Branzino…A Summertime Fish

A big part of my summertime eating experiences is broadly characterized under the category of seafood. However there are a few specifics which to me are part of what is defined as genuine summertime meals and tonight’s dish is one of those.

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Most of the time I would be fine with either a fish filet or fish portion. In this particular instance, I must have the whole Branzino aka European Sea-bass aka Bronzini. My take on it tonight was rather simple. Butterfly cut the whole body, I sprinkled in some ancho chili powder, some pink salt, layered inside some organic pea shoots and thin slices of fresh lime and then closed it up. On top I made some thin lemon slices and topped with halved heirloom tomatoes. This was then broiled in the oven with a coastal white wine/ olive oil blend.

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My first side dish was broccoli rabe with shiitake mushrooms and coriander seeds. Initially the rabe and mushrooms went into a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes. It was then drained and placed into ice water. In a pan I added in some butter, coriander seeds, pink salt, sliced garlic, and sauteed the garlic. Upon slightly browning of the garlic I added in the rabe and mushrooms and sauteed them in the pan for a few more minutes.

My second side dish was golden mashed potatoes. A rather simple dish with a few added flavors of truffle infused olive oil and some fresh asiago cheese. This was then topped with some organic pea shoots.

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Enjoy.

A mixed variety day stemming from breakfast foods to snacks to Risotto

With the way rotating shift schedule is in the lab this happened to be the week where I have the “midweek weekend” while next week I will have a 3-day weekend. So on the second day of being off, I was getting a little too bored and started some extra meal/meal planning.

The midday point started off with making some muffins. I figure with the way the work schedule is (and the fact that until I move in October I have an hour or so commute) quick foods are the best bet and nothing is quite like homemade muffins (can also be frozen for future usage).

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I first started off with some blueberry-strawberry muffins with some added honey to the batter which turned out quite tasty (the berries inside were moist and juicy when first out of the oven. The second type I made was more of “hmm, what do I have lying around from other projects, snacks, etc.” so I gathered some bananas, some walnuts, and a white chocolate bar and made a muffin batter with said ingredients as well as some spices and boy were they tasty.

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On to the next food creation of the day. While at Wegman’s, I was in the mood for a good craft beer so I picked up some Ommegang Hennepin (highly recommended, awesome for this time of year with the spices of coriander, ginger, and orange peel. An all-around amazing Saison). So what would go good with this? How about some homemade salsa.

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I kept it simple yet amazing. I utilized some nice heirloom tomatoes, some red onion, scallions, cilantro, lemon juice, fresh avocado, and some poblano peppers (added a nice kick but not too strong as to offset the flavors of all the other fresh herbs and vegetables). A nice afternoon pairing with the ale.

Somewhere in between all of this I made up some homemade buffalo sauce with some very hot chilis (hotter than jalapenos and some mango) but that post will come when i actually make the wings (currently frozen drenched with sauce).

So on to the main course. At first I wasn’t sure what I wanted to add to this, but after a few purchases, I decided to go with a bit of a seafood combination. So the risotto I made had shrimp, squid, asparagus, and shiitake mushrooms (initially sauteed in oil, garlic, and lemon juice).

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The arborio rice was initially put in the deep skillet and slightly heated. For my first liquid addition I did a combination of a white wine/ stock blend (had a homemade chicken stock from a while back chilling in the freezer). I then stirred while it simmered. Overall you do this a cup at a time with the stock until around 5 cups (it takes somewhere around 20 minutes or so to go through that process. Towards the end, I added in the blend of vegetables and seafood and let simmer a few minutes longer as to incorporate all of the flavors.

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Enjoy.

Salmon with a Homemade Honey-Orange Soy Glaze

With having some extra time, I decided to make a nice Salmon dish for dinner. The salmon itself did not take too long to prepare or cook for that matter but the roasted artichoke took some extra time in the oven. However, once it got prepped and put in the oven there was more than enough time to prep and cook the rest of the meal.

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I’ll start off with the artichoke. Cut off some of the outermost leaves and for the rest cut the sharp tips off. I soaked the artichoke in some water and then cut the artichoke in half. I spooned on some lemon juice and then brushed on some olive oil and coated with some cracked peppercorn and some salt. I sliced up an orange and placed the slices on a sheet tray. I then put the artichoke halves on top of the slices (cut side down) and roasted for about 45 minutes on 425.

Staying on par with the citrusy accents, for the salmon I made a quick glaze of fresh squeezed orange juice, honey, and soy sauce. I then glazed the salmon and topped with roasted sesame seeds. In similar fashion with the artichoke I cooked on the sheet tray over orange slices as well (put that on the tray with about 20 minutes or so left on the artichokes).

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The third course was simply wild rice and I threw in some shiitake mushrooms in the boiling process as well as some sage and some chili powder.

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Enjoy.

A different type of Roast (Wild Boar)

The other day while rummaging through the supermarket meats I was looking for certain portion of the duck to work with. However, I did not find what I was originally looking for but I then stumbled upon the D’Artagnan Wild Boar Roast. From there, a meal was made.

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Along with the roast, I decided to pick up an intense earthy brie, some fresh rapini, and some shiitake mushrooms. To start off, I had left the roast on the counter to get closer to room temperature before placing in the oven. In my large deep skillet, I diced up some garlic cloves, carrots, mushrooms, and a few pieces of the rapini and sauteed in a combination of oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. After about ten minutes, I then added a cup of water and about the same of a dry white wine. The roast itself I had butterfly cut and added pieces of the intense brie on the inside and then seasoned the outside with salt and pepper. I then placed this in the deep skillet with the vegetable solution, covered, and put in the oven for an hour and a half.

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As these vegetables were just used to flavor the juice and eventual gravy, I had then in a separate pot/pan prepared some rapini and mushrooms. I had filled a saucepan with water and put the heat on high. I then added a fair amount of salt to this solution. Once it started to boil I added rapini and mushrooms and left in the water bath for about 45 seconds. They were then placed into an ice-water bath to cool. Once cool, I put on towels to dry out somewhat. I then used some infused oil with truffle, some salt and some garlic and sauteed the rapini and shiitakes for about 5 minutes.

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Enjoy.