Thursday, May 21, 2009

whole wheat pesto pork and squash lasagna

whole wheat pesto pork and squash lasagna, originally uploaded by aarn! +21st May, 2009+.

started a quick sauce by sautéing a medium-sized vidalia onion in a splash of olive oil, then adding salt, pepper, bay leaf, and thyme. after that simmered for a bit, added three cloves or so of chopped garlic, then after the garlic was giving off a nice aroma, deglased the sauce pan with 1c. or so of red wine. when the wine was almost fully reduced, added a quart can (yes, a can, short notice meal here) of peeled plum tomatoes. after the sauce cooked for a bit, a potato masher was used to break down the tomato solids. reduced this sauce for about an hour while the rest of the meal was being prepared.

grated 3/4-lb of low-moisture whole milk mozzarella. mixed together 1-pint of whole milk ricotta cheese, 2 eggs, 1/2-lb of the grated mozzarella, salt and pepper. set aside the remaining 1/4-lb of grated cheese for topping the lasagna.

in a food processor, chopped 1-clove of garlic, 10-15 basil leaves, 2-3T. pine nuts, salt, and drizzled olive oil in until thick and pesto-ish.

grilled quartered zucchini and yellow squash which had been tossed in salt, pepper, and olive oil. also grilled 3/4-in strips of pork sirloin which had been tossed in salt, pepper and olive oil, until only about 50% cooked, then pulled them and tossed in the pesto.

mixed together 1-lb of white whole wheat flour and 5-eggs, adding a little olive oil and salt, and then a splash of water to get it to the desired consistency. tossed this in the refrigerator to firm up for a few minutes, then rolled out into sheets, cutting the sheets to size and layering the lasagna as it was rolled.

in the pans, put a layer of sauce followed by a layer of pasta, then a layer of the ricotta binder, a layer of pasta, a layer of red sauce, maybe a layer of red sauce or ricotta with squash, then a layer of pasta, a layer of pesto pork with the ricotta, a layer of pasta, some sauce, topped with the remaining shredded mozzarella. baked covered in a 350-degree oven for 30-minutes, then broiled until the mozzarella looked nice, and let rest for 15-minutes at room temperature before cutting a plating on some warmed

[notes: made one bread pan and a medium casserole dish of lasagna. this recipe is a spin on a recipe from gilman to caleb. hadn't made it in years. or any lasagna. it was like 80-degrees out yesterday, great day for a winterish baked pasta dinner. pulled off this entire meal, less the actual baking of the lasagna, in one hour. the only reason why this was made with white whole wheat flour was because it was the only flour in the house. whole wheat has its place, it's not in pasta. would have rather used semolina or white all purpose. thinner strips of the pork and squash would have made the overall texture of the dish a little better. but seriously, lasagna always turns into a mess, a really sharp knife helps.]

Thursday, May 14, 2009

slow-cooked bistro steak with salty sage puree and lightly dressed mesclun salad

this was really an experiment in slow-cooking. the goal was to see how uniformly cooked and tender a lacy piece of meat could be made when essentially smoked under very indirect heat. a 0.6-lb, approximately 2.5-in consistent diameter and 8-in long hanger steak was blotted dry and rubbed with a little salt and pepper. dumped a few pounds of red hot coals into the fire box of the newly restored silver smoker, and placed the meat on the rack closest to the firebox in the main drum of the smoker. 1.5-hrs later (under indirect heat somewhere around 200-250 degrees), the half-pound steak had normalized at the target temperature, approximately 125-degrees, and was removed from the heat, sliced-up, and plated.

simmered 1.5T. of butter and a splash of sherry with 1 chopped rib of celery and 5 chopped sage leaves, then ground and pushed through a sieve, salted and whisked in a little extra virgin olive oil.

the mesclun was dressed with a little seasoned rice vinegar, olive oil, a pinch of mustard, and some salt and pepper.

[notes: not sure if it was the charcoal, the technique or the cut of meat, but this meat had a little bit of a gamy flavor that wasn't entirely unpleasant. the order of apple wood smoking chips should be coming in the next few days, that should be interesting, sorry neighbors. since the point of the experiment was to make a tender throughout piece of meat from a $5 slab of steak, this was a success, however, a little crust on the outside wouldn't have been bad. the idea was that it would be harder for the low temperatures to penetrate a seared and dry layer of crust, if high heat was applied first. maybe backing off about 15-degrees before the target temperature and dropping the meat onto a rack in the firebox for a few seconds would be worth a shot next time. also, the sauce worked very well with the meat, however, if it were emulsified into an egg in a bain-marie type setup with a little more acid to start, that could have been nice. furthermore, taking a few minutes to get a decent photo would have been nice as well. that is all.]

Monday, May 11, 2009

blackened local perch with goat cheese and golden beet salad dressed with garlic vinaigrette

rubbed the fleshy side of some perch fillets in a blackening seasoning consisting of the following spices ground together: 1t. sweet spanish paprika, 1t. black pepper, 1t. salt, 1/2t. cayenne, 1/2t. dried garlic flakes, 1/2t. dried onion flakes, 1/2t. dried oregano, 1/2t. white pepper, 1/2t. dried thyme, 1/2t. dried mace, and 1 small tobasco pepper. drizzled 1T. of clarified butter over the coated, fleshy sides of the fillets (probably should have patted the fillets dry, then brushed with clarified butter and then time). let a clean and dry skillet sit on a 14,000-btu flame for about 10 minutes until white hot and smoking. placed the fillets in the hot pan, seasoned side down, making sure to drop away from the body (this pan was seriously hot), and let cook until nicely colored throughout, probably about 1-2 minutes, then flipped the fillets to the skin side, spooned another 1T. of clarified butter over the top, and put the skillet into a 350-degree oven for 6 minutes (the tension on the skin side of the fillets made the fish curl up a bit, but the skin was delicious and held the fish together under such great heat).

tossed some chopped up romaine lettuce in a vinaigrette of 1T. lemon juice, 1 clove of crushed garlic, 1t. brown mustard, salt, and pepper, slowly emulsified with vegetable oil to taste and viscosity. served with some boiled, peeled, and sliced golden beets and crumbled fresh goat cheese.

[modified seasoning recipe: the best of new orleans by dojny]

Thursday, May 7, 2009

fig and toasted pepita braciole with hand-cut egg fettuce in a celery and red pepper puree

tenderized a few half-inch thick slices of pork sirloin roast (it was all they had at the store, was looking for some shoulder...after tenderized the slabs of meat were about 4x7x3/8-inches). ground three ounces of dried figs (maybe 8 dried figs) with a 1/2c. of toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), 2 cloves of garlic, 1 1/2T. of fresh chopped parsley, and 1 1/2T. of fresh chopped oregano, then mixed into the paste 1T. of canola oil, 1 egg, 3oz or so of grated romano cheese, and salt and pepper. spread a thick layer of the paste onto the middle of the tenderized pork, covering about 2/3 of the surface, leaving the leading and trailing edges without filling. then rolled the sirloin around the paste and wrapped the circumference and down the rolled axis with some kitchen twine (wrapped the long way, to keep the filling from coming out).

sauteed a diced 1/2 of a large yellow spanish onion and 1 chopped rib of celery in 1T. butter, with a little fresh oregano and bay leaf (and salt and pepper), until the onion was slightly translucent, but still firm, then moved the onion and celery to the sides of the sauce pan and seared all of the outside surface of the tied braciole logs (including the ends, the thinking was that this would help keep the filling inside). after the outer surface of the wrapped meat was slightly browned, the pan was deglazed with 1/2c. of amontillado sherry, which simmered for a minute and then water was added to fill the pot to the point where the meat was about 1/2-in shy of being completely submerged. the braciole was braised, covered, for an hour in the barely simmering liquid (re situated a few times during the hour, using some tongs).

roasted a large red pepper over a flame, then bagged/steamed for a few minutes, peeled, seeded, and sliced. ground the red pepper with 1 1/2T. of fresh chopped parsley, and 2 diced ribs of celery and a single finely chopped shallot, which had been sauteed until soft in 1T. of butter (and a splash of sherry). pushed the ground mixture through a sieve, seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon zest and a pinch of cayenne to taste.

mixed together 1c. of sifted flour, the yolk of 4 eggs, 1t. salt, and 1/8c. of water (give or take), then worked by hand until a homogeneous consistency. the pasta dough was then placed in the refrigerator for about 45-minutes, then rolled out and cut by hand with a very sharp knife into 3/4-in thick strips, then tossed in a bowl with a lot of flour to avoid sticking. boiled the pasta in some water with oil and salt, then sauteed the pasta with the red pepper and celery puree, using a splash of the pasta water as a

the braciole was removed from the twine, sliced, and plated with the dressed pasta. a drizzle of the braising liquid was poured over the braciole.

[photo/red pepper: trisha]

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

the booch: crisp and refreshing fermented kumbucha tea

the booch: crisp and refreshing fermented kumbucha tea, originally uploaded by aarn! +5th May, 2009+.

this is a mishmash of a recipe from the original scoby owner and a few recipes from various sources. brought 4Qt. of water almost to a boil. dissolved into the water 1/4c. of maple syrup (this culture had been fed with maple syrup before), and 3/4c. of dark brown sugar. steeped 4t. of mem tea's darjeeling blend in the water and sugar mixture for 15-minutes, strained the liquid into a large 4Qt. glass jar (with a loose fitting glass lid, to allow for a minimal amount of air circulation), and let cool to 90-degrees. when cool, the scoby (or mother or mushroom or whatever) was added, along with a little over a cup of the previous batch of fermented tea. the container was closed and left to sit in a dark cupboard for 8-days. the fermented product (less a cup or two to feed the next batch) was then transferred to a locking 4Qt. glass jar and placed in the refrigerator to keep.

[scoby/recipe: sam franklin, happyherbalist, seeds of health]