Proper Fish ‘n Chips

1 12 2010

 

 I think my friend Rebecca, from Chow & CHatter would agree: sometimes there are few things as satisfying as some proper fish ‘n chips. My good friends Steve and Nancy at Whitney’s hooked us up with some superb cod.  Add a little beer, batter and more beer and there you go. Home made tarter sauce, carrot and beet slaw and some malt vinegar for the handcut chips and off you go.

Proper Fish ‘n Chips

  • 1 Tbs malt vinegar,
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 bottle Guinness, cold
  • 1 ½  pounds cod cut into small strips
  • Cornstarch, for dredging

Heat oil to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt. Whisk in beer until the batter is smooth and the consistency of thin pancake batter. Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Lightly dredge the fish strips in cornstarch. Dip the fish into batter and slowly lay it into the oil and cook, turning as needed until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.





Stuffing the Breast

6 09 2010

Here’s our final video for the first series of Code Delicious. How to stuff a chicken breast with some herbs and chevre for a delicious main.

 





It’s Good to be Green-Code Delicious Episode 4

28 07 2010

The proper sequence and video back up! Episode 4, Swiss Chard is available for viewing here. Learn the simple and easy way to prepare those perfect summer greens!

 





Day 21: Pip, Pip, Piperade it’s The Last Supper

21 12 2009

Poached Egg with Piperade over Pan Fried Potatoes

 A piperade is a Basque dish, which according to La Rousse Gastronomique is “rich stew of tomatoes and sweet (bell) peppers, sometimes seasoned with onion and garlic, cooked in olive oil or goose fat and then mixed with beaten eggs and lightly scrambled.” This version will include some poached eggs instead. In a dishes where there are subtle tomato flavors and the tomato is a highlight, I like to prepare a tomato concassée. This removes the skin and seeds. The olive oil taste comes through this dish, so use a good quality.

  • ½ pound (roughly 2 medium tomatoes) tomatoes concassée
  • 4 oz of julienned roasted sweet peppers (with the red tomatoes I prefer green, yellow or orange peppers)
  • 2 tbsp garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 poached eggs

To prepare the tomato concassée, use a paring knife and mark on “X” on the bottom of the tomato just deep enough to penetrate the skin. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Quickly refresh in an ice bath. Using the paring knife again, cut out the core and peel the tomato. Cut the tomato in half. Squeeze the juice and seeds into a bowl. Chop the tomatoes. Pour the juice through a fine mesh strainer and reserve the juice. Roast the peppers then place in a plastic bag for several minutes. This will make them easier to peel and remove the skins. Do not forget to seed and remove the inner membrane when preparing the peppers for slicing. Heat a medium pan over medium heat with some olive oil. Add the chopped onions and garlic and cook until the onions become translucent, and then add green peppers. Add the thyme and cook until any liquid has evaporated. Add tomatoes, bread crumbs and reserved juice to the pepper mixture. The mixture should be left to cook until it has thickened slightly. While this is thickening, poach 2 eggs. Plate by putting the vegetables on the bottom and the poached eggs on top and season with salt and pepper. Serve with warm bread.

Egg and Piperade were served over simple Pan Fried Fingerling Potatoes





Day 20: Veggie Pot Pies

19 12 2009

 

Veggie Pot pie

It’s day 20, and I am having Pavlovian responses to grilled meat noises or smells. Yet the end is in sight, victory draws nigh. So to get myself through the homestretch I constructed these veggie pot pies. The portobello mushrooms and altered tofu give a meat-like texture with beefy undertones. The pies actually turned out quite yummy and filling enough to get me through to The Last Supper.

Veggie Pot Pies

  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 chopped Portobello mushroom
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 block seasoned tofu, in bite size bits (recipe follows)
  • 3 cups Vegetable Nage
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 ½ pounds fingerling potatoes diced potatoes, blanched
  • 1 cup diced carrots, blanched
  • 1 cup sweet peas
  • 1 ½ tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 (17.3-ounce) package frozen puff pastry thawed
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of water (egg wash)

Seasoned Tofu

  • 1 block extra firm tofu, sliced into ¼ inch bit
  • s1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 3-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage
  • 2 tbsp chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp finely minced garlic
  • ¼cup Mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce

Place the cut tofu into a container with all the ingredients. Marinate overnight. Place in an oven at 400 degrees F and bake about 15 minutes and flip the pieces over and cook another 15 minutes. The pieces should have dried out somewhat and obtained a meat-like texture. Set aside.

Place the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onions until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and celery and cook another 2 minutes. Add the mushroom and season with salt and pepper. Add the flour and form a blond roux. Add the seasoned tofu and nage and bring up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the liquid starts to thicken. Add the cream, potatoes (cut the fingerlings into bite size chunks if needed), carrots, poultry seasoning, peas, cayenne pepper and parsley leaves. Divide the mixture into ramekins and cover each ramekin with a piece of puff pastry. Place some of the egg wash on the pastry and bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until as Alton Brown says “it’s GB&D”.

 

Veggies in ramekin

 

 

Out of the oven, GB&...

...Delicious





Day 19: Comfort Food-Sort of….

19 12 2009

Somen Noodles with crispy Tempura Vegetables

It’s that time of year and Mother Nature knows it. On the  eve of the Global Warming Summit she slams a huge fierce snowstorm across the Eastern U.S. just to remind us that She need not be all warm and fuzzy all the time. We did not get the snow, but we got cold (very) rain. The sort of dreary cold damp that aches your bones and instinctively has you seeking some warm comfort food. I always wonder when and where we decide what food to fall back on for comfort. It seems a lot of that comes from our childhood, when maybe the world seemed an easier place. It is that way for me, with an additional exception. I was able to travel extensively to Japan during my formative years, and I return back on a regular basis. Often, it  is inclement weather at the times I am there. Alone in a strange  country, unable to read the signs, and not proficient at the language (although able to converse enough to get by for food and drink, etc.) can make for somewhat wistful moods. Heading to the noodle shops for a big bowl of noodles and broth, and a little people watching is like landing on “Go” in Monopoly, a safe haven for a spell. People watching is universal, we’re a goofy species worldwide and in any language. But back to the noodles. At the shops you can get from scratch noodles (somen, ramen or a number of different kinds), usually served in a broth with some veggies, seafood (both of those usually tempura) or maybe some roast pork slices. I am always on a budget over there, so it is an economical way to get a “Happy Belly” as well. So with that in mind, I heated up some nage broth, cooked the noodles, added some tempura veggies and with a glass of wine watched the cold rain drop…but with a smile.

Japanese Noodles

  • 3 cups of vegetable nage (or light chicken broth)
  • Somen, Ramen or other Japanese noodles
  • Tempura fried mixed veggies (see tempura batter recipe)
  • Tofu sliced into bite size bits
  • For topping: a few drops of toasted Sesame oil, Soy Sauce, chopped cilantro or green onion, and hot sauce if desired (I use Sriracha)

Heat the broth up to a boil and add the noodles, reduce to a simmer and cook like any other dried pasta to desired consistency. Pour noodles and broth into a bowl. Add veggies and toppings. In Japan, slurping indicates a delicious dish so eat the noodles and bits and if you enjoyed, slurp up the broth.

Oishi! (Japanese for delicious)





Day 18: Latkes

18 12 2009

Crispy Latkes with Sour Cream, Stovetop Applesauce and oven roasted Lady Washington Apples

 

I was reading a great blog discussing the merits (and demerits) of different potato types for latkes over at Kitchenhacker’s blog (http://www.kitchenhacker.net). I felt inspired to make some as they looked delicious. I recommend popping over and checking out the article (http://kitchenhacker.net/content/latke-battle-russet-versus-yukon-gold). He covers all the issues regarding potato types nicely. The recipe and ideas are also nicely done. The basic recipe I use is listed below. Whatever you start with, feel free to vary as you see fit, there are literally hundreds of versions-as long as it tastes good to you; it’s right.

Latkes

  • 2 lbs potatoes, grated
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 shallot, halved and sliced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp rice flour
  • 1 tbsp AP flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • Oil for frying
    Grate the potatoes and set aside in some cold water. Combine all the other ingredients. Drain the potatoes, and squeeze to get the water out. I take batches and place them in a tea towel or dish rag. Twist the ends to wring the potatoes and let the water drain. Add the potatoes to the mix. Heat neutral oil (like canola) in a pan over medium heat. Take a handful of the mixture, squeeze out any additional liquid you can and place into the pan. Fry until GB&D on one side, flip and finish on the other. Serve with sour cream and apple sauce (easy stove top apple sauce recipe to follow)

Stove top Applesauce

  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 apples, cored, peeled and sliced
  • 1/3 cup organic or natural sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and simmer over the stove until apples soft and the liquid has reduced, about 30-45 minutes. Apples are high in pectin and will naturally thicken.

A side, a meal, either way delicious





Day 17: Revenge, a dish best served with curry

17 12 2009

Crispy Fried Eggplant with a Sweet and a Savory Spiced Curry over Chinese Emperor Rice

Sweet and Savory Curry Spiced Eggplant

I’ve been waiting for this dish; mostly because I’ve despised eggplant. My Mom was mostly a great cook, but not when it came to eggplant. What I recall of eating eggplant was a bitter, slimy gooey experience which is what I imagine sucking a snail trail through a straw would be like. I’ve avoided eating or cooking it like the plague for years. But I’ve seen the prep methods, read the recipes and reviews. With new found knowledge and technique I would face my old foe. Drawing a last bit of inspiration from Rebecca’s Indian dishes (the last with eggplant, no less-at www.chowandchatter.com) I set forth. The key for me was in the preparation of the eggplant. Eggplant contains a lot of water, and if not prepared correctly prior to frying, it can become the aforementioned ball of goo. I experimented with cuts of varying thickness, and with this preparation it is important that the slices be between ½ to ¾ inch thick as these reduce substantially with the preparation process. It results in an almost meaty texture with a pleasant squashy-like taste. I assume this is what eggplant is supposed to be like. It was, I dare say, delicious. I never thought I would be saying this, but I look forward to having eggplant again. I served this with two curries; essentially the same spicy curry one made slightly sweet with orange juice, one savory by using spicy V-8 juice. It was fantastic and you can use this for any other main such as chicken or fish.

  • 1 eggplant sliced into ½ to ¾ inch pieces
  • Salt
  • Seasoned flour for dusting
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs mixed with ½ cup panko
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1 cup minced onion, finely chopped*
  • 2 tsp smart balance*
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger*
  • 4 tsp finely minced garlic*
  • 8 tsp of curry spice*
  • 2 tsp lime juice*
  • 2 jalapeño or other hot chile finely chopped (leave the seed and membrane in if you want extra heat)*
  • ½ cup orange juice and ½ cup spicy V-8 juice
  • 1 cup vegetable nage*
  • 1 cup coconut milk*
  • 1 cup cilantro*
  • 12 oz plain yogurt*
  • Salt
  • White Pepper
  • Rice for serving

To prepare the eggplant, clean the skin (or remove if you like) and slice. Place an absorbent towel on a cookie sheet or baking pan large enough to accommodate the slices in a single layer. Sprinkle salt liberally on the bottom. Place the slices on the salt. Sprinkle to tops liberally with salt and cover with absorbent towels. Allow to sit for an hour or so; the salt will draw out moisture and you may need to replace the towels.

Eggplant sweating shortly after salt application

Eggplant with excess moisture removed

 Remove the salt from the pan and eggplant and replace the towels. Moisture will continue to wick away from the vegetable over the next several hours. To prepare the curries, get two medium saucepans. Divide all ingredients marked with a “*” in half; half will go in one pot with orange juice, the other half in a pot with the V-8. Put the following into each pot: smart balance (or butter) and onions. Cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add ginger, garlic and curry spice. Cook for another minute. Add lime juice, hot chile, nage and coconut milk. To one pot add orange juice, to the other the V-8. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes until the liquid is reduced by about half. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Prepare two bowls, each with one half the yogurt and cilantro. Strain each mixture into one of the prepared bowls and mix. Salt and pepper to taste. For the eggplant, set up a three-step breading station: 1 bowl with seasoned flour, next bowl with beaten eggs and final bowl with breadcrumbs and panko (I use homemade breadcrumbs from stale sourdough baguette mixed with Emeril Creole spice). Dredge the eggplant in flour and shake off excess, dip in egg and shake off excess, place in breadcrumbs and shake off excess. Place in olive oil heated medium high in medium saucepan. Cook until, as Alton Brown says, GB&D (golden brown and delicious) on both sides. I served this over Chinese Emperor (black) rice in two small servings. Ladle the curry over each grouping of eggplant and rice.

Crispy Fried Eggplant with Sweet Spicy Curry

Crispy Fried Eggplant with Savory Spicy Curry





Day 16: “Simply Delicious, My Dhaling”

16 12 2009

Spinach Dhal with Naan Bread

 

As you can guess from the header, today is dhal. Not having a tremendous experience with  Indian cuisine, I have been experiementing with some recipes and flavor profiles. There are number of excellent recipes of Indian dishes over at Chow and Chatter (www.chowandchatter.com) and Rebecca deserves some inspiratory credit for inspiring this dish, however, the recipes are my own so any shortcoming is strictly on my end. I have really enjoyed these flavors and found them delicious. Part of the Joy of Cooking involves exploring all areas of inspiration and being unafraid to tread there. When you have become too concerned with your reputation or ego to risk failure you have stopped learning. At that point you are merely a “kitchen technician”. I hope you enjoy my interpretation of Indian cuisine and as Kumar might say; “Thank you, come again.”

Spinach Dhal

  • 8 oz lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups vegetable nage
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp fresh ground ginger
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • ½ cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp cumin seed
  • 2 tsp mustard seed
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander seed
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 hot chile, thinly sliced

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the lentils (after rinsing) to a boil with the water, nage, turmeric and ginger. Reduce the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Add the spinach and cilantro and cook for another 8-10 minutes. In a small pan, heat the oil and add the garlic, shallot, cumin, mustard, coriander, curry and hot pepper. Cook over high heat for 2 minutes to release the flavors. Add this to the lentils, stir season with salt and pepper and serve with warm naan.

Naan bread

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package rapid rise dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 4 cups bread flour ( ~22 oz)
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour (~2.5 oz)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fennel
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

In a large bowl stir in yeast, sugar, milk, egg, salt, and flour to make soft dough. I do this in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Remember, if you use active yeast you will need to dissolve the yeast in warm water and let stand about 10 minutes, before adding to the flour.  Use the stand mixer until the dough forms a ball that pulls away from the sides. The dough will still be slightly sticky. If performing by hand, knead for 8to 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Add garlic, onion, cilantro and fennel and knead into the dough, assuring good distribution. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise about1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume. Punch down the dough. Make small balls of dough of about 2 oz..Place these on a tray, cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes. Preheat a grill to high heat or an electric non-stick griddle to 400 degrees F. Roll the balls of dough out into a thin circle. Before placing the dough on grill, lightly oil the grill and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush the uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and serve.

Spinach Dhal with Naan Bread





Day 15: French Omelet with Truffle Butter and Brie

15 12 2009

Omelet with Truffle Butter and Brie (the brown bits are white truffle)

 

Skill is oft revealed in the simplest of tasks. Frequently, simple is confused for easy. This is not the case. Examine the uncomplicated egg and its preparation. A saying in cooking circles is that if you want to really see how good a chef is, have them cook an egg-perfectly. It is easier said than done. It is interesting to me that the same cooking challenge applies to even sushi chefs. If you wish to test the skill of the sushi chef, request the tamago. The sweet mini omelet is not a complicated recipe, but it exposes the skill, or lack of such, in the chef.

It is with such thoughts of elegant unfussiness that I approached the Day 15 challenge. The night had been long, trapped in the high school auditorium for the middle school and 9th grade Christmas bands concerts. The kids who performed were great. The adults in the audience, jabbering on cell phones, chasing their 3 year olds who are scurrying like roaches around the concert hall, and screaming “SSSHHH” were the real fountain of aggravation. Why you are surprised when you catch a sugar crazed 3-year-old, yank his arm, and yell in his face and then he starts screaming perhaps illustrates the dangers of sibling congress. I know it’s easier to walk across the hall than down the road, but this is why that particular trip is worth it. Did I leave with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head? No, I had my ears ringing from the screaming of adults and children, my head throbbing from g-forces sustained  from the up and down every 2 seconds out of my chair so some center seat moron could run out for a smoke and hurry back. Upon leaving, I found my lungs choking as we exited through the new Pall Mall wing out front.

So needing a nice glass of wine to restore the harmony of the Universe, elegant simplicity was the order of the day. I opted for a simple omelet; a hot pan, some truffle butter, eggs and a bit of brie cheese served with toast (and don’t forget the wine). Everyone knows the recipe, not everyone does it well. Alton Brown has an excellent tutorial (Episode: Zen and the Art of Omelet Maintenance) from his “Good Eats” series (a “must have” reference). If you have any questions on how to perform the tri-fold French omelet, watch the video, grab a pan, some bowls and a few dozen eggs and practice. Oh yeah, don’t forget to wine-down.

French Omelet with Truffle Butter and Brie

  • 3 eggs
  • Pinch of salt (kosher)
  • 1 tbsp truffle butter
  • 1 oz Brie cheese

Place the eggs in some warm water (warm not hot-you’re not cooking them yet) and allow to warm up for 5 minutes. Heat half the truffle butter over medium heat in a non-stick pan. Mix the eggs and salt in a bowl. When the butter has stopped foaming, add the eggs and stir for 5-15 seconds with a spatula. When the eggs start to set stop stirring. Loosen the omelet around the edges and pour any liquid toward the edges by tilting the pan. When there is no liquid flowing, cook an additional 10-15 seconds. Place any filling, in this case the cheese, in the middle. Tilt the edge of the pan furthest away from you up and flip 1/3 of the omelet back on itself. Tilt the same edge down and flip the back 1/3 of the omelet on itself. Plate, garnish, serve and enjoy.

Omelet with White Truffle Butter and Brie








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