Wednesday, June 28, 2017

It's Tuna Time. With A Southwestern Twist.

Rosie loves her tuna.
Today, it's seared tuna fillets with a corn and black bean salad.
I'm going with southwestern flavors in both the tuna and the salad
and all the flavors are co-mingling delightfully.

 Yes, indeedy!

First, I started on the corn and bean salad.
Corn and Bean Salad
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup cooked black beans
1 ear of corn
1 small onion, chopped
1 small pepper chopped
1 large Roma tomato, peeled, seeded, juiced, and chopped
pinch sugar
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp cumin 
1/2 tsp chili powder
lime juice

Scrape the kernels off the ear of corn and sauté in a tablespoon or so of unsalted butter with a pinch of sugar until lightly browned.  Add in rice, beans, onion, peppers, and tomato and heat through.  Season with salt, pepper, cumin, chili, and lime to taste.

Next, my tuna fillets.
For the tuna steaks, I made a nice coating of:
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 crushed garlic clove
freshly ground pepper
1 TB dried whole coriander seeds
AND, my secret ingredient ...
1 TB fresh, raw coriander seeds which are the seeds of my cilantro plants

If you don't grow cilantro, you need to.
The raw seeds are a quite pleasant surprise - cilantro-y and citrusy.

Grind up the dried coriander seeds a bit, leave the raw ones whole, and mix everything together.

Coat the tuna steaks in the ... coating, pressing in the seasonings.

Just rub it in.  And let the steaks sit in the lime juice, saving the juice for later.

I heated my cast iron skillet to 350° and added in a tablespoon each of unsalted butter and peanut oil.
Place the tuna steaks in the hot pan and sear.  1½ - 2 minutes each side for rare. 3-4 minutes for medium to overdone.  The nice thing about tuna is that it's a very flaky fish.  You can take a fork and separate the meat to check the rareness or doneness.  When the tuna is to your liking, remove to a plate and pour the lime juice left in the coating mixture into the pan along with a pat of butter.  Stir until butter melts, scraping up any goodie bits in the pan.  Pour over tuna steaks and serve.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Rosie Has A Hankerin' For Rum Raisin Ice Cream.


 Rosie loves ice cream.
Especially, homemade ice cream.
And it's even better if some booze is involved.

 Some time ago, I'd made an absolutely decadent Rum Cake
And ever since then, whenever I went into my pantry opened the hall closet, that partial bottle of rum would stare at me, whispering, "Use me...  Drink me...  You know you want me."
I finally succumbed to Cruzan's siren song today.
I made Rum Raisin Ice Cream.
My only question is, "Why did I wait so long?"

 As usual, Rosie is making it up as she goes along.
Come along for the ride.
You'll be glad you did.

Rosie's Rum Raisin Pecan Ice Cream

1 cup raisins
1/3 cup rum
1 TB vanilla extract
Combine raisins, rum, and vanilla in a small bowl.
Let sit overnight so the raisins can soak up all that alkyholic goodness.

3 egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
14 oz. skim milk
2 oz. heavy cream
1 TB vanilla
1 pint heavy cream
1/3 cup chopped pecans

First a bit of explanation.  Instead of 14 oz. skim and 2 oz, heavy cream, you could use 16 oz. (1 pint) of whole milk.  However, I never have whole milk on hand.  I always have skim and cream on hand, so I substitute accordingly.  To approximate 1 cup (8 oz.) whole milk, I use 7 oz. skim and 1 oz. heavy cream.

As for the room temperature eggs, you get more volume beating eggs at room temperature than at refrigerator temperature.

That explained, let's make ice cream!

Beat yolks on high speed.  Gradually beat in granulated sugar, until mixture is light, thickened a bit, and lemon-colored.  Beat in brown sugar until combined well.

Scald the 14 oz. skim milk and the 2 oz. heavy cream in a medium sauce pan.  Bring it just to a boil, then remove from heat.

Slowly pour about a cup of the hot milk/cream mixture into the egg mixture, beating the entire time.  You want to temper the eggs, not scramble them.  Tempering means raising the temperature of the eggs without cooking, or scrambling them.  This technique is used in custards, puddings, and sauces which rely on eggs for their thickening power.  Slowly pour the tempered egg/sugar mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking the entire time, until mixture is thickened.  Temperature should register at about 190°.  You don't want the mixture to boil.  Just let it puff out some steam.  Remove from heat and whisk in the pint of heavy cream and the remaining tablespoon of vanilla.  Yes, I like vanilla.  Set the saucepan in the fridge and let mixture cool before continuing.

Pour custard mixture into ice cream maker and start processing.  After about 20 minutes, add the raisins to the ice cream along with the pecans.  You can either drain the raisins or not.  If you want more boozy flavor in the ice cream, add the rum to the mixture.  If you just want a pop of booze in the raisins, then drain them. Continue processing another 5-10 minutes.
Transfer to containers and freeze.
 This mixture is merely the beaten egg yolks with granulated sugar and the brown sugar.
You want it beaten until it's this light in color.

 Here's my thickened, chilled custard mixture,
the boozy raisins, and my pecans.
Now, if you want more pecans, by all means add 'em in.
I had the 1/3 cup left in the refrigerator and I was too lazy to go down to the utility room freezer to get any more.


After 20 or so minutes of churning in the ice cream machine,
add in the rum raisins and pecans.
Continue processing for another 10 minutes or so.

Oh goodness. This is exquisite.

You know what's really good?
Pour some coffee into the ice cream.

Rosie's breakfast - the breakfast of champions.
Most excellent!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Tuna! And What To Do With All Those Cucumbers In The Garden.

 Lately, I've been jonesin' for tuna.
Finally got my fix today.
I'm serving seared tuna fillets with a cucumber and peanut topping along with another cucumber  and corn salad side dish.   This is what you make when you have bunches of cucumbers producing.
Cucumber on top of more cucumber!

Cucumber Peanut Salad Topping For Tuna Steaks
½ cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ cup raw peanuts
1 TB chopped parsley
1 TB chopped mint
1 TB oil
zest of  ½ lime
juice of one lime
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp Asian sweet chili garlic sauce
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine all ingredients.
And here's the Cucumber Peanut Salad topping for the tuna.
Cover and refrigerate.

Next, make the Corn and Cucumber Salad.
Corn and Cucumber Salad
1 ear corn, kernels scraped off
2 TB chopped onion
½ jalapeño, finely chopped (Seeds removed.)
1 TB chopped red pepper
½ cucumber, peeled and diced
2 TB feta cheese, small cubes
2 TB basil leaves, julienned
 juice of 1 lime
2 TB buttermilk
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Heat a little olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add corn, a pinch of kosher salt, and a pinch of sugar.  Sauté for a few minutes, then add in onion, jalapeño, and red pepper.  Sauté a few more minutes until corn is slightly browned in spots and onion is translucent.  Transfer to small bowl, cover, and refrigerate.

While the corn is chilling, make the dressing.

For the dressing:
Whisk juice of one lime while slowly pouring in ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil.  Whisk in the buttermilk.  Add in a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.
Combine chilled corned, pepper, and onion mixture with diced cucumber, cubed feta, and basil.

Pour lime dressing over top and toss to coat.

Cover and refrigerate Corn and Cucumber Salad.

Now, on to the tuna steaks.
I coated my tuna fillets with white and black sesame seeds and a dusting of cumin.

Sauté tuna steaks in 1 TB unsalted butter and 1 TB peanut oil in a hot skillet (350°).
Depending on the thickness, cook 1-2 minutes each side for rare, 2-3 minutes for medium.  Tuna is very flaky meat, so you can actually spread the meat apart to see the progress of cooking.  Set tuna aside.

Now here comes the fun part.
See all those juices in the pan?  That's all flavor.

Take hot pan away from heat source and pour in a little alkyhol.
You could use sherry.
You could use white wine.
Or, you could use a blood orange liqueur like I did.
Pour in the alcohol, return pan to heat, and tilt it to flambé.  Let the flames die down on their own, then pour the concentrated juices over the tuna fillets.

Mr. Hawthorne actually made his own liqueur from blood oranges a few months ago when they were in season.  He took a few blood oranges, peeled and sliced, put them in a jar, and covered the pieces with vodka.  Every now and then, he'd come in and agitate the mixture.  After about 2 - 3 weeks, he strained the mixture, pressing the liquid out of the oranges.  And voila!  Blood orange liqueur.

 Ta da!
 I served the tuna with the Cucumber and Peanut Salad on top and the Cucumber and Corn Salad as a side.
Happy flavors.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Rosie Makes Beignets. And Then Doughnuts!

It was a lazy weekend and I was in the mood.
For beignets and doughnuts.
Sometimes one just has to scratch that itch.

Basic Recipe For Beignet and Doughnut Dough
 1 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1 package yeast
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 TB unsalted butter, softened
1 egg, room temperature and beaten
1/2 cup evaporated milk
4 cups flour

Whenever I'm working with yeast, I always "proof" it first to be sure it's working.
Pour the package of yeast into the warm water and sprinkle a teaspoon or so of the sugar over top.
And wait.  If, in a few minutes, the mixture becomes bubbly and foamy, then the yeast has "proved" it's alive and you're good to go.

You can mix the dough with a stand-up mixer fitted with a dough hook or you can mix everything in a food processor.  Sometimes, I prefer doing everything by hand, which is what I did.

After the yeast has "proofed," add in the rest of the ingredients.  Knead the dough until you get a smooth, elastic, cohesive mass, adding a sprinkling of flour if necessary to keep it from being too sticky.

Form dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour.
Place dough on lightly floured surface and roll out into a rectangle, about 1/2" thick.

For the beignets:
Cut dough into approximately 3-inch squares, rectangles, triangles, circles, whatever floats your boat.
Cover and set aside to rest and rise, about an hour.

For the doughnuts:
Cut dough into 3-4-inch circles.  Using your thumb, press a hole in the center and work dough into a doughnut shape.  Cover and set aside to rest and rise, about an hour.

Heat a few inches of peanut oil to 350° in a large pan.  Gently slide 3-4 beignets at a time into hot oil, being careful not to crowd the pan.  For doughnuts, drop 2-3 in the oil at a time.  Fry about 2-3 minutes, until puffy and golden brown, turning over halfway through so they'll get evenly brown.  Drain on rack.

For the beignets, dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.

For the doughnuts, I like a chocolate glaze
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
4 TB unsalted butter
2 TB cream
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Combine chocolate, butter, cream, and vanilla in small saucepan and heat until chocolate and butter are melted.  Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar until mixture is smooth.  Dip doughnuts in glaze.

Let dough rise a bit,
then refrigerate until chilled through.

Roll out dough.
About 1/2" thick.

Cut into beignet shapes.

Fry just a few at a time.
Never crowd the pan when frying.

You want them
golden brown on both sides.

Drain and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar while still hot.

Enjoy with a nice, hot cup of coffee.

Form doughnut shapes.

Let rise.

Fry at 350°, turning with tongs to evenly brown.


Let drain on a rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar while still hot.

Or you can dip in a chocolate glaze.

Rosie's Chocolate Glaze
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 TB cream
2 tsp corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted

Melt butter and chocolate.
Stir in cream, corn syrup, vanilla.
Whisk in confectioner's sugar.
Keep whisking until smooth.

I have a confession to make.
My glaze was lumpy.
And I'm blaming it, of course, on Mr. Hawthorne.
He came in at the last minute and asked if he could help.
He saw what I was making and wanted to grab a doughnut and knows that I frown on people waltzing into my kitchen after I've been slaving for hours and grabbing something I've just produced.  That just pisses me off.  He knows the rules.  
So I said, "Sure.  Finish making the glaze."
All he had to do was whisk in the confectioner's sugar.
Well, I discovered the powdered sugar needed to be SIFTED into the chocolate mixture, to avoid the lumps and bumps.
Live and learn.

It doesn't get much better than this.

These are delicious.

Now, go make beignets and doughnuts!