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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Perfect Fish And Chips


I hate to repeat myself but after the delicous oysters and chips of the other night, I decided to make some fish and chips. This is talapia and shrimp. These turned out to be even better than the oysters. This is an egg white and beer batter that I let proof for a good 4 hours. I put the stiff egg whites into the batter just before cooking and it puffed up , got nice and crispy and golden brown. In other words it didn't collapse. The fries are sweet potatoes with the addition of a little chopped garlic and parsley. You simply fry the potatoes as you normally would and then toss them in this mixture just before seving.
The fresh tartar sauce consists of. one part pickle, one part caper, one part onion all chopped up finely. add a little chopped garlic and seasoning a little lemon or lime juice and some chopped parsley. Mix that all together with mayonnaise and the juice of half of a lemon and you have perfect tartar sauce.
Don't use a machine to chop the ingredients, you will pulverise them. They should be chunky and crunchy.Call me old fashioned but there are certain things done better with a good sharp knife.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Breast Of Chicken Stuffed With Poblano Peppers, Tomatoes And Cheese


This is a chicken breast that has been split and spread out. In other words don't slice it in half just go to the edge with your knife. Lay the chicken out and season with whatever takes your fancy. I used some chili pepper flakes, some crushed garlic and salt and pepper. On the bottom side of the breast place some sliced tomatoes , a whole poblano pepper that you have skinned and the cheese of your choice. I used gruyere. I would have liked fresh mozarella but I couldn't find any. Season again , especially the tomatoes.
Fold the top half over the bottom half so that the breast is reconsituted and season the chicken. I put some breadcrumbs on top at this point. Place the breast in aluminum foil as I did and pour some white wine and olive oil over it. Add a bay leaf, some thyme or rosemary and bake in a medium oven.
The juice from the wine, olive oil and cooking residue will be your sauce.
This is an easy, tasty and attractive dish. It is also a dish you can cook and keep warm if you have guests. As a matter of fact it tastes better if it sits for a little bit. I made rice and beans which can also be made in advance and kept warm.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Steak And Mushroom Pie






Cuisine in the old english style. This is a great all-in-one-meal and along with its sister dish, the steak and kidney pudding, a great meal in itself. I particularly like this dish because you can make it, put it in the fridge and bake it the next day. There is something very simple, understated and english about this. All you need is a half pound of cubed meat, a little vegetable, some mushrooms and a sheet of pastry. This dish is not marinated but simply cooked from the butcher to the plate.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Braised Lamb Shank With Stuffed Tomatoes And Onions




The sauce is a tarragon tomato and mushroom reduction from cooking the shank. It is known as a chasseur sauce. The vegetables are the stuffed ' legumes farcies ' from Nice France. They are stuffed with a mix of pork, rice and breadcrumb and then baked with wine, olive oil, salt and pepper and bay leaf. A scrumpious meal.

Pork Rib, Vegetable And Barley Stew.


Slow cooker in the winter. You can't beat it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Vegetarian Polenta Sandwich With Portabella Mushrooms And Chopped Salad.











This consists of two layers of freshly made (the night before) jalapeno polenta. This is spread on a baking sheet or similar recipient over which you have pulled some serran wrap and rubbed with olive oil. Putting it on the serran wrap allows you to mould and shape the polenta in case the pan is not a good fit.
Between the layers are , sauteed onions and peppers, portabella mushrooms, fried zuchinni and sliced tomato. It is then baked in the oven more or less like a lasagna in a tomato sauce and then served like a sandwich. The salad is just romaine with whatever you find in the fridge tossed with galic , olive oil and redwine vinegar.
It is a little crumbly so you need a good knife not to break the slices and a pie slice to lift it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Caesar Salad, Elephant Garlic And Navy Bean Soup.




Lazy evening of soup and salad again although this one was a little more than the average salad. I indulged in anchovies and lots of garlic including a big clove of roasted elephant garlic that I spread on the croutons for extra flavour.
The soup is a tomato and navy bean with a dash of sour cream.

Chipotle Chicken




Tuesday, November 18, 2008

La Feijoada Brasiliera.


I love this dish. It takes hours to make but it is so much a part of Brazilian culture that , to eat it , is to be taken there. The dish originated from the slaves in Brazil. The masters would keep all the good cuts of meat for themselves and give the slaves the pigs tail, feet, ears and the like. With this they made what is now the national dish.

Monday, November 17, 2008

BBQ Ribs, Horseradish Buttermilk Mash And Rosemary Baked Beets




Delicious stuff. I love beets and I got a great deal on some the other day. I used half of them in this dish and I have the rest in vinegar for a salad. These ones here I baked with a little olive oil and white wine in aluminum paper. I added a few garlic cloves, pepper corns, rosemary sprig and a quarter jalapeno. I folded the paper over the top and baked them for almost as long as the ribs. You have to be careful that they don't blacken on the bottom. I love beets really, anyway at all, baked, mashed, salad or just plain cold with vinegar and cold cuts.
The potatoes are half yukon gold and half baker and finished with freshly grated horseradish, salt and pepper before creaming them with buttermilk . I left them a little lumpy because I prefer them like that.
The ribs are first blanched and then slow roasted on skewers so they lose all the fat. I do these ribs very slowly and start adding the bbq sauce half way through the process so that the flavor really gets inside.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Winter Squash, Greens And Lentil Soup With A Green Bean Salad.







Boy was this good.

A very simple mix of collards and squash. I used butternut and pumpkin sauteed with a little onion and celery. You can use any squash you want. Add a little garlic and some lentils and you are ready. This is the basic recipe but you will need to flesh it out a little for volume. I added zucchini and tomato. Don't forget the thyme and bay leaf.

I cooked the green beans to a nice crunchiness and tossed them in some french dressing and a little fresh horseradish. Add a hard boiled egg, radishes, tomato and anything else that takes your fancy.

I used a little smoked bacon to saute the onions and I put a smoked ham hock in this for flavor. If you don't do that then this is an excellent vegetarian dish.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hot Italian Sausage And Crimini Mushroom Rissoto With Whole Braised Fennel, Home Made Tomato Sauce.




I found these big beautiful fennel bulbs in the grocery aisle the other day. They were fresh and crispy and not too expensive. Normally you cut these in halves or quarters , take the outer strings off just like celery and either grill or saute them. I have never done them whole before but they came out great. I peeled them, blanched them and braised them in the oven with white wine and fresh chicken. Halfway through the cooking I covered them with aluminum foil to stop them from getting too much color. It was almost a meal in itself. A light drizzle of olive oil finished it off.
The rissoti is just a regular risotto made with arborio rice. This was a makey up risotto. I didn't buy anything for it and just used what I had in the fridge. I used arborio rice which is important for this dish. You can put anything you like in risotto really.
Tomato sauce: I slowly cooked a little diced carrot, onion and celery in some olive oil and when they were cooked I added some white wine and a dash of vinegar. This was reduced till dry and then I added three garlic cloves. I then added some tomato paste ( important that it be paste ) and cooked it for a few minute. Then I added a little flour to keep the whole thing together and finally some chicken stock. Cook it out for as long as you like, add a pinch of sugar at the end, season and strain.
Always remember to use thyme and bay leaf for these types of sauces.
Take away the sausage and you have a vegetarian dinner.

Lemon Roasted Chicken, Fried Green Beans And Collards With Hard Boiled Egg


This may not look like much but it was outstanding. The chicken was roasted in a cast iron pan with wedges of lemon and tomato along with garlic and thyme. It had previously marinated in crushed pepper and olive oil for a good hour. The beans were blanched and left to soak in a mixture of buttermilk, curry powder and garlic for about four hours and then rolled in spicy flour before being fried. They were then tossed with raw garlic and cilantro. The collards were sauteed in oil with garlic and onion and left to stew for about five minutes. I then added the hard boiled egg and some garbonzo beans. The whole thing was out of this world. I got the idea for the fried beans from the 'dinner files' blog that you will see on the blogs I follow. It is a blog worth checking out . Lots of ideas for soups and the like.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pork Chop With Ratatouille And Marrow Bone


The most curious thing about this is the marrowbone ( oh, he gave them eggs and marrow bones and he made them suck them all ) you all know the song. Marrow bones are eaten a lot in France and I haven't really seen them eaten anywhere else in the world. These are the big bones of the femur of the animal. They are used in the traditional Pot Au Feu in burgundy and they are also roasted and served as an accompaniement or on their own. They are delicious. You eat them as you would a boiled egg , you spoon the marrow out with teaspoon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sliced Baker And A Salad.


I also had some soup with this. I had this in a different way the other night. it was so good that I wanted another. I sliced the baked potato and I slathered it with sour cream. Not your ordinary sour cream this! I chopped up a 1/2 of a fresh shallot, some garlic and some cilantro and mixed it with the cream: then I squeezed in a little lime juice and added a little seasoning. To top it all off I sprinkled a little paprika and top.
The salad is tossed greens with tomatoes and a hard boiled egg. These are special greens that you will find in stores like safeway.
The dressing for the salad is a garlic mustard dressing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Breakfast For Dinner.


Breakfast for dinner. Nice idea and lots of people do it. This one has sauteed mushroooms, fried tomatoes, potatoes, eggs with serrano peppers ( I love hot peppers ) and a little bacon.

Roasted Onions.


These are very easy to do and the roasting takes all of the heavy onion taste out of them. As a matter of fact they have to be deglazed with a little white wine to counteract the sweetness by the time they are cooked. A delicious accompanient to anything: fish or meat.
Here is how you make them:
you will need.
2 to 3 boiling onions per person
a little olive oil
1 roma tomato
1 bay leaf
a sprig of thyme
2 cloves of garlic unpeeled
a little white wine
salt and pepper
Choose and approptialely sized fryng pan and put it on to preheat. Add a little olice oil to cover the bottom of the pan. When it is nice and hot add the onions that you have already peeled of course. Prick them a little with a fork before putting them in the fat. Let them simmer there until the start to get a little color then put them in the oven with the garlic cloves just like you would a roast. The oven should be of medium heat. When they are half cooked add the thyme, they bay leaf and the white wine with maybe just a dash of white wine vinegar to counter the sugar in the onion.
Let them finish roasting and when they are cooked the wine will be gone. Add the tomatos that you have chopped up and maybe a little cilantro or parsley and serve.
I add a whole jalapeno too but that is a question of taste. I like peppers.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Omelette And Split Pea Soup.




















A 'clean out the 'fridge omelette' with mushrooms, onions, sweet peppers and a few other sundry things, lime roasted tomatoes and Lyonnise Potatoes. Coupled with a fresh split pea soup, this was an excellent dinner: and not too expensive either. Except for a little bacon used in the making of the soup this is a vegetarian dinner.
Cost: About $3.00 max.

Chicken, Bratwurst And Vegetables Poached In Chicken Stock.


Great on those cold evenings with a splash of strong dijon mustard or some horseradish cream. A big piece of country bread wouldn't go astray either. How about a nice glass of Merlot to go with it? Then you would need a roaring fire and some good company, then of course you would have to be entertaining. I think I will stick to the dish and maybe the fire.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Perfect Autumn/Winter Dinner.

A bowl of soup, a salad with garlic croutons and a soft boiled egg ( they do this in Lyon France ) and a freshly baked potato with shallots and sour cream.

Portugese Sausage And Kale Soup With Pumpkin.







Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jerk Pork Ribs




This is a recipe from the Caribbean and a very tasty one it is too. It is a little involved for the casual cook as it calls for spices that are a little out of the mainstream but not hard to get. The nice thing about getting them is that you have them for the next dish you will make calling for these exotic tastes. Also, it is a bit of a culinary education to become more familiar with spices that are, in other cultures, an everyday thing. This recipe is done with chicken and as you see here with pork ribs. I have done both and I like the pork best because it has to cook for a very long time and this intensifies the flavors.
It is difficult to present this dish elegantly because it is what it is. I served it with some southern fried butternut squash and a rice pilaf.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Barbequed Chicken With Braised Cabbage And Sweet Pepper Potatoes.




I love well done barbeque in any form. This one was slow roasted and finally finished with two coats of barbeque sauce. Then finished in a warm oven. The potatoes were baked and sliced than sauteed with onions , peppers and mushrooms.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Parsnip Tomato And Cheddar Cheese Gratin


Frogs Legs ( Why Not?)






This is one of the appetizers Brian and I had when he was here. He couldn't get enough of them. This was a little hors d'oeuvre platter I made with hard boiled egg, guacamole and tomato. It went great with the nice focaccia bread we also bought and a couple of caiparinhas.
Couldn't resist putting the shoes on the legs.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Potee Auvergnatte A Ma Facon.






This is a modified version of a wonderful dish from the Auvergne. The original calls for garlic sausage so I substituted bockwurst, calves foot so I substituted pigs feet and a cut of pork I can 't find so I substituted bacon. No doubt better bacon will be found in Ireland. I made this dish last year and I am putting it here because of the coming winter. I am sure someone would like to make it for the cold weather. Also, the latest craze of slow cookers on both sides of the Atlantic will greatly benefit from the making of this dish. Like the Irish Stew, this dish is steeped in tradition. It is all very well for me to substitute items for the originals here but to do so in France would mean the guillotine.
I remember making an Irish Stew for one of my French chefs in Africa and he put Worchester Sauce on it. It was the only time I ever stepped out of line with one of my chefs. He thought it was amusing and understood completely. I think he even had a little admiration for someone sticking up for tradition.
Anyway, this dish is pretty straight forward ( the technique is a little like Dublin Coddle ) but it needs attention so everything will be cooked at the same time. If anyone needs help doing it just let me know and I will explain it to you.