Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Braised Pork Country Ribs with Root Vegetables

I have been struggling with what to do with the pork country ribs I got from Farmer Brian and I finally landed on this recipe for soy braised pork country ribs with root vegetables.

I think the soy braised name from the original recipe is a bit misleading, these ribs had an amazing flavor but the soy was really pretty muted. I did rekindle my love affair with star anise, it ads a flavor I just adore. I had never realized how much I loved it until I started using it.

My Ingredients

1/2 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp dry Sherry
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp (packed) golden brown sugar
1 tsp hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek, I used Sriracha)
2 1/2 bone in pork country ribs
2 Tbsp peanut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 green onions; white and pale green parts finely chopped, green parts thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
3 whole star anise
3 long strips orange peel removed from orange with vegetable peeler
1/2 pound carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound turnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound parsnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces

Whisk chicken broth, Sherry, soy sauce, brown sugar, and hot chili paste in small bowl to blend; set aside. 

Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Heat peanut oil in heavy large deep skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook ribs until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer ribs to plate. Reduce heat to medium. Add chopped onion to skillet and saute until soft, about 4 minutes. Add white parts of green onions, garlic, and ginger; saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth mixture, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Add star anise and orange peel; bring to simmer.

Return ribs to same skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Add carrots,turnips and parsnips to the pan and submerge them int eh sauce as best as you can. Cover and simmer until vegetables and ribs are tender, gently stirring mixture occasionally, about 30 minutes longer. Transfer mixture to platter. 
Serve it over some steamed rice or cous cous. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Seared Scallops with a Citrus Sake Mignoette

Scallops are delicious. That is all.
OK Perhaps a bit more. As time goes on I tend to do less and less with scallops in order to enjoy their natural flavor. Scallops have become my favorite kind of sushi and when I get good ones at home I tend to eat one or two just by themselves out of the paper. I found this recipe and thought that the bright citrusy flavors would be a wonderful way to enjoy the scallops with a great punch of flavor, but not so overwhelming that you lose the scallop.
I simply pan seared the scallops  and topped with as much of the sauce as I wanted.

1/4 cup sake (dry)

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp grapefruit juice (fresh)
1 Tbsp shallot (minced)
1 tsp fresh ginger (minced)
1/8  tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper (cracked)
1 green onion (thinly sliced)

Sauces are rapidly becoming my secret weapon in cooking. Once you start off with a good ingredient and prepare it well, the sauce is what changes it from "hey great scallops" to  "Wow"

Friday, April 6, 2012

Pan Seared Tuna with a Cilantro Ginger Sauce

The picture kind of says it all. Good quality tuna is such a fantastic product to work with that you don't need to do much to it. In this case I coated it with some black and white sesame seeds, seared it on all sides in a screaming hot pan and sliced it thin. I made the sauce up on the fly so measurements are approximate.

For the Sauce
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients except for the salt to a food processor, process until smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside

2 Tuna steaks.
2-3 Tbsp each of black and white sesame seeds (all white is just fine)
Canola or Peanut oil for the pan.

You want to use peanut or canola oil for this as they can handle the high temperatures you need to get a good sear. Heat the oil in a non stick pan big enough to hold all of your tuna.

Meanwhile put all the sesame seeds on a plate and coat all sides of the tuna, including the edges.

When the pan is nice and hot add the tuna and sear on one side for 1-2 minutes. Flip and do the same on the other side. I like to quickly sear the edges as well, using tongs to hold it up on its side if need be. I just like the uniform look, you don't have to do so.

Slice it thin and lay flat on a plate so you can see the inside of the tuna and then add your sauce. Start to finish this is a 20-30 minute so it's great for a weeknight dinner.