September 14, 2008

I've cooked a number...

of delicious meals this past week (if I may say so myself). Thanks to culinary school, I'm bringing back expensive pounds of fresh cut meats and produce that we prepare in class. Two weeks ago was a fantastic seven days of fish. This week is all sorts of hearty meats.

On the menu as of late: Pan-Seared Duck with Curried Peach Glaze, Shrimp Bisque, Rosemary Butter Filet Mignon, Sesame Encrusted Curry Scallops, Cajun Shrimp, NY Strip Steak in Tomato Sauce, Affogato, Veggie Chip Encrusted Chicken, Roasted Pepper Linguine, Skirt Steak Fajitas with Spicy Sour Cream, Avocado-Corn Salsa, and Roasted Peppers, and Homemade Sesame Ice Cream.

By far the best of this week's running was the NY Strip and Affogato, but the Fajita Dinner came in close. So, two sets of dinner recipes this time! You can debate with me that fat tastes great on meat, but I stick to a lean diet especially when cooking at home.

Because I butchered my own meats, I spent sweat soaking hours patiently trimming off every last piece of fat I could find on this slab of beef. Season it, grill it, and pan sear it, and there's no reason you won't get a juicy medium-rare steak.

Think Vietnamese drip coffee for my affogato. I didn't slow drip the coffee grinds, but my little stove top espresso maker brews some mean coffee. Pour half a shot of it over my condensed milk ice cream, and you'll be fighting for the last drop. I've somehow stumbled upon a super simple ice cream because I'm too lazy to make real ice cream slash don't own an ice cream machine. But thank goodness I did. I am tempted to toy around with many flavors using condensed milk as my base in the future. It somehow becomes the creamiest thing ever. It's so BAD but so, so GOOD.

NY Strip in Tomato Sauce

2 NY Strip Steaks
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 clove shallots, minced
¼ cup onion, diced
2 small tomatoes, diced
½ cup tomato paste
½ cup water
½ tsp oregano

Season the steaks with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Heat grill and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Grill steaks for 5 minutes until nice grill marks form on both sides. In a skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat and add garlic, shallots and onions. Once fragrant, reduce heat and let onions caramelize. Add in tomatoes, tomato paste, and oregano. Stir to combine and slowly add in water a bit at a time. Let sauce simmer on low until everything is well combined. Move steaks into tomato sauce and let cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer sauce and steak into a plate. Garnish with parsley.

Condensed Milk Ice Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 14 ounce can condensed milk

Beat heavy cream with an electric mixer until it begins to thicken. Add in vanilla and continue beating until a light whipped cream forms. Gradually pour in condensed milk and keep beating until mixture thickens to a nice cream. Put in the freezer for at least four hours. Serve with half a shot of hot espresso.

Steak...medium rare.

Skirt Steak Fajitas

2 Tbsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp lime juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp cajun seasoning

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin

1 pound flank steak, trimmed

1 package tortillas

In a resealable plastic bag, combine lemon juice, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, seasoning, spices, and steak. Seal and toss the bag around to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Warm oven to 150 degrees F and place tortillas inside. Preheat grill and spray with non-stick spray. Season the steak with salt and pepper. Grill the steak for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the steak to a cutting surface and allow steak to stand for 5 minutes. Cut steak across the grain into thin slices or chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Serve immediately with warm tortillas, roasted red peppers, avocado-corn salsa, green onions, and sour cream.

Avocado-Corn Salsa

1 Hass avocado, diced

2 Tbsp lime juice

1/2 cup tomato, diced

1/2 cup corn

1/4 cup onion, minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt and Pepper

In a bowl, toss the avocado, tomato, and corn with lemon juice. Mix in onion, jalapeno, and cilantro before serving. Season with salt and pepper.

Ice Cream unadorned.

Beignets > Donuts

My adorable taste testers/guests!

September 2, 2008

I promise...

I have been cooking, but my time between work, class, and culinary school is limited for the gym and sleep. However, I've made many a meal since the start of culinary training. At the end of class, it's like a pirate loot session where we rummage through the piles of fresh produce to bring home. I am the ultimate trash collector taking back anything my double brown bag could possibly carry. In fact, I want anything and everything, so my chef instructor is constantly asking me to pack goodies to go. WIN.

In the past few weeks, the menu consisted of: Black Glutinous Rice Porridge, Curried Cream of Carrot, Sea Bass en Papillote, Seared Sesame Tuna Steak, Vegetable Baked Flounder, Coconut Mochi, Broiled Mackerel with Fennel Mayo, Rosemary Foccacia, and Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream. Who knew bread bakeries didn't open on Labor Day. I should've known, but it gave me an excuse to make my own foccacia and use up my fresh rosemary! I prepared a few dipping sauces to go with the foccacia and a farewell to summer ice cream with sweet peach topping.

Four dips: Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Sautee; Roasted Red Peppers with Parsley, Shallots, and Garlic; Fennel Mayo with Chili Powder; Stewed Tomatoes with Shallots and Oregano

A slice of foccacia decorated in olive oil, coarse sea salt, and fresh rosemary.

Up close and personal.


Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream with Peach Jam Topping

Rosemary Foccacia

1 1/2 cups warm water
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp instant yeast
Dried Rosemary
Olive Oil
Coarse Sea

Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan. Combine all of the ingredients, and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for until dough forms. Scoop the batter into the greased pan. Cover the pan and let the dough rise at room temperature for an hour. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Press the dough outwards and poke the dough all over with your fingers. Drizzle it lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle salt and rosemary. Bake the bread till for about 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven and wait 5 minutes before serving. (Adapted from King Arthur Flour).

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream

1 cup half and half
8 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest

Let cream cheese come to room temperature. Combine all ingredients and beat with an electric mixer making sure there are no clumps. Let mixture whip until airy. Freeze for at least four hours.