Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Must Be Fall, Butternut Squash Ravioli With Gruyere and Prosciutto

I know it's Fall when I see butternut squash in the markets. I hadn't made pasta in a while, so it was time.  You can easily buy ready-made fresh pasta sheets as well, so don't let the thought of having to make your own stop you from making ravioli.  

For the pasta:
3 cups "00" flour
6 fresh eggs
1 tbsp milk
Make a well with the flour, crack eggs in the middle and add milk.  Beat the eggs with a fork slowly incorporating the flour into the mixture.  You can do all of this in a large bowl so you don't have to do the scramble of trying to gather the mixture when your well breaks.  Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth as a baby's bottom.  Separate into 10 equal balls, which were about 2.75 oz each.  Roll the dough out into sheets using a pasta roller.  I rolled the dough to the #4 setting.  

For the filling:
1 small butternut squash
2 oz finely grated gruyere cheese
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 oz finely chopped prosciutto
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Heat the oven to 400f, place the squash, flesh side down, on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Roast the squash for about 25 minutes, until tender.  When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and mash.  
Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine.  Refrigerate until ready to fill.
You can make whatever size ravioli you want.  Because of the size of my pasta sheets, I decided to make large rounds, 28 of them.  
To serve with the ravioli, I simply browned some butter with a few fresh sage leaves.  Heat a couple tablespoons of butter for each serving over medium heat.  Add the sage leaves and fry until they are wilted.  Remove and drain and continue to heat the butter until it begins to brown.  Remove from heat.
Boil the ravioli for 3 minutes, drain well.  Drizzle the browned butter over top and serve with freshly grated parmagiano reggiano.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Clams with Tomato, Basil and Garlic Soy Sauce

These Manila clams looked so good at the market today, I couldn't resist.  The girls are not fans, and Chris can take them or leave them, but I happen to love them.  So, here's a little treat for myself tonight.  

2 lbs Manila clams
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sugar
1 cup chopped tomatoes
handful of fresh basil leaves
Soak the clams in cold water for about 20 minutes.  Drain.
Heat wok over high heat and add grapeseed oil and then garlic and stir until just fragrant.  Add the clams and the soy, mirin and sugar.  Toss until all the clams are open.  Add the tomatoes and basil and toss until the basil just wilts.  Discard any clams that do not open.
Serve immediately. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Stuffed Leg of Lamb Roast

We are having some of the most beautiful days here in Seattle... crisp mornings, blue sky and sunshine.  Roasted leg of lamb seems a little out of place, as did roast duck for that matter.  Seems like I should be grilling and taking advantage of this stellar weather, but roast lamb was the request made and I shall comply.

1 - 3lb butterflied leg of lam
1/3 cup diced fresh figs
1/3 cup diced tomatoes
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
cabernet sea salt
freshly ground pepper
Lay the leg of lamb out, fat side down.  Our friend Marcel had given me a box of various sea salts from Squamish, BC which I re-discovered in my spice drawer this morning.  Sprinkle the lamb with sea salt and then freshly ground pepper.  Place the diced tomatoes and then figs on top.  Drizzle with the honey, balsamic and olive oil.  
Roll the lamb together and tie with kitchen string.  Some of the stuffing will fall out, but just stuff it back in once you have finished tying the lamb.  
Wrap tightly with plastic wrap until ready to cook.  I used 2 sheets to make sure nothing would lead through.  Refrigerate until ready to cook.  I prepared the lamb in the morning and let it refrigerate all day.
About 30 minutes before cooking, remove the lamb from the refrigerator.
Heat oven to 425f.  Unwrap the lamb and salt and pepper generously.
Place the lamb on a roasting pan and roast for 45-55 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the lamb reaches 135f for medium rare.
Remove lamb to a cutting board to rest, and loosely tent with foil.  Let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Meanwhile, make a little sauce.  
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup port
1 cup beef stock
Pour pan drippings from the pan into a small saucepan trying to take only 1 tbsp of the fat.  Add flour and make a roux.  Deglaze the pan with the port, then add the beef stock.  Use a whisk to stir the sauce until smooth.  Simmer for a few minutes, then add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.  Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed.
This is a keeper, especially the gravy.  We Emertons love a good gravy!  And the lamb isn't so bad either.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Slow Roasted Fragrant Duck

I love a good duck.  I have a few good recipes in my repertoire but I could never have enough recipes for duck.  Tonight, I'm trying something new.

1 whole duck
1 tsp five spice powder
2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 small onion, quartered
3 pieces of ginger 1/4" thick
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon fennel seeds 

A day ahead, remove the duck from its packaging, rinse and dry and place on a rack atop of a baking sheet.  Place uncovered in the refrigerator overnight.  
The next day, remove the duck from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking.
Toast the onion, ginger, anise, cinnamon and fennel under the broiler.
Heat oven to 400f
Sprinkle the interior of the duck with a little salt and pepper and then stuff with the toasted onion, etc.  Pierce the skin of the duck all over with a fork.  Combine the kosher salt, five spice powder and freshly ground pepper and sprinkle the outside of the duck.  Use your hands to rub it into the skin.  Loosely tie the legs together.
Place the duck on a rack set in a roasting pan breast side up.  Roast the duck for 45 minutes then flip over so it is breast side down and roast for another 45 minutes.  Then flip the duck back over to breast side up, prick the fat again and roast for another 45 minutes.  
Let rest for about 10 minutes before cutting.  Tender and crispy.. I served it with white rice and braised cucumbers.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Chicken with Roasted Figs and Honey

I have to say, I love a school parking lot treat to car window delivery.  My friend Rasa, bacon bun maker now also beekeeper, brought over a jar of freshly harvested honey.  A friend who shares good food is a friend indeed.  Coincidentally, I have been on a honey buying trend of late.  It's just oh so good.  And so, this treat was an extra special treat.  Stella had no school today, so she was my go-to gal for bouncing ideas off of.  I had chicken thighs in my fridge already and I started my ramble with the declaration that I would make a simple chicken, some kind of fruit accompaniment, and a simple drizzle of honey over top.  Then I started thinking stuffing the chicken, wrapping the chicken and Stella reminded me I said "simple".  

8 chicken thighs, deboned, skin left on
truffle salt
freshly ground pepper
8 toothpicks
Sprinkle the meat side of the chicken thighs with truffle salt and pepper.  Roll the thigh back up like it was before it was deboned, and secure with the toothpick using it like a sewing needle.  Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with truffle salt and pepper.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, sear the chicken thigh skin side first and then the secured side until golden brown.  Finish the chicken in the oven at 450f for another 8-10 minutes.

6 whole figs, cut in half
2 tablespoons tawny port
1 tablespoons honey
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Lay the figs, cut side up, and a baking dish lined with parchment paper.  Drizzle the port and the honey over top.  Roast the figs in the 500f oven for about 7 minutes.

Serve the chicken with figs and a final drizzle of honey over top.  The figs were fabulous.  Chicken crispy on the outside, tender on the inside.   And honey, oh honey.  Thanks Rasa!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Baked Kinki Channel Rockfish with Silken Tofu, Shiitake Mushrooms, Ginger and Scallion

Tonight, I'm trying out something new on the lighter side of things.  It could be a bust, but hopefully, it will be rather tasty.  

3 small whole Kinki Channel Rockfish, close to 1 lb
12 ounces extra soft/silken tofu cut into small cubes
5 fresh Shiitake mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 scallion julienned
1/2" piece of ginger, julienned
1/4 cup mirin
kosher salt
Score the rockfish on both sides.  Place into a dish and drizzle the mirin over top, and flip the fish over to evenly coat.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.  Refrigerate for an hour or so.
In a shallow baking dish, evenly distribute the tofu on the bottom and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Lay the rockfish on top and then place the mushrooms around the fish.  Sprinkle the ginger and scallions over top, then freshly grated pepper.  Drizzle with a couple tablespoons of the mirin.  Cover the dish with foil.  Bake at 375f for about 20-25 minutes depending on the size of your fish and then uncovered for another 10-12 minutes.  Garnish with fresh cilantro.  Fresh and yes, delicious.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Barbecued Pork and Green Onion Buns

Now that school has started, I am again on the hunt for breakfast, lunch and after school snack ideas.  The girls are not big on the normal breakfast items, not big on sandwiches, and  besides granola bars and chips, not big on packaged foods.  They are not hungry first thing in the morning and truth be told, they barely make it out the door in time just getting dressed in the morning, let alone sitting down to breakfast.  So, I take to grab and go items for breakfast.  Now for lunch, they would opt for a hot lunch if they could, but buying lunch at school is not always the best option.  Reheating a meal is not appealing to them either.  Basically, I need help.  Today I made cold soba noodles with chicken, shiitake mushrooms and a sesame soy sauce ala the sauce from this posting for their lunches tomorrow.  The other item I banged out was a test recipe for baked buns.  I figured these, if they turned out okay, would be good for the breakfast grab or the after school/before practice snack.

3 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups warm water
3 tablespoons fine sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons milk

Combine the water and sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Add the yeast and stir to combine.  Let sit for 10 minutes until it becomes frothy.  In a large bowl add the water mixture to the flour and salt along with the oil.  Use a rubber spatula to stir the dough to combine.  Turn it out onto a well floured surface and knead until it is smooth.  Coat a large bowl with a little oil and place the dough into the bowl.  Cover and let sit a room temp for about 3 hours.

Turn the dough back out onto a floured surface.  Press it flat into a large round disk.  Sprinkle  the dough with the baking powder and use your fingers to spread the baking powder out evening.  Drizzle the milk over top and bring the edges of the dough together in the middle and knead the dough until smooth.  Return the dough to the bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for another 1-2 hours.  

Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
7 scallions/green onions, thinly sliced
6 oz store bought barbecued pork cut into a fine dice

Saute the scallions in a little oil until just softened.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Let cool and combine with the pork.  
Take the dough out from the refrigerator and turn out onto a floured surface.  Knead a couple of times and separate into 16 equal parts.  Flatten each piece with the palm of your hand and use a small rolling pin to roll it flat to about 4-5" diameter.  Place a small spoonful of the filling and spread it out flat.  Gather the dough together to form a ball, then place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, with the sealed side down.
When finished with all 16, cover with a clean towel and let sit to rise for another hour.
To bake:
Heat oven to 375f.  Combine 1 egg yolk with 2 teaspoons of water and 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Brush the top of each bun with the mixture.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown on top.  Pretty yummy.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Crab Cakes with Sweet Corn and Scallions

Over the weekend, we caught a few crab up at Whidbey Island.  I have my father's enthusiasm when it comes to any kind of fishing.  I suppose it's because it's a mystery out there in the sea.  You can't see what you're fishing for, but you know it's out there.  A little skill and a little luck, or a lot in my case, is all you need.  I find it relaxing and exhilarating.  
These crab cakes will barely hold together because of the amount of crab and lack of filler.  Over the top crab.

2 Pounds Dungeness crab meat
2 Ears of fresh corn cut from the cob
6 Scallions, finely sliced
2 Tbsp finely minced fresh ginger
3 Garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 Cup light soy sauce
Zest of one lime
1/4 Cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
Freshly ground black pepper

3 Eggs, beaten
1 Cup panko, plus another 2 for coating the cakes

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, saute the scallions, ginger and garlic in a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil.  Once the scallions are softened, add the corn, turn heat up to medium high, and saute until corn is cooked through, then add the light soy sauce and stir until just combined.  Allow to cool.

Combine the crab, corn mixture, lime zest, cilantro and black and white pepper in a large bowl.  Then stir in the panko and eggs.  Form the crab mixture in your hands into medium cakes and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  You can cover and refrigerate these for up to a day or so, or wrap in plastic wrap individually and freeze.  This recipe made 13 crab cakes.
When ready to cook, heat oven to 375f.  Bake the crab cakes until they are golden brown on the outside, about 15-20 minutes.