Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fried Green Tomatoes and Bacon Jam

This time of year, the tomato plants are still blooming and producing fruit, but that fruit will probably not ripen into the Summery ones we love.  But they can be turned into something almost as good-fried green tomatoes.  And one way I know to make fried green tomatoes better is with some bacon jam.

4 medium green tomatoes, sliced into 1/3" rounds
1 cup of buttermilk
1/4 cup hot sauce-I like Crystal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup corn meal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
oil for frying

Mix the hot sauce into the buttermilk and soak the tomato slices.

Mix the corn meal, flour, salt, and pepper.

Drain the tomato slices and dredge in the corn meal mixture.

Fry the tomatoes in hot oil on both sides until they are golden brown and crispy.

Drain well on toweling before serving.

Bacon Jam

1 pound of bacon, cooked until crispy, drained and chopped.
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup strong coffee
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup

Combine all of the ingredients and simmer until the mixture is thick and syrupy.  Mixture can be blended to make a smoother mixture or left chunky-I usually leave it pretty chunky.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Grilled Peach, Red Onion, and Goat Cheese Salad

Here is an eye-catching salad to take advantage of the brief peach season.  Most years here in St Louis and Southern Illinois we have an amazing peach crop-unless a late frost or storm takes them out during the blossom stage.

3 peaches, pitted and cut into wedges
1 pound of Arugula
4 ounces of Chevre or other creamy goat cheese
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon of honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup large diced red onion-soaked in ice water for 5 minutes
Chopped parsley and chives to garnish

Grill the peach segments over a hot fire until they are charred and caramelized, but still firm.

Make a dressing with the lime juice, honey, oil, and salt and pepper.

Place the Arugula on a shallow platter, top with the grilled peach segments, dot with spoonfuls of the goat cheese, and red onion.

Drizzle the salad with the lime dressing and garnish with the chopped parsley and chives.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Trout Amondine with Amaretto

Trout and almonds are a classic.   It has been a dish that's been around for a long time.  This recipe is one from a class I teach a couple of times a year.  Traditional Trout Amandine has a fussy breading technique with flour, egg wash, and nuts.  Here I just brown the nuts and make them part of the sauce, rather than part of the breading.
2 boneless trout
1/4 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
4 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons amaretto
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Minced fresh parsley
Pat the fish dry and dredge in the seasoned flour.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a sauté pan.  Sauté the fish for about 2 to 3 minutes, depending the size and thickness of your fish, on both sides, starting with the flesh side.
Wipe the pan out and melt the remaining butter, add the nuts and brown.
Add the Amaretto and turn the heat off.  Add the lemon and parsley and pour the sauce over the fish.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Grilled Shellfish with Tequila Chorizo Butter

This is a beautiful appetizer for Summer.  Perfect to nibble on while enjoying a Margarita or Mojito.

18 clams, scrubbed and cleaned
18 mussels, scrubbed and cleaned
18 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 link Mexican Chorizo, casing removed
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup butter
Juice of 1 lime
Fresh cilantro and lime wedges for garnish

In a sauté pan melt the butter and brown the sausage breaking it up into chunks.  Add the garlic, onion, and jalapeno and cook for a minute or so to soften the vegetables and thoroughly cook the sausage.

Add the tequila to the pan and boil off the alcohol.  Reserve the mixture until the shellfish are grilled.

Place the shellfish on a medium hot grill and cook until the shells open and the shrimp are done.  Remove the shellfish to a large bowl, being careful to collect all the juices in the bottom of the shells.

Toss the grilled shellfish with the tequila chorizo butter, fresh lime juice, and garnish with the cilantro and lime wedges.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Banana Ice Cream with Grilled Pineapple

I got this recipe for Banana Ice Cream from Thomas Keller's French Laundry Cookbook.  That book has been one of my favorites for years.  The recipes are so challenging that some seem almost impossible, of course he has a large and talented staff to help him pull of these incredible recipes.  This Banana Ice Cream is surprisingly simple and quite delicious.

Chef Keller serves the ice cream with white chocolate-banana crepes, Chocolate Sauce with a cherry on top, and calls it Banana Split.  It is quite an impressive dish.

I serve this delicious ice cream with grilled pineapple. 

Banana Ice Cream

6 large bananas, peeled
2 to 2 1/2 cups cream
2 to 2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
10 egg yolks
1/2 vanilla bean, split
Pinch of Kosher salt

Place the bananas, 2 cups Cream, 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla bean in a sauce pan.  Bring the mixture to the simmer and steep for 15 minutes, do not let the mixture boil.

Strain the mixture through a Chinois and discard the solids.  Measure the liquid and add the additional milk and cream to make 4 cups.

Whisk the yolks with the remaining sugar and salt.  Whisk until the yolks and lighter in color and slightly fluffy.

Whisk 1/3 of the hot cream mixture into the yolks to temper them.  Whisk the tempered eggs into the hot cream mixture and continue whisking over low heat until the mixture is slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon.

Strain the mixture and chill overnight.

Process in your ice cream freezer.

Grilled Pineapple

1 Pineapple
3 Tablespoons of butter
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup brown sugar

Melt the butter and brown sugar, add the lemon juice.

Peel and cut the pineapple into chunks, large enough to grill.

Grill the pineapple while brushing with the butter and brown sugar glaze. continue to grill and baste until the pineapple is glazed and caramelized.

To serve:
Spoon the grilled pineapple and some accumulated juices into a shallow bowl and top with a scoop of the Banana Ice Cream.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Tuna Puttnesca

Puttanesca is that wonderful Italian invention named for the "ladies of the evening", and like it's namesake-it is cheap, easy, and seductive.  Usually it is tossed with pasta, but here I used it as a sort of sauce/relish for seared tuna and grilled bread.

First marinate the tuna with some garlic, oregano, rosemary, wine, lemon juice and a bit of olive oil overnight, or at least a couple of hours.

For the Puttanesca:
1/4 cup olive oil
4 anchovie fillets, minced
1 medium sized onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups chopped Italian plum tomatoes, seeded and drained
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/4 cup Italian or Greek olives, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons capers
1 cup chopped artichoke hearts
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh Basil, chopped

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan, and sauté the onions and anchovies until the anchovies dissolve and the onions are wilted and soft, about 5 or 6 minutes.

Add the garlic and tomato paste and stir cook for 2 minutes, stir in the remaining ingredients and heat through, adding more oil if it seems too dry.

Toss with hot pasta and serve or put it next to a seared tuna steak like I did here.

To Sear the tuna;
Get a sauté pan extremely hot, film the bottom lightly with oil and quickly sear both sides of the tuna very briefly-no more than 1 minute per side.

Thinly slice the tuna and serve with Puttanesca and grilled bread.

To grill the bread:
Thinly slice a baguette, rub the cut side of the bread with a crushed garlic clove and brush with olive oil, place on a hot grill and toast.

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 .