Category: Experiments

Experiment: Tea-Fried Squid

Tea-Fried Squid 1

Somewhere, in my Chinese cookery book collection, I have a recipe for Shrimp that are prepared by poaching in green tea (complete with reconstituted tea leave shreds). As yet, I haven’t tried it but, not long ago, I saw a picture of squid that had been fried after dusting with greenish fragments that weren’t identified. It was clearly an Asian preparation (I forget where I saw the picture), and I suspected the green ‘bits’ weren’t any common herb as might be used in the west. I wondered if, perhaps, it might be powdered tea. Anyway, the idea sounded interesting and so I put together the little appetizer you see pictured above. The idea is still rather a ‘work in progress’, but the first attempt was interesting enough that you might like to try something along the same lines yourselves… Continue reading “Experiment: Tea-Fried Squid”

Beef Tataki with Horseradish Sauce

Beef Tataki with Horseradish Sauce 1

The little appetizer you see above is made with the Japanese style rare beef, which I have already introduced to you as Beef Tataki, and pairs it with a Horseradish Sauce and a little salad garnish made from lightly salted shreds of cabbage. If you look at my post on Horseradish Root, you can see the basic sauce I made from it in the last picture. The sauce here is essentially that, although I blended it to be a little smoother and added some finely minced scallion and parsley. The combination that results here is something of an east-west fusion, although the spirit is mostly Japanese as the horseradish is very similar to Wasabi and shredded raw cabbage is the standard accompaniment for Tonkatsu. Anyway, although I found the beef needed a little salt at the table, this was a very nice little light lunch…

Experiment: Roast Brussel Sprouts

Roasted Brussel Sprouts 1

Well, as you can see from the above picture, there is quite a lot going on here besides Brussels sprouts. Indeed, the combo here includes potatoes, parsnips, onion and, although it is not apparent in the picture, all of these ingredients were roasted alongside some beef ribs as a further experiment in the series beginning with my Meat and Veggie Roast  post from a couple of weeks ago.

If, like me, you have been curious about how Brussels sprouts might turn out after being roasted, you needn’t roast them with meat, or even include other vegetables, but you can certainly follow along with the rest of this post and get some ideas from the way I did things… Continue reading “Experiment: Roast Brussel Sprouts”

Experiment: A Meat and Veggie Roast

Meat and Veg Roast 1

I almost can’t credit the fact that it has been over four years since I first wrote a post about Roast Vegetables. Since then, I have revisited and played around with the basic technique scores of times but, of late, I been combining meat and vegetables in the same roasting pan so as to produce ‘one dish’, full meal combinations. As with stews, or ‘slow cooker’ meals, the idea is to capitalize on the melding of flavors but, here, we get to exploit the unique caramelization effects of cooking using a dry, and high, heat…

I don’t have an actual recipe for you today… rather my post just details one particular combination I put together for a particular meal one evening.  In future posts, I want to develop the idea and document my experiences but I am really interested in this style of ‘one-dish’ cookery so I would really love to get feedback from readers in the form of dishes they have tried themselves.

Anyway, read on to see what I did here… Continue reading “Experiment: A Meat and Veggie Roast”

Smoked Mussel Appetizer II

Mussel Appy II

It has been over three years since I posted my appetizer recipe for Smoked Mussels with Cream Cheese but the post still receives a fair number of hits and I have long since enjoyed playing around with the basic idea. I have always meant to combine sea-food with my homemade Bacon Jam at some point and, after a bit of experimenting, I came up with the smoked mussel appetizer you see pictured above.

Rather than crackers, I used circles of Cantaloupe for the base as I thought that both the fruity flavor and the color would work nicely. I cut the cantaloupe into rounds and then smeared over a dollop of my bacon jam. I next used some chiffonade cut basil over the jam and then added a smoked mussel. For a little additional flavor and garnish, I added a drop or two of lemon juice followed by just a ‘dot’ of chili paste.

The taste of these was pretty good, actually, but I think the cantaloupe rounds need to be improved a bit. I just cut them by hand with a paring knife and the result is a little clunky and amateurish. I suppose this can be improved somewhat but it may be that some other ‘base’ would be better… any ideas?

Experiment: Lemon Marinated Flank Steak

Marinated Flank Steak 01

For many years, I worked at the Regional Hospital in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and, despite the general reputation of awfulness for hospital food, the meals served at the staff cafeteria there were mostly pretty good. One item they did from time to time was a pan-fried flank steak that was cooked with, if not also marinated in, lemon juice. It was served under the rather spurious name ‘London Broil’ but was always nicely tender and delicious.

For those unfamiliar, a London Broil refers not to a particular cut of steak, although this mistake is often made, but rather to the fact that the cut, usually a tougher one like flank steak or top-round, is first marinated and then served in slices after grilling or broiling. The version served at the hospital in Fredericton failed to meet these criteria in a couple of ways… it was pan-fried and served in one piece… but it was definitely a flank steak, which is very fibrous and can often be very tough if not carefully prepared. Today, I am going to try and reproduce the general effect of the dish I enjoyed all those years ago… Continue reading “Experiment: Lemon Marinated Flank Steak”

A Pasta Experiment

Pasta Experiment 1

Over the years, I have come across quite a few recipes which use breadcrumbs as a component of simple, rustic pasta sauces. Until now, however, I had never tried it and the result you see above really came about as a last minute idea with leftover ingredients.

I recently bought some very nice veal cutlets. I wanted to use breaded cutlets for a Veal Parmesan Sandwich idea I am working on but I had a whole cutlet leftover and decided to have it with pasta. As always, whenever I bread cutlets (or anything else) I had extra beaten eggs and seasoned breadcrumbs leftover and so, instead of tossing them (as I usually would), I saw a way to use them… Continue reading “A Pasta Experiment”

Experiment: Apple Baked Ribs

Apple Baked Ribs

Since posting my Apple-Sage Pork Ribs recipe not long ago, I have been playing with the basic theme and today’s post represents one little experiment I tried…

Basically, I wanted to do something a little ‘saucier’ than the glazed appetizer dish I presented in that earlier post and I changed the cooking process somewhat. Basically, I marinated the ribs for a full 24 hours in a fairly liquid marinade composed of 1 cup of applesauce, 1 half cup each of dry sherry and water, 2 tablespoons each sugar and Dijon Mustard, a little dried sage and some garlic salt. Afterwards, I baked the ribs in the marinade at 400 degrees, turning them once in the middle of the cooking time.

In the above picture, I have again presented a few of the ribs as an appetizer portion but, in fact, I served the whole pound of ribs (basically about 6 ounces of meat) as a main course with baked potato. The result was really tasty and I think that the sherry had the same effect as red wine does with pork insofar as it intensifies the umami flavors and lends the result a ‘wild boar’ taste.

Anyway, I am not finished playing with this general idea just yet and I am going to be trying something slightly different using smaller rib sections rather than the longer ones used here. Stay tuned…


Experiment: Scallion Pesto Grilled Scallops

Scallion Pesto Scallops 1 I put together this little dish to try out another use for some of the Scallion-Garlic Pesto I posted about recently. The pesto is actually quite flavorful and can be used at full strength with very bland ingredients (such as pasta), or else ingredients that are very strong tasting themselves, but for more delicately flavored items, especially white fish or shellfish, it is probably wise to tone down the scallion effect a little. For these scallops, I used a little the pesto as just the base for a creamy sauce. First, I melted a little butter in a small pan and then added the extra liquor from the scallops and a small splash of white wine. When the liquid was reduced I added couple of tablespoons of the pesto (the variety without cheese added) and then enough cream to make a nice sauce. As soon as the sauce was ready, I quickly grilled a couple of scallops (large ones cut into two pieces horizontally). I needed no seasonings here and as soon as the outside were seared with grill marks (leaving the center still slightly rare), I poured a little of the sauce into a dish, plated the scallops, and spooned some more sauce over the top. I garnished with a couple of strips of lemon zest and ate them right away. They were good J

Experiment: Pasta with Pork and Peppers

Pasta with Pork and Peppers 1

Last week, I posted the recipe for a batch of Marinated Peppers I made and I mentioned that I planned to use some the result for a Roast Pork Sandwich project I was working on. Well, I did, in fact, do up a pork roast and I played around with my sandwich Idea using the peppers as well. The result, however, though delicious, was not especially photogenic so I haven’t reproduced a picture here…

Anyway, I used some of the leftover pork and more of the peppers to make the pasta dish you see above. I fried some strips of pork just to brown them and then I set them aside and added a healthy one-third of a cup of the marinating oil from the peppers into the pan. I quickly sautéed about a half-dozen chopped cherry tomatoes in the oil (for a little acidity) and then tossed in some of the peppers and little chunks of garlic that were also in the marinating oil. After sautéeing for just a couple of minutes, I added in a batch of freshly cooked pasta, tossed it well, and then served with grated Parmesan Cheese.

The result was a very pleasant meal. Other than a little salt, the dish needed no other seasoning as the marinated peppers and the oil already pack a flavor punch alone. I have decided that keeping a batch of these on hand at all times is a great idea, not merely for a snack or appetizer emergencies, but also to add a flavor fillip to all sorts of dishes…