Monday, March 30, 2009

Chef Steph's Recipes

Chef Stephanie Izard's recipe are posted on her site (see my post about meeting her)

Grilled Skirt Steak and Fennel Salad with Chive Yogurt

Olive Oil Poached Shrimp and Soba Salad

I would recommend checking out her site. She has some great recipes and an informative blog with cute short videos.

Where does your fish come from?

People are becoming much more conscious of where their food is coming from and how it is processed. Organic, free-range, wild-caught are all words you hear almost daily that were virtually absent 10 years ago. Sustainable is a word we hear more and more often, especially in regards to seafood.

I subscribe to several newsletter and one of them recently posted a site I was not familiar with, CleanFish. This helps buyers determine where their fish and seafood is coming from. I wanted to share this resource.

From CleanFish.Com, “We believe in a seafood marketplace that values the extraordinary efforts made by producers who are earnest in their pursuit of sustainable practices that deliver to your table fish you can trust.”

You can follow a particular fish back to its captured body of water, learn about the husbandry and harvest practices of the fishermen.

Unfortunately we do not have any providers here in Michigan, but some of the current purveyors do ship. I am going to ask my favorite fish monger if this is something they provide, so hopefully we will soon see a source in Lansing. I strongly urge you to ask as well.
I am adding the site as one of my links to the right so you can find it in the future if you are looking for it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Jicama Stick-a-mas

Jícama (pronounced HEE-kah-mah) is a large, bulbous root vegetable which you may have overlooked at the market. It has a thin, brown, fibrous skin and its flesh is white and crunchy, very similar to water chestnut. It has a sweet, almost nutty flavor. It is often referred to as a Mexican potato or Mexican turnip.

Jícama can be eaten raw or cooked. I probably use it more frequently raw than cooked. I like to julienne it and serve it in salads for added crunch or on a crudités platter for something different. Or you can shred it (a mandoline works great with the smallest julienne blade) and make a unique slaw.

A very common way to eat jícama is to slice it like fries, sprinkle it with chili powder and salt and squeeze with some fresh lime. Yum!

When cooked, it retains its crispness. Since it has such a mild flavor, it can add crunchiness to a variety of dishes. Try dicing it and adding to chili, stew or stir-fry. Or finely diced and added to a crab or fish cake. Its juicy crispness compliments spicy dishes well. It is a great addition to a spring roll.

It originates from Central America and goes well with many Latin flavors like cumin, cilantro and citrus like orange, lemon and lime.

To peel jícama, simply remove the peel with a vegetable peeler or paring knife. The easiest way is to remove the top and bottom first, then peel top to bottom (not round and round like an apple). Rinse after peeling. A whole jícama can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. It is best eaten shortly after it is peeled. It is high in dietary fiber (5 grams per 100 grams) and is a good source of Vitamin C and potassium.

Chicken and Vegetable Spring Rolls
Serves 4 – 2 rolls per person

1 chicken breast
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon coarse mustard (can substitute yellow mustard)
1 Tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1/4 red onion, cut into match stick sized pieces
1 small carrot, cut into match stick sized pieces
1 small green bell pepper, cut into match stick sized pieces
1 small jícama, cut into match stick sized pieces
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
8 rice paper wrapper sheets, 8” size
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (or basil or Thai basil)

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Spread half of the mustard on one side of the chicken breast.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Place the mustard side down on the pan, then spread the remaining half of the mustard on the top half of the breast. Cook until sides of breast start turning white, about 4 – 5 minutes then flip and cook completely on the other side, an additional 3 – 4 minutes.

Allow the breast to cool to the touch and shred the breast. I like to use two forks to shred chicken, using the tines to shred the meat.

While the chicken is cooking and cooling, sauté the onion, carrot, pepper and jícama in a large skillet until just al dente, about 7 – 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, stirring continuously for about 30 seconds.

Remove the vegetables from the heat, stir in the lime juice, paprika and chili powder.

Allow the vegetables to cool.

Place one rice paper sheet in a shallow dish filled with hot water. Allow wrapper to soak for about 15 seconds, or longer so it is pliable.

Place the pliable wrapper in front of you. Add a tablespoon or so of the shredded chicken at about 6 o’clock if the wrapper were a clock dial, about 1” from the edge. Place a tablespoon or so of the vegetable on top of the chicken. Top the mixture with about 1/2 tablespoon of fresh herbs.
Taking the edge nearest you, roll it over top of the chicken vegetable mixture. Continuing rolling towards 12 o’clock until you have one full roll. Fold sides in (3 o’clock and 9 o’clock) towards the center, then continuing rolling towards 12 o’clock until completely rolled. Repeat with each wrapper.
Serve with your favorite store bought dipping sauce or mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, minced garlic and ginger and a bit of sugar to taste.
EDIT TO ADD: This recipe is very versatileand you can add many different veggies in place of the ones listed. You could easily add vermicelli noodles in place of the chicken for a vegetarian option.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Meeting Chef Stephanie Izard

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to attend an event where Season 4 of Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard spoke and prepared some spring salads. It was interesting to hear her speak about her time on the show – one of my favorites!

She talked about her background, her time in Ann Arbor (she is a UofM grad) and about owning a restaurant before being chosen to appear on the show.

She made three dishes for us. The first was an oil poached shrimp tossed with roasted asparagus and roasted shiitake mushrooms and served over soba noodles with a vinaigrette made with fresh garlic, fresh ginger, soy sauce, honey, sriracha and sesame oil. She told us about making shiitake chips, which I am excited to try. She takes the caps and roasts them after tossing with oil, salt and pepper in a 300°F oven until crisp. That sounds interesting and tasty.

The second dish she made was a skirt steak marinated with an Asian garlic-chili sauce, soy sauce and honey. This was grilled medium, sliced thin and placed a top a salad of shaved fennel, fresh orange zest and juice, roasted red peppers and garbanzo beans then drizzled with a fresh chive yogurt sauce (Greek yogurt and chives blended until creamy). A treat she shared with us (again which I am interested in trying) is dipping garbanzo beans in rice flour and deep frying until crisp.

The third and final dish was a brown sugar cake, which was served as a mini cupcake. There were moist and tasty, sweet without being too sweet.

All three recipes will be available shortly on her website, She will be opening another restaurant in Chicago in the fall, The Drunken Goat (exact location TBD). It sounds like she has a lot of ventures she is involved in: TV, cookbook, new restaurant. I think she is going to be a rising star we need to keep our eyes on. I feel so honored to have had the chance to meet her. She has an even bigger fan now.

Monday, March 09, 2009


I just found this site, of scanned sandwiches aptly named scanwiches. This is too funny.