Author Archives: kritterspaw

Shrimp Skewers

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This is my version of BBQ’d shrimp skewers.  I love bacon wrapped shrimp… and I love bacon wrapped tomatoes… so why not combine them.  I wrapped the shrimp in a quarter piece of bacon (partially pre-cooked in microwave), and alternated grape tomatoes on the skewer.  I painted spicy BBQ sauce on over the entire skewer and grilled until the shrimp were cooked through and the tomatoes just lightly blistered.

I served it with a cheesey polenta… and enjoyed. 🙂

 

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Cauliflower Grapes

We have always been big meat eaters, but lately we have been truly enjoying great vegetable dishes, as not only sides, but main courses.

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This dish is surprisingly simple for all it’s intense flavors.

I cut up some cauliflower, and loaded onto a cookie sheet with a handful of red grapes, and sliced onion.  I drizzled olive oil over the lot, salt, and tossed to coat.

I baked it at 400F for 20 minutes, then using a spatula turned everything over to evenly brown.  I let it cook for another 5 minutes, then add some shelled pistachio’s… salted the other side, and roasted for another 5 minutes.

 

In the meantime, I made a simple yogurt sauce of plain yogurt, mustard, lemon, and salt.  I plated the yogurt sauce, and topped with a salsa verde… and the cauliflower mixture.  I served with a griddle warmed flour tortilla to scoop up the yogurt sauce.

It was a fabulous dish… totally company worthy.

 

Kame Sushi, Las Vegas

 

We do enjoy our sushi. Living in Northern AZ the best sushi we can expect are decent rolls with no fake crab or cream cheese. So when we go to Las Vegas, we always seek out great ‘real’ sushi places. Raku, is generally our favorite go-to place on Spring Mountain Road. But Raku, as all places eventually get to, has become stagnant, repetitive and of less value… at least per our last visit.

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So we splurged on the pricey ($165pp) omakase that raved terrific 5-star reviews. Little did we know the treat we were in for. Kame is housed in a small space shared with Yummy Grill & Sushi. It only has seating for 8, with 2 seatings each night: one at 6pm, one at 8:30pm. We reserved the 6pm seating on a Wednesday night. This was our ‘gift’ to ourselves after a very long 2 week, 3500 mile trip to WA state to get our second Alaskan camper. So we were looking forward to an evening of great sushi and being mesmerized by Chef’s omakase creations, which as we have found, can be anything.

To our surprise and delight, we were the ONLY people in the restaurant that night. The next day was completely booked… but for our ‘session’ that evening, it was just John and I, Chef William, a hostess (which kept our sake and water glasses full), and William’s sous chef. It was like our own private show, where the chef prepared each course only for us. He explained different techniques, types of fish, and preparations. We were in heaven. Moreover, we absolutely felt transported to a Japanese Izakaya in Tokyo as the chef prepared dish after dish just for us.

Chef William had a way of fanning the rice with one hand, and the sashimi with the other, in this orchestrated dance that was beautiful to watch. Its results were perfect temperature and the most luscious tender rice – not too hot or cold, and the perfect sushi – not too hot or cold, married together in perfect harmony. He scored the fish first to allow the yuzu and or soy he would carefully paint on with a bamboo brush to evenly and thoroughly penetrate. Then he’d sprinkle with a touch of fresh grated wasabi, salt – or garlic… or blow torch to lend a touch of smokiness. With each sashimi preparation he’d set the completed masterpiece on a board in front of us, and instruct us to eat with our fingers.. no chopsticks, wasabi, or soy necessary. It was magical. I didn’t know sushi could be so heavenly… and we have had it in great places. But the fish and rice have been cold, and while the quality at the better places has been very good… this sashimi, with it’s just warm rice… and just cool fish, presented with such a fantastic flourish to us individually, one at a time… was truly awe inspiring. We felt like we were truly experiencing a scene out of the movie about famous sushi chef Jiro, where the cult tradition of making each sushi piece was fanatically perfect – each must be eaten immediately lest the temperature of the rice heats the sushi or the sushi cools the rice.  william sprinkles_IR.jpg

Aside from the ELEVEN sashimi preparations Chef William spoiled us with, there were other ‘goodies’ intertwined in our evening of sushi bliss, 22 all together.   Among our favorites were what we called the lobster tail and lobster head. A sushi grade Maine lobster tail adorned with raw lobster layered with uni, kamashida tuna from Spain, and caviar. It was as beautiful to look at, as it was to eat. Absolutely stunning.

 

 

 

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Then we got the lobster head in an uni beurre blanc with the lobster pieces and claws, just lightly poached, served over an ultra luscious matcha soba noodle from Japan. It was fabulous.

 

 

 

wagyu block_IR.jpg We have had real wagyu only a couple times… and it has been amazing. But none as fantastic as this hunk o’ beef, set out to warm and soak in salt from a salt block nearby. We could literally watch the beef turn a red color and the fat throughout just melt. When he seared and presented with the wagyu certificate, there was nothing more to do but put in our mouth and let it melt as we savored its luscious goodness. Wow. Fantastic!

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There were other dishes that he threaded throughout our amazing evening, where he would show us the difference of raw vs lightly poached… like hairy crab raw, and in a chawanmushi egg custard with foie gras and caviar.

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Or the study of uni with different types of uni and caviar over rice for us to compare. We had orange clam that was among the most tender I have ever eaten in my life. There was oyster to start and roasted green tea ice cream to finish…. And everything in between. It was a stunning evening that was mesmerizing and transformative. Crazy good.

Surprisingly, as good as everything was, we were so amazed by the simplicity and careful preparation, and absolute deliciously tender and flavorful sashimi above all else. It’s just raw fish and rice, right?! William’s sashimi showed us a much different sashimi than we had ever had, and it was stunning.

Thank you William.

 

 

 

 

Seared Scallops with Butternut Squash / Sage Puree and Prosciutto crisp

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Seafood is our go to  celebratory meal.  So when we were in Flagstaff, we picked up some beautiful fresh scallops from Whole Foods for a delightful seared scallop dish.

First I roasted a butternut squash in the oven at 400F until golden brown and tender.  I sautéed some onion and garlic, then added half the roasted butternut squash, cubed into chunks.  I seasoned with sage, thyme, and salt, then added about a cup of chicken broth to make a thick broth.  After that reduced a bit, I added just a splash of cream, then  puree’d it to a smooth consistency.

I sautéed prosciutto pieces to crispy…. and seared the scallops in the prosciutto oil.

To plate, I put a nice smear of butternut squash puree on the plate, added the scallops and topped with herbs and fresh tomatoes, garnishing with my prosciutto crisps.

Yum!  Worth of a celebratory meal.

Carnitas Ravioli’s

I just love this time of the year.  It is filled with great friends and great food… my favorite things.  We troll recipe books to find new and different recipes to try over the holiday season, so our menu’s are filled with fun and interesting new dishes.

This recipe called for carnitas, a mexican classic – that slow cooked delicious tender pork – in an italian preparation, that traditional ravioli pocket.  It sounded like exactly what we were looking for.. fun and interesting.

We added onion, garlic, butternut squash, bacon, chipotle chile, and sage to the carnitas mixture for an amazing filling for our carnitas ravioli’s.

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We served it with a poblano cream sauce, and topped with fresh cilantro and tomato.

The result – yumminess!

 

 

Poached / Glazed Salmon

I love this recipe… and it’s author for that matter.  Eric Ripert is a master of all things seafood.  His handling and respect for fish is unparalleled.  Some of my best fish recipes come from him.

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I am not a halibut fan, so I used salmon.  His recipe is ……   here.

This recipe is so easy to make, and so delicious to eat.  It’s a simple poach in a water, flour, vermouth, lemon & orange juice poaching liquid.  The recipe calls for 5 seconds… but my fish isn’t as fresh as his, so my poach was more like 8 minutes.

I love the simple sherry vinegar / dijon mustard vinaigrette that acts as a glaze and sauce over the top.  It provides such wonderful balance.  Definitely a repertoire recipe.  Enjoy.

Zucchini Pie

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I have made spaghetti pie in the past… but I had a bunch of zucchini and summer squash in our refrigerator, so I decided to make a zucchini pie.  It was a beautiful presentation and made a really nice dinner… and an even better lunch the next day.

I sautéed bulk sausage to cook, and set aside.

In the same pan, I sautéed chopped onion, garlic, red/yellow mini bell peppers, and spinach.  Then I added spiralized zucchini.  Since zucchini has a lot of liquid, I added about 2T flour to the sauté.    I added the cooked sausage, and 3 whisked eggs (off heat), + 1/2 c. milk, 1 c. grated cheddar cheese, salt, and red pepper.  I put mixture in a greased sauté pan and baked for 10 – 15 minutes until set.

I would definitely make again.