Posts Tagged 'Recipe'



Ad Hoc Buttermilk Fried Chicken

The last several months have been as busy as any in my life.  We’re coming to the end of a large project at work which means that the hours are particularly long and I’ve had to travel for business for several weeks.  Add to that the holidays and a vacation, it means that I’ve barely had time to make dinner, let alone post about it.

But I did have enough time make some fried chicken the other night.  I’ve tried quite a few recipes for fried chicken, including one I posted before. And while some of them have been good, I never quite found one that was perfect. I think I’ve come a lot closer.

Before it was completely sold out nearly everywhere, Angela bought me the Ad Hoc Cookbook for my birthday. And one of the first recipes I had to try was for the fried chicken.

The brine keeps the fried chicken from drying out while adding flavor to the meat.  The crust is nearly perfect.  I kept picking out pieces that had fallen off the frying chicken and eating it.  It was even better eaten with the chicken.

Ad Hoc Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Adopted from Ad Hoc at Home

2 1/2 to 3 lbs chicken
2 cups buttermilk
peanut oil for deep frying

Brine:
8 cups water
1 lemon, halved
6 bay leaves
1 small bunch thyme
1 small bunch Italian parsley
2 tbsp honey
5 garlic cloves, cut in half width-wise
1/2 cup kosher salt

Coating:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

  1. Bring the brine ingredients to a boil in a large pot.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.  Chill in the refrigerator until cold.
  2. Cut the chicken into 10 pieces (2 wings, 2 thighs, 2 legs, 4 breast pieces).  Add to the brine and refrigerate for 12 hours.
  3. Remove the chicken from the brine and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for at least several hours.
  4. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 1 1/2 hours before cooking.
  5. Heat the oil in a large pot to 320ºF.
  6. Prepare two baking sheets with cooling racks on them.
  7. Whisk together the coating in a shallow bowl.  Place the buttermilk in another shallow bowl.
  8. Dredge the chicken, first through the flour coating, then in the buttermilk, then again in the flour coating.  Place the chicken on one of the baking sheets.
  9. When the oil is hot, add the legs and thighs to the oil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until it begins to color.
  10. Add the breast and wing pieces to the oil and cook for 10 to 12 minutes more or until the chicken is nicely browned and cooked through.
  11. Remove the chicken and place on the second baking sheet.
  12. Allow the chicken to cool slightly then serve.

Serves 2 to 3.

Beef with Cumin

Beef with Cumin

My mother-in-law was getting concerned that we weren’t eating because there was a gap in my posting here.  But we’ve mainly been eating either things that were already posted (roast chicken , smoked chicken, pork chops, or corn pasta) or we’ve been eating things that it seems a bit silly to post (steak frites, quick pastas). But every once in-a-while I make something that is both good and
worth posting.

We’ve been enjoying the bounty of the local farmer’s markets too much over the past summer and early fall.  The quality of the ingredients is so high that it seems like sacrilege to do anything more than just prepare the ingredients, whether meat or vegetable, as simply as possible.  However, there are only so many roast chickens and steaks one can eat before they feel they need a little elaboration on the topic.

Which brings me to Beef with Cumin.  I had seen reference to it online and, the pictures combined with the recipe intrigued me. In fact, it made me purchase flank steak especially to make it. However, flank steak is attractive enough to me that the first half of it went towards the aforementioned steak frites.

I was, however, determined to actually make the Beef with Cumin.  And make it I did.  Too many Sin0-American recipes are focused on hiding the flavor of the underlying ingredient, where meat, in particular, is interchangeable based on the dietary preferences of the diner  (Sweet-and-Sour Chicken is a prime example).  This is not one of those recipes.  Beef is the predominant flavor.  The cumin, the ginger, and the garlic all seek to complement the flavor of the beef.  It is beef with cumin, not cumin with beef.

Ingredients for Beef with Cumin

Beef with Cumin
Adapted from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province

12 oz. flank steak
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 fresh red chilies, seeds removed and diced
2-4 tsp dried red chili pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
salt
2 spring onions, green part only, sliced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup peanut oil

Marinade:
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water

  1. Slice the beef across the grain into thin, bite-sized strips.  Add the marinade ingredients and mix well.  Allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the peanut oil in a wok to 275°F.
  3. Fry the beef in the peanut oil, stirring regularly, for one minute.  Remove the beef from the oil and drain well.
  4. Pour off all but 3 tbsp of oil from the wok.
  5. Over high heat, stir fry the ginger, garlic, fresh chilies, dried red chili pepper, and cumin for 1 minute.  Return the beef to the wok, reheat the beef, and then remove from the heat.
  6. Drain off any excess oil from the beef.
  7. Stir in the spring onions and sesame oil.
  8. Serve with steamed rice.

Serves 2-3.

Salsiccie di Lucania (Pork Sausage from Lucania)

Pork Sausage from Lucania

I have something of a love-hate relationship with my sausage stuffer.  I adore sausage but, now that I have a sausage stuffer, I insist that whatever sausage we eat at home be homemade.  There’s a certain amount of setup required to make sausages and I feel the need to make a large batch to make it worth the effort.  Therefore, I ended up rolling the dice when trying a new recipe as to how they’ll turn out.

In this case, I knew I hit the jackpot as soon as I offered Angela a piece of the sample I used to check the seasoning.  No words were needed.  I could see the answer in her face.  And while Angela likes sausage, her level of appreciation is not equivalent to my own.  This sausage may have changed her mind.

I had been looking for a new Italian sausage recipe to use. My last attempt, while decent, had too much coriander seed for one. It just wasn’t quite right.

While this sausage can fill in for an “Italian sausage” (it is in fact a recipe of Italian extraction), it is not an Italian sausage in the traditional American sense.  It doesn’t have the fennel seed which is almost the defining characteristics of such sausages. It does, however, have a lot of garlic and ginger to provide flavor. It’s a lot simpler but still tasty. It can also be used as a breakfast sausage in a pinch (actually the first way I cooked it).

When I have 5 lbs. of sausage in the freezer, I remember why I like to have a sausage stuffer.  When viewing the cornucopia of sausages at a megamart (or even the farmer’s market for that matter), it’s hard to remember why I enjoy making my own.  Part of it’s just enjoying making sausages with Angela, part of it’s the quality, and part of it is choosing exactly what I want in a sausage.

Grinding meat for sausage

Salsiccie di Lucania (Pork Sausage from Lucania)
Adapted from Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home

12 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 oz. ginger, peeled and finely diced
6 oz. pancetta, chopped
5 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into 1″ pieces
1 lbs. pork fat, cut into 1″ pieces
tsp red pepper flakes
3 tbsp kosher salt
1 cup red wine

8 ft. pork sausage casings

  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the red wine  sausage casings.  Refrigerate until thoroughly cooled.
  2. Place the bowl containing the meat in an ice bath.  Grind the meat mixture through the smallest holes into another bowl in an ice bath.
  3. Add the wine to the mixture and beat with a paddle mixer at low speed for 1 minute.
  4. Cook a small portion of the sausage mixture in olive oil to verify seasoning.  While cooking the sample sausage mixture, place the remaining sausage mixture in the refrigerator.
  5. Stuff the sausage mixture into the sausage casings.  Twist into individual sausages.

Makes 6 lbs. sausages

Whiskey-Glazed Smoked Chicken

Smoked Chicken

Last December, as we were getting the keys to our new house from our landlord, we walked in and there was a giant box sitting in the middle of the empty living room.  It turns out that Angela bought me a smoker for Christmas. It just turned out that it arrived before we did.

I’ve used it a number of times since then and have mostly stuck to the “classics.” I’ve done pulled pork several times but I have trouble cooking it long enough to get it truly tender (I haven’t made myself get up earlier enough). The same issue came with brisket. But what truly shows the beauty of smoked meat is poultry. It’s not classic barbecue but chicken and turkey absorb the smoke beautifully. Not to mention the gorgeous exterior. I’m already planning to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving this year.

I decided to change things up slightly on this chicken.  I usually smoke foods with hickory but I decided to give mesquite a try. I’ll gladly admit to be a novice smoker but there is a definitive difference between the hickory and the mesquite. The mesquite is a bit sharper and tangier in taste. While I don’t think it would work as well as hickory on pork, it adds a really nice bite to the chicken.

A smoker is really a bit of an extravagance but the more I use it, the more I know I wouldn’t want to live without it.

Whiskey-Glazed Smoked Chicken
Adapted from Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing

Brine:
1 gallon/4 liters water
1 1/2 cups /350 g kosher salt
1/2 cup / 125 g sugar
8 tsp / 42 g pink salt

1 3-to-4 lbs. chicken, trussed

Glaze:
1 cup/250 milliliters whiskey
1/2 cup/125 milliliters maple syrup
1/4 packed cup/50 g dark brown sugar
pinch of cayenne pepper

  1. Combine all the brine ingredients in a large pot and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.  Remove from the heat.  Cool to room temperature.  Chill in the refrigerator until cold.  Place the chicken in the brine, weight it down, and brine it for 18 hours.  Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse it under running water, dry it with paper towels, and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  2. An hour before smoking the chicken, remove it from the refrigerator.
  3. Hot smoke the chicken at 200ºF until it reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF, 3 to 4 hours.
  4. While the chicken is smoking, place all the glaze ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer until the glaze is reduced to 1 cup.
  5. An hour and a half into smoking the chicken, brush the chicken with some of the glaze.
  6. When the chicken is finished cooking, remove it from the smoker.  Brush it with the remaining glaze and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Souvlaki kotopoulo (Chicken Souvlaki)

Chicken Souvlaki

Apparently I’m still on the once-a-month schedule.  I hope to get a bit better about that.

When we lived in California, we were on a second floor apartment without a balcony.  So, despite the near constant beautiful weather there, we couldn’t do any grilling.  I’d be walking home and could only jealously smell the cooking meat where I had to go home into the stifling heat of an un-air-conditioned apartment.  When we moved to Virginia, Angela and I each had a different requirement for our new home: she wanted a washer-and-dryer in-unit and I wanted some form of outdoor space.  Luckily, we found a place where we both could be accommodated.

As soon as the weather turned this spring, we took the coupon Lowe’s had helpfully sent us in the mail and purchased a Weber grill.  Alison came over and we grilled both Saturday and Sunday.  Since then, we’ve dodged the frequent thunder storms to mostly grill hamburgers and steak.

I’ve only ventured into making Greek food a few times but Costco had a good deal on a Greek cookbook and I’ve always liked Greek restaurants.  I figured chicken souvlaki would be a good starting point as it was familiar (eventhough I always get tempted by gyro’s when I eat at Greek restaurants).

When I went to turn the chicken for the first time, I knew it would be good when I saw the gorgeous color it had turned.  It tasted just as good.  I suggested making lamb souvlaki sometime in the future and Angela asked why I wouldn’t just make the chicken souvlaki again.  Which is indeed a good question.

I almost wouldn’t recommend making this in a broiler.  I doubt the broiler would do it justice.  But it’s simple enough and good enough that I doubt it would turn out badly.  If you’re willing to get the grill out on a weeknight (and honestly, how hard is it really?), this makes an excellent easy meal.  I made this and even had time to make some homemade Tzaziki and pita bread.

Souvlaki kotopoulo (Chicken Souvlaki)
Adapted from Vefa’s Kitchen

1 3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
1 red onions, quartered and separated
2 tbsp lemon juice

  1. Mix together 3 tbsp olive oil, the oregano, and salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken and toss well.  Cover and refrigerate over night.
  2. Prepare a medium-hot grill.
  3. Thread the chicken pieces onto four skewers, alternating chicken with onion slices.
  4. Combine the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil with the lemon juice and mix well.
  5. Grill the chicken, covered, turning once, until cooked through, about 10 minutes per side, basting with the lemon juice-olive oil mixture frequently.
  6. Allow to rest for 5 minutes then serve with Tzatziki and pita bread.

Serves 4

Carnitas Caseras (Home Cooked Carnitas)

Carnitas Tacos

It’s been awhile.  It’s been quite awhile.  I could blame it on a number of things but suffice to say that I’m back.

You may remember that we recently moved from southern California to northern Virginia. Unsurprisingly, northern Virginia isn’t exactly a mecca for Mexican food.  My personal Mexican food of choice is carnitas and, unfortunately, the closest I’ve found so far in our new home is at Chipotle.

Homemade Tortilla Chips

So I decided to make my own.  These aren’t the more common carnitas found at taco stands around L.A.  These aren’t cooked for the same length of time so they don’t easily get the shredded texture of taqueria carnitas.

Instead, they are rather quickly simmered in milk before cooking the liquid off.  They’re reminiscent of an Italian recipe where pork is slowly cooked with milk.

They are quite flavorful; almost intense, as Angela described it, but at the same time mild.  The salsa (in the pictures) almost overpowered the flavor of the carnitas and I omitted it for the remainder of my tacos.  The only downside for me was that the texture was different than I was expecting.  Something that shreds more easily would work better on tacos.

These cook quickly.  Quick enough for a week night.  They go well with homemade tortilla chips and salsa.  The leftovers work well in quesadillas.

Salsa Mexicana

Carnitas Caseras (Home Cooked Carnitas)
Adapted from The Art of Mexican Cooking

4 tbsp lard or vegetable oil
3 lbs. bone-in pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
salt
4 sprigs of fresh marjoram
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
10 peppercorns, crushed
1 orange, cut into eights
1 cup milk

  1. Dry the pork with paper towels and season with salt.
  2. Heat the lard in a wide, heavy pan until hot.  Add the pork and fry until lightly golden, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add the onions and cook until the meat is well browned, about 8 minutes more.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat until the meat is cooked through and tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid, and increase the heat, cooking until all the liquid has been absorbed (there will still be a lot of fat remaining).
  6. Remove the meat from the pot and let rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Slice the meat into small pieces and serve with corn tortillas.

Serves 6 to 8.

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

Angela and I have gone out to a restaurant for dinner on Valentine’s Day exactly once.  From the crowded restaurant to the subpar, but expensive food, it was an experience that we didn’t want to repeat.  So last year we went to our favorite pizza place. Given that Valentine’s Day was on a Saturday this year, I decided that I would make a special dinner for Angela. I decided on Tagliatelle alla Bolognese as it is one of Angela’s favorite foods. I made some bread and crème brûlée.

And then I went and ruined it by spilling hot chicken stock on my toe.  I had taken advantage of the fact that I had to stay home to watch the sauce to make a large batch of chicken stock.  All was going well until I was about to strain it.  I cook the chicken stock in a stock pot with all the solids inside a pasta strainer.  To get as much liquid out of the solids as possible, I had picked up the strainer and was trying to push any remaining liquid out.  This is when tragedy struck.  The strainer slipped out of my hands, sending chicken stock flying.  Some of it flew up and landed on my sock-clad foot.  I got the sock off as quickly as possible but the damage was already done.

My foot is finally starting to heal, a week and a half later.  I’ve been forced to wear sandals and socks to work since then.  It did, however, take my manager until yesterday to realize that I was wearing them and duly make fun of me.  Apparently wearing orange toed socks makes it more conspicuous.

Luckily, I only ruined the romantic mood on Valentine’s Day and not the food itself.  The bread and crème brûlée were done.  All that was left was to make the fresh pasta and it helped take my mind off the pain.  Angela can comment on the funny dance I did to distract myself further.

Bolognese sauce is deservedly one of the most classic Italian pasta sauces.  The long cooking in milk and wine helps mellow the beef to almost be reminiscient of veal.  It also helps mellow the normally acidic bite of tomato sauces.  In many ways, however, it almost seems to be the anti-Italian pasta.  It’s one of the few times in Italian cooking where the sauce is the star and the pasta merely the sideshow.

Despite my mishap, this was still the right choice for Valentine’s Day.  It’s a special meal, taking a good bit of time.  But that time and effort pays off in a dish that can only really be described in superlatives.

Homemade Bread

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese
Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp butter, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup chopped carrot
1/2 lbs ground beef
1/4 lbs ground pork
salt and pepper
1 cup whole milk
nutmeg
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes
1 1/2 lbs. fresh tagliatelle (made with 3 eggs and 3 cups of flour)
grated parmigiano-reggiano

  1. Put the oil, 3 tbsp butter, and the onion in a large dutch oven and place over medium heat.  Cook the onion, stirring occassionally, until it has become transluscent.
  2. Add the celery and the carrot and cook for about 2 minutes more, stirring regularly.
  3. Add the ground beef and ground pork.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring the meat, until it loses its pink color.
  4. Add the milk and bring to a simmer.  Cook at a low simmer until the milk has completely cooked away, 30 to 40 minutes.
  5. Add a pinch of nutmeg.
  6. Add the wine and bring to a simmer.  Cook at a low simmer until the wine has completely cooked away, 30 to 40 minutes.
  7. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Cook at the barest of simmers for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.  If the sauce dries out, add 1/2 cup of water, whenever necessary.
  8. Cook the fresh pasta and toss it with the sauce, adding the final tablespoon of butter.
  9. Serve immediately with grated parmigiano-reggiano.

Serves 6.