Saturday, July 25, 2015

Roasted Turkey Breast with Rawon Sauce, Candlenuts and Curry Spice Rice Cakes

     Roast Turkey Indonesian Kluwak Nut and Kamiri Nut Sauce!
     Fusion cuisine does not have to be petite portions and it does not only have to focus on only a few specific soy or citrus flavor combinations.  Asia is a big place and there are many traditional food choices that have flavors that naturally meld with western food items.

     Kluwak Nut trees and Candlenut trees grow in Indonesia.  Fresh Kluwak Nuts are a deadly toxin if they are consumed without being prepared properly.  One Fresh Kluwak Nut contains enough cyanide to kill several people.
     Native Indonesians employ a unique method of detoxifying Kluwak Nuts.  Fresh greenish gray Kluwak Nuts are spread on layers of banana leaves in a pit and the pit is sealed with dirt.  The tropical rain and humidity helps to wilt the banana leaves and yeast starts to bloom.  After several days, the Kluwak Nuts ferment and the cyanide leaches out.
     Fermented Kluwak Nuts are a jet black color and the black color signifies that the nuts are safe to eat.  Fermented black Kluwak Nuts have a unique flavor of their own that is rich tasting and savory.
     Fermented Kluwak Nuts are usually puréed with Candlenuts to make Rawon.  Candlenuts taste like a strong Macadamia Nut and the flavor naturally goes well with Kluwak Nuts.  The Indonesian word "rawon" basically refers to any food preparation that is made with Kluwak Nuts.  Rawon most often refers to a soup made with the black nut puree.

     Roast Turkey has a flavor that many Asians are not familiar with, because chicken is so popular in that part of the world.  Roast Turkey naturally tastes good with chestnuts, pecans or walnuts, so adapting Rawon sauce to a Roasted Turkey Breast entrée is actually not too difficult to imagine.  Kluwak Nut Rawon accents and compliments the flavor of Roast Turkey

     Indian curry spice mix is popular worldwide.  Chefs in tropical regions often use curry spices to flavor entrées and vegetable accompaniments, because the flavor is so well known.  Curry Spice Rice Cakes are a nice accompaniment for today's Roast Turkey and Rawon Sauce entrée.
     In the South Pacific and southeast Asia, restaurant food presentations tend to have a colorful tropical theme.  The food is arranged on the plate with the goal of creating maximum eye appeal.

     Kluwak Nut Preparation:
     Fermented Black Kluwak Nuts can be found in Asian food markets and internet shopping sites, like Amazon.
     Dried fermented kluwak nuts are rock hard and they must be soaked in water till they become tender.
     Place 3 to 5 fermented black kluwak nuts in a small container.  (About 2 1/2 ounces is enough for about 2 servings of sauce.)
     Cover the nuts with 1 cup of water.
     Soak the nuts for 24 hours in a refrigerator.
     Scoop the nuts out of the liquid and set them aside.  Save the soaking liquid for later in this recipe.  The soaking liquid is full of flavor.
     Rawon Preparation:
     This recipe yields enough sauce for 2 servings!
     The spices and nuts can be ground together.  
     Candlenuts are available in Asian food markets and at the Amazon website. 
     Step 1:  Place the prepared fermented kluwak nuts in a food processor.
     Add 1 1/4 ounces of candle nuts.  
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of mild Indonesian sambal.  (Indonesian and Malaysian red chile pepper sambal is as dense as a paste.  Sambal is marked mild or spicy hot.)  
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Add 2 garlic cloves. 
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground dried galangal.
     Add 1 pinch of turmeric.
     Add 2 pinches of cumin.
     Add 2 pinches of coriander.
     Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
     Step 2:  Pulse the food processor till the mixture turns into a fine ground paste.
     Step 3:  Add the kluwak nut soaking liquid.
     Puree the mixture.
     Chill the puree till it is needed.

     Roast Turkey Breast:
     One boneless whole turkey breast is enough for several meals.  Either a whole boneless turkey breast or half of a turkey breast is plenty for today's recipe.  Any leftover roasted turkey can be used for other recipes or for making sandwiches.  
     Turkey becomes very dry when it it roasted for too much time.  The center temperature should be a minimum of 165ºF to eliminate pathogen threats.  
     The rice cakes, vegetable garnish, roasted candlenuts and rawon sauce can be prepared while the turkey roasts. 
     Step 1:  Filet a turkey breast and save the bones for making broth.  Leave the skin on the turkey breast.
     Remove the long turkey "tenderloin" strip and save it for another recipe.
     Cut the turkey breast in half or leave it whole.  If only a half breast is needed, then roast the thickest half.  
     Step 2:  Brush the turkey breast with vegetable oil.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Sprinkle 2 pinches of thyme over the turkey.
     Sprinkle 2 to 3 pinches of rosemary over the turkey.
     Step 3:  Place the turkey breast on a wire screen roasting rack on a roasting pan.
     Place the pan in a 300ºF oven.
     Roast the turkey till it is fully cooked and the skin is golden brown.
     Allow the roast turkey to rest for 2 minutes before slicing. 

     Curry Spice Rice Cakes:
     This recipe yields 2 small rice cakes!
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of water in a sauce pot.
     Add 3/4 cup of vegetable broth.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala.
     Add 2 pinches of turmeric.
     Add sea salt.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1 pinch of Chinese chile powder.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Step 2:  Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of long grain white rice.
     Return the liquid to a boil.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Simmer and steam, till the rice becomes tender.
     Step 4:  Let the rice mixture cool to room temperature.
     Select a 2 1/2" to 3" ring mold.
     Use a spoon to press the curry rice into the ring mold to form a rice cake that is about 1/2" thick.  Make 2 small rice cakes per serving.
     Step 5:  *Wait to cook the rice cakes, till 5 minutes before the entrée is ready to be served. 
     Heat a seasoned or non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
     Use a spatula to place the rice cakes in the pan.
     Pan fry undisturbed, till the bottom of the rice cake becomes crispy golden brown.  
     Carefully flip the rice cake and cook the other side.
     Keep the rice cakes warm on a stove top. 
     Rawon Sauce:
     This recipe yields 2 portions.
     Step 1:  Place the prepared rawon puree in a sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 2 cups of chicken or turkey broth. 
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce, till the sauce is a medium thin consistency.
     Season with sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lime juice.
     Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.   

     Roasted Candlenuts:
     2 to 3 roasted candlenuts is all that is needed to garnish 1 portion of rawon sauce.  Candlenuts are very oily and they actually can be used as candles.  Care must be taken when roasting or these nuts will literally burn up!
     Place 2 to 3 shelled candlenuts in a small roasting pan.
     Place the pan in a 300ºF oven.
     Roast the nuts till they become aromatic and golden highlights appear.
     Set the roasted candlenuts aside.

     Green Bean and Carrot Garnish:
     Trim 7 green beans. 
     Cut 6 carrot strips that are and 1/4" thick and the same length as the green beans.
     Blanch the vegetables in boiling salted water.
     Cool the vegetables under cold running water.
     Place the vegetables in a small saute pan with 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Season with sea salt and white pepper.
     Reheat the vegetables over medium low heat, when the entrée is ready to be served.  

     Roasted Turkey Breast with Rawon Sauce, Candlenuts and Curry Spice Rice Cakes:
     Step 1:  Cut 3 to 4 slices of warm roast turkey breast that are about 1/4" thick.  (A 6 to 8 ounce portion.)
     Place the two Curry Spice Rice Cakes on the center of a plate.
     Overlap the thin end of the roasted turkey breast slices on the center of the rice cakes, so they fan out on the front half of the plate.
     Step 2:  Arrange the carrot strips and green beans on the plate, so the colors alternate and they fan out from the center on the back half of the plate.
     Step 3:  Spoon the Rawon Sauce on the plate around the turkey.
     Garnish the sauce with the roasted candlenuts.
     Garnish the rice cakes with curly leaf parsley sprigs.

     Viola!  A different kind of fusion entrée and a classic portion size.  The combination of flavors is nice.  

Friday, July 24, 2015

Scallopini di Vitello Piccata

     Classic Veal Piccata!    
     Veal Piccata is an old traditional Italian entrée.  The word Piccata has a loosely defined meaning according to some food historians.  Some say that Piccata refers to the Paillard technique of pounding meat flat, while others say that it refers to the crisp lemon flavor of the sauce.  By the old French cuisine definitions, Veal Piccata is the same thing as Veal Francaise, but many old French culinary references offer biased opinions concerning Italian cuisine.  
     Veal Piccata and Veal Francaise are similar recipes.  Every working classic cuisine chef knows what the differences are.
     Veal Francaise is escalloped veal that has a light egg batter coating.  The egg batter can contain a small proportion of bread crumbs.  Classic Veal Francaise Sauce is started with butter and a small amount of minced shallot and garlic.  White wine and lemon juice is added and the sauce is quickly reduced.  A tiny amount of glace viande is usually added to a classic Veal Francaise Sauce.  The sauce is finished by emulsifying the sauce with butter.  Francaise Sauce is usually garnished with either minced parsley or capers.  Lemon is the key flavor.
     Veal Piccata is escalloped veal that is dredged in flour and sautéed.  Piccata Sauce is started with garlic, olive oil and butter, with no shallot in the mix.  White wine is added and the sauce is quickly reduced.  A small amount of chicken broth or veal broth can be added to Veal Piccata sauce.   The flour on the veal binds the sauce, so the sauce is not an emulsion.  Italian Veal Piccata Sauce is usually garnished with thin sliced mushrooms and minced parsley.  French style Veal Piccata Sauce is usually garnished with minced fine herbs.  The key to Piccata Sauce is the bright crisp tasting lemon flavor.  To achieve this crisp flavor, lemon is added very late in the recipe.
     As one can see, there are subtle differences between classic Veal Francaise and classic Veal Piccata.  Other than the garnishes, the key difference is when the lemon juice is added.  Veal Francaise has a mellow lemon flavor, because the lemon juice is added earlier in the recipe.  Italian Veal Piccata has a very sharp bright lemon flavor, because lemon is added later in the recipe.

     Scallopini di Vitello Piccata:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Pound 3 or 4 escalloped slices of veal leg thin with a meat mallet.  (About 6 ounces of veal scallopini is a good portion.)
     Dredge the veal escallops in flour.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add the floured veal scallopini.
     Sauté till the scallopini on both sides, till a few golden brown highlights appear.
     Step 3:  Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1/2 cup of thin sliced small portobello mushrooms.
     Sauté till the mushrooms start to become tender.
     Step 4:  Add 1 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1/2 cup of light veal broth or chicken broth.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce, till the flour on the veal thickens the sauce to a thin consistency.
     Step 6:  Add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of of minced Italian Parsley.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Remove the pan from the heat.

     Step 1:  Overlap the veal scallopini across the front half of a plate.
     Place the mushrooms across the back half the scallopini pieces.
     Spoon most of the sauce over the scallopini and on the plate.  (Save about 1 tablespoon of sauce in the pan.)
     Step 2:  Toss 1 small portion of a pasta of your choice with the sauce that remains in the pan.  (I used Fusilli di Farro for the entrée presentation in the photos.)
     Place the pasta on the back half of the plate.
     Place an Italian style vegetable of your choice next to the pasta.  (Sautéed sliced zucchini and onion with a pinch of oregano is a good choice.)
     Garnish the plate with Italian Parsley sprigs.

     This is how Veal Piccata should be!  Classic Veal Piccata does not look like Veal Schnitzel or Veal Francaise.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

New York Strip Steak Poivrade

     A Classic Sauce For Wild Game And Beef!
     Sauce Poivrade is classic French sauce that was originally created for strong tasting wild game meats like boar or venison.  Sauce Poivrade is made with a rich dark Demi Glace.  Cider Vinegar and black pepper are the key flavors of this sauce.  The combination of vinegar and black pepper historically is used to mellow the flavor of strong tasting meat.
     There are three classic versions of Poivrade Sauce.  One version is strictly for wild game and it is a little more acidic than the other two versions.  Wild game can be braised in the acidic Poivrade Sauce, then the sauce can be refined before it is served.
     A second Poivrade version is for lighter flavored meats like game birds and rabbit.  A lighter Poivrade is made with reductions of Chicken Stock, Glace de Volaille along with less cider vinegar.
     The third version Poivrade is meant to be served with beef.  A little less cider vinegar is required for beef than wild game, since there is no strong wild meat flavor to mask.

     Classic Demi Glace can be used in place of Standard Demi Glace when making Poivrade for beef.  Classic Demi Glace is a perfect Sauce Espagnole that is reduced to perfection with no addition of Glace Viande.  Sauce Espagnole is made only with beef and veal bones with meat scraps, so the flavor is 100% beef.
     Standard Demi Glace is made with 50% Sauce Espagnole and 50% Glace Viande.  Classic Glace Viande is made with wild game bones & scrap meat.  Modern Glace Viande is made with any kind bones & scrap meat.  A combination of pork trotters & beef bones is the most common combination.
     As one can imagine, the difference in flavor of a Poivrade intended for a beef entrée is subtle, when either of the two types of Demi Glace are used.

     Steak Poivrade is not the same as Steak Au Poivre.  Steak Au Poivre is a recipe that falls into the chef's interpretation category.  Steak Au Poivre is not quite as refined as Steak Poivrade.  Steak Au Poivre is a pan seared black pepper crusted steak with a red wine and cognac flavored Glace Viande reduction that can have a monte au beurre finish.  The black pepper flavor is very strong and coarse in a Steak au Poivre recipe.
     Steak Poivrade has a more refined black pepper flavor.  The black pepper cannot be added to the sauce too early or too late.  There is a specific moment when the black pepper can be added to Poivrade Sauce, so a peak flavor is achieved.

     Glace Viandé:
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
     • Glacé Viande

     Demi Glace:
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.

     Duplex Parsnip Scallion Russet Crème Potato & Mashed Sweet Potato:
     This recipe yields 3 or 4 portions.  
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of thick sliced peeled parsnip.
     Add just enough water to cover the parsnips.
     Gently boil till the water evaporates.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Gently sauté the parsnips, till golden highlights appear and the parsnips become tender enough to mash.
     Keep the soft parsnips warm on a stove top.
     Step 3:  Boil a 7 ounce peeled russet potato in a pot of water over high heat.
     Boil an 8 ounce whole unpeeled sweet potato in a second pot of water over high heat.
     Cook the potatoes till they are soft enough to mash.
     Drain the water off of the soft cooked potatoes in both pots when they are ready.
     Step 4:  Add the braised parsnips to the russet potato.
     Add 2 tablespoons of cream.
     Add 1 tablespoon of softened unsalted butter.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Mash and whisk the parsnip and russet potatoes, till it is smooth and creamy.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of thin sliced green scallion tops while stirring.
     Spoon the parsnip scallion crème potato into a star tipped pastry bag.
     Keep the Parsnip Scallion Russet Crème Potato warm in a container placed in a 135ºF bain marie.
     Step 5:  Hold the sweet potato with a pastry towel.
     Use the back of a paring knife to peel off the skin.
     Place the sweet potato in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of softened unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of cream.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 2 teaspoons of brown sugar.
     Thoroughly mash the sweet potato till it is very smooth.  (Add a few drops more butter or cream if necessary.  The moisture content of sweet potatoes do vary.)
     Load the mashed sweet potato into a pastry bag that does not have a star tip attached.
     Step 6:  Flatten the Russet Potato Pastry Bag on a counter top.  (The one with the star tip.)
     Pull the bag free from the mashed potato, so a pocket forms on the length of the bag.
     Carefully slide the un-tipped Sweet Potato Pastry Bag into the empty pocket.
     Twist the open end of the pastry bags closed as one.
     Keep the duplex pastry bag of potatoes warm in a container placed in a 135ºF bain marie.
     *Now the two pastry bags share one star tip!  When both pastry bags are squeezed together as one, both colors of potato will come out of the tip at the same time.  

     Poivrade Sauce:
     This recipe yields 2 generous portions of sauce.  (About 5 ounces)
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion.
     Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped carrot.
     Add 3 tablespoons of chopped mushroom peelings and scraps.
     Stir and sauté till the aromatic vegetables are lightly caramelized.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of chopped garlic.
     Briefly sauté till the garlic is aromatic.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Add 3 1/2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
     Add 2/3 cup of demi glace.
     Add 1/2 cup of beef stock.
     Add 1/2 cup of water.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Slowly simmer and reduce the sauce till it is a very thin consistency.
     Step 4:  Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of coarsely crushed black peppercorns.
     Simmer and reduce till the sauce is a thin consistency that can easily glaze a spoon.
     Step 5:  Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter while stirring.
     Step 6:  Pour the poivrade sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a ceramic bowl.
     Add 5 or 6 slices of shaved black truffle.  (This is traditional, but it is an optional step because truffles are rarely available in food markets.)
     Keep the sauce warm in a 135ºF bain marie.  Serve within 15 minutes, while the pepper flavor is at a peak.  

     NY Strip Steak:
     This recipe describes 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Trim a dry aged 14 ounce USDA Prime Grade New York Strip Steak of all fat and gristle, so the steak is very lean.

     Season the steak with sea salt only.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of clarified unsalted butter.
     Add the prepared NY strip steak.
     Flip the steak a few times, so it cooks evenly.
     Cook the steak to the preferred finish temperature.  (Medium Rare to Medium is best for this recipe.)
     Step 3:  Set the steak on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan and allow it to rest for 1 minute.

     New York Strip Steak Poivrade:
     Set the NY Strip Steak on a plate.
     Pipe the Duplex Parsnip Scallion Russet Crème Potato & Mashed Sweet Potato on the plate.
     Place vegetables and mushrooms of your choice on the plate.
     Pour a generous portion of Poivrade Sauce over the steak.

     I finally got around to transferring this classic recipe from the old food blog website.  Quite a few refinements were made to the measurements and text.  This is a superb tasting steak entrée!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bistecca Modena

     Bistecca Modena with Fettuccine and Garlic Kale!     
     I learned this recipe while apprenticing in Italian restaurants early in my career.  It is funny how one never forgets a good recipe, even when many years go by without preparing the recipe.  About 10 years after learning how to make Bistecca Modena, I was doing sauté work at a yacht club and I ran this Italian steak entrée as a special du jour.  The members and guests really liked this Modena style steak entrée.  
     Once again, more than a decade passed by, before I thought of Bistecca Modena again.  The reason this specialty was on my mind lately, was because it tasted so good!  I guess that purchasing a good bottle of Balsamic Vinegar that was imported from Modena, Italy, also had something to do with it.  
     Today's steak recipe is prepared in the style of Modena.  Modena is the home of Italian opera, Ferrari sports cars and traditional Cave Evaporated Balsamic Vinegar.  A good steak definitely fits into this picture!

     First of all, I do not do photo food.  In other words, I never make fake food that is enhanced to make it look better for photographs.  I consider fake photo food to be a deceptive marketing practice.  The same goes for computer photoshopped food pictures.
     I prefer to photograph reality.  I photograph food as soon as the food item finishes cooking and lands on the plate.  The food that I cook looks just like it is cooked and plated at a restaurant.  Part of the restaurant food plating procedure involves putting the food on the plate quickly, so the food is hot when it is served to a customer.
     I rarely allow a plate of food to cool off before photographing the recipe food example for an article.  The day in Chicago that the Bistecca Modena pictures were taken, the temperature was way below 0ºF outdoors and the indoor temperature was about 45ºF in my apartment, because the old radiator heating system was on the fritz.  Steam was rising from the Bistecca Modena, as it should be in a chilly room!
     A good chef takes pride in seeing steaming hot food delivered to a table.  The photos above of the steaming hot steak surely will please readers that expect to see real food photo examples attached to recipes, instead of deceptive fake photo food!

     Salsa di Pomodoro:  
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
     • Salsa di Pomodoro

     Glace Viande:
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
     • Glace Viande

     Garlic Kale:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Sautéed or braised kale is a common accompaniment for entrées in Italy!  Garlic Kale can be served as a side dish too.  
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 2 cloves of thin sliced garlic.
     Sauté till the garlic is a golden color.
     Step 2:  Add 2 cups of chopped green kale.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Sauté the kale for 1 minute.
     Step 3:  Add 3/4 cup of water.
     Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce, till the kale is tender.
     *You may have to add a splash of water more than once.   
     Step 4:  When the kale becomes tender, simmer till the excess liquid evaporates.
     Step 5:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of virgin olive oil.
     Stir the kale.
     Keep the Garlic Kale warm on a stove top.

     Cook 1 small portion of fettuccine in boiling water till it is al dente.
     Cool the pasta under cold running water.
     Drain the water off of the pasta. 
     Set the pasta aside.
     *Just before serving, reheat the fettuccine by placing it in a strainer and dipping it in a pot of boiling water.

     Bistecca Modena:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Italian sauté sauces are almost always made in the same pan that the featured item is cook in. 
     Step 1:  Trim a 12 to 14 ounce ribeye steak, so there is no excess fat.  The ribeye should be trimmed, so only the lean center section of the ribeye is served.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of blended olive oil.
     Add the seasoned ribeye steak.
     Add two trimmed medium size fresh cave mushroom caps.
     Sear the steak on both sides.
     Cook the steak so it is rare to medium rare.
     Step 3:  *If a rare/medium rare finish temperature is desired, remove the steak from the pan before making the sauce.  Keep the steak warm on a stove top.  ...  For a medium to well done finish temperature, leave the steak in the pan while the sauce is made in the same pan.
     Reduce the temperature to medium heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of salsa pomodoro.
     Add 1/4 cup of glace viande.
     Add 1/4 cup of beef broth.
     Add 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
     Step 4:  Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Simmer and reduce till the sauce is a medium thin consistency.
     Remove the pan from the heat.

     Bistecca Modena with Fettuccine and Garlic Kale:
     Place the steak on the plate.
     Place the mushroom caps on top of the steak.
     Coil a small portion al dente cooked fettuccine on the plate.
     Pour most of the sauce over the steak.
     Pour a small portion of the sauce over the fettuccine pasta.
     Place the Garlic Kale on the plate or serve it on the side.

     Modena Sauce is well suited for a good ribeye steak!  

Salsa di Pomodoro

     Italian Tomato Sauce!
     This is the same standard Italian Tomato Sauce Recipe that is published at my Comfort Cuisine Website.  Making this sauce is a project in itself.  This sauce is used to make several secondary recipes, so it is best to publish the Salsa di Pomodoro recipe in this Classic Cuisine Website too.
     There are several kinds of tomato sauce in Italian cuisine.  Two can easily be considered to be mother sauces.  Salsa di Pomodoro and Marinara can be used to make several secondary sauces.  Both of these sauces are used in many recipe applications.  Marinara is made in about 40 minutes and Salsa di Pomodoro takes about 4 hours to finish.    
     Salsa di Pomodoro recipe is a standardized recipe that nearly every Italian chef makes the same way.  There are very few variations of the recipe.  The only major variation is whether the Salsa di Pomodoro is flavored with meat or not. 

     I apprenticed with several great Italian chefs early in my career.  The first apprenticeship was with a great Sicilian chef who won many culinary awards in New York City.  This chef taught me the rules of perfection Italian cuisine.  All I can say is if an aspiring cook wants to learn the best sauté techniques and the best pasta making techniques, apprenticing in an Italian kitchen will build stronger skills than attending any culinary arts school.  The same can be said about Italian saucier work and bread making.

     Today's Salsa di Pomodoro is the meatless recipe version and this sauce is the standard in the industry.  This sauce has a very bright red color, the flavor is right on the money and this sauce clings to pasta just like it should.  
     There are no secrets to making a great Salsa di Pomodoro.  The sauce has to be stirred from the bottom to the top once every 5 minutes for 4 hours.  No excess liquids are added, so the sauce does not look flat, like stewed tomatoes or something.  The sauce is bright shiny red because a copious amount of olive oil is infused with the tomatoes as the sauce simmers.
     The selection of tomatoes makes all the difference in the world.  Imported Italian canned tomatoes are the best choice.  Spanish or California canned tomatoes are far too acidic.  Overripe fresh tomatoes are better for making Marinara Sauce or Fresco style a la minute tomato sauces.  If you have a bumper crop of plum tomatoes in your garden, then by all means, they can be used to make a big batch of Salsa di Pomodoro.
     To finish the Salsa di Pomodoro, the sauce should be run through a hand turned food mill.  A food mill pressed the sauce through tiny holes on a steel plate and each particle of tomato in the sauce will be a uniform size.  A food mill is necessary because several types of canned tomato are used to make the sauce.   
     To make the meat flavored version, place a piece of roasted pork shoulder in the pot, then simmer for a few hours.  Remove the pork shoulder before processing the sauce in a food mill.  The fat and roasted pork flavor enriches the sauce.  The spent roasted pork can be used to make other recipes, but it is nearly tasteless and there is no nutritional value after simmering for so long. 

     Salsa di Pomodoro:  
     This recipe yield about 4 or 5 portions of sauce, depending on the application!
     • This is the meatless tomato sauce version.  
     • If Imported Canned Italian San Marzano Tomatoes Packed In Their Own Juices are used, then add about an extra 8 ounces of tomato puree, because San Marzano Tomato juices are so thick and rich. 
     • The olive oil proportion should be about 1/10 of the volume of the tomatoes.
     • The sauce has to be stirred from the bottom to the top once every 5 minutes for 4 hours. 
     Step 1:  Place 28 ounces of Imported Canned Italian Whole Italian Plum Tomatoes Packed In Their Own Juices in a mixing bowl.  
     Hand squeeze and crush the tomatoes till no big chunks remain.
     Set the hand crushed tomatoes aside.
     Step 2:  Heat a pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 3/4 cup of olive oil.  (not virgin olive oil) 
     Add 8 cloves of finely chopped garlic.
     Add 1/2 cup of finely minced onion.
     Sauté till the onions turn clear in color, but do not let the onions brown.
     Step 3:  Add 1 pinch of crushed dried red pepper.  (chile caribe)
     Add a 28 ounce can of Imported Italian Crushed Plum Tomatoes.
     Add 14 ounces of Imported Italian Tomato Puree.
     Add the reserved hand squeezed tomatoes and juices to the pot. 
     Stir the sauce. 
     Step 3:  Add 1 teaspoon of oregano.
     Add sea salt and ground black pepper.
     Add 1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh basil.
     Add 2 tablespoons of minced Italian Parsley.  
     Add 1 cup of Italian dry red wine.  (Or French Burgundy.  Why waste good Italian Chianti!) 
     Step 4:  Heat the sauce and stir occasionally, till the sauce starts to very gently boil.
     Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     *Leave the pot uncovered.  Never cover a pot of Italian tomato sauce with a lid or the sauce will be lifeless like stewed tomatoes!  
     Step 5:  Gently simmer the sauce and stir the sauce once every 5 minutes for 4 hours.  
     *The object is to stir the olive oil into the sauce, so it combines with the tomatoes.  The sauce should be simmering gently and there should be very little bubbling on the surface.  Scrape the sides of the inside of the pot back into the sauce too.  That stuff is full of flavor!  
     After 4 hours, the flavors will meld and the tomato sauce will reduce to a medium thin tomato sauce consistency.  The excess tomato juices should be reduced at this point.  The olive oil should be well combined with the tomatoes, because the sauce was stirred often.
     Step 6:  Not everybody has a food mill in their kitchen, so this step is optional.  For a very smooth Salsa di Pomodoro, allow the sauce to cool, then run the sauce through a hand turned food mill into a container.  Some people like a smooth Italian tomato sauce!  
     *A blending wand or food processor should not be used to mill the sauce, because the sauce will be aerated and the color will change.  
     Step 7: Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.  (Or refrigerate the sauce and reheat the sauce to order.)

    A great tasting Italian tomato sauce!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Tomahawk Steak with Garlic Chile Padrón Bordeaux Blanc Crème ~ Black Truffle Gouda Mashed Heirloom Finger Potatoes

     Tomahawk Steak!
     When it come to beef steaks, you get what you pay for.  USDA Choice Grade Beef is what most grocery stores carry and the fat marbling tends to be fairly lean.  USDA Prime Grade Beef has plenty of fat marbling and the grading standards are much more strict.  
     If a backyard chargrill chef wants to impress guests with the best steak that money can buy, then USDA Prime Grade is the best choice.  Prime Grade Beef is limited in availability and it costs nearly twice as much as Choice Grade Beef.  All that I can say is that from a quality and flavor standpoint, Prime Grade Beef is well worth the money spent.
     Tomahawk Steaks have been a trendy item at steakhouses in recent years.  A Tomahawk Steak is a full ribeye steak that has the rib bone attached.  The rib bone is Frenched and the bare bone looks like a tomahawk handle.  
     Tomahawk Steaks can weigh well over 24 ounces, so they are big enough to share.  "The bigger, the better" is the motto of many steak fans and a big thick Tomahawk Steak certainly fits the bill.   
     The 27 ounce USDA Prime Grade Tomahawk Steak in the pictures above was purchased at The Butcher Block shop in Las Vegas.  I visited this shop yesterday and they are all stocked up with good meat choices for the holiday weekend.  Good butcher shops are the only place to find Prime Grade Beef. 

     Garlic and chile peppers taste good with steak.  The peppers do not necessarily need to be extra spicy hot.  Today's accompanying crema sauce for steak is made with Padrón Peppers.  Padrón Peppers are used extensively in Spanish tapas cuisine and they have a nice mild chile pepper flavor.  
     For the most part, Padrón Peppers are within the mild spicy hot flavor range, but about 1 out of every 10 Chile Padrón will be very spicy hot.  When cooking with chile Padrón, it does pay to taste the peppers, just to avoid surprising guests with a sauce that might be too spicy hot for their taste preferences. 
     Créme Fraîche is similar to Mexican Crema.  The flavor of a garlic and green chile pepper flavored crema sauce wakes up when white wine is added.  Usually an acidic white wine is the first choice, but I decided to take a departure from that path for today's recipe.  
     White Bordeaux Wine can be sweet or dry.  It depends on whether Noble Rot grows on the grapes.  Noble Rot creates a naturally sweet White Bordeaux that is served as a dessert wine.  The most famous Sweet Bordeaux region wine is Sauternes.  Classic Sauternes does command a high price.  
     Sweet White Bordeaux that is produced outside of the Sauternes Appellation usually sell for a lower price.  A good example is Cheval Quancard.  Cheval Quancard is a 100% Semillon Grape Varietal Sweet White Bordeaux that sells for a very modest price.  This fine dessert wine tastes so rich, that a little bit of goes a long way when flavoring a sauce.        
     The undisputed king of classic mushroom flavor is the Black Truffle.  Young Gouda Cheese has mild sharp nutty flavor that is perfect with Black Truffles.  Truffe Noir Gouda is a popular cheese from Holland and it is fairly easy to find at grocery stores.  This cheese is flavored with just enough minced Italian Black Truffle to enhance its savory appeal.  All that one has to do to create a nice gourmet mashed potato, is to a few tablespoons of Truffe Noir Gouda.  Nothing else is needed.  Black Truffle Gouda Mashed Potatoes is a fitting accompaniment for a top notch steak!  
     Fancy finger potatoes have been popular in fine dining restaurants in recent years and there are some interesting varieties.  Yukon Gold, Peruvian Purple and Red Skin Finger potatoes are fairly common.  I found some yellow skin finger potatoes that had a red color center the other day and I gave this heirloom variety a try.  Only a few were available, so I mixed them with a pale golden color finger potato variety.  The result was a pale rose color mashed potato that looks nice on a plate. 

     Black Truffle Gouda Mashed Heirloom Finger Potatoes:     
     This recipe yields 2 portions of mashed potato!
     Step 1:  Place 2 to 3 yellow skin red finger potatoes and 3 to 4 white or gold finger potatoes in a sauce pot.  (About 2 cups total volume.)
     Cover the potatoes with cold water.  
     Boil over medium high heat, till the potatoes are soft and tender. 
     Drain the water off of the potatoes.
     Step 2:  Leave the potatoes in the pot off of the heat. 
     Add 2 tablespoons of cream.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter. 
     Add 3 tablespoons of grated Truffe Noir Gouda cheese. 
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 3:  Mash and whisk the potato mixture, till it becomes very smooth, thick and creamy. 
     Spoon the mashed potatoes into a star tipped pastry bag. 
     Keep it warm on a stove top.

     Garlic Chile Padrón Bordeaux Blanc Crème:
     This recipe yields 1 portion of sauce!
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 3 crushed garlic cloves.
     Sauté till the garlic becomes a light golden color.
     Step 2:  Add 1 chopped seeded green Chile Padrón.
     Add 1 teaspoon of shallot.
     Briefly sauté, till the pepper start to become tender.
     Step 3:  Add 3 ounces of Sweet French White Bordeaux Dessert Wine.
     Add 3 ounces of cream.
     Add 1 tablespoon of sour cream.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of thyme.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Step 4:  Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Remove the pot from the heat.
     Step 5:  Use a blender, blending wand or a food processor to puree the sauce.
     Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a small sauce pot.
     Step 6:  Simmer and reduce the sauce over low heat, till it becomes a medium thin cream sauce consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Step 7:  Remove the sauce pot from the heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter while stirring with a whisk.
     Reheat the sauce just before serving.  Add a splash of milk if the sauce is too thick.

     Fluted Portobello:
     Trim the stem of a medium size portobello mushroom so it is flush.
     Peel the mushroom.
     Use a paring knife or a sharp channeling tool to flute the mushroom.  (Save the mushroom peelings for other making stock or other recipes!)
     Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Sauté the portobello, till it becomes tender and golden brown highlights appear.
     Season with sea salt and white pepper.
     Keep the portobello warm on a stove top.
     Tomahawk Ribeye Steak:
     Step 1:  Select a full thick Tomahawk Ribeye Steak.  (USDA Prime Grade is the best choice.  A Tomahawk Steak usually weighs over 25 ounces!)
     Be sure that the bone is scraped clean.  (Frenched)
     Season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
     Step 2:  Heat a chargrill or cast iron ribbed griddle to a medium/medium high temperature.
     Cook the steak to the desired state of doneness.  (Medium/rare to medium is best for ribeye steaks!)  
     *Be sure to occasionally brush the steak and bone with melted unsalted butter.  If the bone starts to become a dark color, then try to position the steak on the grill, so the bone is over a lower temperature spot or cover the bone with aluminum foil. 
     Step 3:  Place the steak on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan and let the steak rest for 2 minutes. 

     Tomahawk Steak with Garlic Chile Padrón Bordeaux Blanc Crème and Truffe Noir Gouda Mashed Heirloom Finger Potatoes: 
     Use the pastry bag to pipe a mound of the Truffe Noir Gouda Mashed Heirloom Finger Potatoes on the left center of a large plate.
     Place the Tomahawk Steak on the plate, so the bone end leans on the potatoes.
     Spoon a generous portion of the Garlic Chile Padrón Bordeaux Blanc Créme on the plate around the front of the steak.  
     Serve with a vegetable of your choice.  (Buttered brussel sprouts are a nice choice.)
     Garnish the steak with the fluted portobello mushroom.
     Garnish the potato and tail of the steak with an Italian Parsley sprig.

     Voila!  A huge brontosaurus size Tomahawk Steak with an elegant tasting sauce and gourmet mashed potato!