A good week

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A good week

Just wanted to say I hope everyone had a great week. Most of mine was down the Jersey Shore helping out with the rebuilding of houses. Dealt with a variety of tasks ranging from electrical to installing flooring to going under houses and cutting out some piping. Glad to get people back into their homes sooner. Friday was fun, went to a book signing, met Bobby Flay- got a picture and a signed book. Rest of weekend was my birthday weekend. Was a lot of fun. Time to get back to cooking sometime this week.

Enjoy.

What What…Halibut?

This will be the abbreviated version since I am headed down towards the jersey Shore for the next few days to help with some of the “final steps” of putting people’s houses back together from the fall hurricane disaster (Yes it has been months. I had spent time in both the fall and winter down there doing some demo type stuff and then starting to put in the sheetrock and such- now its on to the final steps of painting, flooring, etc).

Today I made some Halibut- one of my favorites when it comes to white fish. In this particular instance I had initially made a chicken based stock (chicken, some vegs, white wine). I then took some of that and reduced it down, and then added some Brandy (nice sweet flavor). The Halibut I seasoned with salt and white pepper (more of a like how it looks versus black pepper, can do either). It was quick sauteed in butter and then put in the oven at 500 for 5 minutes.

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Upon completion it was plated and I added the sauce on top. Now on to the sides.

I chopped up some savoy cabbage, made a mixture of water, sugar, and ground mustard and mixed together (then refrigerated). For the dressing it was a honey-coriander based dressing (used a rice vinegar for it as well). For it I used coriander seeds that I then crushed (makes for a nice crunchiness versus using ground coriander. Before serving, the savoy was taken out of the refrigerator and brought to room temperature.

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For the other “side” if you go back one recipe I had made a Ginger Ale which essentially is a concentrated syrup. Using modern techniques, I turned some if it into a jelly so to speak and cut into small pieces and stood up. Besides looking cool, the ginger spiciness blended well with that of the Halibut and it’s sauce.

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Enjoy.

Hope everyone has a great week. I will not be cooking much (if at all) until next week- only day possibly being Thursday. Next weekend I am visiting my parents to celebrate my mom’s and my own birthday. All the best.

Ginger Ale

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Ginger Ale

This is a Jean-Georges Vongerichten recipe. Essentially you are making the syrup (somewhat concentrated) and then adding it to soda water (club soda).

1lb fresh Ginger- unpeeled, cubed
2 stalks lemongrass- trimmed, chopped
2 small chilis- stems removed
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Quart Water
Club Soda

Take the ginger, lemongrass, and chilis and process down until minced. Put them in a pot along with the quart of water and all of the sugar. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for about 15 minutes. At that point, remove from heat and then strain out the liquid. This is then placed in the refrigerator until chilled. You then take a glass of ice, pour in 1/4 cup of the syrup and then fill the rest with club soda. Lime slices are optional.

For my mixture, I cut down to 1 pepper, still had a nice spice to it. Also tastes very good with little bit of rum added (I used a single barrel non-spiced rum).

Enjoy

Bay Scallops…What to do with them??

I was thinking to myself today about these bay scallops I’ve had in my freezer and besides a risotto I did a while back what else could I do with them. They are not like nice large sea scallops which have so many options of making nice looking entrees with broiling, sauteing, etc.
So here we go.

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I started off by taking panko bread crumbs and lightly toasting them in a pan until browned.

I then took the bay scallops (thawed, washed, and patted dry) and pan seared them for two minutes in sesame oil and black pepper. Once cooked, I put on the side in a bowl retaining the liquid.

I then had already sliced up cremini mushrooms real thin and also did the same with some garlic. They were marinating on the side with some lime juice and also grinded on top some salt and pepper. They were then placed in the pan with some oil and water, and then covered to cook until almost tender.

Once they got to this point, I then added back the scallops, put the lid back on and let cook for another 5-10 minutes to reduce the liquid to where it was almost like a dressing.

On the plate, I had already put on my mixed arugula salad. I made a simple dressing of some sesame oil, soy sauce, lemon and lime juices, and some pepper. I poured some of this over the salad and topped with some sesame seeds. When the scallop mix was done I placed in the center of the plate and topped with the panko.

It was a fairly simple meal to make and put together. The panko was a nice crunchy topping which boded well with the scallops and mushrooms. It was also nice as it soaked in some of the sauce. The salad was quite complimentary as it acted as a cold refresher to the warm richness of the scallops and mushrooms and the soy-based citrus dressing was a nice option.

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Enjoy.

A nice “earthy” meal

After my last post of broiling a steak, I figured I’d go in a bit of a different direction and stay away from meat for this meal.

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The first course I planned was a mushroom based tart. The tart you can either make the dough (as I did) or you can buy a pre-packaged phyllo dough and use as well. For this recipe I sauteed mushroom stems, garlic, and radish with some salt and pepper until nice and tender. Separately, I had roasted some walnuts with some cinnamon and allspice. Both of these were then blended together not quite to the extent of a puree. They were then placed into the tarts (I used small tart dishes) and then placed the mushroom caps on top and then baked for approximately 25 minutes on 400. I served with a garlic infused foam on the side.

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At first, the second (or main course) in this case was a  little harder for me to come up with as I usually have some form of meat or fish along with my meal (unless it is a strict pasta dish). In this case, I took a pasta-type approach and made some vegetable style ravioli/potsticker.

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Lately, Besides what I have been reading about, I had tried a few dishes out with beets and it seemed to be a nice direction to head in. Jean Georges has this nice recipe which utilizes a lighter dough (also thinner) dough than a traditional ravioli and incorporates beet greens into the filling. For my take, the filling consisted of beet greens and carrots (chopped up fine) and they were sauteed with garlic (also fine chopped). The beet greens upon completion were themselves chopped up finely. I then added both ricotta as well as parmesan cheese and let cool for about an hour. I then made the raviolis by hand.

For the sauce, the beet itself was utilized. It was rather simple too. All there was was slice up the beet, put in small pot and cover with water. I also added some butter. This was then put on the stove and then reduced down until only a few tablespoons of liquid was left. The beet slices themselves can also be served on the side.

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Enjoy.

Steak with a wine reduction and carrot puree

It has been some time since I have had a traditional steak. For one, I’ve been trying to eat healthier so i eat less red meat, and also the cost- for the price of some of the normal grilling steaks I would rather experiment more with seafood at the same price. The other reason is simply put the lack of bone-in steaks that grocery stores carry these days and yes this strip was boneless (they cost a fair amount less) but when I want a nice steak I like it to be bone-in. But back to the meal.

This was a fairly easy one to do. The longest part is probably the wine reduction as you want it to be almost a syrup (I had used a syrah for this). And the carrots just get cooked in water until tender and then pureed in a processor or blender- whichever you may have. The steak I seasoned with salt and pepper, used a little oil and broiled until medium/medium rare (slight pink but not bloody).

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Mashed potatoes i just took one large potato boiled it until soft. I mashed it up (I leave the skin on, I prefer the texture and flavor it adds), added some cream and some truffle oil, and topped with a few black trumpets I had lying around which I sauteed.

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Enjoy.

Confit Take #1

I am calling this confit take #1 as it has been just over a week since the confit process was completed and the duck legs have been sitting in the solid fat in a container in my refrigerator. Future takes I will update in time as I have two legs left to be eaten at later dates where they will be preserved in the fat longer.

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The confit process was a multi-day and step ordeal. To begin with, the legs were initially rubbed with a combination of spices (I used a variety including white pepper, garlic, cloves, cardamom that I ground up, and allspice). The main curing agent was salt (not a part of the spice blend). The legs were then individually wrapped in plastic wrap and left in the refrigerator for two days to cure.

After the two days, the legs were then unwrapped, washed with cold water and then put on a rack to dry. The following day (I let this occur overnight), I heated up duck fat until a simmer, then placed legs into the pot and did a quick saute on them. I then transferred the pot into the oven at 200 degrees which was then left in the oven for eight hours.

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After this step, the legs were then transferred into a container, the cooled fat was added and then put into the refrigerator- this process with how they are cured can last for a few months refrigerated. Some people feel the longer time they are like this from initial end point the better the flavor is.

For actual meal-time cooking, I took one leg out and removed most of the fat. I put it in a pan skin side down and cooked in the oven at 500 for about 10 minutes. As a contrasting side to the richness of the duck I had just made a simple mixed arugula salad with a juniper-berry balsamic vinegar. The other side which was a millet cake is a recipe taken from Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef. This was an ideal side as it was a lighter fluffier cake and with was nice with the extra oil/fat of the duck.

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Enjoy.