Monday, November 29, 2010

Coconut Curried Lentil & Sweet Potato Sliders

Remember to get in our Quickies Noodle Challenge.  Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to create a fun, sexy, inventive noodle dish.  The deadline for entry is midnight December 14, 2010.

The grand prize is a fantastic cookbook Quickies: Morning, Noon, and Night written by my good friend the super talented Denise Fletcher.

This year for Thanksgiving I had to get my vegetarian thinking cap on as this was the first veggie Thanksgiving for The Lawyer.  I decided to go out of the box and make a lentil and sweet potato course.  Which you can see pictured below in the top dish.

The final product was a coconut curried lentil and sweet potato potage.  My guests were very enthusiastic about the course. 

So when Saturday rolled around I wanted to get creative with my leftovers.  Gotta play in the kitchen!  I thought I'd take a chance and make the lentil and sweet potato potage into a veggie burger.

The method was down to finding the correct ratio of potage and binding agents.  It ended up being for every 1 cup of potage, I added 4 tbs herbed breadcrumbs and 4 tbs of corn meal.  Pulse together in the food processor and allow to come together for 1 hour in the fridge.

My wife found the burger to be satisfying and flavorful.  She even thought it had a meaty mouth feel.  I was a very happy cook.  Just another example of how being a free spirit in the kitchen, and not being afraid to fail, allows for the most gratifying results.

By the way, if you do not like potatoes, this is not the post for you.  Potato is prevalent throughout this slider.

The components of the sliders.  Coconut curried lentil and sweet potato potage, corn meal, fresh breadcrumbs with thyme and marjoram.


Coconut Curried Lentil and Sweet Potato Slider Patty


Toasted Potato Roll Bun, Yukon Gold & Onion Hash


Coconut Curried Lentil & Sweet Potato Slider, Melted Sharp Provolone

Add Your Favorite Condiments

Coconut Curried Lentil & Sweet Potato Slider


That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Chicken Paillard With Celery Root Puree, Mixed Salad Greens, and Goat Cheese Mornay

Remember to get in our Quickies Noodle Challenge.  Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to create a fun, sexy, inventive noodle dish.  The deadline for entry is midnight December 14, 2010.

The grand prize is a fantastic cookbook Quickies: Morning, Noon, and Night written by my good friend the super talented Denise Fletcher.

Guest Post Spotlight Saturday

Faith's An Edible Mosaic is one of the best blogs on the net. Obviously one that has been a source of inspiration for me as I chose it for my first ever Favorite Foodie Deconstruction Saturday. Faith is a marvelous cook. She’s smart, creative, inventive, precise and a good communicator. She has an easy way with getting her point across and her tutorials are exquisitely written. All the while, being a sweet supportive friend.

It truly is an honor to turn this floor over to a cook I respect the hell out of. Hopefully, you will see much collaboration between the fabulous Faith and I.

If you value my opinion, after you enjoy this, please hop on over to An Edible Mosaic.


Before I get to the eats, I want to give a huge thank you to Lazaro, who is not only an inspiring cook but also a genuinely wonderful person. I also want to thank him for working so diligently to bring bloggers together through his guest post series. I have been introduced to many wonderful bloggers through his site and I am honored to be guest posting here today.

Now for the food! Breaded and shallow-fried chicken cutlets are one of my all-time favorite meals. This is a dish that crosses cultures and is internationally loved. It’s known by a few different names depending on where you’re from, including Hänchen-Schnitzel (Germany), Chicken Milanese (Italy), and Chicken Paillard (France). I decided to go the French route and serve it with celery root puree and Mornay sauce.

Since Chicken Paillard is usually served with salad greens and many times I’ve seen goat cheese included in the salad, I wanted to incorporate goat cheese into this meal in a different way. Then the idea of making a light Mornay sauce with goat cheese struck me. It was perfect. It could be drizzled over the whole meal, as a sauce for the celery root puree and chicken cutlets, and as a salad dressing on the greens. The Mornay isn’t heavy at all so it doesn’t weigh down the greens, and if you use sturdy greens they don’t even wilt with the warm sauce. If you’re not into warm salad dressings though, feel free to use any dressing you like (but be sure to still make the Mornay…it’s amazing, especially on the celery root puree).

Celery Root

If you’ve never worked with celery root before you’re in for a real treat. It’s not the prettiest vegetable you’ll ever lay eyes on (truth be told, it’s pretty gnarly looking), but it is intriguingly delicious with its distinctive flavor that is reminiscent of both celery and parsley. It’s in season during colder months so now is a great time to look for it; when you’re buying celery root, look for ones weighing about 1 pound or less since they have better flavor and texture than their larger counterparts.

Chicken Paillard {With Celery Root Puree, Mixed Salad Greens, and Goat Cheese Mornay}

(Yield: 2 servings)

Celery Root Puree:
1 medium starchy potato, peeled and diced
1 (about 3/4 lb to 1 lb) celery root (also called celeriac), peeled, rinsed, and diced
1/4 c milk
Salt and pepper

Chicken Paillard:
1 TB olive oil
2 (about 6 oz) chicken breast cutlets, pounded thin
1 egg
1/4 c breadcrumbs
1 TB fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 TB fresh minced parsley
1 tsp fresh minced thyme
Salt and pepper
Lemon wedges (for serving)

Goat Cheese Mornay:
1 tsp butter
1 tsp all-purpose flour
1/4 c milk
1 oz goat cheese
1 tsp fresh minced parsley
Salt and Pepper

Salad Greens:
3 c mixed salad greens
1/2 c cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar

For the Celery Root Puree: Put the diced potato and celery root in a medium pot and add enough cold water to just cover everything. Bring it up to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer until the veggies are very tender (about 15 minutes). Drain the veggies, then put them back into the pot and mash them. Stir in the milk and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reheat over a double boiler if necessary before serving.

For the Chicken Paillard: Put the egg in a shallow bowl and beat it with a pinch of salt and pepper. In a separate shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Dip each chicken cutlet in the egg, then let the excess drip off and dip each in the breadcrumb mixture. Add the olive oil to a medium-large skillet over medium-high heat; once the oil starts to ripple, add the chicken and cook until fully cooked and golden on both sides (about 3 minutes per side), flipping once. You can turn the heat down if the chicken starts to burn or cook too quickly; the chicken is fully cooked when there is no pink in the middle.

For the Goat Cheese Mornay: In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour; cook for about 30 seconds, then whisk in the milk and bring up to a simmer. Whisk in the goat cheese and continue cooking until the cheese is melted. Turn off the heat and add the parsley. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

For the Salad Greens: In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, salt, and sugar, then stir in the onion; add enough cold water to just cover the onion, then let it sit for 20 minutes. Rinse and drain the onion, then pat dry. Before serving, toss together the salad greens, tomato, and onion.

To Serve: You will need 2 individual plates. Divide the celery root puree between the 2 plates and place a piece of chicken on top of each. Divide the salad between the two plates, arranging it on top of the chicken. Drizzle the Mornay on top of everything and serve with lemon wedges to sprinkle on top.

For more classy cooking, and wonderful photos like these, check out An Edible Mosaic.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dukkah-Crusted Chicken Scaloppine with Warm Carrot-Raisin Salad and Scallion Cream

Collaboration - The act or process of collaborating.  A product resulting of collaboration.

My favorite part of blogging is the interaction with talented cooks.  I am not talking about comments on a blog post but to actually interrelate and exchange ideas.  Whether it's gmail or facebook, the ability to talk food is an everyday joy.  I am tremendously fortunate to be able to call Natasha from 5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures a friend.

Natasha is a creative, generous and talented cook. She is very quick to exchange ideas and share her knowledge base. My favorite part of her attitude towards the kitchen is that she is fearless. She has an imaginative and extensive palate that allows her to cook with many diverse ingredients.

Our post was totally thought up by her.  I am a much better cook for it.  My guess is that you will see many more collaborative efforts between us.

Catch my end of this deal on 5 Star Foodie. I made an ancient Egyptian ingredient inspired pizza called Cleopatra’s Dream.


I am very excited to visit here today as a part of a collaboration project that Lazaro and I have been working on together. In addition to being one of the most amazing cooks in the blogosphere, Lazaro is also a wonderful friend. He always has an encouraging word to say, and he really helped me to get through my recent blogging blues.

This dish is actually the very first one that I made after a long gourmet cooking break, and it is part of our joint guest post with the theme of Egyptian-inspired flavors. Lazaro has created an amazing pizza worthy of Queen Cleopatra herself that you can check out back on my site. Meanwhile, I made a Dukkah-Crusted Chicken Scaloppine served with Warm Carrot-Raisin Salad and topped with Scallion Cream, and it is my privilege to share it with the readers of Lazaro Cooks! today.

Dukkah, also spelled duqqa or dukka, is a popular Egyptian spice mix, consisting typically of various seeds, spices, and nuts. This spice mix is used in cooking, but also is used as a topping for bread dipped in olive oil. There are many different variations of dukkah, and I created my own spice mix that was very aromatic, and added terrific flavors to the chicken scaloppine.


1/4 cup coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
1/2 cup almonds, thinly sliced
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon dried mint flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 whole boneless chicken breast
Extra-virgin olive oil

carrot-raisin salad
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
2 cups carrots, shredded
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch of salt, pepper to taste

scallion cream
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 scallions, chopped
Pinch of salt, pepper to taste


In a dry skillet without oil, toast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and sesame seeds. Place in a food processor. Then, toast the almonds and hazelnuts, mixing gently until golden brown. Add to the seed mixture. Also, in the food processor place mint flakes, sea salt, and crushed red pepper flakes. Pulse to mix well. The mixture needs to be still coarse, dry, and crumbly but fine enough that all of the seeds are crushed. (can be made in advance and stored in an air-tight container; use leftover dukkah as a dip for flatbread, first dipped in oil).


Cut the breast into halves and then slice each half into thin scaloppine in half. Pound the scaloppine lightly on both sides. Brush with a little oil and sprinkle generously with dukkah spice mix on both sides. Let the chicken sit for a few minutes.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 tablespoon butter. When the butter melts, add the chicken scaloppine and saute for about 2 minutes per side (in batches if necessary, then add additional oil and butter for each new batch).

carrot-raisin salad

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add onions and cook for a minute until the onions start to soften. Add the rest of the butter and cardamom and mix well. When the butter melts, add carrots and raisins. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

scallion cream
In a food processor, combine sour cream, lemon juice, scallions and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until the sauce is smooth and foamy.

to assemble

Place a chicken scaloppine on top of carrot-raisin salad and spoon scallion cream sauce all over.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Oven Roasted Organic Free-Range Chicken, Root Vegetables, Chanterelle Mushroom Viniagrette

Welcome to LC's Thanksgiving Plate

Must be turkey time, right?

Not a chance.

In the LC Home we’ll be eating that most satisfying of meals, oven roast chicken. When I eat roast chicken I want three things, which all combine to create a truly amazing eating experience. Isn’t that what life is about; amazing eating experiences.

1. Taste – I use 3 simple ingredients to get the most explosive flavor you can ever want out of your bird. Fine sea salt, softened unsalted butter and White Truffle Oil. How much butter and oil? 50-50. The key is to make sure the butter is softened, and then mix it thoroughly with the oil.

2. Aroma- One of the most under explored aspects of cooking in my opinion. I load the inside cavity of the bird with different aromatics. Orange, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, black peppercorns.

3. Presentation – This is all down to three things, tempering the bird (bringing it to room temperature before cooking), trussing the bird and cooking it properly. Trussing promotes even cooking throughout. Proper oven roasting assures a gorgeously cooked skin. Do not forget to cut out the wishbone before cooking. It will aid you in carving the final product.

Oven Roasted Organic Free-Range Chicken, Root Vegetables, Chanterelle Mushroom Viniagrette

For the Chicken:
4 pound organic free-range chicken
½ orange quartered
2 garlic cloves
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
Black peppercorns
Unsalted butter - softened at room temp
White truffle oil
Fine sea salt

Safflower oil
1 white onion – chopped
2 carrots – peeled & chopped
1 parsnip – peeled & chopped
1 turnip – peeled & chopped
1 leek (white & light green parts only) – chopped
1 Yukon gold potato – peeled & chopped
2 celery sticks – chopped

Remove the chicken 45 minutes before cooking from the fridge.  Preheat oven to 450 F.

Heat the safflower oil over medium-high heat in an oven-proof saute pan.  Add the chopped onions, carrots, parsnips, turnip, leek, potatoes, and celery.  Season with sea salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.

Insert the orange, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and black peppercorns into the cavity of the bird.  Truss the chicken using butcher's twine.  In a bowl, thoroughly mix the softened butter and white truffle oil.  Massage the mixture all over the chicken's skin.  Season liberally with sea salt.  Take the saute pan off the heat.  Lay the chicken on the bed of veggies.  Transfer to the oven.  Roast for 55 minutes.

For the Big Pot Blanched Green Beans:
Green beans
Fine sea salt

Use the biggest pot you have. Fill it with water. Season with sea salt. Taste. The water should taste like the ocean. Bring to the boil. Add the green beans. Turn the heat up to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until tender. 5 minutes.

Prepare an ice water bath. Large glass bowl, water and ice. Remove the green beans and plunge into the ice water.

For the Chanterelle Mushroom Vinaigrette:
¼ cup champagne vinegar
1 shallot – peeled & minced
1 tbs Dijon mustard
½ cup olive oil
1 tbs walnut oil
Fleur de Sel
White pepper
1 lb chanterelle mushrooms – trimmed & chopped
¼ cup safflower oil

In a blender, blend the vinegar, shallot, and mustard until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the walnut oil and olive oil. Blend until emulsified. Season with Fleur de sel and white pepper. Pour into a glass bowl.

In a sauté pan, heat the safflower oil over medium-high heat. Add the chanterelles and cook to a golden brown.

Fold the mushrooms into the vinaigrette. Check for seasoning.

The smell coming from the kitchen will have your guest really giving thanks.

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pasta Fagioli

This week I am honored to turn over the LC floor to another talented cook. Ellen from La Pure Mama is a fantastic cook that makes vegetarian and vegan food fun and sexy. Her writing is witty and her photos are gorgeous. All in all, a great blogger. Not to mention, a very sweet gal.

Seriously, whether you are vegetarian, vegan, or a meat-eater lookng for some clever ideas for veggie dishes, please drop by La Pure Mama.  I promise you will find a fabulous new blog to follow.

Guest Post Spotlight Thursday


Hello Lazaro Cooks! readers! I am so pleased to be here. I personally lurve reading Lazaro's posts, just like you and I think we can all agree that he's basically amazing. That being said, thank you Lazaro! It's a true honor that you have asked little old me to be here.

Right now I am vacationing in Italy which means before we left I knew I would either come up with something amazing IN Italy and then prepare that post while in Italy, or be ultra proactive and prepare something ahead of time on the off chance that my dreams of cooking amazing things while in Italy, wouldn't happen.

Teetering on the obsessive compulsive fence, I chose to prepare something ahead of time; something traditional to the Italian region we were visiting. Just in case. This turned out to be a fantastical idea because I have been doing way too much eating to do very much cooking. Ha! And so here it is...

Here in the heart of Tuscany I have learned two things: 1. Noodle Nose, my 4 1/2 year old heartbreaker has found Sofia, the love of his life. 2. Pasta Fagioli is a staple here. Traditionally it is a bean and pasta soup but they also have a version served with bread instead of pasta and that version can be found in virtually any restaurant in the Tuscany area.

Before Italia, pasta fagioli to me, was a simple line in a song. You know the one.... 'when the moon hits the sky like a big-a pizza pie that's...' yep. You know the one.

I always imagined pasta fagioli as a giant bowl of pasta smothered in some kind of ultra heavy red sauce most likely laden with meat, so I have never ventured to learn more until my travels sent me to pasta fagioli 'heartland'.

Considered a 'peasant dish', I assume the bread or pasta is interchanged depending on what was available. I have had it both ways and not only is it incredibly simple, it is delicious, herby and satisfying. And as if that wasn't enough, there's a bonus: It makes the house smell fantastic.

So once again, Lazaro: grazie for asking me to be here. It truly is an honor and I hope this simple yet delicious post does your blog proud :)

Pasta Fagioli

Yield, about 8-10 servings (leftovers or good for a crowd)


2 cups dry canellini beans, soaked in water overnight
4 cups water
3 Tablespoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 sweet white onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3-4 stalks celery, chopped
3 fresh sage leaves, chopped fine
2 teaspoons dried oregano

4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups orzo pasta (or other small pasta)


After you have soaked your canellini beans over night, put them in a crock pot with the water, 3 Tablespoons oregano and the 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook on low for about 5 hours.

Note: you can also cook them in a pot, if you're going to be home, but the crockpot makes life a little easier.

To prepare your soup base, heat a little extra virgin olive oil in your soup pot and add the garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes then add the onion. Let cook for another 2-3 minutes.

When onion is soft, add carrot and celery to the mix and let cook for about 4 minutes, stirring as you go.

Note: the combination of onion, carrot and celery is called mire poix. You can buy it already chopped at Joes or you can make it yourself.

Once everything is rather soft, add sage and oregano, give it a stir then add salt pepper and vegetable broth. Turn heat down from medium to low, cover and let sit.

After your soup base has cooked for a while, give it a taste and add salt and pepper as needed. I found it needed more.

Add dry orzo pasta to your soup base and take about 2 to 2 1/2 cups of water from your crockpot of beans. Also, you can turn off the crockpot now :)

The water from the beans is better than using regular water because a: it's already hot and has flavor from cooking the beans and b: it would be a shame to waste it.

Note: you can't really add too much water because the pasta will soak some up and you still want enough liquid to your soup. You will need to add more salt and pepper though.

Return heat to medium, cover and let simmer so the pasta can cook. Let it go for about 5 minutes then check it.

When pasta is al dente, reduce heat to low and transfer beans to your soup base 1 cup at a time.

Note: you won't be using all the beans for your soup. You should have about 1 1/2 cups left over. I'll show you what to do with that later.

Give the whole thing a good stir then taste it and add salt and pepper if needed. Cover and let cook for about another 10-15 minutes then taste it again. At this point the pasta should be ready and you just want to ensure that the salt and pepper ratio is to your liking. If it is, serve it up! If not, add more, stir and cover to allow flavors to combine.


Ladle into a bowl and serve with garlic cheddar crostini or classic crusty bread.

Enjoy folks, thanks again Lazaro and I hope to see you all soon!

Arivederci from Italia!

Please drop by La Pure Mama for more awesome vegan food!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Quickies Noodle Challenge

Only getting sick can keep me from the kitchen.  Which I was this weekend.  Hence no post.  Doing better now though.  I'll get back to it on Saturday.

Today I am glad to announce the next Quickies: Morning, Noon and Night Challenge.  This time it's a dish that is near to my heart.  Noodles.  I could eat noodles every damn day and be a happy dude.

Denise and I are looking for a smart, innovative, and most creative noodle dish.  The prize for your hard graft is her wonderful cookook Quickies: Morning, Noon and Night.

For all of the particular's of this contest please check out Denise's blog, here's the contest link...

Quickies Noodle Challenge

We are not just looking for noodles in a bowl.  Be creative, challenge yourself and have fun.

If you need some inspiration, here is my Ramen with Two Bean Ragout & NY Steak.  Just please don't copy my shit.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Maple Shortbread Bars

It's been a few weeks since I posted a new creation.  Laz's been in the lab working on some different concepts.  Time to move the cooking on LC forward.  My journey of discovery in the kitchen has challenged me to continue to push the limits of my cuisine.  If I was to keep cooking the same tired old crap, I'd quit.  New dishes start Saturday.  What a tease, huh?!

I am also happy to report that I am working on some joint projects with incredibly talented foodies.  These will be up in the coming weeks.

First, is the one-and-only Natasha from 5 Star Foodie.  Natasha is one of the best cooks (and sweetest people) on the blogosphere, so I really had to step my game up to work with her.  We collaborated on some exciting dishes.  We hope to post early next week.

No more PSA's

Welcome to Guest Post Thursday

I am excited turn over the LC floor to Patty from Patty's Fine Food.  Patty hails from the Bay Area, home of her beloved World Series Champion San Fransisco Giants.  Not only is Patty a fine cook, but she is one of the most supportive bloggers around.  If you love pastries, she creates some of the best pastries I've come across.  Please check out Patty's Food for fine food and more importantly a fine friend.


Warm fall days, picnics and rich gooey portable maple shortbread bars are  a happy satisfying combination in my book.  My friend Lazaro at Lazaro Cooks! is a creative chef who tends towards the elegant presentations that have been beautifully crafted and photographed.  For myself, I lean toward the more rustic presentations of creations that are most often pastries with the occasional soup, salad or bread thrown in to the mix for good measure.  Today I am honored to be contributing a guest post at Lazaro Cooks!

I have a fairly extensive cookbook collection where I find many of the recipes for my Patty's Food blog.  If I use a recipe from the Internet I link the recipe on my blog and note any  changes I may have made.  When I use a recipe from a cookbook I share the recipe in my own words and note that I have adapted the recipe from the author and title of the cookbook that I use.  Sometimes I make changes in recipes because of taste or ingredient preferences and more often because I have something in my pantry I would like to use.  If you are interested in this subject of recipe attribution read  David Lebovitz's piece on this topic at The Food Blog Alliance.  He also states that if you attribute a recipe to a certain cookbook then you should link it to Amazon so that your reader can buy the book.  I'm not in full agreement with that because I think people know where and how to buy a book if they like without the link.  I like to read cookbooks, try the recipes and share the ones I like.  I don't want any one to feel 'ripped off' so I always mention the recipe, cookbook and author before I give the recipe.  Okay so having written all of that I found this recipe for Maple Shortbread Bars in The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser.

Ingredients and Directions for Maple Shortbread Bars
makes 2 dozen bars

Preheat the oven to 350°F

Ingredients for the crust

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter

Ingredients for the filling

1&1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2/3 cup real maple syrup
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped pecans

In a medium size bowl combine the flour, sugar and salt for the crust.  Cut the chilled butter into bits and scatter over the flour mixture.  Work the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or lightly using your fingertips until it resembles flaky crumbs.  Press into the bottom of a metal 9x13 baking pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden brown around the edges.  Cool on a rack for 20 minutes or longer.

In the same medium bowl combine all the ingredients except the chopped pecans and mix until smooth and thick.  Pour into the cooled crust and distribute the pecans evenly over the top.  Bake until the filling is set, about 30 minutes.  If the filling starts to brown too much before it sets cover the top with aluminum foil.
Cool completely before cutting into bars.

For more please check out Patty's Food.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Vina Ardanza Rioja Poached Sea Scallop

Looks like my brother did not appreciate the crack on my Saturday post.  I don't know what he would object to?  He says that finally you fine people are getting to know the real Laz.  To which I only had a simple 2 word retort...

No doubt!

He also went on to describe my Beer Cheese soup as fancy and stuffy.  That his version is more for the "people" not the "food snobs."  It was at this point that I felt a surge of inspiration.  I was overcome with a brilliant idea.  So readers, friends, I have but one question...

Are you ready for a Brother Throwdown?!

Sound like a plan to me. 

Coming soon to a blog near you.  Actually this one, you know, LC!

When cooking with alcohol the most important rule to follow is always cook with something you would drink. If you won’t drink it, don’t cook with it. And those so called “cooking wines” you see in the grocery store, I wouldn’t give those to my worst spammer commenter. Please don’t ever cook with them. Please!

Next, bringing alcohol to the boil does not “cook off the alcohol,” that’s another kitchen myth. Numerous studies have been done by people far smarter than I; at most you cook off about 30% of the alcohol content. So, keep this in my when cooking with alcohol, especially whiskey or brandy. Make sure you monitor the alcohol content of your food; you don’t want your guests getting pissed off your dishes. For more information on this subject read the work of Harold McGee, Heston Blumenthal, amongst others.

The poaching liquid for these scallops was made with Spanish rioja, garlic, thyme, shallots, rosemary, and black pepper. I like to bring the ingredients to a simmer and allow the wine to be infused slowly with the flavors and aromas. I keep the temperature around 180 F. The scallops do not take long to cook, so you can be patient beforehand and make sure your poaching liquid is as flavorful as possible.

The desired final product is a contrast between the burgundy outside of the poached sea scallop and the pearly white inside. It is a wonderful effect that my guests were truly amused by.

The other components of the dish are red onions cooked in an emulsion of the poaching liquid and butter. Accompanied by a luxurious celery root puree. I am not posting my recipe for the celery root puree because I am involved in an exciting project with another foodie and I will share it then.


Vina Ardanza Rioja Poached Sea Scallop

That's the contrast you want.

For the poaching liquid:
750 ml Vina Ardanza Rioja - (Any good red wine will do)
Rosemary sprigs
Thyme sprigs
Garlic cloves
Whole black peppercorns
Bay leaf

Note: Quantities are left to the discretionary palate of the cook.

In a saucepan, slowly bring the ingredients to a simmer.  Do not boil. Simmer for 30 minutes to infuse the wine with as much flavor as possible.  Strain the poaching liquid.

For the Sea Scallops:
Sea scallops U-10 - (under 10 to the lb) - these are the big boys
Sea salt
White pepper

Season the scallops liberally with sea salt and white pepper.  Place the scallops in a glass dish or bowl.  Pour the hot poaching liquid over the scallops.  Making sure the scallops are submerged.  Cover the dish with plastic wrap to trap the heat.  Poach the scallops for 6 minutes.  DO NOT OVERCOOK.

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Olive Oil Pancakes Encore

This blog went live on March 5, 2010.  It's so funny to me to go back and read some of those posts.  Cringe-worthy.  Oh, to be a blogging neophyte.  Everyone is so nice.  Everything is so rosy. Kiss kiss!

Then you learn about the comment game.  Come across more than a few hypocrites.  And realize that 90% of your "readers" do not actually read your posts.  Most just look at the pretty photos.  Literally obnoxious spammers that pose as commenters.

Case in point, my incredibly talented friend Natasha the 5 Star Foodie, just posted a well-written review of a 5 Star restaurant she recently had the misfortune of eating at.  Natasha's review was fair and honest.  It is hard being honest.  People don't do well with honesty, I FOR ONE KNOW!  So what did she get for being brave and putting the information out there? A comment that reads "A beautiful meal."  Really?!  Or how about "Sounds like a delicious meal!"  Excuse me?!  And lastly, "I am bookmarking this so when I'm in Philly."  Why?!  Because you like to eat at shitty restaurants?!  I mean the @#ckin' swordfish was described as "Gristly" in the review.

Look, I'm sorry, if you are gonna leave a comment on a blog, at the very least read the damn thing.  If not...just don't comment and move on.  Trust me, the world will be a better place for it.  So annoying.

I am in a blogging groove right now.  This is the happiest I've been in months.  I have now seen what "blogging" really entails.  So what does it "entail?"  Just cook your food and forget the noise.  Period!

Another one of my blogger BFF's Denise from Quickies on the Dinner Table posted some lovely Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin pancakes.  Nice!  So inspired by Denise I am bringing back an old post from March 31, 2010.  It's such a fantastic recipe.  I love these pancakes.  Here's the post from March 31, unedited.

Note:  This photo was taken way before I started shooting outside my crappy condo exclusively.  What a difference.  The lighting inside my condo is a giant mound of elephant crap. 


Pancakes are a favorite breakfast fare in the Lazaro Cooks! household. Sometimes it can get quite frightening the sheer volume of cakes we parachute down our gullets. Yes…I said olive oil pancakes…we will get there don’t you worry. By the way, chocolate is another nice accoutrement these babies pack.

Most pancakes are made with butter. Not these. For this recipe I use olive oil in the batter and olive oil on the griddle. Look, I of all people, have nothing against butter. On the contrary, I fancy it. When I go to the market I buy a 4-pack of butter even if I don’t need it. Occasionally when I’m bored I take the butter out the fridge and hug it. Is that strange?

In reality this is a variation of a Spanish recipe called ‘Tortillas de Aceite.’ Olive oil is a bit more diet-friendly, while offering a distinctly unique flavor. The rest of these poshed-up flapjacks are grated semisweet chocolate, edible flowers, blueberries, and…

I love maple syrup, maple, maple syrup. Mmm Mmm Mmm. Here it goes down, down into my belly…If you didn’t see Anchorman…sorry you’re not going to get it. Maple syrup, preferably from Vermont, is a breakfast staple and goes gloriously with these pancakes.

Plate these up this weekend for your significant other. Who knows you might just get lucky.

Olive Oil Pancakes with Chocolate

For the Batter:
4 oz chopped semisweet chocolate
1 ½ cups flour
2 tbs cane sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
Sea salt
1 ½ cups buttermilk
1 egg whole – beaten
1 ½ tbs good olive oil

For the Garnish:
1 oz semisweet chocolate (for grating)
Maple syrup
Edible flowers

In a large bowl, add the flour, cane sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and a pinch of sea salt.

In the center pour the buttermilk. Then add the egg and the olive oil. Starting at the center, slowly whisk the ingredients together. DO NOT OVER MIX. It’s ok if you have some lumps. Stir in the chopped chocolate.

Grease the griddle with olive oil. If you don’t have a griddle, this is a very good one...Presto 07046 Tilt 'n Drain Big Griddle Cool-Touch Electric Griddle.  Watch the bottom of the pancake, when it’s nicely browned, turn it. Do not let it BURN...BURN NO GOOD!

Stack the pancakes on the center of the plate. Drizzle the maple syrup. Grate the chocolate over like softly falling snow. Arrange the edible flowers and the blueberries. Job done!

That’s it for now…till we exchange a few words again…Peace!