Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lobster Salad

I have been trying to challenge myself in the kitchen. I've been hoping to get away from flavors I'm familiar with while trying new skills and techniques. So I decided that I was going to make mayonnaise from scratch.

Making mayonnaise isn't an overly complicated process, it's just time consuming and when you decide to make it by hand with no electronics you better prepare yourself for some pain. You feel as if your arm is going to fall off at any moment. That being said, I'm so glad I did it. It was fairly easy all you need is an egg yolk and 3/4 of a cup of oil (I used extra virgin olive oil because I had it) AND lemon juice. The lemon juice is key. Not having any idea what I was doing I squeezed out a two lemons and reserved the juice. You will in no way EVER need that much juice for your mayo. The whole point of the lemon is to help "keep the emulsion from breaking." The acid from the lemon stabilizes the emulsion as you're whisking. So one to two drops as you feel you need it is perfect.

You can find instructions on how to make mayonnaise here:

I decided to to a variation on the mayonnaise since I wanted to put it on lobster and mix in dill, cayenne pepper and ginger.

I then mixed the already cooked lobster meat into the mayonnaise and set it aside. For my salad I wanted a little crunch so I added some slivered bell peppers on baby arugula. For a dressing I mixed the remaining lemon juice with pepper and a little bit of garlic.

When eating the dish, I prefer mixing the two elements because I find the lemon to be a refreshing compliment to the dill and ginger in the mayonnaise. As well as the lobster's buttery flavor complimenting the slight bite of the baby arugula.

Optional: I've added roasted cashew's to similar salads the cashews really bring in a nice texture.

Mix up &Enjoy


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup:
Beef Stock
1 Hanger Steak
Red Wine
Gruyere Cheese [I don't like Gruyere by itself on my soup,
so I cut it 3 parts Gruyere 1 part Asiago]
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Last summer my family was lucky enough to go to France. While we were in Paris we had a seemingly nondescript meal that made "the list." "The list" is made when any one of my brothers says that he has a new favorite dish. Being fairly snobby and picky eaters {cough, cough... totally spoiled by my mother's amazing cooking, cough, cough...} this doesn't happen often. During the entire trip, "the best" meal we had according to the boys, was a bowl of French Onion Soup, sitting in a little hole in the wall cafe during an unexpected rain shower. I don't know if we were all just happy to be out of the rain, or if the soup was really as good as we remember it. Nevertheless, when we had our first really chilly, rainy day, it was the first thing I wanted to eat.
I decided that since I was buying beef stock, I wanted to add some additional flavor in the soup. So I purchased one hanger steak, cut it in half and cooked it in the pan I was going to use to caramelize the onions. I decided that since I was going to be keeping the meat in the stew I wanted the flavor of all the other ingredients to be present so I left some thyme in the pan when I cooked the steak and used a little bit of butter and olive oil to keep it from sticking. When I say little I mean minuscule. Once I finished cooking the steak I took it out of the pan and set it aside to rest. Then I added the onions I had cut to the pan with a little bit of pepper.

REMEMBER!!!! Don't forget to lower the heat or the onions will cook to quickly and burn rather then caramelizing. As the onions began to look somewhat translucent I added a little bit of red wine to the pan.

When cooking with wine or any other alcohol it is imperative that you give it enough time to cook off the alcohol.

While the onions were cooking I took the time to shred the hanger steak and dropped it in my soup pot with the littlest bit of butter. I added the butter for flavor rather then frying or any other function.

Then I added the onions.

Then the beef broth.

I didn't add any additional thyme because I had left the sprigs of thyme in the pan throughout the entire cooking process.

Step back.

Don't meddle.
Give it time to simmer on low heat.

I had to Macgyver the toasts because I couldn't find the soup crocks. So I toasted the sliced baguette under the broiler for a few minutes and then toasted the cheese on top of it.

Doing this part in batches actually helped me with serving the soup. Especially because everyone is on different schedules, it allowed them to have some of the cheese toasties while they were still fresh, and didn't chain me to the oven.