Archive | July, 2011

On the Dinner Table @ Casa d’ Amado: Veal Scallopini

17 Jul

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I had a big surprise today.  We found around 2.5 kg of veal in the freezer buried beneath meat scraps for the dog.  Petra and I had been wondering what we were going prepare for dinner, and now I had our answer.  Veal Scallopini.

The meat looked to be cut from either the shoulder or the hind quarter of the animal, so I had quite a bit of work to do trimming and removing all the connective tissue and silver skin.  Still, it was a labor of love since it is not often that I have the opportunity to work with such a choice cut of meat.

Here’s what I managed to find in our kitchen:

  • Veal Cutlets pounded to about 1/8 in. thickness
  • Flour
  • Herbes de Provence
  • Mushrooms, sliced (I had Shitake and Porcini on hand)
  • White Wine (demi-dry… a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc will do nicely)
  • Chicken Stock
  • Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • Bay Leaf
  • Butter (unsalted)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

After portioning the veal cutlets, I seasoned the dredging flour with herbes de provence, salt & pepper (Don’t be afraid to taste the flour mixture. Always taste as you go).  I combined a bit of butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, dredged the cutlets in the flour mixture, and cooked the cutlets for about a minute on each side until the jucies ran clear (Try to work in no more than 3 batches at a time.  You don’t want to burn the flavorful residue).  After the cutlets were done, I quickly sautéed the mushrooms in the same pan and set the mushrooms aside and started the sauce by deglazing the pan with about a cup of wine, a bay leaf, and reduced by 1/2 (Make sure to scrape all the yummy brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan while the wine is reducing).  I followed with about about 2 cups of chicken stock and reduced by 1/2, and pulled it off the heat and finished with beurre monté… whisking cold chunks of unsalted butter to the liquid until I had the consistency I wanted.  Salt & Pepper to taste and chopped parsley to garnish.

I served the veal topped with mushrooms and sauce accompanied with steamed broccoli and buttered boiled potatoes.  A fine way to dine on our last vacation day.

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On the Dinner Table @ Casa d’ Amado: Whole Baked Carrots

16 Jul

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Our vacation time is almost over, and so are our provisions.  We are almost left with nothing but dry goods… canned and jarred.   We had a rather heavy lunch of Tortellini in Sauce Rosée, so for dinner, we return once again to the lighter side.  This evening it will be Whole Baked Carrots.  Normally this would accompany a meat course as a side dish, but for us it will serve as a main course with some whole grain rolls.

 

This is a very simple dish to prepare, and there are many differrent ways to bake a carrot, but here’s how it’s being done at our house this evening with items we had on hand:

  • Whole Carrots, washed and scrubbed
  • Garlic, crushed
  • Olive Oil
  • Pear Balsamic Vinegar
  • Mandarin Orange
  • Herbes de Provence
  • Salt & Pepper

 

Preheat oven to 200C

Coat the carrots with olive oil, garlic, herbes de provence and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar.  Salt and Pepper and top with sliced mandarins.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 30-40 mins. or until a little tender.  Remove the foil and continue baking until carrots are nice and caramelized.

 

Next time I’ll try to flambée the carrots with brandy.

 

On the Dinner Table @ Casa d’ Amado: Seared Zucchini w/ Parmesan Roasted Garlic Aioli

15 Jul

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For dinner, something easy. Pan Seared Zucchini with Parmesan Roasted Garlic Aioli.

On the Lunch Table today @ Casa d’ Amado: Tagliatelle all’ Uovo w/ Alfredo Primavera

15 Jul

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Tagliatelle all’ Uovo is a handmade pasta that is best known paired with a classic Bolognese. For today’s lunch we went with an Alfredo Primavera… not for lack of ingredients for a Bolognese, but because of the current abundance of quality summer vegetables.

Ingredients

Pasta Dough:

3 cups 00 flour or unbleached all-purpose, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs plus 2 yolks

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon

1 tablespoon water

Cornmeal, for dusting

To make pasta dough: Combine the flour and salt; shape into a mound on your work surface and make a well in the center. Add whole eggs, yolks, and 1 tablespoon olive oil to the well and lightly beat with a fork. Gradually draw in the flour from the inside wall of the well in a circular motion. Use 1 hand for mixing and the other to protect the outer wall. Continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a ball. Knead and fold the dough until elastic and smooth, this should take about 10 minutes. Brush the surface with remaining olive oil and wrap the dough in plastic wrap; let rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax. Divide the ball of dough in small sections, cover and reserve the dough you are not immediately using to prevent it from drying out. Form the dough into a rectangle and roll it through the pasta machine, 2 or 3 times, at widest setting. Pull and stretch the sheet of dough with the palm of your hand as it emerges from the rollers. Reduce the setting and crank dough through again, 2 or 3 times. Continue tightening and rolling until the sheet is about 1/4-inch thick. Keep in mind, overly thick pasta tastes gummy. Cut the long sheet into workable 18-inch pieces. Now, using the fettuccine cutting attachment, run the sheets through the cutting slot. Dust the noodles and a baking sheet with cornmeal. Coil the strands into a nest. Allow to dry for about 10 minutes before cooking.

Below is a basic recipe for Alfredo Sauce. I’ve made minor adjustments to suit my own flavor preferences.

Alfredo Sauce:

1 pint heavy cream

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Freshly cracked black pepper

Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

To prepare alfredo sauce: Heat heavy cream over low-medium heat in a deep saute pan. Add butter and whisk gently to melt. Sprinkle in cheese and stir to incorporate. Season with freshly cracked black pepper. In a large stockpot, cook pasta in plenty of boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Quickly drain the pasta and add it to the saute pan, gently toss the noodles to coat in the alfredo. Transfer pasta to a warm serving bowl. Top with more grated cheese and chopped parsley.

My adjustments were as follows:

Before adding the cream, I sauteed diced onions and minced garlic with herbes de provence and a bay leaf. I added the cream and simmered until reduced by about 1/4. I then stirred in the cheese until completely incorporated with the cream. Season with salt and cracked pepper to taste.

For the summer vegetables, I sauteed in the following order: onion, garlic, carrot, zucchini, peppers. Salt & Pepper to taste.

Pasta and basic Afredo Sauce recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence: Food Network, 2001 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

On the Lunch Table @ Casa d’ Amado

13 Jul

For today’s lunch I prepared Herb-Crusted Mahi on Summer Penne:

Note: The Czech rohlik makes fine bread crumbs. All the vegetables used in this dish came from grandma’s garden.

 

  • Penne Pasta cooked al dente
  • Onion cut julienne
  • Zucchini cut batonnet
  • Pepper cut batonnet
  • Tomato cut macedoine
  • Garlic minced
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Herbes de Provence
  • Parmigiano Reggiano grated
  • Basil cut chiffonade
  • Mahi fliet portioned to 100g
  • Juice from 1 lime and 2 mandarins
  • Olive Oil
  • Taragon
  • Salt & Pepper

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I made a marinade by emulsifying olive oil, mandarin-lime juice, taragon, salt & pepper, and let the Mahi sit in it for 20-30 minutes. I seasoned the bread crumbs with the herbes de provence and salt & pepper. I pat-dried the marinated filets, dipped them in olive oil and then dredged them in the seasoned bread crumbs and placed them on a lightly greased oven tray and broiled them in the oven until done.

While the fish cooked, I sauteed the veggies in the following order: onion, garlic, zucchini, pepper, tomato. I added the basil, penne and finished with the parmesan and salt & pepper to taste.

Plate and serve…..

Paired with Fresh Raspberry Lemonade made with home-made raspberry syrup and freshly squeezed lemons.


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Sunday’s Lunch @ Casa d’ Amado: Grilled Mahi & Avocado Salsa w/ Roasted Corn and Grilled Zucchini

10 Jul

I decided to kick off my vacation week by preparing a dish that reminds me of home.

Prep

For this, I had:

  • Mahi Filets portioned 100g
  • 2 avocados cored, peeled, and cubed
  • 2 onions diced
  • 2 tomatoes seeded and diced
  • 1 lime
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 peppers seeded, pith removed, and diced
  • Zucchini sliced 2cm
  • Bacon or Salt Pork diced small
  • Kernel Corn (drained)
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Fresh Cilantro chopped
  • Cumin (ground)
  • Salt & Pepper

There are 2 marinades, one for the fish, and one for the zucchini. For the fish marinade, I emulsified olive oil with lemon-lime juice, Salt & Pepper, and let the fish sit in it for 20 to 30 minutes. For the zucchini, I emulsified olive oil, balsamic, salt & pepper. While the fish and zucchini marinade, I prepared the salsa by combining the avacado, tomato, onion (1), peppers, cilantro, and tossed the lot in lemon-lime juice adding salt, pepper, and cumin to taste.

Mahi in Marinade Rend Bacon

To prepare the corn, I rended the salt pork… crisping the pieces until well browned. I removed the fried pork bits and set aside on a paper towel and started the onion (1) in the fat. As the onion started to tender, I added the corn and sauteed on high temperature. When kernels started to brown, I finishied with chopped cilantro adding salt, pepper, and cumin to taste.

Onions in Fat Roast Corn

And now for the grilling!

Grill Zucchini

When grilling the zucchini, take care not to over cook or you’ll end up with limp squash, and everyone knows… nobody likes a limp one. Don’t toss the marinade just yet.

Grill Mahi

When grilling the mahi, baste with the fish marinade. Salt & Pepper the filets before grilling.

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And now the plating… Lay down a slice of zucchini and drizzle with a bit of the marinade. Spoon some of the roasted corn and top with another slice of zucchini. Add a piece of Mahi and top with the avocado salsa. Garnish the salsa with the fried pork fat bits. Add a lemon wedge and you’re ready to enjoy this summertime classic from the Florida Keys.

On Sunday’s Dinner Table @ Casa d’Amado

3 Jul

After keeping things simple Saturday, I decided to test myself Iron Chef style. After spending 30 minutes taking inventory of what was available on hand, I had my menu:

Chili Relleno Casserole with Grilled Zucchini and Whole Grain Garlic Bread

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Prep:

Pre-heat over to 180C

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I blistered the skin of the peppers under an old Communist era salamander and tossed them into a plastic food bag to let the steam loosen their skins. My wife asked me, “why peel the peppers?”

“Darlin’, it’s all about the taste and the mouthfeel.”

Peppers peeled and set aside, I blended the cheese with minced garlic and herbes de Provence and set that aside. I whipped the egg whites until stiff peaks formed, whipped the yolks and added the chopped Spring onions, then gently folded the yolks into the whites until uniform in color. I buttered the bottom of a casserole dish and lay down one layer of the peppers and sprinkled the cheese blend on top. I then spread 1/2 of the egg mixture over the top and lay down a second layer of peppers, cheese, Bresaola & Proscuitto. Topped it all off with the rest of the egg mixture and placed on the middle rack of the oven. While that cooked, I covered the zucchini with the vinaigrette and grilled them on both sides.

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I pulled the zucchini off after getting nice grill marks on both sides. You have to be careful not to over cook or you end up with limp, floppy, squash. I split the whole grain rohliky and brushed both sides with garlic butter and warmed up some Italian style tomato sauce I purchased during Italian Week at Lidl.

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I took out the casserole when it had a nice golden brown colour and sprinkled the cheese mixture over the top and returned to the oven until the cheese melted. Cut… plate… and serve…

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