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Posts Tagged ‘arugula’

  1. Sense and Sensibility: Crostini of Peaches and Home Made Ricotta

    July 22, 2011 by David Bridges

    After satiating my lust for the rich joys of Chinese black chicken, I decided to actually be sensible for once in my life. Being sensible falls solely on one’s point of view. There in lies the beauty of being sensible. It is only regulated by your own system of justification. It is completely sensible for ScottyRockYourBody to live in the Abacos and be forced to wrangle food from the ocean because he is broke and it is illegal for him to work there. Why does he insist on living a “sensible” lifestyle where he must tie a twine around his hand and pray a fish engulfs the lure he has set forth? Love, that’s why. To drop all for love could possibly be the most sensible thing that I have ever been witness to.
    Well, I love not being broke. So my next recipe took into account what was fresh and inexpensive. It serves as a great Hors D’oeuvres for some friends or a bedtime snack to share with who you are in love with. Unfortunately, you will need the slightest bit of income for this dish. Since it can’t be wrangled from the sea. How unromantic!

    Crostini with peaches, salumi, home-made ricotta and balsamic syrup
    Serves 2 in bed or 10 as an hors d’oeuvres for celebrating a military promotion

    For the Ricotta:
    ½ gal whole milk
    2 lemons juiced
    1T white vinegar
    kosher salt
    1T fresh chopped rosemary
    1T extra virgin olive oil
    For the balsamic syrup:
    12oz bottle of balsamic vinegar
    2T dark brown sugar

    1 loaf crusty sliced bread
    Olive oil
    A few local peaches
    High quality salumi such as Armandino Batali in Seattle
    Baby arugula

    To make the ricotta, place the milk in a pot and adjust your flame to medium heat. Raise the temperature of the milk to 170 degrees. Pour in the lemon juice and vinegar with a pinch of salt and stir for a brief second to just let it know that you haven’t abandoned its needs. Let the milk sit for a few minutes as the curds and the whey separate. Gently ladle all the curds into a cheese cloth lined colander and place that over a bowl to drip. Put it in your refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight to continue to drain a bit more. Remove the ricotta from the cheese cloth hammock and stir in the rosemary and olive oil. Taste the cheese and add some more salt as needed.
    For the balsamic syrup, place the 2 ingredients into a small pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the vinegar by half. The bubbles will turn large and thick. Set into a jar until needed.
    To assemble the Crostini, pour a generous amount of olive oil into a skillet and heat it on medium high until it starts to smoke. Place a few of the slices of bread into the skillet and brown on both sides. Keep repeating until all the bread is gone. Maybe drink a little wine to keep your constitution happy while you preform the mundane act of repetition. Pile all the crostini onto a plate and set aside. Peel, core and slice the peaches. Set them aside and lick your fingers confirming your sexuality. Slice your salumi as paper thin as possible and dress your arugula with some olive oil and salt. There is nothing sadder than a dry green that longs for a kiss of olive oil. Lather the ricotta onto the crostini, lay a peach slice or two, a salumi slice or two, some loved on arugula and a drizzle of the balsamic syrup. Repeat as much as you like or at least until you get bored b

  2. Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid: Oxtail Grilled Cheese with Cognac Raisin Jam

    May 12, 2011 by David Bridges


    Do you ever wonder about the words you say to some people? Do they absorb it or does it actually make a difference in their lives? Will they remember what you say? Do they even give a shit? I can’t say why I remember Thomas Keller telling me, “There is no such thing as creation anymore, only inspiration”. Conversely, I can’t say why my memory limits my recall of my mother’s birthday (it is in some month that starts with a “J”—but not January, I remember that much). Maybe it is a simple matter of unconscious importance. If I dole the blame onto the unconscious, that frees me from liability.
    I am taking inspiration from my friend Bryan Jandres at Bouchon in Yountville, “Sometimes it fun to explain, analyze and talk about wine. Sometimes its fun to just put a good bottle on the table and let it all work out”. There is no pre-amble to accessorize this Oxtail Grilled Cheese with Cognac Raisin Jam. I’m just putting it out on the table and letting the silence wax the poetry.

    Oxtail Grilled Cheese with Cognac Raisin Jam
    Serves 6 people looking for comfort among friends

    3# oxtails
    flour for dusting
    olive oil for searing
    1 yellow onion rough chopped
    3 carrots peeled and rough chopped
    2 stalks of celery rough chopped
    1/4c garlic cloves
    2 sprigs of rosemary
    1, 6oz can of tomato paste
    1c water
    2c red wine
    2t ground black pepper
    For the Jam
    1/2c water
    1/2c Cognac
    1/3c sugar
    1 orange juiced
    1c golden raisins
    1, 1/4oz pack of unflavored gelatin
    2t fresh rosemary minced
    1 loaf of crusty multi-grain nut bread
    8oz of creamy French cows milk cheese
    arugula and Creole mustard vinaigrette(from the Boudin de Tete recipe)

    Start off by pre-heating the oven to 325 degrees. Season the oxtails with a nice amount of salt and pepper. Powder the oxtails with the flour and a few slaps of the wrist to remove the excess. Put that enamel-braising pan you saved for months to get on the stove over high heat. Drizzle in a little olive oil and brown the oxtails on all sides. Take your time and do it in as many batches as needed to not treat the oxtails like the general admission section of a U2 concert. Remove the oxtails and hold aside. Let the pot continue on its angry tear as you add the onion and carrots. Cook the vegetables until brown, stirring as infrequently as possible. Add the celery, garlic and tomato paste and continue to let the pot punish the vegetables for another couple of minutes. Pour in the water and wine along with the rosemary and black pepper and take a minute to free any of the crunchy bits being held prisoner on the floor of the pot with the scraping of a wooden spoon. Place the oxtails into the pot and bring the pot to a simmer. Cover the pot if you haven’t yet lost the lid and place in the oven. Let the oxtails braise for 2 hours covered then remove the lid and continue to cook for another hour. Take the pot out of the oven and let cool in the broth.
    For the Jam: Bring the water, Cognac, orange juice, sugar and raisins to a simmer. Cook for 1 minute. Dissolve the gelatin in 2T of water, then add to the pot and stir until it is dissolved. Stir in the rosemary and process the mixture in a food processer. Set aside to cool.
    To Assemble: Pick the meat from the bones of the oxtail and strain the braising liquid. Don’t be ashamed if your laissez faire attitude permits a few cloves of garlic to miss the trap of the strainer and find it’s way into the bowl with the oxtail. Lightly moisten the shredded oxtail with a little of the stained liquid and season with salt and pepper to your taste. Freeze the remainder of the liquid and be confident in knowing that you are better than most people because you have that in your back pocket for another day. There are many ways to finish this dish. Spread some of the jam onto a slice of bread and top with a layer of oxtail and cheese. Unless you’re an idiot, you’ll know to place another piece of bread on top. Then toast it in the oven or put it in a Panini press or slowly brown in a skillet on top of the stove—the choice is yours. Toss the arugula with the vinaigrette from the Boudin de Tete recipe found on this website and serve.

    “The professional kitchen is like jail, EVERYONE but yet NO ONE should ever have to experience it.”       Me

  3. A Face Only A Mother Could Love: Boudin de Tete for Mother’s Day

    May 4, 2011 by David Bridges

    I started to write a sophisticated essay about the disconnection that our society has in regards to not knowing that our food actually came from a living animal. The biggest culprit of this disconnection is the fact that we never see the face of our food. But that started to sound like a point that had already been beaten into the head too many times,,,,,,,,,,,,,no pun intended! Besides, there are far more intellectual people than I in this world to expound on that thought. The justification of my birth rests solely on enlightening you to the Joie de Vivre of the table and the journey that leads us there. Approaching this year’s Mother’s Day, I can think of no journey better than this elaborate presentation of a stuffed pig’s face. It would be wise for most of you to just live vicariously through me on this one or live near me and just come over when your hungry. As much as looking your own dinner in the eye is not for the faint of heart, so is this recipe. But if you feel you are the master of your domain and confident of your place at the hearth, at least do as I did. Use it as an excuse to buy a sweet new Japanese boning knife. After all, we are all mothers in one form or another.

    Boudin De Tete
    Serves 20 open-minded friends or 20 acquaintances, 15 of which will make the mistake of not eating that evening. That’s why they are only acquaintances.

    1 Pig Head
    Rendered pork lard
    Rich and gelatinous pork stock
    2c white wine
    cheesecloth and butcher’s twine
    1c flour
    1 egg
    1c milk
    2c panko breadcrumbs
    Olive oil
    Kosher salt and ground black pepper
    For the stuffing:
    1c long grain white rice
    3/4c red onion
    2T minced garlic
    T black pepper
    T white pepper
    2t cayenne
    2t worcestershire
    3/4c green onion chopped
    1/2c flat leaf parsley chopped
    1/2lb pork liver diced
    1/2c white wine vinegar
    For the Okra Pepperonata:
    1 red onion peeled and sliced
    1 red bell pepper cored and sliced
    1 yellow bell pepper cored and sliced
    1 poblano chile cored and sliced
    2T garlic sliced
    2T tarragon
    1/4c rice vinegar
    1c pickled okra cut into halves
    For the Creole Mustard Vinaigrette:
    2T creole mustard
    1/4c rice vinegar
    1/2c extra virgin olive oil

    For the Stuffing: In a small pot bring 2 tablespoons of pork lard to a smoking heat. Add the rice to the pot and stir the grains for about 30 seconds. Add 1 ¾ cup of water to the pot along with a teaspoon of salt. Bring the liquid in the pot to a simmer and cover the pot. Reduce your stoves flame to low and cook for 17 minutes. Place the cooked albeit firm rice into a mixing bowl on the counter. Plop another tablespoon of pork lard into the same pot and cook the onion in that pot over medium heat for a few minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds until your kitchen smells good again. Of coarse don’t be an idiot, season every time you cook with a pinch of salt into the pot. Place the translucent onion over the cooked rice. Add the rest of the stuffing ingredients and mix them well. Set the stuffing aside in your cooler until your ready.
    For the Pig Face: Where do I even begin to explain how to butcher the face off of a pig’s head? It doesn’t pose as much difficulty as you may believe. Just run your knife along the bone simultaneously pulling the meat until you have the face removed. That’s really it. Amputate the tongue from the head and slice it in half lengthwise.
    Lay the boned face skin side down on your cutting board. Vigorously season the inside of the face with salt and pepper. Spread the stuffing over the inside of the face and roll up like a pinwheel. Open up the cheesecloth and wrap your pig face pinwheel up like a piece of candy with a twisting of the sides. Take the butcher’s twine and tie up the sides of your candy. Then secure your pinwheel by tying a few more pieces of string along the center. Set your oven on 325 degrees. Gently lay the swaddled pork into the biggest roasting pan you possess. Pour the stock and wine over the pork until it is covered. Bring the stock to a simmer on top of your stove, then cover the pan and place in the oven for 4 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and uncover it. Let the pork rest in the stock for an additional hour. Wrap the bundle up in plastic wrap and place in your cooler to set overnight.
    For the Pepperonata: Place a large skillet onto your stove and turn the heat up as high as the fire department will allow. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil into the pan and place the onion into the pan. Brown the onion that you so intelligently seasoned in the skillet. Take the cooked onion and place it in a mixing bowl. Then repeat this step with the red and yellow bell pepper. Once again bring some olive oil to smoke in your hot pan and add the poblano. Cook for a few minutes and then add the garlic and the tarragon and continue to shake the pan over the heat for another 30 seconds. Take the cooking vessel off of the heat and pour in the rice vinegar. Swirl around the pan and empty the contents into the bowl with the onion and sweet peppers. Toss to marry all the flavors and add any salt as needed. Set the pepperonata aside.
    For the Vinaigrette: You just deboned the head of a pig. Do I really need to explain the mundane process of making a vinaigrette?
    To finish the dish, place 3 bowls out on your counter. In one bowl put the four and season it with some salt and pepper. Place the egg and milk in the second bowl and whisk together. Put the panko in the third bowl and season it as well. Remove the rolled pig face from the refrigerator and free it from its straight jacket of plastic wrap. Slice the Boudin de Tete into a 2 inch slice. Place a sauté pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Dredge the slice of pig head into the flour, then the egg and finally the panko before placing in the sauté pan and cooking for a few minutes on each side, making sure each side is brown and crispy. Toss some arugula in the vinaigrette and mound on a plate with the pepperonata. Put the crispy boudin with your most skillful artist’s eye onto the plate and drizzle on a touch more of the vinaigrette. Present with some champagne and a kiss to your mother. Repeat as needed for all those other “mothers” that are gracing your table today.