Wednesday, September 24, 2008

carnitas

We hosted a taco party for some friends, and had some leftover carnitas.

carnitas taco
This was awesome, if I do say so myself. I adapted a recipe from the Homesick Texan, who had adopted their recipe from Diana Kennedy. The carnitas was buttery tender, with elements of sweetness and a slight spicy undertone. I sort of improvised a roasted tomatillo salsa.

Carnitas
INGREDIENTS
- 3 pounds of pork butt
- 1 cup of orange juice
- 3 cups of water
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 teaspoon chili spice rub (I make my own, but it's a blend of ancho and chipotle chiles, toasted and ground with garlic and salt)

Method:
1. Cut pork into strips (three inches by one inch), add to a large pot with the liquids and salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered on low for 2 hours. Do not touch the meat.

2. After two hours, turn heat up to medium high, and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the pork fat has rendered (about 45 minutes). Stir a few times, to keep pork from sticking to bottom of pan.

3. When pork has browned on both sides, it’s ready (there will be liquid fat in the pan). Serve either cubed or shredded (pork will be tender enough that just touching it will cause it to fall apart).
Serves 4-6
[from the Homesick Texan]

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

crunchy delicious potatoes

We had a little bit of leftover mashed potato, so I decided to make an almost croquette.

croquette salad
Instead of breading the mashed potatoes with panko, I just shaped them into patties and threw them into the pan. They crisped up pretty nicely, and with the plums and spinach, it made for a good, healthy-ish supper.
[mashed potatoes, spinach, plums, vinaigrette]

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Monday, September 15, 2008

soup & 1/2 sandwich

Another quick lunch.

tomato soup & grilled cheese & salami sandwich

[soup:canned tomatoes, chicken stock, salt, cayenne pepper, basil; sandwich: rye bread, mozzarella cheese, salami, basil]

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Friday, September 12, 2008

more scraps

Sadly, it's been so long I can't remember what's in this. Leftover bits of some sort.

mystery hash

Monday, September 08, 2008

scraps

This is the result of having no fresh food in the house and scrounging from what was in the pantry and freezer.

ramen
Obviously not gourmet by any means.
[ramen noodles, shrimp, corn, masago]

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

light and puffy

We brought these to a friend's party as appetizers. They went very quickly.

bacon gruyere gougeres
This is a foolproof recipe for gougeres. I've had some mishaps with choux pastry dough before, but I think the use of the food processor really helps with the beating phase.

If you prefer smaller gougères, simply use a smaller tip on the piping bag. Pay close attention as they bake because smaller puffs may require a shorter baking time. Gougères are best served warm, although they can be made in advance and reheated as needed.

Bacon, Gruyere & Thyme Gougeres
INGREDIENTS
Pork and Brine
- 7 slices bacon , minced
- 4 medium cloves garlic , minced
- 2 large eggs , plus 1 large egg white
- 6 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 6 pieces
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (2 1/2 ounces), sifted
- 3 ounces Gruyère, Emmentaler, or Swiss cheese , shredded (about 1 cup)
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Beat eggs and egg white in measuring cup or small bowl; you should have 1/2 cup (discard excess). Set aside.

2. In small skillet, fry minced bacon over medium heat until almost crisp, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Drain mixture through small strainer, reserving 2 tablespoons bacon fat. Set aside.

3. Bring water, butter, bacon fat, milk, and salt to boil in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring once or twice (see illustration 1). When mixture reaches full boil (butter should be fully melted), immediately remove saucepan from heat and stir in flour with heatproof spatula or wooden spoon until combined and mixture clears sides of pan. Return saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, using a smearing motion (illustration 2), until mixture is slightly shiny, looks like wet sand, and tiny beads of fat appear on bottom of saucepan, about 3 minutes (paste should register 175 to 180 degrees on instant-read thermometer).

4. Immediately transfer mixture to food processor and process with feed tube open for 10 seconds to cool slightly. With machine running, gradually add eggs in a steady stream (illustration 3). When all eggs have been added, scrape down sides of bowl and add Gruyère and cayenne to food processor. Process for 30 seconds until a smooth, thick, sticky paste forms. Pulse bacon-garlic mixture and thyme into batter until mixed. (If not using immediately, transfer paste to medium bowl, press sheet of plastic wrap that has been sprayed lightly with nonstick cooking spray directly on surface, and store at room temperature for up to 2 hours.)

5. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper; set sheet aside.

6. Fold down top 3 or 4 inches of large pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch plain tip to form cuff. Following illustrations 4 through 6, hold bag open with one hand in cuff and fill bag with paste. Unfold cuff, place bag on work surface, and, using your hands, push paste toward tip of pastry bag. Twist top of bag and pipe paste onto prepared baking sheet into 16 evenly spaced 2-inch mounds. Use back of teaspoon dipped in bowl of cold water to even out shape and smooth surface of piped mounds.

7. Bake 15 minutes (do not open oven door), then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue to bake until golden brown and fairly firm, 12 to 14 minutes longer. Remove baking sheet from oven. With paring knife, cut 3/4-inch slit into side of each puff to release steam; return to oven, turn off oven, and prop oven door open with handle of wooden spoon. After 10 minutes, transfer puffs to wire rack. Serve warm. (Gougères can be cooled completely and stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours or frozen in zipper-lock plastic bag for up to 1 month. Before serving, crisp room-temperature gougères in 300-degree oven for 5 to 8 minutes; crisp frozen gougères for 8 to 10 minutes.)
Makes 15 2-inch puffs
[from Cook's Illustrated, December 2006]

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Friday, September 05, 2008

banana bread

I usually keep a few overripe bananas in the freezer for this purpose. You never know when you might need an emergency dessert.

banana bread
This was a nice, fluffy recipe. It's pretty different from this recipe. Both are good, the other one is just much denser. Both are great when fried in butter. :) I also forgot to add my usual chocolate chips.
[bananas, flour, butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, salt]

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pizza-esque

My mom gave me a bunch of sweet onions, so I browsed around for a nice use for them.

flammekueche
This was very rich because of the bacon fat used to cook the onions. But it had an interesting base and made for a really good dinner. It was very much like a German pizza.
[flour, yeast, honey, water, oil, sour cream, onions, bacon, thymel, ]

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