Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Beet and Kale (in a Greek style) Pockets

The Goods**:

3 medium-sized beets
1/2 bunch kale
2 portabello mushrooms
1 shallot
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch dill
3-4 tbsp Greek yogurt*
3 pita bread pockets

Cut the tops off of the beets and add to a pot of salted, boiling water. Boil for 20-30 minutes or until cooked. Drain the beets and let them cool. When they have cooled, peel off the skin and set them aside.

Dice the washed portabello caps into small cubes. Finely dice the shallot. Tear the kale leaves away from the tough stem into bite-sized pieces. Finely mince the dill and garlic, separately. Add some olive oil to a skillet on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. When they have browned, lower the heat and add the shallots. If the mushrooms have soaked up all of the oil, add a dash more. When the shallots are translucent, add half of the garlic. After about a minute, add the kale pieces. As the kale is wilting, grate the beets into the pan using a box grater.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and warm the pita bread for 3-4 minutes. When the kale appears cooked, roughly 5 minutes after adding to the pan, turn off the heat. Add the remainder of the garlic and the yogurt. Add the yogurt one tablespoon at a time and mix thoroughly. Add yogurt until the magenta, paste-like substance has a pleasing consistency.

Spoon the mixture into the warmed, halved pita bread and serve immediately.

*I really dig Fage brand Greek yogurt. Usually, when eating yogurt just for the purpose of eating yogurt, I have the full fat stuff with some honey. In this case, I went with 2% to keep it lighter.

**I would definitely try adding some feta to this concoction in the future.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Pork and Mushroom Onigri

The Goods*:

2 0.5 lb center-cut boneless pork chops
1 handful shitake mushrooms
1 handful crimini mushrooms
4 green onions
1 garlic clove
6 sheets nori (dried seaweed paper)
1.5 cups sushi rice
2 tsp rice wine vinegar

1 small bunch fresh cilantro
4 cloves garlic
1/2" piece fresh ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp ponzu sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp peanut oil**
2 green onions

Start by placing the garlic cloves and cilantro (trimmed of large stems) in a food processor. Blend until the garlic and cilantro is very finely chopped. Add the soy sauce, ponzu sauce, and vinegar. Blend once more. Grate the ginger over the mixture. Finally, while blending, slowly spoon in the oil. Slice the white portion of the green onions into fine ringlets. Slice the pork as thinly as possible, while trying to keep an even thickness between pieces. Place the pork, green onions, and food processor liquid into a plastic bag and refrigerate for two hours.

Cook the rice with the rice wine vinegar.

Slice the mushrooms into quarters or eighths, depending on the size. Add a generous amount of your favorite fat (I used some rendered duck fat from Savenor's. Anything should work; but I'd avoid the easy-burning fats like EVOO) to a wok and set to high heat. When the fat is hot, add the mushrooms. After the mushrooms have softened, dump the meat and marinade into the wok. Stir fry until the meat is cooked, about 4-5 minutes.

Assemble packages (think seaweed burritos***) with the nori sheets, rice, and meat/mushroom mixture. Serve immediately.

*Yeah, I haven't been able to post in a while. I spent a large chunk of the summer on sojourn (read: short-term slave labor junket) in China for work. China, for those not aware, assiduously sensors the internet, locking sites such as Blogger (and Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, etc.) behind their "Great Firewall".

**For those preferring a bit more heat, a lightly-infused-with-chili peanut oil can be used here.

***Onigiri is a favorite from the Japanese market in Porter square that closed a year or two ago. It looks like this. In retrospect, I'd recommend chilling the rice and meat before assembly, as the seaweed seems to get tougher when warm.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Moroccan spiced beets with whipped goat cheese

The Goods*:

6 medium/small candy striped beets [CSA!]
3 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 1/2 tsp harissa
1 small shallot
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp olive oil

Whipped Goat Cheese
6 oz. soft goat cheese
1/4 cup marcona almonds
1/4 cup dried apricot
1/4 cup scallion [CSA!]

Finely mince the scallon and roughly chop the apricot and almonds. In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the goat cheese until it is creamy. Add the scallions, apricot, almonds, and salt and pepper and continue to mix until blended.

Boil the beets in a large pot of salted water for about 15 minutes, or until they are soft. Drain the beets and when they are cool, peel the skin. Slice the beets into thin, 1/2 cm slices**. Finely mince the shallot and garlic. In a large mixing bowl, add the garlic, shallot, lemon juice, honey, and harissa. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Arrange the beets in a single layer on the plate and drizzle the lemon dressing over them. Crumble the whipped goat cheese over the beets. Garnish with some chopped flat leaf parsley.

*I've recently begun to receive weekly boxes of fresh, local vegetables through my CSA with Sienna Farms. Sienna supplies wonderful Cambridge eatery Oleana with all of their produce. This preparation was adapted from a recipe courtesy of Oleana chef/owner Ana Sortun (apparently CSA membership with Sienna also entitles one to delicious Oleana recipes).

**This would be much easier on a mandolin. Note to self, buy a mandolin.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Wild cod en persillade

The Goods*:

2 lb frozen wild cod fillets
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 tbsp fresh oregano
1/4 cup sumac
2 tbsp canola/sunflower oil
2 tbsp country dijon mustard

2 kg water
100 g kosher salt
25 g table sugar

Prepare the brine. Add the frozen fish to the brine and let sit in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. After brining, rinse the now (hopefully) defrosted fillets under cold water.

Place the olive oil in a heavy skillet and set to medium-low heat. When the oil is hot, add the panko. Cook for a few minutes, until the bread crumbs begin to brown. Add the sesame seeds and cook for about a minute longer. Finely mince the oregano. Add the cooled panko/sesame mixture to a mixing bowl with the minced oregano and sumac. Thoroughly mix.

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Cut the cod fillets into 6 total chunks. Set up three bowls, one with water, mustard, and the breading. Dip a kitchen brush in the water, then the mustard so that it spreads easier. Place a layer of mustard on top of one of the fillet pieces, then place this side down into the breading. Shake off the excess. Repeat until all of the cod is breaded on one side. In a heavy skillet, add the canola oil and place on high heat. Just as the oil begins to smoke, lower to medium-low. Brown the cod pieces, breading side down, for one minute. Be sure to spread the pieces out (I had to do this process in two batches) so the are not touching. After browning for one minute, place in the oven and bake at 325 for 8-9 minutes, or until the meat flakes with a fork.

*Recently, our company went on a cod fishing trip. I was one of the fortunate (read: highly inept) individuals unable to bag a single cod. My boss, an avid fisherman, went on the very same cod boat the next week and maxed on his legal limit of cod. Feeling bad, he froze a couple of fillets for me. This recipe is adapted from Keller's Ad Hoc At Home, with thanks to CSA Chef sponsor (more on this later) Ana Sortun.

**I used a brine primarily to thaw the fish. It was brined for ~1.5 hours and not further seasoned.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Potato salad

The Goods*:

1.5 lb bag mixed (yukon gold, red bliss, and purple) small potatoes
1/2 homemade aioli**
1 tbsp country dijon mustard
1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 cup fresh dill
1/2 cup daikon

Homemade Aioli
1/2 cup olive oil
1 egg yolk
1 small clove garlic
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp water
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Finely mince the garlic clove. Take care to remove the green stalk in the middle of the clove. Add the garlic, lime juice, salt, and water to a medium size bowl. Allow the garlic to steep in the liquid for five minutes or so. Add the egg yolk. Whisk the yolk together with the water and lime juice. Slowly pour the oil into the mixture while continuously whisking. The mixture should thicken as more oil is added and have a creamy texture when all of the oil has been added.

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and set on high heat to boil. Once the water is boiling, lower the heat and simmer the potatoes for 10-15 minutes, or until they just become fork tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander. Place the potatoes back in the saucepan, off the heat, and cover with a dish towel to allow them to steam for 10 minutes or so.

Cut the potatoes into halves or fourths depending on the size. Place the cut potatoes in a large mixing bowl and season generously with ground black pepper and kosher salt. Coarsely grind the mustard seeds in a mortar and chop the dill. Slice the daikon into ~1 cm sections. Add the mustard, mustard seeds, dill, daikon, and aioli to the potatoes. Mix by hand, then chill and serve.

*Wow, its been a while between posts. I actually made this over a week ago, but I'm resolved to jot it down now so it is not lost. I typically do not love potato salad, mostly because I recoil at the thought of mayonnaise. But, with small potatoes and dill on hand, something had to be done. I adapted the recipe from Ina "Use Good Mayonnaise" Garten.

**Yeah, I can like mayonnaise if its called aioli. Seriously, homemade mayonnaise is nothing like that Hellmann's nonsense. Oh and the difference between mayonnaise and aioli, per Ruhlman, is that olive oil as the oil and minced garlic.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Banana brulee

The Goods:

1 banana
white sugar*
1 pint burnt sugar ice cream**

Peel the banana. Slice in half lengthwise, then slice each half once more, to make four pieces. Wrap aluminum foil around a plate and place the banana slices on the plate, flat side up. Dust the banana pieces with sugar and shake off the excess. Work the propane flame slowly over each banana piece until the sugar melts and browns. Serve each immediately with a scoop of ice cream.

*I've tried this with brown sugar and it turns black and starts to smoke before getting brown and melt-y.

**Christina's Ice Cream in Inman Square. Go there. Eat this ice cream.

***All photos by Gwen Tuxbury.

Red braised pork belly

The Goods*:

1 1/2 lb fresh, boneless pork belly with skin
2 in piece of fresh ginger, with skin
2 scallions
3 dried chili peppers (omit for less fire)
3 tbsp peanut oil
2 cups chicken stock**
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 star anise (4 segments)

Fill a large stockpot three-quarters with water. Set on high heat to boil. When the water is boiling, add the pork belly. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove and wash under cold tap water. Drain the water from the pot and dry thoroughly. Cut the pork belly into 2 to 3 inch chunks. Try to include a layer of skin, meat, and fat in each chunk. Crush the ginger with the back of a knife. Slice the scallions roughly into 3 or 4 sections (green and white portions).

Place the peanut oil in the dried stockpot and set on medium-high heat. Just before the oil begins to smoke, add the pork and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Add the remaining ingredients.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Simmer for 2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Be sure to keep the pork chunks covered; add a bit more stock if the level drops too much***.

*This is another recipe from Fuchsia Dunlop's Sichuanese cookbook Land of Plenty.

**I cracked and bought prepared stock, but felt less bad as it was from Savenor's. Needless to say, if one has the time and the chicken parts, make the stock at home.

***The liquid will reduce quite a bit, but depending on the size of the chunks and the dimensions of the stockpot, the starting liquid amount may not be enough to completely submerge all of the pork. Also, it might be a good idea to reduce the liquid after cooking to make a thicker sauce.