Archive for December, 2010

Another Marinated Tuna

23 December 10

Herself likes this one rather much, so here it is:

—–Marinade:—–

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup wine of choice – dry, hearty red recommended
2 tsp ginger
1/4 cup rough chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs lemon juice

—–Tuna:—–

2-4 tuna steaks
olive oil and/or butter for frying

Mix up all the marinade ingredients and pour over the tuna in a plastic zip bag or bowl. Refrigerate for the day or overnight. Make sure the tuna is well covered. If you do a plastic bag get all the air out and you won’t need to turn it much. Otherwise turn a few times during the cooling and soaking phase.

Remove from cooling about an hour before cooking, pour off the liquid and let it come up to room temp.

Lube a fry pan big enough for the tuna and let it hot. Fry for about two minutes per side. What you want is a bit of a char on the outside but the innards to be just warm but not done – rare as it were.

You can serve with pickled ginger and/or wasabi sauce for a Japanese sort of flavor. You can top with steak sauces if you like. Be careful about adding salt as the teriyaki sauce is rather salty (but not as much as soy sauce).

As a variation you can add a tablespoon or two of honey to the mix which changes the character a good bit.

A Nice Supper

20 December 10

Apple-Mustard Mahi-mahi

Something for the taste buds to enjoy. Yes the portions are getting smaller. We Americans eat too much and we are trying to lose some excess weight and still get some taste. I must say these go very nicely with steamed asparagus and mayonnaise.

1 Mahi-mahi fillet
1 Tbs unsalted (sweet) butter
1 Tbs olive oil
salt & pepper – to taste

—--Sauce—–

1/3 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs coarse ground mustard

—--Apple Stuff—–

1/8 cup apple vinegar AND
1/8 cup apple juice OR
1/4 cup apple jack

Salt and pepper the fish fillet to taste. Sauté the fish in olive oil and butter. About 4 minutes per side. Crisp, but not burned. Can be golden brown to almost blackened. Set fish aside and keep warm.

Deglaze the pan with the apple stuff, either vinegar and juice, or apple jack. Add the mustard. Turn the heat up and reduce by half. Turn the heat down a bit, add the cream and stir over heat until the sauce thickens a bit.

Cut the fish in half, one half per person, and pour the sauce evenly.

This is for two people who are trying to lose a bit of weight and still enjoy good food. If you are not trying to lose weight, just figure this per person and you should be about right.

HERSELF SEZ: YUMM! If you add a salad and a couple of veggies, this should still be the right sized portion for those who are NOT trying to lose weight.

Sautéed Red Potatoes
Kind of a nice variation to the hum-drum. Pretty easy too.

3 small Red Potatoes
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 Tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp dill
salt and pepper – to taste

Do not peel potatoes. Boil the potatoes in salted water for 20 minutes.
Drain and let cool. Then slice about 1/4″ thick.

Mince the garlic. Stir garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, and dill together.

Heat a skillet with olive oil and butter until the butter foams. Do not let the butter turn color. Sauté until golden brown. Turn, and just before cooking is finished sprinkle with the spice mixture. Continue cooking for another 30 seconds to a minute, or until the garlic aroma just begins diffusing.

Raspberry Chicken Livers

11 December 10

This is a tasty change of pace. Not your mother’s chicken livers.

1 lb chicken livers
salt, pepper, flour, as needed

1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs unsalted butter

2 Tbs shallots, minced
1 cup raspberry vinegar
4 Tbs raspberry jam
watercress or parsley or whatever, as needed to garnish

This part is like your mother’s chicken livers: Trim, rinse, and pat dry your chicken livers. Take a brown paper sack and put enough flour to coat all the livers, add salt and pepper to taste. Shake everything up, add the livers, shake some more. Take them out, shake off the excess and put on a plate ready to fry (actually sauté).

Get the oil and butter hot – as in the foam of the butter just goes down, but before any browning takes place. Add the livers and sauté until done with the innards still just barely pink. Remove to a plate and keep in a warm place. This should take less than 5 minutes.

There should be just a small amount of fat left in the skillet. Sauté the shallots until they are nice and tender. Leaving the shallots in the pan deglaze with the raspberry vinegar. Be sure to scrape up all the nice brown bits and stir them in completely. Add the jam and stir while simmering for a minute or two until it gets nice and thick. Add the livers back in and stir things around to get goody sauce over all the livers.

Serving options: You can serve them over rice, or some noodles. I suggest crusty French bread – very tasty.

Garnish options: watercress is good, as is parsley. Anything else that you have on hand that sounds good would probably work.

Oh yeah, if you don’t have any raspberry vinegar it is rather easy to make. Take one cup of regular white vinegar, partially crush 1/2 cup of raspberries in a narrow but tallish container. Pour the vinegar over and stir. Let it sit in a coolish, darkish place for a few days to a week. Strain it into a container, use as you please. You can do this kind of vinegar infusion with anything that you like. The French do tarragon fairly often.

This dish isn’t as sweet as you might think – the vinegar cuts the sweetness of the jam reasonably well.

Leek Soup – A Real Comfort Food

8 December 10

The leek has been with us a long time. The Egyptians were eating it pretty regularly by 2000 B.C. If figures heavily in many Mediterranean and Western European Cuisines. The Romans liked them a lot. The French use them in the wonderful vichyssoise, the Romans ate them in soup or sautéed in oil. The Scots cock-a-leekie soup is basically chicken broth, the cock part, and leeks, the leekie part. And so on. This is just a smooth, rich, tasty leek soup.

Makes 6 servings.

8 medium leeks, about 3 lbs., just the white and light green, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ stick unsalted butter
—–
1 small boiling potato, half pound or a little less, chopped
½ cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
—–
1-1/2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
—–
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ stick unsalted butter
½ cup chilled heavy cream, whipped or crème fraiche

Rough chop or slice the leeks, rinse and wash them, then drain pretty well. You can use a salad spinner if you’ve got one, or drain and pat dry with towels.

Cook the leeks, onion, carrot, celery, salt, pepper, and butter in a heavy pot over medium heat until the things are softened. Stir every now and then; it should take 8 to 10 minutes.

Chop up the potato and add it to the pot with the wine, stock, water, and bay leaf. Bring things to a boil, back off the heat and simmer with the pot partially covered for about 15 minutes. Make sure the veggies are nice and tender. About potatoes: I don’t peel potatoes unless there is a really good reason. Most of the flavor and nutrition is in the skin, so why throw it away? You can peel them if you want.

Toss the bay leaf out and add in the chopped parsley. Stir occasionally, simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Keep the soup at the lowest simmer you can get while you prepare a roux.

In a small, heavy saucepan over medium to low heat: melt the other ½ stick of butter, when the foam dies down but before the butter turns color stir in the flour. Keep whisking and carefully regulate heat so as not to overheat until the roux starts to color golden – just a couple of minutes. Begin adding 2 cups of stock slowly, whisking constantly. Then add the mix back into the soup pot, whisking constantly. If you don’t temper the roux first is will just lump up when you dump it in and you will have a little roux dumpling.

Run through your blender in batches. You don’t want to fill a blender more than about 1/3 full for this. Or a food processor. Or an immersion blender (stick blender) in the pot. Anyway, get everything nicely ground up pretty much to a puree. By the way – if you are using a blender hold the top down firmly, especially when starting. You would not believe how much force a thick, hot stock can generate when the blender starts.

Return to the pot and reheat if necessary. Taste and correct the seasoning.

Serve warm. Top with whipped cream or crème fraiche.

You can make the whipped cream with just a hand mixer – beat until it just starts to make soft peaks, no further.

Crème fraiche is something that the French have used forever, but has only been available in this country recently. It is a very mild and tasty soured cream – yeah, I know that the name misleads. The only place that I have found the real deal is at the local Whole Foods. This stuff is much better than the standard harsh sour cream that you are used to. Worth making an effort to find if you can. The US pasteurizing laws prohibit the standard French processing. An outfit named Kendall Farms has figured out how to make the real deal. You can order from Amazon, but it is really expensive. http://www.kendallfarmscremefraiche.com/ for information. You might also find it in a specialty import shop. I bet it’ll cost you.

Steaming Times

3 December 10
Fish – Seafood
Food Type Quantity Cooking Time Comments
Shellfish Fresh 250/400g 8-10 min Finish when shells open
Prawns Fresh 400g 6 min Stir halfway through
Mussels Fresh 400g 8-10 min Stir halfway through
Saint-Jaques Fresh 400g 10 min Stir halfway through
Lobster Tail Frozen 2@400g ea. 20-22 min
Fish Fillet Frozen 250g 10-12 min
Fish Fillet Fresh 250g 6-8 min
Fish Steak Tuna 250/400g 10-12 min
Fish Steak Salmon 250/400g 12-14 min
Meat – Poultry
Food Type Quantity Cooking Time Comments
Chicken Boneless 250g 12-15 min
Chicken Joints 450g 30-35 min
Sausages Knackwurst 400g 10 min Prick before cooking
Sausages Franfurters 400g 15 min Prick before cooking
Vegetables
Food Type Quantity Cooking Time Comments
Artichokes Fresh 3 medium 45-50 min Cut off base
Asparagus Fresh 400g 13-15 min Criss cross to let steam through
Asparagus Frozen 400g 16-18 min Criss cross to let steam through
Broccoli Fresh 400g 16-18 min
Broccoli Frozen 400g 15-18 min
Cabbage (quarters) Fresh 400g 40-45 min
Carrots (sliced) Fresh 400g 20-22 min Stir halfway through
Cauliflower Fresh 400g 16-18 min Stir halfway through
Cauliflower Frozen 400g 18-20 min
Brussels Sprouts Frozen 400g 20-22 min
Mushrooms Fresh 200g 12-15 min Stir halfway through
Courgettes Fresh 400g 16-18 min Stir halfway through
Spinach Fresh 250g 8-10 min Stir halfway through
Spinach Frozen 400g 18-20 min Stir halfway through
French Beans Fresh 400g 35-40 min Stir halfway through
French Beans Frozen 400g 25-28 min Stir halfway through
Haricot Beans Partly Dried 400g 45-50 min Stir halfway through
Peas Fresh 400g 10-12 min Stir halfway through
Peas Frozen 400g 15-18 min Stir halfway through
Potatoes Fresh 10-12 small 20-22 min
Rice – Cereals – Pasta
Food Type Quantity Quantity Water Cooking Time Comments
Rice White 200g/2 pers 300ml 25 min
Rice White 300g/3 pers 450ml 35 min
Rice Brown 200g/2 pers 300ml 35 min
Couscous Medium grains 150g/2 pers 300ml 5-6 min
Pasta Spaghetti 120g/2 pers 500ml 18-20 min
Other Foods
Food Type Quantity Cooking Time Comments
Eggs Hard 6 18 min
Eggs Soft 6 1o min
Apples/Pears Fresh 4 medium 15-18 min
Reheating
Food Type Quantity Cooking Time Comments
Meat Pieces 10-20 min
Pasta 10-20 min
Vegetables 5-15 min

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