Saturday, January 22, 2011

Skirt Steak & Herb Salad

Skirt Steak is wonderful cut of meat, so full of flavor. There are two skirt steaks cuts that come from the diaphragm of cattle, the outside skirt and inside skirt.

The inside skirt is a much more uneven piece of meat, smaller, and less expensive.

The outside skirt is one I like to work with. It is more appealing, uniform in size, and thus a bit more expensive. When trimming skirt steak be sure to leave some of the fat on the steak, remember fat is flavor. Save any meat trimmings, you can always include them to make a great pan sauce.

I cooked the skirt steak on a cast iron pan over high heat. Skirt steak cooks very quickly, the goal is achieve a nice crusty exterior while maintaining a warm moist interior. Be careful, on overcooked skirt steak is like eating shoe leather.

On the Menu Today…

Skirt Steak
Cast Iron Skirt Steak, Herb Salad, Maytag Blue Cheese, Citrus Vinaigrette.

For the Herb Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette:
1 Florida navel orange - segmented
1/2 Meyer lemon – zested and juiced
1 Fuji apple – small dice
1 shallot – minced

Fresh marjoram – whole leaves
Fresh chervil – whole leaves
Chives - minced

Rice vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Maytag blue cheese

In a glass bowl, add the segmented navel orange, Fuji apple, and shallot. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, vinegar and olive oil. Mix well to combine. Add the marjoram, chervil, and chives. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Crumble some of the Maytag blue cheese over the salad.

For the Skirt Steak:

1 lb skirt steak – trimmed
Safflower oil

Spice Rub
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns - freshly ground
1 tsp coriander seeds - freshly ground
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sea salt

Remove the meat from the fridge 45 minutes before cooking, to bring to room temperature. Season with the spice mix on both sides. Place a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, add the safflower oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the meat. Cook for 3 minutes one side.  Flip and cook for 1 1/2 minutes on the second side.  

Cooks Note: When slicing skirt steak, slice against the grain, it acts as a final tenderizer for the meat.

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

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Florida Hogfish & Sea Scallop

I'm baaack!  Seems like an eternity since I last cooked for the blog.  Thanks to all for the support you showed my guest posters for the last 3 weeks.  Feels good to get 2011 going on LC!

Hogfish is prevalent in the Florida Keys and live on a diet of shellfish.  Hogfish is normally caught by spear, although some are caught with rod and reel.  Great eating fish.

My last post was A Very Cuban Dinner where I spoke about how us Cubans could eat black beans and rice in every meal.  For this course I tweaked my black bean recipe and decided to present it differently.

Marvelous sustainable Sea Scallops enhance any dish. These sweetly succulent and healthy for you mollusks are so versatile being able to shine in various cooking techniques.

Reduced orange juice and soy sauce enriched with butter provides the perfect acidic balance to this course.

Spanish Saffron is nose-bleed expensive but worth every penny.  Here's an incredibly simple saffron foam made with granulated lecithin.

On the Menu Today...

Florida Hogfish & Sea Scallop
Pan Roasted Hogfish, Seared Sea Scallop, White Rice & Black Bean, Saffron Foam and Orange Reduction.

For the Black Beans:
2 - 15 oz cans organic black beans
Safflower oil
1 large yellow onion - small chop
2 shallots - minced
5 garlic cloves - minced

Spice Mix - (all whole)
1/2 tsp - Szechauan Peppercorns
1/2 tsp - Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp - Allspice
1/2 tsp - Coriander Seeds
1/2 tsp - Fennel Seeds

750 ml Spanish Albarino Wine
350 ml Black Trumpet Mushroom Stock
1/2 tsp - Piment d' Espelette
Sea Salt

In a dry saute pan toast the spice mix over medium heat.  Beware not to allow the spices to burn. When you can smell the spices, it's ready.  Transfer the spices to a coffee grinder.  Grind to a fine power.

In a large pot, gradually heat the safflower oil and garlic over medium heat.  Allow the garlic to become fragrant, do not allow to burn,  Add the yellow onion and shallots.  Season with sea salt.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Add the spice mix.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Pour the Albarino wine.  Reduce by half.  Add the piment d' espelette and black mushroom stock.  Add the black beans.  Season with sea salt.  Cover with a parchment lid.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Using an immersion blender, puree the beans.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer.  Check for salt level.

For the Orange Reduction:
2 cups Orange Juice
2 tbs Unsalted Butter- cut into 4 pieces - (kept cold in fridge)
1/4 tsp Soy Sauce

In a sauce pot, reduce the orange juice to a thick glaze.  Add the soy sauce.  Whisk in the cold butter piece by piece.

For the Saffron Foam:
Pinch of Spanish Saffron
1 tbs Granulated Lecithin
1/2 cup water - hot

In a glass bowl, combine the water and saffron.  Allow the saffron to steep for 1 1/2 minutes.  Stir in the lecithin.  Using an immersion blender, buzz the liquid to create a froth.  Use a spoon to scoop up the flavorful foam.

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

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Guest Post: Chèvre Niçois Verrine with Crumble Topping

Today I am very happy to turn over the LC floor to fellow Floridian Barbara from Moveable Feasts . If you are not familiar with Barbara's wonderful blog please check it out. It is packed with great food, writing, and amazing photography. Everything we love about good blogs.


Amazingly talented blogger friend (and fellow Floridian) Lazaro from Lazaro Cooks! has been kind enough to ask me to do a guest blog.  Lazaro's posts always make me smile and my tummy growls when I see his photos. So I am truly honored. Never having done a guest post before, but knowing Lazaro loves recipes with fresh veggies and sustainable products, I decided to make a verrine with some marvelous flavors.  It comes from one of my favorite books, Verrines, by José Maréchal. It's in French and my darling French-speaking daughter helped me with the translation. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Chèvre Niçois Verrine with Crumble Topping

1 large eggplant
2 zucchini
1 red pepper
3 tomatoes
1 onion
2 large garlic cloves
1 stem fresh thyme and 1 of fresh rosemary
1 cup olive oil
120 grams goat cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 good pinches of salt
2 pinches pepper

For the crumble topping:

200 g. flour (7/8 cup)

100 g. butter (a little less than 1/2 cup), room temperature
2 pinches salt
1 egg yolk


Prepare the crumble topping. With your fingertips, mix the softened butter, flour, egg yolk and salt. Using a fork, crumble up the dough and chill 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely dice the eggplant, zucchini and peppers. Heat a little olive oil in a pan. Sauté each vegetable separately, then drain in a colander. In the same pan, sauté onion over low heat and add the chopped garlic, thyme branch, and rosemary branch. Peel (by dipping into boiling water for a minute) and seed the tomatoes; cut into small cubes. Return the drained vegetables in the pan, add the tomatoes, season and cook for 1 to 2 minutes over low heat. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 375 ° F. Mix the goat cheese and cream  with a wooden spatula until smooth. Stir in olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Spread the refrigerated crumbs of dough on a baking sheet or pie dish and bake in  the oven, stirring once in a while until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

To assemble the verrines, remove the thyme and rosemary branches and put the eggplant mixture at the bottom of the glasses, then creamed goat cheese ( I used a pastry bag) and finally add the crumble.

This recipe makes 4-6 verrines, depending on glass size.

For more please check out Moveable Feasts.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Guest Post: Tangy Baked Mushrooms

Happy 2011 to all.  Hope you had a fantastic holiday season.  I am still trying to recover from the copious amount of booze and food I consumed these last few weeks.  This year will bring some new and exciting projects to LC.  The theme of 2011 on the blog will be collaboration.  Luckily, I have some really talented friends that want to team-up to produce some creative food.  Stay tuned...

Today I am very happy to turn over the LC floor to Pam's Midwest Kitchen Korner. If you are not familiar with Pam's wonderful blog please check it out. It is packed with great food, writing, and amazing photography. Everything we love about good blogs.


Guest Post Spotlight

Hello to all you Lazaro Cooks! Readers!

I’m honored and happy to be guest posting on Lazaro Cooks! today! I have been a follower of Lazaro’s great blog for a long while and know that he definitely takes his food seriously ~ going the extra mile in creating extraordinary dishes. And, as if this isn’t enough, he provides all of his readers with exceptional food presentation photos along with his witty writing. He does it all perfectly!

Now, on to one of my favorite side dishes…

Do you love the earthy, nutty taste of mushrooms? This dish is a true mushroom lover’s delight with a touch of mustard for added kick. We all have recipes that we like to go back to again and again and this is one of those for me, having come up with it years ago. It’s a tasty versatile side dish that comes out good every single time and matches easily with other foods.

It is great as a side dish, or as a meatless meal. Just add a salad with vinaigrette dressing, some crusty French bread and you’re set for dinner. This is a savory simple dish that will earn you kudos from your family and friends and have any mushroom lover scooping out a second helping! It is just as good leftover (better ?)!

Tangy Baked Mushrooms


2 pounds fresh button mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup butter, softened
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
¼ to ½ teaspoon McCormick’s Seasoned Pepper
1 (8 ounce) carton sour cream
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped onion

Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel and slice. Cream butter, flour, salt, pepper, and mustard. Add sour cream, parsley and onion. Stir well.

Place half the mushrooms in greased 2 qt. dish. Top with half of the sour cream mixture, spread evenly. Repeat layers.

Bake 325 degrees for 1 hour or till well heated and golden.

6-8 servings


Thanks, Lazaro! I appreciate your inviting me over today!

For more please check out Pam's Midwest Kitchen Korner.