Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lost in the Bahamian Haze

Sorry I haven't posted a blog in some time but I just got back from vacation. I spent last week in the Bahamas on an island called Great Guana Cay (pronounced key). It's one of the "out islands" just off the main island of Abaco. We took the ferry from Marsh Harbor to Guana and stayed at a nice little bar/bed Grabber's at Sunset Beach. Life's rough, yeah I know it. 

I'll be back to writing on a routine basis once I recover and settle in. I have some great ideas for chocolates in the works. While over there I got to talking to the chef at Grabber's about different spices the Bahamian's use in their day to day food. So, I plan on experimenting with different combinations in my chocolates. Should be quite the experience....can't wait to get my hands into it! Until then. 

Friday, May 16, 2008

Grilled Portabella Madness

I'm not a huge fan of eating red meat, in fact I don't. Maybe that's because it makes me violently ill. So, I mostly just stick to chicken, fish and seafood. Although, once a year during my father's Octoberfest party I have been known to eat my weight in bratwurst but that's another story. Thank goodness for the makers of Tagamet-B!

Well, I often miss that rich flavor and texture of a thick grilled steak, so the closest thing I have found is that of a grilled portabella mushroom. I'm sure to get tons of hate mail for this, but hey these are my taste buds we're talking about and not just some schlep off the street that hits up every AYCE (all you can eat) or even worse, dines at Applebee's. To me this is steak! So I treat portabellas with as much respect as someone might treat, let's say....a cut of Kobe beef. 

I start with the best looking caps I can find at the store. They must be firm to the touch, almost springy. If they are too dry or there's any mushiness, forget it, I'll wait. Also, if they are pungent like dirty wet hiker socks (basically more than the usual funk) or hairy and moldy, I leave them be. 

Once home I marinade them in a Ziplock bag with soy sauce, olive oil and fresh minced garlic. I make sure that all of the caps are covered in the marinade. I'll let them sit like that for several hours in the fridge. I fire up the grill and cook them gill-side up first. After 5-10min I flip them and close the lid since the olive oil will catch fire. I let the caps cook another 5mins or so before removing them. They should look juicy and not dried out. Serve immediately. Yummers! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

No-Frills Tomato Onion Basil Quiche

I made four of these super easy quiches last night. Three of them were for work while the other one was for Adrianne and I's dinner. It's such and easy recipe that I thought I'd share. Don't expect some fancy-shmancy quiche here, it is what it is! 

2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 tbs dried basil
1 tbs salt
1 tbs pepper
a pinch of nutmeg
3 eggs
1 cup cream
2 tbs of flour
2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
1 (9") pie crust

Arrange chopped tomatoes in the bottom of the pie crust. Then add the chopped green onions. Next sprinkle basil, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cheeses. In a bowl whip eggs, cream and flour and then pour into the pie. Bake in a pre-heated oven of 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool and set before serving. 

Monday, May 5, 2008

Deep Fried Chocolate Covered Cherries

Well, I did it! This past Sunday I fried up my first batch of chocolate covered cherries! And let me say it was quite the experience. Albeit a tad messy but exhilarating none the less. There's something about oil splashing and food frying that gets me excited. 

I first got the idea a week or so ago while driving by a KFC on my way home from work. I borrowed the idea from hearing about Snickers Bars being fried. I just thought it might be a better way to eat those awful chocolate covered cherries or boxed chocolates. I somehow don't see myself as being the first ever to come up with such a silly idea. But hey why not give it a go.....everyone loves food deep fried!

I went out and bought several packages of Cella's boxed chocolate covered cherries and stuck them in the freezer (thank you Christina from She Runs, She Eats for that tip! Go check out her after reading this one). I decided to use a simple tempura batter for the coating.

Tempura Recipe:
1 cup of flour
2/3 cup of ice water
1/3 cup of milk
1 egg
1 tbs salt
1 tbs sugar

Before mixing up the batter I filled up my deep fryer with 100% vegetable oil and heated it to 400 degrees. Next I procured the chocolates from the freezer and dunked them in the batter. I slowly tonged them into the oil. The first few I over-cooked. They exploded when the chocolate melted and the liquid center leaked out into the oil. So, I figured they needed to be "lightly" coated, flash fried and removed quickly.

After ruining 5 or 6 of them I started to get the hang of it. I just made sure to dip them one at a time and move quickly. Once fried, I patted them down with a paper towel to remove any excess oil, and then sprinkled them with powdered sugar. You might want to eat them as soon as they've slightly cooled, since they don't keep too long. The leftover ones later turned into a mushy ball of batter and syrupy goo. I must say the fresh ones were quite tasty, even for a boxed chocolate. 

All-in-all yummers but very heavy on my stomach and super messy. For the finale, I ended up popping a bottle of champagne to help celebrate this new creation. Give it a try!