Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Trial

Dinner for 3 under $30.00
Chargrilled Cauliflower with Tomato and Capers (Adapted from the Ottolenghi Cookbook)

2 tbsp capers, drained and roughly chopped
1 tbsp French wholegrain mustard
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
120 ml olive oil
1 small cauliflower, divided into florets
1 bag of mixed greens (spinach, rocket, lollo rosso, frisee, radicchio, etc.)
20 grape tomatoes, halved
coarse sea salt and black pepper
Make the dressing: mix together capers, mustard, garlic, vinegar and some salt and pepper, whisking vigorously while adding half the olive oil in a slow trickle until you have a thick, creamy dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Add the cauliflower florets to a large pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 3minutes. Drain and run under cold water to stop it from cooking and leave in a colander to dry well. Once dry, place in a mixing bowl and toss with remaining olive oil, salt and pepper.
Place a ridged griddle pan over the highest possible heat and leave until very hot. Grill the cauliflower in a few batches, and make sure they are not cramped! Once nicely charred, transfer to a bowl and while still hot, toss with dressing, salad greens and tomatoes. Taste and season and serve warm or at room temperature.

Braised Veal Breast with Fettucini

As a cheap cut of meat, Veal Breast becomes surprisingly tender after it's been braised for a couple of hours. If you like sinewy tendons, this dish screams your name. I've recently acquired a torrid love for anchovies, so you will notice that many of my recipes will contain these salty but high in omega-3 critters in many of my dishes. Please omit the anchovies if you aren't swim fans.

2 lb Veal Breast
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery sticks, washed and diced
1 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 fillets of anchovy, minced
2 cups White Wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup of water
Sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup of whipping cream
3/4 pack of Fettucini
Fresh Italian parsley to garnish
Begin by marinating the veal. Using a mortar and pestle, bash the minced garlic with a little salt, freshly ground black pepper, the leaves of 3 thyme sprigs and the 2 pieces of anchovy until you obtain an aromatic paste. Rub it all over the veal and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 170C/350F. In a dutch oven, add olive oil and heat until it's just about smoking. Caramelize the veal on both sides until it's nicely browned, about 8 minutes per side.

Add mire poix (carrots, onion, celery) in rendered veal oil and saute for a few minutes, then add the white wine to deglaze, using the back of a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan. Then add veal with its jus, chicken stock, thyme sprigs and bay leaves, cover and bake in oven for 2 hours or longer until tender.
Once the veal is tender, take the veal out and tear the meat off the bone. It should fall off effortlessly, and then shred the meat with your fork. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs, then place the dutch oven on the stove. Turn the heat to high, add the cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the sauce until it is a thick consistency, at least 10 minutes. Once thick, turn the heat down to a low simmer, taste and season with salt and pepper, and then return the veal back into the pot.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Once cooked, add the fettucini directly into the dutch oven, toss the pasta, then serve on platter with some chopped parsley.

Cranberry and Pear upside-down Cake (Adapted from Ottolenghi)

Poached pears
3 ripe but firm pears
750ml water
150g sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
2 strips of zest and the juice of 1 lemon
Caramel Topping
90g sugar
20g butter
40g dry cranberries or 50g fresh
Cake batter
200g butter
200g sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
200g ground hazelnuts
¼ tsp salt
80g plain flour
1 orange zest
1 lemon zest
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Peal the pears and cut into 2 lengthways. Scoop out the core. Immediately place in a saucepan containing the water, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, lemon zest and juice.
Bring to the boil and then simmer until the pears are just slightly undercooked. This should take anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes. Check with a sharp knife that they tender outside but firm in the centre. Leave them aside to cool down in their liquids.
Heat up the oven to 170C/350F. Lightly grease a 20cm round cake tin and line its bottom and sides with greaseproof paper.

Place the sugar for the caramel in a clean heavy-based saucepan and place on a low heat. Without stirring watch the sugar turn into a rich caramel colour. Make sure to keep your eyes on the sugar at all times as it can easily burn. As soon as you reach the desired colour, remove the pan from the heat quickly but carefully. With your face at a safe distance, throw the butter in in a few chunks. Stir with a wooden spoon and pour onto the base of the cake tin. Carefully tilt it to spread evenly.
Drain the pears and cut each half into 3 wedges. If using dry cranberries, soak them in some of the hot cooking juices of the pears. Drain after 10 minutes. Arrange the pears and the cranberries over the caramel.

To make the cake, sieve together the flour and the spices. Use the paddle attachment of the mixer to cream the butter and sugar until light and airy. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla. Add the ground hazelnuts and mix just to combine. Repeat with sifted flour, salt and zest. Make sure you don’t over mix.
Once the batter is homogeneous and smooth pour it carefully over the pears and cranberries making sure you don’t move them out of their place. Smooth the batter with a palette knife. Bake for 35 minutes. Test with a skewer to make sure the cake is dry inside. Remove from the oven. Whilst the cake is still warm, but not hot, place an upside-down flat plate on top of the tin and briskly turn over. Remove the tin and the paper. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Here's the breakdown of the budget. The total came out to $27.45 (if my math is correct). I found the veal by chance at a local meatshop in Brooklyn when I was walking to the subway from Prospect Park, the wine was bought at Trader Joe's in Union Square, and the rest of the products were purchased at Wholefoods on Columbus Circle.

1 comment:

  1. This is brilliant! You should do more challenges like this and blog about it. Wow, I'm impressed you were able to cook all that and not exceed 30 bucks. I'm inspired!