Category Archives: Recipes
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Dinner For Two: A Valentine’s Day feast

Arugula Salad w/Goat Cheese, Roasted Golden Beets and Raspberries

 

Pan Seared Sea Bass w/ a Spanish Olive

 

Alright people.  Valentine’s Day is upon us once again.  What are you going to do about it?  Make a killer dinner, that’s what!!   Your significant other will fall out when they eat this extravagant meal.  Be prepared: this is going to take a little work.  Impressive meals take some elbow grease – are you ready?   

Salad

  • Arugula
  • 3 oz. Goat Cheese
  • 8 ea Raspberries
  • 2 Tbs. Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 large Golden Beet 

Dressing (Poppy seed Vinaigrette)

  • ¼ c. Sugar
  • 3 Tbs. finely minced shallots
  • 2 ½ Tbs. Dijon Mustard
  • ½ Tbs. Salt
  • ½ c. Mayo
  • 3 Tbs. Poppy Seeds
  • ½ c. Soybean Oil
  • ¼ c. Orange Juice
  • ½ c. Apple Cider Vinegar 

Fish

  • 2 – 6 oz portions Sea Bass
  • Salt n Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. Butter

Olive Salad

  • 1 c. Kalamata Olives rough chopped
  • 1 c. Queen Olives rough chopped
  • ½ c. Black Olives rough chopped
  • 2 tsp. Garlic finely minced
  • 3 Tbs. Yellow Onion very small dice
  • 3 Tbs. Capers
  • 1 Tbs. Parsley minced
  • 1 ½ Tbs. Fresh Oregano rough chopped
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 tbs. Pepper
  • 3 Tbs. Good Olive Oil

We’ll begin this culinary adventure with a beautiful Arugula Salad.  You want to roast the beet first since it takes the longest part of the process.  Preheat an oven at 425.  Scrub the beet down under running water to get it clean, then toss it on a sheet pan and into the oven.  Roast for about 45 min to 1 hour.  To see if it’s done just stick a toothpick in it.  If the toothpick goes in smoothly with no resistance it’s done.  Put it in the cooler.  While the beet is cooling, and the oven is still hot put those pepitas in the oven to toast them.  They take about 2 minutes to toast so don’t forget about them.  I still have a bad habit of burning nuts in the oven.   After the beet has cooled completely, peel it.  You should be able to peel it with your hands.  No need for a potato peeler.  Next get out your mandoline and slice them as thin as you can.   For the dressing put the sugar, shallots, mustard, salt, poppy seeds and mayo into your mixer (with a whisk attachment) and crank it to high.  Pour the oil into the mayonnaise mixture very slowly.  

Here is a quick tip.  If you take plastic wrap and wrap it around the mixer tightly, rip a hole for pouring in liquids.   This will help keep oil/vinegar or whatever you’re adding from splashing outside of the bowl when your mixer is on a high speed.  Finishing up, slowly add in the OJ and vinegar.  Dressing done!!  

To plate the salad, toss a couple of big handfuls of arugula in a bowl.  Add about ¼ cup of dressing in the bowl and toss.  Put the salad on the plate, fold a couple of slices of beets and place them in the greens.  Pinch off a few pieces of goat cheese, a sprinkle of toasted pepitas and a few raspberries.  Voila!  

Whew!

Now for the entrée.  The Olive Salad is easy.  Just rough chop the olives.  Chop your garlic, onions and herbs.  Toss all the ingredients together.  It’s that easy.  

Sea Bass is my favorite fish and tends to be pretty delicate.  It deserves some love and attention to get the good golden brown sear you’re after.  I like using a cast iron pan but if you get the pan too hot you can scorch the fish.  If you’re feeling adventurous go cast iron but if you wanna play it safe go with a good Teflon coated pan.  Preheat the oven at 350.  Season the top of the fish with salt and pepper.  The first step with sautéing is to get your pan nice and hot.  Next add in your oil and butter.  When the butter has melted add the fish top side (the side you seasoned) down.  The trick to having a good sear is patience. Don’t let the overwhelming desire to flip it win!  Make sure to watch the bottom sides of the fish.  It will first turn white then start to turn brown and crispy.  Wait about 10 more seconds and flip.  If you are using a cast iron skillet or your Teflon pan doesn’t have plastic handles, put the pan directly in the oven.  If your pan is not oven-safe spray a sheet pan with food release spray and carefully put the fish on it and throw it in the oven.  Cook for about 5 – 7 minutes.  If you have a digital thermometer, take it out when the fish is around 138 degrees.  Lovingly place the fish on the plate and spoon the olive salad over it.  All I have to say is… you’re welcome.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

 *Photographs by Terry Wyatt





Chocolate Souffle

Chocolate Soufflé w/ Salted Caramel & Walker Creek Toffee Crumble

soufle

 

For the Soufflé

2 cups Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

1 lbs Butter

8 ea. Eggs

8 ea. Egg Yolks

1 1/3 cups Sugar

¾ cup Flour (sifted)

 

For the Caramel

1 cup sugar

6 Tbs. Butter (cut into chunks)

½ cup Heavy Cream

½ Tbs. finely ground sea salt

 ¼ cup Powdered Sugar in a shaker

2 cups Crumbled Toffee 

 

It’s your lucky day guys because you get a 2 for 1 in this one.  The salted caramel can be used for everything!!!   Put in on cakes, brownies, apple pies, dessert parfaits, yogurt, popcorn, steaks…….maybe not steaks but you get the point.    Good stuff.  When we tested this recipe out there were many moans from happy taste buds all throughout the kitchen.  You gonna love it!  The soufflé can be changed up as well.  You can stuff it with cherries, butterscotch, ect.  We went a little caramel crazy and put a local bourbon caramel in there (as if the salted caramel wasn’t enough!!) from Walker Creek Confections.    These guys make the best caramels and toffee ever!   Ok.  Here we go!!

 It’s probably best to start with the caramel so It can be cooled down before the soufflés get done.   By the way – I burnt the caramel 3 tries before I got it right.  Practice makes perfect as they say.  It’s best to have a candy thermometer or a digital thermometer handy.  

Put your sugar in the bottom of pot with high walls.  Turn on medium high.  Make sure you are whisking occasionally or the sugar will scorch.  The sugar will began to clump up but keep stirring it until it  melts.  As it melts it will began to turn to an amber color.  This is when you want to start to check the temperature.  If it reaches 330 degrees, and all the clumps have not melted take the pot off the stove and continue to stir until they do.  When all the clumps have melted cook until the temp has reached 350 degrees toss in the butter.  Be careful because the sugar and butter will start to boil up the pan (that’s why you need one with high walls).  Keep stirring until all butter has melted and has mixed in well with the sugar.  Take the pan off of the heat and pour in the cream.  Once again it will start to boil up in the pan.  Just keep stirring then add the salt.  Your caramel is done!  Try not to eat it all before the soufflés are done!  

 The soufflé is a lot easier than the caramel.  Preheat you oven to 350.  Get a pot with about 1 inch of water at the bottom of it.  Put a metal bowl on top and toss in your chocolate chips and 1 lbs butter.  Turn on high and let the chocolate and butter melt together while you get your other ingredients together.   Put your eggs, yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat together.   Add a little sifted flour at a time while whipping until all flour is incorporated.   Now go check your chocolate mixture on the stove.  Whisk the melted butter and chocolate until it comes together.  Take it off the stove and slowly pour into the egg mixture while whisking.  The mix is done!!!  That was easy.  

The mix will fill about 12 to 14 – 4 oz ramekins.  Spray ramekins w/food release or brush w/melted butter, your call.  Pour mix ¾ ways up the sides.  Put on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  They will look like they are trying to jump out of the ramekins.  Take them out of the oven and let sit for 5 minutes.  They will fall back into their ramekins.  Hit it with some powdered sugar, drizzle a little (or a lot) caramel, and top it with toffee crumble and enjoy!!!

 

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!

 





blog pic NOV13small

Happy Thanksgiving: Something NEW for your family feast

 Are you looking for something out of the ordinary for your Thanksgiving feast?  This recipe is great for the holidays!  If done right, it looks gorgeous on a platter; and compliments?  Get ready – your relatives are going to love it!  I’ll be honest, this one requires a bit of culinary skill, but if you’re willing I’ll walk you through the entire process step by step.  Ready?!

Are you looking for something out of the ordinary for your Thanksgiving feast?  This recipe is great for the holidays!  If done right, it looks gorgeous on a platter; and compliments?  Get ready – your relatives are going to love it!  I’ll be honest, this one requires a bit of culinary skill, but if you’re willing I’ll walk you through the entire process step by step.  Ready?!

Special equipment: butchers twine, a mallet (or meat tenderizer as some call it), plastic wrap, a chef’s knife and a sharp boning knife.  You will also need a long butane lighter or fireplace match sticks.  Trust me – this is going to keep your hair from catching fire!

 Items:

  • 10 lb Pork Loin
  • ¼ lbs Butter
  • 8 ea. Gala or Fuji Apples (¼ inch dice)
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Pepper
  • 1 cup Sundried Cranberries
  • 2 cups Walnuts (medium chop)
  • 1 cup Bourbon
  • ¼ cup Rosemary
  • 4 oz. Brown Sugar

First, you want to make your filling so that it can cool down while you work on trimming the pork.  After chopping the apples and walnuts, get a large pot that can hold around 6 qts.  Next, put your butter in the pot and melt it down.  Add the apples, cranberries, salt, pepper, and walnuts.  Cook for 5 minutes – stirring often.  Add the brown sugar and cook an additional 5 minutes – again stirring often.  Let the sugars start to caramelize on the bottom of the pot.  Be sure to not let the mixture burn!  

WARNING: Be careful when doing the next step.  Turn off your burner if you are using a gas stove.  Pour the bourbon in the pot.  Turn the burner back on and bring to a boil – ignite it with the match or lighter stick. Watch your hair and Flambé!!!!  Let mixture boil until the flame burns out (which means all the alcohol is burned out).  Add the rosemary and pour the mixture out of the pot into a sheet pan to cool.  You can set it in your fridge or just on the counter while working on the pork.  

 How good are your knife skills?  You’re about to find out with this pork!  Quick story: I used to have to dice about 40 lbs of tomatoes with a machine to make pico de gallo.  The machine blade broke.  I told the chef I was working and the blade broke, so I couldn’t get the tomatoes done on time.  He told me not to complain to him because my knife skills sucked.  Ouch.  I no longer use a machine to dice anything anymore.  Lesson learned.  

Pork loin:  Grab your boning knife, and let’s get to work.  Trim off the top layer of fat.  Because this piece of pork is so long, you will need to filet it into three connected sections that create one large, thin piece.  Imagine it’s a cinnamon roll pastry log before its been cut into individual pieces.  

You’ll need to begin cutting an 1/8 of an inch from the bottom on the long side of the loin, making sure you keep the knife horizontal.  If you tilt the knife down, you risk going through the bottom and making a hole which your filling will pour out of.  So cut until you get ¼ inch away from the side of the loin.  Fold the loin out.  Then using the same process, cut another 1/8 of a inch thin across horizontally.  Fold the loin out until it’s all the way rolled out.  Wasn’t that fun!!!  If you made any holes then don’t worry you have 2 more pieces of pork to “perfect your technique” on!!  

Now lay the pork out flat and put two layers of plastic wrap over it.  Get out your meat mallet.  Use the flat side, and with controlled swings (don’t get crazy), pound out the meat.  Not too hard or you will make more holes in the pig.  If done correctly, you can potentially double it in size.  You can now take the filling and spread a layer evenly over the pork.  Roll it gently but tightly into a cylinder (like that cinnamon roll log I was talking about).

The fun has just begun!

If you were in boy/girl scouts, you may have the skills for the next task.  If not, I’m here to help.  It’s time to tie this porker up.  Cut a piece of butchers twine about 6 to 8 ft long.  Place the pork on your prep space, seam facing up – one end is facing you and the other away from you.  Grab one end of the string and with the other hand grab a foot down the string, drag it down underneath the pork toward you – stopping about ½ inch from the front of the pork.  Tie a tight knot at the seam of the pork.   Ok, (explaining this is tuff, so bear with me) with your left hand grab the string 2 inches from the knot and the right hand, 1 ½ feet from your left hand.  Drag the string between your hands, under the pork like earlier except stop 1 inch from the knot.  Take the string in your right hand and pull it under the left hand string.  Pull it all the way through the left, and tug it tightly.  Did you get that?  Repeat until you get to the end of the pork loin – tying the last one off with a tight knot.    

 Take the pork, and lay it on a sheet pan seam side down.  Turn the oven to 350.  Cover with a piece of foil.  You are going to be cooking this baby for a long time so covering it will keep the outside from burning.  Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Take off foil.  Cook for an additional 15 – 30 minutes.  If you have a thermometer, it needs to read 150 to 155.  Take it out of the oven and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.  This will keep the juices from coming out and will insure the meat does not become too dry.  Each loin should yield between 14 to 16 cuts.  We use a brandy demi glaze on ours, but a reduced port wine would be nice too.

Enjoy!