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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From Dish Paige!:

I’m the kind of person that likes to go to the market every day (or…er….every day that I’m making something for dinner) to pick up ingredients. I like the idea of going in to the store with a vague idea of what I want to cook, and then having to change the entire thing around depending on what’s available, what looks fresh, etc. Yesterday I went to the produce store with absolutely no inspiration, hoping that I’d see a vegetable or two that would set off some great thoughts, in turn creating a meal out of itself. WELL…what happened is that I ended up staring blankly at the beautiful array of brightly colored vegetables in front of me while some RANDOM STRANGER talked my ear off about Canada, upstate New York, and all the different types of mushrooms. Needless to say, I had to come up with a dinner solution, and fast; I grabbed a few handfuls of fava beans, a few more handfuls of cranberry beans, 2 ears of corn and made a run for it.

For the polenta croutons:
2 cups water
1 bouillon cube
1/2 cup polenta/coarse ground cornmeal
olive oil

In a medium sauce pan, bring the water and bullion cube to a boil. Slowly pour in the polenta and stir with a whisk for about 2 minutes. Turn the heat to low, cover the pot and cook for about 40 minutes, whisking every 10 minutes or so. After 40 minutes, transfer the polenta to some sort of square-ish vessel to cool. Once the polenta has cooled and set, cut into cubes and fry in olive oil (flipping once) until crispy.

For the succotash:
1/2 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup corn kernels (from about 2 ears)
1/2 cup fresh fava beans (about 2 handfuls of pods)
1 cup cranberry beans (about 3 handfuls of pods)
1 cup water
salt & pepper
2 sprigs dried thyme
olive oil

Remove the beans from their pods and blanch in boiling water for about 3 minutes and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent and then add the corn kernels, sauteing for a few minutes more. Add the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Add the beans and the water to the pan and cover, simmering for about 6 minutes, or until the beans are tender. Just before it’s done, add in about a tablespoon of butter (shhh don’t tell) and stir until the butter is incorporated.

Combine the succotash with the “croutons” and you’ve got yourself quite the saucy little side dish.

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From Dish Amelia:

I’m not a vegetarian, but I don’t cook meat for myself all that often. On some nights however, its hard to deny being a red blooded American girl who wants a steak. Just sometimes, that happens to be a big-ass Oyster mushroom. Seriously.

1 large Oyster mushroom
olive oil

Drizzle the thing with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat up a cast iron skillet with nothing in it, and when its hot drop that puppy in there for several minutes a side, till you get the color you want. When you cut into it (with your fork and -gasp- knife), and get that first bloodless bite, close your eyes to be transported to a seriously primal place, where growling and licking is possible though dinner.

On the side I had a variation of a previous SLD, “Simple Green Pasta”...but quite a bit less simple actually. Can you spot the ingredients I used?

Ok, well they are: arugula, dill, chives, tomatoes, pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, Kalamata olives, parmesan, lemon zest, olive oil, cider vinegar, and honey.

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From Dish Danielle:

My bff and guest dish Nikki decided to split town for Mother’s Day weekend. Her parents have a lovely home on the Long Island sound in East Haven, CT, complete with a stocked bar, a kitchen full of treats, a Jacuzzi tub, and three hilarious cats. It was a great getaway.

In honor of Mothers Day, we insisted upon taking over brunch duties on Sunday. We served bacon and goat cheese egg cups, a green hash, and pomegranate mimosas. The mama of honor was impressed.

Nikki & her Mom Jan, aka, my second mama. 🙂

For the green hash you’ll need:

½ small white onion, diced
1 fennel bulb, sliced
3 leeks, trimmed, rinsed, and sliced
1 green pepper, diced
2 lbs new potatoes, sliced thin
1 bunch scallions, diced
1 bunch parsley, chopped

For the egg cups:

8 strips of bacon
6 eggs
dash of milk
handful of chopped tomatoes
handful scallions, sliced
goat cheese

*serves 4

Preheat your oven to 350.

Start by cooking the bacon on the largest skillet you have– only half way. You want them so they’re still soft and pliable. Place them on a paper towel to drain. Meanwhile, use the drippings from the bacon to sauté the onion, fennel, and pepper over medium heat. (Add olive oil as you need it, you don’t want the pan to become dry) Once they’ve softened gently, add the potatoes. Toss in a liberal pinch of salt and pepper and flip the pans contents so the potatoes make contact with the surface of the pan. Turn the heat to high and leave the pan alone—flip the hash once in a while to allow it to crisp a bit. The hash will take roughly 30 minutes to cook. Add the leeks once you’re about 15-20 minutes into the process.

While the hash is doing its thing, scramble your eggs in a medium bowl. Add the dash of milk, a pinch of s&p, and the handful of scallions. Grease a cupcake tin and now carefully line the cups with the par-cooked bacon, a strip in each should be fine. Pour the eggs in until the cups are about ¾ full. Now drop a few tomatoes and a few chunks of goat cheese into each cup and slide them into the oven. (They’ll need 10-15 minutes, so put them in when the hash is about halfway cooked.)

Just before the hash is finished, toss your scallions and parsley in and mix thoroughly. Taste test to see if it needs more s&p.

Once the eggs have puffed up nice and fluffy you’re ready to serve. Top each serving with a few straggling scallions and perhaps place something green on the plate for balance and color, (we used avocado). Hug a Mom who’s within reach and indulge!

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From Dish Gwen:

Last weekend my Saucy friends Oli and Hilary were visiting from Boston, and they brought a big jar of home-made kimchi. Inspired (and a little overwhelmed) by the massive quantity of pickled cabbage, I got cooking and threw together a “Korean” meal that would fool most Americans but would likely make most Koreans laugh. Regardless of its authenticity, the food was delicious and easy to prepare, and I plan to make this meal again (I kind of have to because there’s still about 14lbs of kimchi in my fridge).

As you already know, I didn’t make the kimchi myself, but I encourage you to make your own if you have a few days advanced notice (it takes a little while to lacto-ferment). Otherwise you can buy packaged kimchi at most natural and Asian food stores. The eggs, flour, beef and scallions I used were sourced through my buying club and meat CSA, and came from organic farms in the New York region (not Korea, but pretty good nonetheless).


3 eggs
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups water
1 bunch scallions, chopped
2 lbs thinly-sliced sandwich beef (you can use sliced steak if that’s what you have)
Red pepper flake
Soy sauce

Mix the flour, eggs, oil, water and a half tablespoon of salt together in a big bowl until smooth, and add more water if the batter is too thick (you want a rather runny pancake batter so that the cakes are thin). Stir in the chopped scallions, and heat a frying pan on medium-high so it sizzles. Oil the pan, then spoon the batter about 1/3 cup per pancake, and cook them on both sides until golden-brown.

While the pancakes are going, rub the beef with a couple tablespoons of oil, one teaspoon of salt, a dash of soy sauch and a teaspoon of red pepper flake. Heat a second pan on medium-high, oil it, and once it’s sizzling start grilling the beef, a few pieces at a time (don’t put all the beef in there at once or else it won’t grill correctly). Grill each piece until it’s mostly dark and grilly but there’s still a hint of redness here and there.

When all the beef and pancakes are browned, plate with the Kimchi and serve. Feeds four.

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