Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Strawberries in Wine Syrup

Recorded May 12, 2008. Adapted from Made in Spain on PBS-TV, with Chef José Andrés.
1/2 lb ripe strawberries, hulled and halved
2 T sugar, approximate
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t vanilla extract
3 T mellow red table wine (e.g., carmenere, temparanillo, garnacha, pinot)
pinch freshly-ground pepper
1/2 t balsamic vinegar
Combine ingredients in a bowl, turning gently to combine and dissolve the sugar. Add more sugar if needed. Cover and refrigerate, stirring occasionally. Serves 4. Excellent over vanilla yogurt or vanilla ice cream, or simply as a fresh fruit salad. So beautiful and delicious. Variation:  A sliced banana added just before serving boosts both flavor and nourishment.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Roasted Wild Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

Prepared March 27, 2011.
4 T olive oil, divided
3/4 lb assorted wild mushrooms (e.g, oyster, king oyster, shiitake, morel)
1/2 lb asparagus
1/2 c sliced leeks, white part
4 or 5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 T minced garlic, divided
1 c Arborio rice
1/2 c dry white wine
2 T brandy
4 c hot chicken stock (or, for vegan, vegetable broth)
1 t salt
1 T mushroom powder
1/4 T freshly ground pepper
1/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese (omit for vegan)
Cut the mushrooms into bite-size pieces, place in an 8x8 inch metal pan. Trim the asparagus and roll-cut into 1-1/2 inch lengths. Add to the pan, along with the leeks, 1 T garlic, and thyme. Drizzle 3 T oil on the vegetables, season well with freshly ground pepper and 1/2 t salt, and turn to coat. Roast at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes, turning when half done. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium until it shimmers. Add the rice and cook with occasional stirring until it's lightly colored, about 5 minutes. Add 1 T garlic and heat 30 seconds. Add the wine and brandy, and cook until absorbed  Remove the thyme, and stir in the hot roast vegetables, and seasonings. Add enough stock to almost cover the rice. Continue cooking, adding hot stock as needed to maintain the level until all the stock has been added, about 20 minutes. Cover, lower heat until all the moisture is absorbed. Stir in the cheese. Pair with thin slices of roast chicken breast.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Vinaigrette (for Sub Sandwiches)

Recorded June 14, 2008. Meant to emulate Dominick's hot sub sandwich dressing.
2 T (30 g) apple cider vinegar
2 T (30 g) red wine vinegar
1/2 t (3 g) Dijon mustard
1/2 t (3 g) mayonnaise
1 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 t garlic powder
1 t dry mixed Italian herbs 
3/4 c (160 g) vegetable oil

Add all ingredients except oil to a squeeze bottle and shake to dissolve. Add the oil. Shake vigorously to disperse oil. Squirt generously onto sandwich before slicing.

Hot Sub Sandwiches

Inspired by Dominicks, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1960s. According to local lore, the Moynihan brothers who jointly ran this place bitterly fought on the issue of pizza delivery. Tom split to found Domino's®. The other brother stayed behind to make the best sub sandwiches I ever ate. A Proustian memory. Recorded June 14, 2008, after decades of making these. The hard part is finding good bread but thankfully it's getting easier.

narrow loaf of crusty Italian bread, cut lengthwise 
sliced boiled ham
Genoa salami
shredded mozzarella cheese 
Parmesan cheese
shredded iceberg lettuce
sliced ripe tomatoes
red onion, thinly sliced into rounds
pepperoncini, shredded
Italian herbs
Place rack about 8 inches below broiler. Place bread cut side up on cookie sheet. Layer ham and salami generously on both halves. Top with cheeses. Broil open face until cheese melts and browns and the meats begin to crisp. Cover the bottom half generously with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pepperoncini. Sprinkle lightly with herbs and dress with vinaigrette. Cover with top half, press down firmly, cut, and serve. Serves 2 to 4 depending on size of loaf. Cabbage salad makes an ideal side.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fried Matzos (matzo brei)

Recorded February 3, 2007. Recreating mother Dorothy Magid's dish.
1/2 medium white onion, sliced in half-blossom cuts (see Note)
2 T butter, divided
4 squares of plain maztos (Kosher for Passover, preferably)
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper to taste 
Melt 1 T butter in a large fry pan over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent and soft but not browned. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and seasonings. Break the matzos into 1 to 2 inch pieces in another bowl. Fill with cold water, mix, and let stand 60 seconds. Drain well in a colander and add immediately to the eggs. Combine thoroughly, mix in the onions and add the mixture to the fry pan with the remaining butter. Cook until just done but still moist, turning occasionally. Serves 2-3.
Half-blossom cut: Cut onion in half through poles. Trim ends and peel off skin. Slice in half through equator. Slice on longitudes toward the center at ~ 1/8 inch intervals.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Poached Chicken

Transcribed and adapted February 15, 2008 by DrDaddy from a handwritten recipe by Merry Magid. Revised February 16, 2008 to match Julia Child's original (Volume II, Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
1 fryer, cut up
3 T margarine or butter
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into large diagonal pieces
1 large white onion, blossom cut
3 ribs celery, cut into large diagonal pieces
1 leek, sliced
2 c chicken stock
1 c white wine
1 t dry or 2 t fresh tarragon
Remove and discard chicken skin and all visible fat. Saute vegetables in margarine in a heavy pot for 5 minutes. Add chicken, cover, and turn off heat for 5 minutes to allow chicken to slowly warm, facilitating gentle heating. Poaching avoids boiling. Boiling toughens and extracts meat. Add stock, wine, and tarragon. Return to a simmer (about 180 degrees F) for 45 minutes. Variation: Use cut up parts or split breasts.
Serve over steamed rice in a bowl, with vegetables and broth.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Eggs Bubba II

Conceived March, 2011
1/2 c Cheese-Onion Grits
1 Perfectly Poached Egg
1 T Hollandaise sauce (see Note)
Place the grits in the center of a small plate. Push in the center to make a nest. Flip the poached egg into the nest, and top with hollandaise.
Note: Trader Joe's® sauce is delicious. The real thing. Convenient and cheap. 1/2 lb is only 3 bucks = 10 cents/serving.

Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Chicken Livers

Devised de novo et ab initio November 7, 2010.
1 lb freshest chicken livers
1 c buttermilk
1/2 c all-purpose flour + 1/4 c yellow corn meal
vegetable oil
Pick over livers, alert to gall bladders. Rinse in several changes of water, drain and cover with buttermilk. Let stand in fridge for 30 to 60 minutes. Drain the livers, season with dry rub and add a few at a time to a zip-lock bag of breading mixture, tossing to cover, until all the livers have been added. Let the livers remain for 10 minutes to build up a good coat of breading for a crispy texture. Shake off excess breader, and add half the livers to a heavy 12 inch (30 cm) skillet about 3/8 inch (1 cm) deep in hot oil (livers should sizzle loudly upon introduction to the oil). Keep livers well apart. Turn when brown (about 2 minutes), and finish cooking. Drain on paper towels, newsprint,or paper bags. Fry the second half.
Great added to rice and beans or serve as hot appetizers paired with a cool ztaztiki sauce. Or on a pita with pickled cucumber & onion salad and hummus.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My wonderful new Dutch oven is a treat

DrDaddy finally owns a heavy-duty cast iron enameled candy-apple red Dutch oven.
(photographer unknown)
Six and one-half quarts. A Best Buy. Tramontina®. A Walmart® exclusive, from China. Rivals Le Creuset in quality and functionality. Only 50 (now 45) bucks plus tax. Free shipping to a local WM. 
Tip:  Tramontina's 10- and 12-inch stainless steel skillets are a close second to All-Clad! 1/3 the price or less. Use lots of butter with eggs.
Disclaimer: Just a home cook who wants good tools affordably priced.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Easy Poached Egg for One (or Two)

Conceived and first prepared March 15, 2011. The recipe can easily be doubled by doubling the water and vinegar.

Poached Eggs, Ham, English Muffin

1 (or 2) large egg
2 T (or 1/4 c) white vinegar
3 c (6 c) water
Bring the water to a boil in a one-quart (two-quart) covered sauce pan. Off heat, after the bubbling subsides, add the vinegar. Crack the egg into a small round bowl with a smooth edge, and tilt it gently into the hot water. Cover the pan, and poach off heat for 3.5 to 4 minutes, until the yolk is firm but liquid. (Add a second egg after 2 minutes). Retrieve the egg by carefully lifting it out of the water with a perforated spoon. Blot dry gently between a folded dish towel, and flip onto a nest of cheese grits, or a toasted, buttered English muffin half, or top a pile of roasted asparagus, or prepare Eggs Bubba I.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Onion-Mushroom Gravy

Conceived and prepared March 9, 2011
2 T olive oil
4 oz cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 T shiitake mushroom powder
1 medium onion, sliced
2 T tomato paste
1/2 c red wine
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 c prepared "Au Jus" from a mix (e.g., Kroger), or prepared beef broth
tapioca starch suspension
Heat oil over medium-high in a 10 inch skillet, and add mushrooms. Saute a few minutes and add the onions and garlic. When colored a bit, make room for the tomato paste and cook until caramelized. Add the wine and reduce by half. Stir in the au jus, and bring to a slow boil. Cook a few minutes until vegetables are tender. Off heat, puree until smooth with an immersion blender. Reheat and thicken with the starch suspension.
Serve over mashed potatoes. Side dish with French dip sandwiches.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Potato Cake (Irish Latke)

Inspired by Co. Sligo native Denis S.M. Kelly's fried shredded potato dish.  Kelly loved his 'taters. He would hold a hot baked potato in one hand and a stick of cold butter in the other, and with alternate bites, consume them both, with great noisy relish. I miss the lad. Recorded March 11, 2011. By adding a small amount of oil to the potato mixture, the richness is increased without too much fat. The dry onions absorb some of the moisture and flour the rest.
1 small russet potato, skin on
1 T canola oil, divided
1 T dry minced onion
1/2 t flour
salt and pepper to taste
Grate the potato through the large holes of a modified box grater (see Note). In a small bowl, combine with 2 t oil, the dried onions, flour and seasonings. Heat 1 t oil in an 8-inch skillet over medium-high, and then add the potato mixture as a patty about 4 inches across. Press to firm with a spatula. Turn after it's nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Continue frying until the second side is browned. Serves 1 or 2 as a side dish.
Hint: Alton Brown, Food Network personality, revealed that short-order cooks use a needle-nose pliers to bend the cutters of a grater outward to increase the size of the potato pieces it produces. Being thicker, they retain more moisture.

Cabbage Salad (Cole Slaw)

This slaw is almost mayonnaise free. This oil and vinegar recipe has been a family favorite for decades, even for kids (and their parents) that hate cole slaw. Rant: Who wouldn't hate the usual sweet, oily product?
2 c green or red cabbage, cored and finely shredded
scant 1/4 c O-T-C dressing
With a mandolin set to 1/8 inch, or a very sharp knife, finely shred the cabbage. Alternatively, use 2 cups of commercially-prepared "angel hair" cabbage. Transfer to a bowl.  Add the dressing in small amounts, tossing after each addition, until the cabbage is uniformly and lightly dressed. Chill and serve. Serves 3 to 4. Makes a nice topping for a BBQ sandwich.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Grilled Asian-Style Cornish Game Hens

1 T sesame oil
3 T soy sauce
1 t sugar
1/4 c Chinese rice wine
1 T rice vinegar
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t five-spice powder
Combine ingredients in a zipper plastic bag. Prepare two game hens by removing the backbone and splaying out, pressing down hard to flatten the breast. Refrigerate hens in the marinade for 1 hour, turning occasionally. Beginning with the meat side down and the wing tips tucked, grill the flattened hens, over a moderate fire covered. Turn every 4 minutes, until cooked through, about 35 minutes total. Serves four. Roasted mixed vegetables and couscous make good sides.
Variation: Substitute chicken drumstiks for the game hens.


Modified from several online recipes. Prepared March 3, 2011.

1/4 c lime juice
1/3 c water
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/4 c cilantro stems and leaves, chopped
1 t ground cumin
Combine ingredients in a 1 gallon zipper plastic bag and mix well. Place 1 to 2 lbs of meat (boneless chicken, flank steak, or skirt steak) in the bag. Mix well, close securely and place in a pan to catch any leaks. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, turning and mixing every 1/2 hour. Discard marinade, and grill meat over very hot coals for 4 to 5 minutes a side. Serve sliced with Mexican rice, refried black beans, pico de gallo, flour tortillas, grilled onions and sweet peppers, lime wedges, guacamole, cerveza.