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Archive for July, 2010

Bresaola is a very lean thinly sliced cured Italian beef. It is usually served with arugula, shaved Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of lemon and olive oil, a dash of salt and pepper. It is a staple in Italy. I’ve taken this lovely meat and made an appetizer with it that uses its mildly salty and delicate meatiness to perfection.

Bresaola Mascarpone Fig & Strawberry Roulades

Photo by David Bishop

Juicy tart and sweet slices of strawberries and soft ripe figs wrapped in sweet creamy Mascarpone smeared halves of Bresaola make luscious bites of delight. They are especially great with sips of Amontillado. I used this presentation for eye appeal and added a drizzle of fig balsamic glaze that I found in the grocery store with the balsamic vinegar. The green garnish is baby arugula.

You can make your own balsamic glaze by boiling down Balsamic vinegar with a dash of honey. Flavoring it with fruit juice is optional. Once chilled, use a squeeze bottle for applications.

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Thin Japanese buckwheat noodles with sesame sauce and veges are not only delicious and delightful, quick and easy, but pack a major source of fiber, omega 3’s, vitamins and minerals (ie. anti oxidants), as well as advantageous cholesterol to fight heart disease and stroke while enhancing brain power. Best of all it is economically sensible and fills you up, leaving little room for cravings for unhealthy choices. Just wait until you try this. You will make it one of your favorites too.

Buckwheat Sesame Noodles with Veges

Photo by David Bishop

This beautiful dish is one of my main stays as a delicious and satisfying choice at any time, because it is so simple and easy. It is especially great in summer because it is a cool dish and can be made ahead and enjoyed for days, left refrigerated. Most of the time needed to prepare this dish is for chopping the veges. The cook time is so little that it will hardly heat up your kitchen.

The first thing I want to say about making this really great is that the buckwheat noodles should be very fine, like capellini. If you use thicker buckwheat noodles, the texture will be a little coarse for my taste. I have found that only Asian groceries carry the finest buckwheat noodles. This is a Japanese recipe, after all. You can find thicker buckwheat noodles in most grocery and health food stores. The thicker ones will be equally delicious and healthful. The texture factor is my only caveat. If you can only find the thicker version, the cooking time of the noodles will be a minute or so longer. Which ever you choose, the whole recipe will take less than 30 minutes from start to finish, including cooling time. With all that said, here is the recipe.

Boil in 2 quarts of lightly salted filtered water for 5 minutes:

  • 1 bundle of fine buck wheat noodles, (They are usually bundled very beautifully in decorated ribbons & the bundles are sold in bunches in packets. The bigger the package of bundles, the more economic it is).
  • After boiling, rinse in cool water and drain until cool.

For the sauce, whisk together in a 2 quart bowl :

  • 1 tablespoon sesame paste or Tahini
  • 1 tablespoon lite soy sauce
  • 1 table spoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons walnut or peanut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh hot red pepper, or 1/4 teaspoon dried red hot pepper, or hot red pepper sauce.

Saute  on low heat, Vegetables & Oil, Until Slightly Tender/about 5 minutes:

  • 1/4 cup fresh cooked or frozen English peas or cooked Edamame
  • 2 Tbs. finely julienned carrots
  • 2 Tbs. finely julienned yellow bell peppers
  • 1 chopped scallion
  • 8 tiny Japanese mushrooms, if they are not Japanese and are too big, then slice them into quarter inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons Walnut or Peanut oil.

Toss everything together in the sauce bowl. Plate individually or as a communal serving.

Toast black or white sesame seeds for garnish.  I added  baby water cress for more garnish. Serve with green tea. Have a great summer!

Serves 4.

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Chocolate Ganache and Fresh Fruit

Photo by David Bishop

What is better than fresh fruit and chocolate? OK, maybe sex, but I’m thinking of what to serve at your next dinner party, or to your lover before the aforementioned.

A simple and elegant arrangement of seasonal fresh fruit is always delightful. It becomes extra special when you pair it with Chocolate Ganache. It may sound complicated, but it is not. Ganache is basically equal parts dark chocolate and heavy cream melted together. Add additional flavorings if you like. I used rum and contreau…just a pinch.

In a 1 quart sauce pan heat 8 oz. of heavy cream with 1 table spoon each of dark rum and Cointreau. When it is very hot but not boiling, turn off the heat. Add 8 oz. of shaved or finely chopped unsweetened dark chocolate. This is the time to use really good chocolate, not the bakers stuff. Stir until it is all melted and Viola! You have ganache. Pour it around your fruit arrangement.

You can also put in in your refrigerator until you want it for further use. It is the basic truffle. Once firm, scoop a teaspoon full and roll it into a ball. Roll it in cocao powder or confectioner’s sugar and you have truffles.

How simple is that?

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