Sunday, August 22, 2010

Holy Molé

We started once again with six ingredients.  Josh: whole raw cashews, Sartori Reserve BellaVitano Balsamic cheese, orange juice. Anoush: ripe plantains, Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry, Green & Black's Organic Dark 85% Chocolate.

The obvious use for the chocolate was a molé sauce. We had a boneless skin-on turkey breast in the fridge quietly longing for a molé sauce. The course of the meal was set. First, A. marinated the turkey breast in orange juice, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, chili flakes, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cashews were crushed, toasted, and set aside; molé was assembled from olive oil, onion, garlic, green chiles, red bell pepper, cilantro, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, clove, tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, cream sherry, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, ground toasted cashews, and about 3 oz. dark chocolate.

In the meantime J. prepared St. Germain cocktails as a before dinner drink.  St. Germain cocktails (as we make them) are: 1 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur, 1 oz Champagne, club soda.  In a glass of ice, add Champagne & St. Germain, top off with club soda.  Stir well.

A. sliced and pan-fried the plantains and got them ready for the oven. She also sliced and blanched a few carrots, and made a glaze out of the remaining orange juice, butter, dijon mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, and honey. J. thought it smelled like urine. A. thought J. was insane.

A. preheated her new Weber Q 200 (her awesome early birthday present!) and threw the turkey breast on there with a packet of woodchips to smoke. Meanwhile, cheese was grated over the seasoned plantains and they were popped into the oven. The carrots took a dip into the orange glaze. St. Germain cocktails were enjoyed.

Grilled turkey with sherry molé and toasted cashews
Cheesy oven-caramelized plantains
Orange-honey glazed carrots


Friday, July 23, 2010

Pistachio Loves Salmon

J:  This is the second time we have tried this, and the first time we have attempted to document it.  So far, we have two overwhelming successes.  Here's how it went tonight:

We arrived at Pick n' Save (Pioneer Rd.) at 6:13pm and agreed to meet with our three ingredient selections at 6:30pm.  By 6:22pm we had both made our separate selections and reconvened to check out.  (Maybe a very short time should be an added challenge in the future?)

I selected some fresh jalapeno peppers, a bottle of sweet chili sauce, and a tub of fresh mozzarella bocconcini ("little mouthfuls") in brine.  Anoush selected coho salmon, fresh mangoes, and some shelled pistachios.

A: We marinated the salmon in the sweet chili sauce and popped it into the fridge. Two white onions were diced and thrown into a pan with olive oil and salt. When lightly caramelized, a diced mango and the juice of an orange were added. Caramelization continued, with occasional water added to keep everything from scorching. When the onions and mango were a lovely deep golden brown,  the mess was blended with a bit of water to make a sticky mango-onion sauce.

Meanwhile, pistachios had been smashed and two jalapenos had been seeded and chopped. The jalapenos went into another pan with olive oil, garlic, and cumin, and after a minute of smelling good jasmine rice was added and sauteed for a bit. Then in went chicken broth and a chopped tomato.

The oven was preheated. The salmon was crusted with pistachios and seared off, and then into the oven it went to finish cooking (there was concern that the pistachios would burn on the stove, and they were rather thick salmon fillets).

Plating: Hot rice was topped with mozzarella slices. Salmon was topped with fresh cilantro and mango-onion sauce. A side of sweet chili sauce was provided, but proved unnecessary.

The salmon was delicious, a nice balance between the sweet marinade, crunchy pistachios, fresh cilantro, and silky onion sauce. The rice was tasty but a bit safe--the salmon could have used a side that was lighter, fresher, more adventurous.