Friday, November 6, 2009

Pan Seared Tuna

Pan Seared TunaA nice tuna steak is a great change every once in a while. We eat fish normally once a week and stick to wild halibut or salmon (sometimes organic salmon as well), but the halibut and salmon did not look great this week. However I was happily surprised that my fish monger had some sushi grade tuna that did look great. Quality is very important with fish, especially tuna steaks, as the center will be raw once cooked (does that even make sense?:)). The key to tuna is cooking it properly, really hot and not too long! The roasted pepper sauce was a beautiful and simple addition to the tuna steak. I am sometimes limited by what I can find organically at the local markets, hence I made a yellow pepper sauce, but this would also be great with roasted red peppers.

The Recipe: Pan Seared Tuna with Roasted Pepper Sauce
2 servings, prep time 25 minutes, cook time 5 minutes

2 pieces of sushi grade tuna about 1/2 pound each
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

Roasted Pepper Sauce:
1 shallot finely diced
1 clove of garlic minced
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 large red or yellow pepper (I used three small peppers)
2 tbsp chicken stock
pinch of sea salt
pinch of pepper

Parsley Drizzle:
1/4 cup of parsley
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Roasted Pepper Sauce:
Roasting yellow peppersTo roast the peppers I place them directly over the flame on my stove top (I have a gas stove), although you can also use the broiler on the oven. The key to roasting the pepper is making sure that all the skin is black. Any skin that is not black will stick to the pepper when you are trying to peel it. You will need to rotate the pepper often while roasting.

Once the pepper is completely blackened, place it in a paper bag to steam for about 10 minutes.

Remove the pepper from the bag and gently scrape the blackened skin off with the edge of a knife. Remove the stem and seeds. Do not rinse the pepper under water as it removes a lot of flavour.

In a small pan add 1/2 tbsp of the olive oil and sauté the shallots and garlic over med-high heat for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and transfer to a blender.

Add the remaining extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper to the blender. Blend until smooth and remove from blender.

The Tuna:

Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat for about 5 minutes (do not use non-stick pan, it is a serious health hazard to heat a non-stick pan to high). The pan should be as hot as the stove can make it!

While the pan is heating, add salt and pepper to each side of the tuna and gently rub them in with olive oil.

Place the tuna in the pan and sear for about 1 minute, flip and continuing searing the tuna for another minute. Remove the tuna from the pan. Fire alarm alert, I suggest purchasing the kind that have the remote off buttons! The outside of the tuna should be completely seared and the middle should be raw.

Combine the parsley and olive oil in a mortar and pestle and grind until smooth. You can add a little coarse sea salt if you are having a challenge grinding the parsley.

I suggest placing the parsley drizzle and roasted pepper sauce beside the tuna on the plate so that you are able to get as much or little as you want with every bite. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Broken Down Roast Chicken

Broken Down Roast ChickenIf your family is anything like mine they love roast chicken, but you don't always have a couple hours to sit around and baste a chicken. Also, since my wife is a breast person and I am a leg man it is extra nice to be able to cook a whole chicken. The recipe also has the benefit of reserving the extra bones to make a great stock. On top of all this, it is a quick prep and wonderful juicy chicken, some even say they like it better than a full roast chicken. Here is a video showing how I break down my chicken.

Recipe: Broken Down Roast Chicken
Serves 4-6 (this recipes is easily scaled, I have used 2 lb and 7 lb chickens), prep time 10 minutes, cook time approx 45 minutes

1 6 lb Broken Down Chicken (bones on, 2 breast, 2 legs, 2 wings)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp butter

The Rub:
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp roasted paprika
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp peppercorns

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. After breaking down the chicken combine all the rub ingredients in a large mortar and pestle and grind until uniform. I understand that not everyone has a large mortar and pestle, my recommendation is buy one! Aside from that, make sure you grind the peppercorns and dried herbs before you mix them with the rest of the spices. The grinding helps release the flavours from the spices and herbs; hence it adds a little more flavour to the dish.

Liberally coat each piece of chicken on all sides with the rub and work it into the chicken. If you have extra rub save it for the next time you need a quick fix meal!

Heat your largest oven safe pan over high heat on the stove top. After the pan is up to temperature, add the oil and butter (the coconut oil will raise the burning point of the butter significantly).

Add each piece of chicken skin side down. The chicken should sizzle immediately if your pan is hot enough. Cook for 2 minutes then flip each piece of chicken. The breast may need to be turned a couple of times to sear all sides. The searing not only locks in the juices, but also will ensure crispy skin (my favourite part, the dog and I fight for my wife's skin)!

Once the skin side is up, place the entire pan in the oven. I suggest using a thermometer in the thickest part of the breast to determine cooking time. The chicken is ready when the breast temperature is between 175-180 degrees. I like to take my chicken out a little early and let it rest for a couple of minutes. This will ensure the temperature reaches the require 180 degrees but does not dry out.

A six pound chicken will take about 45 minutes to cook. If you do not have a thermometer, after about 40 minutes, you can take a little slice into the thickest part of the breast to make sure it is cooked through.
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Monday, November 2, 2009

Fluffy Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Pumpkin PieI thought I would end pumpkin week with the most classic pumpkin recipe. Pumpkin pie! This pie recipe is an adaptation of Edna Staebler's fluffy pumpkin pie. I love the soft and smooth texture combined with the classic pumpkin flavours. This recipe will not disappoint! For the crust, I used Grandma's pie crust recipe.

The Recipe: Pumpkin Pie
Makes one 9" pie filling, prep time 15 minutes (provided you have the crust and pumpkin already prepared), cook time 45 minutes
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs, separated
2 cups roasted pumpkin puree
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
small pinch of sea salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl combine sugar, vanilla, eggs and whisk until smooth.

Add the pumpkin and continuing mixing until smooth.

Add the milk, spices, sea salt and mix until smooth again.

In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until stiff (peaks will form and not fall). This will take a couple minutes with an electric beater, but if you are up for the challenge a good 4-5 minutes doing it the old fashion way.

Gentle fold the egg whites into the mixture above using a spatula. Add the egg whites slowly while turning the bowl after each fold. To fold, gently mix starting in the centre of the bowl, curve the spatula and bring it out the side of the bowl. Fold just enough to make the mixture even.

Pour the mixture into the waiting pie crust and place in centre of the oven for 45 minutes. Serve with freshly whipped cream!
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pumpkin Carving

Carving the pumpkinsI am not sure whether or not carving a pumpkin belongs in a food blog, but since I enjoy it so much I thought I would include my carving from this year. The first pumpkin was supposed to be a construction man since my oldest was going to be a contruction man, but neither worked out quite as planned. I made a helmut for the pumpkin, but since it was the same size as the rest of the head it a appeared more like a ball cap.... oh well still looked good! It was quite a neat experience creating the family traditions with both boys heavily involved in the process.
A Happy Jack-o-LanternThe Monkey & Superman go trick or treatingConstruction Worker Jack-o-Lantern

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