Thanks to anyone who came and ate one of the specials I worked on last week, it was a busy weekend all around so my apologies that there aren’t any photographs to accompany the recipes. If you would like to send pictures of your plating of the dishes I would appreciate it very much. To send pictures just TwitPic them to me @chirn9980. Enough with the jibberjab here is the stuffed pepper recipe.
For this recipe I am just going to give instructions for a single stuffed pepper, to make it easy to scale up. (or down but I am not sure how you could make a 1/4 stuffed pepper)
1 green pepper
1/4 zucchini (med diced)
1/4 eggplant (med diced)
2 button mushrooms (or your choice of mushroom – I wish I had had morels, but thems the breaks)
1 roma tomato (med diced)
1 thinly sliced shallot (not necessary)
1/4 yellow onion (diced)
1 garlic clove (minced)
1 cup rice (I used Basmati, but general long grain rice will do)
1/2 tsp tomato paste
Veggies and Stuff
Seasonings (My note on my thoughts on seasoning)
The rice will take the longest to cook, so I start that first. Rinse the rice by placing it in a pot and running cold water over it until the water runs clear. Drain the rice. Place the rice back in the pot and fill with water, until the water is about a 1/4 to 5/16 of an inch about the rice. Place pot on the range on low heat and add about 3 Tbsp of butter and some salt and let cook until the rice is about 3/4’s soft (it should barely be crunchy). The rice should take about 20 to 25 min.
After the rice is going, start chopping up all of the veggies. Get a medium to large sautee pan on the stove on about med-high heat and coat the bottom of the pan with the olive oil.
Once the oil is heated add the onions and shallots and turn down to med heat. Let them brown a bit, not burn. When the onion starts to turn translucent add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the mushroom and zucchini and tomato paste. Cook for 3 to 5 min or until zucchini starts to soften, then add the roma tomato and eggplant and cook until everything is soft (5 to 6 min).
Once all the veggies are cooked mix them together with about a 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese in a bowl with the seasonings and cooked rice. Set aside.
Take the green pepper and slice the top off, and scrape out the seeds. Fill the pepper with the stuffing and roast in the oven at 350º F for 35 to 40 min.
Strawberry Pots de Creme
This recipe makes about eight 8oz servings
1 qt heavy cream
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
6 large egg yolks
8 cups strawberries (frozen of fresh, if frozen make sure they are completely thawed before working with them)
Start by placing the quart of heavy cream, 1/2c sugar, and vanilla in at least a 2 quart sauce pan ( just in case the cream boils up too much), and place it on med heat. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove cream from heat and set aside to cool down.
Take the strawberries, and place them in the food processor until there are no chunks left. Strain the strawberries through a fine chinois, of through a fine mesh cheesecloth to remove any unwanted seeds. Set the liquid aside for now.
Separate the egg yolks and place them in a mixing bowl. Beat the yolks just enough so that they come together, while still mixing slowly incorporate the other 1/2 cup of sugar. Continue mixing until the sugar and yolks turn a yellow custard color (Ummm, kinda the color of a lemon). After that fold in the strawberry liquid until incorporated.
Here comes the tricky part, tempering the liquids. The goal is to slowly add the warm cream to raise the temperature of the eggs without cooking the eggs and “scrambling” the proteins. SLOWLY ladle the cream into the eggs while stirring the eggs. Continue to do this cream to eggs until you have added about a third of the cream. Add the egg/cream mixture back into the cream only mixture and fold until fully incorporated. Set aside and let the mixture cool to at least room temperature.
To cook them, you will need some ceramic ramekins and a cooking tray that is about an inch higher than the ramekins. Soak a kitchen towel in cold water and place in the bottom of the tray. Place the ramekins on the towel in the tray. Fill the tray with water until the water reaches half way up the ramekins. ****SCIENCE NOTE We use the towel and the water because we want the custard to cook evenly at the edges and the center. The reason this works is that water has a pretty high heat capacity (Q=mc∆t anyone????), which means that the water will heat slowly and evenly allowing for and even rise in temperature. We also use the towel in to bottom because other wise the ceramics will be directly touching the metal pan which will allow for a very quick heat transfer. END SCIENCE NOTE*** If any water splashed into the ramekins make sure to wipe it out before pouring in the filling. Now fill each ramekin halfway with the custard mix, the custard should be at about the same level as the water in the tray. Place in the oven for about 30 to 35 min at 350ºF, or until the middle has just set (the middle barely moves when you giggle the pan).
Take out of the oven and the water bath and place in the fridge to cool. It takes about and hour to completely set.
So thats what I made last weekend. Funny enough the Strawberry Pots de Creme ended up tasting like strawberry Quick and reminded me of being a kid again. A very large thanks to everyone who ate a Kona last weekend to support Think Pink Weekend, we all appreciate it. There will be more to eat and experiment with this coming weekend.