Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mercury poisoning be damned

Ah Tuna, there's nothing better than a nice lightly seared tuna steak. Last's nights came out beautifully, though a bit overcooked in some places. I usually sear it on each side, but this time I decided to see what broiling would do. A $30 piece of tuna is probably not the best thing to experiment with, but it came out delicious none the less.

I marinated the steak in a concoction of Soy sauce, a few splashes of sesame oil, and a 2:1 ratio of honey and wasabi paste. I whisked it together in a stainless steel bowl which I put a little heat to in order to more easily incorporate the honey. I let my tuna marinade for around 45 minutes. Any longer than an hour and you'll end up with one salty steak. I removed the fillet and placed the marinade in a sauce pan for reduction. I pat my tuna dry, applied fresh sesame seeds and set her aside. I wanted to get the shrimp finished before putting the tuna to heat because it can be a bit more temperamental than shrimp. I coated my shrimp with some of the St. Louis BBQ rub I had made previously and put them in a hot pan, then into the broiler until pink. Now it was time for the steak. I broiled it; don't do that. Get a cast iron pan real hot, put in some oil then lightly sear each side for 3-5 minutes. I mandolin-ed some cucumbers and made a mayo and sriracha sauce for the cucumbers and laid the shrimp on top. Sliced my tuna and placed the strips on a rice blend then finally I added the reduction. Quick, easy, and delicious.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I love the fishes 'cause they're so delicious

Being able to cook has other benefits than fulfilling ones own hedonistic culinary desires. Sometimes friends will come by with bags of excellent seafood and say, 'Hey, lets cook this.'. I guess it helps when said friend's roommate is a fishmonger. I went with an easy, but often poorly done favorite; bacon wrapped scallops.There are a few secrets to doing them well. When you wrap them only use enough bacon to wrap the scallop one time around. Having only enough overlap to secure with a toothpick. I made a quick St. Louis BBQ rub comprised of equal parts brown sugar and paprika and a pinch of: salt, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and onion powder. I sprinkled the rub on top of the scallops then rolled the bacon wrapped sides. While waiting for my broiler to reach temperature I put my cast iron pan in there to heat up. This allows for the scallops to cook evenly from both the bottom and top whilst broiling. Drop a bit of oil in the pan and get them in the broiler until the bacon crisps up.

For the shellfish I sweat down onions in butter then added garlic and herbs. After five minutes I added a combination of muscles, littleneck clams, and razor clams. Then came the steaming liquid of which you can use white wine or beer. I chose the latter and poured in a bottle of Sierra Nevada Torpedo extra IPA. Cover and steam your shellfish (if not previously frozen) until the shells open up and the muscles are a nice orange color. Using the aforementioned cream sauce recipe I substituted the shallots/stock with the steaming liquid from the shellfish. The flavor this gave to the sauce is indescribable. I ended up steaming the shellfish too long due to my focused attention on the cream sauce, so be careful. What I would suggest, since the cream sauce needs a fair amount of reduction, is to steam for 5 minutes, pour off some liquid for your sauce and get it started. That way by the time the shellfish are finished you're almost done with the sauce. We used thin spaghetti for the pasta incase anyone cared.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ravioli. I love Ravioli.

So TNSC was postponed this week so I cooked with my new special friend, Rachele. I purchased a new pastry wheel from a lil shop in Huntington, Mass. and I couldn't wait to use it. Pinching ravioli can be frustrating, monotonous, and aggravating; to list a few choice adjitives I equate to stuffing pasta. So needless to say I was excited about using my new tool. I had a chicken cutlet in the fridge so I decided to stuff outside the box and make a habanero braised chicken stuffed ravioli with a simple ragu. To braise the chicken I first seasoned it with salt, pepper, and chili powder and browned both sides. I removed the chicken, softened up some chopped onions, a clove of garlic and a habanero pepper with seeds and ribs removed. I then deglazed with two cups of red wine and added my chicken which was about half submerged in the braising liquid. I cooked it for an hour, covered, at 325 degrees. The liquid had reduced significantly, so after forking the chicken apart I put the braising liquid including onions, garlic and peppers into my food processor to smooth it out then added it to my chicken. The ragu was quick an easy. I sautéed garlic, onion, shredded carrot, an anchovy, and some herbs until golden. Deglazed with red wine, added crushed tomatoes and one fresh tomato and let simmer for an hour. Easy peasy.
Rachele took out all of the stops and went with a pumpkin ravioli with a herb cream sauce. Needless to say we practically passed out at the table upon the completion of this meal. To accompany this meal I opened a 2008 Laurent Betton St. Joseph which may not have been the best pairing, but delicious none the less. The St. Joseph started with dark fruit, blackberries and tobacco. A leathery mid palate with a spicy full bodied finish. Extremely well balanced with delicate tannins. I wish I had secured a few more bottles for myself.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Cream Sauce
10 Tbsp (5oz) butter
1 Pound fresh pumpkin (we cheated and used canned)
2 Cups heavy cream
1/2 Bay leaf
2 Tbsp minced fresh sage (Fresh! don't cheap out!)
2 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
2 Eggs, beaten
1 Egg for pasta wash
2 Cups chicken stock
2 Shallots

In a sauce pan on low heat combine 4 Tbsp butter, the pumpkin, 1c of cream, and half of your minced herbs. Allow to thicken. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 Tbsp butter, beaten eggs, salt and pepper. I suggest making the filling a few hours prior to filling your ravioli and allowing it to chill. We stuffed ours pretty soon after and the filling was not as thick as one would like thus resulting on our larger, flat ravioli. Regardless of aesthetics they were phenomenal.

Being that I have yet to invest in a pasta maker or even a rolling pin, I purchased my pasta from Russo's on 11th Street and 1st Ave in Manhattan. Always my goto place for fresh pasta. We laid out our sheets, brushed with egg and spooned on equal portions of the pumpkin filling.

Brown 1/2 stick of butter in a sauce pan. In a separate pan add your shallots and stock then reduce to half. Add cream and reduce by 1/2 again. Whisk in your browned butter and herbs. Then add your cooked ravioli, toss and serve.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Breakfast! Because I eat then too.

This morning I tossed up some spicy homefries, quail eggs, cheese, and bacon on some white toast. It was delectable. Oh and some coffee of course!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This is one Monk you wont see on USA network

Lately us at TNSC have been cooking off-the-cuff. We have been employing our knowledge of food, flavor parings, and whatever is left over in the pantry to extraordinary results. This week was no different. I procured a pound and a half of Monkfish from Eataly, looked up how to cook it properly, and went to town. Munkfish is known to be a pretty substantial fillet with a flavor and texture akin to lobster; so no better way to cook it than to steam it! We made a steam broth combining a pint of beer, dill, lemon zest, and green pepper corns.

We did a quick salt and peppering of the fillet and divided it accordingly.
With our starch we wanted to incorporate some of the flavors being infused into our fish. We cooked our polenta and as it approached the appropriate texture added some sprigs of dill, cayenne pepper, and paprika. As the fish approached done-ness we noticed how much it fluffed up, looking much like a broiled lobster tail. To say that any of us could control the Pavlovian response to this would be a an outright lie. As a finishing sauce we made a light roux and added some basic hotsauce for some heat and vinegar.

The fish was so succulent and even more flavorful and approachable than lobster. The sweetness with the butter roux was indescribable. Come over some time and I'll make it for you because this may be my new goto protien.
I seem to say this every time we cook, maybe it's just because I always enjoy myself that much more when something comes out so perfectly, but it seems that each meal we produce keeps getting better and better. Though this one will be hard to trump.
The wines we drank last night were purchased prior to the fish so were not meant as a pairing but were enjoyable none the less. Though a full bodied white burgh would have been mindblowing. The wines we drank were a very enjoyable primer on young versus old Cabernet Franc.

The younger of the two is an '09 Loire Cab Franc with excellent muted red fruit, minerality, balanced acidity, and a finish of lavender and violets. That being in stark contrast to the 01 Cabernet Franc by Caslot; a small, organic producer also from the Loire Valley. This wine had dominant barnyard notes on both the palate and nose. Totally unexpected. It's rare to find aged Cab Franc so this wine for me was uncharted territory. It still had plenty of acid to carry this wine through and in those 10 years the fruit had morphed into deeper purple territory. The finish was stemmy (in a good way I swear!) and contributed to an excellent finish on this unique bottle.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Impromptu German-esque Dinner

Well this dinner inspired Daniel and myself to reinstate the blog. We couldn't help but post this meal. We were both so inspired by how well it came out for such little planning. I had purchased some coq-au-vin sausage from the Meathook, (which is one of the surmounting reasons I love living here)a few days prior and we worked from there. Mr. Stenson had heard rumors of my being the king of homefries so we decided to make a less spicy version to go with the sausage. Since what we were making was shaping up to be a sort of 'breakfast for dinner' meal I went to the local grocery to source out some greens and eggs. I found some collard greens and quail eggs! Usually quail eggs are boiled because of their size and the fact that they're a bit difficult open and fry, but we did. We braised our collard greens with bacon, onions, garlic, siratcha, and red wine vinegar. To pair with all of this Daniel brought over a beautifully young and balanced 2009 A.J. Adam Riesling Feinherb Dhron Hofberg. This wine was perfect to combat the spicy greens with its high acidity, delicate residual sugar and secondary notes of elderflower and honey.
I will hopefully be updating every week with succulent photos and wine tasting notes. See you next Tuesday,

It's Been Two Long...

It has been almost two years since I had last posted on this blog and so much has happened. TNSC had disbanded, I broke my hip, I was hired and fired a few times, I became single, and even defected to Brooklyn! But now Tuesday Night Supper Club has come together, Brooklyn Edition, and is here to bring you some fun culinary experimentation. I am also working as a wine consultant at a small organic/artisinal shop so I might nerd out on wine a little more than I had in previous posts. Another addition to the TNSC is my backyard complete with grill/smoker for some smoked meats, southern rubs, and thick sausages. Pictures to follow of the new spot as soon as I clean up from last night.
See you next Tuesday!