Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Braised Quail with Polenta and Leek Broccoli Soup

I got an immersion blender for Christmas and now I want to blend EVERYTHING.  But I started small and made a quick, easy leek and broccoli soup.  I also went to Balducci's for the first time in a few years.  They had pheasant, rabbit, wild boar, venison, and quail!  I've had quail several times in restaurants and wanted to cook some, but never saw them at the grocery store. This was my first attempt at cooking quail.  I posted my other quail dish first because I thought the sauce was awesome.

Even though the quail have to sit in the fridge for a bit after they're rubbed with the spice mixture, this dish isn't very labor intensive.  The meal doesn't really take long to put together. I served my quail with some sundried tomato polenta (just heat it up out of the tube!) and I made some leek and broccoli soup with my immersion blender. 

 A few years ago, I watched Kitchen Nightmares (back when they still filmed it in England).  One episode featured a chef who overthought all of his recipes and ended up taking a simple concept, such as broccoli soup, and creating a recipe that called for 25 ingredients.  When I was looking for a broccoli soup to try, I remembered how Gordon Ramsay's soup had about 5 ingredients in it and it looked much better than the other chef's.  The recipe is from the Williams Sonoma Soup book and is pretty simple and straightforward.  If you like broccoli, you would love this soup.  If you only like broccoli when it's disguised to the point of being undetectable, you can probably give this one a pass.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Seared Quail with Cranberry Vinegar Reduction

Normally, my grocery store of choice is Wegman's.  But I had to go to Balducci's for something that Wegman's doesn't sell, and I discovered that their meat department is filled with all kinds of stuff I want to cook!  I've had quail a few times in restaurants and have always wanted to try it at home.  So I bought some quails.  I bought 8, so look forward to Quail Experiment Part Two later in the month.  A lot of the recipes I considered using involved stuffing and roasting the quail, and that takes a long time.  So I opted to make this faster dish.  The sauce on this is amazing. Especially if you like sour and tangy flavors.  The vinegar reduction is tart, but not so much that the sauce is unbalanced.  The Creole spice blend adds a nice kick to it without being overbearing.  I made a half recipe of the spice blend and have plenty left over in my spice rack for later.  I served the quail with some green beans sauteed with some of the spice mix and leftover shallots and garlic from the sauce.
Not pictured: tons of extra sauce that I poured on three seconds later.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Crispy Brussels Sprouts Afelia

Some people loathe Brussels sprouts.  I love them! One of my favorite dishes at Zaytinya is the crispy brussels afelia.  It's crispy brussels sprouts with barberries and a Greek yogurt sauce. It's so good that I sometimes order two of them.  I'm that crazy person in a restaurant who orders extra Brussels sprouts. I love the crispy sprouts with the tangy, salty yogurt and tart berries. I've been dying to figure out how to make it.  So, I bought some brussels sprouts and decided to play around with them.

First of all, I had no idea what an afelia was.  According to wikipedia, it's a Cypriot dish consisting of pork marinated and cooked in red wine with coriander seed and served with bulgur and yogurt. The dish at Zaytinya doesn't taste like it contains any red wine, but there is definitely coriander.  The yogurt sauce seemed like it had garlic and was a little saltier than regular Greek yogurt. 

I decided to roast the brussels sprouts with some olive oil and ground coriander, and made a sauce of Greek yogurt, salt, garlic, and a little olive oil.  I can't get barberries, so I used some dried cranberries instead.  Although my brussels sprouts weren't quite as crispy as they are at Zaytinya, this was a pretty good facsimile of the dish! 

Isn't it pretty?  Yay Brussels sprouts!


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