Saturday, September 10, 2011

Linguine with clams

These are the crab shells from my previous entry, boiling with some onion and celery scraps. I'd actually started this shellfish stock that same night and just put it in the fridge.

After the stock boils for a while, it gets strained:

And strained again, though a coffee filter...

.. and finally reduced. Here's how much I ended up with, down from about a pint:

For linguine and clams, always get out the good stuff - even if you're using cheap canned clams.

And be sure to have a nice refreshment handy:

Start by slicing some garlic very, very thin and sautéing it gently...

.. until it looks something like this:

Then take it out of the oil. These garlic chips are a nice cook's snack:

Add the stock and some white wine to the pan, along with some parsley and a bit of salt and pepper:

Let that simmer gently for a while and start the pasta. I always weigh my pasta (yes, I'm a goofball).

Boil it al dente:

Meanwhile, drain the clams and throw away the broth. We could also add some of the broth to the pan with the sauce, but there's enough volume with the shellfish stock and wine.

When the pasta is nearly done, add the clams to the sauce. Don't do this too soon or they'll get tough.

Finally, stir the pasta into the pan, cover, and let sit off the fire for a few minutes to soak up the sauce.

Plated, with a nice green salad:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Steak with Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms

Spur-of-the-moment idea. Here are the raw materials: mushrooms, snow crab cluster, onion, celery, garlic, parmesan cheese, Ritz crackers, butter, small strip steak, potato. Beer for scale.

Mise en place (for the mushrooms, anyway): chop the onion, celery, and mushroom stems, mince the garlic, and crush a few Ritz crackers. Shell and shred the crab (not shown; it's in the fridge). I like to sauté the mushrooms on their bottoms a bit to start them cooking and purge a little moisture from them. (Tip: before taking the mushrooms out of the pan, turn them over for a minute to drain; the liquid will just boil off.)

Sweat the onion, celery, and mushroom stems in a little more butter:

Meanwhile, make a nice green salad with one of the last of this year's tomatoes:

After the veg mixture gets going well, we add the garlic, cook a bit more, and finally the crushed Ritz crackers and picked-over crab off the fire. Note that we're melting a little more butter into the mix:

Transfer it to a bowl with some grated parmesan:

Mix that up well, scoop it into the mushroom caps and add some more parmesan along with a sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning:

Bake the mushrooms in a hot oven while we grill the steak:

Hey, look! The herbs and pepper plant are still alive:

Mushrooms and a baked potato are done:

Plated.This was pretty good - mushrooms go pretty good with steak, and the crab stuffing was a nice addition. Note chives from the garden on the potato.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Turkey Pie

From the same magazine as the crab-alfredo-shells thing.

Mise en place: Ground turkey, mirepoix, garlic, thyme, flour, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, chicken broth, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, frozen green beans, frozen hash browns, butter, sharp white cheddar.

The recipe actually calls for peas, but Susan won't eat them, so I substituted the green beans.

Brown the turkey:

Sweat the mirepoix:

Let it brown a bit, and add the garlic and thyme:

.. then the tomato paste and flour.

Be sure to have a nice vodka cocktail on hand:

Finally, stir in the tomatoes (sans juice - keep that handy for thinning the sauce if needed), Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and mustard.

Every time I use Worcestershire sauce I think of Jennifer Patterson and how she used to call it "Wooster Sauce."

Then stir in the turkey, pour the whole mess into a casserole, top with hash browns, and drizzle with melted butter. The recipe calls for eight cups of hash browns! This is about four:

Bake it at 400°F for a while till it looks like this:

Top with cheese, and bake some more:

Somehow I neglected to take a pic of it on the plate, but since it's just a casserole it didn't look like much. It was really pretty good, though - this will be repeated, maybe with some mushrooms added.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Brandy Alexander


Crab-Alfredo Baked Shells

Got this from a magazine.

Mise en place: shells, cream, butter, parmesan, shallots, parsley, nutmeg, lemon, crab, Panko, salt, pepper.

It's not really Alfredo, of course, since it has all that cream, but whatever.

While the shells are boiling, sweat the shallots in the butter with the nutmeg. The magazine recipe has you just simmer the shallots in the cream, but that doesn't make any sense to me.

Remove the shallots and butter to a bowl, wipe the saucier clean, and simmer the cream. Whisk in the butter slowly.

Add some of the parmesan, some of the parsley, and pepper. Continue simmering till thickened.

Meanwhile, make a nice salad and have a glass of white wine.

Add lemon juice to the sauce, correct the seasoning, remove it to a bowl, and fold in the crab and shells.

Keep an eye out for overeager assistants.

Divide the mixture into four baking dishes. I only had two, so I used miniature loaf pans as well. Top with the Panko and the rest of the parmesan. Run under the broiler to brown.


Verdict: not too bad. A bit rich, and kind of expensive to make (that crab is about $20/can). The sauce could use some sherry.