Sunday, October 31, 2010

Duo of Fall Soups

I made a duo of soups, one roasted parsnip white chocolate and the other an apple carrot ginger soup.

For the apple carrot ginger soup, I wanted to make a thick, heartier soup. So instead of straining the pureed soup, I instead first coarsely pureed the apple carrot ginger mixture, then I used an immersion blender to get a silky smooth texture.

The roasted parsnip white chocolate soup had too much white chocolate in it, and ended up tasting like a dessert soup. It was strange, since I tasted it the night before, and I thought the amount of white chocolate was perfect. Something happened overnight.

Apple Carrot Ginger Soup

- 1 apple, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup diced fresh ginger
- 3-4 lbs coarsely chopped carrots
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 quart chicken broth
- evaporated milk for thinning

  1. Sautee onion and ginger, until onion is translucent.
  2. Add chicken broth.
  3. Add carrots, and bring mixture to boil, then reduce slightly.
  4. Add to food processor, and blend.
  5. Thin with evaporated milk.
  6. Use immersion blender to further liquify.

Roasted Parsnip Soup

- Roasted parsnips
- White chocolate
- Vanilla bean
- 1 onion
- chicken broth

Wasn't really happy with the parsnip soup, so not listed out the recipe until I fix it.

Served with some crostinis.

Many plates!

Olive Oil Poached Arctic Char with Squash/Parsnip "noodles"

I love this poaching method; it's incredibly easy, and the fish does not absorb the oil. Moreover, the oil helps keep the fish nice and moist.

Olive Oil Poached Arctic Char

- Arctic char fillet, with pin bones removed
- salt/pepper
- olive oil
- 2 lemons (sliced)
- cilantro (leaves only)

  1. Cut fillet into portions, salt and pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Slice one lemon, and layer on bottom of oven safe pan.
  3. Place fillet portions on top of lemon slices.
  4. Cover with coarsely chopped cilantro, remaining sliced lemon.
  5. Cover with olive oil.
  6. Bake in oven at 250 degrees F for at least 1 hour, or until fish meat is tender.
  7. Remove, and serve with accompaniments.

Squash/Parsnip "Noodles"

- 2-3 squash
- 2 parnips (peeled)

  1. Using a channel knife, cut "noodles" from squash (with skin on) and parsnips (peeled).
  2. Blanch for 1 minute in boiling water, then remove and rinse under cold water.
  3. Quickly sautee for 30 seconds over high heat.
  4. Serve with arctic char from above.

Brown Butter

- 1-2 Tbsp unsalted butter

  1. Heat butter until milk solids brown.
  2. Strain using cheesecloth.
  3. Drizzle over fish.

Ensemble product served with some previously made pea puree, and a medley of tomatoes .

Beet Macarons and Avocado Lime Gelato

Just combined some components I've made previously. For the beet macaron, I added a few drops of the beet coulis from below, and 4 drops of red food coloring. Originally planned to serve the macaron with a parsnip buttercream, but didn't have time to make the buttercream.

Beet Coulis/"Paint"

- 1 small beet
- water
- 1 small tangerine

  1. Peel beet.
  2. Cook until softened in water.
  3. Puree beet mixture; add water from beet pot as needed to change consistency.
  4. Scrape beet mixture through tamis or strainer.
  5. Re-heat strained beet coulis, add juice from 1 small tangerine.
  6. Reduce, and store for future use.

Served with a few pomegranate seeds for added tartness. I'm having a persistent problem with forming macarons which have rough caps. I think it's a folding problem; probably need to subdivide my almond meal/sugar mixture into more portions and fold better in between.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Avocado-Lime Gelato Part II

Playing around with my recipe.

- 1.5 ripe avocados
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 12 oz light sour cream
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- juice from 3 limes
- pinch of salt
- 2 oz silken tofu (optional)
- green food coloring (optional)

  1. Add all ingredients together, blend.
  2. I didn't add the tofu this time, because the consistency seemed pretty thick. I also didn't add the green food coloring, because the color was already a pretty light green.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Green Onion Scones with Smoked Salmon

Made these miniature scones to go with some smoked salmon I had on hand. Makes about 20 x 1/2" thick scones.

Green Onion Scones
- 3/4 cup AP flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- dash of salt
- green parts from 3-4 green onion stalks, diced
- 3 Tbsp chilled butter, chopped
- 1 large egg, beaten
- a few teaspoons of cold cream

  1. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt.
  2. Then add in green onions.
  3. Add in butter, and mix until it has a coarse crumb mixture.
  4. Stir in beaten egg.
  5. Add cold cream as needed so that dough comes together.
  6. Using a 1"-1.5" diameter round cutter, stamp out scones.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees F for 9-10 minutes.
  8. Let cool on wire rack.
  9. Cut off tops of scones.
  10. Dab with sour cream, add rolled smoked salmon, garnish with chive sprigs, and sprinkle with black pepper.

Here I am punching out scone rounds; admittedly, I should've made the scones thicker and larger in diameter.

The plating was a bit sloppy, but I finished early in the morning and was rather tired. Neighboring row has cocoa dusted fig meringues.

Lime and Lavender Tea Cakes

I made two variations; one with peach slices fanned on the top surface and dusted with confectioner's sugar, the other one with poppy/sesame seeds.

Makes at least 48 small tarts.

- 2 sticks unsalted butter (I used one tub of Land O'Lakes Butter with Olive Oil spread)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- zest from 2 limes
- 1.5-2 Tbsp edible lavender
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1.5 cups AP flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1.5 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup milk (I omitted the milk, and thought the texture was fine)

  1. Cream butter and sugar together.
  2. Add eggs one at a time.
  3. Then add zest, lavender.
  4. Next add vanilla and almond extracts.
  5. Sift together both flours, baking soda.
  6. Add flours mixture to rest of ingredients.
  7. Add milk last.
  8. Pour about halfway into mini-tart containers, bake at 350 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes.
  9. Let cool on wire rack.

They were pretty tasty.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chinese chive boxes

Making an old family favorite, chive boxes!

Chive boxes

- chives
- eggs
- rice vermicelli
- warm water dough

  1. Make warm water dough by mixing boiling water, whole wheat flour, and unbleached flour together.
  2. Let dough rest a few hours under cover of a lid or foil.
  3. Finely dice chives.
  4. Scramble eggs, cut into small pieces with knife.
  5. Cook rice vermicelli, dice into small pieces.
  6. Mix together diced chives, eggs, vermicelli.
  7. Make chive boxes with dough.
  8. Lightly pan fry.
  9. Enjoy!

The light pan fry gives the dough a slightly sweet taste. Delicious!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Macaron Experiments

I stole this from Tartlette (internet's premiere macaron blogger). Using a digital scale is critical; I previously tried using volumetric measurements, and was wholly unsuccessful.

A few thoughts on the recipe; baking on a silpat seemed to require a longer baking time, and macarons came out slightly soggy.

The oven temperature of 280 degrees F didn't work too well for me; 300 degrees F seemed to work better.

Others suggested aging the egg whites at room temperature for 24-48 hours. The aging process decreases egg white viscosity, and helps them whip better.

Some helpful macaron websites I referenced during my experimentation:

And this website has an excellent step by step tutorial on making Italian meringue (cooked) macarons:

For macaron shells;

- 90 gr egg whites (about 2.5 large eggs)
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 30 gr granulated sugar
- 200 gr confectioner's sugar
- 110 gr ground almonds
- 1 tsp espresso powder

  1. Age egg whites for 48 hours at room temperature; let sit in bowl and cover with plastic film.
  2. Add cream of tartar to egg whites.
  3. Using whisk attachment, beat egg whites until soft peaks on highest speed.
  4. Add in granulated sugar slowly, and beat until glossy meringue is formed and peaks are stiff (formation of "bird's beak").
  5. Mix together confectioner's sugar, ground almonds, and espresso powder in separate bowl.
  6. Add almond mixture to meringue. Stir in, don't be afraid to mix, scraping the sides.
  7. Fold in with spatula; should take no more than 50 folds altogether according to Tartlette.
  8. Pipe small rounds, ~ 1.5" in diameter, either on a parchment paper cum baking sheet, or silpat. I prefer parchment paper on baking sheet. Use just a piping bag and coupler.
  9. After folding, mixture should appear smooth and shiny.
  10. Let rest 45min - 1 hr before baking in order to form a skin.
  11. Bake in preheated oven @ 300 degrees F on lower middle rack for ~16 minutes.
  12. Let macarons cool 1/2 hour on wire rack before removing from parchment paper.
  13. If you have trouble removing the macarons, remove parchment paper with macarons formed thereon, take a spray bottle and spray the cookie sheet with water, then replace parchment paper. Water will slightly steam, making macarons easy to remove.
  14. Store in air-tight container.

For coffee paint;

- 1 tsp instant coffee
- 1 Tbsp hot water

For the buttercream:

- 1 Tbsp water
- 1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Black sesame macarons; feet slightly decreased in size since removing from oven.

3rd batch of espresso flavored macarons slightly improved over the 2nd batch; chiefly, they aren't as flat. I believe I addressed the flatness issue by piping smaller diameter, thicker rounds, as well as baking for a longer period of time (16 min. vs 13 min.).

I think they were quite successful! I tried the unfilled shells and thought they were ok, but somehow the composite of shells + nutella buttercream was perfect. The shells had a nicely crisp exterior and slightly gooey interior, and the nutella buttercream was a nice filling. I used a fake buttercream comprising some butter, cream cheese, and nutella.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Avocado Lime/Lemon Gelato

Modified from David Lebovitz's recipe in "The Perfect Scoop". I did away with the heavy cream and replaced it with evaporated milk and silken tofu; next time I might use regular milk or even almond milk instead. The silken tofu thickens the gelato base wonderfully, without any aftertaste, and gives the same texture (without the calories) that heavy cream would normally add.

Also used two less avocados; wanted just a hit of avocado.

- 1 Hass avocado
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk/milk/almond milk
- ~ 4-5 oz silken tofu
- juice from 1 lime or lemon
- pinch of salt

  1. Blend together until smooth.
  2. Add to gelato maker.
  3. Enjoy!

Picture doesn't show it, but color-wise, it came out quite green!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Jewish Apple Cake

I just borrowed this from smittenkitchen, so see her website. I'd recommend baking for a slightly shorter amount of time, since 1 hr 15 minutes or less. Definitely check consistency around the 1 hr mark with knife/toothpick. Might go great with chantilly cream as well.

Also, in the future, I may cut sugar down to 1.5 cups, and perhaps add in some apple sauce instead.

Pulled Pork with Molasses Beer Sauce

This is a braised pulled pork method (minus the pre-braising brining) that is first seared on the stove top, then finished in the oven. It's paired with a molasses beer sauce, both components giving a wonderfully dark flavor to the sauce.

Pulled Pork

- 2 x 3lb or 1 x 7 lbs of pork shoulder/pork butt with bone-in (don't trim fat off)
- spice rub (comprising paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cinnamon, ground mustard, ground ginger)
- 1 quart organic chicken stock
- 12 oz dark ale

Molasses-Beer Sauce

- 1 cup molasses
- 12 oz dark ale (anything but light beer)
- 2 cups roasting jus from pork above
- hoisin sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- ketchup
- sweet chili sauce (Rooster/siracha sauce)
- brown sugar
- mustard

  1. Lightly score pork shoulders with knife.
  2. Add spice rub generously to pork shoulders.
  3. Sear on all sides (except for fatty side) for a few minutes, let rest.
  4. Add in chicken stock and ale to searing pan.
  5. Let reduce slightly.
  6. Transfer pork to roasting pan, add stock+ale mixture, cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  7. Roast at 325 degrees F for at least 3 hours, turning over once mid-way through.
  8. Make molasses-beer sauce by adding ingredients, mixing to taste. Add in 2 cups of the wonderful roasting liquid jus. Let reduce to about 1.5 to 2 cups. Set aside to serve with pork.
  9. Meanwhile, remove fat from pulled pork. Using 2 forks, dissect the pork into shreds. The meat at this point will very easily come off the bone.
  10. Serve with the molasses-beer sauce.
  11. Alternatively, serve in sandwich with pickled daikon/carrot strips.

Some leftover pulled pork in roasting pan.