Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mussaman (massaman) Curry

A mild and complex curry.  This is one that shouldn't get anything herbal added to it, no basil, no kaffir lime, no cilantro.  I also leave out the Thai chiles.  Make sure you use a cheap tough cut of beef and braise it slowly; you can use top round or the like, but shank or ox tail would be ideal.

2 lbs of beef, cubed
1 lb of yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1/2 lb of pearl onions, peeled
1/2 C dry roasted peanuts
2-3 T tamarind paste
1 can massaman curry paste
6-7 black cardamoms
fish sauce as needed
1 can of coconut milk, unshaken

Scoop out the fatty top layer of coconut milk, and use this to fry the curry paste until fragrant.  Add in the beef, the remainder of the coconut milk, the cardamom, and enough water to cover the beef.  Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer until tender.

When the beef is just about done, add in the onions, peanuts, and potatoes.  When the potatoes are cooked, add the tamarind, adjust the seasoning, and serve.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Smoked Gouda and Chorizo Mac and Cheese

This is my riff on the mac and cheese from Modernist Cuisine at Home, and one of my first forays into what is often called molecular gastronomy.  You'll probably have to get the sodium citrate online, but using it means this is actually less work than the typical roux based version while giving a more pronounced cheese flavor.  What the sodium citrate is doing here is preventing the protein in the cheese from aggregating, so it keeps the cheese sauce from breaking into fat and clumps of protein.  It also helps emulsify the milk with the cheese.  The basic idea can be used with other flavors, just change the type of cheese and change out the chorizo for some other flavoring.

1 1/8 C skim milk
11 g sodium citrate

1/4 lb smoked gouda, grated
1/4 lb white cheddar
1 inch piece of Spanish chorizo, in 1/8" cube, or crisped bacon
2 C (1/2 lb) dried pasta

Over medium low heat cook the chorizo to render the fat and crisp it up, remove from heat.
Cook pasta in salted water until al dente, drain and reserve.
Combine the milk with the sodium citrate and bring to a bare simmer.  Add the smoked gouda a handful at a time and whisk in or use an immersion blender.  Add in the reserved chorizo and the rendered fat, whisk to combine then adjust seasoning; you may also want to whisk in a little water if the cheese sauce is too thick.
Combine the cheese sauce and the pasta and serve.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pad Prik King

1/2 lb pork loin, trimmed and sliced
4 T vegetable oil
1/2 lb Chinese long beans (or green beans, but those need to be cooked longer)
2-3 T fish sauce
3 T grated ginger
6-8 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
handful of Thai basil, torn (optional)
4 oz can of prik king (khing) curry paste

Heat the oil in a wok and cook the curry paste thoroughly, until very fragrant and somewhat dried out.  Add the meat, followed a minute or two later by the long beans (you may want to start the beans first if using green beans).  When the meat is about done add the fish sauce, lime leaves, and basil, then taste.  Add sugar or fish sauce if necessary.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Chimichurri Steak

An Argentinian preparation of steak with an herb vinaigrette.

1.5 lbs of flank steak
1 C olive oil
1/3 C sherry vinegar
2 T lemon juice
1 C Italian parsley leaves
1 t dried oregano
dash crushed red pepper
1/2 t black pepper
3 T garlic
2 T shallot
2 1/2 t salt

Mix together everything but the beef and run it through a food processor.  Measure out a cup of the sauce and reserve, put the rest of it into a container to marinate the beef.

Slice the beef across the grain into 1/4 inch slices and toss in the sauce.  Marinate for 2-4 hours. 

Heat a skillet with a little vegetable oil in it until smoking hot, then cook the beef in batches.  You want to get some sear on the beef while leaving the inside pink; serve with the reserved sauce.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Thai Peanut Sauce

Thai peanut sauce as you would eat with satay (recipe to come).

3/4 C coconut milk (this is actually one of the cases where I take a can of chaokoh and shake it to mix the cream and thinner water)
1 T nam prik pao
1 T red curry paste
1-2 T sugar (start with one, add more if needed)
1 T fish sauce
1 t white vinegar
3 T peanut butter
3 T peanuts, ground
Cayenne to taste

Heat the coconut milk with the curry paste and the nam prik pao until mixed and fragrant (the oil will also start to separate out).  Add the rest and mix.  At this point the sauce is likely to be too thick, so you'll want to thin it with some water, and adjust the seasoning as needed.  You want it rich, sweet, a little spicy, and a little tangy.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Curry Potato Salad

This recipe is extremely approximate, as I was just playing it by ear, but this should be the basics.  I'd suggest increasing the green onion and thinning things out with a little vinegar.

3 lbs yukon gold potatoes, cleaned, diced, and boiled with salt until just tender (but not peeled)
4 T madras curry powder
3 C mayo
1/2 C whole milk
6 stalks celery
6 T mustard oil
2 T black mustard seeds
one bunch green onions
4 T dijon mustard
Salt to taste

Crackle the mustard seeds in the oil, then add in the celery and the white parts of the green onion.  Saute briefly, then add the curry powder, and saute for another couple of minutes.  Kill the heat, then add in the mayo, milk, green parts of the green onions, and dijon mustard. Stir to combine, taste it and adjust the salt, realizing that potatoes need A LOT of salt.  Mix everything, chill, then taste again.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Caesar Salad

The salad itself for this is nothing special, just shredded romaine lettuce (two heads works well for this much dressing), grated romano or parmesan cheese, and croutons (preferably homemade, I may post a recipe for those at some point, but it's not hard to figure out how to make them), but the dressing is something special and requires a little work.

4 anchovies, minced and crushed with the flat of the knife
the juice of half a lemon
1 T minced and crushed garlic
1 t worchestershire sauce
1 t dijon mustard
1 egg yolk

Beat these ingredients together in a large bowl, then start to slow drizzle in olive oil, forming an emulsion.  You'll have to add it very slowly at first, then you can add a little more in.  Beat the oil in until the sauce is smooth, thickened, and creamy.  Taste it for both balance of flavor and salt (if it's still aggressively fishy you probably need more oil).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Twice Cooked Pork

The Sichuan style of twice cooked pork, adapted slightly for western tastes - this uses lean pork loin instead of the more typical skin on pork belly.  As such the double cooking isn't actually necessary; it can just be stir fried, but I include the whole double cooking method as a note if you want to try it with pork belly.  The amounts given here are for a single half pound pork chop, but you may well want to double that if cooking for two.

First cooking:
1/2 lb pork loin, trimmed, but in one piece

Other ingredients:
2-3 green onions, sliced in horse ear cuts
2-3 cabbage leaves, de-stemmed and chopped in roughly 1 inch squares
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
several dried chiles, de-seeded

2 T hot bean paste
1 T sweet bean paste
2 t sugar
2 T soy sauce
1-2 t dried black beans

Combine the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat oil in the wok with the dried chiles and blacken them over high heat.  Add the pork and the garlic and stir fry briefly to slightly brown the pork and the garlic, remove both to a plate.   Add the sauce ingredients to the wok and stir fry until fragrant.  Add the cabbage leaves and stir fry briefly to wilt.  Add the green onions, then add in the reserved pork and garlic.  Toss briefly to coat then serve with rice.

Note:  If you want to cook this with the pork belly substitute that for the loin, and you'll use this as the first step:

Combine the pork with
2 pieces ginger, smashed with the flat of a knife
2 green onions, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2-3 t shaohsing rice wine
enough water to cover

Simmer the pork for half an hour or until it's starting to become tender.  Move the pork, still in water, into the fridge to cool down; this process can be sped up by dropping a couple of ice cubes in the water.  Once it's cooled slice into relatively thin bite-sized pieces; discard the other simmering ingredients.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Beef Panang Curry

A rich hearty coconut curry made easier by the use of canned curry paste.

2.5 lbs of beef, preferably a lean tough cut like top round, sliced thinly across the grain
1 can coconut milk (I prefer Chaokoh), NOT shaken
1 4-oz can panang curry paste (this can be cut down to 1/2 can if 4 oz is too hot)
Thai chiles to taste
3-4 T peanut butter
3 T roasted peanuts, ground
Fish sauce to taste
3-4 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced

When you open the can (assuming you haven't shaken it), you'll find that the top layer of the can is a thick solid, while the bottom will be a thin liquid; this is fine, it's just the coconut milk separating.  Transfer the solid top to a pot or wok and heat on medium, reserving the liquid in the can.  When the solid has melted and started to bubble add the curry paste and the chiles and saute for a minute or two until fragrant and well mixed.  Add the beef and a 1/4 C of fish sauce along with the the reserved liquid from the coconut milk.  If necessary add a little water to cover the beef, and simmer, covered, until the beef is tender, ~ an hour.  Uncover, add the peanut butter, roasted peanuts, and kaffir lime, and reduce the liquid until it's a thick sauce.  Add fish sauce and/or sugar if necessary to adjust the seasoning.

Serve with jasmine rice.

Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam)

A simple and healthy Thai salad.

1 3-lb green papaya
12 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
2/3 C roasted peanuts, coarsely ground
2/3 C small dried shrimp

10 T fresh lime juice
6 T palm sugar (or light brown sugar)
6 T fish sauce (this will vary some depending on how salty your fish sauce is)
8 cloves garlic, crushed or very finely minced
Thai chiles to taste, finely chopped

At least half an hour before making the salad combine the dressing ingredients to allow the sugar to dissolve and the flavors to blend.

Peel the papaya then shred it (this is most easily done using a julienne peeler); the resulting shreds should then be lightly bruised.  You can do this with a mortar and pestle, or by laying them out and giving them a few hits with a rolling pin.  Toss the papaya shreds in a bowl, then lightly bruise the tomatoes and add to the bowl.

Add the dressing and toss to coat, then sprinkle the peanuts and dried shrimp onto each portion as you serve.

Notes: Traditionally this would also include some cut and bruised long beans as well, but I'm not a giant fan of them un-cooked.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Fried Brie with Anchovy and Capers

A simple tapas dish; the amounts given are per piece.

1 wonton wrapper
2 t brie
1/2 an anchovy filet, minced
2 capers

Place everything in the wonton wrapper and seal.  Fry at 350 until golden brown.

Fried Brie and Chorizo

A simple tapas dish.  The amounts given are for each piece

1 wonton wrapper
2 t brie
1 t minced chorizo (preferably Spanish)
a small drizzle of honey

Place everything in the wrapper and seal, either corner to corner forming a triangle, or the fancier four corner seal.  Fry in 350 degree oil until golden.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mango Habanero Sauce

Sweet, spicy, fruity mango sauce.  Good on wings and you can probably come up with a few other things; I've used a similar sauce on salmon and it was quite good.  The base recipe called for mango nectar and added sugar, but the closest I could find around here was a mango drink with a fair amount of sugar, so adjust based on what you can find.  You might also want to play around with the acid level by adding white vinegar or subtracting hot sauce.

4 C mango nectar (a blue can in the Hispanic section of the grocery).
1/2 C hot sauce, I like Frank's Red Hot
1/3 C butter
3 habaneros, or to taste
salt to taste if necessary
1 t liquid lecithin

Mix the mango drink with the habaneros (finely minced), and simmer to reduce.  Add the hot sauce and simmer a little more, then add the butter and lecithin.  Check the taste, the consistency, etc.

Dandan Sauce

A variation on the sauce for dandan mian, which just takes a little tweaking to produce a rich, spicy, tahini and soy sauce.

1 t freshly roasted and ground Sichuan pepper
4 T chile oil (preferably homemade, with chile flakes for more heat)
scant 6 T tahini or Chinese sesame paste
4 T soy sauce + to taste
4 T dark soy sauce
salt to taste

4 T ya cai
6-10 dried chiles 
4 T vegetable oil

Mix everything except the ya cai, dried chiles, and vegetable oil together in a bowl and stir well.  In a sauce pan or wok heat the oil and the dried chiles over high heat until the chiles blacken and the oil is smoking; toss in the ya cai and stir for a few seconds before killing the heat and adding the mixed sauce ingredients.  You'll want to taste it, and it may need some more salt and either some soy or water to thin out the sauce a little.

Honey Chipotle Sauce

This is a really basic sauce, but has just the right blend of heat, sweetness, and acid.

1/2 C vegetable oil
11 oz can of chipotles
1/2 C cider vinegar
6-8 cloves garlic
salt to taste
3 t cumin
1/4 C honey

Toss it all in the food processor and blend until smooth.  Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Blueberry Syrup

A simple blueberry sauce good on everything from pancakes to ice cream.

1 can blueberries in light syrup
1/4 C lemon juice
zest of 1 orange
1 T sugar
1 T cornstarch
pinch salt

Mix the ingredients thoroughly, then bring to a boil.  Taste and adjust if necessary.

Stuffed French Toast

A classic breakfast dish with a bit of a twist.  Here I use orange flavored cream cheese, but you could easily mix cream cheese with preserves of some sort or another if you wanted a different flavor.  The amounts are about right for the filling, but the amount of French toast this will make will vary based on the size of the bread and how well you fill it.

Bread, sliced 3/4" thick

4 eggs
1/2 C half and half
1/2 C milk
1/2 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
1 T sugar

1 pack cream cheese, softened
zest of 1 orange
1 T sugar
2-3 T triple sec
pinch of salt

Mix the filling ingredients together and allow to sit for at least an hour to blend flavors.
Cut a pocket in the middle of each slice of bread and pack it with the filling (this is probably easiest done with a finger; a piping bag might work, but it's fairly thick filling).
Beat together the batter ingredients, then soak the filled bread slices, giving them about a minute a side.  While those are soaking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium.
Place the soaked slices in the skillet and brown both sides.
Serve with maple or blueberry syrup.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spicy Tuna Sauce

This is the sauce that you'd use for making a spicy tuna roll, or just perking up some sushi (which is why I'm giving it a Japanese tag, even though it's definitely an American creation), but honestly I've put it ham sandwiches for a little bit of an Asian twist.

1/3 C Mayonnaise
1 t chile oil
1 t sesame oil
chile garlic paste

Mix all of the ingredients and give it a few minutes to blend.  The amounts of chile garlic paste and sriracha are to taste, but I aim for 2:1 chile garlic paste to sriracha.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


This is a pretty variable recipe, so modify it to your personal taste.

2 ripe avocados
4-5 Jalapenos or serranos, minced or to taste
1/4 to 1/3 of a red onion or half a small sweet onion, minced
1/2 C of cilantro leaves minced, or to taste
salt to taste
2 cloves of garlic, minced (optional) *see note
lime juice to taste

Scoop out the avocado into a non-metallic bowl (metal can speed up the redox reaction that browns the avocado) and sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of lime juice to prevent browning.  Add the rest of the ingredients and coarsely mash with either a fork or a potato masher.  Taste and adjust seasoning (you'll probably need more lime juice), then cover and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.  A layer of plastic wrap applied directly to the surface will help prevent browning of any leftovers.

*Note: Raw garlic can be fairly assertive; so I often will use a Mexican technique of cooking the garlic cloves, unpeeled, in a cast iron skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until the skin browns in spots on all sides.  After that you peel it and mince as usual.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


A lighter dessert custard with caramel sauce.  This can be made either in one larger pan or individual ramekins, though I think it tends to cook more quickly and evenly in individual ramekins.  This is an ideal dessert to make the day before.

3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
6 T sugar
2 1/2 C whole milk
zest of 1/2 orange
1 1/2 t vanilla

Caramel Sauce:
12 T sugar
2 T water

Heat the sugar and water mixture over medium or medium high stirring occasionally until  it reaches a rich caramel color.  Quickly pour out enough to cover the bottom of 6-8 ramekins (depending on size).  Allow to cool and harden.

Preheat the oven to 325.  Whisk together eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and orange zest until well combined.  Add the rest of the ingredients for the custard and whisk thoroughly before dividing among the ramekins.  Place the ramekins in a large dish and fill halfway up their sides with very hot water.  Place in the oven and bake until the custard is set, but the centers still jiggle slightly (this will probably take 40-55 minutes, depending on the temperature of the water, the size of the ramekins, and the oven).  Remove, cool, and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.

Beef and Black Bean Burritos

A Rich and earthy filling for burritos and soft tacos.  With using a lean, cheap cut of beef and a lot of beans, this recipe ends up being fairly healthy, cheap, and rich in protein.

2 lb beef (typically round steak or another tough cheap cut), trimmed of fat and cut in to 2" cubes
1-2 medium onions roughly minced
4-5 cloves garlic minced
3-4 t cumin
black pepper
1/2 of an 11oz can of chipotles in adobo (chopped), or more if you can take the heat
2-3 t ground dried new mexico chiles
2 bay leaves
1 t oregano
veggie oil
1 can diced tomatoes
several healthy dashes liquid smoke
jalepenos to taste (minced), de-seeded if you want to reduce the heat
2 cans black beans

Saute the onions and garlic in the oil in a moderately sized chef's pan (generally about 4 quarts), adding the jalepenos after a couple of minutes.  When translucent, add the beef, enough water or beef broth to mostly fill the pot, and all ingredients except the tomatoes, black beans, and liquid smoke.  After about an hour add the beans and tomatoes and continuing simmering until the beef is tender; expect this to take at least 3 hours in total.  Scoop the beef out leaving the liquid and veggies as much as possible.  Shred the beef using two forks, while reducing the liquid.  Return the beef to the remaining liquid with the liquid smoke; cook until enough liquid is gone for it to make a decent burrito filling, stirring frequently, keeping in mind the beef will absorb a fair amount of liquid.  You'll want to adjust the seasoning at the end of cooking, and if the beef seems to lack depth you might want to consider adding a couple of cloves of minced garlic.
Serve on tortillas with slices of montery jack cheese and either salsa verde or red enchilada sauce (recipes to come).  You might also want some crema.
Keep in mind I don't measure ingredients, so all amounts are approximate, adjust to taste and heat tolerance.

Chicken Poblano Burritos

A burrito or taco filling of braised chicken and roasted poblano peppers; serve with tortillas and sauces such as Mexican Red Sauce or Salsa VerdeCrema would also be good.

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cubed
2 small onions, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 poblanos, roasted, peeled, and chopped
6 jalapenos, roasted, peeled, and chopped (or to taste), de-seeded if less heat is desired
2 T ancho chile powder
1 t cumin
1 T oregano
1-2 T lime juice
one can roasted tomatoes or two large tomatoes roasted, peeled, and chopped
Chicken stock to cover
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onions and garlic, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until the chicken is tender and the flavors are well blended.  You'll likely need to cook down the liquid from a soupy consistency to one suitable for filling burritos, and you'll want to adjust the seasoning in the last 15 minutes of cooking (possibly by a fair amount, as these amounts are approximate).


A milder Mexican form of sour cream.

1 C heavy cream
a splash of butter milk

Combine the two ingredients and allow to sit somewhere warm for 12-24 hours until thickened and slightly sour, then refrigerate to further set.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

A quick and easy but still fairly impressive pasta dish.  This recipe is written for small individual portions and can be easily scaled up.

For each person:
1-2 oz guanciale, pancetta, or good bacon, chopped into medium cubes
generous 1/4 C freshly grated parmesan
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg, separated
3-4 oz dry spaghetti
generous amount of freshly ground pepper
2 t extra virgin olive oil

Heat the oil and the guanciale over medium heat to render the fat and crisp the meat (without getting
it too crunchy); don't drain the fat.  Add the garlic right before you finish cooking the guanciale and cook slightly to flavor the fat and slightly cook the garlic.

Cook the spaghetti until al dente in boiling salted water; the goal here is to finish the pasta just as the guanciale is ready, but err on the side of the guanciale being done first.  You can always kill the heat then turn it back on when the pasta is ready. 

Drain the pasta (reserving a generous 1 T of the cooking liquid per person) and add it to guanciale with the pasta water.  Stir it for a minute or so to combine, then kill the heat.  Add the cheese and the egg whites and quickly toss so that the hot pasta cooks the whites without scrambling them into chunks.

Liberally season with pepper, then remove to a serving plate, making a well in the center that you place the egg yolk in.  Top with a little additional grated parmesan.

Ideally you serve this while still quite warm and the diner cuts in to the yolk and stirs to distribute the creamy egg among the pasta right before eating.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Thinly sliced raw (or almost raw) tenderloin, traditionally this would be beef tenderloin, but I'm more likely to use venison tenderloin as long as the deer we cleanly killed (you'd never want to make this with a tenderloin from a gut-shot deer).  The amounts are very approximate, but in general remember that you should be highlighting the meet, not covering it up, and you may not even want to use all of the dressing elements; the only real must haves are the olive oil (and use the good stuff), the parmesan, and some sort of acid.

1 venison tenderloin
oil if you're going to sear the outside

extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice
balsamic vinegar (reduced until syrupy)

I typically heat some oil in a skillet until very hot, then quickly roll the meat across the skillet; this serves to kill any bacteria on the outside of the meat, and impart a very slight seared flavor, but you can skip this if you really trust the meat quality.  Next, very thinly slice the meat across the grain; if you can't slice it very thinly you can slice it then gently pound it out.
Place the meat on a plate or on a thin bed of arugula and lightly sprinkle with salt, then drizzle with olive oil and shave thin strips of parmesan on top.  Other ingredients, if use, should be lightly sprinkled on top.

Crispy Sauteed Potatoes

These were enough of a hit that I'm writing them up, but this isn't really a recipe as much a general outline.

Some sort of oil or fat, enough to form a thin coating on the bottom of a large non-stick skillet.  This could be just about anything from vegetable or olive oil on the plain side to butter, bacon fat, or duck fat if you want something special.
Thinly sliced yukon gold potatoes
A couple of cloves of garlic, minced
Salt to taste
2-3 T grated gruyere

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet, when it gets hot enough that a slice of potato sizzles add the potatoes to the skillet in a single layer with no more than a little overlapping.  Let it cook until it starts to turn golden brown, then flip.  Sprinkle on the salt, keeping in mind that potatoes generally need more than you would think.  About 30 seconds before the second side is done add the garlic to the pan and move it around to saute the garlic.  Right before removing the potatoes from the pan add the gruyere.

Fennel and Radicchio Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts

A boldly flavored salad that goes well as a start to a rich meal.  I dress the salad with this orange gastrique, though I tend to add a little extra vinegar as the radicchio can stand up to it.  The amounts of the ingredients are approximate, and you can play with the ratios.

1 C dried cranberries
1 C walnuts, toasted
1 bunch of watercress, de-stemmed
1 bulb of fennel, thinly shaved
1 head of radicchio, torn

Mix everything, then dress with the gastrique right before serving.

Nuoc Cham Sauce

A simple Vietnamese dipping sauce for things like spring rolls.  I've written this to be fairly spicy, but you could cut back on the chiles.

5 1/2 T sugar
1/2 C warm water
5 T fish sauce
2 T rice vinegar
2 t lime juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 Thai chiles, or to taste, thinly sliced

Combine ingredients and let it sit for a couple of hours to blend the flavors.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bao Dough

This is just a general version of the dough used to make a wide assortment of bao (Chinese steamed buns).  This is the basic formula, but you'll probably want to multiply it when you use it.

For every 1 C of flour you'll want:
1/3 C warm water
1 T sugar
1 T oil
a hefty pinch of salt
1/2 t baking powder
heavy sprinkle of yeast

Mix the sugar and water, and after a few minutes add the yeast and mix.  Let it sit until foamy, then mix in the rest of the ingredients.  Let the whole mess sit for a couple of hours, at least until it has doubled in size, then punch it down and let it rise a little more.  Roll the dough out, fill it, and steam it for 15 minutes.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Stir Fried Long Beans

A simple vegetarian Chinese dish that can be ready in minutes.

1 lb Chinese long beans, ends trimmed, and chopped into two inch pieces
1 1/2 T garlic, thinnly sliced
1 1/2 T ginger, grated
3/4 t Sichuan pepper, toasted and ground
3 T oil
handful of dried chiles
2 green onions, thinly sliced in horse ear cuts
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat; blacken the chiles.  Add the garlic and the ginger, and toss briefly.  Add the long beans, toss for a minute.  Add the Sichuan pepper and green onions, toss, add the salt, and continue to stir fry until the beans are cooked, but still have some crunch to them.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Penne alla Vecchia (Penne with Vodka Sauce)

A simple, easy to make pasta sauce.  It's basically this recipe, but I'm posting it here as I played with it a little.

1/4 C olive oil
2 small yellow onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C parmesan, grated
2 28-oz cans of whole peeled san marzano tomatoes
1 C vodka
1 1/2 t dried oregano, plus another 3/4 t
2 t kosher salt
salt and pepper to taste
1 C cream
1/2 t crushed red pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Heat the oil and saute the onions and 3 cloves of the garlic; add in the crushed red pepper and the first 1 1/2 t of oregano and give it another minute.  Add in the vodka and reduce by half.

Hand crush the tomatoes into the pot, add 2 t salt and some pepper.  Cover the pot and put into the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove, allow to cool slightly, then add the rest of the garlic, the cream, and the rest of the oregano.  Blend until smooth.  Add in the parmesan, simmer gently for a few minutes, then adjust the seasoning as necessary.  Serve on top of al dente penne pasta.

Friday, January 4, 2013

French Onion Soup

I tend to eat a lot more soup in the winters, but even then most of them don't blow me away; this one did.  I was just playing around looking for something to eat that would use up some of the gallon and a half of homemade chicken stock in my fridge, but damned if it isn't by far the best French onion soup I've ever had.

4 C onion, thinly sliced
6 C chicken or beef stock (homemade preferably, this is such a simple soup that store-bought probably wouldn't bring enough flavor to the party.  Also, if you're using chicken stock make sure it's made with well browned chicken)
2 t dried sage, rubbed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cloves garlic, poached for 20 minutes and smashed
1 bay leaf
3 T butter
1/2 C glace de viande or glace de volaille (you could leave it out, but it just wouldn't be the same)
1 C burgundy
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter and brown the crap out of the onions slowly over low to medium low.  About a minute before the onions are done add in the chopped garlic.

Add in the rest and simmer for 45 minutes.

Traditionally this would then be topped with toasted bread and gruyere, then broiled to brown the cheese, but I thought it was just fine with a little cheese thrown in and a side of crispy garlic potatoes.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Deep Dish Pizza Sauce, Meatless

I typically make my pizza sauce with sausage in it, but this is my meatless version for when I have vegetarians around, or just those who don't like sausage (the blasphemers).

2 T olive oil
1/2 t fennel seed, toasted
2 T garlic, chopped
2 t basil
1 t oregano
salt to taste
1/2 t crushed red pepper
2 t burgundy wine
1 t sugar
1 onion, chopped
28 oz can san marzano tomatoes, crushed
1/4 t black pepper, ground

Saute the onion and half of the garlic in the olive oil.  Add in the fennel, basil, oregano, red pepper, and black pepper, and saute until fragrant.  Add in everything else except for the 1 T of reserved garlic, and simmer, covered, for an hour.  Add in the reserved garlic and stir to combine, then remove from the heat.

Deep Dish Pizza Crust

This is the basic crust for making deep dish pizza.  I wouldn't use this one for non-deep dish.

1 1/2 C warm water
heavy sprinkle yeast
heavy pinch sugar
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C corn meal
1 t kosher salt
3 1/2 C AP flour

Mix water, sugar, and yeast, and let sit until foamy.  Mix in the rest of the other ingredients and knead until smooth.  Let it sit somewhere warm until it doubles in size.