Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Soup = Acorn Squash + Sunflower Seed & Lemon Pesto + Grilled Pear

"Inverbrook Farm has acorn squash in its CSA share this week, so I thought I'd do a soup, one that was representative of the transition from summer to fall. The lemon and sunflower seed pesto adds a nice bright acidity to the dish and it complements the acorn squash well." - Corey

makes about 1 gallon
what you need:
for the soup:
Acorn Squash, 3 large, split in half 
Cinnamon, ground, 1/2 tsp.
Onion, 1 cup, med diced
Butter, 3 Tbsp.
Vegetable stock, 1 gallon 
Apple Cider, 1 quart
Pears, peeled, med diced, 3 each 
Kosher Salt, to taste
White Pepper, ground, pinch

for the pesto:
Italian Parsley, 1 cup
Mint, 1/4 cup
Watercress (or spinach), 1 cup packed
Shallot, 1 each
Garlic Clove, 1 each
Sunflower Seeds, toasted, 1/2 cup
Parmesan, grated, 1/2 cup
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/2 cup
Lemon Zest, from 1 lemon
Fresh Lemon Juice, 3 Tbsp.
Kosher Salt, to taste

for garnish:
Pear, sliced 1/4 inch thick, 3 each
Olive Oil, 1 Tbsp.
Kosher Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Sunflower Seeds, toasted, as needed

how you make it:
1. In a bowl, toss the cut squash with the ground cinnamon, salt, and olive oil. 
2. Roast in the oven at 375 degrees until tender.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Back to work...

Hello friends. I took a break and stepped away after getting the news that my father was fighting a battle with cancer. Recently he lost that battle, as many do every year around the world. Cancer is a horrible, devastating force. I've wrestled with the thought of coming back to the blog, and wether or not I would talk about his struggle. I haven't quite gotten my head wrapped around everything, and it's been several months of gut-wrenching heartache, and newfound respect and love for each other. I made the decision that the best way I could honor him, was to get back to doing what I love to do. After all, it was my experiences on the ranch with him that led me to cooking.  I'm not too sure how deeply I will go into all that has occurred over the past months, I'm still wrapped up in the emotion of losing my father. My fingers freeze above the keyboard just trying to compose these words. So I'll stop, and repost a recipe that reminds me of him and my childhood. He loved strawberry ice cream. I'll miss you dad - I hope you're proud. 

Dessert = Strawberry + Tellicherry Pepper / Frozen Souffle

Yield: 8 - 4 oz Mason Jars
what you need:
Egg yolks, 6 each
Sugar, 4 oz.
Orange zest, 1/2 tsp.
Whipped cream, 2 cups
Fresh strawberries, quartered, 10 each
Ground cinnamon, 1 tsp.
Tellicherry pepper, cracked, 10 peppercorns
Orange blossom honey, 1 Tbsp.
Water, 3 Tbsp. (or Port wine if you like)
Fresh mint, for garnish, 8 leaves
Fresh strawberries, diced, for garnish, 8 each
Spiced pecan halves, recipe follows, 16 each
for the spiced pecans:
Pecan halves, 1 cup
Orange blossom honey, 3 Tbsp.
Fleur de sel, 1/2 tsp.
Cinnamon, 1 pinch
Tellicherry pepper, cracked,  4 peppercorns
how you make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Place the pecan halves on a non-stick cookie sheet and warm the pecans for about 5 minutes. (This step is very important to keep the pecans from clumping together.)
2. Warm 3 Tbsp. of honey, pinch of cinnamon, and 4 of the cracked Tellicherry peppercorns in a saucepan.
3. Pour the nuts into a bowl and add the honey mixture and the salt. Toss to evenly coat the pecans. 
4. Spread the pecans into a single layer and bake for 1 hour, rotating once. Remove and cool.
5. In a shallow pan over medium heat, cook the 10 quartered strawberries with 3 Tbsp. water, the 10 cracked Tellicherry peppercorns, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1 Tbsp. of honey. Cook the strawberries until tender and the liquid has reduced to a syrup. Mash the strawberries. (If you would like a smoother souffle you can puree the strawberries at this point.) Cool the strawberries in a bowl over an ice bath. Set aside.
6. Whip the heavy cream to medium peak and refrigerate. 
7. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a non-reactive bowl and whisk over a water bath, heating to 145 degrees. (Be careful not to scramble the eggs). 
8. Using rubber spatula fold in the mashed strawberries and orange zest, then fold in the chilled whipped cream slowly.
9. Immediately divide the mixture evenly among the mason jars and place in the freezer until frozen completely.
10. When frozen, garnish with spiced pecans, mint, and diced fresh strawberries. Serve.

*note: pull out of the freezer about 15 minutes before serving to allow to soften a bit.

This one's for you Dad.

On a Day Like This by Elbow on Grooveshark

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dinner = Braised Pennsylvania Chicken + Olives + Cauliflower

Serves 2-4 people
What You Need:
Whole Fresh Chicken, average 3 pound, quartered
Butter, 1/2 oz.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/2 oz.
Cippoline Onions, blanched and peeled, 6 each
Castelvetrano Olives, 12 olives 
Cauliflower, sliced 1/2" thick florets, 2 cups
Lemon Zest, from 1 lemon
Garlic, thinly sliced, 1/2 clove
Ginger, peeled and thinly sliced, 1/2 Tbsp
Cumin Seed, toasted and ground, 2 tsp

Cilantro, chopped, 1/2 tsp
Flat Leaf Parsley, roughly chopped, 1 Tbsp
Kosher Salt and Pepper, to taste
Chicken Stock, 1 quart 
Unsalted Butter (to finish), 3 Tbsp

How You Make It:
1. Quarter the chickens, pat dry, and season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat the butter and olive oil in a cast iron skillet and gently sauté the chicken parts until lightly browned.
3. Remove the chicken pieces and set aside, then brown the cauliflower slices.
4. Remove the cauliflower pieces and set aside.
5. Add the onions to the skillet and cook until tender.
6. Add the ginger and garlic and toast lightly until aromatic. 
7. Add the cumin and toast lightly. 
8. Add the chicken pieces back to the pan with the olives, then add 2 cups of the chicken stock and begin the braising process. 
9. Cover the pan with foil or a lid and cook over medium flame (or in the oven), being sure to maintain a small amount of stock so the braising liquid will concentrate. 
10. As the chicken cooks, add a small amount of stock to the pan to maintain the moisture, and cook until the chicken is tender.
11. When the chicken is tender, remove from the pan (cover to keep warm) and whisk the 3 Tablespoons of butter into the sauce.
12. Add the lemon zest and cilantro and adjust the seasoning, then add the cauliflower.
13. Add the chicken back to the sauce and serve.

Breakfast = Cast Iron Baked Grits + Illg's Bacon + Farmer's Cheese

Makes about 10 portions
What You Need:
Kosher Salt, 2 ½ tsp
Chicken or Vegetable Stock, 1 ¼ quart
Anson Mills Stone Ground Grits, 1 cup
Butter, 1 cup
Illg's Smoked Bacon, 1 pound, diced 1/4"
Fresh Farmer's Cheese (Birchrun Hills), 3 cups (you can substitute your favorite mild grating cheese)
Milk, 1 ¼ cup
Eggs, 3  ea
Shallots, chopped, 4 ea.
Worcestershire Sauce, ¾ tsp.
Tabasco Sauce, to taste
Cayenne Pepper, to taste
Ground Black Pepper, to  taste

How You Make It:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Cook the diced bacon lardons in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat until browned. Add the shallots and cook until tender. Drain the grease and set aside.
3. Put the stock in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil, adding 2 teaspoons of the salt.
4. Stir the grits into the water, lower the heat, and simmer until fully cooked (about 45 minutes).
5. Remove the grits from heat and stir in the butter and the 2 cups of Farmer's Cheese until melted and thoroughly combined.
6. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and cayenne pepper in a mixing bowl.
7. Stir the egg mixture into the grits until well combined. Add the cooked bacon and stir. Season with the remaining salt and black pepper.
8. Pour the grits into the cast iron skillet and bake until firm, about 1 hour.
9. Top with the remaining Farmer's Cheese and bake until the cheese has melted and browned slightly, about 3 minutes. Serve hot.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dinner = Pan Roasted Duck Breast + Heirloom Grains + Honey & Pear Vinaigrette

what you need:
for the vinaigrette:
Merlot, 2 cups
Shallots, chopped to a paste, 1 Tbsp.
Grapeseed Oil, 2 cups
Kosher Salt, to taste
Black Pepper, to taste
Pear, peeled, cored, quartered, 4 each
Juniper Berries, 4 each, crushed
Star Anise, 1 each, crushed
Local Honey, 4 Tbsp.

for the heirloom grains:
Barley, 1/2 cup
Bulgur Wheat, 1/2 cup
Wild Rice, 1/2 cup
Red Quinoa, 1/2 cup
Radishes, chiffonade, 3 each
Scallions, thinly sliced, 1 each
Almonds, toasted, chopped, 1/4 cup
Italian Parsley, chopped, 1 Tbsp.
Vegetable Stock, 1 quart
Pear Vinaigrette, 1/4 cup
Arugula, 1 cup

for the duck:
7-8 oz. duck breasts, 5 each
salt, to taste
cracked pepper, to taste
how you make it:
for the vinaigrette:
1. In a sauce pot over medium heat, poach the pears in the red wine until tender. Remove the pears and set aside.
2. Add the shallots, juniper berries, star anise, and honey and reduce the mixture by half.
3. Strain the mixture and cool.
4. In a food processor, blend the wine mixture with the poached pears while slowly pouring in the grapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

for the heirloom grains: 
1. Bring 1/2 of the vegetable stock to a boil in a large saucepan.
2. Add the barley and rice and cook uncovered for 40-45 minutes until tender. Drain and cool.
3. Place the bulgur in a medium bowl and cover with one inch of 1 cup of boiling vegetable stock. Do the same for the quinoa.
4. Let the grains sit for 25 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.
5. Mix all of the grains and the remaining ingredients together.
6. Toss all of the grains with pear vinaigrette.
7. When ready to serve the duck, heat the grains in a small amount of oil and toss in the arugula at the last second.

for the duck breasts:
1. Score the fat side of the duck breast in a cross-hatch pattern.
2. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
3. Sear the duck breast fat side down over medium heat in a non-stick pan until the skin is nice and crispy . You will not need any oil for this process. The fat will render out of the duck as it cooks.
4. Flip the duck and cook for about 30-45 seconds.
5. Allow the duck to rest for 4-5 minutes. Slice into 3/4 inch pieces on a bias.

to finish:
1. Place about 5 ounces of the heated grain salad in the center of the plate.
2. Place the sliced duck breast on top of the salad and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

brian's wine pairing: 
A Right-Bank Bordeaux wine with it's rustic old world character will compliment the duck nicely. A Merlot based wine has the best of both worlds, very full bodied but elegant and fruity at the same time.

renee's nutrition note: 
A whole grain is a small, self contained seed. Each individual grain is made up of three main parts- the bran, germ and endosperm; these are rich in antioxidants, B Vitamins, and fiber. This powerful health promoter also helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension and obesity. The more whole grains you eat, the more protection your body will get. If you are used to using refined grains such as white flour or rice, you can slowly start to substitute whole grains such as the barley, red quinoa, bulgur wheat and wild rice in this recipe.

music pairing: bonobo (feat. bajka) - walk in the sky

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Tortellini = Chard + Acorn Squash + Vermeer Cheese + Sage Brown Butter

makes about 3 dozen tortellini

what you need:
Olive Oil, 2 Tbsp.
Shallots, minced, 1 1/2 ounce
Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, to taste
Keswick Creamery Ricotta, 1/2 lb.
Keswick Creamery Vermeer, shredded, 1/2 lb.
Parmesan Cheese, finely grated, 2 ounces
Sautéed Chard, 6 ounces
Parsley, chopped, 2 Tbs.
Thyme Leaves, 1 tsp.
Acorn Squash, roasted, crushed, 6 oz. (to roast: coat in olive oil and cook at 425 until lightly browned)

Sage, finely chopped, 2 leaves
Butter, 1/2 lb.
Lemon Zest, from 1 lemon

Pasta Dough 
Durum Flour, 1 lb.
Eggs, 4 each
Water, 2 Tbsp.
Salt, 2 tsp.

how you make it:
method for the filling:
1. In a saute pan over medium heat, lightly sweat the shallots until translucent. Add the chard to the pan with 2 Tablespoons of water and cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper and cool, then chop fine.
2. In a large bowl, mix the cheeses, seasonings and herbs, and taste for seasoning adjusting accordingly.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Soup = Corn + Smoked Salmon + Avocado + Chicharron de Harina

Serves 12 
what you need:
Fresh Corn, 4 ears
Unsalted Butter, 5 Tbsp.
Heavy Cream, 1/2 cup
Medium White Onions, minced, 1 1/2 each
Garlic cloves, minced, 2 each

Cumino, ground, 2 tsp.
Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 Tbsp.
Chicken Stock, 2 cups
Kosher Salt, to taste
White Pepper, ground, to taste
Cayenne Pepper, pinch
Smoked Salmon, 1/2 lb.

Avocado, diced, 3 each
Chicharron de Harina, fried and salted, 24 pieces
how you make it:
1.Remove the kernels from the corn cobs. Make sure there is no silk left. Scrape the cobs with the back of a knife to squeeze out any milk, reserving the liquid to put in the soup.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pasta = Cavatelli + Lamb & Guanciale Ragu + Valley Shepherd Sheep's Milk Ricotta

"PorcSalt is a local Philadelphia Charcutier with amazing products like red wine bacon, and wonderful guanciale. If you aren't in Philly, you can find a good charcutier near you or substitute the guanciale for good bacon or pancetta." - Corey

Makes 6-8 portions
what you need:
Lamb, lean ground, 1 lb.
Lamb, chopped fine, 1/2 lb.
Chicken Livers, 1/4 lb. (optional)
Onions, minced fine, 1 cup
Celery, minced fine, 1/2 cup
Carrots, minced fine, 1/2 cup
PorcSalt Guanciale, small dice, 1/4 Lb.
Red Wine, 3/4 cup
Canned San Marzano Tomatoes, chopped, 3 cups
Tomato Paste, 1/8 cup
Veal Stock, 1/2 qt.
Whole Milk, 1 cup
Sage, chopped, 2 Tbsp.
Rosemary, chopped, 1 Tbsp.
Bay Leaves, 3 ea.
Sea Salt, to taste
Black Pepper, cracked, to taste
Nutmeg, to taste
Red Chili Flakes, to taste 
Cavatelli Pasta, cooked, 2 lbs.
Valley Shepherd Creamery Sheep's Milk Ricotta, 10 oz.
how you make it:
1. In a large sauce pot, heat the guanciale over medium high heat until lightly browned.
2. Add the chicken livers and cook until lightly browned.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cocktail = Palenque

"I found myself caught in a dream about the lost tribes of the Maya and Inca last night - undoubtedly due to my recent overdoses of The History Channel. Knowing that I needed to post more cocktails on the blog, combined with my anticipation of my DJ friend from L.A. contributing music pairings to "all things alcoholic in nature", it seemed fitting that I create something that had the pinnings of some sort of tribute to Central and South America, which of course led me to tequila - figuratively, not literally. Hating the thought of a Margarita and wanting to keep some sort of local flavor - this is what I came up with. This tequila cocktail is crisp and fresh with undertones of botanicals, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, and rooibos tea provided by the addition of Snap - an Art in the Age ginger spirit from Philadelphia Distilling." - Corey

what you need:
Espolón Blanco Tequila, 2 oz.
Art in the Age Snap Liqueur, 3/4 oz.
Lime Juice, fresh, 1/2 oz.
Agave Nectar, 1 Tsp. 

Honey, 1 tsp.
Mint Leaves, fresh, 2 each
Jarritos Tamarind Soda, 1 oz.

how you make it:
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker tin.
2. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds to break up the mint leaf 
release the oils.
3. Double strain over cube ice into a double old fashioned glass.
4. Top with Tamarind soda.

Cocktail = Huckleberry Thyme

what you need:
Penn 1681 Vodka (or your favorite vodka), 1 1/2 oz.
St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, 1/2 oz.
Fresh Lemon Juice, 1/2 oz. 
Lemon Zest, pinch
Yellow Chartreuse Liqueur, 1/4 oz.
Agave Nectar, 1/2 oz.
Honey, 1/4 oz.
Thyme Leaves, fresh, pinch
Huckleberries, fresh, 2 oz.
how you make it:
1. Muddle the huckleberries in a shaker tin with the lemon zest.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to the tin.
3. Add ice and shake hard.
4. Double strain over ice into a Collins glass.

*Note: If you don't have agave nectar you can substitute simple syrup. If you don't have huckleberries, you can substitute blueberries.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ice Cream = Brown Butter + Urban Apiaries Honey 19143 + Peach

"Urban Apiaries Honey has successfully produced urban honey here in Philadelphia and brought it to market. It's an exciting project that promises to stir a new movement. Each honey is labeled by zip code. In this recipe, I use 19143 from West Philly, but you can of course use your favorite." - Corey

what you need:
Yields about 1/2 gallon
Cream, 2 cups
Milk, 2 cups
Peaches, fresh, diced, 1 cup
Egg Yolks, 9 ea.
Sugar, 8 oz.
Vanilla bean, split, 1 ea.
19143 Urban Apiaries Honey, 3 oz.
Brown Butter, 4 oz.
Salt, small pinch 
how you make it:
1. Over medium high heat, brown the butter and stir in the honey while still hot. Make sure to keep an eye on the butter - it goes from brown to black in seconds.
2.  Combine the milk, cream, vanilla bean, and diced peaches in a sauce pan and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Allow to simmer until the peaches are tender. Once they are tender, remove the vanilla bean and blend the mixture to puree the peaches and return to a simmer.

3. Blend the egg yolks with the sugar to make a liaison. 
4. Temper the egg yolks by gradually adding about 1/3rd of the hot milk/cream/peach mixture, whisking constantly. Be careful not to scramble the eggs. 
5. Mix the tempered egg mixture with the remaining hot milk mixture and cook, stirring constantly, to 180 degrees. 
6. Blend in the brown butter and honey mixture and the salt.
7. Strain the mixture and cool.
8. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker, following the directions for that particular machine. 
9. Serve with fresh sliced peaches tossed in a small amount of honey.
*note- do not use frozen peaches for this recipe as the water content will form ice crystals in the ice cream.

music pairing: tosca - honey

Risotto = Red Beet + Amarone + Arugula

"I like to serve this risotto with a simple seared lamb loin. " - Corey
what you need:
Yellow Onion
Beet, raw, diced, 1/2 cup
Amarone, 1/2 cup
Beet puree, 1/2 cup (simply cook the beets in water until tender, drain, puree)
Arugula, 2 cups
Balsamic Vinegar, 1/4 cup
Mustard Seed, 1 Tbs.
Manchego Cheese, to taste for garnish
Olive Oil, 1 fl. oz.
Carnaroli Rice, 1 lb.
White Wine, 2 fl. oz.
Chicken Stock, 1 1/4 quarts
Unsalted Butter, cubed, as needed
Parmesan, freshly grated, 1/4 cup
Lemon Zest, to finish, from 1 lemon
how you make it: 
1. In a large pot, heat the oil over a low flame. Add the onions and sweat them until they are translucent (no brown).
2. Add the mustard seeds and toast lightly.
3. Add the Carnaroli rice and toast lightly (no color). Then add the Amarone wine and cook until dry.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Soup = Local Mushroom + Porcini + Pine Nut

what you need:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, as needed
Onions, finely chop 1 pound
Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced, 3 ea.
White Pepper, 1/4 tsp.
Dry White Wine, 1/4 cup
Fresh Thyme Leaves, 1 Tbs.
Local Mushrooms, (Hen of the Woods, Oyster, Crimini, or anything available in your area) finely chopped, 1 1/2 pounds
Porcini, large dice, 1/2 pound
Vegetable Stock, 2 qts.
Sherry Pedro Jimenez, 2 oz.
Pine Nuts, toasted,  8 oz.
Kosher Salt, to taste
Cracked Pepper, to taste
Lemon Zest, to finish
Petite Croutons, to finish
Creme Fraiche, 3 oz.

how you make it: 
1. In a very hot, dry pan, begin searing the Porcini mushrooms. Once the mushrooms have begun to sear a little, you can add a touch of oil. When the Porcini have browned, remove them from the pan and season them with a little salt and pepper.
2. In a large pot, sweat the onions and the garlic over medium heat until the onions are translucent.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Night Market

My son's replica of Night Market

I've been taking my son to local farms and markets in hopes of helping him understand where food comes from and how it's grown. The benefit to me is that I get to spend time with my favorite person, and when we get back home I get to teach him how to cook in the same way I learned - watching at the foot of the stove and helping with some of the easier tasks. As part of his experience, I've decided to take every opportunity to introduce him to new types of food, and Night Market at Mt. Airy provided just the right opportunity. We arrived at a crowded Night Market and hit as many food trucks as time would allow, and my boy, who usually doesn't sit still for long, waited patiently for a Dapper Dog and Strawberry Water Ice. Later, we hit Gigi and Big R and worked our way over to Sweet Box (who sold out in record time). Small moments like seeing him sitting on a curb digging into his first water ice are golden to me. As a father, you can only hope that the times you spend with your son have some lasting effect. Today, he appeared at my side and excitedly announced that he had a surprise for me. Leading me to his room, he showed me his replica of Night Market, complete with skyline and food trucks. "See Daddy-o, this is chicken food twuck (Gigi and Big R) and this is ice cream food twuck." I couldn't be happier.... I'm a proud Daddy-o!

music pairing: elbow - lippy kids

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Snack = Fried Olives + Birchrun Hills Blue + Illg's Sausage / Stuffed

"These pumped up olives make a great bar snack or hors d'oeuvre for a dinner party." - Corey
what you need:
Green Olives, rinsed and dried, 20 each
Birchrun Hills Blue Cheese, 3 oz.
Pecorino Romano, grated, 1/2 oz.
Illg's Italian Sausage, cooked, drained and cooled, 2 oz.
Fresh Thyme Leaves, 1/4 tsp.
Lemon Zest, from 1/4 of a lemon
Cracked Black Pepper, pinch
Flour, 1 cup
Eggs, (mixed with a pinch of salt), 4 each
Japanese Bread Crumbs (panko), ground fine, 1 cup
Corn or Canola Oil, for frying, as needed
how you make it:
1. In a bowl, mix the cheeses, cooked sausage, thyme, lemon zest, and pepper together until fully combined.
2. Using a pastry bag and a small round tip, pipe the mixture into the cavity of each olive.

3. Dust the stuffed olives in flour, then egg mixture, then Japanese Bread Crumbs. (make sure the olives are fully but lightly coated)
4. Fry the olives at 350 degrees F for about 35-45 seconds until golden brown. Serve.