Roasted Asparagus

2 lbs asparagus spears, washed and trimmed
2-3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 425F. Toss asparagus with remaining ingredients until spears are well-coated. Lay asparagus on a baking sheet or in a baking pan in a single layer. Roast in oven for 18-20 minutes – until tips are crispy. Serve hot.

Chipotle Black bean cakes

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 c minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 c breadcrumbs
2 canned chipolte chilies, plus 2 tbsp adobo sauce
1 egg, beaten

In small skillet, heat olive oil. Add onion, saute for 2 minutes. Add garlic, saute for 2 minutes, until both are tender. Cool slightly.

In a large bowl, mash beans lightly with potato masher or fork. In food processor, blend chilies and adobo sauce well, and add to beans. Add onions, garlic, breadcrumbs, and egg white. Stir well. Allow to rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Shape mixture into 4 patties, and place on waxed paper. Refrigerate patties for a few hours to give flavors a chance to meet.

These patties can be grilled or pan fried. If grilling, spray rack with oil. If pan frying, heat a small amount of oil in skillet. Cook 3 minutes each side, until crispy and browned.

Excellent for breakfast, as a snack, or with dinner.

Vanilla Sweet Potato Puree

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, cleaned and left a bit damp
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/3 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
kosher salt
white pepper in a millPreheat the oven to 350F. Put the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until tender to a fork tip, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool until warm enough to handle, 10 to 15 minutes. Peel and discard the skin. Put the potatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.

Meanwhile, pour the cream into a 2-quart pot, add the vanilla bean and orange zest, if using, and set it over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Use tongs to fish out and discard the vanilla bean. Pour the mixture over the potatoes in the processor and add the butter.

Puree the potato mixture until smooth. Season with salt and 4 grinds of pepper, or to taste. Keep covered and warm until ready to serve.

Serves four.

Chicken Yakitori

4 skinless & boneless chicken thigh fillets
spring onions, sliced into 3cm/1.5 inches batons
skewers

For the Yakitori Sauce
75ml Japanese Soy Sauce
60ml Sake
15ml Mirin
1 tablespoon caster sugar

To make the Yakitori Sauce:
In a small saucepan add the Soy, Sake, Mirin and caster sugar – stir and slowly bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Prepare the Chicken:
Trim the chicken of any excess and then cut into bite sized cubes. I tend to cut each thigh fillet into thirds and then slice that into thirds again. Naturally, this does depend on the size of the thigh fillet.

To make the skewers:
If you use bamboo skewers make sure you have soaked them first to stop them from burning.

Thread alternately with chicken and spring onion baton – don’t put too much on each skewer, 4 pieces of chicken and 3 spring onion batons should be enough for each skewer.

If you are doing this as finger food, then just use one piece each of chicken and spring onion.

To Cook:
You can do this on a grill or in a frypan – choice is yours.

Brush the yakitori sauce over the prepared skewers before placing them (sauce side down) on the heated grill/frypan. Brush the topside of each skewer before turning. Continue brushing and turning until the chicken is cooked and nicely browned. The sugar in the sauce will result in that lovely caramelised effect.

Shamelessly stolen from: http://cookalmostanything.blogspot.com (It’s a good recipe. I think the sugar needs to be doubled in the sauce though.)

Prawns + Scallops w/ Vermouth veloute

15ml shallots

5ml garlic

4oz vermouth

400ml cream

15ml butter

4 21/25 prawns raw peeled devained tail on

4 20/30 scallops, abductor muscle removed

4oz baby shrimp meat

10ml terragon

Saute garlic, shallots and butter until sweated (no color). Deglaze w/ vermouth. Reduce by half. Add cream, reduce by half. Mounter au beurre. Chill, store.

Saute prawns/scallops until 75% cooked. Add baby shrimp and 3.5 oz sauce. Finish w/ terragon when cooked. Serve over puff pastry.

Samosas

A

1oz Wild mushrooms

10ml minced Garlic

2 minced shallots

B

3 breasts cooked chicken 1/2″ dice

2oz white wine

C

500ml cream

100ml glace de viande

D

1tsp fresh tarragon

Saute A. Add B, reduce au sec. Add C, reduce by half. Add D. Cool, wrap in filo.

Basil Pesto

Basil leaves, the freshest you can find. Lots of them.

Garlic, same as above.

Extra Virgin Oilve Oil. If you don’t have any, *DO NOT* substitute canola. Go buy some oilve. Trust me.

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Yes it’s expensive. Shut up and get some, in a block, not that pre-grated shite.

Pine nuts.

Honey.
White wine.

Sea salt.

Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

Put the pine nuts and the honey with a little white wine in a saute pan over medium heat. Cook until the nuts turn golden brown. Spread on a parchment-paper covered baking sheet and alow to cool.

Put the basil, garlic, oil, parmesan, and honey-roasted pine nuts in a food processor. (You can use a mortar and pestle if you want, but it’s a lot more work and is only really useful for showing off.) Blend the bejeesus out of it. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve on a garlic loaf baked with parmesan cheese or however else you feel like using it.

Crab Cakes

1lb shelled shredded crab

1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup butter

1 tsp worchestershire sauce

1 tsp mustard powder or 1 tsp prepared/dijon mustard

1.5 tsp tabasco

10 green onion finely chopped

1 egg

1 tbsp honey

3 cloved garlic, minced

Mix all ingredients together, form into 1-2oz ‘hockey pucks.’ Pan fry in butter until crispy on both sides, finish in 375 degree oven for about 5 minutes. Serve with chipotle mayo, salsa mayo, or similar dip.

Tequila Salsa

3 medium white onions, brunoise

3 medium red onions, brunoise

3 medium red peppers, brunoise

3 medium green peppers, brunoise

4 large tomatoes, brunoise

1 large jalapeno, brunoise

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tbsp cayenne powder

3tbsp crushed chillis

6oz (or more!) gold tequila

Mix all ingredients together, allow to marinate for at least 12+ hours before serving.

Makes a wonderful dip for sweet potato fries when mixed 60/40 with mayo.