Sunday, September 26, 2010

August - John Besh's restaurant in New Orleans

The chef's complimentary appetizer.  It had three layers and all were made with egg including an amazing egg custard.  The bread stick was brioche and it was topped with caviar.  Scrumptious.

The duck confit and duck liver appetizer.  Sublime.....

Amy's soft shell crab.

My redfish court boullion with shrimp and lump crab.  I wanted to lick the bowl but contained myself and used bread instead.

I will write more later.  I can tell you it was quite the tasty treat and I have more New Orleans posts to come.  Right now I am dealing with my father's cancer being very aggressive.  I need to be with my parents at this time and deal.  

Monday, September 13, 2010

Rotini with pesto, feta, chicken and tomatoes - What to fix when you don't want to cook.

I was hungry but I really did not feel like cooking so I decided to play Kitchen Roulette.  That is where I create something satisfying yet tasty with what is on hand.  Tonight's lucky winner a simple pasta dish. 

Rotini with chicken, pesto, feta and tomatoes
rotini boiled al dente
chicken thighs boiled with garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and salt
ready made pesto
feta cheese (crumbled)
fresh, chopped tomato
freshly grated parmesan (optional)

I had everything on hand at home.  We had boiled the chicken thighs (our favorite parts) the day before.  All I had to do was open a box of rotini.  Gourmet?  No.  Homemade?  Technically, yes; however, I had lots of help with the ready made pesto.

To plate I spread a generous amount of pesto in the bowl and then added a tablespoon or so of crumbled feta and a sprinkle of parmesan.  I added the steaming rotini and tossed it to coat it.  I added the diced tomato and sliced chicken and another spattering of feta and parmesan.  Dinner was served in less than fifteen minutes.

I enjoyed it.  What's not to love?  Simplicity.  Ingo's comment was he could have done with a little less pesto.  To him it was bit too garlicky....  The nerve!  Hasn't he noticed the name of our blog?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ribeye Steak with Bleu Cheese Butter and Walla Walla Onions - Our Titans victory dinner

Ah, it is football season, my favorite time of the year.  If it were cooler out it would be perfect.  But our Titans beat the Raiders and all is good in the world.  To celebrate we grilled.  For us, the steak of choice on the barbecue is a ribeye - especially one that is nicely marbled.  We selected one a bit over a pound to share.

In my opinion a good steak needs nothing more than to be liberally sprinkled with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.  If it needs more than that, well, it's not my thing....

To accompany tonight's hunk of cow I decided upon twice baked potatoes.  I love them and hardly ever make them.  I don't know why I don't so I decided today is time to remedy the situation.  I took two large baking potatoes, rubbed them with olive oil, sprinkled a generous amount of coarse salt on them and introduced them to a 400 degree oven for an hour.

The recipe we followed was from September's "Bon Appetit" in an article that featured a recipe from Portland,Oregon's Laurelhurst Market.  It is below....

1 pound ribeye (1 - 1 1/2 inches thick) sprinkled with on both sides with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.  Grill to medium rare then remove and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.

Bleu Cheese butter
3 tbls softened butter
3 tbls crumbled bleu cheese
1 1/2 tsps grated lemon peel
1 1/2 tsps chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 1/2 tsps freshly ground pepper

That was the original bleu cheese butter recipe.  Being the cheese and butter fiends we are, I manipulated it a bit.  I use 4 tbls each butter and bleu cheese.  The peel of one large lemon (I did not measure), a hefty pinch of ground Italian seasoning and about 2 1/2 tsps of freshly ground pepper.

Using a fork, mix all ingredients in a small bowl.  Season and let stand an hour before serving.  Can be made 24 hours in advance.

Walla Wally Onion Rings
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup beer
2 tbls vodka
Canola oil
1 large sweet onion thickly sliced

I changed this one too.....  I added no vodka and almost an entire bottle of beer instead.  It is thick batter.  I might add a smidgen of sugar next time although it was very tasty as it was.  I started these when the steaks began the resting stage.

Whisk flour, salt and baking powder.  Add beer and whisk until blended.  Pour two inchs of oil into a large, heavy skillet and heat to 350 degrees.  Working with two to three rings at a time, dip into batter, shake off excess and gently drop into hot oil  Fry until golden brown.  Transfer to paper towels and salt.

Twice Baked Potatoes
2 large baking potatoes
olive oil
coarse salt
sour cream
shredded cheese
ground pepper

Rub potato skins with olive oil and sprinkle generously with coarse salt.  Wrap in foil and bake for an hour in 400 degree oven.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.  Slice in half and scoop out leaving skins intact.  Add a generous amount of sour cream, cheese and pepper and mash.  Place back into skins and top with more cheese and put back in 400 degree oven until cheese is melty and slightly browned.

We plated it with the onion rings as a garnish although I polished them all off without a second thought.

We enjoyed it completely; however, next time I can do without the compound butter.  I found it better suited for fish.  We think we are going to try it that way.  We'll keep you posted.

It was all in all a great meal.  Our view wasn't too shabby either....