Showing posts with label Appetizer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Appetizer. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Peaches with Burrata and Basil – An Exceptional Summer Exception

There are many people, myself included, that think cooking prosciutto is basically a crime against nature; but there are exceptions, and this plate of grilled peaches with burrata is one incredibly delicious example. 

Having said that, I used a domestic version, which works beautifully here, so we’re not expecting you to use up your precious prosciutto di Parma.

As far as the peaches go, you want something ripe, and sweet, but still somewhat firm. Above and beyond not being too soft, you must also make sure you’re buying “freestone” peaches. Non-freestone varieties will not separate as seen in the video. Ask the produce person at the market, and if they’re not sure, have them cut one open. They’re usually happy to do so!

After you talk to them, head over to the cheese department, and pick up some burrata. This extra rich and creamy cousin of mozzarella is not that hard to find, and really puts this over the top. You could use a nice, fresh mozzarella, or even a full-fat ricotta instead, but, if at all possible, find some burrata, and treat yourself to one of the world’s great cheese experiences. I hope you give this great summer recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 large or 4 small portions:
2 ripe, sweet, but not soft peaches (must be “freestone”)
3 or 4 thin slices prosciutto, torn in ribbons
6 ounces (about 3/4 cup) burrata cheese
salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil as needed
1 tbsp finely sliced fresh basil leaves
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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Smoked Trout Schmear – Because There’s No Cool Way to Say, “Spread”

Schmear,” on the other hand, is impossible to say without sounding cool. Try it, you’ll see. You also have to love a recipe whose name describes what you’re supposed to do with it. You make a schmear, and then you schmear a schmear.

Names aside, this smoked trout schmear is incredibly easy, and very versatile. Obviously, it’s great spread on any kind of bread or crackers, but slathered atop a freshly toasted bagel may be it’s finest expression.

By the way, this is one of those recipes were you almost have to ignore the exact ingredient measurements I give below, since the ideal amount of salt, acidity, and heat are very subjective. Equal proportions of cream cheese and smoked trout is a good starting point, but everything else should be added “to taste.”

Smoked trout is relatively easy to find in any of your fancier grocery stores that sell smoke salmon, and unlike its more common cousin, I think it provides a richer, more interesting flavor, especially in spreads like this. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!



2 trout boneless, skinless fillets (about 5-6 ounces total), checked for bones and crumbled
6 ounces cream cheese (3/4 cup), softened to room temp
2 teaspoons capers, drained
1 rounded teaspoon hot prepared horseradish, preferably homemade
salt and freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne
1/2  lemon, juiced (about 4 teaspoons), or to taste

2 teaspoons fresh chopped chives
1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
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Friday, September 23, 2016

Crispy “Peking Duck” Lettuce Cups – Faster, Easier, and Better?

I was going to say that one of these days we’ll actually make a proper Peking duck recipe, but that’s probably not going to happen. That takes multiple steps, several days, and requires a place to hang the ducks to dry. Most modern homes don’t have a duck drying room.

However, using this relatively quick and simple technique, we can achieve something kind of similar, which many people would say, all things considered, is even better. Well, maybe not “many people,” but I would say that. These were really, really good.

Regarding the Chinese five-spice seen herein; mine contained cinnamon, anise seed, cloves, ginger, and fennel; but these ingredients can vary. Believe it or not, despite the name, many contain more than five spices, as things like pepper, nutmeg, orange peel, and cardamom, are also common additions. The good news is, for something like this, any combination of those will work.

If you’re not into lettuce cups for whatever reason, you can also use this technique for serving whole duck legs. The only difference is, don’t cut them up. Since this is something that can be made well ahead of time, it works nicely for large groups. Just simply reheat, and crisp up the skin before serving. I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
6 whole duck legs
1 tbsp veg oil
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Chinese 5-spice powder
3 green onions, cut into large pieces
5 garlic cloves, halved

For the sauce (everything here is to taste, so please adjust):
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 lemon juiced

Serve in lettuce cups, garnished with cucumber, green onions, and sesame seeds.
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Crab Rangoon – Rhymes with Swoon

Many people are surprised when they find out that crab rangoons are about as Asian as Buffalo chicken wings, but it’s true. Even though they’re commonly found on Chinese and Thai menus, they were actually invented in San Francisco, at Trader Vic’s, in 1956.

While not “authentic,” these crispy crab and cream cheese wontons are one of the most addictive, delicious, and crowd-pleasing appetizers ever created. That is, if the filling has enough crab in it. Most of the restaurant versions I’ve had are probably 3 or 4 parts cream cheese, to 1 part crab, but here we’re using a 1 to 1 ratio, and the results are amazing.

Besides being generous with the crab (or lobster, or chicken), the other critical factor is the “warhead” fold. Even though you can fold these over once to make a simple triangle, I highly recommend using the method shown herein.

The “turnover” fold is easier, but you don’t get nearly as much crispy goodness, and that’s what makes these so great. It’s that contrast between the warm creamy center, and those four crunchy edges that makes this such a magical bite I really hope you give them a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 60 Crab Rangoons:
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces crab meat, drained well
1 clove crushed garlic
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch cayenne
60 square wonton wrappers
canola oil for deep-frying

For the sauce:
(Note: I only made a half batch in the video. This should easily be enough for 60 rangoons)
1 cup ketchup
1/4 rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce, or to taste
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Waldorf Salad by Any Other Name

As I joked about in the video, a fruit salad has to be pretty damn good to actually get a name, and the venerable Waldorf salad is certainly worthy. 

I realize that there are a small group of you who won’t be able to wrap your heads around mayonnaise with fruit, and that’s a shame, since it means you won’t get to enjoy one of the great combinations of all time. By the way, if you are one of the aforementioned people, but like mayo slathered all over your sandwich, containing slices of sweet, ripe tomato, and caramelized onions, then you have some explaining to do. Also, coleslaw. I rest my case.

Embellish this as you see fit, but I really like it best with just the four ingredients seen here. Things like dried cranberries can add a nice seasonal touch, but for me, the chewy fruit gets in the way of that addictive crunchy/crisp texture. I really hope you give this old-school, but timeless Waldorf salad a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 1 cup dressing (enough for 2 Waldorf salads below):
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup crème fraiche or sour cream (I used CF)
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper
pinch cayenne
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon

For 2 large or 4 appetizer sized Waldorf salads:
2 large crisp, sweet apples, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup small cubed celery root
1 cup quartered seedless grapes
1/2 cup toasted walnuts pieces
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