Zo & ERRO

Friday, August 5, 2016

Crispy Tilapia, Spicy Citrus Gastrique With Carmalized Onions & Pineapple Rice. That's What's Up!

As you can see, it's been a full eight months since my last post. To say it's been a busy year is an understatement, but in all fairness it has gone by in the blink of an eye. The questions that I have heard repeatedly are as follows; Where in the heck have you been? Where are all of the food pictures? When are you blogging again? Why did you just stop posting? Here's the answer for all of the above; I've been doing the most...

Trust that even when I'm not posting, I am cooking, writing, taking pictures and being creative in some way.  That being said, it's good to be back! As always enjoy the music that I've added for your enjoyment.



On the menu today: Crispy Tilapia, Spicy Citrus Sauce With Caramelized Onions & Pineapple Rice.



Crispy Tilapia
 Crispy Tilapia
  • Tilapia (1 med to lg per person) 
  • Soy sauce (1/4 cup) 
  • Chile Sauce (2 Tbs)
  • Fresh Garlic (2 Tbs)
  • Fresh Ginger (2 Tbs) 
  • Lime Juice (1 Tbs) 
  • Orange Juice (1/2 Tbs) 
  • Salt & Pepper (liberally) 

Marinated Tilapia
Start off by getting the fish scaled and gutted by your fish monger, cut vents or slits in the skin as seen below (helps with the seasoning). Mince the ginger and garlic before combining the other ingredients to make the marinade. Allow to marinate for at least 1 and up to 3 hours.

Once done allow the fish to drain in a strainer for a few minutes before deep frying whole. Fry for 8-15 minutes on 350 in a deep fryer. Take out of fryer and add salt liberally... Remember, this fish is to be cooked until crispy or "over-fried'.

Over-Fried Goodness

Spicy Citrus Sauce
 Spicy Citrus Gastrique
  • Soy Sauce (1/4 cup)
  • Rice Wine Vinegar (3 Tbs) 
  • Lime Juice (1/4 cup) 
  • Tangerine Juice (2 each) 
  • Fish Sauce (3 Tbs) 
  • Vegetable Oil (1 Tbs) 
  • Thai Chilies  (3-4 each)
  • Garlic (2 Tbs)
  • Ginger (2 Tbs) 
  • Cilantro (2 bunches) 
  • Lime Slices (4-5 slices) 
  • Tangerine Slices 4-5 slices) 
  • Brown Sugar (1/2 cup) 
  • Cornstarch (1 Tbs) 
Start out by mincing the garlic and ginger before sauteing them in the oil until slightly browned. Then slice the thai chilies before adding them to the pan. Next add the sugar and all of the other ingredients with the exception of the cilantro and the fruit slices. Allow to reduce for 3-7 minutes on medium. Finally add the cornstarch to 2 Tbs of water and stir to make a slurry before increasing the heat on the sauce and bringing it to a boil, and pouring it into the bubbling sauce. Reduce heat slightly and allow to cook for 5 more minutes. Place in a serving bowl and add the fruit slices and cilantro before refrigerating to cool. I Prefer to serve the sauce cold as it counter the heat of the freshly fried fish, but the sauce can be served cold if you wish.

Crispy Over Fried
Caramelized Onion & Pineapple Rice 
  • White Rice (1 cup) 
  • Vegetable Oil (1 Tbs) 
  • Pineapple Rings (1 can) 
  • Sweet White Onions (1/2 onion)
  • Cilantro (1 bunch) 
  • Butter (2 Tbs) 
  • Brown Sugar (2 Tbs) 
  • Ginger (1 tsp) 
  • Salt (tt)
  • Pineapple juice (1/2 cup) 
  • Water (2 cups)
Start off by sauteing the onion in 1 Tbs of butter until fully caramelized then remove before adding the pineapple rings to the same pan and cooking until browned on both sides. combine and set both aside until the rice is done. To start the rice add the ginger to a pot to saute until slightly browned before adding the rice and coating with the oil for 1-3 minutes before adding the water, salt and a pineapple slice, bringing to a boil and cooking until done. To serve add the rice to a serving dish and reheat the onion mixture before adding on top of the rice as seen below. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Caramelized Onion & Pineapple Rice

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Perfect Cure For A Long Night... MAC Monsieur


Being as though this is New Years Eve, I thought it apropos that I bring you something that you might need in the morning. Nope it's not that normal shit like a fancied up Bloody Mary. It's not even a recipe for greasy ass potatoes with red eye gravy. Instead what I'm bringing you is something a little more practical, a bit more pleasing to the eye and a great deal more flavorful...

On the menu today: MAC's Monsieur

MAC's Monsieur
If you've ever had a Croque Monsieur (sans egg) or Madame (with egg) then you get the concept, if not then it's a fancier version of a grilled cheese with a bit more cheese on the outside of the sandwich. My version combines both and adds a thin crust of cheese on the outside for more texture. This is the ultimate cure for that New Year's Eve hangover, sure to satisfy your hunger and get you back on your feet for the following day's events. As for the stranger that you drunkenly invited back to your spot with you... Wipe the crust out of your champagne goggles as you peer over at last night's catch, brush that alcohol induced stank off your breath before coming back in the room and assessing if they are worthy of any more of your time and MAC's Monsieur...


MAC"s Monsieur 
  • Pullman or White Bread (2 per sandwich)
  • Black Forrest Ham (2-3 slice ps)
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese (handful)
  • Mozzarella (handful) 
  • Butter (2 Tbs) 
  • Poached Egg (1 ps) 
In the Pan
Start off by poaching the egg first and setting it aside for later use. Build the sandwich by adding a layer of both cheeses on the bottom piece of bread, the poached egg, ham and more off the cheeses on the top before adding the second piece of bread. In a slightly heated cast iron skillet add the butter and a handful of both cheese to the pan spreading out (as seen above). Allow to cook until the cheese is crusty before carefully picking up with a spatula, adding more cheese and butter to the skillet and flipping to continue cooking. Remove and allow the sandwich to rest for a minute before cutting in half and serving with a Bloody Mary or beer... Happy New Year guys.



Monday, December 7, 2015

Some Things Are Worth The Extra Effort... Lasagna

There are days that I'd rather not be bothered with a thing. Days when I'm fine laying in bed, avoiding phone calls and visitors, days that all I want to do is be in my own world, to be left alone to write or cook. Sometimes both, I suppose. Normally this feeling will last for a day or two, with the bonus being; I'll make killer food and snack on it until the funk has passed.

Lasagna is the Queen Mother of all comfort foods, at least for me. Sure I love a great Grilled Cheese sandwich with a bowl of Tomato Soup but, truth be told Lasagna is the best of all worlds. Cheesy, meaty goodness with a side of tomato sauce and herbs... Damn I love isolation...

Golden Crusted Goodness
On the menu today: Lasagna

The preparation of a great lasagna is best if broken down into 4 stages. The first is the sauce (which includes the meat), second is the ricotta cheese mixture, which should include herbs, the next stage is the preparation of the noodles and the last stage is the cheese that will go on top of each layer. Every component adds its own layer of flavor so pay close attention to my recipe and the execution for a perfect Lasagna...

Phase 1: Sauce
  • Ground Beef (1 lb.) 
  • Ground Sweet Italian Sausage (1 lb.)
  • Sweet Onion (1/2 Each)
  • Garlic Clove (4 Cloves)
  • Spaghetti Sauce (45 oz) *Choose your favorite brand. 
  • Pasta Water (1/2 Cup) 
  • White Sugar (3 Tbs)
  • Salt (1 Tbs)
  • Pepper (TT) 
  • Fresh Basil (3 Tbs)
  • Fresh Oregano (2 Tbs)
  • Olive Oil (2 Tbs)
Start off by dicing the onions, garlic and herbs. Add the olive oil to a soup pot and then the diced onions until slightly browned. Next add the garlic then the herbs and cook for 2 minutes before adding the ground beef and pork, cooking until done. Drain the oil and add sauce, sugar, salt and pepper. Allow to cook on low for 20 minutes to an hour before adding the pasta water and cooking for an addition 5-10 minutes. 

Phase 2: Ricotta Cheese Mixture 
  • Ricotta (16 oz)
  • Eggs (1 each) 
  • Fresh Oregano (1/2 Tbs)
  • Fresh Basil (1 Tbs)
  • Salt (pinch) 
Whisk the egg and add to the ricotta, salt and diced herbs. Set aside for later use. 

Phase 3: Noodles
  • Lasagna Noodles (12-18 each)
  • Salt (1 Tbs)
  • Olive Oil (1 tsp) 
  • Basil Stems (3 each) 
Follow the directions on the box, but add the basil stems to the water along with the oil and salt and cook as directed. Once noodles are done, place them in a bowl of ice water to stop them from over cooking. You can leave them in this water until it is time to layer you baking dish. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water for the sauce. 

Phase 4: Cheese
  • Mozzarella Cheese (1 lb.)
  • Parmesan Cheese (3/4 cup) 
  • Basil (1 Tbs) 
  • Oregano (1/2 Tbs)
Oven Ready
Preparation for layering

Start by preheating oven to 375 degrees. In a 9x13 baking dish add 1.5 cups of the meat sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange six noodles lengthwise over the meat-sauce. Spread 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture and then top with half of the Mozz and half of the Parm. Repeat until dish is full. Cover with foil (use pan spray to keep foil from sticking to the cheese and cook, covered for 25 minutes. Uncover and cook for 20 more minutes, allowing cheese to turn golden brown. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. 





Friday, November 6, 2015

I Want That Old Thing Back! Seared NY Strip & Potatoes

The Grass isn't actually greener on the other side, it just your current perspective. Bare with me for a moment as I explain. As you loftily peer out on the rolling hills across the way, it's impossible to see the divots and craters that lay in wait; all you see is the magnificent green hue that beckons your "come hither" yearnings. As you disappointingly look down at your own lawn, trust that the person in the rolling hills is looking at your green hues with just as much envy.

On The Menu Today: NY Strip & Twice Cooked Potatoes

As the recipes on my blog will prove, I am a lover of many styles of cooking and types of cuisine. I have floated from fancy to down home to out right whimsical dishes, it all depends on how I feel, what I'm trying to relate and what I find around the house to cook. While I absolutely love all things fancy, I have an infatuation with my first love, steak & potatoes. It is my green grass, and while I flirt with other loves as I peer out my culinary window; it's the one thing that keeps me from straying for too long. I always want that old thing back.

Seared New York Strip 
Seared New York Strip
  • New York Strip (10oz  PP) 
  • Grape Seed Oil (1 Tbs)
  • Butter (2 Tbs)
  • Garlic (1 clove PP) 
  • Fresh Rosemary (1 stalk) 
  • Fresh Sage (1 stalk) 
  • Salt & Pepper (generously) 
  • Fresh Parsley (to garnish) 
Steak & Potatoes  
Salted and crusting in the pan. 
Start off by allowing the steak to rest at room temperature for at least an hour in the kitchen, preferably uncovered. Once properly rested, pat the steak dry with a paper towel to assure that the steak is completely dry (this helps with the sear and allows for a good crust as seen above.), over season with salt, preheat an oven to 450 degrees and place steak into a heated, oiled skillet. Allow the steak to sit, undisturbed for 3-5 minutes to allow the proper sear and achieve the perfect crust. In the last minute, add a pat of butter and allow to cook for another 30 seconds before flipping, placing the herbs and garlic in and placing in an oven, salting the other side lightly. Cook for an additional 3-6 minutes (depending on your desired amount of doneness). 

Allow to rest for 2 minutes before serving (resting keeps the meat juicy and flavorful). 

Into the oven I go
Twice Cooked Loaded Potatoes
Twice Cooked Potatoes
  • Baby Yukon Golds (10-15 each) 
  • Applewood Smoked Bacon (2-3 strips) 
  • Shallots (2 mediums) 
  • Fresh Sage (2 stalks) 
  • Fresh Rosemary (2 stalks)
  • Fresh Tarragon (2 stalks)
  • Green Onions (2 stalks)
  • Garlic (2 cloves)
  • Butter (3 Tbs) 
  • Olive Oil (1/4 cup) 
  • Aged Sharp Cheddar (2-4 oz) 
  • Salt & Pepper (TT) 
  • Parsley (garnish) 
The line up
Start off by boiling the potatoes until tender, drain and set aside for later use. Next dice the strips of bacon and slice the shallots and green onions and mince the garlic. Now in a heated pan cook the bacon until it starts to brown, next add the shallots and green onions cooking until wilted. Remove these contents and set aside for later use while receiving the bacon grease that is left behind. Next Add the potatoes to the pan and press down with your index and middle finger to smash (do this with the pan off of heat and cooled to avoid burning yourself) and place back on the stove top, heated medium to med-high add the oil and butter and salt, cook until crusted and brown (as seen below) with the herbs added to the pan (whole herbs). Next place the potatoes in a baking dish and add cheese, then place into the oven on broil to allow the cheese to melt. Once melted, add the bacon and onion mixture on top evenly and garnish with fresh chopped parsley. 

Smashed & Cooking (Crusting with Herbs) 
Crispy Potatoes 
Cheese Melted 
Twice Cooked Loaded Potatoes 
Grilled Asparagus
  • Asparagus
  • Salt (3 Tbs) 
  • Sugar (1 Tbs) 
  • Olive Oil (2 Tbs)
  • Butter (1 Tbs)
  • Lemon (1 each) 
  • Lemon Zest (garnish) 
  • Salt & Pepper (TT)
Start off by cutting 1/4 inch off of the bottom of the asparagus (the part that turns white is tough and inedible). Before adding to a pot of boiling water seasoned with salt and sugar (blanching). Be sure to have a bowl of water with ice ready to place the asparagus into. Cook the asparagus for 2-3 minutes and place in the water, allowing them to cool for at least 2 minutes. Pat dry with a towel or paper towel and add to a heated and oiled sauté pan cooking until slightly charred. Add the butter and lemon juice before salting. Take out of the pan before adding the pepper and lemon zest to garnish. 
Sautéed Asparagus
Seared NY Strip 
Aged Sharp Cheddar 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The First Kiss... Chicken Marsala

It's never as good as the first time. I think that might be true if you are a guy, but for girls I'm sure there are plenty of stories to dispute that notion. As a guy, you feel lucky just to be in it in the first place. It's something that you've dreamed about for quite some time. You've probably bragged about it, lied about it and asked questions about it at least since grade school. As a girl, you've probably done just the opposite. Breathe and get your collectively dirty minds out of the gutter. I'm talking about your first kiss and all that it means...

Chicken Marsala W/ Lemon Caper Noodles 
On the menu today: Chicken Marsala & Lemon-Caper Noodles

A first kiss is a lot like making your first gourmet meal. You know, that meal that's meant to impress, to show your suitor that you're not the same run of the mill, ne'er do well that takes his or her date to Mc'Donald's for the first date. You are the sophisticated type that will go above and beyond the call of duty to please that -----. (You fill it in.) It's slow, methodical and lingering... It's the type that hangs around in a good way for days to come. The type that has you daydreaming on a Sunday at church as the choir sings... This is the real deal.


Chicken Marsala

  • Skinless Chicken Breast (4 each cut in half lengthwise) 
  • A.P. Flour (1 cup) 
  • Sliced Crimini Mushrooms (8 oz.) 
  • Julienned Shallots (1/2 cup)
  • Marsala Wine (3/4 cup) 
  • Chicken Stock (1/2 cup) 
  • Butter (2 Tbs) 
  • Vegetable Oil (1/4 cup) 
  • Salt & Pepper (TT) 
  • Parsley (1/3 cup) 
Start off by cutting the chicken breast in half lengthwise before dredging in the flour and seasoning with salt and pepper. Next add the oil to a frying pan to heat before cooking the floured chicken in it to brown slightly. Once flipped and repeated remove from the pan and set aside for later use. Remove the oil from the pan and cook the mushrooms until golden before adding the shallots to cook for and additional five minutes. Now add the Marsala and allow to cook for about a minute before adding the chicken stock and allowing to bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the chicken to the pot and cook until thickened (about 3 minutes). Taste, add salt & pepper and a bit more Marsala to your liking.

Lemon-Caper Noodles
Lemon Caper Noodles 
  • Thin Spaghetti Noodles (1/2 box) 
  • Spinach (8 oz) 
  • Garlic (1 tsp) 
  • Lemon Juice (1 Tbs) 
  • Lemon Zest (1 tsp) 
  • Capers (1/2 cup)
  • Butter (1 Tbs)
  • Olive Oil (1 Tbs) 
  • Salt & Pepper (TT) 
Cook the pasta in accordance with the directions on the box. Drain and place in a bowl adding the olive oil to keep from sticking. Next sauté the spinach by first adding garlic to a heated pan with capers and butter before adding the spinach. Salt and pepper to taste before adding to the pasta and squeezing fresh lemon juice to the mixture and stirring to incorporate. Garnish with grated lemon zest. 

To plate add the pasta first before placing the chicken and sauce to top to serve. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley. 





Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Remedy For The Ups & Downs Of Indian Summer... Seafarers Stew

In DC, Fall is a season that I absolutely love. The weather starts to gradually change along with the color of the folliage and folks start to layer up on clothes as the weather shifts back and fourth between a slightly cool summer evening to a downright cold next morning. This year Fall in DC has been topsy-turvy, I woke up the other day to a 27 degree morning just about as unprepared as I could possibly be. It was six a.m. as I headed to the car dressed in shorts and a teeshirt with no jacket. After all, the day before it was 82 degrees. Needless to say I quickly did an about face, threw on my Uggs and a slid on a weather appropriate Patagonia jacket. Oh, and about the shorts; I kept them on because I liked the way they looked with the boots. LOL

Seafarers Stew 
On the menu today: Seafarers Stew

A hearty bowl of soup is always a great idea, it just seems to cure all that ails you. Stew is even better to me, it sticks to your bones. While Seafarers or Seafood stew, like Bouillabaisse or Cioppino is as luxurious a stew as you can find anywhere; it's origins come from fisherman villages all over the world and was once seen as a stew for commoners... Like most things once deemed common, once the word is out the world comes running and often times re-names your shit and gussy's it the hell up to claim it for their own. Think roasted pig feet, turned braised trotters bought for $1 each foot and sold at a fancy restaurant for $35. Think fried thymus, turned sweetbreads bought for under $3 per pound and sold at your local 4-5 star spot for $45 a plate. Think Pabst Blue Ribbon turned PBR sold for 50 cent per can and sold at the new beer garden, run by hipsters  for a whopping $7 during their happy hour. Some shit is just funny in a not so good way... 

Scallops & Salmon
Seafood Stew
  • Salmon filet (8 oz) 
  • Scallops (8-12 each) 
  • *Optional* Shrimp (12-15 each)
  • *Optional* Mussels (12-15 each) 
  • *Optional* Little Neck Clams (8-12 each)
  • Chardonnay (4 oz) 
  • Heavy Cream (1/2 cup) 
  • Fish or Vegetable Stock (32 oz) 
  • Tomatoes (2 large)
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes (10 oz can)
  • Garlic (1 clove)
  • Olive Oil (1 Tbs)
  • Shallots (2 Tbs)
  • Basil (2 Tbs)
  • Salt & Pepper (TT) 
  • Parsley (2 Tbs) 
Start off by dicing the tomatoes and mincing the garlic, shallots and herbs and adding them to a heated soup pot with the olive oil. Next add the canned tomatoes and the stock and cook for 45 minutes on low. While this is cooking, in a separate pot add the heavy cream and cook until it's reduced by half before adding the chardonnay and allowing to thicken again. Add all of the seafood to tomato soup pot and cook until done (if using clams add them first as they will take longer to open up, add the mussels next and then the rest of the seafood and cook until done.) Finally, add the thickened cream and wine mixture and taste to adjust seasoning. Serve in a deep bowl with warm, crusty bread and garnish with fresh chopped parsley and basil...