Monday, November 3, 2008

Long time no foodie!

Well it's been quite a while since I typed anything for this blog, but it's been a BUSY summer.
work and more work was the name of the game, with plenty of great meals in between. The best things though are the discovery of beer monster and the fact that I'm sooo close to putting the final touches on the kitchen. (the homemade whiskey, grilled pizza and fresh caught red fish are up there too!) The main thing has been a photography show  I've been putting together that opens on election day (as if anyone's voting!!) Don't worry, the reception is on the 8th, hopefully we know who the commander in chief will be by then!
For the time being here are some shots of the aforementioned accomplishments! 

Monday, March 10, 2008

The new "facility"

I had to post a shot of the new kitchen since it will boost my creativity, productivity and higher quality images of the product!!!
(I had to do the PS job just cause I could!!!)

Sweet Potato Cream Sauce

Here's another last minute idea concocted while wandering through the supermarket unimpressed!
Gemelli in a sweet potato + almond white sauce....

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Beef + Coffee, Who knew?

On thursday I went to the store with the Fam for a regular restocking visit and decided to add a sirloin tip roast to the cart seeing as they were on sale,make a good roast and leftover sandwich meat that's 1000% better than what you can get at the deli. Since rest of the fam isn't home until later on Fridays I thought it would be a nice way to have dinner ready and have lunch food for the next few days as well.

As I took my Fri. lunch break I started to ponder what would make a tasty rub for the roast, without going with the traditional rosemary/garlic combo, but also keeping it simple. For some reason I started drooling over the thought of a mole/chocolate/hispanic style rub when I finished off my last bit of coffee and realized that was it- what else would compliment a nice rich beef dish more than coffee!

I pondered the thought of what would work with fresh ground coffee, and came up with this rub....

1/4 cup or so coffee beans, medium grind
10 cloves garlic
2TBS whole fennel seed
1 teaspoon Dried HOT cayenne, crushed (scotch bonnets/habs would be good also, depending on how spicy you like it!)
3 TBS of olive oil

Toss all the ingredients in a food processor/blender until you have a nice paste, adjust as necessary

Tie the roast so it holds it's shape, season well with salt + fresh ground black pepper,
coat with the rub, wrap in foil/plastic and stick it in the fridge for a couple hours.

about 45min prior to cooking remove the roast so it warms up a bit

Depending on the size of the roast 20-30 min per lb is what is recommended, although I find it's closer to 20 min most of the time

preheat your oven to 450 and let is sit for at least 15 min so it's good and hot.
put the roast on a roasting rack pop it in the oven and let it go for 10-15 minutes to builds a good crust, then drop the heat to 250 and cook until rare-med rare (any more and you might as well eat a leather shoe)

make a jus with the pan dripping and let the roast rest for 15 min before carving!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Fathers day chik'n ribs

I can't really give out the formula for this, but an abbreviated version is below!

Brine your ribs! I used a "commercial" jerk seasoning in water with more salt and lots of garlic. for these ( 3 hrs min.)

lots of smoke-put them on the smoker first (boiling/baking first ruins the whole deal-they take on the most smoke when they're fresh, put em in the oven in the end if you have to!)

hang out , drink some beer and wait (or do yard work etc.)

keep an eye on the fire/smoke the whole time, cut more wood if you have to and keep a bucket going..

if you started when you got up, these should be perfect right about 4pm, if you slacked and slept in then you'll be eating around 8 pm!

Almond-Chili Salmon

OK! just as promised, here's the first recipe to hit the blog and for those of you who have had dinner here you know there's more tricks up the sleeve!

this one is pretty "standard" fare in the Darrah household, if we have to cook salmon in the oven quick and easy this one works great!

A pound or so of salmon ( figure about 10 oz per person, unless you really like salmon, then get the whole side!)
set your oven to HI broil and set the top grate within a few inches of the top.

1/4 cup chopped almonds
2 TBS chili powder or red chili flakes (this depends on how hot you like things- you want dried chilis, otherwise the crust isn't crusty)
Coconut oil (olive oil works just as well but the coconut gives it a nice flavor)

we had a side of steamed broccoli and boiled new potatoes with rosemary to accompany...

Season the fish (skin down) with the S+P, drizzle with a bit of coconut oil, mix the chilis and almond with a bit of oil and pat firmly on top of the fish.

broil for 8 min. per inch of fish (thickest part, less if it's less than an inch - good rule of thumb for broiling most fish) or until it looks translucent pink, then pull it out and let it sit for 5 minutes or so while you plate everything-you don't want to overcook this otherwise it's a waste to buy salmon! 
This works just as well with steelhead.....

nice and healthy, tasty and quick!


Pan fried Pork Chops with Portobello, caramelized onions and a sherry pan sauce

Here's another quick recipe, this is an adaptation of a Cook's Illustrated technique for cooking pork chops with a refined "topping".

Use 1" or thinner chops, otherwise you need to extend the cooking time a bit....

2 (or 1 chop per person) boneless chops
2 TBS butter
1 TBS Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic chopped or pressed
1 cup 1/2 ring cut onions (adjust for more chops)
1 cup sliced portobello mushrooms (you can sub almost any 'shroom for this-shitakes are nice too!)
a few ounces of sherry, madeira, wine etc. for deglazing

heat an appropiatley sized saute pan on med-high to high heat (enough to get a good sear without burning the butter up) use 1 TBS butter and the olive oil to sear the chops on each side for 1 minute, then put the heat on low and cover the pan. Cook on low for about 4 minutes a side (flipping once) Put the chops on a plate and tent with foil ( they will be undercooked at this point - the foil tent will let the residual heat cook them to perfection!)
bring the heat up to med, toss in the onions and cook until they start to become transucent; add the garlic, cook until fragrant, then the shrooms.
cook for a few more minutes until the 'shrooms begin to soften, bring heat to high, toss the pan for a minute or so, deglaze the pan with the sherry, let reduce slightly (another minute or two) then add the juices that have accumulated under the chops (hold them with the foil tent and pour off the juice!). Let this reduce just a bit, remove from heat and quickly whisk in the last TBS of butter to finish the sauce.

Plate the chops and distribute your onions, shrooms and sauce evenly and serve!

We hade these with a rhubarb and caper potato salad, but that's another recipe......