Thursday, July 30, 2009

Grilled Sweet Potato and Red Onion Salad
3 to 4 long skinny sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 medium sized red onion thinly sliced
For the dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons of sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of minced fresh tarragon
Microwave or blanch the sweet potatoes for about 5 minutes, they should be soft but slightly undercooked. When they are cool enough to handle, peel and slice them into 1/2 inch slices.
Get your grill pan or grill very hot and finish cooking the potatoes, a well oiled grill helps prevent sticking.
Remove the grilled potato slices to a serving platter lined with greens and grill the onion slices.
Arrange the onion slices over the potato slices and drizzle with the dressing.

For the dressing:

Dissolve the sugar, salt and pepper in the rice wine vinegar, whisk in the oilve oil and fresh tarragon.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Haricots Verts A La Provencale
In anticipation of Julia Child's birthday next month-she would be 97 on August15-I got out my copy of Mastering the Art. An early morning trip to a farm stand yeilded some tomatoes and green beans, so this recipe on page 447 sort of seemed a natural, although I used the fat American green beans, Julia probably would have used the skinny French ones. Although the French beans are sort of stylish, these plump Mid-Western beauties were tender, juicy and just delicious.
Julia's recipes are meticulously written. I am more impatient, so I will summarize how I made this dish, also I needed a smaller amount than the original recipe. But by all means dig out your own copy of Mastering the Art if you have one.
1 cup sliced onions
1/4 cup olive oil
Slowly stew the onions in the oil until they are tender, about 10 minutes-do not brown.
2 to 3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and juiced-reserve the juice
1 bouquet garnie in cheesecloth-garlic, cloves, bay, parsley, and thyme
salt and pepper
Add the bouquet garnie and tomatoes to the onions and simmer gently, add some reserved juice if the tomatoes get too dry.
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and blanched
After the tomatoes haver simmered for 30 minutes, add the green beans and cook until tender, adding more juice as needed or water.
Remove bouquet garnie and top with fresh herbs before serving. I used fresh basil, but Julia also recommends savory, parsley, or tarragon.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kitchen Conservatory on Twitter
Kitchen Conservatory, a marvelous cooking emporium where I teach the occaisional class, is twittering their instructor's favorite tools. Here is a little vignette of mine. My Michael Grave's Memphis tea kettle is in the foreground. I use it practically every morning-despite it being a collecter's item-making my tea or my coffee (I always make my coffee in a French Press). The little red bird on the spout whistles when the water is ready.
Second is my Wolf range which I also use every morning to heat the kettle. After cooking in restaurants for so many years, it is difficult for me to use household equipment, so my home kitchen is equipped with this Wolf professional range, It suits my needs very well.
In the background is one of my Le Creuset pans, some of which I have had since I lived in Chicago 25 years ago.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Grilled Flank Steak Aloha

Grilled Flank steak with some Hawaiian influences-grilled pineapple slices and coconut Jasmine rice with edamame and vegetables.
1/4 cup Mirin
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons of sesame oil
1/2 pineapple peeled and sliced
1 flank steak about 1 1/2 pounds

In a large flat container, combine the wines, soy, garlic, ginger, pepper, and sesame oil

Marinate the flank steak at least 2 hours, or overnight

Grill over medium hot coals 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare

Let the steak rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing

Brush pineapple slices with marinade and grill for 2 minutes on each side

Serve with coconut Jasmine rice and Asian dipping sauce

Asian Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons of sesame oil
2 Scallions, thinly sliced
1 Teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 Teaspoon of Chili-garlic paste
Combine all ingredients, and serve with flank steak. Also good with egg rolls, pot stickers and any kind of won ton.

Pan-Seared Ham Steak with Brown Sugar, Pineapple, and Raspberries
This was a tasty breakfast, served with grits to soak up all those salty-sweet juices. Served, as always while watching all the Sunday political shows. Sadly missing was Beaulah, my beautiful 14 year old Standard Poodle-she is no longer with us. I miss her so, she would always be underfoot whenever I cooked at home, demanding a taste of whatever I was making-she had a very developed palate.
1 pound slice of bone-in ham steak
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/2 pineapple, cut into chunks
1 pint of raspberries
In a heavy skillet, brown the ham steak
Add the brown sugar and let melt
Add the sherry and pineapple chunks
Add the raspberries just before serving
Serve with grits

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Bacon, Lettuce, tomato, and Fried Egg Sandwich

This was Independence day breakfast. I have started purchasing eggs from a new woman. She grow several breeds, among them the Araucana (they produce the blueish green eggs), Banties (they are quite small), and several others that produce brown eggs. I promise I'll visit her hen houses and give you better information in the future. They live a great chicken life and have the run of 2 1/2 acres during the day and return to their houses at evening. She refuses to butcher her chickens and so she sells off her roosters-only retaining breeding stock. She has no idea what to do with her retired hens.

I'll be going to a barbecue later this afternoon, but that is several hours away so I thought a little breakfast was in order. Farm Fresh Eggs is one of the most eloquent phrases I can think of , but just in case you have never tasted anything but mass produced factory farm eggs, real eggs are deeply flavored, richly colored beauties.

Also I grew the lettuce in a pot on my deck, while I enjoy having it there to clip as I need it, it is too pathetic and ugly to photograph. My mom, dad, and one uncle are terrific gardeners-I guess I didn't get the green thumb.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Miso Glazed Strip Steaks
Here is a really tasty grilled dinner with some Japanese influences. First up is a spinach salad simply dressed with lemon juice and sesame, next the steaks are marinated in a miso paste flavored with garlic, ginger, and sesame, and last we have grilled corn with wasabi, ginger, and cilantro butter.
Spinach salad
1 pound fresh spinach
Juice of 2 lemons
Splenda or sugar to taste
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
Freshly ground pepper
Sesame seeds for garnish
Mix the lemon juice with the sweetner, soy, sesame oil, and pepper
Toss the spinach with the dressing and allow to sit for about 1/2 hour, the spinach should be slightly wilted
Garnish with toasted sesame seeds
ButterGrilled Corn With Wasabi, Ginger, and Cilantro
I usually soak my corn with the husks still intact for at least 1/2 hour before placing them on the grill
1/4 pound butter
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Wasabi powder to taste-I used 1/2 teaspoon
Cream the butter and add the rest of the ingredients
Form the butter into a cylinder, and wrap with plastic or parchment paper and place in the refrigerator to chill
Slice the butter and let it melt across the grilled corn

Miso Glaze (enought for 4 steaks)

3 Tablespoons of miso
3 Tablespoons of Mirin
1 Tablespoon of sherry
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Freshly ground pepper
Combine all of the ingredients
Reserve 1/2 of the mixture
Brush the steaks with the miso paste and let sit for 1/2 hour
Grill of medium hot coals until your desired degree of doneness
When the steaks are cooked to you liking, remove them from the heat and brush with the reserved paste
Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes before serving