Friday, August 26, 2016

potato chicken casserole with lemon and truffle salt

There was an awesome sale on potatoes over the weekend. I'm trying to reserve my meager funds for a couple of upcoming trips, so dinners are often based on what leftovers I have and what deals I can get at the grocery store. I had some leftover baked chicken and lots of potatoes. Casseroles are always an option for me. Hanging out at home, music playing, drinking martinis, wearing a sweet apron, making a creamy, comforting casserole? Dreamy.

Potato Chicken Casserole with Lemon & Truffle Salt

-5 medium red potatoes, peeled and cubed
-1.5 Tablespoons butter + 1 Tablespoon for the topping
-1.5 Tablespoons olive oil
-1 large shallot, chopped
-8 oz. white mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
-3 Tablespoons flour
-1 pint half & half
-3/4 teaspoons truffle salt
-1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
-1 lemon, zested and sliced thin
-1 large chicken breast, cooked, cubed
-1/4 cup bread crumbs
-1/4 cup finely shredded Pecorino cheese

Preheat oven to 400ºF

Bring a bot of water to a boil in a large pot or dutch oven. Boil the potatoes for 5-7 minutes until tender but not mushy. Drain, set aside.

Add butter and olive oil to the pot and cook the shallots until just just translucent. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook until the mushrooms are brown and shriveled a bit. Sprinkle the flour over everything and stir to coat, cooking about 30 seconds. Add the half & half and bring to a simmer until slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in the rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon of the truffle salt, lemon zest, chicken and potatoes.

Pour potato mixture into a buttered 2.5 qt. casserole dish (approx. 7" x 11"). Combine the breadcrumbs, 1/4 teaspoon of truffle salt and pecorino cheese and sprinkle on top of the potato mixture. Cut 1 Tablespoon of butter into small pieces and dot the top of the casserole with them. Lay the lemon slices on top. Bake at 400ºF for about 20 minutes until crumbs are browned. Let rest a few minutes before serving.

Friday, August 19, 2016

red bean & shrimp cajun tacos

Tacos. The possibilities are endless. Don't get me wrong, I could eat traditional tacos from my local taqueria weekly without ever getting sick of them. Okay I DO eat traditional tacos from my local taqueria weekly without ever getting sick of them. But it is fun to come up with newfangled ways to fill a tortilla. These Cajun tacos are a delightful amalgamation of South-of-the-Border and South-of-the-Mason-Dixon. I took inspiration from some Creole favorites... red beans & rice, and shrimp & grits. Instead of Pico de Gallo, I made a fresh salad out of the classic New Orleans Holy Trilogy, which is akin to the French Mirepoix, but with bell peppers instead of carrots.

Red Bean & Shrimp Cajun Tacos
-1/2 lb. raw peeled & deveined 41-50 ct. shrimp
-1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
-2 garlic cloves, minced (divided)
-Juice of half a lemon
-1 slice thick-cut bacon, chopped
-2 shallots, shopped fine (divided)
-1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
-1/4 teaspoon paprika
-2 teaspoons vegetable oil
-6 Corn tortillas
-Trinity salad, for serving (recipe below)
-Hot sauce mayonnaise, for serving (recipe below)

Place the shrimp in a bowl with 1 Tablespoon of the Cajun seasoning, 1/2 the minced garlic and the lemon juice. Combine well and let sit while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Cook the bacon in a sauce pan until crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper towel, reserving the grease in the pan. Put 1/2 the chopped shallot and the other half of the minced garlic into the pot and cook until translucent. Add the rest of the Cajun seasoning and the paprika and cook 30 seconds. Add the beans and stir, cooking and mashing slightly with the spoon, over low heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in 2-3 Tablespoons of water to loosen the beans up and add the bacon back in. Keep warm.

In a small skillet, heat the vegetable oil and remaining shallots over medium heat until the shallots are translucent. Add the shrimp, including marinade, and cook, stirring often, until shrimp are just opaque.

Assemble tacos: Place 1/6 of bean mixture and shrimp on each tortilla. Top with desired amount of trinity salad and hot sauce mayo (recipes below).

Trinity Salad
-1 green bell pepper, finely diced
-1 red pepper, finely diced
-1/2 medium onion, finely diced
-1 celery stalk, finely diced
-3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
-1 Tablespoon olive oil
-1 teaspoon yellow mustard
-pinch of sugar
-salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, olive oil, sugar and salt and pepper. Place all the vegetables in a medium bowl, add the dressing and toss. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Hot Sauce Mayonnaise
-3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
-2 teaspoons hot sauce (or to taste)

Combine well, call it "aioli." :)

When I made these we hadn't heard much about the flooding that is happening in Southern Louisiana right now. It hasn't been in the news very much but it is a heartbreaking situation. The Fleur De Lis you see in my photos is a souvenir from NOLA... a spreader that has "Spread Compassion" stamped into the blade. Please consider donating to the Red Cross or some other organization that is aiding the people affected. From the Red Cross website: "People can help by making a financial donation by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation."

Related posts from the archives:

Friday, August 12, 2016

put a salted duck egg on it

It may not be the Year of the Egg anymore, but I'm still always looking for interesting egg recipes/applications. I found some Salted Duck Eggs at an Asian grocery store and, knowing nothing about them, bought them. You can buy them cooked or uncooked. The ones in this post were the already cooked ones, you just peel them at use however. I did some research online, but still didn't really know what I was going to do with them until I tasted some. Salted duck egg is obviously quite salty, but also a bit funky and rich and the yolk is kind of granular. I decided to try it as a topping, kind of like how you'd sprinkle Parmesan cheese on pasta. It adds a really nice funk and savoriness to dishes.

Sesame Broccoli with Salted Duck Egg
-4 shallots, divided
-4 garlic cloves, divided
-3 Tablespoons oil
-1 head broccoli, cut into florets
-3 Tablespoons soy sauce
-1 teaspoon sesame oil
-pinch of red pepper flakes
-2 teaspoons sesame seeds
-1 salted duck egg, cooked, peeled and chopped fine
-finely chopped Thai chili, if desired

Finely chop 2 of the shallots and 2 of the garlic cloves. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the shallot and garlic in the hot oil until brown and crunchy, turning down heat if necessary to prevent burning. Remove to a paper towel, reserving the leftover oil in the skillet. Slice the other 2 shallots and mince the remaining garlic and cook in the reserved oil until just soft. add the soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper flakes and sesame seeds and stir to combine. Add the broccoli and toss in the sauce. Cook until bright green but still crunchy. Serve over rice, sprinkled with the fried shallots and garlic, the chopped duck egg and Thai chilies.

So after I made the broccoli dish, my boyfriend mentioned that his Filipino parents always ate salted duck egg with tomatoes. I had a lovely heirloom tomato at home, so the next day I made a kind of duck egg Caprese salad for lunch. 

There's not really a recipe for this. Just slice up a good tomato, sprinkle it with chopped salted duck egg, fresh Thai basil and 5 or 6 drops of sesame oil. No need to salt, the egg is plenty. This was fantastic! Savory and simple and summery. 

What would you do with salted duck eggs?

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Friday, August 05, 2016

Trout Piccata with Fennel Peach Caprese Salad

HI YOU GUYS!!!! Yeah, it's been awhile. Life, you know? I missed this. 

Things have been pretty great. I could go on and on, but I think I'll just ease back into this blogging thing with these recipes and photos and virtual hugs. *HUGS* 

Summer a.f. 

Peach Fennel Caprese Salad
- 1 fennel bulb, quartered and sliced thin
- 2 tsp fennel fronds, chopped fine
- 1 large tomato, seeded, quartered, sliced thin
- 1 peach, peeled, seeded, sliced thin
- 1/2 ball fresh mozzarella, cut into matchsticks
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 5-6 fresh basil leaves, julienned
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 Tablepoons Balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper to taste 

Re: slicing everything: I was trying to get everything a similar shape/cut... kind of thin, bite-size slices. Gently toss everything to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 4 hours.

Trout Piccata
- 3 trout filets
- Flour for dusting the trout (a cup should do) 
- 4 Tablepoons butter, divided
- 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 Tablespoons capers
- salt and pepper to taste 

Spread the flour on a plate and dip the trout fillets in it to coat completely. Shake of excess flour. Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter in a large non-stick skillet. When completely melted, place trout fillets in, 1 or 2 at a time, flesh-side down. Let cook for 3 minutes then gently flip with a spatula and cook another 3 minutes. Set cooked trout aside. Add garlic and remaining butter to pan and let melt completely. Add lemon juice and stir, scraping up brown bits. Add capers and salt and pepper. Pour sauce over cooked trout, Garnish with lemon thyme, lemon wedges, and fennel fronds, if desired. Serve.

I developed a milk glass obsession while I was gone. This platter is bae.

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