The following recipes (originally published in The Insatiable Lens Issue 02) are structured in such a way as to help you unleash your own creative genius. We believe that every recipe in existence should be questioned and adapted to the needs of the dish, the season and the final product. It comes down to why you cook the way you cook. So for better or for worse the recipes are vague so that you will help them evolve as well.  – The Rogue Chefs

Torched Scallop with Braised Freekah, Herb Aioli, Micro Kale, Charcoal Salt

Cuisine: Asian
Technique: Torched

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This dish really defines Rogue’s need to experiment and explore. The torching of the scallop creates for us a campfire feel and caramelizes the outside of the scallop while leaving the inside raw but firm. Cutting into it should unleash a sweetness that is potent and sublime.

Feel free, if you are not familiar with the torching method to pan sear these at will. If you are using a home blow torch remember not to torch on a wooden cutting board. Use instead a metal (cast iron) skillet or sturdy sheet pan. Leave it dry – meaning do not put oil on pan. Torch the outside diameter of the scallop, not the top and bottom. Notice we have not asked you to salt or pepper the incredible dry-packed scallop you have purchased with care at your local trusted fishmonger. We really want you to taste the incredible sweet flavors of the scallop. Let the scallop rest at room temperature while you cook the freekah and make the aioli for further flavor development.

As for the rest of the recipe:

An aioli can be made simply by making a mayonnaise base and adding to any number of fresh fine herbs. These herbs should be chopped and added at the last second to maintain flavor, and color as well. Remember garlic does not have to be a part of this recipe. It may even interfere with the fine beverage you will be serving alongside this dish.

Braise the freekah by toasting it slightly in a pan then adding your liquid. Bring to a boil and simmer. Normally one would braise (merely the wet method of cooking) covered in an oven. We prefer stove top uncovered so you can see what is going on. Freekah, by the way, is an heirloom wheat and is now readily available. It does take its sweet time to cook. So if you are impatient start it before the Scallop and mayo prep. We like to braise the grain in some lightly sautéed shallots and a well flavored vegetable broth. Cook until no longer crunchy.

Unless you like a little crunch. 

Next: Is charcoal salt weird? Yes it is. You can make it by obtaining a small piece of non-chemically-treated all-natural hardwood piece of coal and rinsing it under water. Then let it dry and microplane it into a little of your favorite finishing salt. Here is where using a high quality salt matters. Don’t use your charcoal salt to cook with!!!! Ration whatever tastes good to you and has a bit of charcoal taste. Balance is everything! Now you have all the elements … it is the time to assemble the dish. We toss the aioli into chilled freekah and plate with the scallops. It can be served on the side as well. Top with a little charcoal salt and micro kale. Eat that dish! 

Roasted Vegetables with Hot Sauce Vinaigrette

Cuisine: Southern
Technique: Roasted

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So simple and so incredibly delicious. We love roasting whatever seasonal vegetables are available. The light roasting of vegetables releases important nutrients that the body can absorb.

Roasted vegetables are simply tossed in a little oil of your choice, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper and cooked in a hot oven, 350ºF seems to make good sense, until done to your liking. Twenty-five minutes or so.

The puffed wild rice is made by simply frying the rice in a pan in some hot oil. Probably the best thing to do here is to have an instant red thermometer in order to check the temperature of the oil. 340ºF works great as it is hot enough but will not burn. Remove rice with a slotted spoon and put on something absorbent to capture excess grease. Paper towels are nice. 

While the veggies are roasting and the rice is puffing, assemble the hot sauce vinaigrette by adding about ¼ cup of your favorite hot sauce to two tablespoons of honey, the same of molasses, and the same of melted butter. Taste and adjust for sweetness. Sauce may be served either warm or cold.

Plate roasted vegetables drizzled with hot sauce. Simple and electrifying. Add raw brussels sprout leaves just to throw everyone off!

Pressure Cooked Pork Cheeks with Molasses and Sweet Pea Risotto, Bacon, and Oregano Molasses Jus

Cuisine:  Street Food
Technique: Pressure

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If you don’t own an electric pressure cooker now is the time to get one. They are quick and efficient and baddass and work well in a Rogue environment where more often than not we do not have a kitchen.

For the pork cheeks: Salt and pepper your cheeks and then sear them in a hot pan with a little oil. Move the browned cheeks to the pressure cooker and then sauté about two ounces diced onions over a low heat for about 3-4 minutes in the pan that the cheeks were in. Deglaze the pan with some interesting dry red wine. Use something you would like to drink please!!! Pour wine and onions into the pressure cooker. Then add ¼ cup molasses and add enough liquid or broth just to cover the cheeks. The liquid or broth can be many things. If water is all you have use it. The cheeks will still rock, but the sauce will be fairly bland. Use instead a vegetable or meat stock that you have made or your favorite store-bought is fine. The best liquid to use of course would be a great veal stock, but I mention the other liquids first because not all of us have a veal stock readily available.

None-the-less let the pressure cooker do the rest of the work. Follow the instructions that come with it for cooking meat, then let the cheeks stand in their liquid while you make the pea risotto.

People always think risotto is harder to make than it actually is. We learned years ago that one does not have to cook a
risotto by standing over it and watching the liquid evaporate, adding more a little at a time until it is gone. After the initial sweating of the arborio rice in a pan with a little oil and diced onion and some minced garlic, we add all the liquid that is required, usually a three to one ratio of liquid to rice, and let it cook uncovered until the liquid is absorbed. We stir occasionally.  We then add some pureed pea that has been tossed with a little soft butter and some diced cooked bacon or pork jowl as the fresh oregano leaves.

For the Molasses Jus, just take some of the liquid from the finished cheeks and reduce it down over medium heat until it thickens, very thick or not so thick. Whatever you desire. Plate cheeks with risotto. The jus can be poured over, or under, or on the side.

You’ve just made another killer dish.

Lamb Tartar with Nuk Choy, SoySake Gel, Black and White Sesame Seeds.

Cuisine:  Far East
Technique:  Raw

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We love Tartar of any kind and this one kills it!

The lamb can be purchased ground or you can mince your own. If you can find some great quality local lamb, even better. Just don’t make it too fatty as that fat will sit on your tongue in a very unpleasant way. Add all these ingredients to taste and mix: finely diced shallot, hot mustard, sesame oil, shrimp paste. Taste a little and balance out those flavors. Err on the side of less sesame as the pronounced flavor there can kill everything.

Blend soy sauce in a blender pitcher and slowly sprinkle agar into vortex, blend for 2 minutes. Bring mixture to simmering in a small pot, then pour into a shallow dish. Allow to cool in refrigerator for 2 hours, break up with a fork and re-blend until  it becomes a smooth gel. Hold in a squeeze bottle.

Lightly steam of the Nuk Choy, an Asian green, toss in a drop or 2 of sesame and serve. You can also use Bok Choy so don’t drive yourself crazy trying to find the Nuk Choy unless to really want to. Serve with a the tartar and a few drops
of the Soy Sake Gel. 

Voila.