Monday, August 25, 2008

Porcupine Rolls

We did a nice appetizer this weekend we called "Porcupine Rolls".

My Executive Chef Aaron Valimont made sushi rolls wrapped in nori and filled with vegetables, cucumber, Alaskan King Crab & Maine Lobster.

We bound the ingredients with a little spicy mayonnaise. Then we cut the roll into 4 pieces and rolled them in a tempura beer batter, and then into shredded Kataifi [filo dough] and deep fried them until golden brown.

Kataifi can be found in the frozen food section of gourmet grocery stores. It looks a little like shredded wheat.

For the sauces we made a citrusy ponzu sauce, and a wasabi aioli which we served on the side. They were a big hit!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Heirloom Tomatoes

Now that we have had some hot summer weather, and the tomatoes are good and ripe, we've been doing a nice summery salad of heirloom tomatoes, homemade ricotta, Walla Walla sweet onions, rustic croutons, arugula, torn basil, and tomato basil vinaigrette.

We used Zebra, Brandywine, Sunburst, and large golden German Stripe tomatoes.

We make the vinaigrette by slowly roasting some Roma tomatoes in a really slow oven tossed in some olive oil and garlic, salt & pepper. Then after the tomatoes have cooled, we pass them through a strainer to remove the skins, and releasing the juices. Then we add a good extra-virgin olive oil, a splash of good red wine vinegar [or Balsamic], salt & pepper to taste, a pinch of crushed dried oregano, and some torn basil leaves. [HINT] if the tomatoes are too acidic add just a touch of ketchup to the dressing whisking well until blended.

It's really nice to use a variety of heirloom tomatoes, and for the presentation it looks good to slice some of the larger heirlooms leaving the smaller tomatoes quartered, so there is a variety of textures to the look of the plate. A scoop of fresh ricotta and a fresh grind of pepper over the top is all you need for a beautiful summer salad.

When we make the fresh ricotta we put just a dash of nutmeg in it for an intriguing nutty spice note.

This is a beautiful starter salad, or could be presented on a large platter for a backyard barbecue, as one dish of many.