Friday, September 13, 2019

5-Minute Fisherman’s Stew – Give or Take

Of course this Fisherman’s Stew takes more than five minutes to make, and I’m actually referring to the approximate cooking time once the seafood hits the pan, but as they say, it’s only false advertising if someone else does it. Besides, one taste and I’m sure you’ll forgive any temporal exaggerations. If, that is, you use really great seafood.

A recipe this simple has many advantages. It’s fast, easy, and doesn’t require a ton of prep, but the downside is, there’s nowhere to hide sub-par ingredients. So, unless you’re going to splurge on the freshest, sweetest, most pristine seafood you can find, you may want to look for another recipe.

Above and beyond that very critical directive, you’ll also want to be sure your brothy base is aggressively seasoned before you toss your seafood in. Since we don’t season the fish and shellfish directly, we need to make sure we have enough salt, and whatever else you’re using, to go around. Other than that, not much can go wrong, and assuming there’s some crusty bread nearby, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 Portions:

For the brothy base:
1 cup crushed San Marzano tomatoes, or fresh tomatoes (if your tomatoes aren't nice and sweet, toss in a teaspoon of sugar)
2 cups fish stock, clam juice, or if time are tough, water
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes, or to taste

For the rest of the stew:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 very thinly sliced fennel bulb
salt to taste
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup chopped parsley
8 ounces firm white fish, like halibut or sea bass, cut into 1.5-inch cubes
8 peeled and deveined raw shrimp
12 mussels, scrubbed clean
12 clams, scrubbed clean
some crusty bread
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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Pear Clafoutis – Almost as Good as it Looks

It sounds odd to say that a recipe’s biggest problem is that it looks too good, but that’s sort of the case with this pear clafoutis. Through no fault of its own, this crust-less, custard fruit tart looks a lot sweeter, and richer than it actually is. So, please be sure to adjust yours and your guest’s taste buds accordingly. Of course, you can make this sweeter, with more sugar, or richer, with some cream instead of all milk, but there’s something to be said for those rare recipes that I would describe as, “just sweet enough.”

Which reminds me, be sure to taste whatever fruit you’re using for sweetness, since you may want to adjust the sugar level based on that. Another key, especially if you’re using pears, or apples, is to make sure you slice them thin; otherwise they will not cook through by the time your custard is cooked.

As I mentioned you could cook the fruit first, but I’ll leave that up to you. If you use the traditional cherries, or something like tender juicy berries, this will actually cook faster than the time is given here, so I’d start checking for doneness after about 25 to 30 minutes. Speaking of different fruits, apparently if we don’t use cherries, this is referred to as a “flognarde,” which I’ll never get tired of saying. Hilarious names aside, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 8 portions:
(The baking dish I used was 10-inch wide)
2 tablespoons soft unsalted butter, divided (one for pan , one for top)
3 generous cups thinly sliced sweet, ripe pears
1/2 cup lightly toasted sliced almonds
For the batter:
3 large eggs
1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar depending on fruit’s sweetness
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

- Bake at 350 F. for about 45 minutes, or until fruit is soft, and custard is cooked.
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Friday, September 6, 2019

Bloody Mary Burrata – An Experiment in Liquefying Salads

I don’t think there’s actually a difference between a liquid salad, and a cold vegetable soup, but if there is, I’d like this Bloody Mary Burrata recipe to be considered the former. Especially since I already posted a gazpacho this summer. But regardless of what you call this strange hybrid, it really was delicious, fun to eat, and very refreshing.

I was recently gifted some homemade Bloody Mary mix by a couple of new friends, Clayton and Linda-Marie, which unfortunately I haven’t been able to enjoy yet. However, the combination of seeing that on the counter, along with a tub of burrata cheese in the fridge, led to this rather odd attempt. While the Bloody Mary part of the equation completely dominated the tomato and mozzarella salad element, I still found this thoroughly enjoyable to eat, which at the end of the day, is all that matters.

I’m not exactly sure how best to serve this, but a small portion as a starter would seem to make the most sense. Or, maybe a larger serving, paired with a crusty hunk of bread as a brunch item. Vodka sold separately. So, whether you’re going to take this idea and run with it, or you’re just going to do the first part, and make some real Bloody Marys, I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions of Blood Mary Burrata:
2 pounds fresh vine-ripened tomatoes
1/3 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup sliced hot or mild red peppers
1/2 clove garlic
1/2 cup water
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
2 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
2 tablespoons hot prepared horseradish, or to taste
2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

For Service:
1 cup Blood Mary Burrata base
2 ounces burrata cheese, or fresh mozzarella
sliced olives, celery, and cherry tomatoes to garnish
freshly grated horseradish root for the top
freshly ground black pepper and olive oil to finish, optional
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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Crispy Butcher’s Nuggets – Parts is Parts

While our homemade butcher’s nuggets won’t feature the same diversity of meat parts as the butcher shop, at least they won’t feature the same diversity of meat parts. Seriously, those folks will put anything into a sausage or meatball. All kidding aside, these crispy fried meatballs will have you wondering why non-chicken nuggets aren’t more popular.

I went with a fairly restrained combo of just beef and lamb, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a little more adventurous. Using pork is an obvious choice, and as I mentioned in the video, I think chicken livers would be amazing in this. Above and beyond the meat choices, you also have lots of artistic freedom when it comes to the shape, and what dipping sauce you pair them with.

At Fern Bar in Sebastopol, where I stole the idea, they’ll switch up the ingredients depending on what’s around, as well as change the sauce underneath, although it’s almost always something a little bit on the sweet side. Of course, our “secret sauce” (shhhhhh) goes with everything, but deciding how to tweak that to match your meats is half the fun. The rest of the fun is eating these butcher’s nuggets, and lots of them, which I hope you do very soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 18 to 20 Butcher’s Nuggets:
Note: the scoop I used to portion holds about 1 1/2 tablespoons of mixture.

For the nuggets:
3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
cayenne to taste
1 teaspoon finely minced rosemary
1 clove crushed garlic
1/4 cup milk
dash of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 pound ground lamb
1/2 pound ground beef

For the breading (amounts as needed):
all-purpose flour
beaten eggs (I used 2 large eggs)
panko breadcrumbs

For the secret sauce:
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup mustard
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle

- Fry nuggets at 375 F. for about 3 minutes, then let rest 3 minutes before serving.
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