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Archive for the ‘Sauces’ Category

Halibut with Citrus Beurre Blanc sauce

Halibut with Ginger Citrus Beurre Blanc sauce

Ever walked into a higher-end restaurant and just get the feeling that your meal is going to be average? Something about the decor maybe or the clientele is turning you off?

And then had your socks literally knocked off? Yeah, I sorta had that experience a few months ago.

I was taking a much needed break from the city with my parents in Door County, Wisconsin. For those of you who do not know, Door County is the peninsula of Wisconsin. It’s a vacation get-away for people from Milwaukee and Chicago (note Chicagoans – yes, you are called FIB by Wisconsinites. I am now a FIB myself and am coming to terms with it. Google it if you must know) . Filled with cute shops, antiques and quaint little restaurants, such as Al Johnson’s with the goats grazing on the roof , it’s perhaps the Mid-West version of Martha’s Vineyard.

One of the quaint restaurants was the Inn at Kristopher’s located in Sister Bay. We walked in and the interior seemed a little old. Not terribly out of date – but maybe early 90’s. And well, Door County really isn’t the hippest place on the planet. Needles to say, I guess I wasn’t expecting much.

Boy was I in for a surprise.

My father and I both had the blackened Ahi Tuna (we are both suckers for raw tuna – still…even though the dish is seriously done way too often) which was absolutely fabulous and served with wonderful tender crisp Asian vegetables. But the real standout was what my mom ordered –Salmon with a Ginger Beurre Blanc sauce. I’m not one for salmon…ever…but the sauce was outstanding. Seriously wonderful combination of flavors that I had never had before. Words cannot describe how good this was. I HAD to replicate this at home.

So off to google and I came across this wonderful recipe for a Citrus Ginger Beurre Blanc sauce and I must say, this was pretty dang close. Of course, I’m so not in the mood to reprint the recipe – and I didn’t change a thing so head over there if you are interested.

Give it a whirl some time. ¬†I served it with Halibut and some shaved cucumber and carrot over a bed of jasmine rice. At the restaurant, it was served over whipped potatoes. Do whatever you wish. ūüôā

Enjoy!

Ms. Pantry Raid

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Teriyaki chicken wings... er...thighs.

A few years back, my cooking club made these fab chicken wings with teriyaki sauce, sesame seeds and cilantro. I loved the flavor of the sauce but I do admit, I’m not all that keen on chicken wings. Gnawing on bones is so not my thing. So I’ve decided to make the recipe using chicken thighs instead (more meat, less gnawing) and served the whole shebang over rice.

But since I’m SOOO not in the mood to translate the recipe into EXACTLY what I made (and I alright, I don’t totally remember but I did follow it pretty closely), I’m putting the exact recipe down here. I halved it and used pineapple juice instead of grapefruit juice (alright, it was orange pineapple blend if you must ask!) and googled the chicken thigh cooking time.

Teriyaki Chicken Wings (Thighs)

From Tyler Florence
Serves 12 cocktail servings
Note: I halved this recipe when I made it
Ingredients:
Wings:
2 dozen chicken wings, about 3 1/4 pounds, rinsed and patted dry (I used thighs)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted in a skillet over medium heat until lightly browned
Leaves from 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Teriyaki Sauce:
1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup grapefruit juice (I used pineapple juice)
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 fresh, hot red chile, halved
5 garlic cloves, halved
2-inch piece fresh ginger, smashed with the side of a large knife

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Season the chicken wings with salt and pepper and drizzle a little olive oil on them to prevent sticking. Lay the wings in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the skin gets crispy and the wings are cooked through. NOTE: Chicken thighs will take longer – maybe 35-40 minutes. Use your thermometer and your best judgement!!
  4. Meanwhile, combine the teriyaki sauce ingredients in a large saucepan.
  5. Simmer over low heat and reduce until slightly thickened.
  6. Pour the sauce into a large bowl. Dump the wings into the bowl and toss to coat them with the sauce.
  7. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve hot.

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beef_bolognese

Wolfgang Puck's Pappardelle with Beef Bolognese. Restaurant taste, including all the fat.

So I put one of the techniques I learned in class to the test today by peeling and seeding five pounds of tomatoes for Wolfgang Puck’s Bolognese sauce.

Things:

1. So you know how I injured myself in class coring tomatoes? Yeah…I didn’t learn. Sliced the same finger. Doing the same damn thing. Christ…

2. You do not honestly want to know how bad food in restaurants is for you. Case in point – Puck’s bolgnese sauce. It is a heart attack on a platter. I couldn’t even bring myself to put in as much olive oil as it called for. I’m thinking the calorie count in this has to be over a thousand per serving. But it sure was tasty…

He sort of has a two-pronged approach for making this sauce, which was fine for me cause I made it over two days (well, three really – I tried making homemade pasta as well…without a pasta machine…but that’s a story for another time).

First you make the bolognese sauce on it’s own. And then you add it to a crap ton of oil, butter, herbs and chicken stock. I think you can probably do without part two, but I put the whole thing together as directed just to see what it was like. Cause somehow, my thighs don’t jiggle enough these days…

Another surprising things about this bolognese? It doesn’t use any milk. I’m sure that to purists, that means this doesn’t qualify as a bolognese. But hey, the recipe came from an Austrian celebrity chef, not an Italian. So being “purist” is probably not much of a concern for him.

Wolfgang Puck’s Beef Bolognese

From Pizza, Pasta and More!

Beef Bolognese part

NOTE: You can just make this part as a good sauce for pasta, or you can go all out and put the whole thing together (see Putting it all together section after Bolognese recipe)

Ingredients:
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds coarsely ground chicken, preferably dark meat, or, 2 pounds of coarsely ground beef
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium white onion, (about 2 cups), trimmed and cut into small dice
2 medium carrots, (about 1 cup), trimmed, peeled, and cut into small dice
1 medium celery stalk, trimmed and cut into small dice
4 or 5 garlic cloves, cut into small dice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped fine
3 cups chicken stock, heated
Pinch or minced fresh oregano leaves
Pinch minced fresh thyme leaves
6 or 7 chopped fresh basil leaves
Pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste

Steps:

  1. In a 10 or 12-inch saute pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Saute the ground chicken or beef until lightly browned, breaking up the pieces as they cook. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  2. Remove the chicken or beef with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. Set aside until needed.
  3. In the same saute pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Over medium heat, saute the onion, carrots and celery until they just start to color, 6 to 8 minutes. Do not brown.
  4. Add the garlic, stir in the tomato paste, and cook a few minutes longer.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Add the tomatoes, cook for 2 or 3 minutes, then pour in the stock and reserved chicken and season with the oregano, thyme, and a little salt and pepper.
  7. Cook until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 30 minutes. If the sauce has thickened too much or you prefer a thinner sauce, add a little more stock.
  8. Stir in the chopped basil and the red pepper flakes and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

NOTE: You could stop at this point and serve the sauce over pasta, or you could clog your arteries big time by doing the following –

Putting it all together:

4 T unsalted butter
6 T olive oil
2 cups Beef Bolognese sauce (from above)
1/2 cup Chicken stock
1/2 t minced fresh oregano leaves
12 oz pappardelle
2 T minced fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Shaved fresh Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

Steps:

  1. Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil.
  2. In a large saute pan over medium flame, heat all of the butter and 4 T of the olive oil. Stir in the Beef Bolognese sauce, stock and oregano. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle until al dente and drain. Add to the sauce and stir to coat well.
  4. Stir in the parsley, grated Parmesan and remaining 2 T olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. To serve – divide the pasta among 4 heated plates or bowls. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Ms. Pantry Raid

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Smoked chicken, caramelized pears and camembert white pizza

Smoked chicken, caramelized pears and camembert white pizza

So whenever I visit the parents for the weekend, my mom always tries to pawn off her groceries on me. Like I’m a just-out-of-the-nest, starving college student or something. Never mind that I’m in my 30’s and fully able to grocery shop for myself. On a recent visit, I arrived back at my condo toting a wedge of Camembert, a bundle of asparagus, shredded Parmesan, mango salsa, and cut-up fruit salad. All courtesy of my mom. Not that I’m complaining, but sometimes I have to come up with ways to use things that I might not otherwise have sitting around. Case in point – the Camembert. I tend towards super-duper aged cheeses myself. Fresh, double cream cheeses are not really my thing.

When in doubt, throw it on a pizza

At least that’s my motto. A google search on camembert told me pears go well – so I figured Camembert, caramelized pears and the smoked chicken from the previous day’s indoor smoking debacle would go nicely. I thought a white sauce would be too heavy, and olive oil alone too boring. So another Google search unearthed a versatile garlic herb pizza sauce that I also used on pasta later in the week. Finally, I threw a little arugula on top – just cause I always wanted to do that. ¬†The result was damn tasty if I do say so myself!

Pizza

Parts:
Pizza crust – my standard Mario Batali
Smoked chicken – maybe 1/4 lb (see Smoked Chicken Indoors for more info. Otherwise, leftover rotisserie or roast chicken would be great)
White pizza sauce (see below – I used maybe half that recipe)
Caramelized pears (see below)
Camembert – maybe like 4 oz sliced thin (this is pizza people – use your best judgement!)
Arugula or some sort of lettuce – a small handful – this goes on AFTER the pizza comes out of the oven

I put it all together and baked at 450 degrees for 13 minutes or so on a pizza stone.  Throw your arugula on top and serve!

White pizza sauce

(really – garlic herb infused oil – great as a pasta sauce too)
From:http://www.recipekitchen.com/Pizza/pizza21.html

Ingredients:
3 T butter
3 T olive oil
1 T white wine
1/2 t rosemary (I used fresh)
1/2 t basil (I used fresh)
1 garlic clove, minced

Steps:
1. Sauté garlic in butter and olive oil.
2. Add all other ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside. Can be refrigerated maybe for a week Рbring to room temp to use.

Caramelized Pears

Ingredients:
1 pear – cored, seeded and sliced
1 T butter
1 T brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Steps:
1. Melt butter in saute or cast iron pan over medium heat.
2. Saute pears for a few minutes on medium heat
3. Add brown sugar and continue sauteeing to caramelize the pears till your desired doneness (I did maybe 10 minutes total).
4. Remove from heat. Salt and pepper (very important! don’t forget the pepper! freshly ground please!) to taste.

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Trust me, this dish is fabulous. I just have really shoddy camera skills. 

Trust me, this dish is fabulous. I just have really shoddy camera skills.

I love reading cookbooks written by chefs. Interesting ingredients and techniques enthrall me. More often than not though, these books aren’t translated for the home cook. Take the Alinea cookbook – I know there is probably just ONE recipe in the entire book I could make at home without expending major effort. ¬†And trust me, it’s not that lavender smoke pillow thingy.

Restaurant recipes dumbed down (well…sorta)

So what’s a home cook to do? I’ve come across a couple of books which help translate restaurant recipes for the home – Chef Interrupted by Melissa Clark and Restaurant Favorites at Home by the Editors at Cook’s Illustrated (aka America’s Test Kitchen, aka ATK). Trust me though, the recipes in each of these books are still quite time consuming – but always worth it.¬†

Oh yeah, did I ever mention Nuevo Latino cuisine is my absolute favorite? Do we use that term anymore? Latin fusion? Was that totally random and seemingly off-topic? Whatever. Maybe you’ve forgotten the title of this post. I’m just saying I love food with Latin and Caribbean flavors more than just about anything else. Give me a fried plantain any day of the week and I will be one happy girl (I feel a craving coming on!).

One of the most stellar recipes of all-time

The one recipe that I make over and over again that is based on Latin flavors is the Grilled Lime Chicken out of the Restaurant Favorites book. There are a bunch of accompaniments listed in the book, but I never bother with them any more. It’s the cilantro lime sauce that I covet. It’s a perfect blend of spicy, sweet and tangy. The chicken is bathed in this superb sauce post cooking so it retains all its fresh flavors. It is, without a doubt, the best chicken grilling sauce there is. And it’s the freaking easiest thing you’ll ever make. ¬†Oh yeah, and it makes a fantastic salad dressing too.

So don’t delay. Make this today. Unless…you don’t like cilantro. And if that is the case, I feel for you. I really and truly do.

Still not enticing you? Yeah... I can understand that. Just make the dish already!

Still not enticing you? Yeah... I can understand that. Quit picking apart my crappy photos and just make the dish already!

I mean, this is what I had to work with people. Do they even TRAIN butchers anymore?

I mean, this is what I had to work with people. Do they even TRAIN butchers anymore?

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Rewritten from Restaurant Favorites at Home
Makes about a cup of sauce

Ingredients:
1/4 cup sugar
4 chiles de arbol (or 1.5 t red pepper flakes)
3 medium garlic cloves
1 small shallot roughly chopped
1/4 cup lime juice
1 bunch fresh cilantro – leaves and some stems – roughly chopped (about 1.5 cups)
3/4 cup vegetable (or other mild flavored) oil

Whatever the heck you want to grill. The book recommends 6 8-10 oz bone in, skin on chicken breasts.

Steps:
1. This couldn’t be easier – take all the ingredients (minus the thing you are grilling) and stick in mini food processor, blender, whatever. Pulse till combined. OR, if you insist on doing things the hard way, chop them up. Put in a large bowl and set aside. That’s it!

2. Grill your meat (or veg! I suppose you could do that too). If you were going to do bone in skin on chicken, my method in the Pomegranate Chicken recipe works well – basicallly, 10 minutes skin down, 15 minutes skin up. Set aside to rest.

3. Dip your grilled whatever into the big bowl of sauce – make sure it is well coated. Remove and…

4. Serve!

Enjoy!

Ms. Pantry Raid

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Hot stuff! Shrimp Piri Piri served with diced mango over jasmine rice.

Hot stuff! Shrimp Piri Piri served with diced mango over jasmine rice.

Note to all: No matter how pretty and inviting habaneros look, eating them raw may not be in your best interest. Unless you have a pint of whole milk standing by. AND EVEN THEN. Think twice.

I’m just saying…

I couldn’t help myself. Really, it was calling my name. Teasing me. Whispering “Don’t be such a wuss! Just a little bite! It won’t hurt! I swear I’m not hotter than a jalapeno”. So I popped a hunk into my mouth. Immediately on contact bad, bad things happened. Blisters formed. I swear to god (ok, I’m exaggerating a little). I paced up and down the kitchen repeating the same words over and over “bad. pepper. hot. oh god. bad”. My husband merely laughed at my misfortune. I recall something like “serves you right!” escaping his lips but the memory of the pepper might be playing tricks with my brain. ¬†I finally gave in and took a swig of milk. It cooled the fire in my mouth, but my lips were still ablaze. A good 20 minutes later, the heat finally died down.¬†

All for the cause my friends, all for the cause.

So yeah. Shrimp Piri Piri is hot stuff.  We are talking numerous habaneros, jalapenos, hot paprika, cayenne all mixed togther and slathered over shrimp. The dish is African and Portuguese in nature, apparently came about during the time of the colonialization of Mozambique.

It is supposed to be served with lemon and butter, but I got the bright idea of serving it with a mango dipping sauce. ¬† Alright, I admit I was scared that the shrimp was going to be so spicy I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Hence why I tried to tame it with the mango. In reality, after grilling, the shrimp wasn’t as hot as I thought it was going to be. Next time, I’ll serve it the traditional way cause I feel like the sweet of the dipping sauce competed with the heat of the shrimp. I might even boil up the marinade and serve that over top too. Just in case I need more heat!

Grilled Shrimp with Piri Piri Sauce

From Some Like It Hot
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 habanero chiles
7 red jalapenos (I could only find green) or 4 red cherry or cascabel chiles
2 T cayenne pepper
1 T Hot paprika
4 garlic cloves
3/4 cup peanut oil
3 T fresh lemon juice
2 t salt
2 lb shrimp – peeled and deveined (I used medium sized shrimp cause I find them easier to cook – but use at least medium size shrimp since you are grilling them)

To finish the dish, mix together (but don’t do this till you are ready to serve):
6 T unsalted butter, melted
3 T fresh lemon juice

You’ll also need skewers for the shrimp

Steps:

1. Place habaneros, jalapenos, paprika, garlic, peanut oil, lemon juice and salt in blender or small food processor. Process till smooth. 

2. Transfer to a bowl, add in the shrimp and marinate for 4-6 hours.

3. Prepare your grill. Skewer shrimp leaving space between each. Grill shrimp a few minutes on each side to your desired doneness (I err on the undercooked side myself – it will keep cooking after you take it off the grill).

4. Remove from the grill and serve drizzled with the 6 T of unsalted butter and 3 T of lemon juice.

Enjoy!

Ms. Pantry Raid

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Pomegranate glazed grilled chicken with Middle Eastern nut rice

Pomegranate glazed grilled chicken with Middle Eastern rice with toasted nuts and cinnamon

Let the grilling begin!

I have a bottle of pomegranate molasses in my refrigerator that is a bit past its prime.

Way, way past its prime…

I don’t know why I’ve kept it sitting around for so long – since it adds such an interesting flavor to food. But whatever, it’s been sitting there a long time.

In coming up with a way to use it up, I thought it would go great slathered over grilled chicken. Initially, I had planned on making a thick, sticky, sweet-sour lacquer for crispy chicken skin. A Middle Eastern barbecue sauce, if you will. In the end, I created a lighter, tangy basting sauce. Brushed lightly over grilled chicken, it imparts a fantastically tangy flavor. And neither mouth-puckeringly sour nor cloyingly sweet.

To pair with it…

What would go great with pomegranate glazed chicken? Why rice spiked with toasted nuts and cinnamon of course! A great side dish on its own – the cinnamon really makes it interesting. Sprinkle a little extra over the top when serving just to finish it off. A perfect match!

Pomegranate Glazed Grilled Chicken

Makes 3/4 cup or so of glaze – enough for 2-4 chicken breasts
Ingredients:
1/4 cup white wine
2 T minced shallots
1/2 cup chicken broth
Juice of one orange
1 t honey
2 T pomegranate molasses
1 T butter
2 bone in, skin on, split chicken breasts

Steps:
To make glaze:
1. Combine wine and shallots in small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce until wine is mostly evaporated.

2. Add broth, orange juice, pomegranate molasses and honey. Bring to boil and reduce until 3/4 cup liquid is left.

3. Whisk in butter. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To make chicken:
1. Start grill. We have a small gas grill that doesn’t have separate burners, so we just light it and let it get to about 450 degrees.

2. Oil grate. Place chicken skin side down on grate. Cover and cook 10 minutes.

3. Flip chicken over. Baste with glaze and cook additional 15 minutes – basting a couple of times..

4. Check temp of chicken. Might need turn it skin side down and cook an additional 3-5 minutes. Might not. Pull off when it is done to your degree of doneness (remember, it will raise maybe 10 degrees after you take it off the grill and let it rest. Give it one more coat of glaze before serving.

Middle Eastern Nut Rice with Cinnamon

Serves 4
Ingredients:
1 T oil
1 small onion minced
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
2 cups chicken stock
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used a mix of pistachio and macadamia – cause I had them sitting around)
ground cinnamon

Steps:
1. Toast nuts: place nuts on a baking sheet and toast at 400 degrees for 7 minutes or until fragrant (don’t let them burn). Take out and remove from baking sheet to stop them from cooking. Set aside.

2. In medium saucepan with a tight fitting lid, saute onions in oil over medium heat until soft – five minutes.

3. Add rice. Stir to coat in oil.

4. Add chicken broth and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil.

5. Put lid on saucepan. Turn heat down to low and let cook for 20 minutes.

6. Check for doneness. If done remove from heat, remove cinnamon stick and stir in toasted nuts. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately sprinkled with dash of ground cinnamon.

Enjoy!

Ms. Pantry Raid

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