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Archive for January, 2013

From Dish Erin:

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A few months ago I took a Curries of Asia class at the Brooklyn kitchen, which was fascinating because it completely changed everything I know about curry. In the West curry usually means the yellow powder, which is actually a blend of many spices that includes the curry plant, and it’s often an acquired taste. But in the East, the term “curry” refers to any dish that includes the actual curry plant in it, and is used similarly to how we use the terms “soup” and “stew” in the West. It’s completely subjective to the region, the ingredients available, and the cook that’s preparing it. There are literally billions of types of curries. One of the most interesting ones to me was Japanese curry because it’s still spicy but it has a bit of sweetness from an unexpected and secret ingredient.

You’ll need to make a roux for this dish, which is a fancy word for a mixture of flour and butter that is used as a thickening agent. This roux naturally has an Asian influence with tonkatsu sauce, which is halfway between a Japanese ketchup and oyster sauce. You can find it at most Asian grocery stores, but if you can’t find it, use oyster sauce instead. Garam masala is similar to curry powder, and available at most Asian and Indian grocery stores. If you can’t find it, you can use curry powder instead.

For the roux:

3 tbs butter
1/4 cup flour
2 tbs garam masala or curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tbs ketchup
1 tbs tonkatsu or oyster
Make the roux first:

curry

Melt butter on low heat, stir in flour and curry powder until a thick paste, add cayenne, black pepper, ketchup and tonkatsu, cook until crumbly (will look like a dry paste), remove from heat. Set aside. (This roux can be used immediately, kept in the fridge for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.)

For the curry:
2 tbs oil vegetable or peanut oil
2 large onions sliced thin
1 package extra firm tofu cubed
3 carrots cubed
enough water to cover veggies
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1 Fuji apple micro planed
1 pack white beech mushrooms
1 Japanese eggplant, diced
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garam masala
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup frozen peas

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Sauté onions in oil until caramelized. Add carrots and stir to coat, then water and bring to a boil.

add curry mushroom

Lower heat and add potatoes, apple, mushroom, eggplant, salt, tofu and garam masala. Stir to incorporate.

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Whisk 1 cup chicken stock into roux to reconstitute it and pour into the curry pot. Stir until mixed in thoroughly and cover.

Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 30 min. About 5 minutes before removing from heat, add peas, stir and cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve over jasmine rice.

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Note: the longer this cooks, the more fragrant it becomes, so you can absolutely cook it really low for 1-2 hours in a slow cooker.

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From Dish Danielle:

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Over holiday break I spent a cozy week in Northern Indiana’s cornfield country with my beau and his family. It was much colder than it’s been here in Brooklyn, and one snowy evening, I caught a hankering for some sort of ‘red wine & chicken’ supper. After a short trip to their local organic market and an even shorter trip into Evelyn’s pantry (where she’s got her summer garden’s remaining bounty) she & I decided to whip up our own speedier rendition of the French classic ‘Coq au Vin.’

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 2 large chicken breasts w/skin, cut in half
  • 4 chicken thighs with skin
  • cumin
  • S&P
  • about 2 c dry red wine (we used a pinot noir that was on hand)
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 1 HUGE leek, sliced & rinsed thoroughly
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 6 fresh rosemary springs
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 add’l garlic cloves sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsps all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ c chicken stock
  • 1 c beef stock
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 carrots, peeled & diced into 1½ ” pieces
  • 4 parsnips, peeled & diced into 1½” pieces

The first thing we did was prep the chicken: I consulted a few recipes online, and most of them called for an overnight marinade. As it was already after 7pm, Evelyn and I decided to give the chicken a nice flavorful rub to ensure its deliciousness and eliminate the need to put the meal off another day. So: pat chicken dry and sprinkle cumin, salt & pepper on all sides liberally. Then rub the minced garlic onto chicken on all sides.

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Place a deep cast iron over medium high heat. Add a splash of olive oil. Sear chicken on all sides and remove from pan. Reduce heat to med-low. Sprinkle flour into same pan and stir into oil/juices leftover from chicken.

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Add shallots & leeks and sauté for 4mins. Now add wine, 3 of the thyme & rosemary springs, sliced garlic, peppercorns, and both stocks to the pan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and add carrots and parsnips. Cover and cook for 5 mins.

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Now place the chicken back into the pan, cover and cook for about 12-15 more minutes, until the chicken is cooked through, (about 6mins in I removed the wilted thyme/rosemary sprigs and replaced with the remaining fresh ones). You’re almost ready for a cozy winter feast! At this point, some recipes remove the chicken & root veggies and reduce the liquid further. We were starving and didn’t bother with that nonsense. Either way your meal will be delicious—no matter how thick your sauce.

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Serve with a winter green, (we chose brussel sprouts); pour a round of red, and bon appétit to a lovely winter meal in with the family.

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….Is that just a leek in your grocery bag or are you just happy to cook an SLD!!??

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From Dish Nicole:

Gnocci glam

I have a love-hate relationship with gnocchi. I love it when it’s light and fluffy and has just the right amount of sauce. I hate it when it’s heavy, gluey and starchy. My fiancé and I attempted to make potato gnocchi a while ago and the outcome ended up heavy and gluey. We tried baking the potatoes then ricing them. We tried boiling the potatoes. Different kinds of potatoes. Every recipe had a different approach and none of them were better than “just okay”. We then visited Lupa, one of Mario Batali’s restaurants and had his ricotta gnocchi. The man knows his pasta. It was the best gnocchi we had ever had (actually everything we had was pretty fantastic). It was like eating a savory cloud. We couldn’t stop thinking about it and went back again. Then I realized that the consistency I was looking for all along was that of ricotta gnocchi. So I found a recipe I liked and got to work. It turned out PERFECT and was super easy. Don’t get me wrong I have had fabulous potato gnocchi, but it’s much more labor intensive. This recipe (taken from Epicurious) is less time consuming and will impress the pants off your friends- it’s that good.

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Serves 4

2 cups whole-milk ricotta (1 pound)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3 ounces), divided

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 stick unsalted butter

2-4 large sage leaves torn into pieces

Parchment paper to layout the pre-cooked gnocchi

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Stir together the ricotta, eggs, 1 cup of the cheese, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add in the flour and form into a wet sticky dough.

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Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface with lightly floured hands into 1-inch-thick ropes. Cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces and place on a floured parchment-lined baking sheet.

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Cook gnocchi in batches in a large pot of boiling salted water, adding a few at a time to the pot and stirring occasionally, until cooked through (cut one in half to check). I found that 3 minutes was the perfect amount of time. Lift out with a slotted spoon and set aside.

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While cooking the gnocchi, cook the butter and sage in a skillet over medium heat until the butter is golden brown. (approx 5 minutes). Toss in the gnocchi and serve with the remaining cheese sprinkled on top.

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I think Mario would approve.

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From Dish Rachelle:

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I love brunch but on a chilly January Sunday, sometimes I love lounging in my sweatpants even more. What’s a Dish to do?

The answer’s surprisingly obvious: if you can’t bring the people to the croque madame, bring the croque madame to the people. To be honest, this isn’t my go-to brunch order (I’m more of an omelette or pancakes kind of girl) but I recently saw two internet recipes that inspired me to give this gourmet ham, egg and cheese another shot.

The first is this breakfast sandwich post from Ideas in Food, one of my husband’s favorite cooking blogs. He sent it to me because he knows there’s a special place in my heart for “Egg in the Bread” aka “Toad in the Hole” because my parents used to make it for me when I was little and I still cook it for us every once in a while.

The second is Ruth Reichl’s grilled cheese recipe from her How to Make it Better series for Gilt Taste. I incorporated many of her suggestions here and as promised, my sandwich was better for it.

I’m not going to get overly precise in my measurements here because seriously, it’s brunch – if we can’t be laid-back before noon on a Sunday, then really, when can we be?

Also: do you know how to make ANYTHING better? Add cats.
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Ingredients (serves two)

4 slices country bread

butter for spreading

shredded gruyere cheese (start with about a cup – if you need more, go for it)

1-1 ½ tablespoons chopped shallot

black pepper

2 slices of ham

mayo for spreading

more butter for cooking

2 eggs

Diet food, this isn’t:

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Start by layering one slice of bread on top of another and creating a hole in the center using a cookie cutter. Extra points if it’s cat-shaped. Repeat for second sandwich.

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Mix together the grated gruyere with the chopped shallots and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.

Butter the inside of each slice of bread. If the butter’s too cold and/or the bread’s too delicate, warm it in the microwave for 15 seconds.

Butter side up, sprinkle a healthy amount of the cheese mixture on two slices of bread (one for each sandwich). Avoid the hole in the center.

Cover the cheese with a slice of ham, tearing it into pieces if necessary to arrange it around the cat.
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Sprinkle just a bit more cheese over the ham and then close the sandwich, lining up the holes. Spread a thin layer of mayo on the outside of the bread and flip, carefully, to repeat on the other side.

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Once both sandwiches are closed, melt a tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Carefully place your sandwiches in the hot butter and crack an egg in the center of each one.

Cook on one side until golden brown, about 4 minutes, and then flip. Cook until bottom side is golden brown and the egg has reached a desired level of doneness.

Serve immediately, with a nice helping of dressed greens, Brooklyn brunch style.

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From Dish Amelia:
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A person makes beans for a lot of reasons…economy and health spring immediately to mind..I made these ones in honor of Rico, a very good bean maker, a remarkable “maker” in general. My dad gave me a bag of these Anasazi beans a while ago from New Mexico. They are in the pinto family, but maybe slightly larger and differently dappled. He also gave me the awesome micaceous pot I used, which is as fabulous for cooking beans as it is to look at.  He also gave me a number of old New Mexican cookbooks, (almost all pamphlet-size, as old regional ones often are), which I consulted before riffing on the bean making. He actually gave me all those nice items at different times, they just happened to convene at the perfect moment early in this New Year.  (Thanks Dad). And here you go Rico.

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2.5 cups dry beans

3 cloves garlic, smashed

A few pinches dried New Mexican red chile

1 tsp sugar

1 tablespoon lard

2 tsp kosher salt

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Wash the beans and then cover them with an inch of water and let them soak overnight.

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It’s great if you have a bunch of work to do at home the next day, and you can mind the beans. (It doesn’t take forever, and there are ways of shortening the process, but if you have the time, why not take the long way. It’s prettier. )

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Put the beans and the remaining soaking liquid into your pot. Add the smashed garlic and tsp of sugar. Bring this to a boil. The first time it does this it will kind of foam up, so turn the heat down a little and it goes away.

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Cook the beans, giving them a stir once in a while. You may need to add a little water as it evaporates. One of the benefits of the form of this pot is that it’s deep and the shape sort of restrains the way the contents evaporate. Cook for 2 hours. When beans are tender and nearly done, add the salt, chile and lard. Stir a bit and let it come together maybe fifteen minutes more. They really taste fantastic. These Anasazi beans cook a little faster than regular pintos, which could take up to four hours. The beans should be getting somewhat dry, but I like all that soupy business with rice etc, so you be the judge. Here’s to health, wealth, and timing.

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From Dish Danielle:

upclose churn

I know it’s freezing out, but I am an ice cream maniac who finds any excuse to whip up a homemade batch. My latest ice cream intention was for a New Years Eve party I co-hosted for some dear friends who recently got engaged, (Congrats DZF & VMF!)… A party at the Whisk & Ladle ain’t no party without ice cream cones served around midnight, so I got to work.

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Ingredients:
2 c buttermilk (try to get full fat if you can find it)
2 c heavy cream
5 egg yolks
¾-1 c sugar, give or take
pinch of salt
zest & juice of 1 lemon

*you’ll also need some sort of ice cream churning apparatus

yolk

Gently bring buttermilk & heavy cream to just under a boil in a medium stockpot. While it’s warming, crack your eggs and toss yolks into a med sized bowl. Whisk sugar (start with ¾ c) into yolks once liquid is up to temp.

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Now you’ll need to temper your yolks, which is the one delicate part of this recipe: If you’re doing this alone place yolk bowl atop a pot holder/dish towel so it doesn’t slide around your counter. Using a liquid measuring cup with a spout, scoop up 1c of the warm mixture. Begin whisking yolks with one hand. Don’t stop. Use other to pour the hot mixture into yolks in a very slow, steady stream. Don’t stop whisking. Once it’s all in there you can dump the tempered yolks back into the stockpot. Over a med-low flame, continue to cook custard, stirring constantly. Add dash of salt. Taste the custard to see if you’d like to add a little more sugar, (do that now if so). You’ll know it’s ready when the custard thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

stir

Immediately remove custard from pot and pour into metal bowl. Ice-bath it to cool it down before storing it in fridge, (meaning, place the metal bowl of hot custard into a larger bowl full of ice & cold water. Stir to speed up cooling process).

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Leave the custard in fridge until it’s as cold as the fridge, (either overnight or about 3 hours). Once the custard is cold, zest & juice your lemon. Toss the zest & half of its juice in. Taste the custard and decide if you want to add the remaining lemon juice.

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Now you’re ready to churn this delicious batch of ice cream!  Serve some killer ice cream cones to your favorite peeps. Happy New Years y’all!

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From Dish Deanna:

Taco

During the holidays I always find myself over-doing it with food. I look forward to Christmas and New Year celebrations being over because I know that I can start fresh. This year I was so overwhelmed with cookies, cakes, chocolate, and dinners that I thought I was going to explode. I knew it was bad when I started wearing bigger sweaters.  Bigger sweaters made me realize that I needed to immediately start eating smaller portions. Mini Tacos are a great way to control your portion size and can be served in many settings. I find they are easy to make for a simple night in or even if you’re entertaining a group of people.  For this recipe I enlisted the help of my best friend, Jodi!  We had a great time making these.

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Ingredients:

2 cooked chicken breasts

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper, to taste

24 (3-inch) corn tortillas

Shredded cheddar cheese

Shredded lettuce

Hot sauce (optional)

Sour cream (optional)

Toothpicks

Yields: 24 mini tacos, but can certainly be cut down if only meant for one or two people

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Start by finely shredding the chicken by hand and place into a medium bowl. Add lime juice, chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Toss the mixture until it is thoroughly combined. Next, shred the lettuce.

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Lay the tortillas out for stuffing! If you can’t find mini tortillas, use a 3 inch round cookie cutter and make cut outs from larger tortillas. Place some cheddar cheese on the bottom, a big pinch of chicken, and some lettuce on the tortilla. Wrap up the tortilla and pierce with a toothpick.

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Right before you serve, stick the tacos in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or so until the tortillas are soft and the cheese is melted.

These mini tacos are so good you’ll want to eat them all!

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