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  • Wild Card – Mushroom and Onion Frittata

    So it is Saturday, and I get to play, and explore, and devise the most devilish items to tease the Lady of Bad Wolf Manor with. As spring leaps into summer, we are looking for lighter fare that can be served hot or cold. Since I have recently done quiche for Madam BadWolf, I think I’ll take a slightly Mediterranean tact.
    Wikipedia says:

    Frittata is an egg-based dish similar to an omelette or quiche, either simple or enriched with additional ingredients such as meats, cheeses, vegetables or pasta. It may be flavored with herbs.

    A frittata may be baked, or it may be started in a frying pan. When started on a stove top the frittata can be finished in an oven or under a broiler. Or it may be flipped and finished in the pan.

    Frittata preparation differs from omelet preparation in that the eggs are beaten to incorporate air where the eggs for omelets usually are stirred with less air incorporated. The additional air in the frittata mixture allows for a deeper filling and a fluffier result. Ingredients to be incorporated into a fritatta are added to the pan before the egg mixture (in a French omelet they are added after).

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  • Fish Friday – Shrimp Tempura

    I’ve meet up with a Chef / Owner of a rather eclectic establishment, he and I seem to have similar tastes in food and are having a grand time swapping recipes / and techniques. Including how to cook frog, but that is a different post.

    One of his signature dishes is a tempura shrimp dish with a sweet chili sauce. Now, we’ve done a Thai sweet chili sauce, but still need to do the batter / frying. Control of gluten formation and temperature of the batter is a key item,as well as proper preparation of the Fish / Shellfish / veggies for battering / frying.

    Background

    Tempura is a classic Japanese dish of deep fried battered vegetables or seafood. A basic light batter made of cold water and wheat flour, enhancers like eggs, baking soda or baking powder, starch, oil, and/or spices may also be added.

    Specially low-gluten flours with leavening such as baking powder are available in Japanese supermarkets.

    The batter is traditionally mixed in small batches using chopsticks for only a few seconds, leaving lumps in the mixture that, along with the cold batter temperature, result in the unique fluffy and crisp tempura structure when cooked. The batter is often kept cold by adding ice, or by placing the bowl inside a larger bowl with ice in it. Over-mixing the batter will result in production of wheat gluten, which causes the flour mixture to become chewy and dough-like when fried.

    Thin slices or strips of vegetables or seafood are dipped in flour, then the batter, then briefly deep-fried in hot oil. Vegetable oil or canola oil are most common, however tempura was traditionally cooked using sesame oil. When cooking shellfish, squid, or hard-skinned watery vegetables such as bell pepper or eggplant, it is important to score the skin with a knife to prevent the ingredients from bursting during cooking. Failing to do so can lead to serious burns from splashing oil.

    Oil temperature is generally between 325 to 360 Degree F, depending on the ingredient. In order to preserve the natural flavor and texture of the ingredients, it is important not to overcook tempura. Cooking times range between a few seconds for delicate leaf vegetables, to several minutes for thick items or large kaki-age fritters.

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  • BBQ – The Series – Spirit Marination

    So I have a “Smoke and Fire” event coming. And it is time to start “BBQ U” for all those who don’t Q, and especially those who do.

    I’ll do a series of posts that will follow my preparations for this event. In specific the prep of a brisket for smoking, from meat selection, to trimming, marination, aging with rub, smoking, resting, carving and eating. Consider this the first post in this. A little out of order as the event in still several weeks away and I do not need to mess up the timing..

    This is a special marinade for brisket, and what can be more “BBQ” than Whiskey and Coke, (Besides smoke…)

    Background

    Marination, also known as marinating, is the process of soaking foods in a seasoned, often acidic, liquid before cooking. The origins of the word allude to the use of brine (aqua marina) in the pickling process, which led to the technique of adding flavor by immersion in liquid. The liquid in question, the ‘marinade’ can be acidic with ingredients such as vinegar, lemon juice, or wine, (In this case whiskey), or savory with soy sauce, brine or other prepared sauces. Along with these liquids, a marinade often contains oils, herbs, and spices to further flavor the food items, (in this case coke and the other items).

    It is commonly used to flavor foods and to tenderize tougher cuts of meat. The process may last seconds or days. Different marinades are used in different cuisines and different foods. In meats, the acid causes the tissue to break down, allowing more moisture to be absorbed and giving a juicier end product.

    Part of the effect of the marinate is to open the fibers of the meat and to draw meat proteins to the surface of the meat, when when they dry will form a kind of flavor velcro that will adhere both the flavors from the rub as well as the smoke particles as well. This is similar to a formation in smoking fish called a pellicle, which is a thin, lacquer-like layer on top of the meat that seals it and offers a sticky surface for the smoke to adhere to.

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  • Wednesday’s Pasta – 5 Cheese and a Rigatoni

    I am getting rather tired of meat and meat inclusive dishes at this point. Time for something different… Let’s go with pasta, but not spaghetti, maybe shells or tubes, actually rigatoni, medium sized rigatoni….

    For a sauce a mixture of flavors and textures. As a base, a Alfredo carbonara, of butter, cream, Parmesan, mixed with the rigatoni, t topped with more of the rigatoni and finished with a mozzarella topping, then baked to a bubbly golden brown finish…

    Perhaps an bit of onion, a bit of garlic and a handful of green peas for color and textural contrast.

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  • Steak Au Poivre

    Post # 1000, Over three years of research, testing, writing, photography, over 15 pounds on my waist, and untold pounds on the other denizens of the lair. Being banned from a client’s office during “cookie season”, being invited to play guest chef at various little out of the way restaurants, having my dinner companions embarrassed as I asked to speak to the chef, having other dinner companions thrilled as the chef joins us at the tale to discuss his craft, having culinary challenges tossed to me from many directions, It has been GREAT, just now I need to figure out want to do for post 10,000…

    And I am going to have a steak tonight

    My favorite Steak, Au Poivre. Top Shelf quality steak, cooked to a nice crisp crust,studded with pieces of cracked pepper and crystals of sea salt, with a juicy interior, and a rich pepper corn sauce on the side for dipping.

    Background

    Steak au poivre (pepper steak) is a French dish that consists of a steak, (usually filet mignon), coated with loosely cracked peppercorns and then cooked. The peppercorns form a crust on the steak when cooked and provide a pungent but complementary counterpoint to the rich flavor of the high-quality beef. The peppercorn crust itself is made by placing the steak in a bed of cracked black peppercorns, and sea salt. The steak is seared in a hot skillet with a small amount of butter to cook it, at a high temperature that cooks the outside quickly and forms the crust while leaving the interior rare to medium rare. The steak is then rested for several minutes and then served.

    Often accompanied by a pan sauce consisting of reduced cognac, heavy cream, and the fond from the bottom of the pan. A classic side dish to steak au poivre would be pommes frites (small fried shoestring potatoes).

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  • Meatless Monday – Baby Carrots with Balsamic and Honey Glaze


    This is a very special post… #999. Tomorrow is the 1000th post for RogueChef. I will, of course, do something special for both posts.

    Yesterday was Easter and from the weather the first real day of spring. Probably time for a seasonal spring recipe, perhaps young carrots, sauted in butter then tossed with balsamic and honey for a sour-sweet bite.

    This is a VERY simple recipe, that speaks to my catch phase of “Fresh Ingredients, Prepared Simply, for a Splendid Meal”

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