Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What I Cooked! July 17, 2010

This month's WLS-friendly feast had a theme that I called "Avante-garde American." America is the proverbial melting pot of many different flavors and cultures, and this meal was kind of like that.
Course 1: Jicama Pot Stickers with Miso-Black Bean Dipping Sauce

These "pot stickers" are thin slices of jicama that are salted and lightly steamed, stuffed with a mixture of homemade goat ricotta cheese, chopped shrimp, local shoepeg white corn, scallions, and chive. They were inspired by the idea of "jicama ravioli" that are stuffed with avocado by Jose Andres at Cafe Atlantico and filled with tuna tartare by Hubert Keller as described in his cookbook, The Cuisine of Hubert Keller. I took more of an Asian turn by imagining them as pot stickers instead of ravioli, and by infusing the black bean sauce with a good amount of miso paste. Jicama is a Mexican vegetable though, and the filling isn't remotely Asian-inspired, so this dish epitomizes the avant-garde melting pot theme.

Course 2: Crab Cakes, Portabella-Hearts of Palm Gratin, and Carrot-Roasted Grape-Bacon Slaw with Garlic Butter and Blackberry-Lemon Gastrique

From left to right: (1) Portabella-hearts of palm gratin. My mom wanted to see how I’d make a lower-carb version of baked macaroni and cheese. I got the idea of using hearts of palm as a macaroni replacement from Maria Health, one of my favorite food/healthy lifestyle blogs. (2) Carrot, roasted grape, and bacon slaw. I learned about roasting grapes here. The salad is very simple, with just red wine vinegar, Splenda, salt and pepper. (3) Crab cakes. I spotted this awesome recipe by Ellie Krieger for healthy but crispy crab cakes in this month’s Food Network Magazine. It’s excellent and will become a regular part of my repertoire. The yellow stuff on top is garlic butter. (4) Blackberry-lemon gastrique made with red wine vinegar.

Course 3: Chevon Paprikash with Corn Chowder, Zucchini-Parmesan Pancakes, and Green Tomato-Habanero Chow Chow

Dessert: "Cherubs"
I baked a sugar-free angel food cake last week and morphed it into three desserts.

From left to right:
(1) Rosemary-scented local peaches and sweetened freshly made ricotta over angel food cake;
(2) Banana-pecan bread pudding topped with homemade banana chips (this was supposed to be topped with sugar-free marshmallow and banana-pecan streusel, but I forgot the marshallow and ruined the streusel); and
(3) Snickers trifle, which is dark chocolate pudding layered with angel food cake, homemade sticky caramel, and peanuts that I roasted and seasoned myself. It’s topped with Cool Whip, more peanuts, more caramel, and a sweet cherry (sadly, my mom had never had a real cherry. She’d only had those nasty bright red ones from the jar. Yuck.).

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