Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fried Spinach

1/2 pound baby spinach
salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparing the spinach:
Preheat a fryer or large Dutch oven half-filled with vegetable oil to 350 degrees F. Place the spinach in the oil and fry until dark green and crispy, 30 to 45 seconds. Remove from the oil and place on a paper-lined sheet pan and season with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.


Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp Over Cheese Grits, Fried Spinach & Tomato Jam

18 strips bacon
18 jumbo shrimp (16-20's) about 1 1/4 pounds
1 1/2 teaspoons Essence
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 recipe Cheese Grits

1 recipe Fried Spinach

1 recipe Tomato Jam
Preparing the bacon-wrapped shrimp:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Peel the shrimp, leaving the tails attached. Devein and set aside, refrigerated, until ready to use.

Cut 2 inches off of each strip of bacon and reserve the short pieces for another use. Place the trimmed strips of bacon on a sheet pan and bake the bacon until slightly pink and some of the fat has rendered out of it, about 6 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bacon to cool.

Season the shrimp with the Essence and wrap a strip of the partially cooked bacon around each shrimp, slightly overlapping the bacon as you twist it around the shrimp. Set aside and repeat with the remaining shrimp and bacon slices.

Set a 12-inch saute pan over medium heat, and add the olive oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, lay the shrimp in the pan and cook for 2 1/2 minutes. Turn the shrimp over and cook another 2 1/2 minutes.

Serve the shrimp over the top of cheese grits. Serve with fried spinach on the side, and drizzle tomato jam over the whole plate.

Serves 6


Cheese Grits

6 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups quick cooking or old-fashioned grits (not instant)
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
8 T butter
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded white Cheddar

Preparing the grits:
In a large, heavy saucepan bring the water to a boil. Add a generous teaspoon of salt and the grits and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. When the grits thicken, add the milk, cream and butter and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the saucepan and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the grits are tender, smooth and creamy. Taste and season the grits with the remaining salt and pepper. [If the grits seem too runny simply allow to cook a bit longer, uncovered and stirring frequently, until the desired consistency is reached.]

Fold the cheese into the grits, and keep covered and warm until ready to use.

Serves 6


Tomato Jam

1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 T sugar
1 T light corn syrup
1 T honey
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon toasted, ground coriander

Preparing the tomato jam:
Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.


Emeril's Essence (Creole Seasoning)

2 1/2 T paprika
2 T salt
2 T garlic powder
1 T black pepper
1 T onion powder
1 T cayenne pepper
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Makes 2/3 cup


Scalloped Tomatoes Casserole

extra virgin olive oil
2 cups (1/2-inch diced) bread from a ciabatta or French boule, crusts removed
16 plum tomatoes, cut 1/2-inch dice (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1 T minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 T sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup julienned basil leaves, lightly packed
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preparing the scalloped tomatoes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are evenly browned.

Combine the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. When the bread cubes are done, add the tomato mixture and continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil.

Pour the tomato mixture into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the parmesan cheese and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm.

Serves 6


Apple, Walnut & Roquefort Arugula Salad with Mustard Orange Vinaigrette

Type your summary here.
8 ounces thick-cut bacon (Niman Ranch preferred)
8 ounces baby arugula
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
1/2 cup toasted walnut halves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled

Ingredients for the dressing:
3 T apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (organic)
2 T freshly squeezed orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 T maple syrup
kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preparing the salad:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and lay the bacon slices on the rack. Roast the bacon for about 20 minutes, until nicely browned. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, apple, walnuts, cranberries, and blue cheese.

* * * * * * * *

Preparing the dressing:
Whisk together the vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, mustard, maple syrup, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Chop the bacon in large pieces and add it to the salad. Toss the salad with just enough dressing to moisten. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss well. Serve immediately.

Serves 4


Roasted Fennel

fresh fennel, fronds chopped and reserved for another use
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
grated parmesan

Preparing the fennel:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice the fennel in half, cut into 1/2-inch wedges. Drizzle and toss with olive oil and spread out the pieces on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip the fennel after 30 minutes and roast for another 30 minutes, until the fennel is caramelized a golden brown. Sprinkle with parmesan when hot and serve, OR, roast another 5 minutes until the parmesan melts and then serve.


Sunday, May 16, 2010


Ingredients for the stuffing:
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced pancetta
1 large onion, finely diced
kosher salt
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups day old Italian bread, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup milk
2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
1/2 pound button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 pound spinach, stems removed and cut into chiffonade
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup grated provolone
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 pounds top round, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices (about 12)

Ingredients for the sauce:
extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
4 T tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 (32-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes, passed through the food mill
2 cups water
grated parmigiano-reggiano, for garnish
chopped parsley leaves, for garnish

Preparing the beef rolls:
Coat a large saute pan with olive oil, add the pancetta and bring the pan to a medium heat. Cook the pancetta until it gets brown and crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onions and crushed red pepper and toss to incorporate with the pancetta. Season with salt, to taste. Cook the onions until they are soft and very aromatic, about 7 to 8 minutes.

While the onions are cooking, in a large bowl, combine the bread and the milk. Toss to combine and let sit until the bread has absorbed the milk and is very soft. Use your hands to mix everything together very well. Reserve.

Add the garlic to the pan with the pancetta and onion and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with salt, to taste, and saute until the mushrooms are soft and have let off their moisture, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the spinach.

Add the onion/mushroom mixture to the reserved bread and stir to combine. Add the pine nuts, provolone and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and stir to combine. Taste to make sure that the mixture is delicious and season with salt, to taste, if needed. Set aside.

Lay the beef slices between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and gently pound with a meat mallet to flatten and even out the slices. Put about 1/4 cup of filling on 1 end of each of the pounded beef slices and roll up. Secure the rolls with toothpicks. Repeat this process with the remaining beef and filling.

Coat a large, wide pot with olive oil and put over medium-high heat. Season the beef rolls with salt, to taste, and brown them on all sides. When the beef rolls are brown on all sides, remove them from the pan and reserve. Make the sauce in the same pot.

* * * * * *

Preparing the sauce:
Remove the oil from the pot that the beef was just browned in. Add a light coating of fresh olive oil and add the onions and crushed red pepper. Season with salt, to taste, and put the pot over medium heat. Sweat the onions until they are translucent and very aromatic, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and red wine, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and 2 cups of water and season with salt, to taste. Return the beef rolls to the pan and snuggle them into the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the beef is very tender and flavorful, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove the toothpicks before serving. To serve, arrange 2 or 3 braciole on each serving plate. Halve 1 or 2 rolls to expose the stuffing. Spoon on some of the sauce and garnish with parmigiano-reggiano and chopped parsley.

Serves 4


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Brisket with Carrots and Onions

6 to 7 pounds beef brisket
2 T kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 T minced garlic (4 cloves)
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
8 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch chunks
6 yellow onions, peeled and sliced
6 fresh or dried bay leaves
1 (46-ounce) can tomato juice

Preparing the brisket:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the brisket in a heavy roasting pan. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, garlic, and oregano. Rub the mixture on the brisket. Pile the carrots, celery, onions, and bay leaves on the brisket and pour in enough tomato juice to come about 3/4 of the way up the meat and vegetables. Cover the top of the pan with 2 sheets of parchment paper, then with aluminum foil. (The tomato juice will react unpleasantly with the aluminum foil if they touch.)

Bake for 3 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Remove the meat from the pan and keep it warm. Place the pan on 2 burners and boil the vegetables and sauce over medium heat for another 30 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened.

To serve, slice the meat across the grain. Serve with the vegetables.

Serves 10 to 12



8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2-pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 9 T
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup apricot preserves, pureed in a food processor
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash

Preparing the rugelach:
Cream the cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the salt, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix until just combined. Dump the dough out onto a well-floured board and roll it into a ball. Cut the ball in quarters, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the filling, combine 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the raisins, and walnuts.

On a well-floured board, roll each ball of dough into a 9-inch circle. Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the filling. Press the filling lightly into the dough. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges—cutting the whole circle in quarters, then each quarter into thirds. Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge. Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush each cookie with the egg wash. Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle on the cookies. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.

Makes 4 dozen


Chopped Liver

2 pounds chicken livers
1 cup rendered chicken fat
2 cups medium-diced yellow onion (2 onions)
1/3 cup Madeira wine
4 extra large eggs, hard-cooked, peeled, and chunked
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch cayenne pepper

Preparing the chopped liver:
Drain the livers and saute them in 2 batches in 2 tablespoons of the chicken fat over medium-high heat, turning once, for about 5 minutes, or until just barely pink inside. Don't overcook the livers or they will be dry. Transfer them to a large bowl.

In the same pan, saute the onions in 3 tablespoons of the chicken fat over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, or until browned. Add the Madeira and deglaze the pan, scraping the sides, for about 15 seconds. Pour into the bowl with the livers.

Add the eggs, parsley, thyme, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and the remaining chicken fat to the bowl. Toss quickly to combine. Transfer half the mixture to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse 6 to 8 times, until coarsely chopped. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Season, to taste, and chill.

Serve on matzo, crackers, or rye bread.

Makes 5 cups


Linguine with Clam Sauce

1 box linguine
1 T olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (10-ounce) cans whole baby clams, drained
1 teaspoon dried oregano
8 ounces bottled clam juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup vermouth or dry white wine
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup grated parmesan or romano

Preparing the linguine:
Cook linguine according to package directions until al dente.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute 2 minutes, until tender. Add clams and saute 2 minutes. Add oregano, salt and pepper and stir to coat. Add clam juice, chicken broth and vermouth and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

Pour clam sauce over drained linguine, add parsley and toss to combine. Top with parmesan just before serving.

Serves 4


TF's Sweet Potato Chips with Chile Powder & Blue Cheese and Chive Dip

2 large sweet potatoes
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

vegetable oil, for deep-frying

* * * * * * * *

Ingredients for blue Cheese and chive dip:
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise, store-bought
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 1/2 T honey
1/2 bunch finely chopped chives, plus extra for garnish
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparing the chips:
Peel sweet potatoes and discard skin. Using the vegetable peeler or a mandoline make long thin chips by peeling/slicing lengthwise from top to bottom. Place in a bowl of ice water and chill for 1 hour. Drain in a colander and layout on paper towels and pat dry.

Combine chili powder, garlic powder, a pinch of cayenne, cumin and salt and pepper.

Heat vegetable oil in a large pot to 375 degrees F. Fry the potatoes in single layer batches for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. Lift chips out with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with the spice mixture and serve immediately. Serve with blue cheese and chives dip.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Preparing dip:
Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, blue cheese, honey and chives in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chives. Serve with spicy and sweet potato chips.


Corn Pudding with Poblanos

2 ears fresh corn
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 T unsalted butter
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3 T chopped fresh chives
1 medium poblano, seeds removed, finely chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs, separated

Preparing the pudding:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove husks form corn and put in a large pot with milk and cream. Set over low heat and bring to a simmer then shut off heat and cover to let corn steep, about 10-15 minutes. Remove corn from milk and cut the kernels off the cob with a sharp knife and set aside.

Strain the milk mixture and set back over high heat, add butter and pour in the cornmeal in a slow steady stream, whisking at the same time. Cook and whisk constantly until the cornmeal is blended in and the mixture is smooth and thick; it should look like porridge. Take the pot off the stove and fold in the corn, chives, chopped poblano, and salt and pepper. Mix in the egg yolks, one at a time, to make it more like a batter.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites (use a hand blender if you have one) until they hold stiff peaks. Fold the whites into the corn pudding to lighten it. Coat the bottom and sides of an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. When it's done, the corn pudding will look puffed and golden brown, like a souffle. Spoon into the bottom of bowls and serve chili over the top.

Serves 6

Variation: For a more pudding-like pudding (instead of cornbready), use 2 cups of cream and 1 1/2 cups milk, and the ratio of milk/cream to cornmeal should be 3-to-1. Adjust seasoning.


TF's Beef Chili

Serve over corn pudding.

3 T olive oil
3 pounds beef shoulder, cut into large cubes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T ancho chili powder
1 T ground coriander
1 T ground cumin
1 T sweet paprika
1 T dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 onions, diced
10 garlic cloves, halved
3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
2 T tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
1/2 cup masa harina
3 cups shredded white cheddar cheese, for garnish
2 bunches chopped chives, for garnish
1 1/2 cups sour cream, for garnish

Preparing the chili:
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Season the beef shoulder all over with salt and pepper, add it to the pot and brown it.

As it's browning stir in the chili powder, coriander, cumin, paprika, oregano and cinnamon. Lower the temperature under the meat to "toast" the spices.

In a food processor puree the onions, garlic, chipotle peppers, jalapeno, tomato paste and sugar and add it to the pot. Increase the heat to medium to steam vegetables a little and sweeten the peppers. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch, about 1 quart, and add tomatoes with their liquid. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer until the meat is fork-tender and comes apart with no resistance, about 2 hours. As it cooks down, add more water, if necessary.

When done, stir in the masa harina. Take a potato masher and mash the chili so the meat comes apart in shreds.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish each serving with the shredded cheddar, chives, and sour cream.

Serves 6 to 8


Preserved Lemons

2 dozen medium size fresh lemons (meyer lemons, if available)
sea salt

1 quart glass jar with lid

Preparing the preserved lemons:
Slice each lemon in half. In a mixing bowl, toss the lemons generously with salt. Place half of the lemons in the quart jar. Juice the remaining lemons and pour into the jar. Fill the jar to the top. Secure the lid and let sit in a cool dry place for at least 3 days. The lemons, can set longer and will keep in the refrigerator.

Makes 1 quart


Couscous with Pine Nuts and Preserved Lemons

2 cups couscous
2 cups water
2 T butter
1 cup finely chopped onions
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 T finely chopped preserved lemons, or zest and flesh of fresh lemon
1 T finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Preparing the couscous:
In shallow pan, add the couscous. Bring water to a simmer and pour over the couscous. Cover and let sit until all of the liquid as evaporated, about 5 minutes. In a small saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 1 minute. Stir the onions, pine nuts, preserved lemons and parsley into the couscous and serve.

Serves 4 to 6


Couscous with Gremolata

Ingredients for couscous:
1 1/2 to 2 cups water
1 cup instant couscous
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 T olive oil

* * * * * * *

Ingredients for gremolata:
2 lemons, zested and juiced
pinch sea salt
1 garlic clove, peeled and grated
6 ounces or 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves washed, dried and roughly chopped
1 splash extra virgin olive oil

Preparing the couscous:
Bring the water to a simmer in a small pot over medium heat, then turn off the heat.

In a shallow baking dish combine the couscous, salt and olive oil, tossing to coat. Add in the warm water and smooth the couscous into an even layer. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 15 minutes by the stove.

* * * * * * *

Preparing the gremolata:
In a medium bowl, combine the lemon zest and juice with the sea salt, garlic and parsley. Stir in enough olive oil to blend and bring the ingredients together. Taste for seasoning.

When ready to serve, flake the couscous with a fork and taste for seasoning. If the texture is a little too al dente, microwave the dish for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Reseason the couscous with salt, if necessary. Toss it with the gremolata and, again, taste for seasoning.

Serves 4 to 6


Brisket with Parsnips, Leeks and Green Onions

Serves this brisket with couscous.

2 to 3 T canola oil
1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) brisket
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

6 cloves garlic, peeled, sprinkled with pinch of salt and crushed with mortar and pestle

2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
3 pounds small parsnips, bottoms trimmed, peeled and halved lengthwise
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, plus 1 tablespoon divided
2 T apple cider vinegar
1/2 pound leeks, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices, washed well
1 cup red wine
1 quart beef stock, heated

Preparing the brisket:
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot, heat the canola oil over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke slightly, season both sides of the brisket with salt and pepper, to taste. Use metal tongs to add the meat to the pot. If the oil is hot enough, the meat will not stick to the bottom. Cook, undisturbed, on its first side until browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn over and brown on the other side, about 3 to 5 additional minutes. Remove the meat from the pot and put it onto a baking sheet to rest.

Combine the garlic paste and green onions in a small bowl. Spread half of the mixture over the brisket. Flip the meat and add the remaining mixture to the other side. Set aside.

In the same pot, over low heat and add the parsnips. Season them with a little salt and a scant 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Stir to coat with the oil and cook until slightly tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and the leeks and gently brown them, about 3 to 5 minutes. Adjust the seasonings with salt. Pour in the wine and let it reduce for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the vegetables with the remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar and another pinch of salt. Cook them until browned, another 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the brisket to the pot and stir in 2 to 3 cups of the beef stock. Bring the stock to a gentle simmer. Slide it into the center of the oven and cook for 1 hour. Check the level of the liquid, adding water, if needed. Remove the pot from the oven, taste and reseason, if needed. Return the pot to the oven and cook the brisket until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork, an additional 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

If the meat looks dry or begins to overly brown, cover the pot with a lid or a layer of aluminum foil for the remainder of the cooking process.

Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the meat to a platter. Arrange the vegetables alongside and ladle the sauce on top.

Serves 6 to 8



2 ounces 100 percent agave silver/blanco tequila, divided
1 T kosher salt or sugar
4 limes, divided
1/2 small Hamlin or Valencia orange
2 T light agave nectar
3/4 cup ice cubes, about 3 to 4

Pour 1/2-ounce of the tequila into a small saucer. Spread the kosher salt (or sugar) in a separate small saucer. Dip the rim of a martini or other wide rimmed glass into the tequila. Lift out of the tequila and hold upside down for 10 seconds to allow for slight evaporation. Next, dip the glass into the salt to coat the rim. Set aside (in freezer).

Halve 2 of the limes, cut a thin slice for garnish from 1, and set aside. Juice the halved limes into the bottom of a Boston-style cocktail shaker. Cut the remaining 2 limes and the orange into quarters and add them to the juice in the shaker. Add the agave nectar to and muddle for 2 minutes until the juices are release. Strain the juice mixture through a cocktail strainer into the top of the shaker and discard the solids.

Return the juice to the bottom of the shaker, add the remaining 1 1/2 ounces of tequila and any remaining on the saucer. Add the ice to the shaker, cover and shake for 30 seconds. Strain the mixture through a cocktail strainer into the prepared glass, garnish with reserved lime slice, and serve immediately.

Makes 1 cocktail

Variations: Double the tequila and the agave nectar, shake for an additional 30 seconds, for a larger and less tart drink (or 2).


Honey Cornbread Muffins

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup honey

Preparing the muffins:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the whole milk, eggs, butter, and honey. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.

Place muffin paper liners in a 12-cup muffin tin. Evenly divide the cornbread mixture into the papers. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden.


Couscous (or Fregula) with Butternut Squash and Tomatoes

extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
kosher salt
pinch crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, passed through a food mill
2 cups peeled and diced 1/4-inch pieces butternut squash
1 to 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
bay leaf
1 1/2 cups medium fregula (Sardinian semolina pasta) or Israeli couscous
1 bunch chives, finely chopped

Preparing the fregula:
Coat a large saucepan generously with extra virgin olive oil. Add the onions and bring to a medium high heat. Season generously with salt and add the crushed red pepper. Saute until the onions are translucent and very aromatic, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the tomatoes. Fill the tomato can with water and add to the pan. Season with salt and cook over medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the water has reduced. Add the squash, stock, and bay leaf. Taste for seasoning and season with salt if needed. Cook until the squash is cooked through and most of the liquid has absorbed, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Bring a pan of well-salted water to a boil. Add the fregula and cook until it is cooked through but still al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Strain and add to the pot with tomatoes and squash. Stir to incorporate. Add more stock or water if the mixture is dry and cook longer if it is too soupy. When done it should have a stew-like consistency. Stir in the chives.

This can be made a day ahead - It will only improve.

Serves 4


Whole Roasted Fish

1 (2 1/2-pound) fish, such as snapper or bass, scaled, gutted and gills removed
kosher salt
extra virgin olive oil
8 lemon slices
2 fresh bay leaves
1 bundle assorted fresh herbs, such as thyme, oregano, marjoram and parsley, plus some extra to lay the fish on while baking
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 cups dry white wine

Preparing the fish:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Make 3 diagonal slices about 1/2-inch deep on each side of the fish. Salt and olive oil the fish generously.

Season the inside of the fish with salt and olive oil. Place 4 lemon slices, the bay leaves, a bundle of the mixed herbs and 2 of the garlic cloves inside the body cavity.

Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil and arrange the remaining assorted herbs, lemon slices and garlic in the center of the tray and lay the fish on top.

Fold the aluminum foil up around the sides of the fish to create a sort of baking dish. Add the white wine and place in the preheated oven and roast until the fish is just cooked through, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Fillet to serve.

Serves 2


Zucchini Pancakes

2 medium zucchini (about 3/4 pound)
2 T grated red onion
2 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
6 to 8 T all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
unsalted butter and vegetable oil

Preparing the pancakes:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Grate the zucchini into a bowl using the large grating side of a box grater. Immediately stir in the onion and eggs. Stir in 6 tablespoons of the flour, the baking powder, salt, and pepper. If the batter gets too thin from the liquid in the zucchini, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and melt 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon oil together in the pan. When the butter is hot but not smoking, lower the heat to medium-low and drop heaping soup spoons of batter into the pan. Cook the pancakes about 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place the pancakes on a sheet pan and keep warm in the oven. Wipe out the pan with a dry paper towel, add more butter and oil to the pan, and continue to fry the pancakes until all the batter is used. The pancakes can stay warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes about 10 3-inch pancakes


Lobster Risotto

1 pound (about 2 medium) frozen lobstertails, thawed
4 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
4 T butter, at room temperature
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparing the lobster:
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the lobster tails and boil for 8 to 10 minutes until the shells curl and the lobster meat turns white. Drain, transfer to a cutting board, and cool for 15 minutes. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut through the top shell lengthwise. Remove the meat and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

* * * * * * *

Preparing the risotto:
In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Keep hot over low heat.

In a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Cook until the butter begins to foam and then turns brown, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Add the onion and cook, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the brandy and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of stock and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue adding the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of stock to absorb before adding the next. Cook until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parmesan cheese, the remaining butter and 2 tablespoons chives. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer the risotto to a large serving bowl. Arrange the lobster meat on top of the risotto and garnish with the remaining chives.

Serves 4


Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup

3 T good olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red onions (2 onions)
2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
1 T minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped (5 large)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 T tomato paste
1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves, plus julienned basil leaves, for garnish
3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 T kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream

croutons, for garnish

Preparing the soup:
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.

Add the cream to the soup and process it through a food mill into a bowl, discarding only the dry pulp that's left. Reheat the soup over low heat just until hot and serve with julienned basil leaves and/or croutons.

Serves 5 to 6


Avocado, Cilantro and White Onion Salad

1 garlic clove, chopped
2 limes, juiced
pinch sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 medium, ripe avocados
1/2 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh picked cilantro leaves

Preparing the salad:
In a large mixing bowl, add the garlic, lime juice, sugar, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and give it a quick whisk to combine.

Split avocados in half and remove the pit. Spoon out the flesh, put on a cutting board and slice into chunks. Transfer to a serving bowl and add the onion and cilantro leaves. Add the vinaigrette and toss lightly to coat just before serving.

Serves 4


Turkey Mole

2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 dried Anaheim chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded
1/4 cup golden raisins
hot water
1/4 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 T whole black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick, preferably Mexican, broken in pieces
1 T dried oregano, preferably Mexican
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 serrano peppers, stemmed and seeded
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably Mexican, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
2 turkey legs and thighs
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 T extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chicken stock
1 onion, thinly sliced
shaved radishes, for garnish
1 lime, juiced
Oaxacan cheese, crumbled for garnish

cooked white rice, for serving

cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Preparing the mole:
Tear the ancho, Anaheim, and chipotle chiles into large pieces and toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat until they change color a bit, about 2 minutes. Put them into a bowl with the raisins and cover them with hot water. Soak until softened, about 30 minutes. In the same skillet over medium heat, add the almonds, sesame seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, oregano, and thyme. Toast for 2 minutes, grind in a spice grinder, and add the powder to a blender.

In the same skillet, over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, onions, garlic, and serrano. Cook until lightly browned, then add the tomatoes. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes, then add to the blender. Add the chocolate and the soaked chiles and raisins to the blender along with some of the chile soaking liquid. Puree, adding more soaking liquid, as needed, to make a smooth sauce. (This makes about 4 cups sauce, the recipe uses 2 cups, the extra can be frozen).

Pour the lemon juice over the turkey in a large bowl and season it well with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet and brown the turkey on all sides Transfer the browned turkey to a plate, leaving the oil in the pan. Pour 2 cups of the mole sauce into the hot skillet and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and return the turkey pieces to the pan. Simmer, covered, until the turkey is cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the onion and radish slices into a serving bowl. Add the lime juice and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt, to taste. Mix well and sprinkle with the cheese.

Serve the turkey over cooked white rice and avocado, cilantro, onion and radish salad. Garnish everything with cilantro leaves.

Serves 4 to 6

Note: For perfect white rice, 2:1 ratio of water to rice.


Turkey Tamales

Ingredients for the meat filling:
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly toasted and ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 raw turkey legs, approximately 2 1/4 pounds
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano chile, seeded and finely minced

* * * * * * * *

Ingredients for the dough:
15 ounces masa harina, approximately 3 1/2 cups
1 T kosher salt
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
4 ounces lard, approximately 1/2 cup
2 to 4 cups reserved cooking liquid

2 dozen dried corn husks

Preparing the meat filling:
Place chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, salt, black pepper and turkey legs into a 6-quart pot and add enough water to completely cover the meat, approximately 2 1/2 quarts. Cover, place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the meat is very tender and falling apart, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove the meat from the water to a cutting board, and set aside to cool. Leave the cooking liquid in the pot. Once the turkey legs are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and shred, discarding any skin or cartilage. Place a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat and add the vegetable oil. Once shimmering, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are semi-translucent, approximately 2 minutes. Add the garlic and chili and continue to cook for another minute. Add the meat and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid and cook until heated through and the liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside until ready to assemble.

* * * * * * * * *

Preparing the wrappers:
While the meat is cooking, place the husks in a large bowl or container and submerge completely in hot water. Soak the husks until they are soft and pliable, at least 45 minutes and up to 2 hours. If you have an electric kettle, place the husks in the kettle, fill with water and turn on. Once the kettle turns off, allow the husks to sit for 1 hour in the hot water.

* * * * * * * * *

Preparing the dough:
Place the masa, salt, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and combine. Add the lard and using your hands, knead together until the lard is well incorporated into the dry mixture. Gradually add enough of the reserved cooking liquid, 2 to 4 cups to create a dough that is like thick mashed potatoes. The dough should be moist but not wet. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set aside until ready to use.
* * * * * * * * *

Assembling the tamales:
Remove a corn husk from the water and pat to remove excess water. Working in batches of 6, lay the husks on a towel and spread about 2 tablespoons of the dough in an even layer across the wide end of the husk to within 1/2-inch of the edges. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the meat mixture in a line down the center of the dough. Roll the husk so the dough surrounds the meat and fold the bottom under to finish creating the tamale. Repeat until all the husks, dough and filling are used. Tie the tamales, around the center, individually or in groups of 3, with kitchen twine.

* * * * * * * *

Steaming the tamales:
Place a steamer basket in the bottom of an 11-quart pot and add enough water to come to the bottom of the basket. Stand the tamales close together on their folded ends and lean them in towards the center, away from the sides of the pot. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat, then cover and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Check the water level every 15 to 20 minutes, and add boiling water by pouring down the side of the pot, if necessary. Steam until the dough is firm and pulls away from the husk easily, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Serve warm. Store leftover tamales, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, in the freezer, for up to a month. To reheat, remove the plastic wrap and steam until heated through.

Makes 24 tamales


Monday, May 3, 2010

Preserved Lemons and What To Do With Them

Preserved lemons aren't just for use on Moroccan dishes. Mince preserved lemons and sprinkle over the top of spring vegetable soups, like fresh peas, broccoli, asparagus or leeks. Or serve roasted or grilled chicken with wedges of preserved lemon (or minced). Or mince preserved lemon peel and sprinkle on top of slow-cooked meats, like short ribs and braised pork.

Make a gremolata by grating preserved lemon peel and mixing with minced garlic and parsley, and sprinkle over osso buco and other meat stews, soups, stews, grilled poultry, fish and meats and rice dishes.

Preserved Lemons:

12 to 16 lemons
1 cup kosher salt
3 T sugar

quart jar

Wash 8 to 12 (depending on size; you'll need enough lemons wedges to fill a quart jar) of the lemons thoroughly and place them in a large crock or glass bowl. Set the other lemons aside to make juice to cover the preserved lemons.

Dissolve a tablespoon of salt in a quart of water and pour it over the lemons. If it does not cover the lemons, mix more brine (use the same ratio of salt to water) and pour it over until it covers them. Cover and set aside for 1 day. (You can make the preserved lemons at this point, or you can cover them with new brine daily for up to 7 days.)

Rinse and dry the brined lemons. Cut each lemon into 6 to 8 lengthwise wedges. Place them in a large bowl and toss with 3/4 cup of the remaining salt and the sugar. Toss thoroughly and pack into a sterilized quart glass jar. Juice the reserved lemons and pour the juice over the sliced lemons. If it does not cover them completely, add fresh water until the lemons are completely covered. Cover the jar with heavy duty plastic wrap or parchment and then seal with its lid.

Set the jar of lemons in a cool dark cupboard for a week, giving it a good shaking once or twice a day. At the end of a week, move the jar to the refrigerator and use the preserved lemons within a year or so.

* * * * * * *

Preserved Lemon Gremolata

2 cups, loosely packed, Italian parsley leaves and small stems
5 or 6 preserved lemon wedges, peel only, minced
4 to 5 garlic cloves, crushed and minced

Combine and toss minced parsley, minced lemon peel and minced garlic. Use within a day or two.

Makes 1/2 cup

Variation: Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes.

* * * * * * *

Preserved lemon tapenade can be served with artichokes, roasted asparagus, sauteed greens and almost any grilled fish. Also great on bruschetta spread with sheep's milk ricotta, farmers cheese or creme fraiche.

Preserved Lemon Tapenade:

3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 anchovy fillets, rinsed and drained
2-3 preserved lemon wedges, peel and flesh separated
2 teaspoons green peppercorns in brine, drained, or 1 T capers, drained
1 cup (6 ounces) cracked green olives, pitted and minced
1 T minced fresh Italian parsley
kosher salt, if needed
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Grind the garlic and anchovy fillets into a paste with a mortar and pestle. Set aside the preserved lemon peel and add the flesh to the garlic paste; grind until the mixture is smooth. Add the green peppercorns or capers, crush them and mix them into the paste; they should retain a bit of texture.

Minced the lemon peel.

Use a small rubber spatula to fold the minced lemon peel, minced olives and parsley into the garlic paste.

Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Taste and correct for salt, if necessary. Season with several turns of black pepper and stir in the olive oil. Serve at room temperature. Use within a day or two.

Makes 3/4 cup

* * * * * *

Serve this relish with roasted chicken or chicken braised in sherry or Madeira. Also good tossed with steamed couscous, and as a good condiment with almost any stew.

Preserved Lemon Relish:

1 shallot, minced
5 or 6 preserved lemon wedges, seeded and minced
1/2 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
1 T fresh oregano, minced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
kosher salt, if needed
freshly ground black pepper
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

Combine the shallots, preserved lemons, parsley, oregano and thyme and toss gently. Taste and correct for salt, if necessary. Add several turns of black pepper and stir in the olive oil. Add the pine nuts and toss gently. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator, covered, for 2 to 3 days.

Makes 3/4 cup

Variation: Use 1/4 cup parsley and replace the oregano and thyme with 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves. Use chopped toasted walnuts in place of the pine nuts. For a mildly spicy version, remove the stem and seeds of a small serrano, mince it and fold it into the relish.

* * * * * *

Sauteed Flounder with Preserved Lemon Butter:

2 flounder fillets
1/2 cup all purpose flour
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
2-3 T butter
2 T juice of preserved lemons (or fresh lemon juice)

Preserved Lemon Gremolata, Tapenade or Relish

Season the flour with salt and pepper and sprinkle it all over the fish, rubbing gently with your fingers to coat the fish thoroughly.

Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan set over high heat. Add the fillets and sauté for 2 minutes. Turn the fillets, add half the remaining butter and half the juice and swirl the pan to distribute it evenly. Cook for 3 minutes and transfer the fillets to warm plates. Return the pan to the heat, add the remaining butter and remaining juice and swirl the pan until the butter just melts. Pour the lemon butter over the fish. Top with gremolata, tapenade or relish.

Serves 2


Followers of The Cook In The Family::

  © Blogger template 'Isfahan' by 2008

Back to TOP