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Vote Early…. Vote Often… and VOTE FOR US!

saveur video festivalDear Martini is absolutely thrilled to be a part of  the first-ever SAVEUR Video Festival.  As a celebration of food and film online, it will be a curated presentation of the most creative and beautifully-told culinary stories in the world of video.  SAVEUR is a publication that celebrates authentic food, culture, and travel; they crisscross the globe to find honest and surprising stories about people and the meals that bring them together.

This week, after much nail-biting and sleepless nights, Saveur.com announced finalists for their first-ever Saveur Video Festival.  A call for submissions took place earlier in January, asking for videos related to the following categories:

  • Ultra-short form (Less than 60 seconds)
  • How-to and Recipe
  • Documentary
  • Animation and/Experimental
  • Culinary Travel

blanch peas

Dear Martini is excited and proud to announce that we have been picked as a finalist!  Our Blanching Peas video is eligible to win a People’s Choice Award in the Ultra-Short Form category!

Please help us win the People’s Choice by casting your vote for our video and asking everyone you know to go vote for us as well! Simply use this link below, which will take you to the voting page.

http://www.saveur.com/video-festival-2013/vote.jsp?ID=1000014369

Thanks so much for your support!  We are so excited that our little video production endeavor is finally getting some national recognition!  Please spread the word!

WooHOO!

love from

A Winner of a Chicken Dinner!

A Winner of a Chicken Dinner

As a follow-up to our blog post on pan-seared steak, and for the folks who are more inclined to have chicken for dinner, this is for YOU!

In this episode, we feature the pan-seared chicken breast and a garlic-rosemary pan sauce.  If you watch closely, you’ll see that the elements and techniques for this chicken recipe are almost exactly the same as the methods for the steak recipe.  In fact, it’s DESIGNED to be similar – once you master the basic techniques, you can apply them to virtually anything as long as you understand heat management and flavor profile.  And those two foundations of cooking only come with experience – the more you cook and taste your own food, the more you’ll figure out where to add a little here, push it a little there…  you’ll be on your way to eventually cooking WITHOUT recipes!

Here’s a great base recipe to follow and make your own.

Pan-seared Chicken Breast with Garlic-Rosemary Pan Sauce

Serves 2

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, chilled

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 half chicken breasts, boneless, skin-on

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken stock

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

Make a beurre manié:  In a small bowl, use your fingers to rub together the butter and flour until it forms a paste.  Roll the paste together into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sear the chicken breasts:  Take the chicken breasts out of the fridge, unwrap and set them on a large plate.  Generously sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and set aside until they come to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before cooking.

Heat a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high flame and add the grapeseed oil.  When you see the oil shimmering, place the chicken breasts in the middle of the pan, skin-side down and sear for 4 minutes.  Check after 4 minutes – if the skin is still sticking to the pan, leave it alone.  It’s not ready to be flipped yet.  If the chicken lifts up with no problem, check the color – the skin should be golden and crispy.  Flip the breasts to the other side and sear for another 4 minutes.

Transfer the entire pan to the oven and roast for another 7 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165°.  Remove the breasts from the pan to a clean plate and tent with foil to rest.  In the time it takes for the breasts to rest, you can make a tasty pan sauce with the pan drippings that are left in the pan!

Make the Pan Sauce:  Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the pan and return the pan to medium-flame.  Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds until it is fragrant.  Pour a small amount of chicken stock in the pan and use a wooden spoon to rub and scrape up the hardened pan drippings from the bottom of the pan.   This step not only cleans the pan, but also dissolves the pan drippings (or fond) back into the sauce, boosting the sauce’s flavor.  Add the remainder of the chicken stock and rosemary and increase the heat to high.  Bring the sauce to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer.  Simmer for 3 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by a third.   Turn off the heat and swirl in the butter and flour mixture, gently stirring to melt the butter.  As the butter melts, the sauce will thicken slightly.  Remove the garlic and rosemary or strain the sauce.  Taste and add any additional salt and pepper, if needed.  Stir in a couple of drops of lemon juice if you feel the sauce needs some acidity.  Keep warm.

To serve, slice the chicken breasts into 1-inch thick slices across the grain and drizzle the sauce over.  Serve hot with a side of pasta tossed with minced garlic, parsley and red pepper flakes, and some vegetables, like blanched peas.

As always, you can check out the video collections on our Vimeo Channel!

The Nicoise Salad

The Nicoise Salad.

Ahi tuna Nicoise Salad

There is so much going on it might look like it’s got everything but the kitchen sink; but break that down and examine what it’s offering:  soft, sweet greens…  a meaty tuna steak (pure protein)… ripe cherry tomatoes (nature’s candy, at the peak of their season, it’s a little red garden kiss)… crunchy green beans… soft, satisfying potatoes that soak up the vinaigrette… vinegary fruity olives… creamy hard-cooked eggs… all pulled together with a vinaigrette made with the best olive oil you can afford.  This is the Salad of all salads, folks.  It’s the best of everything — all on one plate.

At the risk of making you think I’ve gone over the deep end, I believe Aristotle might have had the Nicoise Salad in mind when he said, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”  It’s a marriage of the best quality ingredients and execution of technique.  If ever you wanted to improve your cooking skills, make this salad a few times this month.  Each component for this salad requires a technique.  The better you are at mastering each technique, the more amazing this salad becomes. And the best part of using this salad to practice your skills:  you get to eat your efforts!  Rip open a crusty baguette and open a bottle of wine (a dry rosé would be perfect, by the way).  Think of us when you do.  Cheers!

Nicoise Salad

Serves 2

  • prepare each ingredient separately and keep chilled in the fridge, then assemble the salad as described below in the instructions
  • We have provided a technique video for each of the components of this salad.  The complete video portfolio can be viewed on Vimeo:  http://vimeopro.com/dearmartini/nicoise-salad

½ cup vinaigrette, recipe follows

2 large handfuls of salad greens, washed and spun dry (we prefer baby romaine)

4 hard boiled eggs, chilled and peeled

1 cup haricots vert, blanched and chilled

6 small potatoes, boiled and chilled (red or Yukon Gold)

1 cup ripe cherry tomtatoes, halved

¼ cup Nicoise or Kalamata olives, pitted

1 (8-ounce) sashimi-grade Ahi tuna steak, seared and rested

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

A.  Prepare the salad components:

  1. Place a large serving dish or platter in your fridge to chill.
  2. Make a batch of vinaigrette and set aside.
  3. Prepare the salad greens keep covered in the fridge with a damp paper towel.
  4. Make the hard-cooked eggs.  Peel and chill them.
  5. Trim and blanch the haricots vert.  Drain from the ice bath and keep chilled.
  6. Boil the potatoes and toss in a separate bowl with salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette.  Set aside.
  7. Halve the cherry tomatoes and set aside.
  8. To sear the tuna, heat a stainless steel pan over high flame.  As the pan is heating, generously season both sides of the tuna with salt and pepper. The pan will be heated properly when water beads as it’s sprinkled into the pan.  Let the water evaporate from the pan before adding the oil.  Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil and place the tuna on the pan to sear one side for 45 seconds.  Carefully lift the tuna and flip to the other side and sear for another 45 seconds on the other side.  Immediately remove the tuna from the pan onto a plate and tent with foil for 10 minutes.

B.  Assemble the salad:

  • in this composition, the sliced tuna steak will take center stage.  The rest of the components will surround the tuna around the edges of the platter.
  • Use the same bowl to toss each separate component with vinaigrette.
  1. Lightly toss the salad greens with salt, pepper and vinaigrette and arrange on the platter.
  2. Peel the hard-cooked eggs.  Cut them in half and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Lightly drizzle with a teaspoon of vinaigrette.  Arrange them on the platter.
  3. Cut the potatoes in half and toss with more vinaigrette.  Arrange them on the platter.
  4. Toss the haricots vert with salt, pepper and vinaigrette.  Arrange them on the platter.
  5. Toss the cherry tomatoes with vinaigrette and arrange them on the platter.
  6. Arrange the olives on the platter.
  7. Slice the tuna in ¼-inch slices across the grain and arrange in the center of the platter.
  8. Drizzle some more vinaigrette over the top of the salad and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
  9. Serve immediately.

C.  Vinaigrette for Nicoise Salad — ah yes, remember this one?

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/44209569″>Vinaigrette</a&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/dearmartini”>Dear Martini</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Makes 1 cup

¼ cup Champagne vinegar

½ teaspoon Dijon or stone-ground mustard

generous pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon minced shallot

2 teaspoons minced parsley

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

Add all of the ingredients into a clean jar (preferably one that is 12 – 16 ounces in capacity).  Make sure the lid is on tight and shake to combine.  Keep in the fridge until you are ready to use.

WHAT’S FOR DINNER?

Looking for a quick and easy answer to dinner?  Our English pea soup looks like spring… fresh, light green, and sweet.  The secret is in the blanching.  Blanching and shocking lock in the vibrant green color giving the soup its appealing color (no drab olive green here!)

Garden Pea Soup

Garden Pea Soup

Yield: 4 servings

Delicious on it’s own as a cold starter to a meal. Serve hot in a larger bowl and you have a light dinner with your favorite artisan bread and a salad.  

INGREDIENTS:

PREPARATION:

Pulse the peas, stock, zest, and almond butter in a blender until smooth.  With the blender running, pour in the olive oil  through the hole in the top.  Pour oil in a steady stream until blended.  Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate. Serve soup cold or heat soup over low heat just until hot (can be done in the microwave.)  Garnish with mint and serve.

Cook’s Notes: 

English peas, aka garden peas, aka shelling peas, are best eaten soon after picking.  For optimum results, purchase peas no more than 2-3 days before you plan to cook them as they start to loose their tenderness and sweetness quickly as their sugars turn to starch leaving you with bland starchy peas.  If you can’t find peas at the Farmer’s market you can substitute organic frozen peas (not quite as good, but pretty darn good in a pinch — shhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone I told you.)

Oh, and what’s with the almond butter?  We’ve added a little almond butter to enhance the sweetness in the peas, add a subtle nuttiness, and up the protein.  If you don’t have it, don’t like it, don’t add it!

Remember, when working with our recipes on the blog, simply hit the blue hyperlinks in the recipe to see the associated technique video. It’s our way of guiding you through the recipe. Alternatively, you can view our Vimeo Portfolio, where all of the pea-related videos are bundled: http://vimeopro.com/dearmartini/peas-please