Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Beer Batter Shrimp with Ginger Lime Mayonnaise and Sweet Potato Shoestring Fries







     "We Beer Batter Anything!"
     Up till about 25 years ago it seemed like every local seafood restaurant only offered a choice of cocktail sauce or tartar sauce.  Fortunately things have changed since then.  Serving beer batter fried seafood with a fancy flavored mayonnaise sauce adds a signature touch.  Today's Ginger Lime Mayonnaise recipe is an example of a modern fancy mayonnaise sauce.  This dipping sauce tastes great with beer batter shrimp!
     Beer batter is the most popular batter for frying seafood.  Many chefs say that eggs and milk are needed to bolster up the beer batter, but these ingredients really are not needed.  It seems like the golden rule for making beer batter is "The simpler, the Better!"
     Light lager beer or pilsner are the best choices for making beer batter.  A pinch of turmeric adds an appealing color.  A small amount of ginger and cayenne pepper adds a zesty snap to the beer batter flavor.  If you prefer a non-alcoholic beer batter, then old fashioned Jamaican Ginger Beer is the best choice.  If ginger beer is used, then omit the ginger in the recipe.
     The consistency of the beer batter makes all the difference in the world.  A beer batter that is too thin will not cling to the shrimp.  A beer batter that is too thick will result in a tough leather coating that will not get crisp.  Beer batter should be the same consistency as a pancake batter that produces thin pancakes!
 
     Beer Batter:
     This recipe yields enough beer batter for about 16 to 20 large shrimp.
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of light lager beer in a mixing bowl.  (Leftover flat beer actually is best for this recipe.)
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 2:  Add just enough flour while whisking to make a medium thin batter.  (Less than 2 cups)
     *The batter should be the same thickness as pancake batter.
     Chill the beer batter for 20 minutes, so the flavors meld.

     Ginger Lime Mayonnaise:
     This recipe yields 2 to 3 portions.
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of mayonnaise into a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of fresh lime juice.
     Add 2 pinches of finely grated fresh lime zest.
     Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 2:  Mix the ingredients together.
     Place the ginger lime mayonnaise in a container.
     Chill for 20 minutes, so the flavors meld
   
     Sweet Potato Shoestring Fries: 
     This recipe yields 2 portions. 
     Step 1:  Peel an 8 ounce sweet potato.
     Cut the sweet potato lengthwise into 1/8" thick slices.
     Step 2:  Stack a few of the slices on a cutting board.
     Cut the stack of thin sweet potato slices into long thin strips.
     Step 3:  Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360ºF.
     Fry the shoestring sweet potatoes in the hot oil, till they become crispy with a few golden brown highlights.
     Step 4:  Use a fryer net to place the sweet potato shoestring fries on a wire screen roasting rack to drain off any excess oil.
     Sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on the fries.
     Keep the Sweet Potato Shoestring Fries warm on a stove top.
     *Keep the frying oil hot, so the shrimp can be cooked!
 
     Beer Batter Shrimp:
     This recipe yields 1 petite portion.
     Step 1:  Keep the oil that was used to make the Sweet Potato Shoestring Fries at 360ºF.
     Step 2:  Peel and devein 6 large shrimp.  (Leave the tails on the shrimp.)
     Step 3:  Hold a shrimp by the tail.
     Dredge the shrimp in flour.
     Step 4:  Dip the shrimp in the beer batter.
     Knock the shrimp against the side of the bowl to remove any excess batter.
     Place the shrimp in the hot frying oil.
     Repeat this step till all of the shrimp are in the frying oil.
     Step 5:  Fry till the beer batter is crispy with golden brown brown highlights.
     Step 6:  Place the fried beer batter shrimp on a wire screen roasting rack to remove any excess oil.

     Beer Batter Shrimp with Ginger Lime Mayonnaise and Sweet Potato Shoestring Fries:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Place a 2 ounce ramekin of Ginger Lime Mayonnaise on the center of the plate.
     Place a ring of Sweet Potato Shoestring Fries on a plate around the ramekin, as a bed for the shrimp.
     Place the fried beer batter shrimp on the fries.
     Garnish the ramekin with parsley sprigs and a split slice of lime.

     Ginger Lime Mayonnaise tastes refreshing with beer batter shrimp!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Jegarak












     A Traditional Persian Style Liver Kebab!
     The word "Jegar" means liver in Farsi language.  Today's recipe is a kebab of calves liver.  Goats milk yogurt or a yogurt sauce accompanies the Jegarak.  Harissa Sauce tastes great with Jegarak too.    
     Kebabs of all kinds are Persian and Arabic street food fare and these items are perfect for a quick lunch or afternoon snack.  Street food style kebabs are nearly always served with Khubz Arabi (pita bread) or Lavash.  The meat on the kebab is placed on the flat bread along with some sauce, then it is eaten with fingers.  Persian pickles are refreshing and they usually accompany this kind of street food.
     Jegarak is simple and refreshing, when compared to European liver entrées that can be quite heavy on the tummy.  It seems like 90% of the world's liver recipes require plenty of onion.  Jegarak is a liver entrée that is not smothered in onions.
     The yogurt sauce accompaniment for Jegarak is meant to be refreshing.  Turmeric, mint, garlic and parsley flavor the zesty goat milk yogurt sauce.

     Garlic Mint Yogurt Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 3/4 cup.  (2 portions)
     There is no lemon, lime, olive oil, sea salt or pepper in this yogurt sauce.  This zesty sauce is meant to be a light refreshing accompaniment for grilled liver kebabs! 
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of goat milk yogurt (Greek Yogurt) in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1 tablespoon minced mint leaves.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced Italian Parsley leaves.
     Add 2 pinches of turmeric.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Add a few drops of water at a time while whisking, till the the yogurt sauce is the consistency of cream.  (about 1 teaspoon)
     Place the sauce in a container.
     Chill the yogurt sauce for at least 20 minutes, so the flavors meld.

     Jegarak Preparation:
     This recipe yields 1 kebab portion.
     Jegarak is not highly seasoned.  It is the cooking method that makes Jegarak unique!
     Step 1:  Soak a 10" bamboo skewer in water for at least 15 minutes.
     Step 2:  Select a 6 to 8 ounce slice of calves liver that is about 1/4" thick.
     Cut the liver 1" wide strips that are 3" to 4" long.
     Step 3:  Weave the strips of calves liver onto the bamboo skewer. 
     Step 4:  Place the kebab on a platter.
     Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the liver kebab.
     Completely coat the liver by turning the kebab in the olive oil that lies on the platter.
     Season the kebab with sea salt and black pepper.
     Chill the kebab till it is needed.  

     Jegarak Set Up Plate: 
     This recipe yields 1 fancy street vender style set-up plate.  
     The Jegarak kebab will cook very quickly.  It is best to have the plate set up and ready, before starting to cook the kebab!
     Jars of Harissa Sauce, Arabic Scratched Olives and Persian Pickles are available in Mediterranean food markets.  
     Step 1:  Place a bed of Italian Parsley sprigs on the front half of a serving platter, as a bed for the Jekarak.
     Place a ramekin of Harissa Sauce on the back half of the platter.
     Place ramekin of the Garlic Mint Yogurt Sauce next to the Harissa.
     Step 2:  Garnish the platter with assorted Persian Pickles of your choice.
     *Persian Pickled Wild Cucumber, Pickled Pink Turnip and Arabic Scratched Green Olives are on the platter in the photos.
     Set the Jegarak presentation platter aside.

     Jegarak:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.  
     Step 1:  Heat cast iron ribbed griddle or a chargrill to a medium/medium high temperature.  (A broiler in an oven can also be used to cook the Jegarak.)
     Grill the Jegarak Kebab till a few brown highlights appear on all sides and the liver is cooked to about a medium well finish temperature.  (The liver should be juicy inside and not dried out!)
     Step 2:  Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime juice over the kebab to finish the Jegarak.
     Step 3:  Place the Jegarak on the bed of parsley sprigs on the set-up platter.
     Step 4:  Quickly warm a 6" to 8" wide pita bread (Khubz Arabi) on the grill.
     Cut the pita into medium size triangle shapes.
     Place the pita bread triangles on the border of the back half of the platter, so they overlap.

     I never thought that I would see the day, when I would describe a calves liver entrée as being refreshing, but this is how Jegarak tastes!  The cool refreshing Persian Pickles and Scratched Green Olives add eye appeal.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Garlic Kale Cornish Pasty with Salsa di Pomodoro








     Modern Cornish Pasty Creations
     I have published traditional Cornish Pasty recipes in the past.  Most of those recipes were made while working in Chicago when the weather was icy cold.  I gave thought to creating Pasty with modern creative themes back then, but then I moved back to Las Vegas where the winter temperatures are warm.  Honestly, I simply forgot about starting the creative modern Pasty projects.  
     A few months ago, I visited a Cornish Pasty restaurant in Las Vegas that was successfully capitalizing on creative modern gourmet Cornish Pasty sales.  It was then that I realized that I forgot about this idea.  It was also good to see that somebody had the business savvy to make it happen.
     Cornish Pasties originally were made for tin miners.  Because tin ore carries a lot of lead and arsenic, Cornish Pasties were made with a thick crust handle that could be discarded.  The crust handle was tossed into the mine to appease the "Knockers."  Knockers were little demons that cause mine cave-ins, so it was best to keep them happy.
     Eventually Cornish Pasties became a street food for busy people.  Picking up a few Cornish Pasties on the way to the job is common practice in England.  English pubs also offer Cornish Pasties on their menu as a bar snack food.  
     Today's gourmet Pasty creation has an Italian theme.  The basic traditional Cornish Pasty vegetable ingredients are combined with Italian style Garlic Kale.  Garlic Kale is sauté recipe that is quickly braised.  Nothing is wasted and all of the nutrients remain in one pan.  
     Modern Cornish Pasty creations can be highly seasoned.  In fact, the used of plenty of herbs was predominant in British Isle cuisine a few centuries ago, so the traditional cuisine of this region used to be far from bland.  This is contrary to modern belief, but recent archeological digs of sites from the Middle Ages shows that each peasant household stocked plenty of herbs.  The variety stocked was similar to what is found in an Herbs de Provence mixture.   
     Garlic Kale Cornish Pasty with Salsa di Pomodoro is a dairy product tolerant vegetarian recipe that is quite healthy.  The accompanying tomato sauce is a traditional Italian classic that is made with no shortcuts.  Put it all together and this pasty has a flavor that easily will top the charts of health cuisine fans.  In the words of a famous Italian chef that I apprenticed with, this Garlic Kale Cornish Pasty "tastes like the best you never had!"   

     Salsa di Pomodoro:
     Follow the link to the Salsa di Pomodoro recipe in this website.
     • Salsa di Pomodoro

     Pâte Brisée:
     Follow the link to the Pâte Brisée recipe in this website.
     
     Garlic Kale Cornish Pasty Filling: 
     This recipe yields enough pasty filling for 1 large pasty or 2 small pasties!
     The ingredients should be cooked al dente, so they do not turn to mush after the pasty is baked.  It is essential to simmer till all of the liquid evaporates.  The Pasty filling must be chilled before the pasty is assembled.
     Step 1:  Heat a wide sauté pan or sauteuse pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 1 tablespoon of coarsely chopped garlic.
     Sauté till the garlic is a light golden color.
     Step 2:  Add 2 tablespoons of chopped onion.
     Add 1/3 cup of small diced potatoes.
     Add 1/3 cup of small diced swedes (rutabaga).
     Briefly sauté till the rutabaga starts to become aromatic.  (Try not to brown the vegetables.)
     Step 3:  Add 4 cups of small chopped organic green kale leaves.
     Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of Herbs de Provence.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Sauté and toss till the kale wilts.
     Step 4:  Add 2 cups of light vegetable broth.
     Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Bring broth to a gentle boil.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the liquid is nearly evaporated and the root vegetables start to become tender.
     Step 6:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Add about 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice while stirring.  (Just a hint of lemon to brighten the flavor.)
     Add just enough plain fine bread crumbs, while stirring, to soak up any remaining liquid and to bind the ingredients together.  (About 2 to 3 tablespoons is about enough.  The bread crumbs will thicken the filling when baked.)
     Set the Pasty filling aside to cool.
     Chill the pasty filling to about 40ºF.

     Garlic Kale Cornish Pasty: 
     This recipe yields 1 large Pasty.
     Step 1:  Roll out a sheet of pâte brisée that is about 3/16" thick.
     Cut a 10 1/2" diameter round sheet.
     Step 2:  Mound the pasty filling on the center of the round pâte brisée sheet.  Leave about a 1" bare border on the edge of the dough sheet.
     Step 3:  Brush the bare border of the dough with egg wash.
     Fold the pastry dough over the stuffing, so it forms a half moon shape.
     Roll and press the edge of the dough, so it resembles a thick handle.
     Step 4:  Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking pan.
     Place the pasty on the parchment paper.
     Brush the pasty with egg wash.
     Poke 1 tiny steam vent hole in the dough where it will not be seen.
     Step 5:  Bake the pasty in a 400ºF oven, till it is a golden brown color.
     Allow the pasty to cool to a safe serving temperature.

     Garlic Kale Cornish Pasty with Salsa di Pomodoro:
     This recipe describes 1 entrée.
     Set the pasty on a plate.
     Place a ramekin of Salsa Pomodoro on the plate.
     Garnish with curly leaf parsley sprigs.

     Voila!  A healthy vegetarian Cornish Pasty that tastes great!

Pâte Brisée - French Pie Crust Dough






     Pâte Brisée - French Pie Crust Dough
     There are several variations of pie crust dough recipes.  For specific applications, more or less salt can be added.  The same can be said about sugar up to a certain point.  Sugar is a liquifying agent, so too much sugar is not a good thing.  If a sweet dough crust is desired, then use a Pâte Sucrée recipe (Sweet Short Crust).
     Chilled lard can replace the butter to make a classic pie dough or Irish Pastry Dough.  A combination of butter and lard can be used.  To make Irish pastry dough, cut the pieces of butter or lard a little bigger than for Pâte Brisée.
     Pie Dough is very easy to make.  The rule of thumb is that the less the dough is mixed or folded, the flakier the crust will be.  When the dough is rolled out, a perfect pie dough sheet will show long yellowish streaks of butter.  This can only be accomplished by not excessively mixing the dough.
     To start a pie dough, the flour mixture is gradually riced with ice water.  This process is best done by eye.  A baker's cutting tool is best for the ricing task.  The rice size pieces of dough should only be damp.  When the chilled butter is added, the fat surrounds the moisture.  When baked, the steam that is produced creates the thin flaky airy pockets.
     It is important to keep the butter chilled.  Before rolling the dough, the dough also must be chilled.  Warm air temperatures or direct heat will ruin a good pie dough.
     Usually pie dough is rolled into a rectangular or round sheet shape.  The dough sheet should be about 3/16" thick for most applications.  The baking temperature for most Pâte Brisée applications is 375ºF.

     Pâte Brisée:
     Step 1:  Place 1 1/2 cups of flour into a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.  (Or add 1 teaspoon for a classic salty flavor)
     Add 3/4 tablespoon of sugar.
     Step 2:  Sift the ingredients together.
     Step 3:  Rice the flour by adding a few drops of ice water at a time while stirring with a whisk or chopping with a baker's cutting tool.  The flour should look like grains of rice.  Only 3 1/2 to 5 tablespoons of water is needed (depending on the humidity.)
     Step 4:  Cut 2 ounces of unsalted butter into pea size pieces and drop them in a bowl of ice water.
     Gently add a few pieces of the chilled hard butter at a time to the riced flour.
     Work the dough lightly with your fingers for a minimal amount of time between each addition of butter.  Try to leaving exposed small pieces of butter.
     Only work the dough till it barely combines.
     Step 5:  Chill the dough, till it becomes very firm.
     Step 6:  Roll the Pâte Brisée into a round or rectangular shaped sheet on a flour dusted counter top.  The sheet should be about 3/16" thick.  (The sheet of Pâte Brisée should show streaks of butter!  This is what will give the pate brisee a flakey crusty texture.)
     Step 7:  Refrigerate the sheet of Pâte Brisée till it becomes firm, before using the dough for a recipe.

     Easy as pie!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Chat Masala Peach Ice Cream




     Gourmet Ice Cream!
     I recently made enough Crème Anglaise for two small batches of ice cream.  The first batch was Cardamon Buddha's Hand Citron Ice Cream.  The second batch was the Chat Masala Peach Ice Cream that is featured in today's recipe.  
     Chat Masala is an Indian spice mixture that accompanies fresh fruit and it can be used as a dessert spice.  Chat Masala has a tangy exotic Indian spice flavor.  Chat Masala is a mixture of dried tangy mango powder, cumin, Himalayan Black Salt, coriander, ginger powder, salt, black pepper, asafoetida (Afghani Giant Fennel) and chili powder.  Cardamom is sometimes added to the Chat Masala mixture, but not always.  Chat Masala gives the peach ice cream a complex, yet comfortable, exotic spice flavor. 
     There are several modern ice cream machines on the market that work well.  I currently have a Breville Ice Cream Machine and it has a heavy duty look.  A good ice cream machine can make everything from Slushies and Sorbet, to Gelato and hard packed French Ice Cream.  
     All ice cream machines have a maximum capacity.  A common mistake is to use the max capacity as the guideline for how much liquid ice cream mixture to add to the ice cream churning drum.  As the ice cream mixture is churned, aeration causes the liquid volume to expand and increase in size.  Fore example, 3 1/2 cups of liquid ice cream mixture will increase in size and it will expand to nearly 6 cups.  It is important to not exceed the liquid ice cream mixture limit or the ice cream making venture will turn into an out of control mess!  
     Crème Anglaise is used to make classic French style ice cream.  French ice cream is rich, heavy and it is usually hard packed.  
     Crème Anglaise is not difficult to make.  After the egg yolks and cold cream are combined with the warm cream, the sauce is heated while it is stirred, till it thickens.  The temperature of Crème Anglaise should not exceed 140ºF or the sauce will break.  
     Vanilla and nutmeg are required for making a classic Crème Anglaise, but these flavors can be omitted if they are not needed.  For today's Chat Masala Peach Ice Cream, vanilla and nutmeg are not necessary. 

     Crème Anglaise:       
     This recipe yields about 6 cups (1 1/2 quarts).  
     *6 cups of crème anglaise will yield about 12 cups of ice cream.  
     It is best to make the Crème Anglaise the day before making ice cream.  The Crème Anglaise must be chilled for at least 4 hours before it can be placed in an ice cream machine.  Crème Anglaise can be kept in a refrigerator for 7 days.  
     Step 1:  Place 8 large egg yolks in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 cup of cream.  
     Whisk the ingredients till blended.
     Set the mixture aside.
     Step 2:  Place 3 cups of cream in a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2/3 cup of granulated sugar.
     Add 2 pinches of nutmeg.  (Not necessary for chat Masala Peach Ice Cream.)
     Add 3 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.  (Not necessary for chat Masala Peach Ice Cream.)
     Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Bring the cream to a gentle simmer (about 145ºF to 155ºF).  Stir occasionally.  (Do not allow the cream to overheat and foam!)
     Step 3:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Slowly pour the hot cream into the egg yolk & cold cream mixture while constantly stirring with a whisk.
     Step 4:  Return the creme anglaise mixture to the sauce pot.
     Place the sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Constantly slowly stir the crème anglaise with a whisk, as it heats and thickens to a thin sauce consistency.  The sauce should evenly coat the back of a spoon. 
     *Do not allow the crème anglaise to exceed 140ºF or the sauce will break!   
     Step 5:  Pour the finished crème anglaise into a container.
     Chill the crème anglaise for at least 4 hours before using it to make ice cream.   

     Chat Masala Peach Puree:
     The yield is about 1 cup of heavy fruit puree.   
     Step 1:  Place 1/3 cup of granulated sugar in a sauce pot.
     Add 1/4 cup of water.
     Step 2:  Place the pot over medium/medium high heat.
     Boil till the water evaporates and the sugar starts to foam.
     Cook the molten sugar till it turns clear and it enters the soft ball candy making stage (235ºF).
     Step 3:  Immediately add 1 1/3 cups of chopped peeled pitted peaches.
     Allow the molten sugar to seize the peaches and do not stir.
     Wait till the sugar starts to melt.
     Step 4:  Add 1 1/2 cups of water.
     Add 2 teaspoons of chat masala spice mixture.  (Chat Masala can be found at Indian markets.)
     Add 1 pinch of turmeric.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer till the peaches are very tender.
     Step 6:  Remove the pot from the heat and allow the ingredients to cool to less than 100ºF.
     Use a blender or immersion blender to puree the peach mixture.
     Step 7:  Place the peach mixture in a sauce pot over low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the puree is heavy and thick.  Stir occasionally.  (The yield should be about 1 cup.
     Place the puree in a container.
     Chill the puree to less than 41ºF.

     Chat Masala Peach Ice Cream:  
     *3 1/2 cups of liquid ice cream mixture + fruit puree will yield about 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) of ice cream. 
     Step 1:  Assemble the drum and churn on an ice cream machine.
     Set the ice cream machine to a hard ice cream setting.
     Pre-cool the ice cream machine.  
     Step 2:  Place 2 1/2 cups of chilled Crème Anglaise in the ice cream machine churning drum.  
     Add 1 cup of chilled Chat Masala Peach Puree. 
     Start the ice cream making cycle.
     Step 3:  When the ice cream finishes, pack the Chat Masala Peach Ice Cream in a container.
     Freeze the ice cream till it becomes dense and hard, just like old fashioned French ice cream.    
     Step 4:  Serve the Chat Masala Peach Ice Cream on its own, with fruit or create a new gourmet dessert!   
     
     *For the Chat Masala Pêche Melba recipe, follow this link to the Classic Cuisine website!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Panini of Roasted Beet & Red Pepper with Pickled Lemon and Emmentaler







     A Tasty Veggie Panini!
     Many vegetarians are dairy product tolerant.  For these kind of people, a panini made with an interesting combination of vegetables and a classic cheese can be difficult to resist.  
     Oven roasted beets and roasted red bell pepper is a seemingly odd combination, which actually tastes good.  Pickled Lemon adds a contrasting mild acidic notes that help to lighten the roasted vegetable flavor.  The Pickled Lemon also brightens the savory rich tasting Emmentaler Cheese (Swiss Cheese).     

     Panini of Roasted Beet & Red Pepper with Pickled Lemon and Emmentaler:
     This recipe yields 1 sandwich.
     Jars of preserved whole lemons can be found at Mediterranean food markets.  A jar of pickled lemons has a long shelf life when refrigerated.
     Panini Sandwiches are traditionally cut into triangle shapes!    
     Step 1:  Place 1 medium size red beet on a roasting pan.   
     Roast the beet in a 350ºF oven till it is tender.
     Set the beet aside and let it cool to room temperature.
     Use a dry towel to rub the loose skin off of the beet.
     Trim the ends off of the beet.
     Cut the beet into 1/4" thick slices and set them aside.
     Step 2:  Either roast a red bell pepper in the oven along beet or roast it over an open flame.  The pepper should be roasted till the skin is brownish black.      
     Peel and seed the roasted red pepper under cold running water.
     Cut the roasted pepper into wide strips and set them aside.
     Step 3:  Heat a Panini Grill to a medium temperature.
     Step 4:  Brush 2 slices of Ciabatta or French Bread with olive oil.
     Place 1 or 2 thin slices of Emmentaler (Swiss cheese) on one slice of bread.
     Step 5:  Place a layer of the sliced roasted beet on the cheese.
     Place a layer of roasted red bell pepper strips on the beets.
     Place a few thin slices of Persian Preserved Lemon on the roasted peppers.
     Place 1 slice of emmentaler cheese on the pickled lemon.
     Place the top slice of bread on the sandwich.
     Step 6:  Place the sandwich on the hot panini grill.
     Lower the panini top plate on the sandwich and gently press.
     Grill the sandwich till it is toasted golden brown.
     Step 7:  Place the panini sandwich on a cutting board.  
     Cut the sandwich into 3 equal size triangle shapes.
     Place the sandwich on a plate.
     Garnish with a Sweet Gherkin Pickle and an Italian Parsley sprig. 

     This healthy panini has an interesting flavor that will satisfy a craving for something different! 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Garam Masala Beer Batter Smelts with Three Sauces







     Garam Masala Beer Batter Smelts with Cilantro Chutney Mayonnaise, Brinjal and Habanero Catsup!
     Relatively few chefs publish new recipes for Lake Smelts these days.  Smelts can be adapted to many snack food recipes, so it is easy to think of something to do with Smelts that will appeal to guests.  For example, the Buffalo Smelts recipe that I published is one of the most popular recipes in this website, yet it is just based upon a basic Buffalo Chicken Wings recipe.   
     Fans of Indian food will surely like today's fancy beer batter fried smelts recipe.  Sports fans that like gourmet snack food for ball game parties will like this recipe too.  Garam Masala is a North Indian spice mixture that has a comfortable flavor.  Garam Masala is basically the Indian equivalent of a traditional European style Winter Spice Mixture, because it has a gentle warming effect.  
     Lake Smelts are usually listed as sustainable, so they are a guilt free fish choice.  Lake Smelts are just about as popular today, as they used to be, but they are rarely seen on modern restaurant menus.  Lakeside seafood restaurants and Chinese restaurants are just about the only kind of places where Smelts might be found on a menu.  
     The dipping sauces for today's recipe offer an interesting range of flavors.  Brinjal is a highly spiced eggplant spread or thick condiment sauce.  Jars of pre-made Brinjal can be found at Indian food markets and Mediterranean food markets.  Habanero ketchup is nice with fried fish and it is made by simply mixing two condiment sauces together.  Cilantro Chutney is another condiment that is easy to make, but it is much more cost effective to purchase it as a pre-made product at an Indian food markets.  Cilantro Chutney is a nice flavor for mayonnaise.

     Habanero Hot Sauce:
     Super Spicy Hot!
     This recipe yields about 1 pint.
     Ripe orange color habanero peppers can be found at nearly any asian market, Mexican market or regular grocery store.  
     If you have sensitive skin, be sure to wear rubber gloves when handling habaneros.  
     A food processor, blender or blending wand (immersion blender) is required for pureeing this sauce.  The sauce is pureed twice, so it becomes a very smooth consistency.
     Step 1:  Remove the stems from 8 ounces of orange habanero peppers. 
     Use a knife to slice halfway through each pepper, but do not cut the peppers in half.
     Step 2:  Place the peppers in a stainless steel sauce pot.
     Add enough water to cover the peppers, with 2" of extra water.
     Step 3:  Add 4 cloves of garlic.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped onion.
     Add 1 1/2 ounces of cider vinegar.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Step 4:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 1 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper.
     Add 1 teaspoon of Kosher Salt.
     Step 5:  Place the pot over low heat.
     Gently simmer till the peppers are soft.  (About 1 1/2 to 2 hours.)
     *Allow the liquid to reduce.  Only add enough water to keep the peppers covered with 1" of extra liquid.
     Step 6:  Remove the pot from the heat and allow the ingredients to cool to room temperature.
     Puree the ingredients with an electric blending wand, food processor or a blender.
     Step 7:  Return the thin puree to the stainless steel pot.
     Place the pot over low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the sauce is a thin consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Step 8:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Allow the ingredients to cool to room temperature.
     Puree the sauce a second time, so it becomes very smooth.
     *Orange Habanero Hot Sauce has a long shelf life, if the sauce is kept refrigerated. 

     Spicy Habanero Catsup:
     This recipe yields 1/2 cup. 
     Place 1/4 cup of the Habanero Hot Sauce in a mixing cup.
     Add 1/4 cup of organic ketchup. 
     Mix the ingredients together. 
     Keep the sauce chilled till it is needed.
     
     Cilantro Chutney Mayonnaise:
     This recipe yields about 1/2 cup.
     Jars of pre-made Cilantro Chutney can be found at Indian food markets.  
     Place 3 tablespoons of cilantro chutney in a mixing cup.
     Add 1/3 cup of mayonnaise.
     Mix the ingredients together. 
     Keep the sauce chilled till it is needed.

     Garam Masala Beer Batter:
     This recipe yields enough beer batter for 2 appetizer portions.
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of light lager beer in a mixing bowl.
     Slowly add just enough flour while whisking, till the beer batter is a medium thin consistency that easily coats a spoon.  (About 1 1/2 cups of flour.  The beer batter should be a thin pancake batter consistency.)
     Step 2:  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of Garam Masala.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Chinese Chile Powder.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic paste.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Step 3:  Whisk the ingredients together.
     Set the beer batter aside or chill it for later use.  

     Garam Masala Beer Batter Smelts:
     This recipe yields 1 appetizer portion.
     Step 1:  Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360ºF.
     Step 2:  Select 8 ounces of cleaned boned Lake Smelts that are all about the same size.
     Dredge the smelts in flour.
     Step 3:  Dip a few of the smelts in the Garam Masala Beer Batter.
     Place a few beer batter smelts in the pot of hot oil at a time, so they do not stick together.  (Fry in small batches if necessary.)
     Fry the Garam Masala Beer Batter Smelts till they are crispy golden brown and fully cooked.
     Step 4:  Use a fryer net to remove the smelts from the hot oil.
     Place the fried smelts on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     
     Garam Masala Beer Batter Smelts with Three Sauces:
     Pre-made jars of Brinjal can be found at Indian food markets and Mediterranean food markets.  
     Mound the garam masala beer batter smelts on a plate.
     Fill a triple dished condiment tray (or 3 ramekins) with small portions of Brinjal, Habanero Catsup and Cilantro Chutney Mayonnaise.
     Place the condiment tray on the plate.
     Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

     Garam Masala Beer Batter Smelts are tasty finger food! 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Italian Veal and Sweet Pepper Sandwich





     A Tasty Italian Style Sandwich! 
     Throughout my career, most of my restaurant jobs were sauté chef and saucier duties.  Fine dining sauté chefs are usually required to butcher and fabricate veal leg meat for the sauté station.  For an average week in a busy fine restaurant, it is necessary to butcher three or four veal legs.  That is a lot of veal cutlets and escallops!  Not to mention the stew meat and the scraps that are turned into ground veal.
     I am extremely fast at breaking down a whole veal leg into clean sections.  It takes less than 25 minutes for me to remove the silver floss, bones and section a veal leg.  Fast and accurate is the only way to butcher veal.  Veal is expensive, so the waste while trimming sections and cutting portions must be kept to a minimum.  Pounding the veal portions thin and flat with a mallet must be done carefully, because the tender veal cutlets are easily damaged.  
     I used three or four razor sharp boning knives and two sharp 12" chef knives to cut the veal quickly.  When one knife became dull and started to drag, I switched to the next sharp knife.  During my break, I sharpened and honed my set of boning knives and chef knives before cleaning and portioning beef tenderloins for the dinner business.  
     I learned how to butcher meats from a very highly skilled butcher from Milwaukee.  That same butcher was an expert at butchering wild game meats too.  A good butcher can handle a knife in a way that will make a surgeon jealous! 
     While butchering, sometimes the chef would walk by and say "I'm hungry!  Fix me something to eat with a few of the veal scraps."  Scraps are what good cooks eat!  Eating scrap meat keeps the restaurant food cost down.  
     All cooks have quick and easy simple recipes for veal scraps.  Sandwiches were the most popular way to eat veal scraps in a kitchen.  We had a bunch of sweet bell peppers in the restaurant that day, so I made this sandwich for the chef.  
     After eating the sandwich, the chef said "Man, that was good!  Run a sandwich like that tomorrow for a lunch special!"  The next day, the simple sweet pepper and veal sandwich actually turned out to be a lunch sandwich that the customers liked!  
     I had a few veal scraps in my freezer and a sweet orange bell pepper today and I thought that this sandwich recipe would be nice for dinner.  It has been a long time since I have made one of these restaurant kitchen veal scrap snack sandwiches.  It turned out to be tasty as usual!
     
     Italian Veal and Sweet Pepper Sandwich:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty sandwich.
     Step 1:  Trim the fat and silver floss off of about 5 to 6 ounces of veal scraps.  (Pieces of veal that are a little bit too small for cutlets or scallopini are perfect for this recipe!)  
     Gently pound each piece of veal scrap thin and flat with a meat mallet.  
     Step 2:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.  
     Brush a split whole wheat hamburger roll with olive oil.  
     Grill the hamburger roll, till it is toasted golden brown.  
     Place the hamburger roll on a plate and set it aside.    
     Step 3:  Leave the sauté pan on medium/medium low heat.  
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil.
     Add veal scraps.
     Sauté till light brown highlights appear.
     Step 4:  Add 2 minced garlic cloves.  
     Add 6  thick slices of sweet orange bell pepper.  
     Sauté the veal and peppers, till the peppers start to become tender.
     Step 5:  Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper. 
     Add 2 pinches of oregano.    
     Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.  
     Add 1/2 cup of beef stock.    
     Simmer and reduce till most of the liquid evaporates and the thin beef glaze clings to the veal.  
     Step 6:  Remove the pan from the heat.  
     Use tongs to place the veal and sweet peppers on the hamburger roll.  
     Garnish the plate with Italian Parsley sprigs, pickled banana pepper slices and black olives.  

     Simple and tasty!  This sandwich is impressive looking when the veal and peppers are stacked high.  Once the top half of the bun is place on the sandwich and the sandwich is squeezed together, it becomes a manageable size sandwich to eat.  Oregano, garlic, a hint of lemon and the beef stock glace is all the extra flavors this sandwich needs.  This is an easy sandwich to make and it has a classic flavor!