Archive for May, 2010

Saucy Little Dish welcomes Johnny: another culinary Bushwick, Brooklyn resident, painter extraordinaire, and Dish Paige!’s main Meatball!

Hey everyone! John Szlasa here with the latest edition of… “A SPICY SIDE of MEATBALL!” So today I’m going to make SOUPE AUX CHOUX otherwise known as Garbure. I’m using three different recipes. I’m mostly following Julia Child’s recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but I was inspired by my father who sent me his own rendition of Jacques Pepin’s from Jacques Pepin’s Table. I also perused the Joy of Cooking‘s version as well. All three of these cookbooks mention the famous version from Bearn, which uses Confit d’ Oie or preserved goose, which is added to the pot at the end of cooking to warm up (we’re not goin’ this crazy here y’all!). So I guess we’ll be making the classic Basque version of this peasant cabbage and bean soup. This is a soup that is ideal for the winter season, but I’ve been waiting to make this for quite some time. Now that I get a chance to be “A SPICY SIDE of MEATBALL,” I see it as a great excuse to finally make it – despite the 90 degree heat movin’ on into our town.


2 Medium Potatoes (cut into 1.5 inch cubes)
1 Boneless pork shoulder trimmed of skin and surrounding fat (Julia Child makes a point of telling us that, “In the Basque country, a good cabbage soup must always have a chunk of lard rance, their slightly rancid and much appreciated salt pork; otherwise, the dish is considered to lack distinction”)
12 cups of water or enough to cover the pork.
1 Leek (cut into 1 inch pieces)
2 Celery Stalks ( cut into 1.5 inch pieces)
3 Carrots (cut into 1.5 inch man pieces)
3 Parsnips (cut into 1.5 inch man pieces)
1 Onion (Chopped into 1.5 inch man pieces)
1 8oz. Savoy Cabbage (sliced and shredded into 1/2 or 1 inch pieces)
1 pinch ground chili Pepper ( or 8 peppercorns)
A few sprigs of Parsley (tied)
1 Bay leaf
4 cloves garlic (smashed)
1/2 tsp Thyme
3 pork Sausages (you can use any kind you like, including a variety, my Father used Kielbasa because he’s all about his Polish heritage)
2 cans of Navy Beans (drained and rinsed)
1 Tablespoon bacon fat
Sea Salt
Coarse ground black pepper
Thick country bread (We used Old Poland Foods Farmer’s Bread Chleb Farmerski.)
Gruyere or Jarlsberg Cheese

Buy all of your ingredients. I went to the Ridgewood Pork Store on Seneca Ave. for my Pork shoulder, and sausages. This place is really special. Our picture doesn’t do it justice because we took it after they closed, but it’s like walking into a time warp. It feels like a butcher store in a small European village that has been in the family for generations. Check it out! The rest of our ingredients are from the Associated super market.

Put the potatoes and pork shoulder (I cut mine into quarters) into the pot and cover it with the water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes, periodically skimming the foam off the top.

After 20 minutes drop all ingredients into the pot except for the sausages, beans and bread.

Simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Add the sausage 30 minutes into cooking. Add the canned beans 15 minutes before end of simmering.

Take the pork out, slice it. Put it back in. Add in the bacon fat (we added this to gain distinction). Salt at the end. Add pepper or ground chili to taste. Remove parsley and bay leaf.

To Serve:

So My father served it this way, which is the way I would have liked to have finished things off, but I don’t own an enameled cast-iron pot or casserole dish:

“At serving time, pre-heat the broiler, bring the 2 quarts of soup you’re going to serve to a boil on top of the stove, and pour it into a 2 ½ quart casserole dish or enameled cast-iron pot.

Arrange bread slices on top to cover the soup in one layer and push them gently into the liquid until they are moist.

Sprinkle the cheese on top, place the dish under the hot broiler, about 4 inches from the heat. Broil for about ten minutes, until the cheese on top is bubbly and golden brown. Carry the dish to the table and serve in 4 to 6 bowls or soup plates.”

We toasted the bread slices with the sprinkled the cheese on top and placed them gently into the liquid.

My father also adds that if you’re vegetarians, leave out the meat, start with a vegetable stock, and it should
be great.

We were going to listen to a soundtrack of manly 80s French Oi! but we stuck with Django Reinhardt and Le Quintette Du Hot Club De France instead – seeing as I’m working with a Saucy Little Dish. I figured Django was sufficiently manly:

“Returning from a performance late one night, Reinhardt apparently knocked over a candle on his way to bed. While his family and neighbors were quick to pull him to safety, he received first- and second- degree burns over half his body. His right leg was paralysed and the third and fourth fingers of his left hand were badly burned. Doctors believed that he would never play guitar again and intended to amputate one of his legs. Reinhardt refused to have the surgery and left the hospital after a short time; he was able to walk within a year with the aid of a cane.” (Wikipedia)

One tuff mothah!!!!

Now if only I was in the basque region eaten’ this shit…

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From Dish Jodi:

These bars are addictive…sweet, chocolate-y, and tart…I could probably eat an entire pan. My mom has made them for as long as I can remember, and apparently they are from some old version of some Betty Crocker-style cookbook, but to me, they are Mom’s. And now they are mine. When I made these this morning, my husband got so excited he cleaned up the gooey pan, the crumbly bowl and announced that he had earned the reward of a whole row of bars to himself.

These are incredibly easy and always a crowd-pleaser.


1 1/2 Cups Flour
3/4 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Butter
Pinch of Salt
6 oz. Mini Chocolate Chips (half a bag)
1 10 oz. Package of Frozen Raspberries
1/4 Cup Orange Juice
1 Tbsp Corn Starch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, salt and butter in a bowl and mash with fork or potato masher until crumbly. (You could also use a food processor – you’re basically making a pie dough with no liquid added.)

Press the crumbs tightly and evenly into a 13×9 pan and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine raspberries, OJ and cornstarch in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Cook until boiling, stirring often. Boil for one minute, then remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.

After 15 minutes, remove crust from oven, and sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the crust. Pour raspberry sauce over the top, spread evenly with a light hand (so you don’t just gum the chocolate up). Put back in the oven for another 20 minutes to set the sauce.

Let cool completely, cut and serve! (These actually cut best if they are chilled.)

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From Dish Rachelle:

Apparently, I’m on quite the salmon kick.

A lot can happen in a month, and between my recuperative salmon cake dinner and this new little dish I cooked up, I went to Vegas. For the first time. With 11 other girls. See, it was Dish Erin’s Bachelorette party, and pretty much from the moment I stepped off the plane, I was drinking fruity cocktails in a bathing suit. Vegas is an interesting place: fun, decadent, boisterous, hilarious, superficial, artificial, disgusting. Lots of adjectives work for Vegas. But none of them are “healthy.”

I flew back on Monday night, and was anticipating a major crash on Tuesday, when I had to go to work and then a work-related champagne party (words that usually entice but after a weekend of drinking, sorta lose their appeal). The saving grace was that Erin, as another exhausted Vegas survivor, would also be there. Then, the shock of the season: we both felt fine! And so we drank champagne, went to dinner with our Meatballs and sipped red wine, and laughed hysterically in the cab when the driver repeated 7th street as every other possible “7” in New York (“We’re going to 7th street.” “7th Ave?” “No, 7th street.” “Oh, 77th.” “NO 7TH STREET.” “OK, 17th.”)

Long story not so short, we both felt like crap the next day. Wednesday was the feeling-like-crap fallout. And so, I cooked myself some health-conscious soul food, hoping that it would help restore me to my pre-Vegas condition. I’m beginning to feel revived.


Yes, my cat sniffs around everything I make. He wouldn't get out of the shot. This is home cooking at its most real.

1 boneless salmon filet, cut in 2 pieces (I used a .68 lb. filet, minus the skin).
3 tblsp. olive oil
1/3 cup white wine
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 heaping tblsp. dill, chopped
½ cup white beans, rinsed
Handful of canned, quartered artichokes

Season fish with salt and pepper.

Heat oil on high in a frying pan, and when it’s hot, add salmon filets. Cook on one side until it’s got a nice crust (roughly 3 minutes) and then flip it, and repeat. Depending on the thickness of your filet, and how rare you like your fish, this might be enough to cook it through, but if you have a thick piece like I did, you can lower the heat slightly and cover the frying pan to bring the fish up to medium-rare/medium. As salmon cooks, it’ll naturally start to flake (though it shouldn’t fall apart), so you can GENTLY pry the flakes in either direction to peek at the center and check the doneness. When salmon is cooked to your preferred temperature, remove it to a plate.

Pour out any extra oil in the pan so there’s just a nice slick, making sure not to lose the caramelized bits sticking to the surface. Restore heat to high and carefully pour wine in the pan. Deglaze while letting the alcohol cook off, ~1 minute.

Lower heat to medium and add garlic and dill, sautéing for another minute. Add white beans and artichokes, season with salt* and pepper, stir to combine, and cook until beans and chokes are warm. Return salmon to the pan and lower heat. Mostly cover the pan and cook for another minute or so, to make sure the fish is hot when you serve.

I plated with soft polenta and roasted asparagus. Let the Vegas detoxing* begin…

*Instead of salt, I used a “shot” of the liquid from the can of artichokes. That works too.
*And yes, I realize that I fried the fish and cooked with wine, so this isn’t exactly health food, but…considering what my body thinks is normal after the weekend, this meal was a good start.

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