Friday, November 30, 2007

Shrimp Pouches with Papaya Salad

This makes a good light lunch, and can be prepared, if you have all the ingredients, in about 30 minutes. I know "pouches" sounds weird, but they're not exactly potstickers or wontons-- they come out soft and delicate but retain their shape.

For the papaya salad: using a mandoline, julienne a green papaya and toss with lime juice, chopped chiles or sriracha hot sauce, brown sugar, and fish sauce.

For the potstickers: chop raw, shelled & deveined shrimp as finely or roughly as you like. Toss with minced ginger and scallion (white part only), a tablespoon each of soy sauce and rice wine, and a teaspoon each of rice vinegar and sesame oil. Add 1T frothy egg white (separate the white and beat about 5 minutes until just frothy) and stir to combine. Using a fork, place a small mound of shrimp mixture in the center of a wonton wrapper, and seal the wrapper using leftover egg white (this will stick better than water).

Brown the potstickers in hot oil (I use grapeseed) on both sides; add 1/2c water, cover, and steam 5-6 minutes. Uncover and let water evaporate; serve with papaya salad and hoisin & sriracha sauces.

Monday, November 26, 2007


might be my favorite holiday. I don't think I have to explain why. This is the first year I've done the bulk of the planning and cooking, though I couldn't have done the latter without my mom's help (and without her, we wouldn't have had dessert, which I conveniently neglected from my menu). Please excuse the late posting; it's my sister's fault (though she is responsible for the cranberry bean shelling and brussel sprout cleaning-- step one in her path to culinary greatness).

Chestnut Soup
tasty but light enough to start off the meal

I didn't follow the recipe in this link very closely-- I doubled the veggie base and spices-- but it's a good start.

Brined and Barbecued Turkey
might have been the best turkey ever

This was a compromise between my brining plans and my dad's insistence on barbecuing, with fantastic results, thanks to Traci Des Jardins. We followed this excellent recipe but didn't strain the brine. Yay women chefs!

Giblet Gravy
lots of roux-browning, a mirepoix, giblets,
and turkey necks went into this delicious gravy

Cranberry Sauce Trio

Canned Jellied Cranberry Sauce (bottom)-- my personal favorite

Earl Gray Cardamom Cranberry Sauce (top)-- thanks to my fellow foodie Katie

Spicy Orange Cranberry Relish (right)-- modified from Jacques Pepin's recipe in this lovely book

Cornbread Pudding Stuffing

The "pudding" part is the cream & eggs that make this the best stuffing ever. An homage to my sister, the self-professed stuffing hater, who made sure there was none left before going back to college.

Recipe, in a few steps:

Cornbread: Make easy cornbread and let sit, covered, overnight (reserve the rest of the can of creamed corn). The next morning (yes, cooking is a two-day affair), cut into small cubes (the size of croutons) and toss with good olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped fresh thyme & sage. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and crunchy. Refrain from snacking while you make the mushrooms.

Mushrooms: Stem about 2lbs of shiitake mushrooms, reserving the stems. Chop stems finely and bring to a boil with 4c chicken broth. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until reduced by half. Strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth and reserve mushroomy broth.

Thickly slice mushroom caps and thinly slice shallots. Saute in butter and olive oil until mushrooms are browned and delicious. Toss with broth.

An hour before serving, whisk together 1/2c cream and 2 eggs. Mix with mushrooms and cornbread croutons and spread mixture in a gratin dish. Sprinkle cornbread crumbs (that gathered in a delicious mess of herbs and oil at the bottom of your baking pan) on top of stuffing and bake until set at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Butternut Squash Gratin with Fried Sage
you saw this here but without the sage, which is delicious fried in butter

Fresh Cranberry Beans

Cooked with a quartered onion and a few garlic cloves, then drained and tossed with thyme and olive oil, these are simply delicious, and only available a few weeks a year. They have beautiful speckled pods that unfortunately get thrown away. Do let me know if you know of a way to use them.

Lemony Brussel Sprouts
roughly this recipe-- we used it last year and had no leftovers.

And, of course...

yes, this is a magnum of 1988 Chateau Duhart-Milon

And the dessert I would have forgotten...

My Mom's Absolutely Delicious Tarte Tatin

You might think that all this food was enough for a dozen people. It was. We were only five.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Miso Soup with Curry Squash Wontons

I had leftover wonton filling from the feast (roasted butternut squash, mashed with green curry paste), so I made wontons and set aside. I began with dashi-- bonito flakes (kitty crack) and hot water-- and added sliced crimini mushrooms, chopped carrots, diced leek, and dried wakame seaweed. I let this boil a bit, then turned down the heat, and stirred in a few large tablespoons of white miso paste and the prepared wontons. Careful not to bring the soup to a boil once the miso's in-- it somehow ruins the miso. When the wontons float to the top, the soup's ready. Serve with sriracha and soy sauce.

Potato Omelet Breakfast, or What to do with Leftover Mashed Potatoes

... a problem you might have after Thursday. I promise, it's better than it looks.

As shown above, beat 1 egg (or 1/4c egg substitute) with 1/2c mashed potatoes. Add salt, pepper, and crumbled cheese (use a strong cheese-- parmesan, sharp cheddar, etc. I used prima dona gouda). Mix well and pour into an 8-10" skillet. Cover. When the edges begin to curl, try to flip (as you can see in the first picture, my potato omelet didn't flip very well). Cook until the underside is dry (the omelet should stay together when you shake the pan). Serve hot.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Around the World, Two Ways

Around the World, Two Ways
November 18, 2007

This was a feast to rival our last.
For more lovely photographs by Karen,
or a slideshow of the cooking process, see here.

We wanted to do every course two ways-- roughly an "east" and a "west" (except hors d'oeuvres). All food is from the Saturday Berkeley Farmers' Market, Monterey Market, Tokyo Fish, and the coffee/tea market next to Monterey. All wine is from Vintage Berkeley.

Katie & I shopped & cooked
Karen made the delicious souffle you see in the "Oranges" course
and took all these gorgeous photographs
Katharine brought aperitifs and desert wine
Ridwan brought the fish course wine
Gus brought the pork course wine

Thank you to everyone for making this a delicious meal.

Hors d’oeuvres

Shiso leaf and beet with goat cheese and spiced almond

Watermelon radish chips with arugula-walnut pesto and filet cubes
Campari & Soda


Miso tuna tartare on daikon ribbons with
sesame sprinkle, nori chips, tobiko and wasabi cream

Arugula, smoked trout, and fennel salad with horseradish cream
Jean-Marc Brocard Petit Chablis 2005

Butternut Squash Dumplings

Almond sage ravioli with amaretto brown butter
Green curry wonton with lemongrass
coconut reduction and Thai eggplant
Jean-Marc Brocard Petit Chablis 2005

Pork Belly

Thyme roasted with zesty applesauce and celery remoulade
Five spice with papaya salad and spicy dipping sauce
Borgogno Barbera d' Alba 2006
Weingu Niklas Sudtiroler Lagrein 2005


Chinese Orange Surprise

Grand Marnier Souffle
Royal Tokaji 2000

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pork Hominy Stew

1-2lb boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-1.5" cubes. Coat with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and chili powder. Let marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 3-4 days.

One day before serving, remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Brown cubes on all sides in hot grapeseed oil. If necessary, brown in batches; do not crowd pan. Remove pork and place in bowl.

Add oil if necessary to pan; saute 2 large onions, chopped. Scrape up brown bits as onions release liquid. When onions are translucent, add salt, pepper, 1T chili powder and 2T dried coriander. Stir to combine. Add 5 cloves sliced garlic, 2 peeled, cored, and sliced apples, and 2 large sweet peppers, diced. Saute, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add pork and any accumulated juices and about 1lb early girl tomatoes, halved. Stir to combine. Add about 1c chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 1/2 hour.

Add 1 can drained and rinsed hominy. Cover and simmer until pork is tender, about 1 more hour. If you like your stew soupy, it's ready; otherwise, remove the meat and boil to reduce, or thicken with 1t cornstarch dissolved in water.

Eat the next day so the flavors have time to develop. For added deliciousness, reheat with some cooking greens (kale, collard greens, etc)-- I used mustard greens, which have a sharpness that goes well with the flavors in this dish. Cook, stirring, until greens wilt. Garnish with cilantro.

What to do with leftover short ribs

If you just so happened to snack too much on delicious cheeses while waiting for the short ribs to cook, you'll probably have leftover ribs. Refrigerate them in a closed container; when you're ready to use them, take them out in advance so they come to room temperature. Skim the orange congealed fat off the top of the sauce, and peel the meat off the bones. This will be a messy task; there is no way to do it without getting your fingers in every crevice of that meat, shredding it and making sure no sinew or bone gets mixed up in your precious meaty pile. Put the shredded, cleaned meat back into the sauce. Cook some pasta (I used whole wheat rotelli) and toss it all together with freshly grated parmesan in a heated bowl; voila, a new meal.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lamb Kebabs in Tomato Sauce

This is very similar to the two other lamb recipes on this site, but the others are grilled and baked; these are fried and then cooked slowly in a simple tomato broth until the broth and absorbed and the meatballs plump up. It's easy to make for a crowd. This recipe fed seven. I unfortunately don't have a photo.

Mix together:

2.5lb ground lamb
1.5 large onions, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 egg
1/4c dry fine bread crumbs
1 bunch finely chopped cilantro
2T cinnamon
3T each of
black pepper
cayenne pepper
ground ginger
4T each of

Fry a little bit in a pan to test the spices; adjust if necessary. The mix should be tacky and easy to form into small balls (about 1" diameter), using wet hands so meat doesn't stick to your hands. Press each ball into bread crumbs to cover both sides. In a pan with a thin layer of hot olive oil, fry the balls in one layer to brown both sides and then remove from pan (you'll probably have to do this in batches. Add more oil if necessary to pan, and then add:

1/2 diced onion
6 cloves sliced garlic
2 pods cardamom

and saute until onion is translucent. Push onion mixture to sides, and add to middle of pan:

1/2 can tomato paste (2-3T)

and let caramelize. Mix with onions. Deglaze with 1-2c chicken broth and mix well. Return kebabs to pan and cook, covered, about 30 minutes or until balls are tender. Remove lid and reduce sauce until thick and dark. Serve with couscous.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bourbon-Pomegranate Short Ribs

Adapted from a recipe on justbraise.

5 meaty bone-in short ribs
2T grapeseed oil
8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 serrano chile, chopped
3 bay leaves
1t herbes de provence
1c bourbon
2T tomato paste
1c stock
2T soy sauce
4 anchovy filets
scant ½ cup pomegranate molasses

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat oil over medium heat. Cover both sides of the short ribs with black and cayenne peppers and kosher salt. Brown the ribs on all 4 sides (about 6 minutes each side). Remove.

Add the carrot, celery, onion, jalapeño and anchovies. Sauté to soften and absorb the fond, about 7 minutes

Deglaze with bourbon. Add bay leaves, thyme, tomato paste, garlic cloves and soy sauce. Stir well to combine. Add ribs. Add stock (it should be halfway up ribs) and bring to a boil.

Cover well (I used foil and the pot lid) and cook in oven for 2.5-3 hours. If sauce is still liquidy, remove ribs and reduce on stove. Stir in pomegranate molasses. Return ribs to pot to coat with sauce and combine flavors.

Serve with yam oven fries (julienne peeled yams, drizzle with olive oil and salt, bake at 400 degree until crispy). *What we call "yams" are really orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. I buy "garnet"-- I think they're the sweetest and have the best texture.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Turkey and Two Cheese Omelet

Beat 2 eggs with a splash of milk and a teaspoon of tarragon leaves.

Dice turkey pastrami (or any non-sliced lunchmeat, or leftover meat) and fry in a dry non-stick pan until browned and crispy. Set aside.

Wipe pan clean and melt butter. Pour egg mixture into pan; cover and cook over medium low heat until edges are just brown. Flip carefully and, while bottom cooked, place diced meat, diced sharp cheddar, and diced pepperjack (or whatever cheeses you have on hand) on top. Fold into half-moon shape and serve with toast.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Breakfast: Anchovy Egg Delight

Yesterday, I bought 6 cans of anchovies at Costco. This morning I woke up with an anchovy craving. This is what came out of it. Sorry, no picture-- I hate it when my eggs get cold.

Take 2 slices thick, hearty bread (I used Vital Vitals 12 grain) and top with slices of sharp cheddar. Broil until cheese is melted.

Thinly slice 2 slices of turkey pastrami (or use canadian bacon, or real bacon). Fry them in a dry non-stick skillet. Place the slices on top of each slice of bread.

In the same skillet, fry 4 chopped anchovies with a bit of tomato sauce. Pour over toasts. Place toasts in oven to keep warm.

Fry 2 eggs over-easy or sunny-side-up (or you can poach them). Place eggs on top of toasts. Add salt, pepper. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Bone Marrow Feast-Planning Meal

This is the prelude to our Autumn Feast. Check back in a few weeks for more details.

Bone Marrow: Roast (2-in) bones at 450 degrees for 20 min. Serve spread on toasts, sprinkled with salt. We used grey sea salt salt (sel marin), cyprus black sea salt, and australian murray river salt.

Serve with the following salads:

Parsley, chopped shallot, capers; dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt.

Fresh cranberry beans boiled in water, thyme, & parsley; tossed warm with fresh thyme, olive oil & lemon juice.

Celery Remoulade: Thinly julienned celery root (celeriac), julienned apple (peeled & cored), tossed with dijon, mayo, lemon juice, cream, and salt & pepper.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Spicy Turkey Chili

I don't really like chili. This one uses more turkey than beans, and lots of spices.

Saute 1 large diced onion (with 1T kosher salt) until light brown. Stir in 2T dried oregano and 2T ground cumin. Stir in 1.25 lbs ground turkey; brown. Add 2T chile powder, 1-2 bay leaves, a generous sprinkle of cinnamon, and 1/2 can chopped chipotle in adobo. Stir to combine. Add 1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, about 8oz tomato sauce, and 1-2 c chicken stock. Simmer for about 45 minutes until reduced. Drain and rinse well 1 can dark red kidney beans and 1 can cannellini (white kidney) beans, and add to chili. Cook about 10 minutes until flavors combine. Serve with yogurt, cilantro, and grated sharp cheddar.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Butternut Squash Gratin

I took this to a potluck, and didn't remember to photograph it until it was already in the bag. Note: This is not my recipe. It is Jacques Pepin's. But it is so good, it deserves repetition (with slight tweaking).

Peel a 3.25 lb butternut squash. Slice lengthwise, remove seeds (roast them separately for a tasty treat!) and slice squash into 1/4-1/8" slices. Put slices into saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil (this will probably take about 10-15 minutes). Boil 2 minutes; drain. Pour squash into gratin dish and cover with 1T kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and 1 1/2 c heavy cream. Stir gently to combine. Sprinkle 4 T parmesan on top. Bake 30 min at 400 degrees. Brown 4 minutes under broiler before serving. Serve with fried sage as garnish.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Baked Lamb Meatball Hors d'Oeuvres

These would be better fried (or sauteed), but I baked them so I wouldn't be in the kitchen when the guests came.

1 lb ground lamb
1/2 onion, minced (don't use a food processor-- onion becomes bitter if processed)
1/2 bunch cilantro
minced lemon zest from 1 small lemon (or 1/2 large lemon)
1 large egg
1 T cumin
1 T cayenne
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Mix it all with wet hands. Add about 1/4 c bread crumbs until mixture is gooey and sticks to itself easily. Form small balls (it should make about 28). Dip in bread crumb-zatar mixture.

Grease baking sheet. Place balls on sheet; brush tops of balls with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until balls are no longer pink inside.

Serve with yogurt sauce: yogurt mixed with good olive oil, salt, a 1 clove crushed garlic, and chopped mint.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Instant Apple Delight

This closely resembles the inside of a pie.

Peel and core apples and slice them thin (no more than 1/8"). Heat plenty of butter (1T/apple); when froth subsides, add apples in batches, adding more as each batch turns translucent. Add a sprinkle of kosher salt to each batch. Stir to combine and keep cooking until apples begin to caramelize. Add cinnamon and brown sugar to taste. Cook until brown and wilted.

Serve immediately with balsamic reduction.

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