Friday, October 17, 2014

Bay Scallop Chowder – Looks Good?

Every once in a while I make a dish that no matter how great it tastes, I just can’t get past how it looks, and that was the case with this very easy, incredibly delicious scallop chowder. 

The main culprit was the caramelization from the bacon and onions, which provided great flavor, but the hue they imparted, along with the pale green celery, and yellow potatoes, made things kind of dingy.

I could have browned the scallops first, and gone even further to the dark side, but scallops this small and sweet need to be eaten as soon as they’re cooked, and by the time we reheated them in the soup, they’d be hard, dry, and disappointing.

Maybe it’s just me. I hope that’s the case here, otherwise we’re going to need to brainstorm some kind of make-over, because this bowl of chowder is too good not to make. If you do make it, and want a thicker, more traditional chowder base, simply mash some of your potatoes into the mixture.

A roux can also be used to tighten things up, but since scallops are so rich, I prefer the lighter texture seen herein. So whether you figure out a way to pretty this up or not, I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 portions of Bay Scallop Chowder:
2 tsp olive oil
2 slices bacon
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (8-oz) bottle clam juice
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 red Frenso chili, fine dice
1/2 cup cream
1 cup cubed Yukon gold potatoes
freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne
salt to taste
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 pound bay scallops
1 tbsp fresh tarragon

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dutch Babies – Almost as Easy to Make as Real Babies!

I had my first "Dutch Baby" in Chicago a few years ago, and have wanted to do a video on them ever since. I’ve always been fascinated by how many different breakfast foods you can create using just milk, eggs, and flour; and this is one of the more interesting examples. Especially considering the unusual, and borderline disturbing name.

Sometimes called “German pancakes,” these have very little to do with Germany, and nothing to do with the Dutch. Apparently they were invented by German immigrants who were referred to as “Dutch;” a corruption of the word “deutsch.” So, save your emails saying they don’t have these in Germany or the Netherlands. We know.  

As I mentioned briefly in the video, I like to use a little less batter than many recipes call for. I think this provides the best crispy-to-custardy ratio. I topped mine with butter, lemon, and powdered sugar, but any and all traditional pancake toppings will work wonderfully. I hope you give these beautiful ‘babies” a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 small or 2 large portions:
3 large room temperature eggs
2/3 cup room temperature milk
packed 1/2 cup flour (really pack the measuring cup firmly with flour)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp clarified butter
- Bake at 425 F. 20-25 min
* garnish with melted butter, fresh lemon juice (Meyer if you can find it), and powdered sugar.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Chicken Tikka Masala – God Save the Curry

I probably get more requests for Indian food than any other ethnic cuisine, so I was very excited to be posting this chicken tikka masala; until I found out it’s actually a British recipe. It was the same feeling I had when I found out that pizza wasn’t invented in New York. 

So technically, I still owe you an authentic Indian recipe, but in the meantime I think this will do nicely. While this is a stripped-down version, where we’ve cut out several time-consuming steps, it was still incredibly delicious, and very Indian curry-like. 

As I mention in the video, this is usually done with heavy cream, but I like to use coconut milk instead. It’s probably a little better for you, but above and beyond that, the subtle sweetness it provides works beautifully with the spices in the dish.

By the way, you can substitute chicken breast here, but since we’re not doing the traditional yogurt marinade first, I believe thighs work much better in this version. Usually chicken breasts are marinated in yogurt first, and then cooked in a tandoor oven, before being added to the sauce. It is a great way to do it, but even without that step, I thought this was excellent. So, I hope you give this American version of a British version of an Indian curry a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 portions of Chicken Tikka Masala:
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 or 3 tablespoons clarified butter
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 rounded tbsp finely grated peeled ginger
1 cup crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
1 can (13.5-oz) coconut milk, or about 1 2/3 cups heavy cream
1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth, or as needed (use to adjust sauce consistency to you liking)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
salt to taste
4 cups steamed rice