Home

Funghi misti, fontina, taleggio, and thyme
from The Mozza Cookbook
for the Mushrooms
  • Homemade pizza dough (see my Arugula Braised Pork Pizza dough recipe here)
  • 1/4lb jumbo white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/4lb shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 3-4oz portobello mushrooms, cleaned, stem removed, gills scraped out, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp of EVOO
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
for the Pizza
  • 1 tbsp of EVOO
  • kosher salt
  • 1oz fontina, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1oz taleggio, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1oz low-moisture mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano, for grating
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Combine mushroom slices on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss mushrooms to coat them with seasonings. Spread them out in single layer on baking sheet and roast in oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Prepare pizza dough. While it rests, turn oven temperature to 425F.
  3. Pat dough onto pizza stone or pan using fingers dipped in EVOO. Brush rim of dough with olive oil and season entire surface with salt.
  4. Scatter mushrooms all over pizza, leaving an 1-inch border without any topping. Scatter all cheeses over the mushrooms and sprinkle with thyme.
  5. Bake pizza for 15 minutes. Served pizza with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
I served the pizza with a nice warm roasted carrot and kale salad. You can also try Chef Nancy Silverton's Burrata with Speck, Peas, and Mint. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A New Grilled Cheese: Cremini-Filled Cheese Brioche

This month's 5 Star Makeover theme is Tailgate Party: thanks to hosts 5 Star Foodie and Lazaro Cooks! At a Tailgate Party, burgers are pretty typical, but not when you make them like this! Enjoy.

Cremini-Filled Grilled Cheese Brioche

Cremini-Filled Grilled Cheese Brioche
From Harvest to Heat: Cooking with America's Best Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans
Serves 4
  • 4lbs of fresh cremini mushrooms
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp of soy sauce
  • 8 1/4inch slices of brioche
  • 8 thin slices of Gruyere cheese
  • 2 tbsp of unsalted butter
  1. Chop mushrooms in food processor (finely chopped) and transfer them to saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until juices are released. Bring liquid to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Drain mushrooms in a strainer over a large bowl to catch strained liquid and let mushrooms cool slightly. You will have about 2 cups of mushroom puree and 5 cups of mushroom juice. Don't worry if you have less, you will only need about 1 cup of puree.
  3. Combine 1 cup of mushroom juice, 3/4 cup of heavy cream, and shallots in a medium saucepan. Mince garlic into the pan. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by about half to slightly more than 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Put 3/4 cup of mushroom puree in a small bowl. Stir 6 tbsp of reduced juice mixture into the puree. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring remaining mushroom juice to a simmer in a medium saucepan for 15 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup of heavy cream and soy sauce. Simmer for 5 more minutes and reduce heat to low to keep warm for serving.
  5. Lay 4 slices of brioche and trim slices of cheese to fit the bread. Place 1 slice of cheese on each of the 4 slices of bread. Spread sandwich filling on top of cheese. Place another slice of cheese over filling and cover with another slice of bread.
  6. Melt butter in a small saucepan and brush it on both sides of the sandwiches. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When pan is hot, add the sandwiches and brown on both sides. Work in batches if necessary.
  7. Pour warm dipping sauce into 4 small bowls. Serve sandwiches with dipping sauce on the side. 
Here are some of my other Harvest to Heat recipes:
Burrata with Speck, Peas, and Mint
Tacos with Greens and Seared Onions

Harvest to Heat: Cooking with America's Best Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lazy Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan with Angel Hair

If you've sampled eggplant parmesans from different places, you probably noticed that they tend not to resemble one another. Each component varies greatly - from the thickness of the eggplant slices to the proportion of cheese to sauce. If you want it saucy and gooey, cut thinner eggplant slices. If you want it crunchy and crispy, cut thicker eggplant slices and fry them longer. I made mine more of the gooey version, but it's really all up to you!

Eggplant Parmesan
from Simply Recipes
Serves 8
  • 2 lbs (about 2 large) eggplants
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 lbs of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 cup grated high quality Parmesan cheese
  • 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
  1. Cut eggplants lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange one layer in the bottom of a large colander and sprinkle evenly with salt. Repeat with remaining eggplant. Weigh down the slices with a couple of plates and let drain for 2 hours. This would somewhat dehydrate the eggplant slices and avoid excess moisture during cooking. 
  2. Combine tomatoes, garlic and 1/3 cup olive oil in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  3. When eggplant has drained, press down on it to remove excess water, wipe off the excess salt, and lay the slices out on paper towels to remove all the moisture. Preheat oven to 350F.
  4. In a wide bowl, combine and mix flour and breadcrumbs.  Pour beaten eggs into another wide bowl. Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat, and pour in half an inch of olive oil. When oil is shimmering, dredge the eggplant slices first in the flour mixture, then in the beaten egg. Working in batches, slide coated eggplant into hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
  5. In the bottom of a 10x15 inch glass baking dish, spread 1 cup of tomato sauce. Top with one third of the eggplant slices. Top eggplant with half of the mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with one third of the Parmesan and half of the basil leaves.
  6. Make a second layer of eggplant slices, topped by 1 cup of sauce, remaining mozzarella, half the remaining Parmesan, and all of the remaining basil. Add remaining eggplant, and top with the remaining tomato sauce and Parmesan.
  7. Bake until cheese has melted and the top is slightly brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve with pasta.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dip for Fall: Indian Barbecue Sauce

"I hate cauliflower." is what my husband says to me whenever we walk past the cauliflower/purple cauliflower section of the produce aisle. I never really understood why. Nothing stands out in a cauliflower; plain flavor and a broccoli-like texture.

Last night, after finishing the first plate...

J: "Do you have more cauliflower?"
Me: "Nope."
a long pause.
Me (in shock): "Did you just ask for more cauliflower???"

Roasted Cauliflower with Indian Barbecue Sauce

Roasted cauliflower produces a different texture. Airy and crispy. When paired with this wonderfully addicting spiced Indian Barbecue Sauce, it's indescribable.

Delicious Indian Barbecue Sauce

Roasted Cauliflower with Indian Barbecue Sauce
Adapted from Epicurious
  • 2lb-head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 1 tbsp of chili powder
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Toast chili powder in a small skillet over medium heat for about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Toss cauliflower with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Transfer to medium rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.
  3. Heat remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add ginger and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes. Add ketchup, soy sauce, sugar and toasted chili powder. Bring to a boil, whisking to incorporate. Reduce heat to low, simmer barbecue sauce for 1 minute, whisking constantly.
  4. Remove cauliflower from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Serve sauce in a small dipping bowl alongside cauliflower.
**You will likely have quite a bit of sauce left over. Use it in a sandwich or wrap or serve it with more roasted vegetables or pita bread.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Salmon En Papillote, with Basil Butter

Grilling and searing are, of course, great ways to serve salmon. But I also love poaching and steaming fish to retain all the flavorful natural juices. Wrapping them in foil (paper is used traditionally, but foil works very well) along with aromatic ingredients bring out the best in the tender fish. It's a must if you haven't tried this yet. 

Salmon En Papillote with Basil Butter
Salmon En Papillote
Serves 4

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 1/4lb basil butter (recipe follows)
  • 8 tomato slices
  • 4 lemon slices
  • 4 bay leaves
  • salt, pepper, and paprika
Basil Butter
  • 15 basil leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4lb unsalted butter
  • few drops of lemon juice
  • salt and white pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. To make basil butter, blend basil and garlic in a food processor. Add remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Blend until well combined. 
  3. Place each salmon fillet on 2 layers of aluminum foil. Place a spoonful of basil butter on each fillet and top each with a slice of tomato. Add a lemon slice and a bay leaf each. Season and seal foil tightly. 
  4. Place foil packages in oven. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes. 
  5. Be careful of steam and juice when you open up the foil. The best way is to place those on plates and use forks to open them up slowly. Serve immediately.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Black Velvet: a Japanese Beef Curry

Do you have a dish that you have always dreamt of perfecting? I do! In my case, it is Japanese Curry.

Japanese Beef Curry

Japanese beef curry is a well-balanced velvety curry dish that has layers of flavors, without one single flavor overpowering the rest. The easiest and most common way of making Japanese curry is to buy a good pre-made curry base and mix with sauteed vegetables and meat. But of course, the more challenging the better, right? ;) I tried a lot of recipes before developing my own version. I am happy to finally arrive at this Japanese Beef Curry.

Jason's Bowl

Japanese Curry
Serves 4-6
  • 1lb beef chuck, cut into 1-2" pieces (can substitute other meats)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup of flour, separated
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 4 tbsp of butter, separated
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2.5 tbsp of curry powder
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp of minced ginger
  • 1 cup of red wine (I used a Bordeaux blend, Merlot would work well too)
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 small peeled, pureed, apple
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • Jasmine rice, for serving
  • Cilantro, for garnish
  1. Season beef chuck pieces with salt, pepper, and flour. Shake off excess flour. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven and brown beef on all sides. Remove beef and set aside.
  2. Add 1 tbsp of butter to the Dutch oven and reduce heat to medium-low. Add onions and a dash of salt. Cook onions until caramelized (about 30 minutes).
  3. Add minced garlic, 1/2 tbsp of curry powder, tomato paste, and minced ginger. Mix well. Add beef and red wine. Bring to a boil and let it reduce until you have about 1/3 of the original mixture. Add beef broth, chicken broth, bay leaf, and apple to Dutch oven. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and let it simmer for 3 hours.
  4. 40 minutes before beef is done, parboil carrots and potatoes (about 10 minutes). Add them to Dutch oven to simmer with beef for the last 30 minutes.
  5. For the roux, melt 3 tbsp of butter over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. Add 1/4 cup of flour and 2 tbsp of curry powder, stirring until you have a thick paste. Add cayenne pepper and fresh ground pepper, incorporating them into the roux. Add ketchup and worchestershire sauce to saucepan. Continue to cook until paste starts crumbling. Remove from heat and set aside until meat and vegetables are ready.
  6. Ladle some broth from Dutch oven into the paste mixture and stir until dissolved and well incorporated. Now add the roux mixture back into the Dutch oven, stir well to thicken the curry. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve hot, over rice.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

5 Star Makeover: Icy Poached Fish

"Most of the famous French dishes involving filet of sole center around fish poached in white wine and coated with a lovely, creamy sauce made from the poaching liquid." 
Julia Child describes poaching fish fillets from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This month's 5 Star Makeover theme is Cooking with Wine. We can choose any classic dish where wine is a major ingredient and put our own unique spin on it.

Poached Red Snapper with Wine Ice
served with Mushroom Cream Sauce, Lemon Zest, and Scallions

I re-created Julia Child's Fish Filets Poached in White Wine and decided to present an icy, refreshing poached snapper dish surrounded with ice made from its poaching liquid, accompanied by a mushroom cream sauce, lemon zest, and scallions. For a light dish like poached fish, a low-tannin wine is most appropriate due to the lack of fat in this dish. Tannin and fattiness go hand in hand. So braised short ribs would go well with a bottle of Bordeaux or Cabernet, for example. In this case, I poached the fish in Pinot Grigio to avoid masking the light fish flavor with a high-tannin wine.

Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Fish Filets Poached in White Wine
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
  • 2 tbsp of finely chopped green onions
  • 2.5lbs of skinless, boneless red snapper fillets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1.5 tbsp of butter cut into bits
  • 1.5 cups of Pinot Grigio and water mixture
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tbsp of flour
  • A handful of small cremini mushrooms
  • Lemon, for zesting
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter a shallow fireproof baking dish that is about 2 inches deep.
  2. Sprinkle half of the scallions in the bottom of the dish. Season fillets with salt and pepper.
  3. Place fillets in dish and sprinkle remaining scallions over them, along with bits of butter.
  4. Pour in wine/water mixture until fish is barely covered.
  5. Bring dish almost to a simmer on stovetop. Lay a buttered paper over the fish, then bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove fish and set on a plate to cool, then refrigerate. Pour 2/3 of the poaching liquid into a shallow dish and freeze for at least 2 hours.
  7. Bring remaining poaching liquid to a boil on the stove and stir in 1 tbsp of butter, 1 tbsp of flour, 1 tsp of salt, a dash of pepper, and mushrooms. Boil sauce down until thickened. Leave in fridge to cool.
  8. To serve, scrap poaching liquid ice with a fork. Place ice in a glass or bowl. Spoon a little bit of the mushroom sauce over the ice. Place a piece of fish over ice and sauce. Cover fish with more crushed ice. Sprinkle a little bit of lemon zest over the fish. Serve cold.

Thank you to Natasha from 5 Star Foodie and Laz from Lazaro Cooks! for hosting the 5 Star Makeover!

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Bread Salad Days

There is something about the Los Angeles Times that I just love. The layout. The content. And it has an amazing food section! I was so happy to be featured in the LA Times' Daily Dish.

LA Times' Daily Dish - Bacon and Souffle

Yes, my bread salad tasted quite delicious! I served it at dinner with Chicken Marbella (a previous post) and the combination was great.

Bread Salad
Bread Salad
from LA Times
Serves 6
  • 1/3lb stale ciabatta
  • 1lb tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp of red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup diced red onion
  • 3 tbsp of toasted pine nuts
  • 3oz of arugula
  1. Tear bread into pieces and put them in a bowl with water to cover. Soak for 15 minutes.
  2. Cut cherry tomatoes in halves and place them in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Set aside for 15 minutes to allow salt to pull juice from tomatoes.
  3. Squeeze as much water out from the bread as possible. Crumble bread into a serving bowl. Stir tomato mixture into the bread, working the mixture to moisten as much of the bread as possible with the tomatoes. Stir in the red onion.
  4. When ready to serve, add more salt or vinegar to taste. Add pine nuts and arugula to bread salad and toss lightly to mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Harvest to Heat: Tacos with Greens and Seared Onions

As you may already know, I am currently in love with the Harvest to Heat cookbook. I made the Burrata with Speck, Peas, and Mint, a Chef Nancy Silverton creation, and it tasted fantastic.

Tacos with Greens and Seared Onions is a dish by Chef Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill, Chicago. This tastes so familiar, almost like a childhood meal, yet so different at the same time. It's clean and flavorful.

Tacos with Greens and Seared Onions

I served grilled fajitas with bell peppers on the side as another taco filling option. Such a fun meal for the weekend!

Tacos with Greens and Seared Onions

  • 8 to 10 corn tortillas
  • coarse salt
  • 9 cups loosly packed, stemmed lamb's quarters (or 6 cups of chard leaves sliced 1/2 inch thick)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 lb of shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3/4 cup Chipotle Tomatillo Verde Salsa* for serving (see below)
  • fresh cilantro sprigs
  1. Wrap tortillas in a kitchen towel and put it in a steamer (with boiling water). Cover and steam for 1 minute. Turn off heat and let stand for about 15 minutes.
  2. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot and add the greens to cook until barely tender (1-2 minutes for lambs' quarters and 1-2 minutes longer for chard). Drain and cool. Roughly chop and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Add onions and cook for another 5 minutes. Add garlic and fry for 1 minute. Add chopped greens, broth, and salt to taste. Cook for 3 minutes. 
  4. Serve warm tacos with cooked greens, cheese, salsa, and cilantro (and a side of fajitas if you prefer).  
*Toast 3 large cloves of unpeeled garlic in a skillet over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes until slightly blackened. Let cool, slip off skins and chop. Turn broiler on high and broil 5 to 6 medium tomatillos about 4 inches from the broiler for about 5 minutes. Turn them over and roast the other side. Let cool. Scrape tomatillos and any juices accumulated into a food processor. Add garlic and puree mixture. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 3 to 6 canned chipotle chiles in adobo (stemmed and finely chopped) along with 3 tbsp of water to give salsa a nice consistency. Season with 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of sugar.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Exotic Green Lentil with Roasted Vegetable Salad

I came home to a very pleasant surprise from Foodbuzz and Crisco. Three bottles of olive oil were delivered to my doorstep. As a part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I received Crisco Pure Olive Oil, Crisco Light Olive Oil, and Crisco 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Green Lentil Salad, Roasted Vegetables, Fresh Mozzarella

I used Crisco EVOO to make a warm green lentil salad with roasted vegetables and fresh mozzarella.

Green Lentil Salad
From LA Times Test Kitchen
Serves 4
  • 1 cup of French green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup of chopped roasted carrots*
  • 2 chopped roasted shallots*
  • 3 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp of fresh orange juice
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1.5 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp of dijon mustard
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/8 cup of packed sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 3oz fresh mozzarella, chopped
  1. Place lentils, bay leaf, garlic, 4 cups of water, and 1/2 tsp of salt in a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Drain lentils well and discard water, bay leaf, and garlic. Transfer hot lentils to a large bowl. Add roasted chopped carrots and shallots.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, mustard, 1/8 tsp of salt and a pinch of pepper. Transfer dressing to the bowl of lentils and toss gently.
  3. Add parsley, tomatoes, and mozzarella and toss again, gently, just to combine. Serve warm.
*Roast peeled carrots (cut into chunks) and peeled shallots in preheated 375F oven for 30 minutes until golden brown. Chop roasted vegetables.

Crisco Olive Oil
~ Crisco EVOO - bold and fruity flavor, presents a rich olive flavor in dishes. Ideal for salad dressings, marinades, and dips.
~ Crisco Pure Olive Oil - mild and smooth flavor, adds a hint of fruity olive flavor to meals. Ideal for sauteing meats and vegetables.
~ Crisco Light Olive Oil - extra mild in flavor, perfect for everyday cooking. Ideal for baking and all-purpose cooking oil.

Crisco Olive Oil (100% extra-virgin, pure, and light)
Thanks to Foodbuzz and Crisco!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

5 Star Makeover: Margherita Pizza the Chinese Way

This month's 5 Star Makeover theme is... pizza! Loved the theme because pizza allows so much room for creativity. For my pizza, I chose to make Margherita pizza, with a Chinese twist.

Chinese Margherita Pizza
I wrapped the typical Margherita flavors in a Chinese pastry bun. The slight tinge of sweetness in the dough made the classic Margherita pizza that much more interesting. Although the taste of this pizza bun resembles that of a Calzone, the key difference lies in the multiple layers of a Chinese pastry dough. The texture is light and buttery as opposed to heavy and chewy.

Chinese Margherita Pizza served with a Mozzarella, Carrot, and Arugula "stirfry"
Margherita Pizza the Chinese Way
makes 12 buns
Outer Pastry Layer
  • 1.5 tbsp of butter
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of cold water
Inner Pastry Layer
  • 1 cup of cake flour
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tomato, juice drained and chopped
  • 1/4 cup of basil leaves
  • a handful of toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 oz of mozzarella cheese, cut into 1" x 2" rectangles
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Oregano, sea salt, and pepper for topping
  1. Mix outer layer ingredients and roll it into a dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Mix inner layer ingredients and roll it into a dough.
  3. Separate dough for each of the two layers into 12 balls. You now have 12 outer layer balls and 12 inner layer balls.
  4. Roll an outer layer dough ball into a flat circle, envelope the inner layer ball and wrap the outer layer around it. Use a rolling pin and roll the combined dough ball into a flat oval shape. From the short side, roll it up and have the opening face downward on a surface. Let it rest for 15 minutes. Repeat this for all dough balls.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F.
  6. Flatten the rolls with rolling pin. Then, roll the flat dough up again into a roll. Roll it out into a flat circle. Repeat this for all dough balls.
  7. Puree basil, cheddar cheese, pine nuts, garlic, butter in a food processor and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. On the flat dough circle, put a small piece of tomato, a small piece of mozzarella, and some basil mixture. Enclose the dough around the filling and shape it into a round ball. Brush with egg mixture and sprinkle dough ball with oregano, salt and pepper. Bake the 12 dough balls for about 25-30 minutes until top is golden brown.
As always, thank you to Natasha from 5 Star Foodie and Laz from Lazaro Cooks! for hosting this month's challenge. Looking forward to September!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hi, I'm a Butter-Braised Fig!

I find figs irresistible, mainly because of the combination of their natural sweetness and chewy texture. Not only that, aren't figs just so cute?! Also, they are one of the highest plant sources of calcium and fiber. What's not to like? This is my new favorite way of enjoying figs. I hope you like them as much as I do.

Butter Braised Figs, Cheese, Nuts
with Balsamic Syrup
 Butter Braised Figs, Cheese, Nuts
Adapted from Jennifer Jeffrey
  • 10 green ripe figs
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 2 tbsp of finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of toasted pine nuts
  1. Melt butter over medium-low heat in a small nonstick pan. Rinse figs and pat dry. Cut off the sharp tips of figs and make a cross-shaped cut halfway deep into the figs like the photo above.
  2. Place figs in pan with melted butter and let it sit for 3 minutes, until the bottoms of the figs begin to soften. Toast nuts until lightly browned.
  3. Remove figs and set them on a plate or cheese board.
  4. Add balsamic vinegar to pan. Turn the heat up to medium-high and let it reduce by half.
  5. Slightly push open the tops to expose the insides of the figs. Sprinkled grated cheese into each. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and sprinkle toasted pine nuts over the top. Serve warm as appetizer or dessert.