August 27, 2006

Garlic-Ginger-Sesame Wet Paste

Steak with Garlic-Ginger-Sesame Paste
from Cook's Illustrated, May/June 2005

Paste Ingredients:
4 TBSP toasted sesame oil
2 TBSP vegetable oil
3 TBSP fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 TBSP green onions, minced
1 TBSP garlic, minced

Puree all ingredients in blender until smooth. Makes enough for about 2 pounds of steak.

Place steak in a baking dish and prick on each side. Rub both sides of steak evenly with a little salt (about 2 tsp total) and then rub evenly with paste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Prepare grill. Wipe paste off steak and season both sides with fresh ground pepper. Grill about 5 minutes per side for medium rare and then let rest under foil another 5 minutes before serving.

Notes: I was looking to do something a little different than my old standby marinades and this really hit the spot. Wet rubs such as this work similar to marinades and thus the meat is well seasoned and tender.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
August 6, 2006

Lamb Chops with Mid Eastern Influence

Lamb Chops with Mid Eastern Influence
a Jennifer original

2 shoulder lamb chops
4 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup yogurt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp olive oil
1/8 cup pine nuts, toasted

Marinade lamb chops in 4 tsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 3/4 tsp cumin, and garlic for 15 minutes at room temperature. Combine yogurt, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/8 tsp cinnamon to let flavors mingle.

Heat 1 tsp olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Brown lamb chops, approximately 4-5 minutes per side, or until desired doneness achieved. Pour off excess fat. Add yogurt sauce and heat through. Serve sprinkled with pine nuts.

Notes: I drew on three different recipes to craft this, Yogurtlu Basti (seen elsewhere on this blog), Lamb with Cumin and Cardamom (also on this blog) and a recipe for a roast leg of lamb with a yogurt sauce (which I have not yet attempted). And I would say this came out pretty well. For future attempts, I think I need to bump up the spice a little bit or marinade the meat longer -- it was a little too mild. I'd also recommend never skipping the pine nuts. They add a really nice touch to the dish.

Posted by Jennifer at 2:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
August 3, 2006

Chicken with Goat Cheese and Basil

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Basil
from Bon Appetit, November 1990

4 boneless chicken breast halves, skinned

1/2 cup fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet) (about 4 ounces)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 basil leaves, shredded or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg, beaten to blend
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter melted

Mushroom-Wine Sauce
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced (I used portabello)
1/4 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup chicken stock or canned low-salt broth
4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into 4 pieces
Salt and pepper

For chicken: Preheat oven to 350 F. Pound chicken between sheets of waxed paper to thickness of 1/4 inch using meat mallet. Pat chicken dry.

Combine cheese, green onions and basil in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread cheese mixture lengthwise over half of each chicken piece. Tuck short ends in. Roll chicken up, starting at one long side, into tight cylinders. Tie ends with string to secure. Dip chicken in egg, allowing excess to drip into bowl. Roll in breadcrumbs, shaking off excess. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Refrigerate.)

Place chicken in 8-inch square baking dish. Pour 2 tablespoons melted butter over. Bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

For sauce: Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add wine and boil 3 minutes. Add stock and boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and swirl in 4 tablespoons cold butter 1 piece at a time. Season sauce with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Remove string from chicken. Cut rolls crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Fan on plates. Serve immediately, passing sauce separately.

Posted by Jennifer at 1:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
August 1, 2006

Atlanta: Pittypat's Porch

This is another restaurant that saw quite a lot of action from the convention attendees mentioned in my entry on the Pacific Rim Bistro. Everywhere I went during the conference, if I mentioned Pittypat's Porch, there was someone within earshot who had also tried it out. And it was certainly worth it for a taste of something southern and out of the ordinary. After getting a wonderful assortment of homemade biscuits and corn bread, I decided to try out Aunt Pittypat's Filet, which is a beef tenderloin wrapped in bacon and served with southern mashed potatoes, complete with a white gravy that had a perfect taste and texture. I cleaned my plate. My dinner companion opted for the pork tenderloin with curried peanut sauce that came with an apple and sweet potato puree. I stole a couple of bites and it was delicious. I also snagged a taste of her georgia peach cobbler in between polishing off my classic pecan pie. Supposedly Pittypat's is named after Scarlett's aunt who always prepared her best recipes and often served them on the porch.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Atlanta: Pacific Rim Bistro

While in Atlanta for business, I had the opportunity to try out the Pacific Rim Bistro, in the restaurant group with Hsu's and Silk. With its proximity to Peachtree Center and several hotels, I'm sure they see quite a lot of business, and they certainly did that weekend. I saw a number of people from the same convention I was attending at nearby tables. In any case, I ordered the Vietnamese Spring Rolls to start and then, though tempted by the kobe steak, I instead opted for a partial rack of lamb (3 chops) crusted with goat cheese and wasabi and a spiced asian pear compote on the side. The first bite struck very strongly -- there was a lot of goat cheese, but luckily I am rather fond of it and found the overall combination very compelling. Their background is as varied as their menu: the owners are a married couple with one half that hails from Hong Kong and the other of Chinese descent and a Korean home.

Posted by Jennifer at 3:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack