Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wild Shrimp & Diver Scallop Shu Mai

Most normal households do not have leftover scallops idling in the fridge, but anything is possible when Kam is cooking. Personally, I'm not big on left-over scallops, I like to eat them immediately after cooking because I find shell-fish, mollusks and bi-valves a waste to re-heat, unless you enjoy chomping on rubber; delicious rubber, but rubber nonetheless.  Anyways, I thought it would be delicious to mix them with fresh shrimp and some other ingredients, and then wrap it up in a wonton.

shrimp & scallop "shu mai" with Killa Kam dipping sauce

I'm aware that this is not the most composed picture, but it is important for me to let my adoring public know that these dishes are made in a real kitchen, eaten by real people. I'm not a food stylist, and I am not going to play with my food endlessly in hopes of photographing it at the best angle- I want to eat it, damn it! The messy sauce bowl was the exact vessel Kam conjured the sauce up in, and I wasn't going to waste one drop of it on a napkin by wiping the sides of that bowl! Best believe we practically licked that bowl clean.

Wild Shrimp & Sweet Scallop Shu Mai

30 Wonton Wrappers
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp water [egg wash]
10 medium sized Shrimp [21-25/lb ct]
5 large Diver Scallops, quartered
1 clove of Garlic, smashed, peeled & roughly chopped
1 inch piece of Ginger, peeled & roughly chopped
3 Scallions, whites only, thinly sliced.
1.5 tsp Rice Vinegar
1/2 tsp Sesame Oil, plus more for cooking
1.5 Tbsp Soy Sauce

First: Make the filling.

  • In the base of a large food processor combine the garlic, ginger, vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, shrimp and scallops and pulse until the ingredients are combined and the proteins are coarsely chopped.
  • Transfer to a bowl and fold in the scallions.
Next: Fill the wontons.
This is the time to nominate volunteers and enhance your delegating skills.

1. Place a few wonton wrappers on a clean cutting board at a time. Spoon a large teaspoonful of the shrimp & scallop filling into the middle of each wonton.

2. Using a brush, or your finger, lightly coat the perimeter of the wonton with egg wash.

3. Fold the wonton, corner-to-corner and lightly press to seal. Then, fold the edges of the wonton over, inward, about 1/6 inch,  to reinforce the seal.

Now: it's time to cook.
1. Have a small cup of water on hand to add to the pan. 
2. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat; once it is hot add about 1 Tbsp of Sesame Oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.
3. The amount of dumplings you can sear per batch is dependent upon the size of your pan, and it is important that there is space between the dumplings so that they will sear instead of steam.
4. Allow the dumpling to cook for about 1.5 minutes and then flip them over using tongs. [If the dumplings are sticking then they are not ready to turn, or the pan was not heated enough before they were placed in it.]
5a. Once you flip the dumplings, carefully pour a little bit of water into the bottom of the pan [roughly 2-3 Tbsp, and be very careful because there is a good chance that any residual oil in the pan will spatter a bit when it comes into contact with the water] and reduce the heat to medium. Allow to cook for 2.5- 3 minutes and then transfer to a serving platter. 
5b. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel or kitchen rag, and repeat steps 2 through 5 until all of the wontons are cooked.
6. Serve with Killa Kam's Dipping Sauce

seared, flipped & steaming.

Killa Kam's Dipping Sauce
This sauce accompaniment is a much tastier compliment than the traditional soy sauce option. 

You will need:
1.5 Tbsp Light Mayo
1.5 Tbsp Sriracha [use less depending on your's and your company's heat tolerance]
1.5 Tbsp 0% fat Greek Yogurt
the juice of half a Lime; this must be fresh squeezed lime juice, not the stuff in those little plastic lime grenades that are idling around the produce department at the supermarket

Mix all of the ingredients together until homogenous and then transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with your dumplings.

Another unimpressive photo... I was too excited to dig in!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

the segway from summer into fall...

Sweet summer corn is a seasonal luxury that should never be taken for granted.  My friend Craig recently requested a recipe for corn chowder and I had to get on it before the season ends.  Thankfully the past few days have been chilly and gloomy, the perfect weather for a comforting bowl of chowda.

Before I begin I feel obligated to let you know that if you are accustomed to the "chowders" served at most average restaurants you are going to be disappointed. I don't load my chowder with roux and heavy cream, I allow the natural starches from the corn and new potatoes to do the dirty work for me.  For a luxurious touch I added a touch of heavy cream at the very end, but that is completely optional and highly unnecessary.  With that said, let's get cookin :o)

4 large ears of Sweet Corn, kernels cut from the cob & two kernel-less cobs reserved & quartered. Keep 1/4 Cup of kernels handy, and hold the rest of them, covered, in the fridge.
2 ounces [about a 4 inch long piece] cured, Spanish Chorizo, diced. [You can substitute bacon, but the spice from the chorizo compliments the sweetness of the corn beautifully. The smoke & salt of the bacon will steal the spot light from the star of the show- the corn.]
2 small Leeks, white part only; cleaned and thinly sliced
1 small Carrot, finely chopped or grated
2 ribs of Celery [if you have giant celery, use one], finely chopped
1.25 lbs New Potatoes [Red Bliss or New potatoes. A starchy Russett, peeled is fine], medium dice
2 Bay Leaves
4-5 sprigs of fresh Thyme
7 Cups hot Water
1/4 Cup of Heavy Cream
Kosher Salt & Cracked Black Pepper, as needed

Now, before we start, lets briefly review the leek:
They resemble giant scallions, but are a sweeter, subtle member of the onion family. This recipe calls for the whites only, but you can reserve the dark green leaves for making stocks. It is not uncommon for there to be dirt or grit in the leeks, so always cut them in half and take a look.  These weren't too bad, so I just ran them under water, peeling back the layer to rinse out the dirt, if your leek is very sooty, cut in half [lengthwise], leaving the root intact, and soak- cut side down in a large bowl of water. The dirt will sink to the bottom.

Let's get the chowder started, shall we?

1. In a medium-large stock pot, begin to render the chorizo over medium heat.
2. Once the chorizo is crispy use a slotted spoon to remove the chorizo pieces from the pot [being careful to keep all of that flavorful fat in there!] and reserve for later. Add the leeks, bay leaves and thyme, along with a pinch of salt, to the pot; saute.
3. Once the leeks are softened, add the celery and carrot. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then pour in 7 Cups of hot water, the diced potatoes, 1/4 Cup kernels and quartered cobs. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
4. Simmer for about 1.5 hours, and then taste. It will be bland because you  haven't seasoned yet, but you should be able to taste the flavors.  If the broth is aromatic and mildy flavorful, and your taters are very, very soft, remove the cobs, bay leaves, and any thyme twigs and season to taste with salt & pepper.
5.  Using an immersion blender, or carefully transfer to a standard blender, puree your soup. Now, you can either be very French about it and pass the pureed soup through a fine mesh sieve to remove any tiny pieces of potato skin or corn fiber, or you can trust me that you will be fine; after all, this is a chowda, not a bisque!
6. Return the soup to the pot and keep it hot over medium-low, add the reserved kernels, 1/4 Cup of cream and a pinch of salt. Simmer for a couple of minutes and serve with the reserved crispy chorizo.

 The lighting isn't doing the chowder justice; we haven't had sunlight in days!

This recipe will yield 4 entree sized portions or 6 small servings.

You are getting very, very hungry...

... when I snap my fingers you will awaken and immediately crave a steak & wilted arugula salad...

1... 2... 3...
Did it work???

Excellent. This is what you will need:
1 lb Hanger Steak [skirt or flank are viable substitutions]
1 medium sweet white onion, peeled & thinly sliced.
2 Tbsp White Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Feta [but by all means substitute blue if your dining company is down, that is totally what I would have preferred!]
5-6 ounces baby Arugula
1/3 Cup dressing [recipe will follow]
Salt & Cracked Black Pepper, as needed

1. Pull steak from fridge and transfer to a plate lined with a couple of paper towels.
2. Season both sides of the steak liberally with Kosher salt [season conservatively if you have sodium-intake or high blood pressure concerns]. Allow to rest while you start the onions and preheat the grill, or grill pan.
3. Warm up a grill pan or grill on medium-high heat [about 7.5/10]. Then, heat a medium sized saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, allow to heat up [about 10 seconds] and then add your sliced onion. Quickly toss to coat and then let it sizzle, cook & caramelize... stirring occasionally.
4. Once the onions begin to brown, season them with a pinch of salt. Give them a quick stir and let them continue to cook.  If they seem to be on the cusp of burning, reduce the heat to low.
5. Put the arugula in a large mixing or salad bowl and toss to coat with the dressing [recipe follows] and crumbled Feta.
6. Back to the onions- are they between golden and bronze? Add the 2 Tbsp of White Balsamic Vinegar, deglaze the pan and reduce any remaining liquid.
7. Pour the onions over the salad and toss to distribute with the arugula. The salad dressing and warmth from the onions will just wilt the arugula while still maintaining the basic integrity of the leaf.
8. Use a paper towel or two to pat the steak dry on both side. Season liberally, again, with salt [once again- if you have sodium issues, disregard this step. Salting once will be enough]. Place on the grill.
9. Cook the steak until desired doneness, the following time approximations are based on a roughly 1.25" or so thick cut... 
  • Rare: about 3.5 minutes, flip, 3 more minutes, rest.
  • Med-Rare: 4.5 minutes, flip, 4.5 minutes, rest.
  • Medium: 6 minutes, flip, 5 minutes, rest.
  • Medium-well: 8.5 minutes, flip, 8.5, rest.
  • Well: keep it on there for at least 12 minutes per side, or throw it on the ground and stomp on it. 
Allow your steak to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing & serving. Recipe will yield 4 modest servings, or 2 heavy servings.

Salad Dressing, yields roughly 1/3 Cup:
3 Tbsp White Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp Honey
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
a few turns Cracked Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Mix together all of the ingredients, except for the oil.
2. While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil.
3. Toss with greens and eat your veggies!

And now I am off to bed;
 "To sleep, perchance to dream... of my next meal." 
- a Shakespearian remix, by yours truly.