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Friday, March 26, 2010

Sea Bass in a Skillet



Sea Bass With Quinoa and Beurre Blanc


Sea Bass, and fish in general, is fast and easy to prepare, delicious, and good for you.  Here's what you need:
Two nice thick boneless, skinless sea bass fillets.


Put them on a paper towel lined plate and  sprinkle both sides with a pinch of salt.
Let them sit on the counter for about 15 minutes. This will help them release some of the moisture so you can get a good sear on them. Now blot them dry, on both sides, with a dry paper towel. Crank on some fresh ground pepper. While the fish is hanging out, make your side dish. Cous cous, orzo, and quinoa are tasty and quick to prepare.
Now, get yourself a cast iron skillet. You want a skillet that gets smokin' hot. Put a couple tablespoons extra light olive oil in the skillet. You need an oil with a high smoking point so it doesn't burn. Heat the skillet on high until it starts to smoke. You'll want to turn on the fans and open the windows so you don't set off the smoke alarms. Happens at my house all the time. My family considers the smoke alarm the dinner bell.
Using tongs, place the fillets in the hot skillet.
Don't move them, don't touch them for at least 3 minutes.
After 3 minutes, gently lift a corner of one fillet with your tongs. If the fish doesn't have a beautiful brown color, put it back down for another minute. It should have color of the fish in the following picture.
Now, once the fish has that beautiful brown crust, gently turn the fillets over with your tongs. Let it cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. You want your fish to moist and flaky. Don't overcook it.
Put the fish on a plate and cover loosely with foil. Let's take this over the top with a simple lemon butter sauce, beurre blanc. It takes only 5 minutes to make.
You'll need:
1 shallot, minced
1 stick of butter
1/3 cup white wine
1/3 cup white wine or champagne vinegar
1/2 lemon
Use a white wine you want to drink. Sauvingnon blanc, chardonnay, or pinot grigio are all good choices.
Slice the butter into about 10 pieces. No need to be exact. Set aside.
Into a sauce pot, over medium heat, add the wine, vinegar, and minced shallot. 
Zest the lemon into the liquid. For novice cooks, that means grating the lemon peel with a micro plane.Stop grating when you get to the pith, (the white part), as it's bitter.
Cut the lemon in half, and squeeze the juice of 1/2 of the lemon into the liquid. I love this juicer. All juice, no seeds, no mess on my hands.
Cook about 3 minutes until liquid is reduced by half.
Begin whisking in one pat of butter at a time.
Once the butter pat has melted into the sauce add another pat, whisk in, and repeat until all the butter has been incorporated into the sauce.
When all the butter is incorporated, your sauce is done!
Snuggle the fish fillets on top of your carb of choice. I used quinoa. It's whole grain, really good for you. Only make as much as you'll eat at one meal. Left over quinoa is awful. Pour the sauce right over the fish, and serve extra sauce on the side.
Dinner is served. 










Thursday, March 25, 2010

On the road again...still



Readers,
I am still out on the road, and have flown all over the country this past week, with some pretty sick patients. I should be home on April 1. I've had a request for spinach enchiladas, and I will deliver. Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

On the road again...



Readers, I apologize for the lack of new posts. Seems like as soon as I got back home from my last tour, it was time to out again. I am in Fargo, North Dakota today. I will post a new recipe tomorrow, if I don't get a flight.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

French Onion Soup




This picture is worth a thousand words. The caramelized onions, the wine, the cheese, the crispy croutons...This is one of life's ultimate pleasures, even for onion haters. Make yourself some beef stock, grab a good bottle of red wine, a few onions and you're on your way to delicious soup.
Here's what you need:
1 baguette
8 yellow onions
1 stick butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 cup red wine
8 cups beef stock
3 Bay leaves
4-6 fresh thyme stems, tied in a bundle
3 Tbls flour
1/2 pound Gruyere cheese
Let's get cookin'!
Thinly slice the onions. Thin slices caramelize more quickly.

Melt the butter in a cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions. Sprinkle with about a teaspoon Kosher salt and a few twists of fresh cracked pepper. Cover and cook  for 15 minutes.
Uncover, stir, add the minced garlic, and continue to cook over medium - low heat until the onions are a beautiful brown, about 20 more minutes.


Add the wine and sherry, bay leaves and thyme bundle, bring to a boil, then simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the onions and give them a stir. Turn the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes to cook out the pasty flavor.
Add the beef broth and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings. If it tastes too salty, add some water.
While the soup is simmering, cut the baguette into slices.
Spread a thin layer of butter on the croutons. Season with salt and pepper. Toast the slices in a 400 degree (F) oven for about 5 minutes until crisp.
Grate up some Gruyere cheese.

Put the soup crocks on a foil lined baking sheet. Ladle soup into individual crocks, and top with 1 or 2 croutons, followed by the grated cheese.

Place the soup in the oven, and broil until cheese melts. 
Serve as a first course, main course, side dish, for dessert, midnight snack, lunch....

Leftover soup freezes beautifully. Just put the soup into quart size zip top bags. Place the grated cheese in a separate bag, and the bread in a third bag. Label each bag, tape together, and freeze flat.
Bon Appetit!


Ingredients:

1 baguette
8 yellow onions
1 stick butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 cup red wine
8 cups beef stock
3 Bay leaves
4-6 fresh thyme stems, tied in a bundle
3 Tbls flour
1/2 pound Gruyere cheese


Method:
  1. Thinly slice the onions.
    Melt the butter in a cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions. 
  2. Sprinkle with about a teaspoon Kosher salt and a few twists of fresh cracked pepper. Cover and cook  for 15 minutes.
  3. Uncover, stir, add the minced garlic, and continue to cook over medium - low heat until the onions are a beautiful brown, about 20 more minutes.
  4.  Add the wine and sherry, bay leaves and thyme bundle, bring to a boil, then simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

  5. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and give them a stir. Turn the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes to cook out the pasty flavor.


  6. Add the beef broth and simmer for about 10 minutes. 
  7. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings. If it tastes too salty, add some water.
  8. While the soup is simmering, cut the baguette into slices. Spread a thin layer of butter on the croutons. Season with salt and pepper. Toast the slices in a 400 degree (F) oven for about 5 minutes until crisp.
  9. Grate up some Gruyere cheese. 
  10. Put the soup crocks on a foil lined baking sheet. Ladle soup into individual crocks, and top with 1 or 2 croutons, followed by the grated cheese. 
  11. Place the soup in the oven, and broil until cheese melts. 


















Sunday, March 7, 2010

Beef Stock



Beef Stock

Home made beef stock is easy to make, and adds wonderful flavor and richness to soups, stews, sauces, gravies, and pasta. It takes a while to get it done, but if you're hanging out at home on a snowy day, make your house smell wonderful, and enjoy the beautiful, savory stock for weeks to come.
 Get yourself some meaty bones, (the more marrow, the better), a roaster, and some veg for flavor. Let's get started. Here's what you need:
About 8 pounds beef bones (I found a rack of beef ribs for .99 cents/pound. Cut them into individual ribs, then chop them in half to expose the marrow).
5 carrots
5 celery stalks
2 large onions
2 leeks, white and light green parts only
1 large head garlic, halved horizontally
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 Tbls olive oil
6 stems fresh thyme
6 stems fresh parsley
4 bay leaves
2 Tbls whole peppercorns
2 Tbls Kosher salt
1/2 cup red wine (for deglazing)
Water
Chop (or have the butcher cut) the bones to expose as much marrow as possible.
Put the bones in a large roaster. Throw in the washed, but not peeled, and roughly chopped veg. Smear the tomato paste over the meat or veg, and drizzle the whole pan with some olive oil. Season with Kosher salt. 
Put the roaster into a 425 degree (F) oven for one hour. Remove from the oven and turn the bones and veg over with a spatula, scraping up all the bits stuck to the bottom. If the bones are not deeply brown, put back into the oven for another 30-60 minutes.
Put the roasted ingredients into the biggest stock pot you have, at least 8 quarts. Cover with water, and place on the stove over medium high heat. Add the bay leaves and herbs. bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer. Put the roaster on the stove top. Add the wine and scrape up all the bits of flavor stuck to the pan. Add it to the stock pot. Walk away. For at least 6 hours, and up to 18. Add more water as needed to keep the ingredients covered, and the pot full.
Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer. Smash the veg with a big fork, spoon, or spatula to get out as much liquid as possible. Discard all solids.
Cool overnight. The fat will have risen to the top and solidified. Scoop it off and discard.
Now, line a fine mesh strainer with a layer of paper towels or cheesecloth. Pour the liquid through to clarify. Taste. Stock will be very concentrated. Remind yourself to dilute when using. I write notes to myself on the bag.
Pour the stock into quart size containers, cover, and freeze. I use zip top bags so I can freeze the flat in my freezer,

Keep some stock in the freezer to make quick, velvety, rich, French Onion Soup. Stay tuned. And, please, please, make the French Onion Soup. I'll post that later this week, after you've made your stock.


















Friday, March 5, 2010

Marinated Flank Steak



Easy, quick, yet very tasty, this Flank Steak is a wonderful mid week dinner. Just a few high power, high flavor ingredients makes this steak melt in your mouth, in under 30 minutes.
Here's what you need:
One 1 1/2 pound flank Steak
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup minced garlic
1 Tbls Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbls freshly grated ginger, or 2 tsp dry powdered ginger
Fresh cracked pepper
(1) gallon size zip top bag

Put your zip top bag in a bowl. Put the steak and the rest of the ingredients in the bag.
Let this hang out together for as little as 15 minutes, or as long as 8 hours. Generally, if you can marinate the steak for about 4 hours, it gets nice and tender, (thank the vinegar). However, if you're jammed for time, give it some flavor, and the meat will be fine.
Line a sheet pan with foil. Put the steak on a rack. Pour some marinade from the bag over the steak.
Place the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat coil in the pre-heated broiler.
Close the oven door. Broil for 5 minutes on one side. Turn the steak over, brush with marinade.
Return to the broiler for another 4 minutes. At my house, the steak is MANDATED, not requested, to be rare. Medium rare if I misjudge the cooking time. If you like your steak more done, leave it under the broiler for another minute or two. Keep in mind that once steak is brown all the way through, it will be tough as nails. Might as well buy a pack of jerky.
Remove to a cutting board, cover, (I use a big bowl), and rest for 5-10 minutes.
Slice the steak into very thin slices, slicing against the grain. If you slice with the grain, the steak will be tough and hard to chew.
Put it on a nice platter.
Take some of the sauce left in the pan.
And pour it over the steak.
Serve this with garlic roasted fingerling potatoes and a Caesar salad, and you have one garlicky love fest!
Bon Appetit'!




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About Me

Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
I'm a home cook that can put some good tasting food on the table, most of the time. My family knows dinner is ready when the fire alarm goes off.