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Eaterie

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Asian Watercress Sauce


1 cup watercress
½ sheet nori
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon caper berries
1 scallion chopped
2 teaspoons raw blue agave syrup
1 tablespoon crème fraiche (or sour cream as substitute)

Add watercress, scallion and olive oil then puree in a food processor for two minutes. Add nori, caper berries, agave, and sesame oil then puree for an additional two minutes. Finish with crème fraiche and blend until smooth and creamy. Fill sauce in a squeeze bottle then use as a garnish.

Fall- That time of year when the leaves get crunchy, the days get longer and the air gets decidedly cooler. As the north wind starts to howl, one needs a little something to warm the insides. We have been exploring the bounty of a fruitful harvest season lately, indulging in more than our share of stews or hearty dishes featuring meats and root vegetables of all sorts. It’s been wonderful experiencing the rich earthiness Mother Nature has so graciously provided us with as we scour the local farmers markets.

Maybe a little to wonderful as this entry is about a slight return to something much lighter, if only for a few days, before we indulge in that grand feast which is Thanksgiving and set sail on the annual glut of the holidays. You can call it a last ditch effort to hold on to some semblance of a healthy weight before packing on that extra layer of insulation to shield us from the harsh winter months.

In a last hurrah of health, I whipped up this light and easy little dish to even out the till and give our waist lines a breather before the gorge fest later this week.

seared tuna with arugula and watercress salad


Seared Tuna with Arugula Watercress Salad and Asian Dressing


Searing the tuna well on the outside but leaving it rare on the inside gives you a lovely contrast between the two textures. That said, if you like your tuna cooked through, the salad will still be delicious.

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon fish sauce
6 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger
1 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons nori fumi furikake
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (1-lb) sushi-grade tuna steak (about 2 inches thick)
1 lb jicama, peeled
1 bunch arugula (8 oz)
1 bunches watercress (8 oz), tough stems discarded
• Whisk together olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce and ginger.
• Combine ground coriander, nori fumi forikake, and kosher salt in a small bowl.
• Rub vegetable oil all over tuna, then coat with spice mixture, pressing gently to help it adhere.
• Drizzle non-stick fry pan with extra virgin olive oil, then sear tuna, turning onto all sides, until seared on all sides but still very rare inside, 3-4 minutes total. Transfer tuna to a cutting board and cut across the grain into 8 slices.
• Julienne jicama using an adjustable-blade slicer fitted with 1/8-inch julienne attachment or using a knife.
• Toss arugula, watercress and jicama with drizzle with enough dressing to lightly coat, then season with salt and pepper.
• Serve tuna over salad and garnish plate with asian watercress sauce(See Recipe). Serve remaining dressing on the side.
Cooks’ notes:
• The tuna in this recipe will not be fully cooked.

SUGGESTED WINE PICKS:

2008 Lapostolle Casa Sauvignon Blanc
2007 Trimbach Reisling
2007 Schlumberger “Prince Abbes” Pinot Gris

Ramen on Steroids!

Anyone who knows my son, Julian, knows he is a notoriously picky eater. The kid literally subsists on the basic diet of chicken for a protein source and a few key carbs such as pasta, potatoes (only baked or French fried), and Ramen noodles…loads and LOADS of ramen noodles. It just so happened today, when we went for his old stand-by, we were fresh out of ramen, although we did have the makings to whip up a mean Yaki Soba- the basis of most instant ramen.

I know it runs contrary to logic we would not have a basic like instant ramen on hand, but we DID have the rough elements in store to whip up a quick soup from scratch. WHY?

Because that’s just how we roll around our house!

So armed with these ingredients, I set out to piece together the best down home ramen the kid has ever ate!

The basic recipe is quick, fairly simply and a million times more satisfying and rich than the 1 minute microwave version. I received a resounding two thumbs up from the boy.

Yaki Soba

-serves 4 (or one hungry teenager boy!)

2 Cups beef broth
1 Cup chicken stock 
1 tbls. Soy sauce
1 tsp. fish sauce or
½ tsp.  Katsaobushi (fish flakes)
1 cup chopped leek
1 clove garlic minced
½ tsp Fenugreek
8 oz. Dry Lo Mein noodles
1 Bay leaf
1 tbls. butter

Additions:

1 Cup diced Chicken, beef of shrimp
1 cup mushroom (shiitake or portabella)
1 cup sliced carrot

In a medium stock pot, add beef broth and chicken stock, soy sauce, fish sauce (or fish flakes), Fenugreek and Bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over medium high. Sautee chopped leek in 1 tbls. Butter and then add along with 1 clove garlic to simmering stock. Add 8 oz. Lo Mein noodles and reduce heat to low. The basic Yaki Soba is ready to serve as soon as the noodles are al dente’.

You can also sautee mushrooms and carrot in 1 tbls of butter and 1 clove garlic. In a separate sauce pan, brown your chicken, beef or shrimp, then toss along with mushrooms and carrot until combined then add to basic Yaki Soba. Simmer on low for 5-10 minutes to meld flavors, then serve


Ingredients

Ravioli Filling:
1 large butternut squash

3 Tbsp butter, divided

2 Tbsp Grade A Maple Syrup
2 tsp olive oil

½ teaspoon Fresh thyme

¼ teaspoon Saigon Cinnamon

¼ teaspoon fresh ground ginger

1 small clove fresh garlic

pinch fresh ground nutmeg
pinch of Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Sauce:
4 sprigs fresh sage

¼ teaspoon fresh thyme

¼ teaspoon fresh oregano
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 Tbsp flour

2 Tbsp Grade A Maple Syrup
2 c. cream
1/2 c. fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
pinch fresh ground nutmeg

Salt and white pepper to taste

1 c. whole walnuts
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare baking sheet.
-Halve butternut squash from root to stem and remove seeds.
-Place, flesh up on baking sheet and top with olive oil and 1 Tbsp of butter.
-Sprinkle with garlic, fresh thyme, cinnamon, salt and pepper and place into the oven to roast.
-Cook for 30 minutes and then turn, flesh side down.
-Bake until soft to the touch, about 10-15 minutes more.
-Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
-Once slightly cooled, scoop out squash flesh into medium bowl.
-Add remaining 2 Tbsp of butter, mash with potato masher and 2 Tbsp Grade A Maple Syrup, 2 tsp olive oil, ½ teaspoon Fresh thyme, ¼ teaspoon Saigon Cinnamon, ¼, teaspoon fresh ground ginger, 1 small clove fresh garlic, pinch fresh ground nutmeg, pinch of Kosher salt and pepper to taste. (filling can be made one day ahead and stored, covered, in fridge).
-Roll out pasta dough to desired thinness (remember, fresh pasta will expand when cooked, so roll thinly).
-Place pasta on a lightly floured surface.
-Fold dough in half lengthwise, press gently to make a crease and then unfold.
-Place about 2 tsp squash filling every 2 inches along the closest edge of the pasta half.
-Dip a finger in a small bowl of water lightly moisten dough around each mound of filling.
-Fold the top pasta half on top of the bottom half and press and shape the dough around each mound, working outwards.
-Make sure all the air is pressed out and the filling is secured in the middle of the pasta (or it will break in the boiling water.)
-Use a pastry edger (sharp knife, pastry cutter, of 2in. circle pastry cutter), cut ravioli into 2 inch squares.
-Place raviolis onto a lightly floured surface to dry for one hour. (Or place into airtight container to store in refrigerator for up to a week or freezer for up to 3 months. )
-Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
-Meanwhile, place 1 Tbsp butter into a large saucepan over medium heat.
-Melt well and then add flour, stirring constantly, cooking until golden in color, about 3 minutes.
-Add cream to pan and stir constantly to combine.
-Chiffonade 4 sprigs of fresh sage leaves and 2 sprigs fresh oregano (See post How to Chiffonade.)

-Crush garlic.
-Add ½ sage, fresh thyme, oregano and garlic to sauce, stirring to combine well.

-Add 2 Tbsp Grade A Maple Syrup
-Add grated parmesean, stirring to melt and combine.
-Remove from heat and add pinch of nutmeg, pinch of salt and desired amount of white pepper.
-Once water is boiling, add raviolis, gently to pan.
-Boil until cooked through and floating to the top, about 3-6 minutes based on thickness of pasta.
-When done, drain well and set onto serving plate.
-Meanwhile, in nonstick pan, with 1 tsp of vegetable oil over medium high heat, add walnuts and cook, tossing occasionally, until toasted aroma begins, about 2 minutes.
-Add brown sugar to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally until all brown sugar sticks to walnuts.
-Place on plate to drain.
-Remove and drain on plate.
-Top finished ravioli with warm cream sauce, then garnish with walnuts and remaining sage, thyme and oregano.

-Add fresh grated parmesean to taste

-Serve immediately.

Fresh Pasta
Ingredients:

Servings:4

Dough

  • MAKING THE RAVIOLI DOUGH: Sift flour and salt together.
  • 9 Place flour mixture on a board, making a well in the center of the flour.
  • 10 Drop eggs into the flour well, using your hand or a fork, break the yolks and beat eggs slightly.
  • 11 Combine the eggs and flour together, gradually adding enough warm water to make a stiff dough.
  • 12 Knead dough well, until smooth; cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  • 13 Cut dough in half and roll each half of the dough out on a floured board, into a very thin sheet (about 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick).
  • 14 FILLING THE RAVIOLI: Drop about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoonfuls of filling about 1 1/2 inches apart all along the dough.
  • 15 When the sheet of dough is fully dotted with dabs of filling mixture, cover filling with other sheet of dough.
  • 16 Using your fingers, gently press dough between each dab of filling to seal it.
  • 17 Cut ravioli into squares with a (zig-zag edged) pastry cutter, or very sharp knife.
  • 18 DRYING THE RAVIOLI: Allow ravioli to dry for one hour before cooking.
  • 19 COOKING THE RAVIOLI: Drop ravioli into 6 to 8 quarts of boiling, salted water and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until dough is tender.
  • 20 Remove cooked ravioli from pot carefully with a skimmer or a large slotted spoon, and drain well.
  • 21 Place drained ravioli on a serving platter in layers, alternating layers with your favorite sauce and a sprinkling of grated cheese between each ravioli layer.
  • 22 Serve hot.