Sunday, December 24, 2017

Stuffing for Roast Turkey

Recorded November, 2015. A Family Favorite over many generations for Thanksgiving or any other holiday dinner. This recipe will stuff a 12 to 14 pound bird.
24 oz loaf hearty white sandwich bread (Arnold’s Country White™ is good)
1/2 c soft margarine or butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 rib celery, diced
4 oz mushrooms, chopped
2 sprigs of fresh thyme or 2 t dry
about 3/4 c turkey or chicken stock
salt and freshly-ground pepper
Cube and toast the bread according to the method described here, and set aside in a large bowl. In a large skillet, melt fat over medium heat. Add vegetables and thyme, and sauté gently until tender; remove thyme. When vegetables and bread are cool, combine them. Add stock by the half-cupful, tossing gently after each addition until mixture is moist but still a bit dry since it will pick up moisture during roasting. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pack stuffing loosely into front and rear cavities and close with pins and butcher's twine.

Gravimetric Lemonade

Developed May, 2014. This recipe uses a 11-fold dilution for a bright pucker and distinct lemon flavor. No need to dirty measuring cups and spoons if your kitchen is equipped with a fast digital platform scale. Simply weigh the ingredients as you add them. Use the gram setting to keep it simple. For example, to figure out what half of 1-3/4 ounce is, is tough, but half of 50 grams is easy.
40 g lemon juice
25 to 50 g sugar, depending on taste
400 g water
Weigh the water, lemon juice, and 25 grams of sugar into a suitable container set (tared) to zero and stir to dissolve. Taste for sweetness and add sugar as needed. Serve over ice in a tall glass. Serves 1 or 2.

Crispy Batter for Fish, Chicken, or Vegetables

Developed August, 2017 from online examples. In hot oil, the batter puffs up and turns crispy and light, somewhat like a tempura batter. It works well for fish fillets or chicken strips, but is also good for vegetables such as mushrooms, green onions, onion rings. The water can be replaced with a lager or ale if desired.
3/4 c self-rising flour (White Lily™ is good)
1/4 c corn starch
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
2 t kosher salt
1 t sugar
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t garlic powder
3/4 c ice-cold water [or lager or ale]
Whisk dry ingredients together in a bowl. Gently stir in liquid until smooth, let stand 10 minutes, and add additional liquid if needed. The consistency is correct when batter streams off the whisk without leaving a trail. Preheat 48 ounces of vegetable oil in a three-quart saucepan to 375 F (190 C). Dip fish, chicken, or vegetable pieces until completely covered, drain briefly, and add to hot fat. Cook small batches (about 1/3 pound) until lightly browned, remove with a spider or slotted spoon to drain, and keep warm in 200 F (90 C) oven. Offer lemon wedges and tartar sauce.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Five-Spice Braised Chicken Wings

Braised Wings on a Small Plate

Developed by Ben in March, 2013. Slow braising in a flavorsome Asian-style sauce creates a finger-licking dish.

12 wings, cut into segments, discard tips
about 2 t five-spice powder
about 2 T corn starch
2 T vegetable oil, divided
1/2 c soy sauce
1/2 c rice wine or dry white wine
1/2 c water
4 T Shao Shing rice wine
4 T oyster sauce
6 T sugar
chili sauce to taste (optional)
2 sliced scallions (garnish)
Wash and dry wing segments. Toss with five-spice powder to lightly cover the wings, and set aside for 30 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with corn starch, and toss to coat. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium, and brown the wings on both sides. Do not crowd the pan. You may need to fry two batches. Mix the sauce ingredients. Combine both batches in the skillet and pour sauce over the wings. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Uncover and gently simmer, occasionally turning the wings until sauce thickens and glazes the wings. Garnish with scallions and serve with steamed rice. Variation: Serve as small-plate appetizers without rice.

Fried Waffle

Developed December, 2017. Crisping the waffle in oil and topping with peanut butter and fruit sauce makes a quick, nourishing breakfast or brunch dish.
1 thick frozen waffle (Eggo™ Thick and Fluffy is good)
1 T vegetable oil
2 T peanut butter
2 T berry sauce (e.g., raspberry)
Defrost the waffle at room temperature. Heat the oil in a small non-stick skillet until about 375 F (190 C). Add the waffle carefully and fry for one minute, flip, and fry one minute more. The waffle should be crisp and lightly-browned on both sides. Remove to a plate, spread with peanut butter, and top with fruit sauce. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Grilled Fontina on Tuscan Bread

Grilled Fontina on Tucan Bread
First prepared September, 2009. Tuscan-style bread, due to the absence of salt to tame the yeast, has large gas bubbles. The melted cheese oozes through these openings and browns and crisps when it contacts the hot griddle, creating a special flavor and texture. A savory roasted garlic spread and extra-virgin olive oil add to the experience.
2 slices Tuscan-style bread (Trader Joe is good)
2 T roasted garlic spread
2 oz Fontina cheese slices
about 1 oz extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium high. Cover both inner surfaces of the bread with the garlic spread. Brush olive oil on the outside of one slice, and place oil side down in the skillet. Layer the cheese slices on that slice, position the second slice on top and brush it with oil. Press down firmly with a spatula as the sandwich cooks. When crispy and lightly colored on the first side, turn and cook the second, pressing firmly as it cooks.  (Note: Tuscan bread has no sugar and thus doesn't readily caramelize.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

No-Flip Frittata

Developed May, 2017. A frittata makes for a fast, easy, and economical meal combining eggs with leftover dressed pasta. It's especially well suited for brunch. In this ’no-flip’ approach, the awkward step of flipping the half-cooked frittata is eliminated by first cooking the bottom on the stove top and then finish the top under the oven broiler.
5 large eggs
3 T (50 ml) olive oil
20 oz (560 g) leftover dressed pasta 
1/2 c (125 ml) grated parmesan cheese 
1 t (5 ml) salt
1/2 t (3 ml) ground black pepper
In a large bowl, beat the eggs well, add the salt and pepper, and stir in the pasta. Heat the oil in an oven-proof nonstick 10-inch skillet on medium, and when hot, pour in the egg-pasta mixture. Chop the pasta into somewhat smaller pieces with a spatula. Cook without stirring until the frittata is cooked on the bottom (lift to see) and becomes firm near the top, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle on the cheese and put the skillet about 8 inches below a preheated broiler. Broil until top is browned and bubbling, a few minutes. Serves four generously. Pair with a green salad on the side.

Freshly Pickled Radishes

Developed December, 2017. A tangy, colorful garnish to a salad plate, appetizer, or mezze platter, or to put a tangy crunch in sandwich.
4 oz (115 g) large red radishes
1/2 c rice vinegar
1/2 c water
2 t kosher salt
1 T + 1 t granulated sugar
Thinly slice large red radishes into rounds and place into a tightly-closing container. Combine the other ingredients and pour over the radishes. Close and refrigerate at least two hours. Keeps well.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Hint: Double Dose Some Herbs

When using herbs in a dish, it's often not clear when they should be added. I find that most herbs are fine to add at the beginning, such as black pepper or dry thyme, some in the middle to bloom them in hot oil, but that some, such as fresh basil, should be added last and not cooked at all. Some benefit from a double dose, added at first but then given a second addition to refresh the flavor shortly before serving. I include dry thyme and dry tarragon among those that respond well to double dosing. This is akin to 'cold hopping' in brewing where an addition of new hops is made to the cold wort before fermenting and aging.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Pork Shoulder Braised with Apples and Onions

Developed December, 2017. A hearty roast that pairs pork with apples, onions, and warm spices to yield a dish with complex flavors, sweet, savory, and aromatic.
6 lb pork shoulder, bone in
6 T General Purpose Dry Rub
vegetable oil
2 medium apples, cored, cut into wedges
2 medium onions, sliced through poles
2 t dry thyme
1 t fennel seed

1 t ground coriander
1 t ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1 t ground black pepper
1 T brown sugar (if apples are tart)
3/4 c white wine
about 1-1/2 c chicken stock
Score fat cap on 1/2 inch grid, after cutting off excess. Work dry rub well into all sides of the roast. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours. Blot dry, and brown well on all sides in oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove and cover to keep warm. Preheat oven to 325 F (160 C). Add sliced onions and apples to the pan, adding more oil if needed. Cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the seasonings, and when fragrant, add white wine and reduce by two-thirds. Return meat to pot, add stock to half cover the roast. Cover the pot, bring to a simmer, and transfer to the oven on a middle shelf. Baste occasionally, and roast until "fall off the bone" tender, about 2-1/2 hours. Internal temperature will be about 210 F (about 98 C). Tent the roast with aluminum foil and set aside to cool. To prepare the pan gravy, strain out the apples and onion and return  with de-fatted pan juices to the roasting pan. Use an immersion blender to turn into a smooth natural gravy. When the roast is cool, carve out the bone (shoulder blade). Cut the de-boned roast across the grain into thick slices. Serve with pan gravy. Steamed rice, turnip greens, roasted vegetables, and braised cabbage make good sides.