Thursday, September 29, 2016

Broiled Swordfish Steak Grenobloise with Dill Crème Potato

     A Classic French Sauce That Is Perfect For Swordfish!
     I first cooked today's recipe while working with a Swiss Chef at a fine dining seafood restaurant.  The Swiss Chef specialized in European style seafood preparations made with traditional veal sauces.  A traditional French Grenobloise Sauce usually accompanies veal or trout. 
     The Grenobloise preparation tastes great with swordfish.  Swordfish sustainability can be an issue, depending on the source.  Some swordfish fisheries are managed better than others.  As always, check the sustainability status before making any seafood purchase, to ensure guilt free dining.  
     Dill Crème Potato:
     This recipe yields 2 portions.
     Step 1:  Place 1 large peeled russet potato (8 to 10 ounce) in a sauce pot.
     Add enough water to cover the potato.
     Boil over medium high heat till the potato is soft.
     Step 2:  Drain the water off of the potato.
     Return the potato to the sauce pot.
     Place the pot over very low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of warm cream.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of chopped fresh dill weed.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Step 3:  Mash and whisk the potato mixture till it is smooth and creamy.
     Step 4:  Place the Dill Crème Potato in a star tipped pastry bag.
     Keep the pastry bag warm on a stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.
     Broiled Swordfish Steak:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Select an 8 to 10 ounce swordfish steak.
     Brush the swordfish steak with blended olive oil.
     Lightly season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 2:  Lightly brush a small broiler pan with blended olive oil.
     Place the swordfish steak on the pan.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 ounce of dry white wine.
     Step 3:  Set a broiler to a medium high temperature.
     Adjust the broiler rack to a low position.
     Place the swordfish pan under the broiler.
     Occasionally baste the swordfish with the pan juices.
     Broil till the swordfish is fully cooked and a few golden brown highlights appear.
     Step 4:  Keep the swordfish steak warm on a stove top, till the sauce is made.
     Grenobloise Sauce:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     This sauce should be prepared to order.  The sauce can be started while the swordfish steak cooks.
     Step 1:  Cut 1/2 of a lemon into supremes.  (Lemon Supremes are filets of lemon fruit with no skin, seeds, pith or membrane.
     Brunoise dice the supremes.  (Or leave them whole.)
     Set the brunoise lemon supremes aside in a small container
     Step 2:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Cook the butter till it is a light golden brown color.  (beurre noisette)
     Step 3:  Add 1 tablespoon of brunoise diced shallot.  (Brunoise = 1/8" dice)
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of brunoise diced garlic.
     Briefly sauté till the shallot begins to turn clear in color.
     Step 4:  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of capers.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of chopped parsley.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1/4 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Add the swordfish jus from the broiler pan (or add 1/4 cup of fumet).
     Step 5:  Rapidly simmer and reduce the sauce, till only about 2 1/2 tablespoons of liquid remain.
     Step 6:  Remove the sauce pot from the heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of chilled unsalted butter while stirring.  (monte au beurre)
     Keep the sauce warm on a stove top till it is needed.
     Swordfish Grenobloise with Dill Crème Potato:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Place the Broiled Swordfish Steak on the front half of a plate.
     Step 2:  Use the pastry bag to pipe a portion of Dill Crème potato on the back half of the plate.
     Place a petit portion of a vegetable of your choice next to the potato.  (A medley of Buttered Haricot Vert, Carrot and Mushroom is a nice choice!)
     Step 3:  Spoon a generous portion of the Grenobloise Sauce over the swordfish steak and onto the plate.  (About 3 tablespoons.)

     Voila!  Broiled Swordfish Steak Grenobloise!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Roast Beet, Chevre and Crostini Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Pomegranate Vinaigrette

     A Tasty Salad Entrée!
     There was a trendy restaurant in downtown Chicago that I decided to give a try for lunch.  The restaurant was famous for buffalo.  Oddly enough, the waitress stated that there was a nationwide shortage of buffalo, which amounted to just being a lame excuse.  I ended up ordering a roasted beet and goat cheese salad instead.  The salad sounded interesting, but after first being lied to by the waitress, I expected the worst was yet to come.  
     The roasted beet and goat cheese salad at the restaurant was not impressive.  It looked like a pile of lettuce with sliced beets on top, with blobs of goat cheese that was warmed in a microwave oven.  The salad was smothered with the same cheap manufactured balsamic vinaigrette that most chain restaurants use.  The strong flavor of the salad dressing was overbearing.      
     A few weeks later, I gave some thought to making a roasted beet and goat cheese salad that would be more appealing than the one that was served at the restaurant.  Improving the quality of the ingredients and choosing a lighter vinaigrette flavor was a good start.  Adding some crunchy texture and improving the salad presentation made a big difference too.  Overall, the improvements made the simple salad much better.       
     Roasted Red Pepper Pomegranate Vinaigrette:
     This recipe yields about 1/2 cup.  (2 portions) 
     Pomegranate Vinegar is available at most grocery stores.
     Step 1:  Place 3 tablespoons of finely minced roasted red bell pepper in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1 clove of minced garlic.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of Pomegranate Vinegar.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and coarse ground black pepper.
     Set the mixture aside for 5 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Step 2:  Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil while stirring with a whisk.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of virgin olive oil while stirring.
     Set the vinaigrette aside or chill it for later use.
     *Be sure to stir the vinaigrette before serving.
     Roast Red Beet:
     One medium size red beet is needed per salad. 
     Step 1:  Place 1 unpeeled medium size red beet on a roasting pan.
     Place the pan in a 375ºF oven.
     Roast till the beet is tender.
     Step 2:  Cool the roasted beet under cold running water.
     Use a dry pastry towel to rubbing the skin off of the beet.
     Trim the top and the root end
     Step 3:  Cut the beet into 3 medallion slices that are about 1/4" thick.
     Set the roast beet aside or chill it for later use.
     Three crostini are needed per salad.
     Step 1:  Cut 3 slices of baguette bread that are 1/4" thick.
     Brush the bread slices with olive oil.
     Step 2:  Place the bread slices on a baking pan.
     Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Bake till the bread is crisp and light golden brown.
     Set the crostini aside.
     Salad Set-Up Plate:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Place 2 1/4 cups of mixed baby lettuce in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 thin slices of sweet onion that are cut in half.
     Add 1/5 cup of thin bias sliced celery.
     Add a few match stick cut carrots for color.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Mound the salad across the middle of a plate.
     Garnish each side of the salad with:
     - 3 plum tomato slices
     - 2 artichoke halves
     Chill the salad set-up plate till it is needed.
     Roast Beet, Chevre and Crostini Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Pomegranate Vinaigrette:
     This recipe yields 1 salad entrée. 
     Chevre translates to cheese that is made with goat milk.  Fresh soft Chevre is best for this recipe.  Because Chevre is fat free, this cheese will only soften and it will not melt.
     Step 1:  Cut 3 soft fresh Chevre goat cheese into 1/4" thick medallion shapes that are almost the same size as the prepared roast beet slices.
     Place the 3 slices of Chevre on a non-stick pan.
     Heat the Chevre in a 300ºF oven till it just becomes warm and aromatic, but not too soft.
     Step 2:  Alternate the 3 slices of crostini, roast red beet and the warmed Chevre goat cheese slices across the top of the salad.
     *A cake spatula is best for transferring the warmed Chevre.
     Step 3:  Spoon about 3 1/2 tablespoons of the Roasted Red Pepper Pomegranate Vinaigrette over the salad.

     This is a nice healthy salad for the autumn and winter seasons!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ginger Kale Yellow Split Pea Soup

     A Nice Tasting Soup for the Change of Seasons!
     When there is a seasonal change of temperature the body adapts to the conditions.  Part of the adaptation is cravings for nutrients that fuel the adjustment.     
     China and India are two cultures that have studied the effects of food on the human body since ancient times.  Both cultures understand that food has both nutritional value and medicinal value.  Certain kinds food can help the body to adapt to environmental conditions.  Many European cultures refer to these kinds of beneficial food as tonic.  The key root word of "tonic" is tone.  Maintaining a healthy tone is the goal of any good dietary practice.  
     Today's Ginger Kale Yellow Split Pea Soup recipe was designed for those who look upon food as being preventative medicine.  Ginger and kale both have medicinal value.  Ginger is a mild blood thinner, an arterial tonic and it is a strong antioxidant.  Ginger tones metabolism and it rids the body of toxins, which in turn enables the body to be more capable of adapting to climatic change.  Kale offers many micronutrients that are necessary for healthy cell production.  Yellow Split Peas are loaded with protein, calcium and fibrous carbohydrates.  Yellow Split Peas are nearly a complete meal on their own.     

     Ginger Yellow Split Pea Soup:
     This recipe yields about 2 1/2 cups.  (2 petite portions or 1 hearty portion)
     Ginger Kale Soup and Yellow Split Pea Soup are traditional Caribbean soups.  This recipe combines the ingredients of both soups and the result is a healthy hearty soup that is perfect for chilly weather!
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of small chopped onion.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of small chopped celery.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of small chopped carrot.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced ginger.
     Gently sauté till the onions turn clear in color.  
     Step 2:  Add 2 cups of vegetable broth (or chicken broth).
     Add 1 1/3 cups of water.
     Add 1/2 cup of yellow split peas.
     Step 3:  Raise the temperature to medium high heat.
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of galangal powder.  (Thai Blue Ginger powder)
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of blue agave nectar.  
     Add 1 small pinch of ground celery seed.
     Add 1 pinch of ground sage.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Add 1 pinch of allspice.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.
     Add 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Season with sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Simmer the soup, till the split peas become fully cooked and soft.  
     *Allow the liquid to reduce.  Only add water if the split peas are exposed.
     Step 5:  Remove the pot from the heat and allow the soup to cool to less than 100ºF.
     Puree the soup with a blender, immersion blender or food processor.    
     Step 6:  Place the pot of soup over medium low heat.
     Bring the soup to a simmer, while stirring occasionally.
     *Check the consistency of the soup.  The soup should be a medium thin puree consistency that easily coats a spoon.  If the soup is too thin, simmer and reduce the soup over low heat.  If the soup is too thick, add water.  The finished volume should be about 2 1/2 cups. 

     Ginger Kale Yellow Split Pea Soup:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Fresh kale is chiffonade sliced and the thin kale ribbons are added as a finishing touch.  The soup must be piping hot when the kale garnish is added or the kale will not wilt when it is stirred into the soup.  
     Step 1:  Bring the soup to a simmer over medium low heat.
     Ladle the hot soup into a large 10 ounce soup cup.  (A deep large soup cup will prevent rapid cooling!)
     Step 2:  Float 3 tablespoons of thin kale chiffonade on the surface of the soup. 
     Place the large soup cup on a doily lined plate.

     Viola!  A healthy Caribbean soup that has a nice color too!        

Monday, September 12, 2016

Zuppa di Cozze

     Italian Mussel Soup!
     Zuppa di Cozze is a quick and easy healthy Italian specialty that tastes very nice!  Zuppa di Cozze is a stewed mussel soup that is cooked to order (a la minute).  The broth is made first, then the mussels are stewed for a short time in the broth.  The jus from the mussels thoroughly flavors the broth.  Zuppa di Cozze is always made to order and it is never made ahead of time.  Bread is nearly always served with this soup, so the rich mussel broth can be easily sopped up.
     Many modern recipes refer to Zuppa di Cozze as being mussels in a tomato sauce and the sauce is described as being thick.  Many of these same recipes look much more like Mussels Marinara, rather than Zuppa di Cozze.  Traditionalists know that the oldest Zuppa di Cozze recipes were created long before tomatoes were introduced to Italy from the new world, so the consistency of the liquid should be like a rich broth.  

     Garlic Bread:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     The garlic bread can be made while the Zuppa di Cozze simmers.
     Step 1:  Place 1 teaspoon of minced garlic in a cup.
     Add 1/3 cup of olive oil.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Brush 5 slices of Italian bread with the garlic oil.
     Place the garlic bread on a baking pan.
     Lightly toast the garlic bread slices in a 350ºF oven.
     Keep the garlic bread warm on a stove top.      

     Zuppa di Cozze: 
     This recipe yields 1 portion.  
     Zuppa di Cozze should be made to order!
     Step 1:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1/3 cup of diced celery.
     Add 1/3 cup of diced onion.
     Sauté till the onions turn clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 cup of imported Italian canned crushed plum tomatoes.
     Simmer the tomatoes for 1 minute.
     Step 3:  Add 1/3 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1 1/2 cups of whitefish broth (fumet) or light shrimp broth.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 2 pinches of oregano.
     Add 1 pinch of crushed dried red pepper.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 4:  Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
     *Allow the volume of the broth to reduce to 2 cups.  Add more broth if necessary.
     Step 5:  Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped Italian Parsley.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 15 to 20 cleaned whole blue mussels.
     Place a lid on the pan.
     Stew the mussels in the zuppa broth for 5 minutes.
     Step 6:  Remove the lid.
     Discard any mussels that do not open.
     Keep the Zuppa di Cozze warm over very low heat.
     Step 7:  Remove the bay leaf.
     Add 1 teaspoon of virgin olive oil to the soup, while gently shaking the pan.
     Step 8:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Ladle the Zuppa di Cozze into a large soup bowl.
     Arrange the mussels in the bowl, so they look nice.
     Wedge the garlic bread slices between the mussels and rim of the soup bowl.
     Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped Italian Parsley over the Zuppa di Cozze.

     The aroma of Zuppa di Cozze is captivating!