Wednesday, October 21, 2009
So my mother and I went to my favorite fresh mex place today in Costa Mesa, Taco Mesa. I always have a delightfully tasty meal there and the salsa bar is amazing! My two favorite treats on the bar are the pickled carrots etc, and the avocado cream stuff. Very descriptive I know. Well, I asked for the recipes and wouldn't you know, the guy I asked said he had no idea how to make them and no one working at the time did either. Boo! So I decided to take matters into my own hands and try so in home recipes.
The pickled veggie recipe I tried was super oily but I cut that down for you all and please folks remember not to eat the bay leaves....they are just there for flavor. I also recommend taste testing the jalapeno amount to your taste buds as mine can take the heat, so I like to throw down.
So the avocado cream sauce stuff was hard to match, and the closest I came was plain but tasty. The most important part of this sauce or cream is the avocados, So don't be shy when you search for the right ones. Pick a ripe, blemish free, avocado. For those of you who don't know, this means do not pick up a hard one.
2 oz olive oil (inexpensive don't waste the good stuff here)
3 oz corn oil
5 oz white wine vinegar
2 tsp. non-iodized salt
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. oregano leaves
1 tsp. marjoram
6 cloves garlic, sliced in halves
About 1 generous overflowing quart, total, mix of sliced jalapenos, carrots, cauliflower, onion, jicama. (Heat will depend on amount of jalapenos--half dozen or 8 is good.)
Throw everything into a non-reactive (i.e., non-aluminum) pot, bring to definite simmer for just three or four minutes, max; veggies, esp. jalapenos, will lose raw color. Pour into storage containers and refrigerate. Keeps a few weeks. Best served at room temperature, but store refrigerated.
1 1/3 cups
1 peeled medium avocado, pitted and cut into chunks
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
Place first 3 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Spoon pureed mixture into a small bowl; stir in cilantro. Cover and chill.
Yummy Everyone enjoy these delicious salsa bar additions and throw yourself a Mexican shindig. Don't forget to bring the tequila and send me an invite while you're at it.
Posted by chefemily at 6:11 PM
Friday, October 16, 2009
So a few days ago my girls and I went over to Wholesome Choice in Irvine to pick up some delicious lunch and while we ere there I of course got pretty carried away with all the fun produce and ethnic foods. The veggies are super cheap and its easy to stalk up on produce you don't find in every store in town. So of course getting our lunches my eyes are way bigger than my stomach and I get a doner kebab, with lamb of course and chili sauce! Then I decide I need two giant beef dolmas and something new and exciting to me called spinach borani...looks to be a mix of spinach and yogurt, but then tastes of onion and herbs. Well for the last few days i have been eating it on crackers and with veggies...super delicious. I've thrown down a recipe from the good old internet for you, hopefully it tasted as amazing as what I had. Cheers!
This super easy recipe for borani, spinach and yogurt salad, is tasty and presents a lot of flavor. Borani makes a great snack or appetizer.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
1/2 lb fresh or frozen spinach, washed and drained
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a small saucepan, bring fresh spinach to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to cook for 10 minutes. If using frozen spinach, follow package directions.
Drain spinach and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Chop into very small pieces. Places pieces in a piece of cheesecloth or heavy duty paper towel and squeeze out excess water.
In a bowl, combine spinach, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and onions. Add yogurt and fold in with other ingredients.
Refrigerate and serve well chilled.
Posted by chefemily at 1:27 PM
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday night and Lindsay is in town!!!!! Woo hoo...so I, in a loving gesture of friendship invited her and Jillian over for dinner, the rest of the guests bailed like pussycats. So the night started well a little Pinot Noir courtesy of the ladies. I was prepping our super delicious meal of duck breast, lobster, and roasted polenta with roasted veggies. Boring you say? No never! The polenta was quite nice I cheated a bit but the recipe was quite tasty. A little basil and little parmesan and you have magic. Roasted veggies can be boring, but with a little garlic and vinaigrette soak beforehand, you can get more bang. The duck fat rendered stove top, then thrown in the oven to finish, and lobster steamed...tada delicious. But then horror of horrors and comedy of comedies, Lindsay eats an onion and promptly get ill. Not at all funny but maybe slightly odd. But please note, a little background on Lindsay, she did not eat onions until a few weeks ago but decided to go full force into our meal and took a nice bite sized piece of grilled onion and popped it into her greedy little mouth. This proved to be the undoing of Lindsay's dance with onions for now I believe. Poor child to not have the chance to experience the ecstasy that can come from a glistening caramelized onion.
But the party continued with yogurt land fro yo and movie night! Cheers to friends!
Polenta and Roasted Veggie Side
4 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups polenta or cornmeal
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup finely shredded basil leaves
Softened butter for the pan
Olive oil, as needed
Marinade and Vegetables:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 red onions, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices on the diagonal
2 yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices on the diagonal
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 pound asparagus, tough ends removed
1/2 pound mushrooms
Make the Polenta: Bring the chicken stock, butter, pepper, and salt to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pot. While whisking the hot stock in a quick circular motion, "rain" in the polenta by letting it stream through your fingers. (This will prevent lumping.)
Reduce the polenta to a gentle simmer; it must be stirred constantly for 25 to 35 minutes to prevent lumps or scorching. Be very careful when stirring, the mixture is very hot (think lava) and can burn you if it boils and sputters. If it begins to boil cover the pot and reduce the heat until boiling stops!
The polenta is cooked when it is no longer grainy and has become creamy. (My grandmother says good polenta takes 30 minutes, great polenta takes 1 hour).
Stir in the Parmesan and basil and pour onto a buttered sheet pan to cool. When cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Cut the polenta into any shape you desire that's structurally sound. In other words, a shape that won't fall apart on the grill easily, or be difficult to remove from the sheet pan after roasting. Squares, triangles, stars etc.
Make the Marinade and Vegetables: Whisk together the vinegar and garlic. While whisking, drizzle in the oil to make a smooth dressing. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss the vegetables with the marinade.
When ready to serve, preheat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan.
Brush the polenta lightly on both sides with olive oil and grill, turning once, until the edges are brown and crispy.
At the same time grill the vegetables until they are tender but still firm.
Now the Duck:
Black Pepper-Sweet Mustard Sauce:
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
4 (7-ounce) muscovy duck breast
For the Black Pepper-Sweet Mustard Sauce: Combine the mustards, honey, black pepper, thyme in a medium bowl and season with salt. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat a large ovenproof saute pan over high heat until smoking. Season each breast with salt and pepper to taste. Score the skin with a knife and sear the breast, skin-side down, until golden brown and fat has rendered, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove most of the fat, turn the breasts over and place them in the oven and cook for 8 to 12 minutes for medium rare doneness, remove duck and brush liberally with the mustard glaze. Let duck rest for 10 minutes, slice each breast on the bias.
This part was all me. I had teeny little baby tails but since the ladies and I split two duck breasts we each only needed one little tail. I boiled some water through the pup tails in and waited for the color and curl. Simple as can be you gotta watch em though, you want the opaque look not translucent on the meat please! Prior to throwing the tails in the pot I took a sharp knife and pierced through the shell almost all the way through for easier table eating.
Posted by chefemily at 9:06 PM
So good old hump day is here, so I started the evening off right with a lovely brew I just found at High Time in Costa Mesa, CA. The Witch's Wit as it is so lovingly called delighted my taste buds. The flavor burst danced across my tongue...making me laugh with girlish glee. And this is all during the first few sips folks, but I did finish off this lovely bottle. So I highly recommend buying a bottle or two and investigate the website all the brews have fun names and well during this holiday season they seem like a good fit. The Ten Commandments is sitting in the fridge beckoning me in godly ways I think it may have been heaven sent...lame I know. I think I shall save it to share with a friend, don't you wish it was you?
Posted by chefemily at 8:48 PM