Wednesday, February 24, 2010

You are going to eat it, you are going to like it, and you are going to SAY you like it!

Tuesdays are now our official Make Up a Recipe and Try It Out on Unsuspecting Family nights. It's fun and confidence-inspiring and often tasty. We've come up with instant winners, as well as some recipes that required tweaking before releasing into the wild. So far, no absolute losers, but stay tuned!

Below is last night's meal. The Swordfish was an appetizer. Except for the larger cake, everything would serve 4 adults.

Spice-rubbed Swordfish Tips with Miso Dipping Sauce

1/2 lb. swordfish tips (a swordfish steak works as well, but is more expensive)
1/2 teas. chili powder
1/2 teas. garlic powder
1/2 teas. paprika
1/2 teas. salt
2 teas. white miso paste
1/4 cup lime juice (~ 2 limes)
1 teas. rice cooking wine
1 TBSP safflower or vegetable oil

Make sure fish is dry. Cut into 1-2" chunks if using steak. Tips will be fine as is. Put in a medium bowl.

Mix chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, and salt together in a small bowl. Shake over fish, turning fish with hands to make sure it is evenly coated.

In a small bowl, whisk miso, lime, and wine.

In a heavy frying pan or large, shallow sauce pan, heat oil until shimmering over medium heat. Add fish, and cook on each side for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, for a total of 8 minutes. 

Remove from pan and put on a cutting board. Cut into thin slices, making sure to slice with the grain (against the grain will be difficult and will shred the fish; with the grain will be easy).

Serve with dipping sauce.

Note: the dipping sauce is nice as salad dressing

Beet Watercress Salad

2 cups (~ 2 medium) beets
1 bunch watercress
1 small head radicchio, torn into 1 1/2" pieces
1 TBSP olive oil
1/4 cup (~ 1 large) shallots, chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup lime juice (~ 1 lime)
1/8 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 teas. mustard (we used a lovely one from Maine, purchased from our favorite Sherman Market)
1/2 teas. salt
1/8 teas. pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours (or more) prior to putting salad together, preheat oven to 350  and wash beets and wrap in tin foil. Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 and roast for another hour, until soft but firm, not mushy. Remove from oven and let cool. 

When beets are cool enough to touch, peel skin off, using a peeler or paring knife. Cut into matchstick-sized strips and put into a medium bowl.

In a bowl or 2-cup measuring cup, whisk dressing ingredients. Pour over beets and let sit for at least 20 minutes, but up to an hour.

In a small frying pan over medium heat, heat 1 TBSP olive oil and add shallots. Stir for 30 seconds then reduce heat to low and, stirring occasionally, saute until they are brown and caramelized, ~ 15 - 20 minutes.

Heat a small heavy frying pan over medium-low heat and add almonds. Stir occasionally, until they are lightly toasted, ~ 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix all parts together (beets with dressing, watercress, radicchio, shallots, and almonds) and stir well.

Cheese Buttermilk Biscuits

makes 6

1 1/2 cup white flour
1 teas. salt
1/2 teas. baking soda
1/4 teas. baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium mixing bowl, add dry ingredients  and mix well.

Add buttermilk and stir until just mixed.

Add cheese, stir until incorporated. 

Drop dough onto a cookie sheet in 6 lumps, ~ 1/3 cup each. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and tops are just starting to brown, ~ 15 minutes.

Piscean Arctic Sea Bass

An homage to Pisces and to snow. The salt forms a crust and underneath, the fish is amazingly tender and sweet. Parts around the cavity are quite salty.

2 whole black sea bass, gutted but heads and tails on
4 tarragon stalks
1 lime, sliced into 1/4" thick slices
1 teas. pepper
opt: cooking twine
5 - 6 pounds (2 boxes) kosher salt

Preheat oven to 450.

In cavity of each fish, add 2 tarragon stalks, half the lime slices, and half of the pepper. Either tie twine around each fish to keep cavity closed, or press it down as well as you can.

In a large pan (lasanga-sized, at least 15" long), with 2 inch sides, evenly sprinkle 1/4" layer of salt.

Lay fish carefully on top, side by side, and cover in 1/4 to 1/2" of salt.

Bake for 30 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into middle of fish reads 130 degrees. Remove and carefully crack salt layer, lift fish out onto a tray, and wipe off any clumps of salt. Serve as is, pulling spine out and eating around the bones. Yum!

Peach Upside Down Cake

We used the cake batter recipe from the Joy of Cooking, because how do you improve upon perfection? We did increase baking time.

Preheat oven to 350.

2 cups frozen or fresh peaches (we pulled a bag of frozen from the freezer and were reminded of the farmers' market!)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teas. salt
2 TBSP butter

Heat peaches in a large saute pan over medium heat until melted (if frozen) and juicing, ~ 5 to 7 minutes.

Add sugar and salt and let it boil for 10 minutes, until thickened to a "thin jam" consistency. Drop in butter and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, make cake batter.

1 cup flour
1 teas. baking powder
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 TBSP melted butter
1 teas. vanilla
1 cup sugar

Sift flour and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks, then add butter and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until stiff. Fold in the sugar, 1 TBSP at a time, then yolk mixture, then the flour, 1/4 cup at a time.

Pour peaches into the bottom of a pie or tart pan. Evenly spread batter on top. Bake for 40 minutes, until nicely browned.

Let cool and then turn onto a plate. Scoop any peaches remaining in pan on top of cake. Eat as is, or, for a super decadent treat, liberally drizzle on Kahlua, Bailey's or the like.