Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Red Snapper with Kale Potato Gratin and Beet Chutney

Saturday 20 October
Today we got a Long Island Cheese Pumpkin from the nice people at Fair Ridge Market.   No, it doesn't taste like cheese, it just looks like a nice wheel of gouda.  They said it was perfect for pies, but we also need it for Dora entertainment.  Pies would be good too, eventually.

Also, Luken's at Findlay Market had some cute, bright-eyed red snapper for $5 a pound.  So we went to our favorite Anthony Bourdain method for roasting a whole fish (ours was just over a pound).  We stuffed the cavity with fresh fennel stalks, rosemary, and thyme.  Bourdain just said it should be roasted in a very hot oven, so we did it at 475º for 25 minutes (though on mature consideration, it should have been 500º at 20 minutes, or until 160º on the instant-read thermometer).  And when it came out, we basted it with our own fresh-made basil oil and sprinkled with cloche-covered basil from the garden.

We still had a couple of beets we'd roasted last Saturday, so we made
Chez Panisse Beet Chutney
4 medium red beets, roasted and peeled, diced
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger root
2 tsps. finely chopped serrano peppers (we used our escabeche)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. lime juice
1/4 tsp. cayenne
And the recipe is, combine everything, taste, adjust seasoning.  Yum.
Since we had some leftover kale potato gratin, we heated it up and had that as well.

Fettucine with Salmon and Green Peas

Friday 19 October
As we still had a full third of the side of salmon we broiled yesterday, we decided to use it in a sauce for pasta.  The combination of salmon and green peas is a natural, so we prepared a butter and cream sauce, heated the frozen green peas in it, crumbled the salmon, and added a chiffonade of fresh sorrel from the garden, for a burst of greeny lemon flavor.  Tossed some boiled fettucine in the mix, and it was perfect.

Salmon with Kale-Potato Gratin

Thursday 18 October
We had a Trader Joe's frozen side of salmon, which we glazed with a combination of maple syrup and grainy mustard, to make it savory and juicy when we broiled it.
We had a lot of kale still left in the garden, which Dora was happy to play with.  
So for a side dish, we made a kale and potato gratin recipe from New Joy.  It was unduly long and complicated, so here's the procedure.
Preheat oven to 350º and butter a 2-qt. baking dish.
Slice 4 Yukon gold potatoes thin with a benriner.  Also slice 2 small onions very thin across the equator.
Steam 1 bunch destemmed and washed kale 8-10 mins until almost tender.  Drain, cool, press dry, and coarsely chop. 
Build up laters of potatoes, onions, and kale in dish, beginning and ending with potatoes, dotting each onion layer with 1 Tbsp. butter, a bit of minced fresh tarragon, salt, and pepper. 
When done, pour over what New Joy said should be 1 1/2 c. milk; but that was way too much, and we had to pour at least half off. 
Cover and bake until potatoes are tender and liquid is absorbed, 30-45 minutes (it was a lot longer), then open and broil to brown.
Sorry, New Joy - the kale recipe was a lot more trouble than it was worth, though the salmon was more satisfactory, fresh and succulent.

Gnocchi with Mushroom Fontina Cream and Black Truffle Oil

Wednesday 17 October
'Nuff said.  The sauce was made by sautéeing the mushrooms until dark and liquid, adding heavy cream to boil and thicken, then an ounce or two of grated fontina cheese, and throwing the boiled tender gnocchi in the pan with the sauce.  At the end, we dressed it with black truffle oil, for extra fragrance and savor.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Strip Steak, Beets with Goat Cheese, and Apple Custards

Tuesday 16 October
This was one dinner where the humble vegetable outclassed even a tender pan-fried strip steak.  Said vegetable was the beets we'd bought on Saturday and pre-roasted with that night's chicken.  Today we sliced and dressed them with orange oil and white balsamic vinegar, and sprinkled them with goat cheese and thyme.  Result: lusciousness.
And a hint from somewhere: if you are dressing beets, toss them with the vinegary stuff first - oil will keep them from absorbing anything else.
After dinner, Barbara had to go out for groceries, so Holt took the time to bake a treat: Alsatian apple tarts from the Best of Baking cookbook, but without the tart shell, in brulée ramekins.
Apple Custards (or Tarts without Tarts)
1 apple (black twig, from Backyard Orchard), halved and cored
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 egg
1/6 cup (33 g) sugar
1/6 cup whipping cream
1/6 tsp. Navan vanilla liqueur (given to us by our brother in law Miles) - applejack, brandy, or simple vanilla would be good too.
Slice the apple halves several times very thinly, almost but not entirely cutting them through.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and set, dome up, in ramekin. 
In a bowl, beat egg and sugar until creamy and pale; add cream and liqueur.  Pour over apples.
Bake at 375º for 20 mins or until custard is firm; let cool a bit, then eat.
Each one serves one, and is almost unbearably cute as well as tasty.