Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Lets talk a little bit about this salad. In a fancy restaurant you might have a beautiful piece of seared tuna sliced thin and served as the centerpiece to this salad. I have to agree that it is a nice touch, but we’re talking country French here, and I think that the canned stuff is actually more authentic than the fresh albeit more elegant seared tuna steak. That being said, I would stay away from Charlie the Starkist tuna, or the Clucker of the Sea. A fine can of oil packed tuna is what you want. Healthy gourmet has the right stuff. Also I prefer the marinaded rather than overly salted canned anchovies, but if you can only get the canned ones, let them soak in water for a couple of hours changing the water twice, and then set them in olive oil for a few minutes. This will take a lot of the unpleasant saltiness out of them. Yes I said bottled marinated beans or asparagus. The French can their vegetables for the winter, and lettuce is actually a winter crop but asparagus is not, so it would stand to reason that they would mix mediums here. And quite frankly I love the really good canned vegetables. Again, not talking the cans of beans or asparagus you get in the canned vegetable aisle of Kroger. You might have to look a little harder for the good stuff. This salad embodies both the pantry and the earth, and that’s why I like it. You can substitute grape or cherry tomatoes for the others if you like. I like the smaller ones simply for the look. The hard boiled eggs are a must. Get your mise en place ready for this one early.
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves
1 Tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 cans of tuna
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and either halved or quartered
10 small new red potatoes (each about 2 inches in diameter, about 1 1/4 pounds total), each potato scrubbed and quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium heads Boston lettuce or butter lettuce, leaves washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths
1 small red onion, sliced very thin
8 ounces green beans, stem ends trimmed and each bean halved crosswise (French jarred marinated green beans are actually preferred. You could also substitute jarred marinated asparagus.)
1/4 cup niçoise olives
2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies (optional. If you can find fresh marinated anchovies all the better.)
1 Whisk lemon juice, vinegar, oil, shallot, thyme, basil, oregano, and mustard in medium bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside. Or place all ingredients except for oil in your blender and turn on lowest speed. While blending open the feed tube and slowly drizzle in the oil for a better emulsion.
2 Bring potatoes and 4 quarts cold water (*or chicken stock) to boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and cook until potatoes are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove potatoes from cooking liquid and set aside to cool to room temperature.
3 While potatoes are cooking, toss lettuce with 1/4 cup vinaigrette in large bowl until coated. Arrange bed of lettuce on a serving platter. Mound tuna in center of lettuce. Toss tomatoes, red onion, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste in bowl; arrange tomato-onion mixture on the lettuce bed. Arrange reserved potatoes in a mound at edge of lettuce bed.
4 Return water to boil; add 1 tablespoon salt and green beans (unless using canned ones!) Cook until tender but crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain beans and let stand until just cool, about 30 seconds; dry. Toss beans, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste; arrange in a mound at edge of lettuce bed. I use white asparagus as well cooked the same way, or pickled.
5 Arrange hard boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies in mounds on the lettuce bed. Drizzle eggs with remaining 2 tablespoons dressing, sprinkle entire salad with capers , and serve immediately.
*by cooking the potatoes in chicken stock you get a much better flavor, and you can re-use the stock for whatever other project you are doing. The stock will have potato starch in it which can help as a thickener.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I’m from St. Louis originally, and I have to say that this is one of my favorite things to eat. Every restaurant in St. Louis, and I mean EVERY restaurant has toasted ravioli on the menu as an appetizer. I’ve seen it in a Mexican restaurant in the city, figure that one out. I guess tradition is tradition. Now, one of the funniest things about this is no one makes their own ravioli. They all come from “The Hill” in St. Louis, which is the Italian neighborhood. They come frozen, and are thawed, breaded, fried, and passed off as their own. Since producing ravioli in mass quantities can involve seriously expensive machinery, no one wants to incur the cost, but everyone wants these little morsels on their menu. My favorite comes from a sports bar called “Rigazzi’s” (they make their own!) this place usually has one of the St. Louis Cardinals dining there. So here’s the recipe the way most of the restaurants make em.
2 large eggs
In a shallow bowl beat together eggs and evaporated milk. Put bread crumbs in another shallow bowl. In a small saucepan heat sauce over moderate heat until hot and keep warm, covered.
In a small heavy kettle (about 5 quarts) heat 1 inch oil over moderate heat until a deep-fat thermometer registers 350°F. While oil is heating, dip ravioli in egg to coat, letting excess drip off, and dredge in bread crumbs, knocking off excess. Arrange ravioli as coated on a tray.
With a slotted spoon gently lower 4 ravioli into oil and fry, turning them occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. With slotted spoon transfer ravioli as fried to paper towels to drain. Return oil to 350°F. before frying remaining ravioli in same manner.
Transfer hot ravioli to a platter and sprinkle with Parmesan.
Serve ravioli with warm marinara sauce for dipping.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
This is absolute bliss for me. I love this stuff. My Dad used to get Hormel chili in a can, and make me chili mac all the time, and unless you’ve had that, something is missing from your life. It’s like the best spaghetti Bolognese you’ve ever had (ON CRACK!) My addiction to chili started at a young age, and has progressed from the can to several different signature Dallas Bono recipes until I finally decided on this one as the absolute best, and definitive version. I would usually make several quarts of this stuff and freeze it in pint baggies for later, and believe it or not I would intentionally cook this the day before eating it so the flavors could marry even more. Sometimes I’d put on soft music, and candlelight, and I’d get all dressed up to get in the mood… OK, I’m just joking about that, but you get the idea. Here is the other thing. A while ago I left the beans in the can, and just concentrated on the meat. To me, beans belong in the baked bean pot (Which I adore with almost as much freaky sensuality as the chili) not in a good pot of con carne. This recipe actually has three parts, first the meat, second the tomatoes, and finally the chili sauce. It is complicated in some ways, and time consuming, but just like any other well planned courtship, the payoff can be mind blowing!
Ground beef is for hamburgers (which is my death row meal by the way) not for chili. I feel very strongly about this. And we want meat with lots of connective tissue here, so brisket, or flank or skirt steak works the best. I prefer skirt steak. Lamb stew meat, and pork shoulder. Don’t use your prime cuts!!! It won’t taste as good. Much of the magic comes from the gelatinized connective tissue.
1 lb cubed skirt steak
toss the stew meat in all the ingredients except for the beer, onion, and garlic. Heat 3-4 tbsp of corn oil in the bottom of a heavy cast iron dutch oven. Drop the meat in to brown in batches. There should be more space on the bottom of the pot than meat, we want a quick and high heat browning here. Add a little more oil, and add the onions, let them sweat for about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Once browned, remove the meat, and deglaze with the beer, making sure to scrape all the fond off the bottom of the pot. Add the bay leaves. Add the meat back in and reduce heat to a low simmer. Continue to cook for 2 hours covered at a slow braise. If you like you could transfer to a crock pot and keep on low for about 4-5 hours.
You could buy canned tomatoes, and if you are short on time, go ahead but you won’t get the complex goodness that the roasted tomatoes offer. And yes, I know there are onions in two of these applications. One is sweated, and one is roasted, the flavors will be very different.
4 lbs tomatoes (peeled, and de-seeded)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour into a roasting pan and set in the over for 45 minutes to one hours until the tomatoes have given off most of their moisture and begin to caramelize. Remove and scrape all the tomatoes out of the bottom of the pan. Put the pan directly on the stove top, and pour ½ a beer in to deglaze the pan. Pour the tomatoes and the deglazed juice into the chili pot.
Chili red sauce
6-8 New Mexico dried red chilis
In a 250 degree oven toast the chilis for 10 minutes, flipping twice. Remove and de-stem and de-seed. Leave the seeds if you want more heat to the chili. Put into a pot with hot oil, and continue to cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and stir quickly allowing the tomato paste to begin to brown on the bottom of the pot. Add the garlic, chipotles, and the chocolate and add the stock continuing to stir. Simmer for 20 minutes. Let cook, and puree in a blender until smooth. Add to the pot of chili.
Season the chili pot with salt if needed, and enjoy. For chili mac, make extra red sauce, and toss a cup in with a lb of boiled spaghetti. Pour the chili over the top and add cheese and chopped onion.
Homemade chili powder 6 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and sliced Place all of the chiles and the cumin into a medium nonstick saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, moving the pan around constantly, until you begin to smell the cumin toasting, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside and cool completely. Once cool, place the chiles and cumin into the carafe of a blender along with the garlic powder, oregano, and paprika. Process until a fine powder is formed. Allow the powder to settle for at least a minute before removing the lid of the carafe. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
6 cascabel chiles, stemmed, seeded and sliced
6 dried arbol chiles, stemmed, seeded and sliced
6 dried chilis de mulato
Op. 6 - 8 dried thai chilis for added heat
4 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
4 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoon smoked paprika
6 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and sliced
Place all of the chiles and the cumin into a medium nonstick saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, moving the pan around constantly, until you begin to smell the cumin toasting, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside and cool completely.
Once cool, place the chiles and cumin into the carafe of a blender along with the garlic powder, oregano, and paprika. Process until a fine powder is formed. Allow the powder to settle for at least a minute before removing the lid of the carafe. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
1 tsp. salt
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Döner kebab, Suflaqe, Shwarama, Churrasco, Danar, or Gyro... So what’s with all the names? This dish is made in many countries, and is called many different things. You can find variations of this dish in Greece, Iran, Turkey, Albania, Germany, France, Belgium, Afghanistan, Spain, Italy, and even Mexico city as a popular street chow. The recipe varies slightly from region to region, and country to country, but it is essentially the same amazing sandwich. Although this takes a little time to prepare, this will provide you with several lunches. This meatloaf is wonderful cold as well. If you use quality ingredients and don't eat this with fries or other high fat sides, this sandwich is actually good for you. Lots of veggies, good protein. You can eat this relatively free of guilt. This is not an original recipe but a conglomeration of a couple of different recipes.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Pain perdu or French toast may not have come from France. The origin of this dish is not known, however a recipe for it can be traced back to a fourth century Roman cookbook. This is the first known printed documentation for this dish. Pain perdu is just another great recipe borne out of necessity. What to do with stale bread? Huh. Let’s soak it in milk and eggs and fry it, that aught to work. Here is a variation on the classic recipe.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Tradition, tradition, tradition... Sometimes it's good to be creative in the kitchen and come up with your own unique ideas. Sometimes you just need to shut up and cook the damn thing the way it was intended. For instance. Can you improve Nessun dorma, the greatest tenor aria of all time by putting a rock beat to it, or will you ruin a good thing? You obviously know my opinion. If you happen to be a musician running to your staff paper to recompose a perfect aria, you probably won't like this recipe either. This is the basic, unscrewed around with, and I must say perfect the way it was intended original. Now I happen to be a true veal lover, and I think making this dish with chicken is an outrage, but I know some of you have a real problem with veal, and I do respect that. I truly do. If I had to be the one raising, and then dispatching an infant cow for the sake of someone else's "sophisticated" palatte, I don't think I could do it. They have such pretty eyes, and hell, it's a baby! However, if someone else is willing to burden their soul by committing the deed, I'm willing to burden mine by eating it. This dish needs nothing but some lightly buttered tagliatelle served alongside it. I like to toss the pasta with just a little parsley, and that's it. Now you will notice that there is no garlic in this dish. Contrary to popular American beliefs, Italians do not like big chunks of garlic in their food. For one thing, it can kill a dish when it's supposed to merely inhance it, and isn't Italy the land of love? How much num nums can an Italian get from their significant other when they have garlic oil oozing out of their lungs and pores? Over garlicasizing (to create my own word like a nameless former president might have) is American, and American only. As more Italian dishes begin to appear on this blog (hello, my last name is Bono) you will see a shockingly reduced amount of garlic in them. In my opinion, garlic and veal are not great bedfellows for a lot of reasons, but first and foremost, veal is a very delicate meat and buttery in flavor, and I think it needs to be the star of the show. You will find that my Marsala recipe that will follow later only has a small amount of garlic in it as well. However, this particular dish does not traditionally include garlic.
2 bacon slices, chopped (or if you can find a good Pancetta by all means use it!)
6 ounces veal or chicken scallops (about 6 scallops), pounded very thin
All purpose flour (for dredging)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon drained capers (optional, but very disappointing if you don't use them.)
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
Fresh or deep fried sage leaves (optional)
Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer to bowl using slotted spoon. Season veal with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour; shake off excess. Add 1 tablespoon butter to pan drippings in skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Add veal and sauté until just cooked through, about 1 minute per side. Divide veal between 2 plates; tent with foil to keep warm. Add wine to same skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Boil until liquid is reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Mix in pine nuts, capers, minced sage and bacon. Season with pepper. Spoon sauce over veal. Garnish with sage leaves if desired and serve. A cool garnishing idea it to take your sage leaves and drop them into a fryer for about 10 seconds. They retain their beautiful color, but become crispy. At some of the restaurants I used to work, we would have deep fried sage and basil leaves as garnishes all the time, they look really neat.