Wednesday, March 23, 2011

arancini with tuna sauce

haven't posted for a while...sorry. so, no time to waste chatting. on with the recipe.
   arancini is a italian peasant dish that is super tasty. involves deep frying risotto balls. usually cheese stuffed. i like mine dirty. so here goes.
  first form a paste.
1 bulb roasted garlic.
1.5 tbsp smoked oyster rough mince
3 tbs olive oil
.5 tsp mustard powder
.5 tsp crushed fennel seed
.5 tsp chili powder.( i use really spicy, but if you're a wuss, go mild)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  this step is simple puree all ingredients while slowly incorperating the olive oil. until you have a smooth paste.
  next we make risotto. yay! this means 20 min of stirring! you love stirring right? best times of your life? i thought so.
  start sauce pot on med heat with 2-3 tbsp of olive oil
add 2 cups arborio rice. lightly toast in simmering olive oil.
deglaze with 1/4 cup of white wine. while constantly stirring, let reduce by half. reduce heat to med-low. now add 2 cups of shrimp stock half a cup at a time. and add the paste. constantly stirring until sec, then adding more stock. once the risotto is al dente (or cooked but with a bit of tooth) remove from pot and place in a mixing bowl you may need a cup of stock more depending on the temp of your stove top. so leave yourself a little extra to be safe. let cool to room temp. add 1 egg and 1 yolk to risotto and mix thoroughly. place in fridge.
  cool..that was fun right? at this point the rice is tasty on its own. but we're going the extra step adding cheese and deep frying. i guess that's two steps...whatever. 
  buy some good fresh mozzarella for this. the gooey state that cheese becomes is epic with this. or, if you'd like, use some quebec cheese curds. also very nummy.
 ok, so line your palm (your clean palm right? you obviously have washed your hands) with the now cool risotto. place cheese in center. top with more risotto. roll gingerly into a ball form. set aside. repeat. i usually make these about 1.5 oz portion sizes. or golf ball size. i wouldn't recommend going much bigger.
 if you have a deep fryer, great! oil at 300 please and dunk these suckers in until they are golden brown. awesome. no deep fryer? sauce pot with enough oil to cover at 300 will do. use a slotted spoon to place arancini into and take out of the oil. be careful.

  that was the arancini portion, now for the tuna sauce.
1 shallot
3 bulbs garlic
1/4 spanish onion
set a sauce pot on med-low and sweat off above ingredients in 2 tbs of butter.deglaze with 3 tbs dry vermouth. add 1.5 cups 35% cream. add one can(170gr) of canned tuna. let bubble until liquid has reduced by 1 quarter. puree until smooth. like, uber smooth.

  as for plating i place the tuna sauce down first then put the lovely arancini on top. granish with olive oil and a little aged balsamic. basil springs and poached cherry tomato's are a nice touch as well. so yeah. that's it. enjoy!

big heart chef

Monday, December 13, 2010

egg nog.

so this is christmas, and what have you done? i ve been working my butt of thats what! jeeze, give a chef a break. and get me a drink would ya? oh. don't know what to make? well it is egg nog season so here goes!

equip: sauce pan.
mixing bowl with ice
rocks glass
mixing bowl,no ice
two egg yolks
1/3 cup cream
1 2/3 cup milk
3oz spiced rum
nutmeg or bitter choc.
1 stick cinnamon

1. place milk and cream in the sauce pan over medium heat. what we are looking to do here is temper the dairy. do not boil! so keep an eye on it, stiring slowly with whisk. once warm take of heat and set aside.
2. put egg yolks in mixing bowl and mix. now slowly adding your warm dairy. whisking the whole while.
3. put custard mix back on the stove on med heat. stirring slowly and continuous until the custard can coat the back of a spoon.
4. place warm custard into bowl and place that bowl in the ice filled bowl. skim foam off of the mix.
5. BOOZE! stir in the rum at this point. and place cinnamon stick into mix. throw away when nog is cold.
6. once mix is cold, pour into rocks glass filled half way with ice. garnish with shaved nutmeg or bitter choc. and enjoy!

so that's how i roll if i were to make egg nog from scratch. hasn't that been fun? thats all for now folks. bye!


Monday, November 29, 2010

something about bread

fresh bread. if you don't love fresh bread i don't know if you have the capacity for love at all. just the smell itself seems to wrap you in warmth and comfort. everytime i walk past a bakery i think this is what heven must smell like. and then the taste! oh to break open a loaf of fresh sourdough, to butter some warm pumpernickel, to tear into a foccacia. dah! it excites me just thinking about it. today i'll share a recipe for egg bread. i made it today and it was heaven. so go forth and bake. with the winter closing in what better way to stay warm then with a hot loaf? of bread...not poo. thats gross.
  ingredients: 2 3/4 cup bread flour (if you use all purpose the bread tuns out dense)
2 tsp salt
11/2 tbsp yeast
3/4 cup luke warm water
2 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup melter butter
for the glaze:
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp water
2tsp poppy seeds or sesame seeds or sea salt

step one: grease a baking sheet. sift flour and salt together into a lrg bowl and make a well in the center. mix the yeast with the water and sugar add to the center of the flour with eggs and butter. gradually mix in the surrounding flour to form soft dough. if you've made pasta...same method.
step two: on floured surface knead the dough for 10 mins until smooth and in a lightly oiled bowl cover with damp towel(clean) and leave to proof in warm place for about an hour.  maybe do the laundry.
step three: punch down dough. cover and leave for another hour. go get sandwich fixens for later.   
step four: punchh down again and knead some more on a floured surface.

*now, you can at this point do one of two things. place bread in greased loaf pan let rise for 20 mins. glaze and top then bake for 30 mins at 400 degrees F. OR ...

step five: divide dough into 4 even length strands and pinch them together at one end. then start braiding. it takes time and practice. mine still sucks. but it goes, starting from the right, first roll over the second. third roll over the fourth. then take the fourth rope and place between the first and second. it's hard. but the bread looks ballin' if you do this.
step six: cover with moist cloth again and let rise for 20 mins. then glaze with egg wash and top with your choice. bake in oven for 30 mins at 400 degrees F . then, when golden brown , take out of oven and let cool on cooling rack.
step seven: eat the bread and love your life. maybe use the sandwich fixens from earlier.

well, its been fun, but i gotta see if i can steal the last peice before someone else gets it.! enjoy!
big heart chef.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


  the holidays are now upon us. festive gatherings and party's are always a time to mingle and share merriment. but most importantly drink some cocktails and chow down! so, with so many people, why not try some fondue! as long as your guests aren't the double dipping types, fondue makes a impressive centerpiece that everyone will enjoy. i'm going to lay out one of my faves. a grappa, fontina cheese and duck egg brew that pairs well with italian and french loaf. as well as cured meats such as chorizo or sopresseta. but hey, broccoli and the like go well too.
  now if you just went "um,what the shit is fontina and grappa?" let me explain. grappa, to be honest is not one of my top choices as a drink. but i find its culinary applications to be quite handy. grappa is a digestif  made from the pomace( skin, leaves, stems) of grapes, leftover from the process of wine making. you can get it at the lcbo.
  fontina is a cheese native to the valle d'aosta region in the italian alps. if you can score the good shit and can afford it, go for it. you might be lucky at a specialty cheese or fine foods store. but if you are working on a more frugal budget you can get a danish version that's not bad, at your local grocers. it has a nutty and slightly sharp flavour with a medium firm texture. it melts creamy, so really good for fondue.
  you cool now? no longer scared at these italian terms? good. now for the recipe.
2 duck egg yolks. (if not viable, use 4 regular egg yolks. duck is preferred however due to its richness.)
1 1/2 cup 2% white milk
250 g roughly grated fontina
1 tbsp flour, heaping
1/4 cup grappa
pinch of fine sea salt
pinch of white pepper
steel bowl.
stock pot filled 1/3 of water
fondue pot.

firstly bring the water in the stock pot to a simmer and keep it at a simmer.
next, sit bowl over simmering water.
put flour in bowl
with the wisk, slowly incorperate the milk to the flour so that it is fully mixed. continue to stir and add the cheese. this should start to thicken the sauce.
add the grappa and take off heat.
still stirring add the egg yolks. whisking quickly so as not to scramble the eggs.
at this point you have your fondue. and it is good.
place in fondue pot and you're off to the races.

so now you  have something delish to dip things into. stale bread, veggies, meats, go nuts! use nuts! i don't care, it's all good. you have gooey cheese stuff, how could it go wrong?
well, this has been fun .'till next time, take care.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

on comfort

  i wanted to write my first blog ever about something adventurous and thrilling. maybe some extravagant sushi dish or something i ate at some hot spot that just blew my mind. something using science methods and lasers and i don't know, edible origami. but with all things in my life it always comes back comfort. in this case, comfort food.
  we all have our dishes. for me there's home style mac and cheese, tuna casserole, a nice pork roast, tortierre, lentil soup, hearty beef stew, and of course pizza. oh yes, is there nothing more comforting then a good slice?
  you see, last night i flipped my car, across the highway. it sucked. not gonna lie, it scared the crap out me. it was quite the bang up and its safe to say i'll be relying on public transportation for a bit. but after the cops and the chaos and my parents  had come to pick me up. after we all got home i noticed something...i was freaking STARVING! my was i famished. nothing like a near death experience to get the gut grumbling i guess. and what was the perfect choice? Pizza. Just made the call to one of our faves (extra olives please!) and 30 minutes later i was enjoying a gooey slice with my folks and my girlfriend and feeling much better and very much alive.
  Yup, my first entry into the world of culinary blogging is about pizza. I'm enjoying the leftovers from last night right now in fact. What a delightfully resilient dish pizza is. you can dress it up, dress it down. hot date or helping a buddy move. thin crust, deep dish, no crust, stuffed crust, seafood, veggie, meat lovers, extra cheese no cheese, feta cheese, even grilled! is there anything this dish can't do!!!??? love it. and last night it was just what i needed.
  So, as i worked in a italian joint with a lovely thin crust for some time, i'm going to share my fave pizza recipe.
The Dough
it's always about the crust. it's a difference maker.
in a container put 1 1/2 tbsp of honey.
cover with dry yeast. also about 1 tbsp
cover with 1/2 cup water and let sit somewhere warm.
now you're gonna want to wait for the yeast to rise at this point. What you're looking for is  a good froth on the stuff. About an inch thick. Now, in a mixing bowl give yourself  6 cups of flour. a hearty dash of salt and pepper. 1tbsp each of dry oregano and thyme. 1tbsp olive oil.
form yourself a little bowl in the flour and dump the yeast on in. add about another 2 cups of water.
Using a spatula, fold in flour to water and yeast until it starts to get goopy. Now wash your hands. it's time to use 'em.
Keep folding the flour and dough together. and really work the dough. if its too sticky and wet keep adding small amounts of flour at a time. vise versa with water if its to lumpy and dry. what you are looking for is a dense, but easily mailable texture. Now cover with saran and let proof. aprox 15 mins. the dough will rise nicely. when it's got it's puff going on ( think snooki hair), punch it down. and set yourself up a floured work surface to roll out your dough!
i prefer to go about a quarter to half an inch thick. the trick to a good circle pie shape is the ol' roll and quarter turn. A hard roll up and down then place palm in center of dough an give a quarter turn, and repeat until desired thickness. Now just dress it up with your favorite ingredients and pop it in the oven! 400 F for 15-20mins. I highly recommend putting on some freshly minced basil or the like on after the pie is cooked for an added freshness. I also recommend pancetta as one of your pizza's ingredients. Basically italian cured bacon, it can be found at most meat shops.
 So that's it! my first blog entry. Wasn't this fun? Don't you want a slice right now? And don't worry about ool' me. i'm a tough cookie and still got my appetite so i know i'm ok. The car on the other hand.....yikes. Oh! and also if you feel like posting you pizza stories or a comfort food story please do! I look forward to hearing about it. Kay so i'm  peacing out. talk to ya next time!

Big Heart Chef