Sunday, January 6, 2013

5th Annual Pairing NYE Part 2

On to course three.  I decide to try a different prep for seafood since I was pairing shrimp and crab into one cake.  I found this one on the LA Times'  web site.  Excellent, and can be prepped in advance. 

Crab and Shrimp Cakes (serves 4 as an entree or up to 10 as an appetizer.) Adapted from The Oceanaire Seafood Room's recipe.
About 40 minutes

2 eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/4 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning, divided
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 Tbsp grated onion
1/4 pound (scant 2 cups) crustless cubed white bread (about 1/4 loaf), cut into small cubes
1/2 pound jumbo lump crab meat, drained of any liquid
1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, three-fourths teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, tarragon, and onion to make a dressing.
3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the bread with half of the dressing, mixing until the dressing is absorbed by the bread and the cubes are slightly broken up. Add additional dressing if the cubes are too dry.
4. Gently mix in the crab and shrimp, being careful not to break up the lump pieces. The mixture should hold its shape when formed into a ball with your hand. If it is too dry, add additional dressing until the mixture comes together. You might not use all of the dressing.
5. Divide the mixture and form into 8 large or 20 small crab cakes. Place the cakes on a greased cookie sheet or sheet pan.
6. In a small bowl, stir the butter together with the remaining one-half teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning. Top each cake with a small dollop of the seasoned butter.
7. Bake the cakes until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm.

Mustard Mayonnaise Sauce: (From Morton's)

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp  Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp horseradish

Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Next course is a riff on last year's salt block prep.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

5th Annual Beer Pairing NYE

Once again we did a beer pairing dinner for New Year's Eve.  I can't believe it's been 5 years already since the first one, created in a fit of frustration with what the local restaurants were doing.  This year we invited a few more friends to join in the fun, and TheTooth did a great job making sure I had some great brews to pair with food.

First, I decided to have some fun with the menu.  While I adore the menus TheTooth got for me a few Christmases ago, I thought it was time to do something a bit different.  What could be better than a coaster for your beer glass, right?

 Mod Podge is great stuff.  ToddlerTooth made her own coaster sans-menu with quite a bit of the leftover gold paint.

Before the meal we started with a French Sandwich, based on a dish at The Hobbit in Orange.  Puff pastry, Dijon mustard, shredded pepper jack cheese, and salami are all you need.  Layer the last three between two sheets of puff pastry and bake it off.  I let the pastry thaw a bit too much so my top layer was a bit dense, but it worked pretty well anyway.  There wasn't a real pairing with it, just whatever people wanted to pour.

The first course was based heavily on a Giada de Laurentis recipe.  My tweak is to use Quark, a German cheese instead of the sour cream the recipe calls for.  A bit thicker, and we just like the flavor better.  The crisps are beyond simple to make.  Heat your oven to 300.  Place foil on a cookie sheet, and lay out slices of your favorite salami.  Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, just until the edges turn a bit brown.  Cool and drain on paper towels.  Top  with a dollop of the Quark and some torn basil.

 Course two was fried ricotta balls with herbs over tomato sauce.  I used 1.5 tubs of ricotta, drained overnight.  Mix in one egg and some fresh chopped herbs.  The batter was a simple flour and soda water mix, and I used peanut oil for frying.  Whatever simple marinara style sauce you have on hand works well.

More to come...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Summer Projects

When we moved to this house, we decided the den needed a bar.  Three years and one toddler later the design was finalized and the bar was built and finished this summer.

The Tooth based the design on the elements that worked from the hacked together version we had once the kegerator arrived.  I think he did a great job.  We had a ton of help from my parents (thanks again by the way!)  He and my Dad built, I did the finish work with a bit of help.  It took three weeks thanks to the humidity from hell, but it got done.  Overall, I think it turned out rather well.  Still waiting to hear back about the fabric for the curtains we want.  The kitchy beer mugs are only temporary.

So, without further rambling, here it is!

Monday, July 30, 2012

About those leftovers

I meant to post this a couple of days after the last post on short ribs, but it honestly just slipped my mind.

We had a ton of leftovers and this is what I ended up making.  Based it mostly on a recipe in Food and Wine from Thomas Keller:

Warm up short rib leftovers with a bit of the jus that you've reserved and load them on a roll with some cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, shaved radishes, and a drizzle of creamed horseradish.  Serve some truffled French fries on the side and you have one heck of a meal. 

Since I served this I've made more short ribs just for sandwiches with a couple of changes.  I used arugula and Trader Joe's Cheddar/Gruyere melange and put them in the panini press.  Served that version with root vegetable chips and it was divine.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Another short rib recipe

Bristol Farms had a deal on short ribs, and I felt like cooking.  Not the 50-pan, million-ingredient version either.  I had a bottle of New Belgian Brewing's Cocoa Mole on hand, and I thought what the heck...worst thing that can happen is I have to pitch the lot and order a pizza. 

The beer is spiced and has cocoa added, so I dialed back on the additions to garlic, salt, and pepper.  It was wonderful.  Not quite Chef Sean wonderful, but far better than most I've had out lately.  It also has to be one of the easiest recipes in the world.

I started with about 5 lbs of short ribs.  Trim the fat a bit if they need it, Bristol's never need it.  Let a bit of the chill come off the meat before searing.  Salt and pepper the meat, then put a bit of your favorite oil in a nice big dutch oven or other oven safe pot.  Sear the meat until nice and brown in batches, being sure to get all sides.  Once done, put all the meat in the pan, nice and snug and in as few layers as possible.  Throw in a few pealed garlic cloves (I used either 5 or 6, can't remember.)  Poor the beer over the lot, then refill the bottle with water and pour again.  Stick in a 300 over for 3 hours, then lower to 250 for another hour.  Cool, then refrigerate.  The next day, even better two days later, pull the pot out of the fridge and take off as much fat as possible.  Pull out the ribs, remove from the bone and trim as needed.  Warm the beautiful liquid and reduce by about half, then whisk in a couple of pats of butter while off the heat to thicken it a bit more.  Add the ribs, return to a simmer, and warm the meat.  Taste before serving.  Mine needed a bit more salt, so I went with my Espresso Brava salt, and it was a perfect match.  I served it this time with buttered noodles, but they are equally good with mashed potatoes or polenta.  Makes great leftovers too.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Italian Bao, or what to do when you have enough Bolognese sauce for one and need to feed two.

I wasn't going for fusion, but that's what I ended up with.  If you have leftover sauce that is heavy on the meat, this will work rather well.

You'll need:
One packet garlic herb pizza dough, or one batch of homemade if you feel adventurous
Mozzarella cheese, grated
Meat sauce
Ricotta cheese
One egg
Parmesan or Asiago

Amounts will vary depending on how many you want to make.

Pinch off golf-ball sized bits of dough, and flatten to about 1/8 inch thick.  Put a tablespoon of sauce in the middle, top with a bit of each cheese, bring up the sides and pinch.  Place on a cooking sheet lined with parchment.  Repeat until you're out of dough or sauce or both.  When done, brush each bun with egg and sprinkle with Parmesan or Asiago.  Bake per directions for the dough.  This is what they should look like when you put them in the oven:

Serve with a small salad, and you have dinner fast and pretty cheap too!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Crab cakes!

You know you want some.  Not my best effort to be sure, but if you have access to decent canned crab they make a great dinner!

Not the best photo, but it is what it is.

For the cakes:
1 lb lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and such
2 tsp Old Bay or similar
1/4 cup mayo
1/2 cup panko
Tops of 4 green onions
1 egg, beaten
Ground pepper
Mix the seasonings with the crab gently.  Fold in panko then mayo and the egg.  Form into balls the size of golf balls and refrigerate for about an hour.  Pan fry in a mix of a couple tablespoons olive oil and a couple tablespoons butter.

For the sauce:

One cup mayo
2 Tbsp Dijon or Mustard with seeds
Dash Worchestershire
Dash hot sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp capers, chopped
1 Green onion, minced
2-3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Mix well, refrigerate until ready to serve.

Wish I could remember where I got these recipes, but I've tweaked them a bit anyway.  Don't mix the crab too much!  These make a great simple dinner or a great appetizer too.