Thursday, May 21, 2009

80. Classic Cocktail Sauce

Date Cooked: May 10, 2009
Page: 21
Rating: B

I prepared this sauce to go with the herb-poached shrimp from the last post. The sauce was painfully simple to make. Pretty much all I had to do was mix the ingredients together. My biggest issue was that fact that I really had to struggle to get the last bit of ketchup out of the bottle to make this recipe. My son was a little upset that we were now out of ketchup. Mixed into the ketchup was horseradish, salt and pepper, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and chili powder. After tasting the sauce I deviated a little and threw in some more chili powder and a liberal splash of hot sauce.

The picture pretty much looks like a bowl of ketchup.

Rating: B. The sauce was not bad but definitely tasted like spicy ketchup. I’m not a big fan of ketchup which is why I added even more heat to it. Was a good accompaniment to the shrimp though.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

79. Herb-Poached Shrimp

Date Cooked: May 10, 2009
Page: 21
Rating: B+

** That is a very bad picture. I know. I failed at poaching shrimp.**

Shrimp were one of those foods that as a child I despised, but as an adult love. Although both my wife and I agree that the larger the shrimp gets the more important it is that it is cooked correctly. Although the recipe for herb-poached shrimp recommends extra large, all I had were large so they would have to do.

I started by peeling the shells off the shrimp which would be used to create a stock for poaching the shrimp in. If I had thought more about presentation, I would have left the tail piece on but I didn’t really think about it until later. Not that it would have mattered as you can tell by the picture. They looked horrible, but more on that tragedy shortly. With the shrimp de-shelled I set to making the poaching broth.

The shells were boiled in salted water for about twenty minutes. Once done the shells were discarded and into the hot liquid went, tarragon, parsley, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, lemon juice and white wine. The ingredients were boiled for a few minutes to allow their flavors to unite before the shrimp were added. Once the shrimp were in the solution the temperature was turned off and they were left to soak for 8-10 minutes. Or that’s how long they were supposed to be.

I think almost twenty-five minutes passed before I realized they were still in the stock. With great alarm I lifted the lid and was shocked by the disaster I had wrought! I could barely see the shrimp because the water had turned very milky white. I quickly removed the shrimp (and everything else in the water since I couldn’t see anything in the white liquid), and plunged them into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process, 15 minutes later than required.

I was a little heart-broken with this disaster since I knew the shrimp were very overcooked and tough. My wife’s family like shrimp and every family get together involves them. Well since this was a mother’s day meal with family I put them out anyway and they were still all eaten. The sauces I had made for them may have helped a little.

Rating: B+. I will make these again if only to validate that I screwed it up bad. You could taste the herb flavors but since they were so overcooked I’m sure a lot of the flavor that was gained was subsequently lost.

Monday, May 11, 2009

78. Chicken Piccata with Prosciutto

Date Cooked: April 30, 2009
Page: 341
Rating: C+

I’ve been working hard through the poultry section of the book because it seems to have the most recipes that can be thrown together quickly. While I am approaching 10% complete the poultry section is now just over 20% done.

The recipe starts off simply by prepping the chicken breasts into cutlets and then coating them in flour. These where quickly cooked in oil and then set aside and kept warm. Then the fun part began. Shallots, garlic and the prosciutto were sautéed until the prosciutto was lightly crisped. Some lemon slices and chicken stock were added and reduced. Once reduced, some lemon juice and capers were added and reduced further. Finally some butter and parsley were added before the sauce was spooned over the chicken and served.

Rating: C+. I guess if I had very weak taste buds that were immune to lemon then this dish could have scored higher but it was intensely lemon flavored. In fact it was so over-powering that it was a little challenging to eat. This would probably be a delicious dish with a little less lemon flavor. I thought it looked really good and anything with prosciutto can’t be bad… unless it was this dish.

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs