Sunday, May 16, 2010

Devilish Shrimp

My wife and daughter had a Girl Scout overnight camping trip yesterday, so I got to make myself some spicy food.  I found a recipe for Devilish Shrimp on Rick Bayless' website.  Lots of heat and very tasty.  And I love the iPad in the kitchen.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chicken, Fish and Artichoke Paella with Fava Bean Puree

I made a fava bean puree for a Mother's Day appetizer, so I needed to use the leftover puree for something. I really like fava beans with artichokes, so I made a paella with sliced artichokes, chicken, and fish.  A pretty simple recipe:

3 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 inch thick slice of prosciutto, diced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into chunks and sprinkled with salt
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
2 fat cloves garlic, minced
2 artichokes, trimmed, chokes removed and sliced
1 1/2 cups short grained rice such as bomba or Arborio
3/4 cup fava bean puree (or peeled and blanched favas from 2 pounds beans)
1/2 pound firm white fish filets, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
piquillo pepper strips for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees (400 degrees if gas oven)

Pour the chicken stock in a pot and crumble in the saffron.  Bring to a simmer. 

Add the olive oil to a 13" paella pan.  Fry the prosciutto over moderate heat until crisp.  Remove to a plate but reserve the oil in the pan.  Turn heat to medium high, add the chicken and cook until lightly browned on all sides.  Remove the chicken to a plate.  Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions and peppers to the pan.  Cook until soft.  Add the garlic, tomato and artichoke slices and cook another couple of minutes.  Add the rice and coat well with the pan mixture.  Add the stock and the fava bean puree and mix well.  Taste for salt.  Cook until rice is no longer soupy, but enough moisture is left to finish cooking in the oven.  Mix in the reserved prosciutto, chicken, fish and the parsley then arrange the pepper strips on top.  Place in the oven uncovered and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cover with foil.  Let sit covered for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lemongrass Curry with Chicken and Potatoes

This dinner started with the Asian Vegetable I bought at the Davis Farmer's Market.  I'm not exactly sure what it is called, but it is kind of a cross of chinese broccoli and bok choy.  I thought about stir frying it, but when I think of stir fry, I think of soy sauce, and that didn't appeal to me.  Andrea Nguyen's Into the Vietnamese Kitchen has a section called Basic Boiled Vegetable where she describes a simple method of boiling asian vegetables in plenty of salted water and serving them with a saucy dish.  My version of her Chicken, Lemongrass, and Potato Curry provided the sauce.

We've had this Curry before, and Tess found it too spicy.  So I let her add the heat this time and she cut the amount of Madras Curry powder in half.  The result was perfect for her...spicy but not too spicy.  Lisa and I really enjoyed the vegetable.  Tess not so much.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Montaditos with Fava Beans, Piquillo Relish, Boquerones, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

This dinner started with some leftover meatballs from the previous night.  These were jumbo meatballs served in tomato sauce over spaghetti noodles.  I didn't really feel like pasta again, so I pretended that the meatballs were the cocktail sized ones that I like to serve as a tapas course.  To go with the meatballs, I blanched fava beans that I picked up at the Davis Farmers Market.  I dressed them with a lemon vinaigrette and topped them with grated pecorino romano.  For the Piquillo Relish, I diced some jarred piquillo peppers with chopped capers and garlic.  I simply drained the anchovies and slivered the sun dried tomatoes.  To serve, I toasted slices from a baguette.

This was a hit with my family.  An unexpectedly tasty topping was fava beans on goat cheese.  I'm going to have to explore that flavor combination further...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fava Bean and Asparagus Risotto

We had a pretty "meaty"week because of my recipe testing.  And this was the second week I was able to find fava beans at the Davis Farmers Market.  So I did a Fava Bean and Asparagus Risotto loosely based on a recipe in Alice Water's Chez Panisse Vegetables. And despite myself, I couldn't resist frying up my last three slices of pancetta.

Fava Bean And Asparagus Risotto

3 pounds fava beans
olive oil
salt and pepper
6 stalks asparagus
1 yellow onion
7 to 8 cups chicken stock
4 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for the table
pan fried pancetta slices (optional)

Shell the fava beans, then blanch them in boiling water for 30 seconds.  Drain, then cool them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  Peel the beans then add them to a skillet with a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper and water to cover.  Bring to a boil then simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes until tender.  If you have a food mill, drain them but reserve the liquid.  Pass them through the food mill and add the reserved liquid.  If you don't have a food mill, set the beans aside in their cooking liquid.

Thinly slice the asparagus on the diagonal.  Dice the onion.

Heat the stock and keep at a slow simmer.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan (I like All-Clad's 5-1/2 Quart Saucier), melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium low heat and cook the onion until soft.  Add the rice and a pinch of salt and continue to cook until the rice become somewhat translucent.  Add the wine and cook until it is almost absorbed by the rice.  When the wine has reduced, turn the heat to low and start adding the stock by 1/2 cup ladles, pausing between ladles to let the rice absorb the stock.  When the rice is mostly cooked, add the asparagus slices.  After another 5 minutes or so, add the cheese, fava bean mixture and the the rest of the butter.  Stir, add more stock if necessary and cook until the rice is cooked to your liking.  Taste for seasoning and serve in warm bowls with the optional pancetta slices.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hatcho Miso-Marinated Hanger Steak

This was the last of my Japanese Grill test recipes and the one to which I was most looking forward.  Unfortunately, it was awful.  This was my first experience cooking or eating hanger steak, and I didn't really care for it.  Lisa liked it less.  She said it was too "cowy".  My biggest problem was the marinade.  The ingredients for the marinade sounded like they would taste great. But I didn't care for the cooked marinated meat at all.  I'm pretty sure it was the Hatcho Miso that I found objectionable.  The marinade had a chalky mouth-feel to it.  Not pleasant.

I also made a grilled Onigiri with Bonito Flakes and Black Sesame Seeds.  I either overcooked the rice, added too much water, or used too heavy a hand when forming the cakes.  These Onigiri were unpleasantly dense.  And the taste of the Bonito Flakes overwhelmed the cakes.

The grilled asian broccoli was good though...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Grilled Wagyu Rib Eye with Ponzu

This is the third of my Japanese Grill meat test recipes.  The recipe called for Wagyu beef, so I went grocery shopping at Corti Brothers in Sacramento.  They carry an American wagyu beef from Snake River Farms.  The recipe called for four 1/4 inch slices of rib eye, and I walked out of Corti with 1 1/4 pounds of meat but $25 poorer.  This was not an inexpensive test.

The meat was served with a dipping sauce of ponzu, grated daikon and a wierd but tasty condiment named yuzu kosho.  The meat was superb.  The rib eyes seemed a bit fatty before grilling.  But the fat seemed to melt into the cooked steaks.  They were tender and moist but not fatty.  I had heard that this was typical of wagyu beef, but I didn't believe it until now.

I accompanied the beef with a grilled asian broccoli and plain haiga rice.  It was a simple, tasty, but expensive meal.