Monday, January 22, 2018

Pan-Seared Black Cod with Lime-Ginger Beurre Blanc


This was one of those dishes that I created to match a wine. Actually, I think I go that direction quite a lot. Instead of buying a wine to match a dish, I'm usually looking for flavors in a dish to match a wine I already have. 


In any case, I was matching a locally-made Chardonnay that I'll be featuring in next month's #WinePW event when we highlight women in wine. Very excited about highlighting Nicole Walsh and her Santa Cruz-based Ser Winery!

When What to Drink with What You Eat (read my post about that wonderful reference here) suggested ginger and fish, I decided to make a lime-ginger beurre blanc to serve with the fresh black cod I had just picked up at the market. 


Ingredients serves 4
Fish
  • 1 pound black cod, skin on (I usually serve a 1/2 pound piece per person) 
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 t olive oil
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
Beurre Blanc
  • 1-1/2 C unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1⁄4 C dry white wine (I used some leftover Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1⁄4 C freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 T minced ginger
  • 1⁄4 t salt

Procedure
Beurre Blanc
Bring wine and lime juice to a boil in a saucepan; add ginger and salt. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. 

Remove pan from heat; whisk 2 pieces of butter into the reduction. Place pan over low heat and continue whisking butter into the sauce - one chunk at a time. Allow each piece to melt and incorporate into sauce before adding more.

When all the butter is incorporated, remove sauce from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, as needed. You can strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, if you wish. I left the minced ginger in mine. 

Fish
Melt butter in olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Season fish generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the fish skin-side down for 4 to 5 minutes until crsiped and golden brown. Gently flip fish and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes on the other side. Set fish aside to rest.

To serve, place fish on a plate - crispy skin side up - and spoon beurre blanc along the side. Serve immediately.

Argentinian Choripán, By Request


As we were hiking down a hill in the Fort Ord National Monument, back to our car, D asked, "Will you take a request for lunch?" 

Sure. What do you have in mind?

R piped up, "How about Choripán?" 

Chori - what?!?

D agreed, "Yes! Good idea, R - ."


As we walked, they debated on which cooking show they had seen it. Then, decided it didn't matter. Choripán is Argentina's national sandwich and it's easy: grilled chorizo, sweet rolls, red sauce, and green sauce.

D: The red sauce was a pico de gallo. The green sauce was chimichurri.

That I can do!! This was the perfect post-hike lunch.

 Ingredients serves 4 
with 2 choripán per person

  • 4 chorizo links (we did a mixture of spicy and not spicy), sliced in half and butterflied open
  • 8 pan de leche rolls

Pico de Gallo
  • 1 T vinegar (I used a white vinegar)
  • juice from 2 limes
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 banana peppers, deseeded and diced
  • 1 hatch chile, deseeded and diced
  • 1 C fresh tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes, but use what you have)
  • 1/4 C organic cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 T hot sauce
  • freshly ground salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

Chimichurri
  • 1/4 C parsley
  • 3 T vinegar (I prefer sherry vinegar)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
  • 2 T oregano leaves
  • 1 t thyme leaves
  • 2 t crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • freshly ground salt, to taste


Procedure
Pico de Gallo
Place all of the ingredients - except for the salt and pepper - in a small mixing bowl. Blend gently and let stand for 15 minutes to blend flavors. To make this more spicy, add hotter peppers such as a habanero or jalapeno or use more hot sauce. Serve at room temperature. This salsa stays fresh for up to 3 hours. If you refrigerate it, use quickly because it will begin to ferment.

Chimichurri
In the bowl of a food processor, combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth, drizzling in the oil until desired texture; season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and let stand for, at least 30 minutes. If you are making this ahead of time, place in a lidded jar and keep in the refrigerator.

Choripán
Slice the rolls in half lengthwise and toast in the oven. Place the chorizo and grill until nicely charred on the sliced slide. To serve, place chorizo on the rolls and let everyone add as much or as little pico de gallo and chimichurri as they wish.

What to Drink with What You Eat #FoodieReads


A few months ago I went to visit a friend at one of my favorite local tasting rooms, I. Brand & Family. I was picking Erin's brain about what wines to pair with our Moroccan Thanksgiving feast. And she introduced me to this book: What to Drink with What You Eat by Andrew Dornenburg  and Karen Page.* Well, she introduced me to the app on her phone. But, since I don't have a smart phone, she told me about the book which I immediately went home and ordered.


This is a resource I've been dreaming about for years. I just didn't know it existed.


I've only had this book for about two months, but I grab it off the shelf with alarming regularity. You can look up by foods. See above when I looked up "Spinach", it lists possible pairings that include a red (Beaujolais), whites (no oak Chardonnay), and even a non-alcoholic option (lemonade, sparkling water with lemon).


You can also look up by grape varietals to get suggestions. Now I know that wine pairings aren't hard and fast rules...at least I don't think there are hard and fast rules. This book gives you a range of ideas from which you can read what might work well. And of the dozen or so pairings I've tried, each have been a homerun.

I ended up pairing some wilted spinach with an unoaked Chardonnay from a local winemaker. I'll tell you more about that later. But I can't rave about this book enough. If you ever pair wine with food, you need this book! I am so glad Erin told me about it!!


*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

Here's what everyone else read in January 2018: here.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Conquering Cassoulet Alongside the 2014 Minervois le Chateau d’Albas #Winophiles #languedocwines #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with the January #Winophiles event.
Wine samples were provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links

As I was writing this post, I came across a note that Languedoc-Roussillon is a former region of France and that, since January 2016, it is part of the new region Occitanie. Well, color me confused because I still see it referred to as 'Languedoc', so, I'm going with 'Languedoc' and hoping to learn more about this name change through the other writers taking part.

In any case, Jill of L'Occasion is hosting this month's French Winophiles event. Read her invitation here. We are heading, virtually, back to Languedoc for a deeper dive into their wines. Jill also arranged for participating bloggers to receive wine samples for pairing. The Benson Marketing Group sent a curated shipment of Languedoc reds. I received the 2014 Château Saint Jacques d'Albas "Le Chateau d'Albas" Minervois and the 2015 Clos de l'Anhel "Les Terrassettes" Corbières.

The appellations of Minervois and Corbières are two of the major players in the region. Though whites and reds both come from there, Minervois and Corbières are most renowned for their red wines. Languedoc reds are typically blends of  Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Carignan; however those from Minervois tend to lean more on Syrah while those from Corbières tend to highlight Carignan grapes.

The Winophiles' Languedoc Offerings



Baby Steps + Les Terrassettes Corbières
Before I jumped all in to make a cassoulet with a whole duck, I tried a version that used duck legs and pre-cooked beans. That evening I paired my test-run cassoulet with the 2015 Clos de l'Anhel "Les Terrassettes" Corbières.


The wine was deep, dark, and expressive with heavy fruit notes. I read that vigneron Sophie Guiraudon's vineyards are in one of the higher altitude areas of Corbières in a silty clay soil. From what I can tell, she's s one-woman show, farming, performing all of the organic treatments to the vines, hand-harvesting, and making the wines all by herself. "Les Terrassettes" is a blend of 65% Carignan, 25% Syrah, 6% Grenache, and 4% Mourvèdre.


All In with the 2014 Minervois le Chateau d’Albas
After dipping my toe in the cassoulet pool, I decided to go all in. For that dinner, I opened up the 2014 Château Saint Jacques d'Albas "Le Chateau d'Albas" Minervois. This wine was simultaneously restrained and robust. Leather, flowers, and red fruit mingle with fragrant notes of garrigue to create an explosion on the tongue that fades to an elegant mouthfeel.


Conquering Cassoulet
You can read the recipe I made: here. As I mentioned, I dove headfirst into making an authentic cassoulet that starts with a whole duck. I still can't believe how time-consuming it was to soak the beans, break down the duck, confit the legs and breast, make a homemade duck stock, braise the lamb, and on and on. 


I was so intimidated by all the steps. Really.


But, it was so worth the effort!


This was a pot of pure, hearty deliciousness!


Success!



Find the Sponsor..


On the web, on Facebook, on Twitter

*Disclosure: I received sample wines for recipe development, pairing, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Abalone: Out of the Shell and Into the Pan #FishFridayFoodies


It's time for Fish Friday Foodies' first 2018 event. This is our two-year group anniversary! We are a group of seafood-loving bloggers, rallied by Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm, to share fish and seafood recipes on the third Friday of the month. This is, easily, my favorite recipe sharing event of the month. I always come away with a list of recipes that I just have to try! 


This month, I am hosting. I wrote: "Create and share a recipe with any kind of shellfish. Think soups, breaded and fried, sautéed, steamed, or even raw. If it has a shell, it's fair game!"

The Rest of the Shelled Goodness


Monterey Abalone
I decided to write about one of my favorite shellfish: abalone! This shellfish took a circuitous route from native currency (yep...it was used as money) to culinary delicacy (do you know how much restaurants charge for abalone these days??). And in between it was exported to markets in China and Japan because there was no American market for its meat.

That was until “Pop” Ernest Doelter taught Americans how to prepare it. He pounded the steaks for his restaurant on the wharf in Monterey wharf and served them at the 1915 World's Fair in San Francisco. Finally in the spotlight, abalone’s popularity soared, bringing the edible gastropod to the brink of extinction.


Back in 2012, I was lucky enough to attend a cooking class at Aubergine taught by executive chef Justin Cogley. I did have to invoke some serious superhero skills for the assignment, juggling a camera, a notepad, and a pen, all while wielding a knife, a mallet, and a variety of other utensils. What a fun experience!

 He guided a dozen or so of us through how to get the abalone out of the shell, into the pan, and onto a plate! Here's how it goes...


Step One: Shuck
Cogley demonstrated, in one deft motion, how to separate the mollusk from its shell. Our efforts weren’t quite as graceful, but we did it.


Step Two: Clean and Pound
Also, we didn’t actually clean the abalone, Julian did that for us, but he demonstrated how to pound them and we eagerly gave that a try after Cogley made the distinction between the ‘presentation side’ and the ‘other side.’ We pounded the other side with the spiked side of the mallet. Almost fifty strikes was what one of my classmates counted during the demonstration. Then we flipped the abalone over, covered it with a towel, and pounded it again with the smooth side.


Step Three: Sous Vide
At that point, our abalone were vacuum-sealed for us to take home and we cooked abalone that Cogley and his crew had already prepped. When I write ‘prepped for final cooking’, I mean they were cooked sous vide (French for 'under vacuum') ahead of time. Sous vide is a method of cooking in vacuum-sealed plastic pouches at precisely controlled temperatures. For this preparation, the abalone were sous vide’d at 140° F for 30 minutes prior to the final cooking. 

While the results were amazing, I am torn when I look at a sous vide machine. Love the results. Hate that it's cooked in plastic and really wonder about what that's releasing into the food cooked inside. So, I have a sous vide that's never been opened because I'm trying to figure out other cooking vessels besides the plastic pouches. Would love to hear if you have any alternates.

Step Four: Pan-Fry and Plate
We heated unsalted butter in a pan and quickly pan-fried our abalone to give them a nice golden color. It took barely a minute per side. Then we spooned a bed of braised corn and Tiger’s Eye beans onto the plate, placed our abalone on top, and garnished it with some sea lettuce, sea grass, oyster leaves and a sprinkling of salt. 


Other Abalone Dishes
I am fortunate to belong to a CSF (community-support fishery) here in Monterey. And we get abalone throughout the season. Thankfully, they prep it for us. No more pounding! I've made Abalone-Topped Pasta all'Amatriciana, Meunière-Style Monterey Bay Abalone, and more.

Do you get abalone? How do you prepare it??

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Sesame Greens with Overnight Oats and Cashews #FantasticalFoodFight


I love the Fantastical Food Fight coordinated by Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes. For more information about the event, click here.


I haven't been very good at participating recently, but this year, I'm aiming to be better. To kick off 2018, we were given the challenge of making a recipe with oatmeal. So. Many. Possibilities.


You can make savory oat bowls; you can bake it into bread. I use it to make homemade granola and granola bars. And I've even made oat-chata.





Overnight Oats
But do you know what I see everywhere, but have never attempted myself? Overnight oats!


I decided that this was the perfect event to do that. Still, Jake and I are off of added sugars this month, so I needed to go savory.

Ingredients serves 2

Basic Overnight Oats
  • 1 C old-fashioned rolled oats 
  • 1-1/4 C milk 
  • 1/2 C plain Greek yogurt 
  • 1 T chia seeds 
  • 1 T flaxseed meal 
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
Sesame Greens
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 C chopped greens (I used kale and chard)
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 t toasted sesame oil
  • 1 T hot sauce (optional)
Garnish
  • poached eggs
  • 1/2 C cashews, roughly chopped
  • 1 T green onions, chopped
  • freshly ground pepper
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  • fresh herbs (I used cilantro)

Procedure

Basic Overnight Oats
Combine ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight; stir. Divide oat mixture between 2 bowls.


Sesame Greens
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add kale and chard, salt, and pepper, and cook until greens are slightly wilted, about 5-7 minutes. Add sesame oil and hot sauce, if using; remove from heat.


Garnish
Spoon oats into a serving bowl and top with cashews, green onions, and cilantro. Serve greens on the side, topped with a poached egg. Sprinkle everything with sesame seeds and a few grinds of black pepper.


I love how flexible a base the overnight oats are. I can't wait to try more variations. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Whole Duck Cassoulet a la Bittman #KitchenMatrixCookingProject


I've made cassoulet before. Well, I've used shortcuts to make cassoulet before - using canned beans and already made duck confit. Inspired by this week's Kitchen Matrix Cooking Project - read more about this here - I decided that I was going to conquer this dish once and for all. 


That and this month's French Winophiles event suggested cassoulet in honor of 'National Cassoulet Day' on January 9th. So, you can read more about the Languedoc wines I poured with my cassoulet.


Here are the other bloggers who decided to join me in making Bittman's Whole Duck Cassoulet...or, at least, their version of it. This project is pretty fast and loose; bloggers can adapt as they see fit.




Whole Duck Cassoulet a la Bittman
slightly adapted, serves 6 to 8

But, for this cassoulet, I decided I was all in. I was determined to start with a whole duck, break it down, confit the breast and legs, and make a stock with the rest of it. I did completely forget the slab bacon, but - really - there was so much meat in this dish, we didn't miss it. I also skipped the cloves, but added juniper berries to my stock. This was ridiculously time-consuming, but it was well-worth the effort. And I think my dinner guests agreed.

Ingredients

Duck Stock and Confit makes 8 C stock + confit of 2 legs and 2 breasts
  • 1 whole duck
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 to 3 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 4 to 5 celery ribs, cut into chunks
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 whole juniper berries
  • parsley sprigs
  • black pepper
  • duck fat, as needed
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 10 C water

Whole Duck Cassoulet
  •  4 C dried cannellini beans
  • small bunch parsley, chopped, approximately 1 C
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound lamb, cubed
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and diced, approximately 2 C
  • 1 C diced celery
  • duck confit (2 legs + 2 breasts)
  • 3 C duck stock + more if needed
  • 2 C tomato sauce
  • 3 T minced garlic
  • 4 links garlicky sausage, cut into thick coins
  • duck fat, as needed
  • 2 C bread crumbs


Procedure

Duck Stock and Confit 
Set the whole duck on the cutting board, breast-side up. Use a knife to cut along one side of the breastbone. Follow the curve with your knife and pull the meat back as you go. You'll end up with one duck breast. Repeat on the other side. Now you have two breasts. Once you've removed the breasts, the legs are easy to see. Remove the thigh and drumstick, cutting through the joint that attaches the leg to the body. Remove as much skin and fat as you can from the duck and place that in a large saucepan. Over medium heat, render as much duck fat at you can. I got about 1 C from mine and added 2 C of pre-rendered duck fat to do the confit.

Lightly score the skin of the breast in a diamond pattern. Sprinkle with salt and reserve. Toss the duck legs with garlic, thyme, shallots, and salt. Refrigerate and marinate overnight.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.  Place your duck breasts, legs, and garlic in a roasting pan. Add the duck fat (I used 3 C) and olive oil to the pan until the meat is almost completely submerged. Cook in the oven for at least 90 minutes.

For the stock, place the duck carcass, celery, carrots, green onions, juniper, bay leaves, and parsley sprigs in a large stock pot. Pour in 10 C water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook for at least 2 hours, skimming any foam that forms on the top. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.


Whole Duck Cassoulet
In a large pot, place the beans. Cover them with water by about 3 inches. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour. Drain the liquid out and replace the water, covering the soaked beans, again, by about 3" water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the beans are tender, approximately 90 minutes. Drain and set aside.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a Dutch oven, or other heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, saute onions and celery in 1 to 2 T duck fat. Cook until the onions soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add in the lamb and brown on all sides. Stir in the sausages. Pour in 2 C duck stock and bring to a boil. cover and place pot in the oven. Braise to 90 minutes. In the meantime, slice the duck breasts into thick slices and bring the legs to room temperature.


After 90 minutes remove the pot from the oven. Pour in the tomato sauce and ladle in the beans. Stir in the minced garlic. Nestle the duck legs, breast slices, and bay leaves into the beans. Sprinkle in the thyme leaves and 1/2 C chopped parsley. Pour in the remaining stock and bring to a boil. Cover and return to the oven for another 90 minutes.

Remove the pot from the oven and sprinkle in the remaining parsley. Cover the top with breadcrumbs. Cover and return to the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the cover and bake for a final 15 to 20 minutes. The top should be dried and a crisp crust covering the entire dish.


Serve with sliced bread and nice red wine.

Share Buttons