Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Seared Fish with Butternut Goat Cheese Ravioli In Sage Butter Sauce

Seared Fish with Butternut Goat Cheese Ravioli in Sage Butter Sauce
This savory dish is easy to prepare and always impresses your guests. You can use any kind of fish you like and is also great with pork, chicken and especially seared duck breast.  If you have the time make the pasta for the ravioli from scratch, it’s worth it. It adds an extra level of depth of flavor and texture to the dish. In this case I was short on time so I used wonton wrappers.  You can cut and crimp them to look just like ravioli or just make them into triangles. This recipe served three.
1 small butternut squash
3 firm fish filets
20 leaves of sage
1 tablespoon fresh chives
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic
4 ounces goat cheese
1 stick of unsalted butter
Wonton wrappers

Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Roast the butternut squash in a 375* oven for about an hour or until tender.  After cooling, dig out all the squash and transfer to a bowl and mash it up. Wrap up the squash in a cheese cloth and squeeze gently until liquid stops flowing out.  Finely chop five of the sage leaves, chives and parsley and add to the bowl of squash. Chop the garlic and make a paste using the side of your knife and to the mixture. Now add the goat cheese and blend. 

Make an egg wash and brush the edges of the wonton wrappers. Place a teaspoon of the butternut squash mixture into the center of the wonton and fold to form a triangle. Be sure that none of the mixture is coming out of the edges. It will leak out during boiling if it is. Dust them with a little flour and let rest in the fridge until you’re ready to boil them. 

In a small sauce pan melt the butter on medium low heat. Once melted add the sage leaves. Season with salt and pepper. I do a rough chop on them but you can chop them any way you want. Let simmer while pasta is boiling.
Boil the ravioli in salty water for about 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from the water and let drain in a colander.
Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper and lightly dust with a little flour. This will let them brown without over cooking the fish. In a saute pan heat some olive oil and sear the fish.
Plate the ravioli with seared fish on top and cover with the sage butter. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Salmon Tartar dressed in Lemon Caper Vinaigrette

This is an easy and versatile dish that takes minutes to make. Buy the freshest salmon you can find, this is the key to this dish. You can use any style of vinaigrette you like or just lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper works fine. I did this version for an opening salad with simple mixed greens.

Serves four

16 ounces fresh salmon
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon fresh chives
1 tablespoon fresh parley
1 large garlic clove
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Mixed greens

Remove the skin from the salmon and and cut into 1 inch cubes.
Transfer to a bowl and place in the refrigerator.
Chop the garlic clove and make into a paste using the side of you knife. Finely chop the herbs and the capers. Place all the ingredients I'm a jar and shake till emulsified.
To make a salad put 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette in the bottom of a plate and place greens on top. Add the rest of the vinaigrette to the salmon and toss. Add the dressed salmon on top of the greens and serve.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gros Pain

I never bake. I don't have the time. I watched one of the greatest French chefs ever,Jacques Pepin, make the simplest and tastiest bread ever! Here it is!

4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 cups water
1 pack of yeast
1 tablespoon salt

Mix it all in a food processor of 30 seconds. Turn into a bowl and let proof for at least 3 hours. Turn the sides of the dough in on it self ,this is a very important step, for at least 10 go arounds the ball to make a seam in the middle. Turn
it over and pull the ball tight. Put it down on a baking sheet, seam side down, covered in corn meal and proof again covered until it doubles. Score it and flour, then shove it into a steamy oven till its dark brown and beautiful. 400* for about an hour. You will know when it is done by the hollow sound it will make when you tap the bottom. Please enjoy all the ways you can make this simplest of pleasures!!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cured Country Ham Pâté

I love food that is spreadable. I found the basis for this recipe in an early 1970's Cajun cookbook and tweaked it. Whole cured country hams are very expensive and this recipe only calls for two cups of ham. I use a cured ham steak. It's the perfect amount, price and availability for this recipe.

1 country cured ham steak
1 stick unsalted butter
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of mixed fresh herbs, I used rosemary and oregano
2 tablespoons Rye whiskey

Cook the ham in a skillet with a little oil until cooked through.
Cut ham into pieces until you have 2 cups. Pulse in the food processor until finely chopped. Add butter and pulse until smooth.
Add all the dry ingredients and pulse until well mixed.
Refrigerate over night to let flavors settle and mix.
Take out of the fridge at least one hour before serving so it becomes spreadable. Trust me it won't spread straight out the fridge.
Serve with crusty bread.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Grilled Herb Seasoned Flat Iron Steak

 The Flat Iron Steak is one of my favorite cuts to grill. The cut has nice marbling and is usually cut into a twelve inch long strip, generally an inch to an inch and a half thick. Look for one that is nicely marbled and has the same thickness all the way through.  This size makes it perfect for slicing and cooks evenly.
 When you season your steak your possibilities are endless. I've used many different combinations of everything from different chili's, herbs, hot sauces, garlic, and onion pastes. In this recipe I used one of my favorite combos of earthy herbs.

Grilled Herb Seasoned Flat Iron Steak

1 Flat Iron Steak
6 tablespoons Oregano
3 tablespoons Rosemary
Season generously with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Season the steak with salt and pepper. Chop the herbs and coat each side. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

 I grilled this steak over a charcoal and pecan coal mix. Set the coals about 6 inches from the grates.This allows for some time on each side of the steak to cook with out burning. The most import thing, to me, is this longer cooking time allows  the delicate Pecan smoke to leave a great wood flavor to meat. I generally start with a charcoal base. Once the coals are white I add 2 to 3 pecan logs and let them burn down to coals. This fire should be nice and hot.  Time to grill!
 Grill for 6 minutes on each side. Let rest for 15 minutes and slice away. Serve with a fresh chimichuri sauce.
This is also makes great leftovers, if you have any. Add a fried egg and it just does not get any better than this! Especially at 2:30 in the morning!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pecan Smoked Swine with Herb Paste Rub

I love to smoke pork. I learned an easy quick way to achieve this. Take a pork butt and debone it. Saving the fat back on the meat. Cut into 2 pound portions. You should get 2 sometimes 3. I usually smoke one at a time and freeze the rest for later. Score the fat in a hatch pattern.
Rub the pork generously with what ever seasoning you like. I used a paste of Basil, rosemary , oregano , garlic, coriander, and olive oil. Salt and pepper and put in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Smoke on indirect heat at about 275• for about 2 hours with the fat back facing up. I used pecan wood for flavor and a little oak for even heat.
The portions are great for small gatherings or if you just want to make some sandwiches and tacos for the week.
My favorite sauce with this is a fresh chimichuri. Heavy on the garlic!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Red Chili Oil

When you ask for a pound of Arbol peppers at Caninos produce market expect to get more than you can probably use. I found this out a couple weekends ago. The bag I got of brilliantly red dried chili peppers was huge! The positive aspect of this problem is now I have to come up with fun ways to use these peppers. This is one that really worked out well. By the way the enormous bag of chilies was $2.50!

1/4 pound of Arbol dried chilies
6 smoked dried chilies
10 Garlic cloves
2 tablespoons salt
750 ml of grape seed oil

Take the stems off the chillies and put in a food processor. Grind until finely chopped. In a sauce pan heat grape seed oil in low heat until warm to the touch. Add pepper flakes and salt. Mince garlic in food processor and add to oil. Let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Let cool to room temperature and transfer to some kind of container. Let marinade for two days and stain off oil.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Squash Stuffed with Italian Sausage

I large squash such as a Mirliton
1/4 pound Italian sausage
1/4 onion chopped
1/4 red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup pickled peppers
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Salt and pepper

Cut squash in half and take the seeds to form a boat. Take sausage out of casing and sauté with onion, garlic, peppers. Sauté until brown and veggies are soft. Add bread crumbs. Stuff mixture into squash and bake in a 400• oven until the squash is soft about 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve with fresh Parma.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

White Fish with fresh Garden Salsa

1/2 pound firm fish
10- grape tomatoes of various colors
2 cloves garlic minced
1 thin slice red onion cut in quarters
Pickled chillies
Several leaves of sage sliced long
3 tbsp butter
White wine
Salt and pepper

Cook fish and set aside. The sauce is what really makes this dish.

In a sauté pan melt butter with a dash of olive oil. Sauté onion, garlic, chilies and sage add white wine until soft. Add tomatoes that have been cut in half. Sauté until soft. Add some fresh minced sage and pour over fish and serve!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bacon Stuffed with Basil and Roblechone Cheese

Bacon Stuffed with Basil and Roblechone Cheese

This is an easy recipe that can have many substitutions. My favorite variation is Taleggio cheese with a piece of fried sage!

4 slices of thick cut hickory smoked bacon
12 small basil leaves
12 small cubes of Roblechone Cheese
Black Pepper to taste

Fry the bacon and be sure to watch it close so that the bacon is crispy yet pliable. Let cool. Wrap cheese in a basil leaf then wrap with bacon. Put the loose bacon side down. If the pouch wont stay together use a tooth pick. Garnish with bacon crumbles and black pepper.

Smoked Goat with Chilis, Herbs and Garlic

This is the recipe for half  a goat I smoked earlier this year on Cinco de Mayo.

Smoked Goat with Chili Paste

1- Half of a Goat
4 limes juiced
1 bunch Cilantro
1 medium onion
10 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups various chili peppers
1/4 cup fresh oregano
2 tbsp fresh ground coriander
2 tbsp fresh ground fennel
4 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp sea salt
1/4 cup peanut oil

Trim goat of silver back as best you can. Put all the veggies and spices  in a food processor and make into a paste. Add more oil if too dry. Rub half the paste on the goat and reserve the rest for basting later. Refrigerate goat over night.

Wrap the goat loosely in heavy foil and add half a Mexican beer and the juice of a lime. Put the goat in a 250 degree smoker. After about 3 hours or until the goat is tender take away the foil and add smoking chips. I used pecan and hickory. Baste the the goat with the remainder of the wet rub with half a beer added. Smoke until the outside has a beautiful brown color and starts to get crispy around the edges.