Thursday, April 22, 2010

mango spread & chocolate bird's nest

I haven't eaten meat or seafood in three weeks.

Ok, I've had one local exception...
a gorgeous, strip of grass-fed beef
and a few tasting slip-ups with chicken or beef base that are perpetually inevitable with my line of work.

I'm not trying to be a:
new, self-proclaimed vegetarian
shouting from the rooftops
with Food Inc. and King Corn thoughts firing up my fury.

I've simply made a firm decision to become more knowledgeable of what goes into my mouth.

I was raised eating healthily and have always eaten local when possible, purchased organic groceries and cage-free, antibiotic-free options. The list goes on...

Whether I'm eating cow, chicken, scallops or cherries--

I will strive to be
healthy & happy
about the decisions I'm making and continue to
support the people that help me eat this way.

My past slow weekend began perched atop linoleum bar stools-- catching up with an old culinary school friend at Fuzzy's Taco Shop.

Formerly content with the:
garlicky cheese enchiladas & cornflake-crusted tempura fish sandwich
(toss up)
I settled on julienned veggie tacos (squash, carrots, onions, zucchini) delightfully dressed with garlic sauce and guacamole. Brothy black beans and crispy-fried potatoes were swallowed in between icy scooner sips.

I later took part in an indulgent evening at the chic, new Tillman's Roadhouse--

think Billy Reid,
crossed with a fire pit,
and a gluttonous amount of
goat cheese, coffee, truffle oil and homemade marshmallows.

We opted to lounge on the still-sunny patio and sipped blood orange margaritas (sans simple syrup for me) between warm peanuts with truffled popcorn.

For my entree, I went local with a grass fed New York strip from Grandview, Texas-- charred on the firepit then served medium rare with blistered shishito peppers, black bean and cotija grits and a red jalapeno radish salad.

This rustic dish was earthy, spicy, bitter and just screamed summer.
A copper bird's nest filled with decadent chocolate-covered almonds consoled us when we received our hefty tab-- clever marketing attempt.

On a later homemade supper affair, I focused on textures galore with my:

Steamed Chicken & Radish Potstickers
with Peanut Brown Rice and Soy Muddled Blackberries

These delicate dumplings are quick steamed then nestled amongst nutty, brown rice and a tart, easy-as-pie blackberry topping.

In addition to this recipe, these quaint packages would be perfect:

poached in a broth-based soup
pan-fried with stir-fried vegetables
or deep-fried with a sweet & spicy dipping potion
for a cocktail party in a flash!

Peanut Brown Rice:

1 recipe brown rice, prepared and kept warm
3 T unsalted butter
3 T natural peanut butter, crunchy
juice and zest of 1 lime
1/2 t red pepper flakes

Mix ingredients and keep warm to pair with dumplings.

Chicken & Radish Dumplings:

Yields 16 dumplings (4 servings)

1 organic boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 T extra virgin olive oil
4 radishes, minced
3 T fresh cilantro, minced
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper to taste
16 square potsticker skins, defrosted
1 small bowl of water to seal potstickers

Coat chicken in olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes until just cooked and juicy. Set aside to cool. Shred chicken into small pieces then mix with radish, cilantro, honey, salt and pepper. Add approximately one teaspoon of filling to each wonton. Fold into a triangle, sealing edges with water-drenched fingers. Fold corners in together to form "purses" shown in picture.

While folding remaining dumplings, make Soy Muddled Blackberry Sauce and begin boiling water to later steam dumplings. Steam dumplings in a bamboo steamer approximately 5 minutes until dumplings are transparent and hot. Serve immediately atop peanut rice with muddled blackberries.

Soy Muddled Blackberries:

juice of 1/2 lime
zest of 1 lime
1/2 pint fresh blackberries
1 t soy sauce
dash of salt

In a mortar and pestle, carefully muddle together ingredients to develop juices but keep some texture intact. Serve atop potstickers.

For dessert, I added local flare and texture to a traditional jam thumbprint with Mango Bread Spread from Fort Worth's Cherith Valley Gardens and dried apricots:

Mango & Dried Apricot Thumbprints

These crumbling, buttery cookies are sweet, sour and perfect with a glass of steamed milk.

1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 T lemon zest
2 T lemon juice
1 t pure almond extract
1/4 t salt
2 and 1/2 cups AP flour
Cherith Valley Mango Bread Spread (or any jam of your choice)
Dried apricots, sliced diagonally

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until creamy-- about 5 minutes. Slowly add egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, almond extract and salt until mixed. Finally, slowly add flour until a dough just forms, careful not to overmix.

Form dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Make a finger indentation into center of each ball. With a teaspoon, drop equal amounts of mango jam into each indentation. Bake cookies approximately 20 minutes until firm and bottoms are golden.

Top each cookie with a slice of dried apricot-- still displaying jam. Transfer cookies to racks and cool completely.

In anticipation for the Summer issue of Fort Worth Foodie,

I've been developing a recipe for:
a citrusy, avocado treat
sure to please a crowd on the patio-- more delicious details to come!


1 comment:

L A C E Y said...

callie callie! hope you have a fantastic birthday! :)