Category Archives: Recipes

Recipe: Kimchi-Marinated Steak Sandwich

Last weekend, I was watching cooking shows on PBS. One of my favorite chefs, Ming Tsai, came on. Along with a guest, he ad-libbed a dish that looked absolutely phenomenal: a kimchi marinated cheesesteak sandwich.

I didn’t write down the recipe; I just took the idea, and ran with it. I mean come on, what could be better than a well-seared medium-rare flank steak with kimchi and Tallegio? My version is, I think, a bit lighter than what they made, but it’s not exactly a light snack!

For my tastes, this is an amazing combination. Start with flank steak, which is one of my favorite cuts of beef. It’s not the tenderest piece of beef, so it needs some work, but it’s got an absolutely fantastic flavor, and as long as you prepare it properly, don’t overcook it, and slice it thin, it comes out great.

Then you’ve got kimchi. I only discovered kimchi fairly recently, and I absolutely love the stuff, and I’m always looking for more things to eat it with.

Finally, tallegio cheese. I adore soft cheeses, and tallegio is probably the nicest soft cheese that I’ve had from Italy. It’s very creamy, with a nice funkiness to it, but not an overpowering stinkiness.

Put all three of those together in a sandwich, and I’m in heaven.

Ingredients

  • One largish (1 1/2 pound) flank steak.
  • 1/2 cup kimchi, finely minced, plus 1 tablespoon of
    the liquid from the kimchi.
  • Some more kimchi, left whole.
  • salt and pepper
  • one teaspoon sugar.
  • one half of a large onion, cut into thin slices.
  • 1/2 pound tallegio cheese.
  • Bagette.

One note about the ingredients: I recently made homemade kimchi for the first time. It’s really easy to make, and it is really a totally different thing from the stuff out of a jar. I don’t see why it’s so different: kimchi is a fermented preserved cabbage, which is exactly the kind of thing that should be really easy to make in quantity, and then sell in jars. But the fact is, nothing from the store remotely compares to homemade. I basically used this recipe, except that I couldn’t get any daikon, so I left that out.

Instructions

  1. Take a couple of forks, and go up and down the steak, poking holes. Don’t be lazy: the more you do this, the better. You’re tenderizing the meat, and making a way for the marinade to help penetrate.
  2. Salt the meat generously, then coat both sides with the minced kimchi. Refrigerate overnight.
  3. Scrape the kimchi off the steak, but do not throw it away. We’re going to cook it, and use it as a topping.
  4. Heat a cast-iron pan on high heat until it’s smoking hot.
  5. Sprinkle half the sugar and some more salt and pepper onto the top of the steak, and then put the sugared side down in the pan, for about 3 minutes. While it’s cooking on that side, put the rest of the sugar and salt onto the other side. Then turn it over, and cook the other side for 3 minutes.
  6. Transfer the steak into a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. (I did eight; it was exactly the way I like it, nice and medium rare, but I think a lot of people would prefer it a bit more well done. Take it out after the ten minutes, and leave it alone for a while. Don’t slice it immediately!
  7. While the steak is resting, heat up a pan, and add some oil. Toss in the onions with a bit of salt, and stir them around. When they just start to turn brown, add in the kimchi and any liquid left from the marinade, and turn down the heat. Cook it for about five minutes, adding a bit of water if it gets too dry.
  8. Slice the break in half, and spread a thin layer of the taleggio cheese over both halves.
  9. Slice the steak on a bias against the grain into thin slices.
  10. Take any drippings from slicing the steak, and pour them into the onions and kimchi.
  11. Put a heap of steak slices onto the bread, and then put a pile of the cooked onions and kimchi, and then a piece of fresh uncooked kimchi on top.
  12. Close up the sandwich, and eat!

Philadelphia, eat your heart out. Your cheesesteaks got nothing on this!

Weekend Recipe: Flank Steak with Mushroom Polenta

I just finished eating a great new dinner, and I’m going to share the recipe with you.

Both my wife and I never particularly liked polenta. But recently, we’ve
had it in a couple of outstanding Italian restaurants, and realized that polenta could be wonderful. What made the difference were two things: first, coarse-ground polenta. If you use fine-ground cornmeal for the polenta, it comes out very smooth and creamy. A lot of people like it that way. I don’t. Second, keeping it soft. Polenta, because of the starch, can become very gluey. It needs to be cooked with enough liquid and enough fat to keep it light.

So after discovering that we liked it, I went out and bought some good stone-ground coarse polenta to experiment with. I knew from the places where I’d like the polenta that it goes really well with strong-flavored meats. So I decided to make a flank steak. Since I absolutely adore mushrooms with steak, I wanted to find a way to get mushroom flavor into the polenta, so I went with a nice duxelles.

The result was absolutely phenomenal: one of the best meals I’ve made in the last several months.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs flank steak.
  • For the marinade:
    • 2 cloves minced garlic.
    • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard.
    • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
    • 1/2 cup red wine
    • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • For the duxelles:
    • 1 pound mushrooms, minced.
    • 2 olive oil
    • 2 shallots, minced.
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1/2 cup red wine
  • For the polenta:
    • 1 1/2 cups coarse polenta
    • 5 1/2 cups chicken stock.
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
  • The sauce:
    • Drippings from the steak.
    • 3 tablespoons butter.
    • 1 minced shallot
    • 1/2 cup port wine
    • 1/2 cup chicken stock.

Instructions

  1. Marinate the steak. Mix together all of the marinade ingredients, and coat the steak with the marinade. Let it set for a couple of hours.
  2. Make the duxelle for the polenta. Put a pan on high heat, and melt the butter. When it’s melted, add the shallots and the mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. After the mushrooms start to shed some of their liquid, add the thyme. Keep stirring. If the pan starts to get dry, add some of the red wine. Keep cooking, stirring all the time, until you run out of wine. By that time, the mushrooms should have lost a lot of their volume, and turned a deep caramel brown. Remove it from the heat, and set aside.
  3. Start the polenta. Bring 4 1/2 cups of the chicken stock to a boil. Stir in the polenta and the salt. Reduce the heat to medium, and stir until it starts to thicken. Add in the duxelle, and reduce the heat a bit more, to medium-low. Now the polenta just sits and cooks. You want it to go for about 45 minutes at a minimum. But as long as you keep it moist, polenta just keeps getting better as it cooks, so don’t worry about it. Add some stock whenever it gets too dry, and stir it every few minutes.
  4. Preheat your oven t 350.
  5. Heat a cast iron pan on high heat. When it’s good and hot, sear the steak, about 3 minutes on each side. Then transfer it to a baking sheet, and put it in the oven for 10 minutes. At the end of the ten minutes, remove it, and transfer it to a cutting board, to rest for about ten minutes.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a saucepan. Add in the shallots, and cook until they turn translucent. Add in whatever drippings are left on the baking sheet, and the port wine, and reduce nearly all of the liquid away. Then add the chicken stock. When it boils, add in salt to taste, and then remove from the heat. Add in the remaining butter and stir until it melts.
  7. While the steak is resting, add the butter and cheese to the polenta, and stir it in.
  8. Slice the steak against the grain.
  9. On each plate, put a nice mound of polenta, and a helping of the steak. Then drizzle the sauce over the steak, and a little bit of extra virgin olive oil over the polenta.
  10. Eat!

Weekend Recipe: Catfish Banh Mi!

I’m a huge fan of Banh Mi, the amazing sandwich that came from the fusion of Vietnamese and French food during the 20th century. Banh Mi is, basically, a sandwich made on a Vietnamese baguette (which is like a french baguette, except that it’s got some rice flour mixed with the wheat, giving it a crisper texture), topped with a spicy mayo (or some other sauce), some kind of protein, pickled vegetables, and cilantro.

I only learned about these glorious things recently. When I started working out foursquare last september, our office was in the East Village in Manhattan, just a couple of blocks away from a terrific banh mi restaurant, called Baoguette. Baoguette was one of our standard lunch joints. It’s a tacky little run-down hole-in-the-wall place – which is exactly the kind of place you want for what is, basically, street food.

In January, we moved to a new office space down in Soho. It’s a great space – I love our new office. But I miss my banh mi. So since the big move, I’ve been trying to figure out how to replicate my favorite sandwich. And today, I finally did it: I made a home-made catfish banh mi that is, I think, good enough to call an unqualified success. And I’m going to share how I did it with you!

The first thing you need is really good bread. In an ideal world, you want a baguette from a Vietnamese bakery. But since those are hard to find, go french. A really good french baguette is the closest thing – it’s got the right basic texture: a crisp but not crunchy crust.

Next, the veggies. You need to make these at least a couple of hours ahead, ideally at least a day.

You take a daikon radish (also called a chinese turnip), and julienne it, into strips about 1/4 inch by 1/8th of an inch by 3 inches or so. Do the same thing to a couple of carrots. Sprinkle with about a tablespoon of salt. (Don’t worry; it’s not going to turn out super-salty – we’re trying to extract water from the turnip.) Set it aside for about 1/2 an hour, and then drain off the liquid that will have accumulated.

Now, mix together about 1/2 cup of rice vinegar, and about 3/8ths of a cup of sugar. When you’ve got the sugar nicely dissolved, dump this over your veggies, and add cold water until the veggies are just covered. Add in a couple of fronds of cilantro, and a sliced chili pepper, and put the whole shebang into the fridge. Give it a stir once in a while. It’ll be ready to eat in about 4 hours, and it’ll be perfect in a day. After that, drain off the liquid, and put it into a tightly covered container to keep for about a week.

Now, finally, we’re up to the catfish. You really do want catfish for this. Catfish has a great, most, tender texture, and a strong enough flavor to stand up to what we’re going to do to it. Take a good size catfish filet, and cut it in half down the rib line, and then in half again perpendicular to the ridge line. Depending on how big your bread is, you’ll want between 2 and 4 of these catfish strips per sandwich.

Finely mince a clove of garlic, and a couple of slices of fresh ginger. Crush them up with just a bit of salt, to get them really pureed. Then mix them with about one teaspoon each of fish sauce and soy sauce, and about 1/4 teaspoon of korean chili pepper or cayenne (or more, if you like to spicier. I actually did more like 1/2 a teaspoon, but that’s a lot!). Toss the fish into this mixture, to get it nice and coated, and let it marinade for about 10 minutes.

Now, you want to prepare your bread. Then cut a section of the bread about 8 inches long, and then slice it open about 2/3rds of the way, and rip out some of the interior to make room for fillings!

Now, sauce: The sauce is simple: half and half mayo and sriracha. Whip some of that up. Give your bread a good layer of the sriracha mayo all around. On top of that, lay a sprig of fresh cilantro. (In the past, I’ve tried using a homemade aioli, but this is one of the rare cases where the premade is actually just as good.)

Now you’re almost ready to cook the fish. Mix together equal parts of general purpose flour and cornstarch, and give the fish a light coat. Heat up a frying pan on medium heat, and add just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. (We’re frying here, but not deep-frying!). When the oil is hot, put in the fish, and cook it for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. You want it to be just barely cooked through.

Put some fish inside the bread, then add a generous helping of the pickled vegetables, and top it all of with more sriracha. And then prepare to eat one of the best sandwiches you’ve ever tasted!

(I’d show you a picture, but we totally devoured these. There’s nothing left to photograph.)

Weekend Recipe: Kinda-Sorta Ratatouille

This is a really fun recipe. I’m calling it a sort-of Ratatouille, because that’s the closest thing that I’ve seen to it.

The way this came about is amusing. My wife and I watch a lot of cooking shows. There’s one on the food network that I really like called “Chopped”. The show is a bit gimmicky, but the basic idea is that it’s a cooking competition. They bring in a group of really good chefs, and then give them some kind of surprise ingredients that they need to use to cook dishes. Then they get judged on the quality of what they made. I enjoy it because you really get to see something about how the chefs think when they create a dish.

When we watch, I frequently tell her what I would do with the ingredients. So this morning, she decided it would be fun to do the basic Chopped thing: she’d go to the local farmers market, grab some nice ingredients, and make me do something with them.

She came home with a wonderful local chevre (fresh goat cheese; in fact, this was the best fresh chevre I’ve ever had), a couple of japanese eggplants, some sweet corn, and a sweet duck and dried cherry sausage. This dish is what I did with them.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound duck sausage. You could use any really good quality sweet sausage.
  • 2 japanese eggplants, sliced into disks about 1/2 inch thick.
  • 2 ears of fresh corn, cut off of the cob.
  • 1 sweet onion, diced.
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced.
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme.
  • 1 cup white wine.
  • 1/4 pound crumbled chevre.
  • A bunch of diced tomatoes. I used some nice fresh local grape tomatoes.

Instructions

  1. First, poach the sausage in wine. Cook it until it’s just firm. The idea here is that we want to cut the sausage into chunks, and we don’t want those chunks to fall apart. So we’re cooking it just enough to make it firm enough to dice.
  2. Remove the sausage from the poaching liquid. Don’t throw away the liquid – that stuff has a lot of flavor in it!
  3. Put the garlic into a food processor with a bunch of olive oil, and puree it. Then pour that over the eggplant, and let it marinate for a while.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. When it’s hot, put the eggplant on a baking sheet, salt it, and roast it until it’s cooked through.
  5. Dice the sausage into largish cubes, and then brown those in some olive oil. Set them aside, covered to stay warm.
  6. In the same pan where you cooked the sausage, add some olive oil, and throw in the onions. Let them cook until they get nice and soft. Then add the corn and tomatoes.
  7. While the corn is cooking, add salt, pepper, and thyme to taste. If it looks a bit dry, add in some of the poaching liquid. Cook it until the corn is cooked however you like it.
  8. Lay the roasted eggplant slices onto the plates. Cover them with the corn and tomato mixture. On top of that, spoon some of the browned sausage. Finally, crumble some of the chevre on top.

I served it with fresh crutons – slices of good french baguette, brushed with olive oil, toasted, and then rubbed with a clove of garlic while they were still hot.

It worked really well. The sausage was a bit on the sweet side because of the cherries, but that and the sweet corn were beautifully balanced by the tartness of the chevre. All of the ingredients were so beautiful, and cooked this way, each of their flavors and textures came together amazingly well. It was one of the best dishes I’ve ever created! So we’ll definitely be doing the chopped thing at home again!

Weekend Recipe: Orichette with Broccoli Rabe

When it comes to cooking, I absolutely love Italian food. Real Italian food, that is. In America, until recently, like all too many ethnic foods, Italian food was bastardized into trashy stuff – mostly sickeningly sweet tomato stuff from cans. Real Italian food is wonderful, simple, and fresh. Italian cooking is all about getting the best quality fresh ingredients, and doing as little to them as possible.

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I went to Eataly. Eataly is a labor of love by the wonderful Italian chef Mario Batali. It’s a sort of massive Italian market, with a collection of restaurants embedded in it, cooking the stuff that they sell. There’s a pasta restaurant, a pizza oven, a seafood restaurant, a salumeria, a cruda bar (cruda is sort of like Italian sashimi: very fresh fish, served raw with a sprinkle of salt and olive oil), and so on.

We went to the pasta place there, and had the most phenomenal pasta dish. It was everything that I love about good Italian cooking: amazing ingredients, prepared in a simple way that brings out their flavors. It was amazing. So, naturally, I had to reproduce it at home. And being Italian food, that was pretty easy to do – because it’s such a simple dish!

The dish was Orichette with sweet Italian sausage and broccoli rabe. Basically, you need a really good sausage, and really good fresh broccolli rabe. It’s all about those flavors, without distractions.

The trick to this is the length of the cooking time. It took me a while to figure this out: I tend to cook veggies Chinese style, which means that I barely cook them at all. I stir fry american broccoli for under a minute. But that doesn’t work for rabe. Broccoli rabe is an absolutely lovely veggie, but it really needs to be cooked well. When it’s raw, it’s got a very strong, almost overwhelming horseradishy bitterness. You need to really let it cook for a while to get it past that. But the thing about it is, unlike the typical American broccoli, it’s got the strength to handle that. It doesn’t turn into mush. You cook rabe for 20 minutes, and it’s still got some body to it. Do it right, and it’s one of the most lovely, succulent vegetables in the world.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound good quality sweet sausage meat. It’s important to get a really good quality sausage. If you buy a cheap prepackaged sausage from the grocery store, the dish won’t work. You want a really good fresh Italian sausage. We bought our at the butcher counter at Eataly. You should remove the skin, so that all you have is the meat, crumbled.
  • A head brocolli rabe, cut into roughly two-inch lengths.
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chili flakes
  • One cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (just enough to take the edge off the acid from the wine)
  • Olive oil
  • One pound orichette

Instructions

  1. Heat a saute pan. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil when it’s hot.
  2. Throw in the sausage meat. Stir it around, breaking it up into smallish bite-sized pieces. Cook it on high heat until it gets nicely browned.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and chili flakes, and then the broccoli. It will look like it’s way too much brocolli rabe, but don’t worry. It’s going to cook down a lot.
  4. Stir around until the broccoli rabe starts to wilt. Then add the white wine and the sugar, and reduce the heat to a low boil.
  5. Start cooking the pasta. Orichette generally cooks for a bit more than ten minutes, and the broccoli rabe should cook for between 15 and 20 minutes, so work out your timing from that so that they’ll both finish at the same time.
  6. When most of the white wine has cooked away from the sauce, add 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Whenever the sauce starts to look dry, add some of the pasta water. This adds some salt (because your pasta water should be salted!), and it also helps to build the sauce, because the starch acts as a binder.
  7. Taste the sauce, and add salt and pepper as needed.
  8. When the pasta is done, drain it, and add it to the sauce, drizzle with a few more tablespoons of olive oil, and toss it together.

Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Friday Recipe: Aioli!

Growing up in the US, I always thought of mayonaise as that revolting sweet bland white goo that you mix with tuna in tuna salad. I absolutely hate the stuff – it’s disgusting.

So when I started learning to cook, and I saw recipes that used aioli, I avoided them. After all, aioli is just homemade mayo, right? Until a couple of years ago, when I was at Ming Tsai’s restaurant, and they served a really fantastic carpaccio which was drizzled with a garlic aioli. I didn’t know what it was – but it was fantastic, so I asked the waiter what the sauce was. I was shocked to find out it was aioli! So I broke down, and started trying to make it myself. And what a revelation: it’s absolutely fantastic stuff.

It’s extremely easy to make; it takes about 2 minutes to whip a batch together! It’s versatile – you can use it with anything from a simple salad to a steak! And it’s easy to play with – you can change it around by adding in different
flavors, to make it suit all sorts of different dishes.

I’ll start with the master recipe, and then run through a bunch of my favorite variations.

Ingredients

  • One large clove of garlic.
  • One (light) teaspoon of dijon mustard.
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar.
  • 2 egg yolks.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil.
  • One generous pinch salt.

Instructions

    1. Crush the garlic, mince it, and then put it into a food processor or blender. ( Either one is fine, just like the blendtec vs vitamix debate )
    2. Add the vinegar, mustard, and salt to the food processor/blender, and pulse it to get them to combine.
    3. Add the egg yolks – pulse quickly to combine.
    4. Turn on the machine, and then slowly drizzle in the oil. You add the oil slowly enough so that you never see any loose oil in the machine – it should be getting emulsified into the egg mixture immediately.
    5. When you’ve added all of the oil, turn the machine off. That’s it: you’re done. You’ve got aioli!

Some nice variations:

        • Sun-dried tomato and paprika: this one is a fantastic topping for a good burger. Mince up some sun-dried tomato, and put it into the aioli along with a good tablespoon of smoked spanish paprika, and fold that in.
        • Tartar sauce: for the best tartar sauce you’ve ever had to go with fried fish, about a tablespoon each of minced onion, carrot, and celery, and about 1/2 teaspoon of tomato paste.
        • Salad dressing: if you like thousand island dressing, this will knock your socks off. Get some good quality pickles. Mince up about a tablespoon of pickle, plus a half tablespoon of red onion, mix it with about a tablespoon of tomato paste, and then fold that into the aioli.
        • Steak sauce: get a nice berber spice blend, and fold in a generous tablespoon. (Berber is, roughly, a blend of chili pepper, garlic and onion powders, cardamom, black pepper, and fenugreek.)

This stuff makes me really regret how long I delayed in learning to make it. Unfortunately, my distaste for mayo growing up is really strong. It’s taken time for me to learn to use it. I’ve got such an instinct for thinking that anything mayo-like is gross. I still have a reflex to avoid it, even when I know how good it is. I keep surprising myself by making it for my wife, and then being shocked when I taste it. Don’t be like me: start enjoying this stuff now!

Thanksgiving Recipe: Mark's Cranberry Chutney

This is a repost of a recipe from last year. I just made this year’s batch, and I gotta say… this stuff is absolutely amazing. It’s so good that I can barely believe that I invented this, even though I know I did, because I was there.

Since I started doing my family’s thanksgiving dinner, I always made a simple cranberry relish – it’s the recipe that’s on the side of every bag of fresh cranberries – the cranberries, sugar, and oranges, into a food processor. The problem is, that really needs to sit for a couple of days, to let the flavors blend together, and to give the cranberry pectin a chance to thicken it. And last year, I completely forgot to do it in advance – on thanksgiving morning, I took the turkey out of the fridge, and saw my bag of cranberries.

So there was no time to let it sit. I figured I needed to do something else. What? Well, I love chutneys, and a good chutney sounded nice. I went hunting online for cranberry chutney. There were lots of recipes, but none of them appealed to me. So I said to hell with it, and ad-libbed.

The results were just delightful, and it’s become the new cranberry tradition in the Chu-Carroll household. It’s got fantastic balance: sweet, sour, spicy, and bitter all at the same time, in the right proportions to compliment the turkey.

Continue reading Thanksgiving Recipe: Mark's Cranberry Chutney

Saturday Recipe: Ginger Scallion Sauce

Today’s recipe is something I made this week for the first time, and trying it was like a revelation. It’s simple to make, it’s got an absolutely spectacularly wonderful flavor – light and fresh – and it’s incredibly versatile. It’s damned near perfect. It’s scallion ginger sauce, and once you try it, it will become a staple. To quote David Chang, whose cookbook I learned this from: if you’ve got ginger scallion sauce in the fridge, you’ll never be hungry.

There are two main variations of this: there’s a cooked version, and a raw version. Mine is the raw version. I love the freshness of flavor, and while cooking it will intensify some of the flavors, it will also detract from that delightful freshness.

Ingredients

  • Fresh ginger – roughly one inch, peeled.
  • A bunch of fresh scallions.
  • A teaspoon, give or take, of coarse salt.
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar.
  • 1/4 cup oil – peanut oil, canola oil, or something
    other neutral oil.

  • A dash of sesame oil.

Instructions

  • Mince the ginger. Toss the minced ginger into a food processor.
  • Cut the roots off of the scallions, cut them coarsely, and add them to the food processor.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor.
  • Run the food processor until everything is finely ground into a smooth sauce.

That’s it. Ginger scallion sauce. Taste it – make sure it’s got enough salt. Don’t add any soy sauce – just use plain salt if it needs any.

So what can you do with it? Just about anything. A few
great ideas:

  1. Ramen noodles. Just cook up a batch of ramen, and toss it with a tablespoon of the sauce. You can also add some stir fried meat and veggies to make it a bit more filling.
  2. Grilled meats. Use a bit of the sauce as a marinade, then grill it, and dress it with a bit of the sauce when it’s done.
  3. Use it instead of mayo on a sandwich.
  4. Add a bit more vinegar, and use it as a vinaigrette over a salad.
  5. Saute some shrimp, and toss some ginger-scallion sauce in just before they’re done.
  6. Get a nice whole fish, steam it cantonese style with just a bit of salt, soy, and sake. Spoon a bit of the sauce over it when it’s done.

If you wanted to try to cooked version, you take the ginger, scallions, and salt, and puree them in the food processor. Then put them into a large pot. In a different pot, heat the oil up until it just starts to smoke, and then pour it over the ginger/scallion/salt mixture. When it cools, whisk in the rest of the ingredients.

But like I said – I think it’s best to just stick with it raw.

A Special Midweek Recipe: Ad-Libbed Cranberry Chutney

It’s not saturday, but I’ve got a recipe that I needed to write down before I forget it, so you’re getting an extra bonus.

I usually make a simple cranberry relish for thanksgiving. But it needs to be made a couple of days in advance. This year, I completely forgot about the cranberries until this morning. So I figured I needed to do something else. A good chutney sounded nice. I went hunting online, but couldn’t find anything that sounded good, so I went ahead and ad-libbed. And the results were amazing – this is definitely the new cranberry tradition in the Chu-Carroll household. Sweet, tart, and spicy – it’s a perfect compliment for the turkey.

Continue reading A Special Midweek Recipe: Ad-Libbed Cranberry Chutney

Saturday Recipe: Chicken Mole Enchiladas

I forgot to take a picture of this dish – so Physioprof, shut up 🙂

I don’t even pretend that this is an authentic mexican mole. It’s
something that I whipped together because I felt like a mole, and
I worked from very vague memories of a mole recipe I read years ago,
and ad-libbed this. So it’s absolutely not authentic – but it is
yummy.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken breasts, bone in.
  • One large onion, diced.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced.
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder.
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinammon powder.
  • 1 teaspoon mexican oregano.
  • 1/2 teaspoon epazote.
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely minced.
  • 1 large dried ancho chili pepper.
  • 1 dried serrano chile pepper.
  • One can diced tomatoes.
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped.
  • 1/4 cup tequila.
  • 1 dozen corn tortillas, lightly toasted.
  • 1 tablespoon whole almonds.
  • chicken stock.
  • Cheese. (I use cheddar; you should use a mexican queso blanco,
    but I don’t have access to a decent one.)

Instructions

  1. Put a pan on high heat. When it’s good and hot, start
    adding chicken thighs, skin side down, to the dry
    pan. (You’re going to get fat from the chicken skin.)
    Brown them well on both sides, then remove.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the onions to the pan with
    the chicken fat. Stir, and let them cook for several minutes until
    they’re translucent.
  3. Take the dried peppers, remove the seeds, and crush/chop them
    finely. (Depending on the peppers, they may be brittle, in which case
    you’ll need to just crush them in a mortar and pestle; or they may be
    leathery, in which case you’ll need to mince them.)
  4. Add the garlic, chipotle, and dried chilis to the onions, and
    let them cook for about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the tequila, and let it cook until most of the
    liquid has evaporated.
  6. Add the can of tomatoes, the cumin, the cinammon, and the coriander.
    Stir it to mix, and then re-add the chicken. Add chicken stock until
    the the chicken is covered.
  7. Let it simmer on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes.
  8. Turn off the heat, and remove the chicken from the sauce. Set it
    aside and let it cool.
  9. In small portions, move the sauce to a blender, and puree it to
    a smooth sauce.
  10. Put the pureed sauce back into the pan, and turn the heat on low. Let
    it simmer for another 10 minutes.
  11. Pull the chicken meat from the thighs, and shred it. Move it into
    another pan. Add a couple of tablespoons of the sauce, a cup
    of chicken stock, and simmer it for half an hour.
  12. Shred one half of a corn tortilla, and the almonds into
    the blender. Add just enough chicken stock to cover them,
    and puree until smooth.
  13. Add the pureed tortilla and almonds into the sauce, and stir
    them in. Let it cook until the sauce starts to thicken.
  14. Lower the heat on the sauce to low. Add the chocolate to the sauce, and
    stir until it’s melted and well-blended in.
  15. Taste the sauce, and add salt, black pepper, and sugar to taste.
  16. Toast the tortillas lightly until they’re softened.
  17. Into each tortilla, spoon a couple of teaspoons of the shredded
    chicken, roll it, and then put it into a baking dish.
  18. Spoon the sauce over the fill tortillas. Don’t overdo it – you want
    them nicely coated, but not drowned.
  19. Shred cheese over the top of the sauce.
  20. Bake the casserole with the tortillas for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve it with a nice mexican rice and beans.