Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Baked Crispy Skinned Char

  • Crispy skinned baked char fillet
  • Lemon herb (cilantro, basil, dill) basmati rice pilaf
  • Sauteed leek
  • swiss chard stem
  • tomatillos
  • watermelon radish
  • Cracked black pepper, lemon zest, celery leaf

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Yorkshire Puddings

Yorkshire puddings are a traditional British staple served with savory dishes such as roasts. The natural well in the center of the pudding is filled with gravy or sauce. They are a souffle-like, pastry like, puff of deliciousness. This was my first attempt at making them, and they can seem intimidating but are actually very easy to make as long as you adhere to the procedure. Like souffles though, they will collapse, so serve them as soon as possible after baking!

Yorkshire Puddings
8 large eggs
2 cups milk (high fat)
2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1 teaspoon salt
24 teaspoons (that's 8 Tablespoons or a little more than 1/3 cup) roast drippings, oil, or butter

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth. Whisk in the milk until smooth. Sift the flour in gradually and whisk to avoid lumps, then whisk in the salt. Batter should be made at least two hours in advance and refrigerated but overnight is even better
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425F Place 1 teaspoon of fat in the well of each of 24 muffin cups. Place muffin pans on a baking sheet and place in the hot oven for 5-10 minutes until the fat is very hot and begins to smoke.
Moving quickly, pour the batter into the cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Carefully return to the oven and bake for 15-25 minutes until risen and golden brown. Don't open the oven before 15 minutes have passed. Mine were risen at this point, but took an extra ten minutes to brown.

Allow to cool slightly, then gently loosen from the muffin tins and serve immediately pooled with gravy or jus!

Monday, September 18, 2017


Champ are a delicious version of mashed potatoes. They are of Irish origin and are really only mashed potatoes with the addition of thinly sliced green onions but they are really delicious! Maybe it's because the Irish really know how to make a good mash! After having worked in Ireland a couple times, I learned the tricks to excellent mash. Here is my version of champ, which adds some garlic and browned butter for extra mashed potato yumminess!!

potatoes, peeled, boiled, drained well, mashed, and still hot
thinly sliced green onions (or spring onions, or scallions, they're all the same)
minced garlic
brown butter (melt unsalted butter, then continue cooking it until it turns golden brown)
whipping cream, heated until warm
black pepper

Ensure the potatoes are well mashed and smooth. Then add remaining ingredients, gradually. You want the potatoes to be thin and creamy, but not soupy. And you should be able to taste the garlic, pepper and salt so no flavor overpowers the other. The onions should appear quite prominently throughout the mix. The hardest part is knowing the proper ratios of cream and butter and this comes with practice. Both serve to add richness and thin out the potatoes, but too much butter makes them greasy and too much cream makes them gummy or soupy.
I was taught that after adding enough liquid, the potatoes should be able to be mixed with a whisk until smooth. The process goes a lot smoother if the potatoes, cream, and butter are all hot to begin with!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach

In a large, shallow pot melt the butter. Add the shallots and garlic and sweat until softened and aromatic. Add in the spinach, stir it around, cover the pan and turn off the heat to allow the spinach to wilt.
Meanwhile, in a tall pot heat the cream and reduce until thickened and a yellow-ish color. 
Once the spinach is wilted and the cream is very thick, use a slotted spoon to spoon the spinach into the cream (to avoid getting excess liquid into the mixture and thinning it out). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Braised Baby Onions

We got some adorable little local baby onions in last week and I wanted to prepare them in a way so as to showcase them, and not just chop them up like any other onion (also because small onions are a pain to chop!). We had some little white onions, yellow, greenish, and purple. They are kind of similar to pearl onions but pearl onions are usually sold in a jar of brine, already peeled.
Anyway, I decided to peel them and trim them up, but leave them whole and braise them.

Braised Baby Onions
baby onions, peeled and bottom root sliced off
brown sugar
red wine vinegar
red wine
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the butter in a pan, add the onions, and toss to coat them. Sprinkle on some sugar and stir to coat Pour in a little vinegar and deglaze. Then pour in enough wine to cover and simmer until wine is reduced and no liquid remains Pour in a little extra wine and some water, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until onions are very soft and almost falling apart. Check on them periodically to make sure the mixture doesn't run dry. You want the braising liquid to be sticky and thick at the end but you don't want it to burn! Season as desired.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are delicious - naturally sweet, fresh, cute, easy to handle, versatile, etc. They are great for just snacking on as is, but to add them to a dish, I like to do a little something with them. Although very enjoyable raw, sometimes it is appropriate to cook them. Here is my method. For this batch I used cherry tomatoes in a variety of colors!
I halved them all and tossed them onto an oiled baking sheet. I drizzled with a little more oil, a small sprinkling of brown sugar to enhance the natural sweetness, and a sprinkle of salt and cracked black pepper. Then I baked them at 425F until the skins just began to soften.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Red Wine Jus

This is the sauce I served accompanying my prime rib roast. I made it using the juices and vegetables from the roast.

  1. Prepare the prime rib roast as described in yesterday's post.
  2. After removing the roast from the pan, you can either use that pan (especially if it is a rondeau) or transfer the contents to a pot. If the bottom of the pan is quite charred, then transfer the contents. You want the carmelized bits and vegetables but not anything which will impart a burnt, bitter flavor.
  3. Choose a red wine and poor in enough to just cover the vegetables. Add the stalks of the thyme and rosemary used for the roast rub.If the roast is already carved, add in the bones as well.
  4. Reduce until almost au sec. Then add some stalk (beef or veg) to completely cover. Reduce the mixture until it begins to thicken and darken. Then add more red wine and continue reducing.
  5. Strain the mixture into another pot and reduce further until you have a thick, dark, rich jus. If the mixture is still too thin, it can be thickened gradually with a cornstarch slurry, just note this will become a 'jus lie' and not a true 'jus'.
  6. Taste and adjust any seasonings as required.