Rich Rib-Eye Steak with Herb Butter and Charred Peppers

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Author: Revised by Chef James R. Kirkley, IV

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

1 bone-in double-cut rib-eye steak (about 2 1/2 inches thick; about 2 1/2 pounds), trimmed of excess fat
1 0.7-ounce package dried Porcini mushrooms
2 cloves, garlic – minced
1 tablespoon, il Fustino Aged Balsamic Vinegar
1 tablespoon, packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons, Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons, fresh rosemary – minced
1/4 teaspoon, red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons, unsalted butter – softened
2 tablespoons, scallions – minced
2 tablespoons, fresh parsley – minced
8 tablespoons, il Fustino Tuscan EVOO
8 ounces, rainbow baby bell peppers
1 fresh lemon – juiced

METHOD

  1. Lay the steak flat on a board; tie kitchen twine tightly around the sides (including the bone) to help the steak keep its shape during cooking.
  2. Grind the mushrooms in a spice grinder or blender; transfer to a bowl and mix with the garlic, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons rosemary, the red pepper flakes and 2 teaspoons salt. Cut 8 deep slits about 1 inch apart all over the steak; fill each slit with some of the mushroom mixture, then rub the rest all over the meat. Transfer the steak to a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours. Remove from the refrigerator about 1 hour before grilling.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the butter, scallions, parsley, the remaining 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 tablespoon rosemary, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Preheat a grill to medium high, then prepare for indirect heat: For gas, turn off the burners on one side. For charcoal, push the coals to one side. Brush the steak with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then place on the cooler side of the grill (indirect heat). Cover and cook, turning occasionally, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part register 110 to 120 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes. Move the steak to the hotter side of the grill (direct heat) and cook until the thermometer registers 125 degrees, 2 to 3 more minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 15 minutes, spreading with some of the herb butter.
  5. Meanwhile, toss bell peppers with 6 tablespoons olive oil and salt. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 30 minutes, turning once.
  6. Top the steak with more herb butter and serve with peppers.
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Creamy Zucchini Basil Soup

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Author: Leslie (The Accidental Chef) Thomas

Serve with croutons made with il Fustino Misson Olive Oil and il Fustino Spicy Italian Herbs.

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons, raw cashews – soaked in water at outset
2 pounds, green zucchini – chopped
1 large, Vidalia onion – chopped small
4 cloves, garlic – minced
3 cups, low sodium vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon, freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon, salt (if broth low salt)
1/3 cup, fresh basil leaves, packed down, plus extra
2 tablespoons, nutritional yeast (for cheesy flavor)
2 tablespoons, il Fustino Basil Olive Oil
1 14-ounce can, Cannellini beans – rinsed & drained
drizzles of, il Fustino Aged Balsamic

METHOD

  1. Soak cashews in water when starting recipe.
  2. Cook onion in a large saucepan for 5-10 minutes, until softened. Add garlic & cook for another minute.
  3. Stir in the chopped zucchini, & cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the broth, pepper, & salt; simmer until zucchini is tender, about 15 minutes
  5. Pour into a blender (in 2 batches, don’t fill more than halfway). Then add the rinsed/drained cashews, basil leaves, basil oil, nutritional yeast & blend until smooth. Taste for salt.
  6. Return blended soup to the pot on low heat, add beans; pour into bowls when beans are warmed
  7. Drizzle Aged Balsamic over the top of each bowl & decorate with a few extra basil leaves.

Sea Bass on Leeks

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Author: Jim Kirkley

A derivation of a Recipe from Le Cirque Restaurant in NYC

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

4 Filets of Sea Bass or Mahi Mahi
salt and freshly ground black pepper – for potatoes
4 sprigs, fresh thyme – stripped of leaves for fish seasoning
3 tablespoons, unsalted butter
2 large, cooking potatoes (yukon gold) – see directions
2 leeks – cleaned and thinly sliced
1 cup, shiitake mushroom – sliced
2 tablespoons, butter – for leeks
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons, unsalted butter – for fish
1 cup, white wine
3 sprigs, fresh thyme – whole for sauce
parchment paper
1 tablespoon, chives – minced for garnish
il Fustino Aged Balsamic vinegar – for accompaniment

METHOD

  1. Make each fillet as rectangular as possible (about 5 inches by 2 inches) by trimming off uneven edges with a sharp knife. Salt and pepper the fillets and sprinkle them with a teaspoon of the chipped thyme.
  2. Using a knife, shape each potato lengthwise by cutting off the rounded outer flesh to form 4 rectangular slices (do not cut off the tips of the potatoes).
  3. Cut each potato lengthwise into very thin, long slices with a vegetable slicer or mandoline. Each potato should yield about 16 slices (8 slices are needed to wrap 1 fish fillet). Do not rinse the potato slices as their starch will help the wrapped slices stick together.
  4. Toss the potato slices in 1 tablespoon of the butter, melted, and a pinch of salt.
  5. Place a 10-inch square piece of parchment paper on the counter. Choose 8 potato slices of approximately the same length. Place a fillet of fish horizontally at the top of the parchment paper so you can match the length of the potato wrap to the length of the fish.
  6. Place the first slice of potato perpendicular to the fish starting on the left side. Place a second slice overlapping the first one by about 3/8 inch from the left edge. Continue overlapping the potato slices until you have covered an area equal to the length of the fillet of fish.
  7. Center the fish horizontally in the middle of the potato wrap and fold the edges of the potatoes over the fish to enclose it entirely. Repeat the same process for the remaining fillets and refrigerate.
  8. For the leeks: melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large non-stick sauce pan. Add the shitake mushrooms and a touch of salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes. Add the leeks and a bit more salt and cook until lightly browned. Set aside and keep warm.
  9. For the sauce: melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan. When melted add 3 sprigs of fresh thyme and cook for a minute. Add wine and reduce until 4-5 tablespoons remain. Remove thyme and keep warm.
  10. To cook the paupiette of sea bass, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a large nonstick pan over high heat. Add the paupiettes of sea bass and sauté until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. If the fish is very thick, finish cooking in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes.
  11. Place a bed of leeks in the middle of 4 warm serving plates and ladle the sauce around the leeks (about 2 tablespoons per plate). Place a paupiette of sea bass on top of the leeks and garnish with 1/2 sprig of thyme. Sprinkle the plate with the minced chives. Surround with a drizzle of il Fustino Aged Balsamic vinegar.

Scalloped Tomatoes

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Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

8 medium, ripe tomatoes – thickly sliced
1/2 teaspoon, salt
1 tablespoon, il Fustino aged balsamic vinegar
1 cup, fresh bread crumbs
1 large, garlic clove – minced
1 1/2 tablespoons, fresh thyme – chopped
1/4 teaspoon, fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon, il Fustino Extra Virgin Olive Oil

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Lightly oil a shallow 2 quart baking dish.
  3. Arrange tomato slices, slightly overlapping, in prepared dish.
  4. Season with ¼ tsp salt and sprinkle with vinegar.
  5. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, garlic, thyme, pepper and remaining ¼ tsp salt.
  6. Sprinkle crumb mixture over tomatoes and drizzle with oil.
  7. Bake tomatoes for 30 to 35 minutes, or until tomatoes are tender and the breadcrumbs are crisp and golden.
  8. Best served hot but good at room temperature.

Savory Polenta with Roasted Butternut Squash

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This can be prepared as a simple savory polenta, but for a real treat add roasted butternut squash and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

3 pounds, butternut squash – cut in half and seeded
2 tablespoons, il Fustino Extra Virgin olive oil
3/4 cup, red onion – finely chopped
2 cloves, garlic – finely chopped
1 quart, chicken or vegetable Stock
1 cup, polenta or coarse ground corn meal
5 tablespoons, unsalted butter (divided)
1 teaspoon, kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon, freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces, Parmesan cheese – grated
2 tablespoons, il Fustino aged balsamic vinegar – optional

METHOD

  1. For roasted butternut squash:
  2. If you are preparing the polenta with butternut squash, cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
  3. Place squash halves in a foil lined baking pan and dot each half with a tablespoon of butter, sprinkle with kosher salt and a good amount of fresh ground black pepper. Cover with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake squash in 350 degree oven for two hours, until it is soft. Remove and let it cool. With a large spoon, scoop out squash from skin and reserve.
  5. For savory polenta:
  6. In a large oven-safe saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the red onion and sweat until the onions begin to turn translucent, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic, and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, making sure the garlic does not burn.
  7. Turn the heat up to high, add the chicken or vegetable stock, bring to a boil. Gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking. Once you have added all the cornmeal, cover the pot. You may place it in a 350 degree preheated oven, or reduce the heat to low and cook over the burner. In either case, you must stir it every few minutes or so. After about 30 to 40 minutes, it will become creamy.
  8. Remove from the oven or burner and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper. Once they are incorporated, gradually add the Parmesan.
  9. Polenta may be served at this point. If you are preparing the squash version, return polenta to the burner and stir in the squash to incorporate it thoroughly with the polenta and heat the mixture prior to serving.
  10. Serve drizzled with a small amount of balsamic vinegar

Cooking in the oven is the easiest way to prepare this; you only need to stir it every 10 minutes. But cooking on the stovetop causes a bit of the polenta at the bottom of the pan to brown or even burn a bit, which adds a distinctive smoky flavor to the dish. You must stir the stovetop version fairly frequently.

Italian Sushi

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Author: James Kirkley

A play on sushi using prosciutto for the nori and arborio rice instead of sushi rice.

Serves: 2

INGREDIENTS

2 cups, Arborio rice – rinsed
2 1/4 cups, water
1/4 cup, il Fustino Pomegranate Vinegar
1 teaspoon, kosher salt
1 red bell pepper – roasted and sliced
1 bunch, scallions
6 anchovy fillets
6 large, basil leaves
1 bunch, chives – finely chopped
2 tablespoons, il Fustino Aged Balsamic Vinegar

METHOD

  1. Rinse Arborio rice under running water until water runs clear.
  2. Place in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and add water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cover. Cook 10 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat from rice and let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Prepare vinegar mixture. In small saucepan add vinegar and salt bring to a boil and turn off heat, stirring.
  5. On a cookie sheet spread out rice and pour on a bit of the vinegar. Spread out with a non-stick spatula or your hands moistened in water. Add more vinegar and toss. Spread out some more and allow to cool.
  6. Using a sushi rolling mat covered with plastic wrap, lay prosciutto slices on mat to cover, overlapping pieces by 1/2″.
  7. Spread out sushi rice to a thickness of about 1/2″ on top of prosciutto. Leave about 1/2″ at the top and bottom.
  8. Layer on top of rice: basil leaves, red bell pepper, scallions, and anchovies.
  9. Roll up sushi and slice with wet knife into 6 pieces.
  10. Sprinkle with chives and drizzle with balsamic vinegar

Use your imagination on this one. The ingredients are only a suggestion.

Cucumber Balsamic Vinaigrette

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This recipe is courtesy of Sam Edelman from the Santa Barbara Farmer’s Market.

Serves: 8

INGREDIENTS

1 medium, cucumber – peeled seeded and diced
1/2 cup, il Fustino Aged Balsamic Vinegar
1/3 cup, il Fustino Garlic Oil
pinch, salt
1/2 cup, basil leaves – chopped
2 tablespoons, fresh parsley
2 tablespoons, fresh cilantro

METHOD

  1. Place all the ingredients except herbs in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Add herbs and pulse a few times.
  3. Can be saved in a glass jar in the refrigerator up to one week.