Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mass A Peel aka TGI Freaky Friday's


I was peeling potatoes to make silky pommes puree (apple & potato). Reserved the skins and baked them @ 275F for about 10-15 minutes. They curled up and made these wonderfully crispy potato skin....chips...crackers....leper batons? I actually planned on frying them and was just simply baking them at low heat to dry them out for premium frying. However, I lost track and this is the result. It's healthier too. This would be great to throw in a coffee grinder and make potato skin powder. Give TGI Fridays a run for it's...creativity?

Or just to fuck with such a franchise, make a dish of fried pork skins with potato skin powder, whipped roasted scallion puree and candied jalapeno or a jalapeno sambal. Something like that.

I might be able to market these in a vacuum-sealed bag and flavor them accordingly. A healthier potato chip would be exactly designed for those who drink Diet Coke, Sprite Zero and are fooled into thinking that Lipton Green Tea actually contains antioxidants.

I love potato skins. Dried and crispy versions should not go unnoticed. I've been also craving to dehydrate and grind random items into powder.

And I will...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Roasted Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Roasted 1/2 a squash (1.5 hours) and 2 potatoes (1 hour) in the skin with no seasoning at 375F
Once cool enough to handle, peeled and pushed potato through a food mill (or through a sieve or ricer)
Scooped out the flesh of the squash into the same bowl with potato
Replaced 1/3 of standard gnocchi recipe's potato measurement with the squash
flour, 1 beaten egg, parmesan, nutmeg and salt were added and kneaded into a dough (adding flour as necessary considering the squash will make the dough a bit limp)
Once kneaded to a pliable dough, rolled out into a fairly thin log on a floured work surface and cut 1 in. pieces.
Tossed those pieces into a bowl of flour to coat evenly.
Boiled in salted water 3-4 minutes.

The rest is up to you.
To test out my recipe, I browned butter over medium heat and added a few whole leaves of sage to crisp them up. Added salt and pepper. Tossed a few gnocchi in the pan. It faired pretty well. Actually, it fared pretty well.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Potato-Crusted Haddock . Bosc Pear . Golden Beets . Cranberry Red Wine Reduction

I have to be honest. This dish was...okay. Actually, it was good, but I wasn't too excited. This is another exercise in using what I have in my fridge. For that, it's not so bad. But as a conceptual dish, there's nothing special or apparently cohesive going on. Looks nice, though. There was even some mishaps with the fish. I had shingled the potato slices (dipped in brown butter and flour, which smells fantastic!) over one side of the haddock (skinless) fillet. I let it rest in the fridge for 1/2 hour to sort of cement itself to the fillet. Upon flipping, I realized that I did not let it sear long enough on potato side for it to set. Shingles went flying like a mild hurricane just passed through my fry pan. I was able to rearrange them afterwards, but it's not what I wanted. Premature flipping calls for a do over.

Anyways, my point is for readers to not be fooled by what I post. I will never post something just because it looks pretty. It has to have flavor. In this case there was flavor, just not the right flavor I was looking for.

Trust me to be honest with you. I had another shingled fillet leftover and I just cooked it about 10 minutes ago. Simple, with some sliced Shiitakes tossed in soy sauce and lemon. The fish was more successful in flipping, but a bit more black than golden.

Whatever, I feel like I'm rambling.

Moral: flavor is more important than presentation

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Eye vs Mouth

There are a lot of factors involved in eating. Our brains associate with color, aroma, aesthetic and texture way before we even taste anything. What do you think this post is about? What are the dishes and ingredients above? What if you gave the diner a preconception of the dish and completely turn your taste buds against the rest of your receptive triggers resulting in a battle of the senses. Your eyes see one thing, nose smells another and tongue tastes something completely different. Would this be unpleasant? Will it give the adventurous eater a boner or the universal palette of an eyebrow-raising gourmand another eyebrow to raise?

I believe the second picture gives it away, but the focused ingredient above is mushroom.
King Oyster Mushrooms, to be precise. I dethroned these from a local Asian grocery, at an affordable price, mind you.
Upon wielding my chef's sword to these tree trunk mushrooms, I noticed an extreme resemblance to a friendly mollusk.

Keep in mind, this is a mushroom that's named after an oyster, looks like a scallop, and tastes meaty.

Above is Espresso-crusted King Oyster Mushroom with Caramelized Onions, Celery, Garlic-Red Wine Reduction, Lemon and Shaved raw King Oyster Mushrooms as well.
It's not my ideal dish for this discovery, but it's in the making.

What can I do to best compliment the mushroom and make it the centerpiece?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving Ragout aka Leftovers from Scratch

Farfalle with Turkey & Pumpkin Ragout

Sometimes leftovers go right over your head. You figure you'll reheat it, or not, or just put it in a sandwich. What if you made leftovers from scratch? I guess that's pretty much what I did here. I went shopping the weekend after Thanksgiving to find most of said holiday items were appropriately reduced in price. Taking advantage of that, I brought home some belated festive ingredients. I've been obsessed with notion of authentic Italian cuisine, or at least delicious Italian food. Being as though it's nearly impossible to obtain in Florida, let alone North America. If you do find it, you tend to pay a pretty penny. So, I thought if I can't make it authentic, let me at least make it delicious. Here's what I did:

-Browned three turkey legs (gotta love dark meat) on all sides till golden (not cooked) in olive oil.
-Meanwhile, I caramelized a whole spanish onion, sliced in a separate pan and preheated the oven to 350F.
-I also boiled a saucepan with water and sugar and added about two handfuls of fresh cranberries until they popped, then I let them cool in the pan with the liquid.
-Set the browned turkey legs aside, added a mirepoix (carrot, onion, celery) plus diced Calabaza squash to the same oil the legs were browned in.
-Let it saute and then deglazed with red wine.
-I threw the caramelized onions in the mix and deglazed that pan as well. Added the deglazing juice to the mix.
-Reduced everything over medium high heat until dry.
-Added back the browned turkey legs, threw in two cans of peeled San Marzano tomatoes and enough stock to come up 3/4 way up the sides.
-Brought that to a simmer and put it in the 350F oven and covered (here I used aluminum foil to cover)
-Left it to cook for roughly 1 hour.
-Took out the turkey legs and shredded the meat.
-Meanwhile, I threw the sauce in the blender to mash it up. Not too fine, leave a bit chunky.
-Added the shredded turkey meat and sauce back to the pan.
-Added fish sauce, salt, fresh oregano, black pepper, chipotle puree, ketchup and the cranberries strained from its liquid.
-Adjusted seasoning.
-Served with farfalle (bowtie) pasta, parmesan cheese, chili flakes, olive oil and chopped celery leaves.