Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Light Stunt: Penne alla Caprese en Crudo

Penne alla Caprese en Crudo




Hello from metro Seattle!

The #WeekdaySupper dish I published a couple of weeks ago was technically done so as a Washington resident, however it was prepared while I was still in California. This dish has the distinction of being the first dish prepared for publication in my new residence.

The dish itself? Pretty simple to prepare which is the reason why it qualifies as a Light Stunt. You can complete your prep work as you wait for your water to boil. The sauce, in this case is raw (i.e. en crudo), taking advantage of fresh tomatoes with their season just ending.

There is also a bit of Murphy's Law at work here because I was just finding a comfort zone with my pictures while I was a California resident, but that has been upset since I moved to Washington, so I am using this dish to experiment with my food pictures.

The Challenge

Find the optimum environment to photograph my dishes.

The Source

Taken from page 54 of Lidia's Favorite Recipes by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali.

Ingredients

1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more for seasoning the pasta water
Pinch red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, crushed with the side of a chef's knife
1 pound penne pasta
10 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
1/2 pound bocconcini, halved

Method

1. Season and marinate the tomatoes. Combine the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and red pepper in a large bowl. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes, tossing once or twice while you cook the pasta.


2. Cook the pasta and finish the dish. While the tomatoes marinate, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the penne and cook until al dente (I recommend one-third less than the box instructions. For example, 6 to 7 minutes if the box instructs 9 minutes). Once the 30 minutes have expired, remove the garlic. Drain the pasta once cooked and add to the tomatoes along with the bocconcini. Toss, then garnish with basil and serve in warmed bowls.

Successful?

I'll confess that this was the second time I prepared this dish within a week. I over-seasoned the pasta water the first time so I prepared it again. I also substituted mozzarella sticks for the bocconcini simply because I couldn't source it. From a photography standpoint, I'm still working on a best time and place to take pictures of my food.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Banh Mi Burger for #WeekdaySupper

Banh Mi Burger for #WeekdaySupper




Before I begin with my dish, please first let me explain my absence in the last two weeks: I have been busy packing my things for a move. As you're reading this, I'm spending my first full day as a metro Seattle resident. Mrs. Stuntman and I decided to relocate primarily because I had been living in one of the most expensive regions in the country. Why Seattle? It's a short plane ride away from my daughter's grandparents, better schools than in California and the region's reputation for coffee and seafood. I also respectfully request a couple of weeks to get settled before I publish new dishes here.

Earlier this month, I published a sirloin steak dish for #SundaySupper sponsored by The Beef Checkoff so I chose a different cut of beef to display the flexibility of beef, this time for an evening after returning home from the office. In case you haven't already, please 'Like' them on facebook in addition to following them on twitter, pinterest and #SundaySupper's own beef pinterest board. In the interest of full disclosure, this post is sponsored by The Beef Checkoff. All opinions are my own. This dish is not traditional, by any means, but has been adapted from the traditional Vietnamese version.


The Challenge

Demonstrate the versatility of beef in a dish appropriate for a weeknight preparation.

The Source

Adapted from a recipe found on Food & Wine magazine's website. I reduced the amount of spice by omitting the jalapeños and decreased the amount of Tobasco because I don't like heavily spiced foods.

Ingredients

1/2 cup julienned carrots
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Tobasco
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I recommend an 80/20 mixture)
1/2 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 24-inch baguette, quartered crosswise, then each quarter cut in half length-wise
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Method

1. Finish the mise en place. Preheat the oven to 400⁰ Fahrenheit. Combine the carrots, rice vinegar and sugar in a small bowl and let them steep for 10 minutes. Then remove the carrots with a slotted spoon to set aside and discard the pickling fluid.


In a separate bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Tobasco, tomato paste and garlic, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside.


Separately, combine the ground beef and the curry powder then season with salt and pepper. Form the ground beef mixture into four oval-shaped patties, approximately 6 inches long and 1 inch in length. In addition, spread the butter on the cut side of each piece of baguette.


2. Cook the burgers and toast the baguette. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the burger patties and cook, turning once, approximately 6 minutes per side for medium doneness. While the burgers cook, place each baguette piece on a foil-lined sheet tray, cut side up, and place in the oven, toasting the baguette until lightly browned, approximately 5 minutes.


3. Assemble the burgers. Spread the seasoned mayonnaise onto each baguette half and top one slice with a burger patty. Garnish with the pickled carrots and cilantro sprigs, then top each burger with the remaining halves and serve hot.

Successful?

Despite it not being traditional, it was one of the most well balanced burgers I've prepared. The spice in the mayonnaise balanced out the acidity of the carrots and the savory burger patty. I'll definitely repeat.

Before you go, I present a preview of the other #WeekdaySupper dishes that will appear later in the week. Please check them out.

Sunday Supper Movement



Monday, August 11, 2014

Presenting: Corn Ravioli with Herb Cream Sauce

Presenting: Corn Ravioli with Herb Cream Sauce




I hadn't pulled out my Atlas pasta machine since I made my spinach fettuccine dish this past March and I was itching to make some ravioli. So on a recent Sunday morning, a quick google search yielded this corn ravioli dish from Lindsay at Love & Olive Oil which was perfect timing because I remembered Mrs. Stuntman had brought home some fresh corn from the supermarket a few evenings prior.

I decided to use this dish for my Presenting: series because I have demonstrated ravioli here several times in the past and I didn't need to adapt Lindsay's recipe very much. However, I used my go-to pasta dough recipe which is from page 102 to 104 of Cook Like A Rock Star by Anne Burrell with Suzanne Lenzer because I have found Chef Burrell's ratio of wet ingredients to dry ingredients work well for me and I accidentally omitted the heavy cream from my filling only because I forgot to add it. As I reviewed the recipe, I was a little skeptical over the sauce because of the method used, however I couldn't have been more wrong. Mrs. Stuntman was delighted by the balance of flavors in the dish because the wine provided a savory flavor to balance out the sweet corn filling. It was so good that I prepared the dish again later in the week with the leftover ravioli I made.

Finally, I saw the new movie The Hundred-Foot Journey starring Helen Mirren and Om Puri this past weekend. The word I would use to describe it is charming and recommend seeing it. It held my 6-year-old daughter's attention and there was nothing in the movie that forced me to cover her eyes and/or ears yet the plot still entertained.