Monday, July 28, 2014

i believe that's called al fresco

The 72-hour cooking marathon comes to an end tonight. I leave for the East Coast tomorrow afternoon (after fun things like laundry, packing and a consultation for the wisdom teeth extraction that I'll have to do on my next your break), and it's back to a mix of catering and tracking down The 35 Best Burritos in America.

We've spent a lot of time outside on this break. Can I show off a little?

So, it only made sense that our last meal (how dramatic) was an al fresco situation where we could admire our newly-found talent for succulent design.

These Lamb + Artichoke Kebabs are the best. So easy, and such a big return on time investment. While the lamb is marinating, you can make the aioli from scratch, which I didn't bother to do because I started panicking about my packing situation. Turns out putting mint and garlic in really good quality mayonnaise does the trick as well.

I basically made my kebabs into spiedies with some Trader Joe's garlic naan, which is more or less the best flatbread ever. A beautiful way to say goodbye to LA for a month.

Lamb + Artichoke Kebabs with Minted Aioli
slightly adapted from Food52
serves 3

For the kebabs:
3 T. olive oil
1 1/2 T. white wine vinegar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
1 T. fresh oregano, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 14 oz. cans of artichoke quarters, drained
1 1/3 lb. lamb top ground, cut into 1-inch cubes

For the aioli:
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. fresh mint leaves, minced
4 T. mayonnaise

flat bread

1. Combine oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic in a large bowl. Add lamb and artichokes, marinate for 1 hour. Thread artichokes and lamb onto 9 skewers.

2. Thoroughly combine all the ingredients for the aioli. Set aside.

3. Heat grill to high. Oil the cooking grate, using tongs and a wad of oiled paper towels. Grill kebabs, turning once, until meat and artichokes are browned, about 8 minutes. Serve with flat bread and aioli.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

mix it up

The 72-hour food parade continues with a Bourbon-Roasted Lobster dish I bookmarked way back before tour started. I've actually taken a food blog reading hiatus as well as a writing one - it would just be too painful to have so much inspiration and no kitchen in which to act upon it.

Due to some bit of poor planning on my part, I couldn't get enough thawed lobster to follow the recipe to the letter. That turned out for the best since adding scallops really made the dish even more special. Next time, I'd decrease the amount of scallops and add shrimp and/or mussels and clams for more visual interest.

This dish is pretty much perfect - changes are only to elevate it even further. The butter sauce is divine - all the aromatics mixed with the shellfish juices, and well, butter. I couldn't help but throw pasta into the mix to soak up all that sauce, but it would be equally good with some good bread for dipping.

Bourbon-Roasted Lobster + Scallops with Fresh Linguine
slightly adapted from Saveur
serves 3

12 oz. lobster tails, halved lengthwise
1 lb. sea scallops
3 T. canola oil
3 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. bourbon
1/4 c. dry white wine
6 T. butter, cubed
3 T. minced chives
salt and pepper, to taste
9 oz. fresh linguine

1. Heat oven to 500 degrees.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, heat 1 T. oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat. Cook the lobster, shell side down, turning as needed, until the shells are bright red, about 1 minute.

4. Add remaining oil, the shallots, and garlic; cook until shallots and garlic are soft, 1–2 minutes. Add the scallops.

5. Add bourbon and, using a match, carefully ignite; cook until the flames subside, about 1 minute. Add wine and place pan in oven; bake for 5 minutes until lobster and scallops are cooked through. Transfer lobster and scallops to a large plate. Add the butter, chives, salt, and pepper to skillet and stir until butter is melted. Add the cooked pasta and toss to thoroughly coat. Return the lobster and scallops to the skillet and serve.

i'm coming home

Hello again, friends!

Home for 72 hours, and the first order of business was, obviously, to cook. However, being gone for 5 weeks meant the fridge, supervised by 2 boys, was in a dire straits.

Luckily, all these Shortbread Waffles required were flour, sugar, eggs and butter. They're serious - heavy, dense, and well, like a shortbread cookie. Not crumbly, but not the same soft inside/crispy outside you'd normally be used to in a waffle. Rich, sweet and the perfect way to kick off the day/early afternoon.

I only had two triangles. Any more would have rendered me incapacitated for the rest of the day, and there's more cooking to be done!

Shortbread Waffles
from Orangette
makes about 4 waffles

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
4 large eggs
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1. Sift the flour and sugar together into a large bowl.

2. In a separate medium bowl, beat the eggs with an electric beater until fluffy. Add the eggs to the flour-sugar mixture, and beat together until just combined. Add the butter, and mix until smooth. Do not overmix. The batter will be very thick.

3. Use an ice cream scoop—or a 1/3 cup measuring scoop—to dollop the batter onto a heated waffle iron. Cook until golden.