Friday, May 30, 2008

Grilled Salmon with Lemon Vinaigrette, Roasted Broccoli, Butternut Squash Puree & Jamon Serrano

This is a great healthy meal, that is pretty easy to prepare. The Salmon could be replaced with any fish that'll stand up to the grill. The Jamón really is a great addition to the squash, but if you can't find it, Prosciutto would work.

Serves 4:

4 6 oz. Salmon fillets

4 cups Broccoli flowerets


1 large Butternut Squash
1 head Roasted Garlic
1 Tbsp. Butter
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
1 1/4 Lb. slice of Jamón Serrano (diced & crisped in hot pan)


1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
Zest of one Lemon
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. fresh herbs (Tarragon or Parsley would be great)
1 small Shallot (minced)
Kosher Salt, Fresh Ground Pepper & Olive Oil.

Preheat oven to 450°

To prepare the Butternut Squash Puree, cut the squash in half (long ways) & scrape out the seeds. Season both sides with Salt & Pepper & drizzle with olive oil, place cut side down on sheet pan & roast for 20-25 minutes (or until fork tender). Remove & let cool. Once cool enough to handle, scrape the pulp away from the skin. Add roasted garlic, butter and cream to the squash and puree until smooth. Season with salt & pepper & keep warm over double boiler.

To prepare Vinaigrette, place lemon juice, zest, olive oil, herbs & shallot in a blender & blend until smooth. Season with salt & pepper & set aside.

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.

To prepare the Broccoli, place the washed & trimmed flowerets on a baking sheet, season with salt & pepper, drizzle with olive oil & roast in the 450° oven for approximately 10 minutes.

To plate, spread out some of the squash on one side & the vinaigrette on the other. Place Salmon over vinaigrette, divide broccoli between plates, sprinkle Jamón over Squash Puree & garnish with fresh ground black pepper & a drizzle of your finest olive oil.

The Strong flavors in the Salmon & Jamón allow this dish to stand up to stronger beverages. I enjoyed a Lagunitas Maximus with this dinner, but an Imperial IPA might be too strong for many pallets. A standard issue IPA, like Bells Two Hearted or Alpha King should work for most. If you elect for a lighter flavored fish, then light Belgium (or Belgium Style) Ale should work beautifully. For wine, I would recommend a full bodied white such as an Oaky Chardonnay or a fruity red such as Pinot Noir or a Cote du Rhone.

Monday, May 26, 2008

yummy yummy fish cakes

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.

Wash it down with a light-bodied beer (like Brooklyn Pilsner) or any range of whites, from Champagne to a crisp Sauvignon Blanc .

Summer Beer Extraordinaire: Brooklyn Pilsner

On this beautiful 82° day [after spending the previous evening drinking & eating with friends], I came across, a crisp delicious beer that I am expecting to be a summer staple. Whilst cruising the beer aisle, a tough decision lay itself before me. Should I grab the tasty Centennial IPA from Founders (a beer I was just recently turned onto by a good friend) or the old standby, Pride and Joy? Actually, wasn't I reminded of the surprised pleasure of a Brooklyn Lager just last night? Oh wait, I have been meaning to try Brooklyn's Pilsner. Well it is just to hot for the IPA & I could use something a little lighter & more refreshing, so the pils it is.
Pilsners are light-bodied Lagers that are popular all over Europe, as well as in America. Pilsner Urquell claims to be the original & hails from Czechoslovakia, other extremely popular European examples include Becks (Germany), Stella Artois (Belgium) & Heineken (Netherlands). America's most popular beers are pilsners (Budweiser, Coors, Miller), but as we know, popularity doesn't necessarily mean good taste. While these giganti-breweries pump out watered-down rice-supplemented shwill for the masses, the craft brew nation has reclaimed this style. Borrowing from the styles of Europe, these brewers take on the tough challenge of bringing dignity back to the term 'American Pilsner'.
Brooklyn's foray has the sweetness of a Belgian pilsner but also the light smoothness of a Czech style. It has a complex flavor that can stand up to many styles of cuisine, while maintaining a slightly sweet smoothness that pairs well with spicier dishes & proves to be a perfect companion for a sweltering summer afternoon. For another delicious American Pilsner try Lagunitas' Czech-Style Pils

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bacon & Goat Cheese Penne

This dish is inspired by two of my wife's favorite things, Goat Cheese & Bacon.

serves two:
4 slices Bacon
8 oz. young Goat Cheese
2 servings Penne (prepared as directed - 1/2 cup Pasta water reserved)
2 Shallots (diced)
1 Clove Garlic (minced)
4 Sprigs Thyme (chopped)
1/4 cup white wine
juice of 1 Lemon
1/4 tsp. Lemon Zest
1/2 bunch Kale (rinsed and chopped in large pieces)
1/2 Tomato (diced)
olive oil kosher salt & fresh ground pepper

Place a large saute pan over medium-high heat with a little olive oil & cook bacon until done. Remove bacon & place on a plate lined with a paper towel. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the Bacon drippings. Add Shallot, Garlic & Thyme & saute until shallots take on a little color (approximately 10 minutes). Add Lemon Juice, zest & White Wine, deglaze & simmer for 5-10 minutes. Wisk in Goat Cheese until completely incorporated. Fold in the Kale & cook for 5 minutes or until wilted. Fold in Pasta & enough pasta water to reach desired sauce consistency. Season with salt & pepper.

To serve, divide the pasta between two plates, crumble bacon over pasta, garnish with diced tomatoes & drizzle with your finest olive oil.

Serve with an American IPA like Hop Ottin, a full-bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or a nice Bordeaux.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Baby Eggplant Parmesan

Classic Italian - American meal here, the only slight difference is that I used baby eggplant instead of the full-sized version.

feeds two:
2 Baby Eggplant (ends discarded, sliced into 1/4" pieces)
2 Egg Whites (lightly beaten with a few drops of water)
2 Cups Marinara (recipe follows)
2 Servings of Angel Hair (prepared as directed)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme (chopped)
1 Tbsp. Fresh Oregano (chopped)
1 Tbsp. Fresh Basil (chiffonade)
Kosher Salt, Fresh Ground Pepper & Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 200°

Mix Parmesan, Breadcrumbs, Thyme & Oregano, season with salt & pepper and spread out on a plate or dish. Spread flour out on a plate or dish. One at a time, dip Eggplant in flour (shake off excess), then into the egg wash, and then into the Parm.-herb mix. Finally set out on drying rack or plate to rest for 5 minutes.

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.

To assemble, add 1 Cup of Marinara to pasta & toss to coat, divide pasta between two plates. Spread 1/2 cup of Marinara on each plate & place Eggplant slices against pasta. Garnish with Basil, Fresh ground Pepper & a drizzle of your best Olive Oil.
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
1 Medium Onion (diced)
2 Shallots (diced)
1 Large Carrot (diced)
3 Cloves Garlic (broken)
2 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme (chopped)
3 Sprigs Fresh Oregano
pinch Dried Oregano
heavy pinch Red Pepper Flake
1/2 Cup Red Wine
1 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup Vegetable Stock
Kosher Salt, Fresh Ground Pepper & Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 450°.

Slice Tomatoes in half & place on baking sheet, sprinkle with Thyme, season with salt & pepper, Drizzle with olive oil & roast in oven for 20 minutes.

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

Lagunitas' Luck 13

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.

Smoked Sturgeon Salade Lyonnaise with Diver Sea Scallops

Due to some nice looking Frissee at Stanley's & the chance encounter with the last 6oz. of some House Smoked Sturgeon from the Fish Guy, I decided to make this play on the french classic. The smokiness of the Sturgeon takes the place of the traditional Lardon (Bacon) and The addition of Diver Sea Scallops (also from the Fish Guy) elevates this dish from mere salad to Lunch status. Here's the Recipe:

Serves Two:
2oz. Smoked Sturgeon (sliced on the bias)
4 Large Diver Scallops
1 head Frissee (chopped into large pieces)
2 Large Eggs
1 Shallot (minced)
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.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I have decided to start a blog to share the delicious food & drink that I see & eat. I will post pictures and comments of food I make at home as well as grubbage I enjoy while out. For the meals made at home I will try to include a recipe & will be as specific as possible about the origin of ingredients. I will also try to post a drink pairing when appropriate.