Thursday, July 26, 2012

BBQ Pork, Clams, Pesto and Pizza

Specials of the week: all over the map really, just trying new and different twists on things including Atticus who tried kale, brisket and peaches along with a little of just about whatever we were having!

Prosciutto wrapped papaya
- the papaya was a bit strong for the prosciutto but it was a worthwhile attempt at a variation on the tried and true

Acorn squash, carrot and parmigiano dip
- I've made different versions of this over time, and this was one of the better ones. For posterity:
Bake an acorn squash in the oven for about 30 mins (cut in half) along with a couple of carrots
Scoop the squash out and mash the carrots and squash together or blend to desired consistency
Mix in 1-2 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp mango powder and a dash of cayenne pepper
If you want, you can try other spices though these have worked well - it's a taste game
You can depending on the consistency of your acorn squash either put the mixture back in the shells of the squash or into a serving bowl, put some shaved parmigiano on top and broil for a couple of minutes and done! 

BBQ'd rosemary pork loin with goat cheese and figs served with cornbread and a summer salad
- read about this in a BBQ cookbook I have and tweaked it a bit, but the pork was wonderful!
Basically just coat a pork loin in salt, pepper, rosemary with olive oil and then BBQ for a few minutes a side until perfect.
Skewer some figs onto the empty rosemary twigs and BBQ those too
Plate with some goat cheese and honey drizzled over the pork and figs and you have yourself a main!
Train ride with Grandpa!

Clams with corn, pan seared potatoes, bacon and kale
- tried something a little different this time and it turned out well:
Cook the thinly sliced potatoes in a large skillet with olive oil until browning
Add onion and chopped bacon to the same skillet after removing potatoes (save)
After the onion has started to clear and the bacon is coming along, add the scrubbed clams
Add a few chopped stems of thyme and then deglaze with white wine, add corn and cover for 5 minutes (clams should open) - reduce heat
After 5 minutes, can add some clam juice or stock to add broth and keep covered on low for another 5-10 minutes (careful not to overcook the clams!)
Serve with browned potatoes on the bottom of the bowl with clams on top and corn on the side - delicious!

Sausage and onion pizza (the HEB version)
- we'll see about the HEB version of pizza dough tonight! HEB or H.E.B. is the main store in San Antonio started by the mother of Howard E. Butt. When he took it over and tried to expand with eventual success, it came to bear his initials. I find it tedious to say three syllables solely in honor of the founder and so opt for one - HEB.

Fresh pesto linguini with salad, caramelized broccolini and carrots
- Good pesto is hard to beat. I took the Silver Spoon (the Joy of Cooking equivalent for Italians) recipe and added garlic, less nuts and slightly more cheese - goodness!

Friday, July 13, 2012

First week in Texas

So for our first week of cooking at our new home in Texas, we had some good Southern and Texmex food, and they were mostly winners I must say. Here's some pictures of our beautiful kitchen below along with the recipes:
Kitchen central
Fried Chicken with Barbequed Okra, Tomato and Corn Salad and Biscuits
The fried chicken done this way is solid - it's Leah Chase's version who I've given praise to before:
- soak chicken in 1/2 cup evaporated milk, 1/2 cup water and 1 egg (can increase volume as necessary) for about 15 mins while prepping everything else
- put 2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons thyme, 1 tablespoon cayenne/paprika mix, 1 tablespoon salt and pepper into a paper bag (another option is to use half cornmeal and half flour)
- heat oil to 350 or so (really hot)
- put soaked chicken into bag 1-2 pieces at a time and shake about, putting the coated chicken on a dry plate to sit for at least 15 minutes before going in the oil - this is key for getting a good crust
- cook for 10-15 mins usually (outside should be good marker of inner doneness)

The okra, tomato and corn recipe I came up with and people seemed to like (worth making again):
- 1 lb okra sliced lengthwise with ends trimmed and grilled for 15 mins
- 3-4 ears BBQ'd corn
- 3-4 tomatoes sliced in half and grilled for 10-15mins
- you can do all the above basically at the same time, then take the corn off the cob, cut up the tomatoes to more bite size and toss it all with about 1 lime worth of juice, a handful of chopped cilantro and salt/pepper to taste
Corner dining area
Scallops with Fennel, Bacon and Mascarpone with Braised Broccoli and Rice
 The scallops for this were the diver kind - big, juicy and expensive as all can be. But worth it. This recipe is actually fairly simple and delicious:
- slice fennel lengthwise discarding fronds, parboil for 5 mins
- broil fennel with mascarpone over the top until mascarpone melted and fennel browned
- cook 4-5 slices of thick-cut bacon and chop bacon into smaller chunks
- cook scallops 2 mins a side in the bacon grease
- put together using browned mascarpone fennel as a base with scallop on top with chunks of bacon around and on scallop - basically each bite is unique and awesome

Tomatillo Enchiladas with Squash, Corn and Carrot
Not much to comment on here other than the tomatillo enchilada sauce that I made up:
- 1 lb tomatillos boiled for 10 mins with 6-7 cloves garlic (can roast garlic too for different taste but if in a rush, boiling is easier)
- blend tomatillos with 1 cup or so of chicken or vegetable stock along with garlic, 1/2 bunch picked cilantro, cumin and jalapeno to taste and boom you have an excellent green sauce for enchiladas!

Avocado Soup with Apple, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad
Erin made this and it was delicious. The soup had more character than I thought it would for sure!

Out to: Koi Kawa - sushi, pretty decent especially given my expectations for sushi in Texas!