Sunday, November 24, 2013

Gnocchi with Wild Mushrooms, Truffles and Duck Egg

Serves 6

  • 1.5 recipe gnocchi
  • 2.5 pounds mixed wild mushrooms. Create a mixture that balances strong flavors such as maitake and black trumpet, mid-range flavors like shitake or chantererlles, and mild flavors like oyster, enoki, or button mushrooms. Usually I use about 1 pound medium-flavored, 1 pound mild, and .5 strongly-flavored
  • 4 large cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 4 oz. butter
  • 1/3 cup cognac
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup light cream
  • 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup creme fraiche
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • shaved white truffles (optional) 
  • 6 duck eggs
  • whole milk or more cream for consistency.
  • Parmiggiano reggiano, grated.
Saute garlic in butter. Add all mushrooms and cook down. Deglaze pan with cognac, moving mushrooms around to thoroughly deglaze. Add parsley, thyme creme fraiche, light cream or mascarpone, and stir until you have a mixture that is reasonably liquid so that it will coat the gnocchi (or pasta). Add more cream, or some milk to get this consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.

Poach duck eggs in salted water for 2 minutes. Remove from water with a strainer and keep to side, allowing water to drain.  

Place gnocchi in shallow pasta bowls. If mushrooms have cooled, re-heat to bubbling, and add more milk if necessary. Evenly divide mushrooms amongst bowls. Shave truffles onto mushrooms (do immediately, as the truffles need the heat to activate their flavor--otherwise, they will taste like paper. I personally think the truffles are a waste of money that I won't do again, but worth trying once). Place one duck egg on each. Grate a little parmesan cheese over the top. Serve immediately, with cracked pepper and salt available for guests to season as they see fit. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Braised Monkfish with Fennel, Olives, & Blistered Tomtoes, Over Pesto Pasta

Serves 4 

  • 1.3 - 1.5 pounds monkfish, or cod (we used monkfish, but next time I'll use cod)
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved along poles
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
  • 1 large bulb fennel, sliced into a 3 mm slice
  • 1/2 cup sliced Kalamata olives
  • 8 ounces diced canned tomatoes (San Marzano preferred)
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup pesto
Pre-heat broiler. Broil grape tomatoes till blistered. Remove and set aside. Salt and white pepper fish. In a non-stick pan, on high, bring 1 T EVOO to smoking. Add fish to pan, and cook on each side until browned. Remove from pan. Deglaze with wine. Add canned tomatoes and garlic.  Add fennel and kalamata olives, and simmer till fennel softens. Turn off heat. Slice fish into 1" slices and place fish and tomatoes on top of vegetable mixture. Cover and allow fish to steam while you finish the pasta. Cook pasta until al dente, toss with pesto sauce. Remove cover from fish and vegetables, and check fish. Cook a touch longer if not fully cooked (it most likely will be). Ladle fish and veggies over pesto covered pasta. 

Steak Tartare

Serves 4 for first courses, or 6-8 for appetizers

  • 8 ounces beef tenderloin cut into 1/8" cubes
  • 1/4 cup extremely finely minced red onions
  • 1 egg yolk (chicken)
  • 1 T EVOO (good, spicy, preferably)
  • 1 T minced capers 
  • 1.5 T Dijon mustard
  • 1.5 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp Tabasco, or other hot sauce
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 3-4 brioche rolls, cut into 3/8" slices
  • marinated red onions
    • 1/4 - 1/2 red onion, sliced into 1.3 mm slices
    • red wine vinegar, to cover
    • 1 T sugar
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
      • Allow all to sit for at least an hour. strain and serve
A few notes on the cutting.

Make sure you are using an extremely sharp knife. Take the time to sharpen it before cutting. You don't want to tear the meat. Cutting this reminded me of cutting sushi. For that reason, use the knife with the longest blade that you have. I used my sushi knife the last time, and it worked great. 

Minced onions
To ensure that you have an extremely fine mince, I would recommend slicing the onions first on the mandolin at the 1.3 mm setting. Then mince the sliced onions. This ensures that the onions are miniscule, and you don't get any chunks of onion to screw up the flavor.

Mix everything together, and serve with sliced, toasted bread and marinated red onions. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Lamb Chili

Serves 8

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 pound ground veal (or pork)
  • .125 pounds (two thick strips) bacon, cut into a 1/4" dice
  • 2 T butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced into a paste
  • 2 to 2.5 medium onions
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • One 28-ounce can tomato sauce
  • One 28 ounce can whole or diced tomatoes in sauce (preferably San Marzano)
  • Two 14 ounce cans canellini beans
  • One 14 ounce can Great Northern Beans
  • One 14 ounce can black beans (note, you can change the ratios and beans you use)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder (or regular if you don't have it. 
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel (grind in a coffee grinder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter and saute garlic in a 6 quart pot. Add veal and lamb and brown. Remove from pot. Add bacon to pot, and cook till beginning to brown. Add onion and peppers and saute till onions are translucent. Add back in meat and all juices. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce. If using whole tomatoes mash with a tomato masher to have coarsely chopped tomatoes. Add beans and all spices. Simmer for an hour. Add water or broth as needed. Add salt and pepper to taste.