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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dinner Tonight: Blackened Swordfish Steaks

This is a quick recipe that can be made easily after work on busy nights. You can make this dish as hot and spicy as you like or make it more subtle if you desire. If my wife wasn't around tonight I probably would have made this dish different because she doesn't enjoy hot and spicy foods as much as I do.

2 Swordfish Steaks
Equal Amounts of:
Garlic Salt
Dash of White Pepper
Dash of dried Thyme
Dash Of Cayenne Pepper
2 Tblspns Butter
Juice of half a lemon

Rinse and pat dry the fish. Combine the dry spices well and rub onto the fish. Let the steaks sit for about twenty minutes with the rub on them so they absorb some flavor. In a heavy bottom skillet add the butter over medium high heat. After the butter is melted and starts to foam add the fish. Cook five to six minutes or until the on each side or until they are cooked through. Make sure you do not over cook the fish otherwise it will dry out. Squeeze the lemon juice on fish before serving.


* I used less than a teaspoon for the dried spices for this two persons serving. You can much as much as you like and reserve the rub for other dishes like chicken or other seafoods.

*To make more spicy add more White Pepper and Cayenne.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Whole Canned Chicken?

First and foremost this is not a review it's more of a PSA to the citizens of the world that such a product exists. Somethings should not be canned. A whole chicken is one of them. I understand and have even purchased chicken canned chicken meat but the thought of stuffing a whole bird in a can is utterly repulsive. What would prompt someone to purchase this anyway? The only logical reason I can see is to prepare for a post apocalyptical food shortage but even then I might just vie for some Spam. I think the government should maybe budget some money to research who buys this product and do background checks on them. I might even go as far to suggest that parents who would feed this foul(no its not a typo) product to their children be stripped of the parental rights and be placed in some sort of correction faculty. Ok, maybe that's a little extreme but I feel chicken is inexpensive and easy enough to prepare that one would not have to resort to having to buy a whole cooked canned chicken.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dinner Tonight: Seared Tuna Steak

When I was a growing up I do not ever remember tuna being a staple on restaurant menus regularly. Maybe because people associated tuna with mushy meat that was stuffed into a can with an aroma akin to bait. But let me tell you tuna is no chicken of the sea its more of a Fillet Mignon of the ocean. I would have to think that the Japanese should take some credit for showing the world that to really enjoy tuna it should be consumed in a rare or raw state. Think about the first piece of sushi or sashami you ever tasted and I would wager that most people first started with a raw piece of tuna of some sort. The meaty flavor almost has no fishy taste when raw , the texture is firm and the deep red color is eye catching on a plate.

1 1/2 lb tuna steak
Chinese Five Spice
1 tspn fresh grated ginger
2 tblspn Peanut Oil
Dash Soy Sauce
4 oz white wine( or Saki )
Juice from half of lemon

Rinse and dry the Tuna Steak. Rub both sides of the steak generously with Chinese Five Spice. Heat up the Peanut Oil on medium high heat in a skillet and add the ginger. Cook for a minute or two and add the tuna. Sear for three minutes without touching the steak to insure you get good caramelazation on the outside of the tuna. Flip over after the three minutes is up. Add a few drops of soy sauce to the pan. Do not be alarmed when the Soy Sauce smokes and caramelizes. Cook for an additional three minutes and remove from pan and slice. At this point your skillet will have a syrupy glaze from the burnt Soy Sauce. Lower the heat and add the white wine to the pan scraping the pan to release of burnt bits. Add lemon juice and reduce mixture by fifty percent and pour over sliced tuna.

Serves One

Friday, February 15, 2008

Swiss Chard w. Tomatoes

Swiss Chard is an extremely healthy vegetable which falls into the generic term of 'greens' just like collard green, mustard green and kale. It is tastes very bitter when eaten in the raw state but the flavors mellow out as you cook it. You can really substitute Swiss Chard with any spinach or greens recipe. Only thing you really should take not of is the ribs of the leaves need to be cooked longer than the leaves themselves. Some recipes I've read even instruct you to discard the ribs of leaves.

1 bunch Swiss Chard
1/2 cup canned chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 tblespns olive oil
drop of white wine
dash crushed red pepper(optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Wash the whole leaves thoroughly and dry. Separate the leaves from the ribs. Chop the ribs into bite size pieces and set aside. Chop the leaves in bite size pieces as well and put aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the chopped garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add the tomato's, ribs red pepper if using and the wine. Stir everything together and cook for five minutes stirring occasionally. Add the chopped leaves and cook for an additional seven minutes stirring occasionally and serve.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Bowl Snack: Curry Dip

It was a good weekend to be a New Yorker. I'm not a big football person but on Sunday you really didn't have to be to enjoy the outcome. Congrats to Eli and company.

At my home I am in charge of all the food. I food shop, I cook and more times than not I clean up after wards. I am not complaining about it either I feel right at home(most the time) in the kitchen. My wife on the other hand is not much of a cook. This is not a knock against her at all. She is a naturally organized and neat person therefore she is better suited for other household chores.

So my brother and sister law had a super bowl party on Sunday and I figured I would be called upon to make something. I like cooking for parties. When I make party dishes I try to give guests something different than just chips and salsa. A dish to show off my culinary prowess. I did not get a chance to however. My sister in law requested my wife make her Curry Dip recipe. Now when I said my wife doesn't cook that is indeed a true statement. She does make Spinach Dip and Curry Dip quite often for parties. But I do not consider dip making 'cooking' because well, it isn't cooked. I must admit I was slightly insulted. After all I am the chef of the house and I am the one they should be asking to bring something. It then dawned on me that I do not have a signature dish. Something to distinguish me from others. Maybe my logic to make something different all the time does not work to my advantage.I need to create a specialty to give me an identity. In this new year perhaps I should find my one dish and perfect so family and friends will request my food and I could share my recipe with them.

Anyway enough ranting. My wife's Curry Dip is actually very good and this is coming from a non dip person. This is an old recipe from the 60's or 70's from I believe from her great aunt. Though there is curry in this recipe even a person who doesn't like the pungent spice should be able to enjoy it. It's has a nice tangy and spicy flavor that goes great with veggies. She chose carrot,cauliflower and celery as the dipping apparatuses. Turned out great and the guests loved it.

2 cups mayo
1 tblspn mustard powder
1 tblspn garlic powder
1 tblspn curry powder
1 tblspn horseradish
1 tblspn grated onion
1 tblspn white win vinegar
1 tblspn mustard

Combine ingrerdients and let chill for an hour before serving.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Dinner Tonight: White Castle Style Cheese Burgers

For dinner tonight I was going to sous vide a Mulard Duck but I decided against it at the last minute. Instead I decided to recreate an American classic the White Castle Cheese Burger. These little belly bombers are probably the quintessential guilty pleasure. Many times I've indulged on these in my youth after a night of boozing only to wake up the next day doing shots of Pepto. Why do we subject ourselves to such punishment? Maybe because they are delicious and their mini steamed goodness is so unique that they have to be enjoyed regardless of their undesirable side effects. With the help you You Tube I finally saw how they were made and became determined to duplicate them in the comfort of my own kitchen.

1lb ground chuck
2 onions chopped
1 egg
12 Wonder Bread Dinner Rolls
Couple dashes Worcestershire sauce
Couple dashes Adobo
Few slices of American Cheese
2 tblespns canola oil
2 oz water

Cook the rolls as directed cut them in half and put aside. Mix the chuck,egg, Worcestershire sauce and the Adobo in a bowl well. Grab a large piece of wax paper or foil to stage the patties. Make the beef patties as flat and square as possible. You want to make them larger than size of the rolls because when the patties cook they will shrink. I achieved this by pressing them down by hand and cutting the edges with a knife to form the square. You will probably have to shape it by hand a bit as well. They don't have to be perfect but try to get them as square as possible. With your pinkie finger make several holes in the patties. After the patties are made transfer them to the freezer and let them firm up for about half an hour. I did this because White Castle burgers are cooked frozen and I wanted to be true to the recipe and technique.

To cook the onions I used a large griddle pan, if you do not have one I guess use a large skillet or maybe even a cookie sheet. Regardless of what you are using place it on your stove with the oil
and add the onions and cook for a few minutes over medium heat turning them over a few times. Add the water then spread the onions out flat in a single layer and proceed to put the patties on top of them. Then place to top of the rolls on top of the patty. I know it might seem odd, even unsafe to place the bread on top of the raw meat but this is how they are made in the White Castle restaurants. This is how the burgers get their tradmark flavor and texture, the steam from the onions cook the beef and the vapors travel through the holes in the patties and are absorbed by the bun. Its actually pretty clever. Cover the everything with foil, lower the heat and let cook for ten minutes or until the patties are well down. While the patties are cooking add the ketchup on the bottom of the bun and place a piece of cheese on top of it. After that patties are well done assemble the burger and serve. I recommend a Napa Valley Pinot Noir to be paired with the burgers.

Makes approx 24 burgers


*Add a slice of pickle to the bottom of the bun with the cheese and ketchup of desired

* Here is a link the aforementioned You Tube video:

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