Sunday, February 20, 2011

Massaged Kale Salad

½ bunch Kale, roughly chopped
1 lemon
honey to taste
1t black vinegar
3t olive oil
1 mango, diced
1 scallion, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
Kale would normally be considered too tough for a salad green, and it is usually cooked. However a "massaged kale salad" calls for salt & an acid to be massaged into the greens, and tenderizes them nicely.
Chop Kale, and cut the lemon in half. Put one half to the side, and squeeze the other over the kale. Sprinkle the Kale with salt, be reasonable & don’t over salt. The salt plus the acidity of the lemon will tenderize the Kale. Massage these ingredients into the kale for a couple minutes. Then in a small bowl whisk together the honey, vinegar and olive oil. Dice up the other ingredients, then top the salad and dress it to taste!
From what I understand traditional guacamole has avocado, lime & salt. I always like to add a sprinkle of cumin, loads of cilantro, red onion & tomato. Avocados are much more reasonably priced in Texas, than Missouri, and people here can’t get enough of them! This salad really satisfied my greens craving and I’ve been thinking about it so much that I am buying another head of Kale tomorrow!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Simple Seitan

Seitan Dip Sandwich Pan fried seitan, on a 3seed baguette, with melty Red Leichester cheese, homemade barbeque sauce, and seitan cooking broth to dip in. Not sure if you'd like it? Anna wasn't sure either. I made her one anyway.. she ate it quickly and asked for another!
Comfort Food!! Vegetarians rejoice! This meal made me a happy lady. Pan fried Seitan with Red Leichester cheese, homemade Barbeque Sauce, mashed potatoes with wild mushroom gravy and roasted veggies. I ate this at work, and my co-workers were jealous.

About Seitan:

Sounds like Say-tan
Simple Seitan from Veganimicon
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero
page 131-132
1c vital wheat gluten flour
3T Nutritional Yeast
½ c cold vegetable broth
¼ c soy sauce
1T olive oil
2 cloves garlic

Broth: 8 cups cold water plus 3 vegetable bouillon cubes
or 4 cups broth plus 4 cups cold water

Mix together the gluten flour and yeast in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl mix together the veggie broth, soy sauce, olive oil and garlic. Pour the wet into the dry and stir until most of the moisture has been absorbed and the wet ingredients are partially clumped up with the dry ingredients. Use your hands to knead the mixture for about 3 minutes, until the dough is elastic. Divide with a knife to 3 equal pieces and then knead those pieces in your hand just to stretch them out a bit.

Fill a stock pot with broth and add the gluten pieces. Cover and bring to a boil, but watch carefully; you don’t want it to boil very long or the outside of the seitan will be spongy. Try to catch it as soon as it boils and then lower the heat as low as it will go so that it is at a low simmer.

Partially cover the pot, so that steam can escape and let simmer for an hour, turning the seitan occasionally. 

Turn off the heat, and take the lid off let sit for 15 minutes.

Remove the broth and place in a strainer until it is cool enough to handle. It is now ready to be sliced up and used. If you have extra seitan store it in the fridge in the cooking water, or freeze in cooking water.

Fish Chowder & Grandma La Fata's HotBread

3T butter
½ large onion diced fine
1 stalk celery diced fine
4 anchovies
2 cloves garlic minced
½ T dry thyme or 1 T fresh chopped
2 Bay leaves
1 ½ lbs Yukon Gold potatoes chopped into 1in cubes or smaller
4c seafood/fish stock (ask your seafood dept, they might make it fresh)
1 ½ lbs of raw fish chopped up into bite size chunks
2c cream
salt & white pepper
parsley & chives for garnish
Heat the butter in a large pot. Add the onion, bay leaf & thyme and cook for five minutes. Then add the celery and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Then add the potatoes and fish stock, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. I like creamier soups, so at this point, I would takeout half of the soup & puree it. Then put it back in the pot, add the cream and raw fish chunks, and bring to a low boil for 5 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let it sit for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, the fish should be cooked through, season with salt & pepper and stir in your fresh herbs. We ate half of this soup for a few days and froze the rest for later!

I believe that my first food memory is watching my Grandma La Fata make hot bread. My family and I were at her & Grandpa's house in St. Louis, and I was below counter height. She would slice a loaf of Italian bread (ya know with sesame seeds baked in the top) in half (like a hamburger bun) and drizzle it with olive oil, salt & pepper. Then she would press anchovies into the bread, put the bread back together, wrap it in aluminum foil, and bake it in the oven. Not to make it crunchy, but just to heat it through.
There was always a lot of anticipation while the bread was in the oven. My father, brother and I love love love this bread. Over time, we have fancied it up a bit with foccacia, and herbs.
This time I used a Kalamata olive bread and sprinkled Parmesan on top. Also, I bought anchovies from the deli thinking this would be a nice touch, rather than the ones in a can. But they didn't have the strong flavor like the canned ones, so I wouldn't do that again. mmmmm

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wild Mushroom Gravy

Mushrooms in photo (left to right) Shitake, White Clamshell, Brown Clamshell, Bluefoot Chantrelle, Yellow Chantrelle, Hen of the Woods, & Cremini

1 minced shallot
1-2 cloves minced garlic
2T olive oil
½ lb mushroom variety
2 c vegetable or mushroom stock
2 T Tamari or soy sauce
¼ c dry white wine
½ t dry oregano or 1t fresh
2 T arrowroot powder
salt and  pepper
Heat the olive oil in a pan, then add the shallots. Once they are soft add the garlic & cook for an additional minute. At this point, add your chopped mushrooms and sauté them until soft. Add the white wine, and stir, about 30seconds or so later add the Tamari & vegetable stock. Bring the contents to a low simmer, then make a slurry with the arrowroot. If you don’t make a slurry, and just sprinkle the arrowroot in, it will clump. So whisk 1T water into the powder, then whisk it into the pan. Keep whisking until it begins to thicken up. If it is too thick, add more stock. If it is too thin, make another slurry. Add the oregano and season with salt & pepper.

Barbeque Sauce

Honestly, this is very easy. You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry right now.. and if you don’t you should! I came across a recipe this afternoon, realized how simple it was, and ran into my kitchen to make a batch. It was so satisfying. I was very pleased with myself. This is a very versatile recipe. You could replace the tomato paste with a can of tomatoes, tomato sauce, or fresh! Maple syrup and brown sugar can be replaced with molasses or honey. You could add liquid smoke, or apricots, raspberries, jalapenos.. But this is what I had on hand, so this is my sauce! Its realllly good.
½ medium red onion minced fine
2 cloves garlic minced fine
1T oil
1 can tomato paste
+ 1 ½ can water
2T maple syrup
1 ½ T brown sugar
½ T red pepper flakes
1T mustard
Saute the onion and garlic until they start to brown, then add everything except the mustard. Simmer at least a half hour, but up to an hour. Stir in the mustard at the very end. I like to eat BBQ sauce on mashed potatoes. It’s good. You should try it.

Roasted Veg & Black Bean Soup

I’ve been making a lot of Black Bean soups this winter, and am trying to perfect it. Here is what I cranked out tonight.
4 cups cooked bean
1c water/veg stock/bean cooking liquid
1t apple cider vinegar
1 sweet potato
1 yellow onion
1 red bell pepper
1 zuchinni
1 ¼ c sweet corn
4 cloves garlic
½ T cumin (more or less to taste, it is quite strong)
1T paprika
few pinches cayenne
In general, I don’t like a lot of beans floating around in my soup, so I puree em all up. As a variation, you could puree some, and leave the rest whole.
I start bean soup by soaking my beans the night before. The next morning, I rinse them off really well, then put them in a big pot (3parts water/1 part beans) and boil for at least 2 hours. They usually have a better texture if you puree them while they’re still hot, rather than wating for them to cool down. Same goes for hummous making..
So, when my beans are getting close to being done, I dice up to rest of my veggies and toss them with oil, salt & pepper, and roast them on a baking sheet in the oven at 425 until they are wrinkly, golden, and delicious. Also, I reserve some corn & just toss it into the pot of soup because I DO like corn chunks
While they are roasting, I puree my beans & put them into a pot, I add more liquid (there are 3 options listed above) let it simmer, and season with the cumin, salt, cayenne, paprika & vinegar.
One the vegetables are good and roasty, I food process/blend them by pulsing.. that way they are still a bit chunky and not completely smooth, this will add nice texture and volume to a hearty winter soup.
Then I add the veg mix to the beans in the pot, and if I think the flavor needs a little balancing I will add a little more salt or cumin or cayenne. A nice trick for balance is a little vinegar or lemon juice, they really help with soups and sauces.

Egg Salad

I made egg salad because I had the parsley pesto in my fridge.. and I thought.. I really looove pesto in my egg salad! Plus, I never buy egg salad anywhere.. unless maybe I’m at a nicer restaurant for lunch. Who knows how long it has been sitting in that gas station or cafeteria, gross!

1/3 roasted red bell pepper, diced
1 scallion, diced
2 ½ T Mayo
3T Pesto
1T relish
1t mustard
dash vinegar
3 Hard Boiled Eggs
salt & pepper
First make the dressing, and adjust it to your tastes. Use whatever you have on hand, that’s what I did!
Bring a pot of water to a boil, and gently add the eggs, reduce the boil so that the eggs don’t break. On the side, prepare a bowl with ice water. After 10 minutes, remove the eggs from the boiling water, and place them in the “ice bath.” After about 5minutes, they should peel easily.
Dice up the eggs, and add the dressing a little at a time until you’ve reached your desired consistency & flavor.

Parsley Pesto

1 bunch Parsley
¾ c extra virgin olive oil
siracha/chile sauce/hot sauce TO TASTE
dash balsamic vinegar
2-3 T Parmesan
2 cloves garlic
salt & pepper

I hate it when I have a bunch of herbs and they don’t all get used. This pesto is kind of a cross between a South American Chimmi churri sauce and an Italian pesto.
So far, we have put it on sandwiches, ravioli, egg salad, and pizza!
I am going to freeze some too, pesto freezes very well in an ice cube tray.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tumeric Coleslaw

I am quite determined to use every last bit of produce in our fridge. That’s how this coleslaw came about. The first 4 ingredients were in the “crisper” drawer and drawing close to the end of their days. Not if I can help it.
The sprouts were sprouted on my counter top.. it takes about 2 ½ days to turn seeds into edible sprouts, and they are one of the healthiest things you can eat. The mix I am using now is a blend of lentils, alfalfa and mung beans. They are really crisp with a nutty flavor, that the store bought sprouts don’t have.
Making a dressing like this from scratch is something you get better at over time. I never measure anything, but I just keep tasting and adding until it is right. My advice is to start out with less mayonnaise than you would thing you’d need, because you can always add more later… and too much mayonnaise would be gross.
quarter head cabbage
1 carrot shredded
1 quarter cucumber chopped
½ avocado
fresh sprouts
lemon juice
dash vinegar
siracha (chile sauce)
mustard powder
salt & pepper
It is best to make the dressing on the side, then toss it in the ingredients. If the flavor isnt well balanced, then add additional seasonings to the slaw "to taste"

Butternut Squash Pizza Sauce

I made this for some friends from culinary school, we ate it so fast that I forgot to take a picture!
For the pizza dough, you can buy your own or follow a general recipe on the web. I used a package of gourmet spinach infused dough that my Momma put in my stocking for Christmas :) She knows what I like. Thanks Mom!

The pizza would be great with cheddar, or kalamata olives, or however you want to dress it up. I chose a simple vegan route, and topped it with caramelized red onions.

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 drop maple flavoring/ or maple syrup to taste
8-10 fresh sage leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Toss chopped butternut squash in oil, salt & pepper then place in an oven safe container, filled 3/4 with water and cover with foil. Bake at 400 until squash are very soft and can be easily pierced with a fork.
Place squash in blender or food processor and season with the rest of ingredients.
I used the remaining squash puree for the soup in the following recipe.

Butternut Squash Curry Soup

1 recipe Butternut Squash Pizza sauce
1 small can coconut milk
2 T yellow curry powder (or to taste)
½ c carmelized onions
dash apple cider vinegar
siracha to taste
salt to taste
Whisk ingrediets together in soup pot until incorportated. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, then enjoy.

Sea Bass 3 Ways

First, I must explain how I acquired 1.5lbs of $30/lb fish.

Anna works at Central Market’s seafood department,very upscale, fresh and knowledgeable. Her coworker was filleting this 100lb fish, he didn’t do a perfect job, and left some meat on the bones. At the end of her shift they trimmed off the rest of the meat and split it between them. This evening after school, I made three sauces to try with the fish. Since it is such a nice fish, I wanted to have a little fun with it in the kitchen.

I felt very thankful when I made my ingredient list, that I have such a well stocked pantry, we only spent 10$ on ingredients. Overall, this was a very good learning experience. I should also let you know I used my Vita-mix (the Rolls Royce of blenders) for all 3 sauces. It was a Christmas gift from my parents, and I have used it Most of the things I make with it don’t make it onto the Food Blog though, because they are breakfast smoothies or bean dips. It is extremely heavy duty and sounds like a freaking car engine when I turn it on.. and I am in love. I won’t go on and on, but you should you-tube it or watch the infomercial if you are interested in why I am so so crazy about a blender. Any way… the sauces:

Sauce #1 Asian Citrus Glaze

2 small oranges
1 tangerine
½ c pineapple
1T sesame oil
1 ½ T soy sauce
½ t ginger juice
1/8t cayenne
garnish with tangerine and mango

Tip: getting ginger juice without a juicer. Store your ginger in the freezer. When you ready to use it, with a very sharp knife chop off the amount you need. Let it thaw. Once it thaws it will be very soft, and you can squeeze the juice right out of it. If you don’t have time to let it thaw then nuke it for 30 seconds on high, let it cool down for a minute, then squeeze.

There are lots of ways you can juice citrus, right? Today, I sliced off the top and bottom of each piece, the carefully cut off all the skin, and bitter white “pith” with a very sharp serrated knife. Then I dropped the oranges and tangerine into then blender with the pineapple, and made juice. I pushed the juice through a fine mesh sieve to remove the fibers, and into the pan.Then I turned on the heat to medium, whisked in the rest of the ingredients and reduced it by half. It was a beautiful beautiful thing.

Sauce #2 Red Pepper & Olive Tapenade

This was actually more like a tapenade. If I would have pureed it more and added more liquid it would have been a sauce, but technically it was not.

1 roasted red bell pepper
1/3 c kalamata olives
3T prepared basil pesto
2T olive oil
dash of balsamic vinegar
1/3 c breadcrumbs (preferably Italian style)
garnish with chopped parsley and lemon

Pulse the first 5 ingredients in a food processor or blender. Remove, then fold in the bread crumbs. This would make a beautiful brushetta.

Sauce #3 Miso Mustard Marinade

Our hands-down favorite for the sea bass

2T filtered water
1T mustard (I used a fancy habanero tangerine mustard)
1/3 c white miso
2T rice vinegar
2 ½ T mirin (Japanese Rice Cooking Wine)
3t sugar
1T soy sauce
1c ground Ritz crackers
garnish with green onions and sesame seeds

Blend the ingredients together in a food processor or blender.
Drench the fish in the sauce then roll in the crumbs.

We cooked all the fish in a pan, with a drizzle of olive oil. It is a very oily fish and from what I have read, usually Seabass is steamed or cooked in parchment(which also steams the fish.)

Anna and I loved all the sauces. But some of them worked better with the Bass than others.

Sauce #1 was muted by the flavor of the fish, which was very surprising to me since it was a reduction and the flavors were concentrated. I am saving this, because I have about ¾ c left over.. so, we’ll see where it ends up. Sauce #2 overpowered the fish, I probably should have put less of it on the plate, but didn’t want to have the same mistake as the first time. The leftovers will pronanly get spread on toast, crackers or a sandwich. Maybe a quesadilla..mmmm. Sauce #3 was perfect. In fact, we battered the left over fish and froze it for later (we were quite full at this point.) The mustard and miso flavors went really well together. If I make this again, I would probably want to use a little bit more mustard (its so good) and a little bit less mirin & less sugar. (it was quite sweet.)

Sauce #1 Asian Citrus Glaze

Mis en Place: Glaze, diced mango & tangerine

Sauce #2 Red Pepper & Olive Tepanade

Mis en Place: Tepanade, lemon wedges, & minced parsley

Sauce #3 Miso Mustard Marinade

Our favorite recipe for the Sea Bass
Mis en Place: Ritz Cracker Crumbs, Marinade, 3colors of sesame seeds, & scallions