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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 8

Day 8 of 68 Days of Gourmet! Only 60 more posts to go! I made an exciting purchase last night – The Gourmet Cookbook. It includes over 1,000 recipes. I started flipping through it last night and have already flagged well over 60 recipes that I want to try and that was just appetizers, soups and salads! It’s going to be tough to narrow it down but I’m happy to have this resource in my kitchen.

Sashimi grade tuna steaks were on sale at the grocery this week and they looked great. I picked some up on my weekly shopping trip. I found this recipe that included an amazing looking marinade in Gourmet. The marinade reminded me of a recipe I’ve always loved that my parents use for salmon.

It was just as good as I’d hoped. While cooking the tuna, I brought the marinade to a boil so we could spoon extra sauce over our fish and rice. The combination of the teriyaki and soy sauce with the fresh ginger and garlic was so delicious. I will definitely be making this marinade again for tuna and also for salmon. I usually have most of the ingredients in my pantry so it’s a great standby fish preparation.

Asian Marinated Tuna Steaks
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, September 1996)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon Sherry or white wine
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely diced
2 scallions, chopped fine
a pinch dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
2-4 tuna steaks, depending on how many you’re feeding

Directions:

Combine everything except for fish in a baking dish. Whisk to combine. Place fish in marinade and let sit at room temp if you’re marinating for less than an hour, in the fridge if you’re marinating over one hour and bring to room temp when you have about an hour left. The reason for this is so your fish won’t be cold in the center when seared. Marinate fish for up to 2 hours total.

Remove fish from marinade and pat dry. Place marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a boil and let cook for a few minutes. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Sear fish about 1 minute per side for rare tuna.

Spoon a bit of boiled marinade over tuna before serving.

Yield: 2-4 servings, depending how many steaks you cook

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 5

jeweledrice

I was tasked with bringing a starch side dish to a family dinner last weekend. Brandon was cooking a turkey breast on the Big Green Egg as our meat. I decided not to make anything potato based since Thanksgiving is coming up so soon. I found this rice recipe when I was researching recipes for 68 Days of Gourmet and thought it sounded different. Brandon isn’t the biggest fan of rice but I love it. He also isn’t the biggest fan of dried fruit but I love that too. I thought our family dinner was the perfect time to try this since I would have a larger audience who would appreciate my rice and dried fruit side dish!

The method for preparing this rice is really different. Read the recipe directions below and you’ll see what I mean. I was pretty nervous about the final product turning out but I trusted the recipe and it turned out exactly right. I was scared the crust would be a burned mess but it was perfectly golden. The butter drenched toasted almonds on top were the perfect finish.

This rice is a great side dish for richly spiced pork and chicken and complemented our turkey breast well too. The leftovers were great with the Spiced Chicken I made for dinner on Tuesday night. A note, this recipe makes a ton of rice so you may want to half it if you’re feeding a smaller crowd.

Jeweled Rice with Dried Fruit
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, November 2004)

Ingredients:

3 cups basmati rice
4 quarts water
3 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup dried apricots (3 1/2 oz), quartered (I omitted these)
1/2 cup golden raisins (3 oz)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (2 oz)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup slivered unsalted roasted almonds

Directions:

Rinse rice in several changes of cold water in a large bowl until water runs clear. Drain in a large sieve.

Bring water and salt to a boil in a 6-quart heavy pot. Add rice and boil, uncovered for about 5 minutes – starting from the time the rice starts to boil. Stir occasionally. Drain in sieve.

Mix together dried fruit in a bowl. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a cleaned and dried pot. Stir in cardamom and pepper and combine. Alternate layers of rice and dried fruit over the butter mixture, beginning and ending with rice. Mound loosely, don’t pack it in. Make 5 or 6 holes in rice to bottom of pot with round handle of a wooden spoon. Wrap lid of pot in a kitchen towel, folding edges of towel up and over the lid (keeping towel away from burner). Cook rice over low heat, undisturbed, until tender and a crust forms on bottom, about 30 to 35 minutes. Do not lift the lid while the rice is cooking. Remove from heat and let rice stand, tightly covered and undisturbed, at least 30 minutes.

While rice is resting, heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet over medium heat and cook almonds, stirring, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

Spoon loose rice onto a platter, then break crust into 1-inch pieces and scatter over rice. Sprinkle with almonds.

Yield: 10-12 side dish servings

Notes:
*Rice can stand off heat up to 1 hour. Just keep covered and undisturbed
* If you’re short on time, you can skip letting the rice stand after cooking. Spoon loose rice onto a platter and then dip bottom of pot into a large bowl of cold water for 30 seconds to loosen crust.

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I realize that it has been a week since my last post. I didn’t forget about the blog, I wasn’t too busy to post, I wasn’t lacking inspiration. Instead, I have been planning 68 Days of Gourmet for 68 Years.

On October 5 Conde Nast announced that it was closing Gourmet magazine, citing declining ad revenues and a shift in American food interests as the main reasons for the closure. I was completely stunned by this news. Trust me, I realize that the print industry is struggling and that declining ad revenues have forced the closure of many titles but I was so sad to see it hit Gourmet. It was the food magazine that started it all back in 1941. Gourmet was around far before the Cooking Light- and Rachel Ray-type publications that are so popular today. Gourmet pushed envelopes, addressed very political food issues and most importantly wasn’t scared to stay true to its roots and to its food. It didn’t buy into the whole “low-fat, low-calorie everything craze” – it maintained a balance of indulgence and practicality. It didn’t resort to crazy shortcuts and “semi-homemade” recipes but instead encouraged readers to embrace simple but elegant and flavorful weeknight meals.

1941gourmetcover

the first issue, january 1941 (photo from serious eats by adam kuban)

The closure came suddenly and staffers were caught by surprise. A few weeks after the announcement I was listening to NPR’s Fresh Air and they were interviewing Ruth Reichl, Gourmet editor-in-chief. Reichl said had she known November 2009 was going to be the last issue she would have done things so differently. It’s sad to me that the magazine wasn’t able to receive a proper goodbye from its staff who put so much time and love into it.

Gourmet has provided me with so much inspiration over the years and has really challenged me as a cook to try new recipes, techniques, cuisines and ingredients. I couldn’t just let this closure go without sharing Gourmet with my readers and giving it a proper goodbye on my blog. For the next 68 days I will be blogging about Gourmet magazine recipes in honor of the 68 years that the magazine was in publication. I have planned a mix of old and new and all types of food.

the last issue, november 2009

the last issue, november 2009

And you better believe that this won’t be the end of Gourmet for me. I will still turn to Gourmet as one of my top recipe sources in the future. After all, there’s 68 year’s worth of recipes to try!

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