Tag Archives: Meat

Chicken with prosciutto

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A few days ago, we’ve had an executive offsite. It is now a tradition that I get to cook for that occasion, while Ben takes care of the cocktails. So far, I don’t think I have poisoned anyone, voluntarily or involuntarily, which lets me conclude that this experience has been positive. 

It is always a challenge to cook away from home, several meals, for quite a large group of people, some of them with very specific tastes. I have tried to keep my menus as neutral as possible. For the last offsite, I even did burgers on the second day, thinking the team may need some real food after a dinner made of carrot soup, hanger steaks and green asparagus, salad, cheeses and lemon tart. 

This time, I wanted to prepare as much as possible before getting there. I decided to do a chicken recipe inspired by Jamie Oliver. This recipe requires prosciutto, lemon, thyme, garlic, and butter. It’s very easy and produces great results. The following recipe will serve one big chicken. Of course, I always recommend to brine the chicken for 6 hours before anything (which I actually didn’t have time to do for the offsite). 

First of all, peel the lemon, and dice the skin to make some zest. Take 3-4 garlic cloves finely diced and mix with the lemon zest in a large bowl. Roughly cut 4 slices of prosciutto in square of 1X1 inches and add to the mix. Add some fresh thyme leaves (a good handful) – if you don’t have fresh thyme, dry thyme can do the work as well. Add 2 sticks of butter (200gr). Mix all together. Add some pepper and salt. 

Now, let’s work on the chicken. Very carefully, separate the skin from the meat on the breast side. Don’t break the skin! Once done, very delicately stuff the butter mix between the skin and the meat. Try to make sure you cover as much as possible. Rub well. Yes, your hands are going to be very greasy at this point, careful where you put them! 

Stuff the chicken cavity with a sliced lemon, some fresh thyme, salt and pepper. 

You’re now ready to go. In the oven, 400-420F. I do recommend to add vegetables to the pan and let them cook in the chicken butter. It’s the perfect combination! 

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Dinner for the Greeks

We have a contingent of Greek friends & family at home this week. Yesterday night, I cooked them a nice meal that I thought I should share with you all.

Menu:
Seared tuna with coriander seeds salad
Dungeness crab and avocado mousse
New York steak with baked red beets
Mount Tam cheese & bread

I’ve already posted the recipe for the dungeness crab dish. The tuna dish is an old favorite of mine, inspired by a dish I had at Nobu. It’s very easy to make, and always make a very good impression. The secret is obviously the tuna, that has to be very fresh and sushi grade. For 4 people, I usually get a tuna steak of 1 pound. In a pestle and mortar, crush a handful of coriander seeds. Sprinkle the tuna with salt, pepper and the coriander seeds. In a very, very hot pan, sear on each side for 30-40 seconds. With a long knife, cut thin slices of tuna and reserve in the fridge, covered.

Dice (very small dices) half a sweet onion and add to a bowl. Add two tablespoons of soya sauce, two table spoons of rice vinegar, a pinch of brown sugar, salt, pepper. Mix well. Then add 3 tablespoons of sesame oil, and 3 tablespoons of canola oil (or grapeseed oil).

Get the tuna out of the fridge, distribute the slices among 4 plates, laying down some of them, rolling others. Add some greens in the middle (could be anything). With a spoon, cover the tuna slices with some of the dressing.

For the steak, it’s dead easy and very yummy. First of all, cut the meat so you have 4 equal pieces. If you have a very big meal, 1 steak should be enough, especially as the meat usually comes at the end of the meal. If you want the dish to be more filling, 2 steaks for 4 people will do the work. On each side of the pieces, sprinkle lot of salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Let rest for at room temperature (i don’t hesitate to have it there for up to 45 minutes). During that time, pre-heat the oven to 375F. Cut the top and the bottom of the beets. For each beet, cut a piece of kitchen foil big enough so it will wrap it up completely. Place each beet on its piece of kitchen foil. Salt, pepper, and thyme. Add a tiny bit of olive oil and then wrap in the kitchen foil. Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

When the beets are cooked, turn off the oven and let them in to keep them warm. In a very hot pan, cook the steak, turning regularly. I like mine medium rare (even more on the rare side) so as soon as it hits 120F, I stop. When the meat is cooked, place on a plate and let it rest, while you finish preparing the beets. Remove them from the kitchen foil and peel them with a knife. Place each beet on a plate, and cut them in quarters. Add the meat in the middle of the place, with a tiny bit of butter on top of it. Done!

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Stupidfool.org: Burgers!

Great post from Ben on burger… 

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Roasted chicken with olives, onions, lemon and garlic

I just tried a new roasted chicken recipe last week-end, and it turned out so well, that I thought I should share it on this blog. It’s dead easy, and really tasty. It’s also very fast, which is very convenient, especially on a sunday evening, when you may not have much time to cook. Also, as a disclaimer, this recipe is inspired by Susan Spicer, a New Orleans chef, who wrote an awesome book, Crescent City Cooking that I highly recommend.

You’re going to need 2-3 lemons, 15 garlic cloves, 1 cup of olives (good quality stuff!), some rosmary and 1-2 onions. Pre-heat the oven at 450F. The first step is very easy. Take a lemon, and sprinkle the juice all over the chicken. Let rest for 10/15 minutes. This is actually going to almost brine your chicken, which is quite important. If you have more time, you can actually brine the chicken. Once done, add the zest of 1 lemon between the skin and the meat of the chicken, on the breast side. Add 4-5 garlic cloves there as well. Then cover the chicken with olive oil. Add some chopped rosemary on the chicken, heavily salt, and add some pepper. Put the quarters of 1 lemon in the cavity, as well as some rosemary and 2-3 cloves of garlic. Transfer the chicken in the oven (breasts side up), for a good 30 minutes (the chicken must be brown).

Remove the chicken from the oven. In the same tray, surround the chicken with the olives (pitted), the quarters of your peeled lemons, the rest of the garlic cloves, the zest of one lemon, some chopped rosemary, the quarters of your onions and a tablespoon of olive oil. Turn down the ove to 400F. Put back in the oven (breasts side down this time) for 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven. Mix the vegetables in the tray, and put back in the oven (turn the chicken again). And let cook as long as need (you may need as much as 20 minutes).

Once ready, just remove the chicken from the oven. Let rest for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!

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Foie Gras

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Don’t you love foie gras? 

I spent a bit more than a week in France late November to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Every time I go back, I cook a lot. First, because most of my trips there are during the winter, and since we live in the middle of the countryside, there isn’t that much to do. Second, Burgundy is heaven for anyone who loves food. 

We organized a party with many of our family members, and I was in charge of the meal. It’s not that easy to cook for a bit less than 20 people, and yet, the challenge is very exciting. Among all the things that came to mind, I decided to create a very simple menu, made of a cauliflower mousse as an amuse bouche, foie gras with pineapple, cassoulet, cheese and dessert. I will blog about the cassoulet later. I wanted to spend some time talking about the foie gras. 

Preparing foie gras always sound like a very long & boring process while actually, it’s fun, and extremely rewarding. Of course, you need to prepare it at least 5 days before eating it, but your fois gras will always be better than anything you buy, and you can actually get very funky during the marinating process. 

First of all, you need to buy a real foie. If you live in San Francisco, you can find them at the Golden Gate Meat, in the Ferry buildling. If you live in France, just go to your butcher! If you live anywhere else, well, you’ll have to do some research! 

Before anything else, I always recommend to soak it in some milk overnight. It will take care of the blood. Then starts one of the funniest, and yet most important thing that you will do with your foie: removing all the nerves. Lay down your foie in order to see the separation between the two sides. This whole thing needs to happen without you completely destroying the foie. Try to keep the outside (the side laying on the table) intact, and be as brutal as you want with the inside. There is a main nerve in each side of the foie. Take care of that one. Then remove all the other little bit and pieces. ALL of them! It takes ages, it makes your hands dirty, but it’s the secret to a good foie gras. 

Once this is done, lay the foie creating a layer of 2cm height in a dish. Sprinkle with salt (1 teaspoon per pound) on each side and pepper. You can also add some alcohol (who doesn’t like that?). This is the point where you can be fancy. For example, you can add bourbon, or orange vodka etc… Cover the foie with a plastic (very tight, no air between the plastic and the foie!) and let it rest in the fridge for 1 full day. 

Boil some chicken stock. Transfer the foie in a cheesecloth, and roll it to create a log. Make a strong knot on each end. Drop the foie in the boiling stock for 90 seconds. Remove and throw in ice water. At this point, the foie would have lost some of its fat. That is good! Don’t be scared! 

Move the foie to a “torchon”. A torchon is an old napkin (in french), or anything similar to this. Roll the foie in the torchon (still in the cheesecloth), tie very hard and hang in a cold place for 2-3 days. 

Your foie gras is now ready. And yes, it’s really good!
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Cooking rabbit with white wine sauce

From time to time, when the weather gets a little cold, I remember my grand mother in our house in the French countryside. When freezing outside, we would all stay home, in the kitchen (it was the warmest room of all) and watch her cook for us. Of course, at the time, no fancy dishes or stuff like this, only what we could get from our own land. She used to have tons of rabbits. Not pets. Rabbit that she was planning on eating at some point. 

The thought of eating rabbit may very well shock some of the readers of this blog. It’s a pretty common dish in France, but I do understand why folks may think this is horrible. Rabbits are cute and lovely animals. I won’t debate this here. Now, it’s the same thing with any food you eat. You have to respect it. If you don’t care about what you eat, throw away all of it, cook it poorly, then what the hell? Now, if you do care, show respect and passion, then, at least in my mind, things are a little different. 

When you see a rabbit being killed in the sole purpose of feeding a family, or when you actually have to do it yourself (my grand mother had me do it to make sure i understand why i should always respect my food and the real cost of feeding), then your attitude towards what’s in your plate is changing. You understand the painful journey from animal to food. Every time I cook any piece animal, I always think about that (yeah, i basically had to kill myself all sort of animals for food: chicken, ducks, fish etc…). 

So when it was cold outside, my grandmother would kill a rabbit, bring it to the kitchen, and prepare it. I will skip the part where you actually prepare the animal and just focus on the cooking part. It’s comfort food, so I won’t give you any type of proportions. It has to be done “roughly”. 

First of all, ask your butcher to cut the rabbit in 6 pieces. In a big pot (use those nice le creuset ones! they’re actually authentic!), mix some canola oil and butter under high heat. Sprinkle your rabbit pieces with salt and pepper, and brown them in the pot. They have to be brown! And be very careful not to steam them by trying to put too many pieces at once. If you can only do 3 at a time, then take the time to do two batches! 

Once it’s all brown, transfer the rabbit on a plate and let rest. Throw away the oil from the pot. Deglaze your pot with some balsamic vinegar. Add some butter and then add 1 diced onion and 2 carrots roughly chopped. Cook under medium heat for 10 minutes, until soft and brown. Add some garlic cloves (i usually put at least 6-7 cloves), skinned on, and crushed. A handful of thyme sprigs, some bay leaves, and a tiny bit of rosemary. Mix all this together then lay on top the rabbit pieces. Then add some wine (i do recommend some white burgundy wine like macon villages). The amount of wine really depends on several factors: 1. how much do you like wine? 2. do you want to keep a glass for yourself while cooking? This time, i actually put the whole bottle in my dish! Mix well and let simmer (covered) for a 50 minutes to 1 hour.

At this point, you have to make a decision: do I want to eat this dish now or tomorrow? It’s actually better if you’re willing to wait for tomorrow, as the meat will then have time to rest in the juices and the braise. But you can also eat it straight away. 

Put the rabbit pieces on a plate and reduce the wine sauce under high heat. You can add some flour to make it a bit thicker if needed. 

I would serve this with fresh pasta as the combination of the pasta and the wine sauce is just phenomenal! 

Enjoy!
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What to do with a chicken?

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Last sunday, I didn’t really know what to cook. I went to the butcher to try to find some inspiration. Nada. I couldn’t get this “oh yeah” moment when you know that you’re going to have a great cooking something new and amazing. I was on my way out, thinking maybe we should go out (but in those times, i’d rather stay home!) and suddenly, it stroke me! A chicken! 

That was a brilliant idea. What I had in mind at this time was basically to do a full meal with one chicken, but different dishes. Interesting huh? My menu was still pretty straight forward: spicy chicken soup, and grilled chicken breast with salad and asian dressing. That was quite an experiment, but the goal was to use the whole chicken, including the bone for this meal! 

First, I had to cut the chicken in 6 pieces (2 breasts, 2 legs and 2 wings) and i reserved the neck. Then I used the carcass to do a chicken stock. Once the stock ready, i added some ginger, cilantro, chilies, the 2 wings and the neck of the chicken. Salt, pepper, and I let this simmer for a good hour to make sure the chicken is cooked (not that you’re going to eat it, but just in case :)). On the side, I grilled the breasts and the legs, that I had sprinkled with some rosemary, salt and pepper. I grill them skin side first, so it gets very crispy and brown, but you should start with the legs first as those will take longer. 

While this was grilling, I prepared an asian dressing. I don’t think this has anything asian to it, but the tastes remind me of asia. I mix soya sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, some spicy sesame oil, a tiny bit of oliver oil, some minced shallots and add it to any salad. You can go create here. Mix any type of vegetable you like: green salad, soya beans, cucumber, red pepper, chinese cabbage, spring onions, etc… Any type of combination will work great! 

Once the chicken ready, take a long p late. On one end, have a small ball with the chicken soup. In the middle, lay down some of the salad already dressed. On the right side, add one breast and one wing, sprinkled with a tiny bit of remaining dressing. 

There you go – this works quite well and is a perfect menu to use a full chicken!
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Skirt steak with shallots

This is a classic French dish. I hadn’t had it for a long time, and decided to give it a try over the week-end. It’s dead easy to cook, and so tasty. The secret is obviously the shallots. They have to cook super slowly (like most onions!).

If you cook for 2 people, you’ll need 4-5 big shallots, but just make sure you’re not short!

Slice finely (but not too thin as you want them to keep some consistency) the shallots. In a pan, melt some butter, and sweat the shallots at medium heat, avoiding the butter to burn. If needed, lower the heat. After a good 10 minutes (you may want to add butter if the pan gets too dry), add some red wine. I’d say a third of a glass, but you can probably do a bit more if you want to cook at higher heat. Then very slowly, bring to a simmer, and let simmer for 30 minutes. The wine should be almost all gone, leaving like a paste around the shallots.

During the last 10 minutes of cooking the shallots, cook your steak. I’m not going to tell you how to do that, I’m sure you know already! On the side, you can also prepare some potatoes (fried with persillade!).

Once the steak are cooked, let them rest for 5 minutes, to let the juice go all around. Put them on a plate. Lay down the shallots on top of the steaks. Place the potatoes next to the steak. And you’re done.

This is super tasty and will make a great quick dinner for you and your friends!

Oh, don’t forget the red wine. Very, very important!

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Cooking rabbit

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Cooking rabbit, very, very slowly. Will have some porcini mushrooms with it and a nice Pinot from Napa. Life could be harder right now…

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BBQ pork recipe

As we’re getting into BBQ season, I thought I would share with you a recipe I’ve tried over the week-end. It’s dead simple, inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe, and really good! You almost feel like you’re in Texas 🙂

Marinade:
Put twice as much fennel seeds as cumin seeds (don’t go crazy, 1 tablespoon of fennel seed is enough), some minced garlic (i love garlic, so i put 4 cloves) and crush them (with a pestle and mortar). Add some paprika (1 Tsp), the zest of one orange, the juice of one orange, half a bottle of ketchup, and a good 6 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Mix well. Add thyme, salt and pepper. Taste. Does it taste good? Too sweet, add vinegar, too mild, add paprika etc… Make it yours. Taste it. Love it!

The night before, marinate some pork tenderloins (that you’ve, of course, sparkled with salt and pepper before).

On the big day, cook and enjoy! It’s dead easy, and yet, really good!

Summary of what you need:
cumin seeds
fennel seeds
garlic
1 orange
balsamic vinegar
salt
pepper
pork tenderloins
ketchup
thyme

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