Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fish: The other white meat


I know I know it isn't the other white meat. I just ran out of titles for my blog post and "Fish" didn't have that je ne sais quoi. Ok, so we went to Wegmans. Don't hate me but I didn't see what the fuss was about. They are expensive and they didn't even have kimchi when I went to go get it. Every market around here has kimchi. What is with that? No chicken gizzards? You have every kind of pate but you don't sell chicken gizzards? I do admit that their cheese selection, meat selection and fish selections are awesome. Then again you pay for that awesome. I did buy a whole fish there. Fresh fish. It was a red snapper. I had a recipe from the Kimchi Chronicles that I wanted to make. It called for bass but Wegman's didn't have it. So, snapper it was.


The recipe was great. We loved it. The pictures not so great. Hell, making a dead snapper look snappy just doesn't work. I don't care if you put a French tablecloth under it.


Ohcomeon! You know what I am talking about and you know who you are. The cute cliche picture of the slab of meat that you made for your adoring family and that you served on your best linen. Oh wait! It also had that ever so precious old looking cutlery in the photo too. You know which one I mean. The one that would give you lead poisoning if you ever really used it. Once again I digress.


Ok, here is a picture that I pulled from my archives of crab at Pikes Place in Washington. Even THEY look better than a snapper.


Here is another one I took. Ok, maybe I just didn't get a good picture of the snapper. I need some lessons on picture taking. I am winging it here folks. My interests are elsewhere.


Wait! One more.

Ok ok... Dinner was great.


Whole Grilled Bass with Makgeolli and Doenjang
adapted from The Kimchi Chronicles

NOTE: I substituted Red Snapper for Bass. I also used Saki instead of Makgeolli.

2 whole black sea bass or striped bass (about 1.5lbs each)
3 Tbl doenjang (soybean paste)
3 Tbl rice vinegar
1 Tbl soy sauce
1 Tbl toasted sesame oil
1/2 C makgeolli, sake, white wine, or water
2 Tbl finely diced shallots
2 Tbl finely chopped ginger
5 Scallions, thinly sliced

Cut diagonal slashes into the flesh on both sides of the fish and arrange in a large, shallow dish. Whisk together the doenjang, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, makgeolli, shallots, and ginger. Pour over the fish, making sure to get the marinade into the slashes. Cover and marinate for at least 20 minutes at room temperature and up to 6 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat grill to medium-high or preheat a ridged cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Place fish on the grill, brush with some of the marinade, and grill until browned and crisp on the first side and the flesh is easily pierced with a paring knife, 7 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness. Carefully turn the fish and baste with more of the marinade. Grill on the second side until the flesh is easily pierced with a paring knife, another 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer the fish to a large pan or platter, let rest for at least 5 minutes. Served sprinkled with the scallions.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A $36.00 Chicken and a Culinary Journey in Massachusetts


So what is for dinner? Why do I always feel like that is what I am asking myself on my days off of work. Work days I feel no obligation to come up with something good but the days I am home I feel like I am a sluggard if I don't come up with a culinary delight.

So enter a 8lb chicken that is in the freezer and has some ice on it. This is no ordinary chicken. It is a $36.00 chicken. I told you the story before so I won't repeat myself. I am getting ahead of myself again though. You see, I had a Skype date with Cathy (Mrs. Wheelbarrow) to teach me how to tie the Deux Rag (French Schmatta) that she sent me. I was honored because it is all part of a Meat Girl thing. Kate Hill of Kate Hill's Gascon Kitchen is the true grand Poo Ba of Meat and Gascony, and French, and and... everything.

So see her Deux Rag Schmatta? That is the one that Cathy sent to ME. So I waited until the agreed upon time and we Skyped. Cathy taught me how to tie my hair up. I don't know why she kept laughing when I did it. Dr. Food was looking at me like I had a problem or something. Then he laughed and laughed. This is me in my new Schmatta.


Wait, I look more like a Lopear rabbit than a Meat Girl.


Ok, I am working on it.

So in honor of Kate and Deux Rags and Chickens, I pulled out Kates book A Culinary Journey in Gascony and decided on "Vetou Pompele's Classic "Poule au Pot"


I was very happy that the recipe called for prosciutto and ventreche. HEY! I have both of those in my freezer.

See? The chicken and the ventreche.


Herbs and stuff.


Stuffing a chicken is a bit weird. I don't think I have ever done this before.


Sewing a chicken closed is even weirder. You know how hard it is to get through that tough skin and have it all slippery and stuff. Not easy holding onto a needle. I had to hold the chicken against me to sew it up. Ew, I had chicken schmootz all over my good sweatshirt (read: good sweatshirt is the one that has holes in it from washing it so much. I love sweatshirts so so much. You can ask anybody that knows me. I even stole all my son-in-laws sweatshirts. The bigger they are on me the better. I am a Hobo at heart).


I shoved stuffing under the skin too. Mr. Chicken got a little top heavy and decided to recline. I did NOT pose this chicken for a picture people. This was candid I swear.


Into the pot it went. I then cut up more vegetables to be added later.


and even more vegetables (see? not everything is about meat of some sort)


After soaking in the hot tub for about 3 hours (this is a LARGE chicken and it takes a while) Mr. Chicken is done.


So although it looks a bit anemic I have to say that it was Tres Bonne! (is that how you say it?)


It was chicken, stuffing and vegetables all in one pot. I feel so french.


Oh, by the way... I practiced the Deux Rag thing.


Now I look like Aladdin and not a bunny.

[from Kate Hill. A Culinary Journey in Gascony.(Berkley: Ten Speed Press,2004)]

(serves 6 to 8)
1 6 to 8 pound stewing hen
salt and pepper

1 thick slice salt-cured, air-dried ham--jambon de Bayonne or prosciutto
3/4-inch slice ventreche, pancetta or salt port
chicken gizzard,heart and liver
1 loaf stale French bread, crust removed
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
1 onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 shallots, chopped finely
some chicken fat from under the skin, minced very finely
4 eggs

bouquet garni (thyme, bay leaf, and parsley)
1 pound leeks
1 pound carrots
1 pound onions
1 bunch celery
2 to 3 turnips
2 to 3 zucchini
3 to four tomatoes
1 handful short vermicelli or other small pasta

1. Wash and dry the hen, then salt and pepper its cavity. Next, prepare the stuffing, as follows.

2. Chop the meats into small pieces. After soaking the bread in the milk and nutmeg, squeeze out the excess liquid and drain. Season the bread with pepper (salt isn't necessary because of the ham) and parsley. Add the onion, garlic, and shallots. Add the chopped meat and minced fat. Beat the eggs and ad to the mixture. Work the stuffing well with your hands (like kneading dough) until all has been carefully mixed.

3. Stuff the chicken's cavity. After loosening the skin from the breast meat, stuff under the skin as well.

4. Sew the cavity openings together with a large needle and heavy thread. The hen should be carefully closed with no stuffing escaping. Take small stitches, pulling the skin over the openings carefully as you sew.

5. Put the stuffed and sewn hen in a very large stockpot half-filled with hot water. Add enough water to cover the bird. Add a generous bouquet garni. Bring to a boil then simmer gently over medium heat for 30 minutes. Add the leeks and carrots.

6. Cook slowly for an hour, then add the onions, celery,turnips and zucchini. When the bird is nearly done (2 1/2 to 3 hours total time), add a few tomatoes to give the broth a rich golden color.

7. Pour some of the bouillon, enough for a soup, into a large pot and bring to a boil. Add a handful of pasta or tapioca. When the pasta is cooked, serve the soup as the first course.

8. After removing the chicken from the remaining broth, let drain, carve, and serve on a platter with some of the vegetables and with the stuffing cut into slices.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin and Pork Stew


It is Fall. I love Fall. I love Fall in New England. Fall in California isn't so special but in New England it is beautiful. Really beautiful. All the trees are turning colors and it nearly takes me breath away. Um, yeah... I have a huge case of homesickness for the never changing California, but if I have to choose the season I want to be here most it is Fall.


So, I decided that I wanted Pumpkin Seeds. I bought a couple of little pumpkins. I wanted to make my Abracadabra Pumpkin Seeds. They are addictive so be careful. There was no way that I would let the pumpkin go to waste so I made a pumpkin stew for dinner.


I used pork ribs for this dish. They get parboiled to get some of the schmootz off of them for a cleaner taste.


Then cooked in magic sauce. Oh stop, I will give the recipe for the "magic".


In my book these got an A+++ Not sure that Dr. Food felt the same. Then again he doesn't like pumpkin all that much.


The next day I opened up my preserved lemons. I am a hoarder. I hoard my canned goods. Opening these was hard for me to do. Yes, I can make more but I dunno. Makes me feel weird actually using them. I didn't say that I didn't have issues. If I was going to open them it had to be for something great. Since I got the new Paula Wolfert cookbook I had to make something from it. I decided on the Roasted Chicken with Preserved Lemons, Carmelized Onions and Olives.


This dish did not disappoint. You need to get out there and get this cookbook. I love you Paula!


Note: I grew these plymouth potatoes. They are amazing. Ok, I just had to tell you that.


Ohonemorething.... I might have bought a "As Seen on TV" Gizmo. It was supposed to make hardboiled eggs with no shell to peel. Shut up! It sounded good.


Imagine my surprise when the instructions said that you had to grease the gizmos (not spray) with oil. Um, well isn't that as much of a pain as taking the shell off? Not only that but my feeble little brain didn't want to believe that there were other issues.


Like they don't really look like an egg? Ok, so this gizmo will go in the cabinet with the other gizmo that makes square hard boiled eggs. Sigh.

Abracadabra Pumpkin Seeds
2 cups Pumpkin Seeds
2 Tbl Melted Butter
Garlic Salt
1 Tbl Worcestershire Sauce

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Clean pumpkin seeds and spread onto pan. Put in oven to dry for about 15 minutes.

Stir the pumpkin seeds and butter together, in a large mixing bowl, and add the other ingredients. Stir until everything is well combined, then again spread the pumpkin seeds in one layer on a baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes and then turn seeds. Bake for another 30 minutes and then remove from oven and let cool.

These roasted pumpkin seeds can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 6 weeks.

(Makes 2 Cups)

Braised Pork Ribs with Pumpkin
adapted from Food Endeavours of the Blue Apocalypse

Printable Version

Peanut oil
2.5 Pork spare ribs (cut into pieces or boneless cut into pieces)
Pork stock or water (to just cover)
3 Star anise
Garlic, 3 cloves smashed
Ginger, 2 slices with skin left on
10-15 small dried red chillies, soaked until softened
Curry powder, 1 tablespoon
Hoisin sauce, 1 heaped tablespoon
Ground Bean paste, 1 heaped tablespoon
Dark soy sauce, ½ tablespoon
Shaoxing wine, 1/3 cup
Salt, 1 teaspoon
Sugar, 3-4 teaspoons
Pumpkin, quarter of a whole pumpkin chopped into bite sized pieces

1. Par-boil the pork cubs and rinse with cold water.

2. Heat peanut oil in a wok. Add in garlic, ginger, star anise, chillies, Hoisin sauce, Chu Hou paste, Ground Bean paste and fry over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until aromatic.

3. Add the pork cubes into the wok and fry for 7 minutes until the pork pieces are browned and coated in the sauces/pastes.

4. Then add in the curry powder and dark soy sauce and fry for 1 minute.

5. Add in the Shaoxing wine to deglaze the wok and fry for 1-2 minutes.

6. Transfer the pork to a pot and add in hot stock or water to just cover the pork.

7. Bring to boil and then simmer on low heat for 1.5 hours until the pork pieces are tender.

8. Bring to boil again to season with a little salt and sugar to taste.

9.Then add in the pumpkin pieces (move to the bottom of the pot) and cook for 15-20 minutes until tender.

Serve with rice

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Charcutepalooza 10: Galantines or I kissed a duck and I liked it.


Where do I start? I guess at the begining. It all started when I saw Cathy post the Charcutepalooza challenge 10. Rillettes, Roulades, and Galantines oh my! I read through it with my mind racing. I am going to make a Galantine or is it a Balantine or is it a Roulade? Eh, doesn't matter. Start with a chicken she said. Me? Start at the begining? NEVER. I know that Cathy knew what she was talking about when she said "Start with a chicken first" but that was just like daring me to start with a duck.


I searched for tutorials on how I was going to get the skin away from the meat without tearing it. I had Dr. Food behind me saying "Don't tear it". Thanks, honey.


Got down to the meat. Yay! This isn't so bad. I can do this.


Skin is ready to go into the freezer for a while so that it is easier to get the fat off of the skin.


Meantime I was making my own five spice powder. Don't we all?


Really if you haven't ever tried it you won't believe how much better it is than the stuff you buy already made.


Next we let the the duck meat marinate in the marinade.


Flash forward and here is the frozen duck breast. I go to scrape the fat off with my sharpest knife. Dr Food is behind me saying "Scrape away from yourself. JANIS scrape away from yourself" Yeah, yeah wa wa wa waaaa wa wa is all I heard. I was intent on scraping the damn fat off the damn duck.


I was on a roll. "Janis, scrape away from yourself" Aw be quiet you big baby, Dr. Food. waaa wa waaa waaa wa.


OUCH! Oh no, here it comes.... "I TOLD YOU. Didn't I tell you? How many times do I have to tell you" SHUT UP!!!!! I have a duck to deal with.


Grinding commences. Dr. Food had to do this part because I was saying stuff like "Ow" "Think I need to call 911?" "My thumb hurts" "If you tell me I told you so one more time I may have to put YOU through the grinder".


Meat was put through the grinder twice.


Skin was covered with forced meat and vegetables and then the duck breast were put on top.


Roll and tie and voila! Through time lapse photography here is the cooked and chilled Galantine in all its glory.


Yum. This was my favorite so far.


Served with spicy mustard and cornichons.


Next day all 6 burners were going. I was making stock and I decided to make Rillettes out of some pork that we had left from the Galantine.


Really easy making these rillettes because they just cook without much interaction. I got this recipe from Pork and Sons


I have so much of this stuff around the house these days. Please come visit and help us eat it all.


Ok, this is the part of the post that I didn't want to tell you. You see, It all started when I went to visit my favorite farm (sort of a Friday ritual after work)


I was buying vegetables when I overheard that the farm was taking orders for fresh chickens. I quickly jumped in and ordered 2 of them. I was so excited. Months went by and chickens finally were at the farm for delivery. Dr. Food and I headed over there and as I leapt out of the car I saw an area set up to pick up MY chickens. I went on over and the woman looked up my name. "Janis?" "Yes, that is ME" "Here are two chickens, let me weigh them. Ok, they are 8lbs each" WHAT? 2 eight pound chickens? Free range and heritage too I will remind you. Um, then I looked down at the sticker that said 65.00 10.00 deposit. I had told Dr Food that I already paid for them because I remember paying for something. Uh, it was the deposit. Uh oh. Dr. Food doesn't say a word because by now I think he is speechless. We pay and schlep the Sumo chickens to the car. We drive away and all I hear is Dr. Food say "65.00 for CHICKENS"? Ok, I goofed. A. Never asked how much a pound (how much can a chicken cost?) and didn't ask average weight (how much can a chicken weigh?) The rest of the ride home was "65.00 for a chicken? Why would you have done this?"


Ok, so we are going to make a Balantine out of an expensive chicken that weighs 8lbs. Jacque Pepin teaches me how to debone zee chicken. I didn't make zee looolipops that he shows how to do out of the wing. I did learn how to debone zee chicken though.


Take THAT you 35.00 Shiken!


Heh heh. Ok, so by this time we had been doing 15 other things like smoking Bluefish in the smoker to make a rillette.


It was stuck in a marinade and then Dr Food set up his drying chamber on the counter to dry it a bit.



All smoked. Wrapped it up to make Bluefish Rillette out of it the next day. So, we hunkered down to make some

Goat Mole. We also made some Margaritas and one of us might have drank too many. One of us ended up drunk tweeting and that is why when asked to sing I made this video and tweeted it to the person.

Ok ok I didn't have to share that but I am nothing if not honest.


Next day I sauteed onions and wilted chard.


I browned some chicken livers.


Seasoned the boned out chicken.


I put down a layer of the vegetables and then the ground meat.


Chicken livers on top and close her up.


I sewed the bird up and now instead of being "Big Expensive Chicken (BEC) it was Frankenchicken.


I then roasted until the right internal temperature was reached.


Not bad! Not bad at all.


Next time I would stuff it with no meat and maybe vegetables and goat cheese or something like that.


I then made the BlueFish rillette. Oh man you guys should come visit. So much good stuff around here that I could serve you. One more thing... Don't tell anyone how much I paid for that chicken OR that I cut myself.