Monday, July 29, 2013

Banh Mi with Lemongrass Pork

Banh Mi is about the only Vietnamese dish I have any familiarity with, so I figured I'd try making my own. The marinade for the pork is very sweet (and the pickled carrots and daikon - called Do Chau - have sweetness to them as well), but the cilantro and pickled jalapenos help balance everything. Recipe adapted from:

Do Chau:
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned (about 1.5 cups)
¼ large daikon radish, peeled and julienned (about 1.5 cups)
1.5 cups rice vinegar
1.5 cups warm water
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

I cut my carrot and daikon into 1/8” julienne using a mandolin. Place the cut veggies into a container. Pour the warm water in a pyrex measuring cup (or other container) and add the sugar and salt, stirring to dissolve. Add to the container with the veggies, along with the rice vinegar. Refrigerate until ready to use. These should last in the refrigerator for at least a month.

1 lb. pork loin
¼ cup minced lemongrass
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 large shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Cube the pork into 1” chunks and add to a Ziploc bag with the rest of the marinade ingredients. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for 1 to 2 hours.

Remove the pork from the marinade. Heat a large pan over medium high heat and cook pork for about 4 minutes, flipping the meat halfway through.

Serve on a long roll with do chau, pickled jalapenos and cilantro.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Shrimp with Cuban Polenta and Guajillo Salsa

This is my take on shrimp and grits, using a Cuban style polenta recipe from Gran Cocina Latina and a salsa from Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday

Guajillo Salsa (makes ~3/4 cup):
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 guajillo chilis, stems removed
4-6 (1/2 lb.) tomatillos, husked, washed and halved
3 cloves garlic, peeled

Remove the stems from the chilis and remove the seeds if you wish. I left some of them in for additional spice. Heat a pan over medium, add the oil and the chilis. Cook the chilis for about 30 seconds per side. Remove, cut into a few pieces and add to a blender jar.

Add the tomatillos and garlic to the pan and cook for a few minutes, until the tomatillos and garlic get some color on them, then flip and repeat. Add to the blender jar.

Blend the mixture into a liquid. Season with salt and refrigerate to store.

3 tbsp olive oil
2 large tomatoes (12 oz.), peeled, seeded and diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, mashed with a mortar and pestle, or finely chopped and mashed
1 teaspoon salt

For our purposes, this will make a bunch of extra sofrito, but you can use the leftovers in all sorts of dishes, so just make the full recipe.

Heat the oil in a 12” pan until it shimmers. Add the garlic, sautee for 20 seconds, then add the onions and cook until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and salt and cook for 10 minutes, until the tomatoes soften and the fat is separated from the solids and starts to shimmer again.

Polenta (for 2):
¾ cup coarse yellow cornmeal (polenta)
2 ¼ cup water

Bring the water to a boil in a medium pan, add some salt, then slowly add the cornmeal. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Ladle in 1 cup of sofrito and cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Add salt if needed.

Shrimp (for 2):
12 to 16 medium shrimp, deveined, shelled (tails on)
1 ½ sticks of butter (may need more depending on pan)
Salt (if using unsalted butter)
1 tbsp water

Heat 1 tbsp of water to a boil in a medium pot, whisk in the butter in a few additions to emulsify.  Add salt if using unsalted butter. Bring to a simmer, add the shrimp (make sure you have enough butter to cover the shrimp) and cover, simmering for 3 minutes.

Remove shrimp from butter and serve on top of polenta. Spoon some salsa on top and garnish with cilantro.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Succotash Burgers

I’m more familiar with succotash as half of a Looney Toons catchphrase rather than a dish, but I saw a recipe for succotash burgers that seemed like a great summer meal. Being unfamiliar with succotash, much less making it into burgers, I didn’t deviate too far from the basic recipe although I did opt for a remoulade sauce that was an amalgamation of what I had around the kitchen.

It should be noted that shaping the patties – and keeping them from falling apart – is not the easiest task in the world. The original recipe called for 1 egg to help bind the mixture, but I ended up needing 2. Also, I had a few uncooked patties I left in the fridge overnight – these seemed to stay together a little better, so if you have some extra time consider extending the 30 minutes of refrigeration that the recipe calls for.

2/3 cup uncooked lima beans
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ears corn (about 1.5 cups)
2 green onions, sliced thin
½ cup diced red pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 cup panko bread crumbs (plus more for dredging)
1 cup Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
2 eggs
Sliced Vidalia onion
Tomato slices
6 kaiser rolls
Remoulade (recipe follows)

Heat a pot of water and drop in the lima beans. Bring to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand, covered for 1 hour.

Place the beans in a food processor with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and pulse until finely chopped (but not mush).

Meanwhile, shuck the corn and remove the kernels. Place in boiling water for 3 minutes, drain and rinse under cold water. Place in a large bowl along with the gren onions, red pepper, garlic, bread crumbs, cheese, eggs, lima beans, and some salt and pepper. Work the mixture with your hands, and make 6 patties. Cover and refrigerate the patties for half an hour.

Heat a skillet over medium, and add in a splash of olive oil. Cook for onion slices for a few minutes, until softened and they get a little color to them. Remove from the pan, add a little more oil if you think you need it and add the burgers (you’ll need to do this in two batches) and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes a side.

Toast the rolls/buns while the burgers cook. Top each burger with a slice of tomato, onions, and spread some remoulade on the bun.

1 cup mayonnaise
½ teaspoon bbq seasoning
¼ teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon relish
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon deli style mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in small food processor. Pulse to combine. Refrigerate extra.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mango and Papaya Gazpacho

Gazpacho season is here, because frankly it’s too hot to turn the oven on. This recipe is an adaptation of Daniel Humm’s Strawberry Gazpacho that I’ve made before.  The basil I used was basil ararat from my garden, which turns from purple to green once it has been growing for a while (and my plant is getting quite large), hence why the purple basil listed in the ingredients below is green in the photos.

Mango and Papaya Gazpacho:
3 mangoes, peeled and diced
1 papaya, seeds removed, rind removed, diced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 tomato, diced
2 green onions, sliced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1.5 teaspoons salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil (use the good stuff for this)
2 cups bread chunks (i.e. 1” dice -  I used a large Italian style roll)

If ever you wanted to practice your knife work, here’s your chance. There’s no need to make this look perfect, so precision is not needed. For the mangoes, peel the skins off them, then cut the sides of the flesh off as close to the pit as you can. Dice and add to a large bowl.

For the papayas, split them into quarters (skin on), then use a spoon to scoop out the black seeds. Using a spoon or a knife, loose the flesh from the skin, roughly dice and add to the bowl with the mangoes.

Cut everything else that needs to be cut, and add to the same bowl, along with the vinegar, salt, olive oil and bread chunks, and give it a good mix with your hands. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temp for 4 to 6 hours.

After the ingredients have sufficiently marinated, pour everything into a blender (you’ll need to do this in 2 batches) and blend until smooth. Add to a large bowl. If the consistency is too thick, add some water to thin it out. Refrigerate until chilled before serving.

2 cups diced bread (1” or so dice – Italian or French baguette works great)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
4 sprigs fresh thyme

Heat a large pan over medium, add oil and give it a sec to get warm, then add the bread, garlic and thyme. Give it a good toss to coat the bread and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the bread starts to get crispy.

Mango Confit:
1 mango, diced
¼ cup Vermouth, or dry white wine
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mango pieces offer little resistance to a fork. Strain out excess liquid.

Basil Oil:
1/3 cup Genovese basil leaves (regular green basil)
¼ cup olive oil

Blanch the basil leaves in boiling water for 10 seconds, remove and rinse under cold water. Add to a dish (pyrex measuring cup works well here) with the oil and blitz with a stick blender. Strain through a small strainer to remove excess solids. Let sit for 15 minutes before using.

To serve:
Mango Confit
Slice of Serrano Ham
Purple Basil Leaves (Ararat Basil)
Basil Oil
Coriander Flowers

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Oven-Smoked Ribs

Properly made barbecue is one of the tastiest things you can do with tough cuts of meat, however when you live in an apartment some concessions have to be made. Luckily Mark Bittman has a method for cooking ribs in the oven while achieving a smoky flavor. I like to think of this as ghetto-smoked ribs.

Smoked Ribs:
1 slab of pork loin ribs (about 14” long)
Wood chips (I used hickory)
Mustard Rub (recipe follows)
Spice Rub (recipe follows)

Mustard Rub:
¼ cup Dijon mustard
Splash of vermouth
Dash of Frank’s hot sauce

Spice Rub:
1 tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tablespoon dried brown sugar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground thyme
½ teaspoon ground coriander seeds
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon ground fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon ground cumin seeds

Take your slab of pork loin ribs and if the white membrane is still on the underside of the ribs, remove it by jimmying it free with a knife and pulling. Your butcher may have already done this for you. Brush the mustard on both sides of the ribs, then liberally sprinkle on the spice rub on both sides. Place in a large dish, cover, and let your ribs sit in the fridge for 24 hours. If you didn’t think that far ahead, you can skip the ‘marinating’ time and season right before you cook them.

Set your oven to 225°F. In the bottom of a roasting pan, place a layer of wood chips and fill with enough water to juuuuust cover the chips. Place the roasting rack directly on top, and put your ribs on the rack (my setup was slightly more ghetto, but the same idea).

Using tin foil, create a tent around the roasting dish. You want some headspace above the ribs for the smoke/steam to circulate, and you also want to be sure that you’ve created a sealed, closed environment so that no smoke will escape. This takes a fair amount of foil.

Once your aluminum igloo is constructed, place the pan in the oven and cook for 2.5 to 3 hours. Remove the ribs from the roasting pan, and place under a broiler for 5 minutes.