Sunday, April 27, 2008

2 Savory Dishes

On a surf and turf theme.

One is a pan seared filet mignon with leek-sweet pea puree, asparagus, and pomegranate molasses reduction. The steak was cooked at 4 min./side to obtain a delicious medium. Added a little cayenne into the leek puree, which gave a nice kick to the dish. I will probably forego adding peas into the puree into the future, as they made it too lumpy.

The other is a cayenne rubbed wild salmon, with faux caviar and white chocolate wasabi and celery root sauce. I admit I took this off of Top Chef; the faux caviar was a brilliant idea. To make the faux caviar, cook tapioca pearls until 3/4 done (white cores still visible), strain in a chinoise, rinse with cold water, submerge in soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and port wine.

My white chocolate wasabi sauce didn't turn out too well. The celery root made the sauce too lumpy.

Strawberry Ice Cream with Almond Tuile

For the strawberry ice cream, I cooked the strawberries with balsamic vinegar, and some sugar, then pureed the resulting mixture. Then filtered out the strawberry "seeds" and flesh, and combined the extracted strawberry juice into the ice cream base.

Almond Tuile
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg whites
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon almond extract

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until they start to turn golden brown. Don't undercook, or the tuiles will be undone, and soggy.
  3. Remove them from oven, and drape over dowel to induce a curved shape.
  4. Let cool on dowel.
  5. Transfer to air-tight container.
  6. Tuiles can be shaped with stencils very easily.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chinese Barbecue Roast Pork (Cha Shao/Char Siu)

I used this recipe from the Honolulu Star Bulletin:

They used pork butt, but I used tenderloin instead. It might not be as succulent or tender as pork butt, but the tenderloin actually turned out pretty well.

- 1 cup sugar
- 2-1/2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 ounce (about 1 cube) wet bean curd (see note)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 1/4 teaspoon red food coloring

I left out the wet bean curd and the food coloring, and used Calvados apple brandy, instead of regular brandy, and in more liberal quantities.

  1. Cut pork lengthwise into 1-inch thick slices, about 2 inches wide. (**Trim length so strips will fit when hanging in oven** optional.)
  2. Cover in water and soak 1 hour to draw out blood.
  3. Combine marinade ingredients, soak for at least 24 hours. Massage meat with hands, so that sauce penetrates all crevices of the meat.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake on sheet for 45 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to 300 degrees, bake another 20 minutes. (Place on lower rack, cover with foil).
  6. Enjoy!

So the real Chinese way is to hang the pork strips from metal hooks in a large tower-like oven. Not having that kind of device, I just baked it on a sheet, as it seemed like too much trouble to have to re-arrange the racks in my oven.

I think it turned out pretty well! Of course I didn't use any food coloring, and it's not as sweet as in the restaurants, but it as a nice flavor to it, and it's still pretty moist.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Avocado Mango Red-onion Salad

An old friend, revisited. Made some for tomorrow's lunch.