Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rosie Makes An Asian Inspired Carrot Salad.

 The other day,
I'd bought an assortment of mushrooms to use in the soup
and after all was said and done,
I found a package of enoki mushrooms 
that had gone MIA while I was doing the soup.

I'm taking care of the enokis today.
From this ...

 To this.

 Asian Salad
1 carrot
1 inch piece of ginger
handful of enoki mushrooms
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1 TB sake
1 TB Tamari
1 TB toasted sesame seeds
1 TB roasted, unsalted peanuts, crushed (not shown)

 I julienned my carrot and ginger.
Cut off the bottom part of the enokis,
then cut in half.
Make two piles - bottom half and the cap half.
Separate stems in each pile.
(They're like string cheese.)

 I heated up the sesame oil
and added in the ginger and carrots.

 Saute for 1 minute. 
 Add in the bottom part of the shrooms.
Saute 1 minute.

 Add sugar and toss well.

Add a tablespoon of sake.
 Add in mushroom caps and saute for 30 seconds.

 Stir in the soy sauce.

 Serve with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds.

I freakin' love this.

 Mr. Hawthorne added some roasted peanuts.
The peanuts took it over the top.

 This was lick-the-plate good.
Those are my tongue tracks.

This was excellent.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rosie Makes Caramel Flan

Rosie spent the last weekend making stocks
and magically turning them into consommés.
To turn a cloudy, dull stock 
into a vibrant, refined, shockingly clear consommé,
I use a bunch of egg whites.

That means I have lots of egg yolks leftover
that I need to tend to.

an incredibly rich, decadent dessert,
using up 6 yolks.

I'm making Caramel Flan,
using up 6 more yolks.

And I still have more yolks.
Perhaps crème brûlée is in my future.
Who doesn't love torching food?!

9 TB sugar
6 TB water
1 cup sugar
1 pt heavy cream
1/2 cup skim milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 whole eggs
6 egg yolks

In a small saucepan, combine the 9 TB sugar and the water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, without stirring, until the mixture turns a golden brown syrup.

Working quickly, pour an equal amount of the caramel syrup into each of 6 1-cup ramekins, rotating the ramekins until the sides are coated halfway up.  Helps to have an extra pair of hands to tilt the ramekins.  The caramel hardens quickly upon hitting cold ramekins.  Place ramekins in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Pour the cream and milk in a saucepan.  Scrape the vanilla bean and add both seeds and bean to the mixture.  Place over low heat until small bubbles appear along the edges of the pan.  Do not boil.  Remove vanilla bean.

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Beat together eggs, yolks, and 1 cup sugar until pale and foamy.  Add the hot milk slowly and gradually, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling.  Fill the ramekins.

Add boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake the custards until set, about 55 minutes.  Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until well chilled.

Run a sharp, thin knife inside each ramekin and invert onto individual plates.

Sugar and water over medium heat,
just coming to a boil.

Keep boiling until you get a nice caramel color.

Quickly pour into ramekins.

Heat the cream, milk, and vanilla bean and seeds over low heat
just until bubbles form along the sides.
Remove from heat.

Whip the eggs and yolks.

Gradually beat in sugar. 

Slowly beat in hot milk mixture.

Strain the mixture into the ramekins.

Bake in a 300 degree oven 50 - 60 minutes, until set.
Let cool, then refrigerate.

Run a thin, sharp knife inside the ramekin and invert.

This is beautiful.

Vanilla fragrance.

Oh my.
The texture is smooth and silky; the flavor ever so rich.

Is your mouth watering yet?

You really should try this with blueberries.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Colington Gray.

Colington Sunset. 02/25/2013.


Rosie Poaches A Pear In Red Wine And Spices.

A week ago, I bought two pears.
I used the first pear in a salad dish I made.
I used sautéed diced duck as the crouton
 in a delightfully amusing, citrusy
 and fruity salad mixed greens salad.

For the past four afternoons,
 Mr. Hawthorne has asked me,
"What are you going to do with that other pear."
"I have plans for it.  I'll do it tomorrow."

Today, he finally called my ass
on my procrastination.
And I acquiesced.
Rosie is making a poached pear.
I'm making a spiced wine sauce
 in which to poach the pears,
and then I'm reducing the sauce.
I'll serve the pears with the reduced sauce,
toasted walnuts, and crumbled bleu cheese.


Trust me on this.
This is another one of those cases
where the total is greater than the sum of its parts.
I love synergy.
Especially when it happens with food.

Let's start with the poaching liquid.
My flavorings for the poaching liquid:
1 cinamon stick
1 tsp orange zest
8 - 10 cloves
10 gratings of nutmeg

More for the poaching liquid:
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup of my Twisted Cabernet Sauvignon.
The beauty of this Twisted Cab
is that it comes with a twist cap!
I quickly determined this was not near enough wine.
Instead of using anymore of my red wine,
I opted to used Mr. Hawthorne's white wine -
a Robert Mondavi Woodbridge Chardonnay.
I poured in 1 cup of his Chardonnay.

I just wanted the red for color.
I used Mr. H.'s for the bulk.
And because I certainly didn't want to use
anymore of my wine for poaching
and not drinking.

Do I really need to explain this to you?
I didn't think so.

Here are the POACHING INGREDIENTS in case you missed them:
1/2 cup Cabernet Sauvignon (Twisted)
1 cup Chardonnay  (Robert Mondavi Woodbridge)
1/4 cup Mr. Hawthorne's Blue Ridge Mountain Sourwood Honey
1 cinnamon stick
1 heaping tsp orange zest
8-10 whole cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract

Honey, cinnamon stick, orange zest, and cloves.

Add in wines.

Add in the vanilla.

Bring to boil.
  Reduce to simmer.
Simmer 15 minutes.

While the poaching liquid was simmering ...
...  I toasted some walnuts.
Toasting intensifies the flavor of any nut you toast.

I have an Anjou pear.
Disfiguring marks give the pear character.
Same as they do people.
Life scars us.
I wear my scars as badges.

 Naked Pear.
I peeled the pear,
leaving the peeling in one piece.
Can you do that?
Would you even try to?
Do you even give a crap?
Do you think I'm OC because I must do this?

I placed the pear in the poaching liquid.
It came halfway up the side of the pear.

Ten minutes each side.
Pour the poaching liquid over top of the pear frequently.

Remove pear from liquid.

Add 1/2 cup sugar to poaching liquid.

While I'm working on the pear,
Mr. Hawthorne fried up some soft shells, shrimp, and oysters.

Soft shells aren't in season.
Mr. Hawthorne always freezes a few dozen
extremely well-cleaned soft shells every season
so he can have them out of season.

I reduced my poaching liquid by half.
Took about 20 minutes.

Plate a wine and spiced poached pear.

Mr. Hawthorne complimented me on this dish.

I love it when you have both sweet and savory going on.
It's yin and yang.

And you end up with groups of flavors
that complement each other
and become more than the sum 
of their individual parts.

I must have pear, poaching liquid,
 bleu cheese, and walnut in each bite.
This is delightful.
It's fresh.
It's fruity.
It's salty.
It's savory.
It's sweet.
It's nutty.
It's yeasty.
It's winey.
It's good.

The Hawthornes still fork on the same plate together.

Opposing ends.
Opposite sides.

Yin and Yang.