Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Barbati Tomato Kura

     Yard Long Beans and Tomato simmered with Curry leaves, Fenugreek, Chile and Jaggery!      
     Today's traditional Indian vegetarian Yard Long Beans recipe is a good choice for those that seek flavors that do not come from a container of Yellow Curry Powder that is purchased at an average grocery store.  All too often, western world recipes for Indian food are oversimplified and all that is called for when flavoring a recipe is generic Curry Powder.  National brands of Curry Powder yield middle of the road flavors that really are not correct for every Indian recipe.  
     To really make great Indian food, it is better to become familiar with the traditional spices of India.  Chefs in India literally have 30 to 60 bowls of different spices sitting at a cooking station and they know exactly how much and which combinations of spices to use when making specific recipes.  Indian chefs also know when to add certain spices during the cooking process.  This may sound complicated, but just by taking an interest in authentic Indian cuisine the learning process begins.  
     Part of the Indian cuisine learning process is the understanding of how spices have a medicinal effect and certain combinations of Indian spices can improve health.  What this all means is that a cook that is interested in Indian cuisine literally will have plenty of research to do, but the benefit is that there will be plenty of good tasting healthy food to eat!          
     All of the ingredients in today's recipe can be found at an Indian food market.  Yard Long Beans can also be found in Asian food markets.  Yard Long Beans are in the Cowpea family and they have a rich tasty green bean flavor.  Curry Leaves are best when fresh.  Curry leaves are fried in oil till they become crisp for the start of many recipes that require masala spice mixtures.
     Jaggery is not raw sugar and it is not piloncillo.  Jaggery is not processed in a centrifuge to separate the molasses and impurities from the raw sugar.  Jaggery is concentrated cooked solid raw sugar that contains 50% sucrose and the rest is comprised of water, invert sugar, protein, ash and sugar cane fiber.  Jaggery can be found at Indian food markets.  If no Jaggery is available, then substitute Piloncillo or light brown sugar.  The flavor of those two sugars are close to jaggery, but not quite as rich tasting.

     Barbati Tomato Kura:
     This recipe yields 1 large portion.  (About 2 1/4 cups.)
     Himalayan Black Salt has a pink or orange color when dry.  When added to water, the brine will have a gray color.  Himalayan Black Salt has a high mineral and sulphur content that adds a nice flavor to this recipe!  Use sea salt if none is available.
     Step 1:  Heat a wide sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil.
     Add 15 small fresh Curry Leaves.
     Sauté till the curry leaves are crisp.
     Step 2:  Add 4 crushed garlic cloves.
     Add 1 chopped Red Thai Chile pepper.  (To taste.  These are peppers are spicy hot!)
     Sauté till the garlic starts to become a light golden color.
     Step 3:  Add 1/4 cup of coarse chopped white onion.
     Add 2 tablespoons of coarse chopped green or red bell pepper. 
     Sauté till the onions turn clear in color.
     Step 4:  Add 1/2 cup of small chopped tomato.
     Saute till the tomato starts to become tender.
     Step 5:  Add 2 cups of yard long beans that are cut into 2" long pieces.
     Sauté and stir till the long beans start to cook.
     Step 6:  Add 2 cups of water.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of Jaggery.  (Substitute light brown sugar or piloncillo if none is available.)
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground fenugreek.  (ground methi)
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add 1 pinch of black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of crushed dried red pepper.  (chile caribe)
     Add 2 to 3 pinches of Himalayan Black Salt.  
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 7:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the excess liquid evaporates and the yard long beans are tender.  Stir occasionally.  (The finished volume of the sauce should be 1/2 cup.) 
     Step 8:  Add 1/4 cup of coarse chopped fresh cilantro just before serving.
     Step 9:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Mound the Barbati Tomato Kura in a shallow serving dish.
     Serve with and Indian bread of your choice and Steamed Basmati Rice on the side. 

     The flavor?  Sweet, spicy hot with a complex fenugreek maple flavor and a roasted peanut flavor from the fried curry leaves!  This is a great tasting Indian long bean entrée that can be served as a side dish. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Insalata di Balsamic Artichoke, Olive and Tomato

     An Italian Style Lightly Marinated Salad!
     Today's Italian style Balsamic Vinegar marinated salad is a nice antipasti.  Modena Italy is the home of cave aged Balsamic Vinegar.  The quality of the Balsamic Vinegar is easily noticed in a simple salad, so it is best to select a good one from Modena.
     The secret to making a Mediterranean style marinated salad is to only marinate the ingredients for a short time.  This way the vegetables do not turn limp and the flavors remain bright.  Another good tip is to only add enough Balsamic Vinegar to lightly coat the ingredients with flavor.  Adding too much Balsamic Vinegar will result in an overbearing flavor.
     Balsamic Vinaigrette:
     This recipe yields about 1/3 cup.  (2 portions)  
     The vinaigrette should be loose and not fully emulsified for this recipe.
     Step 1:  Place 2 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon on minced fresh basil.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced Italian Parsley.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Set the bowl aside for 5 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Step 2:  Slowly add 1/4 cup of olive oil while gently whisking to create a loose vinaigrette.
     Step 3:  Place the Balsamic Vinaigrette in a container.
     Chill till the dressing is needed.
     Stir before serving.

     Insalata di Balsamic Artichoke, Olive and Tomato:
     This recipe yields 1 salad entrée.
     Poached fresh artichoke hearts or good quality canned artichoke hearts can be used for this recipe.
     Step 1:  Place 1/6 cup of julienne sliced onion in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 large artichoke hearts that are cut into quarters.
     Add 5 large pitted black olives that are cut in half.
     Add 1 large ripe Plum Tomato that is cut into wedges.
     Step 2:  Add just enough of the Balsamic Vinaigrette to coat the ingredients with flavor.  (About 2 to 3 tablespoons.)
     Gently toss the ingredients together.
     Step 3:  Place the marinated salad mixture in a container.
     Chill for 5 minutes in a refrigerator.
     *Do not marinate this salad for too much time, or the tomatoes will become mushy!
     Step 4:  Place a bed of small Boston Lettuce Leaves on the center of a plate.  (About 2 cups.)
     Mound the artichoke and tomato salad on the bed of lettuce.
     No garnish is necessary!

     Viola!  A nice light summer antipasti salad!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Guisado de Conejo y Leche de Coco

     Colombian Coconut Milk Rabbit Stew!
     Guisado de Conejo y Leche de Coco is one of the best tasting rabbit stews that there is!  The flavor of this light stew is phenomenally good and it can be served any season.  Like most Colombian stews, the list of ingredients is simple and the featured flavor is not muddled with additional items of personal taste.  
     Light savory stews are popular in Colombia and Central America, especially during the summer season.  Serving a stew during the hot summer season contradicts European culinary philosophy, but there is a trick to the tale.  When performing strenuous physical activity in a hot humid tropical climate, nutrients in the body are thoroughly depleted and energy levels plummet.  A stew provides plenty of efficient nutrient uptake, which quickly revitalizes the body and mind.  Eating hot food in a hot climate also causes light perspiration, which in turn creates a cooling sensation.
     Colombian food tends to be savory and if chile peppers are added, then they are only used like a spice.  Only a small amount of spicy hot Chile Pequin is needed for today's rabbit stew.  Coconut milk contains plenty of oil fat, which carries the capsicum oil, so it is best to add a sparing amount of Chile Pequin even if one is used to extra spicy hot food.  
     Rabbit is a healthy meat option that is nearly fat free.  Rabbit has a light flavor that tastes like chicken, but the meat is much cleaner tasting.  Because rabbit meat is so lean, it can be notoriously tough if it is not marinated or slowly simmered with acidic ingredients for a long period of time.  The rabbit simmers for more than 2 hours in today's recipe, so when the stew is finished, the rabbit meat is ready to start falling off of the bones.

     Rabbit Fabrication For Stew:
     This recipe yields 1 prepared rabbit.
     Whole rabbit is available at most butcher shops.  A butcher can fabricate a rabbit for stewing upon request, but Rabbit fabrication is as easy as quartering a chicken.  
     Step 1:  Select 1 whole rabbit that weighs about 2 1/2 pounds.
     Cut all 4 legs off at the joints.
     Step 2:  Clip the ends of the rear legs and press the meat down the bone, so the exposed bone is bare.  (Frenching the bone.)
     Set the leg pieces in a container.
     Step 3:  Trim off the tail of the back section.
     Cut the two back strap tenderloin pieces off of the lower back.
     Trim any useable meat pieces off of the carcass.
     Add the back straps and meat pieces to the legs in the container.
     Chill till the rabbit stewing pieces are needed.
     Step 4:  Save the carcass and bones for making broth or white stock for another recipe.

     Guisado de Conejo y Leche de Coco:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
     Add the rabbit legs, back straps and meat pieces.
     Sauté till the rabbit pieces are lightly browned.
     Step 2:  Add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1/3 cup of chopped onion.
     Sauté till the onions turn clear in color.
     Step 3:  Add 1/4 cup of chopped green bell pepper.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped red bell pepper.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped yellow bell pepper.
     Sauté till the peppers start to become tender.
     Step 4:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Use a slotted spoon to transfer the ingredients from the sauté pan to a sauce pot.
     Step 5:  Drain off any excess oil from the sauté pan.
     Add 1 cup of water to the sauté pan.
     Deglaze the pan.
     Add the jus to the ingredients in the sauce pot.
     Step 6:  Add 1 cup of light vegetable broth to the sauce pot.
     Add 1 cup of light chicken broth.
     Add enough water to cover the ingredients in the pot with 2" extra liquid.
     Bring the liquid to a boil over medium high heat.
     Step 7:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 2 whole dried Pequin Chile Peppers.
     Add 1/2 cup of thin tomato wedges.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 1 pinch of cumin.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 8:  Gently simmer till the rabbit meat is tender and do not stir the stew.  (About 2 hours.)
     Allow the stewing broth to reduce to about 1 1/2  to 2 cups in volume.
     Step 9:  Remove the bay leaf from the stewing sauce.
     Raise the temperature up to medium heat.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce till about 3/4 cup of liquid remains.
     Step 10:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk.
     Simmer and reduce till the sauce is thin consistency.  (The finished volume should be less than 1 cup.)
     Step 11:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Arrange the rabbit pieces on the center of a shallow plate.
     Pour the coconut milk stewing sauce and vegetables over the rabbit and onto the plate.
     Step 12:  Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.
     Serve with a bowl of white rice and bread on the side.

     This is a great tasting Colombian rabbit stew for summer!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Chicken 'n' Biscuits!

     Old Fashioned Country Cooking! 
     Chicken 'n' Biscuits is a nice old fashioned hearty entrée.  The biscuits serve as the starch of the entrée and they take the place of rice or potatoes.  The biscuits soak up the chicken gravy, just like dumplings and this creates a warm satisfying feeling.
     Chicken 'n' Biscuits has been a popular meal since the colonial times.  In the old west, chuck wagon and mining camp cooks served up Chicken 'n' Biscuits as a filling meal.  Chicken 'n' Biscuits was a popular cheap down home style meal during the Great Depression too.
      Chicken 'n' Biscuits recipes do vary.  Most Chicken 'n' Biscuit recipes require Chicken Gravy (velouté), Milk Gravy (Béchamel) or an enriched broth.  Pennsylvania Dutch style Chicken 'n' Biscuits are usually made with a chicken stock and milk gravy.  In the Louisiana, a variety of French style Chicken Fricassee preparations are poured over the biscuits.  In the American South, the stewed meat is often made with roasted chicken and the gravy is made with pan drippings.  Modern Soul Food style Chicken 'n Biscuits recipes can have some fancy ingredients added to the gravy, like peppers and garden herbs.  Basically, no matter what style of Chicken 'n' Biscuits recipe is chosen, the goal is to create a satisfying plate of food that provides comfort!  
     Today's recipe is a fancy modern Soul Food style version of Chicken 'n' Biscuits.  The gravy is fancied up with aromatic vegetables, bell pepper and herbs, but the rich chicken flavor still reigns supreme.   

     Buttermilk Biscuits:
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
     • Buttermilk Biscuits

     Chicken 'n' Biscuits:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty entrée.  
     Uncooked chicken leg or breast pieces can be used for this recipe.  I used chicken breast because that is what I had on hand, but the leg meat adds a richer flavor.
     Step 1:  Heat a wide sauce pot (or sauteuse pan) over medium heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 6 to 8 ounces of thin sliced raw chicken.
     Sauté till the chicken is a little more than halfway cooked, but not browned.
     Step 2:  Add 1 sliced garlic clove.
     Add 1 tablespoon of diced carrot.
     Add 1 tablespoon of diced celery.
     Add 2 tablespoons of diced onion.
     Add l/4 cup of diced red bell pepper.
     Sauté and stir till the onions turn clear in color.  
     *Try not to let the ingredients brown.  Stir often! 
     Step 3:  Add just enough flour while stirring, to soak up the excess butter and to make a pan roux. (About 3 or 4 teaspoons.)
     Continue to stir till the roux combines.
     Step 4:  Add 1 3/4 cups of light chicken stock while stirring.
     Add 1/2 cup of milk.
     Bring the gravy to a gentle boil while occasionally stirring.  
     *Scrape any roux that may be stuck to the bottom of the pan too.  The gravy will be a very thin consistency at this time.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1 small bay leaf.
     Add 1 small pinch of thyme.
     Add 1 small pinch of marjoram.
     Add 1 small pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 small pinch of tarragon.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.  (1 or 2 pinches)
     Step 6:  Gently simmer and reduce till the gravy is a medium thin consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Step 7:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Remove the bay leaf.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced Italian Parsley.
     Add 1 thin sliced green onion.
     Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Step 8:  Place 2 warm Buttermilk Biscuits on the back half of a plate.
     Use a slotted spoon to mound the chicken and vegetables on the front half of the plate.
     Pour a generous amount of the fancy chicken gravy over the biscuits and chicken.
     Step 9:  Garnish the plate with Italian Parsley sprigs.
     Serve any extra gravy in a gooseneck sauce boat on the side.
     Serve with a few extra Buttermilk Biscuits on the side! 

     Warm, cozy and delicious!  This is a comfortable tasting modern Soul Food style Chicken 'n' Biscuits!  

Buttermilk Biscuits

     Classic Buttermilk Biscuits!
     Buttermilk Biscuits are not just breakfast food.  Many homestyle recipes require Biscuit Dough for wrapping baked food items or topping baked pot pie style entrées.  Baking a stew in a casserole dish that is topped with several shaped biscuit dough portions is a classic comfort food style dish.  Fresh baked biscuits or leftover biscuits are also featured as a starch in saucy comfort food recipes.  Soul Food style Chicken & Biscuits is a good example and the biscuits are smothered with savory chicken in gravy.
     Buttermilk Biscuits:
     This recipe yields about 12 biscuits (2 1/2" to 3" wide).  
     Any extra biscuits can be frozen for later use.  
     Some folks like biscuits baked to a pale color and some like to see golden brown biscuits.  Biscuits have to be brushed with milk to achieve any color at all.  Square biscuits are a classic shape and round biscuits are best for sausage patty sandwiches. 
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of all purpose flour in a bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of baking powder.
     Add 1 small pinch of baking soda.
     Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Sift the ingredients together into a mixing bowl.
     Step 2:  Add 3 ounces of cold butter that is cut into 1/2" cube pieces.
     Cut the butter into the flour with a fork or a baker's cutting tool, till the flour looks like it has been riced to the size of small peas.
     Step 3:  Add 1 cup of buttermilk.
     Gently stir, till the ingredients just barely combine. 
     Only knead till the dough barely it holds together.  The dough should be slightly sticky.  (Do not over mix biscuit dough!)
     Step 4:  Thoroughly dust a countertop surface with flour.
     Bench the dough on the flour and coat the entire surface, so the dough surface is dry.
     Step 5:  Roll the dough out till the sheet is about 3/4" to 1" thick.
     Use a 2 1/2" to 3 1/2" round biscuit cutter to cut biscuits (or cut 2 1/2" squares).  Cut several biscuits.
     Combine the scraps and roll them out again to cut a few more biscuits.
     Step 6:  Place the biscuits on a parchment paper lined baking pan.  Either space the biscuits so they are separated or bunch them all together.
     Brush the tops of the biscuits with milk or buttermilk. 
     Step 7:  Bake in a 425ºF oven, till the biscuits are fully cooked and lightly toasted highlights appear on the tops.  (About 10 to 15 minutes)
     Step 8:  Remove the biscuits from the oven and place them on a cooling rack.
     Let them cool to a serving temperature.
     Keep the biscuits warm on a stove top.

     Voila!  Fresh Buttermilk Biscuits!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Nigerian Goat Stew

     Traditional Nigerian Comfort Food!
     The spices that are in this stew are not what you may picture as being stew spices.  Cloves, bay leaf, mild hot peppers, ginger, garlic, black pepper and lemon are used to flavor Nigerian Goat Stew.  This stew has an unusual exotic flavor that is truly delicious!
     Goat meat is a little bit stronger tasting than lamb or mutton.  The spices and lemon help to tame the flavor of the goat meat.  Some recipes for Nigerian Goat Stew do call for minced goat meat, while a chunky style goat stew has rustic appeal.  Goat stew meat from a butcher shop is cut into bite size pieces and the bones are usually attached.  The bones add a rich flavor to the stew.  It is enjoyable to nibble the meat off of the bones, just like nibbling on stewed oxtails.
     Peanuts are native to South America, but so many peanuts are grown in Africa that one would believe that peanuts are a native African plant.  Peanuts were one of the first plants introduced to Africa during the Columbian Exchange.  Peanuts are used in many African recipes and peanut butter is used to thicken a Nigerian Goat Stew.  Peanut butter also increases the nutritional value.
     I have a taste for the exotic in life, so I spent some time researching African cuisine in libraries.  I was amazed at the different styles and flavor combinations of African regional cuisines.  For those who yearn for something different, today's Nigerian Goat Stew recipe is a good place to start.

     Nigerian Goat Stew:
     This recipe yields 2 portions.  (About 4 cups)  
     Step 1:  Heat a wide sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 16 ounces of bite size goat stew meat that has some bones attached.
     Sauté till the goat meat is evenly browned on all sides.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 cup of small chopped onion.
     Add 1/2 cup of sliced carrot.  (3/16" thick)
     Add 1 chopped green onion.
     Add 1 minced seeded jalapeño pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Sauté till the vegetables start to become aromatic.
     Step 3:  Add 2 cups of beef broth.
     Add enough water to cover the ingredients with 1" of extra liquid.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Skim off any excess grease that floats on the surface.
     Step 5:  Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 7 spice cloves.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.  
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.  (to taste)
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice.
     Step 6:  Gently simmer and reduce till the goat meat is tender and the level of broth is slightly less than the meat.  (Do not cover the pot with a lid!)
     Towards the end of stewing, stir the goat stew and try to remove all seven of the cloves and the bay leaf.  (Do not worry if you miss a few cloves.  They usually cook soft enough to be palatable.)
     Step 7:  Mix 1 1/2 tablespoons of organic peanut butter with 2 teaspoons of flour in a small bowl.
     Add peanut butter and flour to the stew while stirring.
     Stir till the peanut butter flour paste combines and the stewing sauce thickens to a medium thin consistency.
     Step 8:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the sauce in a medium consistency that easily clings to the meat.  Stir occasionally, so the sauce does not stick to the pan.
     Step 9:  Keep the Nigerian Goat Stew warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie.
     Remove any bones that broke loose from the meat before serving.

     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Cook 2 portions of plain Basmati Rice before the stew finishes simmering.
     Step 2:  Use a ring mold to place 1 portion of Basmati Rice on the back half of a shallow plate.  (About 2/3 cup.)
     Ladle about 2 cups of the Nigerian Goat Stew on the front half of the plate around the rice.
     Step 3:  Garnish with an Italian Parsley Sprig and a lemon slice.

     The flavor of Nigerian Goat Stew is like no other stew.  The spice mixture sets this stew apart from the rest!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Pineapple Shrimp Salad

     Welcome to Fantasy Island!
     Carved pineapple bowl salad presentations are popular at restaurants in the Caribbean Islands, Florida, Mexico and tropical resorts worldwide.  A refreshing Pineapple Shrimp Salad served in a pineapple bowl appeals to tourists and locals alike! 
     Popcorn Shrimp actually are convenient for making mayonnaise salads, but these tiny shrimp practically have no flavor at all or they simply taste like brine.  For a better tasting mayonnaise salad, full size shrimp are the best choice.  Large 16/20 count per pound shrimp increase the eye appeal too.
     When pineapple is added to a mayonnaise salad, the seeping pineapple juice will eventually cause the mayonnaise to become thin and watery if the salad is made too far in advance.  Today's Pineapple Shrimp Salad is best if it is served within one hour after it is made.  The same can be said about the pineapple shell.  If the pineapple shells are stuffed too far ahead of time, the seeping pineapple juice will turn the mayonnaise into a watery mess, so for a large dinner party, the pineapple bowls can be carved well ahead of time, but they should be stuffed shortly before serving.  

     Poached Szechuan Pepper Shrimp:
     This recipe yields 8 ounces.  (Enough for 1 stuffed pineapple.)
     Step 1:  Heat 1 quart of water in a sauce pot over high heat.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 tablespoon of whole Szechuan Peppercorns.
     Bring the water to a boil.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 pound of peeled and deveined large shrimp.  (Remove the tails.)
     Poach till the shrimp are fully cooked.  (About 3 to 4 minutes)
     Step 3:  Cool the shrimp under cold running water.  (Add ice to cool the shrimp quicker.)
     Drain the water off of the shrimp and discard the Szechuan Peppercorns.
     Chill the Szechuan Pepper Poached Shrimp in a refrigerator to 41ºF.
     Pineapple Bowl: 
     This recipe yields 1 Pineapple Bowl and about 1 1/2 cups of pineapple fruit pieces.  
     Step 1:  Split 1 whole pineapple in half lengthwise and keep the leaves attached.
     Use kitchen shears to trim the sharp points off of the leaves.
     Step 2:  Cut a small flat spot on the pineapple rind, so the pineapple bowl will be stable on a plate.
     Step 3:  Place the half of a pineapple on a cutting board with rind facing down.
     Use a paring knife to cut a hollow bowl shape.  The pineapple bowl should be 1/4" to 3/8" thick.
     Use a spatula or spoon to pry and pop the pineapple fruit out of the pineapple bowl.
     Use a melon ball scoop to smooth the surface inside the pineapple bowl.
     Chill the finished pineapple bowl till it is needed.  
     Step 4:  Place the pineapple fruit that was removed from the pineapple shell on a cutting board.
     Cut off the fibrous pineapple core and discard it.
     Cut the pineapple fruit into bite size pieces.
     Place the pineapple fruit pieces in a container and chill in a refrigerator to 41ºF.
     *About 1 1/4 cups of pineapple pieces will be needed for the salad.

     Pineapple Shrimp Salad:
     This recipe yields 1 large portion.  (Enough to stuff 1 pineapple bowl.)
     Step 1:  Place 1 1/4 cups of the chilled pineapple fruit pieces in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 pound of chilled Szechuan Pepper Poached Shrimp.
     Step 2:  Add 2 tablespoons of thin sliced celery.
     Add 2 tablespoons of small chopped red bell pepper.
     Add 1 tablespoon of small chopped Bermuda Onion. 
     Add 1 tablespoon of toasted shelled sunflower seeds.
     Step 3:  Add just enough mayonnaise to lightly coat the ingredients.  (About 3 or 4 tablespoons.)
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Step 4:  Add 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro.
     Add 1 small pinch of ground celery seed.
     Add 1 small pinch of allspice.
     Add 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Toss the ingredients together a second time.
     Chill the Pineapple Shrimp Salad for 20 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Pineapple Bowl Presentation:
     This recipe yields 1 large stuffed pineapple salad.
     Step 1:  Mound as much of the Pineapple Shrimp Salad in the carved pineapple bowl as possible.
     Set the stuffed pineapple on a plate.
     Step 2:  Garnish the pineapple with cilantro sprigs.
     Garnish the plate with bias sliced green onion.

     Cool, refreshing and delicious!  Tropical style stuffed pineapple salads have a way of making guests smile! 

Monday, June 5, 2017

T-Bone Steak with Green Tabasco Pilsner Butter Sauce

     Tasty Beer Sauce For Steak!
     Creating a sauce for a steak adds a signature touch that guests truly appreciate.  Just plonking a bottle of store bought steak sauce on the table will only draw compliments if the guests like the brand that was chosen.  Instead of playing the steak sauce brand name identity game, it is better to whip up a good steak sauce from scratch and take all the credit when compliments fly through the air!
     I have published many recipes for classic sauces, gastriques and barbecue sauces that go well with steak.  I even published a tamarind steak sauce recipe that compares to well known bottled steak sauces.  In recent years the craft beer industry has reached a peak, so creating a new steak sauce that is made with beer will certainly appeal to fans of gastro pub cuisine.
     When creating a beer sauce, it is best to work with the featured flavors of the beer itself.  Various preparations of malted barley and hops are the base flavor and body of beer.  A heavy rich semi sweet steak sauce can be made with a malty dark beer.  Simply reducing a good Porter or Stout with onions and a few spices will yield a good dark rich tasting steak sauce that is perfect for a cold winter day.  
     For warm summer weather, the majority of beer drinkers prefer a Pilsner or a light Lager, so the same kind of light tasting beer is the best choice for a summer season beer sauce for steak.  The refreshing beers of summer can be used to make a steak sauce that is lighter on the palate than a sauce made with heavy rich dark beer.  Just like how a dry acidic white wine can be used to make Beurre Blanc for a summer seafood entrée, a good crisp refreshing Pilsner can be used to make a butter sauce for a steak.  Butter carries the flavor of a classic Pilsner quite well.  Adding a little bit of pickled Green Tabasco Peppers gives a pilsner beer butter sauce a mild spicy kick that is perfect for a hot summer day.      
     Green Tabasco Pilsner Butter Sauce:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.  (About 2 ounces.)
     Bottles of Green Tabasco Vinegar can be found at most grocery stores.  Each bottle is filled with Green Tabasco Peppers than can be used in recipes.  These small chile peppers are medium spicy hot.
     This butter sauce should be prepared shortly before it is served.  Butter sauces are basically just an emulsion of soft butter and liquid, so if they are made too far ahead of time the ingredients will separate.  
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 whole garlic cloves.
     Sauté till the garlic is lightly browned.
     Step 2:  Remove the garlic cloves from the pot and place them on a cutting board.
     Mince the browned garlic cloves and set them aside. 
     Step 3:  Add 1/3 cup beef stock to the sauce pot.
     Add 1/2 cup of lager beer.
     Add the minced browned garlic.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Green Tabasco Pepper Vinegar.
     Add 5 Pickled Green Tabasco Peppers.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon cumin.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 4:  Simmer and reduce till 2 tablespoons of liquid remains.
     Step 5:  Remove pot from heat.
     Immediately add 2 tablespoons of chilled unsalted butter while constantly stirring with a whisk. 
     Whisk till the butter and liquid emulsifies to create a thin sauce.
     Step 6:  Place the Green Tabasco Pilsner Beer Butter Sauce in a ceramic cup.
     Keep the sauce warm on a stove top and stir occasionally.  

     T-Bone Steak with Green Tabasco Pilsner Butter Sauce:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Select a 16 to 20 ounce T-Bone Steak.
     Lightly season the steak with sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 2:  Heat a chargrill, broiler or cast iron ribbed griddle to a medium/medium hot temperature.
     Cook the steak to the desired finish temperature.  (Rare to Well Done)
     Step 3:  Place the steak on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan.
     Let the steak rest for 1 to 2 minutes.
     Step 4:  Place the T-Bone Steak on a serving plate.
     Pour a generous amount of the Green Tabasco Pilsner Butter Sauce over the steak.  (About 2 ounces.)
     Place the 5 whole Green Tabasco Peppers on the steak as a garnish
     Serve with a vegetable and potato of your choice on the side.

     Viola!  A big tender T-Bone Steak with a great tasting spicy beer sauce!