Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Watercress Salad with Dragon Fruit, Lobster and Sauce Verte

     A Refreshing Summer Salad!
     Spicy salad greens taste nice with seafood or fruit.  Watercress has a zesty black pepper flavor, so this spicy salad green is a good choice for a salad made with Dragon Fruit and lobster.
     Spiny Lobster Tail is a bit too pricy for making a casual café style summer salad.  Maine Lobster Claws usually sell for a low price, so they are a better choice.  Large Maine Lobster claws are loaded with juicy lobster meat that is perfect for making soups and salads.  Lobster claw meat is always more colorful too.
     It pays to test a lobster claw, just like a stone crab claw, before purchasing.  When tapping the claw with a table knife, a "solid thud sound" should be heard.  This means that the claw is full of meat.  When a hollow sound is heard, it means that there is not much meat in the claw.  Hollow claws are called "floaters" and they are not worth the price.
     Dragon Fruit is a cactus fruit that is native to northern Mexico and central Mexico.  Dragon Fruit is refreshing in hot weather.  The flavor of a ripe red Dragon Fruit has a mild strawberry-watermelon flavor.
     Just like Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit, Dragon Fruit contains small edible seeds.  The fruit of a cactus is actually the seed pod that forms under a flower.  Sliced Dragon Fruit looks kind of like a poppyseed cake, because the black seeds are spread evenly throughout the white part of the fruit.  The fruit near the skin has a pretty pink color.  The skin of dragon fruit is easily removed with a sharp paring knife, but care must be taken, so that a minimum of the pink fruit flesh is lost.
     This recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups.
     Making mayonnaise is simple.  The mayonnaise proportion is 1 cup of vegetable oil to 1 large egg yolk.  Dijon Mustard is an emulsifier that makes starting the mayonnaise emulsion easier to do.  
     Only a few drops of oil can be added at a time in the beginning, till a thick emulsion starts to form.  After the thick emulsion starts, the oil can be added in a thin stream while whisking.  The finished mayonnaise should be thick enough to support a spoon vertically. 
     Step 1:  Measure 1 cup of vegetable oil and set it aside.
     Step 2:  Place these ingredients in a mixing bowl:
      - 1/2 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
      - 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
      - 2 pinches of sea salt
      - 1 pinch of white pepper
      - 1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard  
      - 1 large egg yolk
     Whisk the ingredients till they are combined.
     Step 3:  Add a few drops of the measured oil at a time while whisking, till a thick emulsion starts to form.
     Step 4:  Slowly add a thin stream of the measured oil while constantly whisking.  (Do not add too much oil too fast or the emulsion will break!)
     *After adding about 1/2 of the measured oil, the mayonnaise may be very thick.  Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of warm water while whisking, so the texture of the mayonnaise emulsion is lighter.
     Continue slowly adding the rest of the oil while whisking, till the mayonnaise is combined.  
     *The finished mayonnaise should be thick enough for a spoon to stand vertically when inserted.
     Step 5:  Place the finished mayonnaise in a container and chill to 41ºF.  Fresh mayonnaise can be kept in a refrigerator for 7 days.
     Sauce Verte:
     This recipe yields 1 cup.
     Step 1:  Boil a pot of water over high heat..
     Step 2:  Place 2 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves in a fine mesh strainer.
     Add 1 cup of Italian Parsley sprigs.
     Add 20 fresh tarragon leaves.
     Add 8 whole fresh chive shoots.
     Add 1/2 cup of small fresh chervil sprigs.
     Step 3:  Dip the pasta net with the fresh herbs in the boiling water.
     Blanch the herbs for no longer than 10 to 15 seconds.
     Dip the fine mesh strainer with the blanched herbs in a container full of ice water.  (Shocking the herbs will keep the bright green color intact!)
     Step 4:  Set the chilled blanched herbs on a cutting board.
     Pat the herbs dry with a towel.
     Finely mince the herbs.
     Step 5:  Place the minced herbs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 cup of fresh mayonnaise.
     Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
     Whisk the ingredients together.  (Or use an electric blending wand to combine the ingredients.)
     Step 6:  Place the Sauce Verte in a very fine mesh strainer.  (Mousseline Chinoise)
     Use a spoon or rubber spatula to press the Sauce Verte through the strainer into a container.
     *Be sure the scrape the outside of the strainer, so no sauce is wasted.
     Step 7:  Cover the Sauce Verte container with a lid.
     Refrigerate the sauce for 30 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Step 8:  Place the Sauce Verte in a plastic squeeze bottle.
     Chill the sauce till it is needed.
     Watercress Salad with Dragon Fruit, Lobster and Sauce Verte:
     This recipe yields 1 salad entrée.
     This salad is best when kept simple.  Adding extra vegetables or aromatic flavors would detract from the mellow lobster and dragon fruit flavors.  The Sauce Verte is all this salad needs!
     Step 1:  Cut a peeled Dragon Fruit in half lengthwise.
     Cut 1 half of the fruit into triangle shaped spears.
     Cut the spears into thin triangle shaped slices.
     Chill the dragon fruit till it is needed.
     Step 2:  Select 1 or 2 poached large Maine Lobster Claws.
     Crack and remove the shell.
     Remove the inner cartilage blade from the claw meat.
     Cut the prepared lobster claw meat into bite size pieces.
     *There should be about 2/3 cup of clean shelled lobster claw meat pieces.  Crack another claw open if there is not enough.
     Step 3:  Place 2/3 cup of lobster claw meat pieces in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/4 cup of the sliced dragon fruit.
     Add 2 1/2 cups of watercress sprigs.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Step 4:  Mound the watercress and lobster and dragon fruit salad mixture on the center of a plate.
     Overlap a ring of dragon fruit triangle slices on the plate around the mound of salad.
     Use the plastic squeeze bottle to paint the salad with a generous amount of Sauce Verte.  (About 1 1/2 ounces.)

     On a hot summer day, sometimes a simple salad that features only a few tasty ingredients is best!

Monday, July 18, 2016

American Bison Chopped Sirloin Steak with Galangal Chinkiang Vinegar Glacé, Caramelized Bermuda Onion, Szechuan Pepper Portobello and Upland Cress

     Free Range Buffalo Chopped Sirloin With A Nice Fusion Of Flavors!
     Alternative natural free range wild game meat has been a popular choice in recent years.  American bison seems to outsell all other wild game meat, because is has a mild agreeable flavor.  
     Wild game sells for a fairly high price, so just making a regular everyday average entrée is kind of a waste of an opportunity to cook something nice.  Wild game should be treated with respect, because the supply is limited.  Wild game like free range buffalo is a good choice for a special meal made with some creative flair. 
     A few decades ago, Chopped Sirloin Beef Steaks were on nearly every restaurant menu.  At most fine dining steakhouses, the Chopped Sirloin Steak was almost always the cheapest item on the menu.  Just because a ground sirloin steak was cheap, it does not mean that quality was compromised.  The ground beef came from the sirloin section, so it was tender, juicy and full of rich beef flavor.  
     Customers really do miss old school menu items, like a Chopped Sirloin Steak.  Many modern chefs think that the old style cuisine is beneath their own standards, so Chopped Sirloin Steak have nearly become a relic of the past.  
     In reality, not every customer wants to spend $100 to get a tiny portion of aged beef steak that is presented creatively.  Friday night customers that work hard all week want to see some old fashioned large portion menu items that taste great and are reasonably priced.  Senior citizens also like a modest priced Chopped Sirloin Steak, because the meat is guaranteed to be easy to chew.  Modest price, tenderness and flavor is what a good Chopped Sirloin Steak is all about!
     With the old fashioned ideals of a classic Chopped Sirloin Beef Steak in mind, I created today's modern steakhouse style buffalo recipe.  The American Bison Chopped Sirloin Steak in the photo examples weighs 12 ounces, just like the old days.  At a steakhouse restaurant, today's buffalo entrée could sell for $18 to $26.  At home, this modern ground sirloin buffalo steak entree can be made for less than $10.  No matter how one looks at it, today's gourmet Bison Chopped Sirloin Steak is a bargain by home or restaurant standards.  

     Galangal Chinkiang Vinegar Glacé:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.  (About 2 ounces.)
     Chinkiang Vinegar is also called Chinese Black Vinegar.  This vinegar is dark brownish black in color.  It is made with a variety of malted grains and fermented rice.  The flavor is rich, deep and complex.  Chinkiang vinegar is semi sweet and it is not acidic.  Many chefs compare Chinese black vinegar to Balsamic Vinegar, but the flavor is actually more complex.
     Galangal is Thai Blue Ginger Root.  Dried galangal has a mellow savory ginger flavor.  Fresh galangal has a sharp, strong aromatic ginger flavor.  The combination of fresh galangal and Chinkiang Vinegar is perfect for American bison!  
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add 1/3 cup of Chinese Black Vinegar.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh galangal.
     Add 1 tablespoon of raw sugar.
     Add 1 pinch of coriander.
     Add 2 tablespoons of rich clear beef stock.
     Step 2:  Gently simmer and reduce till the galangal is tender and the sauce is a thin syrup consistency.  
     Step 3:  Remove the pot from the heat.  
     Place the sauce in a ceramic cup.
     Keep the sauce warm in a 135ºF bain marie or gently reheat the sauce to order.

     Caramelized Bermuda Onion:
     This recipe yields 1 garnishing portion.
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 cup of julienne sliced Bermuda Onion.
     Sauté till the onions caramelize to a light brown color.
     Step 2:  Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Keep the Caramelized Bermuda Onion warm on a stove top.  

     Szechuan Pepper Portobello:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     The mushroom trimmings and peelings can be saved for making sauces!
     Step 1:  Select a large 6" portobello mushroom.
     Remove the stem. 
     Carefully use a spoon to scrape the gills off.
     Peel the outer brown skin off of the mushroom.
     Step 2:  Heat a ribbed cast iron griddle or chargrill to a medium temperature.
     Lightly brush the mushroom with vegetable oil.
     Season with sea salt.
     Grill the mushroom on both sides, till grill marks appear.
     Step 3:  Place the grill marked mushroom cap on a small broiler pan with the gill side facing down. 
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of crushed Szechuan Pepper on the mushroom.
     Roast in a 350ºF oven till the mushroom is fully cooked and tender.
     Keep the Szechuan Pepper Portobello warm on a stove top.

     American Bison Ground Sirloin Steak:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty portion.
     Buffalo is best when it is cooked to less than a medium steak temperature.  Buffalo meat is very lean and it will become dry, if it is overcooked.
     Since buffalo is so lean, it will need to be lightly brushed with oil or it will stick to the grill.  
     Step 1:  Shape 12 ounces of ground bison sirloin into a thick oval patty shape. 
     Chill the bison chopped sirloin steak, till it is firm again.  
     Step 2:  Heat a ribbed cast iron griddle or chargrill to a medium/medium high temperature.
     Season the grill grates by wiping them with an oil cloth.  
     Step 3:  Brush the ground buffalo steak with vegetable oil.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of cumin on the steak. 
     Step 4:  Grill the bison chopped sirloin steak till grill marks appear on both sides and the steak is cooked to a medium finish temperature.  
     *Lightly brush the lean buffalo chopped steak with vegetable oil each time it is flipped.  
     Step 5:  Place the bison chopped steak on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan and let it rest for 1 or 2 minutes.

     American Bison Chopped Sirloin Steak with Galangal Chinkiang Vinegar Glacé, Caramel Bermuda Onion, Szechuan Pepper Portobello and Upland Cress:
     This recipe yields 1 steakhouse style entrée.
     Step 1:  Place a bed of organic Upland Cress on the back half of a plate, so the stems fan out from center.
     Sprinkle 1 small pinch of sea salt over the upland cress.
     Sprinkle a few drops of pure sesame oil over the upland cress.
     Step 2:  Cut the grilled Szechuan Pepper Portobello, so it can be fanned out like fingers.
     Place the portobello on the upland cress and fan the mushroom out.
     Step 3:  Place the American Bison Chopped Sirloin Steak on the front half of the plate next to the portobello and upland cress.
     Place a small mound of the Caramelized Bermuda Onion on the steak.
     Garnish the onions with a small mint sprig.
     Step 4:  Spoon a generous amount of the Galangal Chinkiang Vinegar Glacé on the plate around the steak.  (About 3 tablespoons.)

     This modern American Bison Chopped Sirloin Steak Entrée certainly has eye appeal and the flavors taste nice!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fettuccine Pasta with Pernod Provencal Sauce and Fromage Saint Agur

     A Nice Summer Pasta With A Rich Double Cream Bleu Cheese! 
     Today's pasta recipe example was cooked as a personal employee meal while working at the Le Cordon Bleu Technique Restaurant.  I made a small batch of a highly seasoned Sauce Provencal that was flavored with Pernod Liquor for a fish du dour offering.  I figured that using the sauce to make a pasta would be a cheap healthy meal. 
     Pernod is a classic French anise and herb liquor that is used extensively in fine cooking.  Pernod has a complex flavor that is perfect for seafood and oysters benefit the most from the flavor of this fine liquor.  
    To get the most out of a liquor like Pernod, adding a large amount to a sauce to increase the flavor is not really the answer.  Pernod currently sells for a high price, so adding too much can dramatically increase costs.  Knowing when to add the Pernod is a better solution.  When Pernod is added at just the right time, the full flavor develops and lingers on. 

     French Saint Agur Cheese is a pasteurized cow's milk cheese that was created in 1988.  Part of the reason Saint Agur has been heavily marketed abroad is because American foreign trade laws restrict unpasteurized cheese.  Traditional French Roquefort is unpasteurized, so it has been difficult to obtain in America in recent years, while Saintt Agur has appeared in cheese shops nearly everywhere.     
     Saint Agur contains over 60% butterfat, so it is a Double Cream class cheese.  Brie and Camembert also are in the Double Cream classification.  Saint Agur has a rich, yet mild creamy sharp bleu flavor.  Saint Agur can be sliced but it will not crumble.  A spoon can easily be used to gather small scoops of this cheese for garnishing a pasta.  

     There are hundreds of recipes for Sauce Provencal.  Sauce Provencal can be very basic or it can be complex.  I first made today's highly seasoned Sauce Provencal while working as a sous chef at a café with a French chef who was an instructor at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.  
     Basically, we were overstocked with fresh herbs at the café one day and the French chef said "Try to use the herbs, before they go bad."  I response I said "Can I dump them in a batch of Sauce Provencal for a special du jour?"  The French chef replied, "That will be good.  That is how we do it in France!"  As one can see, making decisions as a French sous chef can be easy!  

     Pernod Provencal Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 1 2/3 cups.  (Enough for 1 large portion of pasta.)
     Step 1:  Place a sauce pot over medium low/low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 cloves of minced garlic.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Add 1 tablespoon of brunoise cut onion.  (Brunoise = 1/8"x1/8"x1/8")
     Add 2 tablespoons of brunoise cut carrot.
     Add 2 tablespoons of brunoise cut celery.
     Add 2 tablespoons of brunoise cut leek.
     Step 2:  Gentle sauté and sweat the vegetables till the onions and leeks turn clear in color.
     Step 3:  Add 1 1/2 cups of tomato concasse.  (peeled seeded diced fresh ripe tomato)
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of tomato paste.
     Gently sauté till the tomatoes start to become tender.
     Step 4:  Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1/2 cup of light chicken stock.
     Add 1/2 cup of light vegetable stock.
     Add 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce till most of the excess liquid evaporates.
     Step 6:  Add 1 cup of light vegetable stock.
     Add 2 pinches of minced fresh tarragon.
     Add 2 pinches of minced fresh thyme.
     Add 2 pinches of marjoram.
     Add 2 pinches of minced fresh oregano. 
     Add 2 pinches of Herbs de Provence.  
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced Italian Parsley.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of thin sliced chives.
     Add 1 teaspoon of chopped basil.
     Add 1 small pinch of white pepper.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 7:  Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Add 1/4 cup of Pernod Liquor.
     Step 8:  Reduce the temperature to low heat. 
     Simmer and reduce till the sauce is a thin tomato sauce consistency.  
     Step 9:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of virgin olive oil while stirring.
     Remove the sauce from the heat.
     Set the sauce aside or chill it for later use.  
     *It is best to reheat this sauce to order, rather than to keep it warm.  

     Fettuccine Pasta with Pernod Provencal Sauce and Fromage Saint Agur:
     This recipe yields 1 pasta entrée.
     Step 1:  Start cooking 1 portion of fettuccine pasta in boiling water till it is al dente.  
     *While the pasta cooks, the sauce can be reheated.
     Step 2:  Place about 1 1/2 cups of the Pernod Provencal Sauce in a wide sauté pan.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer over medium low heat.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Keep the sauce warm till the pasta is ready. 
     Step 4:  When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain the water off of the pasta.
     Add the pasta to the sauce.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Step 5:  Use a long straight tine carving fork to coil the pasta and place it on a plate.
     Spoon any excess sauce over and around the pasta.
     Step 6:  Use a spoon to gather a few pieces of French Saint Agur Cheese and place them on top of the pasta.  (About 2 1/3 tablespoons is plenty.)
     Step 7:  Sprinkle a few pinches of a mixture of these minced fresh herbs over the pasta:
     - Italian Parsley
     - chervil
     - oregano
     - thin sliced chives
     *Serve with warm sliced French bread on the side!

     This is a tasty pasta for spring and summer.  The St Agur Cheese and Pernod add rich complimentary flavors! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Moroccan Sardine Filets en Croute With Roasted Poblano Chile and Vindaloo Curry Mayonnaise

     A Tasty Sardine Appetizer!
     Not every tiny fish in a sardine can is a true sardine.  Small herring, pilchards or sprats are often labeled as canned sardines.  Real sardines are a species of their own and they only live in a few oceanic regions around the globe.  The Mediterranean Ocean is a good sardine fishery.
     Moroccan Sardines are real sardines.  Morocco happens to have a good sardine fishery just offshore.  The flavor of good Moroccan Sardines tastes like light tuna.  Fresh Mediterranean sardines are available occasionally in fish markets, but they tend to be a special order item.  Canned Moroccan Sardines are almost always available and the quality is pretty good.
     Sardine lunch appetizers with nice presentations are popular in yacht clubs.  A nice plate of sardines is a throw back to the golden age of fine dining.  At the yacht club that I worked in, there was about five members that ordered the sardine appetizer platter everyday.  Sardines are loaded with Omega 3 Fatty Acids and they are very healthy to eat.  Good sardines taste great and a nice presentation makes them even more appealing.
     Vindaloo Curry Paste is made with red chile peppers, Portuguese spices and a few Indian spices.  Vindaloo Curry Paste is a nice flavor for a mayonnaise spread.  Vindaloo Curry Paste can be found at Indian food markets and some grocery stores.  Vindaloo Curry Paste can be made fresh, but the manufactured product ends up being much more cost effective.  In the end the flavor is the same.
     Vindaloo Curry Mayonnaise:
     This recipe yields almost 1/2 cup.  (Enough for 1 appetizer portion.) 
     Step 1:  Place 1/3 cup of mayonnaise in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of Vindaloo Red Curry Paste.
     Add 1 teaspoon of Korean style Coarse Ground Red Serrano Chile Paste.  (sambal)
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Step 2:  Stir the ingredients together.
     Chill the Vindaloo Curry Mayonnaise for 1 hour, so the flavors meld.
     This recipe yields 1 appetizer portion.
     Cut 6 thin bias slices of French baguette bread.  (About 1/4" to 3/8" thick.)
     Brush each bread slice with olive oil.
     Heat a wide sauté pan or griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Place the bread slices in the pan.
     Grill the bread on both sides till it is lightly toasted and crisp.
     Set the crostini aside.
     Moroccan Sardine Filet Preparation:
     Canned Moroccan Sardines are used for this recipe.  Canned sardines must be handled very gently, because they easily break apart.
     Canned Moroccan Sardines usually have the skin and scales attached.  For a fine dining appetizer the skin and scales should be removed.   The bones and any entrails should be removed too. 
     Step 1:  Hold a sardine under a trickle of cold running water and use your fingers to gently rub the skin and scales off of 3 whole sardines.
     Step 2:  Carefully split the sardines open .
     Place each sardine half on a platter.
     Carefully remove the bones and stomach from the sardines.
     *Now there should be 6 sardine filets on the platter.   
     Moroccan Sardine Filets en Croute With Roasted Poblano Chile and Vindaloo Curry Mayonnaise: 
     This recipe yields 1 appetizer.
     Fresh roasted chile poblano is best, but canned roasted chile poblano is in keeping with this recipe.  Some brands are better than others!
     Step 1:  Spread a thin layer of the Vindaloo Curry Mayonnaise on each crostini.
     Carefully place 1 sardine filet on each crostini.
     Mound a few thin sliced roasted poblano pepper strips on each sardine.
     Step 2:  Arrange the crostini on a plate in a starfish pattern.
     Garnish the center of the plate with small pieces of Persian Pickled Wild Cucumber and Italian Parsley sprigs.
     This simple Moroccan Sardine appetizer has a nice fusion of international flavors!    

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Shrimp Kabob Salad with Sumac Berry Yogurt Dressing and Pomegranate

     Mediterranean Flavors! 
     Mediterranean food is great summer food.  Serving a protein item over salad or with salad has been a modern European café standard in recent years.  A Shrimp Kabob served over salad creates eye appeal and this salad entrée is light enough to not slow a person down on an active hot day.
     Of course when creating a Shrimp Kabob Salad it is best to incorporate some unexpected Mediterranean flavors.  Sumac Berry is tasty Middle Eastern spice that adds zest to a goat milk yogurt dressing.  Sumac Berry Spice has a tart lemony red berry wine flavor.  It does take time for Sumac Berry Spice to release its color and flavor, so the yogurt dressing should be chilled for a while before it is served.

     *This entire recipe yields 1 salad entrée!

     Sumac Berry Yogurt Dressing:
     Step 1:  Place 1/3 cup of goat milk yogurt (Greek Yogurt) in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground dried sumac berry.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Add just enough water while stirring, to give the dressing the consistency of cream.  (About 1 or 2 tablespoons)
     Step 3:  Place the dressing in a container.
     Chill the dressing for 1 hour in a refrigerator.
     Stir before serving.

     Garlic Olive Oil:
     Place 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a small sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 3 cloves of chopped garlic.
     Gently sauté till the garlic turns a light golden color.
     Set the garlic flavored olive oil aside.
     Shrimp Kabob:
     Step 1:  Soak a long bamboo skewer in water.
     Step 2:  Assemble a kabob with:
     - 6 large peeled shrimp that have the tails attached
     - 2 green bell pepper pieces
     - 2 small onion wedges
     Step 3:  Place the kabob on a platter.
     Brush the kabob with some of the garlic flavored olive oil.
     Squeeze about 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice over the kabob.
     Sprinkle 2 pinches of oregano over the kabob.
     Season the kabob with sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 4:  Let the kabob marinate for 20 minutes in a refrigerator.

     Salad Set-Up Plate:
     Mound 2 1/2 cups of mixed baby lettuce on the center of a plate.
     Place a few red bell pepper strips and green bell pepper strips on top of the lettuce.
     Place a circle of red and white seedless grapes halves on the plate around the lettuce.  (Alternate the colors.)
     Sprinkle 1/4 cup of pomegranate fruit on the plate between the lettuce and grape halves.
     Chill the salad set-up plate till it is needed.

     Shrimp Kabob Salad with Sumac Berry Yogurt Dressing and Pomegranate:  
     The shrimp kabob can be cooked under a broiler or on a chargrill.  
     Step 1:  Heat a broiler or chargrill to a medium temperature.
     Grill the shrimp kabob on both sides till the shrimp are fully cooked.  Brush the kabob with the garlic olive oil occasionally.
     *Try to turn the kabob often, so the color remains light with no burnt marks.
     Keep the shrimp kabob warm on a stove top.
     Step 2:  Spoon a generous portion of the Sumac Berry Yogurt Dressing over the lettuce and pomegranate fruit.
     Place the shrimp kabob on top of the lettuce.
     No garnish is necessary!

     This light Mediterranean style summer kabob salad entrée tastes great and it has eye appeal!

Poulet Sauté Marseillaise

     Chicken In The Style Of Marseille!
     In America, French food has a stereotypical reputation of being very rich heavy food that is sauced with cream and butter.  That is far from the truth.  The regions of Provence and southern France boast plenty of light healthy Mediterranean style food that is perfect for warm summer weather.
     Today's recipe is well over 150 years old.  French recipes from the 1800's tend to be a bit complex and they were written descriptively, with no photos of the finished dish.  An experienced chef has no problem following such a recipe, but a home cook may just pass it up.  This is why I occasionally publish modern versions of classic descriptive recipes.  Writing a modern descriptive recipe that has accompanying photos helps modern cooks to see how an antique entrée should look.  The object is to inspire a reader to say "I can make that!"
     Poulet Sauté Marseillaise requires sauté and braising techniques.  This is a quickly made sauté recipe, so be sure to have all the ingredients ready before starting.
     Traditionally, this recipe is made with an Airline Chicken Breast (Frenched Chicken Breast).  An Airline Chicken Breast is a boneless breast with the wing drumette and skin attached.  I used 5 chicken tenders to make this recipe instead of a Frenched Chicken Breast, because that is what I had on hand.  Chicken tenders turn this classic recipe into a casual café style lunch item and this is okay.  For a dinner entrée, it is best to use a Frenched Chicken Breast and Sauté till the skin is crisp.
     Poulet Sauté Marseillaise:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     The Chicken Tender is the section of meat that is next to the breast bone and is easily separated by hand from the chicken breast filet.  I tend to save chicken tenders while butchering chicken and freeze them for later use.  Chicken tenders can be bought fresh at a grocer too.
     This is a late 1800's version of Poulet Saute Marseillaise.  The tomatoes should not be peeled for this recipe.  This recipe could be considered to be a test of how long the tomato quarters can be cooked, without the skin completely falling off. 
     Step 1:  Cut the thick tendon off of the wide end of 5 chicken tenders.
     Step 2:  Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add the chicken tenders.  
     Sauté the chicken tenders till golden highlights appear.
     Step 3:  Add 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic.
     Cut 1 plum tomato lengthwise in quarters.  Scrape off the tomato seeds.
     Add the tomato quarters to the pan.
     Add 1/3 cup of mixed small chopped green and red bell pepper.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Briefly sauté till the peppers and tomato start to cook.  (About 1 minute.)
     Step 4:  Add 6 ounces of dry white wine.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce till the liquid is nearly evaporated.  (Try not to disturb the tomato quarters, so they are not damaged.)
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Step 1:  Place the chicken tenders in a row on a plate.
     Place the tomato quarters between each of the the chicken tenders.
     Spoon the soft peppers and garlic over the chicken.
     Sprinkle 2 pinches of chopped parsley over the chicken.
     Step 2:  Garnish the plate with parsley sprigs and lemon slices.
     Serve with rice pilaf and a vegetable of your choice.
     *The pilaf in the photos was flavored with vegetable stock and Herbs de Provence.  Steamed buttered sweet snap peas are a nice choice for summer.

     Light, lemony, white wine flavored garlic, peppers and tomatoes tastes great with chicken.  As one can see, Poulet Sauté Marseillaise is not a saucy entrée at all.  This is healthy French Mediterranean cooking!