Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Veggie au gratin served with lamb, salad, and heirloom tomatoes

I had a delicious brussels sprouts casserole in New York at the Green Table restaurant in the Chelsea Market a few weeks ago and I couldn't stop thinking about it.  When I opened my farm box this week and spotted the brussels sprouts, I knew it was time to attempt a low-carb version.  Because I didn't want to make a bechamel sauce in the traditional au gratin spirit, I elected instead to use an egg-cream custard base for the dish.  While not as "saucy" as it might have been, it has excellent taste and was well-seasoned!

1.5 cups brussels sprouts, rinsed and cut in half lengthwise
2-3 cups red chard, rinsed and chopped into large sections
1/2 to 3/4 cup scallions, or chopped onions
whole nutmeg
1 tablespoon dry curry mix
1 tsp creole seasoning (or other favored dry seasoning)
sea salt
4-5 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon of red sauce (optional)
1.5 cups shredded cheese (I used a combination of Manchego, sharp cheddar, and parmesan)
grapeseed oil

Heat a large pan until medium high.  Add 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil.  When oil begins to shimmer, add brussels sprouts and saute until some browning is visible.  Remove from heat into a separate bowl and allow to cool.  Add onions and cook until slightly browned, remove from heat into separate bowl.  Repeat with chard, but cook until just wilted.  Remove pan from heat.  Allow vegetables to cool until just warmer than room temperature.  Squeeze chard to remove excess juice.  Separate leaves slightly.

Pour combined egg/cream (spice) mixture into a 9x9 greased casserole dish.  Season with curry mix and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Once vegetables are cool, carefully distribute them over the surface of the egg mixture, beginning with chard, then brussels sprouts, then onions.  Lightly season with creole mix.  Sprinkle cheese over surface until it is covered.
Bake at 350 for approximately 25 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes to brown cheese.   Serve immediately.
 sauteed scallions
 brussels sprouts
 wilted sauteed chard
mixture of manchego and cheddar cheese

 egg/cream mixture
 red sauce (this is a home-canned version I picked up at the Farmer's Market)
 I layered the parmesan cheese over the egg custard prior to adding the vegetables
 adding the vegetables so they are evenly distributed throughout the casserole

 top with cheese mixture
grate a small amount of nutmeg over the cheese.
Nutmeg adds a wonderful aromatic element to the dish!

Heirloom tomato:  Yummy!
I never know how to cut one of these "curled up" tomatoes

I cut it into "sections", drizzled it with a small amount of lemony olive oil

added a sprinkle of sea salt, pepper, and some freshly chopped Italian parsley from the garden

Lamb chops were drizzled with a small amount of balsamic vinegar and a bit of lemon pepper dry rub,
then cooked on medium-high heat (pan seared) for about 3 minutes/side.  
Serve immediately.

*With the exception of the cheeses, all the fresh food came from my fresh delivery from Greenling.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Port Restaurant in Corona del Mar, CA

Dining out with my dinner group.  We have been getting together for dinner once a month for three years and we've only repeated two restaurants on the list. This week we went to the Port Restaurant in Corona del Mar.  My friend Ann brought this lovely bottle of red wine.  On Monday nights, the corkage fee is waived if you order 2 entrees. 
I had a side of fresh vegetables and Gnocchi over a bed of spinach.  It was delicious, with just the right balance of flavors.  My friend, Jacquin also had the Gnocchi and a side of bleu cheese mashed potatoes for the ultimate carbo load.

Ginger had a filet, fresh veggies and get this - bleu cheese mashed potatoes.  Beautiful presentation.

Ann had the fish special.  I think the presentation of this plate is amazing, how your eye moves from the green sauce to the top garnishes on the fish.

Here is a view of the inside of the restaurant.  We sat as far back as we could from the nightly entertainment that starts at 8:00pm.  We're are more into having a marvelous meal and conversation, rather than listening to loud music and not being able to hear each other.  We left just as it was starting.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Got Leftover Lamb? Make Lamb Hash

Dice 4 small gold potatoes and one small sweet onion.  Heat up a non-stick pan and add some Olive Oil, about 2T and spread it around the pan with a spoon.  Add the potatoes and cook, stirring often to prevent too much browning.  When you see that they are starting to brown, add the diced onion in the middle and cook.  If everything in the pan is not coated with olive oil, add a bit more.  Once the onions begin to cook, you can mix them with the potatoes, stirring often, so that nothing gets too brown.

One piece of leftover lamb (it was about a 5" square) - cut up

Green beans - cook in the microwave with some water, and steam them for about 3 minutes to get them to soften up

The potatoes are onions are looking pretty good at this point.  The potatoes should be fork tender.

After you cut up all of the lamb, coat with some flour and mix it up so it is everywhere.  You will make a mixture in a cup of 2 T flour and 1 cup of water.  Put your hand over the top of the glass or cover with Glad Press n'Seal wrap, and shake it up, to mix up the flour and water.  Add the green beans and floured lamb to the skillet of onions and potatoes.  Then add the flour and water mixture.  Stir to blend and when the lamb is all warmed up - dinner is ready!

Lamb Hash - all in one dinner

Monday, April 11, 2011

On the Road: A late night dinner in Cincinnati

Blue Point Oysters on the half-shell at McCormick and Schmick!
A toast to the upcoming adventures in Cincinnati
at the International Quilt Festival

Blue Points, served with horseradish, lemon slices, and vineager & shallot mignonette.

now you see them, now you don't!

For more information on consuming raw oysters, 
visit Oyster