Saturday, March 20, 2010

Farmers market baby Carrots

I know carrots are considered a common vegetable, but sometimes you can get excited about them.
These little farmers market beauties are only about 3 inches long, but as thick as normal size carrots and they are so fresh that the dirt they grew in is still on them. I washed and peeled them before I quickly blanched them in salted water, then they were finished in a saute pan with a dash of butter and a pinch of fresh chopped parsley. Simply delicious.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Roast Duck

Ready to Roast

Golden & Crispy

I was in the mood for duck, but what to part to eat first? the moist duck meat or the crispy skin? Its all good. To start the skin was scored to help release some of the fat while cooking and then into a hot 350F oven to roast for about an hour, next plum sauce was thickly brushed all over in the final stage of cooking, this glaze caramelizes to a dark golden brown with the plum flavors becoming sweet and intensifying. Carved thin and served with Chinese pancakes and scallions, a classic! Note: Be sure to save the rendered duck fat, very good for use in cooking potatoes.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thai Style Fish Curry

There's nothing quite like a good Thai curry, those exotic flavors that I grew to love during my first trip to Thailand many years ago. I like to make curry when ever I get that urge and its really not that hard either if you keep common curry staples in your house. Some of the ingredients I always like to have on hand are Thai curry pastes (red, yellow and green) ginger root, garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, canned coconut milk, cilantro and kaffir lime leaf from the tree growing in my back yard. With these simple ingredients you just add your favorite choice of meat or vegetables. I had some uncooked Rock Snapper from a previous nights dinner that went into my curry. I used cooked Chinese Lo mein noodles to be tossed and served with the fish curry. Easy, fast and good!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pacific Rock Snapper with Avocado

When I came across some nice looking Rock Snapper the other day, I just had to buy a few of the fillets. My plan for these beautiful pink fleshed fish are to saute them skin side down till golden and crispy. I normally try to stay away from heavy cream style sauces, so some type of salsa will go with it. For the salsa I diced avocado, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and plenty of lime juice. The cleaned and scaled fish fillets are seasoned with salt and pepper and go skin side down in smoking hot pan with a touch of vegetable oil, when browned they are flipped for about a minute then onto a warm plate with a generous dollop of the avocado mixture.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Okinawa Purple Sweet Potato

I went to visit my favorite Asian market in San Francisco during the last weekend. I like going there because there is always some new product or food to see, this time in vegetable department.
I discovered what appeared to be normal sweet potatoes, but upon removing the brown skin a bright purple center was exposed!  This variety of sweet potato is called Okinawa originally from the Yomitan village in the Okinawa region in Japan. I wanted to simply cook them so I would be able to taste the sweet potatoes in there purest form. I roasted them with their skins on for about an hour in a 350 degree oven. When soft, I split them in half and scooped out the purple flesh, then a little sprinkle of salt to finish. They were really good, but if you did not see the color they would have tasted like any other sweet potatoes.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Spring is very Close

Spring time! the awaking of dormant plants. I look forward to this time when young plant shoots begin to grow in the warm and longer daylight of the new season. Classic spring foods such as asparagus, fava beans, artichokes and peas will begin to flood the local markets. I can't wait to start cooking all of these foods. Today I saw a display of first of the season asparagus and I had to buy a bunch, my plan was to simply grill them and finish with sprinkle of sea salt and splash of extra virgin olive oil. I stuck to my plan and was rewarded with a plate of amazing asparagus, I will do other recipes soon but for now I wanted to taste nothing but pure asparagus flavor.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Food Specialty?

I just finished watching a new episode of No Reservations hosted by Anthony Bourdain. This show happens to be one of my favorite on TV. Tonight's subject was on food obsession, what kind of foods people like and are obsessed with. It got me thinking about if there is one food that I am obsessed with? Most of my favorite foods are seasonal, I look forward to and enjoy cooking and eating these seasonal foods when they become available. My next category would be foods from the warmer regions of the world and most of these foods also tend to be spicy, which I also like a lot. Sometimes I will cook foods from a particular region of the world for a few days to get it out of my system, then I will move on to another type of food from somewhere else. I really have to agree with Anthony that pork is king and if its in the the form of Latin food then I am truly happy.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Caramel Apples

Its a new week and a new school project that I helped my daughter with, today its caramel apples on a stick. This cooking project is new to me as well, I have made lots of caramel in my life for different menus but have never dipped a whole apple in it. My daughter wanted to make enough for the whole class, too many for me so I had to haggle the number down to a easy 10. I chose small basic red apples and used chopsticks instead of the common Popsicle stick, a good trick I learned was to chill the apples so the caramel hardens faster and will not drip off, a basic caramel recipe using sugar, cream and a touch of water is made and the apples are dipped and placed on a silpat non stick baking mat to cool. These apples can be rolled in chopped nuts or other ingredients if desired. My daughter is looking forward to lots of smiles from her classmates and maybe some extra credit from the teacher.