Showing posts with label first course. Show all posts
Showing posts with label first course. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mushroom Soup with Middle Eastern Flavors


creamy, non dairy, warm, comforting, light, yet filling.
serve as a starter, side or main.  
pureed soups are great for parties or quick family meals because they come together in no time and can always be made ahead.  there's no meat that will get over cooked or veggies that will get mushy.  it reheats well with no separation when non dairy and can be dressed for any occasion.  serve on it's own or dolled up with a little greek yogurt and fresh herbs for the nice presentation.



 a soup like this is so easy to make when you have an immersion blender or a Vitamix.  i lean towards the stick blender when making hot soups.  i don't like to transfer hot liquids from one vessel to another. 

 as you'll see this recipe is fairly elementary...saute the vegetables, add the stock, season well, cook for a little while to combine flavors and puree.

quick note on the dried mushrooms...i always have a big container of dried shitake mushrooms in the pantry.  i find they are always reliable, a bit stronger and they add a nice woodsy flavor to many dishes.  i find them at Costco for a great price.  if you want to use fresh, go ahead...i don't know the quantity...maybe 1/2 - 3/4 lb.?

and GARAM MASALA ?...a wonderful blend of spices mostly associated with Indian food.  it usually includes coriander, chili, cumin,  cinnamon, cloves, mustard, black pepper, nutmeg, cardamom.  here is just one of many  recipes for Garam Masala.  you can make your own, but i buy it for 1.99$...much easier.  garam masala can very greatly from vendor to vendor.  the brand i like best is by SADAF called Garam Masala Seasoning.   i find mine at a great market called Wholesome Choice in Irvine, CA.


MUSHROOM SOUP WITH MIDDLE EASTERN FLAVORS
makes almost 6 cups

1 lb. crimini and white mushrooms, sliced
1 heaping cup (20 Grams) of dried shitake mushrooms
(rehydrate in 1 cup of boiling water)
1/2 onion diced
1 small shallot, diced
3 - 5 cloves ROASTED garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil, separated
1/2 Tbsp butter
3 cups chicken broth.  homemade is best but i only had 2 cups so i had to use 1 cup of canned low sodium
1/2 cup white wine
2 Tbsp Garam Masala
1 tsp salt...more or less to taste
fresh ground pepper

roast a garlic head in 380 F oven for 40 min.
rehydrate dried shitake mushrooms in 1 cup boiling water and let sit.
saute onion and shallot with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt in stock pot that you will be cooking the soup in until translucent.  you might need to add a splash of stock to this...i was trying to keep the oil at a minimum.
add garam maslala and saute for a couple minutes to wake up the spices   then add 1/2 cup white wine and bring to a boil.  turn off heat and set aside.
saute crimini and white mushrooms in a skillet with 1Tbsp olive oil and a pat of butter until golden brown.  when done set aside some of the best looking slices for garnish.

dice the shitake mushrooms and add with mushroom liquid to the stock pot.
add sauteed mushrooms, roasted garlic, diced shitake and chicken stock to the stock pot.

bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes.
get your immersion-stick blender out and puree to desired thickness.  i like to puree until smooth creamy texture.  if it's too thick for you, add some more stock and bring back to a quick boil so flavors will meld as one.
check for seasoning.  salt?...pepper?...
ready to serve as is or garnish as you please.

try a little dollop of plain yogurt and your reserved mushroom slices with a sprinkle of parsley or chives.
you could add a touch of heavy cream, but i find it isn't necessary...i try to keep the fat to a minimum and cream seems to make the soup heavy.



Friday, April 20, 2012

Roasted Bone Marrow with Tarragon Orange Gremolata and Pickled Shallots


BONE BUTTER...
unctuous bone marrow on crispy sauteed butter bread from 85c Bakery.

not for the meek, nor the weak...no pansy palettes allowed at this table.


i love bone marrow...every time i see some beautiful bones at the market i HAVE to get them.  
if you haven't had the pleasure, this is an easy introduction to a delicious savory...
primal indulgence. 
it's simply something you must try.  easy to prepare, makes a stunning presentation and a great conversation piece at your next dinner party.
 i have written about marrow in the past... Rendering Bone Marrow and Marrow with Walnut Pesto, but this time i had the idea that a nice citrus tarragon gremolata along with pickled shallots would be a good balance for the warm fatty marrow. 
i also had just bought wonderful Butter Bread from 85c Bakery.

what could be better...?
BONE BUTTER on BUTTER BREAD...!!!

 i just discovered 85c here in Irvine.  if you haven't been to one, i highly suggest going for the experience.  there is always a crowd.  you pick up your tray and tongs, load up on all kinds of beautifully baked goodies and proceed to the zig zag line that works like a line at an amusement park.. the baked goods are warm and fresh coming out every few minutes marked by someone in uniform yelling out,"fresh bread!"...you'll end up buying things unknown and way too many pastries, but it's all fun.  i have yet to try the Salted Coffee that is supposed to be outta this world AND one of their signature drinks...next time.


PICKLED SHALLOTS
adapted from Fergus Henderson

2 small shallots, sliced very thin 
juice of 1/2 small lemon
2 TB apple cider vinegar
pinch granulated sugar
salt and pepper

place shallots in a small bowl with lemon juice, cider vinegar, a large pinch of sugar, a small pinch of salt and enough water to barely cover.  allow to stand at least 1 hour.

TARRAGON ORANGE GREMOLATA
more of an idea than an exact recipe...depending on how many you are serving

1/2 bunch (or less) parsley, chopped
tarragon...1/3 amount of parsley
zest from 1/2 bright colored orange
capers if you have them...i didn't have any at the time
small drizzle olive oil
juice from 1 orange wedge
salt and pepper

add oil and juice just before serving to stay fresh.


ROASTED BONE MARROW

1 or 2 bones per person, depending on the size.
i usually find them about 2 - 2 1/2 inches long at a regular market.  
place bones in an oven-safe dish...standing on end.
roast at 450 F degrees for approximately 20 minutes...depending on size.  watch them...don't overcook or too much fat will render and the marrow will become slightly chewy.
sprinkle with flaked sea salt and crushed pepper.
must be served fairly quickly...they will harden the same as butter would if it gets cold, or even room temperature.serve with toasted baguette or delicious sliced and sauteed "butter bread" from 85 degrees

PS...if you are interested for more in depth information and visuals... i found this post by The Hungry Mouse VERY helpful for those "first-timers" unfamiliar with roasting bone marrow.... great pictures of "how-to" and what to expect when roasting.
many thanks to Jessie who has a wealth of information

Sunday, April 1, 2012

CAVIAR and EGGS IN A PERFECT EGG SHELL CUP


creamy eggs topped with Russian caviar tucked into a perfect little egg cup...
one of my all time favorite savory treats.  
so simple, so delicious, so delicate and SOOOO EASY !...

if you have the right tool !

i spotted this little uni-tasker egg gadget about 6 years ago, but i couldn't justify paying the whopping $55.00 for something that does one thing.  well, now that Rosle is making one and it only costs $20.00 bucks...i finally snatched one up.  now I can make the fancy looking froo froo caviar egg cup that i fell in love with years ago at L'Orangerie Restaurant.  piled high with caviar... my eyes would light up as it was brought to the table by the waiter wearing white gloves.  although it's doors are closed now, i'll never forget the wonderful dinners i had there and ordering this decadent first course every time.   
i missed my delicious little caviar egg cup...until now.


the Rosle Egg Topper...a must buy.  as far as gadgets go?  this one is worth it.  it does it's job and it does it well.  i purchased mine at Sur la Table, but i'm sure you can get one on line HERE or at the Sur la Table website...HERE.



this post isn't so much about the recipe, i'm sure you can all figure it out, but here is how i make caviar eggs.  these are not your every day scrambled eggs...they have way to much cream and butter, but they work well for the presentation in the shell and the rich creamy eggs compliment the savory dollop of caviar.


RECIPE FOR CREAMY EGGS
(if you want concrete Martha Stewart instructions click HERE, but this is how i roll...pretty much the same idea.)
first...top your eggs with your new topper...snap the topper once on the egg, then when you see a slight crack carefully slip a thin knife in and ever so carefully pry the top off.  you'll get the hang of it quickly.
remove egg from shell and clean inside well.  carefully dunk them into a pot of boiling water for a min or two to remove any impurities and set them upside down to dry while cooking eggs.
you'll need...about 1 per egg cup
heavy cream
butter
salt, but remember the caviar is salty
pepper (white is best)
chives
 and your choice of topping
and toast, of course.

if filling egg cups you'll need to add one or two more eggs than you need.  the pan and the pastry bag will catch a bit...besides you might have an accident with one of your shells.
use about 1/2 Tbsp heavy cream per egg (might need a little more.  i don't measure)
dash salt and pepper
whisk well, but not fluffy
start your pan on low and add a healthy (more than usual) pat of butter to coat.
add the eggs and let them get started...these need to be cooked low and slow, stirring all along to prevent large curds from forming.
the key is to take them off the heat before you think they are done.  you can always cook them more, but you can't undo something that has been over cooked.
use your judgement...remember these need to be soft enough to go into a piping bag, but firm enough to hold shape and support your topping.

fill a pastry bag with eggs and start to assemble.  caviar isn't necessary, but it sure elevates the dish to something special.  small diced smoked salmon with a dollop of creme fraiche is delicious as well.
the toast?...i think the best way is to saute with butter in a pan...for some reason it tastes better than out of the toaster.

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