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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why do so many people hate seafood?

Seriously, I don't get it. About 90% of people I know HATE seafood. Won't TOUCH seafood. And here is the really odd thing. I love fish...but I HATE chicken. HATE it. I won't eat chicken to save my life. "Everybody" loves chicken, a good portion of "everybody" hate seafood, and I am exactly the opposite. Funny. Luckily, Syd likes fish. We have been eating a lot of fish lately, actually...

...annnnnnnnnd July's Daring Cook's Challenge?
Skate, with Traditional Powdered Flavors

This month's challenge was hosted by Sketchy of Sketchy's Kitchen. The recipe is from Grant Achatz, found in the Alinea cookbook.

Shockingly enough, there was nothing in this recipe that I couldn't have! However, I won't eat skate on principle (too close to sharks for me. Poor little sharkies!). And I don't think you can buy it around here anyways, so I am substituting cod.

Our table looks so small...but yet is bigger than in our old apartment o.0
The finished meal :)

Anyyyyyyyyyyyway, on to the notes:

In-progress Comments

I made four different powders. And I think I changed every recipe that was given! Each powder was a 50/50 (approx.) combination of two ingredients. In no particular order, they are: lemon/powdered sugar, spinach/parmesean cheese, oregano/cilantro, and onion/paprika.

Powdery Goodness!
My Powders - Top Row, Left to Right: Lemon Powder, Spinach/Cheese powder. Bottom Row, Left to Right: Paprika/Onion powder, Cilantro/Parsely powder.

I got the idea for the onion/paprika powder from the Daring Cooks discussion boards, and I had a bunch of spinach on hand so I decided why not make a spinach powder, and looked up combinations online. The choice was between artichoke (didn't have), strawberry (a bit weird for me), and cheese, so I went with the cheese.

I actually didn't take a whole lot of pictures, oops. Partly because I wasn't sure how the powders were going to turn out, and partly I was just lazy. :P

I borrowed the coffee grinder from Mom, as I don't drink coffee and Syd doesn't drink enough to justify a grinder...and I got through making the first powder and realized that somehow I have lost my pastry brush (I *know* I had one!), *sigh*, so I had to go out and buy one. A cheap one. Moving is expensive. :'( Which partly explains some of the short cuts I took on this recipe.

Oh, I also completely skipped over the green beans. I had a, *ahem*, incident with Green Bean Almond Dean (luckily I was okay, almonds don't really seem to cause me problems like walnuts and pecans, but it scared me half to death) so now I am not eating green beans. Ever. Even if I cook them. Even if Mom cooks them. Even if I can guarantee they are 100% safe. They just don't look appetizing. So...yep.

And, finally, I thought the banana was weird so I made potato cakes with leftover mashed potatoes. Well, I tried, but I burned them so I ended up just making mashed potatoes. Sigh. And I forgot to buy banana chips (well, I am on a budget here :P) and I couldn't find cream powder and I didn't want to buy a whole big box of powdered milk that I will most likely never use again so I skipped that as well.

I decided to poach the fish in olive oil with herbs rather than in the beurre monte...it sounded better. I'm not a butter person. :P Also, I gave Syd three choices: the beurre monte, water & wine, or olive oil.

Olive oil, after the fish had been cooked (I don't know why I didn't take any pictures of the fish actually poaching o.0 Shame on me!), with rosemary, thyme, and a bay leaf

The fish did turn out really well, though.

Poor dead, but yummy, fish!
Finished, nicely browned fish...with the bay leaf on top. Syd thought it looked pretty this way. :P

Swirling the powders was a lot of fun. XD But maybe I am just really easily amused and still like to play with my food. :P

Playing with your food is fun!
A heart <3

I heart my husband
Syd's plate...I swirled the powders for him

Syd wanted to swirl powders, too...

My husband...um..spirals me? o.0
My plate...husband swirled the powders for me

Gosh, for this actually being a recipe that I can technically eat, I change a lot of things! o.0 Oops.

The Recipe, With My Changes
My changes are either noted in italics or by strikethroughs, but I will leave the original recipe for those who read this blog who haven't tried this recipe...hahaha riiiight, nobody reads this. Except for people who follow the daring kitchen links. Who will have most likely already made it. :P

Skate, Traditional Flavors Powdered - with changes
•4 skate wings Substituted 4 cod fillets
•* Beurre monte poached in olive oil with herbs
•* 300g fresh green beans Currently not eating green beans!
•sea salt/kosher salt
•1 banana I ran out of bananas, and thought this sounded odd.
•454g butter - 4 sticksFor the beurre monte, which I did not make
•300g lemons
•1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar
•5g citric acid/vitamin c tablet Forgot about this ^^'
•150g cilantro
•150g parsley
•100g dried banana chips Forgot to buy these, and didn't feel like going back to the store. Also did not want to spend more money that I really had to.
•300g spray dried cream powder (or powdered milk) Could not find this, and did not want to buy large box of powdered milk
•100g cup minced red onion
•1 tsp paprika
•200g capers (brined, not oil) Too expensive :'(
•300g cup spinach leaves
•1 Tbsp parmesean cheese
•Olive oil, enough for poaching
•thyme, rosemary, and a bay leaf

* For green beans, slice each beans into very thin rounds (2 mm)
* Beurre Monte - 454g butter (4 sticks, 1 pound) cubed and cold, 60g water. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil, remove from heat and whisk in the butter 1 cube at a time. This should from an emulsion. Keep this heated, but under 195 degrees. The emulsion will not break - this is your poaching liquid.

Powders - prepare ahead of time
caper / onion I made the onion powder but added paprika to it
lemon powder
cilantro/parsly powder
'brown butter' powder I did not make this
spinach/cheese powder I made this one up from scratch :P

once dried, all powders should be pulsed in a coffee grinder/spice mill/morter and pestle then passed through a chinois or fine mesh strainer.

citrus powder
300g lemons
1000g simple syrup
5g citric acid/vitamin c tablet

zest 300g of lemons (10.6 oz), remove the pith from the zest and poach in the simple syrup three times(Note: I do not have a lemon zester, so I used a grater to remove the zest and the pieces were too fine to poach in the simple syrup because I do not have a strainer, and was not going to buy one for this purpose). dry with paper towels and move to a dehydrating tray. 130 for 12 hours. pulse the zest in a coffee grinder, pass through chinois, and mix with citric acid/vitamin C powder powdered sugar.

If you do not have a dehydrator, place in microwave for 8 to 10 minutes at medium powder. Once dried, follow the other instructions. Note: it probably took my microwave 15 minutes half power to dry the lemon zest...my microwave is pathetic.

cilantro/parsley powder
150g cilantro
150g parsley

blanch the parsley in boiling saltwater for 1 second, submerge the leaves in ice water for 3 minutes. Dry on paper towels and place on dehydrator tray. 130 for 12 hours. grind and pass through chinois.

If you do not have a dehydrator, place in microwave for 30 seconds, turn over leaves and microwave for another thirty seconds. They should be dry by now, pulse in coffee grinder, pass through chinois and reserve.

onion/paprika powder
100g cup minced red onions
1 tsp paprika

dehydrator - 130 for 12 hours
microwave at medium power for 20 minutes. Double the time for my microwave :'(

pulse in grinder, add paprika, pass through chinois

Caper powder I did not make this
200g capers (get the ones packed in brine/vinegar)

run the capers under cold water for two minutes to remove some of the brine.
dry on paper towels and dehydrate for 12 hours at 130 degrees.
microwave instructions are unclear. Dry them as much a possible with paper towels, the microwave on medium for 1 minute. Check the moisture content and stir them. repeat for 30 second intervals until they are dry. If you use this method, pleas post the time needed to dry the capers.

Once dry, pulse and sift the powder. Mix it with the onion powder.

Spinach/Cheese Powder I made this one up myself!
300 g spinach leaves
1 Tbsp parmesean cheese

Blanch the spinach in boiling saltwater for 30 seconds, drain, and place in ice water for 3 minutes. Pat dry.

Place in microwave, microwave at 30 second intervals (full power) twice, then for five minutes at half power, and then for 30 seconds at full power.

Place cheese in microwave, microwave for 5 minutes at half power.

Once dry, pulse both powders in grinder and mix together.

I do not have dehydrator instructions, as I do not have a dehydrator.

Brown Butter powder I did not make this either

100g Dried banana chips (unsweetened if possible - many are coated in honey - the freeze dried ones would be brilliant)
300g spray dried cream powder

If you cannot find the cream powder, you can substitute Bob's red mill non fat dry milk powder, or even carnation instant milk powder. The substitutions will alter the flavor a little, but you will still get the general idea.

preheat the oven to 350 degrees, sift the cream powder into a fine layer on a silpat or on parchment. bake for 4 minutes, then remove for heat. If it bakes for too long, it will burn. Be very cautious with all powders in the oven. They all go from browned to burnt in a few seconds.

grind the banana chips in a coffee grinder and mix with the toasted cream powder. Pass this through a chinois and reserve.

* For green beans, slice each beans into very thin rounds (2 mm)
* Beurre Monte - 454g butter (4 sticks, 1 pound) cubed and cold, 60g water. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil, remove from heat and whisk in the butter 1 cube at a time. This should from an emulsion. Keep this heated, but under 195 degrees. The emulsion will not break - this is your poaching liquid.
I did not make either of these!

Skate Or cod :P
Prepare the skate - 50G v shaped cuts are recommended
Bring 100g water, 100g beurre monte, and green bean rounds to a boil over high heat. Cook until the water has evaporated (about 3 minutes), when the pan is almost dry, remove it from heat and season with 3g salt

bring 300g water and 300g beurre monte to simmer over medium heat, add skate wings and simmer for 2 minutes.

I replaced the above with:
Add a dash of rosemary and thyme to the olive oil. Add one bay leaf. Heat until herbs have a change to flavor the oil. Poach the fish for 4 minutes per side, flipping to poach both sides.

Remove the pan from heat and flip the wing over and let rest in pan for two more minutes. Transfer to warming tray lined with parchment and season with 5 grams of fine sea salt.


Take the tip of a small spoon and make a small mound of the citrus powder, the onion-caper powder, the spinach/cheese powder and the cilantro parsley-powder. Swirl these around in a hurricane type pattern. I found that it is easier, and you get finer lines if you lightly shake the plate to flatten out the mounds, then swirl the spoon through it to get the pattern.

peel the remaining banana into very think slices (3mm) fan three slices on the plate, place green beans on top and place skate wing portion on top. On the tall edge, sprinkle the brown butter powder.

My original idea was to replace the banana/green beans with potato cakes, but I accidentally burned those so we just had mashed potatoes on the side. Sigh.

The Final Comments...aka After Eating

So. I thought the powder concept was a bit weird, honestly. And I thought it gave a strange, dry texture to the whole thing as well. However, they did taste good. I really liked all of the powders except for the cilantro/parsley powder, which I felt didn't have enough flavor. The rest were really good.

I enjoyed swirling the powders into pretty designs, and the overall effect was very nice.

More pretty powders!
I did this after I was done eating...it's a flowery fern thingy.

So, an intriguing recipe that tasted better than I initially thought, and one that actually wasn't difficult to make. It took a while, but most of that time was spent waiting on my pathetic microwave to dry the ingredients enough that I could make the powders!

I ended up with lots of leftover powder, so I might use it up the next time we have fish.

My husband had only one thing to say after eating:



Lisa Michelle said...

I love yur powder combos, especially the spinach-cheese, and the olive oil poachd fish (BOY, you really did make this challenge your own!), but those heart swirls, and the others, are beautiful! Great job all around! It was a joy to read your post!

Ninette said...

I like your fern pattern the best. It's neat!

Audax said...

Love the patterns like the heart and the 'yum' so cute and pretty. I like how you did combo's of powders that very clever and it was better than I expected also in fact great. Wonderous effort on this challenge.

Debbie said...

Spinach-cheese powder ... wow that sounds great. Love your "powder designs"!