Monday, April 30, 2007

Leek and Swiss Chard Tart

This recipe makes a wonderful meat free meal, brunch dish, or could be prepared in a mini-muffin tin for an appetizer. Start by rolling a puff pastry crust into a 12" square. Put into a 9" pie plate and trim to leave 1" extra. Roll this extra dough under at the edge of the plate to make a thicker rim on the shell. Set aside. Saute a leek that has been well cleaned and diced. When the leek is tender, add a large bunch of swiss chard which has been roughly chopped and saute until it is tender. In a bowl, whisk 2 eggs plus 3 egg yolks, 1 1/4C heavy cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. After cooling the greens to room temperature, add them to the egg mixture and stir. Pour into the shell and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min, until the custard has set. Allow to cool for 10 min before slicing. We served the tart with sliced tomatoes and crusty bread along with a crisp white wine.


Homemade Bacon - Adapted from Alton Brown

We are big fans of the Weber you will know if you come here often. We decided it would be interesting to make some bacon. We started with a 2lb. piece of pork belly. It is fairly economical at $2/lb. (Bottom picture) The brine/marinade was adapted from an Alton Brown recipe we found on the web. Mix together in a non-reactive container 2C water, 1C molassas, 1C apple cider, 2T ground pepper, 1C sugar and 1C kosher salt. Mix until the solids are disolved and pour over the meat, rind side up. (Next picture up). Allow the meat to marinade for 3 days in the refrigerator. Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry. (Next picture up) Place the pork on a very cool (200-225 F) indirect fire for from 4-6 hrs. (Next picture up). The idea is to smoke the pork, not cook it completely. When you are ready, slice the bacon and fry. (Top pictures)
We enjoy the flavor of this bacon and will make it again, in a bigger quantity.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Pasta Carbonara with Pork Belly and Fresh Peas - Adapeted from Bon Appetit

The thing that diff-erentiates this recipe from other carbonaras you may have had is the pork belly. Start the day before serving by rubbing a 1 lb. piece of fresh port belly with 1/2t kosher salt and 1/2t ground coriander. Place in a bag and refrigerate over night. Several hours before serving, place the pork in an oven proof pan along with 1 small onion, quartered, 1 small carrot, 1 rib of celery, 2 garlic cloves, 1/4t whole pepper corns, 1/2C dry white wine and chicken stock mixed, in any proportion you wish. Bring to a simmer and then place, covered, in a 275 F oven for about 2 1/2 hours, turning the pork occationally. Remove from the pan and allow to cool. Reserve the cooking liquid and bring to 1/2C total with addition of wine or stock.

Boil the pasta of your choice. The recipe calls for spaghetti, but we used linguine and it will "sauce" 1 lb of pasta. While the pasta is cooking, beat together 2 eggs with 1/2C grated Pecarion Romano cheese and 1/4C parsley. Cut the rind and all but 1/2" of the fat from the pork and cut into 1/2" chunks. Fry the pork until nicely browned, adding 1 clove minced garlic near the end. Just before the pasta is done add 1 1/2C fresh peas. Drain the pasta and peas and return to the pan. Add the egg mixture and the reserved liquid, toss, and put the pasta, egg mix and peas into the skillet with the pork. Toss quickly and remove to the serving bowl. Top with some grated cheese.

We think the flavors added by the way the pork is prepared is well worth the extra work.

Labels: ,

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Baked Salmon with Tomato Relish and Mushroom Risotto - Adapted from Food and Wine

The salmon is prepared by heating 3T olive oil in an oven proof skillet, placing the salmon skin side down in the skillet and transferring to a 450 F oven until flaky; for our filet it took about 10 min. In advance mix together 2 diced tomatoes, 2T capers, 3 diced green onions and 4T red wine vinegar. Set aside.
Risotto is a wonderful dish with endless possibilities for adaptations but it requires some patience to prepare. Start by heating about 20 oz. of stock to a low simmer. Add 1C of risotto to a sauce pan along with 4T olive oil and saute until the rice starts to become translucent. Add the stock 3/4 C at a time stirring until all the liquid is absorbed. At the end, we added 1C of mushrooms that had been chopped and sauteed until tender. This is where the variations come in. You can add squash, asparagus, peas....just about any veggie you wish. Just before serving, mix in 1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese.
When the salmon is done, remove to a plate and add the tomato mixture to the skillet being careful to scrape up all the bits of salmon remaining in the skillet. Top the salmon with the tomato relish and garnish with chopped parsley and basil.
We also served some sliced cucumbers dressed with oil and vinegar, parsley and basil.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Crispy Tuna with Tuna-Caper Sauce - Adapted from Food and Wine

Start with three generous sushi-grade tuna filets. Make sure they are at least 3/4" thick so they will not be over cooked. Mix 1/2C dry bread crumbs with 1t chopped thyme, 1t chopped flat leaf parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Dredge the tuna in the bread crumb mixture and set aside. In a blender mix a can of oil packed tuna with 1/4C chicken stock, 1/4C mayonnaise, 1 1/2t drained capers, 1 anchovy filet, 1/2t Dijon mustard, 1/2t white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Puree until well blended but not smooth. In a hot saute pan, cook the tuna filets in 1/4C olive oil....we did about 2 min per side for rare to medium rare finish. Spread some of the sauce on the plate and place the tuna on top. We served it with smached, roasted red-skin potatoes and steamed broccoli, but a green salad would be nice as well.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Beef and Curry Pie -

The pies are made using puff pastry sheets, so start by rolling two sheets to 12" squares. Cut out 5" dia circles and set aside (you should be able to get 12 circles). Mix together 1/2 pound ground beef, 1T soy sauce, 1/2t sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Brown this mixture, breaking the beef into small pieces (we think left over beef roast would work well too). Drain the beef leaving the drippings in the pan. To the pan add 1 medium onion chopped, 1 large potato diced, 1T curry powder and cook until the potatoes are just tender. Add 6T water and simmer until the potatoes absorb the liquid. Add 1/4C frozen peas, then cool the filling. Put 1/3C of the filling in the center of one dough circle. Brush the edge with a well beaten egg, place another circle on top and "crimp" the edges with a fork. Repeat, creating 6 pies in total. Brush the pies with more of the egg wash and bake on parchment paper at 400 F until golden brown and puffed, about 25 min. We served the pies with a dry red wine and sliced tomatoes.

Labels: ,

Turkey Thighs with Roasted Lemons and Olives - Adapted from Bon Appetit

This is an easy tastey recipe that originated as chicken breasts, but we had some turkey thighs left over from another recipe. Start by boning and skinning two turkey thighs. Slice two lemons and bake at 350 F for 30 min. Remove the lemons and set aside. Dredge the thighs flour seasoned with salt and pepper to taste. Add 1/4C olive oil to an oven proof pan and brown the thighs. When they are brown, add 1C chicken stock, cover and bake in a 350 F oven for 45 min. Add the lemon slices and 1/2C sliced olives and return to the oven for 30 min. Remove the thighs, lemons and olives and reduce the liquid by 1/2. We served the thighs with steamed broccoli and pasta with the reduced sauce on the side.