Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Easy Summer Salsa

Jorge Sierra, chef at Velas Vallarta's Andrea, whips up a Pico de Gallo Salsa perfect for your summer's nachos, tortillas and quesadillas. Just in case you can't make it to the Puerto Vallarta, Mexico resort in person, here's the recipe.

Velas Vallarta Pico de Gallo Salsa

7 tomatoes
1/2 large white onion
4 tsp. cilantro
2 serrano chiles
1 oz olive oil
1 oz. lime juice
ground black pepper

Dice the tomatoes, onion, cilantro and chiles. Mix with the olive oil and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Si, no-sweat easy.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Risotto with asparagus and pink sparkling wine peppery mussels

Imago, the Hotel Hassler Roma's Michelin-starred restaurant, has a new menu for spring. Chef Francesco Apreda is celebrating by sharing this fresh as spring recipe.

Imago's Risotto with Asparagus and Pink Sparkling Wine Peppery Mussels

4 1/3 cups Vialone Nano rice
6 1/2 TBS shallots, chopped
1 clove garlic
2 pounds mussels
1 bunch of asparagus
1 3/4 cups pink sparkling wine
6 1/2 TBS butter
1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
Wild fennel
Salt, pepper and extra-virgin olive oil

Clean the mussels and steam in a lidded pot with garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, 1/4 cup of sparkling pink wine and a generous amount of pepper. As soon as they open, drain and filter the cooking liquid, keeping it to be used later.       
Blanch the asparagus in salted water and then cool down immediately in water with ice. Cut and keep the tips of the asparagus aside for garnish. Cut half of the asparagus stalks into small pieces. Puree the other half in a blender.     

Brown the shallots in a pan with half of the butter and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Once wilted, add the rice and toast it with the remaining sparkling wine. Continue to cook, slowly adding the reserved mussel cooking liquid along with an equal amount of water. When the rice is half-way done (when half of the liquid has been absorbed), add the chopped asparagus. When the rice is almost done, add the asparagus puree and soon after the shelled mussels. Remove the rice from heat and let stand for two minutes.  
Add the remaining butter, grated pecorino cheese and minced wild fennel.             

Sauté asparagus tips with oil, salt and a light sprinkle of pepper. Place over the risotto.

Serve and garner some stars of your own.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bhindi Masala - Airplane food you'll love

The chefs for South African Airways produced an okra dish so good not only did a cookbook author want seconds, she wanted the recipe.

 Marsha Dean Phelts, author of American Beach Cookbook, was flying to Dakkar when she was served this okra dish. She told me about it, I asked Elizabeth Ninomiya, director of marketing communications for South African Air, and she began running down the recipe.

Here's the recipe for this spicy dish.

Bhindi Masala

8-9 oz. small okra pods, sliced in 1/inch sections
1 TBS  Red chili powder
1 TBS Turmeric powder
1 TBS green chilies, chopped
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
1 TBS Cumin seed
2 tsp. Black mustard seeds
1/3 cup or less  Vegetable oil for frying okra
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 cup (scant) Vegetable oil, for seasoning
1/2 cup (generous) chopped onions

Heat oil in a wok. When hot, toss in the cumin and mustard seeds. Allow to splutter.
Once it stops spluttering, add green chili and onions. Stir fry on medium heat until browned. Remove from heat and save.
Pour frying oil into the same wok, add the chopped okra and stir-fry for a few minutes until cooked and aromatic. This way the okra will not split while cooking and the dish turns out very tasty.
Once fried and lightly browned remove okra from the wok.
Add sauteed onion mixture back into the wok and toss in the fried okra. Mix well to combine and allow to cook for a minute on medium heat.
Now toss in the Masala (dry spice) powders , mix well and allow to cook for 5 minutes.
Adding oil if necessary, mix in the chopped tomatoes and cover the wok. Allow the flavors to blend well and the tomato to cook until softened, about 7 minutes.
Uncover, add salt and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes on medium heat.
Serve over rice.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Traditional Indian Curry Fiji Style

Chef Faiyaz at Fiji Hideaway Resort and Spa on Viti Levu's Coral Coast demonstrated the art of making curry to a group of travel writers and photographers from the Freelance Council of the Society of American Travel Writers.

I missed the demonstration but not the curry which was wonderful. Too wonderful not to share the recipe, so Bula! Go out and try it.

Traditional Indian Curry Fiji Style

1 1/8  pound meat - chicken, beef, pork, lamb fish - in one-inch cubes
1 onion, julienned
* curry leaves
 1/3 cup chopped garlic
1 generous TBS chopped ginger
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
2 TBS cumin seeds
1 TBS fenugreek
4 TBS masala
2 TBS turmeric
1 3/4 TBS fresh chili, chopped
1 1/3 TBS cooking oil
1 TBS water
Dash of lemon juice, salt to taste
fresh coriander, chopped

* Look for fresh curry leaves at an Indian market or on line. Do not substitute basil leaves; better to omit altogether.

Heat oil in cooking pot, add onion, curry leaves, cumin seed, fenugreek, sauteing until lightly browned. Add garlic, ginger, tomatoes, chili, masala and turmeric and cook for 2 minutes on medium heat.

Add meat and cook for 3 minutes, add water and cook for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt.

Add lemon juice, turn off the heat and add coriander leaves to taste.

Serve with rice or roti.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Brioche and bananas - a Mother's Day treat

Our dine-about-the-world correspondent Kristi Casey Sanders passed along a recipe for Brioche French Toast with Bananas Foster that will start Mom's special day with a Wow! This can't miss dish combines the best of breakfast and dessert and comes from the cookbook, Don Strange of Texas: His Life and Recipes by Frances Strange, the late foodster's widow.

Brioche French Toast with Bananas Foster
1 cup whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
4 eggs
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
8 slices day-old brioche, each 5/8-inch thick
Bananas Foster (recipe follows)
Sweetened whipped cream
Cinnamon or nutmeg for garnish
Mint sprigs for garnish

To make the French toast, combine the milk, eggs, cream, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl; whisk until eggs are well beaten and the batter is smooth.

Melt some butter on a flat griddle over medium heat. Dip the brioche slices in the egg batter, coating both sides, allowing excess batter to drip off. Place battered bread on griddle. Don't let the slices touch one another so cook in batches if necessary.

Cook until golden brown, turning once, about 2 minutes per side. Keep hot in a warm oven until ready to assemble and serve.

Bananas Foster
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 TBS. unsalted butter
1/2 cup banana flavored liqueur
1/2 cup dark rum
4 bananas, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices

In a small bowl combine brown sugar and cinnamon with a fork and set aside. µelt butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add cinnamon and sugar mixture and stir until sugar dissolves. Add banana liqueur and 1/4 cup of the rum. Cook, stirring, until syrupy and thickened, about 5 minutes.

Add banana slices and lightly coat with the syrup. Add the rum and, swirl the pan and tip it toward the flame to unite or, if using an electric range, light the rum with a long match. Swirl the pan, basting bananas with the sauce, until flame subsides. Remove pan from heat, set aside and keep warm.

To serve, stack slices of French toast on each serving plate. Place banana slices on each serving and drizzle some of the pan sauce over the top. Add a generous dollop of the whipped cream, sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg and add a mint sprig.