With all the cold and snow weather we have been having recently I wanted to make a dish that would warm everyone up. I chose to make coq au vin because it is a hearty winter meal and I also want to learn a bit more french technique. This recipe is a quicker version that only takes 1 hour and 45 mins in total. The meal turned out quite well. However while cooking it you need to consistently taste it to make sure it has enough salt, it is very easy to under season this dish and have it turn out bland. Enjoy
This past weekend I finally made beef wellington. This dish has been on my list of dishes to try ever since seeing it on MasterChef. I did a lot of preparation and research before making this dish so I could understand all the steps involved in making such a complex dish. I combined a few different recipes but this video was a big help in seeing how to execute some of the more technical aspects of this meal, beef wellington video. This recipe is for special occasions. It takes a lot of time to prep but in the end it turns out great. just make sure to take your time as you work through the recipe and trust your meat thermometer. For a nice medium rare pull the wellington out of the oven when the internal temperature reaches 125. As the roast rests it the temp will rise to 130-135. When cutting the wellington use a sharp chef’s knife to prevent the pastry from shredding and falling off. Enjoy.
Over the weekend I made braised beef short ribs for dinner. A warning before you attempt this recipe, it is fairly simple technique-wise but it will take 3-3 and a half hours to make. However, the time is more than worth it for the final product. To come up with this recipe I combined a few recipes I had researched online while looking up how to make this dish. I am a fan of peppers so I added a few into the mirepoix mixture.
When buying the short ribs see if your butcher can cut the ribs into 2 inch pieces cut crosswire, this allows the ribs to fit in the pot and be covered by the braising liquid. After the ribs are done it is important to remove them from the liquid then strain the liquid to remove some of the fat. You then return the liquid to a sauce pan and bring it to a boil to reduce down for 5-10 minutes. As it boils add salt and pepper to taste. You can serve the short ribs over mashed potatoes or polenta. With the weather in the Northeast getting cooler this is perfect for an Autumn or Winter weekend. Enjoy!
Earlier this week I made up a nice surf and turf with a ribeye steak and some sea scallops. I also experimented with some grilled potatoes that I marinated in a chipotle sauce. For the steak I just sprinkled on some kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper then cooked it to a nice medium rare.
For the potatoes I wanted to try something different and looked up a few ideas for grilled redskinned potatoes. Most of the recipes I found were pretty basic so I modified a few to add some spice to the potatoes. I thought they turned out quite well and were a nice change up from a regular baked potato.
I cooked the scallops on Himalayan salt blocks. If you can I highly recommend getting one. They cook some of the best scallops I have ever eaten. They are also good with tuna and thinly sliced pieces of beef. The most important part of cooking with a salt block is to make sure you heat it correctly. You need to take your time to not damage the block. I go over the proper way to heat a salt block in the recipe for the scallops.
The salt blocks give the scallops a fantastic sear and a light and salty seasoning. Enjoy!
It is currently halibut season and I decided to take full advantage. Using the butter roasting technique I learned in the cooking class I made butter roasted halibut. The best part about butter roasting is that it keeps the fish moist. To make this dish the first thing you need to do is season your fish. I used kosher salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, and dill. After seasoning the fist lightly sprinkle with canola or peanut oil, you need to use an oil that has a high smoking point. Next preheat the pan over high heat, then place a small amount of oil in the pan, enough to coat the pan. Place fish in pan and sear over high heat for 1 minute. Then turn down heat to medium high and cook until half way up the fish turns white. Flip the fist then add 3-4 Tbs of unsalted butter to pan. As the butter melts take a spoon and baste fish with butter for 3-4 minutes. With fish the cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of the pieces, the ones I used were ~2 inches thick. Once fish is done remove from pan and place on plate, covering with tin foil. use leftover butter in pan to saute vegetables. Be sure to take full advantage of the halibut that is available now, it is a delicious fish. Enjoy!
Tonight’s class focused on shellfish. I finally learned how to properly shuck an oyster. It took a few attempts but by the end I was able to pick up the technique. To shuck an oyster you hold it in a towel in your hand, cup of the oyster facing down. You then take the oyster knife and push it through the heel of the oyster. Once the knife gets through the heel you twist the knife to pop the shell. You then move the knife across the top shell to separate it from the oyster. Then after taking the top shell off you cut the oyster free from the bottom shell. I chose to cook Oysters Florentine tonight in order to practice the shucking technique.
The chef also taught us a few simple recipes for shrimp, clams, and crab that I will highlight in future posts
Week 4 has been my favorite class so far. First we were taught how to scale and skin a fish. Then, instead of following a recipe from the book the chef taught us a few techniques how to cook fish; grilling, sauteing, and butter roasting. After going over these techniques we were able to experiment with seasonings and sauces to pair with the fish.
I chose to butter roast snapper fillets. I seasoned the snapper with white pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, dill, and Spanish paprika. I then preheated the pan. As the pan was heating I lightly coated the fish with canola oil, then when the pan was hot I placed a tablespoon of oil in the pan. I then placed the fish in the pan, turning the heat down after 30 seconds. When the fish turned white halfway through I flipped the fish and added 4-5 tablespoons of butter to the pan and turned down the heat. As the butter melted I basted the fish with the butter for 1-2 min until the fish was done, squeezing lemon juice over the fish at the very end.
After removing the fish from the pan I drained out most of the butter and added a chopped shallot and garlic. I then deglazed the pan with white wine and reduced it by 3/4. After reducing the wine I added spinach and sauteed the spinach. I served the fish over the spinach.
In week two of the cooking classes we learned how to prepare and cook various forms of meat. The class started with a talk about the various types of each meat, ie the difference between choice and prime cuts of beef. We were then walked through where on the animal various cuts of meat came from. After the short lesson the chef taught us how to prep and French a rack of lamb and prep a pork and veal tenderloin. Then we got into the cooking. I chose to cook a roasted veal tenderloin with a maple bourbon glaze, Ben I’m sorry about the veal. One skill I will take away from this recipe was learning how to properly sear a piece of meat. From properly preheating the pan to the proper time to flip the meat. The chef was very good about answering any questions we had during the class. A few of the other dishes from the class that stood out were the beef stroganoff, the Thai curried pork, and the tri tip that the head chef prepared for us. I look forward to trying out those dishes in the near future.
Continuing on with my homework assignment from the cooking classes, I took the chicken carcass from the other night and made a chicken stock. The recipe is very simple, the only difficult part of the recipe is that it takes 4-5 hours to make. You can use the stock as a soup or you can use it in sauces or other dishes you decide to cook. If you have the time I would recommend trying to make your own chicken stock.