Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pizzetta with Roasted Roma Tomatoes, Organic Fennel, Garlic, Queso Fresco, Balsamic Syrup and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Pizzetta Dough
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup warm water (between 95° and 115° F.)
2 T yeast (2 tablespoons, I like my dough a little yeasty. You can use less)
2 T sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. Salt
Pour warm water into a bowl. The water should be about 85 to 115° F. Test it with your hand. It should feel very warm, but comfortable. Add the sugar and salt. Mix until well blended. Add the yeast and mix. Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of flour and the olive oil and mix until well blended. Add the rest of the flour (and any other additions) and mix well. The dough should turn into a ball. If the dough does not ball up because it's too dry, add water one tablespoon at a time until it does. If your mixture is more like a batter, add flour one tablespoon at a time. Adding water or flour as needed to get the right consistency will assure you always get a perfect dough. Just remember to do it in small amounts.
Once the dough is balled up, place the ball on a floured board and knead for about a minute. Place the dough in a covered bowl and store in a warm, dry area to rise.

After about 45 minutes the dough should have about doubled in size. Punch it down. Let it rise for another hour to an hour and a half. The dough is now ready to be rolled out.

Portion into 3 - ounce balls and roll out. Pizzetta should be about 5 inches across. Place on a sheet pan, and brush with olive oil. Let rise for 5 minutes then bake at 425°F until lightly browned.
Freeze any unused dough for the future.

Toppings for 4 pizzettas
4 Roma tomatoes
1 baby fennel bulb only sliced thinly
1 c. balsamic vinegar (not the expensive variety)
8 basil leaves julienned
4 oz. queso fresco or mozzarella shredded
4 cloves garlic chopped
Kosher salt
Queso fresco can be purchased at many Mexican food stores. Substitute fresh or regular mozzarella if necessary.
Quarter the tomatoes and lay cut side up on a cookie sheet with the sliced fennel and garlic. Sprinkle with kosher salt and olive oil. Roast the tomatoes, garlic and fennel in a 400°F oven until slightly browned and caramelized. Remove and keep at room temperature.
Reduce the balsamic vinegar in a saucepan over low heat by 3/4s or until it seems to thicken.

Arrange pizzettas on a cookie sheet and top with roasted tomatoes – 4 quarters per pizzetta and divide the fennel and garlic over the pizzettas. Sprinkle with basil, top with cheese and bake at 400°F until cheese melts. Drizzle balsamic syrup over the top of each pizza and brush with olive oil. Cut into quarters and serve.
Avocado and Smoked Salmon Pastry Puffs.
2 oz. of Smoked salmon diced
2 Avocados diced (1 ¾ to 2 cups)
juice of 1 lemon
1 tblsp. finely chopped chives
½ teasp. Kosher salt

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate 30 minutes before using.
Yield 2 cups – will fill sixteen puffs nicely
Pate Choux
1 c. milk
1/4 lb Butter
1/4 teasp. salt
2 teasp. Sugar
1 cup Flour
4 Eggs

In a 4-cup saucepot, heat milk and butter till butter is melted. Add the salt and sugar. Turn off the flame and add the flour. Blend well. Turn the flame back on and cook the “panade” for a few minutes over low heat. The mixture will ball up and come away from the sides of the pot easily. Place the “panade” in a mixer and add the eggs one at a time. Mix until smooth.

Spoon or pipe with a pastry bag 2 tablespoons of the mixture onto a cookie sheet and bake in a hot oven (400°F) for 10 minutes. When browned reduce the heat to 325°F. Try not to open the oven door as this will make the puffs fall. Continue cooking for about 40 minutes.
You can freeze the dough you don’t use or cook the puff and freeze. You can refresh them in a 325°F oven for 5 minutes to use at another time

Yields 24 oz. (3 c.) 24 1-oz. puffs.

Cut tops off of the puffs and fill with a heaping tablespoon of the filling.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Wild Caught Salmon with Celery Root Pancake

I use curly leaf parsley for these recipes as it much more aromatic.

4 servings
Ingredients for Parsley Oil
1 bunch curly leaf parsley
2 c. olive oil (not extra virgin as this will over power the sauce)
4 tblsp. Lemon juice (juice of 2 large lemons)
2 teasp. kosher salt
Leave the rubber band on and blanch the parsley in boiling water for 1 minute and dip into ice water. Squeeze out as much of the water as possible. Chop off the stems and place the leaves in a blender with the oil and salt. Puree for 2 minutes. If puree is too thick add a little cold water.
Salmon Filet and Crust|
4  six ounce salmon filets cut as squarely as possible
2 c. panko breadcrumbs (Japanese cracker crumbs)
4 tblsp. finely chopped curly leaf parsley
|2 tblsp. dijon mustard
1 tblsp. water
1 pinch kosher salt
1 oz. safflower oil
Preheat oven to 400°F. Dilute the mustard with water and brush the top side of the salmon filets with the mustard. Sprinkle with a small amount of kosher salt and the chopped parsley. Press the mustard coated side into the panko breadcrumbs and turn over and press the uncoated side into the crumbs. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan with an oven - proof handle (a well cured cast iron skillet will do). Making sure the oil is not too hot to brown the crust, place the salmon, mustard coated side down, in the pan. Brown lightly for 1 minute and turn salmon filets over. Place pan into the oven for 5 minutes, remove and let the salmon remain in the pan to keep warm.

Celery Root – Potato Pancake
1 small celery root, peeled, washed and julienned, about 2 cups
½ yellow onion chopped fine (1/2 cup)
|2 large russet potatoes (1 1/3 lbs.) grated about 2 cups
2 Eggs
1/8 teasp. Ground nutmeg
1 tblsp. Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Peel the celery root and grate into a bowl. Add the chopped onion. Peel and grate the potatoes into a separate bowl. Squeeze out extra moisture in the potatoes before adding to the bowl with the celery root. Add the eggs, nutmeg, and salt.
Heat a nonstick Teflon pan or seasoned cast iron pan to medium high heat, add salad oil. Place a scant ¾ cup of the celery root mixture to one side of the pan then add one more batch of ¾ cup.
Pancakes should be 3 ½ to 4 inches across and ½ inch in height. Brown lightly for 3 minutes and turn over. Brown for another 3 minutes and place on a cookie sheet. Repeat until mixture is used up. Bake pancakes for 15 minutes to cook through.
These are also great for breakfast with eggs.
Yield 4 to 6 pancakes
Place warm pancake on plate. Place cooked salmon leaning against the pancake. Drizzle with parsley puree. Serve with pea shoots or spinach.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Grass Fed Braised Pescadero Beef Cheeks

Braised Pescadero Beef Cheeks
Pescadero has a great little farmer’s market every Thursday afternoon. That’s where we found a great ranch that sells free-range beef. (Markegard Family Grass-Fed
pastured local meat, eggs and herd shares) Unfortunately they were out of the beef cheeks that we desired. We arranged to meet one of the owners the next day at the Half Moon Bay Farmer’s Market to pick up the cheeks and a cross rib roast. Beef cheeks are an unusual cut that needs a long cooking time but rewards you with a sweet savory product. They are very easy to cook but they require patience – at least three hours.
Following is a list of ingredients. The trick is to first brown the cheeks and bacon in a large casserole with olive oil then add the vegetables and them brown them. Follow with remaining ingredients and cover. Cook until tender. Pour into a roasting pan and roast uncovered at 375°F 30 minutes to caramelize meat.
We also bought some of the Pescadero Bakery’s famous artichoke bread to serve along side – amazing. We also found baby russet potatoes to complete the meal.

Beef cheeks (dice into ½ inch cubes)
Olive oil
Diced canned tomatoes
Chicken stock

(Sauté mushrooms in butter before adding)


Baby potatoes