Sunday, January 26, 2014

Orecchiette with Kale, Pancetta, and Oregano

This dish comes together in roughly the time it takes to cook the pasta. For such a quick meal, it's surprisingly satisfying.

One year ago: Lemongrass-ginger Sliders
Two years ago: Pasta and Tomato Pesto
Three years ago: Double-shot Mocha Cupcakes
Four years ago: Chocolate Souffle

Orecchiette with Kale, Pancetta, and Oregano (from The Herbal Kitchen)

1 bunch kale (12 ounces)
12 ounces orecchiette pasta
4 ounces pancetta, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp chopped Greek oregano
kosher salt
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, wash kale, leaving the leaves wet, and chop into 1" sections, discarding the tough bottom inch of the stem.
3. Stir orecchiette into boiling water. Cook according to package directions. Drain.
4. Meanwhile, render pancetta in olive oil in large skillet over medium heat until it starts to brown.
5. Stir garlic and red pepper flakes in with pancetta, cook 30 seconds.
6. Add as much chopped kale as will fit in pan to pancetta. Toss until it wilts down and add rest of kale.
7. Ladle 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water into kale.
8. Add oregano to kale and continue to cook until kale is no longer tough, 3 - 4 minutes.
9. Add drained pasta to kale, sprinkle with cheese, toss, and serve.

Rice Bowl with Spicy Pork, Jicama, Cilantro, and Kimchi Remoulade

Smoke & Pickles may have some of my favorite flavor combinations of all my recent cookbook acquisitions. The combination of southern cooking with Asian flavors speaks to both my roots and the food that I love to eat. This dish combines Chinese-style red pork (colored by the beets) in a rice bowl with a Korean-flavored southern remoulade.

One year ago: Braised Quail with Apricots, Currants, and Tamarind
Two years ago: Red Pine Chicken
Three years ago: Tomato, Pesto, Mozzarella Salad
Four years ago: Barley Risotto with Beans and Greens

Rice Bowl with Spicy Pork, Jicama, Cilantro, and Kimchi Remoulade (from Smoke & Pickles)

Kimchi remoulade
1 tsp grated ginger
1/2 cup finely chopped kimchi
5 tbsp remoulade
Pork patties
1 lb ground pork
1/4 cup red beets, grated
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp sorghum (or honey)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
olive oil
4 cups cooked rice
5 ounces jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
fresh cilantro sprigs

1. Mix ginger with chopped kimchi in small bowl. Stir in remoulade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
2. Put ground pork in large bowl. Add all remaining patty ingredients and mix well. Form into small patties and place on baking sheet.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to pan. Add as many patties as will fit and fry for 3 minutes on each side until cooked. Transfer to paper-lined plate to drain. Repeat adding oil as necessary.
4. To serve, scoop rice into bowls. Place 2 or 3 pork patties over rice. Spoon kimchi remoulade over pork. Scatter jicama over sauce and garnish with cilantro. Serve.

Smoky Tomato-Bean Soup

This year's beer and food calendar pairing suggested tomato soup and pale ale for January. Sadly, the mister doesn't appreciate the wonder of tomato soup, so I decided to save this one for a night that he was away. I was happily surprised by how much depth of flavor this soup had for minimal effort and time. The smokiness of the bacon and paprika shines in this dish and the sage and herbs give a rich herbalness to the dish. I was happy to not have to share this one. It'd be perfect for a cold winter night ... or just another day in San Francisco.

One year ago: Cod Cakes in Tomato Sauce
Two years ago: Bulgur and Walnut Salad
Three years ago: Espresso Black Bean Stew
Four years ago: Cranberry Winter Stew

Smoky Tomato-Bean Soup (from The Herbal Kitchen)

4 ounces smoky bacon, finely diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 tbsp chopped sage
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
3 lb ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced or 1 28 oz can and 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tsp kosher salt (1/2 tsp if using canned tomatoes)
2 tsp coarsely chopped marjoram
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (1 15 oz can)
freshly ground black pepper

1. Cook bacon in olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan until it renders and begins to crisp. Pour off half the fat.
2. Add onion, sage, garlic, and paprika and cook until onion softens, 3 minutes.
3. Stir in tomatoes and salt, partially cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Stir in marjoram and beans. Season and serve.

Aunt Carolina's Roasted Red Snapper in Green Sauce

This was my first recipe from the encyclopedia-like Gran Cocina Latina and it did not disappointment. The sauce is bright, a little bit tangy, and has incredible depth. The potatoes absorb this delicious sauce. We made this with a fish fillet instead of a whole fish. If you choose to do the same, leave the fish off for the first part of the cooking. You won't get as many fish juices in the sauce and potatoes, but you also won't overcook it.

One year ago: Seared sirloin with rocket and balsamic vinegar
Two years ago: Lamb with Celeriac
Three years ago: Green Curry Shrimp with Rice
Four years ago: Almost Eggs Benedict

Aunt Carolina's Roasted Red Snapper in Green Sauce (from Gran Cocina Latina)

one 5lb red snapper, scaled, cleaned, and gutted
12 garlic cloves mashed to a paste
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp lime juice
1 large yellow onion (12 ounces), cut into thick slices
Green sauce
1 large bunch parsley, rinsed
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed
1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
2 hard-boiled egg yolks
1/4 cup toasted blanched almonds
1 jalapeno, seeded
1/4 cup capers, drained
1/4 cup pitted green olives
1 cup dry sherry
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
For roasting
6 medium russet potatoes (2lbs), peeled, cut into 1/4" slices, and parboiled
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper

1. In small bowl, combine garlic, salt, orange juice, and lime juice.
2. Place fish in large baking pan. Rub inside and out with seasoning paste.
3. Cover with onion and let rest, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 2 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 400F.
5. Place all sauce ingredients except olive oil and broth in a blender and puree.
6. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in half of the puree. Cook until thickened and fragrant, 10 minutes.
7. Add chicken broth and cook stirring for 2 minutes. Set aside.
8. Place a layer of parboiled potato slices on oiled baking dish large enough to hold fish.
9. Cover potatoes with onions used in fish marinade.
10. Pour cooked green sauce over onions and potatoes.
11. Place fish on top and sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes.
12. Pour uncooked green sauce over fish and return to oven for 10 - 15 minutes or until fish is done.

Simmered Lamb Shanks with Cashew Gravy

Every month, we usually have a box delivered the first week filled with local meats for the month. We missed the drop from January, so we've been working through what's been hiding in the freezer. Luckily, I had the foresight to order some extra lamb shanks before we left for vacation. The sauce for this is a rich mix on Indian and Thai flavors that works wonderfully with the lamb and doesn't overwhelm it. Make sure you serve this with rice of naan so you can enjoy all of the sauce.

One year ago: Open Kibbeh
Two years ago: Braised Rabbit with Roasted Red Pepper and Merguez Sausage
Three years ago: Sundried Tomato Gnocchi with Porcini Mushroom Broth
Four years ago: Pear Bread

Simmered Lamb Shanks with Cashew Gravy (from Smoke & Pickles)

3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups cashews
1 cup chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp garam masala (I used my punjabi gm)
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground pepper
2 cups chicken stock
one 12 oz bottle lager beer
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
juice of 1 lime
4 lamb shanks
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
pomegranate seeds or cilantro for garnish
cooked rice for serving

1. To make gravy, heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat until it foams.
2. Add cashews, onion, garlic, and ginger. Stir and saute for 4 minutes or until cashews are toasted.
3. Add spices and cook for another 2 minutes or until a thick paste forms.
4. Add chicken stock, beer, coconut milk, and lime juice. Bring to simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 12 - 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool.
5. Transfer sauce to a blender and blend until smooth, 2 minutes. If it's too thick, add water to thin it out. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Season shanks with salt and pepper.
7. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add shanks and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes.
8. Reduce heat to low, pour cashew gravy over shanks, cover with a tight lid, and simmer for 2 hours, stirring regularly to ensure the gravy doesn't burn. Add water if the gravy gets too thick.
9. Serve shanks over plain rice with gravy. Garnish with pomegranate seeds or cilantro.

Oyster Mushroom Salad

This salad is full of Thai flavor and rich earthiness.

One year ago: Roasted Cauliflower and Hazelnut Salad
Two years ago: Grilled Sausages with Celery Root Salad and Hazelnuts
Three years ago: Vanilla Pudding
Four years ago: Red Pesto Penne with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Cheese

Oyster Mushroom Salad (from Seductions of Rice)

1/2 lb portobello mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
1/2 lb oyster mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp sugar
1 - 2 tsp crumbled dried red chile or chile pepper flakes
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp finely sliced shallots
1 1/2 cups loosely packed mint, coarsely chopped
tender bibb or other lettuce leaves

1. Place 2" of water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add mushrooms, partially cover, and cook until tender, 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Place garlic and sugar in mortar and pound to paste. Add chiles and pound to combine. Add lime juice and fish sauce and blend well. (You can also do this in a mini food processor.)
3. Place mushrooms in a bowl, add shallots, pour on dressing and toss.
4. Add chopped mint and toss. This may be made up to 2 hours ahead of time.
5. Line a serving platter with lettuce and mound salad on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tamarind crab

It's Dungeness crab season here which makes for some very easy, but tasty dinners. The sauce on this is sweet, salty, and sour. It absorbs nicely into the meat (and on your fingers while you try to get meat out of those little legs) without overpowering the crab.

One year ago: Pureed Beets with Yogurt and Za'atar
Two years ago: Butternut Squash Pie
Three years ago: Pad Thai
Four years ago: Spinach Quiche

Tamarind Crab (from Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table)

3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 shallots, minced
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 fresh Dungeness crab, cleaned, cut into 4 or 6 pieces, tomalley reserved
2 - 3 tbsp tamarind pulp, juiced
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 scallions, cut into 2" lengths
5 sprigs cilantro, cut into 2" lengths

1. Place oil in a large skillet and heat over high. Add shallots and garlic and stir until fragrant, 10 seconds.
2. Add crab tomalley, reduce heat slightly, and stir for 2 minutes.
3. Add crab, tamarind juice, fish sauce, and sugar. Stir so crab is well coated.
4. Simmer until crab is cooked, ~10 minutes.
5. Stir in scallions, transfer to serving plates, and garnish with cilantro.

Peanut-Crusted Lamb Kebabs in the Style of Burkina Faso

This is a simple, but satisfying dish. Lamb, peanuts, and a little bit of heat are an excellent combination. You'll need a little bit of time to marinate the lamb, but otherwise this dish is a quick and easy dinner, especially if you have someone else to put in charge of the grill.

One year ago: Roast Chicken with Sumac, Za'atar, and Lemon
Two years ago: Pork Tenderloin in Creamy Mustard Sauce
Three years ago: Minestrina Tricolore
Four years ago: Corn and Black Bean Tamale Pie

Peanut-Crusted Lamb Kebabs in the Style of Burkina Faso (from Planet Barbecue!)

1 1/2 lb lamb, preferably fatty shoulder, cut into 3/4" cubes
1 small onion, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 - 2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
bamboo skewers

1. Place lamb in bowl and sprinkle with onion, ginger, salt, pepper, allspice and cayenne. Add oil and mix well. Marinate covered 15 minutes - 1 hour.
2. Place peanuts in food processor and grind in bursts until powdery (be careful not to continuously grind and make peanut butter!).
3. Thread lamb onto skewers, alternating fatty pieces with lean.
4. Preheat grill to high.
5. Dip each kebab in ground peanuts, rolling to get it to stick and knocking off excess. Arrange on hot grate.
6. Grill until golden brown on outside and cooked to taste, 1.5 - 2 minutes per side or 6 - 8 minutes total for medium.

Loin Lamb Chops with an Apricot Sauce

One of the best parts of being home after three weeks away is finally having the time to cook again. No matter how good the food is while I'm traveling, I always appreciate being able to be back in my own kitchen. The post-holiday recipe backlog though always seems to get to me. This particular dish was part of an early pre-Christmas dinner. This is a rich, elegant, but relatively simple dinner. It draws flavors from Indian cooking, but they don't overwhelm the lamb. Note this has a marinade so plan accordingly.

One year ago: Boiled Beef Slices in a Fiery Sauce
Two years ago: Spiced Braised Nyonya Pork
Three years ago: Greek-Style Penne with Lamb, Parsnips, Cinnamon, and Tomatoes
Four years ago: Spinach and Cheese Strata (still a favorite! We served this at our post-wedding breakfast.)

Loin Lamb Chops with an Apricot Sauce (from 660 Curries)

2 tbsp ginger paste
2 tbsp garlic paste
1 tsp coarse salt
8 bone-in loin lamb chops, excess fat trimmed
6 dried apricots, cut into 1/4" thick slices
1 cup boiling water
2 tbsp canola oil
1 small red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp rock salt
1/4 tsp whole cloves
1/4 tsp cardamom seeds from white or green pods
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

1. Combine ginger paste, garlic paste, and salt in small bowl. Smear on lamb chops, refrigerate covered for 30 minutes to overnight.
2. When you are ready to cook the chops, put apricot slices in small bowl and pour boiling water over them. Set aside for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and stir. Cover and cook, stirring as needed, until onions are caramel-brown, 15 - 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, combine peppercorns, rock salt, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon in a mortar. Pound to texture of coarse sawdust. Stir in cayenne and paprika.
5. Transfer onions and garlic to blender. Add apricot slices. Pour half of apricot soaking water into jar. Puree.
6. Return onion sauce to saucepan. Pour remaining soaking liquid into blender jar, swish around, and poor into pan.
7. Stir pounded spices into onion sauce. Keep sauce covered over low heat while you cook the lamb chops.
8. Grill or broil lamb chops until meat is seared and cooked medium-rare.
9. Transfer chops to serving platter and ladle sauce over them. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.