Friday, April 24, 2009
It's great grilling weather finally and my herb garden is beginning to really take off now. The sage is in it's second year and beginning to burst into bloom with tiny lavender flowers, a lovely compliment to its light green, velvety leaves. Sage is quite a versatile herb, but traditionally is used in my kitchen in the bread stuffing at Thanksgiving. Since I have an abundance of new Spring growth, I wanted to pair the sage with a grilled meat dish. While looking through my cookbooks, I happened upon a Bobby Flay recipe for Pork Adobo Sandwich with Sage Aioli using homemade cornmeal rolls. The pork tenderloin for the grilled pork adobo is sliced, pounded thin,then marinated in a spicy mixture of tomatoes, three varieties of chile powders,red wine vinegar, garlic, olive oil along with some honey and brown sugar to add a sweet hot flavor to the marinade.
Making the Sage Aioli is a snap using prepared mayonnaise. Not a true aoili, but close enough. Minced garlic, fresh sage chiffonade, lemon juice and lemon zest make up the rest of the aioli. The rustic cornmeal rolls are the perfect foundation for the spicy pork.
Lemony Sage Aioli
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh sage chiffonade
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Garnish with more lemon zest, and sage flowers before serving. Can be made 2 days ahead of time and refrigerated covered. Bring to room temperature before serving. Makes 1/2 cup. Adapted from Bobby Flay's "Bold American Food".
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
1 1/2 cups Adobo Marinade (recipe below)
1/4 cup Lemony Sage Aioli
1 garden fresh tomato, cut into 8 slices
8 romaine leaves
4 homemade Cornmeal Rolls (recipe below)
Potato chips to serve.
Cut meat into 16- 1/2 inch-thick slices and pound very thin.Pour the adobo marinade over the slices and marinate refrigerated for 1 hour. Prepare a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill. You can also broil these in the oven. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill for 2 minutes a side. Remove from grill and keep warm.
For each sandwich, layer 4 slices of pork, 1 tablespoon aioli, 2 slices tomato, and 2 romaine lettuce leaf between halves of the roll. Serve with chips.
2 cups drained canned diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 to 1 tablespoon ground chipotle chili powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
Puree marinade ingredients in a food processor. Makes 3 cups. May be made ahead and refrigerated up to 2 days. Adapted from Bobby Flay's "Bold American Food".
Cornmeal Rolls From Bobby Flay's "Bold American Food".
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
5 1/4 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
Egg wash, made from 1 egg lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Coarse yellow cornmeal for sprinkling on rolls
Preheat oven to 350°F. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the water, sugar and yeast. Set aside in a warm place until bubbling, about 10 minutes.
In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring 1 cup water to a boil with the salt. Add 1/2 cup cornmeal, whisking constantly until mixture returns to a boil. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Add to the bubbling yeast mixture the milk, brown sugar, cooked, cooled cornmeal and 5 1/4 cups flour. With the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed for 15 minutes, adding more flour if the dough sticks to the bowl. The dough should be smooth, elastic and slightly sticky. Transfer to a large greased bowl, cover with a damp towel and put in a warm place to rise until it increases in volume about one-third.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal. Divide dough into 12 balls, place on baking sheet and flatten slightly. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled. Score the top of each roll once with a sharp knife, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with cornmeal. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate pan and bake for 10 minutes more, until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool in pan. Makes 12 rolls.
This month I am pleased to be one of the judges for the April edition of Click, the very cool photography contest hosted by creators Bee and Jai of Jugalbandi. The theme is "Spring/Autumn". April 30, 2009, midnight EST is the deadline. I am submitting the Lemony Sage Aioli photo as my entry as one of the judges.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
When I received my box of See's candy in the mail, I had great intentions of not only enjoying it piece by piece, but had plans to create a dessert with some of the candy. Unfortunately, I didn't communicate that desire with my husband who, while I was away in England, decimated all but what you can see in the photograph above. In a way, I suppose that is a great endorsement for a nearly 90 year old candy company who uses only the finest ingredients for their vast assortment of candies. You can read more about See's Candies history here.
See's Candies is based in South San Francisco with a second location in Los Angeles and has retail stores in most of the states West of the Mississippi. The company has a easily navigated website for online shopping and offers fundraising opportunities for schools and other organizations. I lived in Illinois for several years and remember drooling over the candies displayed in the gleaming white shop's windows especially around the Holidays. Gifts of See's candies were treasured by everyone.
In my box of chocolates, there was an assortment of mixed milk and dark chocolates, some with nuts and toffee along with some white chocolate pieces. "The chocolates were the best I've ever eaten", my husband said. That's impressive coming from a connoisseur of chocolates who has at least one piece of dark chocolate every day.
See's has something sweet for everyone's taste.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Lauren from uppereastsidechronicle chose Dorie's Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding as this weeks pick for Tuesdays with Dorie. Being used to a traditional bread pudding served with bourbon hard sauce, I was not convinced I would like to make one with chocolate, but liked the ease of preparation of this recipe. Because chocolate was an important factor in the pudding, I bought Scharffen Berger semisweet dark chocolate (62% cacao). I wasn't disappointed, but when I tasted it before serving it, I realized that the pudding needed the creme anglaise to add a silky, moist element to the dryer pudding texture.
Lauren has the recipe for the chocolate bread pudding on her blog, but below is the recipe for creme anglaise.
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup white sugar
In a saucepan, combine milk and cream, bring to just a boil. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar together until blended. Still whisking, add some of the milk/cream mixture in a drizzle, blending the two together. Continue adding milk to egg and sugar mixture until completely blended. Place the pot back over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture has thickened and reads 170° degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove pan from heat and pour custard into a heatproof bowl. Stir in vanilla extract. Refrigerate until very cold, preferably overnight. Makes about 1 1/4 cups.
My post is short this week as I have been traveling most of the month of April and will go to Boston and DC for the remainder of the month, so will catch up with Tuesdays with Dorie in May.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Always on the hunt for culinary props for my food photography, I have put together some of my favorite cooking and serving pieces from a collection that continues to grow at such an increasingly rapid rate that my cabinets are groaning from the weight. Oh, to have even a tenth of the space that Martha Stewart has for her prop room!
When I'm looking for white bowls,cups and plates, I make sure that they are not only microwave and dishwasher safe, but also oven safe just in case I want to use them for a pot pie, a creme brulee or for just heating the plates to keep them warm for serving. These particular items may cost a little bit more than those that are just microwave and dishwasher safe, but are more adaptable in the kitchen.
Collecting unusual pottery items is a favorite pastime of mine and when traveling, I seek out local potters and gift shops at historic sites for pieces for my growing collection. Sterling silver and silver plate cutlery and serving pieces can be found at some thrift shops as well as antique markets. Sometimes you can get a better deal just by asking if they will give you a discount.
I've just begun collecting antique enamelware in shades of blue, speckled blue and white and granite ware. One of my favorite acquisitions is a granite ware shallow pie pan shown below with the roasted tomatoes and in the top photograph bottom right.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Much maligned as non macho in the 1980's tongue and cheek book, "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche", quiches are actually quite popular with men, especially if, like this colorful and flavorful quiche, there's bacon included in the ingredients. While filling ingredients such as meats, vegetables and cheeses vary, most quiches are custard based pies with a bottom pastry crust, but no top crust. The classic Quiche Lorraine has eggs, cream and lardons as a filling, but no cheese. Today, however, most quiches contain cheese, either Gruyere or Swiss.
This is standard Friday night fare when we arrive late in the evening at my daughter's house. Easily put together when she arrives home from work, the bacon and arugula quiche can be served warm or cold, perfect also for picnics and Sunday suppers. A savory tart dough recipe is included here, but if you are short on time or have small children, as my daughter does, feel free to use a prepared pastry crust which has been pre-baked according to package directions.
Bacon and Arugula Quiche
Makes one 9-inch deep dish pie crust
6 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped shallots
6-8 ounces baby arugula or baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup shredded Gruyere, Emmental or Swiss cheese
A 9-inch pre-baked pastry crust, purchased or homemade.
Preheat oven to 400° F. Thaw purchased crust for 10 minutes. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden. After pre-baking purchased crust, lower oven temperature to 375°F. If using the savory tart dough, after pre-baking crust according to directions, preheat oven to 375°F to bake the quiche.
In a large skillet on medium heat,cook bacon pieces until crispy. Drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons bacon drippings. Add chopped shallots and saute until tender. Add chopped arugula, saute until just wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, add balsamic vinegar and toss to combine.
In prepared pastry, layer arugula mixture, then crispy bacon pieces. In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk together heavy cream, eggs and salt and pepper. Stir in Gruyere cheese. Pour this mixture over the arugula bacon layers. Bake until puffed and golden, about 35 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before slicing.
More on quiches here
Gadget by The Blog Doctor.