Chef Juje

A messy adventure in learning to cook

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Chef Juje Gets a Makeover

Wait. That might be misleading.

I did not get a makeover, though if anyone wants to give me one I would be more than happy to accept!

No, Chef Juje the blog got a makeover, as well as a new home. You can now find me over at chefjuje.com.

I’m hoping that the new site is a little more fun both for me to update and for you to read.

Enjoy!

Blueberry Buckle

A second baking post in a row!

I am learning that baking often creates giant messes (flour! mixing bowls! splatters!) and there is nothing in the world that I like more than GIANT messes.

Also, a second trip to the Worthington Farmer’s Market led me to pick up these beautiful blueberries.

My first blueberries

Given that I am brand new to this cooking thing and even newer to baking, I had never actually purchased a blueberry before and had no idea exactly what to do with them. A quick search led me to a blueberry buckle, a dish I liked for the alliteration alone.

The actual finished product!

Buckles are basically cakes with fruit mixed in or sprinkled on top. The original recipe called for half the blueberries mixed and half baked on top, but I got a little over-eager and thew all the blueberries in without seeing the word “half.” I am a big picture person and sometimes it works out okay.

Not two hours after I made the buckle that I received my Food Network recipe of the day featuring Alton Brown’s own blueberry buckle.  Imagine my excitement!! (Fine, summer’s a little slow chez Chef Juje.) Honestly, the one here is kind of extra delicious because it involves a lemon syrup on top.

Make the crumble first and then freeze.  Then make the cake and sprinkle the crumble (hehe fun sentence!) over top.  While the cake is baking, prepare the lemon syrup and drizzle over the cooked cake. Also, I cheated and did not use lemon zest and used “Real Lemon” juice instead. I did just buy a juice attachment for the mixer, though, so maybe my cheating days re: lemons are numbered.

Ingredients:
Crumble

  • 1/2 cup AP Flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • dash salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon (I omitted)
  • 1/4 cup room temp unsalted butter, cubed

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 6 tbsp room temp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon (I omitted)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups blueberries

Lemon Syrup

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons

Directions:
1.) Make the Crumble

  • Sift flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest (for you non-cheaters). Mix in butter so that little crumbles form, then store in the freezer until the cake is prepared.

2.) Make and Bake the Cake

  • In a large bowl (YES another bowl!), sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
  • In another bowl (oh yes…), cream butter, sugar and lemon zest. I used the beater attachment on medium for this.
  • Add one egg at a time to the butter mixing bowl and mix after each egg.
  • Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/2 of the butter milk. Mix.
  • Add another third of the dry ingredients and the final half of the butter milk. Mix.
  • Add the remaining third of the dry ingredients. Mix.
  • Fold in 1 cup of blueberries (or all, like I did)
  • Spread cake batter over square greased baking dish. Sprinkle blueberries on top if you have them. Spread the crumble from the freezer over top, then bake at 350 until it starts to brown.

3.) As cake is baking, make lemon syrup

  • Bring the sugar and lemon juice to a boil.
  • Reduce to simmer and cook 8-10 minutes until a syrup has formed.

4.) Drizzle lemon syrup over cake.  Cut and serve.

Recipe Source: Taylor Takes a Taste (AGAIN alliteration!)

Chef Juje Thoughts:
I have heard that a lot of baking is measuring. I was very careful to measure each dry ingredient, pack it not-too-tightly, then even the top of the measuring cup using a back of a knife. This worked perfectly with the exception of sugar, in which I confused the 1/4 measuring cup and the 1/3 measuring cup.

I’ve also heard of people measuring ounces. I would be open to this if I start baking enough to warrant a baking scale.

Any preferences out there? Any other baking tips for a newbie baker?

Almond Mahi Mahi and Asparagus

Chef Juje is back!

Phew, life got kind of crazy there for a bit.  All good things, I assure you, but I was eating a lot of  Giant Eagle sushi and Subway sandwiches for a while.

Now it’s almost April and I’m excited to ge back into the kitchen.  What better way to re-enter the blogging world than with a fish I’ve never cooked (or eaten!) and a technique I’ve never tried? And with that, I present to you broiled mahi mahi with an almond honey-mustard sauce and asparagus.

The whole dish takes maybe a half hour to prepare and is extremely healthy. It’s also  great way to get to know your broiler.

##picture coming tomorrow##

Mahi Mahi and Asparagus with Almond Sauce

Ingredients:

1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp water
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons dijon
salt and pepper
1 tbsp chopped parsley
2 pounds asparagus
1 tsp lemon zest
4 6oz mahi mahi fillets

Instructions:

1.) Broil the almonds.  Preheat the boiler, spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and broil for about 2-3 minutes.  After an inauspicious start to my relationship with the broiler, I ended up lowering the cooking rack and broiling on low for only about a minute.

2.) Make the almond honey-mustard sauce.  Combine lemon juice, mustard, honey, two tablespoons oil, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper and the almonds in a blender.  Blend until smooth. Transfer to a cereal-size bowl and add the parsley.

3.) Broil the asparagus. Toss asparagus with the remaining tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper on the same baking sheet as before.   Spread into a single layer so they cook evenly.  Place under the broiler until bright green or about four minutes.  (I blotted the baking sheet of the excess water out of the fear that the water and oil would start boiling and the oven would combust.  No idea if that’s normal.) Transfer to a plate and keep warm. I kept mine warm by wrapping with foil and pinching  little hole at the top.

4.) Broil (shocking) the fish.  Salt and pepper both sides of the fish and place round side down on the baking sheet. Broil until opaque or about 3 minutes…though due to my low setting and physically low rack, I cooked mine for about 4 minutes.  Turn the fish over, brush with about half of the almond sauce, and return to the broiler.  Cook between 3-5 minutes (I did mine for 6), remove and serve with remaining almond sauce.

Source: Food Network Magazine

Helpful Hints:

Broiling – I’ve never used my broiler before. Along the go-big-or-go-home lines, I turned the broiler to high and moved the rack up to the second highest slot in the oven. Holy charcoaled almonds!  Then I overcompensated, lowered the rack and turned the broiler to low. Scientists everywhere are cringing at my experiment!  Regardless, I would encourage newbie chefs to embrace their broiler to see what works best for them…I look forward to testing mine again soon.

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