Monday, November 22, 2010

Potato Soup with Roasted Garlic

2 lbs potatoes, peeled and rough cubed
1 head of garlic, roasted*
2 quarts chicken stock
2 C cream (or 1 C cream and 1 C half and half)
~2 t celery seed
1-1 1/2 C chopped onion
1/2 lb bacon, chopped
1/2 C flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped

*remove outermost peel, slice top off, seal in aluminum foil with a splash of olive oil. Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes

Saute the bacon over medium low until crisp, and remove bacon from pan (leave the fat and reserve the bacon).
Saute the onion in the bacon grease, then add the flour to make a roux. Cook this for a few minutes to eliminate the raw flour taste.
Boil the potatoes in the chicken stock until tender, then add the roux/onion mix everything except the reserved bacon and cream and allow to thicken (simmer for a few minutes). Add in the cream, then either blend with an immersion blender (or blender, food processor, etc...) for a smooth soup, or mash the hell out of it with a potato masher if you like chunks. If you choose to use the potato masher be sure to crush and mince the roasted garlic before adding. Heat on low stirring frequently for a few minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
Serve with cheese and the bacon.

Pork with Sage and Apples

2 lbs pork chops or tenderloin
1 1/2 C apple juice or cider
2 T dark rum
1 T oil
1 T prepared brown mustard
2 t sage
1 t ground dried chipotle
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
2 cloves chopped garlic
3 granny smith apples, pealed and chopped into fairly thin slices
2 T butter

Marinate the pork in the apple juice, vinegar, cognac, oil, and mustard for 2 hours. Drain the marinade (reserving it), rub the pork with the spices, reserving about a teaspoon, then cook in an oven or (better) grill. Reduce the marinade to about half, adding in the apple slices, spices and butter and cooking until apples are tender. Pour the sauce and apples over the pork and serve.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pot Stickers

An edit of my original pot sticker recipe now that I've figured out how to make the dough properly; it turns out that the secret is to add boiling water to the flour so that it gelatinizes the flour before cooking.

Hot-Water Dough:
5 C AP flour
2 C water
1 t salt

1 lb ground pork
2-3 leaves cabbage, in 1/2-3/4 inch julienne (or you could use some rehydrated black fungus)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
1 T shaoxing wine
1-2 T soy sauce
sprinkling of salt
1-2 t sesame oil
1 cm of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

3/4 C soy sauce
2 green onions, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 scant T shaoxing wine
pinch of sugar
1/2 t ginger juice

Combine the sauce ingredients at least an hour before, or better the day before to allow the flavors to blend.

Boil the water for the dough; while that is coming to a boil combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl or bowl for an electric mixer.  Add the boiling water and mix, either with an electric mixer or with a wooden spoon.  Set aside to cool.

While the dough is cooling combine the filling ingredients.

Roll the dough out into thin circles, roughly 3 inches in diameter (this can be done by hand, with a rolling pin, or with a tortilla press).  Keeping one half flat on the board, place a spoonful of the filling on the dough and fold the half circle up and over the filling, sealing with a little water.  This should give you a semi-circular dumpling with one flat side and one side mounded up with filling.

Heat a skillet over medium high with enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan; when the oil is place a layer of dumplings in the skillet, flat side down.  Pour in 1/3 C of water, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove the lid, and continue to cook until the bottoms of the dumplings are golden brown.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Simple sweet and sour sauce, without the red food coloring.

3/4 C unsweetened pineapple juice
3/4 C vinegar
3/4 C sugar
6 T ketchup
3 t cornstarch
1/4 C soy sauce

Mix all ingredients, cook over medium heat stirring until the mixture comes to a boil and the sauce clears somewhat.

Crab Rangoon

Crab rangoon just like you'd get at any Chinese restaurant.

8 oz cream cheese
8 oz crab (or fake crab for those of us on a budget, it works almost as well)
1/2 t worchestershire
1/2 t soy sauce
2 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t sesame oil
wonton wrappers
vegetable oil to deep fry

Mash the ingredients together with a fork, let sit for several minutes to combine, then being loading in to wonton wrappers. The easiest way is to put about a tablespoon in the middle, wet the edges, and fold one corner to the other, pressing to seal. If you're feeling fancy, fold both opposite corners together to seal; it looks better, but requires more oil to fry.
Fry at 350 F until golden brown, being careful not to overload the oil.
Serve with sweet and sour, and possibly a little Chinese mustard.


A smokey chili with a hint of sweetness and plenty of fire. As always, amounts are approximate.

1 lb ground beef
large can of black beans
1 can of red kidney beans (rinsed)
~2 t liquid smoke

1-2 onions, chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1-2 T cumin
1 t oregano
2 T dried ground ancho chiles
1 guajillo pepper, ground
small can of tomato paste
2 bay leaves
7 oz can of chipotles, chopped (use a 14 oz can if you can take the heat)
jalapenos to desired heat (serranos for a real kick), chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion and garlic in a large pot with a little olive oil. When translucent add the jalapenos, cook for another couple of minutes before adding the ground beef and browning.

When the beef is cooked add all other ingredients except the tomato paste with enough water to cover. Simmer for an hour or two to blend the flavors and achieve the desired amount of liquid. Add the tomato paste and cook until the paste is dissolved and the chili has thickened.

Potatoes with Chorizo

This is a recipe out of The Foods and Wines of Spain by Penelope Casas which is just so good that I feel the need to share it. If you like it, go out and buy the cookbook, because everything in it is spectacular.

1 T olive oil
1/4 lb chorizo (or 10-12 1/8" slices of Spanish cured chorizo rather than Mexican)
3 slices bacon, chopped
4 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 T chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, minced

Heat the oil, saute the bacon; if using Mexican chorizo add it in when the bacon is about half done, otherwise you want the bacon most of the way to done, then add the chorizo and finish the bacon. Add the potatoes, sprinkle with salt, and cook over medium high while covered until the potatoes are golden and done. Add the garlic and parsley and cook for a few minutes on medium high uncovered.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Classic Caeser Salad

Ingredients for 2-3 servings of dressing:
Freshly Ground Pepper
4-6 fillets of Anchovies cut up into small bits
1 - 1 1/2 T finely chopped Garlic
1 - 1 1/2 t Lee and Perrin's Worcestershire sauce
1/2 a lemon's juice
1 t Dijon mustard
1 egg yolk, preferably local free-range

Mix all these ingredients together, then add a good olive oil slowly while whisking until you get a creamy consistency. The flavors should not be too sharp... FYI the more oil you put in the dressing, the thicker the consistency gets. Make sure the dressing doesn't get too thick.

For the salad:
Shred romaine lettuce, toss with grated romano and crutons. Serve with dressing on the side, and possibly some anchovy fillets for those who like them.

Beef Wellington

Now that the holidays are approaching, it's time for a nice impressive main course for a special occasion, which definitely calls for beef wellington.

1 beef tenderloin
1 sheet puff pastry
1/4-1/2 lb prosciutto (enough to wrap the tenderloin)
2 T oil
salt and pepper
1 egg beaten with a little water

1/3 C olive oil
1/2 C chopped carrot
1/2 C chopped onion
1/2 C chopped celery
1/4 t thyme
1/4 t sage
1 bay leaf
3 cloves
6 peppercorns
1 t salt
1 C dry vermouth
1/3 C cognac
one can beef broth
corn starch

1.5 lbs mushrooms, minced
4 T butter
4 T shallot, minced
1/2 C madeira wine
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the celery, onions, and carrot for the marinade with the herbs, then cool. Add the rest of the ingredients for the marinade except the beef broth and corn starch, cool, and add the beef. Marinate over night, reserving the marinade at the end.

Remove the beef from the marinade and dry. Season the beef tenderloin with salt and pepper; allow to sit at room temperature for an hour. Heat the oil in a steel skillet until extremely hot; sear the tenderloin on all sides then remove and allow to cool. Save any juices which run off the meat while cooling.

Use 2 T of the butter to saute the shallot and minced mushroom. When thoroughly cooked down add the wine, salt, and pepper. Remove from the heat, cool, then mix in the remaining 2 T butter. It should be noted that cooking the mushrooms should be done over medium to medium low heat, and will take some time.
Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap, and on that, lay out the prosciutto in an overlapping pattern such that every section ends up with two layers of prosciutto on it. Spread the mushroom mixture evenly over all of it. Put the beef tenderloin in it, folding the thin end back on the meat to achieve an even thickness of meat. Tightly roll it in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes to set. Remove from the plastic wrap and wrap in the puff pastry (it may need to be rolled out to the length of the tenderloin).
Cut a few vent holes, and brush with egg wash. Bake 20 minutes in a 425 degree oven, then lower to 375 and bake an additional 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown.
While the beef is cooking, combine the marinade with the beef broth and simmer until a volume of 2 C is reached, adjusting seasoning. Strain and degrease, then thicken with cornstarch to desired consistency.
Serve the beef with the sauce on the side.


This is the best recipe I've found for making naan, a really good Indian flat bread; eat it as an accompaniment to most types of Indian food. This recipe is also easy to modify, adding things like finely chopped garlic to make garlic naan.

1 cup whole milk
2 t suger
2 T yeast
4 cups AP flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder
2 T veg oil
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1 large egg

Scald the milk with the sugar, then let it cool to room temp
Add the yeast, stirring well.

Let the mixture sit until foamy.

Put the flour in large bowl, add salt, baking powder, oil, yogurt, and egg. Mix thoroughly.

Slowly add the floamy milk mixture.

Knead the dough until smooth, then put in greased bowl and cover with a damp cloth.  Let it rise until approximately two times the original size ( about 1 hour).

Punch the dough down, then cut and roll into 12 balls; roll each ball flat.

To cook:
The easiest way is just to toast both sides in a cast iron skillet on the stove top, but you'll get better results if you stick a baking stone in an oven pre-heated to 450. When the oven is pre-heated, switch it over to a broiler on high and toss the dough on the baking stone and cook until golden.
When cooked, coat the naan with melted butter if desired.

Palak Paneer

6 T Ghee
5-6 cloves garlic
3 T grated ginger
6-10 dried red chile peppers or to taste
2 small onions, finely chopped (~ 1 C)
2-3 T ground cumin (start with 2, adjust to taste in last 15 minutes of cooking)
1-2 T ground coriander (start with 1, adjust to taste in last 15 minutes of cooking)
1 t ground turmeric
1 C sour cream
2 lbs fresh baby spinach, rinsed and destemmed
8 oz paneer or ricotta
salt and pepper to taste
2 shots of tequila per cook (see note)

In a large saucepan heat 4 T ghee and saute cumin and coriander until fragrant, then add in garlic, ginger, red chilies, and onion until brown.
Add turmeric and sour cream (add more or less to achieve desired creaminess).
Take a shot of tequila.
Add the spinach, handfuls at a time; I cook while I add, meaning about an hour of cooking, followed by 45 minutes over medium-low heat, half of that covered. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Pour spinach mixture into a blender or food processor, and blend until the spinach is finely chopped. Pour back into the saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
Take a shot of tequila.
In a medium frying pan heat 2 T of ghee over medium heat, and fry cheese until browned; drain and add to spinach. If you're using ricotta it will seem like the cheese is melting, just leave it checking periodically to see if it has browned; the cheese will eventually brown. Add cheese to spinach and cook for 10 minutes on low heat.
Season with salt to taste, and add in a little extra garlic and ginger and toss for a few minutes over heat.
Serve with fresh naan.

Note: the first time I made this I wasn't terribly organized and a friend of mine kept coming in to the kitchen going "TEQUILA!" and handing out shots. All of this resulted in a longer cooking process and being a little liberal with the spices; it also resulted in the stuff being delicious. The next time I made it there was no tequila involved and I cooked it far faster, but it was pretty horrible. The moral is, you can skip the tequila, but take your time and don't be afraid to up the spices if you think it needs it.