Egg Plant Parmesan

The first step in making eggplant Parmigiana is to purchase the eggplants.  I usually try to select male fruits because they have fewer seeds, so check a few and look for the round bellybutton where the flower was attached, also because many grocery store are staffed by folks the do not care about how they handle the produce look for eggplant with out soft spots.  You should know your store and be able to find the best product. Simple, right? Not always. Some are harder to tell than others. If you fish around in the bin, comparing as you check out different bellybuttons, you’ll find it easier to make a final decision, just as I did when making my choice

The female is on the left (slit) and the male (round) on the right

Note: To salt or not to salt prior to cooking? Sprinkling salt over eggplant slices before cooking them draws out the vegetable’s moisture. It’s a process known as “degorging”.

Larger, older eggplants have brown seeds that contain a bitter liquid. Salting eggplants removes some of this liquid and improves their flavor. In general, it’s not necessary to salt smaller eggplants since they have fewer seeds than larger eggplants.

I like the taste of eggplant and prefer to fry the eggplant lightly for that reason.  I do not use breadcrumbs, I simply dip in season flour and then egg wash; eggs beaten with a little water and then fry.

Seasoned flour for dipping and egg wash

I salted the eggplant for this version because there were some brown seeds.

I like to fry my eggplant is a fryer, (375-degrees) it takes a bit longer, however, it uses less oil because the temperature is easier to control, however it you do not have an electric fryer it can be done in a pot with a frying thermometer or simply in a sauce pan.

Assembly is easy, a bit of sauce in the bottom of a pan, a later of eggplant slightly overlapping, with a layer of mozzarella cheese and your favorite marinara sauce.  I suggest that you do not use pre-shredded cheese. It’s a tempting shortcut: spend a few more dollars for a bag of shredded cheese and save time—and potentially skinned knuckles—by not having to grate the cheese yourself. I usually prefer to shred my own mozzarella for pizza, pasta bakes, etc., since most pre-shredded cheese contains anti-caking agents like cellulose powder (miniscule pieces of plant fiber) that can make the cheese stiff and dry.

Bake at 350-degrees for about 30 minutes, I like to make a day ahead and re-heat because I thing the flavor meld better.

 

It’s been awhile

Well I’m back, I have been busy moving, renovating our Rivah house and traveling. We spent a about a month in Cambodia and Vietnam so I wanted to post a few recipes for my readers.  While there I took a cooking class and a street market tour to familiarize myself with the local ingredients.  You can find more about some of the local fruits at this post on our travel blog.

MARINARA SAUCE

  • 1(6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 4(28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 12cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 14cup fresh basil
  • salt
  • 1 -2 teaspoon sugar as needed
  • ONION MIXTURE
  • 2 TBLS olive oil (3 onions, chopped fine)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

For the onion mixture: Heat oil in oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook onions until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

For the marinara: Add tomato paste to  onion mixture in pot and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in water and tomatoes and simmer over low heat until sauce is no longer watery, 45 to 60 minutes. Stir in cheese and basil and adjust seasonings with salt and sugar.

Green Lentils with Sweet Curry

Green French Lentils

4 servings

1 cup dry green lentils
3 cups of chicken stock
1 tsp sweet curry

Simmer lentils in a saucepan covered until all of the liquid is absorbed into the lentils. This should take between 15-20 minutes, about ½ way through add the curry.  Just before serving add salt to taste, in this recipe I used Himalayan pink salt.

Can be halved.

Cornbread Muffins for 2

Ingredients

IMG_1967
1/4 c. cornmeal
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 Teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-½ oz vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 Tablespoons. honey
1 egg, beaten or ¼ cup liquid whole eggs
5 oz whole milk

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 4 large Muffin Cups.
In a large mixing bowl, stir the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Pour in the vegetable oil, melted butter, honey, beaten eggs, and milk, and stir just until moistened.
Pour the batter into the greased baking muffin cups and bake in 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Watch the cornbread towards the end, you want it to be turning golden and starting to show some cracks.
Remove from oven, serve warm with butter or honey or simply plain. It’s amazing!

 

COCONUT TRES LECHES

Courtesy of Pastry Chef Christina Lee
Recette – New York City, N.Y., USA

Yield: 16 servings17501D1

Butter, soft 28 g
Coconut oil 85 g
Sugar 225 g
Eggs 5 each
Vanilla extract 1 TBS
Salt 1/2 tsp
Pastry flour 195 g
Baking powder 1 tsp
Coconut flakes 1/2 C
Condensed milk 14 Oz
Evaporated milk 12 Oz
Coconut milk 16 Oz
Basil seeds, bloomed in 1 C cold water 2 TBS
Jalapeño, brunoise 1 each
Pineapple sorbet as needed

Instructions:
1. Combine butter and coconut oil in a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together and then add sugar and cream until light and fluffy.
2. Turn mixer to a lower speed and add eggs, 1 at a time, until fully combined, then add vanilla and salt.
3. Sift together pastry flour and baking powder and set aside.
4. Add coconut flakes to egg mixture and fold in flour mixture just until combined.
5. Pipe batter into individual 2.5-ounce silicon molds coated in cooking spray and bake in a preheated 350-degree F oven until centers spring back and cakes are light golden brown on top, about 16-minutes. Cool before unmolding cakes.
6. Whisk together condensed milk, evaporated milk and coconut milk and then divide milk sauce in half.
7. Combine half of milk sauce with bloomed basil seeds and jalapeños and set aside.
8. Soak cakes in remaining milk sauce for at least 20 minutes. Remove cakes from sauce and serve at room temperature or slightly warm with pineapple sorbet and basil seed-jalapeño sauce.

For the Sorbet:

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar
1 pineapple, cored, trimmed, reserving 6 large wedges for garnish, puréed in a blender, and forced through a fine sieve (3 cups strained purée)
1 1/2 cups well-chilled milk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
fresh mint sprigs for garnish if desired

Preparation

In a small saucepan combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water, bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer it for 5 minutes, or until it is reduced to 1/2 cup. Let the sugar syrup cool completely. In a bowl whisk together the pineapple purée, the sugar syrup, the milk, the lemon juice, and pinch of salt. Chill the mixture until it is cold and freeze it in an ice-cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve the sherbet in scoops on dessert plates with Coconut Tres Leches above

Sous vide Duck Breast

Ingredients

6 Duck breasts, separated and trimmed
2 oranges
2 Blood oranges
¼ cup triple sec or other orange liquor
Salt and pepper

  • peel the skin off of the oranges with as little pith as possible.
  • juice the oranges and reduce to about half and add the triple sec, cool.
  • score fat on duck breast, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place three breast halves in a vacuum bag, add ¼ of the orange skin reduced juice.
  • Vacuum seal
  • Sousvide at 130F for 2-hours
  • Remove breasts from the vacuum bag, reserving the cooking juice, and pat dry. Over medium heat place the breasts in a hot pan breast side down to render the fat and crisp the skin, flip the breast to color the other side. Let rest.
  • The juices can be used as a sauce, add some chicken stock and reduce, I like to add a little orange juice concentrate.  Slice and serve.

Udon with 36-hour Pork Belly

Courtesy of Stephane Lemagnen (zencancook.com)

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

For the sous vide pork belly

  • 2 pounds (0.9 kg) pork belly, skin on
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) coriander seeds, coarsely ground
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) star anise, coarsely ground
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) cardamom, coarsely ground
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon, coarsely ground
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) sake
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) mirin
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce

For the dashi (udon broth) Continue reading

Half Cooked Eggs with Ramen

 

Chef/Owner Ivan Orkin
Ivan Ramen – New York, N.Y., USA
Yield: 6 servings
Menu Price: $2.00; Food Cost/Serving: 50%
Sake 500 ml
Mirin 50 ml
Soy sauce 200 ml
Sugar 30 g
Garlic, coarsely chopped 40 g
Ginger, coarsely chopped 75 g
Eggs, large, room temperature 6 each
Water 1 ltr
Ramen soup (see note) 1680 ml
Scallions, finely sliced as needed
Instructions:
1. Simmer sake and mirin in a saucepan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add soy sauce, sugar, garlic and ginger and simmer and stir for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate (see note).
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Poke a small hole in bottom (larger end) of each egg with a pushpin. Gently slide eggs into boiling water and then start a timer, stirring for first 2 minutes. Remove eggs after a total of 6 minutes and 10 seconds and shock in an ice bath, stirring until there are no pockets of hot water.
3. In a large bowl, combine shoyu tare mixture with water. When eggs are cooled completely, about 15 minutes later, peel and soak them in shoyu tare liquid refrigerated for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
4. To serve, bring eggs to room temperature and then slice in half with a taut nylon fishing line, lay on hot ramen soup and serve immediately garnished with a pile of sliced scallions.
Notes:
To make ramen soup, combine 1 kilo whole chicken (giblets removed) with 2 liters cold water. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a steady simmer. Skim off foam or fat that rises to surface and every 20 minutes replace any water that has evaporated, keeping water level same. Simmer for 6 hours, then strain and discard chicken solids. Cool and reserve any chicken fat. For each bowl, combine 130 ml hot chicken soup, 130 ml hotdashi and 20 ml of reserved melted chicken fat. Adjust seasoning with Japanese sea salt or soy sauce and then add cooked ramen noodles when serving immediately. Soup can be refrigerated up to 1 week without ramen noodles.

Continue reading