Posts Tagged ‘Food’
It’s been quite some time since I have last posted. Not much has changed in my life. I still work too hard, too long and too much. I am not sure if it is a blessing or a curse but it sustains me.
I have always considered myself a “casual” gardener. To me this means that I plant it, if it grows great, if it doesn’t no biggie.
I decided to take a walk in the yard this morning as a measure of relaxation.Just to see what was growing. I was pleasantly surprised.
Years ago, when I first moved into my house, I planted oregano. Now 20 years later It still grows!! I use it in marinades for steak and chicken. The neighbors must think I am crazy as they watch me pick what some have described as “lawn clippings”. If they only new!!!
I love fresh dill in the spring. It is mandatory for my new potato salad. I was happy to find that it still grows,wild, all around my yard.
Something I can’t take credit for is the mint that grows in the yard it was here when I moved in.
Last, but not least, I got a gift this year (courtesy of the birds I think). A wild raspberry bush popped up this year along the fence line. I am planning on making good use of these.
I found all of this in my tiny (yes tiny ) yard. Take a walk let me know what is growing in your yard!
While I was investigating Tai Pan bakery (31664 John R, Madison Height) I noticed that just a couple of stores away there was a Chinese BBQ Shop. I wandered in to investigate and tried to ask some questions of a gentleman sitting behind the counter. I was disappointed that he chose not to speak with me considering that I just wanted to write about his shop. Perhaps he thought I was the health inspector or something. In any case he did have the interesting fare. In addition to roast pork( very good) he had several roast ducks and chickens hanging up. As in many other culture nothing is left to waste and this place was no exceptions. Behind the glass showcase there were duck feet and wings, fried pork intestine, spare ribs and even BBQ squid. All items were available by the pound and several “lunch box’ combinations were available. Zhang BBQ is open 10 AM – 8 PM Monday through Friday and 9 AM – 3 PM Saturday and Sunday but bring cash as charges are not accepted.
31692 John R
One of the most useful techniques used in the kitchen is Standard Breading Procedure. It is called this because the same techniques are used in a large variety of recipes including Chicken Parmesan, breaded fish, Mozzarella sticks and fried green tomatoes. Standard breading Procedure consist of three components, flour(seasoned), egg and milk mixture and breadcrumb. The idea is that the flour will stick to the Food being breaded. The food is then dipped in the egg and milk mixture and sticks to the flour. Finally, the food is the dredged in the breadcrumbs. One of the fine points if this procedure is the use of both hands in the process. For me this means that my left hand (my “wet” hand) moves the food into the flour to be coated, then into the egg mix and then into the breadcrumb mixture. This is where my right hand (dry hand) will coat the food with the breadcrumbs thoroughly. The reason this is important is that if the right hand (dry hand) becomes wet the breadcrumbs will stick to your hand and your food will not be coated properly. By the same token if your left hand gets coated with flour the egg will not stick (if this happens just wash and dry your hands and continue). Also if you are not comfortable working from left to right just switch your station around and work right to left
Within this framework there are a number of things that can be done to spice up the process. I have added cheese and herbs to the breadcrumbs or used crushed tortilla chip instead of breadcrumbs. I have also used instant potato flakes instead of breadcrumbs for fish. There are also Panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs that are available in almost every supermarket these days. Once breaded the food should be allowed to sit for about 10 minutes to allow a “glue to form that bond the flour,egg mix and breadcrumb together before cooking. At this point your food can also be individually frozen. This allows you to prep ahead of your meal. At the appropriate time just remove from the freezer and cook.
One of the points that are important in cooking foods that are breaded is to make sure not to overbrown your coating. For me this means either sealing my breading in a pan with some oil or “flash frying” in my deep fryer ( there are many fine home models on the market these days) until I get the desired light brown color. I actually take my foods out a little lighter than I want them do to the fact that they will keep browning after being seared. Also, it is important to not overfill your fryer or your oil temperature will drop and your coating will not set. Because many of the items I prepare this way are somewhat larger(chicken or fish) than a slice of zucchini or tomato I prefer to finish these foods on a sheet pan in the oven. This way I get a great color without burning the breading before the food is actually cooked. I “flash fry” these items one or 2 at a time. They will still finish well in the over even if they have been pre fried.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and will try some of techniques discussed. If anyone has questions I can be contacted at Detroit Eats
Until Next time..
I once was asked to create a recipe using phyllo dough and seafood. I thought back to a pasta dish (cannelloni) that I did years ago. I decided to take the same filling and,instead of pasta, to use phyllo as the instead of the pasta. The filling contains diced shrimp,Provolone and parmesan cheese, and fresh basil. While the phyllo dough is a little tricky to work with the results were more than worth the trouble.
Phyllo dough can be found in almost any grocer’s freezer section. Traditionally used in Greek specialties such as baklava and spinach pie (spanakopita). Its versatility lends itself to other uses. This recipe combines the crispy texture of the baked phyllo with a rich, creamy, filling. Phyllo dough should be thawed overnight in your refrigerator. Because it dries out quickly it should be covered lightly with a moist towel while you are working with it. Use clarified butter to coat the sheets instead of margarine. The amount of water in melted margarine varies tremendously and can leave you with soggy dough.
3# raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, roughly chopped.
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup white wine
1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup cornstarch
½ cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Vegetable oil or butter
1 package Phyllo dough
1. Sauté the onion in vegetable oil or butter until soft
2. Add white wine and bring to a boil. Reduce by 50%
3. Add shrimp and poach till just pink.
4. Add basil
5. Stir cornstarch into cream.
6. Stir into shrimp mixture.
7. Stir until thick.
8. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.
9. Spoon the mixture into a shallow pan and allow to cool completely.
1 package of phyllo dough
1.Remove phyllo dough from package and unfold.
2. Remove individual sheets, one at a time, and brush with butter.
3. Place each successive sheet on top of the previous one until there are 5 layers.
4. With a knife, cut the larger dough into 4 smaller sections.
5. Spoon some of the cooled mixture into each of the 4 smaller sections. Do not overfill.
6. Fold the ends in and roll into a cylinder. Place on a sheet pan with the seam down.
7. Brush the top lightly with remaining butter and bake in a 400-degree oven until the dough is golden and crispy.
8. Repeat until you have 12 cylinders (1 package of dough)
- I sprinkle each sheet of dough lightly with breadcrumbs before I add another sheet. This helps keep the layers separate so the dough will come out in crispy layers.
- To clarify butter melt slowly in a pan until it separates. The sediment on top gets skimmed off. Beneath the sediment is the clarified butter. Pour this off slowly being careful to stop before you reach the milk solids at the bottom.
Many years ago,when I first began working in restaurants, I had the good fortune of working in a 4 –star restaurant here in Detroit. Although I was working as a line chef at the time I volunteered to help in the bakeshop. This was something that I didn’t get paid for and it meant coming in 3 hours early (5 AM aargh!) but I got some good experience and I learned a lot. As my career progressed I found myself working more in the main kitchen and less in the bake shop.
Bread baking is something I don’t do often enough more. When I do I find I get a great sense of peace and relaxation. There is just something so satisfying about coaxing life from flour and yeast. For my whole wheat bread I borrowed some of the techniques I learned working in the bakeshop. Since I did not have any malt powder I replaced the water in the recipe with beer. This would give the bread a malty and sweet taste. In the flour I replaced 25% of the bread flour with organic whole wheat flour. This was still a little more whole wheat than I wanted (too much makes the bread heavy) but the bread turned out fine. I used an overnight rise to get the most flavor out of my dough.
Whole Wheat Bread
2 1/2 cups Bread Flour
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup beer (dark beer is even better)
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Sift both flours together with the salt
Heat beer and sugar in the microwave or on the stove until it is warm. Don’t overheat this because the yeast will die if the liquid is too warm.
Stir in yeast and let it activate (sit) for about 10 minutes.
Start adding the flour a little at a time until a dough is formed. If you have a stand mixer with a dough attachment use this to mix your dough until it pulls from the side of the bowl.
Remove from the mixer and form a ball with the seam on the bottom. Place in a oiled bowl,cover and set in a warm place to rise.
When dough has doubled in size remove it from the bowl and punch it down. You will hear and feel some of the pockets formed by the yeast growing. By punching the dough down you expose the yeast to more food sources. Form a ball again and return the dough to the bowl. Place the bowl in the refrigerator. and let it sit overnight. Even though it will look like nothing has happened the yeast is still feeding and your dough is developing flavor.
Remove the dough form the bowl and shape your dough. This is the creative part of the process. If you wanted you could use a greased loaf pan and bake a loaf of bread or leave it round. I made 2 smaller baguettes with my dough and placed the on a cutting board that I had sprinkled cornmeal on. This way I could transfer my dough to the baking stone I keep in my oven.
Whichever way you choose (and I know it depends on the equipment you have in your house) The dough needs a final rise. Once again you want to let your dough double in size. Before baking I use and egg white and water glaze so I get a nicely browned and professional looking loaf. I also sprinkle some kosher salt on top for extra flavor (you could also use sesame seed).
Now it finally time to bake your bread. 20-25 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven is just about right. remove when bread is golden brown and you get a hollow sound when you knock on your loaf.
Some things to consider:
How you approach your bread baking depends heavily on you equipment and environment. I do not have a stand mixer with a dough attachment so I used a hand mixer I have with some small dough hooks. I then finished kneading my dough by hand.
Remember,your bread dough is a living thing and how it grows depend on the conditions it is in. My kitchen may be warmer/cooler than yours. Humidity is another factor. Higher humidity and you bread will rise better. Learn to understand the conditions in your kitchen!
A master bread baker once suggested that you start baking your bread in a cold oven. While this would work while you are baking in a Loaf pan or on a greased sheet pan My bread goes directly on a stone and would stick if I did it this way. Also I use my oven to warm the room and help my bread rise.
A Pizza stone is a fun thing to have. If you are using one be careful of temperature change. Never put a cold stone in a hot oven. It may crack. Also don’t take your stone out of the oven warm and try to clean it for the same reason. These are reasons why my Pizza stone stays in my oven all the time.
For lots of bread recipes and techniques read The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart or Join The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge
Although I am not a big fish eater every once and a while I like a good piece of fish. One of my “go to” fish recipes involves Salmon. The health benefits of salmon are well known. A 3 oz portion contains 18.8 grams of protein or 38% of the recommended daily allowance. Salmon also contains significant levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to be an essential part of a healthy diet.
One of my favorite ways to prepare Salmon is to sear it in a pan and serve it with a Balsamic Vinegar Glaze. I start with the skin side down for four minutes in order to get the skin crispy. I then flip the fish and sear for 2 minutes more and finish in a 350 degree oven. If you don’t care for the skin feel free to remove it either prior to or after cooking. For the sauce I simply reduce 1/2 cup of Balsamic Vinegar with 1/4 cup of sugar until it thickens.
To accompany the Salmon I enjoy a White Bean Ragu. The ragout should be made in advance so it is ready when the Salmon is.
I place the Salmon on top of the ragout and drizzle the Balsamic Glaze over. In addition to cutting the fattiness of the fish the sauce compliments the ragout and brings the whole dish together.
Salmon with Balsamic Vinegar Glaze (makes 2 portions)
2 portions (4 oz each) Salmon
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Sprinkle salt and pepper on the Salmon filets
Heat vegetable oil in an oven proof sauté pan
Place Salmon in sauté pan skin side down
Cook for 4 minutes being careful not to burn the skin (watch the temperature)
Turn Salmon and cook for 2 minutes (flesh side down)
In a separate pan bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil
Reduce to a glaze
White Rean Ragout
1 can white beans (Northern or Cannelini)
1/4 cup onion finely chopped
1/8 cup celery finely chopped
1/8 cup carrot finely chopped
1/4 cup diced tomato
1 teaspoon garlic
2 teaspoons cooked bacon
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons Olive oil
You may find that this becomes your favorite way to cook Salmon. I know it has become mine!
Saute onion,celery and carrot in vegetable oil until soft
Add chopped garlic,tomato and bacon and cook for 2 minutes (stir frequently)
Add stock and cook until stock is reduced by 1/2
Add Beans and heat through. It is important for the beans to absorb flavor from the stock.
Add Fresh Basil
Place bean ragout in the center of the plate.
Place salmon on top (crispy skin side up)
Drizzle sauce over and around the salmon
Every community has anchors. These are businesses that, in spite of economic difficulties stay the course due to the ties they have to their communities. In Mexicantown Honeybee market is one such anchor.
Started by Geraldo Alfaro in 1956 and passed on to third generation family, Honeybee is also call “La Colmena” which means “the hive where the bees gather”.
In a city devoid of major supermarket chains Honeybee has quietly grown from a neighborhood grocery and bodega to become a major food destination, not only for local residents, but for suburbanites, too. In addition to a fully stocked meat and seafood counter Honeybee has a hot foods counter with Mexican specialties. Honeybee also has a great produce section carrying the freshest produce in the city. In addition to the basics Honeybee carries the freshest chilies(I counted 7 varieties), Cactus, Tomatillos, Chayote, Guava…well I could go on and on.
When you enter Honeybee you are greeted by samples. Freshly made salsas and guacamole are offered along with crisp tortilla chips to entice you. Ever wonder about that fruit and if its really ripe? No problem! I found many produce items with a sample cut open so you could see what was inside the skin. Freshness never seemed better!
In the seafood counter was shrimp, fresh fish and octopus for the asking and all cuts of meat, as well as, regional specialties such as tripe and tongue. The prices were on par, if not better than, any supermarket in the suburbs.
I mentioned the hot foods counter earlier. When I stopped by there was quite a line. Tacos, Tamales, Barbacoa (BBQ) were on the menu. On Saturday and Sunday the have a specialty that I think is unique to Honeybee. Although it is a Latin American specialty I don’t believe steamed cow’s head is offered any place else in Detroit. If you don’t believe me watch the travel channel to hear how good the meat from the head can be. Anthony (Bourdain) and Andrew (Zimmern) will tell you!!
Honeybee Market is open Monday through Saturday (8 AM – 8 PM) and Sunday (8AM-6 PM)
Honeybee Market – La Colmena
Detroit, Mi 48216