Friday, October 25, 2013

Steak and Soup Supper

Friday 18 October
It seems like Friday is our night to grill a big steak - a boneless ribeye, to be precise, topped with fried onions pepped with paprika.  We served the leftover fennel vichyssioise as a side dish, for a different sort of steak and potatoes.

Avocados with Smoked Whitefish Salad

Thursday 17 October
When we go to Trader Joe's, we get a bag of four avocados and wait until they ripen so we can stuff them with something and have two apiece for dinner.  
Their creamy texture and lush flavor go well with seafood mayonnaise, so this time our stuffing was smoked whitefish salad.  The flavors meshed beautifully, along with an extra shot of lemon juice to keep the avocado fresh.

Salmon Fillets with Pommes Duchesse Crust

Wednesday 16 October
We are now getting Saveur magazine, and they had an article about the return of old-fashioned Pommes Duchesse.
So Holt had the terrific idea of using the piped potatoes to make a crust for baked salmon fillets.
Instead of baking the potatoes as Saveur advised, we went along with the simpler New Joy recipe.  We should have peeled them, but luckily the peels were held back by the ricer. 

We thickened the mash with an eggyolk and added a dash of cream, butter, salt, white pepper, and a twist of nutmeg.  Holt piped the potatoes around each salmon fillet portion, topped them with fresh thyme leaves, and then piped potatoes to cover them over; leftover mash in the bag made extra puffs on the same baking sheet. 

The pan went into a 375º oven for around 15 minutes until firm on the inside and golden on the potato ridges.  
And it worked like a charm - golden brown puffy potatoes encasing firm, sweet fish and the zest of fresh herbs.

Fennel Vichyssoise and Herb Omelet

Tuesday 15 October
Since we are growing wild (and only vaguely bulbous) fennel in our backyard garden, we need recipes like this to use it up. 
We didn't add the pernod, nor did we grind the fennel into smoothness - it was delicious with the little lemony bits. 

To add some protein, we made an herb omelet with torn up bits of basil and chopped scallion greens added to the four whipped eggs, and swiss and goat cheese folded into the center.

Lamb Gyros (Sort of)

Monday 14 October
We still had some nice chunks of rare roasted lamb leftovers from Wednesday.  So we sliced them thin and served them with tzaziki (made with drained yogurt, mashed garlic, cucumber, and fennel fronds since we had no fresh dill) and a side of sliced tomatoes and red onions.  
Sort of like a disassembled gyro, but with better meat and no pita.

Chard Autumn Rolls

Sunday 13 October
Holt was inspired to use the big leaves from our chard from the yard as purses for stuffing.  The best recipe he found was this, but of course we had to mess with it a little.
First, instead of making up our own forcemeat, we used a pound of loose sausage from Charles Bare - it's already well seasoned.  About 7/8 of it went into the stuffing, being mixed well with a diced-up slice of pane pugliese, an egg, and 1/4 cup of fresh parsley. 
The eighth that was left over went into a pan, where it rendered its fat to fry up some of the chopped chard stems and half an onion, until tender.
In the meantime, we'd gently parboiled fifteen of the biggest, best chard leaves, a few at a time, for 2 minutes or until limp; then removed each, drained gently, and laid out flat on a board.  We had a couple extra to patch any that tore.

Holt found the best method of rolling them: lay the leaf out horizontally and put a "sausage" of stuffing in the center just below the vein.  

Lap the side closest to you up over the sausage, and tuck the right and left ends over that; then roll up over the rest of the leaf. 

We laid the chard bundles rolled side down on the sautéed vegetables in the pan, added a cup of chicken stock and a splash of lemon juice, raised the heat up to boiling, drizzled with some olive oil, then covered and let simmer for 35 minutes until done.

When they were done, we removed them, boiled the stuff in the pan down, and used it as a topping.  Nothing else was needed for a perfect fall dish.