Archive for July, 2008

24th July
written by scott

Mmmango and honey sorbet
I’m not much of a coffee drinker (strange for a Seattleite), but I do enjoy a good cup of tea.  Actually, I enjoy a frozen bowl of tea even more – get it, iced tea!  I’ve recently discovered the Portsmouth Tea Company, an excellent supplier of high-end tea blends.  Their "Mmmmango” tea is perfectly sweet and just slightly herbal – a great fit for tea-based sorbet. 

Makes: 2 quarts
Total kitchen time: 30 minutes, plus churning time

Shopping list:

  • 1.5 quarts purified water
  • 4 tbsp. Mmmmango tea
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil.  Remove from heat.
  2. Distribute the loose tea among 4 tea bags or 2 tea infusers and place in the pot of water.  Let the tea steep for 25-30 minutes for maximum flavor.
  3. Once the tea has steeped, remove the tea bags and stir in the honey.  Adjust to taste with more honey, if needed, until the mixture is just slightly sweet.
  4. Refrigerate the tea mixture until cold, then churn using your ice cream maker’s instructions.
  5. Top with a drizzle of honey before serving.

I’m a big fan of sneaking loose tea into recipes, especially deserts.  Do you have any favorite tea recipes?  Are there any tea creations you’d like to see?  If so, leave a comment below!

20th July
written by scott

plank salmon with piped potatoes_1
Perhaps you saw the Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon with Orange-Muscat Beurre Blanc recipe I posted last week.  Man, that was good eating.  “Wow, Scott!” I said to myself.  “How can you possibly make this dish any better?”  I think I’ve found a solution: a delicate halo of piped blue cheese mashed potatoes, gently caressing the salmon fillet as it develops just the slightest smoky crust. 

The potato recipe is quite simple.  Bake (or microwave) whole russet potatoes, about 1 potato for every 2 servings.  When they are fork tender, run them through your potato ricer.  This step is optional, but it’s the only way to guarantee lightness and fluffiness.  Mix in some butter, heavy cream, salt, white pepper and blue cheese.  Then, load the whole mixture into a pastry bag with an extra-large tip and pipe the potatoes around the salmon, directly on individual cedar planks.  Grill until the salmon is done, then serve directly on the planks.  Your guests will love it!

20th July
written by scott

roasted corn
Don’t let Orville Reddenbacher fool you – corn was meant to be grilled.   This spicy yet cool corn is the perfect accompaniment for grilled meat or fish.  However, just because corn is a side dish doesn’t mean it needs to take the back-seat in flavor. 

Makes: 5 ears
Total kitchen time: 20 mins

Shopping List:

  • 5 ears white corn, shucked
  • 8 tbsp. salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. red cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. Jamaican jerk seasoning (or your favorite spicy seasoning blend)
  1. Preheat your grill over medium heat.  Place the corn directly on the grill and close the lid.  Grill, turning occasionally, 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and mash together using the back of a fork.  If you’re making this recipe in a larger quantity, you may want to prepare the butter using a food processor.
  3. When the corn is almost done (check for tenderness with a fork) brush it on all sides with the cilantro butter and grill for another 1-2 minutes. 
    corn butter

This cilantro butter also makes great grilled toast, and can be added to shellfish, chicken, or white fish for a wonderful, simple seasoning.

15th July
written by scott

cedar plank salmon After grilling fresh Coho salmon fillets over cedar planks, its hard to enjoy salmon prepared any other way.  My building’s facilities manager, Bruce, generously shared his catch from a recent trip to Alaska.  This recipe combines the rustic, smoky flavor of the cedar planks with the subtle, sweet butteryness of the beurre blanc.  Its a great combo, as I hope you will soon discover.

Total kitchen time: 1 hr
Makes: 4 1lb fillets

Shopping list:

  • 4 1lb. salmon fillets (with skin is fine, without is fine also)
  • 2 large (or 4 small) cedar planks for grilling
  • 2 tsp. fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp. orange-muscat vinegar (honestly, any white wine vinegar will work, this one just adds a little flavor and a lot of adjectives.  Available at Trader Joe’s.)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into teaspoons
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  1. Soak the cedar planks, completely submerged, in cold water for at least 1 hour.  Preheat your grill over medium-high heat before grilling.
  2. For the beurre blanc, heat a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the diced shallot and about 1 tsp. of olive oil and cook until the shallot smells great, about 3 minutes.  If it looks like the shallot is starting to brown, reduce the heat.
  3. Add the white wine vinegar (in this case, orange muscat vinegar) and stir to deglaze the pan.  Continue to cook until the vinegar has reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and 2 teaspoons of butter.  Continually whisk the butter until it is completely melted.  If the butter starts to foam, place the bottom of the pan on a cold surface (like a stone countertop) to cool it.  Add the remaining butter, 2 teaspoons at a time, whisking continually.  If the butter refuses to melt, hold the pan over very low heat for a few seconds and then remove. 
  5. Once all the butter is incorporated, taste the sauce and adjust with a fine-grain salt and freshly ground white pepper.  You can use black pepper if you want, but white pepper will make the sauce look prettier.
  6. Prepare the salmon fillets by patting them dry and coating with salt, pepper and fennel seeds on the flesh side.  Rub the fillets on all sides with olive oil. 
    salmon meal
  7. Make sure your grill has been preheated over medium-high heat.  Arrange the cedar planks on your grill and place the fillets, skin side down (if they have skin) on the cedar planks.  Close the lid and grill for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish is fully cooked.  The planks will give off a lot of smoke which adds to the excellent flavor.  However, if your planks should catch fire, simply spray them with a small amount of water (I recommend San Pellegrino :-)) until the flames dissipate. 
  8. When the salmon is cooked to your preferred doneness (let’s face it, either it’s undercooked, done, or overcooked), use a long spatula or a chef’s knife to remove them from the planks.  Top with a spoonfull of the beurre blanc and serve!

Look for more cedar plank recipes this summer.  I’m now a big fan of this cooking method and it deserves some further exploration.  Do you have any favorite wood cooking recipes?  Leave ‘em in the comments below.

06th July
written by scott

turmeric curry ribs
If you’re planning on making ribs this summer, I applaud you.  However, if your rib recipe involves a bottle of Hunt’s BBQ sauce, you are denying yourself a transcendent epicurean experience: garlic-curry short ribs. 

Total kitchen time: 30 minutes prep, 4 hours, plus 15 minutes cooking time
Makes: 3 racks

Shopping list:

  • 3 racks baby back ribs (short ribs)
  • 8 tbsp. + 2 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 4 cups prepared Turmeric-Curry Dry Rub
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. lime juice
  • a lot of heavy-duty aluminum foil
  1. Can be done 1 day ahead, refrigerate until ready to cook.  Work one slab of ribs at a time.  Lay out two large pieces of foil, on top of one another, big enough to cover the slab.  Pat the slab dry on both sides with paper towels, and lay bone-side up in the middle of the foil.
  2. Spread 1 tbsp. of crushed garlic across the surface of the ribs (bone side up).  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the prepared dry rub over the bone side of the ribs and push the rub into the skin.  Flip the ribs over (skin side up) and repeat – 1 tbsp. of garlic, then 1/2 cup dry rub pressed into the skin.  You should have 1 cup of dry rub remaining, for the barbecue sauce.
  3. Lay the ribs bone-side down and seal tightly with the aluminum foil. Working with the long side first, bring the opposite edges together and fold over to form a crease.  Fold over a second time to double the crease, being sure to keep the foil tight to the meat.  fold the short ends up towards the skin side and seal tightly. 
  4. Preheat your oven to 200°F and set the top rack in the middle position.  Place a rimmed baking sheet or a large piece of foil in the bottom of your oven to catch any juice that drips off during cooking. 
  5. (more…)

06th July
written by scott

dry rub
What’s a dry rub, you ask?  A dry rub is mixture of spices (and sometimes dried herbs) applied to meat before cooking to add flavor.  Dry rubs are most typically used for barbeque, but there’s no reason you can’t sprinkle some over your scrambled eggs in the morning.  The picture above (which I will be sending to my neighborhood palm reader) shows the proportions you’re going for – its mostly brown sugar and salt. 

Total kitchen time: 5 minutes
Makes: enough for 4 racks of ribs

Shopping list:

  • 4 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. yellow curry powder
  • 2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. red cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  That’s it, you’re done.  Taste a spoonful and adjust to your personal preference. 

This dry rub, or a variation thereof, is also the base for my homemade barbeque sauce.  In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup of dry rub, 1 cup of ketchup, some Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco,  honey, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and whatever else your heart desires.  If you start bottling it and selling it to friends, just email me for my address (so you can start sending me checks).  Enjoy!

01st July
written by scott

grilling roundup 
Over the past year we’ve developed a collection of great grilling recipes here at Scott’s Food Blog.  Here are a handful of my favorites.  Try them out this 4th, or any summer day when you feel like sharing great food with friends.

Be sure to check back later this week and next for a whole new batch of recipes for your outdoor kitchen!