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television demos

So here we are…making pizzas.  While I’m pleased as punch that the swapout looked gorgeous on camera…I’m not terribly pleased with my appearance here (though Michael, who thinks I’m being too critical, looks great).  Happily, the doughs came out well after some stickier versions from the weekend, which was essential in making this demo work considering that we didn’t bring any extra flour with us to the studio.  Of course, you can check out all of the recipes in the subsequent posts below…

Updated with video!


A few days ago Michael surprised me by presenting me with the most perfectly brined pork chops along with this Cuban-inspired mojo, and they were insanely delicious.  When approached about doing another segment for Connecticut Style, this emerged as a fast front-runner–especially since we can make couscous extremely quickly.

So here it is:

Sauteed Shrimp with Mango Mojo over Couscous

Serves 2-4

  • 1 mango (1 cup), peeled and diced
  • Leaves of one small bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1-2 T honey
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped jalapeño chile pepper
  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 cup couscous
  • Salt and pepper
  • chopped mint

For the  mojo:  Combine mango, cilantro, half of the lemon juice, honey, garlic and jalapeño into a blender; pulse until blended and smooth.  Set aside.

For the couscous:  Pour one cup of water into a saucepan, and add a generous pinch of salt.  Swirl the pan to dissolve, and then place over high heat to bring to a boil.  As soon as the water is boiling, add couscous, swirl to make an even layer, and then remove from heat and cover for at least five minutes.  Use a fork to fluff and remove from pan.

For the shrimp:  Toss the shrimp with the remaining half of the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  Using a medium-sized skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the shrimp to the pan, keeping them all on a single layer.  The shrimp are finished when they turn pink, about two minutes, and then take them off of the heat.  Add them and all the joy from the pan to the couscous, toss with sauce, top with the mint and serve.

Vegetarian Croque Monsieur with Arugula Parmigiano-Reggiano Salad

Vegetarian Croque Monsieur with Arugula Parmigiano-Reggiano Salad

I had to sell Michael a bit on presenting a sandwich on television–never mind that plenty of television chefs do this all the time—because at first glance, it does seem kind of mundane. But considering that sandwiches are the most popular food to make for dinner, I felt that there could be a way to highlight a simple cooking technique with hundreds of later applications in the guise of a simple, French bistro-inspired meal.

Besides—it’s National Grilled Cheese Month—when better to showcase an elegant take on this classic?

I was really enthralled by our lovely Les Halles soup from our latest dinner and a movie, and I decided to take three of the elements—mushrooms, butter and sherry—and sauté them together to make a nice, meaty-but-meatless filling for what I suppose is a vegetarian alternative to the classic croque monsieur, which is normally made with ham. Pair this with our regularly-recurring Pastis-inspired salad, and you get a lovely combination that, served with a nice espresso or vin rouge, makes a satisfying, simple dinner.

As an added bonus, if you’re a novice cook, by trying your hand at sautéing here you’re opening up a world of applications for sautéed mushrooms, ranging from throwing in at the end of a risotto to making a delicious omelet, or as part of the filling for dynamite ravioli.  (Michael here: saute first and ask questions later! the cooked mushrooms can be refridgerated for up to a week)

Vegetarian Croque Monsieur with Arugula-Parmesan Salad

Serves 2

For the sandwich:

  • 1.5 lb cremini or button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter, preferably unsalted (but salted will work)
  • About a ¼ cup of sherry or dry white vermouth
  • 6 oz Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 French baguette, sliced lengthwise
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the salad:

  • 3 cups baby arugula, washed and patted dry with paper towels
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 Tbsp of olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup Parmigianno-Reggiano, grated

Set your oven to broil.  In a sauté pan, melt the one tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat.  When melted, add half the mushrooms, salt them, and using a spatula or wooden spoon, distribute them evenly to absorb the fat.  As they cook down, push them to the outer rim of the pan and add the other half with the remaining butter.  Add the sherry and continue to cook mushrooms until they are browned and tender—about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl.

Take each half of your baguette and evenly distribute the mushrooms, then do the same with the grated cheese. Arrange both bread halves onto a baking sheet open face up and place under the broiler for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the bread is toasted.  Place the top half of your bread over the cheese, slice into sections, and serve with the salad.

To make the salad:  place washed and dried arugula into a bowl.  Add the lemon juice and let sit for a few minutes so the acid can macerate the leaves.  Add a large pinch of kosher salt (the salt will now dissolve into the juice) and dress with olive oil.  Add black pepper to taste, and then just before tossing add the cheese—if you add it too quickly, the lemon juice will crush the cheese.  Toss to combine and serve.

This is a classic Monday night dinner here (since we generally purchase our fresh fish on either Saturdays or Sundays and want to use it as soon as possible), based on a dish I enjoyed at this Mexican restaurant in Boston and ever since it’s a dish I’ve been slowly perfecting.

Pacific Cod Tacos with Chipolte Mayonnaise and Red Cabbage Slaw

Pacific Cod Tacos with Chipotle Mayonnaise and Red Cabbage Slaw

Pacific-Cod Tacos with Chipotle Mayonnaise and Red Cabbage Slaw

Serves 2-4, depending on tortilla size

  • 1 lb Pacific cod, cut into 1-2 inch chunks
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 package flour tortillas, 4-7″ in diameter
  • 1 tsp pureed chipotle pepper
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise:  3 tbsp for the “pink mayo”, and 1 tbsp for the red cabbage slaw
  • 1 small head red cabbage, outer leaves discarded and quartered with stalk removed
  • 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Either fresh or jarred salsa to serve as garnish (optional)
Cod nuggets on the grill pan

Cod nuggets on the grill pan

For the cod: Dunk the cod pieces in the beaten egg then into a shallow dish containing the bread crumbs. I like to apply a little pressure to make the crumbs stick, but if touching raw fish creeps you out, forget it.  Place the fish on a plate and sit it in the fridge for 20 minutes to let the coat firm up.

Add 1-2 tsbp olive oil to your grill pan and heat on medium-high.  When warmed, add the cod and saute until the fish browns, then flip and repeat.  I’d say 6 minutes per side, but just keep vigilant and turn when they look nice and brown.  When all is said and done, set aside to cool.

Adding the chipotle mayonnaise

For the red cabbage slaw: Thinly slice each quarter of cabbage and put into a large bowl. Add two tablespoons of mayonnaise, and either using a fork or spoon, mix to coat all of the cabbage. Add about a teaspoon of kosher salt to the cabbage, then drizzle the white balsamic vinegar over it (it’ll help dissolve the salt), and toss again to coat. If you’d like more heat, add a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes.  *Feel free to vary the amounts of mayo and vinegar to your taste- the best combination is the one that tastes best to you.*

For the ‘Pink Mayo’: Puree one can of chipotles in adobo sauce.  Be careful- this stuff is extremely spicy and you may come to regret splattering it on yourself.  Add 1 tsp of it to 3 tbsp of mayonnaise and stir.  TASTE.  Is it spicy enough for you?  If not, add more pureed chipotles.  Remember that you won’t be using much so I go a bit on the spicy side.

Assembly: Spread a thin layer of the mayo onto the tortillas (don’t forget to nuke them to make them pliable, read the wrapper!).  Add 3-4 pieces of cod and top with the slaw and optional salsa.  I serve a little extra slaw on the side, but that’s because I like it.

Buon Appetito!

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