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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.