Archive for January, 2011

From Dish Danielle:

As mentioned in my previous post, I spent an enchanting week out in Santa Fe last month with fellow dish Amelia. My taste buds were inundated with the regional culinary traditions of Northern New Mexico as I ate more chile in the matter of 6 days than I had in my entire life. Nose running and table slapping, I quickly fell in love with these earthy yet spicy southwestern flavors, and truly began to understand what Amelia’s fuss has been all about.

Dish A & I have been meaning to curate a large-scale dinner together for a while now, and once back in Brooklyn, we decided it was about dang time. Now that I’d had my crash course in the robust flavors of NM, we thought it only appropriate to expand my culinary horizons and base a menu off of these tastes and traditions; I, the pupil, Amelia, the seasoned veteran.

Here is a recipe for Red Chile Sauce and a Pork Tamale filling–a quick & dirty pulled pork recipe that will be stuffed into SLD’s following post, Amelia’s (hot) tamales. These are several components that will be a part of our upcoming New Mexican dinner. I hope you enjoy, and wish me luck!

(brief sidenote: Amelia & I randomly met a New Mexican last night while out on the town. He too professed his love and addiction to the coveted chiles. He ranted and raved, clenched his fists and closed his eyes for a few moments, paying what I only understood to be a brief homage to a sorely missed flavor from his hometown. New Mexicans are effing serious about their chile: to the bone).

top of menu at a local NM resto in Santa Fe....

For the Red Chile:
4-6 tbsp dried ground NM red chile
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried cumin
a couple liberal pinches salt
a grind of pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tablespoon lard (just cause I had it around)
4 c stock
1 yellow or white onion, finely diced
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 c water, or more, as needed.

Whisk 1 tbsp of the flour into the red chile in a bowl, set aside. In saucepan, heat oil and lard over medium heat. When lard is melted evenly sprinkle the other tbsp flour, and whisk to develop a roux. When it turns golden, add a touch more oil to keep it loose and sweat garlic and onions until translucent, which will happen quickly. Add chile and flour mixture. A paste will form. Stir briskly and add stock a bit at a time. Cook for a few minutes and add oregano, cumin, salt and black pepper. Turn heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered for 45 minutes -1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add water at evenly spaced intervals, since sauce will be reducing and melding. You’re aiming for a thickened sauce that’s not at all see-through. You’ll know when it’s done when the aroma of red chile’s permeates your entire apt.

(NOTE: We’re using this sauce for the pork tamale filling, but you can put it on ANYthing. Eggs, as pictured above, (yum), or any meat will be happy to be smothered in it.)
This recipe yields about 3-4 cups

For the Pork:
2 lbs pork shoulder, trimmed of fat, room temp.
2 tbsp dried ground red chile
oil for searing
red chile sauce

Once you’ve got your sauce simmering you can deal with the pork. Preheat your oven to 280. Pat it dry and rub down with the salt & chile. (you could rub it with the chile prior to getting the sauce going—giving it more time to take hold of the meat). Place dutch oven over a high flame and add the oil. Once the oil is about smoking, drop the pork on in. Sear on all sides for 20-30 seconds (or so) each.

Add 2 cups of the red chile to the pork (it does not have to be finished), turn oven down to 225, and cook for 1.5-2hrs.

Check it about half way through, and flip meat over. Once it’s cooked and cooled slightly, drain the liquid and set aside, skim as much fat as possible as it cools. Place pork on a cutting board and tear apart using 2 forks. Toss pulled meat back in pot and add a ladle full of chile, (you can use the liquid you just took out of the pork, which is now deliciously porky red chile sauce). You don’t want it to be soupy, or too gooey. Your end result should be be dry enough to be clump-able—it needs to hold its shape. Finally, place pot over low flame, leaving it uncovered to dry the filling out a bit/really incorporate the chile sauce. Reserve for future tamale making…

to be continued…

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From Dish Erin:

It was 5 degrees today in NYC. 5! I saw a polar bear hanging out on 7th street today on my way home tonight and thought, I have to get out of here. As I perused the super market aisles tonight I decided I needed a gastronomic vacation to somewhere warm. At that very moment a delightful man sampling olive oil from Crete asked me if I’d like to try a taste of the Greek Isles. Why yes, Nico, I would! In fact, I’d like to cook something so delicious and otherworldly that I completely forget that I’m living in the arctic tundra right now where things like this happen in my hood.

I love Greek food. It’s unfussy and every dish has a convivial simplicity to it. I’ve tried my hand at a lot of it, lamb kabobs, spanakopita, stuffed grape leaves, tsatziki…and I can eat my weight in Kalamata olives. Tonight I tested the classic but never-before-attempted shrimp saganaki, a fairly simple but hearty dish of shrimp baked in tomatoes and feta cheese. I added my own spin by adding a little spinach–which allowed me to adhere to my strict one-pot dinner rule on Mondays. Saganaki apparently gets it’s name from the type of dish it’s baked and served in (usually a little ‘crock’ or skillet). You could totally cook it in a saute pan and serve on a plate, but a little personal pot is so much more fun.

Let’s go to Greece.

You will need:
*A small, oven safe ‘casserole’ dish, the exact size you’d need for a personal chicken pot pie, or a small au gratin or cast iron dish.
*4 jumbo shrimp, deveined and peeled
1/4 cup white wine
Salt & pepper
Olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes
2-3 cloves garlic, mined
1/2 small yellow onion, sliced very thin into half moons
3-4 kalamata olives, minced finely almost into a ‘paste’
A heaping handful of baby spinach
1/2 can of diced tomatoes
Oregano, thyme (fresh or dried, your pick)
Lemon wedge
Crumbled feta
Chopped parsley for topping

*My saucy lil husband was at class tonight, so I was cooking for one. Just double this recipe for 2, triple for 3 and well…you get the idea.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Marinate the shrimp in the wine and a bit of salt and pepper. (While this is marinating, you can mince the garlic and onion and prep the ingredients.)

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and a couple shakes of red pepper flakes over medium heat. Add the shrimp and the marinade to the pan. Cook the shrimp 1 minute, then flip to the other side and cook 1 minute more.

Remove shrimp from the pan with tongs and place into a little oven safe dish. Layer them on the bottom of the pan on their sides. (You can remove the tails if you like, I think it provides more flavor and I’m lazy so I leave them on.)

Add the garlic and onion to the pan and sweat until translucent. Add the olive ‘paste’, herbs, and stir. Then add the tomatoes and spinach, squeeze a wedge of lemon and stir to incorporate completely. Add more salt and pepper to taste but keep in mind that you’re going to add feta cheese add the end so don’t over salt now.

Turn off the heat and pour the entire mixture over the shrimp. Top with crumbled feta cheese and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese has gotten gooey and the casserole is bubbling.

Serve with chopped parsley and enjoy with a glass of wine and a beautiful, glowing vista of Mykonos. Opa!

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From Dish Nicole:

It seems as though Dish Paige and I are on the same page this January. I too have been craving the comfort foods of winter and decided to make an old classic: Mac and Cheese! (Mine being a much less healthy version.) After living in Brooklyn for over 3 years I have come to adore it and have sort of become a Brooklyn snob. Actually it didn’t take 3 years for my love to develop. I like to think that Brooklyn has the best coffee shops, bagels, and restaurants in all of New York City and I don’t think that I am alone in that belief. Knowing my fondness for Brooklyn and eating in its wonderful establishments, my loving boyfriend bought me The New Brooklyn Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from 31 Restaurants That Put Brooklyn on the Culinary Map. I of course was thrilled and couldn’t wait to try some of my favorite dishes. I figured most of them would be complicated in that “this took hours and hours to prep and cook by Brooklyn’s best Chefs” sort of way. I happen to frequent one of the restaurants featured in the book quite often: Dumont. I decided I would start with an all time favorite, Dumont’s famous Dumac and cheese. The results are always amazing and definitely not for the faint of heart or stomach. Of course the recipe they provide is PERFECT but you can always add extras to make it your own.

What you need:
2 cups whole milk
2 ½ cups heavy cream
1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
1 pound pasta: elbow, radiatore or fusilli (which is what I chose)
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup flour
½ pound Gruyère, grated and divided
½ pound extra sharp cheddar, grated and divided
¼ cup unseasoned bread crumbs
Salt and pepper as needed

Fresh parsley to garnish
Thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped
1 teaspoon nutmeg

(Note: before starting the mac and cheese process I pre-cooked the bacon until crisp and set it aside.)

First thing’s first: you can start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees and cooking the pasta in salted water. The book recommends cooking only until its al dente. At the same time, heat the milk and cream in a sauce pan over medium heat until warm. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and set aside in a bowl and toss with olive oil. Next, melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until it is smooth. The mixture should look golden brown. Slowly add in the warmed milk mixture and whisk until smooth, being careful not to let it burn. At this point you can add salt and pepper to your liking. I chose to add in nutmeg and found it really enhanced the flavor. Turn the heat to low and slowly add in ½ of the Gruyère and ½ of the cheddar. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Now that the sauce is done, add the pasta to the mixture and coat completely. Transfer the pasta and sauce to a buttered baking dish or gratin dish. I chose to use my extra large cast iron skillet. Add the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs to the top of the mac and cheese and cook for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. The end result should be browned and bubbling.

Garnish with parsley and bacon and enjoy with a nice glass of wine! It’s a very heavy dish so invite over friends to help you feast. I have to say that I was impressed at how closely my attempt tasted like Dumont’s. I guess I will have to go back again soon just to be sure!

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