Archive for ‘Entree’

November 19, 2012

Steak Au Poivre

About six years ago, I met a steak that I just couldn’t get enough of.  I’m not a huge steak person, so this was remarkable.  I only have a good steak a couple of times a year and while out to dinner on a work junket, I was treated to a nice steak dinner.  Being a fan of cracked pepper and a saucy food guy, I chose a Steak Au Poivre off the menu.  What showed up was nothing short of amazing.  The bite of a thickly crusted cut of beef with pepper corns and topped with a delicious pan sauce was nearly too much for me.  I was in heaven.  Best.  Steak.  Ever.

Years later, during the heart of my addiction to the Food Network, I ran across an Alton Brown show about Steak Au Poivre and was reminded that I REALLY needed to make myself this dish.  Au Poivre is simply a French pepper steak with a creamy pan sauce.  It sounds so simple but the flavor explosion is fantastic.

Below you will find the recipe I used for this.  I decided to truly endulge myself and served it with an equally decadent Goat Cheese Potato Gratin.

 

 

Steak Au Poivre

serves 4

 

INGREDIENTS

4 steaks (approx.1/2 pound to a pound each)

Salt, to taste

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, or other high smoke-point oil

3 T. black peppercorns, cracked

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

1/4 cup cognac or other brandy

1 cup beef broth or stock

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

DIRECTIONS

Sprinkle salt and cracked peppercorns generously over both sides of the steaks and let them come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, take the pan off the heat.  Pat the steaks dry with paper towels (steaks brown better if they are patted dry first) and place in the hot pan. Return the pan to the heat and turn the heat down to medium-high. Sear, without moving the steaks, for at least 4 minutes. Try to pick up a steak with tongs, and if it comes clean, flip it and turn the heat down to medium.

Once the steak is done to your liking remove the meat from the pan and tent with aluminum foil and let the steak rest while you are preparing the sauce.

Make the sauce. Add the shallots and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the brandy and as it boils, deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get all the browned bits. Once the brandy is almost cooked away, add the beef stock and turn the heat to high. Boil the sauce down until there’s a noticeable trail when you drag a wooden spoon through the center of it (4-5 minutes).

Pour in the heavy cream and resume boiling. Turn off the heat and add the parsley and any remaining black pepper (no more than 1 Tbsp, the rest should have already been used to pepper the steaks). Taste for salt and add if needed.

Pour the sauce over the steaks right when you serve.

June 3, 2012

Goat Cheese Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce

Goat Cheese Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce

This recipe comes from a local restaurant Lucy’s Table, in Portland, OR.  Unfortunately, the restaurant was a casualty of the economy and closed last year.  It was sad to see a local favorite go, but luckily their wonderful ravioli recipe will live on.  It is amazingly simple to make and utilizes wonton skins in place of the traditional pasta dough.  Before you pass judgement on the nontraditional approach, you have to try it.  It allows this to be made on a weeknight, in no time at all.

Ravioli


  •  2.5 lbs. goat cheese (Chèvre)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. bread crumbs
  • 1 package of fresh wonton skins
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, blend goat cheese, egg, bread crumbs and salt and pepper.  Spoon 1 Tbsp. of stuffing onto wonton wrapper. Brush edges with beaten egg.  Fold over to form triangle. Press with fork to seal edges.

Drop raviolis into boiling water. When ravioli floats, they are done.  Drain and serve with Brown Butter Sauce and toppings.

Brown Butter Sauce


  • 1/2 lb. salted butter
  • 1/2 lb. unsalted butter
  • 1.5 qt. heavy cream

Over medium heat, cook butter until light brown. Whisk in heavy cream and 
continue cooking until sauce thickens.

Topping


  • 1/2 lb. parmesan reggiano – shredded
  • 1/2 lb. pancetta – diced into 1/4-inch cubes and rendered in olive oil over low heat until crisp
  • 1 small shallot, diced and carmelized
  • Equal parts chopped italian parsley and chives for topping/garnish

ravioli assembly line

cooking the shallots and pancetta

dinner time!

The richness of the dish is amazing.  It’s not at all heart healthy and is truly a splurge. Enjoy!

December 14, 2011

Proscuitto, Goat Cheese and Arugula Pizza

 

Homemade pizza is just about one of the best things out there to make.  It’s really not that hard to make, but with a little attention to detail and the correct balance of quality and quantity of ingredients, you can really make some spectacular pizzas in the comfort of your own home.  This particular pizza is my most favorite and I always get requests to make it.

The pizza’s origin was from a similar pizza I had three years ago in a restaurant in Sonoma, California that just blew me away.  It was so fresh and so tasty that I had to replicate it.  The recipe that follows is from my many test runs to perfect this pizza.  Go ahead and try it…you won’t be disappointed.

 

Proscuitto, Goat Cheese and Arugula Pizza

Ingredients:

  • Homemade or store bought pizza dough (enough for two pizzas)
  • 8 oz.    Prosciutto di Parma, thinly sliced
  • 6 oz.    Goat cheese, crumbled
  • 18oz.   Italian cheese blend, grated (Trader Joe’s makes a great blend with Parmesan, Asiago, Fontina, and Provolone called Quattro Formagi)
  • 6-8oz.  Arugula leaves
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

Roll dough out to a nice, round pizza shape and place on pan.  The aerated pizza pans work great for this to give the pizza a nice, crisp crust.   Place pizza crusts in oven and allow to cook, until just barely starting to brown, about 8 minutes.  This is an important step to ensure that the pizza crust is nice and crisp and not flimsy in the end. Remove from oven and set aside.

Sprinkle grated Italian cheeses evenly over the slightly cooked crust, not piling to thickly; just enough to cover.  (Note: I have experimented with brushing the cooked crusts lightly with olive oil, and although it adds a nice flavor, it makes the pizza a bit to greasy)  Next, place torn pieces of sliced prosciutto and crumbled goat cheese on the pizzas.  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

Place pizzas in hot oven and bake for 8-10 minutes until cheese is bubbly and just starting to brown on the edges.

Remove pizza and cut into slices.  Top with arugula and serve.

November 27, 2011

Braised Lamb Shanks with White Beans

Braising season has definitely arrived in the Pacific NW so we decided to dust off one of our favorite braising recipes. I love lamb in general so I was immediately smitten with this dish when Mike served it to me on one of our earliest dates. I was so taken with the dish that Mike claims I didn’t speak for 10 minutes and he feared that something was wrong (alas, he couldn’t have been more wrong). That night, he actually served it over parmesan mashed potatoes but we now sometimes alternate preparing it with the white bean dish as it was originally intended. The mashed potatoes are amazing with it but the white beans give it a healthier edge.

Braised Lamb Shanks over White Beans

The recipe is originally from Gourmet Magazine. We used 2 mammoth-sized lamb shanks and otherwise scaled the proportions of the recipe in half.


Lamb Shanks:

6 lamb shanks

2-4 T. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped coarse

4-5 carrots, chopped coarse

3 ribs celery, chopped coarse

8 garlic cloves, chopped coarse

1 bottle (3 1/3 cups) Bordeaux or Cabernet wine

4 cups chicken stock

3 T. tomato paste

2 sprigs (or more) fresh thyme

Gremolata:

3 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Zest of 1 lemon

3 garlic cloves, minced

Gremolata:

2 T. olive oil

2 small onions, chopped fine

2 carrots, chopped fine

2 celery, chopped fine

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 cans cooked white beans (Great Northern or Navy were recommended but we typically use and enjoy Butter Beans)

2-2 ½ cups chicken stock

2 T. unsalted butter

1 bay leaf

To FINISH:   (we’ve never done this part)

1 T. unsalted butter

1 T. chopped tarragon leaves

Directions

First things first. The recipe didn’t mention this part but I guess it’s assumed for the experienced chef. I took on the task of meat preparation that Mike normally does. After he demonstrated the process for me, I worked on removing both the fat and the “silver skin” (which lends a gristly quality to meat). The key is to remove both while removing as little meat as possible. I have to admit it took me quite a while, but these were also enormous shanks. It definitely made me appreciate Mike’s meat-cleaning skills.

Next, pat lamb shanks dry and season well with salt and pepper. In heavy Dutch oven (we use our Le Creuset) over moderately high heat, brown shanks well in batches, transferring to a plate as browned. Then add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and sauté until onion is softened. Add wine and simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 3 cups. Return lamb shanks to pot and stir in broth, tomato paste, and thyme. Bring liquid to a boil and simmer, covered, stirring and turning lamb shanks occasionally for 1 hour. Uncover the pot and simmer the shanks another 1.5-2 hours, until shanks are tender.

Lamb Shanks Braising

TO MAKE THE GREMOLATA (while lamb is cooking): In a small bowl, stir together ingredients and set aside.

TO MAKE THE BEANS while lamb is cooking. In a saucepan, heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and cook onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, stirring for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add beans, 2 cups broth, butter, and bay leaf and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally and adding enough broth to keep beans moist and to reach a creamy consistency, about 45 minutes. Discard bay leaf and add half of gremolata and salt and pepper to taste.

White Beans Simmering with Veggies

TO SERVE: Place serving of beans in a shallow bowl, top with shanks and vegetables, then sauce from shanks. Finally, sprinkle with gremolata.

Lamb is Served!

Tags:
November 14, 2011

Chipotle Quinoa and Shrimp

This was a surprisingly good dish that I made the other day for Margie, who had been wanting to incorporate more quinoa into our diet.  Quinoa is a very healthy grain-like seed and often times is treated a lot like rice in how it is prepared.  Having not been a huge fan of quinoa with my first few encounters with it, I was very skeptical.  With good seasoning and ingredients such as this recipe, this turned out really well and we both agreed that we should make this again soon.

I originally came across the recipe on another blog, Karma Cucina, and had to try it myself.


Chipotle Quinoa and Shrimp


Serves 4

 

For the shrimp and marinade:

16 peeled jumbo shrimp

1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. seeded jalapeno pepper, minced

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper

For the quinoa:

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. seeded jalapeno pepper, minced

1 medium onion, chopped

2 – 4 canned chipotle chilies, minced, with some of their adobo sauce

1 Tbsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. cumin

3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

Salt* and pepper to taste

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup frozen corn kernels

1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

3/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

1 avocado, skin and pit removed, cubed

Lime wedges

Directions:

Combine the shrimp and marinade ingredients in a large resealable plastic bag.  Seal tightly and work the mixture around with your hands until well combined.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, pour olive oil into a medium sized pot over medium heat.  Add garlic, jalapeno, and onion and cook 5 minutes or until everything has softened.  Add chipotle chilies and adobo sauce, oregano, and cumin and cook for an additional minute.  Turn the heat up to medium high and add the quinoa, salt, and pepper.  Toss around and coat evenly for 3 – 5 minutes.

Add the beans, corn, and stock, bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove the lid and test the quinoa for doneness. When the quinoa is fully cooked, it will be tender and look like a semi-transparent globule with a cream colored orbit or curly string hanging off.   If it’s not quite there yet in appearance and is still a little crunchy, add a bit more stock, cover, and simmer for another few minutes.

Once done, remove from heat, stir in cilantro leaves, cover and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over high heat.  Add shrimp and sear for approximately 2 minutes on each side or until the flesh is completely opaque.

Place a mound of quinoa on each dish and top with shrimp and avocado.  Serve with lime wedges.

October 13, 2011

Truffled Mushroom Risotto with Chicken Confit

Fall has definitely arrived here in the Pacific Northwest and despite my love for the sun, I am excited for fall to be here.  There is a nice crispness to the air and it’s time for some hearty, warming meals.  I wanted to surprise Margie with a nice dinner and knowing her love for mushrooms and risotto, I mixed these two recipes together to make a really nice fall/winter meal.  It actually came out much better than I had hoped and was really decadent.

Truffled Mushroon Risotto with Chicken Confit

This dinner is not for the faint of heart.  I’m not going to lie…this is not a healthy dish, but it sure is outstanding.  I had not previously done much “confit-ing”, so it was a lot of fun trying a new technique.

Confit – is a generic term for various kinds of food that have been immersed in a substance for both flavor and preservation. Sealed and stored in a cool place, confit can last for several months. Confit is one of the oldest ways to preserve food, and is a speciality of southwestern France

The slow cooking really makes the chicken moist and tender and the smell that permeates the house is amazing.  This rich meal is easily now in my top 10 favorite decadent meals.  It is worth all the effort and time involved in cooking.

Chicken Confit

1   whole chicken, divided into 7 parts

2-2.5 cups duck fat

5 cloves  garlic, smashed

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Place rinsed, dried and chicken in a glass baking dish.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle garlic over chicken.  Cover chicken completely with duck fat.

Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 4-5 hours.

Remove chicken from liquid duck fat.   The chicken can be pan seared for crisping or preserved for a later meal.

chicken in duck fat after an couple hours in the oven at low temp

after the 4-5 hours in the oven, I quickly browned the chicken in a frying pan before serving

Risotto with Leeks, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Truffles

Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon in Portland, OR, published in Bon Appetit

Yield: Makes 6-8 first-course servings

Leeks:

2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved, thinly sliced crosswise (about 2 cups)

3/4 cup whipping cream

Mushrooms:

1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, cut into 1/4- to 1/3-inch-thick slices

1 large onion, halved, thinly sliced lengthwise

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

1 tablespoon white truffle oil

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

Risotto:

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided

1 large onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups arborio rice or medium-grain white rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

5 cups (or more) hot vegetable broth

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons shaved or chopped black truffle (you can also use truffle oil, which is what I did when I made it)

Chopped fresh parsley

For leeks:

Bring leeks and cream to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until leeks are tender and cream is thick, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Re-warm before continuing.

For mushrooms:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss all ingredients on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until mushrooms are tender and light brown around edges, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

mushroom mixture before roasting

For risotto:

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine and stir until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup hot broth. Simmer until broth is almost absorbed, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Add more broth, 1 cup at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next and stirring often, until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes longer. Stir in leek mixture, mushroom mixture, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, cheese, and truffle. Transfer to large bowl, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

Top risotto with a piece of browned chicken confit.

Truffled Mushroom Risotto w/ Chicken Confit

September 12, 2011

Pappardelle alla Bolognese

Pappardelle alla Bolognese

Ingredients

2  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3   tablespoons butter

3   carrot, finely, diced

2   medium onions, diced

4   rib celery, finely diced

5   cloves garlic, diced

1   pound ground beef

1   pound ground pork

1   pound ground lamb

¼   pound pancetta or slab bacon, ground

9   oz. tomato paste

3   medium tomatoes, roasted and diced

1   cup milk

1   cup dry white wine

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Parmigiano-Reggiano, for grating

Wide noodle pasta, cooked and drained

Directions

In a large 8-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and sweat over medium heat until the vegetables are translucent and soft but not browned, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the beef, pork, lamb, and pancetta and stir into the vegetables. Add the meat over high heat, stirring to keep the meat from sticking together until browned.

Add the tomato paste, roasted tomatoes, milk, and wine and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 ½ hours.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and remove from the heat.

Mix a little sauce with cooked and drained pasta and toss gently.  Serve in large bowls and add additional sauce as necessary.  Top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Pasta has long been near the top of my favorite comfort foods list.  There is something about it that just makes me feel so satisfied after a nice bowl of tasty pasta.  I don’t make pasta dishes nearly as much as I should at home and I am always browsing restaurant menus for my favorite combination of pasta and sauce….a wide noodle Bolognese.  I love meat…and by definition, Bolognese is a meat sauce.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

I have had many different versions of Bolognese and they all seem to be a bit different; mostly all good, but just different.  With a little time in front of the computer with my friend, Google, I set out to find out what a real Bolognese sauce was.

From what I was able to gather, Bolognese is a simple, hearty meat sauce in every sense of the word , that dates back at least to the 5th century.  The meat is usually comprised of beef and pancetta and sometime pork as well.  It is mixed with very few other competing ingredients, such as the traditional mirepoix (a mix of diced carrots, celery, and onions), garlic, tomato paste, wine, and milk.  It really is a very simple mix that yields a very meaty, thick sauce.  Some add tomatoes, including myself, giving it more of a red color.  The traditional recipe, without the tomatoes, yields a much more brown colored sauce.

With my admission of adding tomatoes, I guess the word is out that I am not a cooking purist, so I might as well divulge my other straying’s in the Bolognese world.  I have been experimenting with the different meats included and have found that mixing several types yields a much more complex, deeper taste.  In this recipe, I used, beef, pork, lamb, and pancetta.  That should be enough meats!

It should be noted that the Italians do not pair a Bolognese sauce with the pasta shape spaghetti. Wider shaped pastas are thought to hold up to the heavy sauce better and provide the right balance of noodle to sauce.  To each their own though…

August 26, 2011

Roughin’ it!

Expeditions can take you many places.  You can journey to a far off place.  You can find yourself trying a new cuisine or preparation.  In this case, Margie and I journeyed to Hosmer Lake in Central Oregon to go camping and enjoy the bounty of outdoor opportunity that Oregon provides.  Margie is still relatively new to the “camping” thing and we are still sorting out just how much we “rough it” in the great outdoors.  I like to keep things simple and pack fairly lightly for overnight camping trips, while Margie still enjoys the comforts of a very nicely padded sleeping surface.  We both agree, however, that there is no reason camping food has to suffer at all.  We take a lot of pride in our meals while camping. With a little extra forethought and planning anyone can still make some tasty (some might even say fancy) meals with simple camp cookware.

On this particular three day camping trip, we were well equipped with plenty of food and beverage for our expedition into the great outdoors.  The car was filled to the brim and we were off to enjoy ourselves and do a little fly fishing, relaxing, and mostly just escaping from the normal day to day life.  In past camping trips, we have been known to make such meals as chicken or beef fajitas, or fish tacos, or steak and potatoes.  All very good camping meals, by the way, and not all that difficult to prepare and cook outdoors.  On this particular trip, we were going to make Pesto Linguine with Sauteed Chicken and Artichokes.

First things first….a little wine.

Nothing but the best while camping 😉

Laugh all you want, but it’s not as bad as you think.  Wine Spectator agrees….they gave it a whopping 87 points.  More than you would have guessed, huh?

This meal isn’t about making every component ourselves or even using the freshest, hand selected ingredients.  It’s more like what one would make at home for a convenient, but enjoyable weeknight meal.  We purchased dried pasta, pre-made pesto sauce, canned artichoke hearts, and pre-shredded parmesan cheese.  We weren’t quite ready to go all Pilgrim and make all that out there.  Perhaps at a later time…

The chicken was one component that we spent more time with.  The chicken was cut into smaller pieces to make it cook faster and also to give more surface area for the spices to adhere to.  I like spiced up food!  After marinating the chicken for awhile, it was time to cook.

Since the meal really is simple, i’m not going to spend time talking through each step.  We got a late start that evening on cooking, so you will notice that it started out nice and light, but by the time everything was ready to eat, we had lanterns going and were squinting to see our food!

Uh oh! It's getting kinda dark out.

Yes, that is a camping wine glass!

Almost ready!

It may not be the prettiest meal we have ever made, but on this night in this place, it tasted REALLY GOOD!  We’re pretty certain our meal was the best in the campground that night!  For us, the extra effort to cook fun and unusual camping food is enjoyable and it makes the trip even more memorable.

Does anyone else have some favorite camping meals that they want to share?  We are looking for new meals to try on the next trip…

July 12, 2011

Dinner…re-created

Margie and I recently spent a weekend away in the wine country of Walla Walla, Washington.  Walla Walla is about 4.5 hours NE of Portland and home to some great hearty red wine production.  We had previously travelled there two years ago and had a fabulous time and had been itching to get back.  The last trip went just perfectly for us with the perfect quaint, modern hotel, right on main street downtown, the perfect restaurants and great wineries.  We were looking to duplicate that again and weren’t disappointed.

We ate at a local restaurant on the south side of town, called South Fork Grill.  The menu had looked good, so Margie had gotten us a reservation.  When we arrived, we were a little surprised.  It wasn’t what we expected.  It was in a small strip mall and looked pretty suburban.  (sorry, we can be food snobs  🙂 )

Despite the atmosphere, the food really surprised me.  I had ordered a Halibut w/Green Curry as my main course mostly because I was feeling like fish and I love a good halibut.  (I guess you could say I just got it for the hal-i-but….hahah)  It really hit the spot and knocked my socks off.  It had a great fresh taste with just the right amount of heat to it.  I also loved the zesty cilantro, red pepper, lime juice topping on it.  It all really came together as a dish.

When I got home from the weekend, I was still craving the halibut dish.  I HAD TO HAVE IT AGAIN.  I set out to recreate the dish at home.  It was my mission and I was not to fail.  The recipe below is what I made and both Margie and I agree, it is pretty darn close to what we tasted at the restaurant.

This is going to be a regular staple in our house for years to come.  It’s not too difficult to make and the curry paste can be made  in a larger batch and frozen for a week or two.  If the photo of the dish doesn’t entice you to make it, I don’t know what will.

HALIBUT W/ GREEN CURRY

Halibut w/ Thai Green Curry

 Curry paste ingredients

  • 1 stalk lemongrass minced
  • 1-3 green chilies, sliced (thai green chilies or jalapeno)
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb-size piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander/cilantro leaves & stems
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. shrimp paste (available by the jar at Asian stores)
  • 1-2 tsp. brown sugar, to taste
  • 1 can coconut milk (15 oz.) , reserve 1/4 for cooking

Place all ingredients in a food processor.

Process well to form Thai green curry sauce. Taste the sauce for salt and spice. If too salty for your taste, add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice. If not salty enough, add more fish sauce or salt. Add more chili for more heat.

Topping ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
  • ¼ red bell pepper, julienned small
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice

Gently mix all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and refrigerate, until serving

Main ingredients

  • 1 pound halibut fillet, portioned, skin removed
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil (grapeseed, olive, or vegetable)
  • 2 cups steamed rice

Preparation

Assemble curry paste and topping according to directions above.

Cook rice in rice cooker until it is cooked through and still sticky.

Heat curry paste and remaining coconut milk over medium heat in sauce pan.  Add more Coconut milk if needed to get a medium consistency curry sauce.

Heat cooking oil for fish in a large sauté pan.   Sauté halibut fillets in oil until browned on both sides and just barely opaque all the way through.

Using a small bowl (Pyrex dishes work well), spoon cooked rice into prep bowl.  This will then be used to create a nice mound of rice in the serving bowl on which the curry and fish will be placed.  Flip the molding bowl onto the large serving bowl and remove.  You should have a nice, neat mound of rice in the center.

Spoon desired amount of curry around the rice mound.  Top with halibut.

Sprinkle red pepper/cilantro topping on top of halibut.


June 7, 2011

Parmesan Crusted Scallops…and the Honorable Sigrid

Some people design a room around a prized piece of art or furniture. Margie designed a basement room around her foos ball table.  Likewise, many people will design a meal around a key ingredient or bottle of wine. When Mike’s mom, Betty, was in town last week, her prized bottle of Bergstrom Sigrid Chardonnay was our inspiration. We like Chardonnay, but have never tasted a Chardonnay this heavenly. This wine is nimble and performs a waltz on your tongue.  Feel free to snicker at this description (I sometimes mistake wine reviews for the Sunday comics), but only after you’ve sampled it.

The Honorable Sigrid

With Sigrid as our inspiration, we decided to make Parmesan crusted scallops with a clam and bacon risotto. Sauteed spinach was thrown in to provide veggie balance and aesthetics.

This recipe has a short cook time so it was important for us to employ a ‘mise en place’ strategy.

Terminology Time-outmise en place
 [MEEZ ahn plahs] is a French term used to describe the approach of getting ingredients assembled and prep work completed before launching headfirst into cooking. The key objectives are to ensure you have all the ingredients necessary and have them ready to go so that you can execute the recipe properly at the proper times. This prevents

With three cooks in the kitchen, we divided, conquered and had all of our ingredients prepped before starting in on the risotto.

  • Bacon was cooked and vegetables were chopped for the risotto.
  • Lemon Thyme Beurre blanc was started.
  • Scallops were prepped: they were washed, the legs were removed, and they were coated in the flour mixture. The parmesan mixture was assembled and egg was beaten (we held off on coating in the parmesan mixture until right before cooking the scallops).  

flouring the scallops

  • The butter used to fry the scallops was clarified.

Terminology Time-out: Clarified butter allows you to cook using butter (with all the yummy flavor that only butter can provide) at high temperatures without burning the food. To clarify butter, melt unsalted butter until it bubbles and spoon the foamy fat off the top. Pour off the clear liquid into a container (leaving behind any thick, milky residue at the bottom).  You can even freeze clarified butter if you seal it tightly.

Clarifying Butter

We had to open a bottle of dry, white wine to use in our risotto so we enjoyed an aperitif of Anne Amie vineyard’s Pinot Blanc after starting the risotto but before beginning to cook the scallops.

Clam and Bacon Risotto


Parmesan Crusted Scallops with Lemon Thyme Beurre Blanc

Makes 4 portions

8 each        large sea scallops with foot removed

to taste       salt & pepper

½ cup         flour

1 each         egg, whisked

1 cup           Japanese bread crumbs (Panko)

¼ cup         Parmesan cheese, shredded

½ cup         clarified butter  (can use olive oil, if need be)

1                   recipe Lemon Thyme Beurre Blanc

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Season each scallop with salt and pepper and toss with flour. Mix bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese. Dip each scallop in egg, then press into bread crumb mixture, coating on all sides.

Preheat clarified butter in a large sauté pan.  Fry each scallop on both sides until golden brown.

Scallops before browning

Scallops after Browning

Place scallops on a baking sheet and bake for 3-4 minutes, until done. Serve with Lemon Thyme Beurre Blanc.

Lemon Thyme Beurre Blanc

20 each             lemon thyme sprigs

½ cup               Marsala wine

1 T.                  chopped onion

¼ cup               water

1 T.                  heavy cream

¼ lb.                whole butter, cut in cubes

as needed        salt and pepper

Directions:

Pull 1 tsp. lemon thyme off the sprigs and chop finely.  Reserve.  Save the rest of the sprigs for steeping in the wine.

Bring Marsala wine and onions to a boil in a small sauce pan.  Cook until it has reduced in volume by half. Add water and return to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Add lemon thyme sprigs and steep for 20 minutes. Strain the wine mixture and return to sauce pan.  Add cream and chopped lemon thyme.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove pan from heat.  Whisk in butter cubes one at a time.  Let the butter melt and be incorporated before adding the next cube. Season as needed with salt and pepper.

As planned, we finished cooking the scallops last. We assembled a generous portion of risotto before planting the mammoth scallops and token greenery around it. The scallops were outstanding and extremely decadent. And did I mention the Sigrid???

The Final Dish