July 31, 2005

IMBB #17 - tasteTea

This month's host for Is My Blog Burning is A La Cuisine who has cited "tea as ingredient" for the theme. As those who know me can easily confirm, this was not something I was even remotely interested in resisting, regardless of my busy schedule. My morning cup of tea is a long-established ritual, which has only become more and more embellished over the years.

I'm not sure entirely who to blame for the beginnings of this habit, but there are certainly those who have encouraged it and continue to do so. I've had High Tea in London, New York, Boston, and (most recently) Toronto. That last was at the Windsor Arms Hotel Tea Room, and I rarely feel more self-indulged than when I dress to the nines and partake in such events. I'd like to do more of these in different cities. And also sometime a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Unfortunately, a recently planned outing to Harney's Tasting Room, had to be postponed, but I'll get it back on the calendar sometime this autumn, and in the meantime, a lovely gift of three tins arrived as compensation, including my current favorite, Golden Monkey.

An oft-requested recipe from this blog is actually a recipe using tea as an ingredient: Duck with Orange Tea Sauce. However, I wanted to do something different for this month's challenge. I looked at a few different recipes, including some desserts (truffles.... icecream.... I'll probably have to try those out later), but eventually settled on:

Jasmine Tea Risotto w/ Sweet Peas and Shrimp

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup freshly brewed jasmine green tea
1/2 cup white wine
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
2 TBSP butter
1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup sweet peas
1/4 pound shrimp (about 20 in size 71/90)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring broth, tea, and wine to a low simmer.

In a separate pot slowly simmer the shallot and the garlic in the butter, until shallot is soft and translucent. Remove from the heat. Add shrimp and saute until firm. Remove the shrimp. Add the rice, and mix very well with the shallots coating the rice with the butter and juices.

After a minute or so start adding the broth a ladle full at a time, in order to allow the rice to absorb it. To make risotto creamy, continue to stir as it cooks.

When risotto is almost done (not crunchy) Add peas and mix in until peas are cooked NOT MUSHY. Add a handful of Parmigiano and mix well. Risotto should be soft enough to spread and cover the entire plate when served. Garnish with shrimp.

Notes: This came out very tasty. The tea, stock and wine mixture seemed odd when I began but really combined to give this a different and refreshing taste that contrasted well with the shrimp. I ended up steaming the peas ahead of time and adding them at the last minute to be sure that I maintained the right consistency for both the rice and the vegetables and that seemed to work out well, so I'd recommend that to those who are not certain of the timing of this one. Served with Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc.

Edited to add:
IMBB 17: TasteTea Roundup Part I
IMBB 17: TasteTea Roundup Part II
IMBB 17: TasteTea Roundup Part III
IMBB 17: TasteTea Roundup Part IV
IMBB 17: TasteTea Roundup Part V*
IMBB 17: TasteTea Roundup Part VI

*This is the one in which my entry appears.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
July 25, 2005

Grilled Lamb with Garlic

Chuletas de Cordero Con Ajo y Perijil de Candida Acebo
AKA Candida's Grilled Lamb with Garlic and Parsley
from La Cocina de Mama

4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
kosher or sea salt
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP dry red wine
8 loin lamb chops, about 2 pounds

In a mortar mash to a paste the garlic, parsley, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in the oil and wine.

Brush the chops on both sides with oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill, preferably on a covered barbecue, and when almost done to taste, spoon the mortar mixture over the chops, give a brief turn, sprinkle with salt and serve.

Notes: As part of my determination to cook at least one dish from each of the myriad of cookbooks I've accumulated over the last couple of years, I tried this out. I made it in my trusty cast-iron grill pan, with two shoulder lamb chops as that's what I had standing by. It seemed to me that brushing on the wine mixture so close to the end would diffuse the effect, so I had it on both sides somewhat earlier in the game (and probably will need to be very careful in the future to monitor it so as to keep the parsley from burning). I was amazed at the keen taste of the meal, despite its simplicity. Definitely a keeper.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
July 8, 2005

Tandoori-Spiced Chicken

Tandoori-Spiced Chicken
Gourmet (April 1999)

Tandoori chicken gets its name from the clay oven (heated by wood or coal) it is traditionally cooked in a tandoor which bakes meat, fish, poultry, and bread at temperatures upward of 500 F. In our version, the chicken is broiled and the signature yogurt and spice marinade contains only ingredients that are readily available on supermarket shelves.

For spice paste
1 large garlic clove
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 small fresh red or green chile such as serrano or cayenne
1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh gingerroot
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/4 pounds total)
1 small red onion
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

For yogurt sauce
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
a pinch cayenne

Make spice paste:
Mince garlic with salt and mash to a paste. Wearing protective gloves, mince chile (including seeds for a spicier paste) and in a bowl stir together with garlic paste and remaining spice paste ingredients.

Make 3 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep in each chicken breast and rub spice paste into cuts and all over chicken. Marinate chicken, covered, 30 minutes at cool room temperature.

Preheat broiler and line broiler pan with foil. Halve onion through root end and reserve 1 half for sauce. Thinly slice remaining onion half, separating layers, and in a small bowl soak onion slices in ice water to cover while broiling chicken.

Arrange chicken without crowding on rack of broiler pan. Brush chicken with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and broil about 3 inches from heat 8 minutes. Turn chicken over and brush with remaining teaspoon vegetable oil. Broil chicken until lightly browned and just cooked through, about 6 minutes more.

Make sauce while chicken is broiling:
Mince enough reserved onion to measure 1 tablespoon and in a small bowl stir together with all sauce ingredients.

Drain soaked onion and pat dry between paper towels. Top chicken with onion slices and serve with yogurt sauce. Each serving, including yogurt sauce, about 222 calories and 5 grams fat.

Notes: Tasty, but too many steps. Overly complicated. Would rather go back to Poached Chicken with Curried Yogurt Sauce. It still was worth trying, and the chicken was juicy. However, I'm not really convinced the iced onions added anything special either.

Served with Reynoso Vineyards 2001 Sauvignon Blanc

Posted by Jennifer at 9:14 PM | Comments (3)
July 1, 2005

Leg of Lamb a la Julia Child

Leg of Lamb a la Julia Child

2 1/4 pound leg of lamb, butterflied

Marinade (from Julia Child, The Way to Cook):
2 large cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS dijon mustard
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp thyme
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil

Puree garlic into a small bowl and mash to a paste with the salt. Whisk in the mustard, soy, herbs (one may also use rosemary or oregano, or a mixture of all three), lemon juice. Add the oil slowly, still whisking, to make a mayonnaise-like cream.

In a dish large enough to accomodate the leg of lamb, coat with the marinade. Let sit at least 8 hours, overnight if possible.

Preheat oven to 325. Roast lamb in a roasting pan until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees (approximately 45 minutes -- as determined from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, it should be about 24 minutes per pound). Let rest under foil tent for 15-20 minutes and serve.

Served with Campus Oaks Pinot Noir 2001 and herbed french loaf from my brand new bread machine!

Notes: I've never cooked leg of lamb before. Now that I've tried it, I can see there will be no turning back. Resist the urge to cook this more quickly and at a higher temperature as that will make the meat tougher. This was a lovely medium rare, pink and tender. Very tasty (I ended up having it in the marinade for a day and a half), and I kept eating until I was thinking I could eat no more. Luckily, there are leftovers that I will probably use in a version of Mediterranean tacos, so the deliciousness will continue.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:29 AM | Comments (4)