Friday, June 12, 2009

Dinner party

Chris and Larisa are coming over for a visit; they just got back from Spain. We're looking forward to their stories and photos!

On tonight's menu:

Pastry bites (TraJo appetizer)
Spinach salad
Peppered New York Steak with Port-Cherry Reduction
Swiss "Rosti" Potato and Leek Cake
Roasted mixed vegetables (crookneck squash/zucchini/red peppers/onion)

Dessert: who knows?? Zouk is bringing it. I also made a zingy lemon sorbet for dessert (or perhaps a palate cleanser)

Should be a fun evening! I'm doing prep right now:

  • Sliced the veg, EVOO + seasonings, waiting on sheet pan
  • Set the port-cherry sauce on to reduce
  • Made the steak rub and seasoned the steaks
  • Sliced the leeks, washed them, peeled the potatoes
Rosti turned out well; I micro'd 1/2 of the potatoes before shredding; frankly, I probably didn't have to micro any of them. Worked well in 9" cast iron pan, had to do 3 flips, but it came out nice n crispy on 2nd side.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

blue cheese dip II

Here's a revised version of the blue cheese for wings. This one adds a little dill (which I've seen in copycat ranch dressing recipes) and onion powder. Also going smaller qty on sour cream, and using mayo instead of yogurt (didn't have plain yogurt)

Blue Cheese Dip II

4oz of mild blue cheese, such as Danish Rosenborg, crumbled
1/4 cup mayo
8oz (1/2 tub) sour cream
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme, dried
1/2 tsp. oregano, dried
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. dried dill
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. white (or white wine) vinegar

Results: immediately, well balanced flavor, slight garlic in the finish, but can taste nearly all the seasonings. May need a touch more salt. We'll see tomorrow, after it is refrigerated overnight.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Chicken stir fry with Brown Sauce

Don't know how better to describe this one. I made chicken stir fry over the weekend, and was enjoying some leftovers this evening, and after tasting the leftover brown sauce I thought "boy that's good!" Too bad it was relatively improvised, so I'm not sure on the quantities; but I am sure on the ingredients.

Chicken Stir Fry with Green Beans

2 chicken breasts
1 cup Brown Sauce (recipe follows)
1 cup frozen green beans
1 small onion, halved and sliced thin
1 large or two small red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced into rounds
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp hot bean paste
Salt + pepper

1 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp beef stock

Start the sauce first, and keep it simmering on a burner.

Over high heat, heat 1 tbsp oil in skillet until almost smoking. Add onion, season with salt, stir 3x and cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. Add bell peppers, stir 3x and cook undisturbed for 1 minute. Stir occassionally and cook for 1 more minute. Add 2 tbsp hot bean paste + garlic, cook for 30 seconds, then transfer pepper-onion mixture to a bowl/plate.

Blanch the green beans in Brown Sauce for about 2 minutes, and remove using wire skimmer. Add to pepper onion mixture. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and beef stock to form a slurry. Whisk into brown sauce, and reduce heat.

Season chicken liberally with salt + pepper. Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in skillet over high heat until almost smoking. Add chicken all at once, and spread out quickly into single layer. Let cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. Stir and cook for 2 more minutes. Add hot bean paste, and stir. Add onion/pepper/bean mixture to chicken. Add in about 1/2 cup sauce, and cook for 1 minute, until sauce bubbles and thickens. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve immediately with white or brown rice.


  • Try marinating chicken in cornstarch/brandy/salt/pepper
  • Add orange zest/orange peel to veggies at the beginning

Brown Sauce

2 cups beef stock
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp quality balsamic vinegar (or lower quality balsamic vinegar, cooked to reduce by 50%)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp brandy
Salt + pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh ginger (minced) or ginger juice (optional)

Combine all ingredients, bring to a boil, turn down and let simmer uncovered for 30 minutes until reduced. Adjust seasonings to taste. Ready to use, or refrigerate overnight for better flavor.