Eclectic Bistro Fare

September 27, 2008

New Resto, New Food!

As of this week I have moved over to a new restaurant. Yay! ...So I've got a few daily specials for you all...Hope you're hungry.

Chicken Saltimbocca w/ Pistou and Spinach


Spanish Beef Peasant Stew w/ Acorn Squash Gnocchi

September 23, 2008

Lazy Squid Noodle Dish

A silly dish I came up with yesterday, just to keep things inexpensive, turned out to be quite good! I really like a simple pasta fresca (butter and white wine with lots of garlic is usually the sauce for it) on a warm day. I twisted it to fit what we had in the fridge and cupboards ....

  • .65 lbs. fresh squid - $1.89
  • 1 lb. egg fettucine - dry
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 yellow patty pan squash
  • 9 yellow grape tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbs. parsley
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 4 tbs. cold butter
  • Parmesan cheese - grated
  • 3 tbs. E V Olive oil
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • red chile flake -optional
  • 1/2 lemon - juiced

So while heating up my water and cooking the noodles, I prepped the squid (sorry no pics of that, my hands were messy) by pulling it apart at head and body, removing the insides, including the quill, and slicing out the section with the eyes and beak. Then I made a few more 1/2 in. slices on the body to give me rings and tentacles and rinsed them in water. I chopped up my veg and got my sautee pan hot and ready for the next went some olive oil and a pinch of salt and garlic and ever so briefly, (30 seconds) I sauteed my squid and set it aside in a bowl. Why did I do this step seperately?? Because I wanted to infuse flavor into the squid without over-cooking it. Then I wiped out the same pan with a paper towel and fired up my squash, tomatoes, shallots and more garlic with olive oil. When the fettucine was ready and the squash was tender, I drained the noodles and reserved a little pasta water to add to the vegetables. I then added my wine, parsley, salt, pepper and squid to the pan and let all that goodness reduce a little and added the butter and cheese. Serve it quick and done!

September 16, 2008

Grilled Yellowfin & Watercress Rice Salad

Craving a light dish last night as the temperature reached 98* of my favorite fishes calling to me from the fridge. As the cicada bugs were buzzing in the tree tops and the fan whirred back and forth I got inspired by the fresh watercress I bought at the market. I had seen a rice salad on Bravo's Top Chef a few months back (free plug) and decided I would attempt to make my own version. But what to season the tuna with? "Ah hah!", I said. Coriander, cumin, salt, pepper, and fresh garlic with olive oil easily became my decision. So I made a paste out of these ingredients and rubbed the fish with it. I let it sit while I made the salad. I rinsed the basmati rice until the water ran clear and then added about four cups water to one cup rice so that I could remove any excess starch. Then I drained it in a seive and let it cool in the fridge. Meanwhile I plucked my happy little watercress until I had about a light cup's worth and chopped up an heirloom tomato. Then I squeezed a lime and threw some chopped cilantro into my rice and added the watercress, a tbs. of olive oil, 2 tbs. minced red onion and tossed all my ingredients together. While grilling the fish I took care to not cook it any further than rare and rubbed some butter and more seasalt on the surface right before it was done. Back to the salad, I segmented an orange and used it to garnish the salad and squeezed the excess juice on the fish. That's it!

September 11, 2008

Roasted Game Hen over Leek & Chanterelle Stuffing W/ Heirloom Tomatoes & Fleur de Sel

This is such a basic dish, my wife and daughter's comfort food done my way. Hey! If I've got to cook at home too, I might as well do it the way I want. So here it is
Game Hen: Wash it off under cold water and rub with salt (Kosher). Let it sit for about 20 minutes and then wash the salt off. Prepare a wet rub with a mortar and pistle using 1 tbs. olive oil, 1 tbs paprika, 5 cloves garlic, 2 sprigs of thyme, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Begin roasting at 375* for about 35-40 min. or until it reaches 160* internal temp.
Stuffing: Cast Iron Pan, 2 tbs. butter + 1 tbs. olive oil, 5-6 chanterelles, 2 medium leeks, 1 carrot, 3 c dried Pane Latte Bread croutons, 1 sprig thyme, salt, pepper, 1 + 1/4 c chicken stock. Sautee ingredients starting with veg first and slowly add chicken stock at the end a little at a time until you like the consistency. Pop the pan in the oven with the game hen at the last 15 min. The top should be crispy but still fluffy inside.
Tomatoes: Cut up some super fresh heirloom tomatoes and toss in good olive oil. Season with fleur de sel (Brittany sea salt).

September 1, 2008

Lamb Shoulder Chop w/ Salt Roasted Beets & Chow Chow

August has been a big month for posts and to end it I leave you with this all american inspired dish. Hearty and yet still summer inspired, this entree consists of everything I admire about American cuisine. The South has an appetizer of pickled vegetables which dates back to the first settlers...Chow Chow. Its not much to look at but pickling provides brightness and pallet cleansing to a dish. Like the Japanese pickled ginger which is searved along side any sashimi; radish, cucumber and garlic give a sweet yet tangy refreshment to the mouth that cut through the richness of this grilled lamb. The chop was seasoned traditionally with rosemary, garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper. I let it marinate for just under an hour then grilled it on my cast iron grill pan. The beets were also simple. Seasoned with salt and good virgin olive oil and then roasted for an hour at 375* for 25 minutes. The pickle spices I like to use for this are mustard seed, red chile, garlic, dill and clove with sugar, salt, white wine vinegar and water.
This whole entree was created in just over an hour and when executed properly it speaks volumes about perfection through simplicity. Not every dish needs to have layer apon layer of complex flavors. That is not what makes comfort food anyway. Enjoy!