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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Vegetable Hotpot

Bon Appetit !

Cover the entire dish with sliced potatoes and brush with olive oil. Place the dish in a medium to high oven and bake until the potatoes are cooked. Then the whole dish will be cooked. Brush the potatoes with a little melted butter and pass the dish under the grill or broiler and finish to a nice golden brown if needed.

Add some raw spinach at this point if you have some. You can also use kale but don't use cabbage. It won't be cooked and it will dominate the taste of everything else.

Saute off a little chopped onion and garlic and add the vegetables when the onions are a little translucent. Add some vegetables stock or water. In this case vegetable stock is better but if you don't have any don't let it put you off. Bring a to boil, lower heat and cook for a few minutes. At this point you need to correct the seasoning and add any herbs you like. I added oregano to this but you can use thyme too. Put the entire mix into a Pyrex or any oven worthy dish and flatten the vegetables by cutting the big ones if neccesary. If not you won't get a level layer of potato.

Prepare a variety of vegetables by peeling, washing and blanching them. The reason for blanching is that the vegetables retain their color better and you can slightly precook the most hardy ones like the carrots so that everything will be cooked at the same time. Use a good variety of vegetables. Here I used cauliflower, butternut squash, white turnips, whole baby parsnips, zucchini, carrots, brussels sprouts, and large raw mushrooms plus a whole peeled fresh tomato.
Hard to believe I ate all this.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Honey Chicken Wings

6 lbs chicken wings
salt and pepper
2 cups honey
1 cup soy sauce
4 Tbs vegetable oil
4 Tbs ketchup
6 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp cayenne pepper, optional

If wings are whole, remove tips and discard (or freeze to make chicken stock later). Cut legs from wings too. Coat with salt and pepper.
Combine remaining ingredients in medium bowl until well mixed.
Cooking options: 1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place wings in shallow casserole, pour sauce over and bake until chicken is well done and sauce is caramelized, about 1 hour.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Vegetable Plate.

Clockwise: Bok Choy/Roasted Fennel/Sauteed Green Beans/ Sugared Carrots/Brussels Sprouts/ Tomatoes On The Vine. Flavors were out of this world. No sauces, just a little olive oil, garlic and herbs, salt and pepper.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Angel Hair With Garlic Cream And Shrimp

Heavy cream
White wine , about 3/4 cup per person
Salt and Pepper
Squeeze of lemon
Chop the shallot and reduce with the wine until dry. Add the cream and the chopped garlic and reduce to correct consistency. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
Cook the pasta in plenty of water, strain and add to the sauce. Be sure to correct the seasoning after adding the pasta.
Grill or pan fry the shrimp and arrange around pasta on the plate. Garnish with chopped and grated cheese.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

Greek Salad

1 cup olive oil (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
About 1/4 cup of redwine vinegar.
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Thin with a little warm water if the taste is good but the dressing is too thick
For the salad:
2 romaine lettuce chopped
3 plum tomato cut in wedges (use Roma tomatoes)
1 english cucumber (peeled, seeded and chopped)
1 red onion cut in slices
1 green bell pepper (optional, seeded and cut into rings or sliced)
1/2 lb feta cheese crumbled (or to taste)
1 cup kalamata olive
This, like the salad nicoise, is a great salad. It is flavorful and refreshing. I added capers to this recipe simply because I like them. I also added scallions and red bell pepper. It is a good idea not to deviate too much from this recipe though. It is a classic dish and should not be tampered with.

I had a bowl of split pea soup with this and it was all I needed.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Scampi And Fried Baked Potato/ Gresham Hotel Dublin

The scampi is the same scampi from the Gresham Hotel in Dublin. They were a very popular item on the menu there during the sixties when I worked there. This has always been one of my favorite things from that period.
You make a regular frying batter from flour and milk and add half a bottle of beer. Any cheap beer will do. Leave it in a warm place to proof for a few hours and then add very finely chopped garlic and chopped parsley. Season the batter. Dredge the large shrimp in flour and coat them with batter then fry them as you would fish and chips. This batter will also do for fish and chips. You don't need a deep fryer to do this. Do it in a largish pot on top of the stove.
The potato:
Wash a good sized baker potato and bake it. When it is cold slice it into thick slices and deep fry the slices until crispy.
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 plus 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
The coleslaw is: equal parts of white cabbage, onion and carrot. All shredded very finely either with a knife or a machine made for that purpose. It is not a good idea to use a cheese shredder. Whatever you use the shred should be fine. Mix everything with a little red wine vinegar a little olive oil and a little lemon juice. This will serve to break down the vegetables overnight or over the course of a few hours. Add some chopped garlic and salt and pepper. Leave in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
The lemon juice , vinegar and salt will break down the vegetables over that time. When ready to use, or a few hours before, remove from fridge, drain juice into a little bowl and add mayonnaise. Then add the juices back until you get the consistency you want. Correct the seasoning and serve.
This, like the tartar sauce will last quite a while in the fridge.
This is the second serving for the one in the photo, I used it last week on another dish and I will finish it next week.
A note on the batter:
All flours are different so a recipe for batter is difficult. It should be about as thick as good country double cream. You can always add milk if it is too thick and add flour if not thick enough.
To check the batter: dip a spoon into the batter and drop a few drops into the hot oil. They should form balls or batter bubbles to tell you that the consistency is good. This is one of those trial and error things.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Stuffed Poblano Peppers With Mash

You need:
Chopped onions (plenty)
Chopped red and green peppers
Chopped zucchini
Chopped Tomatoes
Precooked white rice
Lots of garlic
White breadcrumbs
Chopped parsley or cilantro
Cook the onions until translucent add the peppers and continue cooking. Add the zucchini and the tomatoes and warm through. Remove from stove and add cooked rice, garlic and some breadcrumbs to dry. \
Fill the peppers sprinkle with grated cheese and roast in the oven.
This is a vegetarian example of this. If you want to add meat then you need some ground or minced pork. Add the pork after you take the mixture off the stove and when it has cooled. The rest of the steps remain the same.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hail Caesar With Extra Anchovies

Had this main course size salad with a big bowl of lentil and cabbage soup. Ony gorgeous.

Easy Caesar dressing:
Real Mayonnaise (as in Best or whatever exists chez vous)
Peeled garlic cloves
Red Wine vinegar of good quality
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

In a small food processor put the anchovies and garlic and pulverize them. Add olive oil and mix (this is all in the food processor) then taste to see if you want more garlic or anchovy. The mix will be thick at this point so add some vinegar to dilute it, and then add the olive oil. Mix the whole thing again and correct the seasoning. If, at this point your mix is too thick but you like the taste then add a little warm water till you get the desired consistency. I have not put quantities down here as tastes vary in both anchovy and garlic. I used about one head of garlic and a flat tin of anchovies.

It is a good idea to make your dressing a little more seasoned than you normally would because you are going to mix it with romaine and that will dilute the taste.

Put your washed romaine leaves in a bowl and add the dressing mix so all the leaves are well covered. Remember to dress the bowl not the salad. You don't want your lettuce swimming in dressing. Then add the cheese, taste once more to correct the seasoning and serve. This is usually served with grilled bread and grated cheese on top.

You can also serve it with grilled salmon, grilled shrimp or chicken.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pasta Putanesca

Here is a link to the New York Times recipe for this pasta dish. We used to make it quite often. It is tasty and very easy to make.
I'd recommend this for an easy dinner with some garlic bread and a nice glass of chardonnay. Maybe tonight?
I made this tonight and added a porcini mushroom and some regular mushrooms. It was very good. Rigatoni is a good pasta to use.

Baked Navy Beans With Steamed Chicken Wings

This is a very handy little steamer and very easy to find. This is a small version and I also have the bigger version. The small one is good enough for two people. If you have a regular double steamer then you don’t need this. Depending on what I am doing I usually make a reduction in the bottom half of the steamer. In this case I put sautéed some lemons, garlic, crushed pepper and parsley stalk and added half white wine and half water.
I then oiled the individual steamer layers and put the chicken on each layer. It was then covered and placed on top of the boiling reduction to pick up the flavors. The chicken had been previously marinated in some lemon and garlic.
This is a great way to do vegetables, fish or in this case chicken.
I cooked the beans in some tomato sauce and then added the chicken. I put a mixture of white breadcrumbs, parsley and asiago cheese on top and finished it in the oven.

Scotch Broth And A Salad

I think there is a recipe for scotch broth on this blog somewhere. The salad is romaine lettuce with a garlic and mustard vinaigrette.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fettucinne With Spinach, Mushrooms And Sweet Peppers.

I added some homemade spicy meatballs to this. Without them it is a perfect vegetarian pasta.........

Friday, January 9, 2009

Vegetable Cutlet With Mash And Tomato Sauce

This is an interesting dish that you can make even more interesting by adding your own touch. As you will see from the photos left to right, you precook and dice vegetable like carrots, parsnips, white turnips and potatoes making sure to keep them al dente. Then you sauté some chopped onions and add a little diced zucchini to it along with some chopped garlic and seasoning. Add this to the mix. Make a little mashed potato and add this and combine the whole thing with your hand or a spoon. Correct the seasoning. Add a little potato flour or corn starch to dry it a little and fold it onto a clean smooth surface. Put into the refrigerator for a half an hour to cool everything down.
When the mix is manageble knead it a little and shape the cutlets and then fry them in olive oil.
You have to make sure that the mix is dry enough so that it will hold during the cooking. Be sure to use a wide spatula to turn it. It is always a good idea to take a little of the mix and fry it to test for both texture and seasoning before you do the final one.
If the mix is not dry enough or doesn’t hold just add a little more corn starch or potato flour.
Serve it with the sauce of your choice. Tomato sauce is good because if you don’t have time to make a sauce you can just buy some and add a little garlic and basil.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Non Vegetarian, Vegetarian And Spinach Stalks Provencale

Beans, greens and rice is a dish I got very fond of in Brazil and it has stuck with me. I have it in some way quite often. This time I made some curry rice and some black beans with collard greens.
I had some spinach the other day and I kept the stalks and wrapped them in foil. Today I blanched them very quickly and sautéed them in butter with chopped tomato, onion and garlic and made a fantastic vegetable side dish. I added it to the rest of the plate and each thing complimented the other.
I first saw this spinach dish done by and old french chef in Paris who had been through the war and thought it was fantastic. Still do! They can also be done a la crème.
I added some hot wings to the dish and the combination was very nice. I have cut down by 99% on meat consumption and I feel much better after a meal. Last night was the first night I have eaten meat in quite a while. I had a peppered roast beef and I felt heavy afterwards. I will be cutting down quite a bit but will not turn 100% vegetarian yet.

Good Old Apple Pie

You can buy or make the pastry. This one here is a bought puff pastry because I don't like being covered in flour. Be sure to buy good apples like Granny Smiths because they will hold well. The rest is easy. I don't think I would assume to tell anyone how to make apple pie. This is how we made it in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Article New York Times

This is a link to an article from the minimalist in the New York Times this morning that every serious amateur cook should read and incorporate into every day kitchen life.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Baked Eggplant And Anchovy Rice

Cut the eggplant in two and score it. Rub it with a little olive oil and place it in a pan. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or so. It is cooked when you can scoop the flesh out and leave the skin intact.
In the meantime chop up some onions, zuchinnis, tomatoes and red and green peppers in large pieces and saute them off in olive oil. Add plenty of garlic and allow to cook or stew over a medium to slow heat.
When the eggplants are cooked scoop the flesh out of them and add it to your vegetable mix. Finish cooking and correct the seasoning and the garlic.
When the vegetable mix is cooked fill the cavity of the eggplant with it. Sprinkle cheese on top and brown under the broiler.
Serve with rice and your favorite hot sauce.

Root Vegetable, Cauliflower And Tomato Couscous.

Recipe anon for those who are interested.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Not For The Faint Of Heart

This is for the hard core anchovy aficionado. It is an old English savory dish, very popular in the sixties and I am sure before then. It was served, along with the welsh rarebit, in all the grand hotels in London.
I made a meal out of it here because I like it so much. It is not inexpensive, anchovies can run high.
It is very easy though. You just fry a piece of french bread in some olive oil. When it is still warm rub a clove of garlic over it until it is perfumed and put it aside in a warm place. Scramble three eggs or so and place on top. Criss cross the anchovies and sprinkle some capers on top and it is ready.
I made a salad with this so it turned out to be a meal. This salad here is a romaine and watercress salad with feta cheese and tomatoes and faux caesar dressing. You can do whatever kind of salad you wish. A simple tossed green salad would be nice too. You can also have this for a midnight snack with a glass of beer. It has a lot of potential.