Browsing Tag

lemon

The best brussel sprouts & cauliflower bowl

I have always thought I would never do a “best” post. Until now. At the last restaurant I worked, this was one of the few dishes I didn’t dare to take off the menu…ever. It was a guest and staff favorite. It has been six years since then and this year I received multiple emails asking for the recipe. This recipe for the best brussel sprouts & cauliflower bowl is a keeper. It’s awesome as a side but perfectly amazing on it’s own as an entire meal.

The key to the absolute best flavor? Don’t fear the caramelization. Let the brussel sprout leaves fall off as you cut them and don’t throw them away. They are going to turn into crispy leaves with just a little bit of char. This is the gold!

Ingredients
2# brussel sprouts, washed, outer leaves removed if dirty and halved or quartered depending on how big they are
1 head of cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
salt and pepper
1/4 lb. bacon, diced (optional)
¼ c. golden raisins
¼ c. raw almonds, sliced or chopped
2 T. olive oil
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. honey
1 T. dijon
1/4 c. fresh herbs, finely chopped (a mix of parsley and thyme is my favorite)
red pepper flake, optional

Method
1. Preheat oven to 400 f.
2. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Put brussels on one and cauliflower on the other. Drizzle both with olive oil and gently toss with your hands. season both with salt and pepper. Roast until they caramelize and are tender when pierced with a knife, about 30-45 minutes.
3. While the veggies are roasting make the vinaigrette. Put the bacon in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook until crispy.
4. Take the pan off the heat. In a large bowl transfer the bacon and about 2 T. of bacon fat. (you can freeze the rest for use later). Whisk in olive oil, dijon, lemon juice, honey, golden raisins, almonds and fresh herbs.
5. When the veggies are done cooking add them to the bowl. Give them a good stir and check seasoning adjusting as needed.
6. Serve immediately.

Component in Action
-use as a filling for tacos.
-serve as a side for a big dinner like Thanksgiving or alongside a roasted chicken.
-top over a cooked grain like rice or quinoa

Hollandaise Sauce

For week #2 in our summer session I couldn’t resist. I mean, come on! Asparagus is popping up everywhere and is just begging to be the main attraction on the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.

The pesky bugger of the brunch world is pesky no more. That’s right. Send out those brunch invitations because you are about to master hollandaise sauce in five minutes!

There is a beauty to the classical way of making this French sauce from Normandy. Thanks to my cooking school days, I still love to make things by hand like whipped cream. I use my biggest whisk and am always sweating by the time the cream has reached stiff peaks. I know I could use a mixer and have it done in a minute, but I like watching the cream slowly absorb the air and changing texture right before my eyes.

If you have the time, I don’t think a traditional method of making hollandaise is anything to be afraid of. It’s just one of those sauces that takes attention and a bit of elbow grease to make, two noble activities that almost always result in a satisfying and sometimes audible “yes!”

Lately I feel like I’ve been cooking while legos are flying over my head or transformers are sliding across the kitchen island so I’m all for a fool proof hollandaise I can make fast. The idea behind the sauce is simple: a luscious emulsification of egg yolks, butter (sometimes clarified), lemon (or vinegar). The most classical version includes a spiced vinegar reduction, a close sibling of Bearnaise sauce which includes peppercorn and tarragon, and is out of this world with a well cooked steak.

For this version I stick with lemon, straight up melted butter (as opposed to clarified) and a blender. Instead of being one of those recipes that “I’d love to make when I have the time”, this is a recipe you can whip up before your coffee is done brewing. Beautiful on eggs, vegetables or fish…and of course spooned over your favorite brunch Benedict.

Ingredients
2 egg yolks
2 T. (15 ml)  warm water
2 T. (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
pinch of ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 c. (113 g.) butter (melted + hot)
salt to taste

Method
1.) Put egg yolks, water, lemon juice and cayenne in a blender. Blend for around five seconds.
2.) If your blender has top with a vent, turn the blender on a medium speed and slowly drizzle in the melted butter into the egg mixture while the blender is running. You can also do this with an immersion blender.
3.) If your blender is an inverted bullet style blender, add the melted butter all at once and blend for 15-20 seconds until the sauce comes together and emulsifies.
4.) Pour sauce into a heat proof vessel like a pot or bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a lid and keep somewhere warm. My favorite warm spot is a back stove burner that is not on, but picks up residual heat from the oven. OR, pre-heat a wide-mouthed, heat friendly thermos with (very) hot water for five minutes. Pour out the water and pour in the hollandaise. This will keep it perfectly warm until you’re ready to serve if you are using it within a couple of hours.

Component in Action
-pour over poached eggs
-once finished, add fresh herbs like tarragon, basil or chives and serve along side steak, chicken or fish
-drizzle over veggies like steamed asparagus or grilled tomatoes

Lemon Vinaigrette

The summer session starts today! I know, i know..it’s not summer yet, but on sunny days in New Mexico, it sure feels like it, so let’s just consider this a big and flavorful gearing up for a fun summer of great food. Once a week, we will dive into a chef level, core cooking recipe. The goals (like the recipes) are simple, to help you become an expert, inspired and confident in incorporating this gem into your cooking life. One recipe at a time. One week at a time.

These essential recipes are the same ones I scribbled in many a notebook throughout my time in culinary school and restaurant kitchens. When you learn how to cook professionally, you don’t start by learning how to make an entire feast. You begin by learning the bits and pieces: the vinaigrette, the stock, the brine, the dough, etc.

As you learn and gain confidence, you start putting the pieces together and soon your instincts start to kick in. This is where real cooking happens. When you are no longer bound by the chains of a recipe. Once the core recipes and techniques become familiar, they start to make sense in a new way, kind of like learning a language. Before long, stringing four core recipes together to form an entire meal is no big deal.

Keep your recipes close for pastry and baking, but keep a tasting spoon close for savory cooking. Your taste buds are king and queen of the kitchen! With that royal proclamation, let’s begin with one of the easiest and most important (yet unappreciated) recipes of all, lemon vinaigrette.

Lemon vinaigrette (aka Lemon Vin.) is versatile and variable.  It can be used in countless ways and can also morph into many different variations. In it’s most basic form, it is fresh lemon juice and olive oil (acid + fat) whisked together to create a bright dressing that brings out the best in many different foods. One of my favorite ways to use lemon vin. is tossed with a simple salad of arugula, apple and Parmesan cheese. It can be spooned over roasted vegetables, drizzled over fish, spiced up and the lemon juice can even be swapped out for different citrus juice or vinegar.

Here is my go-to way to make it:

Ingredients
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 t. of dijon vinegar
1 t. honey
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

Method
1.) Whisk or blend all ingredients together.

Component in Action
-use a dip for raw veggies
-instead of just lemon juice, try a mix of lemon, orange and lime
-add a bit of sliced garlic clove
-add finely chopped fresh herbs (like thyme, rosemary or dill)
-add dried spices like ground turmeric or smoked paprika