Several weeks ago after a long day in the sun, I headed to CM for groceries. After planting myself in the produce area for a few minutes of inspiration, I settled on some pretty endive and black grapes that looked perfect for roasting.
My girlfriend came over and we shared an almost Vegetarian meal that can certainly be tailored for someone with that concern.
My menu was:
Endive Salad with Fresh Herbs, Candied Walnuts and Lemon Honey Vinaigrette with Red Pepper Flakes
Linguine with Ricotta, Fresh Parmesan, Asparagus, Braised Grapes, Black Pepper, Fresh Herbs and Crispy Prosciutto
1.5 c black grapes
salt and black pepper to taste
The meal turned out really lovely and surprisingly light. The pasta was one of those "gobble it up asap without losing your manners" type of dishes.
A few days later, I was craving banana bread so I decided to bake a classic and put a little spin on it. I'm a "no-nuts" girl when it comes to breakfast cakes and brownies, but walnuts can be added if desired. To amp the bread, I added vanilla bean paste and it was delicious! The vanilla flavor becomes more inherent as the bread sits a day or two.
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup julienned red onion
The next evening, I continued my cooking spree and went to Central Market to make Asian-style turkey burgers. Once at home, I realized I forgot the burger buns so I quickly switched to Plan B:
Spicy Turkey Meatballs, Rice Noodles with a Peanut Sauce and a Watercress, Carrot, Radish Slaw
1 T honey
1 squeeze lime juice
juice of 2 limes
1 T sriracha
1 T honey
1 T honey
1 T soy sauce
1 t olive oil
That next lazy Sunday, my boyfriend and I were brainstorming lunch options and finally settled on The Original- a childhood favorite of his. Surprisingly, I had never eaten at the Original but I knew the margaritas were potent and it had been there for ages.
Also that week, I headed to Fred's with some friends to get my greasy burger fix. I found something that really set Fred's burgers apart from the rest: sauteed fresh jalapenos. Don't get me wrong, I'm not dogging the pickled guys, but these were really outstanding and so simple. With one simple ingredient, my cheeseburger was elevated immensely.
Thankfully, I ordered the nachos and they were great! Meanwhile, the guys grubbed down on the burger with little discussion in between. Unfortunately, the most expensive food item on the menu, the lobster roll, was definitely lacking. There was little flavor and nothing to let the flavor of the lobster shine through...disappointing. All in all, we had a ball and will return. Next on my list to try...the jalapeno margarita.
On a special evening a few nights later, I made a "guy friendly" meal for my boyfriend and I. The menu was:
Sirloin Burgers with Jalapeno Muenster, Corn, Bacon, Scallion Relish and a Roasted Poblano Mayonnaise
These burgers were incredible! I cooked them on the grill pan then finished them in the oven to medium well with the muenster melted on top. I didn't mix the corn, bacon and scallion relish together until right before serving so the bacon would stay crisp and the scallions would stay green.
Fruit Salad with Honey, Mint, Sugar and Lemon Zest
Brown Sugar Bacon
Fritattas two ways:
Red Onion, Fresh Rosemary, Gruyere and Asparagus
Parmesan, Sundried Tomato, Artichoke Hearts, Pesto and Fresh Basil
As I mentioned in my last post, we have been working on our "finished product" assignments in pastry class. The past three weeks, I focused on puff pastry, pies, custards and a cake. Below are my finished products!
Tropical Fruit Napoleon with Lime Pastry Cream, Mango, Kiwi, Starfruit and Passionfruit Sauce
Plum Nectarine Crostada
First, I made my custard with bananas, vanilla, sugar, eggs, etc. After baking and cooling, I tried the brulee and it wasn't very sweet but very "banana-y". I decided on a honey cardamom sauce to add sweetness and dimension to the brulee then toasted almonds for color and texture.
Pound Cake with Italian Meringue, Mixed Berry Jam and Candied Blueberries, Raspberries and Blackberries
This again was an evolving dessert. I originally wanted to layer my pound cake with a tarragon-infused whipped cream and garnish with sugared berries. My head chef advised my against an un-stabilized whipped cream "frosting" because the cream wouldn't hold and would weep quickly. So, I decided on an Italian meringue and making a fresh berry jam for the inner layers. I finished the top of the cake with fresh, sugared berries and plated with more of the fresh berry jam.
Profiteroles with Espresso Ricotta and Chile Ganache
For the profiteroles, I made a stove-top Pate a Choux batter, piped them and baked them until golden brown and airy. The ricotta mixture contained sugar, a bit of cream and instant espresso powder. The ganache was an equal weight mixture of simmered cream and dark chocolate with a hint of cayenne and chile powder. The ricotta mixture would have been better with something smoother like marscapone but my lazy butt decided against an early Central Market run for 15 more minutes of sleep that morning...next time.