Thursday, September 16, 2010

Amasea's Kitchen in Sun Valley: Seared Lime Swordfish with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Garlic Bread

So this is one of the best things I've made in a long time (canning aside, since I can't assess that until it's lived in its glass for a while).

The husband brought home swordfish tonight, two beautiful triangular pieces of fish that he said looked excellent in the store.
I pondered...I thought...I mused.

This is what I came up with:

With half a loaf of ciabatta bread that was getting a little old, I made garlic bread. Approximately equal parts butter and olive oil, with Johnny's Garlic Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, drizzled onto halved-lengthwise bread in a 300-degree oven wrapped in foil. It was baked while everything else was cooking (I boosted that to 400 about 10 minutes before service, but I should have done it sooner to get more crispiness).

In a small saucepan, I sauteed pressed garlic in a few teaspoons so each of olive oil and lime juice until the garlic was fragrant and just beginning to color, then added a third cup of pureed heirloom tomatoes, and a tablespoon or so of whipping cream. I let that simmer while I prepared the fish, then about halfway through cooking I added another about two cups of the tomatoes, pureed with two stalks of thyme (the leaves stripped from the stalks, stalks discarded).

In the meantime, I sniffed my spice cabinet. I sniffed all manner of spices, and rejected most of them. What I added to a flattened bowl was ground red pepper, ground cinnamon, ground smoked paprika, fresh ground rose pepper, and fresh ground Hawaiian black salt. I coated both sides of the swordfish in that.

I had heated a tablespoon or two of Persian Lime olive oil that we got as a wedding gift (thank you, Gayle and Bob! this was a wonderful first use of it), on medium-high heat in a nonstick fry pan. A very small red onion, not quite a scallion, was sliced thinly and sauteed with a little salt and pepper in the lime olive oil until it was nearly crispy, then the onion bits were removed.

The coated swordfish went in the pan with the lime olive oil, and I seared it, flipping the fish three times so each side got two chances in the pan. That wasn't so much intentional as necessary because I wasn't paying attention (the Giant Block of Cheese episode of The West Wing was on, and the Peters projection map distracted me).

To build the plate, I added pieces of garlic bread and the fish, then topped the fish with the tomato sauce, the crispy-ish onions and a sprinkling of freshly chopped Italian parsley.

Honestly, I'm not much for traditional garnishes. No sprigs of parsley looking pretty next to fish for me.
But I follow my instincts, and the plants on my porch told my instincts to go for the parsley. They were right. The parsley was a beautifully fresh flavor on top of the fresh tomatoes, and mixed with the lime juice in the tomato sauce and the lime oil with the fish and onions was really, if I say so myself, perfect.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Probably not so surprising at this point, but I made another Whoopie Pie recipe as one of the desserts for Rosh Hashanah.  Now, I will finally get back to making cupcakes and my next cupcake plan is to make True Blood, Vampire Cupcakes.  Saturday is Yom Kippur (Jewish fast holiday) but I plan to make my True Blood cupcakes on Sunday.  Anyhow, enough talking about what I'm going to make - these red velvet whoopie pies were a huge hit with my in-laws. They absolutely loved them and I'm sure I will be making them again soon.  I had fun decorating these too - instead of simply adding the marshmallow filling, I rolled the pies in rainbow jimmies - so pretty! You could pretty much roll them in anything though from sprinkles to non pareils to pixie stick dust. I cut the recipe in half and it made about 30. Unless you are planning on feeding a lot of people, you will probably want to do the same thing - so here's the half recipe below.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies from Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 stick butter, unsalted
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 oz red food coloring (about 5 drops)
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the dry ingredients. In the bowl of a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and both sugars at low speed until fluffy and combined. Add the egg, vanilla and red food coloring and beat until just combined. Add half the flour mixture and beat until combined. Then add the buttermilk and the rest of the flour and combine.

Make the whoopie pies by spooning out 1 T of batter for each cookie. Bake each sheet one at a time, for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before frosting with Marshmallow frosting (see below)

Sarah & Amy's Classic Marshmallow Buttercream
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff
1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine the ingredients for the frosting using your mixer and add between two cookies to make a pie.  Dip the sides in sprinkles to decorate.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen On The Road: Culinary Adventures in Prague

The last portion of our European trip this August took us to Prague, in the heart of the Czech Republic, one of Europe's most beautiful cities which has undergone a post-Cold War renaissance.  Like Belgium, Prague is famous for its beer - specifically, its Czech style pilsner, which is brewed at numerous microbreweries all over the city of Prague, and elsewhere in the Czech republic. My favorite thing that we ate during our time in Prague was the Czech style goulash (pictured above), made with local pilsner. It was delicious. I plan on preparing my own adaptation of this classic Czech beef goulash this week and sharing the recipe here on a Kitchen In Brooklyn! So stay tuned. My favorite Czech goulash was the one that we had our first night in Prague at Pivovorsky Dum, a Czech gastropub where they brew their own pilsner. This was also the best beer hall in Prague in my opinion - they make their own pilsner which is incredible and also a banana flavored pilsner which was just amazing.  My husband had the chicken schnitzel, which was also delicious.

Prague also has some amazing Czech-Western fusion restaurants. One of those is V Zatisi, where we dined on one of our nights in Prague. They had some great truffle appetizers - a truffle risotto that Brad enjoyed as well as my truffle ravioli (pictured below).  These dishes inspired me to do some more cooking with truffle oil and we plan to make truffle risotto tonight to go with my classic asian-marinated chilean sea bass with papaya salsa.  The lamb was also amazing.  For dessert, I enjoyed another Czech classic - apple strudel.

Going back to beer, the dark pilsner at U Mediviku was also quite good as well, again brewed on site.  We had a great lunch at the Strahov Monastery brewery as well.  The beers here were wonderful and so was the authentic Czech food. I had goose with apples (delicious and quite traditional Czech game), and Brad enjoyed the Czech sausages. My favorite here was the St Norbert wheat beer.

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