Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pots De Creme

I happened on these little pots de crème the other day-I can't resist adding esoteric or eccentric pieces to my "Battery de Cuisine".  I'm sure I'll use them a couple of times and retire them to the china closet with my other "finds".

This chocolate pudding is so easy, so tasty and so satisfying-and now I have the correct little pot to bake them in.

1 1/4 cups half and half
3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
 1/4 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flavored liqueur-Grand Marnier, Frangelica-etc
Pinch of salt

Heat the half and half to the simmering point-don't boil.  Off heat, add the sugar and chocolate-let sit for 5 minutes-whisk until smooth.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, vanilla and other flavoring.

Whisk the half and half mixture into the yolk mixture, and strain into a small pitcher.

Pour the chocolate egg mixture into the pots de crème, bake in a Bain Marie in a preheated 300 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Chill before serving and serve with whipped cream .

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Grilled Red Snapper

Whole Grilled Red Snapper with Nuoc Cham

I got this Red Snapper at Whole Foods, it was about 3 pounds, and took about 20 to 25 minutes on the grill so easy and tasty.  I used a Nuoc Cham (the versatile Vietnamese dipping sauce as both a marinade and dip. 

Nuoc Cham

1/2 cup fish sauce-3 Crabs is best
1/2 cup palm sugar-brown sugar works if you can't find palm
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1/ teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons water

Mix all ingredients. 

Make three slit in both sides of the fish and insert a lemon and garlic slice.

Take 1/4 cup of the nuoc cham and add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and brush the fish (including the cavity with it.  Let sit 1 hour before grilling.

Stuff the cavity with lemons and herbs.

Place the fish on the grill over medium high heat, with the cavity toward the front (this helps when you flip the fish by just rolling it over it dorsal fin).  Grill for 10 to 12 minutes on each side.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

French Apple Tart

Almost everyone know Julia Child's Tart Tatin-the caramelized upside down pie, but she also published a couple of other recipes.  Here is her classic Tart Aux Pommes from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking".

Line a removable bottom tart pan with your favorite pastry recipe and blind bake the shell for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and weights and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.  Cool the shell before proceeding.

4 pounds crisp cooking apples
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup rum or cognac
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
zest of 1 lemon

Peel and core the apples.  thinly slice 3 cups of apples and toss them with the 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon juice, reserve these slices to top the tart.

Cut the remaining apples into rough chunks and put them in a heavy bottomed sauce pan.

Cook them over low heat with the 1/3 cup apricot preserves, rum sugar and butter.  Stir and crush the apples into a thick apple sauce, raising the heat if necessary.

Spread the apple sauce into the tart shell.

Cover the top of the applesauce with the reserved apple slices, arranging them in a neat overlapping pattern.

Bake in the upper part of a pre-heated 375 degree oven until the apple slices are slightly browned and tender.

Glaze the top of the tart with melted apricot preserves.  Julia strained her preserves-I just left mine chunky.

Serve warm or cold with whipped cream.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Jerk Pork Loin

Josh's Jerk Marinade

Josh Huntley, Lead line cook at the restaurant, got this recipe from his father-in-law who got it from a Jamaican while visiting the island.  It is a great favorite of everyone in the kitchen and I've used it in grilling classes at Kitchen Conservatory to equally positive results.  It is also marvelous on chicken and fish.  Pretty spicy, but great tropical spice flavors.

Here is a pork loin we marinated a couple of days before roasting for a restaurant special one night.  We slow-roasted it in the oven, but it would be best over a charcoal fire.  good jerk usually a bit of char to it.  We cooked some of the residual marinade and served it as a little sauce with the roast.

Jerk Marinade

1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground allspice
2 tablespoons salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lime juice
1 habanero, seeded and minced
2 scallions, minced
1/4 cup minced onion.

Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. 

Marinate the loin or any other meat overnight, or in the case of the loin-a couple days.  The marinade can also be used for fish or shrimp, but only marinate for 20 to 30 minutes.

Grill or roast until the meat registers 160 degrees-about 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes, depending on the size of the roast.

Boil some of the marinade to use as a sauce and thicken with a bit of cornstarch, if desired.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Blueberry Grunt

Cobblers, Grunts and Slumps, Crisps, Crumbles, Betty's, and Buckles

My latest class at Kitchen Conservatory featured these great classic American desserts.  First I started with a definition of each.  Over the years they have sorted of morphed into the same thing we all call cobbler, but there are differences and different names to go with them.

On the most basic level they all contain fruit with a topping.  Most of them are baked, with the exception of the grunt and the slump, which are the same thing with two names.  The Grunt or Slump is done on the stove top, and the biscuit topping is steamed.

Cobbler-Biscuit topping dropped onto the fruit, when baked the top resembles a cobbled street surface
Grunt or Slump-Biscuit topping that is steamed, not baked-think chicken and dumplings
Pan Dowdy-biscuit or pie dough topping that is rolled out into a single layer, placed over the fruit and baked, the
       surface  is then broken up with a spoon and pushed into the fruit (dowding it) before finishing baking
Crisp-Streusel topping
Crumble-Streusel topping with the addition of rolled oats
Betty-Bread crumb topping, but also a layer of bread crumbs on the bottom as well
Buckle-a cake batter is poured into the pan, and the fruit is spoon over the top, as it bakes, the cake batter "buckles" up over the fruit.

Blueberry Grunt
1 quart of blueberries, cleaned
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups of flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of buttermilk
Combine the filling ingredients together in a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven.  Bring the mixture to the boil, lower the heat to simmer.
While the blueberries are heating, make the topping.   Stir the flour, sugar. baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.  Cut the butter into the flour mixture until pea sized clumps form.
Stir the buttermilk into the flour mixture.  Drop the batter by spoonful's onto the top of the simmering blueberries, cover with a lid and continue simmering until the dumplings are done-about 15 minutes.
The Grunt is probably the most rustic dessert of the lot, popular before ovens were available to most folks.  The dessert is named after the gurgling and grunting sounds the dish made while cooking over the open fire.  The dumplings are so light and fluffy-it is a really satisfying munch.  I served it with a glog of heavy cream.  It is the same dessert as the slump-I have no idea where the name slump came from,

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Corn off the cob sauteed with duck fat and duck cracklin's

During a recent Iron Chef competition at Kitchen Consevatory my team and I were presented with a couple of ducks.  After breaking down the ducks, I rendered the fat and made cracklings.  My market basket also included some fresh corn on the cob. We cut the corn from the cobb and sautéed it with some peppers in the rendered fat and topped the corn with the crispy cracklings. 

Take the excess fat and skin from breaking down the ducks and trimming the parts.  Chop them into 1/2 inch pieces and place in a sauté pan with 1/2 cup water.  Bring the water to boil over medium heat, let the water evaporate and the skin will separate from the fat and the skin will begin to brown and crisp.  Strain the fat from the cracklings.  Season the cracklings with salt.  The fat is especially delicious used to sauté potatoes.

It is also delicious to sauté corn in the fat, add pepper or two and a bit of onion, and top with the cracklings.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Filipino Grilled Adobo Chicken

This month's (September 2013) Food and Wine cover photo is a grilled Filipino chicken.  I followed the recipe pretty much as written and it turned out delicious.  The main flavors of soy, garlic, star anise are supported by smokey charred grill marks.  I loved it and will make it again, probably add some kind of spicy dipping sauce and more red pepper flakes to the marinade next time.

3 cups of water
1 cup coconut or cider vinegar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
10 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
4 whole star anise pods
2 small (3 1/2 to 4 #) chickens cut into 8 pieces each
Oil to brush the grill
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh herbs such as cilantro, parsley or basil

In a large stainless bowl or zip lock bag, combine all of the ingredients except the oil, salt and pepper.

Add the chicken pieces, making sure they are covered with the marinade.

Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Drains the chicken and prepare the grill.  Brush the grate liberally with the oil and grill the chicken, skin side down over medium heat, turning occasionally until they are lightly browned and charred and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Salt and pepper the chicken and top with some chopped fresh herbs.