Saturday, July 31, 2010

Potato and Eggplant Curry with Basmati Rice, Spouts Salad and Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

Wow, where to start. I have been trying to make my own curries (dry and wet, green and red) recently and after a lot of research I have made some progress. Since it is Saturday, I was able to go to the weekly organic farmers market in Coconut Grove and pick up some key ingredients.

After the market, Nicole and I went to our friends Josue and Laura's house to try to make some serious vegetable curry. We chose eggplants, white sweet potato, baby sweet potato, vidallia onion and purple potato for the vegetables. I chopped all of the potatoes uniformly about a 1/2 inch square. I also chopped the eggplant and onion uniformly at 3/4 inch square. I laid the veggies out on a sheet tray and baked them for 25 minutes at 315 or until cooked but still firm.

In the meantime I went about making the curry. For the wet green curry I mixed chopped garlic, ginger, Serrano chillies, jalapeño peppers, habanero peppers, coconut water, fenugreek, coriander, salt and black pepper together with a mortar and pestal. For the dry curry I mixed powdered coriander, cumin, cayenne, red chili, mustard seed, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, star anise, nutmeg, bay leaf, thyme and turmeric in a dry sauté pan. I turned the pan on low and waited until the spices became fragrant. I then added the seasoning mix to the wet curry and belended it all together.

We chose to go classic and use basmati rice. Rinse the rice twice in cold water. Then add new water and bring the rice to a boil. Let the rice cook on medium heat until the rice has risen to the water level. Cover the pot using a piece of aluminum foil first the put on the pot lid , this will create a very tight seal. Turn it to low and let it cook another 7 to 9 minutes, set a side and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before fluffing.

I also made a cucumber yogurt condiment which consisted of: sliced cucumber, yogurt, olive oil, curry seasoning, salt and black pepper.

To finish the curry we started a large pot on medium heat. We added the curry and stirred it until fragrant. We then added a can of coconut milk and some coconut water. We let this cook for 10 minutes and then added all of the vegetables. We let that cook for another 10 minutes to get heated through and to allow the flavors to meld.

I served this with a sprouts salad that was a mix of organic sunflower, broccoli and buckwheat sprouts with a sprouted bean mix of 6 different beans. I tossed that with an herb-lime vinaigrette and some vidallia onions.

It turned out pretty good and I enjoyed it as well. I think this curry road is going to be a long a interesting flavor adventure. One I willingly will travel.

Swiss Omelet with EXTRA Crispy Bacon and Toast

Perfect omelets are easier then many people think. This is a fool proof way to make a perfect omelet every time.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sauté red and green bell peppers, green onion and white onions. Start a separate, large non-stick pan on medium heat, once it is hot add equal parts butter and olive oil to coat pan. Add the scrambled eggs and let them set for 2 minutes. Then add the cooked veggies and top that with your favorite cheese and herbs (I chose swiss and cilantro). Place the whole pan in the oven and cook for about 7 minutes or until the top is firm. Remove from oven and let cool.

Extra Crispy bacon is literally the best thing since sliced bread. To get perfect bacon you need to get bakin. Use a large sheet pan lined with aluminum foil. Lay bacon on the tray close but not overlapping. Cook for about 30 minutes at 325 degrees, half way through blot the bacon to suck up the excess fat. Let sit for 10 minutes and blot again. Best Bacon Ever!

For the best timing you would start the bacon, then sauté the veggies. At fifteen minutes left for the bacon you start the omelet and finish it all about the same time

I also toasted a sandwich thin, buttered it and cut it into fours. I made it into a circle for fun...I guess. More likely it was for you guys. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chicken and Steak Fried Rice

Hungry - check
In a rush - check
Leftover rice, chicken and steak - check

Fried rice is one of my favorite leftover creations. Come to think of it, this is probably how the dish was invented. I can see the chinese guy now, sitting around with the same check list and suddenly having the stoke of genius to make one of the world's favorite dishes. Here is my quick version, feel free to substitute the veggies and protein to your liking.

I fine chopped some garlic, ginger, carrots, green beans and scallions. Then I diced up the left over chicken from last nights dinner and chopped the small piece of leftover steak from two nights ago. I started my largest sautee pan on med-high and added some sesame oil. Then added the all the veggies and sauteed rapidly. Once they were cooked (about 3 minutes) I added the meat and stirred that with the veggies until heated through (about 3 more minutes). I then added the leftover rice from last night and let that heat through and get a little crispy, another 3 or 4 minutes. I added one scrambled up egg and mixed again as fast as possible so that the egg coated all of the ingredients with out coagulating. I finished it all off with some soy sauce, 5 spice powder and black sesame seeds.

Now I can be out the door in time to hit The Gansevoort rooftop pool on time and with a happy stomach.

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Turkey and Swiss Sandwich

Sandwich aficionado. That's what I like to think I am. Today I made a dressed up version of the old classic, turkey and swiss. I started by baking a sandwich thin. I then thinly sliced some pear, apple, onion and tomato. I made a honey mustard aioli by mixing mayo, dijon, agave nectar (instead of honey), white balsamic and some seasoning (cumin, corriander, cayenne, salt and pepper). I opened the sandwich thin, sauced each side, then layed out the sandwich in this order for maximum taste: Cracked Peppermill turkey, more sauce, pear, apple, onion, tomato, romaine lettuce, swiss cheese. Hooray Sandwich!

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Easy Cuban Style Cuisine

This is an easy way to make an inexpensive and light work latin/cuban style dish in under 45 minutes.

I bought a roasted chicken from the supermarket and quartered it. I also brought Goya brand frozen plantains. They are as close to restaurant quality as you can get and don't require the time and hassle of slicing and frying your own. These two steps save a lot of work and costs under $10.

I simmered some brown rice (that is what I had) and made a can of black beans. I sautéed garlic, onions and chili peppers then added them to the beans for some additional kick. I also sliced some white onion and slowly sautéed them until translucent.

Put it all together and you have a quick, cheap and delicious meal for 3-4 people at under $15.

Egg and Cheese with Ribeye

Breakfast is probably my favorite meal and egg sandwiches are always key to a good morning. I had some leftover ribeye from last nights dinner so I decided to take advantage of the situation with this great breakfast sandwich.

I have been using sandwich thins recently because they are good for breakfast and lunch sandwiches, as well as low on carbs. I seared the ribeye in some butter to reheat it and get it juicy. I sauteed onions and a few kinds of peppers (jalepeno, hungarian and cubanelle) in a small pan and then add a single seasoned scrambled egg to the onion and pepper mix. I then toasted the sandwich thin in hot pan with butter. I put it all together with a little cream cheese, ketchup, lettuce, tomato and american cheese.

I call this one the breakfast of champions.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fruit Plate

Fruit = Awesome

Strawberries, plum, pear, apple, cherries, walnuts and sunflower seeds.

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32 oz. Ribeye with Baby Sweet Potato and Black Kale

Tonight we decided to have an early dinner. We had the kale and sweet potatoes from the farmers market so I went to Publix to get some of my favorite proteins. I picked up a monster Prime Grade 32 oz. Boneless Ribeye and decided it would pair up nice with the kale and baby sweet potatoes I had. So here we go.

I always start by getting all of my spices and ingredients out and in order. I made a spice rub for the steak that included cayenne pepper, chipotle peppers, cumin, coriander, paprika, garam masala, pepper and salt. I chopped my vegetables and seasoned my meat so that I only had to cook. This is very important to sucessfully timing your meal, so always have your Things in Place ("mis en place" to French trained chefs)

I used a grill pan for the steak so that it would get good color and nice markings. I turned the pan on med-high and let it get very hot. Because a ribeye has a lot of fat I did not use any oil or butter. I seared the meat on each side and then placed the meat and pan into a 300 degree oven. It took about 40 minutes to get it to medium rare. You can use a thermometer if you are not comfortable with the "touching" method. I let the meat rest for 20 minutes (a good rule of thumb is rest the meat 1/2 as long as you cooked it). I like a lower temperature for my oven if I have the time so the meat can cook off, or render, much of the fat.

Sweet Potatoes. I cut them in half lengthwise. I seared them cut side down in a pan with butter and brown sugar on medium heat. Once caramelized I turn them over and placed them in the same 300 degree oven with the steaks. They take about 40 minutes in the oven.

The Kale was easy. Chop it and rinse it thoroughly. In a sauce pan on medium low, start olive oil with butter and then add the kale and cover. Stir the kale often to get even cooking. After cooking for about 15 minutes I started the onions and garlic in a small separate saucepan. Once the onion and garlic was cooked till about done I added it to the kale. I tossed them together with a lot of salt and pepper and turned the heat to low. I let it cook for another 15 minutes or until desired tenderness. Kale is very bitter but if you cook it for long enough it starts to get a somewhat sweeter flavor. I finished this with some salt and pepper and a pat of butter and let it rest.

To finish, I sliced the steak and plated the three items together. This is somewhat of a winter or heartier dish but it will work anytime of the year.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Super Healthy Smoothie

I usually buy a bunch of fruit during my weekly shopping trip. I will eat whatever I feel like and then freeze the rest for smoothies. For this Super Healthy Smoothie I started with frozen raspberries, peach, papaya, mexican breadfruit and bananas. I added some fresh bing cherries, coconut water, acai juice and a couple of scoops of hemp seed. I used my trusty VitaMix and blended it all up for 3 minutes. I use hemp seed because it has the highest levels of protein, omega 3's and minerals. The local farmers markets has it in bags, but you can find it on the internet or in healthfood stores. A great way to start the day.

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Warm Bulgar Wheat Salad

This is a simple salad I made from some left over items from other meals.

I had small pieces of chicken that I sauteed with olive oli. Once the chicken was cooked I added diced onion and tomato and turned off the heat under the pan. I then tossed in the already soaked bulgar wheat and diced fresh mozzarella. I tore some fresh basil over the top and added some cilantro oil and salt & pepper.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tomato and Cucumber Gazpacho

A twist on an old favorite. I had a lot of tomato water left over from the fresh tomato sauce I had made the previous evening. Tomato water is made by squeezing, then straining tomatoes concase (fresly boiled and peeled tomatoes).

To make the cucumber water I halved, peeled, and pureed half of a cucumber. I then placed the puree into a strainer over bowl to collect the liquid. I pressed the puree into the strainer to get the most liquid.

For the garnish I finely diced white and red onions and placed them in a bowl of cold water. I do this to take away some of the bite and soften the flavor of the strong onions for this mellow dish. I finely diced tomotes, cucumber, jalepeno peppers and hungarian peppers. I seansoned these garnishes with EVOO, salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper.

For the cilantro oil I pureed cilantro and EVOO, let it sit for a few hours and then let it strain over a bowl.

To put it all together I used 2 parts tomato water to 1 part cucumber water. I then added the garnish and topped it with some thin pepper rounds. I used lemon olive oil and the cilantro oil to finsh off the dish.

It was a great refershing summer soup for hot Miami Beach.

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Sprouts Salad

This was inspired by my trip to the organic farmers market.

The salad greens were composed of sunflower sprouts, broccoli sprouts and pea shoots.

I made battonettes of the following: jicama, anjou pear, red delicious apple, red raddish, cucumber and tomato.

For the dressing I made a white balsamic-tomato water-basil vinagrette. I shaved some vidallia onions into a bowl with salt, pepper, chopped basil and the white balsmaic. Mixed that thoroughly then added some tomato water (strained water made from seeding tomatoes). I then blended some EV olive oil and dijon mustard to emulsify the vinagrette.

I salted and peppered my greens then added the dressing, next I added the chopped fruits and veggies and hand tossed lightly. I plated the greens then the veggies/fruits on top and around. I sprikled sunflower seeds and hemp seeds for texture. Then I sauteed some old rye bread I had laying around in some butter till golden on both sides. I cubbed and added the croutons to finish off an amazing organic healthy salad.

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Karin's Birthday Dinner

My mother in law wanted Italian food for her birthday. I decided to make chicken parm, eggplant parm, tomatos caprese with some heirloom tomatoes and fresh tomato sauce.

I breaded and fried the chicken breats, put a thin layer of sauce in a baking pan, put a bit more sauce on the chicken and topped with shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

For the eggplant I went a little healthier. I sliced the eggplant in 3/4 inch rounds and placed in a single layer on a baking sheet. I baked them at 275 for 15 minutes to dry them out. I then flourered, eggwashed and breaded them. I put them back on the baking sheet and baked them at 350 for about 25 minutes or until crispy. I topped them with some tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese and put them back in the oven until the cheese was melted.

For the tomato sauce I peeled and seeded roma tomatos. I roughly chopped garlic and put it in a small pan with olive oil. I put the garlic on low and let roast for 20 minutes. in a large sauce pot on medium heat I added the tomatoes and garlic with oil. I cooked and smahed the sauce until the tomaoes cooked though and started to boil. Turn the heat to medium low and add fresh torn basil. Smash or blend sauce, add salt and pepper to taste.

Tomato Caprese is pretty standard alternating slices of beefsteak toamto and fresh mozzarella. I added chopped basil. On one side I used white balsmaic vinegar and on the other side I used traditional red balsamic vinegar. EV olive oil and salt & pepper finished the dish.

I hope she enjoyed.

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