Monday, March 30, 2015

Scallion Egg White Omelette Soufflé, Filet of Flounder and Mantua Steam Bun Stack with Masago Hollandaise

     A Stylish Fusion Breakfast Entrée!
     The term "Napoleon Presentation" describes stacked food components that compliment or support a common central entrée theme.  Napoleon Stack entrée presentations focus on hight to create eye appeal.  A little bit of thought has to be given to the engineering of a stack presentation, so the items do not topple over before the plate is sat in front of a customer.  Lighter delicate items should be placed on top and heavier items should be place at lower levels.  Light airy garnishes like micro sprouts, herb chiffonade or something like roasted leek threads usually top off a Napoleon Stack off.

     Sliced Sweet Mantua Steam Bun Crouton is the bottom layer of today's breakfast stack.  If bread or a bread crouton of any kind is used in a food presentation it always is placed under a featured meat, like steak or fish.  Mantua Sweet Steam Buns are fairly easy to make from scratch.  Pre-made Mantua can be found at Asian markets.  For the sake of convenience, pre-made Mantua was used in this recipe.
     Sautéed flounder filet is the featured meat in today's breakfast stack.  The flounder is topped with a scallion flavored egg white soufflé.
     Soufflé basically means "something that puffs up."  Whisked egg whites (light peak meringue) are what makes a savory or sweet soufflé puff up and rise.  Baked whisked egg whites with no béchamel or puree are the simplest form of soufflé.  The simple soufflé egg white meringue is placed in a ring mold when it is cooked, so it retains a round shape that is as wide as the planned Napoleon Stack.
     Japanese Masago is Capelin Roe.  Masago is popular sushi roll garnish.  Masago adds a nice color and umami flavor to hollandaise.
     Hollandaise is made with egg yolks and egg whites are use to make soufflé.  The idea for today's breakfast entrée was to feature yolks and whites on one plate, so their would be no leftover egg component.  One might say that today's recipe is kind of a fancier than average 2 egg breakfast.

     When ordering 2 eggs for a standard breakfast at an average diner restaurant, this next thought could be amusing:
     When the waitress says "How do you want your eggs cooked?"  Answer by saying "Soufflé whites and hollandaise yolks, please!"
     The response from the waitress will probably be "That is real funny ... What do you think we have?  A chef in the kitchen or something?!!"  

     Classic Hollandaise Sauce:  
     This recipe yields about 1 1/4 cups.
     • The clarified butter should be cooked to a golden color, so it has a hint of noisette aroma.   
     • Add about a 1/2 teaspoon of warm water per egg yolk.  The water acts as a buffer.  This will make the eggs easy to control while whisking.   The small amount of water will keep the eggs from congealing.  Too much water added to the yolks in the beginning, will later cause the whisking process to take way too much time.  
     • Do not add lemon juice at the start or the lemon flavor will be too strong.  
     • The proportion of butter to egg yolk is 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 ounces of butter per 1 egg yolk for a rich full bodied hollandaise.  A hollandaise that is too thick is much easier to adjust than a hollandaise that is too thin.   
     Step 1:  Melt 5 ounces of unsalted butter in a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Cook the butter, till the milk fats evaporate.
     Continue cooking the butter, till it becomes a golden yellow in color and till the butter first emits a light hazelnut aroma.
     Take the pan off of the heat.
     Pour the clarified butter through a fine mesh strainer into a heat proof container.
     Allow the butter to cool to a little bit less than 125ºF.
     Keep the clarified butter warm on a stove top.
     Step 2:  Place 2 egg yolks (large eggs) in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of warm water to the egg yolks while stirring.
     Place the mixing bowl on a double boiler over medium low/low heat.
     Constantly whisk, non stop, till the egg yolks become a pale yellow color and soft ribbon peaks can be seen.
     Step 3:  Add the warm clarified butter 1 teaspoon at a time, while constantly whisking, till the mixture starts to emulsify.
     Slowly add a thin stream of the remaining butter to the eggs while whisking constantly, till all of the butter is combined.
     Step 4:  Remove the mixing bowl from the double boiler.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Whisk till blended.
     *The sauce should be rich and it should have a medium thin consistency that easily coats a spoon.  If the Hollandaise is too thick, add a few drops of warm water while whisking.      
     Step 5:  Place the Hollandaise in a ceramic ramekin.
     Set the ramekin in a 120ºF bain marie to keep it warm.  Stir the sauce occasionally.
     *The Hollandaise should be served within 45 minutes, so pathogen threats do not occur.

     Sautéed Filet of Flounder:
     Step 1:  Cut a small 4 to 5 ounce flounder filet into 3 equal size pieces.
     Dredge the flounder pieces in flour.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add the floured flounder filet pieces.
     Sauté the flounder pieces on both side, till the filets are fully cooked and golden highlights appear.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Step 3:  Season the flounder with white pepper and sea salt.
     Keep the fish warm on a stove top.

     Scallion Egg White Omelette Soufflé:
     Step 1:  Place the 2 reserved egg whites in a small mixing bowl.
     Whisk egg whites till light medium meringue peaks form.
     Step 2:  Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 tablespoon of thin sliced scallion.
     Briefly whisk for a few seconds to combine.
     Step 3:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Step 4:  Select a 3 1/2" to 4" wide steel ring mold.  The ring mold should be about 2" tall.
     Brush the inside of the steel ring mold with melted unsalted butter.
     Place the steel ring mold on the center of the hot pan and let it heat up.
     Step 5:  Spoon the egg white meringue into the ring mold.
     When the egg whites cook firm on the bottom, use a spatula to flip the ring mold and egg whites together as one.
     Step 6:  Place the pan in a 350ºF oven.
     About 4 to 5 minutes is enough time for the Scallion Egg White Omelette Soufflé to be fully cooked.  When the egg white soufflé is firm to the touch and the the surface quickly springs back, then it is fully cooked.
     Keep the egg white omelette soufflé warm on a stove top and assemble the entrée as soon as possible.

     Masago Hollandaise:  
     It is best to add the capelin caviar shortly before serving!
     Stir 1 tablespoon of Capelin Roe (Masago) into the hollandaise sauce.

     Scallion Egg White Omelette Soufflé, Filet of Flounder and Mantua Steam Bun Stack with Masago Hollandaise:
     Step 1:  Cut 3 or 4 slices of Sweet Mantua Steam Bun that are about 1/4" thick.
     Select a ring mold that is the same width as the Scallion Egg White Omelette Soufflé
     Place the ring mold on a plate.
     Place the Mantua Steam Bun slices in the ring mold, so they are overlapped and level.
     Step 2:  Place the sautéed flounder pieces on top of the steam bun slices, so they overlap and create a level layer.
     Remove the ring mold.
     Step 3:  Run a paring knife around the inside of the ring mold to free the Scallion Egg White Omelette Soufflé.
     Remove the ring mold.
     Place the Scallion Egg White Omelette Soufflé on top of the flounder and Mantua stack.
     Step 4:  Spoon a generous amount of Masago Hollandaise Sauce over the breakfast stack.
     Place a small spoonful of masago on top of the stack as a garnish.
     Serve with a breakfast potato of your choice.
     *Potatoes Anna was served with the entrée in the photos.

     This is a nice tasting fusion breakfast entrée with a combination of interesting textures! 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Omelette d' Formaggio Campo de Montalban with Sweet Yellow Heirloom Tomato and Purple Kale

     A Nice Tasting Gourmet Cheese With Select Ingredients Yields A Great Omelette!
     Today's omelette recipe is simple and it has a nice flavor.  A few select ingredients can create a nice balance of flavors that compliment each other.
     Kale is a standard everyday vegetable in many countries, especially Italy.  Kale was a little bit slow catching on in America, because so many restaurants used kale as a disposable garnish on plates and for some reason customers associated kale with being an inedible item.  
     Recently kale chips have been featured by the mass media as a healthy snack food choice.  Kale is finally no longer looked upon as being a disposable garnish.  I have been using kale in recipes for over 30 years and I am amazed that kale took so long to become a mainstream leafy green vegetable in this country.  All I can say is organic purple kale tastes nice when featured in a fitting recipe!

     Sweet yellow heirloom tomato varietals come in all shapes and sizes.  Heirloom tomatoes are rarely specifically identified by their varietal name in food markets.  This is because for each type of heirloom tomato there may be several regional names used to describe that tomato.  
     Basically, the rule of thumb is, if the heirloom tomato looks interesting, buy it and try it!  Most yellow heirloom tomato varietals have a sweet fruity flavor.

     Formaggio Campo de Montalban
     Formaggio Campo de Montalban is a Spanish Cheese that is made in the La Mancha region.  This cheese is traditionally made with a blend of cow, sheep and goat milk.  Formaggio Campo de Montalban has no shortage of flavor.  The flavor ranges from a mellow comfortable nutty warmth to sharp tangy highlights.  
     Campo de Montalban is similar to a classic Aged Spanish Manchego Cheese, but it does have subtle characteristics of its own.  Campo de Mantalban has enough fat content to allow this hard aged cheese to easily melt when it is finely grated.  
     The word "Formaggio" translates to "cheese" in Italian language.  In the case of the Campo de Montalban that I purchased, the word Formaggio refers to the name of an Italy cheese company that specializes in traditional regional Italian fine cheese.  
     Apparently, the Italian Formaggio Cheese Company markets a few select classic Spanish cheese varieties.  Formaggio Campo de Montalban is exceptionally nice!
     There are several cheese companies worldwide that have the name Formaggio in the logo, so an internet search for the Formaggio company website may turn up confusing results.  By using an Italian search engine and a translator feature, the correct Italian Formaggio Cheese Company website can be accessed.   

     *This entire recipe yields 1 petite omelette!  

     Omelette d' Formaggio Campo de Montalban with Sweet Yellow Heirloom Tomato and Purple Kale:
     This omelette is made in one pan.  Italian sauté cooking techniques are famous for only using one pan to cook the entrée and all of it's components.    
     A petite omelette is made with 2 large eggs.  For a hearty full omelette portion, use 3 large eggs!  
     Step 1:   Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Whisk till the eggs start to foam.
     Set the eggs aside.
     Step 2:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.  
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of pomace olive oil.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.  
     Add 1/4 cup of small chopped purple kale.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Sauté till the kale wilts.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 cup of chopped sweet yellow tomato.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper. 
     Briefly sauté till the tomato becomes warm.
     Step 4:  *Check the amount of butter and olive oil in the pan.  Add a little more if there is not enough to cook an omelette.  
     Add the reserved egg mixture.
     Use a rubber spatula to even the edges of the omelette.
     Step 5:  When the bottom half of the omelette becomes cooked firm, flip the omelette.
     Immediately sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of finely grated Formaggio Campo de Montalban on the omelette.
     Step 6:  When the eggs are fully cooked with light golden highlights, triple fold the omelette and slide it onto a plate.
      Immediately sprinkle a few pinches of finely grated Formaggio Campo de Montalban over the omelette while it is hot.
     Garnish the plate with Italian Parsley sprigs.

     A nice gentle tasting gourmet omelette for brunch or lunch or an evening munch! 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Maple Sausage, Egg and Emmentaler Cheese Breakfast Panini

     Panini For Breakfast!
     Panini were originally snack sandwiches that were served to bar customers in Italy.  Ciabatta Bread was the original bread used to make Panini.  Panini are usually cut into triangle shapes that can be eaten in two or three bites.  These little sandwiches are meant to be flavorful snacks.
     Panini are not meant to be big sandwiches with lots of meat and a bunch of excess ingredients.  These sandwiches were just meant to be something along the lines of flavored grilled bread that tasted good while drinking beer, wine and sprits.  Bartenders and bar owners in small towns often whip up some cheap complimentary munchies for patrons to keep the party going on for hours on end.  This is where Panini fit into the picture.  

     Modern Panini Sandwich creations can stray away from the original theme.  They can be made with ingredients that are not Italian, but the petite snack sandwich theme should be kept intact.  
     French Bread, Italian Bread, Sourdough, Whole Grain Bread or just about any kind of bread can be used to make a Modern Panini Sandwich.  The bread choice should suit whatever style of Panini that is being made.  
     For example, tough chewy crusty bread would not be a good choice for a breakfast panini.  Nobody really likes to see grandpa lose his choppers at the breakfast table first thing in the morning!  This is why I selected a Soft Crust French White Boule Shaped Bread Loaf that had a fairly light texture for today's Breakfast Panini.  Bread like this is easy to sink the teeth into.   

     Bulk, uncased breakfast sausage can be purchased in many different flavors.  Maple is a popular breakfast sausage flavor.  Maple syrup flavors the sausage on today's panini and the aroma of maple sausage really smells nice as it cooks!

     Swiss Emmentaler Cheese
     Emmentaler Cheese is what most Americans call Swiss Cheese.  Emmentaler is called Swiss Cheese only in America and this started sometime back in the 1920's.  Gangsters were using Tommy Guns to fill victims full of holes in those days, so the words Swiss Cheese took on a whole different meaning.
     I prefer to call a cheese by its real name and there is a good reason why.  Emmentaler is one of hundreds of similar cheese varieties that are made in Switzerland and France.  
     Someone might just call all these different cheese varieties "Swiss Cheese" just because they are full of holes.  Upon tasting each variety, like Madrigal, Jarlsberg, Emmentaler or Lorraine, one easily notices these cheese varieties do not really taste the same.  
     Great care goes into preserving the originality of specific European cheese varieties and the manufacturing process is subject to PDO/AOC rules.  As one can see, it is better to call a good imported Emmentaler by its real name, rather than calling it "Swiss Cheese" because the difference in quality can be noticed.  Quality is always a good selling point. 

     Maple Sausage, Egg and Emmentaler Breakfast Panini:
     This recipe yields 1 sandwich.  
     If no Panini Grill is available this sandwich can be cooked like a Cuban Sandwich on a griddle with a grill weight or brick.
     Step 1:  Heat a Panini Grill on the medium heat range setting.
     Step 2:  Cut 2 slices of Soft Crust French Boule Loaf White Bread.
     Brush one side of each slice with olive oil.
     Place a few thin slices of Emmentaler Cheese on each slice of bread and set them aside.
     Step 2:  Weigh 4 ounces of uncased maple breakfast sausage.
     Flatten the maple sausage into a flat oval patty shape that is about the same size as the sliced bread.
     Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium heat.
     Plate the maple sausage patty in the pan.
     Cook the maple sausage patty on both sides, till it is fully cooked and lightly browned.
     Place the sausage patty on one of the slices of bread.
     Step 3:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 large egg.
     Break the egg yolk.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Pan fry the egg "over hard style."
     Place the egg on the maple sausage patty.
     Set the other bread slice in place.
     Step 5:  Place the sandwich on the panini grill. 
     Lower the panini grill lid on the sandwich and just let the weight of the grill press the sandwich.
     Grill the sandwich, till it is toasted crispy golden brown.
     Step 6:  Place the Panini on a cutting board and cut it into 3 triangle shapes.
     Set the Panini triangles on a plate.  
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.

     This is a great tasting crispy panini breakfast sandwich! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pepper, Onion, Romano Cheese Egg Breakfast Sub with Mortadella

     A Sub Shop Style Breakfast!
     Many years ago, Egg Subs were offered for lunch or dinner at Italian sub shops and they were never really thought of as being a breakfast item.  Sub shops usually have two or three styles of Egg Sub Sandwiches on the menu board.  Eggs, peppers, onion and cheese is one version.  Eggs, peppers, onions, Italian sausage and cheese is big seller.  The third option usually a sub made with eggs and Italian deli style cold cuts.  

     While working in family style Italian restaurants, I noticed that Italian cooks behave like any other cook does when they are hungry in the morning.  I have seen Italian cooks make some breakfast egg sandwiches with some really odd combinations of ingredients that are not thought of as being breakfast material.  Fried baccala and tomato sauce on a sub roll with eggs is a good example.  Meat sauce and eggs on a sub roll is another one. 
     Professional cooks and chefs who work long days have two things in mind in the morning when they are groggy from fatigue.  Flavors that satisfy a craving and nutrition.  Honestly, during my long cooking career, I rarely ate anything for breakfast that even remotely resembled a traditional western world breakfast food item.  When I worked at a BBQ restaurant, my regular breakfast was a sandwich made with cold baked beans and tuna salad.  That sounds weird, but it packs a lot of nutrition and it satisfies what a fatigued body craves.        

     While hanging out at an Italian sub shop waiting on an order to be made, a person cannot help to overhear what other customers order.  Over the years, I have noticed that many customers order egg subs with mortadella.  That is an interesting combination, because mortadella has a gentle flavor that tastes good with eggs.
     Today's breakfast sub combines Imported Italian Mortadella with a good Italian Egg Sub Sandwich.  Because this is an oven warmed sub, it can be called a grinder.  This deli style breakfast sub may not look fancy, but it really tastes good in the morning.  
     As readers of this food site know, there are plenty of good simple recipes in this website that feature tasty uncomplicated flavor combinations and they are easy to make.  Italian Mortadella fans will surely like today's sandwich. 

     Pepper Onion Romano Cheese Egg Breakfast Sub with Mortadella:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty sub.
     Imported Italian mortadella is the best choice.  Domestic American national brand mortadella is second rate in comparison.  The best place to find top quality Italian mortadella is at an Italian delicatessen.  
     Mortadella is usually sliced paper thin and it should not be grilled or sautéed, or the pieces of fat and pistachios will fall out.  Gently warming the mortadella in the oven is best.  The mortadella becomes aromatic when it is heated this way.  
     Step 1:  Split a 6" to 8" Italian sub roll open and set it aside.
     Step 2:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl. 
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of basil.
     Add 1 small pinch of oregano.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of grated romano cheese.
     Whisk the ingredients together.
     Set the egg mixture aside.
     Step 3:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/4 cup of diced onion.
     Add 1/4 cup of diced green bell pepper.
     Add 2 tablespoons of diced roasted red bell pepper.
     Sauté till the vegetables are tender.
     Step 4:  Add reserved egg mixture.
     Sauté and scramble the eggs, till they are fully cooked, yet soft.
     Step 5:  Place the pepper onion romano cheese eggs on the open sub roll.
     Sprinkle a few pinches of finely grated romano cheese over the eggs.
     Place 3 to 4 ounces of Italian mortadella on the sandwich.  (Fold the mortadella slices, so they looks nice!)
     Step 6:  Place the sub on a baking pan.
     Heat the sub in a 325ºF oven, till the mortadella is warmed and the romano cheese melts.
     Step 7:  Place the sub on a plate.
     Garnish with Italian Parsley sprigs. 

     Viola!  A nice simple Italian Mortadella Breakfast Grinder to get the day started. 

Oeufs Poché et Truite Marchand du Vin

     Poached Eggs On Trout With Wine Merchant's Sauce!  
     Trout and Eggs is a classic early morning fisherman's campfire breakfast.  The origins of fine french cuisine actually began with wild caught food and domesticated food resources were used to a lesser extent.  As far back as pre 1600's French culinary books go, items like trout are mentioned in great recipes.
     Tradition is why eggs and trout has been offered on fine dining restaurant menus through the centuries.  Trout and eggs appeals to every customer that has gone out at the break of dawn to catch fish, no matter how wealthy or poor the customer's stature is.  Fly fishing for trout at dawn is a pastime that fishermen enjoy worldwide and this is why trout and eggs for breakfast naturally sells like hotcakes to those who relish the thought of this outdoor sport.
     New Orleans was one of the greatest cities for fine haute cuisine in the 1800's.  Basically New Orleans cuisine was French cuisine that made used of local American resources and wild game.  New Orlean pretty much had the reputation of being the brunch cuisine capitol of the world.  Some of the greatest breakfast recipes of all time were created in fine French New Orleans restaurants.
     Poached Eggs On Trout With Wine Merchant's Sauce is a good example of a sophisticated New Orleans breakfast entrée in the late 1800's.  The portion size was realistic and flavor satisfied customers to no end.  New Orleans is one of the only places where you will find a marchand du vin sauce on a menu.  Trout was served with the head attached to increase the rustic fisherman appeal and to show that the trout was as fresh as can be.
    The techniques used to make today's sauce recipe are classic New Orleans French and Cajun style.  Marchand du Vin Sauce dates back a few hundred years in French cuisine and this sauce is well known worldwide.  Traditional Wine Merchant Sauce is still offered on dinner menus at classic French restaurants in New Orleans.  Oeufs Poché et Truite Marchand du Vin can still be found on brunch menus too.
     Marchand Du Vin Sauce: 
     This recipe yields about 1 1/4 cups of sauce or 1 generous old fashioned portion.
     Wear protective clothing when making any kind of dark roux!
     Step 1:  Prepare these ingredients before making the red brown roux:
     - 1/4 cup of minced ham.  (Use Tasso Ham or Bayonne Ham if it is available!)
     - 1/4 cup of minced onion.
     - 1 minced green onion.
     - 2 minced garlic cloves.
     - 1/4 cup of minced button cave mushrooms.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour, while constantly stirring.  (The roux should look glossy, not caky.)
     Constantly stir the roux with a whisk, till it is a reddish brown color.
     Step 3:  Immediately add the fine chopped ham and vegetables to the hot roux and gently stir.  (The vegetables will cook instantly and the roux will stop cooking after the ingredients are added.)
     Stir for about 1 minute, so the vegetables fully cook.
     Step 4:  Add 1 cup of dry red wine.
     Add 1 cup of rich beef stock.
     Stir as the sauce heats and thickens as it comes to a gentle boil.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Add 2 pinches of thyme leaves.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of coarse ground black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.  (If the ham is salty, then cut back on the amount of sea salt.)
     Simmer till the sauce reduces to a medium thin sauce consistency that can glaze a spoon.
     Step 6:  Stir in 1/2 tablespoon of veal or beef bone marrow (or 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter pats) to finish the sauce.
     Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.  Add a splash of beef stock if the sauce is too thick.
     Whole Boneless Rainbow Trout Preparation:
     Step 1:  Select a whole fresh rainbow trout with the head attached that weighs about 12 to 14 ounces.
     *This next step requires some knife skills and practice.  Deboning a whole trout so the 2 filets are still attached and undamaged can be done.  
     • Scale and gut the trout.
     • Use shears to cut off the back fin.
     • Leave the head attached only if the trout is very fresh.
     • Leave the skin attached.
     • Cut through the rib bones close to the spine without cutting through the skin.  Leave the tail attached.  (Use fine kitchen shears or a paring knife to snip through each rib bone.)
     • Use a thin filet knife to shave under the rib bones without grazing the meat, to remove the rib bones.
     • Use tweezers or pliers to pull the pin bones out. after cutting the spine and rib bones out.
     • Trim off any fins or meatless belly flaps that remain.
     Roasted Whole Boneless Rainbow Trout:
     The trout can be cooked on a cast iron griddle or roasted in an oven.  Roasting is easy to do.
     Step 1:  Lightly brush a roasting pan with melted unsalted butter.
     Set the trout the roasting pan with the skin side down.
     Brush the trout with melted unsalted butter.
     Season with sea salt and fresh ground coarse black pepper.
     Add about 3 tablespoons of water or fumet to the pan.
     Squeeze 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice over the trout.
     Step 2:  Roast the trout in a 400ºF oven, till the trout is fully cooked.  This only takes about 7 minutes.
     Keep the trout warm on a stove top.
     Oeufs Poché et Truite Marchand du Vin: 
     Step 1:  Heat enough salted water to poach 2 eggs in a shallow pot over medium/medium high heat.  (No vinegar!  The water should barely be at a gentle boil.)
     Poach 2 eggs in the gently boiling salted water.
     Step 2:  Use a large spatula to place the roasted trout on a large serving platter.
     Place the two poached eggs on top of the trout.
     Step 3:  Pour a generous amount of the marchand du vin sauce over the trout and eggs.  (In New Orleans, this entrée is usually smothered with sauce!)
     Garnish the eggs with two blanched red bell pepper strips.
     Serve with biscuits, breakfast bread and potatoes or grits on the side.
     The mild flavor of trout makes it a perfect fish for breakfast.  This is my personal favorite classic New Orleans style breakfast recipe!

Carambola Rum French Toast

     Caribbean Style Star Fruit French Toast!
     Carambola gives this French Toast recipe some tropical flair.  The light citrus, limeade flavor of green carambola is perfect for a light syrup.
     Ripe orange carambola can be used for this recipe too.  Ripe carambola has a light sweet mango citrus flavor.
     Rum adds a classic Caribbean flavor to the syrup.  Rum and tropical fruit is a classic combination. Rum accents the light refreshing carambola fruit with a bold sugar cane flavor.
     Carambola Rum Syrup:
     This recipe yields about 1/2 cup of thin syrup or one generous portion.
     Step 1:  Boil 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a small stainless steel sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Boil till the water evaporates and the sugar is molten.
     *Keep an eye on the sugar, because it will progress through the candy temperature stages quickly.
     Step 2:  When the sugar cooks to the light yellow amber color stage, immediately add 1/2 cup of chopped carambola.
     Allow the molten yellow amber sugar seize the fruit for a minute.  (Do not stir or the sugar will stick to the spoon liked candy!  The molten sugar will pull all the flavor and color out of the fruit.)
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to medium heat.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add 2 ounces of rum.
     Add 2 drops of pure vanilla extract.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the liquid, till it becomes a thin syrup consistency.
     Step 5:  Pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a second sauce pot.
     Keep the syrup warm over very low heat.

     French Toast Batter:
     This recipe yields enough for 1 large portion or 2 medium portions of French Toast.
     Place two large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/3 cup of milk.
     Add 1 pinch of cinnamon.
     Add 1 pinch of nutmeg.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
     Whisk the French toast batter, till it is well blended.
     Carambola Rum French Toast:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Cut two large slices of White French Boule Bread Loaf that are about 1/2" thick.  (If the French bread has a chewy crust texture, then trim the crust off!)
     Step 2:  Heat a seasoned cast iron griddle or wide non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Step 3:  Dip the French bread slices in the batter and let them soak for just a few seconds.
     Place the battered bread on the hot buttered pan.
     Step 4:  Grill the French Toast, till it is toasted to a golden brown color on both sides.

     Step 1:  Place the French toast on a pan.
     Dust the French toast with powdered sugar.
     Step 2:  Place the French toast on a plate.
     Step 3:  Add 7 or 8 carambola slices to the hot syrup in the sauce pot for a few seconds to warm them up.
     Step 4:  Overlap the warm carambola slices across the French Toast so they look nice.
     Pour a generous amount of the carambola rum syrup over the fruit and on the plate.
     A French Boule Loaf is a nice choice for fancy French Toast.  The light flavor of carambola and rum turns this French Toast into a Caribbean flavor sensation! 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Courgette et Rôti Piment Rouge Oeufs cuits au four avec Balsamic Bacon et Caviar de Lompe Garni

     Roasted Red Pepper and Zucchini Eggs cooked in the oven with Balsamic Bacon and Caviar Lompe Garni!
     Instead of debating, try innovating!  Baked egg entrées made with gourmet ingredients have been a fine dining trend the last few years.  Fortunately the dreaded corporate chain restaurants have not bastardized and burned out this trend as of yet.  Baked egg entrées like today's recipe can be found in the few elite fine dining restaurants that offer brunch and at high end Las Vegas buffets.

     Having only few items in a refrigerator is not a problem for a cook who has some imagination.  Hunger inspires ideas!  Many great restaurant recipes were created on busy nights when food was running out of stock and only a few ingredients remained.  The same can be said for many great home style recipes.  Making the best with limited items on hand can result in a tasty new creation.  
     Balsamic Bacon is simply bacon that is flavored with good Italian Balsamic Vinegar from Modena.  There are a few ways that the balsamic flavor can be infused.  Basting is a good method.  Roasting balsamic sugar glazed bacon produces a Candied Balsamic Bacon.  Marinating works okay.  Roasting balsamic vinegar basted whole cured pork belly section then carving the soft bacon to order is good too.
     Placing crisp bacon in rapidly reduced balsamic vinegar was the method used in today's recipe.  This method keeps the bacon fairly crisp and crisp bacon is beneficial for vertical food presentations.
     Balsamic Vinegar Bacon compliments the flavor of the roasted red pepper & zucchini baked eggs.  The Red Lumpfish Roe adds a nice color to the plate and a nice umami flavor.  The caramelized onions fits in the overall picture by adding rustic sweetness.
     For a spur of the moment idea for making use of limited ingredients on hand, today's breakfast entrée creation turned out to be more than just interesting.  It tastes great!

     Baking eggs in a silicone mold is a modern technique.  Using a silicone mold guarantees that no caramelization will occur before the eggs are fully cooked.  Using a custard cup or muffin pan will result in eggs that hopelessly stick to the metallic surface.  It is very easy to pop baked whisked eggs out of a silicone mold.
     Since the eggs are whisked, they cannot be called shirred eggs.  Unique new presentations can be applied to this style of egg cookery.  The term"Cuits au four" is French for "baked in an oven."  Using a romantic language to describe a modern creative breakfast entrée is good!

     Cuite Roasted Red Pepper and Zucchini Eggs:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of milk.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.  (The small amount of lemon juice will keep the baked eggs from turning gray!)
     Whisk the ingredients till they are blended.
     Set the egg mixture aside.
     Step 2:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 3 tablespoons of small chopped zucchini.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of julienne sliced roasted red bell pepper.  (julienne = 1/8"x 2" to 2 1/2" strips)
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of thin chiffonade sliced Italian Parsley leaves.  (chiffonade = thin ribbon strips)
     Add 1 tiny pinch of thyme.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Sauté till the zucchini just starts to become tender.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 of the reserved egg mixture.
     Sauté and scramble the eggs, till they are only halfway cooked and so they are runny.  (This step prevents the ingredients from settling on the bottom of the egg mold!)
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Step 4:  Add the half cooked egg mixture to the uncooked eggs in the mixing bowl.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Step 5:  Lightly brush a silicone custard cup mold with unsalted butter.
     Place the custard cup on a baking pan.
     Pour the egg mixture into the silicone custard cup mold.
     Step 6:  Bake in a 350ºF oven, till the eggs are fully cooked.  (148ºF center temperature)
     *The Balsamic Bacon and onions can be prepared while the eggs bake!

     Balsamic Bacon: 
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Place 2 center cut strips of standard cured bacon in the pan.
     Grill the bacon on both sides, till it is crisp and browned.
     Remove the bacon from the pan and set it aside.
     Step 2:  Drain the bacon grease out of the pan.
     Step 3:  Place the pan over medium heat.
     Add 2 1/2 ounces of balsamic vinegar.
     Quickly simmer and reduce the vinegar to a thin syrup consistency.
     Step 4:  Add the 2 crisp strips of bacon.
     Toss the bacon with the reduced balsamic vinegar.
     Step 5:  Remove the balsamic bacon strips from the pan and set them on a wire screen roasting rack.
     Keep the balsamic bacon warm on a stove top.

     Caramelized Onions:  
     Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/3 cup of small diced onion.
     Add sea salt.
     Sauté till the onions are lightly caramelized with brown highlights.
     Keep the caramelized onions warm on a stove top.

     Courgette et Rôti Piment Rouge Oeufs cuits au four avec Balsamic Bacon et Caviar de Lompe Garni:
     Step 1:  Invert the baked roasted red pepper and zucchini eggs onto a cutting board and remove the silicone cup.
     Invert the eggs again and place them on the middle of a plate.
     Step 2:  Spread the caramelized onions around the base of the eggs on the plate.
     Step 3:  Evenly space 4 large Italian Parsley leaves on the plate around the eggs.
     Place 1 tiny dollop of Red Lumpfish Roe on each of the parsley leaves.  (about 1 teaspoon each)
     Step 4:  Use a paring knife to cut a slit on top center of the eggs.
     Insert the 2 strips of balsamic bacon vertically into the baked eggs.
     Step 5:  Cut the green part of 1 green onion in half lengthwise.
     Insert the green onion halves vertically into the top of the eggs next to the bacon.

     Viola!  A modern looking breakfast that is pleasing to the eye.  Fancy looking gourmet baked egg entrée like this actually are fairly easy to make!  

Monday, March 9, 2015

Asparagus Omelette with Sherry Cheddar Crème

     Some Folks Like It Saucy!
     Asparagus omelettes have a classy appeal.  Cheddar Cheese Cream Sauce is nice with omelets and asparagus.  The addition of sherry turns a cheddar cheese cream sauce into a taste sensation!
     A small amount of sharp cheddar is enough to flavor a cream sauce.  Some cooks add way too much cheddar and the sauce turns out like a fondue that is really way too rich and heavy.  By adding a pinch of anatto, the orange color of cheddar is achieved without adding excess cheddar cheese.  Anatto oil is used to give cheddar cheese its orange color!
     Some folks really like some extra sauce and that is okay.  Occasionally I over-sauce an entrée intentionally just to please viewers that really like saucy food.  During my career, I have noticed that extra cheddar cheese sauce is one of the requests that customers make.
     In a restaurant all food costs must be accounted for and cheese sauces are not cheap.  Giving away food is taboo and charging an exact amount is rarely done.  Most chefs set a flat fee of $1 for an extra 1 or 2 ounces of sauce.  

     Flipping eggs is easy with practice.  An old U.S. Navy Master Cook showed me a good method for teaching a new cook how to flip eggs.
     Practice flipping the heel slice from a loaf of Pullman Bread in a sauté pan.  A heel of bread weighs the same as one egg.  Practice flipping the heel of bread gently, as if you were trying not to break the yolk of the egg!  The technique involves one quick hand motion of sliding the egg toward the far rim of the sauté pan, then quickly reversing the direction of the pan a very short distance.  When this happens, the bread heel will arc through the air and land on the center of the pan.
     After mastering the art of flipping a bread loaf heel, flipping eggs will be easy.  By the way, the old French definition of the word "sauté" means "to flip."  The rim of a sauté pan is designed to make flipping ingredients easy to do.

     Sherry Cheddar Crème:
     This recipe yields about 1/2 cup of sauce.
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour, while constantly stirring with a whisk, to create a glossy looking roux.
     Cook the roux to a white color with no hazel nut aroma.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 cup of dry sherry.
     Whisk the sauce as it heats and thickens.
     Step 3:  Add 1/4 cup of milk.
     Add 1/3 cup of cream.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of ground anatto.
     Stir the sauce occasionally as it comes to a gentle boil.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the sauce is a thin consistency.
     Step 5:  Add 1/3 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, while stirring.
     Stir till the cheddar melts into the sauce.
     *The sauce should be a medium thin sauce consistency.  Gently reduce the sauce if it is too thin or add milk if the sauce is too thick.
     Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a second small sauce pot.
     Keep the sherry cheddar creme sauce warm over very low heat.

     Peel the stalks of 5 or 6 asparagus.
     Cut the asparagus into equal size spears.
     Thin slice the peeled asparagus stalks.
     Blanch the asparagus spears and sliced stalks in hot boiling salted water, till they are cooked al dente.
     Remove the asparagus from the blanching water.
     Separate the spears from the sliced stalks
     Keep the spears warm on a stove top.  Set the sliced stalks aside.

     Asparagus Omelette with Sherry Cheddar Crème:
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 whisked large eggs.
     Add the reserved sliced asparagus stalks.
     Use a rubber spatula to even the edges of the omelette.
     Step 2:  When the eggs are cooked firm on the bottom half, flip the omelette.
     Step 3:  When the other side of the omelette is cooked firm remove the pan from the heat.
     Triple fold the omelette and slide it onto a plate.
     Step 4:  Pour about 1 1/2 ounces of the sherry cheddar crème over the omelette and onto the plate.
     Place the asparagus spears on the sauce on top of the omelette.
     Spoon a small amount of the sherry cheddar crème over the asparagus spears.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.

     Sherry cheddar crème is nice with asparagus and eggs.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Poached Eggs, Smoked Salmon on Fromage de Chèvre Crouton with Sauce Verte

     Breakfast With A Classic French Touch!
     For the most part, there are very few fine dining breakfast venues offered in America at this time.  It has not always been this way.  Up till the mid 1900's many fine dining restaurants offered elegant breakfast menus.  In the 1890's some of the greatest classic haute cuisine breakfast recipes were created in New Orleans and New York City.  Offering refined breakfast cuisine was en vogue.
     Many modern chefs scoff at the thought of offering refined breakfast cuisine, yet there is certainly consumer demand for this venue.  The statistics gathered from my original Food & Recipe Blog prove that this is true.
     Statistics showed that viewers around the globe actually spent more time looking at fancy French style breakfast recipes than any other food category.  The top viewing countries of the fancy breakfast recipes were America, Canada, Switzerland, Russia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom in that order.
     In Europe, a fine dining breakfast experience is relatively easy to find.  European chefs cherish tradition and classic breakfast cuisine was never cast aside.
     In America most chefs put minimal effort into a breakfast menu.  Most American chefs only offer the same old bacon, eggs and pancakes menu with no creative breakfast entrées.  The exception is fine dining restaurants and private clubs that offer a fancy Sunday brunch or high end Las Vegas luxury resort buffets.
     As one can see, the playing field for fine dining breakfast food is wide open in America at this time.  There is plenty of consumer interest and the demand is there.  Overall, fine dining breakfast cuisine is a low food cost venture that yields tidy profits, even when moderate menu pricing is applied.  Serving the same old bacon and eggs menu is not exactly what being a chef is all about.  Gearing breakfast cuisine venues for a higher caliber of excellence can be a profitable venture at this time.
     This recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups.
     Making mayonnaise is simple.  The mayonnaise proportion is 1 cup of vegetable oil to 1 large egg yolk.  Dijon Mustard is an emulsifier that makes starting the mayonnaise emulsion easier to do.  
     Only a few drops of oil can be added at a time in the beginning, till a thick emulsion starts to form.  After the thick emulsion starts, the oil can be added in a thin stream while whisking.  The finished mayonnaise should be thick enough to support a spoon vertically. 
     Step 1:  Measure 1 cup of vegetable oil and set it aside.
     Step 2:  Place these ingredients in a mixing bowl:
      - 1/2 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
      - 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
      - 2 pinches of sea salt
      - 1 pinch of white pepper
      - 1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard  
      - 1 large egg yolk
     Whisk the ingredients till they are combined.
     Step 3:  Add a few drops of the measured oil at a time while whisking, till a thick emulsion starts to form.
     Step 4:  Slowly add a thin stream of the measured oil while constantly whisking.  (Do not add too much oil too fast or the emulsion will break!)
     *After adding about 1/2 of the measured oil, the mayonnaise may be very thick.  Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of warm water while whisking, so the texture of the mayonnaise emulsion is lighter.
     Continue slowly adding the rest of the oil while whisking, till the mayonnaise is combined.  
     *The finished mayonnaise should be thick enough for a spoon to stand vertically when inserted.
     Step 5:  Place the finished mayonnaise in a container and chill to 41ºF.  Fresh mayonnaise can be kept in a refrigerator for 7 days.
     Sauce Verte:
     This recipe yields 1 cup.
     Step 1:  Boil a pot of water over high heat..
     Step 2:  Place 2 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves in a fine mesh strainer.
     Add 1 cup of Italian Parsley sprigs.
     Add 20 fresh tarragon leaves.
     Add 8 whole fresh chive shoots.
     Add 1/2 cup of small fresh chervil sprigs.
     Step 3:  Dip the pasta net with the fresh herbs in the boiling water.
     Blanch the herbs for no longer than 10 to 15 seconds.
     Dip the fine mesh strainer with the blanched herbs in a container full of ice water.  (Shocking the herbs will keep the bright green color intact!)
     Step 4:  Set the chilled blanched herbs on a cutting board.
     Pat the herbs dry with a towel.
     Finely mince the herbs.
     Step 5:  Place the minced herbs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 cup of fresh mayonnaise.
     Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
     Whisk the ingredients together.  (Or use an electric blending wand to combine the ingredients.)
     Step 6:  Place the Sauce Verte in a very fine mesh strainer.  (Mousseline Chinoise)
     Use a spoon or rubber spatula to press the Sauce Verte through the strainer into a container.
     *Be sure the scrape the outside of the strainer, so no sauce is wasted.
     Step 7:  Cover the Sauce Verte container with a lid.
     Refrigerate the sauce for 30 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Step 8:  Place the Sauce Verte in a plastic squeeze bottle.
     Chill the sauce till it is needed.

     Poached Eggs, Smoked Salmon on Fromage de Chèvre Crouton with Sauce Verte:
     (Oeufs pochés et saumon fumé des chèvre chaud pain grillé à sauce verte)
     Step 1:  Trim 2 slices of whole grain bread, so they are a round medallion shape.  The bread medallions should be as wide as a poached egg.  (3" to 4")
     Lightly toast the bread medallions in a 350ºF oven.
     Remove the toasted medallion croutons from the oven.
     Step 2:  Spread a thin layer of French chèvre soft fresh goat cheese on the on toasted croutons.
     Place the chevre croutons back in the oven.
     Warm and soften the chevre cheese.
     Keep the chevre croutons warm on a stove top.
     Step 3:  Place a few thin slices of smoked salmon on each of the softened chevre cheese croutons and allow them to warm to room temperature.
     Step 4:  Poach 2 large eggs in salted water over medium/medium high heat.
     Step 5:  Place the poached eggs on the smoked salmon, chevre croutons.
     Place each poached egg, smoked salmon and chevre crouton on a plate.
     Spoon a generous amount of sauce verte over the eggs.  (2 to 3 tablespoons per egg)
     Garnish the plate with thin bias sliced green onion tops.

     Viola!  An appealing simple breakfast entrée with classic refined flavors!