Saturday, February 4, 2012

Demi-Glace/Demi-Glace with Olive Oil Roux

Introducing some new items that have just found their way into my kitchen. My brother, Jason, has long used More Than Gourmet products, particularly their Demi-Glace Gold.  He gave Chris a 16 oz container of this for Christmas and me several containers of the Red Wine Sauce and White Wine Sauce. I have used some of the White Wine Sauce to make Chicken and Wild Mushrooms Supreme . In making this recipe I used 1 t fresh thyme instead of dried thyme, substituted lemon juice for cream and served over Trader Joe's Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Pasta instead of in pastry shells. For my taste the recipe is a bit heavy on sauce (I used 1/3 container for 10 oz of chicken) but that's what More Than Gourmet is selling.

© 2012 Chris Kern
Chris immediately used some of his Christmas present to make a mushroom-onion demi-glace which he served over a dryaged sirloin strip.  He posted photos (inculding the ones at left) on Google+ (and gave me permission to use them here). The ratio of demi-glace to hot water is 1:4 as noted on the container. Chris made the roux from flour and butter, using equal parts by weight, but it seemed too thick to him so he added more butter. Jason, the demi-glace pro's advice is, "Do it by feel".   Alexandra saw Chris's post and photos and convinced Chris to make this when we were together last week.





© 2012 Chris Kern
Prior to Chris's arrival,  I ordered the Demi-Glace Gold from Amazon Prime (didn't spring for the overpriced 1.5 ounce packages at Whole Foods and elsewhere).  When it arrived I was amazed to discover that the label lists only 0.5 g of fat per 2 t (before water is added) serving; the cholesterol comes from the butter in the roux. Chris made a demi-glace like he had made in New York and it was awesome.  I used some of the leftover demi-glace on some mashed potatoes and cod (see below) a few nights later.  It too was very tasty, and I began to ponder how I might make a healthier version of this.





© 2012 Chris Kern
For a long time I have used Stonewall Kitchen's Mushroom Sage Steak Sauce with additional sauteed mushrooms to accompany steaks and with caramelized onions and mushrooms over cod. The Demi-Glace Gold would be a tasty, less expensive alternative and if I used an olive-oil roux, it also would contain no cholesterol.








Demi-Glace made with Olive Oil Roux
Serves ~3; scale accordingly

Whisk together, then simmer, about 6 minutes, until well mixed:

2 T Demi-Glace Gold

1/2 c hot water

In a small skillet brown

1 T flour (I used 2 T in photo above and it made way too much roux)

Stir constantly until it is slightly golden then whisk in

1 T olive oil

Whisk constantly until flour and oil are well blended, adjust quantity "to feel." Then whisk enough roux in with the demi-glace to achieve the desired thickened, smooth consistency.  Add mushrooms and/or onions if desired (see below).


© 2012 Chris Kern

Mushroom Demi-Glace

Chris sometimes complains I serve mushrooms with sauce over steak rather than mushroom sauce and admonishes, "Don't put in too many mushrooms."

When Chris made Mushroom Demi-Glace last week he used a big cup each (actually about 1 1/4 c each) of finely chopped mushrooms and onions and 1/3 c Demi-Glace Gold.  For the recipe above that would translate to

~ 1/3 c mushrooms, (I use crimini and/or shitake), chopped
~ 1/3 c onion, finely chopped

Sautee mushrooms and onions in

1 t olive oil until they are soft and onions are golden

Mix into demi-glace.

Cod with Caramelized Onions and Mushroom Demi-Glace

Follow the recipe for Cod with Carmelized Onions and Mushrooms but instead of using Stonewall Kitchen's Mushroom Sage Steak Sauce add Demi-Glace made with Olive Oil Roux (photo above).

Note: When using demi-glace on cod/other similar fish such as hake, I prefer to make basic demi-glace then follow instructions in cod recipe and leave onions and mushrooms in thin slices.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Carnival Squash Stuffed with Black Quinoa Pilaf

The squash that caught my eye at the farmstand eariler this week has been sitting on the counter for a few days daring me to do something.  So I tried the combination below and the results were very tasty.  The quinoa pilaf is enough to stuff 2 squash (4 halves).  I will use the leftovers as a side dish, but if leftovers are not desired, scale accordingly.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the quinoa.  Black quinoa is to white quinoa as wild rice is to white rice, crunchier with a stronger, nuttier flavor. When using black quinoa it is  especially important to rinse properly to remove  the saphonin dust.  Put


1 c black quinoa


into a fine strainer and run water through it, or stir it in a bowl of cold water and pour it through a clean kitchen towel. Repeat the process until the water runs clear and is no longer sudsy. The amount of rinsing necessary may vary greatly. 


Set the quinoa aside to drain.
Prepare the squash.  Cut in half


1 Carnival squash/per 2 servings


Remove the seeds, I first used a spoon, then scraped with a grapefruit knife. and brush the inside and outside with




Olive oil


Place cut side down in an edged oven-proof dish filled with 1/4 inch water. Place in preheated oven and cook for 30 - 35 minutes (depending on size of squash) until flesh of the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.


While the squash is cooking, in a small skillet, heat


1 T olive oil


and saute the quinoa until it is well coated with the oil.


Place the quinoa in a saucepan or, my preference, a rice cooker and add


1 1/2 c water
1/3 c dried cranberries or cherries


If using a rice cooker, follow instructions. If using a sauce pan bring water to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer until all the water has evaporated.


Wipe out the skillet, add a bit more olive oil and saute until wilted and tender:


2 scallions, sliced thinly
6-8 shitake or crimini mushroomscoarsely chopped
1/3 c pecans, coarsely chopped
2 -3 t chopped fresh sage to taste


When squash and quinoa are cooked, combine the quinoa and mushroom/pecan mixture and stuff each half of squash, finishing with a slight mound of quinoa.  Return to oven for 5 minutes to warm through and crisp top.  Serve garnished with a sprig of sage.


This is really fun to eat!  I was told at the farmstand that the skin of this squash is thin and edible.  Thinking about the acorn squash I usually buy, I was not convinced. Wrong.  Using a sharp knife, the squash is easily sliced and tasty, skin included, when eaten.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

FEBRUARY - MARCH



Ummm.... Not much local this month except celaric, several kinds of potatoes and a green and pale yellow striped squash I've never noticed before.  It's amazing when the selection gets small enough and the same enough how something not previously noticed will jump out. I asked. It's called Carnival Squash and the tender skin is supposedly edible. Sounded different, maybe even good. Stay tuned.


This month's selection looks like last's but more limited, and here in the Northeast nothing locally grown (outside a green house) will be available in March that is not already available in February. In fact, some of February's dwindling stores will be depleted come March.   Given the sameness of selection and no holiday food to celebrate either month,  I'm doing what Barbara Kingsolver does in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life; she starts with April and ends by lumping February and March together.  In Chapter 19 HUNGRY MONTH: February - March, Kingsolver writes:


"As I grow older, more of my close friends are elderly people. I suppose I am auditioning, in some sense to join their club. My generation will no doubt persist in wearing our blue jeans right into the nursing homes.... But I do find myself softening to certain features of the elder landscape. Especially, I'm coming to understand that culture's special regard for winter. It's the season to come through. My eighty-four-year-old neighbor is an incredibly cheerful person by all other standards, but she will remark of a relative or friend, 'Well, she's still with us after the winter.'" (1)

Kingsolver goes on to describe the perils of winters past when bitter cold, limited diets, and lack of immunizations and antibiotics took a toll on young and old alike.  Then continues:


"Tying my family's nutritional fortunes to the seasons did not really involve any risk for us, of course. But it did acquaint us in new ways with what seasons mean, and how they matter.... I watched the rank-and-file jars in our pantry decline from army to platoon, and finally to lonely sentries staggered along the shelves. We weren't rationing yet, but I couldn't help counting the weeks until our first spring harvests and the happy reopening day of the farmer's market. I had a vision of our neighbors saying of us, 'Well, they're still with us after the winter.'" (2) 

While I still like winter and look forward to cross-country and alpine skiing if there is sufficient snow and trail hiking if there is little snow, I am beginning to think about asparagus. Armed with my flu shot and car to drive to the nearest market, I am not living a Kingsolver experiment or a Little House on the Prairie existence, but I am looking forward to going to the local farm stand/farmers market and seeing more than root veggies.  We just pruned our Andromedia so we have plenty of greens for a centerpiece, but I'm looking forward to daffodills. March 21st is the turning point, the days will then be longer than the nights, and first spinach and daffodills won't be far behind. As Kingsolver describes planting seedlings under indoor lights, she writes of March, "If it's not the end of the winter, you can see it from here."(3)

1  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, page 315
2  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, page 316
3  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, page 323