Sunday, December 15, 2013

Thai Spicy Beef (Nuer Phad Phed)

I’m not too familiar with Thai food, but I’m always looking for recipes that are quick and do-able on a weeknight, and stir fries like this certainly fit the bill. This recipe comes from the book Simply Thai Cooking. It should be noted that “20 basil leaves” is a rule of thumb the book uses, so it doesn’t need to be exact at all. I didn’t have any Thai basil (I actually had some bi-colored basil growing in the summer that would’ve subbed well) so I used regular basil.

Thai Spicy Beef (Nuer Phad Phed) (Serves 2)
10 oz. Flank steak, trimmed of excess fat
¼ medium green pepper
¼ medium red bell pepper (plus some extra for garnish)
Snap peas (enough for 2 servings, so like a big handful)
Canola/vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chopped garlic (1 clove)
2 tablespoons red curry paste
5 tablespoons coconut milk
2 lime leaves, torn into thirds (I substituted lime zest and a bay leaf)
½ cup bamboo shoot strips
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
20 fresh Thai basil leaves

Cut the beef into pieces that are ¼” thick, 1” wide and 2” long. Dice the peppers. Set aside some strips of the peppers for garnish. Get the rest of the ingredients ready as the cooking goes quickly and you’ll be too busy stirring to prep ingredients, open cans, etc.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add vegetable or canola oil (the original recipe calls for 5 tablespoons, I used something in the neighborhood of 2.5-3 tablespoons) and heat until it’s just about to smoke. Add the curry paste and garlic, stirring and frying for 45 seconds, then add the coconut milk and lime leaves. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until thick and bubbly.

Add the beef, the bamboo shoot strips, the snap peas and the peppers all together. Stir fry for 1 minute. Add the fish sauce and sugar and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, until the peppers are softened. Add ¾ of the basil and cook for 45 additional seconds.

Serve over rice, and garnish with remaining basil and pepper strips.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Gastrique

More cranberry action this week. A gastrique is a sweet and sour sauce which pairs really nicely with pork and duck. In this case I’m going with a pork tenderloin, which I brined and pan roasted. I slightly modified the gastrique recipe from here:

Brined Pork Tenderloin
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 to 1.5 lbs.
1 carrot, sliced
2 shallots, sliced
5 cloves garlic, husks removed but left whole
1 celery stalk, chopped
15 ounces water
1.5 ounces salt
Black pepper
½ teaspoon mustard seed
6 allspice berries
1 sprig rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 lemon
15 ounces ice

Heat a 12” pan over medium and add in a bit of olive oil. Add the carrots, shallots, garlic and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the 15 ounces of water along with the salt, black pepper, mustard seed, allspice, rosemary, thyme and brown sugar. Squeeze juice of the lemon into the liquid, then add in the actual lemon. Bring to a simmer.

Weigh out 15 ounces of ice in a large bowl. Pour the brining liquid into the ice bowl, and stir to melt the ice. The liquid should be at room temp (or cooler, that’s fine. As long as it isn’t hot so it doesn’t cook the pork). Pour the liquid into a 1 gallon Ziploc bag. Add in the pork tenderloin, and place in the refrigerator. Let the meat brine for 4 to 6 hours.

When it’s time to cook the tenderloin, remove from the brine and pat dry. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Heat a 12” cast iron skillet over high heat. Add in a splash of canola oil, then add the tenderloin, browning about 30 seconds a side. Place the skillet in the oven, and cook the tenderloin until it hits an internal temperature of 140°F (about 10 minutes). Remove and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Cranberry gastrique:
¾ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup red wine
¾ cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
¾ cup sugar

Add everything to a small pot and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until reduced by half, which should take 15 minutes.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Turkey Arepas with Cranberry Salsa

If you’re looking for something different to do with Thanksgiving leftovers, why not make arepas? Now I have to admit, I was visiting relatives for Thanksgiving so I didn’t actually have leftovers, so I had to cook up the turkey and gravy just for this. I’ve included the recipe for that as well.

Serves 2 (with some leftover salsa)

Turkey and Gravy:
2 turkey thighs
2 tbsp flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 small shallot
1 sprig rosemary
½ carrot
½ celery stalk

Season the turkey thighs with salt and roast at 425°F for 40 to 45 minutes. Pour the drippings from the pan into a small saucepan, and remove the bone from one of the thighs.

Add the flour to the drippings, whisking to create a roux. Cook for 2 minutes, whisking often. Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking to incorporate. Add the thigh bone, shallot, rosemary sprig, carrot and celery piece. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until it reaches the desired consistency.

While that’s going on, remove the skin from the turkey thighs and shred the meat.

Pour the finished gravy through a strainer into a bowl to remove the solids. Season with salt and pepper.

Cranberry Salsa:
1.5 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
½ apple, peeled and cored
Zest of 1 orange
4 tbsp sugar
1 serrano chili, deseeded and diced
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
Lime juice

Add the cranberries and apple to a food processor and pulse until finely shredded.  Add to a bowl with the orange zest, sugar and chili pepper. Let the salsa macerate for 15 minutes, then add the cilantro, along with salt and lime juice to taste.

1.5 cups masarepa flour
1.5 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, bring the dough together with your hands, then cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Heat a skillet over medium, and add a lug or two of vegetable oil. Use your hands to shape the dough into six slim discs (3/4” or so thick) Pan fry the arepas for 8 minutes total, flipping half way.

Remove to a paper towel to sop up any excess oil. Cut in half and fill with turkey, gravy and cranberry salsa.