Archives for March 2014

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Springtime Mini Frittatas

Springtime Mini Frittatas
Yields 16
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Ingredients
  1. 12 large eggs
  2. 3/4 c whole milk
  3. I tsp freshly ground black pepper
  4. 2 tsp s.a.l.t. Sisters Mojo seasoning
  5. 1/2 c grated Parmesan
  6. 1/2 lb thin asparagus spears - sliced thin
  7. 1 cup frozen petite peas - thawed
Instructions
  1. Whisk everything but the veggies together. Nestle veggies into bottom of Brownie Bite or mini muffin pan.
  2. Pour egg mixture over, filling scant 2/3 full.
  3. Bake at 375 for 12 - 14 minutes. They will appear set in the middle.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Green with Envy

Green with Envy
Yields 1
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Ingredients
  1. For the cocktail
  2. • ¼ cup peeled, chopped Granny Smith apple
  3. • 2 ounces celery infused gin (see below for recipe)
  4. • ½ ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice (I used Meyer)
  5. • ½ ounce simple syrup
  6. • 2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters
  7. • Dash Tabasco
  8. For the celery infused gin
  9. • 16-inch length of crisp green celery stalk (end trimmed)
  10. • 16-inch length of an inner celery stalk with leaves (end trimmed)
  11. • 1/8 teaspoon crushed green anise seed (can substitute fennel seed)
  12. • 2 cups gin
For the cocktail
  1. Muddle apple in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add liquid ingredients.
  3. Fill shaker with ice, close and shake vigorously for 5-7 seconds, until shaker is frosty and cold. Strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with tender celery stalk if desired. Enjoy and repeat. Sharing optional.
  4. For the celery infused gin
  5. Cut celery into two-inch lengths. Combine ingredients in an airtight container, such as a quart jar. Allow mixture to infuse for 2 days, shaking jar a few times a day. On the second day, strain out solids, return infused gin to jar and refrigerate until needed.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Working The Plate by Chef Paul Lindemuth

I have always told my cooking class students that you “eat with your eyes”.  The visuals of a beautifully composed plate provide the all-important first impression.  Often before the first aromas and certainly before the first tastes hit our senses, our eyes feast on the array of shapes, colors and textures placed before us. 

I’ve watched with pride as my culinary assistants carefully wipe clean the rim of every plate before putting it before our students as well as asking me how I wish the plate to be positioned (fish at 6 o’clock?).  

Food presentation goes beyond the arrangement of finished ingredients on a plate.  Every chef has an individual style of plating that is very personal and continually evolving…defined by the occasion, cuisine and often the plate itself. 

A geometric square plate is perfect to showcase the minimal presentation of a stripe of sauce with a trio of perfectly seared scallops placed on top.  

A carefully composed stack of tomatoes, avocados and chicken salad is a far more appealing presentation of Cobb salad than a spoonful randomly dolloped on the plate. 

Herbs make beautiful garnishes and using the same herbs for garnish as used in the food being presented helps tell the story of the flavors on the plate. 

Using a bowl, cup or glass for something other than its original intent is a wonderful way to infuse interest….such as a giant cold shrimp perched on the rim of a shot glass with a bit of cocktail sauce in the bottom. 

So whether you’re plating for two or a feast for family and friends, take the time to set the stage for the sensory experience of a wonderful meal.

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Wood-Roasted Salmon with Lemon Cream

2 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup dry vermouth
2 cups heavy cream
freshly squeezed juice of 2 large lemons
six 5 to 6 ounce salmon fillets, rinsed and patted dry
olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
twelve thin lemon slices
6 sprigs fresh thyme
6 cedar roasting papers, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, combine the shallots and vermouth.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the liquid is reduced by one half.  Add the cream and continue cooking until reduced by one half.

Remove the sauce from the heat.  Using an immersion blender, puree the sauce until smooth.  Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.  Cover and set aside. (The sauce may be prepared up to one day in advance, covered tightly and refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.)

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Rub a light coating of olive oil on both sides of each salmon filet.  Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Remove the cedar roasting papers from the water and place them on a work surface.  Place one lemon slice in the center of a paper and place a thyme sprig on top.  Place a salmon filet on top and then put one slice on top of the salmon. Carefully wrap the paper over the fish and secure with bamboo picks or toothpicks. Place the wrapped salmon to a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining salmon.

Roast until the salmon flakes and is cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Check

Meanwhile, gently re-warm the sauce over low heat.

Transfer the salmon to heated serving plates and unwrap the cedar roasting paper. Serve with the lemon cream sauce on the side.

 Serves 6

Rigatoni with Sausage, Peas, Tomatoes, and Cream

Rigatoni with Sausage, Peas, Tomatoes and Cream
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup Peas
  2. 2 T Unsalted Butter
  3. 1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  4. 1/3 Cup finely minced Onions
  5. 1 link Mild Italian Sausage
  6. 3 oz. Pancetta
  7. 1/2 cup Dry White Wine
  8. 3 cups milled Italian Tomatoes
  9. 1/4 cup heavy cream
  10. 1 T Salt (or to taste)
  11. 1 lb. dried Rigatoni
  12. 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
Instructions
  1. Heat butter and oil together in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and stir until lightly golden and soft, about 6 minutes. Raise heat to high, add sausage and pancetta and cook, stirring and breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, until sausage has a golden brown color.
  2. Add wine and stir until almost all of it has evaporated. Add the tomato sauce and cream and season with salt. As soon as the sauce comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook at the slowest of simmers, uncovered until it has a medium-thick consistency.
  3. Stir in peas, simmer for another minute or two, and turn off heat. Taste and adjust seasoning. (The sauce can be prepared several hours ahead. Reheat gently before using)
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add salt and pasta and cook until pasta is tender but still firm to the bite.
  5. Drain the pasta and place in the skillet with the sauce. Add Parmigiano and mix over medium heat until the pasta and sauce are well combined. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve hot, with Parmigiano.
  6. Serves 4 to 6
  7. Adapted from “Biba’s Taste of Italy” by Biba Caggiano
Adapted from Biba's Taste of Italy
Adapted from Biba's Taste of Italy
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Seared Duck Breasts with Weeknight Cherry Gastrique

Seared Duck Breast with Weeknight Cherry Gastrique
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1 T. Olive oil
  2. 2 T. Minced shallot
  3. ½ C. Best quality cherry jam (I like Bonne Maman)
  4. 1 - 2 T. Aged Balsamic vinegar
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
  6. Four 8 oz. Skin on duck breast halves
  7. Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. To make the gastrique: Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the shallot and sauté briefly until translucent. Add the jam and vinegar and cook, stirring, until the jam has melted and is quite liquid. Add more vinegar if needed to balance the sweetness. Season generously with salt and pepper. (It should not be sweet, it should be tart and fruity.) This can be made early in the day, refrigerated and reheated, or made at the same time as the duck.
  2. Prep and Sear the duck: Using a small, sharp knife, make very shallow slices into the duck skin and fat, creating a diamond pattern. Do not cut into the meat, only the skin and fat. This will help the fat to render and the skin to crisp. Season generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat two large stainless steel skillets over medium high heat for 2 minutes, until hot. (Preheat the pans dry—the duck has plenty of fat already!) Add the duck breasts, skin side down. Turn the heat down to moderate-low and sear the duck breasts, without disturbing them, for 4-7 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts. (The smaller fillets will take 4 minutes, full breast halves will take 7.) Turn the duck breasts over and sear an additional 2-5 minutes (again, depending on size.) The duck breasts will be medium rare when you remove them from the heat.
  4. Remove the breasts to a plate and tent with foil or drape a kitchen towel over them and let them rest for 3 minutes. As they rest, the breasts will come up to medium doneness. (You should not cook them well done.) If you made the gastrique in advance, warm it up.
  5. Slice the duck breasts into thin slices (I like to cut them on a horizontal diagonal). Spoon some of the gastrique onto the bottom of the plate and arrange the slices over.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Karen’s Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

Karen's Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 12 large mushrooms or 1 lb. small mushrooms
  2. 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  3. 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  4. 1 10 oz. package frozen spinach, chopped
  5. 3 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
  6. 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  7. Dash Tabasco
  8. 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  9. 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  10. 1tsp. salt
Instructions
  1. Remove stems of mushrooms. Clean caps. Mix butter and garlic powder. Dip each cap into mixture and place in greased flat casserole dish. Cook spinach according to directions on package. Drain spinach well. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Fill caps with mixture.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until heated through.
Marcel's Culinary Experience http://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Don’t Duck the Duck! by Chef Robin Nathan

I have two favorite restaurant meals . . . whenever I am out to eat and one of them appears on a menu, it’s a safe bet I’ll order it.  Just what are these exotic delicacies that a trained chef eats out, you may ask? Something really complicated? Something that takes hours to cook? Something with hard-to-find ingredients? You would be wrong on all counts…they are, drum roll….Seared Duck Breast and Rack of Lamb.  And believe it or not, they are two of the easiest things to cook, are ready in minutes, and the ingredients can be found at local markets.  

For the past 2 years, we have celebrated Valentine’s Day as a family unit (just me, my husband, and son) with a Seared Duck Breast Dinner.  Even on a busy weeknight, the meal is ready in just a few minutes. I serve the duck with a farro grain pilaf, a savory cherry sauce, and some steamed asparagus. When I mention to my friends what we’re having for dinner they say “Wow, duck breast. That sounds intimidating.” Rack of lamb has the same rep, but trust me, these dishes are ridiculously easy to cook — they only sound intimidating. 

You can purchase whole, skin-on duck breast halves from any good, local butcher. Mariano’s also stocks a frozen skin-on duck breast fillet that cooks up very nicely as well.  Give this recipe a try and soon you’ll be casually telling your neighbors, “oh, I’m just searing a little duck breast tonight for dinner.”  (We’ll take on the rack of lamb in another update!) 

To quote my 10-year-old son, “Mom, except for the asparagus, that’s the best dinner all year.” 

Seared Duck Breast with Weeknight Cherry Gastrique

4 Servings

1 T. Olive oil
2 T. Minced shallot
½ C. Best quality cherry jam (I like Bonne Maman)
1 – 2  T. Aged Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Four 8 oz. Skin on duck breast halves
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the gastrique: Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the shallot and sauté briefly until translucent.  Add the jam and vinegar and cook, stirring, until the jam has melted and is quite liquid.  Add more vinegar if needed to balance the sweetness.  Season generously with salt and pepper. (It should not be sweet, it should be tart and fruity.)  This can be made early in the day, refrigerated and reheated, or made at the same time as the duck.

Prep and Sear the duck: Using a small, sharp knife, make very shallow slices into the duck skin and fat, creating a diamond pattern. Do not cut into the meat, only the skin and fat. This will help the fat to render and the skin to crisp. Season generously on both sides with salt and pepper.

Raw-Duck-Breasts

Preheat two large stainless steel skillets over medium high heat for 2 minutes, until hot.  (Preheat the pans dry—the duck has plenty of fat already!)  Add the duck breasts, skin side down.  Turn the heat down to moderate-low and sear the duck breasts, without disturbing them, for 4-7 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts. (The smaller fillets will take 4 minutes, full breast halves will take 7.) Turn the duck breasts over and sear an additional 2-5 minutes (again, depending on size.) The duck breasts will be medium rare when you remove them from the heat.

Remove the breasts to a plate and tent with foil or drape a kitchen towel over them and let them rest for 3 minutes. As they rest, the breasts will come up to medium doneness.  (You should not cook them well done.)  If you made the gastrique in advance, warm it up.

Slice the duck breasts into thin slices (I like to cut them on a horizontal diagonal).  Spoon some of the gastrique onto the bottom of the plate and arrange the slices over. Enjoy!!