Thursday, February 15, 2018

Steamed Lobster Tails en Papillote #FishFridayFoodies


It's time for Fish Friday Foodies' February event. We are a group of seafood-loving bloggers, rallied by Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm, to share fish and seafood recipes on the third Friday of the month. This is, easily, my favorite recipe sharing event of the month. I always come away with a list of recipes that I just have to try!

This month, Sue of Palatable Pastime is hosting. She asked us to make any kind of seafood or fish baked in parchment or foil (en papillote).

en pa·pi·llote
äN ˌpapēˈyōt/
adjective & adverb
  1. (of food) cooked and served in a paper wrapper
The Line-Up of Wrap-Ups



Steamed Lobster Tails en Papillote

While I have cooked a lot of seafood en papillote - Halibut with Onion Jam, Tapenade-Topped Sablefish, and even Campfire Steelhead while camping - I realized that I'd never tried lobster en papillote. And I just happened to have four lobster tails ready for Valentines' dinner. So...we gave it a try. To further the celebration, I made the parchment pieces into hearts. I know, I'm corny that way.


Ingredients serves 4

  • 4 (5-ounce) lobster tails 
  • 1/2 C (equals 8 T) white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1/4 C (equals 4 T) olive oil
  • 1 t flake salt
  • bunch of organic asparagus
  • Also needed parchment paper

Procedure

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Cut four lengths of parchment paper to about 20 inches. Fold in half and cut out (half) a heart...it'll be a full heart when you unfold it! Place the parchment hearts on a cutting board.

Using kitchen shears, cut each lobster tail down the back, stopping at the last segment before the tail piece. Bend back the tail until you hear a loud crack. Slip a knife between the meat and the bottom membrane, freeing tail meat from the shell. Pull the meat up and over the shell, closing the shell shut beneath it. The tail meat, then, piggybacks on top of the shell. Place the lobster in the center of the heart - on the crease.

Sprinkle with salt and place trimmed asparagus alongside the tail. Drizzle with 1 T olive oil and 2 T white wine.


Starting at the top of the heart, fold edges of parchment, sealing edges with narrow folds. Twist the end tip to secure tightly. Repeat with all four, then place packets on a baking sheet.

Bake at 425° F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand 5 minutes.


Let diners open their own hearts. Enjoy! Though this was a special Valentines' dinner, I encourage people to celebrate love everyday...not just on February 14th.

Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons, Roasted Peppers, and Olives + Donkey & Goat's Grenache Blanc Skins #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Donkey & Goat Winery.* All opinions are my own.

This was a recipe I tested to go with Donkey & Goat's Grenache Blanc Skins. While, in the end, I opted to post my Petrale Sole, Fennel, and Potato Gratin for their Spring wine release, it was simply because this recipe can be seen as complicated and requiring a special pot - a tagine. You can accomplish the same thing with a Dutch oven or any pot with a tight-fitting lid. But I agreed with Jared that this crossed the line from inspiring to intimidating. That is definitely not where I wanted to go for the project.

But I did want to share it regardless because it was a fabulous dish with the wine!

Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons, 
Roasted Peppers, and Olives


Ingredients serves 8
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • ¼ t saffron threads, pulverized
  • ½  t ground ginger
  • 1 t smoked paprika
  • ½ t ground cumin
  • ½ t turmeric
  • whole chicken, cut in 8 to 10 pieces, or 8 chicken thighs
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 C olives, pitted and halved
  • 1 C roasted peppers, thickly sliced
  • 4 to 5 preserved lemon wedges, pulp removed and rind sliced thinly
  • 2 C chicken stock
  • 2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley


Procedure
Blend garlic, saffron, ginger, paprika, cumin, and turmeric together. Rub chicken with mixture, cover, refrigerate and marinate 3 to 4 hours. 

Heat half of the oil in heavy skillet, or base of the tagine. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Heat the remaining oil in the tagine. Add onions and cook over medium-low heat until lightly browned.

Tuck the cinnamon stick into the onions and place the browned chicken on top of that.


Scatter with olives, roasted peppers, and preserved lemon strips. Pour stock over chicken. Bring to a boil, then cover. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.


To serve, sprinkle with parsley and divide into individual servings. Serve hot. I served this with barely blanched green beans and saffron rice. Read my thoughts about this wine in the gratin post. It's amazing!


You may find Donkey & Goat...
on the web
on Twitter
on Instagram

*Disclosure: I received complimentary product for the purpose of recipe development. This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.*

Cured Egg Yolks

While I have a subscription to a few cooking magazines, I rarely read them. But, every once in a while, I'll thumb through one while I'm eating lunch at work. 

And one day, a few years ago, I saw salt-cured egg yolks. They caught my eye because I thought they might be a good substitute for bottarga, cured fish roe. I finally got around to making them. I did a small batch because I wasn't sure how it would work...or if we would like them. The verdict: this works well and it's an intriguing addition to dishes.


Ingredients 
  • 1/3 pound kosher salt
  • 1/3 pound organic granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs


Procedure
Blend the salt and sugar together in a large bowl and transfer half of the mixture to a square dish and shake gently to settle into an even layer.


Using whole, in-shell eggs, make 4 evenly spaced indentations in the bed by pressing bottom of egg gently into mixture.

Crack eggs, separate yolks from whites, and gently place yolks to indentations in bed. Carefully pour remaining salt mixture evenly over yolks. Wrap dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until yolks are firm and dry, approximately 6 to 7 days.


Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Remove yolks from salt-sugar mixture. Brushing off excess grains and place on a baking sheet. Bake until exteriors of yolks are dry to touch, approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool and keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Serving Ideas
Grate or thinly slice yolks and sprinkle on your favorite dishes. Swap it for parmesan on pasta and risotto. Use it as a seasoning on roasted vegetables and avocado toast. Get creative! Can't wait to share what I've been using this on. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Petrale Sole, Fennel, and Potato Gratin + Donkey & Goat's Grenache Blanc Skins #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Donkey & Goat Winery.* All opinions are my own.

It's wild for me to think that I've never met Jared and Tracey Brandt of Donkey & Goat Winery in real life. I've long been a fan of their wines; I make a point to swing by their tasting room in Berkeley any time we're in the Bay Area; and they agreed to sponsor a Locavore Cooking Class + Feast that I donate each year to a local high school fundraiser. They are awesome and supportive though we've only connected virtually.


So, when Jared emailed to say that my name had come up in conversation and would I be willing to create a pairing suggestion to time with their Spring wine release, I agreed before I even knew with what wine I would be working.


When I realized it was their new Grenache Blanc Skins, I shrieked in glee. Really. Maybe it was more of a squeal, but it was definitely accompanied by a little jump. I love all the Donkey & Goat skin ferments; they are so esoteric and have great texture. And, on top of that, I adore that beautiful orange hue. You just know you're sipping 'adventure' with a wine that color, right?


I tested several various dishes with the wine, including a Chicken Tagine with Roasted Peppers and Olives; Paella; and different cheeses. I'll be sharing thoughts on those soon. But, when I gave Jared the option of the pairings, he asked me to lean towards something that would be inspirational and not too intimidating.

Then my husband - who never cooks and hardly comments on my food until it's something he really dislikes and it's been served more than five times - made a suggestion. "I see this pairing really well with potatoes and cream...but for a main dish." I mentioned the sole I had from the fish market and ran fennel by him as an additional flavor. In my estimation, fennel pollen is the equivalent of culinary fairy dust. It makes everything sparkle. 


Success! I love that this dish looks and tastes elegant, but it requires just a handful of ingredients and only two pans. Potatoes and cream are always comforting, but the addition of fish, sweet onions, and earthy fennel make this a dish fancy enough for company. Toss together a green salad, open a bottle of Donkey & Goat Winery’s Grenache Blanc Skins, and dinner is served!

A few notes: I used a 9” enameled cast iron pot. But you can use a ceramic dish or even individual ramekins for a more personal size serving. A mandolin slicer is helpful for the potatoes. And feel free to substitute whatever white fish you have available. Just be sure the fillets are thinly sliced.

Ingredients serves 6

  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and dried
  • 2 T butter, divided + more for buttering the baking dish
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound petrale sole fillets
  • Freshly ground salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground pepper, as needed
  • 2 t fennel pollen
  • 1 C heavy whipping cream
Procedure

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a baking dish. Slice the potatoes into thin, even slices. Season the fish lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.


In a skillet with 1 T butter, cook the onions and fennel until they soften, approximately 10 minutes. Set aside.


This part is all about making even and appealing layers to the gratin. I did one-third of the potatoes, one-half of the onions and fennel; one-third of the potatoes; all of the fish with 1 t fennel pollen; one-half of the onions and fennel; one-third of the potatoes with 1 t fennel pollen on the top. Season lightly with salt and pepper at each potato layer.


Gently press down on the layers to create an even top. Pour the cream over the potatoes. Bake for 40 minutes.


Cut 1 T butter into smaller cubes. Remove from the oven and dot the top with butter cubes. Return to the oven and bake until the top layer of potatoes is tender and beginning to brown, approximately 20 more minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Serve hot.

Donkey & Goat's Grenache Blanc Skins Tasting Notes
All of their wines are so unique. But this one is alluring in the breadth of aromas and flavors. Think of the sweet floral tinge of poached quince mixed with spiciness of cloves and cinnamon. Then imagine the zesty citrus of a Makrut lime tempered with fresh honeycomb. It sounds like it's all over the place, but it's beautifully balanced with solid tannins. Drinking this wine is an absolute pleasure!


You may find Donkey & Goat...
on the web
on Twitter
on Instagram

*Disclosure: I received complimentary product for the purpose of recipe development. This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.*

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

L'Amour dans une Bouteille ou Quatre #Winophiles #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with the February #Winophiles event.
Wine samples were provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.
Mon Amour et Moi, California coastline
"The way to man's heart is through his stomach." I have heard that so many times and, given the three ravenous males with whom I share a house, I can say with absolute certainty that that is true! 

I have even heard Jake utter the words, "I might have married her anyway, but the fact that she could cook...that sealed the deal." So, yeah. Stomach, heart, marriage proposal. And that was almost nineteen years ago now.


Lynn from Savor the Harvest coordinated this month's French Winophiles and lined up some wines for our theme. Her preview post is here. But we were tasked with finding wines, either with name or label, that give a nod to love, l'amour. And, in honor of love and Valentines', the #Winophiles are posting early. Typically we post on the third Saturday of the month; this month, we are posting from February 14th till the weekend. So, keep checking back.

Given that we received a generous sampling of four wines, I decided to post L'Amour dans une Bouteille ou Quatre - love in a bottle or four! But first, here are the other writers' posts for the theme..

The French Winophiles Talk About l'Amour

 L'Amour dans une Bouteille ou Quatre 

As for me, we tasted, cooked, and paired meals to match all of the wines that were sent. I have to admit that I didn't completely get the 'French wines with a name or concept reminiscent of love' on some of these. But I went with it.

Roasted Lemon-Fennel Spatchcocked Chicken 
recipe here
With Bottle No. 1 Famille Bougrier, Pure Loire Rosé d'Anjou 2016

Famille Bougrier, a sixth-generation winery that was founded in 1885, is one of the Loire Valley’s last family-owned domaines. Pure Loire Rosé d'Anjou is made from 50% Gamay and 50% Grolleau with a blend of both macerated and pressed juices.

While I don't typically choose sweet wines, this one was alluring with a floral finish. And at less than $14, it's a wine to keep on hand for drinking all through the Spring and Summer. 

Tartiflette with Fromage Fort
recipe here
With Bottle No. 2 Domaine Jean Perrier et Fils, Apremont Fleur de Jacquère 2017

Jean Perrier & Fils is a family estate that's been handed from father to son for seven generations. Since 1853 they have been pioneers in making mountain wines in the French Alps. Due to the steep angles of their vineyards, all of the cultivation and harvesting is done by hand. That passion and dedication is palpable in the wine!

Jacquère is a grape variety that is completely new to me. It's an alpine varietal common in the Savoie region of France. I don't think I've ever described a wine as 'shiny', but I think this one does. And I can't call it 'sparkling' because it's a still, but it definitely has a glint of silver in its hue. On the tongue there is a delightful balance of complexity and pure freshness. The wine was very dry with a lot of minerality and a splash of citrus.

Steak and Potato Nachos
recipe here
With Bottle No. 3 Maison Vidal Fleury, Brune et Blonde 2013

Vidal-Fleury’s winemaking philosophy can be summarized this way: source quality grapes from the terroirs of the Rhône Valley and respect the required time to mature and age the wines.

A dry red wine from one of France's oldest vineyards, the Côte-Rôtie 2013 Brune & Blonde de Vidal-Fleury is comprised of 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier. The name refers to the different substrates under the vines: Côte Blonde is on the southwest side with soil rich in clay; Côte Brune, to the northeast, is richer in iron and manganese oxide.

The wine has a vivid crimson color with a complex nose full of fresh fruits, smoke, and spice. On the tongue, however, the wine is less intense and more balanced. It's full-bodied with a soft feel and moderate tannins.

Carpaccio di Tonno
recipe here
With Bottle No. 4 Vinescence Cave de Bel Air, Saint Amour 2016 (Vignerons de Bel Air)

Made from 100% Gamay, this wine was a deep, intense red with flowers and dried fruit on the nose. On the tongue, the wine was rounded with underlying tannins. 


However you celebrate Valentines' Day, may it be filled with the people you love, delicious food, and a lovely bottle...or four...of wine. Cheers!

Find the Sponsors..
Famille Bougrier on Facebook

Vignerons de Bel Air on Twitter

Vidal-Fleury on Facebook

Jean Perrier et Fils on the web, on Twitter

*Disclosure: I received sample wines for recipe development, pairing, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.

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