Thursday, February 26, 2009

Queen Creole Sauce

I think Paul Prudhomme rocks.

He does.

Think about it.

However many years ago he wrote Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen and changed the way people thought about food.

Louisiana food.

He made it accessible, he made it easy and you know the dairy farmers had to be happy about the amount of butter he called for in every recipe.

Wallpaperers were happy too. I had to rewallpaper my kitchen after blackening redfish one night.

Surely other people had the same experience I did.

Red beans and rice became a staple all over the country.

Jambalaya too.

But for me, the best thing Paul Prudhomme did was introduce me to Creole Sauce.

It’s happy with chicken, shrimp, sausage, pork, fish…it’s universal. It takes the great triumvirate of green bell peppers, onions and celery to a whole new art form. And when you throw in bay leaves, white pepper, sweet hot smoked paprika (my touch), cayenne, basil, oregano, thyme (another triumvirate unto itself) you can turn a plain old dinner into something to behold.

That’s why I call her the Queen.

Make some soon.

Keep it in the freezer for a night when you don’t want to cook but want to impress.

For example a little chorizo, a little shrimp, a little rice and the Queen Creole Sauce. you’ll knock ‘em dead.

God save the Queen.

Queen Creole Sauce
Adapted from Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen

A couple of good swirls of extra virgin olive oil ( you can use 4 tbsp butter like Paul, but if not….)
3/ 4 cup chopped sweet yellow onion
3/ 4 cup chopped celery
3/ 4 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 large spoonful garlic confit, chopped
1 cup chopped San Marzano tomatoes
1 cup juice from the can of tomatoes (make sure the juice is thick or use a decent jarred tomato sauce)
1 1-/2 cup chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper and coarse salt to taste
1/ 4 tsp ground white pepper
2 bay leaves
½ heaping tsp dried sweet basil
½ heaping tsp smoked sweet paprika
½ heaping tsp dried Turkish oregano
½ heaping tsp dried French thyme
A big pinch of sugar
A good swirl of Tabasco

Put a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat and throw in the onion, green bell pepper and celery and cook til onion is translucent. Add all the seasonings, stir and let it cook for a few minutes. Add the garlic confit, tomatoes and cook for five minutes and then add the tomato sauce, sugar, chicken stock and Tabasco. Let cook for about 25 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Makes about 3 cups.
Freezes like a dream!

Click here for a printable recipe!

One Year Ago on Feeding Groom

Monday, February 23, 2009

Braised Pork Loin in Tomatillo-Chipotle Sauce



One thing leads to another.


This beautiful braised pork loin in a tomatillo chipotle sauce led to a black bean and pork stew over twice cooked new potatoes topped with a cool salad of mixed greens, campari tomatoes finished with fresh avocado, a squeeze of lime, a splat of sour cream and fresh cilantro.

Two entirely different approaches to one main dish.

Too good.

Braised Pork Loin in Tomatillo Chipotle Sauce
Adapted from Rick Bayless Mexico One Plate at a Time

2 pounds pork loin roast
10 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
5 plum tomatoes, rinsed
1 chipotle en adobo sauce
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Big spoonful garlic confit
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 large sweet yellow onion, sliced thin
5 medium Yukon gold potatoes, washed and halved

Do a good swirl extra virgin olive oil in a Dutch oven large enough to hold the pork roast. Heat medium high. Add the pork roast…brown about five minutes on both sides. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from the Dutch oven and set aside.
Add the sliced onion to the Dutch oven and cook til caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic confit and smush into the onions.

Preheat broiler and roast tomatoes and tomatillos til blackened in oven, whirl in a blender and add with 1-1.2 cups chicken broth to caramelized onion and garlic. Add the fresh cilantro. Lower oven to 325 degrees put the pork in onion tomatillo sauce, cover it and put in the oven for 30 minutes.

Boil the Yukon gold potatoes in salted water for 20 minutes. When the pork has cooked for 30 minutes add the potatoes to the pork. Let cook 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes before slicing. Sprinkle with a bit of fresh cilantro before serving.

Serves 4 generously.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Black Bean and Braised Pork Stew on Twice Cooked Potatoes

I had leftover sauce, potatoes and pork.
Slice the leftover pork. Put in a sauce pan.
Add one can black beans, drained and set over medium heat.

Slice the leftover cooked potatoes.
Heat a medium skillet add a bit of olive oil and put sliced potatoes in the skillet.
Cook, pressing down til hot and then turning several times til golden brown.

Add 1/3 cup chopped cilantro to stew.

Serve potato with stew over. Top with fresh mixed greens, sliced avocado, quartered tomatoes, a splat of sour cream and a squeeze of fresh lime and cilantro.

Serves 3 generously.

One Year Ago on Feeding Groom

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cheese Souffle

Sometimes a Sunday will just wear you out. Could be the anticipation of a Monday, a national holiday, that is not observed at your office, and you have a mental pity party for yourself all day. Or it could be that there is no beach in your back yard, which increases the effect of the mental pity party.

So, what do you do?

Eat cheese. The ultimate comfort food for me in this state. Any kind of cheese. Cream cheese, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, Monterey jack cheese, string cheese, Saga Blue cheese, parmesan cheese, sliced American cheese.
No cheese is safe.

These cheesy moods usually lead to a major caloric indulgence. It could be macaroni and cheese, an over the top cheese and cracker indulgence, cheese dip with the dreaded Velveeta (usually reserved for desperation induced pity parties) or cheese soufflé.

Cheese soufflé is the perfect antidote for a mental pity party. You have to pay attention to what you’re doing.

You can’t jump up and down and stamp your feet because then you won’t have a cheese soufflé.

It’s easy to make, goes great with a baby romaine, avocado and sliced Ruby Red Grapefruit salad with a Dijon mustard vinaigrette and you don’t use every bowl, pot or pan in the kitchen which would send someone else into a pity party.

It does help to keep the appropriate soufflé dish close by, instead of using it for, say, a dog water bowl.

Hence the fact that the above picture looks like the soufflé didn’t rise, which it did, beautifully, into fluffy, cheesy lightness. You just can’t tell because the non dog water bowl soufflé dish is too big.

A couple of bites into these mind altering dish and the Sunday pity party is a thing of the past. You’re rejuvenated, ready to take on the world Monday morning, while no one else is working.

But you’re okay with that.

Manchego Cheese Souffle
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1 by Julia Child and Simone Beck

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Grate about 3 tbs parmesan cheese. Butter a 6 cup soufflé dish well and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Set aside.

Heat 1 cup milk to boiling.

Melt 3 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add 3 tbsp flour and stir with a wooden spoon about a minute over the heat til thick. Remove from heat, add boiling milk all at once and whisk til smooth. Return to heat and stir about 2 minutes. Add a good pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a touch of coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. .

Separate 5 eggs. Beat 5 egg whites with a pinch of salt into stiff peaks using hand mixer. Use 4 yolks, adding one at a time to hot sauce and whisk til each yolk is incorporated. Then add about a quarter of the beaten egg whites into sauce and fold in well. Add 3/4 cup grated Manchego cheese. Then add the remaining whites, folding in carefully so the mixture remains light and fluffy.

Put soufflé into prepared soufflé mold and put in the oven. Immediately reduce the heat to 375 and cook for 35 minutes.

Do not open the oven door for at least 20 minutes. Do not put on dance music or allow a
Great Pyrenees to run through your kitchen during this time.

Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Serves 3 generously.

Click here for a printable recipe!

One Year Ago on Feeding Groom

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Korean Short Ribs

Short ribs. Again.

It’s gotten to be a compelsion, which is a compulsion with a mind of its own.

Compelsions make plans for you, you don’t make plans for compelsions.

You make a list and head to the grocery. Once in the electronic doors, the compelsion takes over..

It’s like I have blinders on. My eyes glaze over. What list?

I walk straight past the produce, the fish, the bakery and head straight to the meat counter.

Next thing I know, I’m in the check out line with a bag of dark chocolate M&Ms and 5 pounds of short ribs.

Groom is dispatched with haste back to the store to get what was on my list in the first place. He doesn’t have compelsions. Unless it’s about a song. And you can’t eat that.

This recipe is from the massive yellow Gourmet Cookbook. It requires little or no talent in the kitchen at all ( a first for something from Gourmet) ,a grill and a bit of prior planning. And for your minimal effort, you get a rich, sticky, caramelized short ribs that need little more than a bit of rice, maybe a salad and those dark choco M&Ms.

And, maybe, a compelsion.

I’m starting a support group.

Korean Short Ribs
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

4-1/2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
3-5 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
Couple of dashes Worcestershire
Couple of dashes fish sauce
4 swirls toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 spoonful garlic confit
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Sprinkle the short ribs with the sugar on both sides, cover with plastic and let sit in fridge four hours. (they can sit up to eight hours in fridge with just the sugar on them).

Put everything but scallions in blender and whirl together. Add the scallions and pour over the short ribs and let marinate minimum 2 hours.

Grill 15 minutes total. let sit for five.

Serves 4 generously.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Claudia's Osso Buco

I am a huge fan of Osso Buco.


I have made variations of this for years. However, in my entire history of
osso-buco-ing, there is one version that stands out.

In its own field.

And it’s this one from cookeatFret.

You know Claudia, if you don’t, you need to.

This chick can cook.

Especially rustic Italian. Her specialty.




Follow this recipe to the letter. I did not change one thing. I even served the green beans with it.

You make this, people will talk about it for years.

I know, I made this last year.

They’re still talking.

Claudia's Osso Buco from cookeatFret

veal shank sliced in 2 - 3 inch pieces
2 - 3 T olive oil
flour for dredging
salt and pepper
3 ounces pancetta - finely chopped
6 or 7 anchovies - finely chopped
white wine - 1 cup
veal or chicken stock - about 2 cups

lightly flour the shank pieces and lightly salt and pepper
brown the shanks well on both sides in the olive oil
remove to a plate and set aside
add the pancetta to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes on low to medium heat
add the anchovies for about another 3 minutes and then the garlic for another 2
deglaze the pan with the white wine and reduce it down almost all the way
add back the veal and cover the meat halfway with the stock
cover the pan and simmer for 90 minutes
remove the shanks carefully - i didn’t tie mine and they held together just fine
strain the liquid that’s left in the pan (i saved the pancetta pieces for a pizza later in the week)
and then return strained liquid - i had about 2/3 cup - to the pan and add about 2 or 3 T butter to make a sauce.

Serves 2 happy humans!

Click here for a printable recipe!