Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Grilling season is just around the corner. It is nearly time to start making the important decisions: charcoal or gas, light or dark meat, and what ground beef to buy. Everyone should remember that grilling is only limited by your imagination. New flavors and new recipes are limitless in what can be done. Simple or interesting things can be done with all sorts of varying proteins, vegetables, and sides. One of my favorite recipes involves making pizza on the grill instead of completely in the oven. It gives the pizza a great, distinct flavor.
The decision on what way to grill can be a difficult decision. Some prefer to grill with gas as it gets to temperature faster, offers easier clean up, and does not impart very much flavor to the food. On the other hand, others prefer grilling with charcoal because it offers more flavor and improved heat control. The decision can be difficult, but individual preferences will really tell what will work best for yourself.
Here at Pastamore, we willing be having a new burger recipe each week throughout the summer. Check back to see what great ideas we have in store for your grills!
Monday, May 23, 2011
Risotto, isn't that hard to make? Well it isn't easy, but a homemade risotto will impress your friends, family, and taste buds. Risotto isn't as difficult as it is made out to be, and restaurant results can be achieved at home. The key to making a great risotto is to constantly stir. It is very important that the rice never sticks to the pan. If any of it becomes burned to the pot it can ruin the entire batch of risotto. Follow the recipe below and enjoy some delicious risotto.
Before we get to the recipe, I will answer the question which I'm sure some might be asking. What is kale any way? Kale is a type of cabbage that comes in multiple varieties. Curly leaf kale is commonly found in stores, but flat leaf kale should be used if it is available. Kale is extremely nutritious and has a great flavor once it has been cooked.
Ingredients: Yield: 4-6 Servings
1 qt. – Vegetable stock
1 Tbsp - Pastamore Meyer Lemon Oil
1.5 oz. – Whole butter
3 leaves - Kale
2.5 oz. – Shallots, minced
12 oz. – Arborio rice
Zest and juice of one lime
3 oz. - Toasted walnuts - small pieces
To Taste - Salt and Pepper
1. Bring the stock to a simmer. Rinse and cut the kale into 1/2" by 1/2" pieces.
2. Heat 1 oz. butter and Pastamore Meyer Lemon Oil in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent.
3. Add the rice to the shallots, Pastamore Meyer Lemon Oil, and butter. Stir well to coat the grains with the fat, but do not allow the rice to brown.
4. Add the simmering stock, 4 fl. oz. at a time, stirring frequently. Add the lime zest and juice. Wait until the stock is absorbed before adding the next 4 fl. oz. portion.
5. After the rice has been cooking for 8 minutes add the kale to the pot.
6. After approximately 18 to 20 minutes, all the stock should be incorporated and the rice should be tender (but not too soft). Do not leave the risotto too dry as it will continue to cook after it has been removed from the heat. Remove the risotto from the heat and add the toasted walnuts.
Friday, May 20, 2011
The big drizzle! There's nothing quite like seeing and eating something drizzled with a delicious sauce. It's refreshing as a summer rain.
It's no secret that a great drizzle starts with a great balsamic. The better the balsamic is, the better your drizzle will be. As you can see in these pictures, drizzling something is truly an art! Just remember practice makes perfect!
Fresh melons wrapped in prosciutto, fresh tomatoes with mozzarella, cheese cake with strawberries, are my summer time favorites.
Posted by Pastamore at 3:56 PM
Monday, May 16, 2011
Presentation is everything especially when you're a "trained chef." Typically, this is a person most people trust because they know that he/she is trained to "prepare" and present a "plated" meal that looks as good as it tastes, right? I swear... chefs must have nerves of steel!
Just for a moment, imagine this; you're a "trained chef"and for some bizarre reason, you screw up a meal, what's your excuse? (Maybe that's what chefs dream about in their nightmares?)
For me, when I have dinner guests and it comes time for me to make the garlic bread, I almost go into cardiac arrest hoping it will not burn. For some reason, I can not wrap my mind around watching or even timing the bread....so that it doesn't burn! I tend to get so distracted with my guests, and inevitably it just happens..What's up with that?Honestly, I've always been fascinated and thoroughly entertained by a chefs unique and artistic ability. I myself am a "trained artist" and occasionally, I will screw up a piece of art work done on a canvas. However, my presentation isn't LIVE and presented to "hungry" people either. I can start over and no one will know any different and my final presentation is not about a bunch of people expecting and RELYING on my LIVE performance. But for a chef...presentation is everything!
Posted by Pastamore at 4:34 PM
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Many restaurants are taking classic childhood favorites and putting their own spin on them. These include gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, truffle macaroni and cheese, and a multitude of desserts. While some of the classics are great unchanged they can become spectacular dishes with just a little work.
In this instance, a simple and delicious tomato soup is made. Just because a can of tomato soup can be bought for less than a dollar does not mean it can't be dressed up a little bit. The goal of this specific recipe is to allow the tomato to shine and to not overpower the flavor. Complimentary ingredients are used, but not in quantities so high as to distract from the tomato. With the weather still rainy and summer not here, get in on some soup action before it is out of season.
Most tomatoes at the store are mealy and flavorless. It is important to choose tomatoes for this soup that have some flavor. I used yellow grape tomatoes because they were on sale, but other acceptable tomatoes are grape, cherry, or heirloom tomatoes. It is best if you are not in a hurry with this recipe because allowing the soup to cook longer improves the flavor.
12 oz - Specialty tomatoes (cherry, grape, heirloom, etc.) - diced 1/4" x 1/4"
1 lb - Roma or vine-ripened tomatoes - diced 1/4" by 1/4"
3 cups - Water
2 tbsp - Olive oil
1/4 cup - Milk or cream
1 tsp - Pastamore Barrel-Aged Worcestershire
1 oz - Fresh basil
1 - Shallot - sliced
1 tsp - Black peppercorns
To taste - salt
To taste - Red pepper flakes or hot sauce
As garnish - Pastamore Traditional Barrel-Aged Balsamic
1. Place a large pot on the stove over medium heat. When the pot is hot, add the olive oil and allow to heat. When the oil is hot, add the shallot and the black peppercorns. Cook the shallot until it is translucent, and then add the tomatoes to the pot. Turn the heat up to medium-high/high.
2. Add the Pastamore Barrel-Aged Worcestershire and red pepper flakes/hot sauce. Cook the tomatoes until they have been broken down and most of the moisture has been cooked out of them. At this point, add the water, milk, and basil.
3. Next the soup needs to be blended. This can be done in a food processor, blender, or with an immersion blender. After the soup is blended, return it to the pot and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, turn the heat down and allow the soup to simmer. During this time the soup will reduce and build flavor. Allow the soup to simmer for a minimum of 15 minutes. Season the soup with salt. If the soup is too thick add more water, and if the soup is too thin allow it too cook for longer.
4. The soup needs to be strained through a fine colander or a strainer. Place a large bowl in the sink and strain the soup into the bowl. Serve the soup in a cup or bowl and drizzle in the Pastamore Traditional Barrel-Aged Balsamic. Serve with a grilled cheese sandwich, bread, or alone.
This soup is reminiscent of tomato soup out of a can but much better. The tomato shines in this soup, and has a delicious, complex flavor. Sometimes the little extra work to make things from scratch makes a world of difference.