Archive | June, 2011

Halibut with kale, white beans and lemon vinaigrette

28 Jun

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So Sam, new mother to my most darling niece Eleanor (Ellie), told me I should make up a recipe. And hopefully it could involve white beans. Maybe kale. So here we go. [Let it be said that recipe requests are welcome- so please feel free.] This is loosely inspired by a recipe in the Union Sq Cafe cookbook. I have a lot of trouble cooking fish- falling apart in the frying pan or just not tasting great- so I decided to broil it- to lessen the chances of fucking it up. Also, I used dried beans because they taste so much better.  I was very tempted to use canned beans though- because that would make this a 30 min or less meal.  This recipe made about two of the portions you see pictured above.

1 lemon, juice and zest
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
salt & pepper
1 fillet of halibut or other fish
1 bunch kale (i used purple stemmed)
2/3 cup dried white beans or 1 can white cannellini beans

Vinaigrette: Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, pinch pepper (i found that using the microplane/zester for the garlic works really well too).
Canned beans: Open can, drain, rinse, salt & pepper.
Dried beans- two methods: 1. Soak overnight (6-8 hours) with about 3 times as much water as you have beans (also note that beans expand 3 times in size through soaking). Drain in morning (don’t want them to sit for too long in water because will begin to break down). OR 2. Put in pot w. 3xs water, bring to boil, turn off heat, cover and let sit for 1-1.5 hours. After either method, you then need to cook rehydrated beans. Put beans in fresh water, covering beans by about 3 inches. Bring to boil, then immediately lower heat and cover, cook for 1 hour-1.5. They are done when they squish between your thumb and forefinger (mine took 1 hour.)
Kale: Rinse thoroughly (best way to do this is fill a giant bowl w. water and swish around- do a couple baths). Add a tablespoon of olive oil to pan. If any leftover garlic feel free to add- though vinaigrette is already pretty garlicky (i just had the stub remnants from my microplane zesting). Saute until wilted and cooked. I cover it for a minute or so to steam it a bit. Once done, take off heat, add the beans, spoon a couple tablespoons of vinaigrette over and mix up. Adjust for seasoning.
Fish: Set oven to broil. Line a cookie sheet with a small piece of foil. Wash your fish, pat dry.  Drizzle with oil, salt, pepper, and maybe any last bit of lemon juice you can squeeze out. Cook 8 minutes, rotating pan after 4 mins.  You know it is done when a knife pierces the thick part easily. Drizzle a couple tablespoons of vinaigrette over fish.

Gazpacho

22 Jun

Quick and easy. With a food processor – took maybe 15 mins to make. Refreshing and delicious. Perfect for summer. No cooking required. I’m thinking about making this the summer of gazpacho- so if you have any favorite recipes- send along. This one is from Ina, the Barefoot Contessa. I was a little put off by the tomato juice- because it’s not something I drink usually- but think of it more like cold tomato broth. I topped mine w. a bit of ricotta salata… feta or goat would also work nicely.

1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 jalapeno (optional)

Keep the vegs separated- chopping cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, jalapeno, red onions into 1-inch pieces.  Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped (each breaks down at different rates). Do not overprocess!
After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

Banoffee Pie

14 Jun

Banoffee- like banana and toffee. Oh what deliciousness.  This is actually a British dish- invented in East Sussex at a restaurant called The Hungry Monk in 1972. But I know it from New Zealand- used to make it with my Kiwi roommates.  The recipe can vary- and I have melded a couple here- but I go w. the basic strata of crushed up cookies, dulce de leche, bananas and whipped cream. To make the dulce, you boil tins of condensed milk for a few hours. There are two ways to do this- one faster though more potentially dangerous. If you do it on your stovetop, you put the cans- (unopened!)- in a heavy saucepan covered w. water and boil 2-2.5 hours. Make sure the cans stay covered in water, will need to keep topping up. Otherwise, apparently, they can explode all over your ceiling and burn your face. The alternative is to start boiling on the stove, but then switch to the oven. They won’t explode, but it takes an extra hour.   I really don’t remember doing this whole long thing in NZ, granted it was a long time ago, so I once tried to shortcut the long boil  and it turned out a sickly sweet mess.  I’d say if you want to shortcut it, just buy a jar of dulce de leche.  The other tip is- if you are going to bother with the boiling tins- do as many tins as you can fit- and they will keep very well- unopened in the cupboard for later use.  The cookies- I used digestive biscuits- McVities- an English brand I picked up at a London store in the west village. I used about 2/3 of a 400g pack. Graham crackers could also work as a substitute.   Once the toffee is made- assembly is super fast and easy.

1- 10 oz pack of digestive biscuits.
1 stick unsalted butter
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 pint of heavy cream
a couple ripe bananas
instant coffee (optional)

Toffee instructions from the inventor, Ian Dowding
Find a deep saucepan or casserole that will go in the oven. Put into it as many tins as will fit. (THE TINS MUST BE UNOPENED). Cover the tins with water and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven 275 degrees. Cook for 3 ½ hours.
Lift the cans from the water, cool and store.
Stovetop: Put the tins in the deep saucepan. Cover with water. Make sure submerged at all times, will need to keep adding water. Takes 2-2.5 hours. Be careful.
To assemble the pie (Ian scoffs at cookie base and uses pastry- but I prefer the cookie route)
Crush up the biscuits. Can do this in food processor. Melt one stick of butter. In a large bowl, mix up butter and cookies, best to do with your hands, cookies get moist. Press into the bottom of a tart pan, or springform, with a removable bottom. Use your hands to make flat.  Chill in fridge- maybe half hour. Open up cans of dulce de leche. Spread about 1.5 tins into a layer on cookies. It’s pretty sweet so it doesn’t need to be super thick. Peel bananas and slice across lengthwise, cover toffee in a single layer. Whip the cream, can add a pinch of confectioner sugar and ground coffee. Spread on the bananas. I maybe used 3/4 of the whipped cream. Keep pie chilled.

The last fun thing- I had some extra ingredients- so made some mini pies in little ramekins- and also one portable pie in a small tupperware. And if you want to be like that, mason jar pies are so hot right now.

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