Cook With Ryan Scott – Page 2

While entertaining some friends this past weekend over at my apartment for a little Sunday morning  brunch, I thought back to an anecdote from my time in culinary school. In an effort to flex my culinary  muscles whenever an opportunity presented itself, I would always pick an over-the-top dish and end  up slaving away over the stove trying to pull it off. In theory, it seemed like a great idea – they’d be  blown away by this sophisticated dish and commend my skills as a chef, right?

Wrong. There was one  time in particular when I emerged from the kitchen caked in flour and various other ingredients  proudly carrying this extravagant soufflé. But as the flour began to settle, I realized that I had rushed  things had burned the soufflé. Looking back on the situation, it’s easy to see that I was young and  eager and wanted to show off my skills, but there was an important culinary lesson to be learned that I  was missing then but now know – don’t let ideas get in the way of actuality. Was it wise of me to pick  an ambitious yet agonizing dish that I could not cook to the best of my ability? Or should I have  picked a dish that better suited the occasion and nailed it?

Having a relatively wide-open Sunday and a gorgeous San Francisco afternoon ahead of me, my equally gorgeous girlfriend Ali and I decided to invite a few friends over and throw together a quick meal with whatever we had in the house. I was short on groceries at the time, the effects a whirlwind weekend, and a quick perusal of the fridge yielded only eggs, cheese, onions, a little butter, potatoes, and some sausage. The obvious connection would have been to make an omelet of some sort, and normally if I was just cooking for myself I probably would have just gone that route. But since I was expecting company today, I decided to take a more “down home done right” approach.

After dispelling a few possibilities, I elected to simply throw together a casserole with what I had and let socializing with my guests act as the focal point of our afternoon. For whatever reason, I was overthinking what to add as a side dish. Initially, I thought it might be a good idea to juxtapose the simple “throw-it-all-in-there” casserole with a side dish that reflected a different end of the culinary spectrum.

As I was thinking whether I wanted to add a little garnish to complement the casserole, Ali suggested that we keep it simple and just make some hash browns for a side dish. Now, the thing about hash browns is that if you have a little extra time, the grating of the potatoes involved is one of those great activities in cooking that fosters community, and that’s what sold the hash browns for me. Both my girlfriend and I had had a busy week of work, and simply sitting around grating potatoes was a great way to shoot the breeze and share a moment.

You know, it’s a funny thing, being a professional chef and then cooking for your friends. I imagine it’s a lot like being a comedian and going to a cocktail party – people are always going to have expectations. Similarly, I’m always expected to pull off some over-the-top dish out of thin air. Ironically enough, on the times when I feel people are impressed with my cooking, I’ve noticed I end up amazing more people not with my extravagant dishes, but rather, through the application of my more traditional dishes.

So brunch was going to be decidedly simple; maybe even too simple for someone with a culinary background such as mine, but I feel that this is one of the main problems in today’s world of entertaining guests – people get too hung up on all these little details and forget the reason why they’re there in the first place.

Don’t be afraid to let the mood or ambiance of a get together dictate what is on the menu or what the nature of the afternoon will consist of. Too often with entertaining guests, I feel that people sometimes try and outdo themselves and ultimately end up falling short of their goals in the kitchen and in turn, of their party.

At its most basic, food should be about friends, family, and conversation. Does the possibility of cooking a gourmet meal greatly outweigh chatting with loved ones? Although it’s fair game to say that the actual food could be a point of centrality at a dinner party, it is the experience itself that is most valued – the coupling of food, ambiance, and company to foster an enjoyable environment. In our busy lives it’s all too easy to get caught up running from one falling star to the other and forgetting which is more meaningful, the constant running, or the things we are running towards? In closing, just remember that life is short, and it only takes 40 minutes to make a casserole.

Recipe

Spanish Chorizo Casserole

Chef Ryan Scott

Yield: 5-6 servings

Ingredients:

1 dozen eggs

4 ounces Tillamook cheddar cheese – shredded

1 1/2 cups cooked chorizo – browned and drained

1/2 cup green onions – sliced

1 cup half & half

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 can of drained corn

2 tablespoons of cilantro

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 250F and Grease 2-qt casserole pan. In large skillet, melt butter and sauté onions until crisp and tender. In large bowl, beat eggs; stir in half & half and chorizo. Pour egg mixture into skillet with onions; mix well. Cook over medium heat. As mixture begins to set, gently lift cooked portions with spatula so that thin uncooked portions can flow to bottom. Avoid constant stirring. Cook until eggs are thickened throughout. Spoon into prepared casserole dish. Pour soup evenly over top. Bake at 250F for 30 minutes.   Sprinkle with cheese and bake 10-15 minutes longer.

Yields: 2 servings

  • 1 large sliced heirloom tomato
  • 6 1-inch cubes Crenshaw melon (or melon of choice)
  • 6 ¼-inch thick slices buffalo mozzarella
  • 8 basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup croutons
  • ¼ cup whole grain mustard
  • 1 cup verjus (or vinegar of choice)
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp salt

Procedure

  • To make vinaigrette blend mustard, vinegar, and salt. In a gradual stream add olive oil to blender until it becomes a nice creamy vinaigrette.
  • Season melon, tomatoes, and mozzarella with salt and pepper and arrange on plate. Dress heavily with vinaigrette and garnish with torn basil leaves and croutons.

Serves two

Ingredients:

  • 6 Roma Tomatoes (cut in half)
  • 1 Jalapeño (cut in half length wise and deseeded)
  • 2 cups small diced Yellow Onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Vegetable Stock
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced Cilantro
  • 6 Eggs
  • ¼ shredded Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of store-bought or pre-made Guacamole
  • 2 tablespoons Sour Cream
  • 2 Tostada Shells

Procedure:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 500°F. Toss the tomatoes and jalapeño in a bowl with one tablespoon vegetable oil and one teaspoon salt. Scatter the tomatoes and jalapeños on a roasting rack with a pan set underneath and cook for 15 minutes or until they achieve a nice roasted color.
  • While the tomatoes are roasting, heat a medium-sized sauce pan with one tablespoon vegetable oil and sauté onions and garlic until tender, about ten minutes.
  • Once the tomatoes are roasted, add them to the onion mixture with stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Once the tomato sauce has come to a boil, use a hand immersion blender and purée mixture until it looks like a chunky salsa. Add chopped cilantro, one teaspoon salt, sugar and cook for one more minute.
  • To assemble dish add one cup of tomato sauce to a small 6 inch or smaller egg pan and bring to a boil. Crack open three eggs and add to tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper, cover with a lid and simmer for 3 ½ minutes. With one minute left in cooking time add grated cheese and finish cooking for the last minute.

To plate this dish add eggs on toasted tostada shell and garnish with sour cream, guacamole and a cilantro sprig.

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 cups Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2  1/2 cups Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon Cherry Heart Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Dried Cherries

 

Procedure:

  • Melt 1 cups chocolate chips over double boiler – LOW heat. Take off heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Mix butter, sugar, brown sugar, and eggs, until smooth.
  • Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Mix melted chocolate into butter, sugar, egg mixture.
  • Add vanilla and cherry extracts.
  • Mix in 1 cup chocolate chips and 2 cups dried cherries.
  • Bake at 350 for 9 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • Light pinch of Fine-Grain Sea Salt
  • 1 cup unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup Sugar
  • Zest of one Lemon
  • 2/3 cup Pine Nuts, toasted and loosely chopped
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons fresh Rosemary, finely chopped

Procedure:

  • Combine flour and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
  • In a separate large bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar and lemon zest and mix again, then add the flour mixture, nuts, and rosemary and mix until the dough goes just past the crumbly stage and begins to clump together (you don’t want to over mix, but under mixing will make the dough seem a bit dry, which can make it difficult to handle). Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.  Knead the dough just once or twice to bring it together, then divide it into a ball and flatten into a disk 1 inch thick.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cookies are beginning to brown on the bottom. The baking time will vary depending on the size of the cookies, taking less time for smaller cookies.

Yields 8 large Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 ½ cups Shredded Cheddar
  • 1 teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
  • ¼ cup Chives
  • ½ stick (1/4 cup) chilled Unsalted Butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ¾ cup well-shaken Buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon Milk or Cream for brushing Biscuits

Procedure:

  • Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda, onto a sheet of wax paper then sift again into bowl and add pepper, cheddar, and chives.  Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add buttermilk and stir with a fork until a dough just forms (dough will be moist).
  • Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°.
  • Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently 6 times.  Pat out dough on a floured surface with floured hands, re-flouring surface if necessary, into an 8×5 ½ inch rectangle.  Trim all 4 sides with a knife, dusting knife edge with flour before each cut.  Cut rectangle in half lengthwise, then into thirds crosswise to form 6 (2 ½-inch) squares, flouring knife between cuts.  Transfer biscuits with a metal spatula to an ungreased baking sheet, arranging them 2 inches apart, and brush tops with milk of cream.  Bake until pale golden, 12-15 minutes, then transfer to a rack and cool to room temperature.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound diced Butternut Squash
  • 3 tablespoons Cream
  • 1 tablespoon Cooking Liquid
  • ¼ teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 ounce of Butter
  • ½ Tablespoon Salt

Procedure:

Place squash in a pot and cover with water and bring to a boil and simmer till tender. Once cooked thru, strain off liquid and reserve a little for the puree. Place all the ingredients with butternut squash in a Cuisinart and pulse until smooth. Strain thru a double mesh strainer and adjust seasoning.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3-ounce package of Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)
  • 1/4 cup Sour Cream
  • 1/2 cup marinated Artichoke Hearts (drained and coarsely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup sliced Green Olives
  • 2 tablespoons Pepperoncini Peppers (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Peel (finely shredded)
  • 20 Crostini (toasted Baquette slices 1/4-inch thick)

Procedure:

In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and sour cream until smooth. Stir in the artichoke hearts, olives, peppers, parsley and the lemon peel. Spread the mixture on top of the crostini slices, or serve as a dip.

Yield: 1 Breakfast Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 thin slices of Prosciutto
  • 1 English Muffin
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1 large Egg
  • Sea Salt and Black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Pesto
  • 1 Slice of Gouda Cheese

Procedure:

  • Split and toast an English muffin and place sliced Prosciutto on the top of the bottom half of the muffin.
  • In a small nonstick skillet over low heat, melt the butter and crack the egg into the pan and cook over low heat until the whites are settled but yolk is still runny, three to four minutes. Once the whites look soft and white, gently spoon the melted butter in the pan over the yolks until hot, about one minute. This will help cook the egg from top to bottom and keep the yolk silky but warm. Season with sea salt and black pepper, and transfer egg to prepared English muffin.
  • Spoon Pesto over the egg and top with a slice of Gouda cheese.  Top sandwich with remaining muffin half and serve.