Friday, September 2, 2011

Made Potato Basil Puree

So you have committed to making the Veal Chops, now it's  time for a delicious side dish, also by the Barefoot Contessa.  She whipped up this Potato Basil Puree and I could not resist and had to try it.  I took this picture while prepping both dishes so be sure and don't combine your blue cheese and basil.

2 c. fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
2 lbs. large Yukon Gold potatoes (approx. 5-6)
1 c. half-and-half
3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and fill a bowl with ice water.  Add the basil leaves to the boiling water and cook for exactly 15 seconds.  Remove the basil with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge the leaves into the ice water to set the bright green color.  Drain and set aside.  I don't often use the blanching process but it worked best using a large pot for boiling (I used the same pot and water that I used for the potatoes) and a mesh strainer to retrieve the basil leaves in one scoop.

Peel the potatoes and cut them in quarters.  Add the potatoes to the same pot of boiling water and return to a boil.  Cook the potatoes for 20-25 minutes, until very tender.  Drain well, return to the saucepan, and steam over low heat until any remaining water evaporates.

I continue to believe one of the best purchases I made this summer was this block of imported Parmesan from Jimmy's.  A great value for the number of times a recipe has called for freshly grated Parmesan.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the half-and-half and Parmesan cheese until the cream simmers.
Place the basil in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree.  Add the hot cream mixture and process until smooth.

With a handheld mixer with the beater attachment, beat the hot potatoes in the pot until they are broken up.  Slowly add the hot basil cream, the salt and pepper and beat until smooth.  If the potatoes need to be reheated, cover and cook gently over low heat for a few minutes.  Pour into a serving bowl, sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese, season to taste, and serve hot.

I added a little bit more half-and-half just before serving to make a bit more creamy - B was excited!!

What I would do next time:
Remember to prepare my bowl of ice water before dropping the basil into the hot water.  15 seconds is not much time to prepare the ice bath.
I went a little heavy on the pepper and would do a better job of taste-testing prior to serving.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Made Veal Chops with Roquefort Butter

Taking a deep breath in for this post - it is long to write and it was long to cook but entirely worth it for this comment, "best meal we have had in the past year…can we have this every week?"  What a sweetie and the answer is, "yes" if I get to increase my grocery budget.  When I saw Ina make this on her latest Postcards from Paris episode, I had to give it a shot.  So $37 later with the purchase of two "chops" I was on my way.  Yes, you read that dollar amount correctly but I was already on my way and could not turn back.  So here we go…

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 oz. good Roquefort cheese
1 tbsp. chopped scallions
8 (1-inch-thick) veal chops
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

Place the butter and Roquefort cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth.  I actually used 2 ounces of blue cheese, which is comparable to the Roquefort.  Next time I will try the true french cheese.  Add the scallions and mix until combined.

Cut a strip of parchment paper 4 1/2 inches wide and place the mixture on the short end of the paper.  My perfectionism started to kick in and I was trying to flatten out the butter mixture so it would look like a stick of butter but clearly it was not happening.  So I just went with it and proceeded.  Roll into a log about 1 inch in diameter, rolling the parchment paper around the butter mixture.  Chill.

Sprinkle both sides of the veal chops generously with salt and pepper.  Allow to sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes.  I kept wanting to take more pictures of the raw meat, which is not typical but this is my favorite early evening lighting location in my kitchen.  Meanwhile prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals.  We have a gas grill and it worked fine but I would be curious to taste the difference in cooking over the coals. 
 When your grill is hot, grill the chops for 6-8 minutes on each side, until almost cooked through.  

Remove to a platter and cover with foil, allowing to rest for 15 minutes.  Serve with 1-2 slices of cold Roquefort butter on each.  You are going to want to slices of butter…I can assure you!

Potato Basil Puree was our side dish and equally as good in a non-meat way.  That post up next!!