Friday, July 17, 2009

Kitchen Garden - Broiled Fish and Pasta with Summer Vegetables

My garden is growing! (the thumbnail is blurry, click on the photo to see the garden) The first tomato is ripe and the herbs are going crazy. I needed to use some swiss chard as it was getting big so my sweetie and I decided to make dinner together. First let me say that my S/O came home with a gift for me. I'd been wanting one for a while but look what I got!!!
My S/O as Guest Blogger:

This called for fish. We have Renee's copy of Fish without a Doubt at home. Apart from some delicious recipes, the book featured a very simple but, as it turned out, very effective way of cooking fish. A cast iron griddle is heated under a broiler (top level for a thin fillet, 2nd level for a thicker piece) for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the fish. We used 1" thick mahi-mahi fillets. They were dipped in melted butter, and coated on one side with a mixture of garden herbs - basil, parsley, rosemary, and oregano - salt and white pepper, and lime zest. Panko was sprinkled over the herbs and a drizzle of melted butter finished the preparation. The fillets were slipped on top of the griddle and cooked for about 3 minutes under the broiler. Depending on thickness, the element can be turned off and the fish can finish cooking if slightly underdone. What this technique achieves is beautiful carmelization of the underside of the fish, intensifying its flavours. A dash of lime juice gave contrast, and, more importantly, allowed Joanne to use her new press.

Back to me:

I wanted to use swiss chard from the garden so I found a pasta and kale recipe online. I modified it to fit with my swiss chard, reducing the peppers and adding onion. It was beautifully colorful.

Pasta Shells with Swiss Chard, Peppers and Feta

1 (8 ounce) package uncooked large pasta shells
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion chopped
1 cup roughly chopped swiss chard
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4-5 leaves fresh basil
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
salt and ground black pepper to taste
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente; drain. Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in pepper, onion, swiss chard and garlic. Season with basil, salt and black pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender. In a large bowl, toss cooked pasta with skillet mixture. Sprinkle with feta cheese to serve.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thinks to do with many many raspberries

Having 10 quarts of raspberries in your refrigerator can be a major motivator for making dessert. As you can see, Chris and I did some good work. Chris started off by making a beautiful raspberry pie. He uses a vodka crust that is just wonderful and he remembered to put holes in it to let the steam out, unlike the cherry pie we made last month.

I made a chocolate/Almond souffle tart that I didn't take a picture of for Tiffany's birthday. Topped it with a layer of raspberries, a layer of pastry cream and then another layer of raspberries. Tasty!!!

I was debating whether to make sorbet or Ice Cream with raspberries and I settled on something in between. Gelato. It turned out really well made with some tuiles and a chocolate ganache sauce. H&D seemed to like it. Recipe at the bottom.

This morning I used up the last of the berries making small tarts. I sprinkled the berries with sugar and a bit of nutmeg and put them in the premade crust (unfortunately, not Chris's crust) and baked them at 400 for about 40 minutes. I was surprised at how long it took.

Raspberry Gelato

1lb 12 oz of fresh raspberries (this made 2 cups raspberry juice)
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup simple syrup

Blend raspberries in blender, strain off seeds through a food mill or a chinoise. You should have ~2 cups raspberry liquid. Combine that with the simple syrup and the heavy whipping cream. Chill well. Put in ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer directions.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Raspberry Season

It is raspberry season in Baltimore as you can clearly see. We went picking this week and between the 4 of us (with Aveline contributing by eating) we picked about 20 quarts in less than 2 hours in our secret spot. sshhhhhh.

Now we have to figure out what to do with them.

I'm going to start by making a chocolate tart with raspberries, then maybe a sorbet and my sweetie is talking about making his scones. I'll try and post what else I make. I've been a slacker on blogging lately.