Thursday, January 6, 2011

Janurary 6th- Open Faced Fish n' Fennel Sandwhich

     The Fisherman

     Once, many years ago in Georgia, I had a sandwich of legend. a sandwich which nothing could surpass. It was amazing, I couldn't possibly fathom ever tasting a better sandwich in my life. 
     Today I have surpassed that sandwich, and made something that could rightfully go down in history. (if you ask me anyway :P you've just GOT to try it! )

     It all started this morning when I found myself browsing the blogs I follow. One site had Roasted Fennel, and after one look at it, I knew that it would be the only thing that I'd be hungry for for the rest of the day.
     I went out to breakfast and grabbed my notebook, spending a surprising amount of time for just one recipe. Imagining the proper depth of each flavor and adding in ingredient upon ingredient.
     My hard work was worth it. Hours and hours later when I finally got my chance to cook, what I was left with was a masterpiece.
     Orange roughy and Fennel sandwich with feta cheese and Merlot vinaigrette.

Here's what you'll need

 2 Fennel plants
1 lb Orange roughy
1/2 Lemon
1 loaf White Mountain Boule 
2 tbsp Red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Sunflower oil
4 tbsp Red wine (Merlot)
Feta Cheese

     Why so specific on the bread, you ask?
     Find and try this bread, and then tell me if you ever plan to use another bread again in your LIFE. I was looking for sourdough, but the store was out. I bought this and I think serving my sandwich on anything else would be close to blasphemy.

     As for the wine, could you use any type of red wine? Probably. but you won't be eating my sandwich unless you use 'Robert Mondavi Winery- napa Valley Merlot'  
     If you ask me, wine isn't an interchangeable ingredient. Each and every one has it's own taste and you shouldn't just pick at random when using it. You have to taste and select very very carefully!!
     Now..this is a 22 dollar bottle so I can understand if you don't use it. But please carefully choose the one you do use.
(Makes 6 sandwiches)
Lets Get Cooking!!

     Preparation takes a long time but it isn't very rushed.
     Start by setting your oven to 375. chop your fennel whites into half inch disks and place them on a tray. Drizzle them with sunflower oil and a little salt.
     they will bake on both sides for 25 to 30 minutes each.

    For your vinaigrette, add your wine and vinegar together in a small container, whisk while slowly pouring in the oil. Add a pinch of salt and let sit. You may need to whisk it briefly again before adding it to the sandwiches.

     When there is 15 minutes left for your fennel to cook, it's time to start on your orange roughy. Cut it into six pieces and saute it in a little oil, a little salt, and a little lemon until it's just about done. 
     cut your bread to the proper size and we're ready.
     Get ready to build the sandwhich!

     Bread, then fennel, then your fish. Put that in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes. Now take your fish back off and set it aside. Drizzle on 1 to 2 tsp of your vinaigrette, and crumble on some feta cheese. Now return your fish to its rightful spot and enjoy!

     I would serve this sandwich anywhere. It gets an easy 6 stars in my book.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January 5th- Man Food Yo!

     I proudly present, My lazy day meal.

     As it seems, my new-years resolution is to cook dishes that make me happy. This big plate of food is one of my best friends in life. 
     It's filling,its satisfying and it doesn't need a bit of presentation. It's proof that really good food can look amazing just left as is.
     Though it isnt exactly easy to prepare, I've done it so many times I can cook the entire thing while hardly even realizing I've started. I'm probably more fond of this dish than any other I've ever cooked. it's a steady part of my life.

     This recipe involved a lot of chopping, if you're knife skills aren't up to snuff you may want to reconsider trying it. it will probably take you more time than it's worth. On the other hand, it's really good

 Here's what you'll need!

.80-1 lb Steak (Ny strip, delmonico, or ribeye)
1/4th White onion
2 cloves Garlic

2-3 medium Golden potatoes
1/6th White onion
2 cloves garlic
1-2 Tbsp maple syrup

4 eggs

     The meal is hash-browns, shredders, and eggs. 
     Shredders were an invention of mine that I created to get around my girlfriend's gluten and dairy allergies. If cooked right the meat and onions stand on their own better than any whole cheesesteak that I've had.
     I also sometimes add  red and yellow bell peppers, and occasionally tomato sauce.

Let's get cooking!

     To make this meal easily you'll want to prep everything in advance. remember that cutting is very important in this recipe. the more exact your cuts are, the more evenly your food will cook.
     Not to mention that the way you cut them will completely change the texture and may even alter the taste. experiment! But here's how I do mine.

     cut your potatoes in half,  and lay them on their flat side. Cut eight slices in each one long ways and completely through. then ten slashes short-ways.  If the potato is big, cut more slices.
     The onions have to be chopped. cut your onion in half long ways and lay it flat. Cut off about 3/4ths of an inch slice and slice it into thin strips.
     Simply mince the garlic.

     For your steak, cut them into inch strips as thin as possible. The end pieces might be a little thick but throw them in anyway
     This time with the onion, halved long ways as before.  cut them into thin  half circles.
     Once again, just mince the garlic.

     Now turn 2 burners on high, and one to medium. coat the entire bottom of the pan thinly with oil for the hash-browns.
     About half of the pan for the Shredders
     And just a little for the eggs.
     The hash-browns, onions, and garlic all go into one pan (salt to taste ) , and cook until golden brown and very crispy. Drizzle them with maple syrup.
     Seer the steak in the oil before adding anything to it (salt to taste) . make sure it's completely seared to well done before adding the onions and garlic. cook them until the onions soften and become translucent ( then just a bit more )

     Cook up your eggs sunny side up(salt to taste), but break the yolk before serving.

     This meal is more about basic techniques than ingredients. It may taste great the first time for you, but you may need some practice.
     Serves two very hungry people.

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 3rd- Crabmeat Dumplings

     After my last recipe, I found myself suddenly unable to cook. I had no idea why and it was starting to bother me a lot. I cooked 2 recipes I thought would be interesting and delicious for all of you, but they turned out horrible.
     The bottom line was, for some reason I just wasn't feeling inspired.
     To be inspired I had to be happy with what I was cooking, and to be happy with what I was cooking, I had to be cooking what I liked.
     Then it hit me. I'd started trying to cook things that looked impressive instead of things that I simply liked to cook.

     That's when I decided today's recipe would be something I really like to do.
     It wasn't a hard decision. It's one of my all time favorite things to cook. I love working with dough yet hate waiting for it to rise, and thousands of different fillings can go into dumplings.I see them as a miracle dish.
     The last thing I did with dumplings was Hawaiian. This time I thought doing something closer to Chinese wouldn't be bad. And so I went with crab meat, thinking I'd make it kind of like a non-deep fried crabmeat-ragoon.

     As usual, even if I'm doing a fun and simple dish, I like the flavors to be different. Something to knock old recipes up a notch. I remembered I had an orange left in the fridge from my Orange roughy, and so this recipe was born.

Here's what you'll need!

The skin:
2 cups All purpose flour
3/4th cup Just boiled water
dash of salt
1 Egg yolk

The Filling:
18 oz Crab meat
9 oz Cream cheese
2 tsp Cracked pepper
2 tsp Blood orange zest
2 tsp Sugar

     Ok...So I didn't have any blood oranges in my fridge. I used Tangerines for the roughy. But the tangerine left in my fridge did give me the idea to go out and get the Blood Orange. It adds an interesting mixture of sweetness and tang to the crab.
     Additionally, since I've already given the instruction on dumplings, you can all follow the  directions on this page for the skin. The only real change you need to make is making 24 instead of 18.

     Cut the dough in half three times and then in thirds and you will come up with 24.

Lets get cooking!

     Mix all the ingredients together for the filling, add 1 tbsp of it to each dumplings and close tightly with your fingers, making sure to get out all of the air that you can. Use a fork to seal if your fingers aren't doing the job.
  Steam them for 15 minutes, I did 12 at a time.
  Also pan-fry them in a small bit of oil until crispy and nicely browned on both sides.
3 or 4 of these on the side of your plate make for a great side dish, But the crab meat and cream cheese mixture makes it taste pretty heavy for a main course.