The Trattoria Project and Spectaculars: Stayin' Alive (Ahhhh, Ahhh, Ahh, Ah.)

DSC_1385 DSC_0826
DSC_0077 pg2
pg1 pg3
pg4 pg6
pg8 pg5
pg7 pg9

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Stayin' Alive (Ahhhh, Ahhh, Ahh, Ah.)

Everyone thinks I'm too lazy to update the blog. Fair enough. Guilty as charged. But just so you know, every time you think I'm bumming around, the stock market plunges. Look what happened, the world is heading for a global recession. Next time, think of something more positive, like "uncle dee must be busy with a hot chick". So for the sake of the global economy believe me when I say I am occupied with something because I really am.

Nonetheless, I haven't forsaken cooking. In fact, I'd cooked 16 times since the last post. 4 failed experiments, 3 ingenious creations, 4 adapted ones and 5 repeat recipes. 8 times out of 16 I couldn't be bothered to take a food photo. 3 times out of 16 I forgotten to charge the camera. Yes. I see your math is good, I have 5 new photos left.  

So now I present to you, my five recipes of Aug 12th - Oct 17th. Enjoy, cook for your love and make babies. Ciao.

Spicy Sausage and Okra Orzo
serves 4

2 cups Orzo
6 med links of Spicy Sausages, skin removed, diced
4 med Okra, sliced
1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
2 Pimento Peppers or Red Peppers, diced
1 large Onion, diced
1 heart of Celery, chopped
1/2 liter Chicken Stock and a little extra, just in case
1 handful fresh Sage Leaves
1/2 Tbsp Cumin
1/2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 Tbsp Dried Oregano
1 Tbsp Red Chili Flakes
2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Zest of 1 Lemon
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

- In a hot dutch oven, drizzle a little EVOO, brown sausages for few minutes then add onions, celery, tomatoes, sage, oregano, half of the paprika and cumin, pepper and a little salt. Saute 5 mins. Add in chicken stock and simmer for 20 mins. Drain mixture into a bowl to separate sausages and stuff from stock.

- In a hot pan, drizzle about 2 Tbsps of EVOO, add pimentos and okra and saute for a bit. Add in orzo, rest of the paprika and cumin, chili flakes and cayenne. Coat them with the hot oil and saute for 5 mins. 

- Using a ladle, pour in 2 scoops of stock and let the orzo absorb all the liquid before adding another scoop. Do this until the orzo's cooked to al dente. Takes about 15-20mins.

- When orzo is cooked, add in sausages and stuff to cook through. Turn off heat, drizzle in lemon juice. Check seasoning. Sprinkle lemon zest and a little olive oil for garnish. Serve. 

Pasta alla Norma
serves 4 

1lb Pancetta or Bacon
1 whole Eggplant or 4 mini Japanese Eggplants, sliced
200g Spaghetti 
1 can of Roma Tomatoes, crushed
2 Tbsp Tomato Puree
4 clove of Garlic, peeled and sliced
2 tsp Dried Oregano
2 tsp chopped Chili
1/2 cup Dry Vermouth or White Wine
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

- Boil pasta in salted boiling water for half the time it takes to cook. Drain and set aside. It should be hard in the middle.

- On a hot pan, render bacon fat. Takes about 10 mins on med-low heat.

- Using bacon fat, fry eggplants with chili, garlic, oregano and black pepper.

- When eggplants turn light brown, add in tomato puree, saute for further 5 mins. 

- Add white wine and deglaze bacon residue. 

- Add in pasta and crushed tomatoes. Simmer until pasta is al dente.

- Add EVOO. Season. Serve.

Ginger Ponzu Steak with Poached Eggs
serves 2

500g Skirt Steak
1 thumb of Ginger, shredded
2 Tbsp Ponzu
2 tsp Honey
Black Pepper

a handful of Haricot Verts, poached and sliced
a handful of Thai Asparagus, poached and sliced
a handful of Chives, sliced
1 Tbsp Sherry Vinegar
Sea Salt 
Black Pepper

2 Eggs, cracked into two separate ramekins, yolk intact
Pot of boiling salted water
1 Tbsp Vinegar, any

- Preheat oven 180C.
- Marinate steak with all the ingredients for 15 mins.
- On a non-stick pan on medium, sear steak 2 mins a side. They caramelize quickly due to sugar content.
- Transfer steak into a sheet of aluminum foil, wrap it up and throw it in the oven for 5 mins.
- Remove from oven and let rest for another 5 mins. Slice them up.

- Toss.

Poached Eggs
- Stir the pot of boiling salted water with a spatula or whisk until you get a huge ass whirlpool. 
- Add vinegar.
- Carefully slide in the eggs one at a time and watch the egg whites magically wrap around the yolk.
- After 3 mins, remove the eggs gently with a slotted spoon.

Lay steak on plate, top with salad and then the egg. Slice the egg a little on the edge so all the yellow goodness comes out.

Grilled Miso Fish with Sweet Bunashimeji and Daikon Puree
serves 4

Miso Fish
4 White Fish Fillets, preferably Cod or Perch
2 Tbsp Miso
1 cup Mirin
2 Tbsp Sake or Rice Wine
White Pepper

200g Shimeji Mushrooms
1 med Shallot, sliced
1 clove of Garlic, peeled
1/2 cup Mirin
1/2 cup Kikkoman Soy
White Pepper

Daikon Puree
1 med Daikon Radish, skinned and diced
500ml Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 cup Milk
Sea Salt 
Black Pepper

Miso Fish

Preheat oven 200C.

In a saucepan, add mirin, miso and sake. Bring to boil and let it simmer for 5 mins.

Baste fish with miso mixture and allow it to marinate for at least 15mins. The longer the better. Best overnight.

In a hot pan, melt a knob of butter and sear fish 4 mins a side.

Finish it off in the oven for 5 mins.

Saute garlic and shallots in butter until golden brown. Add mushrooms and saute for 5 mins. Add mirin, soy and pepper. Reduce until sauce consistency. Discard garlic.

Daikon Puree
Poach daikon in boiling chicken stock for 15 mins. Drain, reserving some stock. Puree daikon and put it back in a saucepan on low heat. Add butter and milk. Stir for 5mins until most liquid have evaporated. Season.

Parmesan and Basil Crusted Chicken with a Fennel, Apple and Grapefruit Salad and Honey Soy Vinaigrette
serves 4

4 Boneless Chicken Breast, skin removed, pound to tenderize
1 Handful of Freshly Grated Parmesan 
2 cups of Panko Breadcrumbs
1 small bunch of Basil, chopped
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 Egg, beaten
1 cup Flour
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

1 bulb of Fennel, shaved with a mandolin
2 Red Apples, julienned
1 large Grapefruit, peeled and 'supremed'
1 small bunch of Cilantro, chopped
1 tsp Whole Grain Mustard
Sea Salt 
Black Pepper

1 Tbsp Accacia or Orange Blossom Honey
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Tbsp Malt Vinegar
2 tsp High Quality Soy Sauce
1 clove of Garlic, chopped
1 cup EVOO

- Pat dry breasts and season with salt and pepper.
- Mix Parmesan, Basil, Zest and Panko together and lay it out on a flat plate.
- Coat evenly with flour.
- Coat evenly with the beaten egg.
- Coat evenly with panko mixture. 
- Tap more crumbs on the chicken to ensure even coating.
- On a hot non stick pan, heat EVOO and sear chicken for 3.5 mins a side until brown and crispy. Keep in mind you do not want to overcook the chicken or undercook it, 3.5mins per side is a good timing for a relatively thick breast(like the one in the picture). 
- Set aside on a wire rack to cool.

- Put everything in a bowl and toss! Use your fairy fingers, be delicate.

- Whisk everything in a bowl.
- Taste. Add more soy if required.

Putting it altogether:
1. Make the vinaigrette.
2. Make the salad, chill in fridge.
3. Cook the chicken. 
4. When chicken is ready, slice it up and immediately serve with salad on top and drizzle vinaigrette.


We Are Not Martha said...

How did you just post so much amazing-ness at once?? I don't even know how to choose! Can I have one of each??


Uncle Dee said...

be my guest :>

Anonymous said...

Man, you've been busy!
That's a lot of great food right there. Nice food styling/ photographs too.

Looks like project trattoria is coming along nicely. Maybe after the recession though. haha

John said...

The Parmesan and Basil Crusted Chicken really looks good! Thanks for posting the recipe!