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Posts Tagged ‘sherry vinegar’


There’s nothing I like more than a grilled cheese. I like every kind, from the traditional diner cheddar on white bread to the fanciest, wild mushroom truffled grilled cheese. When I saw a recipe for bacon jam, I immediately thought that would make a great grilled cheese– everything’s better with bacon and this jam has a nice sweetness from the caramelized onions. You can use it as a condiment for many things, I’m already thinking about eggs and of course, egg sandwiches. I planned to make this with sliced peaches when they are in season, but for now I’m using apples.

Grilled Cheese with Peaches (Apples) and Bacon Jam
2 1/2-3/4 inch slices (extra thick) of good pullman loaf or brioche
2 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter
2 half inch thick pieces of Taleggio or other semi-soft cheese
4 quarter-inch thick slices fresh peach (or apple out of peach season)
Handful of spinach or arugula leaves
2 tablespoons bacon jam (below)
Butter both sides of each slice of bread and lightly toast on a grill or griddle for 2-3 minutes until it just starts to develop color. Spread the bacon jam on one slice and layer the peach or apple slices and the cheese slices on top. Top with the other slice.
Grill for 5 minutes on each side (depending on grill heat) until the cheese starts to melt and the peaches are warmed through. Add the spinach or arugula after you remove from the heat.

Bacon Jam

1/2 pound thick cut appplewood smoked bacon, chopped into 1/4 inch slices
1 onion, minced
3 garlic gloves, minced
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons bourbon
3 tablespoons coffee, freshly brewed
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup water, as needed
salt and pepper to taste
Render the bacon until most of the fat has been rendered and can be drained off. Remove to a paper towel, leaving a tablespoon of bacon fat. Saute the onions in the bacon fat until they have caramelized, about 12-15 minutes. Add the garlic and stir through. (Garlic is added later so that it doesn’t burn) Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on low heat for about an hour, adding water as necessary.

 

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Mexican food always means a party. There’s a time and place for (Italian) comfort food when I’m looking for a pick-me-up, and then there’s time for fish tacos and margaritas. I love these because they’re not so heavy, and I can make them quickly and concentrate on spending time with friends. Plus, when margaritas are involved, it’s best not to wait too long to eat….

Fish Tacos

2 fillets of white, firm fish, like tilapia

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

4-6 tortillas, warmed in a pan or oven for a few minutes

1-2 cups shredded napa cabbage

3 tablespoons cider vinegar or sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 limes, juiced

1 poblano pepper, broiled quickly to blister the skin (put in paper bag to help remove the skin)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, roasted under the same broiler until the skins start to burst

1 teaspoon Sriracha or other hot sauce

1 garlic clove, roasted with the tomatoes

cilantro or parsley

For the hot sauce, combine the pepper, tomatoes, garlic, and hot sauce in a blender with some salt and pepper to taste. Add half the lime juice and a handful of cilantro or parsley and blend again.

For the cabbage slaw, combine the cabbage, vinegar, half the lime juice and salt and pepper. This is best done ahead of time because it gives the flavors a chance to combine, but it will still be good if you make it at the same time.

Combine the flour, paprika, chili powder and some salt in a plate. Dredge the fish lightly and put directly into a couple tablespoons of oil in a pan. Allow it to brown on one side and then flip. I like to use non-stick for fish but if it sticks a little, it’s not the end of the world. You’ll be breaking up the fillets anyway.

Layer some fish, hot sauce and cabbage slaw onto a tortilla. Serve with some beans and rice and maybe a couple wedges of lime for squeezing at the table.

For my rice, I like to cook it according to package instructions but use half the amount of water and replace the rest with chicken stock. I add a bay leaf or two and a pinch of saffron. Sometimes I add a little ground cumin too. Not too much to make it really strong, just a gentle flavor.

For my beans, I generally use canned because they’re so handy, but I rinse them REALLY well. You don’t want any of that viscose liquid they come in, it’s full of sodium and it tastes weird. I saute up some bacon with some brown sugar and then toss in the beans. Add some water if it’s too thick and allow it cook together for 10 minutes.

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Usually when we have people over, I try to make things that don’t require silverware because that means a lot less cleanup for me. I wanted to have this salad at the party, but what to do so I don’t need to put out silverware? This is the appetizer version of my shaved asparagus salad, just put the dressed salad on toasted crostini and eat! I think it actually works better if you dress it an hour or two ahead of time to soften up the asparagus so you can drape it over the crostini.

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Seared scallops are one of my favorite things, and I make them a lot. My recent favorite was the scallop crudo I made a couple weeks ago, it was amazingly delicious and will definitely show up on a dinner party menu soon. Today I picked up some at the farmers market, and made a quick lunch. I already had the piquillo pepper sauce left from a previous dinner and some baby spinach that I needed to use.

Seared Scallops over Spinach with Pine Nuts

1/2 pound scallops, dried and seasoned

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 bag baby spinach

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 handful toasted pine nuts

Sear the scallops in a hot pan with half the olive oil. Once they start to brown (about 4 minutes), flip to finish on the other side for another 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the garlic and spinach in the remaining olive oil in another pan. Add the sherry vinegar and some salt to season. Cook for a minute and add the pine nuts. Remove to a plate and arrange the scallops over the top.

Piquillo Pepper Sauce

1 cup piquillo peppers (a spanish sweet red pepper roasted and canned or bottled)

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend. Taste to make sure the seasoning is correct, depending on the amount of salt in your peppers, you may need to add more or less.

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Thanks to Food 52 for naming my Shaved Asparagus and Mint Salad the winner of this week’s contest!! I’ll post about my winnings when I receive them in the mail!

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My recipe for the shaved asparagus salad with mint and hazelnuts is a finalist on this week’s Food 52 contest! Please vote for it here!

This was my original picture of the recipe, but theirs are so much prettier! Gotta work on that!

http://www.food52.com/recipes/11674_shaved_asparagus_and_mint_salad

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