Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Black Tip Shark Steak au Carambola Rum Butter Sauce







     Tropically Delicious!
     The light flavor of Carambola and rum tastes nice with black tip shark.  Unripe green Carambola tastes like limeade.  Yellowish orange color ripe Carambola tastes like sweet light citrus fruit.  I used green Carambola for today's recipe, because it adds a refreshing flavor that is suitable for hot summer weather.
     Black Tip Shark is a medium size reef shark.  Black Tip Shark Steak has a clean savory flavor and a firm texture.  The flavor of the meat tastes like Swordfish, Wahoo or White Marlin.  Shark Steaks tend to be very forgiving, because the tight grain meat retains moisture and it takes some severe overcooking to dry the meat out.
     Black Tip Sharks are fairly docile as far as reef sharks go, however they will become extremely aggressive during a feeding frenzy.  Wounded fish or blood in the water triggers the aggressive behavior.  These sharks also become aggressive during the spring mating season when they travel into bay waters to lay their egg sacks.
     The age of a shark affects the flavor and texture of the meat.  Old sharks tend to have tougher meat and a strong flavor.  Old large sharks also tend to accumulate more mercury during their lifetime, which can pose a health threat if consumed on a regular basis.  Yearlings tend to be milder tasting and more tender.  Yearling sharks also have a lower Mercury parts per million count.
     Once any large shark reaches a mature age, the meat becomes susceptible to ammonia contamination because of overexertion while being caught.  A large shark's urine can "back up" into the blood stream and leave an undesirable flavor.  If any size shark is not gutted quickly after it is killed, the urine will back up into the blood and the meat will have an undesirable flavor.  When purchasing a shark steak, it is best to ask to smell the steak before making the purchase.  If the shark meat is odorless and clean smelling then it was well prepared.
     There are some red blood meat strands in a shark steak, just like there is in Swordfish or Red Fish (Red Drum) meat.  The red meat in a shark steak will cook to a brown color and it has a nice beef steak kind of flavor, so do not trim off the flavorful red meat!
     On a serious note, shark sustainability is now a major issue.  In recent years shark populations of every kind have drastically declined in numbers, mostly because of the mythical belief that Shark Fin Soup increases longevity.  Today's recipe was originally published back when most shark species were sustainable.  Black Tip Shark populations are currently recovering from overfishing, so it is best to avoid this species altogether.  
     There are a few sustainable shark species that are good alternatives for Black Tip Shark.  Spiny Dogfish, Common Thresher, Shortfin Mako and Blue Sharks from well managed fisheries are currently listed as sustainable choices.  The list of sustainable shark species is subject to change on short notice, so it is always best to check the sustainability ratings before making a purchase.  Two good resources for shark sustainability are:
     • Environmental Defense Fund
     • Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch

     Braised Sweet Pepper Dandelion Greens:
     This recipe yields 2 petite portions.
     Dandelion is a nice leafy green vegetable for the spring and summer season.  Dandelion Greens have a bitter flavor that can be tamed when braised.   
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of chopped garlic.
     Add 1 tablespoon of small chopped onion.
     Sauté till the onion turns clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add 1/3 cup of ripe sweet red bell pepper strips.  (1/4" thick)
     Add 4 cups of trimmed dandelion leaves.  (loose packed)
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Sauté and toss till the dandelion greens start to wilt.
     Step 3:  Add 1 cup of chicken stock.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the pan with a lid.
     Simmer till the dandelion greens become tender.
     Step 5:  Remove the lid from the pan.
     Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce till most of the excess liquid evaporates.
     Step 6:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Keep the Braised Sweet Pepper Dandelion Greens warm on a stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.
 
     Black Tip Shark Steak au Carambola Rum Butter Sauce:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     If Black Tip Reef Shark is still listed as an endangered species, then select an alternative sustainable shark species or billfish for this recipe.
     Step 1:  Select a 10 to 12 ounce Black Tip Shark Steak.
     Press 2 pinches of cracked black pepper and sea salt into the surface of the black tip shark steak.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil.
     Place the seasoned shark steak in the pan.
     Pan sear the shark steak both sides till golden brown highlights appear.
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Drain the excess grease out of the pan.
     Step 4:  Return the pan with the shark steak to medium heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Briefly sauté till the shallot turns clear in color.
     Step 5:  Add 7 thin slices of unripe green carambola (Star Fruit) that are 3/16" thick.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1/4 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1/2 cup of rum.
     Flambé till the alcohol is denatured.
     Step 6:  Place the pan in a 350ºF oven.
     Bake till the shark steak is fully cooked.  (About 4 to 5 minutes.)
     Step 7:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Place the shark steak on a plate.
     Overlap the warm carambola slices on top of the shark steak.
     Keep the plate warm on a stove top.
     Step 8:  Place the pan with the thin rum sauce over medium heat.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce till the sauce is thin syrup consistency that can glaze a spoon.
     Step 9:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of chilled unsalted butter to the glaze in the pan while stirring with a whisk.
     Pour the butter sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a ceramic cup.
     Spoon the Carambola Rum Butter Sauce over the shark steak.
     Step 10:  Place 2 vegetables and potato of your choice on the back half of the plate.
     *The entrée in the photos was served with Braised Sweet Pepper Dandelion Greens, Wax Beans and Dauphinoise Potatoes.  
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig and a lemon wedge.
 
     This is a nice tasting Caribbean style shark entrée for summer!
SaveSave

Friday, July 14, 2017

Balsamic Salmon Steak a la Griglia with Moroccan Spice Couscous






     Mediterranean Cuisine!
     Arabic culinary influences can be noticed in Italian, French and Spanish cookery.  European culinary influences can also be noticed in North African cookery.  The Mediterranean region has always been a haven for fusions of cultural cuisines.  Ancient trade routes, invaders, conquerors and civilizations that have long since disappeared have all influenced the cuisines in this region.  
     In modern times, the global mass media, tourism and international trade all influence Mediterranean cuisines and vice versa.  Chefs in North Africa and Southern Europe design food that will appeal to tourists.  Creating an entrée for visitors that has an easy to recognize featured ingredient that is prepared with local cooking techniques and accompanied by local food items, in essence is a means for introducing neophytes to a cultural cuisine.  
     A globalized Mediterranean cuisine entrée may feature a popular protein from a foreign land that is prepared with classic simple techniques.  For example, featuring something like salmon in a modern Mediterranean style entrée is not unheard of, because salmon is frozen and shipped worldwide.  Farmed salmon is abundant, so it can replace local Mediterranean fish species that may have sustainability issues, while generating interest in visiting tourists that long for something familiar to eat.   
     Every plate of food has a story to tell and this intangible factor generates customer interest.  Many countries from foreign lands have attempted to colonize and occupy Egypt and North Africa.  The culinary influence origins act as reference points to certain periods in history and a customer that is aware of these factors may look at a plate of Mediterranean food then read it like a history book.  One hundred years from now, the age of mass media globalization, international shipping and jet aircraft tourism will probably be looked upon as just another invasive cultural influence that left its mark in the cuisines of the Mediterranean region and vice versa.  
     Today's Balsamic Salmon Steak a la Griglia with Moroccan Spice Couscous recipe is a good example of globalized tourism cuisine that is designed to create interest.  The recipe actually is basic, so guests will find it easy to recognize.  This is a nice summer season entrée that has flavors that will inspire some interesting table conversation!           

     Marinated Balsamic Salmon Steak:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     The salmon should be marinated for less than one hour, or the Balsamic Vinegar will negatively change the character of the fish flavor.
     Step 1:  Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of Modena Balsamic Vinegar in a small container.
     Add 2 tablespoons of dry white wine.
     Add 2 tablespoons of water.
     Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Step 2:  Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of rosemary.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 crushed garlic clove.
     Add 2 teaspoons of minced onion.
     Stir the marinade ingredients together.
     Step 3:  Select a 6 to 8 ounce salmon steak. 
     Trim the belly flap sections off of the steak.  (Save the fatty belly flaps for other recipes.)
     Step 4:  Place the salmon steak in the marinade.
     Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Occasionally flip the salmon in the marinade.

     Moroccan Spice Couscous:
     This recipe yields about 3 cups.  (2 generous portions)
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of water in a small sauce pot. 
     Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic paste.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced onion.
     Step 2:  Add 1/4 teaspoon of coriander. 
     Add 1 pinch of turmeric.
     Add 1 pinch of rubbed saffron.
     Add 1 pinch of cinnamon.
     Add 1 pinch of mace.
     Add 1 pinch of clove.
     Add 1 pinch of cumin.
     Add 1 pinch of ground fennel.
     Step 3:  Add 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper.  (optional)
     Add 1 pinch of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 4:  Place the pot over medium heat.  
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 5:  Add 3/4 cup of small fine couscous.  (Millet Grain Style Couscous)
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Return the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lime juice.
     Stir the couscous.
     Place a lid on the pot.
     Allow the couscous to gently steam and absorb the liquid.
     Step 8:  Keep the couscous warm on a stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.
  
     Balsamic Salmon Steak a la Griglia with Moroccan Spice Couscous:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.  
     I always suggest cooking salmon till the center temperature is 145ºF (fully cooked).  Only salmon that has undergone the deep freeze process for sushi is safe to eat medium rare.  
     Step 1:  Heat a chargrill (or cast iron ribbed griddle) to a medium/medium high temperature.
     Brush the grill with vegetable oil.
     Step 2:  Remove the salmon steak from the marinade and place it on the grill.
     Grill the salmon steak till it is fully cooked.  Try to flip the salmon, so it cooks evenly and cross-check grill marks appear.
     After the salmon is fully cooked, set it aside to rest for one minute.
     Step 3:  Use a 4" wide ring mold to place a generous portion of the Moroccan Spice Couscous on the center of a plate.  (About 1 1/4 cups)
     Use a spoon to press the couscous into the ring mold.
     Remove the ring mold.
     Carefully place the grilled Balsamic Salmon Steak on top of the couscous.
     Step 4:  Sprinkle 1 pinch of chopped Italian Parsley on the plate.
     Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of small chopped red bell pepper on the plate.
     Garnish the salmon with a thin sliced lime curl.
     Serve with a vegetable of your choice on the side.

     This is a great tasting Mediterranean style salmon entrée!      

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Original Caesar Salad!






     The Original Caesar Salad!
     There are far more low quality Caesar Salads that are served at restaurants than good ones.  Even so, the flavor is the saving grace of this salad and customers readily accept a bowl of romaine lettuce that is tossed with way too much manufactured Caesar Dressing that came straight out of a jar.  Thick pre-made goop in a bucket that many lower tier restaurants call Caesar Salad Dressing is what the casual dining public has become accustomed too.  
     A big pile of overly seasoned rock hard croutons that come straight out of a bag is another trait of a bad Caesar Salad.  More often than not, customers simply push the jaw breaker croutons aside in the bowl and they nearly always end up in the trash, yet lower tier restaurants continue to serve the low quality manufactured croutons with a Caesar Salad.  It is almost as if the combination of muddy thick Cesar Dressing and rock hard croutons is intended to be sadistic punishment for any guest that dares to order this salad in modern times.   
     When I first apprenticed in French and Italian restaurants over three decades ago, the Caesar Salad was strictly a fine dining item.  Casual restaurants had not yet started marketing this item or the Chicken Caesar, which became a very popular item in the mid 1980's.  In fine dining restaurants, the Caesar Salad was still a table side service item that was prepared to order.  Many of the senior chefs that I worked with started their careers in the 1920's and 1930's.  These chefs stated that the Caesar Salad back in those days was altogether different than the modern chopped romaine lettuce variation that most people know in today's age.  This information was the inspiration for researching the authenticity and originality of the Caesar Salad.       
     There are several stories that claim to describe where Caesar Salad originated.  One famous tale about the origin of the Caesar salad states that this salad was made quickly on a busy night at a restaurant that catered to guests that attended the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games.  The food supply was running low in the restaurant kitchen and the only food items that remained were combined to create the Caesar Salad.  This story is entertaining, but after doing more research it became evident that the original Caesar Salad was invented many years before this event took place.     
     Another story states that an Italian American restaurateur named Caesar Cardini invented the Caesar Salad recipe in the late 1920's while operating a restaurant in Tijuana that catered to the Hollywood elite during the American prohibition era.  This story does have credibility because the ingredients of a Caesar Salad are Italian in origin.  Nobody knows for certain if the Caesar Salad was actually invented by Caesar Cardini, because so much table side salad preparation was being done nationwide by every restaurateur in the early 1900's.  In all likelihood, Caesar Dressing may have been made by many other Italian American restaurateurs for many years, before this dressing was finally given a name.  
     The style of creating a salad dressing to order by the table side to impress guests was a standard practice from the 1890's through the 1930's.  Nearly every fine dining restaurant maitre d', captain or chef did table side salad service back in those days, but tossed chopped lettuce salads were not quite yet en vogue.  Most fine dining restaurant salads in the 1920's were actually served as lettuce wedges, especially when the choice of salad green was romaine.  Long thin romaine lettuce wedges were carefully cut so the leaves were still attached at the stalk end.  Guests held the stem end with fingers and swirled the leafy end of the romaine wedge in the dressing on the plate, then nibbled on the dressed romaine leaves.  The romaine wedge salads during that era were held with fingers when eaten, but of course dining on a wedge salad with a knife and fork was an option too.      
     The original Caesar Dressing was not creamy, heavy or thick.  The original Caesar Dressing had a very light texture and it was golden in color.  This means that the egg yolk and oil emulsion must be created by gently whisking, so it does not turn into a thick Aioli.
     Modern Caesar Salad Dressing does not always contain anchovy paste, simply because many modern chefs make the mistake of cooking with personal taste preferences, rather that respecting culinary integrity.  The umami flavor essence of anchovy is required for an authentic Caesar Dressing, because the name of this salad has a historical reference to ancient Rome, where Garum was used to flavor just about every food item.  Roman Garum is a strong tasting fermented fish sauce.  The use of anchovy paste in classic European cuisine compares to the desirable umami flavor essence that dominated ancient Roman cuisines, therefore anchovy is and always will be an integral ingredient for an authentic Caesar Salad Dressing.
     After doing the research, the originality of the Caesar Salad became evident.  The salad of romaine wedges, light golden color Caesar Dressing and crisp croutons sautéed in olive oil turned out to be the same as the Cesar Salad that the old senior chefs described early in my career.  Tastefully garnishing the salad with integral items was part of the description too.  Today's Original Caesar Salad recipe is authentic.  The research may renew the interest of readers that are tired of settling for bastardized versions of this classic salad at modern restaurants that assume that their clientele will not know the difference.            

     Croutons:
     This recipe yields yields 1/2 cup.  (2 portions)
     Add no seasoning to the croutons!  This is the way the croutons were made for the original Caesar Salad recipe.  Only the good olive oil flavor should be tasted.    
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of olive oil.
     Add 1/2 cup of 3/8" dice shaped Italian bread pieces.  (Remove the crust first.)
     Stir and sauté till the croutons are crispy and golden color.
     Step 2:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Use a slotted spoon to remove the croutons from the hot pan and place them on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan.
     Set the croutons aside in a container.     

     Caesar Salad Dressing:
     This recipe yields 2 portions.  (About 2/3 cup)  
     Caesar Dressing was not originally made like a thick emulsion.  Only gently whisk when adding the oil, so the emulsion is light.  Parmigiana Cheese is not added to the dressing, because the cheese is a garnish in the original Caesar Salad recipe.  Lemon juice should be added last, to create a crisp bright flavor.  
     Step 1:  Place 1 large egg yolk in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce.
     Add 2 minced anchovy filets (or 1/2 teaspoon of anchovy paste).
     Add 1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard.
     Add 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar.
     Add 1 pinch of coarse ground black pepper and sea salt.
     Step 2:  Muddle the ingredients together.
     Let the ingredients stand for 1 minute, so the flavors meld.
     Step 3:  Slowly add 3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil while gently whisking, to create a medium thin emulsion.
     Slowly add 1/4 cup of pomace olive oil while gently whisking.
     The dressing should be medium thin emulsion that has a golden color.
     Step 4:  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice while whisking.
     Set the Caesar Dressing aside or place it in a gooseneck sauce ramekin.  

     The Original Caesar Salad:
     This recipe yields 1 salad entrée.
     Chopped romaine was not how the original caesar salad was made!  Thin wedges of romaine were picked up by the stalk end with fingers and then eaten.
     Step 1:  Place 2 trimmed romaine lettuce wedges on a plate.
     Pour 3 to 4 tablespoons of the Caesar Dressing over the lettuce wedges and onto the plate.
     Step 2:  Sprinkle 3 to 4 tablespoons of the croutons over the lettuce wedges.
     Sprinkle 2 tablespoon of fine grated Parmigiana Cheese over the lettuce.
     Step 3:  Garnish the lettuce wedges with 2 anchovy filets and 4 long thin roasted pimiento strips.
     Garnish the plate with 4 Oil Cured Black Olives and 2 thin lemon wedges.

     Viola!  The original is the best!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sumac Berry Spice Seared Octopus Salad






     A Mediterranean Style Healthy Salad!
     Seasonal ingredients are nearly always available year round because of modern transportation and shipping methods.  Summer salads are commonly offered at restaurants during the winter season, but the price of the ingredients increases due to shipping costs.  The increased cost is an indication of pushing the limits of sustainability, because the out of season ingredients that are shipped great distances require more fuel and energy to keep fresh.  The problem for consumers is when the menu prices go up, they rarely come down, so the restaurant price set for a summer salad made during winter, will not present good dining value when summer arrives.
     Sustainability related price increases are a good reason to shop local and purchase only traditional seasonal ingredients.  When summer arrives, that is the time to delve into locally harvested organic lettuce greens, vegetables and sustainable protein choices.
     Lighter fare is en vogue when the weather is hot, so poultry and seafood are in high demand.  Unfortunately there are only limited amounts of fish in the sea and once again, high prices for certain seafood items are an indicator of sustainability issues.  Paying over $10 per pound for fish that should be on the endangered species list simply is not a path to attaining sustainability as a consumer.  Learning to enjoy other species of seafood that are in greater numbers not only promotes sustainability during the summer season, the prices are lower because of the supply and demand principle.
     Octopus is usually plentiful during the summer season and the relatively low price is an indicator of sustainability.  Octopus is a great summer season protein choice, because the meat contains zero fat.  Frozen whole raw octopus is the best value, but some extra preparation time is needed.  Purchasing prepared poached octopus at a seafood market costs a little more, but this ready to eat product is a nice convenience for people that live a busy lifestyle.      
     Chilled octopus or squid salads are commonly served during the summer season in the Mediterranean region.  Italian and Greek style preparations usually feature lemon, olive oil and fresh herb flavors.  Sumac Berry Spice is another good choice for flavoring a chilled octopus salad.  In modern times, Sumac Berry Spice is most often associated with Middle Eastern and North African Mediterranean cuisines.  Back in the days of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, Sumac Berry Spice was used extensively as a medicinal concoction and it was commonly added to local seafood and poultry recipes because of its preservative properties.  
     Sumac Berry Spice has a tangy berry fruit wine flavor that goes well with seafood.  When Sumac Berry Spice is used, less lemon is needed to flavor a Mediterranean style seafood salad.  Today's simple summer salad is a good example of how Sumac Berry Spice can be used to enhance the light flavor of octopus.     

     Olive Oil Rendered Octopus Preparation:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Rendering octopus in olive oil at a low temperature will make the octopus more tender.
     Oddly enough, this entire process can be skipped, if imported Canned Octopus Pieces Packed In Olive Oil are available.  This Mediterranean canned product is the same as rendering poached octopus in olive oil.    
     Step 1:  Place 1 quart of water in a sauce pot over high heat.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Bring the water to a boil.
     Add 2 or 3 medium size raw octopus tentacles.  (About 1 1/2 cups in volume.)
     Poach the octopus, till it is firm and opaque.
     *Octopus cooks quickly, so do not over cook octopus or it will be like rubber!
     Step 2:  Place the poached octopus tentacles in a container of ice water.
     Thoroughly chill the octopus.
     Peel or lightly scrub the thin skin membrane off of the octopus.
     Trim off any large suction cups.
     Cut the poached octopus tentacles into bite size pieces.    
     Step 3:  Place the poached octopus pieces in a small sauce pot.
     Add enough olive oil to almost cover the octopus.
     Add sea salt and coarse ground black pepper.
     Place the pot over low/very low heat.
     Gently render the octopus in the oil for 30 minutes.
     *This rendering process will make the octopus very tender.  If you see or hear any frying sound from the sauce pot, then the temperature is way too high.  If you have cooked rendered duck in the past, then this technique will be familiar.
     Step 4:  Remove the rendered octopus tentacles from the oil and place them in a container.
     Set the container aside or chill it for later use.
     *Some of the oil can be used in the next step.  The rest can be saved for cooking other seafood items.

     Sweet Red Pepper en Lemon Oil:
     This recipe yields about 1/4 cup.  (1 portion) 
     Step 1:  Place 2 tablespoons of virgin olive oil in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.
     Add 3 tablespoons of brunoise sweet red bell pepper.  (Brunoise = 1/8" dice)
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 2 pinches of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Add 1 pinch of coarse ground black pepper and sea salt.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Place the Sweet Red Pepper en Lemon Oil in a container.
     Set the container aside for 10 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Stir before serving.

     Salad Plate Set-Up: 
     This recipe yields 1 salad portion.
     Step 1:  Mound 2 1/2 cups of bite size mixed summer lettuce greens on the center of a plate.
     Place 1 small bunch each of red grapes and white grapes on the border of the plate.
     Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of julienne sliced carrot over the lettuce.
     Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of thin julienne onion on the lettuce.
     Step 2:  Chill the salad set-up plate till it is needed.

     Sumac Berry Spice Seared Octopus:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.  
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil that was used to render the octopus.
     Add the rendered octopus pieces.
     Lightly sear the octopus pieces till a few golden highlights appear.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of Sumac Berry Spice.
     Briefly toss the ingredients together.
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Keep the pan warm on a stove top.

     Sumac Berry Spice Seared Octopus Salad:
     This recipe yields 1 salad entrée.
     Step 1:  Place the salad-set up plate on a countertop.
     Mound the warm Sumac Berry Spice Seared Octopus on top of the lettuce on the center of the plate.
     Step 2:  Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the Sweet Red Pepper en Lemon Oil over the octopus and lettuce.
     Spoon the rest of the Sweet Red Pepper en Lemon Oil on the plate around the lettuce.
     Step 3:  Sprinkle 2 pinch of Sumac Berry Spice over the octopus.

     Viola!  A Mediterranean café style tender octopus salad with the refreshing flavor of Sumac Berry Spice!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Asparagus and Shrimp Spring Lettuce Salad with Ginger Pomegranate Sesame Vinaigrette





     A Tasty Light Café Style Salad!
     Refreshing healthy petite salads are perfect for the summer season.  A zesty light vinaigrette provides satisfaction when the weather is hot.  The vitamins and minerals in the vegetables combine with the lipids from good oil to provide nutrients that are essential when playing in the sun.  Antioxidants contained in tomato, pomegranate and ginger help to prevent premature aging of the skin.  The addition of seafood or poultry provides energy and protein for maintaining a good physique.  As one can see, a light café salad for summer is not only designed to taste great.  It is also designed to keep guests feeling good!

     Ginger Pomegranate Sesame Vinaigrette:  
     This recipe yields about 2/3 cup.  (Enough for 3 to 4 petite salads.)
     Step 1:  Place 2 tablespoons of Pomegranate Vinegar in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard.
     Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and white pepper.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Set the mixture aside for 5 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Step 2:  Slowly add 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, while gently whisking, to create a moderately emulsified vinaigrette.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of pure sesame oil while whisking.
     Step 3:  Place the Ginger Pomegranate Sesame Vinaigrette in a container.
     Chill the vinaigrette aside for at least 30 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Stir before serving.

     Poached Shrimp:
     This recipe yields 1 petite portion.
     Step 1:  Place 3 cups of  water in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Add 2 thick slices of lemon.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Step 2:  Add 5 large shrimp.  (16/20 per pound)
     Poach the shrimp till they are fully cooked.  (About 3 minutes.)
     Step 3:  Place the poached shrimp in a container of ice water.
     Peel the shrimp.  (Remove the tails and mud vein too.)
     Chill the poached shrimp till they are needed.

     Blanched Asparagus Spears:
     This recipe yields 1 petite portion.
     Step 1:  Place a sauce pot with 3 cups of water over medium high heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Bring the brine to a boil. 
     Step 2:  Cut 5 thin asparagus spears to 4" or 5" lengths.
     Place the asparagus spears in the boiling salted water.
     Blanch till the asparagus are cooked al dente.
     Step 3:  Cool the asparagus spears in a container of ice water.
     Chill the blanched asparagus spears till they are needed.

     Asparagus and Shrimp Spring Lettuce Salad with Ginger Pomegranate Sesame Vinaigrette:
     This recipe yields 1 petite salad entrée.
     Step 1:  Use a 4 1/2" to 5" wide ring mold to place 2 cups of Spring Mix Lettuce on the center of a plate.
     Step 2:  Evenly space 5 small tomato wedges on the plate around the lettuce.
     Place the 5 Poached Shrimp between the tomato wedges.
     Place the 5 Blanched Asparagus Spears on the tomato wedges and tuck the end of each spear under the shrimp, so the asparagus spears lean on the tomato wedges.
     Step 3:  Stir the vinaigrette.
     Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the Ginger Pomegranate Sesame Vinaigrette over the lettuce greens, asparagus, shrimp and tomato wedges.

     Viola!  A healthy petite salad that is perfect for a sunny summer day! 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Crab Stuffed Lobster Tail










     A Classic American Seafood Restaurant Specialty! 
     Many old fashioned seafood restaurants have their own docks where fishing boats unload fresh caught fish.  Good fresh seafood needs no sauces or extensive preparation.  Plain raw, broiled or fried seafood are usually the only options at a traditional fresh seafood restaurant.  Owners of these kinds of seafood restaurants take great pride in serving the very best quality seafood with minimal preparation.
     Most east coast seafood restaurants offer a Crab Stuffing to go with lobster, shrimp, pompano or flounder.  Just like in Baltimore, Maryland, the best Crab Stuffing is made with about 95% crab meat.  The other 5% of the ingredients are aromatic vegetables, eggs and bread crumbs.
     Second rate seafood restaurants offer a Crab Stuffing with less than 50% crab meat content or they sell crab flavored surimi as real crab.  One can tell if a restaurant is using pre-made frozen crab cake products by judging the percentage of crab meat too.  Usually these kinds of seafood restaurants are located far away from the coastline or they are corporate chain restaurants.  A traditional seafood restaurant located in a highly competitive coastal area would lose plenty of customers by serving low quality crab meat products, unless the restaurant targets a tourist clientele that does not know any better.
     When I made the Crab Stuffed Lobster Tail photo example for today's recipe, the 2010 British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Disaster had just occurred.  All seafood from Gulf Of Mexico waters and the Gulf Stream was heavily contaminated.  In fact, the residual contamination will pose a health threat for the next 50 years, so many people that are in the know have stopped eating Gulf seafood altogether.  This includes Spiny Lobster and Blue Crab from the Gulf Stream waters.    
     Fortunately there are alternative resources for Crab and Lobster that come from uncontaminated ocean waters.  Today's recipe makes use of Alaskan King Crab and Australian Spiny Lobster Tail.  If you feel confident about the local Florida Spiny Lobster and Chesapeake Blue Crab being safe to eat, then by all means use these traditional items to make today's Crab Stuffed Lobster Tail recipe.
     Spiny Lobster Tails are the best for stuffing.  The size of a Spiny Lobster seems to have no effect on the quality of the tail meat.  Spiny Lobster is harvested worldwide and the price can vary by a wide margin at seafood markets.    
     Maine Lobster is the only true lobster species, because Spiny Lobster are more closely related to shrimp.  Maine Lobster has very large claws and Spiny Lobster has no claws.  Maine Lobster meat has a richer flavor than Spiny Lobster too.  Small Maine Lobster Tails are good for stuffing, but the problem is that a large lobster tail is needed to make a traditional Crab Stuffed Lobster Tail.  When a Maine Lobster grows to over 2 1/2 pounds, the tail meat can become tough and it does not always fill the tail shell.  Large Spiny Lobster Tails are the better choice for making Crab Stuffed Lobster Tail, because the tail is full of tender meat, no matter how big a Spiny Lobster grows.
     Rock Lobster Tails and African Lobster Tails are poor choices for stuffing.  African Lobster Tails are usually marketed by foreign fishing companies that show no respect for local African fishermen and lobster trappers.  Rock Lobster Tails are usually marketed as a frozen product and there is a high percentage of Rock Lobster Tails that show signs of molting or decomposition.
     Fresh live Chesapeake Blue Crab is the best choice for making a Crab Stuffing.  Poaching the Blue Crabs and shelling the meat is labor intensive, but the flavor is best.  The next best choice is to purchased Canned Fresh Lump Blue Crab Meat.  For a Crab Stuffing, the chunkier the meat, the better, so Super Lump or Lump Blue Crab Meat is the best choice.
     As an alternative, Alaskan King Crab Legs are a good choice.  King Crab is pricier than Snow Crab, so greater care it taken when processing this seafood product.  The Alaskan Crab Fishery is superbly managed and top quality Alaskan King Crab has a "sweet" flavor that is not briny at all.  Alaskan King Crab is fairly easy to shell and the meat can be torn into large chunks, so this alternative crab is good for making a traditional Crab Stuffing.
     There is something about Crab Stuffed Lobster Tail that is very appealing for a special occasion or holiday.  In fact, Crab Stuffed Lobster Tail is one of the best selling items of all time for New Year's Eve or Valentine's Day.  Today's recipe is expensive to make at home and it is even more expensive to purchase at a good restaurant.  For a special treat or a special event, a traditional American coastal seafood restaurant style Crab Stuffed Lobster Tail is a nice choice!

     Crab Stuffing:
     This recipe yields about 6 ounces.  (Enough for 1 large 8 ounce lobster tail.)
     A good crab stuffing contains about 90% to 95% Crab Meat.  Blue Crab or King Crab are best for a crab stuffing.  The chunkier the crab meat, the better the stuffing will be.  
     Step 1:  Shell about 3/4 cup to 1 cup of Alaskan king crab meat.  (About 5 ounces.)
     *Be sure that there is absolutely no shell or cartilage in the crab meat.  Try to leave the large pieces of crab meat intact instead of breaking them up.
     Place the crab meat in a mixing bowl.
     Chill the crab meat till it is needed.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of virgin olive oil.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced mixed green bell pepper and red bell pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of finely minced Hickory Smoked Bacon.
     Gently sauté till the vegetables are tender.  (The smoked bacon should not be cooked crisp.)
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Step 3:  Add the sautéed aromatic vegetables and bacon to the crab meat in the mixing bowl.
     Add 2 pinches of minced Italian Parsley.
     Add 1 small pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 small pinch of thyme.
     Add 1 small pinch of tarragon.
     Add 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper.  (optional)
     Add 1 pinch of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 4:  Add 2 tablespoons of plain fine French bread crumbs.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of whisked raw egg.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.
     Gently fold and mix the ingredients together, till the binding ingredients are evenly distributed.  (Try not to break up the crab meat chunks.)
     Step 5:  Place the crab stuffing in a container.
     Chill till the mixture becomes stiff enough to hold its own shape when squeezed.  (About 1 hour.)

     Crab Stuffed Lobster Tail:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Select an 8 ounce spiny lobster tail.
     Use a chef knife or kitchen shears to split the lobster tail open by cutting through the top half of the shell lengthwise.  Partially cut through the raw lobster meat at the same time, so it will be butterflied, when it is popped out of the shell.  (Do not cut through the bottom of the lobster shell!)
     Remove the mud vein.
     Step 2:  Spread the lobster tail shell open and gently pull the lobster meat upward,  without detaching the meat from the fan of the tail.
     Close the shell under the meat.
     Drape the butterflied tail meat over the top of the empty shell.
     Step 3:  Place the fabricated lobster tail on a small roasting pan or pie tin.
     Spread out the lobster tail fan, so it is fully opened.
     Step 4:  Mound a generous amount of the crab stuffing on the lobster meat.  (About 5 to 6 ounces.)
     Gently press and shape the stuffing onto the lobster tail meat.
     *Do not firmly pack the crab stuffing or it will become too dense.
     Step 5:  Add 1/2 cup of water to the roasting pan.
     Pour 2 tablespoons of dry white wine over the stuffing and lobster.
     Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of lemon juice over the stuffing and lobster.
     Drizzle 2 tablespoon of melted unsalted butter over the stuffing and lobster.
     Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of plain fine French bread crumbs over the lobster stuffing.
     Sprinkle 2 pinches of Spanish Paprika over the stuffing.
     Step 6:  Place the pan in a 350ºF oven.
     Bake till the Stuffed Lobster is halfway done.  (About 5 minutes.)
     Remove the pan from the oven.
     Use a spoon to baste the lobster with the pan juices.
     Step 7:  Place the pan back in the oven.
     Bake till golden highlights appear on the stuffing and the lobster meat is fully cooked.  (A probe thermometer should read 165ºF.)
     Step 8:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Carefully use a wide spatula to set the Crab Stuffed Lobster Tail on the front half of a plate.
     Spoon some of the butter and pan juices from the roasting pan over the stuffed lobster.
     Serve with a vegetable and potato of your choice.  (The stuffed lobster in the photos was served with buttered thyme carrots and boiled bliss potatoes.)
     Garnish the plate with an Italian Parsley sprig and a decorative "winged" lemon half.

     The aroma and flavor of Crab Stuffed Lobster Tail will certainly impress guests!  The small amount of hickory smoked bacon adds a subtle old fashioned east coast fish house flavor to the stuffing.  This is a great entrée for a special occasion!  

Friday, June 16, 2017

Curry Apple Carrot Soup







     A Tasty Soup For Any Season!
     Apple is a traditional sweetener for curry.  Carrots also have a semi sweet flavor.  The naturally sweet light flavor of apples and carrots mellows the complex curry spice flavor.  The result is an interesting soup flavor that provides warmth on a chilly day and gives relief to the heat during the summer season.     
     I have sold this soup as a special du jour item at many restaurants during the last three decades.  In Florida and Las Vegas, customers really liked this soup.  In conservative areas, like Pennsylvania, many restaurant workers still define how good a soup is, by whether it is sold in a can.  Needless to say, it was no use trying to sell modern soups, like Curry Apple Carrot when working in Philadelphia.  Curry Apple Carrot is more popular in trendsetting restaurants in warm weather climates.  Curry Apple Carrot Soup is also a good selling item in traditional English pubs, because the clientele are familiar with curry spice food.  
     While working as a sous chef at a fine dining French café in Florida that hosted weekly fashion shows, I ran Curry Apple Carrot Soup as a special du jour item one day.  Oddly enough, one of the customers at the café that day just happened to be an editor for Gourmet Magazine.  The editor liked my Curry Apple Carrot Soup!  The editor said that he would return in 3 weeks and that he wanted me to submit a standardized recipe for the soup.  He also wanted the soup to be prepared for photos for a story in Gourmet Magazine.  He handed his business card to the chef and I, then mentioned that he would call to give notice upon his return.
     I was happy about how the editor wanted to feature my Curry Apple Carrot Soup in Gourmet Magazine!  The French chef was happy too, because the notoriety would boost business.  Unfortunately, one week later tragedy struck.  The billionaire owner of the classy French Café had all of his assets frozen, due to a stock market insider trading scheme that he was involved in.  The French chef and I went two weeks without a paycheck and we both had quit our jobs at the café or go broke.  Leaving that bankrupted restaurant meant that my Curry Apple Carrot Soup was not going to be featured in Gourmet Magazine, but thats life in the fast lane.   
     A few months later, the bartender at the French cafe called me on the phone and told me how the café was still struggling to make ends meet.  When I mentioned the Gourmet Magazine deal, the bartender said that the editor of Gourmet Magazine actually did return for the soup recipe.  As it turned out, the bankrupt French café hired a second rate cook at a low wage to replace the French chef and I, so the food quality plummeted.  The bartender was laughing about how bad the cook really was!  The bartender said that the cook made the Curry Apple Carrot Soup with canned apple sauce and canned carrots that he purchased with petty cash at the food market next door.  The Gourmet Magazine representatives refused to have anything to do with that cook's version of the soup and they never returned.  I just laughed and thanked the bartender for letting me know what went on.    
     Anyway, readers of this recipe should be happy to know that Curry Apple Carrot Soup looks and tastes good enough to be featured in famous food magazine.  Restaurateurs will be happy to know that the cost of making this soup is very low, so the profit margin is extremely high.  Curry Apple Carrot Soup has been made by many chefs before me, but the version that I make always seems to turn out the best.  Most chefs thicken this soup with a cornstarch slurry, which actually is a shortcut method that robs flavor.  Roux is the best choice for thickening this soup, because it increases flavor while creating a silky smooth texture.   
 
     Curry Apple Carrot Soup
     This recipe yields about 1 quart.  (2 large soup bowls)
     Step 1:  Heat a large sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped onion.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped peeled celery.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Sauté and stir till the onions turn clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1 1/4 cups of small chopped carrot.
     Add 3/4 cup of chopped peeled cored apple.  (Gala Apple is good for this recipe.)
     Add 3 1/2 cups of light chicken stock.
     Step 3:  Raise the temperature to medium high heat.
     Bring the soup to a boil.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Garam Masala.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Yellow Madras Curry Powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add sea salt to taste.
     Gently simmer till the vegetables are very soft and the volume is about 4 cups.
     Step 5:  Remove the soup from the heat and let it cool.
     Use an emersion blender, food processor or blender to puree the soup.  (The soup in the photos was pureed the old fashioned way, by pressing the ingredients through a fine mesh strainer.)
     Step 6:  Pour the soup puree through a fine mesh strainer into a second sauce pot.
     Place the pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of cream while stirring.
     Add 3/4 cup of milk while stirring.
     Bring the soup to a gentle boil.
     Step 7:  When making roux, it is better to make too much than too little.  Any extra roux can be saved for other recipes.  Roux can be refrigerated for 7 days.
     Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 ounces of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour while constantly stirring with a whisk.  (The roux should look shiny, not caky.)
     Stir the roux till it becomes a light golden blonde color.
     Remove the roux pot from the heat.
     Step 8:  Slowly add just enough of the roux to the soup, while whisking, to thicken the soup to a thin consistency that barely coats a spoon.  (3 to 4 tablespoons of roux)
     Step 9:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the soup is a medium thin consistency that can coat a spoon and the volume is about 4 cups.
     Keep the soup warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie.
  
     Cinnamon Croutons:
     Only a few croutons are needed to garnish each bowl of soup. 
     Step 1:  Cut 1 slice of French Boule Loaf Bread into 3/8" cube shapes.  (About 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup.)
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     When the butter becomes hot and the milk fat liquids evaporate, add the bread cubes.
     Gently stir the croutons in the hot butter, till the croutons are lightly toasted and crisp.
     Step 3:  Use a slotted spoon to remove the croutons from the pan and set them aside in a container.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of cinnamon and 1 pinch of sugar over the croutons, while gently shaking the container.
     Keep the croutons warm on a stove top.
 
     Presentation:
     Ladle 2 cups of the Curry Apple Carrot Soup into a shallow large soup bowl.
     Sprinkle 5 or 6 Cinnamon Croutons on the surface of the soup.
     Garnish the rim of the soup bowl with 2 or 3 Italian Parsley leaves.
  
     The golden orange color and the aroma of Curry Apple Carrot Soup is quite appealing.  This is a great soup for any season of the year!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

T-Bone Steak with Candied Smoked Bacon and Twisted Peppers













     A Modern Tasty Steak Topping!   
     T-Bone Steaks have a superb Strip Steak on one side and a piece of Tenderloin on the other side of the bone.  Tenderloin piece can be just a sliver of meat or it can be the size of a full Filet Mignon Steak when cut close to the Porterhouse Section of the beef loin.  Steak aficionados tend to disregard the Tenderloin side of a T-Bone and they focus on the wide Strip Loin side, because of the rich flavor.  However, a T-Bone that has a large Tenderloin piece does appeal to the ladies.    
     Candied Bacon has been featured as an accompaniment in fine dining restaurants since the 1990's.  Candied Bacon is relatively easy to make, but it is just as easy to make a batch that is unpalatable.  If the brown sugar is not cooked to the melting point, the candy coating will be brittle and the Candied Bacon will have an unpleasant texture.  If the brown sugar is caramelized too dark, the flavor will be bitter and the candy coating will look black.  When lightly caramelized, the sugar coating will adhere to the bacon and the color will be a golden brown shade.   As one can see, a moderate oven temperature and the length of roasting time are critical when making Candied Bacon.
     The state of doneness of the bacon also is critical when making Candied Bacon.  The bacon must only be partially cooked before it is sugar coated or the brown sugar will cook to an undesirable dark color before the bacon turns golden brown.  If the bacon is cooked crisp before it is sugar coated, then the bacon will be burnt by the time the brown sugar becomes molten.
      Classic Candied Bacon is made with perfectly flat full strips of bacon.  To accomplish this, the bacon must be covered with parchment paper on both sides and sandwiched between two sheet pans before baking.  A perfectly flat full strip of Candied Bacon is a very nice looking garnish, but it has limited applications.  
     Many modern chefs prefer to candy bite pieces of bacon.  Bite size pieces of Candied Bacon can be sprinkled on everything from salads to steaks.  Candied Bacon pieces do not have to be perfectly flat, so this style of Candied Bacon is much easier to make.    
     For today's recipe steak the smoked bacon is cut into bite size pieces then cooked till the bacon is blanched.  When the brown sugar is added, the Twisted Peppers are also added, so the peppers infuse with the flavor of the Candied Smoked Bacon in the oven.  As can be seen in the photos above, the Candied Bacon has a nice color and it is not overly dark.  The molten brown sugar clings to the bacon and it also is not too dark.  The cooked peppers are still green, yet fully cooked.  The result is a great tasting topping for a good T-Bone Steak!
     Twisted Peppers are Hybrid Shishito Peppers.  The Twisted Pepper spicy heat level is somewhere between green bell pepper and a mild green jalapeño.  The flesh of a Twisted Pepper is very thin and these peppers cook quickly.  There is no need to remove the seeds in Twisted Peppers that are served whole, because these hybrid peppers contain relatively few seeds.  Popping off the stems is all that needs to be done.   

     Cumin Tomato Northern Beans:
     This recipe yields 2 petite portions.  (About 1 cup.)
     Fancy beans are a nice accompaniment for a steak!  
     Step 1:  Place 1 cup of rinsed cooked Northern Beans (or rinsed canned Northern Beans) in a small sauce pot.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste.
     Add 1 teaspoon of virgin olive oil.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Add enough water to cover the beans.
     Stir the ingredients together. 
     Step 2:  Place the sauce pot over low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the tomato sauce is thick enough to cling to the beans.
     Keep the Cumin Tomato Northern Beans warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie. 

     Buttered Miniature Hybrid Beets and Turnips:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Select 6 or 7 colorful hybrid miniature beets and turnips.
     Trim the root end and cut off the excess green tops.
     Step 2:  Place the mini beets and turnips into a small sauce pot.
     Add enough water to cover the vegetables.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt.
     Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the sauce pot with a lid.
     Cook the root vegetables till they are tender.
     Step 4:  Cool the vegetables under cold running water.
     Carefully use the back of a paring knife to scrape the skin off of the root vegetables.
     Step 5:  Place the mini root vegetables in a sauté pan.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 6:  Place the sauté pan over medium low heat just before serving, to reheat the root vegetables.  

     T-Bone Steak with Candied Smoked Bacon and Twisted Peppers:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     It is best to cook this steak topping to order, so the peppers do not become faded and mushy.
     When the candied smoked bacon and twisted peppers are ready to be finished in the oven, then it is time to start grilling the steak!  Be sure to heat the chargrill or cast iron ribbed griddle, before it is time to cook the steak.
     Step 1:  Preheat a chargrill or cast iron ribbed griddle to a medium/medium hot temperature.
     Step 2:  Trim any excess fat cap off of a 16 to 20 ounce T-Bone Steak.  
     Lightly season the steak with sea salt and crushed black peppercorns.
     Set the prepared steak aside.
     Step 3:  Cut 2 slices of Hickory Smoked Bacon into 1 1/2" long pieces.
     Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Place the smoked bacon pieces in the pan.
     Gently sauté the bacon till a few golden highlights appear and the bacon just starts to become crisp.  (Cooked a little more than blanched.) 
     Step 4:  Use a slotted spoon to remove the lightly cooked bacon pieces from the pan and set them aside in a container.  
     Leave the bacon grease in the pan.
     Step 5:  Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Add 10 to 12 of Hybrid Twisted Peppers (Shishito Peppers) that have the stem end cut off.
     Briefly sauté the peppers till they just start to cook.
     Use a slotted spoon to remove the peppers and add them to the bacon in the container.
     Step 6:  Drain the excess bacon grease out of the pan.
     Return the pan to medium heat.     
     Add 1/3 cup of Light Brown Sugar.
     Heat the sugar till it starts to become molten.
     Step 7:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Return the smoked bacon pieces and twisted peppers to the pan.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Step 7:  *Start cooking the seasoned T-Bone Steak at this time!  Grill the steak with a crosscheck pattern, so the steak looks nice.  Cook the steak to your desired state of doneness.  
     Step 8:  While the steak is cooking, place the pan with the molten brown sugar, smoked bacon and twisted peppers in a 350ºF oven.
     Once every 2 minutes toss the ingredients together in the pan, so the sugar glazes the ingredients.
     Bake till the molten brown sugar lightly coats the bacon and peppers are still green.  
     Remove the pan from the oven.
     Keep the Candied Smoked Bacon and Twisted Sweet Peppers warm on a stove top till the steak finishes cooking.
     Step 9:  When the T-Bone Steak is cooked to the desired finish temperature, place it on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan.
     Let the steak rest for about one minute before serving.

     Presentation:
     Step 1:  Place the T-Bone Steak on the front half of a plate.
     *For a T-Bone steak that has a big tenderloin piece, face that side of the steak toward the customer to show it off.  For a T-Bone with a smaller tenderloin piece, face the big strip side of the steak toward the customer.
     Step 2:  Place the Buttered Miniature Beets and Turnips on the back half of the plate.
     Mound 1/2 cup of the Cumin Tomato Northern Beans on the back half of the plate.
     Garnish the beans with a cilantro sprig.
     Step 3:  Cascade the Candied Smoked Bacon and Twisted Peppers over the back edge of the steak, but try to leave the bone exposed.
     Spoon any remaining brown sugar glaze in the pan over the Candied Smoked Bacon and Twisted Peppers.
     
     The flavors of this T-Bone steak entrée are mouthwatering!  The smokey sweet candied steak topping is certainly different and it surely will draw compliments from guests.