Tuesday, July 29, 2008

thanks brooke

my girlfriend brooke and i trade recipes and leftovers (i'm not kidding) all the time. i'm not sure how she has anytime to cook with 3 kiddos but she does and she is amazing at it. she also has an amazing green thumb and left these on my porch yesterday. i had to post this pic. thanks brooke.

seared ahi with curry oil and soy syrup

i have been so busy lately i've been cooking very simply and sadly not making dessert. wait that s a lie i did make my famous cookies for leah's birthday but i've already posted that recipe here. so, last night i decided i better blog dinner.
there is really nothing easier than searing ahi for a weeknight dinner. its one of my favorite fish. it has so much great flavor on its own that it really doesn't even need anything. but since i have turned my husband onto curry i use it whenever i can. this is so easy it doesn't even require a recipe. make more of these sauces obviously the more fish you have this is a ballpark idea for two pieces of ahi.
just pour a bunch of good quality curry powder, say 1/4 cup, into a bowl, whisk in a little oil to make a paste then pour in 1/2 - 1 cup oil and stir to blend. microwave for 30 sec to 1 min till its nice and fragrant then let the mixture sit for a few hours so the curry infuses the oil. strain when close to serving by pouring over a coffee filter of paper towel so you are just left with the beautiful yellow oil. for soy syrup, mix 1/2 cup soy sauce with 1/4 cup brown sugar and simmer until thick and syrupy.
heat up a pan very hot. season ahi with salt and pepper and maybe some chili flakes and spray both sides with pan spray (yes spray fish directly, my favorite trick.) sear fish on both sides to desired doneness, i only cook mine about 1 minute per side. then drizzle with both curry oil and soy syrup. i served last night with stir fried cabbage and broccoli and brown rice.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

miso fish

we eat fish at least twice a week. its my favorite protein. it definately helps that mr. rau can bring home fresh cut fish from work :)
miso fish is one of my favorites. its soooooo easy but sooooo good. great for a weeknight. we had this last night with halibut though i think i like it best with salmon. its best grilled on the bbq but also great sauteed in a pan. i always serve it with steamed rice or roasted potatoes and some sort of stir fried green.

miso fish marinade (makes enough for 4 portions of fish)

1/4 cup white miso (fermented soybean paste)*
1/4 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)*
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons minced green onions
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons oriental sesame oil

marinade fish 2-6 hours. then spray directly with pan spray. sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

my dads bday

my dad turned 70 yesterday and we had a little get together with his friends. being my busy work season, i decided an ice cream cake would be just as yum and a lot easier than a chocolate cake. yesterday was really warm so ice cream cake was nice and cool to boot.
my dad has really simple tastes so we had fabulously fat filets that my chef husband grilled to a perfect medium over an open flame, grilled whole onions, salad, chili rubbed corn and of course blue cheese and mushroom accompaniments for the steak.
then this way too big ice cream pie. it was layers of chocolate chip and coffee ice creams, with two layers of dark chocolate ganache, and two layers of oreo crust, covered in more ganache, served with freshly whipped cream and my favorite homemade hot fudge sauce.
i really just made it all up as i went along so its basically unpublishable, except for my fabulous hot fudge which i'll publish below. here are some pics though.

check out thesefatties

my plate. yes i ate it all! and had seconds of blue cheese. 60 day cave aged i might add!

this was two springs forms full of oreo, ice cream and ganache layers. WAY too big for 9 people. sally took the 2nd half home to serve for her dad 96th birthday. so happy when leftovers go to great use.

it takes a chef and an expensive knife to serve this thing. without him i would have attempted this, then cried, then threw things when i couldn't do it.

check out these layers of creamy goodness. mmmm . . . .

okay the hot fudge which i didn't take a pic of! but my favorite recipe for it!!!!!!!!!!!!

hot fudge sauce
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 oz. fine quality semi or bittersweet chocolate chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla

bring cream, corn syrup, sugar, cocoa and salt and half of chocolate to boil in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat stirring frequently until chocolate is melted. reduce heat and simmer stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. remove from heat and add rest of chocolate, butter and vanilla. cool sauce to warm before serving.

serve on everything!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

ice cream report

my peanut butter ice cream was crazy good. you all have to try it. it was better than anything peanut buttery that i have ever made! the oatmeal cookie made eric very happy but for me it really didn't compare. here is a pic of it in its tupperware, i'm sorry i didn't take a shot of it in a pretty bowl but i was too excited to eat it! not the prettiest pic but you get an idea of how loaded it was.

Friday, July 4, 2008

happy 4th

we are going to my aunts house today for the requisite hamburger and hot dogs barbecue. my contribution is two homemade ice creams. #1 is a peanut butter base with a ton of peanut butter cups and fudge swirl. #2 is a vanilla base with crumbled homemade oatmeal cookies and a caramel swirl. i'll have to take funny pics tonight of my family eating them. but in case any of you have that ice cream maker canister freezing up for some fabulous creation, i'm posting these. my son liked these so much he told me we should turn our kitchen into an ice cream shop. he even named it - ice flames ice cream ?!?!

peanut butter cup and fudge swirl ice cream

Makes about 1.5 quarts

1 ¼ cups whole milk

1 ¼ cups heavy cream
1.5 cups creamy peanut butter, jif works great
3/4 cup sugar

3 teaspoons vanilla
jar of your favorite hot fudge, I love whole foods dark chocolate sauce

as many chopped peanut butter cups as you can handle, we used 10 double cup packages

In a saucepan simmer milk, cream, peanut butter, and 3/4 cup sugar over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth, about 1 minute. Stir in vanilla and cool mixture to room temperature. Freeze mixture in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

As soon as ice cream is finished in machine and at soft serve stage stir in peanut butter cups then fudge.we used a whole small jar. Just dump a bunch onto top of ice cream and then slowly stir in. if you stir too much it won’t swirl. If ice cream gets too soft to do this, just freeze for a while before you stir it in.

Freeze ice cream, covered with plastic wrap, until hard.

Caramel swirl and oatmeal cookie ice cream

If you don’t want to splurge on vanilla beans, three teaspoons of vanilla extract may be substituted for the vanilla bean. To maximize the extract’s potency, stir it into the chilled custard just before churning.

Makes 1.5 quarts


1/4 cups whole milk


1/4 cups heavy cream


1/8 cup granulated sugar


inch piece vanilla bean , slit lengthwise and seeds removed, pod reserved (see illustration below)


large egg yolks


batch homemade or storebought oatmeal cookies, baked, cooled and crumbled


cup homemade or store bought caramel

1. Position a strainer over a medium bowl set in a larger bowl containing ice water. Heat the milk, cream, 1 cup of the sugar, and the vanilla seeds and pod in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally to break up the vanilla seeds, until steam appears and the milk is warm (about 175 degrees), about 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks and remaining 1/8 cup sugar in a medium bowl until combined and pale yellow. Whisk half the warm milk mixture into the beaten yolks, 1/2 cup at a time, until combined. Whisk the milk-yolk mixture into the warm milk in the saucepan; set the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until steam appears, foam subsides, and the mixture is slightly thickened or an instant-read thermometer registers 180 to 185 degrees. (Do not boil the mixture, or the eggs will curdle.) Immediately strain the custard into the bowl set in the ice bath; cool the custard to room temperature, stirring it occasionally to help it cool. Cover and refrigerate until an instant-read thermometer -registers 40 degrees or lower, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

3. Remove and discard the vanilla pod from the custard (or add the vanilla extract, if using) and stir well. Pour the custard into the ice cream machine canister and churn, following the manufacturer’s instructions, until the mixture resembles soft-serve ice cream.

4. While at soft serve stage, mix in crumbled oatmeal cookies as desired. We used a lot! Then pour room temp caramel on top and carefully mix in. if you over mix you’ll lose the swirl. If ice cream gets too soft just freeze for a while before you add it in.

5. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container, press plastic wrap flush against the surface, cover the container, and freeze the ice cream until firm, at least 2 hours. (The ice cream will keep for up to 2 days.)

seafood pasta fra diavlo

sadly i am not a lover of shellfish but i do love finfish. so when my good friend stephanie came over last night to join us for two days of festivities, i had to induldge her and eric who are both shellfish nuts. this recipe is a blend of several of my favorites. putting the anchovies in the base is actually something i learned from a fish soup recipe, it just really gives depth to the base. i traded out lobster in this recipe for sea bass so i would have some part of it to enjoy but really you could do any combination of seafood you like. this recipe, like a lot of mine, is deceptively easy but so impressive. homemade tomato sauce is sooo easy but really tastes so much better than anything bottled.

Seafood Fra Diavlo Pasta

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves minced

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

6 whole canned anchovys

1 ¼ cup white wine or dry vermouth

1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

¼ cup water

2 pounds littleneck clams

1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded

1 10-ounce uncooked lobster tail, shelled, meat cut into 1-inch pieces

8 ounces uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined

4 ounces bay scallops

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 pound linguine

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and anchovy; stir until anchovy dissolves. Add wine; simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices and tomato paste. Bring to simmer, breaking up tomatoes. Cover; simmer over low heat 40 minutes.

Bring 1/4 cup water to boil in another large skillet over high heat. Add clams and mussels. Cover; cook until shells open, about 6 minutes (discard any clams and mussels that do not open). Transfer shellfish to colander set over medium bowl; drain.

Strain juices from skillet and medium bowl through fine sieve into tomato sauce. Simmer sauce uncovered until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add lobster, shrimp and scallops. Simmer 2 minutes. Add clams and mussels from colander. Simmer 1 minute longer. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons oil and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook linguine in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Return to pot. Add shellfish sauce; toss to coat.

Strain juices from skillet and medium bowl through fine sieve into tomato sauce. Simmer sauce uncovered until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add lobster, shrimp and scallops. Simmer 2 minutes. Add clams and mussels from colander. Simmer 1 minute longer. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons oil and basil. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook linguine in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Return to pot. Add shellfish sauce; toss to coat.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

apricot jam

my friend jeni has a beautiful apricot tree with abundant fruit so i picked a bunch sunday afternoon for jam. stone fruit jams are soooooooo easy to make because most require no pectin. here is a good basic recipe. this is soooooooooo good on buttered toast.

apricot jam

8 cups diced apricots
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 cups sugar

Sterilize your canning jars by boiling for 10 minutes in hot water.You will need 5 pint jars or 10 half-pints.Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot.Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.Once mixture reaches a rolling boil, continue to boil it for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent it from sticking.Remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/4 head space.Wipe rims clean and put the 2-piece metal canning lids in place. Safety top should suck down if seal was sucessful.