Thursday, July 31, 2008

Shiitake Tart

I love the flaky texture of puff pastry and feel that it is quite possibly paired best with the earthiness of sauteed mushrooms. Here I used some nice Wisconsin shiitakes from River Valley Ranch - a participant in the Logan Square Farmer's Market. To prepare this delight, cut two three inch squares from a thawed puff pastry sheet & bake as directed. While the pastries puff, saute one minced shallot & one minced clove of garlic in olive oil, until the shallot is soft and slightly browned. Add two handfuls of sliced and stemmed shiitakes a tablespoon of butter, salt & pepper to the shallot mixture and saute until the mushrooms are tender and reduced to about half of their original size. Pour in half of a cup of white wine & bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the wine is reduced by half. To assemble, lay out one of the puffed pastry squares & cover with a couple of thin slices of Gruyère. Pour the mushroom mixture over the pastry & top with the second square. Finish off the dish with some chopped herbs (or micro greens if you can find them) a drizzle of truffle oil and some more fresh black pepper.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sesame Marinated Opah with Forbidden Rice

This is a nice little Asian influenced meal accented by the beautiful forbidden black rice. The rice is prepared as directed on the package. The Fish needs to be marinated for at least 2 hours in 2 Tbsp Toasted Sesame oil, 1 Tbsp of Rice Wine Vinegar & 1 Tbsp of soy sauce. Once the fish has been marinated, just grill for about 5 minutes per side and serve. For this meal I paired the fish with Broccoli that was roasted in a 450° oven for about 10 minutes and some fennel that was marinated in vinegar, oil, salt & pepper for about two hours, then topped with a little parsley.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Scallop & Crabcake with Arugula & Mango

I cheated a little here & bought a crabcake from the Fishguy, but this still makes for a nice shared first course. The streak under the crabcake is Louisiana Hot Sauce that I spread with a basting brush. The Scallops are seasoned & seared for about 3 minutes per side. I paired them with a mango salsa & an arugula salad which I dressed with the mango salsa & topped with some chopped walnuts.

For the mango salsa, toss together: one mango (diced), one half red pepper (diced), one shallot (minced), one jalapeno (diced), one clove of garlic (minced), the juice of one half of a lime, one tablespoon of olive oil, salt & pepper and allow to rest for 1 hour.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Bacon is great. We all know that. But it is also supposedly bad for you, so one should try to keep its consumption on the modest side - I guess. Well, you shouldn't waste either, so there. Well that is the case with the following two sides. I had some bacon left over (mostly meat) from the venison burgers I had made and over the course of the following two weeks, I worked it into a couple of dishes & I must say the modest addition really made the dish.
Both of the preparations are essentially the same. You basically want to cook your veggie until just tender & then finish with the bacon.
For the beets, trim off the greens & most of the stem. Wrap in foil and roast in a 450° oven until you can easily pierce the beet with a knife - approximately 30-45 minutes. Let cool, peel & dice.
For the carrots, peel & chopped into desired size. Bring a pot of salted water boil & cook carrots until you can easily pierce a carrot with a knife.
To finish, chop bacon into thin strips & cook until well done in a nonstick pan over medium high heat. Remove to a paper towel to drain of excess fat. Using the bacon drippings left in the pad, saute your veggies over high heat until browned, toss in bacon, season with salt & pepper and serve.
Above, you see the Beets (golden in this case) served with grilled Chicken & wilted Beet Greens. Below, you see the carrots served with grilled Sturgeon, wilted Rainbow Chard & a Mango Salsa.