Sunday, December 29, 2013

Best of 2013

In a busy year full of many exciting events and adventures, we had some pretty good meals at home. So the top 13 picks for this year?

Sri Lankan Crabs with Spinach and Coconut Milk - Moving to San Francisco introduced my to the deliciousness of Dungeness crab. While crab makes almost any meal good, this one was outstanding.

Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas with Tomatillo Salsa - I think I can officially say I've overcome my mushroom aversion and now seem to seek them out. I blame the mushroom guys at the farmer's markets. They always have too many delicious options available.

Yogurt Tart Chickpeas with Mustard Greens - A great side dish that I liked enough to serve to people the night before our wedding!

Lemongrass Grilled Beef - Some of my favorite meals this year have been when the mister used the grill and did most of the work.

Sweet and Sour Fish Tiles - We had quite a bit of fish overload this year. More than 1 lb a week for two people is a lot of fish! Chinese and fish is a great combination.

Butterflied-Sesame Grilled Beef Short Ribs - Korean barbecue at home? Yes, please.

Baked Herb Polenta - Rich polenta is the perfect comfort food.

Halibut Soft Tacos - I've never understood the obsession with fish taco, but this one could convert me. All of the components get to be a bit much, but it was well worth the effort.

Stuffed Squash Blossoms on Herbed Tomato Salad - This dish is a true celebration of summer produce.

Grilled Tuna with Lemony Tahina, Greens and Pomegranate Seeds - I firmly believe that tahini makes many dishes so much better.

Rhubarb Mint Tea with Moonshine - The only thing that disappointed me about this recipe is that I discovered it after rhubarb season was over!

Duck Burgers with Shiitake Mushroom Ketchup and Chinese Style Mustard Sauce - The duck burgers were outstanding and every component worked perfectly together.

Chicken, Haloumi, and Preserved Lemon Skewers - An incredibly simple dish, but with so much flavor and cheesy goodness.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sole Stuffed with Crab

December is always such a busy month that it's hard to find time to cook, let alone find time to post recipes, so that means my bar is a bit higher than normal when determining what makes it up here. Those delicious pork burgers that pair with homemade sun-dried ketchup? A little too much work for most people to make it up to the blog. An incredibly delicious crab dish that's simple enough to make it on the table in less than 30 minutes? Absolutely. These are easy enough for a weeknight, but nice enough for company. You can also assemble these ahead of time to cut down on the last minute work.

One year ago: Galveston Crab Cake
Two years ago: Quick and Easy Chinese Greens
Three years ago: Goat Cheese and Asparagus Risotto
Four years ago: Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts

Sole Stuffed with Crab (from Fish Without a Doubt)

8 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup minced shallots
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk, heated
coarse salt
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
freshly ground white pepper
1 lb jumbo lump crabmeat
6 (5 ounce) Dove sole fillets
dry breadcrumbs

(If not making in advance, preheat oven to 450F.)
1. Set up a bowl of ice with some water and set a smaller bowl on the ice. Set aside.
2. Melt 3 tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened, 2 minutes.
3. Sprinkle in flour and cook, stirring until roux smells toasty, about 6 minutes. Don't let it brown. (If you're scaling down, this may go quite a bit more quickly!)
4. Take pan off heat and whisk in milk, dissolving the roux. Season with salt and return to heat.
5. Bring sauce to a simmer, stirring, reduce heat to low and simmer until very thick.
6. Stir in mustard, lemon juice, and parsley. Season with pepper, cayenne, and salt.
7. Fold in crab and scrape into iced bowl to cool down quickly.
8. Melt remaining 5 tbsp butter and brush 6 individual gratin dishes with butter. Divide crab among gratins, mounding in center.
9. Cut sole fillets down center and then make a diagonal cut through each half. Drape 4 pieces of fish over stuffing in each gratin, so they cover the crab completely.
10. Brush fish with remaining melted butter. You can now refrigerate for up to a day.
11. Season fish with salt and just a tiny bit of cayenne. Dust lightly with a pinch or two of breadcrumbs for each casserole.
12. Bake until stuffing is bubbling and browning at edges, 10 minutes. Serve.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Kale Greens in Coconut Milk

I've been a bit lazy lately with posting recipes for side dishes just because they're usually less exciting, but this Filipino kale dish was so outstanding that I think it deserves a post. A bit of stewing time with shrimp paste and coconut milk gives and extremely rich depth of flavor.

One year ago: Black Pepper Crab
Two years ago: Bobotie
Three years ago: Peppermint Meringues
Four years ago: Stewed Lentils and Tomatoes

Kale Greens in Coconut Milk (from The Adobo Road Cookbook)

2 tbsp oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1" piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 - 2 Thai chili peppers, split in half lengthwise
1 tbsp fermented shrimp paste
1 lb kale, washed, center ribs removed, leaves roughly chopped
1/2 cup shrimp stock or water
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (I just used the whole can and cut back on the water)

1. Heat a large wok over high heat. Add onion and stir-fry until pieces wilt and lightly brown, 2 - 3 minutes.
2. Add garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and shrimp paste to pan and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
3. Toss kale in pan and cook and stir until kale cooks down and wilts, 1 - 2 minutes.
4. Pour shrimp stock and coconut milk into pan and reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until kale is tender, 10 - 15 minutes.
5. Serve with steamed white rice.

Curry Pork Pies

For reasons well beyond my comprehension, my man doesn't like the idea of meat pies. It's clearly a flaw and one I don't understand. These, however, are clearly meat muffins ... or else meat cupcakes. I'm really not sure what to call these, but they are good and cute. These require a bit of planning, but come together with about the same level of difficulty as making a pie.

One year ago: Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good
Two years ago: Pickled Cabbage
Three years ago: Spicy Red Beef Curry
Four years ago: Egg Drop

Curry Pork Pies (from Smoke & Pickles)

1/2 cup chopped bacon
3/4 lb ground pork
3/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup diced carrots
1 1/2 tbsp minced ginger
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp flour
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
10 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cup cold vegetable shortening
8 - 10 tbsp ice water
Egg wash
1 large egg
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp whole milk

1. To make filling, heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Add bacon and cook for 3 minutes or until lightly crisped.
2. Add ground pork, onions, bell pepper, carrots, ginger, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes or until pork is cooked through.
3. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and pork and cook stirring for 1 minute.
4. Add chicken stock, curry powder, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
5. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with butter and keep chilled in refrigerator until ready to use.
6. To make pie crust, measure flour and salt into a bowl. Add shortening and butter and using a pastry cutter, mix until texture is granular.
7. Add water gradually and work into a wet dough. Dust with flour, divide dough in half (one half can be bigger than the other).
Dust with extra flour, shape into 2 disks, wrap in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes.
8. Preheat oven to 425F.
9. Remove the larger disk of dough from the fridge. Roll out into a rectangle about 1/8" thick. Cut into 12 5" rounds. Line muffin tin with rounds.
10. Whisk together egg wash ingredients in a small bowl. Brush inside of each crust with egg wash.
11. Spoon 2 tbsp of chilled filling into each piecrust.
12. Roll out second disk of dough to 1/8" thick. Cut into 12 3" rounds.
13. Drape rounds over each pie and use your fingers to crimp edges together. Brush tops with egg wash. Use a paring knife to cut an X in the top.
14. Bake for 15 minutes or until puffed and golden. Let cool at least 10 minutes before eating.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Crab Poached in Scampi Butter Sauce

It's the most wonderful time of the year ... crab season! We started it off with nine precious ounces of Dungeness crab meat from our seafood box. I decided to start off by keeping things simple and highlighting the crab in a rich, scampi sauce. The whole dish comes together very quickly and easily, although the butter should be made a bit ahead of time. The good news is though that the butter can be made up to a week ahead of time. This is a restaurant quality meal that requires very little work.

Two years ago: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Three years ago: Poutine Calzones
Four years ago: Pecan Pie

Crab Poached in Scampi Butter Sauce (from Fish Without a Doubt)

Butter Sauce
8 large garlic cloves, cut in half
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 lb unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
3 tbsp dry white wine or vermouth
12 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over
1/2 lb fresh fettuccine
chopped parsley or basil

1. Turn a food processor on and drop garlic down feed tube, then add shallot.
2. Scrape sides of bowl and add butter and Tabasco sauce.
3. Process until light and fluffy. Season with salt and white pepper. Process to combine.
4. Pack butter into small bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate until firm.
5. Bring wine to simmer in small saucepan. Simmer for about 2 minutes to cook off alcohol, but not reduce.
6. Whisk in cold scampi butter about 1 tbsp at a time to make emulsified sauce. Simmer at low heat.
7. Stir crab into sauce, trying not to break up lumps, and keep warm on back of stove.
8. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to al dente.
9. Drain pasta and diving among 4 plates. Spoon crab and sauce over pasta, top with chopped herb, and serve.

Avocado, Quinoa, and Fava Bean Salad

I had plans to make this with the beans, but that plan fell through. Even without the beans though, this was a lovely side. The one thing I might change is considering cutting back on the cumin. It didn't work for me quite as well in the mix. I served this as a side to the chicken and haloumi, but it could easily stand on its own.

One year ago: Chicken with Chiles
Two years ago: Fettucine, Pine Nuts, and Cilantro
Three years ago: Fettucine Alfredo
Four years ago: Spinach Pomegranate Salad

Avocado, Quinoa, and Fava Bean Salad (from Plenty)

200g quinoa
500g shelled fava beans
2 medium lemons
2 small ripe avocados
2 garlic cloves, crushed
200g breakfast radishes, halved lengthwise
50g purple radish cress (or small purple basil leaves or watercress)
1 tbsp ground cumin
75 ml olive oil
1/4 tsp chili flakes
salt and pepper

1. Place quinoa in saucepan with plenty of water, bring to boil and simmer for 9 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and leave to dry.
2. Bring pot of water to boil, add fava beans, bring back to boil, drain, refresh with cold water, and leave to dry. Discard skins.
3. Remove skin from lemons and place in bowl. Juice lemons into bowl.
4. Peel, stone, and thinly slice avocado, adding it to the lemon juice.
5. Add dry quinoa to the bowl along with fava beans, garlic, radishes, cress, cumin, olive oil, chili flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve.

Chicken, Haloumi and Preserved Lemon Skewers

For some reason, August came home with some haloumi recently. Without an idea for what to use it for, I started searching. Meanwhile, I've been more curious about Australian chefs lately. In particular, I've heard many good things about Donna Hay's book Seasons. I was delighted to see this recipe that would allow me to try a Donna Hay recipe and use the haloumi. This dish requires a little bit of advance planning with the short marinade and threading the oregano on skewers is a bit of an exercise in frustration, but the result is truly delicious for relatively low effort - a bit tart and deliciously easy.

One year ago: Persimmon Spice Cake
Two years ago: Bagel-Egg
Three years ago: Pomegranate and Fennel Salsa Quinoa
Four years ago: Red Velvet Cupcakes

Chicken, Haloumi and Preserved Lemon Skewers (from Seasons)

2 x 200g chicken breast fillets, trimmed and cut into pieces
500g haloumi, cut into pieces
¼ cup (60ml) lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped preserved lemon, flesh removed and rind rinsed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, extra
1 bunch oregano
pita bread. to serve
baby spinach leaves, to serve
lemon wedges, to serve

1. Place the chicken, haloumi, lemon juice, olive oil, preserved lemon, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Heat the extra oil in a large non-stick frying pan or barbecue hot plate over medium heat.
3. Thread the chicken, haloumi and oregano onto skewers and cook for 2–3 minutes each side or until the chicken is cooked through.
4. Serve with pita bread, baby spinach leaves and lemon wedges.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mocha Rum Cake

I made a rum chocolate cake a couple of years ago, but it wasn't quite chocolately enough or even rummy enough. Good, but not what I was expecting. This rum cake is dense and intense. I've increased the rum a bit from the original and next time wouldn't mind trying to substitute kahlua for the coffee.

One year ago: Oven Roasted Pork Butt with Rosemary
Two years ago: Fennel Frond Pesto
Three years ago: Sweet and Sour Pork
Four years ago: Peanut Flavoured Potatoes

Mocha Rum Cake (adapted from epicurious)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/3 cup dark rum
1 cup strong brewed coffee or kahlua
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Butter a 12-cup bundt pan.
2. In a bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth.
4. Remove chocolate from heat and stir in rum, coffee, and granulated sugar.
5. With an electric mixer beat in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down side, and beat in eggs and vanilla until batter is combined well. Pour batter into prepared pan.
6. Bake cake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, about 1 hour and 50 minutes. Let cake cool completely in pan on a rack and turn it out onto rack.

Grandmother's Chicken with Wild Mushrooms

It's funny what a difference the right cookbook can make. This isn't my first cookbook from Mai Pham, but her other one (The Best of Vietnamese & Thai Cooking) wasn't deemed good enough to make the move. Nothing quite turned out properly and I think I was even convinced that I just didn't like Vietnamese food that much. But given my experience at restaurants, I knew that wasn't the case. Knowing the other book wasn't really authentic Thai food and that I'd been unhappy with the quality of those recipes, I decided to give Vietnamese another chance. Somehow I ended up back with a Mai Pham book, but this time around? I'm so much happier with the results. This is a great weeknight dish. Simple to pull together, but full of rich unami. The dried mushrooms do call for a 30 minute soak, but the dish cooks up very quickly and the rest is just chopping. Don't forget the rice. We both thought the dish was just a bit on the salty side (even homemade stock without added salt), so you might want to reduce the salt in the mushrooms further if you tend to go light on salt like we do.

One year ago: Slow Braised Beef with Potatoes
Two years ago: Roasted Beets with Cumin-Mint Vinaigrette
Three years ago: Mashed Brussels Sprouts
Four years ago: Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin

Grandmother's Chicken with Wild Mushrooms (from Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table)

2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts of things, cut into thin bite-sized strips
3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
2 shallots, sliced
8 dried black mushrooms (or cloud ear), soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, drained, stemmed, and halved
1 cup white or brown mushrooms, cleaned and halved
1 cup oyster mushrooms, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 tsp salt (see note)
2 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 cup fresh chicken stock
5 sprigs cilantro, cut into 2" lengths

1. Place soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl and stir.
2. Add chicken to sauces and toss to coat.
3. Heat 1 1/2 tbsp of oil in large skillet over moderate heat. Add shallots and stir until fragrant, 20 seconds.
4. Add black mushrooms, white mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, and salt. Cook until mushrooms are soft, 3 - 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm.
5. Add remaining 1 1/2 tbsp oil to pan over medium heat. Add garlic and chicken and stir-fry until meat turns white, 2 - 3 minutes.
6. Add chicken stock and mushrooms and cook until all ingredients are cooked, 3 minutes.
7. Transfer to a plate, garnish with cilantro, and serve.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Green Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite side dishes, so creamy and comforting. This is a bright, green, clean-out-your fridge risotto. I paired it with some nice roast beef. The author suggests several variations of the recipe. In particular, the variation of 1 1/2 cup chopped basil, 1/4 cup chopped marjoram, 1/2 cup chopped mint, and 1/2 cup chopped parsley sounds very appealing. Feel free to play around with the mixtures. I didn't have sorrel for the recipe below, so I ended up adding some spinach and then a little bit of lemon zest to add brightness.

One year ago: Frisee with Chevre
Two years ago: Sichuanese Roast Duck
Three years ago: Orzo with Everything
Four years ago: Tortellini with Walnut and Mascarpone Sauce (sadly this recipe STILL reminds me of having the flu)

Green Risotto (from The Herbfarm Cookbook)

5 1/2 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used goose)
5 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp salt (less if using canned stock)
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped basil
1 cup coarsely chopped sorrel
1 cup coarsely chopped arugula
1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped or snipped chives or green onions
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigaino-Reggiano

1. Bring stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan and set over very low heat.
2. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
3. Add onion and cook until softened but not browned, 5 minutes.
4. Add rice, reduce heat to medium-low and stir for 1 minute.
5. Add wine and salt. Stir until wine is absorbed.
6. Ladle in 1 cup of stock. Stir often, let bubble until rice absorbs the stock. Continue ladling in stock 1 ladle at a time until rice is puffed and tender, but with a little bit of bite still, 25 - 30 minutes.
7. Stir in remaining 3 tbsp butter over low heat until it melts.
8. Stir in herbs and cheese. If needed, add more stock. Season with black pepper and additional salt if needed. Serve.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cumin Seed Roasted Cauliflower with Salted Yogurt, Mint, and Pomegranate Seeds

I've been meaning to make this recipe for a very long time, but somehow never gotten around to it. Finally, an overabundance of pomegranates gave me the perfect reason to stop putting this off. I topped this with a sparing amount of yogurt, just enough of an accent to not overpower. The addition of mint and pomegranates gives a nice contrast to delicious roasted cauliflower.

One year ago: Chicken Breasts Diable
Two years ago: Pork and Tomatillo Stew
Three years ago: Black Bean Pumpkin Soup
Four years ago: Creamy Carrot Soup

Cumin Seed Roasted Cauliflower with Salted Yogurt, Mint, and Pomegranate Seeds (from Cook This Now)

1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
plain yogurt
chopped fresh mint
pomegranate seeds

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Toss cauliflower with oil, cumin seeds, salt, and pepper. Spread on baking sheet.
2. Roast until cauliflower is tender and edges are toasty, 20 - 30 minutes.
3. Whisk a pinch of salt into yogurt. Dollop yogurt on top of cauliflower. Top with mint and pomegranate seeds.

Sea Bass with Pistachio-Pesto Crust

Another quick and easy fish dish. The cook time is for thick fillets of fish. I made this recipe using a thin fillet of sole and it only needed about 5 minutes to cook.

One year ago: Cod Baked with Tahini Sauce
Two years ago: Crisped Chicken with Chimichurri and Avocado
Three years ago: Spiced Pearsauce Cake
Four years ago: Potato Soup

Sea Bass with Pistachio-Pesto Crust (from Radically Simple)

4 thick sea bass fillets, 7 ounces each
1/2 cup basil pesto
1/2 cup finely ground pistachios
1 lemon

1. Preheat oven to 450F. Season fish with salt and pepper and arrange on baking sheet.
2. Spread each fillet with 2 tbsp pesto to cover completely.
3. Distribute pistachios equally among fillets, patting to form a crust.
4. Roast for 16 minutes, until fish is firm (less if you have a thin fillet).
5. Grate lemon zest on fish and serve.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pasta Rustica with Sole, Greek Olives, and White Wine

It's been a while since I made pasta, but this quick and easy dish got rid of a bit of fish and made good use of some last of the season tomatoes. I couldn't resist adding a bit of feta to the final dish, but it probably wasn't strictly necessary.

One year ago: Saffron Rice
Two years ago: Hot and Sour Rhubarb and Crispy Pork with Noodles
Three years ago: Brisket
Four years ago: Bread pudding

Pasta Rustica with Sole, Greek Olives, and White Wine (from Radically Simple)

8 ounces penne rigate
3 large ripe plum tomatoes
2 large yellow tomatoes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley, divided
1/3 cup slivered basil
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
12 ounces lemon sole, cut in 1/2" strips
16 pitted kalamata olives
feta (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until tender. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, cut all tomatoes into 1/2" pieces.
3. Heat oil in wok or large skillet. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.
4. Add tomatoes, wine, half the parsley, basil, lemon zest, and 1 tsp salt. Cook 3 minutes over high heat.
5. Add fish and olives. Cook until fish is just cooked through, 2 minutes.
6. Add cooked pasta to skillet, heat 2 minutes until hot.
7. Divide among 4 bowls. Garnish with remaining parsley. Top with feta if desired.

Silver Packet Flounder with Miso Mayo

I've been trying desperately to get our fish freezer situation under control. It seems to be a losing battle (we got another 1.5 lbs of lemon sole this week!), but it's made for some quick and easy dinners. This one is a full meal in one convenient little packet. Low effort, but the spinach wilts beautifully and the rehydrated sun-dried tomato is excellent. The miso mayo seemed a little out there, but I loved it and it gave the dish a little something extra. I substituted black cod for flounder.

One year ago: Garlicky Sesame-Cured Broccoli Salad
Two years ago: Penne with a Cashew-Dill Sauce
Three years ago: Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake
Four years ago: Tomato and Sausage Risotto

Silver Packet Flounder with Miso Mayo (from Radically Simple)

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp white miso (shiro)
2 tbsp mirin
1/4 tsp ground cumin
4 thick flounder fillets, 7 ounces each
4 ounces baby spinach
4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil), 20 total
4 large ramps or scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup slivered basil
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch hot pepper flakes

1. Preheat oven to 500F.
2. Stir together mayo, miso, mirin, and cumin. Set aside.
3. Tear off four 15" pieces of foil. Season fish with salt and pepper.
4. For each, put 1 ounce spinach in center of foil. Top with fillet, 5 tomatoes, 1/4 of ramps, 2 tbsp of basil, 1 tbsp of oil, pepper flakes, and salt.
5. Crimp foil to form a packet. Place on a rimmed baking sheet.
6. Bake for 10 minutes.
7. Serve with miso mayo.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Steamed Fish Curry

Our seafood box seems to be increasing the amount of fish they give us lately. Given that we typically do small portion sizes of meat, getting through 1.25 lbs of fish a week has been increasingly challenging (especially with the freezer back log). This simple creamy curry was a great way to use up 1/3 of our fish from last week. So far, my new Thai book has been a bit intimidating to dive into, but the results have been worth it. This one (along with all of the recipes in the book) calls for making your own red curry paste, but I'm going to assume that you can get by with commercial paste on this one and will skip including that part below.

One year ago: Chicken Fricassee
Two years ago: Chipped Beets and Beet Greens
Three years ago: Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake
Four years ago: Chocolate Layer Cake

Steamed Fish Curry (from Thai Food)

200g fish fillets - whiting, cod or perch (I used cod)
pinch of salt
a little lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
pinch of palm sugar
1/2 cup coconut cream
3 tbsp red curry paste
1 small egg, lightly beaten
6 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
handful of Thai basil leaves
1 tbsp thick coconut cream
a few long red chilies, julienned

1. Wash fish in water with a little salt and a squeeze of lime juice. Drain, pat dry, and slice finely.
2. In a bowl, season fish with fish sauce and sugar, stirring with a spoon.
3. Gradually work in coconut cream. If it separates, add a little ice cold water and stir.
4. Fold in curry paste.
5. Stir in egg and finish with lime leaves.
6. Line a steamer basket with parchment paper, line with basil leaves, and add curry. Steam over moderate heat for 15 - 30 minutes or until curry has set.
7. Garnish with thick coconut cream and red chilies and serve.

Fennel and Feta with Pomegranate Seeds and Sumac

We have an overabundance of pomegranate seeds right now thanks to a thoughtful dinner guest (some people apparently have backyard pomegranate trees??? I'm officially jealous!). This simple side salad is a bit on the sour side, but pairs beautifully with fish. The mix of sour sumac, lemon juice, salty feta, and sweet pomegranates is a winner.

One year ago: Pot Roast Studded with Almonds and Bacon
Two years ago: Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
Three years ago: Blue Cheese and Red Potato Tart
Four years ago: Asparagus, Oka, Pine nuts, and Lemon Pasta

Fennel and Feta with Pomegranate Seeds and Sumac (from Ottolenghi)

seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
2 medium fennel heads
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sumac
juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp tarragon leaves
2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
70g Greek feta cheese, sliced (or crumbled)

1. Remove leaves from fennel, keeping a few for garnish. Trim base. Slice very thinly lengthwise.
2. In a bowl, mix together olive oil, sumac, lemon juice, and herbs (You can also add salt and pepper, but be careful with the feta).
3. Add fennel to oil and toss well.
4. In individual serving dishes, layer fennel, then feta, and then pomegranate seeds. Garnish with fennel leaves and serve.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Grilled Tuna with Lemony Tahina, Greens, and Pomegranate Seeds

This simple dinner is elegant enough for company, but simple enough for a quick weeknight dinner. Don't skip on the pomegranate seeds as they add a nice sweet, crunchy contrast to the rest of the dish.

Two years ago: Breast of Chicken in an Onion-Turmeric Sauce
Four years ago: Asian Style Green Beans

Grilled Tuna with Lemony Tahina, Greens, and Pomegranate Seeds (from Radically Simple)

1/2 cup tahina
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 medium garlic clove
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
5 tbsp olive oil, divided
4 thick tuna steaks, 6 ounces each
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
4 ounces mesclun
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

1. In a food processor, combine tahina, lemon juice, garlic, and cilantro. Process, adding 1/2 - 1/3 cup water until smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Drizzle 3 tbsp of oil on tuna steaks and season with salt.
3. Mix together coriander and cumin and rub on fish.
4. Toss mesclun with remaining 2 tbsp oil. Add salt and divide among 4 plates.
5. Heat a ridged cast-iron grill pan over high heat. Sear tuna 2 minutes on each side, keeping the tuna very rare.
6. Place tuna on greens, pour tahina sauce over fish, scatter with pomegranate seeds, and serve.

Oxtail Stew with Lima Beans

I'll admit that the name of this recipe did not draw me in, but it packs a full and rich flavor that was a nice change of pace from the more traditional roasted goose we'd had the night before. The original calls for oxtail, but I had regular beef stew meat in the fridge, so I used that instead. If you have fermented black beans on hand instead of black bean sauce, just rinse and mash them before adding them to the sauce.

Two years ago: Sunchoke Gratin
Four years ago: Pork Strips

Oxtail Stew with Lima Beans (from Smoke & Pickles)
3 lbs oxtails, fat trimmed and cut into 2" segments and sprinkled with 1 1/2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp corn oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
10 ounces carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tbsp minced ginger
1 habanero pepper, finely chopped
3 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
8 ounces (3/4 cup) black bean paste
1 cup dry sherry
2 whole star anise
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 cups chicken stock
1 tsp ground allspice
1 cup fresh or frozen lima beans (dried will also work if they're soaked, peeled, and put in at the beginning)

1. Heat corn oil in large heavy pot over high heat. Working in batches, brown oxtail on all sides, 5 minutes. Transfer to large plate.
2. Pour out fat and wipe pot clean. Melt butter over medium heat.
3. Add onion, carrots, green peppers, garlic, ginger, and habanero. Saute for 4 minutes or until vegetables soften.
4. Add browned meat, tomatoes, black bean paste, sherry, star anise, sugar, pepper, stock, and allspice. Bring to simmer and skim off any foam. Simmer for 3 hours, adding water if liquid reduces too much.
5. Remove oxtail pieces and transfer to platter to keep warm.
6. Add lima beans and simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce thickens to consistency of a light gravy.
7. Pour gravy over oxtail and serve.

Rhubarb-Mint Tea with Moonshine

I have a bad habit of finding outstanding new recipes at the end of the season. This drink is no exception. Although there's tea in the name, there's no tea in the final drink and I'm okay with that. The sour, sweet, minty drink is perfect for a hot summer day. If you don't like overly sweet drinks, you might consider cutting back on the sugar a bit. The cranberry juice we have is far more sour than the standard ocean spray and I found the drink a bit sweeter than I would like. This takes a bit of work, but makes a full pitcher, so it's worth the time investment. Frozen rhubarb will work in this recipe (or am I the only one who freezes rhubarb to keep the season going for longer?)

Two years ago: Veal Scaloppine with Tomato, Oregano, and Capers
Four years ago: Potato and Bacon Muffins

Rhubarb-Mint Tea with Moonshine (from Smoke & Pickles)
6 cups water
1 cup cranberry juice
2 cups sugar
8 stalks rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2" lengths
1 bunch fresh mint
For each drink
ice cubes
2 ounces moonshine (August says bourbon also works well)
1/2 lime wheel for garnish
1 sprig cilantro for garnish

1. Combine water, cranberry juice, and sugar in a medium pot, bring to boil, and add rhubarb. Turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Turn off heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
3. Reserve a few mint sprigs for garnish. add rest to rhubarb mixture and let steep for 1.5 hours.
4. Strain mixture and let chill in refrigerator.
5. For each drink, fill a Mason jar or glass with ice. Add moonshine and fill glass with rhubarb mixture. Garnish with half lime wheel, sprig of mint, and sprig of cilantro. Serve.

Glazed Scallops with Almond-Caper Butter Sauce

I always have a hard time resisting scallops at the farmer's market. There are few things that are as easy to cook and as delicious to eat. The glaze recipe makes quite a bit of extra, but keeps well and can be used on other fish (we've also had it on cod with great success!). The glaze gives the scallops a nice salty-sweet taste. The almond caper butter sauce on this dish is simply outstanding with capers, shallots, and almonds trying to steal the show from the scallops.

Two years ago: Lettuce Cups with Stir-Fried Chicken
Four years ago: Chicken Curry Masala

Glazed Scallops with Almond-Caper Butter Sauce (from Big Small Plates)
12 large or 18 medium scallops
1/4 cup Madeira
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
Almond-caper Butter Sauce
8 tbsp butter, divided
1 - 2 shallots, sliced into thin rings
3 tbsp capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
3 - 4 tbsp, toasted sliced almonds
2 - 3 tbsp fresh parsley, minced, divided

1. To make glaze, combine ingredients in saucepan. Heat to boiling, reduce to simmer. Cook 5 minutes. Cover and set aside.
2. Just before either grilling or frying scallops, make sauce. Heat medium saute pan over high heat. Spoon in 2/3 of butter.
3. Add shallots, capers, almonds, and half the parsley. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
4. Add remaining butter and pinch of pepper. Swirl.
5. Stir in remaining parsley and remove from heat.
6. Lightly sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. Brush on both sides with the glaze and place on a grill (or frying pan). Baste as they cook and cook until nicely caramelized, rotating and flipping.
7. To serve, place scallops on large platter or individual plates. Brush with extra glaze, then pour sauce over dish and serve.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sauteed Chestnuts, Onions, and Bacons

This simple side would be great for Thanksgiving. Salty and sweet, it's easy to prepare, but full of flavor. I simplified the recipe a bit by using frozen pearl onions, but you could also blanch and peel fresh pearl onions.

One year ago: Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli
Two years ago: Stir-fried Baby Bok Choy with Ginger
Four years ago: Craisin Blue Cheese Salad

Sauteed Chestnuts, Onions, and Bacons (from the New Portuguese Table)

1/2 lb thick-sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4" strips
1 lb pearl onions, peeled
1 lb roasted chestnuts without sugar
2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
parsley for garnish

1. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium-low heat until fat has rendered and strips start to crisp, 12 minutes. Transfer to towels to drain.
2. Raise heat under skillet to medium. Add onions and saute until tender and spotted brown, 10 minutes.
3. Add chestnuts, bacon, and honey and toss to warm.
4. Season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with parsley.

Stewed Spinach with Coconut, Chiles, and Curry Leaves

This dish is everything an Indian side dish should be - easy to make, richly flavorful with just a little bit of heat. I made some fish to go with it, but this side dish stole the show entirely.

One year ago: Beef Stew with Squash and Cinnamon
Two years ago: Honey-Glazed Five-Spice Baby Back Ribs
Four years ago: Sesame Green Beans

Stewed Spinach with Coconut, Chiles, and Curry Leaves (from 660 Curries)

1 lb fresh spinach leaves
1 cup shredded coconut or 1/2 cup shredded dried unsweetened coconut, reconstituted
1/4 cup medium to large fresh curry leaves
4 dried red Thai or cayenne chiles, stems removed
2 tbsp Ghee or canola oil
1 tsp black or yellow mustard seeds
1 tbsp skinned split black lentils (cream-colored)
1 tsp coarse salt

1. Bring large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add spinach in batches, stirring until it wilts, 3 - 5 minutes.
2. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water. Shock with cold water. Transfer to cutting board and chop finely.
3. Pour reserved cooking water into blender jar. Add coconut, curry leaves, and 2 chiles. Puree.
4. Heat ghee in small skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, cover skillet, and cook until they've stopped popping.
5. Add lentils and remaining 2 chiles and stir-fry until chiles blacken, 15 - 20 seconds.
6. Add spinach, along with any water from the greens.
7. Add salt and coconut paste. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium, cover and simmer 10 minutes to allow flavors to meld.


A quick and easy dinner that's perfect for October. Pair with German beer and pretend you're in Berlin.

One year ago: Yogurt-Marinated Lamb with Ginger and Garlic
Two years ago: Refrigerator Dinner Rolls
Three years ago: Chinese Beef with Broccoli
Four years ago: Southwestern Egg Rolls

Currywurst (from Planet Barbecue!)

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup very finely minced white onion
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp anise seed
1 cup ketchup
4 weisswurt or other white veal sausages

1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and mustard seeds and cook until onion begins to brown, 3 - 4 minutes.
2. Stir in curry powder, pepper, nutmeg, and aniseed and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
3. Stir in ketchup and simmer until thick and richly flavored, 3 - 5 minutes.
4. Preheat grill to high. Brush and oil grill grate. Arrange sausages on hot grate 1" apart. Grill until crusty and brown on all sides and cooked through (2 - 3 minutes per side for cooked and 8 - 10 minutes per side for uncooked).
5. Transfer sausages to cutting board, cut crosswise into 1/4" slices, place sausages in shallow bowls, and spoon curried tomato sauce on top to serve.

Kabocha Squash Mac n Cheese

For an eclectic Thanksgiving meal, I wanted to do something a little bit different than my usual macaroni and cheese. This recipe won't displace that classic, but it's also a bit healthier than the other one. He gives you the option of topping with crushed pork rinds (which I'm sure would be amazing) or adding more traditional breadcrumbs instead. I went with panko for a bit of crunch, but not quite as much salty, porky goodness.

One year ago: Yogurt Curry with Cumin and Curry Leaves
Two years ago: Southeast Asian Squash Curry
Three years ago: Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese
Four years ago: Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

Kabocha Squash Mac n Cheese (from Smoke & Pickles)
1 small kabocha squash (~1.5 lbs)
2 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
12 ounces elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup chicken stock
3 ounces sharp cheddar, grated
3 ounces Colby, grated
3 ounces Pecorino Romano, grated
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
5 tbsp crushed pork rinds (or breadcrumbs)
2 tsp black sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter a 4" deep 9"x12" baking dish.
2. Peel and halve squash (or you can save peeling until it's cooked). Scrape out seeds and cut into 1" cubes. Place on backing sheet, toss with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes or until fork-tender.
3. Meanwhile, cook macaroni until al dente. Drain, cool under running water, and set aside.
4. Transfer cooked squash to blender, add milk, chicken stock, cheeses, and butter. Blend until smooth.
5. Add 2 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp pepper, and nutmeg and pulse to mix. Mix together macaroni and sauce (you can do this in your pan if it's large enough to mix well or in another bowl and then transfer to dish.
6. Sprinkle with pork rinds/breadcrumbs and sesame seeds. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes.
7. Remove foil and continue baking until lightly browned and crisp on top, 25 - 30 minutes.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bourbon-and-Coke Meatloaf

Let's get one thing straight. I really don't like meatloaf in general. A loaf of meat (often dried out) without much flavor, just isn't my thing. I decided to give this one a shot though due to some favorable reviews. It was worth the risk because this one is nothing short of outstanding. Incredibly moist with lots of unami and a bit of smokiness from the bourbon. The original recipe includes a black pepper gravy and suggests serving this as an open-faced sandwich with a fried egg on top. I'm sure that's good, but why bother?

One year ago: Garlic Cheddar Biscuits
Two years ago: Cosmopolitan Cupcakes
Three years ago: Carrot-Ginger Dressing
Four years ago: Spiced Chipotle Honey Chicken Breasts

Bourbon-and-Coke Meatloaf (from Smoke & Pickles)

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 garlic clove, minced
3 ounces bacon, diced
1 cup chopped button mushrooms
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp Coca-Cola
1 tbsp bourbon
1 tsp Worcestershire
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, and garlic and saute for 3 minutes, until softened.
3. Add bacon and mushroom and saute for another 4 minutes, until soft. Transfer to large bowl and let cool.
4. Add ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, yolk, ketchup, cola, bourbon, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper to bacon mixture. Mix until blended and transfer to a 9x5 loaf pan.
5. Mix together ketchup, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Brush on top of meatloaf.
6. Bake until internal temp of 145F or about 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully drain off pan drippings.
7. Let cool before serving.

Kentucky Mule

It's been a while since I've posted a cocktail recipe now that I usually just let August make those. He was stuck working late one night though, so I was forced to make my own. This one requires a little bit of advance planning, but the results area worth it. And best off all, once you make the ginger simple syrup, it will keep for months in the fridge, giving you plenty more nights of easy, delicious, ginger-bourbon cocktails.

One year ago: Nutty Rice with Cashews, Almonds, and Fresh Mint
Two years ago: Soy-Braised Chicken Thighs
Three years ago: Kung Pao Chicken (revisited)
Four years ago: Peanut Butter Noodles

Kentucky Mule (from Smoke & Pickles)

Ginger Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 ounce piece ginger, chopped
1 1/2 ounce bourbon
1/4 tsp lime juice
1 ounce Ginger Simple Syrup
3 ounces ginger beer (or club soda)
lime wheel and slice ginger for garnish

1. In small saucepan, combine ginger simple syrup ingredients. Bring to boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Turn off heat and let steep 20 minutes. Strain and cool.
2. To make cocktail, fill rocks glass with ice. Add bourbon, lime juice, and simple syrup. Add ginger beer and stir gently. Garnish and serve.

Collards and Kimchi

Southern-Korean fusion is a genius idea. This is an incredibly rich, deeply flavored side dish that tastes like a lot more than just the sum of its parts. Next time, I'll have to try it with homemade kimchi, but it's excellent even with the storebought stuff.

One year ago: Fenugreek Scented Cheese with Cream
Two years ago: Salted Peanut Butter Cookies
Three years ago: Celeriac and Lentils with Hazelnut and Mint
Four years ago: Penne Arrabiata Sauce

Collards and Kimchi (from Smoke & Pickles)

1 tbsp lard or bacon fat
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 cups diced country ham (10 ounces) or less diced pancetta or similar
1 1/2 lbs collard greens, washed, stemmed, and coarsely chopped
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
8 ounces kimchi, chopped

1. Heat lard and butter in medium pot over high heat. Once foaming, add onions and saute for 5 minutes or until slightly colored.
2. Add ham and cook for 3 minutes until crispy.
3. Add collards, chicken stock, and soy sauce. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.
4. Add vinegar to greens and cook for 1 minute.
5. Toss kimchi into pot with greens. Mix and serve.

Steak with Lemongrass-Habanero Marinade

The original recipe calls for using a T-Bone with this marinade, but that just seems like a waste of a beautiful cut of meat to me. I made it instead with flank steak and it worked great. The marinade is a satisfying mix of heat and cooling lemongrass. If you're heat averse, you might want to dial back a bit on the habanero.

One year ago: Chicken with an Almond Yogurt Sauce
Two years ago: Korean-Style Salmon with Bok Choy
Three years ago: Tomato, Semolina, and Coriander Soup
Four years ago: Bourbon Chicken

Steak with Lemongrass-Habanero Marinade (from Smoke & Pickles)

2 steaks of your choice
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp peanut oil
6 garlic cloves
3 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and finely minced
2 habanero peppers, halved and seeds removed
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 orange
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt

1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a blender and blitz until well blended.
2. Generously salt and pepper steaks. Place in glass baking dish and pour half or marinade over steaks. Marinate for 20 minutes.
3. In a large cast iron skillet, heat butter and peanut oil over high heat until barely smoking. Add steaks, cover with lid, and cook for 3 minutes. Flip steaks, reduce heat to medium, and cook uncovered for another 2 minutes (or until desired level of doneness.
4. Let rest of cutting board. Serve with reserved marinade.

Salmon in Luxurious Green Sesame Pipian

This is a bold dish, so the salmon gets a bit lost in it (i.e. don't waste expensive salmon on this recipe), but the flavors are so good that I don't care. The original also includes a cup of peas, but both of us are pea averse, so I left that out.

One year ago: Sri-Lankan Style Hard-Cooked Eggs with Coconut Milk
Two years ago: Cheddar Apple Bacon Strata
Three years ago: Pearl Couscous with Olives, Tomatoes, and Feta
Four years ago: Kung Pao Chicken

Salmon in Luxurious Green Sesame Pipian (from Mexican Everyday)

2 cups tomatillo salsa, blended to a smooth puree
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
3 tbsp tahini
1/4 - 1/2 tsp sugar
Four 4 - 5 oz skinless fish fillets (salmon, halibut, walleye, snapper, or striped bass)
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add salsa and cook until it reduces to the consistency of tomato paste, 5 minutes.
2. Stir in broth and tahini. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes. Season with salt and sugar to taste.
3. Add fish to sauce, submerging them if possible. Simmer until cooked through, 5 - 6 minutes for 1/2" thick fillets.
4. Transfer to dinner plates. Spoon sauce over top and garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro.

Buckwheat Noodles with Red-Braised Beef

I always struggle with what to do with the stew beef we get in our CSA box. I'm not such a big fan of pot roasts, so I have a hard time. This dish hit the spot with a very flavorful but tender beef. Served over noodles with bright greens for textural contrast, it's a satisfying meal.

In the book, the beef recipe is separate from the noodles with the suggestion of using leftover beef in this noodle dish. The original noodle recipe is for one serving. I've doubled here for two, but you probably won't use all of the beef.

One year ago: Aromatic Beef Stew with Mustard Greens and Fenugreek
Two years ago: Braised Potatoes with Garlic and Bay Leaves
Three years ago: Cranberry, Caramel, and Almond Tart
Four years ago: Pasta Milano

Buckwheat Noodles with Red-Braised Beef (from Every Grain of Rice)

Red-Braised Beef
1 lb stewing beef, cut into 1" chunks
2 tbsp cooking oil
2 1/2 tbsp Sichuan chilli bean paste
1/2 oz ginger, crushed
2 spring onions, white parts only, crushed
1 star anise
1 1/2 tsp sweet fermented sauce
3 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp soy sauce
4 - 6 tbsp chili oil
14 oz buckwheat noodles
1/2 tsp ground roasted Sichuan pepper
6 tbsp sliced spring onions, green parts only
6 tbsp chopped celery, including leaves

1. Bring panful of water to a boil, add beef, and return to boil. When froth has risen, tip beef into colander, drain, and rinse.
2. Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. Add chili bean paste and stir-fry until richly fragrant.
3. Add ginger, spring onions, and star anise and fry until fragrant.
4. Add sweet fermented sauce and stir-fry briefly.
5. Add stock.
6. Add beef and Shaoxing wine to wok. Bring to boil, cover pan, and reduce to simmer. Simmer for a couple of hours or until tender.
7. Cook and drain buckwheat noodles.
8. Divide soy sauce and chili oil between two bowls. Add stock, then noodles and top with beef. Scatter with Sichuan pepper, followed by spring onions and celery. Mix before eating.

Pork Loin with Aged Gouda and Apricot Mustard

Now the original recipe for this was a bit of a headache/disaster, but the flavour combination was too good to give up on it entirely and the basics of what works simple enough that I think it's worth giving it another try. Pork, gouda, apricot, and mustard are an outstanding combination.

The original called for pounding out boneless pork loin, filling it, and then rolling into skewers. The problem with this was that my pork didn't pound out thinly enough and then didn't roll nicely and stay cleanly skewered. I think this simplifies nicely to just being a filling for pork tenderloin instead. The skewers were also a bit on the tough side so using pork tenderloin should fix that.

One year ago: Beginner Almond Shrimp with Tomatoes
Two years ago: Beets with Balsamic Syrup, Mint, and Nuts
Three years ago: Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa
Four years ago: Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

Pork Loin with Aged Gouda and Apricot Mustard (adapted from The Cheesemonger's Kitchen)

1/4 tsp fennel seeds, crushed to a powder
1/2 cup grainy mustard
1/2 cup apricot jam
2lb boneless pork tenderloin
255g aged Gouda, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 425F. In small bowl, mix together fennel, mustard, and jam.
2. Slice pork tenderloin in middle, opening it like a book.
3. Spread apricot mustard in middle of pork tenderloin. Add cheese.
4. If you're feeling fancy, tie the pork together and sear on all sides in a large fry pan. If not, skip to next step.
5. Place pork on a baking sheet. Bake in oven until pork reaches an internal temperature of 145F. Serve.

Country-Style Pork Ribs Braised with Mango, Lime, & Coconut

This bright dish would be perfect for a winter day when you need a reminder that somewhere it's still summer. The original calls for an oven-braise, but let's be honest, ribs in the slow cooker are so much easier and usually ridiculously more tender.

The sauce on this is outstanding, but chopping the mango is a bit of work. I'm tempted to suggest that an easier alternative would be using canned mango puree. It would also have the benefit of thickening the sauce nicely, providing flavor, but not giving you odd mango chunks. I haven't tried it yet, but it might be worth a gamble.

One year ago: Potato Mix with Cracked Peppercorn Sauce
Two years ago: Peking Pork with Scotch and Scallions
Three years ago: Cranberry Vanilla Coffeecake
Four years ago: Stuffed Zucchini

Country-Style Pork Ribs Braised with Mango, Lime, & Coconut (adapted from All About Braising)

2 1/2 lbs country-style pork ribs
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or peanut oil
2 cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground to powder
1 ripe mango (about 1lb; see header notes), chopped into 1/2" dice
1 medium yellow onion (6 ounces), thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 serrano chile, minced
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp grated lime zest
2 tbsp golden or amber rum
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup lime juice

1. Pat pork dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add pork ribs in batches and cook, turning with tongs, until lightly browned, 4 minutes per side. Transfer ribs to slow cooker.
2. Add onion to skillet and saute until soft, 4 minutes.
3. Add garlic, ginger, serrano, cardamom, cinnamon, and lime zest and saute until fragrant, 1 minute.
4. Add coconut milk, lime juice, and mango and stir.
5. Pour mixture over pork ribs. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Duck Burgers with Shiitake Mushroom Ketchup and Chinese-Style Mustard Sauce

There are a lot of parts to this recipe, but don't get discouraged. The whole thing is fairly straightforward and the burgers themselves are nothing short of outstanding. Do not skip on making the shiitake mushroom ketchup (which isn't really much like a ketchup) or the Chinese-Style Mustard Sauce. They are both worth the extra effort. The recipe calls for cooking these on the grill which gives a great flavor, but our burgers were entirely too soft to maintain shape on the grill and we lost quite a bit of meat, so do so at your own risk. I think pan frying would be preferable to losing precious duck.

Also note that all of the components can be made ahead of time.

One year ago: Duck Stew with Black Cardamom and Cherries
Two years ago: Chicken-Fried Steak
Three years ago: Celebration Yellow Rice
Four years ago: Penne Rigate della Kay

Duck Burgers with Shiitake Mushroom Ketchup and Chinese-Style Mustard Sauce (from Big Small Plates)

(I'm going to deviate bit from my normal procedure and put the ingredients with their instructions rather than a long list of intimidating ingredients at the top. You're welcome!)

Mongolian Marinade
(You'll need this in several of the recipes below.)
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp tamari (or regular soy sauce)
2 1/4 tsp sherry vinegar
2 1/4 tsp rice vinegar
1 - 2 scallions, white and light green parts, minced
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
3/4 tsp black bean chili sauce or hot garlic sauce
3/4 tsp grated ginger
2 1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/4 - 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
2 tbsp minced cilantro
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil

1. Whisk everything together in a bowl.
(See that was easy!)

Duck burgers
1 lb ground duck
1 scallion, white and light green, minced
1 tsp grated ginger
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp Mongolian Marinade
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix well.
2. Cover and chill for 1 hour - overnight.

Shiitake mushroom ketchup
2 - 3 tbsp olive oil
1 lb shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
1 onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp molasses
1/4 cup basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup Mongolian Marinade

1. Heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until tender.
2. Add onion and cook until translucent.
3. Add remaining ingredients. Stir, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is thick, 3 - 5 minutes.
(You can make this ahead, refrigerate, and just rewarm when you're ready to serve if desired.)

Chinese-Style Mustard Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp Colman's mustard powder (or whatever you have on hand)
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
6 tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream

1. Combine sugar and mustard powder in top of double boiler and mix with a whisk.
2. When well combined, whisk in egg yolk and vinegar.
3. Cook over simmering water, stirring, 10 - 15 minutes until thick enough to form ribbons when drizzled with the spoon.
4. Remove from heat and cool. When cool, fold in creme fraiche. Refrigerate until needed.
(The hardest part of this whole thing!)

Additional Mongolian Marinade for basting
brioche or other buns
1 - 2 tbsp butter
2 cups arugula

1. Portion chilled duck into patties. (The book calls for 2 ounce mini patties, but I prefer regular size burgers.)
2. Grill, griddle, or pan-fry burgers over medium-high heat. (See head notes.)
3. Toast and lightly butter buns.
4. Place burgers on bun bottoms, top with shiitake ketchup, arugula, and a drizzle of mustard sauce. Serve with extra mustard and ketchup on the side.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Summer King Salmon Kebabs

This is a quick, easy, and light dinner. The simple seasoning on the salmon really allows the fish to shine. The original recipe calls for grilling the salmon as kebabs on skewers, but I opted to keep it simple and just pan fry. The original also suggests using mizuna greens, but suggests that arugula or frisee are also good substitutes. I went with arugula since mizuna is a bit more difficult to find.

One year ago: Indonesian Spice Cake
Two years ago: Lamb Stir-fry
Three years ago: Beef Rendang
Four years ago: Mint Brownies

Summer King Salmon Kebabs (adapted from Big Small Plates)

1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp mustard seeds (yellow, brown, or a mix)
12 ounces king salmon fillets
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups arugula
Champagne vinaigrette
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 - 2 tbsp finely chopped dill, fennel fronds, or chives
salt and pepper

1. Combine vinaigrette ingredients in small bowl and whisk until emulsified.
2. Toast sesame seeds in a small pan until lightly golden, set aside.
3. Place mustard seeds in small pan, cover, and toast until they stop popping. Mix with sesame seeds. Divide into two piles - one for the rub and one for garnish. Grind the rub seeds and place on a plate.
4. Cut salmon into 6 pieces if doing kebabs or 2 if pan frying. Smear flesh side with mustard and press into ground seeds to coat.
5. Fry or grill salmon until cooked medium rare.
6. Dress greens with vinaigrette, top with salmon, drizzle with any remaining vinaigrette, and sprinkle with reserved seeds.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Turkey and Sweetcorn Meatballs with Roasted Pepper Sauce

The original recipe calls for turkey, but I made this with veal, so feel free to get creative with your choice of meat. The original also calls for pan-frying the meatballs and finishing in the oven, but I thought I'd keep the amount of work I had to do simple and just bake them. The roasted pepper sauce is what makes this dish amazing, so don't even think about skipping it.

One year ago: Aromatic Green Beans
Two years ago: Sweet and Sour Napa Cabbage
Three years ago: Apple and Cheddar Scones
Four years ago: Breakfast Tacos

Turkey and Sweetcorn Meatballs with Roasted Pepper Sauce (from Ottolenghi)

100g corn kernels
3 slices stale white bread, crust removed
500g ground turkey
1 egg
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
Roasted pepper sauce
4 red bell peppers
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
25g cilantro, leaves and stalks
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 small red chile
2 tbsp sweet chile sauce
2 tbsp cider vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Quarter peppers and remove seeds. Put in roasting tray with 2 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Roast 35 minutes or until soft. Transfer to bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let cool and peel if desired. Place in blender with roasting juices and add remaining sauce ingredients. Process until smooth. Set aside. Reduce oven heat to 375F.
2. For meatballs, heat a fry pan over high heat. Add corn and cook until lightly blacked. Let cool.
3. Soak bread in cold water for a minute, squeeze and crumble into large bowl. Add rest of ingredients. Mix well.
4. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with pepper sauce.

Portobello Mushrooms with Pearl Barley and Preserved Lemons

I don't remember what I served these with, but I do remember thinking that the mushrooms completely outshone the main dish. The only thing I would change is maybe adding more feta. There's a lot of butter in this recipe, but it only makes the mushrooms that much more delicious.

One year ago: Pureed Mustard Greens with Clarified Butter
Two years ago: Pork in Green Peanut Sauce
Three years ago: Refried Bean Enchiladas
Four years ago: Mexican Rice

Portobello Mushrooms with Pearl Barley and Preserved Lemons (from Ottolenghi)

100g unsalted butter, divided
15 sprigs thyme
6 large Portobello mushrooms
180ml dry white wine
250ml vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
coarse salt
Pearl barley
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
750ml vegetable or chicken stock
110g pearl barley
1 quarter of preserved lemon, flesh removed and skin finely chopped
50g feta, crumbled
1 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tsp thyme leaves
2 tbsp purple basil leaves, shredded
1 tbsp olive oil

1. Heat sunflower oil in heavy saucepan and saute onion and garlic until translucent.
2. Add stock to pan and bring to boil. Stir in barley, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 1 hour until tender.
3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F. Grease large baking tray with 2/3 of butter. Scatter sprigs of thyme over it and place mushrooms on top, stem side up. Pour wine and stock and scatter sliced garlic on top. Dot each mushroom with remaining butter and season with salt and pepper. Cover tray with foil and place in oven for 15 - 20 minutes until tender.
4. Stir preserved lemon, feta, parsley, and thyme into barley.
5. Reheat mushrooms if needed. Place mushroom on serving place. Scoop barley and top and spoon mushroom cooking juices on top. Garnish with basil and drizzle with olive oil.

Panfried Sea Bass with Harissa and Rose

This is probably one of the most unique seafood dishes I've cooked in a while with the combination of spicy harissa and sweet currants, honey, and rose. The combination is outstanding and unique enough to remember a month later. Note this has a 2 hour marinade.

One year ago: Crumbled Cheese with Scallions and Tomatoes
Two years ago: Pinon-Breaded Chicken with Ancho Chile Cranberry Sauce
Three years ago: Cauliflower Gratin
Four years ago: Cheese Enchiladas

Panfried Sea Bass with Harissa and Rose (from Jerusalem)

3 tbsp harissa paste, divided
1 tsp ground cumin
4 sea bass fillets, 1 lb total, skinned
all-purpose flour
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp rosewater
60g currants
2 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
2 tsp dried rose petals

1. Mix together half the harissa paste, ground cumin, and 1/2 tsp salt in small bowl. Rub paste on fish and marinate for 2 hours in fridge.
2. Dust fillets with flour.
3. Heat olive oil in wide frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry for 2 minutes per side. Set fish aside.
4. Add onion to pan. Cook until golden, 8 minutes.
5. Add remaining harissa, vinegar, cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt, and black pepper. Pour in water, lower heat, and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes until thick.
6. Add honey, rosewater, and currants to pan and simmer a couple more minutes.
7. Return fish to pan. Spoon sauce over fish and let warm for 3 minutes.
8. Serve warm or at room temperature sprinkled with cilantro and rose petals.

Parsley and Barley Salad

This salad is bright and fresh. Everything you could want in a side dish to a Middle Eastern meal. The feta is the best part of course.

One year ago: Pan-Grilled Sea Scallops
Two years ago: Black Radish Soup in Roasted Acorn Squash
Three years ago: Mahogany Beef Stew with Red Wine and Hoisin Sauce
Four years ago: Basic Risotto Recipe

Parsley and Barley Salad (from Jerusalem)

1/4 cup, 40g pearl barley
150g feta cheese
5 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp za'atar
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted and crushed
1/4 tsp ground cumin
80g parsley, leaves and fine stems
4 green onions, finely chopped (40g)
2 garlic cloves, minced
40g cashew nuts, lightly toasted and coarsely crushed
1 green pepper, cut into 1/2" dice
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 tbsp lemon juice

1. Place pearl barley in small saucepan, cover with water, and boil for 30 - 35 minutes until tender. Drain and transfer to large bowl.
2. Break feta into rough pieces and mix in small bowl with 1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, za'atar, coriander, and cumin.
3. Chop parsley and place in a bowl with green onions, garlic, cashew, pepper, allspice, lemon juice, remaining olive oil, and cooked barley. Mix well.
4. To serve, divide salad among 4 plates and top with feta.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Imperial Potatoes

With a little bit of heat, a little bit of smokiness, and a bit of sweetness, this makes for a complex side dish or main course.

One year ago: Grilled Chicken with a Cashew-Tomato Sauce
Two years ago: Basil, Hazelnut, and Chocolate Cupcakes
Three years ago: Caramel Apple Blackout Cake
Four years ago: Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Lemon Pasta

Imperial Potatoes (from 660 Curries)

2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 black cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks (3" long)
2 bay leaves
1 small red onion, cut into 1" pieces
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 lb russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
2 medium green or red bell peppers (8 ounces total), stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1" pieces
2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp Balti masala
1/2 tsp cayenne

1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves. Cook until fragrant, 10 - 15 seconds.
2. Add onion, cashews, and raisins and stir-fry until light brown, 2 - 3 minutes.
3. Add potatoes and bell peppers. Pour in 1 cup water and sprinkle with salt and turmeric. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until tender, 12 - 15 minutes.
4. Stir in cilantro, garam masala, and cayenne and serve.

Cubed Pork with Potatoes, Yogurt, and Tamarind

For some reason, I always find myself far more drawn to lamb curries than pork, but this tangy curry is worth a deviation.

One year ago: Moroccan Carrots
Two years ago: Chana Masala
Three years ago: Lemon and Cranberry Scones
Four years ago: Raspberry-topped Lemon Muffins

Cubed Pork with Potatoes, Yogurt, and Tamarind (from 660 Curries)

1 1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 lb boneless pork loin chops, cut into 1" cubes
1 lb russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
3 bay leaves
1 tsp tamarind paste
2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 cup thickened yogurt
1 tsp Punjabi garam masala

1. Combine cayenne and turmeric in bowl. Add pork and toss to coat. Refrigerate covered 30 minutes - overnight.
2. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add potatoes and cook until light brown, 5 - 8 minutes. Transfer to plate.
3. Add cumin seeds, onion, bay leaves, and pork to pan. Cook until pork releases juices and onion sweats, 5 - 10 minutes.
4. Reduce heat to medium and cook until pork starts to brown, 5 - 10 minutes.
5. In small bowl, stir tamarind paste into 1/2 cup water. Stir into pan. Add salt and heat to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, 10 - 15 minutes.
6. Stir in potatoes and simmer, covered until tender, 25 - 30 minutes.
7. Fold in yogurt and garam masala and serve.

Spicy Lamb with Yogurt, Cream, and Fenugreek

Lamb with dairy, a bit of heat, and bitter fenugreek is always a good combination and this rich curry is no exception. It does require a bit of planning ahead to marinate and if you're using stew meat, you'll want to cook it for a couple of hours, but the results are worth it.

One year ago: Roasted Red and Golden Beets
Two years ago: Saag Paneer
Three years ago: Linguine with Roasted Tomato and Almond Pesto
Four years ago: Easy Buttermilk Cake

Spicy Lamb with Yogurt, Cream, and Fenugreek (from 660 Curries)

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 medium red onion, half coarsely chopped and half thinly sliced
8 cloves garlic
6 green chiles, stems removed
3 lengthwise slices ginger (1 1/2"x1"x1/8")
1 lb boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1" cubes
2 tbsp Ghee or canola oil
1 cup chopped fresh or frozen fenugreek leaves (or 1/2 cup dried leaves soaked)
1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Place yogurt, salt, turmeric, coarsely chopped onion, garlic, chiles, and ginger in blender. Puree. Transfer to medium bowl, add lamb, and refrigerate, covered for 30 minutes - overnight.
2. Heat ghee in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add thinly sliced onion and stir-fry until light brown, 3 - 5 minutes.
3. Add lamb with marinade and cook until liquid evaporates and oil separates, 15 minutes.
4. Add fenugreek leaves and 1 cup water. Bring to boil and reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until lamb is tender and sauce has thickened, 25 - 30 minutes.
5. Fold in cream, allow to warm (1 - 2 minutes), and serve.

Saffron-Scented Lamb with an Almond Sauce

It's hard to come back to posting recipes after a hiatus. So much has happened and so many things have blended together in the mean time. You might find the first dozen or so recipes sorely lacking in the background department, but you should know if they were good enough to make my list, they're good enough to take a chance on and cook. If I recall correctly, this is a richly flavored curry with a nice smoky flavour from the cardamom. As usual with this cookbook, if you're using lamb stew meat, you'll want to increase the cooking time. I usually go with 2 - 3 hours.

One year ago: Buffalo, Mushroom, and Feta Meatballs
Two years ago: Paneer
Three years ago: Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Four years ago (what, what?): Blueberry Boy Bait

Saffron-Scented Lamb with an Almond Sauce (from 660 Curries)

2 tbsp Ghee or canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 cinnamon sticks (3" long)
3 bay leaves
3 black cardamom pods
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 lb leg of lamb, cut into 1" cubes
1 cup slivered blanched almonds
1/4 tsp saffron threads
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

1. Heat ghee in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and cardamom pods. Cook until aromatic, 1 minute.
2. Add onion and lower heat to medium. Stir-fry until onion soft and honey-brown, 10 minutes (or quite a bit longer).
3. Add lamb and cook until it starts to brown and ghee separates, 15 - 20 minutes.
4. While the lamb is cooking, pour 1/2 cup water into a blender. Add almonds and puree.
5. Pour almond paste into skillet with lamb. Pour 1 cup water into blender and add to skillet along with saffron and salt. Bring to boil, reduce to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally until lamb is tender, 25 - 30 minutes.
6. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

On Hiatus

I had a realization this week. With just over 3 weeks until our wedding day, my recipe backlog has taken on a life of its own and the chances of me correcting that situation in the next couple of weeks is basically zero. So rather than run the risk of losing all of these food gems entirely (because there has been some good food coming out of my kitchen lately!), I'm going to at least get on top of my filing system and hopefully flag a few recipes to remember to put up on the blog when life returns to normal. I hope to be back in October, after a wedding, an Iceland adventure, and some serious work in Geneva. In the meantime, stroll the archives or maybe consider some new cookbooks of your own. My favorite purchases of the year so far have been:
  1. Fish without a Doubt - mostly simple, but delicious recipes. This book demystifies the cooking of fish.
  2. Planet Barbecue! - an international cookbook focused on grilling is perfect for summer. Despite the international aspect, most of the recipes are very approachable.
  3. Big Small Plates - this book isn't for everyone, but if you don't mind making tacos that have 6 components, then the results are worth it. If you do take the plunge, try the duck burgers.