Lemon and Scallop Carpaccio

14th April, 2011: Posted by G.L. Pease in Moderate, Starters, seafood

There’s little that comes from the sea that I don’t love, but scallops are a particular fave, and their fresh, sweet, slightly briny flavor is always a delight, whether seared, sautéed, grilled, fried, or in a ceviche or crudo. One especially elegant approach is to serve them as a carpaccio, and that’s what this is. Sort of.

Like most seafood, scallops get along well with citrus, but it’s easy to go too far. Even in a ceviche, too much time in too much lime can easily overwhelm their delicate flavor, so it’s important to approach them simply, and with a light hand. Here, for that reason, the lemon is prepared separately in advance, sweetened and preserved by the application of a little sugar, a little salt. The scallops, sliced and lightly marinated with fresh orange juice, are served on top. The combination is fresh and delightful, making a wonderful little amuse bouche for a seafood supper.

Let’s get to it. Read more…»

Pan Seared Duck with Orange Chipotle Sauce

2nd June, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in Main Courses, Moderate

First, a confession. See the picture? Where’s the succulent, juicy, rare slices of beautifully seared duck breast, with crispy skin and lovely sauce? What’s that dark flesh that could be anything? Well, um…

I actually shot the photograph of the leftovers that I had for lunch today. When cooking for company, they’re rarely patient enough to wait around whilst I go about fiddling with plating and lighting and photographing the food I’m about to serve them; they want to eat, and preferably, while the food is still warm. So I had to make do with the leftovers. I’d put the tiny little pieces of duck breast in the fridge, along with the sauce, so the meat got much darker than it was on the night of serving, and the gorgeous golden, crispy skin turned into what you see here . Still, it was a deliciously decadent lunch. So it goes. You’ll have to take my word for it; it was much prettier the night before. If you want to see other pictures of nicely presented duck flesh, do a search. The web is littered with ‘em. Then, come back here for something really delicious, a bit showy for your guests, and quite easy to do.

Basically, this is a riff on the classic canard a l’orange. The addition of some sweet pickled chipotles adds a spicy, fragrantly smoky character to the dish that plays wonderfully with the orange sauce, without overwhelming the wonderful taste of the duck.

You can use mallards or teals, or whatever your hunting friends can be talked into bringing over. (Thanks, Norbert!) Whatever duck you choose, the key is to not overcook it. Read more…»

Cioppino Bianco

25th May, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in Main Courses, Moderate, Soups

The now classic cioppino was originally developed in San Francisco in the late 1800s by Italian fishermen who had settled in the city’s North Beach area. Fresh fish, the catch of the day – typically crab, shellfish, squid and fin fish – are brought together with garlic, tomatoes and wine to make a rich, delicious red seafood stew, usually served with a crusty, rustic sourdough bread [1].

This version is a little lighter, but no less delightful. The more delicate saffron infused broth showcases the delicious sweetness of fresh mussels, clams and shrimp. A little smoked fin fish, and some velvety yellow eye beans add depth and texture. A garnish of gremolata brings up the high notes, and really makes it sing. Read more…»

Chicken Tortilla Soup

12th April, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in Moderate, Soups

Based on a Rick Bayless recipe

This is a remapping of one of Rick Bayless’s recipes for those who want a more hands-on approach to the dish. As usual, we’ll do everything we can to extract the most flavor possible from the ingredients, creating something absolutely delicious, and almost 100% scratch made. We use tinned tomatoes, simply becuase it’s really hard to get fantastic fresh tomatoes during the cooler months, when a hearty, spicy soup like this is most welcome, and also just becuase they’re really good. Choose a quality brand, preferably all natural. The fire roasting brings up the smoky flavours of the soup.

The method isn’t tedious, but it does take some care. We’ll golden-brown the chicken, rendering some of its fat in which we’ll cook the onions. Then, the chicken gets another turn in the pot, browning to deliver more of its chickeny goodness. Read more…»

Chicken Marrakesh

10th April, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in Main Courses, Moderate

This is actually the dish that inspired the creation of Marrakesh Sunset in the first place. We’d gone out for a lovely Morrocan meal, and I fell in love with a Chicken Tagine, with Citron Confit, or preserved lemon. After its haunting my dreams for a couple weeks, I didn’t just want it, I had to have it. So, I looked up a dozen or so recipes for similar dishes, spent several hours experimenting with the balance of the spices, and this delightfully simple but richly flavored and delicious dish was the result.

This is traditionally cooked in a tagine, a shallow clay pot with a tall, conical lid designed to seal in the goodness. The stew would be braised in the tagine until tender; then, the lid would be removed, and the pot brought to table for service. The recipe here is adapted for the cooktop using a 4-5qt sauteusse, deep skillet or even a Dutch oven, but if you have a tagine, it’s even better. Read more…»

Chili Canario

6th April, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in Moderate

Chili is one of those ‘controversial’ foods. Almost everyone loves it, and each has at least one opionion about what it is, and what it is not. There are national and world-wide competitions in which contestants try to prove that theirs is, in fact, the best there is. Some like it hot and spicy, and others like it hotter and spicier. One thing is constant; according to the International Chili Society, “Never has there been anything mild about chili.” Well put!

Here’s my version. It’s spicy and rich and wonderful. The Chili Casablanca has some little surprises that add interesting dimensions to the dish. It’s not flame-thrower hot, but presents plenty of warmth. If you want more fire and even more flavor, add a little Flavorevolutions Fatal Attraction hot sauce when you serve it — it complements the spices beautifully. Or, chop some fresh Habaneros, red onions and cilantro to sprinkle over the top. For a twist, garnish with wedge of lime. Read more…»

Fusili with Tomato Cream

3rd April, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in Main Courses, Moderate, pasta

Tomato cream sauces can be wonderful, and are a great addition to the culinary repertoire, but often, they end up a little lacking in that wonderful tomato flavor that we crave. My approach is to turn the knobs to eleven, amping everything up, so that when the cream is added in the final steps, there’s still lots of tomato goodness, tons of flavor and amazing mouth-watering aromas. And, we’ll do it without tomato paste.

The method is simple, but requires a little attention. We’ll cook down and caramelize the tomatoes, add some sun-dried to amplify the flavors, and use an unexpected ingredient. (Even if you think you hate anchovies, try it my way. They add some body and depth, and amp everything up, but won’t make the sauce fishy; you won’t really taste them, but you’d notice if they weren’t there.) Read more…»

Citron Confit – Salt Preserved Lemons

1st April, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in Moderate

Once you’ve had preserved lemons, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without a jar of them in the pantry. They have a bright and lively taste, without being overly sharp, and bring lemony goodness to many dishes.

You can order them from Middle Eastern specialty shops, but they’re really easy to make,
and you’ll know exactly what to do next time that generous neighbor brings you a big bag of fresh lemons from their overly prolific tree.

An open jar will keep in the fridge for at least a year, though you’ll use them far more quickly than that, so be sure to have another jar or two “doing their thing” on the counter top. It takes six to eight weeks before before they’re really ready to use, so what are you waiting for? You’ll want these on-hand when you get your Marrakesh Sunset, so you can immediately do a batch of Chicken with Citron Confit and Olives! Read more…»