Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Failing The Practice Run - The Fatburger Challenge, Las Vegas!








      I Came, I Saw, I Munched, I Failed!
     As readers already know, anti fast food sentiment is expressed in articles that are published in this food website.  As burger fanatics already know, Fatburger is not fast food.  There are no heat lamps or microwave ovens in any Fatburger shop.  Everything is cooked to order.  That is why I like Fatburger.

     Fatburger offers an eating challenge.  The prize for accomplishing the eating challenge is a certificate of completion, a photo of the challenge winner posted on the Wall Of Fame and a complimentary Fatburger Challenge T-Shirt.  That is plenty of incentive for taking on The Fatburger Challenge.
     The Fatburger Challenge involves eating a 24 ounce XXXL Fatburger topped off with fried egg, chili, cheese, bacon and all the fixings.  There is a 35 minute time limit for completing the Fatburger eating challenge.  
     For world champion eating challenge professionals, like Joey Chestnut, the Fatburger Challenge is an easy task.  For the rest of us, completing the challenge is a real accomplishment that deserves bragging rights.

     Customers that do the Fatburger Challenge are allowed to raise the level of difficulty.  Adding more burger patties to the challenge is what many contestants do, in order to increase the claim to fame, when their picture is posted on the Fatburger Challenge Wall Of Fame.  
     The current all time Fatburger XXX Challenge Champion is a guy named Jose.  Jose set the Fatburger Challenge Record at the Fatburger in West Hollywood, California.  Jose ate a 5 Pound Fatburger in less than 35 minutes!  Wow!
     One simply has to see the photo of Jose holding the burger, in order to understand just how magnanimous this unprecedented accomplishment actually was.  Here is a link to the Fatburger World Record Wall Of Fame Page:

     Since I am continuing my college education, sometimes I get into a mood to eat like a stereotypical college student.  While writing research papers from Friday through Sunday, sandwiches, subs, burgers, finger food and pizza are usually the only kind of food that is appealing.  Munch food rules over everything else, when writing heavy duty college assignments.  

     There is a Fatburger stand within walking distance of my home in Las Vegas.  A couple times a month I do a burger run and grab an 8 ounce or 16 ounce Fatburger, when I get hungry while doing school work.  I usually take my time eating the 16 ounce XXL Fatburger, but lately the urge to tackle the Fatburger Challenge became pretty strong.  I actually developed an interest in doing the Fatburger Eating Challenge.  
     When I got a 16 ounce XXL Fatburger a few weeks ago, I was very hungry and my tummy was growling.  I munched that one pound burger down in less than 25 minutes!  I then became confident that I could accomplish the Fatburger Eating Challenge.  I decided to test the water for doing the Fatburger Challenge, by ordering a 24 ounce XXXL Fatburger the next time that I craved food in a big way.  

     After a few weeks went by, there was a day when I found myself feeling super hungry and my tummy was growling as loud as Godzilla.  I figured that this was the best time to see if I could finish off a 24 ounce XXXL Fatburger in less than 35 minutes, just to determe whether I could accomplish the Fatburger Challenge.  I ordered the XXXL Fatburger with cheese and the regular toppings, so I would not be overwhelmed with extra burger toppings on this first attempt.
     Reality set in when I munched my way through about half of the 24 ounce XXXL Fatburger.  I soon realized that I was overconfident and overzealous.  Thinking about taking on the Fatburger Challenge started looking like a crazy idea that I never should have set into motion. 
     I simply could not eat another bite of the 24 ounce XXXL Fatburger with cheese.  In fact, I put the rest of the huge burger in the refrigerator and it took three days to finish the burger off.  My tummy was so full that I could hardly even function.  Just the thought of food caused great distress.
     I failed the pre-Fatburger Challenge test miserably and my ego was crushed! 

     Now I realize that there is no way that I can accomplish the Fatburger Eating Challenge.  Failing the practice run set my ego straight.  Oh, the agony of defeat!

     For those who are interested participating in the Fatburger Eating challenge, all I can say is be prepared for a possible agonizing defeat.  Eating a 24 ounce loaded Fatburger with every topping in less than 35 minutes is a mighty tough thing to accomplish.  I could not even come close to finishing the XXXL Fatburger with just cheese.  My own Fatburger Challenge goal faded away, like a desert mountain sunset.  

     One simply has to respect anybody that has their picture on the Fatburger Challenge wall of fame!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mango Hollandaise Glacage Filet of Salmon with Pomegranate Gastrique aux Coriander Spaghetti Squash and Thyme Potatoes Anna










A very nice entree that combines classic French preparations with Floribbean flare.

     A glacage is basically a coating of hollandaise sauce that is roasted under a broiler or salamander broiler, till it bubbles and becomes lightly browned.  The challenge is to make a hollandaise that will not break when it is roasted for a few minutes.  
     Chefs who prefer thin hollandaise rarely use the sauce for glacage applications, because the proportion of butter and liquid is too high.  The glacage will thin out and not cling.  One chef that I knew in the past demanded a hollandaise proportion of 8 ounces of butter to 1 egg yolk.  That chef basically was serving an emulsified room temperature hollandaise sauce and that really is not what hollandaise is all about. 
     Chefs who are in the know, who use hollandaise to its fullest potential, prefer a hollandaise proportion of 2 1/2 ounces of butter to 1 egg yolk.  About 4 ounces of butter to 1 egg yolk is the maximum proportion that most chefs use.  The butter should not be the medium for thinning hollandaise, if a this hollandaise application is needed.  Warm water is better for adjusting the consistency.  For a glacage application, the hollandaise should be a rich medium thick consistency that easily coats a featured ingredient.
     There are two methods that most chefs use to make hollandaise and both will produce a rich hollandaise that performs well in all applications.  For today's glacage, the hollandaise has to be thick, so when the heavy mango puree is combined, the sauce does not become thin.  
     The best way to get a strong mango puree flavor is to used sun dried mango.  The flavor is concentrated in the sun drying process.  Reduced fresh mango puree is also good, but the flavor will not be as intense.  A rich strong mango puree carries well in a hollandaise sauce.
     Pomegranate gastrique was used as a secondary sauce in this entree.  Pomegranate goes well with mango.   Streaks of pomegranate gastrique were painted on the hollandaise, before the hollandaise was roasted as glacage.
     Thyme flavored Potatoes Anna line the casserole dish.  Thyme compliments the other flavors in this entree.  Spaghetti squash is an item that has become popular in the last few decades.  Many spaghetti squash fans like the creative recipes that are posted in this food site.  Coriander is a juicy tangy red root that is dried as a spice.  Coriander is a nice flavor for spaghetti squash and it also compliments the other flavors of this entree.  The coriander spaghetti squash is placed in the casserole dis as a bed for the salmon filet.
     Petite casserole dish entrees are part of classic French cuisine and these types of entrees have been overlooked by many modern chefs who only seem to prefer loose Napoleon stack presentations.  I tend to prefer classic presentations with honest portion sizes.  Many gourmet customers prefer this old style of presentation that few modern chefs employ.  There is no excess garnishing in classic French cuisine and the quality of the food preparation does all the talking.  A chef also does not appear to be a price gouging con artist, when honest portion sizes are used.  Customers want to eat and not just taste!  

     Pomegranate Gastrique:
     This gastrique recipe makes enough for 2 servings!
     Many of my gastriques are made at the hard crack sugar stage.  The sugar is cooked to a medium dark amber color for today's gastrique.  It is important to observe the sugar as it changes color from clear, to very pale yellow, then to a light yellow brown amber color.  This happens quickly!  A few seconds later, the sugar changes from a light amber color to a darker golden brown amber color.  This is the time to add the fruit!
     Take caution!  Hot molten sugar will cause severe burns!  Do not stir a gastrique, till shortly after the liquid flavorings are added, or the sugar will stick to the utensil like rock sugar candy.
     Boil 2 cups of water over medium high heat in a sauce pot.
     Add 1/2 cup of sugar.
     Prepare the pomegranate fruit, while the sugar water reduces.
     Separate 1 cup of fresh pomegranate fruit from the rind and set the fruit aside. 
     When the sugar begins to turn a light amber color, stay close to the pan and watch for the sugar to turn a dark amber color.  (Dark amber is a golden yellow brown color.)
     When the sugar turns a dark amber color, immediately add the pomegranate fruit.
     Allow the caramelized sugar to coat the fruit for 1 minute.  (The sugar will stop caramelizing when you add the fruit.  The hot sugar will seize the fruit and pull all of the flavor and color out of the fruit.  The caramelized sugar will completely take on the flavor and color of the fruit!)
     Add 3 tablespoons of pomegranate vinegar.
     Add 3/4 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Reduce the temperature to, low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the gastrique, till a thin glaze is formed.  The glaze should be thick enough to thinly coat the back of a spoon.  Keep in mind that when a gastrique cools, it may become a little bit thicker consistency.
     Pour the gastrique through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl.
     Place the pomegranate gastric in a plastic squirt bottle.

     Sun Dried Mango Puree:
     This recipe makes enough puree for 1 or 2 portions of mango hollandaise.
     Place 1/2 cup of thin sliced sun dried mango in a sauce pot.
     Add 2 cups of water.
     Simmer over low heat, till the sun dried mango becomes very tender.
     Puree the mango and liquid together.
     Return the very thin puree to the sauce pot over low heat.
     Simmer and reduce, till the puree becomes a thick heavy consistency, with no excess liquid.
     Set the sun dried mango puree aside.

     Spaghetti Squash:
     The size of a spaghetti squash can affect the baking time.  For the most part, a baking time of 20 to 25 minutes is sufficient for any spaghetti squash that is smaller than a football.  For any larger spaghetti squash, 5 or 10 minutes of extra baking time may be needed.
     Pierce two small holes on 1 whole spaghetti squash with a metal skewer to create steam vents. 
     Place the whole spaghetti squash on a rack in a 350º oven.
     Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, till the spaghetti squash shell feels piping hot when quickly touched.
     Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes.
     Cut the spaghetti squash in half across the middle.  
     Note:  Do not cut spaghetti squash end to end, or the spaghetti strands will be cut into short pieces!  Long strands of al dente spaghetti squash is the goal.
     Allow the spaghetti squash to cool to room temperature.
     Use a spoon to scoop out the small amount of seeds and loose pulp from the middle of the squash.
     Starting from the center layer, gently use a fork to loosen, pry and pull the long spaghetti strands of squash marrow out of the spaghetti squash.
     The spaghetti squash meat can now be portioned.  The spaghetti squash can refrigerated in a sealed container for a few days for later use.

     Coriander Spaghetti Squash:
     Heat a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced white part of a green onion.  
     Saute till the onions turn clear in color.
     Add 1 1/4 cups of prepared spaghetti squash strands.
     Saute till the squash starts to become a golden color.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1/2 cup of light vegetable broth.
     Add 1/2 cup of water.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce, till the liquid evaporates.
     Keep the coriander spaghetti squash warm on a stove top.

     Potatoes Anna:
     Very thin slice about 4 to 5 ounces of peeled russet potato.
     Brush the potato slices with melted unsalted butter.
     Lightly season with sea salt and white pepper.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of thyme over the potatoes.
     Brush an oval shaped individual size casserole dish with melted unsalted butter.
     Overlap the buttered potato slices around the rim of the casserole dish.
     Place the casserole dish on a sheet pan.
     Bake in a 350º oven, till the Potatoes Anna become a golden color.
     Keep the Potatoes Anna warm on a stove top.
   
     Modified Classic Hollandaise:
     This recipe makes 4 to 6 servings of sauce!  
     I never thought that this mid 1900's Le Cordon Bleu method of making hollandaise would produce a sauce that would not break, when used as a glacage.  I had to test the glacage capability of this hollandaise sauce in today's recipe to find out.  This modified hollandaise does not break when used as a glacage.  
     This simple hollandaise technique may seem impossible, but it is very easy to master.  The finished hollandaise should look like the one in the pictures above. 
     A large digital candy thermometer is best for making this sauce.  The temperatures have to be read quickly, while stirring with a whisk.  Digital candy thermometers have clips for attaching them to a pot or bowl.
     You cannot stop stirring, once the sauce is started, or the sauce will seize!
     Place 2 egg yolks in a medium size mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of cayenne pepper sauce.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
     Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.  (4 pinches is about right)
     Cut 8 ounces of chilled unsalted butter into 1/2" cube shaped pieces.
     Add the small unsalted butter cubes.
     Attach a digital candy thermometer to the bowl, so the probe tip is below the level of the ingredients and so it is not touching the bowl.
     Place medium size sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 4" of water.
     Note:  This is the double boiler set up.  The water in the pot should not touch the bottom of the mixing bowl.  Pour some water out of the pot, if the water touches the bowl.
     Bring the water to a boil.
     Reduce the temperature to medium low/low heat.
     Place the mixing bowl with the hollandaise ingredients on top of the sauce pot to create a double boiler.
     Immediately start gently stirring with a long handle whisk.
     Constantly gently stir with a whisk, till the butter melts and and the hollandaise becomes a liquid state.  (The butter will emulsify with the egg yolks as it melts.)
     Constantly gently stir, till the hollandaise reaches a temperature of 145º.  
     Note:  At 145º, the hollandaise will emulsify and it will look like a sauce!
     Constantly stir till the thermometer reaches 165º.
     Note:  Keep an eye on the thermometer, because the temperature will reach 180º quickly!  Keep in mind that if the hollandaise goes over 185º, it will break and you will have to start all over again!
     Constantly gently stir till the temperature reaches 179º to 180º.
     Immediately remove the mixing bowl from the double boiler.
     Place the mixing bowl on a counter top.
     Constantly gently whisk, so the hollandaise cools evenly.
     Stir till the temperature reaches 135º.
     Place the hollandaise sauce in a ceramic container.
     Place the ceramic container in a 125º to 130º bain marie.
     Stir occasionally.
     Add a few drops of water if the hollandaise becomes too thick.
     Serve the hollandaise within 45 minutes, so the Servsafe temperature danger zone factor does not cause the sauce to become a pathogenic threat. 

     Broiled Salmon Filet:  
     Brush a 6 ounce salmon filet with melted unsalted butter.
     Season with sea salt and white pepper.
     Place the filet on a small broiler pan.
     Pour 1 ounce of dry white wine over the salmon.
     Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice over the salmon.
     Place the broiler pan under a broiler that is set to a medium high flame or temperature.
     Broil till the salmon is fully cooked, but so it is still moist.
     Keep the broiled salmon warm on a stove top.

     Mango Hollandaise: 
     Do this step shortly before assembling the entree.
     Mix 1 1/2 tablespoons of the sun dried mango puree with 3 ounces of the hollandaise sauce in a ceramic cup.

     Mango Hollandaise Glacage Filet of Salmon with Pomegranate Gastrique aux Coriander Spaghetti Squash and Thyme Potatoes Anna:
     Everything needed for finishing this entree is already prepared, so finishing this recipe is easy.  Keep an eye on the glacage as it roasts under a broiler.  The goal is to broil the glacage till light golden brown highlights appear.
     Keep the Potatoes Anna lined casserole dish on a sheet pan.
     Place a bed of coriander spaghetti squash in the casserole dish.
     Use a spatula to place the broiled salmon on the spaghetti squash bed.
     Spoon a generous thick layer of the mango hollandaise over the salmon filet, so it overflows onto the bed of spaghetti squash.
     Use the squirt bottle to paint streaks of pomegranate gastrique on the mango hollandaise.
     Place the sheet pan and casserole dish low under a broiler that is set to a medium flame.
     Roast the mango hollandaise glacage, till golden brown highlights appear.  (This only takes about 1 minute!)
     Remove the pan from the broiler.
     Place the Mango Hollandaise Glacage Filet of Salmon with Pomegranate Gastrique aux Coriander Spaghetti Squash and Thyme Potatoes Anna petite casserole dish on a serving plate.  
     Garnish with Italian parsley sprigs.

     Viola!  Making an entree like this in a professional restaurant kitchen is easy, because most of the items are prepared ahead of time.  The same time management is used to make this entree in a home kitchen.  Some of the ingredients can be prepared well ahead of time.  Once the hollandaise is made, time becomes limited, so the the dish must be finished within 45 minutes.  Bon Appetite!  ...  Shawna

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tart Pomegranate Braised Lamb Shoulder Steak with Sumac Berry Za'atar Spice Bulgar Pilaf and Persian Pickled Lemon












     It has been a few months since I have posted a middle eastern recipe.  Today's braised lamb shank recipe is a nice example of modern Persian Arabic cuisine.  
     Many people picture Persian and Arabic cuisine as being kebabs, stuffed vegetables and fancy basmati rice dishes.  Casual food is what many western world people picture these cuisines as being.  The truth is that Persia has one of the oldest and finest culinary histories in the world.  Many food items that the western world takes for granted originated in Persia.  Ancient India and Persia both are famous for developing and perfecting many strains of vegetable plants that are now part of nearly every cuisine around the globe.   Wheat is a good example of a main staple that was developed in ancient Mesopotamia.  The original pilaf was not made with rice, it was made with wheat grain.  Bulgar wheat is the original choice of grain for making Persian pilaf.  Persian rice pilaf was created at a later time. 
     Za'atar spice mix is an ancient spice mix and the ingredients vary from chef to chef and household to household.  Many family recipes for za'atar spice mix date back to the days of ancient Egypt and the recipes are often closely guarded secrets.  There are many regional variations of za'atar spice.  I have featured Egyptian za'atar and Jordanian za'atar in this food site so far.  
     I always suggest purchasing a bag of pre-made imported za'atar spice first, before attempting to create za'atar from scratch.  It is best to learn the key flavors and character of the spices, so a flavor goal can be set.  Za'atar spice blend can be found in middle eastern markets.  Honestly, wild thyme is very hard to find in any American food market.  Regular thyme tastes nothing like middle eastern wild thyme.  Wild thyme is required for za'atar spice blends.  Za'atar is usually 45% to 80% coarsely ground roasted sesame seed.  Secondary spices can vary, but they usually include cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom and mace.  Usually sumac berry spice is part of the mixture, but some regional za'atar blends do not require this spice.
     Tangy pomegranate molasses is used extensively as a cooking sauce in Arabic, Egyptian and Persian cuisine.   This item is not really a molasses, it is a syrup that is made with ripe pomegranate and the flavor is not sweet.  The flavor of pomegranate molasses is tangy and full of pomegranate essence.  Only a small amount is needed to flavor a sauce.
     Lamb shoulder steaks are usually overlooked by modern chefs.  Modern chefs usually only sell rack of lamb, lamb chops, leg of lamb or lamb shanks.  Lamb stew meat comes from the shoulder.  Lamb shoulder is usually fairly tender, so a shoulder blade steak is actually a good cut of lamb and the price is reasonable.  Braising is a good cooking method for lamb shoulder steak. 
     The sauce for today's recipe is made like a French demi glace.  A full reduction sauce, like glace viande, would be a bit rich and sauce espagnole would cloud the sharp flavor of the pomegranate.  Demi glace is perfect for carrying the pomegranate flavor.  Whole garlic cloves add flavor and onion sweetens the sauce.  This pictures of this lamb steak recipe may look rich and too heavy for hot summer weather, but the opposite is true.  The complex flavors of the za'atar and sumac berry in the bulgar pilaf combined with tangy pomegranate in the sauce create a flavor combination that magically tastes great and provides relief for summer heat stress.  The slices of Persian preserved lemon add to the effect.  

     Glace Viande:
     Place 4 pounds of veal bones, lamb bones, beef bones, pork bones and meat scraps into a roasting pan.
     Add 5 ounces of tomato paste.
     Add 8 to 10 ounces of rustic un-peeled mirepoix of carrot, celery and onion.
     Stir the mixture together.
     Roast the mixture in a 350º oven, till the bones and vegetables caramelize to a deep brown color.  (Stir the ingredients occasionally.)
     Place the roasted bones and mirepoix into a stock pot.
     Deglaze the roast pan with water and add the jus to the stock pot.
     Cover the bones with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
     Turn the temperature to medium low heat and simmer for 4 hours.
     Add water occasionally to cover the bones.
     Strain the stock through a fine sieve.
     Discard the bones and vegetables.
     Skim off the grease.
     Reduce the meat stock by a little more than half.
     This is a very rich unseasoned stock that can be frozen in portions for later use.
     The glace should be able to thinly coat and glaze the back of a spoon.
     When the glace viande is used in recipes, it will be reduced to a slightly thicker glaze to order. 
   
     Classic Sauce Espagnole:
     This espagnole recipe is by the book!  The yield is about 5 cups.  Espagnole can be frozen for later use or refrigerated for 7 days.
     Place 4 pounds of veal bones, lamb bones, beef bones, pork bones and meat scraps in a roasting pan.
     Add 1/4 cup of tomato paste.
     Add 12 ounces of a rustic un-peeled mirepoix of:
     - carrot
     - celery 
     - onion  
     Roast the mixture in a 350º oven till the bones and vegetables caramelize to a deep brown color.  Toss and stir the ingredients occasionally. 
     Place the bones and mirepoix into a stock pot. 
     Deglaze the roasting pan with water and add the jus to the stock pot. 
     Cover the bones with water and bring to a gentle boil over medium high heat. 
     Reduce the temperature to low heat and simmer for 4 hours. 
     Skim the grease off of the top of the simmering meat stock.
     Add water occasionally to cover the bones.
     After 4 hours, the meat stock should be a rich brown color.
     Make a brown roux with equal parts of unsalted butter and flour while constantly stirring over medium/medium high heat.  (3 1/2 ounces of unsalted butter and 3 1/2 ounces of flour should be enough.)  Do not stop stirring or the roux will scorch!  Keep stirring as the roux turns a rich brown color. 
     Add enough of the brown roux to the meat stock pot to thicken the broth to a very thin sauce consistency. 
     Simmer the thickened meat stock for one hour and stir it occasionally. 
     Pour the thickened meat stock through a fine mesh strainer into a second pot over low heat. 
     Discard the bones, meat scraps and vegetables. 
     Add 1/2 cup of sherry wine per quart of thickened meat sauce.  (Optional.  Do not add alcohol of any kind to middle eastern cuisine!)
     Add 1 bouquet garni of leek, bay leaf, chervil, celery and thyme. 
     Add 8 parsley stalks.
     Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of mushroom trimmings.
     Add 2 chopped shallots. 
     Add sea salt and 14 black peppercorns. 
     Simmer and reduce the sauce espagnole, till it becomes a rich thin sauce consistency. 
     Pour the espagnole sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a container and set it aside.

     Demi Glace:
     Place a proportion of 1/2 sauce espagnole and 1/2 thin glace viande into a sauce pot.  (About 1 cup of demi glace will be needed)
     Heat the sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce, till the the demi glace becomes a thin sauce consistency.
     Set the demi glace aside. 

     Sumac Berry Za'atar Spice Bulgar Pilaf:
     This recipe makes 1 large portion!
     Heat a sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of clarified unsalted butter. 
     Add 3/4 cup of #3 size bulgar.
     Saute and stir, till the bulgar wheat becomes toasted to a light tan color.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced peeled celery.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced green bell pepper.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add 1 cup of light chicken broth.
     Bring the liquid to a boil over medium high heat.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.      
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 tablespoon of za'atar spice mix.  ( I used a Jordanian za'atar blend.)
     Simmer and reduce, till the bulgar wheat becomes tender and till the liquid is slightly less than the amount of bulgar wheat in the pot.  The liquid should be just a little bit below the surface of the exposed bulgar wheat.  (Add a splash of water if the liquid reduces to the proper level, before the bulgar wheat becomes tender.)
     Add 1 pat of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 teaspoon of sumac berry spice.
     Add 1 pinch of minced cilantro.
     Stir the pilaf.
     Keep the pilaf warm on a stove top. 

     Tart Pomegranate Braised Lamb Shoulder Steak:
     Braising does not necessarily mean that it has to be done in a sealed pot in an oven.  Braising can be done covered or uncovered on a stove top for some applications.  The object is to sear the meat to create flavor and color, then simmer the meat in a liquid medium, till the meat becomes tender.  Lamb shoulder steaks only require a short amount of braising, because the meat is fairly tender.  Braising is also a cooking technique that is used to infuse flavor.
     Select an 8 to 10 ounce lamb shoulder blade steak.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of clarified unsalted butter.  (ghee)
     Saute the lamb steak on both sides, till it starts to brown.
     Add 4 or 5 partially crushed hole garlic cloves.
     Add 1/4 cup of sliced onion.
     Saute till the lamb steak is browned and the onions become lightly caramelized.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Deglaze the pan.
     Add 2 cups of thin beef broth.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Skim off any grease that floats on the liquid.
     Add 1 tablespoon of tangy pomegranate molasses.
     Add 1 small pinch of cumin.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1 small pinch of cardamom.
     Add 1 small pinch of mace or nutmeg.
     Add 1 pinch of coriander.
     Add 1 cup of demi glace.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a rich thin sauce consistency.  Occasionally flip the lamb steak in the sauce, so it braises evenly.
     Add 1 pat of unsalted butter, while stirring.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Adjust the seasoning with sea salt and black pepper.        

     Tart Pomegranate Braised Lamb Shoulder Steak with Sumac Berry Za'atar Spice Bulgar Pilaf and Persian Pickled Lemon:
     Use a cup mold to place a portion of the sumac berry za'atar spice bulgar pilaf on the plate.
     Lean the lamb steak against the pilaf on the plate.
     Spoon a generous amount of the tart pomegranate braising sauce over the lamb steak and onto the plate.
     Place 2 thick slices of seeded Persian pickled lemon on the plate next to the pilaf and lamb steak.
     Garnish with a cilantro sprig.     

    Classic traditional Persian and Arabic flavors were used to create this modern style recipe.  Classic French techniques are used to make the sauce.  The tasteful presentation is done with classic modern fine dining style and there are no excess useless garnishes that do not belong.  This entree looks and tastes great!