Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Orange Segments With Bourbon - Chocolate Cream

So the photographer from the Rockford Register Star came over today to take some shots of my food.  I wanted to make something quick - but not the same thing I did the last time I was photographed for the paper.

Remember how Forrest Gump had to go meet the President, AGAIN?  My contention is that if you live in Rockford long enough you'll end up in the paper.  For me, AGAIN - that's cool.

So I whipped up a cool dessert bite that I made for the class I taught at WomanSpace.

First, you need to know how to segment an orange Click here for a video to see how to do it

Then, make the whipped cream:

     1/2 cup organic heavy cream
     1 tsp sugar
     1/4 tsp vanilla
     2 tsp finely grated dark chocolate
     2 tsp good bourbon

Add the first 4 ingredients to a mixing bowl.  Whip until starting to thicken.  Add bourbon and whip until fully thickened.  Let chill for 10 minutes.

Place dollop of bourbon cream on plate or in a spoon.  Top with one orange segment.  Sprinkle more grated dark chocolate.  Add mint leaf for garnish.

So the funny thing is when I offer the photographer a taste, he says, "Holy crap!  That's good."

Then he was off to take pictures at a local cocktail lounge.  I'll bet they didn't give him anything that made him say "Holy crap!"

Monday, March 10, 2014

Salmon Sliders

Salmon sliders are great for a fun snack at a party or for a casual meal.  The chunky avocado pops with fresh-squeezed lime.  The salmon has a spicy pan-sear and the creamy, heady gorgonzola rounds out the fresh flavors.

     Salmon filets
     Limes, plus extra for drizzling
     Slider-style buns
     Salt, Pepper, Sugar, Cayenne

Make the avocado spread first.  Coarsely chop avocado and add to mixing bowl.  Squeeze fresh lime juice (one lime for every two avocados).  Season with salt, pepper.  Mix gently - there should still be some small bits of avocado.  Set aside to chill.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Season salmon filets with salt, pepper, pinch of sugar, and pinch of cayenne.  Heat an oven-safe skillet on stove over high heat.  Add one tablespoon olive oil to skillet.  Carefully place salmon in skillet skin side up.  Don't stir, poke, slide pan, or disturb the salmon in any way for at least 3 minutes.  You want to see that nice searing crust form.  Then, gently turn salmon skin side down and place in oven for 7-10 minutes.

Remove from oven and slide a knife under the filet between the fish and the skin to remove.  

While the fish rests, build your sliders with avocado on the bun, top with salmon, sprinkle on crumbled gorgonzola.  Squeeze fresh lime over all and dig in.

What, no jokes?  No Paula Deen bashing?  Nah.  Eat something good and have some fun.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Oooh Mommy

Those familiar with the "Four" Tastes: Sweet, Sour, Salty and Bitter are probably also aware that there is a new kid in town.  There is a fifth taste that has been identified: Umami.  Click here to read a cool post from NPR about umami

Umami roughly translated from Japanese means "Damn!  That is yummy!"  You would pronounce umami as "Oooh Mommy".  

So what is it exactly?  It is L-glutamate apparently.  It is the fifth taste that our tongues can identify and I got some Damn Yummy for you right here.

Pumpkin Ravioli

Pumpkin Ravioli with portobello mushrooms, cranberries, toasted pecans, etc.  You can buy the pumpkin ravioli premade and frozen.  It cooks pretty quickly so get a big pot of water boiling but make this sauce first.  I use the dried mushrooms because when you hydrate them, the mushroom broth that's left over is umami delicious.

Recipe goes like this:

  • Pumpkin Ravioli
  • 2/3 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Dried Portobello Mushrooms
  • 2/3 cup Chopped Pecans
  • 1/2 Medium Onion Diced
  • Fresh Parmesan
  • 2 TbsPesto
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil plus more for drizzling
  • 2 Tbs Honey
  • Salt, Pepper to taste
Rinse the mushrooms briefly and put into one cup warm water to hydrate for 10 minutes or so.  Remove the mushrooms, reserving the broth.  Meanwhile get your pot of water boiling.

Place the chopped pecans into a pan and toast them (dry) over medium heat until fragrant - about 5-6 minutes.  Stir them occasionally so they don't burn.  Set them aside in a bowl for later.

Return the pan to medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute the onions for 5 minutes.  Add the cranberries, mushrooms, and pecans - season with salt and pepper.  Heat 3-4 minutes and add one half cup mushroom broth.  Simmer for 5 minutes and add pesto, stirring well.

Add honey and mix well.  Pour in more mushroom broth to desired consistency.  Want it thinner?  Add more.  Like it thicker, add less.  It's your world.

Cook ravioli until it floats to the top of the water.  Drain well.

Dish ravioli, top with sauce, sprinkle fresh parmesan and drizzle with olive oil.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Quinoa pretzels

She-Who-Digs-Me found an awesome deal on pretzels.  One pound bag for a buck!  Ha!  She is always finding good deals on stuff...  But bag of pretzels???  Yummy, crispy, fat-free snacks!  WooHoo!

Now I'm thinking, "Don't want to be a Nutri-Nazi here, but that's a bunch of carbs... and I know me"

I'm not into sweets and stuff.  Never really was.  People say that's so lucky!!!  Nah... Just don't care for the taste.  Not sure why.  Just not my thing.  But give me a bag of chips and LOOK OUT!

So here's this nice bag of pretzels - I remember doing my "Better Bread" thing (page 120 of the cookbook for those of you keeping track...) and putting yummy stuff on a loaf of bread to bake.  Realizing I have this 7-Seed mix in the pantry, naturally thoughts turned to put that on pretzel - cuz it's kind of like bread - only tiny bite-sized loaves with salt.

I grabbed the 7-Seed mix and saw the ingredients include QUINOA!  Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wha") is a ridiculously yummy, healthy grain.  All the rage...blahblahblah.  Click here to read all the health benefits of quinoa.  Pretty awesome!

Then I'm thinking, "Whaaaaa?  Healthy grain on a yummy snack?  Count me in."

Sooooo.... I baked my pretzels with a garlic, quinoa, sesame seed coating - and - it - is - GREAT!

Here's how...

I used half the bag of pretzels... (4cups of pretzels, okay?)
4 Tbs melted butter
1tsp quinoa
1tsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp dried dill weed

Combine all except the pretzels and mix well.  Add the pretzels and stir to coat well.  Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes - stirring every 5 minutes or so.

Snack healthier!  I'm going to try this on popcorn soon...

Friday, June 7, 2013

Did I Mention How Much I Hate Paula Deen?

She's at it again.  That butter-glazed bitch from the South has her own food company!  You need to be warned!  Be vigilant!  Celebrity worship is truly the Fast Lane To Damnation.

paula deen finishing butters

Click here for a link to a Huffingtonpost.com article to read all about Paula's "Finishing Butter", Tortilla Chips, and Chocolates.  

I wish I was effing making this up.  

For you, I have traveled to hell and back (Paula's website) to bring the details to light of "Finishing Butter" a la Paula.  This quote directly from Pauladeen.com:

          I’ll also be sharing with y’all my new grilling finishing butters that lets us all cook with butter as a “finishing” ingredient, using my favorite taste of butter in moderation.  My grilling butter is amazing on steak, fish, shrimp or shellfish, its great on potatoes or pasta – it goes with everything.  I also am makin’ other great varieties, of butter including Citrus Zest Butter, Lemon Dill Butter, European-Style Butter, and Garden Herb Butter, all available in Walmart stores across the country.

I am gagging as I type this.  Thank God I will never be exposed to this corrupt, money-grubbing Butter Bitch and her ridiculous foods - because I will never enter a Walmart store.

Let's break down the quote from the Deen of Dairy: 
1.  Anyone else tired of the "Y'all" thing?  There is no reason for her to remind us in print of her Southern heritage.  We know, Paula.  Okay?  We know.
2.  Butter as a "finishing ingredient" is freaking genius Paula.  You mean like finishing salt?  Or a drizzle of vinegar?  A sauce is a nice finishing ingredient.  Oh wait!  You mean BUTTER.
3.  It goes with everything.  That's a great way to round out a meal.  Butter on everything.
4.  You are "makin'" other great varieties of butter? Geez Paula!  You're not makin' - you're selling!  Note the damn "g" on the end of the word?  You're welcome.
5.  Fucking Walmart?  Are you kidding?  If it was a real culinary weapon in my kitchen arsenal it would be in a real grocery chain.

You want to know what the real problem is with this crap?  Not Paula making more money.  

Paula!  You have a cooking show!  Teach people how to make compound butter on your show! Here is a link to a tilapia recipe I posted with a simple compound butter.  It's not hard Paula.  Even you could teach this.  And you would not have to sell processed foods to your loyal fans.

Instead you post recipes for fish (good for you Paula!  fish!) that include reduced sauces containing heavy cream PLUS your goddamn butter.  Your recipes suck.