Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Roasted Eggplant, Mushroom and Kale Salad

Roasted Eggplant, Mushroom and Kale Salad

Oh Dear!! It has been far too long since I posted last.

I have lots of excuses, or rather, pretty legitimate endeavors that I have been focusing attention on: a new personal chef client (my first), researching my Feast of the Seven Fishes class at Brooklyn Kitchen this Thursday (plug), building my website www.katcooksfood.com (another plug, I will stop), lots of holiday crafting, and Joe and I have finally implemented a weekly date night. I'm not bragging, but it sure feels good to be inspired again!! I'm singing carols and making the bed again - good signs.

My Needle Felt Christmas Wreath

There have been a few post-worthy meals in the past couple of weeks. My parents were visiting from South Dakota where dad shot several grouse. My God, that bird really opened my eyes! So simple and delicious! Another was dinner for the sitter. Poor Justin was getting over a cold and was kind enough to babysit VERY last minute. Which meant I needed to fix him dinner very last minute, something that would comfort and delight. In the store, I snapped up some chicken thighs and egg noodles while my brain quickly did the rest - red wine braised chicken with capers, mushrooms and onions over the noodles (I do love egg noodles!). There was a lovely hazelnut creme caramel that I made for a dinner with a special friend. And in preparation I have been cooking up a ton of seafood for my Fishes class: grilled baby octopus salad, stuffed calamari, fried bay scallops. On and on.

Roasted Sharptail Grouse with Cauliflower, Bacon and Kale

Red Wine Braised Chicken with Onion, Mushrooms and Capers

Hazelnut Creme Caramel

Tapenade Stuffed Calamari

But the meal I think I will share is a vegetarian dish, in honor of my brother Karl (the dear is marrying a vegetarian, bless him). This dish is very in keeping with what I like to cook for Joe and I - greens, veggies, poached egg in a bowl. Here it is.

Roasted Eggplant and Mushrooms with Kale

1 lb assorted mushrooms (shitaki, crimini, portabella, oyster, hedgehog...)
1/2 each eggplant
1/2 bunch kale
3 each shallots
4 cloves garlic
4 Tb extra virgin olive oil
2 Tb sherry vinegar
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tsp red chili flake
2 Tb butter
2 each eggs
salt and pepper
parmesan reggiano

- Preheat your oven to 400.
- Dice the 1/2 eggplant into cubes about 1/2 inch square. Put in a mixing bowl, toss with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, spread on a cookie sheet and roast until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Slice your mushrooms into even width.
- Get a saute pan hot, coat with a little olive oil.
- In small batches, saute the mushrooms with a sprig of thyme, salt and pepper. Once they are tender, add a couple tsps of butter to the pan, when the butter is frothy, with a spoon, toss it around over the mushrooms (this is called basting).
- Repeat until all of the mushrooms are roasted. Place them in your mixing bowl, when the eggplant has cooled,, add it to the bowl as well.
- Wash and pat dry the kale. Slice into thin strips, add to the mixing bowl.
- Thinly slice the onion and garlic cloves lengthwise. Saute them in the same pan as the mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil, red pepper, salt and pepper.
- When the onions have become translucent, add the sherry vinegar. With a rubber spatula, stir the onions and vinegar, making sure to work any bits off the bottom of the pan. Pour this over the veggies in the bowl.
- Bring a small sauce pot, 1/2 full of water to a simmer, add salt and a 1/2 tsp of white vinegar.
- Crack your eggs into a small bowl and slide them into the gently simmering water.
- Cook for a minute and a half, or until soft poached.
- Using spoons or your hands, toss the dressed veggies around. Adjust seasonings as necessary.
- Divide into two portions, place in bowls.
- With a slotted spoon, remove each egg, placing on top of the salad.
- Grate some parmesan reggiano over top and serve.

Karl, I hope you and Jessica enjoy this dish as much as Joe and I did. Lots of love!

Happy eating everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chick Liver Two Ways Burger

I never do this. I never do the whole "Duck 5 ways" thing. I definitely don't cook that way at home. But Joey and a friend brought home an assortment of ingredients; ground beef, liver sausage, onion, tomato, head of garlic, English muffins and Gorgonzola.
I wasn't particularly in the mood to cook. Really, I just wanted to make something quick and relax as soon as possible. So, burger it was.

- I seasoned the meat generously in a bowl.
- Got a large saute pan hot, added a Tb of extra virgin olive oil.
- Browned the burgers on both sides.
- While they cooked, I slice the onion and tomato.
- Then I looked in the fridge to see what condiments we had. There in the back was some Chicken Liver Mousse I had made recently.
- I said, "does anyone want chicken liver mousse on their burger?". There was a hearty reply of "YES!".
- So I toasted those English muffins, shmeared the mousse - gettin' in all the "nooks and crannies".
- Then I placed each burger on it's bun. Sliced the liver sausage, then gave it a quick pan fry in the same pan.
- Onions, tomato, dirty Martini and we were on our way to deliciousville!

Thanksgiving Just Got More Delicious

Tuesday I taught a class on Thanksgiving Sides at The Brooklyn Kitchen Labs. Most of the recipes I demonstrated were tried and true favorites that I have been preparing at various holidays for the past several years, like my Brussels Sprouts with Madeira Butter. A new favorite is Mashed Carrots with Dates and Pecans.

This idea actually derived from a baby food class that I taught in June. A student tasted it and suggested that it would make a delicious Thanksgiving dish. I tinkered with the preparation (chopping in the food processor, rather than pureeing), added a bit of butter and Voila!

Here are my two favorite sides. Hopefully they will become instant classics for your family too!

Mashed Carrots with Dates & Pecans
serves 4

8 ea carrots
1 cup dates, pitted
1/2 cup pecans
4 oz butter
salt and pepper

- Cut the ends off of the carrots and slice in 1/4 inch disks. Put into a medium sauce pot, cover with cold water, add salt.
- Cook over high heat, bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer. Cook the carrots until tender. Turn off the heat.
- Quarter the dates and rough chop the pecans.
- Put half of the dates into carrot pot to soften, let sit for a few minutes.
- Strain the carrots and dates from the pot and place in a food processor with 6 Tb of butter. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add a 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
- Pulse the mix until smooth, with a few small lumps.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
- Pour into your serving bowl.
- Over med-high, heat a medium saute pan; melt a Tb of butter.
- Add the chopped pecans. Season with a little salt and pepper.
- Once the pecans have browned, add another Tb of butter and toss in the remaining chopped dates.
- The dates' natural sugar will release and caramelize.
- Sprinkle the garnish evenly over the mash and serve.
- Enjoy!!

Brussels Sprouts with Madeira
serves 4 – 6

1 lb Brussels spouts
4 oz butter, cubed and softened
½ cup Madeira
salt and pepper

– Trim the bottom of the Brussels sprouts and cut in half.
– Bring salted water to a boil in a medium sauce pot.
– Cook the spouts until tender.
– Strain and place the sprouts in a mixing bowl.
– Using the same pot, cook the Madeira on medium heat until it has reduced to about 2 tablespoons.
– Turn the off heat under the pan and begin whisking in a few cubes of butter at a time. Wait to add more until the others have melted. Whisk constantly.
– Season the sauce with salt and pepper, pour over the brussels sprouts and toss.
– Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Homemade Apple Ginger Juice

Oh, dear: So the little tyke had a bit of a stomach bug this week. Monday morning, immediately after feeding him, he began projectile vomiting (sorry, I know this is a food blog). The next few hours was a series of cleaning, bathing, redressing, vomit, repeat. Not fun!

The poor little guy couldn't keep anything down and I knew I needed to keep him hydrated. So I went to the fridge to see what magic elixir I could create from our bare shelves.
We had a bag of NY apples, a nub of fresh ginger and I spotted the maple syrup.

Here's what I did:

3 apples, peeled and diced
2 Tb ginger, grated
1 Tb maple syrup
6 cups water

- Combine all of the ingredients in a blender, puree.
- Adjust sweetness to your liking.

The juice worked like a charm! Cormac loved it and I was relieved to finally find something he could keep down.

The possibilities are endless here! You can use pears, melons, grapes, berries, etc. I don't know why it never occurred to me before to make fresh juice this way - very satisfying!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

"kinda like an American bibimbap"

This morning, as I set out to make breakfast, I had no specific dish in mind. I grabbed a few sweet and yukon gold potatoes, garlic, a head of romaine, the eggs and some leftover braised pork shoulder. The concoction I created was delicious, and kind of like an American bibimbap.

Here's the recipe:

2 ea yukon gold potatoes
2 ea sweet potatoes, peeled
3 ea garlic cloves
2 c braised pork, with juices
1 hd romaine lettuce
2 Tb butter
salt and pepper
2 ea eggs

- Dice the potatoes into even cubes, about 1/2 inch squared
- Put 'em in a pot of salted cold water, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Drain water once tender.
- Heat a large saute pan, add the butter.
- Brown the potatoes in the pan, season with salt and pepper.
- With a microplane, grate the garlic over the potatoes.
- Rinse out the potato pot and fill 2 inches with cold salted water. Bring to a simmer.
- Put the browned potatoes in a bowl.
- Heat the braised pork in the saute pan add another grated garlic clove, check seasoning and adjust.
- Slice the romaine into 1/2 in slices, add to the braised pork and incorporate. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Crack your eggs into a bowl, then slide into the gently simmering water.
- While the eggs are poaching, spoon the potatoes then pork mix into bowls.
- Set the poached egg on top. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and some cracked black pepper.
-Eat up!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

First Post

So this is my first blog post ever! I'm excited.
You can expect delicious recipes, photos and little tales from my life as a cook, mother and wife living here in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
I suppose I'll kick it off with a delicious pot roast entry.

This past Sunday I made, for the first time, a pot roast. It was a chilly fall day, we had an extra hour of light, and I yearned for those comforting Sunday dinners of my childhood.
In the fridge we had the usual veggies; carrots, celery, onions, a few mushrooms and some lovely fingerling potatoes. All we needed was the roast. So we set out and found a gorgeous 3 lb rump roast.
Here's the recipe:

a boneless roast - top or bottom round, chuck or sirloin.
4 carrots
4 celery stalks, leaves removed
2 onions
12 mushrooms
1 lb potatoes
4 pcs. bacon
fresh thyme
garlic cloves
fresh parsley
salt and pepper
olive oil

For Gravy

2 c beef stock or red wine, white wine, port, sherry etc
2 Tb flour
1 Tb chopped parsley
salt and pepper

- Preheat your oven to 400.
- Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot. While it's getting hot, season your roast liberally with salt and pepper.
- Add the olive oil to the pan, about 2 Tbs. Immediately add the roast, fat side down.
- Let it brown, forming a nice crust before rotating it. Brown on all sides.
- While the roast is browning chop your vegetables. Cut the carrots in 1/3s lengthwise, quarter the onions then cut those in 1/2 across the width. Cut the celery stalks into 4 pieces lengthwise, quarter the mushrooms, peel your garlic, and slice the bacon into 1/2 inch strips.
- Once the roast is browned, add the veggies and bacon. Season with salt and pepper, toss in a few thyme sprigs, stir the vegetables around, then rest the roast on top.
- Roast uncovered in the 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes per pound for a rare to medium rare doneness.
- Once you have either taken its temperature 125 for rare, 135 for med rare and so on... let the roast rest on a plate for at least 10 minutes. This will ensure a juicy roast.
- While resting you can prepare your gravy. First remove the roasted veggies and set aside.
- Put the pot on the stove over a low heat. Sprinkle the bits with about 2 Tbs of flour. With a wooden spoon stir the flour, incorporating all of the delicious browned bits. Let this cook for a couple minutes to cook out the raw flour flavor.
- Add 2 cups of beef stock, or red wine, port, sherry - whatever you have, you may even add water. Bring the gravy to a simmer, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper. If you like, add some chopped parsley to finish the sauce.
- Slice the roast and serve with the vegetables and gravy.
- Enjoy!!

* In the following days, I have made sandwiches, breakfast burritos, hash and salads with the leftovers. So good, again and again!