Tuesday, March 29, 2011
One thing I'm not is a sushi chef. As you can see from this picture, it's quite a sloppy job, but I give myself an "A" for effort. I do not want to be a sushi chef. In fact, after many discussions with a past neighbor who was one, it takes years to accomplish. One of the things they have to learn is making the rice, the essential part of sushi. Not only in taste, but, get this, all grains are to head in the same direction. Hello? I can't even put on my underwear in the right direction most mornings let alone rice grains. No wonder it takes years. And, it's no wonder the sushi chefs wear those bandanna's all the time either. They are sweating from the pain-staking process in getting those suckers to go in the same direction. That's a lot of time and too much sweat for me. Plain 'ole sushi rice in any direction is just fine. It certainly doesn't affect the taste nor does anyone ever notice. Unless you happen to serve a master sushi chef. Good thing they don't check underwear.
1 package of Nori (toasted seaweed paper)
2 cups sushi rice, cooked according to package directions
2 8oz smoked salmon fillets, skinned, and cut into a 1/2 inch dice (see note)
6 tbs of low fat mayo OR (what I use) the same of Vegannaise (in refrigerated section of grocery)
2 tbs Sriachi sauce (less or more if needed)
1 pkg of Daikon radish leaves
Sushi mat/Seran wrap
Cool sushi rice and spread on baking sheet. Keep small bowl of water to the side to dip your fingers in to prevent sticking and to seal the Nori.
In a medium bowl, mix the salmon with the Vegannaise and Sriachi. Set aside.
Lay out sushi mat and top with Seran. Lay one piece of Nori on top. Dip fingers in water and spread enough rice on Norito make about a 1 1/2' stip vertically along the Nori. Place radish leaves along rice. Top with salmon, again going along vertically down the Nori. Starting with the end closest to you, begin to wrap the Nori around the mixture, using the mat to help and tighten the roll. Pull away the Seran and continue rolling, wiping water on the vertical, other end to seal. Place roll on cutting service and with a SHARP, wet knife, cut 6-7 pieces from each roll. Repeat process until all ingredients are used.
* For you Dallasites: Go to KAZY's located on Marksville and 635 for all these items. They're great!
Monday, March 28, 2011
- 4 cups whole milk
- One 2-inch strip of lemon zest
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 8 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup cornstarch, dissolved in 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Ground cinnamon, for garnish
- In a large saucepan, combine the milk with the lemon zest, cinnamon stick and salt and bring to a simmer. In a large heatproof bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the granulated sugar with the egg yolks at medium speed until they are pale, about 4 minutes. Beat in the cornstarch slurry. At low speed, gradually beat in half of the hot milk.
- Pour the egg-and-milk mixture into the saucepan and cook the custard over moderate heat, whisking constantly for 18 minutes, until very thick. Whisk in the vanilla. Transfer the custard to a large bowl and discard the cinnamon stick and lemon zest. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours. Spoon the custard into 6 bowls, sprinkle with ground cinnamon and serve.
The egg custard can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups low-fat milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled and slivered
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
1/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 1 1/2-quart gratin dish or other shallow baking dish with cooking spray.
Heat oil in a heavy saucepan, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually pour in milk and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture just begins to boil, about 5 minutes. (The sauce may seem thin.) Remove from the heat and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Place a piece of wax paper directly over the surface to prevent a skin from forming and set aside.
Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices (a food processor does the job nicely); toss with garlic and spread evenly in the prepared dish. Pour the sauce over the potatoes and bake, uncovered, until the potatoes are very tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over the top and bake until the top is golden, 10 to 12 minutes longer.
Monday, March 7, 2011
I spent this past weekend in Houston, sharing "girl time"with my mom, cousin, cousin's hubby and sister. Typically, it's a weekend of R & R, which in this case it was. We enjoyed pedicures, The Azalea Tour, lunch at Ruggles Green (great, by the way) and cooking all but one meal at home. As always, we all leave with recipes of what we've cooked. My sweet cousin made this delicious soup, along with a quinoa salad, that had all of us oooing and ahhhhing. When asked if she came up with it herself, we were told that she typed in the name on her computer and it popped right up. With few changes, she made it her own. It was too good not to share so I hope you get the opportunity to serve up a bowl yourself.
1 Fennel bulb, cleaned and sliced
1 Yellow onion, sliced
2 heads of cauliflower, cut into florets
2-4 cups vegetable stock (or No-Chicken Chicken Broth by Imagine)
1 tsp white pepper
Salt to taste
Optional: White Truffle Oil and chives, as a garnish, when served.
In a medium pan, add olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add fennel and onion. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and softened. Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, add 8 cups salted water (1/4 cup salt) and bring to a boil. Add cauliflower and boil until soft, about 8-10 minutes. Drain. Add fennel, onion and cauliflower into a blender. While blending, carefully add broth until mixture becomes creamy. (Be sure and cover the lid of your blender with a towel to keep lid from popping due to heat). After the vegetables are puréed, add the mixture back to the pot of your cauliflower and bring up to a light simmer. Cook for an additional 5 - 10 minutes. Add the remainder ingredients and cook additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, chill, then serve with drizzled oil and chives.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Ingredients - see note following recipe
Fine sea salt
6 large organic eggs
2 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tbs cold water
1 pound linguine
2 1/2 cups whole organic milk
2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese, about 4 1/2 oz
1 (4 oz) 1/4 inch thick piece bresaola, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (1 cup)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1 1/2 tbs cold water.
Cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring milk to a boil, then whisk in cornstarch mixture. (Watch out for milk because once it boils and you're not watching, it will spilleth over!) Whisking constantly, cook milk mixture until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes; remove from heat.
Whisking, pour about 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into the bowl with eggs (this is called tempering and you need to do it in a slow pour so that eggs won't scramble). Continue whisking and add egg mixture to remaining milk mixture. Whisk in cheese and 1 tsp of salt.
Drain pasta, then return to pot. Add egg mixture and half the bresaola to hot pasta; toss to combine. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes (pasta will absorb some of the sauce), then toss again. Adjust seasoning, if needbe, then divide among serving bowls. Spoon extra sauce and sprinkle remaining bresaola over the top. Serve immediately.
Note: Bresaola is available at Jimmy's Food Market in Dallas (for my outside of Dallas/Texas readers, check with your high end grocery for availability or Italian market) is air-dried salted beef that has been aged two or three months until it becomes hard and turns a dark red, almost purple colour. It is made from top (inside) round, and is lean and tender with a sweet, musty smell. It originated in Valtellina, a valley in the Alps of northern Italy's Lombardy region.
The word comes from the diminutive of Lombard bresada, "braised".
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
1 tbs olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 tomato, chopped, or one 8oz canned diced tomatoes, drained
3 15 oz cans great Northern cannellini or navy beans, drained and rinsed
5 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted
In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the sausage until well browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Remove and drain on paper towels; set aside.
Pour the excess oil from the Dutch oven. Add the chicken broth, vegetables, beans, thyme, salt, pepper, a third of the garlic, and the sausage and return to heat. Mix well, scraping up any browned bits that have stuck to the bottom of the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour or until thickened and the vegetables are tender.
Heat the oven to 400. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parsley, butter and remaining garlic. Sprinkle evenly over the cassoulet and place in the oven. Bake, uncovered, until the crust is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Can be refrigerated up to 2 days and frozen up to 4 months.