Sunday, June 26, 2011

NY Strip & Blue Cheese

Here's a counterintuitive method for cooking beef. I know I've covered this before but it's worked so well that I offer it again.

Normally, we sear the exterior of the beef at a very high temperature and then finish cooking it in the oven at a lower temperature. Well, when we cook meat we lose “juices” or moisture. There is no getting around that. The key becomes can we minimize moisture loss? The theory behind this cooking method is to first cook the meat in a low oven for 40 minutes in order to gelatinize the juices in the meat. Then, sear it on a hot pan to caramelize the exterior and achieve the crusty exterior we love on a good steak. Now, I am no scientist, but I can report that the meat was succulent and moist.

I am a big fan of the blue cheese.  Love it.  Today I used two different types, one Yankee and one French, within this course.

Maytag blue cheese is an American blue cheese.  Produced in Newton, Iowa, it was developed by the Iowa State University using homogenized cow's milk.  Maytag blue is a creamy blue cheese, which is my preferred blue for making rich dressings.  In this course, my Maytag blue cheese dressing is served over organic romaine, and edible flowers.

Bleu d'Auvergne is a French blue cheese from the Auvergne region.  It is less salty than most blue cheeses and has a rich buttery finish on the palate.  This French bleu provides the perfect final flourish on my NY strip.


NY Strip After 40 minutes in oven at 200 F

NY Strip After Searing Over High Heat For a Crusty Exterior

Organic Romaine, Fresh Marjoram, Edible Flowers, Roasted Pork Belly, Maytag Blue Cheese Dressing

NY Strip, Caramelized Leeks, Blue d'Auvergne

NY Strip & Blue Cheese

For the NY Strip:
16 oz organic grass-fed NY Strip
Sea salt
Black pepper
Ground Coriander
Olive oil

Safflower oil

Preheat the oven to 200 F.  Massage olive oil on both sides of the steak.  Season both sides of the meat with sea salt, black pepper and ground coriander.  Transfer to the oven.  Cook for 40 minutes.

Set a cast iron skillet over high heat.  Add safflower oil.  Allow the pan to get very hot.  Remove the steak from the oven.  Sear over high heat for about 1 minute per side.  The goal is to achieve a crusty exterior, not further cook the inside, that is done already.  Remove to a wire rack to rest for 10 minutes.

For the Maytag Blue Cheese Dressing:
4 oz Maytag blue cheese
1/4 cup creme fraiche
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayo
1 tbs champagne vinegar
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
ground black pepper

In a food processor, add all ingredients except the black pepper.  Process until smooth.  Season with black pepper.  Process again.  Taste for salt level, add some if needed.  I normally do not.

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

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Madagascar Prawns with Wild Rice & Spiced Oil

Recently got my mitts on whole Madagascar prawns.  The flavor of the flesh is fantastic, one of the most naturally sweet I've ever tasted.  I know the head is not everyone's cup of tea, however, if you are willing to "suck the head", there is amazing flavor to be savored.

I am back again with my edible garden concept.  It provides a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.  Ultimately presentation is there for 15 seconds, it is flavor that holds the memory.  With that said, always try to find new ways to engage and enlighten your guests.  A simple but whimsical presentation helps you get there.

The crucial component of this dish is the spiced oil.  Made with good quality Spanish olive oil, pink peppercorns, coriander seeds, sesame seeds, vanilla beans and star anise.  It acts as a "dressing" for your edible garden.  Do not forget it.


Wild Rice & Rock Salt "Soil"

Organic Frisee & Edible Flowers

Madagascar Prawn with Basil Puree

Generous Drizzle of Spiced Oil

Madagascar Prawn with Wild Rice & Spiced Oil

For the Spiced Oil:
1 cup Spanish olive oil
3 tbs pink peppercorns
2 tbs coriander seeds
6 star anise pods
3 vanilla beans - seeds only
1 tbs sesame seeds

Combine all the ingredients in a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Set aside to infuse.

For the Basil Puree:
1 bunch basil - leaves only
2 tbs sunflower seeds - raw & unsalted
1 garlic clove
4 tbs grapeseed oil

Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry pan over medium-low heat.  Toast until fragrant.  Do not burn.

Combine in a food processor the sunflower seeds, basil, garlic, and oil.  Season with sea salt and white pepper.  Pulse until pureed.

In the pan, heat the puree over low heat for 5 minutes.  Check for seasoning.  Remove from heat.

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

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lobster Croquette Pizza

We Miami Cubans love our croquettes.  Chicken croquettes, ham croquettes, fish, cheese, fill in the blank croquettes.  So today I pondered, why not put them on a pizza?  The resulting concoction was outrageously tasty.  Here I will share my quick and simple fried lobster croquettes.

I love pizza.  I love all incarnations of pizza.  But my absolute favorite will always be a thin crispy crust.  Keep in mind the thickness of your dough when making these croquettes.  Since my dough recipe is a light, thin, airy finished product, I made my croquettes smaller than usual and cut then in half.

Thank you to my lovely hand model!

I used a combination of two cheeses for this recipe, fontina and edam.  Fontina is a cow's milk wonderful melting Italian cheese that always perfectly accents any pizza.  Edam is a Dutch cheese that when smoked provides a wealthy rich depth of flavor.  The smokiness of the cheese perfectly balances out the overall flavor profile of this pizza.

Thin & Airy Dough & Sliced Fontina Cheese

Plum Tomato Sauce

Lobster Croquettes

Thick-cut Smoked Bacon

Shredded  Applewood Smoked Edam Cheese


Lobster Croquette Pizza

For the Lobster Croquette:
1 1/4 lb Florida lobster tail meat
2 eggs
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 tbs olive oil mayo
1 garlic clove - minced
3 chives - minced fine

Spice Mix
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp orange peel
sea salt
black pepper

1 cup Cuban cracker meal
Peanut oil

In a saucepan, heat enough water to cook the lobster meat.  Bring the water to just under the boil, about 200 F.  In a glass bowl, prepare an ice bath (water & ice).  Cook the lobster meat for 3 minutes.  Remove to the ice bath.

Finely process the lobster meat in a food processor.

In a glass bowl, combine the lobster meat, eggs, fresh bread crumbs, mayo, chives, garlic & spice mix.  Mix well.  Place in a covered container and fridge overnight.

Heat the peanut oil to 350 F.  Remove croquette mix from fridge 25 minutes prior to use.  Using a tablespoon, scoop 1 tbs of mix and form into a small ball.  Add the Cuban cracker meal to a bowl.  Coat each croquette in the cracker meal.  Drop into the oil and fry to a golden brown.

Voila!  Nice and simple.

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

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fried Heirloom Tomato Burger

I am back from the Windy City.  Chicago was a fun time spent eating awesome food with some equally awesome friends.

If you find yourself in Chicago, one of the best eating cities in this country, check out these eats...

1. Hot Doug's One of the best sausage emporiums anywhere.  90 minute wait is well worth it.

2. Giordanos  Chicago style deep dish pizza on steroids.  The STUFFED PIZZA.  It is BYOZ. Bring your own Zantac!

3. David Burke's Primehouse  Located in the chic and contemporary, James Hotel, this isn't your grandpa's steak house.  This is the tasty modern place for a great steak and fill your own doughnuts.

Oh and catch a Cubs game at Wrigley Field.  Rain or shine a super cool experience.

Onto the food....

Don't let the title fool you, no veggie burger here.  This concept was born out my trip to the farmer's market yesterday.  There I found some of the plumpest, best looking heirloom tomatoes.

Since I was already making burgers, I thought it would be interesting to contrast the meaty burger with a meaty crunchy slice of fried tomato.  I was right!

Egg Roll & Melted Smoked Gouda

1/2 lb Beef Burger

Fried Heirloom Tomato

Creamy & Cool Lazoli - recipe to follow, Chopped Chives

Fried Heirloom Tomato Burger

For the fried heirloom tomato:
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
Organic rice flour
smoked paprika
piment d'espelette
black pepper
onion powder
heirloom tomato - cut into 1/4 inch slices

1/2 cup peanut oil
4 tbs unsalted butter

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.

In a separate bowl, combine the rice four and salt, smoked paprika, piment d'espelette, black pepper and onion powder.  Mix well.

Coat the tomato in the flour mix.  Then the egg wash.  Back to the flour.  Shake off the excess.  You want a nice even coating on the tomato.

In a deep heavy bottom pan, heat the peanut oil over medium heat.  Add the butter.  Once the butter melts and foams, you are ready to go.  Add the tomatoes, DO NOT CROWD THE PAN.  Do it in bunches if you must.  Fry on one side for 3 minutes until golden brown.  Carefully flip.  Fry the second side for 3 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack set over a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

For the Lazoli:
1 large egg yolk
2 garlic cloves - smashed and minced into a paste
1/2 lemon - zest & juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup avocado oil
1 tbs creme fraiche
1 generous pinch of brown sugar
13 drops jalapeño tobasco sauce

In a glass bowl, Whisk the egg yolk, garlic, lemon zest, juice, and salt.  While whisking, begin to add the avocado oil in a slow and steady stream.  Continue whisking and adding oil until a rich emulsion is achieved.  Add the brown sugar and jalapeño sauce.  Fold in the creme fraiche.  Fridge for 2 hours to allow the flavors to marry.  Sauce will keep covered in the fridge for 7 days.

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