Thursday, May 13, 2010

Our Almost Winning Recipe

Feta Smashed Potatoes: When I make mashed potatoes I like to use

two varieties: Russet and red potatoes.  Russets are grittier and soak up sauces better and reds are a bit sweeter and creamier.  That's just my opinion and by no means culinary fact.  I like to throw in my garlic clove while boiling my potatoes because it makes it easier to incorporate it into the mix later.

Once the garlic has softened you can just squeeze it out and mash it along with your potatoes.  The smell is fantastic, but without all the super pungency.  Before boiling potatoes I like to score them so that they're easier to peel and I don't have to burn my fingers. Pretty cool eh?  I don't have a masher so I use my meat tenderizer to pound my potatoes and then a hand blender if I want them fluffier.  Ingredients are simple, just add some cream, milk or half
and half.  This dish has feta cheese crumbles in it and about 4 tablespoons of butter.  For flavor, add some sage, parsley, salt and pepper to taste.  If I'm roasting something else I'll make gravy with the juices, but this  is so yummy you won't even miss it.

Basil Summer Sauce actually has spinach in it.  Puree one cup of
fresh basil and one cup of spinach in 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/3 tbspn of white wine vinegar and about a half cup of Parmesan.  This is the "dressing" for caprese (tomatoes and mozarella).  It's great because you can save the sauce for later instead of wasting fresh basil that might not get eaten.

Drunken Steak Marinade:  1 diced onion, 3 tbsp. butter, 3/4 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/2 cider vinegar, 1/2 cup bourbon, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup molasses, 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp. paprika, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme to taste.  Bring all of these ingredients to a boil and then blend until smooth.  If you're using good steak (Rib eye, portherhouse, etc.) marinade for 4 hours at the most or your meat will turn to mush.  *The alchohol serves as a tenderizer as well as flavoring, but good meat doesn't need much done to it.  Grill your meat to your preference and baste with remaining sauce until cooked. 
  Oh, the caprese! Cut your tomatoes in three horizontal slices (actually four - cut a bit of the bottom so it sits on a plate nicely balanced).  Drizzle with olive oil and salt.  I sprinkled some rosemary leaves on the tops.  You'll want to grill the tomatoes, turn them over and place the mozzarella on top of each piece until it melts.  Do not flip the tops and leave the stems on.  Don't forget to let your meat rest before cutting into it or all the nice juices that make your taste buds dance will merely drain sadly away and leave you with icky, dry meat on a puddly plate. 
If you're plating for guests, use a neutral colored plate so that there is lots of negative space to draw the eye to each individual dish.  There are balancing techniques for plating too, but I think that as long as you add the most important ingredient, whatever you make will be fantastic.  So, don't forget to add a dash of love to everything!  Allez cuisine!!

*Alcohol doesn't actually tenderize meat, that's a myth busted (duh, don't you watch Alton?).  Marinades don't penetrate meats enough to make a difference and can actually break down the meat if absorbed for too long.  What the marinade will do is create a tougher outer coating, therefore keeping all the juices nicely tucked inside. 

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