Saturday, September 25, 2010

hot sake for the soul

I've always been that gal who wants to steal a bite from every plate at the table.

Even if I opt for the creamy risotto, my wandering eye...err, stomach, is perpetually catching a glance at the silky carbonara two plates over.

A little bit of this and a little bit of that
is ideal for me!

That being said, tapas, sushi, appetizers, small plates and side dishes have always been friends of mine.

A sushi binge with the girls at the newest west 7th sushi joint, Blue Sushi Sake, was just the trick.

My chopsticks guiltily darted from plate to plate with flavor-draped delights:

charred shishito peppers

succulent pork gyoza with crispy leeks

yellowtail sashimi with ponzu and a spicy jalapeno kick

bluefin belly with yuzu and mustard microgreens

king crab maki blanketed in bright avocado

and a funky, vegetable maki with spiced aged tofu and napa cabbage

After a washdown of
hot sake for the soul,
my belly with its' wandering eye was fully rejuvenated.

With our recent exuberant welcome to autumn, I put my hefty flame Le Creuset Dutch oven to use for my favorite cooking technique for chilly weather: braising.
Braised Beef Short Ribs with a Lemongrass Soy Glaze

Short Ribs are inexpensive, yet luscious, when prepared low and slow. This recipe is a perfect chilly weather supper for two that can be virtually ignored during a lazy afternoon.

Several hours before dinner, start by making glaze then brush simmering ribs with this flavor-punched glaze whenever you might step to the kitchen:

Serves 2.

Lemongrass Soy Glaze:

1 c water
1/2 c soy sauce (I used reduced sodium)
1/2 c sugar
2 T orange zest
2 T fresh ginger, minced
2 T lemongrass, minced

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Reduce over high heat approximately 15 minutes until thickened. Set aside in a small bowl for brushing atop short ribs.

Short ribs:
2.5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
(kosher salt and fresh-cracked pepper to season)
2 T vegetable oil
2 c onion, diced
1 c celery, diced
1 c carrot, diced
1 T fresh ginger, minced
2 T lemongrass, minced
5 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
1 c fine red wine

1 c soy sauce
2 c fine unsalted beef stock
1 t kosher salt
2 T unsalted butter

Heat Dutch oven over medium heat. Add vegetable oil and swirl to coat bottom of pan. Add short ribs and sear on all sides to brown. Remove short ribs with tongs and set aside.

Add onions, celery, carrots, ginger, lemongrass and thyme to hot pot to deglaze brown bits from the bottom. Saute approximately 10 minutes until vegetables are tender. Return short ribs to pot and nestle atop vegetables. Add red wine, soy, beef broth and salt.

Cover and simmer over low heat approximately 3.5 hours until falling apart tender. During braise, brush tops of short ribs with lemongrass soy glaze every 15 minutes (or whenever you think of it!).

To serve, transfer ribs and strained vegetables to serving dish to rest. Increase heat on remaining sauce in Dutch oven and reduce for 5 minutes. Right before serving, whisk in butter to slightly thicken sauce. Spoon sauce atop short ribs and serve with celery root puree.

This tangy puree is bright white and beautiful with the espresso-colored short ribs. Sliced scallions add texture and creme fraiche adds body and tang.

Celery Root Puree with Creme Fraiche and Scallions

Serves 2.

1 small celery root, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
1 large russet potato, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 c heavy cream
1/4 c creme fraiche
2 T unsalted butter
2 T scallions, sliced thin on the bias
kosher salt to taste

Add celery root and potatoes to a pot of salted, cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer approximately 15 minutes until fork tender. Meanwhile, heat butter and milk and bring creme fraiche to room temperature.

Drain celery root/potatoes well then puree with a potato masher or potato ricer. Add warm milk, butter and creme fraiche. Salt to taste and garnish with sliced scallions.

The next thing on my mind was dessert.

These cakes are light and fluffy with a delicate crumb. I cut down the crystallized ginger component from the original recipe, swapped from a large bundt to minis, and made a beautiful blood orange compote to spoon under the delicate confections.

Ginger Cakes with Turbinado and a Blood Orange Compote

Yields one 12-cup bundt pan
(I used 2 mini-bundt pans filled halfway before baking)

softened butter for brushing pan
1/2 c raw sugar (I used turbinado)
2 and 1/4 c AP flour
4 t ground ginger
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 c crystallized ginger, minced
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c sugar
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 t vanilla bean paste or extract
1 c sour cream

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Brush softened butter inside bundt pan or mini bundt pan. Sprinkle raw sugar and coat completely by shaking pan. Tap pan to remove excess.

Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Toss with crystallized ginger and coat completely. Using a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar approximately 8 minutes until pale yellow and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with sour cream and vanilla in 2 additions, beating on low speed until just blended after each addition. Spread batter in pan or mini bundt pans- filling about halfway up mini bundts.

Bake cake(s) until top(s) are light brown and toothpick comes out with a few small crumbs attached about 55 minutes for a large bundt or 35 minutes for mini bundts. Transfer to rack; cool in pan 15 minutes. Loosen cake around mold by gently tapping and invert onto rack to fully cool.

Serve with blood orange compote and garnish with crystallized ginger candies.

Blood Orange Compote

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
zest and fruit of 2 blood oranges

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium high heat until syrupy and reduced by half (fruit will break down). Cool in bowl atop an ice water bath then chill completely in cooler.

Share these sparkling delights over after-dinner coffee or a last glass of bubbly-- perfect for upcoming holiday affairs!


Friday, September 17, 2010

striking hues & TCU

The natural beauty of food is what truly inspires me to cook.

A lone pomegranate sitting in an oversized bowl could be the prettiest thing I've seen in a while.

Curling lemon zest from a microplane floating lovingly atop Italian meringue is a true masterpiece to me.

Still-dirty carrots passed from a farmer to a customer is a wealth of beauty in itself.

Rich hues, layered textures and gorgeous platings sourced my inspiration for the newest article in my Easy Entertaining column in the fall issue of Fort Worth Foodie magazine: Cooking with Color.

The featured recipe is a deep emerald, rich fuchsia and striking orange side dish perfect to brighten up any kitchen table:

Watercress, Radish and Shaved Carrot Slaw
1 c radishes, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 c watercress leaves

1 c carrots, sliced thin with peeler
juice of one lime
1 t lime zest

1 t honey
1 t extra virgin olive oil
1 t rice wine vinegar

1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t kosher salt

Toss watercress, radish and carrots together. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl then drizzle atop vegetables. Serve chilled as a side dish, room temperature atop tacos, or warmed with grilled meats.

This fabulous issue of Foodie features Fort Worth culinary entrepreneurs who are also proud Texas Christian University Horned Frogs! Check out my bio as a TCU alum as well as my newest Linguine and Dirty Martinis mention and ad.

Speaking of gorgeous colors, I fell in love with this sticky, glazed chicken drenched in an intense plum-hued glaze concocted in an effort to play with tamarind paste.

The ripened tamarind fruit is a sweet and slightly sour confection coming from the tamarind tree indigenous to Africa but is also widely distributed in South Asia. The paste is viscous, fragrant, a bit bitter and can be found in the International aisle of the market.

Tamarind-Glazed Grilled Chicken with Fresno Chiles, Citrus Rind and Ginger

Yields: A platter of eight georgeously-glazed chicken breasts


1 shallot, sliced thin

2 T fresh basil, chopped
8 organic, antibiotic-free boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a casserole dish, toss chicken with vegetable oil, shallot and basil. Finish with a sprinkling of:


[ground cardamom + ground coriander + kosher salt + fresh-cracked pepper + red pepper flakes]

Cover dish with plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours before grilling. Meanwhile, simmer this insane tamarind glaze.


2 c apple juice
2 c water

2 c sugar
1 fresno chile, sliced thin
juice and zest of 1 orange, lime and lemon
2 T fresh ginger, minced
3 T tamarind paste (no seeds)
sprinkle of salt

Reduce all ingredients over medium high heat approximately one hour until reduced by half and thickened. Set aside to cool. Reserve 1/4 of glaze to brush atop chicken during grilling and remaining to finish on cooked chicken.

To accompany the sweet and spicy main course, I settled on an oh-so-simple side that shines healthy and bright. Chopped dried apricots and pistachios would be a perfect substitution if fresh figs aren't available.
Fresh Fig, Shallot and Rosemary Couscous

2 c vegetable stock
one 5.4 oz box of plain couscous
1 cup fresh figs, halved

1 t fresh rosemary, minced
1 shallot, sliced thin
kosher salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste


Bring vegetable stock to a boil then stir in couscous. Take off heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork before serving.

We finished our menu with a minimal ingredient side dish that my mother threw together in minutes:
Steamed Corn with Butter and Lime

Simply steam individually-wrapped corn with plastic wrap for 4 minutes in the the (gasp!) microwave. Carefully unwrap cobs and toss with unsalted butter, kosher salt, fresh-cracked pepper and a squeeze of lime. Garnish with lime wedges.


This sweet, spicy and healthy meal was perfect for our end of summer blues!

Lovely odd 'n ends are truly coming together for Linguine and Dirty Martinis, LLC.

I am so excited to finally have my new Linguine and Dirty Martinis business
cards printed and ready to network!

I designed the cards with maroon and black hues and continued my pomegranate theme on the back. Monogrammed ivory chef jackets were stitched in black, maroon and slate with my same fabulous, curvy font. I cannot wait to donn 'em!

Finally, my sample seasonal menu is available to view
with delectable autumn dishes perfect for a fall fĂȘte.

As always, combinations are original (and heartfelt) to Linguine and Dirty Martinis.

Please view my menu and email to plan an event with these lush, comforting fall ingredients!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

oil & balsamic series

There are still a few spots left to join my:

3 course olive oil and balsamic demonstration and tasting

Monday, September 20th from
7-9 p.m. sponsored by Linguine and Dirty Martinis, LLC and Olivada Olive Oil Tasting Room.

Three course menu includes:

Zucchini Carpaccio with
Basil Chiffonade, Pecorino and a Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

A tangy, buttery and sophisticated starter that shines with California Meyer Lemon Olive Oil.

Chilled Lump Crab Salad
with Fresh Tarragon, Crushed Pistachios
and a Blood Orange Olive Oil

Fresh crab delicately enhanced with anise-flavored tarragon, a rich aioli, pistachios for crunch and a drizzle of Stella Cadente Blood Orange Olive Oil.

Vervacious Espresso Balsamic Tiramisu with a Rosemary Chantilly Cream

Elegant, simple and not too sweet.

This chilled dessert has a luscious additive of Vervacious Espresso Balsamic and fresh rosemary to provide a tangy and aromatic twist on the traditional Italian favorite.
$45/person includes three courses, demonstration, wine, and oil/balsamic tastings in the gorgeous Olivada Boutique located in the Arthouse Keller.
Secure your reservations and come taste some delicious dishes inspired by fine oils and vinegars!
Email or call the store at 817.741.4555.

Not to worry...all demonstration recipes coming soon on the blog!