Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Chilled shellfish platter

If you have access to fresh seafood then its real easy to put a big platter together. It just has to very fresh. I go see my local wholesale fish guys at the wharf in San Francisco, half the products have come off boats that morning! You can use cooked peeled prawns, cracked lobster, crab, mussels, clams and local oysters on the half shell. To assemble mound a big bed of crushed ice on a strong platter then arrange the chilled shelfish on top and serve. I like it clean and basic with lemon wedges. You can use other dipping sauces if you like such as the american standard, horseradish cocktail or rice wine vinegar based asian style green onion-ginger, thai chilli pepper and cilantro, hot sauce,etc. Serve before dinner or as the main course with crusty bread and chilled white wine. If you have any thing left it can be made into paella or a seafood soup.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Seasoning salt

A lot of people use a wide varity of premade seasoning salts. I find them a poor way to add flavor to what you are eating, stale and tasting like chemicals. So if you have to use them, make your own. Start with fresh herbs,chili peppers,spices and citrus peels then dry in a low oven around 150-200F, when dry grind in a spice (coffee) grinder and mix with a pure salt like kosher. Store in small air tight jars. Remember things are always going to be better when you make it yourself.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Basic chicken broth

This is just a basic chicken stock to use in any recipe that calls for a liquid, its a big flavor booster and increases the nutrition of the recipe.

There can be alot of ingredients or just a few, the basic stock is chicken on the bone, carrots, celery, onions and cold water, these three vegetables together is known as a mire poix. To cook just bring to a simmer and its ready in an hour. Any stock can be made like this, chicken, beef or fish. Save the chicken meat for another use (I will use it for chicken hash at breakfast)

Friday, December 22, 2006

A craving for pork tacos!

This is it!, slow brasied pork with smoky chipoltes

This is the chunky avocado, cilantro and lime salsa

ready to eat on a warm tortilla! I'll take five with a icy Tecate

Curried cauliflower and chick peas

This is a easy, healthy dish with just a few items. Cauliflower, chick peas, onion, peas, curry powder, garlic, tomato and for me the ever present chili peppers.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Fast prawn paella

Paella does not have to be hard to make, you just need the rice and what ever ingredients you want to put in.

This verison is arborio (risotto rice) prawns, smoked paprica, onion, garlic and peas. Saute the onion, garlic in a oil and butter mixture, add rice and paprica, after stirring for a minute, add the rest of the ingredents and 3 parts water or stock to the 1 part rice, simmer till liquid is done, don't stir, enjoy

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Yule Log

I was watching cooking shows on TV with the kids and we decided to make this Yule log.  A fun and easy project to do with the kids!

First make a thin yellow sponge cake sheet spread, then when cool spread with chocolate frosting, roll it up and put more frosting on the outside. Drag a fork across the log to make the rough bark effect.
For the "mushrooms" put some chocolate Kiss's with mini marshmallows on a toothpick and place on log then dust with powdered sugar snow and it's all done!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Red wine brasied beef short ribs

Its a cold and rainy night, so red wine brasied short ribs with creamy soft polenta is on the menu.

These beef ribs have been seared in a hot pan till browned. Diced carrots, celery, onion, garlic, salt and pepper and red wine are added, brought to a boil then turned down to a simmer for three hours. During this time a dollop of tomato paste is added for flavor as well as body. check seasoning to taste and place the ribs in a large bowl over creamy polenta, spoon pan sauce and vegetables on top. Garnish with chopped parsley and a little lemon zest.
Note: If you haven't already poured yourself a big glass of a red wine, do it now!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Saffron prawn risotto with fresh peas

This is the basic risotto recipe with a pinch of saffron, sliced fresh prawns, chopped parsley, garden fresh peas and lemon zest. Looks great and tastes even better!

crispy potato cake

Not just for breakfast!

Russet potato shredded, squeezed dry and cooked in a pan with butter and oil, done when brown and crisp. Breakfast with eggs or formal with smoked salmon, sour cream and chives.