Monday, November 18, 2013
It's getting dangerously close to the time when testing recipes for Thanksgiving is inappropriate. If the recipes are bad - fine, they won't make the menu. But what if they're good? That means *gasp* I'll have to repeat a recipe. And within 10 days of making it for the first time.
Luckily, I will have no problem repeating both of these next Thursday - Butternut Squash Soup with Miso + Coconut and Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower.
To be honest, the soup doesn't actually taste very strongly of either miso or coconut, but whatever magical chemistry happened in the simmering process made for a complex soup that wasn't overly sweet. I have 3 pies ready - I don't need my starter to be another dessert.
And that's not to say the cauliflower couldn't use tweaking. I'd say the olive oil amount goes down, and the Sriracha goes way up. The flavor was pleasant enough, but while I don't need my tastebuds to scream from the heat, I'd still like the dish to scream Sriracha. And I may have to schedule the oven so that this goes in last - it cools down really fast, and while I could eat roasted cauliflower in any shape, at any temperature, I may be the only one with as big a love affair.
P.S. Sorry, I was too jetlagged last night to realize this was the wrong filter to use for a meal in shades of all orange.
Butternut Squash Soup with Miso + Coconut
2 1/4 c. water
2 T. white shiro miso
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1/2-inch knob of ginger, peeled and grated
1 1/4 t. cumin
1/4 t. cayenne pepper, or slightly more to taste
1 lb. peeled and cubed butternut squash
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
salt to taste
1. Put 2 c. of water into a saucepan and heat to a simmer. Whisk the remaining 1/4 c. of water together with the miso, and pour that into the saucepan. Bring to a simmer, but don't let it boil.
2. Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil into the bottom of a large, heavy pot. When it's hot, add the onion and sweat it until it's translucent. Stir in the ginger, cumin, and cayenne, and toast spices for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Deglaze with a ladleful of your miso stock.
3. Add the cubed butternut squash and the salt, mixing everything to combine, and then pour in the rest of the miso stock. Simmer until the squash is completely tender, about 20 minutes.
4. Turn off the heat, and purée the soup in a food processor or with a hand blender, being careful of the hot liquid. Return the puréed soup back to the pot, and stir in the coconut milk. Taste, adjust for seasoning and spice. Serve warm.
Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower
from White On Rice Couple
1/3 c. olive oil
1 t. sesame oil
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. rice vinegar
2 T. Sriracha sauce
1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds / 910g), cut into 3⁄4-inch (2-cm) florets
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a sheet pan or line it with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine the oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and sriracha sauce. Whisk well.
Gently add the cauliflower to the bowl and coat with the marinade.
3. Arrange the cauliflower on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Turn the cauliflower over and roast for another 10 minutes, or until tender.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
On today's episode of "Jetlag: Amsterdam," I succumbed to an 8:00p nap, woke up at 9:00p to watch the USC-Cal game on Gamecast, and am now too jacked-up to go back to sleep. Plus, now I want to watch all of the other footballs.
So, what does one do between Gamecast commercial breaks? Research Thanksgiving menu ideas, of course. I'll have exactly two weeks of condensed recipe-testing time once I get back home, and I may have to do one a day to make it in time.
Which brings us back to dinner from October 14th, aka Canadian Thanksgiving, aka my first day of recipe testing. Here's what we learned:
Delicious. Shockingly manageable when done in a Dutch oven with just turkey legs. However, I am not ready to risk the house I own by attempting to deep-fry a whole turkey outside in a propane-powered vat of oil. Moving on.
Green Bean Caesar Salad
Not quite as cute as the version on Serious Eats because I may have overdressed the beans, but the dressing is so good, it was totally worth it. I think this one is going on the menu.
I want these morning, noon and at 2:00a after having napped without dinner. It's all the best qualities of cornbread and waffles put together. Unfortunately, I don't think they'd be any good if a party of 15-20 have to wait for them to get done, and frankly, there's enough to do and football to watch on Thanksgiving day than to try to turn out individual waffles. Maybe one year, I'll host a bring-your-own-waffle-maker dinner, and we can all play around with our own. Good for the repertoire, but not good for the big day.
Green Bean Caesar Salad
from Serious Eats
2 1/4 lbs. green beans, trimmed
1/2 c. mayonnaise
6 whole anchovy filets
2 oz. finely grated parmesan cheese (about 1 c.)
2 T. fresh juice
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 c. sliced pepperoncini, drained
2 medium shallots, finely sliced (about 2/3 c.)
1/4 c. toasted pinenuts
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with water and ice. Add beans to boiling water and cook until tender crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to ice bath until cool. Drain, dry and set aside.
2. Grind the anchovies to a paste using a mortar and pestle. Add the mayonnaise, parmesan, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce, and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Start with 2 T. of dressing and toss with the green beans, pepperoncini, shallots and pinenuts. Adjust dressing to taste, and serve immediately.
slightly adapted from Edible Perspective
makes 2 waffles
3/4 c. fine-ground cornmeal
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 large egg
3/4 c. milk
2 T. butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 1/2 T. honey
1. Preheat your waffle maker to just over medium heat + grease if necessary.
2. Mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg until pale yellow, then whisk in the milk, melted butter and honey. Pour the wet into the dry and whisk until just combined. Let sit undisturbed for 7 minutes.
4. Scoop half of the batter onto the hot waffle maker and gently spread around with a spatula or butter knife. Cook until golden brown. Serve immediately.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Hello, from Amsterdam! It's 5:45a, and I have been awake for 2 hours. My body has no idea what time it is. Is it really 1:45p in Tokyo, and shouldn't I have had some amazing sushi or udon by now? Or is it 8:45p in LA, and I should have just had this amazing Fresh Tomato Pesto Pasta and just begun to snuggle on the couch with Matty and Duchess to catch up on "Mad Men"?
I have no idea, but I'm starving and am counting down the minutes to my 7:00a gym session. Posting photos of pasta I made 2 months ago probably isn't the best idea, but I will say that I've hit upon a golden hour of slow (but not non-existent) emails from around the globe, and this is as good a time as any to catch up on the blogging.
This pasta is pure summer genius. It only takes as long to make as pasta takes to boil, and at the peak of tomato and basil season, there's nothing that can beat this meal. Don't be afraid that the tomatoes make for a weak and watery pesto - the flavor is pumped with tomato paste and rich walnuts, and there is absolutely nothing this dish lacks.
Fresh Tomato Pesto Pasta
1 lb. fusilli
2 c. grape tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 t. tomato paste
1 c. fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 c. crumbled walnuts
1/2 c. coarsely grated Pecorino, plus more for serving if desired
1/2 c. olive oil
2 balls of burrata
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook to al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, walnuts, basil, pepper flakes and Pecorino; pulse to combine. With motor running, add olive oil in a steady stream until a thick sauce forms.
3. Toss the pesto and pasta together, and divide evenly among 4 plates. Top each with half a ball of burrata and serve immediately.
Sunday, October 13, 2013
I have a goal this week. I'm going to try to cook every night - 7 consecutive dinners. It'll likely be my last chance in my kitchen for about a month.
These Creole Chicken Fritters were a great kick-off, literally and figuratively. It's great football-watching food, especially when your football team actually manages to win. They might be even better tailgate food made into smaller, hush puppy sized fritters, but they were a fantastic entree in the 1/3rd-cupfuls of batter sizes that I made tonight. Beautifully light and airy from the whipped egg whites, but satisfying and so spicy.
I really liked the flavor and texture of the bell peppers here. The cooking time took just a little bit of the raw edge off, but they still remained crisp and bright. Might be nice to add a little fresh corn next time as well.
Creole Chicken Fritters
slightly adapted from Serious Eats
makes 12 fritters
12 oz. cooked chicken, diced finely
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. cornmeal
2 T. Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. cayenne
4 large eggs, separated
1 c. buttermilk
1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 medium garlic clove, minced
2 t. Red Rooster Louisiana Hot Sauce
canola oil, for frying
1. Whisk flour, cornmeal, Tony Chachere's, baking soda and cayenne a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Whisk yolks and buttermilk in a large bowl until combined. Fold in the bell pepper, parsley, butter, garlic and hot sauce. Stir buttermilk mixture into dry mixture until just combined, then fold in chicken.
3. Place egg whites in clean, dry bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed to soft peaks. Gently fold into chicken mixture until just combined.
4. Heat 6 T. oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat to shimmering. Drop 1/3rd-cupfuls of batter into the hot oil, and cook until both sides are golden brown and center is just set, about 2 to 3 minutes total. Transfer fritters to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat until batter is used up, adding more oil as necessary. Serve hot with aioli on the side.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
I'm finally home from a 10-day Europe extravaganza in which I successfully managed to eat outside of my hotel four whole times. Quite proud of myself (see below for track record). I did try to get in as much local cuisine as I could - schnitzel in Berlin, fish + chips and a full English breakfast in London, and bricks on bricks of foie gras in Paris. So much to go back and do/eat!
Now that I'm home, here is my local cuisine - Rigatoni with Sausage, Broccoli + Blue Cheese. Just a big pan-ful of all our favorite things, done in the amount of time it takes to cook the pasta and toss with the sauce. And after the aforementioned European delicacies, the broccoli was a quite welcome addition to the plate. (FYI, I just typed "pâté" instead of "plate." My heart is still in France).
Rigatoni with Sausage, Broccoli + Blue Cheese
slightly adapted from Saveur
4 T. olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 lb. rigatoni
1 c. dry vermouth
12 oz. broccoli, cut into florets
2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 t. dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the rigatoni and cook until al dente. Reserve one cup of pasta cooking liquid, drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring to break up, until browned, about 7 minutes.
3. Add vermouth to sausage and cook until reduced by one quarter, about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli, blue cheese, cream and oregano and cook until the mixture is thick and the cheese has melted, about 2 minutes. Stir in reserved pasta and season with salt and pepper, to taste. If sauce seems too thick, stir in some of the reserved pasta cooking liquid.
4. Serve immediately, with additional blue cheese crumbles for garnish.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Remember me? I used to cook and talk about it.
If you're looking for more posts from me in the next long while, I'm going to need to switch the topic of this blog to a review of room service menus. That seems to be all I'm eating these days. I'm not complaining (well, I am a little - you'd be surprised how often great hotels have painfully mediocre room service), but there's just not time to do anything more than wait for that mediocre food to get to your room and spend the next 30 minutes trying not to spill (too much) on your laptop.
But today was a lovely exception. Three weeks since I posted/cooked last, I got an amazing meal in the same 30 minutes room service takes to get to you.
The walnut filling in this salmon is such a winner. It's very chimichurri-like - heady herbs, a little spice, a little acidity, a lot of flavor - but the walnuts make everything just a little richer. It would be great with steak, swirled into pasta, and maybe even in one of my favorite avocado/guacamole dishes.
Walnut- and Herb-Stuffed Salmon
slightly adapted from Epicurious
two 1/2-lb. salmon fillets
1/4 c. raw walnuts
2 cloves garlic
0.75 oz. fresh cilantro
1 T. lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1 jalapeño, seeded
1/2 t. paprika
1/2 t. cumin
3 T. coconut oil, divided
1/2 t. cinnamon
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Place the walnuts, garlic, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice and zest, jalapeño, paprika, cumin and coconut oil in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple of times until all the ingredients are chopped. Don't over-process - keep a slightly coarse texture.
3. Lightly oil a baking dish just small enough to fit one of the fillets. Sprinkle 1/4 t. cinnamon on the fillet, then evenly distribute the walnut filling over top. Cover with the other fillet skin side up, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 t. cinnamon. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake for about 20–25 minutes until done.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
I'm a sucker for shellfish. All of it. The only shellfish I didn't like was when I once had clam sushi at an omakase dinner, and thought I was going to die. That was just a little too much ocean than I care to taste.
But cooked, clams might be my favorite shellfish of them all. Unless, of course, we're talking about deep-frying oysters, but I mean, at that point, even the clam isn't putting up a fight. There's nothing to compete with that.
But for all of my love of the clams, I actually would not have minded this pasta without it. That's not a knock on the bivalves, but rather, a testament to what delicious summer corn (I know, I'm obsessed) and a wee bit of heavy cream can do for perfectly al dente pappardelle (my favorite of all the pastas, if you must know).
I really don't have much else to say except make this immediately. With or without the clams.
Creamy Sweet Corn Pasta with Clams
slightly adapted from A Cozy Kitchen
12 oz. pappardelle
2 c. corn kernels, divided (about 2 ears of corn)
1 T. olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. dry vermouth
salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb. Manila clams, rinsed
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and cook until the shallot is translucent. Pour in 1 c. of the corn kernels, heavy cream and vermouth. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.
3. Transfer the sauce to a blender. Process for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the sauce is completely smooth.
4. Transfer the sauce back to the saucepan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the clams, and cover the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the clams have opened, discarding any clam that don't open. Add the pasta and the remaining corn, and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately.