Monday, February 27, 2012

Strawberry Bread Pudding with Whipped Vanilla Mascarpone & Chocolate

This past weekend in my fair city, where I lay my scene, was the South Beach Food & Wine festival.  Normally an event I avoid like the plague.  What pay the maniacal prices they want for a day pass?  To what end?  Rub shoulders with the Food Network's, um...what's the word I am looking for...just a"chefs."

You got's to be out of your Vulcan mind.

However, my lovely and brilliant wifey, The Lawyer...

A true connoisseur of the good deal found us one on Living Social Miami.  So we were able to catch a lecture/demo from two of the most talented people in their fields in this country.

  • Christina Tosi from Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC is one of the finest pastry chefs in the business.
  • Andrea Robinson is one of the foremost American Sommelier or expert on wine to you and me.
Plus, as an added bonus we got Christina Tosi's pretty damn awesome cookbook Momofuku Milk Bar shown here...

More on the genius of Christina Tosi in future posts.  This post is long enough and your attention span at this point is toast.

Anyway, the wife already has more than one order in for me to take a hack at recreating Tosi's magic.  No pressure, right?!

This dish is not from the book.  However, it's been 1000 years since I posted a sweet dish on LC, so in honor our our little sojourn into dessert land on Saturday I give you this course.

Strawberry Bread Pudding with Whipped Vanilla Mascarpone & Chocolate

By the way, it's not just the damn berry on top!  There's a decadent strawberry puree blended in with the custard for the pudding.

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

Friday, February 24, 2012

5 Star Makeover: Beets Round-Up

This month the 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group convened and the task was to make beets shine.  Beets are in season right now, perfect to use in your kitchen.

This may sound self-serving because I am the co-host of this group and helped select the members but the talent and kitchen acumen in the group is outrageous.  These fantastic cooks have taken the beet and raised it to a level it has rarely seen.

I want to thank each and every one of our fabulous group members, for your talent, passion, creativity, and absolute inspiration you provide for anyone who is willing to pay attention.


Please hop on over to one of the best blogs on the net, my co-host Natasha's 5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures and check out all of the awesome beet creations.

5 Star Makeover: Beets Round-Up

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yellowfin Tuna Crudo with Couplet of Beets

This month our cooking group takes on the challenge of making perfectly in-season produce shine; Beets.

I love working with beets and in this dish I used both red and golden varieties.

I decided to pair the beets with sustainable sushi-grade yellowfin tuna, another staple in my kitchen.  If you purchase fantastic ingredients, your job as a cook is to do as little as possible and let them shine.  Which is what I did here by serving the tuna raw.

My original concept for this beet challenge was gonna be a pasta dish.  However, I always leave myself open for inspiration to hit.  When it came time to cook, I was in the mood for a light dish and thus this dish was created; on the spur of the moment.  Always keep your mind open in the kitchen, who the hell knows what may pop in there.

Let's attack each component in this course from the plate up...

1. Beet Sauce - Beet juice reduced by 75%, then mounted with butter and cut with white soy sauce.  Silky smooth, sweet & tangy.

2. Beet Green Leaf - Adds to the presentation and keeps us in beet theme.

3. Yellowfin Tuna Crudo with Couplet of Beets - Raw sushi-grade yellowfin tuna with roasted golden beets, roasted red beets, and Fuji apple slices.  All tossed in Meyer lemon vinaigrette.

4. Beet Cream & Goat Cheese - Beets and goat cheese are a perfect match, so I had to work it in somehow.  A tiny final flourish of a roasted red beet cream, goat cheese, & chives.

This course was light, simple and elegant.  Perfect for a hot Miami lunch rendezvous in the sun.

Please check in Friday for the complete round-up of amazing beet dishes from this most talented group.  The round-ups are found on one of the best blogs on the net, my amazing co-host Natasha's 5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures.

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pan Seared Scallops with Thai Papaya Salad & Pomegranate Reduction

Today I am proud to introduce the newest member of the 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group, Kym from Free Spirit Eater.  Kym's food is always on-point and her photography outstanding.  However, her words are most engaging.  She weaves tapestries of experiences and rendezvous with foods.  She writes from the heart, with never-ending passion.

We are sharing with you a simultaneous guest post, so when you are done here, flip on over to Kym's awesome site for my Tagliatelle Carbonara.

Hey there pretty awesome people! 

I assume you’re awesome because Laz over here is one of the coolest food bloggers (maybe even the coolest) I’ve come across in the blogging biz. I am in awe with his technique and impressed by his recipes. Never lacking flavor, color and sensuality in a dish, Lazaro’s recipes are the embodiment of food porn. The sort of dishes I can help but drag my chef fiancĂ© away from the kitchen to drool over with me.
Well, enough ass kissing. Here’s a shortened version of how my blog began.

Girl “runs away” from home to pursue her dream of going to culinary school.

Girl meets boy in culinary school.

Girl graduates, gets engaged, becomes a line cook, but still doesn’t feel fulfilled.

Girl discovers intense fulfillment in combining her lifelong passion of writing with her biggest love, food, as her deep infatuation with photography begins to evolve.

I believe there can be sensuality, arousal and seduction in even the simplest of dishes. Marrying the right colors, depth, presentation and of course taste is what can turn a casual meal into a “casual encounter”. I’ve had love affairs with dishes and even written poems about the burning desire for butter as if she were a temptress. I blogged about a crepe eating session in a parking garage as if it were mid-afternoon rendezvous, leaving the scene of the crime re-buttoning my pants and composing myself, yup, the dessert crepe walk of shame. After having a love/hate relationship with food most of my life, I began to see it in ways most normal people would frown upon. I’ve compared dieting to the 5 stages of death, talked about ingredients as if they were the sexy maid who just won’t stop teasing me and even questioned myself and others on what their final meal would be.

We all know pomegranates are considered the fruit of the gods, as well as an aphrodisiac. Basically any succulence that comes from the sea is exciting and downright seductive. Place the flavors together and picture this..

Cuddling close with your honey while being consumed with the unmistakable aroma of perfectly seared scallops. You wipe a drop of the scarlet pomegranate reduction running down the side of her lip. As you kiss her you taste the savory sweet layers of flavor left behind from the Thai papaya salad. The flavors in this dish are meant to excite your palate and tantalize your significant other. Sure V-day already passed, but it doesn’t mean you can’t make your sweetie’s heart beat faster from what she thought was just an ordinary appetizer.

We luckily found the inspiration to create this Thai papaya salad from Leela over at She Simmers.

Pan Seared Scallops w/ Thai Papaya Salad & Pomegranate Reduction
  • 6 Scallops
  • 1/3 cup of shredded papaya
  • 1/2 tsp of fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/4 tsp minced chilies
  • 2 cilantro leaves, chiffonade
  • 2 mint leaves, chiffonade
  • 1/4 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup of pomegranate juice
  • 2 wonton wrappers
  • 2 cups of canola oil + 1 tbs separate
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Place 2 cups of oil in a medium sized pot over medium high, this will be your wonton frying oil.
  2. Combine papaya, fish sauce, ginger, chilies, cilantro, mint, and brown sugar, let sit for 5 minutes for flavors to infuse.
  3. Pour pomegranate juice into small pot over high heat, keeping an eye on it until it reduces into a thick syrup, remove from heat.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil into a medium pan over high heat, season your scallops with salt and pepper.  When pan is hot, sear scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on both sides for a medium temperature (this also depends on the size of the scallops).
  5. Your frying oil should be hot by now, if you have a thermometer, it should be between 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit, make sure to test your oil with a small piece of wonton skin.
  6. Have a plate with layers of paper towel ready.  Fry both wonton wrappers until golden brown, remove from oil and place over paper towels, allow to cool, season with salt on both sides.
  7. Now add a spoonful of pomegranate reduction on a plate, place scallops over the reduction, and top with Thai papaya salad, and crushed fried wonton skins.  Serve warm.  Serves two people.
Please hop on over to Kym's fantastic site for my Tagliatelle Carbonara.

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

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cajunlicious: The Cookbook

Today is your chance people to support a fellow food blogger.  Yes, SUPPORT.  That is what the food blog community is built on right?  You cook your food.  You photograph your food.  You stress and anguish over which photographs to post.  Then you hit, POST, sit back and hope that someone in the infinite space vortex that is the internet will drop by your little plot and SUPPORT you.

Jessica C. Wood, who runs the food blog Cajunlicious, has just published her first cookbook.  A labor of love that took her eight months to complete.  An homage to her family roots which are most definitely, "All Things Cajun."

I found Jessica about a year ago and have been an admirer of hers.  I like her style.  She's very much like myself, she cooks the food of her youth with passion and verve.

I purchased Cajunlicious, the cookbook, from Jessica's site in January for $24.99 plus shipping.  That's it.  A big time bargain for all the Cajun cuisine goodness presented in the book.

Uncle Benny's Jambalaya: Pg. 52

Cajunlicious is thorough, well-researched, well-written & beautifully photographed.  You will find chapters on Cajun kitchen staples, breads, cocktails, soups, sandwiches, entrees, sides & desserts.

Crawfish Pie: Pg. 61

Whether you are a NOLA expert, if you are, you know what that means, or a Cajun novice; this book is for you.

King Cake: Pg. 72

The dish I chose to produce is my favorite Cajun classic, Crawfish Etouffee on page 56.

Jessica's recipe was spot-on.  The only difference is that crawfish etoufee is generally served with white rice.  Well, I turned it into a lasagna.

Really?! Why the hell would anyone do that?

It's just what I do, people.

Crawfish Etouffee Lasagna

Crawfishy goodness.  Thanks Jess!

For more information drop by Cajunlicious.  Check out the blog, the cookbook and say hello to Jessica.

That is a girl really crazy about "All Things Cajun."

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