Monday, January 29, 2007

Is it just me or has Gourmet really been on the mark the last couple issues? I cannot wait to try the souffle on the cover of the February issue! My new favorite thing is this edamame recipe. These couldn't possibly be any easier to make.

Edamame with Garlic and Chile
Gourmet January 2007

1 bag of frozen 'steam in the bag!' edamame
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
a good 4 finger pinch of red pepper flake
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 inch knob or so of grated ginger

Gourmet suggests using a wok for this but on my electric stove there's just no way. Steam the edamame in the bag in the microwave. It takes me 6 mins and that's it! Whisk together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, oil, and red pepper flake and set aside. In a hot pan with a tiny bit of oil saute the garlic and ginger until fragrant. Throw the edamame in there and then the sauce and coat everything nicely. A lot of the sauce will get soaked up or evaporate off and then you're done. Sprinkle them with a little bit of salt before serving.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Roasting Everything I Can Get My Hands On

I have to share this recipe I came up with the other night. Unfortunately I don't have a picture because it was eaten much too fast to snap a shot. It really was that good.

Pork Roast with Plum Reduction
2 lb pork roast trimmed
6 slices of thin cut prosciutto
2 glasses of dry red wine (I used a leftover cab)
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp plum jam
2-3 Tbsp sugar

Prepare your roast with salt and pepper and olive oil. Drape the top with the slices of prosciutto and roast it for about 1.5 hours at 350 or until the juices run clear (or the internal temp is 150ish). While you're waiting for that, in a small saucepan add your wine, vinegar and dissolve the sugar and jam. Reduce that down until it coats a spoon. Grind some pepper at the end and taste it to see if it needs more sugar. I literally just tossed some sugar in there so I have no idea how much. I imagine it would vary a bit depending on what type of jam you use. You don't want it too sweet and want to keep the tangy-ness of the vinegar as well.

So when the roast is nice and juicy, let it rest before you slice into it. Take the prosciutto from on top, which should be super crisp, and crumble that over the top then drizzle the reduction over that. Perfect. Mine came out super tender -- 'no-knife-necessary' tender! Some nice fat stalks of roasted asparagus with roasted garlic and fontina accompanied this nicely. Asparagus goes great with everything though, doesn't it?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Extra sticky

Lately I've really been into two things: buying meat in bulk, and reducing any liquid I can get my hands on into thick and delicious. I got this recipe from Gourmet a few months back and I've made it several times since then. These are super sticky but well worth getting messy over.

Soy-Balsamic Glazed Chicken Legs (any skinned part will do)
Gourmet December 2006

3 lb chicken legs
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Salt and pepper your meat then oil it up and roast until they are golden (You definitely want to use foil for this one!). In a small saucepan mix up the vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar and simmer it until it reduces to about 1/4 C or coats a spoon nicely. This takes longer than you might think and it will smell things up a bit. Throw the butter in at the last minute and stir it to melt. Take your chicken out and drizzle them with the reduction.

I love enoki. I just don't really know how to handle it but I came up with this little finger food that went nicely dipped in the above reduction or just alone.

Napa Wrapped Enoki
8-12 medium sized leaves of napa
1 big bunch of enoki mushrooms
sesame oil

Scald the scallions until soft and then shock them. Take a bunch of enoki, wrap them up in the cabbage leaves, and tie them up with little scallion bows. Toss the parcels in hot sesame oil until they brown a bit on each side, careful that the enoki doesn't get mushy. A simple dipping sauce would be a nice addition.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Fred Flinstone would be proud

I've recently become a rib addict. Its pretty hard to escape a chapter in some foodie's book about the ultimate BBQ experience. After reading Steingarten and Trillin I now salivate for tasty fall-off-the-bone ribs. Sometime this happens in the middle of the night!

There's just something so wonderfully barbaric about tearing your teeth into a rack of ribs. It is a time for me to dabble in hyper masculinity AND get completely messy. I wish I had discovered this phenomenon earlier and even enjoyed some quality father/daughter bonding time with a bib and some moist towelettes. I can't imagine anything better.

I have to thank Ayun for this recipe. I had the meat waiting but was pretty intimidated to touch it so she gave me an excuse. Ribs aren't just another hunk of meat, they are delicate enough to have mastery competitions on every food channel. These were good, very good. I have to say that my rib cooking technique needs a little work -- ok a lot. These weren't fall off the bone they were more like chew off the bone. Next time I'll try low and slow and hope for the best.

This is basically the same as you'll see on her blog but I changed it up a bit, probably not for the better

make a 'rub' (if you can call it that)
2 jalapenos
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic
some lemon grass
grind some black pepper while you're at it

Blend in the food processor and inhale over the bowl -- delicious, but it gets even better

On the stove take about 1/3 C of sugar (I prefer Florida Natural but whatever works) and melt it pretty slowly and swirl it so it doesn't stick and burn. When it is all melted add about a 1/4 C of fish sauce and a crazy chemical reaction happens and it smells a little funky but when you let that cool and add it to your 'rub' your home will smell terrific. I have seen this same sugar fish sauce concoction in other recipes and I really think it is a winner with some 'meat-of-your-choice" over rice with scallions. You can probably figure out the rest of this story. You can marinade but I rarely have time or think ahead that far. I used baby backs but use this on any meat and it will probably be great. I like the typical cucumber/mirin/sesame salad to go with. This one is a winner.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

How does it taste?

I find it super amusing to hear or read descriptions of wine from the experts. Sometimes, I have to admit, they are right-on but I have to wonder if I just taste what they taste because it is spelled out in front of me. The power of suggestion. So when we taste a bottle before knowing anything about it, other than it being tasty, I have been known to come up with some of my own interesting descriptions.

I've had a handful of French reds that taste of prosciutto -- a conundrum indeed. Another rich red that hinted at road tar on a hot day on the finish. This past week we had a French red that tasted of the beach. It had a nice mix of flavors including sand, salt, suntan lotion, coconut, and the sea. Last night I cautiously drank a glass or two of a wine that tasted mustard-y and of pickles -- my two least favorite things. We more than enjoyed a Chilean Merlot that was bright with white chocolate and a cherry fruit finish. How can all these wacky flavors come from a simple grape is beyond me. So maybe not everyone shares these similar taste experiences, but for a large percentage of them I don't think my tongue is too far off base.

La Nine Minervois 2003 -- the beach, right down to the sweaty, lathered sunbathers

Santa Ema 2004 Maipo Valley Reserve Merlot -- like a delicious cocktail, white chocolate and cherry

RED 2003 Sonoma County St. Francis Winery (Cab Sauv, Merlot, Syrah, and Cab Franc) -- pickles and mustard

Friday, January 5, 2007

A pie?!

All week I've been cooking from my new cookbook which I have to say is quite an achievement for me. I normally just 'google' some random recipe, modify it with whatever I have lying around and see what comes out. This week I really stuck to the book. Its been pretty successful if I do say so myself.

First off there were fish and potato cakes sprinkled with lime and lemon zest, red chili, and mint throughout. Some sour cream was needed but I didn't have any around. Then I tried out my new fancy (fancy meaning enormous) roasting pan with a chicken rubbed with roasted garlic, lemon, thyme, and rosemary. This made for one of the best chickens I've tasted but the real highlight were the tasty potatoes that caught all those wonderful drippings. mmm.

Finally, the roasted chicken and sweet leek pie. Yes, a pie -- a massive one at that. Dare not call it a pot pie! This guy is stuffed with carrots, leeks, over 2 lbs of chicken and tiny little, crispy sausage ball surprises. I could probably do without the sausages but otherwise this was nice all wrapped up cozy in its puff pastry crust. The leeks are sweet indeed.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007


I've had this ice cream maker for several months now and well we have a love-hate relationship. The thing loves to make sorbet. It would make sorbet all day long if I let it. For some reason it refuses to make anything else! No gelato. No ice cream. I'm pretty sure my freezer just doesn't get quite cold enough for it to freeze properly. I can't complain about the wonderful sorbet it has spat out thus far.

Pomegranate and Chambord Sorbet
1-2 GIANT pomegranate(s) seeded, blended, strained
1-2 shot(s) of Chambord
simple syrup (1 cup sugar - 1 cup water)
churn and presto! the perfect texture and delicious