3.24.2013

Latin Scallops


This past week has been a very exciting one for me. I was offered a job as an Architectural Engineer at an incredible engineering firm in Manhattan. Having spent the last five years in Philly, I've had the chance to experience a lot of great cuisine. However, nothing compares to the food scene in New York. So hopefully I'll have even more exciting things to post about, come June!
In other news, I've been absolutely itching for warmer weather so that I could share this recipe with you! I am obsessed with Latin food. In fact, last night Alex and I came to the conclusion that our top 3 restaurants all specialize in Latin cuisine. This recipe for scallops encompasses two of my favorite things: chimichurri and avocado puree. It's also incredibly easy to make, and can be prepared in about fifteen minutes.

P.S.- This gorgeous photo is from my shoot with Mike Arrison of Mike Arrison Photography back in December.

Latin Scallops
Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:
12 scallops
1 tbsp olive oil
1 avocado
1 tbsp creme fraiche
1 lime, halved
1 clove garlic, minced
1/6 red onion, diced
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
kosher salt
black pepper

Directions:
With an immersion blender, puree the avocado with the creme fraiche, one half of the lime, and a bit of salt and pepper. Set this puree aside. In a small bowl, mix together the diced onion, the minced garlic, the chopped cilantro, and the other half of the lime. 
Preheat a large pan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Place the tablespoon of olive oil onto the hot pan, and gently place each of the scallops onto it for two minutes on the first side and one minute on the other side. 
On your plates, smear a bit of the avocado puree onto each, top each smudge with a scallop, and top each scallop with a bit of the chimichurri.
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3.20.2013

Avocado Caprese

 
 
Since it's officially spring, I thought I would kick off the season with one my absolute favorite salads for the warmer months. Avocado caprese is my trademark lunch when we're at the shore. I eat it about twenty times over beach season, and then retire it for the rest of the year. It's a bit early for the beach, but I was at Reading Terminal Market and saw one of my favorite cheese mongers making fresh braids of mozzarella and I couldn't resist.
 
Avocado Caprese
Yield: 2 Servings
 
Ingredients:
1 ripe avocado
1 large tomato
1 small braid of mozzarella
6 basil leaves
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
kosher salt
ground black pepper
 
Directions:
Start by slicing the avocado around its center (the short way), pull the two halve apart, swiftly put your knife into the pit and twist the knife to pull it out. Scoop the avocado out of the skin, and then slice each half into 3 slices. Next, slice your tomato and your mozzarella into 6 rounds. Stack one piece of mozzarella, one tomato slice, and one avocado slice and sprinkle each with a bit of salt and pepper; do this three times per stack. Finally, top the stacks with 3 basil leaves each and drizzle them with olive oil and balsamic.
 
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3.17.2013

Spinach & Goat Cheese Frittata


Every time that I'm out for breakfast and a restaurant has an omelet or frittata on the menu, I always want to adjust the ingredients. I'd like to think that I have a knack for pairing things that taste wonderful together. This morning's breakfast was no exception. I had some of my favorite bacon on hand, along with some gorgeous long stemmed spinach leaves, creamy goat cheese, and a spanish onion. This was a dream team of ingredients for making a frittata. There are so many different techniques that people use to cook frittatas, but I prefer to bake mine. It cooks so evenly, and it's done in about 20 minutes. I had no idea how much Alex would love this, and believe it or not he ate the whole thing without a drop of ketchup!

Spinach & Goat Cheese Frittata
Yield: 3 Servings

Ingredients:
5 slices of bacon
1/4 yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp butter
6 eggs
1/8 cup half and half
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups baby spinach leaves, thinly sliced
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. On a baking sheet, lay out the slices of bacon and place them into the oven for about fifteen minutes, or until they're perfectly crispy. Meanwhile, place a small pan over medium heat along with the butter. Once the butter is melted, pour half of it into the round ovenproof dish or pan that you'll be baking the frittata in and swirl it around until the dish is coated. Next, add the onions to the pan that's over medium heat and cook them for about five minutes, or until they're caramelized. In a small bowl, whisk together the six eggs, the half and half, the salt and pepper. In this same bowl, add the caramelized onions, the cooked bacon (crumbled), the goat cheese crumbles, as well as half of the baby spinach leaves. Finally, pour the egg mixture into the buttered ovenproof dish and place it into the oven for 20 minutes. Once it's done, top it with the other half of the baby spinach and a little bit of extra goat cheese and bacon.
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3.10.2013

Fig & Brie Crostini


When I first started venturing out with cheese, beyond the cheddars of my childhood, brie was one of the first that resonated with my palate. In a general sense brie can be classified as a mild soft and creamy cheese. However, I’ve had some very pungent brie and even brie made with goat’s milk like Kunik, which I would highly recommend. So this week when I stopped by to see my local cheese monger, I decided to get one of my favorite brie-type cheeses, Reblochon. It is super creamy, and has a nutty finish. I decided to pair it with brown sugar crostini, some perfectly sweet fig jam, and a few leaves of thyme. The combination is literally perfect.



Fig & Brie Crostini
Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:
8 slices baguette
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 oz brie
2 tbsp fig jam
4 sprigs thyme

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet,  toss the sliced baguette with the olive oil, brown sugar, and salt. Place them into the oven for eight minutes, or until they’re perfectly golden. Meanwhile, slice the brie into eight thin slices. When you remove the crostini from the oven, top them with the brie slices and allow them to melt a little bit. Then put a little bit of jam onto each alone with the thyme leaves. Enjoy!


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3.05.2013

Poached Eggs & Mushroom Veloute


I cherish Tuesdays, I don't have any obligations until the afternoon so I get to spend the morning in my well lit kitchen. Today I decided to take advantage of it with a yummy breakfast of poached eggs, mushroom veloute, and toasted baguette. Parc in Rittenhouse Square serves a dish similar to this, in fact the last time I was there my mom and I both ordered it for breakfast. 


The basics for this recipe are the eggs, the mushrooms, and the baguette. However, when you add a few simple ingredients you take this dish to a new level: lemon zest for a bright citrus note, grated Hunterdon cheese for a salty bite (similar to Parmesan or Grana Padano), and thyme for a hearty herb flavor. The combination makes for a decadent meal and a satiated tummy.

Poached Eggs & Mushroom Veloute
Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:
8 slices of baguette
4 eggs
1/4 lemon
4 sprigs of thyme
1 oz Parmesan
6 oz mushrooms, diced
1/8 yellow onion, diced
3 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp butter
kosher salt
black pepper

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, a saute pan over medium heat, and a pot filled 3/4 with water over high heat. Place the baguette slices onto a baking sheet and place them into the oven for about eight minutes, or until they're golden. In the saute pan, place the tablespoon of butter and allow it to melt before adding the diced onion and mushrooms along with a bit of salt and pepper. Allow them to saute for about ten minutes, stirring them occasionally. Once they're cooked place them into a blender along with the heavy cream and blend them until they're smooth. Next, crack the eggs into cups individually. Into the boiling water squeeze the juice from the lemon and stir the water to form a whirlpool. Pour the individual eggs into the center of the whirlpool and allow them to cook for about four minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them onto a paper towel to absorb the excess water before plating them. Finally, pour the puree into individual dishes, topped with the poached egg, and two baguette slices. Sprinkle the entire dish with the leaves from the sprigs of thyme, some of the grated cheese, and the zest from the lemon.

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3.03.2013

Lamb with Pear Compote & Parsnip Puree


Whenever lamb is offered on a menu, I almost always order it as my main course. Last weekend during our time in the mountains, we went to Fern Hall Inn (also the inspiration for my Grilled Wedge Salad). They had a rack of lamb with plum compote that was served along with Gorgonzola mashed potatoes, it was incredible. That meal inspired me to create this wonderful dish. I had no idea how well it would turn out, from conception to fork this dish was a very pleasant surprise for this Sunday's supper.

Lamb with Pear Compote
& Parsnip Puree
Yield: 2 Servings

Ingredients:
4 lamb ribs
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp fig jam
1 pear, diced
1/2 cup red wine
2 sprigs of thyme
4 parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp heavy cream
kosher salt
black pepper

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, a large saute pan over high heat, and place a medium size pot 3/4 filled with water over high heat. Take the rack of lamb, and dry it with a paper towel, rub it with the tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle it liberally with the salt and pepper. Place the lamb rack on the large saute pan, allow it to sear on one side for 3 minutes, then flip it over and allow it to cook for another 3 minutes. Next, place the  lamb into the oven for 15 minutes.
In the mean time, place the parsnips into the boiling water for 12 minutes (or until they're fork tender). Now, using the pan that the lamb was seared in over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter and allow it to melt. Next, add the diced pear, the leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme, and the fig jam; allow them to cook while you whisk them for a few minutes. Finally, add the red wine and allow it to cook off for another 5 minutes along with a bit of salt and pepper while continuing to whisk, then turn off the heat. 
Drain the parsnips, add them to a blender/ food processor along with the heavy cream and remaining tablespoon of butter along with a bit of salt and pepper, and puree them until they're smooth.
For the final step, remove the lamb from the oven and allow it to rest for a few minutes before slicing each rib. Turn the saute pan with the pear sauce back on to medium heat, and add the sliced lamb ribs to it and allow them to cook for a few minutes to absorb the sauce before plating the dish.
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3.01.2013

Ribeye & Gorgonzola Sauce


Yesterday Alex left for Penn Athletics spring training in Florida for ten days. Thankfully, I'll be incredibly busy over the next week, so hopefully I won't miss him too much! As a going away dinner, I decided to make his favorite meal. The first time he tried this gorgonzola sauce was about three years ago, and he's been an avid fan ever since. The combination of steak and blue cheese is certainly indulgent, but the flavors are out of this world when put together. I've given this recipe to friends who are looking to make a great dinner for potential suitors, and it works every time.

Ribeye & Gorgonzola Sauce
Yield: 2 Servings

Ingredients:
3/4 lb Ribeye
1 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt
ground black pepper
2 oz Gorgonzola
3/4 cup half and half
1 tbsp parsley, chopped

Directions:
Preheat your grill or grill pan over high heat. Also place a small pot over medium heat and place the half and half into it. Allow the half and half to simmer while you cook the steak, stirring it occasionally to prevent it from burning. Start by patting the steak dry with a paper towel, then rub it down with the olive oil, and liberally sprinkle it with the salt and pepper. Place it onto the hot pan for 3 minutes per side, then turn the heat to medium-low. Cook it for an additional 2 minutes per side, this should allow you to achieve a nice medium-rare. Next, take the half and half off of the heat and crumble and stir the Gorgonzola into it, along with the parsley and a bit of salt and pepper. Finally, thinly slice the steak and drizzle it with the blue cheese sauce.

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