Category Archives: Entrees

Savory Pain Perdu with Strawberries

I know, I need to get the recipes up for the Stuffed Lamburger, Fishwich, and Stuffed Chicken Thighs Wrapped in Prosciutto, but what I ate this morning was incredibly fantastic, and since all of the ingredients are in season right now (at least in Oregon), so I wanted to get the recipe up post-haste. The idea for this recipe was thought up when the boyfriend and I were in Canada a few weeks ago and making the most out of having a television in our hostel room by watching Food Network and the Discovery Channel whenever we were stagnant. We picked up an episode of Iron Chef: America in which the “battle food” was breakfast. I remember skipping this episode on the boyfriend’s TiVo way back in the day, because I was morally opposed to “breakfast” being the “secret ingredient” in IC:A. Breakfast? Ridiculous. We ended up watching the whole thing and I took as many notes as possible. There was a point where I was trying to figure out how some certain ingredients were going to work together: marscarpone, garlic, basil, and strawberries. It made me think back to the days when my mom and I would go to the garlic festival in Gilroy, California – I had had a strawberry shortcake with garlic cream that was fantastic. But that was over 15 years ago, and who knows how my tongue was working back in those days.

The ingredients on IC:A ended up going to 2 different dishes, but the idea was already rooted into my psyche, and I couldn’t think of anything better to put together for Sunday breakfast.

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Just as a side note for 2 of the ingredients: I ended up using a cheese that was on sale and delicious at Whole Foods – Snofrisk. Since Snofrisk is made from goat cheese and cow’s cream, it has a tang that wouldn’t be matched with just mascarpone itself. It will probably taste fantastic with mascarpone, but I suggest trying snofrisk if it’s available (double-plus on sale) in your area. For the bread, I used 3/4″ slices from a leftover loaf of Piccolo Como from Grand Central Bakery, which is a chain in the great NW USA. This would work well with a soft/chewy-crumb, chewy crust bread like baguette or a slightly sour bread. Okay, onto the food:

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Savory Pain Perdu with Strawberries

Feeds 2-3 hungry Americans

6-3/4″ Slices of Bread{Whisk together}
4 Eggs
3ts Salt
2ts dried Thyme
2ts dried Paprika
1ts rubbed Sage
Dash of freshly-ground pepper

{Thouroughly mix together the following and set aside:}
125g Snofrisk, marscarpone, or similar cheese
2 Tbs Minced fresh garlic
S&P to taste

{Toppings:}
1/2 pint Strawberries, sliced
6 large Basil leaves cut in chiffonade, more whole for decoration

Dip bread in the egg mixture – allow them plenty of time to soak up the liquid on both sides. Cook in either a pan on the stove set to a “low-medium heat” or on a griddle set to 325 degrees. Lightly spray/coat the cooking implement with olive oil. Allow the bread to cook on the first side for about 7 minutes – it should be golden brown before flipping. The second side usually takes 4-5 minutes.

Top the Pain Perdu evenly with the garlic-cheese mixture and layer with strawberry slices with basil on top. Serve with bacon, smoked salmon or whatever meat is at your mercy, and fresh juice (or iced coffee – yum!).

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Next time I’m going to try the cheese mixture with bacon mixed in, which would lend a fantastic smoky/sweet flavor to the savoriness of cheese and garlic (depending what kind of bacon one is using, of course ^_^ ). Like I said before, all of the ingredients are currently in season here in Portland – I can’t go a mile without seeing some market with massive amounts of strawberries. Just remember – quality ingredients help make quality food.

Mahi-Mahi with Shallot-Ginger Compote

Dinner tonight

Well, that was an epic fail. See how I set myself up to do something I’m not sure I can do and see where it gets me. So let’s start over again. I made a really tasty fish dish tonight (alliteration!) that I took no photos of, but I can sure write it down. For the porn part of the food blog, take a look at these photos, and maybe I’ll grace the site with recipes for them soon as well.

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(more after the link-jump)

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Ah, and onto fish:

Mahi-Mahi with Shallot-Ginger compote

Feeds 2 “normally” hungry Americans

2 Shallots, minced (approx 3Tbs)
1″ Ginger, minced (approx 2Tbs)
2 cloves Young Garlic (approx 2Tbs, or 1Tbs normal garlic)
1 Tbs butter
2 Tbs Mango-Pepper Chutney
6-8oz Mahi-Mahi
Prep your broiler (mine takes something like 30 minutes to get up to temperature) and set the top rack to the low-middle spot. Place the first 4 ingredients into a small saucier and sauté until the garlic is a light brown. Add the chutney (I use a local brand – likely any jelly/chutney that’s slightly sweet and spicy would be good) and stir until everything’s coated and turn off the heat.

Prep a pan for the Mahi-Mahi, dust the fish with salt and pepper, and coat with half of the compotey-mixture. Place under the broiler for approximately 11 minutes or until done, depending on thickness of the fish. Plate with the rest of the compote under the fish.

I served this with some steamed white rice and lovely heated pickled beets with crumbled bleu cheese atop. Fan-diddly-tastic. Maybe I’ll take photos next time instead of just wolfing it down.

Lamburger and Fishwich Double-Feature!

So I’m putting these both into one entry not only because I am lazy, but because the most cookingest part of both of these is the meat, and you can really add whatever and eat these in any way. The lamburger is a standard recipe I use for most any kind of ground meat (with at least 16% fat), and it is fantastic with most any stuffing, especially bleu cheese. The fishwich is another standard recipe that I use for not only large fish patties but homemade fish fingers/fish sticks, and can be applied to any good thick piece of fish with ease. I’ll add my recipe for mayonnaise, which is the base for the aioli on the lamburger (while the aioli is the base of the “tartar sauce” I use on the fishwiches) in another post (sorry! it’s a ton more writing! ^_^ ).

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Stuffed Lamburger FTW

Plenty for 4 burger patties

1lb ground Lamb
3Tbs minced Shallots
1 clove Garlic, minced
Freshly ground nutmeg (just a touch)
Pepper
{Filling:}
6oz. crumbled Bleu Cheese
(optional, to taste, and exchangeable)Hand-mix the lamb with top ingredients, then set aside for 10 minutes before forming burgers. If using a stuffing, form 4 equal balls from the meat, push a divot in the middle of the ball, forming (as best as you can) a hollow sphere. Fill the opening with the stuffing mixture, form a patty shape around it (try to make it as flattish as possible), and set aside to rest for 10 more minutes.

If grilling over an open flame or charcoal, make sure the grill is hot before cooking these suckers. Same if you’re frying these or otherwise cooking indoors – you want a caramelized exterior. The burger should be done to medium, with just enough heat in the middle to get the cheese soft (though likely not really melty). I did mine on a stove-top grill, heated to high-medium (damned electric stoves). Salt both sides of the patty right before cooking.

Our Stuffed Lamburgers were served with house-made aioli and Dijon mustard on ciabatta rolls with a slice of thick-cut bacon and lettuce, and washed down with Laurelwood Organic Green Elephant IPA.

Fishwich Patties

Recipe for 2 patties or fish-fingers for 2 people

2 6oz thick-cut fillets of Cod or similar fish
{Marinade the fish for a half-hour in:}
1/2C Ponzu (soy-free) or Lime juice with a dash of sugar
{For the crispy coating:}
1/2C Flour
1Tbs Salt
2ts crushed Red Pepper
1 Egg
1C Panko

Set up the 3-coating bowls or trays in a row and mix the flour, salt, and pepper in the first, whisk the egg with a dash of water in the second, and the panko in the third. These are best when pan-fried, but they would work well under the broiler or in a very hot oven if the panko are lightly sprayed with oil before cooking.

Rinse the fish and pat mostly dry before dredging in the flour, then the egg (make sure to remove any excess egg!), and then into the panko. When pan-frying, cook on each side until dark golden brown (usually 6-8 minutes per side, if the oil is at the proper temperature).

We served our Fishwich patties on toasted homemade whole-wheat rolls slathered with house-made dill-tartar sauce, and layered with cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes, served with a slice of lemon.

Best Ever Chicken Salad

In this house, we like chicken salad. Did I say like? Nay, we adore our chicken salad. It’s right up there with Awesome Fish Tacos and Roast Chicken in the major rotation of standard meals. In fact, the aforementioned roasted chicken regularly makes its second (and third) appearance at the dining room table as this mixture. We put it atop mixed greens, between slices of bread, on crackers, and stuffed into fresh pita. It just goes with everything.

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If you don’t have roast chicken leftovers, you can use chicken breast (best brined and steamed), but you may need to add more mayo because of the dryness that ensues.

Best Ever Chicken Salad

Good for 4-6 sandwiches

3C shredded then chopped chicken
1/2C mayonnaise*
2 ts lemon juice*
2Tb curry powder
2 ts garam masala
1/4C chopped hazelnuts
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4C red onion chopped small
1 ts celery salt
1/2 C plump raisins
3Tb Dijon mustard

Mix all together, cover, and let sit for at least 2 hours, but it’s best left overnight.

* I use either Kewpie mayonnaise or homemade mayo in chicken salad, because both taste better than “normal” mayonnaise, with a more eggy, lemony flavor. If you use either one of these, go light on the lemon juice. We don’t want the salad to be lemony, we just want the acid to cut through a little bit of the sweetness of the rest of the ingredients.

This is also fantastic with other misc. veggies and nuts thrown in. I’ve done it with toasted almonds and green onions for a bit more spice, or with less curry powder and the addition of pine nuts, feta, and olives. This is especially fantastic in homemade pitas (so incredibly easy and tasty). Shown in the photo, it is served on homemade whole-wheat olive oil bread with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella with cracked black pepper.