Tuesday, February 22, 2011

And now to India by way of California...

This is the other dish I wanted to try from the San Francisco Chronicle's Sunday food section. It's duck tikka kebabs from an Indian restaurant called Amber India. I enjoyed the duck ragu I made so I wanted to try using duck again. I'm lucky to have a market nearby that carries alot of duck and the nice thing about this dish is that it comes together quickly. I'm also lucky to have an excellent Indian market near my house, Malabar. If you don't you should be able to order things online if interested.

The thickened yogurt needs to be started 3-4 hours earlier but I started it the night before so that I wouldn't have to worry about it.

Amber India Duck Tikka Kebabs my way

1 small carton non-fat Greek-style natural, unsweetened yogurt
1 whole or 2 1/2 boneless duck breasts (about 1 1/25 pounds total)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, pressed
~ 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
3 green cardamom pods, seeds only
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons mustard oil (less if you want less heat)
1 teaspoon red chile powder
2 teaspoons Kasturi methi or dried fenugeek leaves

Using 2 layers of cheesecloth drain away enough moisture from the yogurt overnight or for 3 to 4 hours in the refrigerator until it is pretty solid and looks like a little lump. You will need 3 tablespoons of the hung yogurt. I used skewers to hang the yogurt from the top of a Pyrex measuring cup.

Remove skin from duck breasts; trim away any fat and cut meat into 1-inch cubes and place in a bowl. Sprinkle lemon juice and salt over cubes and set aside.

Combine garlic, ginger and cardamom seeds in a bowl. Grind with a pestle until cardamom is fine. Add cumin, nutmeg and 3 tablespoons of the hung yogurt and blend into a smooth paste.

In a pan over medium heat the mustard oil until it is almost smoking. Stir in the red chile powder and Kasturi methi; remove from the heat. Add flavored oil to the yogurt mixture and mix well. Pour this marinade over the duck and coat all the cubes. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Remove duck from refrigerator, lift cubes from the marinade, and skewer. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until cooked to desired doneness.

Caper Dill Sauce
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 cup sour cream
~2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon drained capers, chopped
2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

In a small bowl, stir together the ingredients.

I served this with brown basmatic rice and garlic naan I purchased from the Indian market. The duck was pretty hot so the sauce, bread and naan help cool things down. The flavors were great and this cooked quickly. It'd be a great appetizer and you could grill it in the summer. Enjoy!

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/02/18/FDKT1HMTKA.DTL#ixzz1EkVqfnlT

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pork & Green Chile Pot Pie With Cornmeal-White Cheddar Crust

The San Francisco Chronicle's food section was especially tasty looking yesterday. There was an article regarding pot pies and I decided to try the pork version with a cornmeal cheddar crust. The article was written by Sarah Fritsche and there is a delicious looking lamb version, a tasty seafood version and even a roasted vegetable pot pie. This is a great rainy day meal and I had the day off for Presidents Day which was perfect since this takes a while. You can start the crust and filling the day before or otherwise give yourself some time to make this one.

Pork & Green Chile Pot Pie With Cornmeal-White Cheddar Crust my way

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/02/18/FDNE1HKDGM.DTL&ao=2#ixzz1EeaKi6Ch

For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup medium ground yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup grated white cheddar cheese
3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
Additional flour for rolling

Using a food processor, combine flour, cornmeal and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs. Add the cheese and pulse just until combined. Sprinkle in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Use just enough water so the dough holds together. Form the dough into a ball and flatten the top to form a disk. Wrap the dough completely in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour. The crust can be made to this point a day or two ahead.

2 large fresh Anaheim chiles
1 jalapeno chiles
2 large tomatillos, husks removed
1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless center cut pork loin, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and pressed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup pilsner-style beer, such as Red Stripe
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

Place a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the Anaheim chiles, jalapeno and tomatillos on a large foil-lined sheet pan. Roast in the oven until the skins are nicely blistered, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and place chiles in a large bowl, covered with plastic wrap to let cool (this will also make the chile skins easier to peel). Once cool, remove and discard the skins, stems and seeds (avoid rinsing, which will affect the flavor). Place the chiles and tomatillos in a food processor or blender and puree. Set aside.

Toss pork with flour, salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat. Brown pork. Set browned meat aside.

Reduce heat to medium. In the same pan, saute the onions until soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, chile powder and oregano; stir to combine and cook just until fragrant.

Increase heat to high and deglaze the pan with the beer, making sure to scrape up all the flavorful brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Let this reduce slightly and add the broth and reserved chile/tomatillo mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and add the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender and the liquid has reduced slightly. Add the reserved pork and any accumulated juices and cook for another couple of minutes, just to warm through. The filling can be made ahead to this point. If refrigerated, reheat and continue with recipe.

Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper, if desired.

To assemble and finish: Preheat oven to 350°. Pour the filling into a baking dish. Set aside and let cool slightly.

Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8 -inch thick and 2 inches larger than your casserole dish. Carefully transfer the dough to the casserole dish. Trim the edges to make a 1-inch overhang. Roll the edge under and crimp. Make several slits in the crust with a paring knife to release steam while the pot pie bakes.

Place the casserole dish on a foil-lined sheet pan and bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is hot and bubbly, about 45 to 50 minutes.

I cut this recipe in half. There was really not enough dough so for this blog I did not cut it in off. You'll probably end up with too much but save it and make little cheddar biscuits or as a crust for something else. It really is delicious.

This was really flavorful without too much heat. Please feel free to adjust the heat. This was a hit and I look forward to trying some other versions. Enjoy!

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/02/18/FDNE1HKDGM.DTL&ao=2#ixzz1EeaKi6Ch

Friday, February 18, 2011

Moroccan Chicken Stew

This is the other dish from Saveur magazine in my journey around the world. This is a Moroccan chicken dish with whole almonds and garbanzo beans. I made it last night up to adding the garbanzo beans. Tonight I re-heated it with more chicken stock and added the garbanzo beans. I cooked some frozen dinner rolls to sop up the sauce-delish. By the way the theme of this issue was butter but this dish only had 2 tablespoons of butter in it so not bad.

Moroccan Chicken Stew my way

2 whole chicken legs, cut into pieces, skin removed
1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
1⁄4 tsp. turmeric or saffron
1 teaspoon ground dried ginger
1 small cinnamon stick
2 tablespoon butter
1 red onion, thinly sliced
~3 cups chicken broth
1⁄4 cup chopped parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Combine chicken, almonds, turmeric, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and butter in a medium pot over medium heat; cook, turning, 3–4 minutes. Add the onions and 2 cups broth; boil. Reduce to medium-low; cook, covered, for 30 minutes.

Add the parsley to chicken; cover and cook until chicken is very tender, 25–30 minutes. The sauce should be thickened. If you are not going to serve this the evening you make it remove the cinnamon stick before refrigerating. Add the salt and chickpeas; heat through.

Mike and I really enjoyed this. I hope to try some more recipes from around the world. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kabul-Style Lamb and Rice Pilaf

I love to read Saveur Magazine. Each one is beautiful and has amazing stories about food, people and places. I picked a couple of recipes out of an issue that I wanted to try. The first is this lamb dish called Qabili Pilau, the national dish of Afghanistan. http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Kabul-Style-Lamb-and-Rice-Pilaf
It takes a while to cook so plan accordingly.

Qabili Pilau my way

1 cup brown basmati rice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
~1 pound boneless lamb london broil, cut into 1 1⁄2" pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium red onions, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and julienned
~4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄4 teaspoon ground black cardamom seeds, see below
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
Afghani flat bread, optional

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper and brown, turning occasionally, 8–10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lamb to a plate; set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add onions, and cook, stirring, until browned, 12 minutes. Return lamb to pot with 2 cups chicken stock; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until meat is tender, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, season with salt, and cook, stirring, until tender, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer carrots to a plate; set aside.

Combine coriander, cinnamon, pepper, cumin, cardamom and cloves in a bowl. Add rice to reserved pot; stir in half the spices and 2 cups stock; season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, without stirring, until liquid is just absorbed, 20 minutes. Add the rice and the carrots to the pan with the lamb. Cover; continue to cook until rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Stir rice, lamb and carrots together and season with salt and pepper.

I bought cardamom pods and crushed them in a mortar and pestle to get to the black seeds. I then crushed the seeds.

The flavors in this were really good. You could probably use boneless chicken as well. The original recipe called for raisins. Other recipes I looked at included blanched almonds or pistachios. I'm not wild about fruit in my meat dishes so I left them out. If I had seen the almonds in the other recipe I would have added them. Mike and I really enjoyed this. We didn't have the bread because of the rice but it would have been good with the sauce. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Beer-Braised Turkey Tacos

Last night while making the duck ragu I started the turkey for this recipe. I used a turkey thigh and it took over an hour to cook so plan accordingly. You could also use a turkey leg. Since you're braising the meat you want to use bone in pieces and I think dark meat would be best. Braising the thigh the night before meant the flavors melded overnight. You could start it up to 2 days ahead. I found this in Food & Wine by Deborah Schneider. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/beer-braised-turkey-tacos

Beer-Braised Turkey Tacos my way

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 bone-in turkey thigh, approximately 1 pound, skin and fat removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 large jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and diced (feel free to adjust to your taste-hotter or milder)
1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
1/2 fresno chile, stemmed, seeded and diced
One 2-inch cinnamon stick
One 12-ounce bottle Mexican dark beer, such as Modelo Negro
1/2 cup chicken stock (might need more for sauce)
6-8 small corn tortillas like La Tortilla Factory Hand Made Style Corn Tortillas, http://www.latortillafactory.com/products-8.aspx
Optional: sliced avocados, shredded red cabbage, sliced scallions, sour cream, lime wedges and hot sauce

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season the turkey with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until richly browned all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer the turkey to a plate.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the skillet along with the garlic, diced onion, oregano and jalapeño and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato, fresno and cinnamon stick and cook, stirring, until the tomato releases its juices, about 2-3 minutes.

Return the turkey to the skillet, add the beer and stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the turkey thigh is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Turn the thigh once or twice. Let cool. Discard the cinnamon stick. Refrigerate overnight.

Take turkey out of refrigerator and bring to room temperature, about 1/2 hour. Remove the turkey and bring the sauce to a boil over high heat in small pot. Add more stock if the sauce is too thick. Reduce to 1/4 cup, about 12 minutes. Using a hand held blender blend the sauce.

Remove the turkey meat and shred it. Add the turkey to the pot and stir into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the tortillas. I heat them directly on the gas burner. Wrap in foil and place in warm oven until ready to serve.

Serve the turkey with the tortillas and optional items. Make your tacos with your choice of garnishes.

These are messy and delicious and reminded me alittle of mole. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pappardelle with Duck Ragu

I am experimenting with other forms of poultry, tonight duck and tomorrow turkey. I found this recipe by Marco Canora in Food & Wine. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/pappardelle-with-duck-ragu

I bought the duck confit at the grocery store as per the recipe and bought fresh pasta too. If you're feeling industrious you could make the duck confit and the pasta. Buying both makes this a quick and easy dish.

Pappardelle with Duck Ragu my way

2 store-bought duck confit legs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, minced
2 carrots, minced
2 ribs of celery, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small rosemary sprig, chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 ounces fresh pappardelle
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Microwave the duck legs at high power for 1 minute, until warm. Remove the skin from the legs and discard any fat. Remove the meat from the bones and cut it into bite-sized pieces; discard the bones.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion, carrot and celery and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until slightly softened, 1 minute. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook, stirring, until browned, about 8 minutes. Add the rosemary and garlic and cook over high heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the duck and stir gently to coat with the vegetables. Add the wine and simmer for 1 minute. Add the stock and simmer until the liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in half of the butter. Cover and keep warm.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain. Add the pasta to the ragù and cook over moderate heat, stirring gently, until simmering. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Dish into flat wide bowls and add the cheese. I used a Petite Sirah from Main & Geary and we drank the rest with dinner. It was a good match. We loved this dish and I like the idea of using duck confit. I want to try this in another dish. Mike felt very sophisticated eating "Pappardelle with Duck Ragu" but really it's a rustic and homey dish. Enjoy!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Blondies for my baby

Abigail is back in NYC struggling with severe cold, snow and general winter misery. This is a California girl who is not used to extreme weather. I decided to make her a treat and send her some Vitamin D for these sun deprived months. I remembered an old and favorite blondie recipe from, I kid you not, Cosmopolitan magazine in the 80's. I must have made them for her dad. The way to a man's heart and all that. I wish I could give more credit where credit is due but this recipe is just too old.

Blondies for Abigail my way

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 small bag semisweet chocolate chips, about 1 cup
1 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 13" x 9" x 2" pan.

Mix together dry ingredients. In a stand up mixer cream butter and brown sugar together until light and creamy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla. Add dry ingredients and blend well. Add the chips.

Put in prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes until golden. Let cool before cutting into squares. Makes about 2 dozen, 2" squares.

These are rich and yummy, almost caramely. The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup chopped pecans and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Abigail is not crazy about them so I left them out. Feel free to add your favorites. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chicken Again!

I think I should write a chicken compilation cookbook I post so many chicken recipes. We do love chicken and eat it once or twice a week. I'm always looking for new recipes. This is my latest find: Cider Vinegar–Braised Chicken Thighs
Recipe by James Boyce from Food & Wine magazine. I cut the original recipe down for Mike & I and served it with roasted brussel sprouts. The original suggests serving with rice or noodles to soak up the sauce. The sauce is delicious and Mike threatened to lick his plate.

Apple Cider Vinegar–Braised Chicken Thighs my way

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 chicken thighs, skin removed and fat trimmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 carrots, sliced 1/3 inch thick
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a oven-stove safe pan, heat the olive oil. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add them to the casserole. Cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter.

Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the casserole. Add the carrots, garlic and leek and cook over low heat until crisp-tender, 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute. Add the vinegar and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook until thickened, 3 minutes.

Add the broth, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Nestle the chicken in the sauce. Transfer the pan to the oven and braise the chicken for about 50 minutes, until cooked through.

If roasting vegetables add them to the oven when chicken is about 1/2 done. Transfer the chicken to the same baking sheet. Roast on the middle rack of the oven until the chicken is golden, about 4 minutes.

Simmer the sauce over moderate heat until reduced and thickened, 10 minutes. Stir in the butter until melted. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Spoon the sauce over the chicken and vegetables.

Mike couldn't stop raving about this dish. If we had had bread we would have sopped up any remaining sauce with it. Enjoy!