I like to say I was born with a stainless steel thumb - my culinary equivalent of the green thumb - and that's a lucky thing for me since my passion in life is food and cooking, and everything that comes a long with it.
What do I do with my life? I dream food, think food, look at food, read about food, work in the food business, travel via food, talk about food, use food as my artistic muse, teach others about food, and clearly, cook, play with and EAT food!
Food is my compass.
It's finally the holiday season! Which, to me, means lots of food, lots of drink, and spreading holiday cheer. Cornucopias of things. Overflowing chalices. Literally all of the good parts of A Christmas Carol. Basically this:
For the entire season. I pretty much end up dressing like male characters from Charles Dickens novels for winter everyday anyway, so it all really comes together. But I digress....holiday season for me also means BAKING. Desserts. Sweets. Cookies. Stuff. Which is basically the worst because baking involves measurements, and despite how OCD and Type-A I am, precise measurements in cooking just ain't my thang. Pinch of this, a little bit of that, cook it 'til it's done. That kind of stuff. So, holiday season essentially = CHALLENGE. Game on, pastry geeks!
My most recent challenge was to make some candy bars. Tempering chocolate? Probably the most stressful thing I've done, besides the time I made this cake for my mom:
Yeah, having to wait almost 3 hours to see if my GIANT HALF-SPHERE CAKE will actually come out of the bowl properly cooked and unscathed sounds like my idea of a great time. NEGATIVE. But back to the candy bars. Why not? I've never made candy bars, so I may as well check it out...and it gave me a proper excuse to spend entirely too much time inside NY Cake & Bake Supply Store. I picked up some dark chocolate disks, some molds, and was OFF! Now, what to put in the candy bar? Definitely the components of a s'more. How could you go wrong, seriously?
*insert that time i felt superbly awkward purchasing only marshmallow fluff and graham crackers at food emporium*
Yes. This is also true. Checking out with solely marshmallow fluff (with dust on the lid, mind you) and a pack of graham crackers is sufficiently awkward. Judging eyes from all directions. Do people put together that I'm probably making s'mores? Do people think that I eat fluffernutter sandwiches? Am I just a fat kid with a serious sweet tooth? I'll never know. But the results of this concoction were well worth the mental anxiety I experienced over the course of a day. On to the candy bars!
This is what you'll need to make some candy bars!
1 lb of dark chocolate
3 Graham crackers, crushed up
Chocolate molds - whatever design you want! Make sure it's deep enough to make a candy bar with fillings.
So first, you need to start with what eventually will be the top of the candy bar. Time to temper some chocolate!! Ok, if you aren't concerned about the chocolate having a nice sheen to it, you can just melt the chocolate and be on your merry way. If you want it to have a shiny exterior with no milk blooms, you gotta hop to some tempering. Apparently you can do so in a microwave, but sadly I do not have said contraption and can't vouch for that method. So the only other option is the double-boiler jam. Also, I don't have a proper double-boiler - so the set-up consists of a sauce pot of simmering water, and a large bowl that can fit semi-snuggly on top.
Chop up 1/2 pound of the chocolate into shards. You can pulse the chocolate in a food processor, but you have to be extra careful as the chocolate will melt quickly from all the commotion. Put about 9/10s of the chopped chocolate into the double-boiler bowl and stir. The chocolate will start melting immediately. Stir and cook the chocolate, and bring up to 110F (thermometer time!). As soon as it hits 110, remove from heat, pour in the remaining chocolate chunks, and vigorously stir with a spatula. For a while. Get crazy with it. You want the chocolate to reduce down to about 90F, and the quickest way to do that is to seriously agitate the chocolate. And, if you don't agitate it enough, the chocolate will not temper properly.
Sidenote: I will be making a series of cartoons about the chocolate that lost his temper. *rim shot*
Once you have lost all feeling in your stirring arm, pour the chocolate into the molds. Ensure the molds are fully covered in chocolate, then pour the the excess chocolate back into the bowl. Use a pastry scraper to help you out. Place the molds in the fridge and allow to cool completely.
WHY IS THIS IN MY HOME?!
Once the chocolate is fully chilled, you can assemble and get ready for round TWO of chocolate tempering. There are two routes you can take here (¡¡¡choose your own adventure cooking!!!) - either use the marshmallow fluff straight up, or toast it a bit to get that legit s'more flavor profile. Kitchen torch time! Spread a good amount of fluff out on a sheet tray. Light the torch. Toast the marshmallow until it's golden brown. Your kitchen now smells amazing - you're welcome. Also, admire the beauty that is torched marshmallow fluff:
Stir it around and spread a thin layer evenly over the chocolate. Be very careful here!! The fluff is obviously very sticky, so it can easily tug away at the chocolate, breaking it. Be gentle. When all the candy bars are sufficiently 'mallowed, sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Already looking good!
Final step - temper the remaining chocolate, same way as above. Pour of candy bars, gently scrape off excess chocolate - be careful here also - and place into the fridge to cool again.
And now the moment of truth. When the chocolate is fully chilled, it's time to pop those bad boys out of the molds. Current level of stress: a billion. Did I temper the chocolate properly? Is it going to be shiny? Are these things even going to come out of the molds? IS IT EVEN GOING TO STICK TOGETHER?! I don't know how pastry chefs do it. Literally, I am having a mental chocolate meltdown (pun intended).
But guess what? Those bars came out perfect. Popped out on cue. Nice and shiny. Actually looking amazing. Want to eat all of them. Obviously, before you wrap these up all nice to give to your pals, you need to give it a try.
OH MY. So good. SO good. How can it not be? But seriously. I don't have to explain to you why because...s'mores. Now, have fun with arts and crafts! Wrap these up in some aluminum foil like a present, and if you are absurd enough as me, make a label and wrap it around.
I figured if I was going to make a label, I may as well be honest about the contents.
It's pomegranate time! I love pomegranates. I don't know if it's the bright, garnet color that gets me, or the crunch and pop of each pomegranate seed, or just the delicious sweet and acidic flavor that comes from it - but whatever it is, I know I think they are a superb fruit. Pomegranates are generally in season from September to February - thank god, considering most produce in the winter time is kind of boring....besides all the citrus fruits.
Regardless, I generally cannot resist pomegranates, and today was definitely one of those days. But I wanted to do something a little different with it, and make it a bit more savory than usual. It's easy to toss the seeds in a salad, or do something with it raw, but I took a different route. Pork generally pairs very well with dark fruits, so why not pomegranate? Turns out, it's a match made in heaven. A thick-cut, center-cut pork chop is pan-seared, and a pan sauce is made with red wine and the pomegranate seeds. Served with a parsnip puree (that is almost over-bayed, but not!), it's a dish guaranteed to make most everyone happy!
Seared Pork Chop with Pomegranate-Red Wine Pan Sauce & Parsnip Puree Serves 2 2 center cut, thick cut pork chops Sea salt Fresh ground black pepper 8-10 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped 2-3 bay leaves 1 c dry red wine 1/2 pomegranate, seeded Upland Watercress, for garnish Sidebar: Everyone has a genius way to take the seeds out of pomegranate. A lot of people cut the pom in half and slam it down to loosen the seeds. I think that is just plain MESSY! My route is to cut it in half, and just gently pull the seeds out by basically peeling away the membrane and skin. Much easier, and much less messy. You're also sure to get ALL the seeds!
First, generously salt and pepper both sides of each pork chop and let come to almost room temperature. Bring a large sauce pot of salted water to a boil, and add in the bay leaves (break them each in half). When the water is boiling, gently pour in the parsnip pieces and bring back to a boil. Cook until fork-tender, about 10 minutes or so (depending on the size of the chop - test occasionally!). When finished, drain the parsnips (reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking leaves), remove the bay leaves, and mash or puree in a blender. Use the reserved cooking liquid to create a smooth texture. Season to taste. The puree should have a nice bay-leaf flavor (not over-bayed!). While the parsnips are cooking, heat up a sauté pan over medium-high heat and swirl in ~2 T of olive oil. When the oil is hot, place the pork chops in the pan and cook until that side is golden brown and has formed a nice crust, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and sear the other side as well. Cover the pan while this side is cooking to allow the pork to come to a nice medium, medium-rare, another 4 minutes. Remove from the pan and let rest. Check the inside to ensure it's just cooked through, but not overcooked! Cooking time does depend on the thickness of the chop. With the pan still over heat, pour in the dry red wine and bring to a boil, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. When the wine starts to boil, toss the pomegranate seeds in the red wine and stir. Let cook until the seeds are just warmed through and the wine has reduced, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and get ready to plate! To plate, spread a few large spoonfuls of the parsnip puree on the bottom of the plate. Rest a pork chop on each, and drizzle the pomegranate pan-sauce over both chops. Finish with a few leaves of upland watercress and a crack of fresh black pepper. The flavors in this dish are awesome! The crust on the pork chop seals in the juices (thanks Maillard!), and gives a nice crunch to each bite. The parsnip puree adds a nice acidity (yup, from the bay leaf!) and lightness to the dish. The pomegranate, red-wine pan sauce pairs perfectly with the pork and parsnip combination, while the watercress adds a nice pepper flavor overall. All together, one fine dish, and great for this cold weather!
Welcome back, Cotter! Fall season is here, and I have been entirely engulfed in nonsense that does not involve me cooking, which I find completely NOT ok. Thankfully, I'm still around food all the time, so I guess it isn't half that bad! Regardless, I've got a pretty tasty treat for you all. Since it is fall, I decided to go with some nice autumnal flavors (ones that don't involve winter squash....at least yet!). It's not yet too cold, so super hearty, heavy, and warm wasn't what was coming to mind. So? I opted for a nice little salad! This salad has a TON of great flavors that come together beautifully! Easy to make, pretty full proof, and a genuine crowd-pleaser! Beet & Poached Pear Salad Serves 2 4 large beets, or 8 small beets - multicolored makes for a good looking dish, but it's not necessary 2 poached pears, cut into wedges - recipe follows Some shrubbery - pea shoots, arugula, mache, or watercress BACON - 2 slices, preferably applewood smoked A nice blue cheese - I used bleu d'auvergne Olive oil Sea Salt Black Pepper Nutmeg Sidebar: Both the beets and pears can be made well ahead of time and chilled! For the beets, remove the greens (if still attached....save and use them for a nice sautéed side!), and wash any dirt that may be remaining. Preheat the oven to 400F. Place all of the beets in aluminum foil, drizzle with a little olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and a bit of water (a couple tablespoons). Fold the foil over to create a wall package, and place in the oven. Be sure to put the beets on a sheet tray in case any leaks spring up. Allow the beets to cook about 45 minutes, or until knife tender. Obviously, time varies depending on the size of your beets, so be sure to check them every once in a while. When the beets are done, remove from the oven, open up the foil and let cool for a bit. When they are just cool enough to handle, grab some paper towels and start rubbing the skin off. It should come of very easily. Mind you - if you are using regular red beets, you WILL be staining the world. If you have vinyl/latex gloves, I suggest wearing them, unless you don't mind a nice little pink tinge to your fingertips. Cut the beets into bite sized wedges, and set aside. While the beets are cooking, you can crisp up the bacon as well. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, place the bacon in and let the fat render out. Cook, flipping, until extra crispy. Remove from the pan and break into small pieces.
Time to plate! Gather up all your ingredients and get to some artful arranging. Start with a small bed of greens- I used micro pea shoots for mine. I realize that those aren't the easiest items to come by, so other greens like arugula or mache work just as well! Scatter the beet wedges around, followed by the pears. Thinly slice the blue cheese and place on top of the beets and pears - you can just as easily crumble the blue cheese as well. Scatter the bacon pieces around the entire dish (bacon bomb!). Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and a grind of black pepper. If you have whole nutmeg on hand, give a tiny dusting of of it over the dish. Be careful with nutmeg, as it's a very strong spice you don't want it to take over the whole dish! Devour and enjoy! This dish has plenty of flavors coming together as one - the spices from the poached pears pair beautifully with the deep earthiness of the beets, and the greens add a nice hint of freshness to the whole dish. The bacon and the blue cheese add a strong depth of flavor, as well as good texture to the dish. The final dusting of nutmeg brings it all together. The flavors really are great, and a superb expression of autumn!
Poached Pears 4 pears, Bartlett or Anjou 1 c dry white wine 2 t full-bodied red wine or ruby port 3 c water 1 vanilla bean, split in half 1 cinnamon stick 1 piece of ginger (3/4 in), sliced 1/4 c honey
Place all the ingredients except the pears in a saucepan. For the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds and into the liquid. Stir to combine, and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes to let the flavors come together. While the liquid is simmering, cut the pears in half and remove the core with a melon baller. Place the pears in the liquid and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes until fork tender. Remove from heat and let cool.
I've been craving a Far East-inspired dish for quite some time, but never really got around to making anything remotely close. Welp, it seems as though this idea possessed me the other day, and the following dish was the result! I returned to my favorite old Japanese grocery store up the avenue a bit and, as per usual, got some pretty phenom stuff. Nira (chinese chives), fresh lotus root, and some beautiful salmon that was pretty much a steal! 100% buckwheat soba noodles? Got 'em. I was able to combine a few of my favorite things in life into one dish, and it turned out stunning. Give it a try! Bunashimeji Mushroom and Pea Shoot Saute, Salmon, Spicy Sesame Soba Serves 2 2 T coconut oil 1/2 lb. salmon filet, skinned and portioned into two 1 lg garlic clove, minced (~1 tsp minced) 4 cups pea shoots, washed & roughly torn 2 cups bunashimeji (beech) mushrooms, separated 3 T soy sauce about a quarters' diameter bunch of soba noodles (seriously) 1 t sesame oil 1/2 t hot chili oil Salt Fresh ground black pepper
This recipe is so quick and easy that it hurts my feelings (and makes me happy at the same time). This is speed cooking! I'm going to give a straightforward play by play, so it's a little different from some other recipes. Regardless, prepare yourself. Get one saute pan out, a medium saucepan, and a cast iron skillet. Two saute pans with a saucepan can work as well...and you are ready to go!
First, season the salmon fillets with salt and a bit of pepper. Let sit out. Fill the saucepan about 3/4 of the way with water, heat up over high heat, and bring to a boil. At the same time heat the saute pan over medium heat, and add in 1 T coconut oil. When the oil heats up, toss in the minced garlic and cook for about a minute. Next, toss in the pea shoots and ensure they get coated with the garlic/oil combination. Cook, tossing occasionally, for about two minutes until the leaves start to wilt. While the pea shoots are cooking, heat up the cast iron pan over medium/medium-high heat. Once the pea shoots are bright green and al dente, add the mushrooms, and toss to combine. Cook for about 1 minute, and drizzle in the soy sauce. Toss a few times, and let cook. Bring down to a simmer. At this point, the water should be boiling. Toss in the soba noodles and gently stir until they are completely immersed in the water. Boil for 4 minutes.
Heat up the last 2 tablespoons os coconut oil in the cast iron pan. Once it is melted and up to heat, place the salmon in the pan, seasoned side down. Let cook...and don't touch it! So at this point, three things should be happening. The pea shoots and mushrooms should be gently simmering away, the soba noodles should be boiling, and the salmon should be getting a nice sear on it. When the soba noodles are done, drain them quickly, and place in a bowl. Toss with sesame oil and chili oil - the more chili oil, the merrier in my book! Set aside.
Keep an eye on the salmon - once it is easily removed from, without sticking to the pan (about 5 minutes), it's ready to flip. It should be beautifully golden on the one side, and only need about a minute to cook just through to a medium-rare. Plating time! Between two plates, divide the soba noodles and the pea/mushroom saute. Place the Salmon on top of the saute and top with a couple of beech mushrooms. I decided to get fancy and add chinese chives and lotus root, but that's obnoxious and not necessary. Seriously, the result of this dish is ridiculous. So simple, and phenomenally tasty...not to mention super healthy as well! 100% buckwheat soba noodles are my guilty pleasure. Tossed with a little sesame oil and chili oil, you can't get much better than that! But you can...by added this veg saute and some salmon. What! The bunashimeji mushrooms are delicate and soft, and add a nice texture to the saute, while the peas give it an overall sweetness. The coconut oil used throughout gives a really subtle nuttiness to the dish. I highly suggest using coconut oil to cook with. If you get that golden sear on the salmon, it adds a definite crunch to each bite. Overall, a beautiful dish which a huge depth of flavor!
So, I guess this could technically be called a "salad"....it could also technically be called a "fruit salad" as well, which is bizarre. Regardless, this is a solid combination of goodies! It's inspired by my favorite sandwich of all time, from the now defunct Frankies Spuntino on the LES...the cheese and avocado sandwich! I never thought I would have a longing for a sandwich, but apparently that is a thing that can legitimately happen. I thought I would fiddle around with the components of the sandwich and see how it turned out. I'll tell you how: AMAZING. I literally devoured this. So give it a shot!
Literally these are the only things in the world you need for deliciousness...at least for the time being. The Sriracha bitters can be omitted, because it's obviously not the most accessible ingredient. But real sriracha is a must! Cheese & Avocado Salad Serves 2 1 avocado 2 Pink Lady apples 1/2 cup sprouts (these are clover and arugula sprouts) A small block of good cheddar - I used 2-yr aged Grafton Cheddar Olive oil Salt Fresh ground black pepper Sriracha! So here's the deal! Obviously, I have a thing for plating dishes, so my rendition is more complicated than it really has to be. For the purpose of ease, you can make a rough chop of the avocado and apples as opposed to getting all crazy. But what's the fun in that!? I took one of the apples and thinly sliced it whole with the mandolin to create a base for the salad. Just a few slices for each plate. Next, half the avocado, remove the pit, and cut each side again in half. Peel away the skin from the avocado and discard - a properly ripened avocado should peel away easily. With two of the wedges, thinly slice (not all the way through both ends) and fan out, placing it atop the apple slices. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a crack of black pepper.
Next, make an avocado and apple brunoise. Combine the apple and avocado pieces in a bowl, and toss with about 1-2 T of good olive oil, a pinch of salt and a solid cracking of black pepper. Toss to combine. In a separate bowl, season the sprouts. Add about 1 T olive oil, and 1/2t of sriracha. You could use more sriracha if you like, but don't get too aggressive! Separate the sprouts between each place, as well as the brunoise. Sprinkle the brunoise around the entire plate. To finish, peel a bunch of cheddar over each plate. Grab a fork and knife, and enjoy! Full disclosure, I put more sriracha on my salad at the end...because I'm obsessed with sriracha. Not necessary though if you don't want that level of heat! This really turned out great, and may be a mainstay in my repertoire. Apples and cheddar are a timeless combination, so we don't really need to get into that. The avocado adds a depth of creaminess to the dish, while the sprouts add that nice vegetal tang. The sriracha gives it nice kick, as well as a hint of the familiar sriracha flavor. Finally, the aged cheddar adds a level of umami that wouldn't really be reached without it. Such a great combination, and super healthy at that. Get out and make this asap!
Back in action!! So, I acquired myself a bunch of different eggplants, and just could not come up with any ideas of what to do with them! Kermit eggplants, rosa bianca eggplants, globe eggplants, you name it. I took myself to the market to see if I could garner any more inspiration for a dish to make, and that's when I saw the game changer - rabbit saddle! Definitely wasn't initially on my radar to be combined with eggplant, but figured I could come up with something fun and exciting....and this dish is exactly that! Visually, it looks great, but most importantly, the taste is definitely on point. All of the components result in an awesome dish from start to finish - so find yourself some rabbit saddle and get to work!
Curry-Dusted Rabbit Saddle, Cardamom Yogurt, Eggplant 4 rabbit saddles Olive oil Salt Fresh ground pepper Mild curry powder 1 t minced garlic 1/2 cup Greek yogurt 1/2 t cardamom extract 1 large purple eggplant 1 small eggplant (I used Rosa Bianca) 1 orange, for zesting 1/3 c dry white wine 1/2 c chicken stock
First, start out by making some eggplant chips and the eggplant puree. Preheat the oven to 250F. Take the small eggplant and thinly slice it on a mandolin - about 1/8 inch thick. Arrange the eggplant slices flat on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with a little salt. Allow the eggplant to cook until it gets super crispy, about 45 minutes. For the puree, raise the heat of the oven to 400F. Cut the eggplant in half, and score the interior with a sharp knife. Drizzle with a fair amount of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and lay it cut side down on a baking sheet. Cook the eggplant until the inside is super mushy, about an hour. It's done when a knife can be inserted easily through the flesh. Scoop out the flesh and place it into another bowl - either use a fork to crush up the eggplant, or a mortar and pestle to get it to a smoother consistency. Zest the orange into the eggplant, and season with salt and pepper. While the eggplant for the puree is cooking, you can prep the yogurt as well as the rabbit. In a small bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt and cardamom extract. You could also use toasted, ground cardamom - about the same amount - if you can't find any extract. Set aside.
For the rabbit, lightly salt all sides, then rub each saddle with curry powder. Use a decent amount, because you want to create a nice crust on the saddle. Heat up a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Swirl in a bit of olive oil into the pan, and when it's shimmering place the rabbit saddles in. Sear all around until you achieve a nice golden crust, about 7 minutes. Remove the rabbit from the pan and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Once you're ready to plate, slice each saddle into about 5-6 slices. Make a quick pan sauce as well - toss in the garlic and cook until golden. Deglaze the pan with dry white wine, scraping the bottom to pick up any rabbit bits. Next, stir in the chicken stock, bring to a boil, and allow to reduce down for a few minutes until thick.
To plate, spoon a bit of the pan sauce on each plate, and drizzle with the Greek yogurt. Spoon a bit of the eggplant puree on each plate, and top with a few eggplant chips. Next, place the rabbit saddle pieces atop of the pan sauce and yogurt. Eat all together and enjoy! This is definitely a fun dish to cook, and has a great flavor combination also! It's a pretty standard Middle Eastern combo, but the preparation of all the items lends to a subtle spice combination as opposed to being aggressive, which a lot of recipes that use these flavors results in. The rabbit is super tender, and pairs stunningly with the eggplant and cardamom yogurt. Overall, it's a fun dish in terms of textural variety, flavors, and visual pieces. Absolutely delicious!
Summer time, and the livin' is easy. Oh, is it now? Gerswhin, get it together. I suppose it's easier livin' wuth this than livin with 5 feet of snow, so I'll take it.
I will say, the livin' is MADE a bit more easy when you use food and ingredients as your barometer for summertime living. Tomatoes, zucchini, corn, peaches....everything! Summertime ingredients are all exploding with flavor - you can get by with the simplest of preparations. It's good for instant gratification!
So let's talk some summertime ingredients. Tomatoes (YES!) - still not at their peak yet, but well on their way. I couldn't resist. Sweet corn - the epitome of summer! You know what they say - what grows together, goes together. So cheesy...but so true. I decided to do a little something with my summertime veggies (sidebar: technically, fruit and grass), keep it simple, and let the ingredients do the work. The only item I truly do much of anything to are the balsamic marinated pearl onions. So good!
Summer Tomatoes with Sweet Corn Vinaigrette, Roasted Zucchini, Balsamic Marinated Onions, and Popcorn
1.5-2# heirloom tomatoes, diced (large)
1 large zucchini or 2 small zucchini - I used a huge Costata Romanesco Zucchini
3 ears corn
1/4 cup basil, roughly torn/chopped
Balsamic Onions (recipe follows)
1/4 popcorn kernels
Dehydrated lemon zest
Fresh ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 300F, then get started off by making a corn reduction. Shuck each of the ears of corn, removing all the silk. Break each ear in half, grate the kernels off on a box grater, and place all in a shallow saucepan. Add water to cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and allow the liquid to reduce for about 10-12 minutes. Strain the liquid through cheese cloth, and bring the liquid back up to a boil. Reduce to a syrupy consistency. Let cool and season to taste. Emulsify with a bit of olive oil and set aside.
While the corn liquid is reducing, thinly slice the zucchini on a mandolin - about 1/2 centimer thick. Brush each slice, front and back, with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook until just roasted through and golden.
Nexy, pop the popcorn. Yo ucan either use an air popper, or put some kernels in a pan with a bit of oil over medium heat and wait till all of the kernels are popped. Make sure you don't burn them! Toss with a bit of granulated garlic and dehydrated lemon zest. Taste for seasoning.
Roughly chop the tomatoes and toss with a few tablespoons of the corn vinaigrette and a pinch of basil. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. On a plate, place a few zucchini slices, and top with a bit of the tomato mixture. Scatter some popcorn around, top with the remaining basil, and enjoy!
Definitely a solid summer combo. If you use these ingredients when they're right in season, all of the flavors come through brightly and don't overpower one another. A bit of sweetness is added from the corn reduction and gives a hint of corn flavor. The popcorn adds a bit of fun to the dish, but most importantly a nice crunch. Overall, delicious! If you like, finish with a bit of grated parmesan cheese.
1-2 cups red pearl onions
Balsamic Vinegar, to cover
Bring a medium saucepan full of water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the tips (not the root) end off of the onion, and any papery skin. When the water starts to boil, gently toss in the onions, and let cook for about ~3 minutes, or until tender. Strain, rinse with cold water, and let cool. When the onions are cool enough to touch - this is the fun part - grab the onion by the root base, and literally squeeze them to pop out the heart of the onion. This gets rid of the first outer layers of the onion. Perfect!
Place in a mason jar or other sealable container, and cover with balsamic. These get better with time, so the further ahead you can make them - even a few days - the better. Don't be afraid to make large batches either - these are absolutely delicious!