Monday, September 12, 2011

Halibut in Parchment

I went out an got some new clothes on my last day off, nothing big 3 pair of pants and 4 shirts.   The stuff in my closet is getting beat up by my life, I work around food all day then usually cook when I get home so my clothes go through a lot.  Here is a little side bar about me, I usually shop for clothes at the second hand store, I like the feeling that if I spill a gallon of curry sauce down my front I can just throw my outfit away and only be out about 5 bucks.  Anyway when I told Kris that I was going shopping for clothes she asked me to please get rid of some stuff.  We are out of hangers plus I am have more clothes than any 2 normal men and there is no more room in the closet.   So this morning I had to open the closet and come to terms with why I don't wear some of the clothes in there...

Is it really because I don't like to iron those linen shirts?  Is it because I can't wear tan pants to work?  Is it because I don't like to wear some of the bold colors that I used to?  Well, to be honest none of those reasons apply...

OK I am going tell you a game that isn't any fun...  Open up the closet and try on clothes that you haven't worn in say 4 or 5 years.  I say to myself, "I look the same as I did in my wedding picture," but deep down I know that the suit didn't shrink and there is another reason that I can't get my pants to zip.  I just don't like to think about it.  Some of the clothes in my closet aren't exactly things that I don't want to wear they are things that I avoid wearing because...

Well it just makes me think that my stupid Doctor was right when she called me FAT,  I am working on it and here is another winner to prove it!  I hesitate to call it a recipe because really I am putting a bunch of junk willy nilly into an envelope and tossing those into the oven.  This is how it goes:

Cut parchment into 14 inch squares
spray parchment with cooking spray
line each square with Julienned fennel bulbs enough to hold up your fish
Place a filet of halibut on top of the fennel
add salt, pepper, a smashed garlic clove and the grated zest of one lime
Top all that with julienned zucchini then squeeze the juice from half a lime on top

Wrap these guys up in a happy little parchment envelope and put into an oven preheated to 425 for 10 minutes.

There really isn't anything that compares to opening something like this up!  Compare it to opening a little present for dinner, just set the little packages up on each plate with any side dishes that you choose, when you open them you get the smell of all of the steamed vegetables floating up from your plate, The fish is perfectly light and flaky, the zucchini is still crisp and everything is permeated with the flavors of anise and garlic.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Grilled Peaches and Cream

OK I think that I've done it, maybe the cooking on the grill thing has gone too far... well maybe not... is that even possible?  In my last post I mentioned that I have grilled about every sort of protein and almost every vegetable out there, this week I have been working on dessert.  I have done it a couple of ways but I think this was the best!

Grilled Peaches and Southern Biscuits... without turning the oven on at all!  It was easy enough to start with:

The peaches
2 whole peaches pitted and cut into 8 pieces
2 TBS balsamic vinegar
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix ingredients together and set aside to soak. 

While they are soaking make your biscuits:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powser
1 tsp salt
1 TBS brown sugar
1/2 stick COLD butter cut up
1/4 cup 
Mix first four ingredients together then add butter and milk.  Quickly mix together kneed briefly being careful not to over mix, then roll out to about 3/4 of an inch and using a biscuit cutter cut into circles.  Roll and repeat I got 6 biscuits in total.   Place on a small oiled baking sheet and... yes my friends set on a cool area of your grill and cover.

Once the biscuits are going put your peach wedges on a hot area of the grill and cook until they are nicely caramelized.  Take the peaches off and set, back in the marinade you will be using that liquid.  The biscuits took about 20 minutes in all, while I was cooking the rest of my meal, when they were done they had risen quite well.  Cut them in half and stuff serve with whipped cream (heavy cream, honey and vanilla) and your peaches then add just a touch or the marinade.  What you end up with is a light biscuit with a cloud of whipped cream and the sweet, tangy slightly smokey fruit with caramelized sugar and vinegar clinging to it.

Now I have grilled just about everything this summer except for salad (working on that though) and soup... which is just weird. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Grilled Sweet Potatoes

If you are a regular reader you probably realize that I like to cook out on my grill in the summer... well even in the winter sometimes I will brave an ice storm in order too grill out a tenderloin.  Anyway I grill out about 4-5 nights a week I grill out every sort of protein and most vegetables have found their way to my grill this summer, my problem has been the starches.  I make a mean cheesy potato (they really rock so I haven't tried too hard to replace them) but I have always felt like a "one trick pony" with the potatoes.  This past couple of weeks I have been trying some starches on the grill.  This way I can walk onto the deck, beer in hand, and get everything done in one place.  This is one of my more successful new additions.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes
3 Sweet potatoes
juice from 4 limes
grated zest from one of the limes
1 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro

Place the potatoes, peel on, in cool salted water and bring to a boil let them boil until almost tender, about 25 minutes.  They should still be a little firm in the middle when poked with a fork.  Pour out the water and cool with cold water until you are able to handle them,  I put mine under cold running water for a few minutes.  These can be stored in the refrigerator for several hours until you are ready.
For the Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette mix the rest of the ingredients together with a whip and set aside.  This can be made a day ahead if you like.

When the time comes peel the sweet potatoes then cut into quarters lengthwise.  Put them on a HOT grill (you want the grill marks) for 3-4 minutes on a side.  Take them off and set aside, when it is time to serve drizzle the Cilantro Vinaigrette on them.  You can serve them hot, right off the grill but I like mine about room temp (or outside cookout temp).  These guys are sweet and tangy with a little of that caramelized sweetness it turns out to be a great picnic side dish.

The leftovers worked well for dinner a couple of nights later here they are diced and sauteed with some chicken, crumbled goat cheese and just a touch of brown sugar.  This one almost qualified as foodie crack!