Saturday, February 22, 2014

Yet Another Episode of "What I Have Been Up To Lately..."

I have been quite a busy home cook the last two weeks.  I cooked for my mother's birthday shindig in the middle of the month and, more recently,  decided to get in some culinary therapy and thinking this last Thursday evening, and I am excited to share with you how my idea turned out.  First things first:  Momma's Birthday Menu. I decided on a simple but tasty set of snacks and easy to assemble meal. There were only four people, including myself, for this shindig.  I have to confess, however, that I somehow deleted the photo of the final meal assembly, but it was extremely buffet style simple.  I will get to that very shortly.  First.....

Pizza in a Biscuit. 
I worked on this recipe two more times before getting it just right! I followed my usual biscuit recipe, but because my aunt does not like salami, I used sopressata and a blend of Italian cheeses for the biscuit stuffing.  (Please see my "Pizza in a Biscuit" post from just a few weeks ago.  Thanks!). I added egg wash to the top and bottom biscuit cut outs to seal the shell better, which worked great, as well as to the top of the shell before adding parmesan cheese.  You can see the color turned out perfectly.  I was very happy with this final product.  

Next, 24-Hour Marinated and Seared Skirt Steak Bruschetta...

 For 24 hours I marinated four skirt steaks (two for this dish, two for an upcoming dish) in:  3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, the zest of one lemon and the  juice of one and a half lemons, three cloves garlic, crushed and grated, 2 teaspoons coriander seed and cumin seed, ground roughly in my mortar w/pestle, salt and pepper, 2 teaspoons chipotle powder, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, one hand full of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, and half a palm of dried oregano, crushed between my palms.  

I seared the steaks over medium-high heat, about 4 minutes one side, two minutes on the other before turning off the heat.  I allowed the steaks to rest several minutes and then sliced into one to two inch slivers.  Meanwhile, I had sliced up a Demi French Break roll, drizzled evoo over each slice (about 20), sprinkled each with only a dusting of garlic powder and a good pinch of finely grated mozzarella, asiago and fontina cheese.  I baked those slices at 400 degrees for eight minutes, until the cheese began bubbling and starting to brown. I removed the bread, and began topping it with the steak after allowing the bread to cool for about three minutes.  I garnished with scallions and a sprinkling of the cheese blend and sriracha sauce drops around the plate. 


Don't Forget The Salad!!!

I sliced blood orange and red grapefruit and tangerines into discs (red was the theme) and arranged them on a large platter.  I sliced blackberries and strawberries to also adorn the plate.  While performing that task, I reduced a half cup of balsamic vinegar and half a cup of pomegranate balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of honey and the zest of one lemon and juice of half a lemon until it became thick.  I reduced it by a half.  I love the condensed powerful flavors! To garnish, I drizzled my reduction over the top and sprinkled with fresh basil ribbons.  Sometimes, I add mozzarella cheese to this and call it my Citrus Caprese Salad.  I like the sound of it, regardless of how wrong it is.

Seriously good, folks!

What you are Not going to get to see, however, is the main meal.  Simple cheeseburgers on Kaiser rolls, which is what my mom pretty much wanted. I am sorry I forgot to take a photo of the buffet line I'd set up.  I live in a nice-sized, yet, still small one-bedroom apartment, so you can imagine that I do not work and play in a sprawling beautiful kitchen, so a buffet line on my counter top and rolling culinary cart butcher block top was not glorious, but it was functional. 


Please stay tuned for another episode of What I Have Been Up To.....later this evening.  I will present to you how I stretched a chicken buck, making three hearty meals with one package of (6) boneless/skinless chicken thighs.  Good fun and good food!  See you this evening!!!  Here is a sneak preview!

Chicken Fajita Naan Flat Bread Roll Up!