Friday, April 27, 2012

Cream of Asparagus and Gruyere Soup

So it's spring, supposedly, in NorCal and that means a lot of asparagus in general all over California.  Most of it's grown in the central, or San Juaquin valley near Monterrey and Salinas.  It becomes quite cheap and plentiful and makes for great soups and sautes and whatnot so here's a soup of it with some delicious Gruyere.

I have to apologize for not getting a pic of this recipe but it was too good to wait until the next making to get a pic and post.

And then there's the Buzzcocks, some classic British punk that I dig every so often, today being one of those days.   - justin

Cream of Asparagus and Gruyere Soup
Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty: Medium
Serves: 6-8
  • 1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces (cut ends where stem becomes woody or tough)
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 oz sherry
  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (room temp)
  • 2 oz grated Fontina cheese
  • 4 oz grated Gruyere cheese
Melt butter in large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic, and saute for 5 minutes or until golden brown.  Add salt and pepper.  Add asparagus and saute another 4 to 5 minutes.  Add stock, sherry, and paprika and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes or until asparagus is tender.  Puree until smooth or until you reach the desired consistency. 

Return to pot and stir in sour cream or yogurt and bring back up to a simmer.  Slowly add Fontina and Gruyere and stir until fully melted into the soup.  Serve hot with some chopped scallion as garnish.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Marinades or Dressings

Either of these recipes can be used as a dressing or a marinade for meat or veggies.  Feel free to substitute the fresh herbs for what you have available to you in your area.  We use what we have in abundance out here.

For musical accompaniment, I decided to go with an old classic, Death, a rock group from back in '75 who happened to be one of the first black groups in the genre.  These guys prove that Detroit didn't just have soul, they had some punk rockers as well.  Marinade on that for a little while.  - justin

Mediterranean Dressing
Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Serves: 6-10
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh spearmint
  • 1/4 cup fresh scallions
  • 1 1/2 tbsp capers
  • 1 tsp whole grain mustard
  • 3/4 extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • balsamic vinegar to taste ( 3 tbsps or so)
Combine all ingredients and beat thoroughly.

Orange Chili Dressing
Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Serves: 6-10
  • zest and juice of one large orange
  • zest and juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients and beat thoroughly.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Citrus Braised Rabbit

Many years ago, when I was in South America (the duty free zone of Panama City, Panama if you want me to get specific), I encountered two boys selling one of the best meals I've ever had in my life from a street cart on the side of the road.  The older brother was approx 13 or so and his younger brother was about 10.  On their cart they had a flat top griddle where the older brother fried up bits of chicken, onion, and cilantro that were all marinated in a delicious citrus marinade and served up in a half pita.  His little bro sat beside him squeezing oranges into fresh juice for the marinade but also as a beverage to accompany the dish.  The price of this meal was $2.  My friend and I ate two straight off and after a couple hours of shopping and wandering we decided to go back and get more before leaving because they were just that damn good!  I think I had 4 or 5 pitas and a couple glasses of OJ that day.  Delicious!

This is my attempt at recreating the flavors that the marinade brought to the poultry.  I decided to use rabbit instead of chicken partly because I had rabbit in the freezer but also because why not post a rabbit recipe in honor of Easter?  Stupid bunny always leaving damn eggs all over the place!  I'll fix him!  Anyway, this marinade would work perfectly with chicken or pork so feel free to substitute if you feel squeamish eating Thumper.

Since I can't go too long without listening to them I decided to compliment this meal with some Pixies.  More specifically, Debaser.  It's a classic from my childhood and one that never fails to get my blood going! - justin

Citrus Braised Rabbit
Time: 8 hr marinade, 1 hr cook time
Difficulty: Medium
Serves: 6
  • 1 whole skinned rabbit, 2-3 lbs, cut into 6 pieces
  • 3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, approx 2 large oranges
  • 2 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
  • 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (you can sub white wine vinegar if you don't have white balsamic)
  • 3 tbsp minced shallots
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
Place your rabbit in a large ziplock freezer bag for marinating, or bowl if you prefer.  Combine orange juice, zest, salt, black pepper, basil, white balsamic vinegar, shallots, celery seed, and coriander and place in marinating vessel with rabbit.  Allow to marinate 6-8 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring oven safe skillet to temp over burner on medium flame and add the olive oil.  Remove rabbit from marinade, reserving the liquid, and brown in skillet, approx 7-10 minutes per side.  After rabbit is browned, add reserved marinade and broth to skillet and bring to a simmer, approx 2-3 minutes.  Place the skillet in the oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and transfer rabbit to a plate.  Dissolve cornstarch in the water.  Simmer the liquid in the skillet over medium burner and add the cornstarch slurry.  Stir with whisk until sauce thickens.  Drizzle sauce over rabbit to serve.