Thursday, March 29, 2012

Salmon Kulebyaka

Welcome to Russian week, a cuisine I know absolutely nothing about. I opted to go with my 'when in doubt make seafood' strategy, and arrived at the Russian version of fish pie. This recipe is adapted from:

1 lb salmon filet
Smoked salmon
½ cup rice
1 cup chicken stock (heated in microwave/stovetop)
1 leek , diced (white and light green parts only)
Dill, chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
Puff pastry (1 sheet)
Lemon Juice

For the rice: sauté leeks in butter for about 2-3 minutes, add the rice until it turns opaque, about 2 minutes more. Add in the stock and simmer for about 15 minutes, until tender. Let cool.

Assembly: roll out the puff pastry. Place a layer of smoked salmon on the bottom, followed by a layer of rice, then the hard-boiled eggs (I completely forgot to add these - don't make the same mistake!). Lay the salmon on top, and season with salt and lemon juice. Close up the puff pastry, trim any excess, and brush egg whites on the pastry. Cook at 400°F for 40 minutes – you may need to cover with foil after about 30 minutes to prevent too much browning on the pastry. Serve with a mayonnaise based condiment, like this aioli:

Lemon-caper aioli:
3 garlic cloves
1.5 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 egg yolks (save the whites for brushing on the kulebyaka)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup canola oil

Combine garlic, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper, and egg yolks in a blender. Blend until frothy and garlic is chopped. With the blender running, sloooowly pour in the oil. Stir in capers, lemon zest, and chopped dill.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chessy Caprese Bread

Here’s another one for the “ehh, it turned out good, but it needs some tweaking” file. This could probably be split into two loaves. Inspired and adapted from


15 oz all purpose flour (divided)
4 oz (1 stick) butter
9 oz water
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, room temp

2 cups basil leaves
¼ cup pine nuts
1 clove garlic
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Scant ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Additional ingredients
1 ½ cups mozzarella, shredded
1 tomato, sliced thin

Melt the butter and add the water. Let cool until the mixture is between 110° and 116°F. In a mixer, add 8 ounces of the flour, along with the yeast, sugar, and salt. Mix it around a bit, then pour in the butter/water mixture and mix on low. Add the remaining 7 ounces of flour and mix until incorporated. Add the 2 eggs and mix until incorporated. Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead on low for 3-4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a bowl that’s been sprayed with cooking spray, cover, and let rise until doubled, about an hour.

Meanwhile for the pesto:
Add the chopped garlic and pine nuts to a food processor and whiz a few times.
Add the remaining ingredients and process until it’s the consistency you’re looking for. Season with salt and pepper.


Roll out the dough on a well floured surface into a 12”x20” rectangle.  Use a brush to coat the dough with pesto. Grab a pizza cutter and slice into strips. Stack the strips on top of each other, layering with mozzarella and tomatoes along the way. Once the strips are piled on top of each other, cut into squares and place into a greased bread pan or two (like I said earlier, you might be able to get 2 loaves out of this… I squeezed it all into 1). Cover loosely and let proof for 30 – 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the top starts to brown.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Boxty Quesadillas

This is a take on a dish from Fado Irish Pub, a chain of bars I’m fond of for being open for soccer matches early in the mornings on weekends. Nothing like drinking Guinness at 10 a.m. on a Sunday. The food there is also pretty tasty, so I decided to recreate their Boxty Breakfast meal.  Boxties are potato pancakes, in this case with a crepe like consistency. I adapted the recipe from: It doesn’t taste exactly like I remember it, but it’s still a tasty breakfast. I stuffed the quesadillas way to full, hence the ugly presentation.

For the boxty pancakes:

1.5 lbs potatoes, grated and soaked in water for 10 minutes
½ stick (2 oz.) butter, melted
4 ¼ cup milk
3/8 cup water
4 eggs
20 oz. all purpose flour
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup parsley

Pico de gallo:

2.5 medium tomatoes (I used the vine ripened ones), diced
2 serrano chiles, small dice
1 garlic clove, roasted on a dry skillet and minced
½ red onion, diced small, then rinsed under cold water in a colander
Cilantro, chopped
Lime juice

3 eggs
1/3 pound Irish bangers
Monterey Jack cheese

Make the pico de gallo ahead of time and let the flavors marry together in the fridge. For the pancakes, whisk the eggs and add the other liquid ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and add the wet mixture into the dry, until everything is incorporated. Drain the potatoes in a colander, and add them to the pancake mixture. Heat a 9 to 10 inch non-stick pan (or, you know, as many pans as you have), spray with some non stick spray and ladle in ¼ - 1/3 cup in the center of the pan, then rotate the pan in a circle so the mixture fills the area. Cook for about 45 seconds, then flip and cook for another 45 seconds. This recipe yields 20 or so pancakes.

Once the boxties are finished, cook the bangers in a pan, breaking it up, until it starts to brown. Whisk 3 eggs and dump them in the pan. Once the eggs cook a bit, add the cheese. When the eggs are done, dump the mixture on top of a boxty, add a big scoop of salsa, and top with another boxty. Slice into quarters.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Coffee/Ancho Rubbed Roast


For the rub:
2 Ancho Chiles (or ¼ ancho chile powder)
¼ cup coffee
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
¼ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon black pepper

2.5 – 3 lb. beef roast (I used top sirloin)
celery stalks
 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons flour
¼ cup wine
26 oz beef stock
1 tablespoon horseradish mustard

To make the rub: toast the chiles in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 30 seconds per side (they’re ready once they smell amazing) and grind in a coffee/spice grinder. Grind the coffee as well. Combine remaining rub ingredients.

Take the roast out of the fridge an hour before cooking. Liberally season with salt, let it sit for about 20 minutes, then rub the spice mix all over. Line a roasting dish/oven safe skillet with some root vegetables (carrot, celery, onion, and garlic in my case) and fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage) if you have them. Place the rubbed roast on top and roast for 65 minutes at 375°F, or until your thermometer hits 125°.

Remove the roast from the oven and let it rest. Place the skillet on the stove and turn to medium. Add the 2 T flour and mash the vegetables up as best as you can. Add the wine, turn to high and let the liquid reduce until the pan is almost dry. Add the stock, and let reduce until it’s at a consistency that looks good (12 minutes or so). Strain the liquid into a bowl, and add the mustard.

And yes, that's a piece of butcher twine that made it onto the plate