Monday, December 8, 2008
This dish came together as a challenge to match an extremely full flavored beer with a can of beans. The beer in question was Founders' Breakfast Stout, this brew is a Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout & weighs in at a hefty 8.3% abv. I started off by browning some cubed ham, diced carrots and a diced onion. Once the ham was browned, the carrots had softened somewhat and the onions had become translucent, I added a little minced garlic and a dash or two of sweet paprika and let this cook for another five minutes or so. I then added the drained can of Great Northerns and a handful of shredded cabbage and allowed this mixture to come to heat over medium flame for another five minutes or so. Next comes the stout, I added about a quarter of a 12 oz. bottle, and a table spoon of Grainy Mustard to the beans and increased the heat until the liquid came to a boil & then I reduced the heat and allowed this mixture to simmer for five or ten minutes, until the liquid had reduced into a thick sauce. Finally I folded in a little chopped fresh Parsley & served alongside a glass of the Breakfast Stout.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I started off by caramelizing the the diced onion in olive oil & then added a couple of cloves of minced garlic, two small apples (sliced), a couple of teaspoons of ground ginger, a tablespoon of fresh thyme, a tablespoon of ground coriander, salt and pepper.
Let this saute for about five minutes & then add 3/4 of the magnum (about a regular-sized bottle and a half). Bring the wine and aromatics come to a boil & then simmer for about 20 minutes to reduce the volume of the liquid & intensify the flavors. While the wine reduces, season the short ribs with a liberal amount of salt and pepper and sear for about three minutes on all four sides in an extremely hot cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Be sure not to over crowd the skillet (work in batches if you have to), so you get some really nice browning. Once the braising liquid has reduced slightly and the ribs have all been browned nicely, add the meat to the liquid, making sure the meat is mostly submerged, cover, place in a 300° oven and braise for about 3 hours - turning the meat at the half-way point.
At this point the meat should be fork-tender & the bones should just fall away from the ribs, remove the ribs and strain the liquid - be sure to press as much of the liquid as you can out of the onions and apples. Allow the ribs to cool enough to handle and then remove the bones & any large areas of fat - you basically want to get rid of all but the good stuff. wrap the meat in foil and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.
I usually do all of this the day before, so the liquid gets tossed in the chill-chest as well. When you are finally ready to bring all of this together, pour the liquid into a medium pot & bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer for about ten minutes or so. while the liquid is simmering away, pull out a pair of kitchen shears & cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. Add the meat to the braising liquid allow to come to heat.
Serve the meat, drenched in its cooking liquid, alongside some potatoes and veggies or over wide egg noodles. We enjoyed ours with boiled and smashed, oven browned potatoes as well as some herb-lemon roasted onions.
The Beaujolais could be replaced by any red wine or semi-sweet beer (nothing bitter though) and this beverage would be the perfect accompaniment to this meal.
Monday, October 13, 2008
smoked trout salad with ground cherries and arugula
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Poperings Hommel Ale is a Belgian IPA, it has hints of hops flavor, but is nowhere near as hoppy as American IPA’s. The flavor is slightly earthy, with a floral quality & bread-like flavors. There is a slight bitterness, but mostly this ale is more akin to a Belgian Blonde or a Triple. Hommel Ale is very crisp and easy to drink; it also has a complex character which worked quite well with both courses from this evening.
It was a slightly warm evening, so to start I selected the Chilled Celery Soup. This soup was served in a chilled bowl with a healthy dollop of crème fraiche. As one might expect the dominant flavor here was celery, but the soup had a rich creaminess and hinted at notes of onion and garlic – the crème fraiche gave a wonderful tanginess that complimented the crisp celery flavor quite well.
For the main course I chose the Roasted Halibut. This delicious fish was cooked to perfection – moist and flaky with a wonderful golden-brown crust, which lay atop a slightly acidic, light Sherry sauce. The earthy sweetness of the Roasted Halibut worked perfectly with the acidity of the sauce. Roasted Chanterelle mushrooms and white rice completed this plate - the Chanterelles were the highlight of the dish for me, they have a delicate yet spicy flavor that really brought out the delicate flavor of the halibut. Even the rice is worth mentioning in this meal. Now generally I am not a fan of white rice, the flavor tends to be close to nonexistent & it just seems boring to me, but this evening the rice was slightly nutty and delicate; I am not sure what Socher does, but I cleaned my plate.
This meal further cements Café Matou as one of the best places to dine in Chicago. They consistently deliver great meals at an affordable price point and maintain a great wine list as well as an interesting beer menu – with a focus on the Belgian persuasion. Try one of the monthly five course “flights to France” which pairs five different wines with dishes inspired by a specific region in France. They also prepare a beer pairing menu quarterly. I cannot recommend this place enough.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Now for the Lentils. These little legumes come in many forms [brown, green, black, yellow] and are prepared in many ways from regions all over the globe. Here I use French Green Lentils and go a sort of French route, in a recipe that I feel delivers a lot of flavor, while still allowing you to taste the lentils. This should be enough for two as a healthy side.
Rinse half a cup of Lentils, place in a sauce pan & cover with about three inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, saute one half of a diced red onion in 2 tablespoons of duck fat until soft & translucent. Add one finely-diced carrot, a minced clove of garlic, two sprigs of thyme and saute for about five minutes. Add half a cup of water, two tablespoons of whole grain mustard & simmer for another five minutes. Drain the lentils and add them to the onion-carrot mixture along with another tablespoon of duck fat. Toss this well, season with salt and pepper. If the Lentils aren't quite tender enough, continue to cook over low heat (stirring frequently) until finished.
A perfect beer to accompany this meal would be Lagunitas' ode to the Frank Zappa album 'We're Only In It For The Money'. If you are not fortunate enough to have Lagunitas distributed in your area, go for any of your favorite Belgian Ales such as Chimay's red or white label.
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil, 2 Tbsp. Cider Vinegar, 1 Tbsp. Whole Grain Mustard, 1 Tbsp. Honey, 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar, 1 Tbsp. Salt, and 1/4 teaspoon. each of the following: Black Pepper, Paprika, Coriander, Ancho Powder, Chipotle Powder, Cumin, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Ginger Turmeric, Fennel Powder, Nutmeg, Clove, Cinnamon, Allspice
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Here's what I did. Preheat oven to 350°. Chop the meat into manageable pieces, season with salt & pepper & brown on all sides in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Work in shifts so you do not crowd the pan & remove to a plate once browned. After all of the meat has been browned, pour two 22oz. bottles of Flossmoor Station's Pullman Brown Ale into the dutch oven & scrape up all of the tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat & allow beer to simmer for about 20 minutes. Add Venison to the simmering brown, along with one onion, one carrot and one stock of celery (all roughly chopped), as well as two bay leaves, 6 springs of thyme, one spring of rosemary & one table spoon of black pepper corn. Cover & place in the oven for two and a half hours. After the two and a half hours have elapsed, remove meat from dutch oven & strain liquid into a pan. Bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat & allow to simmer until the liquid has reduced to half - about a half an hour. Whisk in a table spoon of butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Return Venison to sauce & bring back to heat. Serve over egg noodles with plenty of the reduced braising liquid & a pinch of fresh herbs (such as thyme, parsley or basil). This could also be served alongside your favorite roasted veggies or something of the like.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Venison Burgers, Gazpacho & Plantains
#1 Venison Burgers - Over the last couple of years, as I've taken my what I eat more seriously, I have become very interested in knowing where my food comes from. This has lead me (whenever possible) to buy my food from as close to its source as possible; many times this means from farmer's markets and from co-ops, but there are also a few retail outfits that work very closely with their farmers, ranchers & fishermen. Staying close to the source means that your food is going to taste better & will last longer in your pantry - you also won't have to worry whether your tomatoes were 'processed' next to raw chicken.
So what does all of that ranting have to do with Venison? Glad you asked. I was recently fortunate enough to come along some free meat - my wife's cousin Johnny hunts & he offered me some of his bounty of Wild Boar and Venison. The best thing about all of this protein (other than being free & delicious) is that Johnny butchered all of the meat himself - meaning that no one except God, Johnny & me has touched this meat. When I was handed the ground Venison, I was informed that it contained no fat, so it wouldn't work for burgers - not without a little work anyway. So I began to look for some fat to augment the Venison into grillin' quality Burgers. I ran into some resistance trying to obtain beef fat from anyone, so I looked towards the fat of fats - bacon. I ended up trimming the bacon of all its meat & finely chopped all of the remaining fat. I then mixed 85% meat to 15% fat, formed the patties and allowed them to rest for an hour. Grilled about 5-6 minutes per side & yummies.
#2 Gazpacho - Ever since summer began I have had the taste for a nice Gazpacho. This cold tomato soup is quite refreshing on a hot summer day, plus it is very healthy and extremely easy to make. All you do is take the list of ingredients below, puree and chill in the fridge for at least two hours. You can omit or replace any of the spices as you see fit or feel free to replace the sherry vinegar with any other vinegar you fancy (except for white vinegar, it is only good for cleaning windows). As for a garnish, you could go a couple of different ways. I had it twice Sunday, once with some garlic fried plantains (method below) and another time with an Avocado-Corn Salsa. You could also serve it as a sauce under some grilled shrimp, or simply sprinkle a little herbs on top (like parsley, cilantro or chives to name a few).
#3 Plantains, I love these things whenever I get Puerto Rican food, so when I saw some at the local mega-mart, I grabbed one. I had trouble smashing the bastards, so I ended up dicing them. I then browned them in some garlic oil, seasoned them with salt and pepper & garnished them with a little chopped roasted garlic.
[To make the garlic & garlic oil, simply roast 2 cloves of garlic (still in their husks) in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a pan until browned. Remove the Garlic and use the oil for sauteeing. Let the garlic cool before handling.]
1-1/2 lbs. Tomatoes (peeled, cored, seeded & diced - liquid reserved)
1 large Cucumber (seeded, peeled & diced)
1 medium Red Pepper (seeded, ribbed & diced)
1 small onion (diced)
1 Jalapeno (seeded and diced)
2 cloves Garlic (minced)
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Juice of 1/2 Lime
2 tsp. Sherry Vinegar
2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp. Sweet Paprika
1/2 tsp. Coriander
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
salt & pepper
Venison Burger photo by DROOO
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
When I returned, I made myself a little Farmer's Market Brunch of Fried Farm-fresh Eggs with Gravlax (salt-cured salmon), Toast & a Strawberry - Arugula Salad. I am so glad summer & its fresh vegetables has returned to my hood.
Monday, June 9, 2008
We enjoyed a Les Clavieres Muscadet Sevre Et Maine, but any light bodied to sweet white would work. You could also serve this with any light-bodied American Ale such as Pride and Joy, from Three Floyds.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Last night for dinner Jen & I ate at Au Pied de Cochon - literally translated, this means foot of the pig. And these guys are not kidding, menu items included some of the uh, less desirable parts of the pig; for example: Trotter, Brow, Tail & Ear. Neither Jen nor I ventured too far into the more exciting menu options - the only pork that made its way to our table was in the form of Rillettes. For those of you that might not know Rillettes is a slow cooked dish that results in a spreadable deliciousness. We found our way to a two-course menu option for the low price of 22 Euros each. I had the aforementioned Pork Rillettes & Steak Frites, Jen had the traditional Onion Soup & a grilled Salmon with a Beurre Blanc. Quite a delicious meal, we enjoyed a nice Bordeaux (the exact wine escapes me) as our beverage.
pictured above (clockwise fom the top left): Pork Rillettes, French Onion Soup, Steak Frites & Grilled Salmon.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Ah, today we found our market. It was an amazing array of some of the freshest fruits, vegetables, seafood & meat that I have ever seen. We were somewhat overwhelmed with the selection , but did our best to overcome that feeling & grab only what we could eat today - tomorrow we shop again. We decided on some delicious pork chops, carrots & green beans - augmented with some thyme & shallots. To prepare this simple dish we roasted the carrots & beans at 450° for about 10 minutes. The chops were sauteed over medium high heat with olive oil, butter, thyme & shallots for about 5 minutes per side.
This meal was served along side a wonderful 2006 Chinon from Domaine des Petites Roches.
check out the shots of the market here
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Season all sides of Salmon with salt & pepper, drizzle with olive oil & let sit out until at room temperature (approximately 20 minutes). Turn grill on high & allow to warm up (at least 10 minutes). Grill Fish until flaky. I like to cook the fish for about 3-4 minutes on each the flesh & skin sides & then 1 minute each on the sides if the salmon is cut thick, but the time will differ depending on your grill, the shape of you fillet & your preference of doneness.
Monday, May 26, 2008
This is the ultimate pantry raider's lunch or a great way to use leftovers. These cakes can be made with anything from leftover cooked crab or fish from last nights feast, to canned tuna or salmon. Additionally, the supporting cast can vary vastly depending on the flavors you like & what is kickin' around your kitchen. You need a filler (bread crumbs or crackers); a binder like mayonnaise or an egg (just the white will do if you are watching your cholesterol intake); an acid like lemon juice or vinegar; plus flavor enhancers, like mustard, onions, garlic, spices & herbs. Today's recipe included canned salmon, crushed crackers, almonds, shallots, red jalapenos, capers & dried cherries to list a few ingredients. This batch got a little over cooked, but were still a nice lunch. I served the cakes with a small salad, a walnut-parsley pesto & some Louisiana hot sauce.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
4 slices Bacon
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Classic Italian - American meal here, the only slight difference is that I used baby eggplant instead of the full-sized version.
2 Baby Eggplant (ends discarded, sliced into 1/4" pieces)
Line a baking sheet with a drying rack and place in preheated oven. Place a heavy frying pan, cast-iron skillet or dutch oven over med-high heal, place about 3 Tbsp. of oil (enough to sufficiently cover the bottom of pan) and heat until almost to the smoking point. Place the slices of Eggplant into the pan and fry approximately 2-3 minutes (until golden brown) on each side. Work in shifts, being careful not to crowd the pan & place the finished pieces on the rack in oven, to keep warm while frying the batches.
Serve with an American Pale Ale like Pride and Joy, a good Pilsner like Lagunitas Czech Style Pilsner or a light-bodied Red Wine such as a Beaujolais or Pinot Noir.
8 Plum Tomatoes
In a Large saute pan, sweat the Onion, Shallots, Carrots, Garlic & Fresh Oregano over medium heat for 20 minutes. Add Tomatoes, Wine, Vinegar, Stock & Red Pepper Flake, bring to a boil, reduce heat & simmer for 20 minutes. Transfer to sauce pan & puree. Add Dried Oregano & season with salt & pepper.
Consume immediately or let cool & refrigerate for up to a week.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I was at the beer spot today and came across Lagunitas' Luck 13. I checked the site and it appears to be one of their seasonals available from June to August, although I am not to sure how much stock you can put in their time table - the 4th installment of the Zappa series was said to be available from April to June and has yet to arrive (I have been assured it is coming soon though). Anywho, this beer is quite tasty. The label calls it "a mondo large red ale', so I guess it is basically an imperial red & with an 8.3% content, the alcohol flavor brings to mind thoughts of IPA's. This is another example of why (while I enjoy most of this companies beers) I really get excited about their seasonal & limited releases.
2oz. Smoked Sturgeon (sliced on the bias)
4 Large Diver Scallops
1 head Frissee (chopped into large pieces)
2 Large Eggs
1 slice of bread (chopped into small cubes & browned in the oven or a dry pan)
2 Tbsp. Sherry Vinegar
1/2 Tomato (diced)
2 Tbsp. Sliced Walnut
1 Tbsp. Fresh Tarragon
Olive Oil, Kosher Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper
Place the Frissee, Smoked Sturgeon & Croutons in a large bowl. Saute the minced Shallot in
some olive oil until tender and slightly browned, add the Vinegar and simmer for an additional minute. Using a spatula, transfer all of the Vinegar-Shallot mixture over the Frissee, Sturgeon & Croutons. Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil over the Frissee mixture, season with Salt & Pepper, toss & set aside.
Sear the Scallops by placing about two tablespoons of olive oil in a small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Rinse & dry the Scallops, season with salt and pepper & drizzle with olive oil. Place the scallops upright in the pan & sear for about three minutes or until nicely caramelized, turn over & sear for an additional two minutes or until the scallops reach your desired level of doneness. Remove the scallops, add a little more olive oil & fry the eggs until over easy (poaching the eggs would be more traditional, but I went with frying for speed & one-pan usage).
To assemble the dish, divide the dressed Frissee, Sturgeon & Croutons between two plates & make a mound with the ingredients, top each mound with an egg. Place the Scallops to either side of the salads, garnish with the walnuts, tomatoes & tarragon.
Serve with Champagne, Chimay Triple, Three Floyds' Gumballhead, or anything of the like.