Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I am not having fun but there is a recipe here...


See that picture? Those are the leaves on the front lawn. I am on strike. I am not raking. Dr. Food is away for 12 days and I am having a lousy time. I know I know. Everyone says to me (in a mock whisper behind their hand) "I LOVE when my husband goes away" So, here I will tell you a secret... I DON'T. I hate it. He is my best friend and I hate when he goes away. I don't like it at all. So what have I been doing while the good Dr. Food has been away?


It started off with me coming up with an idea for "Chai Masala Pumpkin Pie"


Besides the fact that it wouldn't bake and besides the fact that the crust wasn't too good and besides the fact that I hate Pumpkin Pie, THIS was really good. Ugly (and I don't know how it got the bloop on top of it that looks like someone stuck their hand in it) but good. I am going to give it another try.


What is this? This is the picture that Dr. Food sent me from the SUITE that he was staying in while in India. Awwww, poor Dr. Food. His suite (which he gave me a tour of over Skype) was 3 rooms with a bar and a bathroom that was amazing. They left this on his bed while he was out to dinner with a bunch of people that were trying to smooze him. Meanwhile this was me...


*I* ate GrUEl.


In between being taunted by Dr. Food and eating gruel, I made another apple pie. This time it was without the help of Jon Rowley.


I am still having an "issue" with the crust but I will practice until I get it right.


So, I did it with no help. It wasn't as much fun but I believe using both hands (not holding the phone in one) this pie came out even better than the first. I also found volunteers to eat it.


So, I was bored and wanted to cook. I wanted to try something out of the book "Cooking my way Back Home" by Mitchell Rosenthal. I chose to make Quattro Fromaggi with Butternut Squash and Sage. Sounds healthy no? It wasn't. It was mac and cheese (and by cheese I mean 4 different kinds) with butternut squash. I only ate the squash...no really.


This dish was really good and I can't wait to try the other stuff in this cookbook.


Oh, and I also made Kimchi...


I have given this recipe before. It is Kimchi Mom's recipe. I love it.


Ok, I need to go make another batch of Gruel.

Penne Pasta Quattro Formaggi with Butternut Squash and Sage
Recipe by Mitch Rosenthal


1-pound piece butternut squash, peeled and cut into large batons
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound penne pasta
1 Tbsp. olive oil
For cheese sauce:
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. all–purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
11/3 cups grated Fontina
3/4 cup crumbled Point Reyes Original Blue, Maytag Blue, or other good-quality blue cheese
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For topping:
4 thick slices coarse country bread such as pain levain
Few drops of olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the squash in a bowl, drizzle with the 2 tablespoons of oil, sprinkle with the sage, and toss to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Spread in a single layer on a sheet pan, place in the oven, and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Bring a large pot filled with salted water to a boil. Add the penne, stir, and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain into a colander and hold under cold running water to stop the cooking. Transfer to a large bowl, drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil, and toss to coat.

To make the cheese sauce, in a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the flour, then whisk constantly for 3 to 4 minutes to cook away the raw flour taste. Slowly add the milk and cream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Raise the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until reduced by a third. Remove from the heat, add all of the cheeses, and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To make the topping, cut off and discard the crusts from the bread slices, then cut the slices into cubes. Place the cubes in a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a bowl, add the oil, and season with salt and pepper, then toss to mix. Add the Parmesan and the sage, and stir to mix.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Add the cheese sauce and squash to the pasta and stir to mix well. Transfer the mixture to a 9x13-inch baking dish and scatter the topping evenly over the surface. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until heated through, the topping is lightly browned, and the cheese sauce is bubbly. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I feel so guilty about this Posole


I learned a lesson. I learned not to cuss out cookbook writers that have come through for me every time I have used their recipes. Especially ones that are friends. Ok, let me start at the beginning...


I was sent Grain Mains by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough to try out some recipes. I kept wanting to make something and finally got around to picking out something to make. Everything looked new and wonderful. I picked the Posole recipe. Made with Hominy. I checked out the recipe and saw that I needed Pickling Lime. I did some research and saw I would have to order it online. I thought that hominy would be easy to find. It wasn't. I could only find it in cans. I went to a Mexican market, I went to a Brazilian market. I went to Ocean State Job lots that has a HUGE section of Bobs Red Mill. I went to Wegman's, I went to every store around that I could think of. I spent a day looking. Give me a challenge and I am like a pit bull. I won't let go. I cussed out Mark and Bruce and said to Dr. Food "Why don't they just say that you can use canned ones?" "I can't believe that they didn't suggest canned ones"


A couple of days later Dr. Food was looking at the recipe and said "It says right here in this note to use canned if you can't use the other kind" Did I feel ashamed or WHAT! I had maligned these dear guys names. I even made up a song about them.

"Oh Bruce and Mark how could you be so cruel? I can't find the goddamn hominy gruel. My life has become like a bad dream. I need to find this grain.

Hominy...hominy where can I find you?
Hominy...hominy I want to stew you.
Hominy...hominy you make me cry.
Hominy...hominy it's no lie.

Mark and Bruce you played a trick. Mark and Bruce I aint too quick"


Ok, so my song wasn't too good but man o man was this Posole GOOD!


So last week or the week before (my memory aint what it used to be) we made a lamb shoulder. I think it was a shoulder. I was going to post right away about it but I didn't. Now Dr. Food is gone for a while and I don't have anyone to ask what it was we made with it. I swear I know it was really good but I don't remember what IT was. I think it had some anchovy in the rub or the paste or whatever the hell it was. Lets forget this. Posole was good enough for this post.


I am working on a super secret Pumpkin recipe. It might be a pie and it might be a Chai Masala Pumpkin Pie. Ok, so I told. Shut up. I can keep a secret. Yes, I know there are other recipes out there for the same thing, but I dreamt it and was dismayed when I found out others thought of it first. Joke is on them. Theirs don't look as good as what I plan. So there!


Oh yeah, and MY pie is made from HEIRLOOM pumpkin and Masala. Har har har.

Honest-to-Goodness Posole Verde
from Grain Mains by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

NOTE: I am giving recipe for canned hominy version but the book also gives directions for soaking your dried hominy in food grade pickling lime. As god is my witness I am going to do this but for now I used canned and thus that is what I am putting down here.

3C canned homimy, drained and rinsed
3 Tbl olive oil
2 1/4lb bone-in pork stew meat or bone-in pork shoulder, cut into 3" to 4" chunks
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Poblano chiles, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2lb fresh tomatillos, husked and chopped
4C fat free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
Up to 1/2C minced fresh cilantro
1 Tbl minced fresh oregano leaves or 2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
Juice of 1 lime

1.Set pot over medium heat. Add the oil, then the meat. Brown the meat on all sides, taking care to turn the pieces with long-handled tongs so as to not break them up or tear them too much. It'll take 8 to 10 minutes to get the meat well browned on all sides. Transfer the pieces to a large plate.

2. Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring often, until softened somewhat, about 4 minutes. Add the chiles and garlic; stir over the heat about 1 minute--then dump in all of the tomatillos. Continue stirring over the heat until they soften and begin to break down, about 8 minutes

3.Pour in the broth. Stir in the drained hominy and the browned meat, as well as any accumulated juices on that plate, plus the cilantro, oregano, cumin, and salt. Bring to full simmer, stirring occasionally. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer slowly until the meat is falling off the bone, up to 3 hours.

4. Fish the meat out of the pot with slotted spoon. Cool for a few minutes, then remove the bones and chop up the remaining meat. Stir this back into the pot with the lime juice/ As the pot comes back up to a good simmer just before you ladle it up. check to see if it needs additional salt.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Perfect Apple Pie Lessons with Jon Rowley


You know how *I* am. Right? Well, I don't remember how this all came about other than me seeing that Jon Rowley made an incredible apple pie out of heirloom apples. I never have made a fruit pie before. I have made rabbit pie. I have made crumbles. I have made stuff. Truth be told I am a horrible baker. I think I hate it because I don't like baked goods. HOWEVER... I love apple pie. My grandmother used to make the best apple pie and I wanted one that tasted like hers.

So who better to learn how to make "The Quintessential American Apple Pie" from than Jon Rowley. I am not going to go into his credentials here. He is the master of taste. He is the guy *I* want to learn from. So, when he asked me if I wanted to learn how to make the perfect Apple pie you can bet my answer was YES!

So through tweets, emails and phone conversation, Jon taught me how to make my very first apple pie.

The conversation first went something like this:

Jon: Is your leaf lard rendered?
Me: Yup
Jon: What kind of butter do you have?
Me: I have plugra, Amish roll butter, and grocery store stuff
Jon: I use Kerrygold

Ok, so I went and got Kerrygold. I wanted to make this pie exactly like Jon did. I put everything in the freezer (except the apples) so that they would be ice cold to make the dough.

It was time to go get apples at the farm. Being the lard ass I am I didn't feel like picking them myself so I bought them at the farm store. Jon had advised me to buy about 7-10 heirloom apples. Me being me grabbed 8 different varieties of apples and just hoped that some were heirloom. Of course when Jon was on the phone with me and asked what varieties I got I pulled a "Janis" and said "Um, I don't know. I didn't write em down". I think he chuckled but it could have been a groan. Ok, ok. I did a little remembering and looking and found out I had:

Crimson Crisp
Cripps Pink

People! I am no longer a fool. It is ALL about the apples. How could I not have realized that? Other than the apples it is just CRUST. What I mean is that the fruit is the STAR. Ok, we will get into this later.





I sent him a picture on my phone.



At this point I had the apples cut and was waiting for my next instructions. I might have been pacing at this point. I think I yelled at the phone "RING DAMNIT RING. JON ROWLEY I NEED YOU to CALL!" My apples were waiting! Tick Toc Tick Toc...

So the phone rang and it was Jon. He was on the road and instructing me how to finish this up. I got step by step instructions how to roll the dough out (and learned a thing or two). I was instructed to cut the dough into two. I took one piece and put back in the refidge and rolled out the other.

The conversation might have gone something like this at this point:

Jon: Rolling it out? Ok how thick is it and what is the diameter?

Me: It is 14" and about 1/4" thick

Jon: It can't be 1/4" thick. Something is wrong

Me: I am pretty sure it is 1/4" but let me get a ruler

Jon: (he didn't really say this but I had my own internal picture of what was going on in his head - This woman is an idiot.) What is it? It should be about 1.75"

Me: Rich can you come here and tell me how thick this is?

Rich: About 1/4"

Jon: Ok, don't worry. Lets put that crust into the dish.

Me: Ok, done

Jon: Now load some of the apples into the dish. Then find a bowl that fits over the apples (of course I was crashing around kitchen trying to find the right size bowl because the proper way to do it is to load apples, put dish over apples and press down to compact, add more apples, repeat) Ok, nevermind just put the apples in the dish and roll out the other ball of dough.

Me: Ok, this one is bigger.


I don't remember exactly what else went on but before I knew it I had built a pie.

It went in at 20 minutes in a 425 oven and then 40 minutes at 370. I didn't open the door or peek or nothin.



I did it. The pie was really good but there were a few problems because of me being a pie novice.


Thank you Jon. With a little practice I will be able to have this guy tell everyone that HIS grammy makes the best Apple Pie in the world.


Remember it IS all about the Apples.

Jon Rowley's Heritage Apple Pie

2-½ cups cold all purpose King Arthur flour
8 Tablespoons leaf lard
8 Tablespoons KerryGold butter
1 teaspoon of salt
8 Tablespoons ice water (more may be needed)

The butter and lard are cut into the flour. The pieces of shortening should become smallish. Then add 8 Tbl very cold water. Mix until it all comes together (but do NOT over handle). Wrap ball of the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour and up to overnight.


5/8 C Sugar
2Tbl flour
1 Tbl Cinnamon
Smidgen allspice
Pinch of nutmeg
1 Tbl unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1 Tbl butter cut into pieces
Few Tbl Calvados (optional)

Sugar to sprinkle on top
1 egg white for wash

Add everything but sugar and egg and mix with wooden spoon.

Cut dough into 2 pieces. Roll out one of the pieces (put the other piece in refridge while you are doing this). Put into pie pan. Add a heap of apples. Take a bowl that will fit over apples and press down. Add more apples and press down again.

Roll out second piece of dough and lay over filling (crimp and cut steam holes). Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 425 for 20 minutes then Bake 370 for 40 minutes more.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I left my heart in SF...ew, did I really say that?


We went to California for Parkers birthday. I will talk about it later. For now I will share a couple of good recipes that I checked out this last week. I am only doing this so the 5 people that read my blog for recipes won't think that I am bailing on them. Then again, I am delusional that they care one way or the other.


There was injera making.


There was cherry pitting (I won the pitter!)


There was raclette eating because I bought Dr. Food the gizmo for his birthday.


There was the consuming of the last of our Padron peppers.


Over the weekend it was cold so I decided to make Shepards Pie. It was really good. I didn't really use a recipe but I will describe how I made it later.


Oh, and by the way. I am not trying to con anyone here. I used packaged mashed potato stuff. Hello? What? No, you don't hate me. I am just honest. I have also been known to eat gluten, eat velvetta, and eat lots stuff that is bad for me. Processed? Yes, been known to eat processed crap as well. Ok there. I said it.


So now that you are disillusioned I will tell you that at least *I* made my own Worcestershire sauce that I also used in this dish. So there.


We picked a boatload of tomatillos. I found this shrimp recipe on Simply Recipes and it was really good. Not sure that Dr. Food liked it as much as me but I really loved it.


So, I would make this again.


The tequila didn't hurt it any.


So you can leave now if you could care less about my personal life. I gave you the damn recipes and you don't have to read me waxing poetic about my baby. Actually, these are both my babies.


Look at that face. Dr. Papa Food put him in a box.


Parker loves Dr Papa Food.


We went to Tilden Park and Parker fed cows celery.


We got to go to a party at Parker's school.


There was LOTS of reading.


Then it was Yo Gabba Gabba Birthday time!


This cake was a "project" alright.


Check out the inside.


Lots of great goodies to eat. Annie is a pro at decorating.


Someone had a GOOD time.


Mamma and Dr. Papa Food gave Parker a kitchen for his birthday (Annie showed us the way to this one).


I am determined to turn him into a top chef!


Just imagine my pain in leaving this face and getting on the plane for New England.


Back to turning colors... I miss my family.

Shepherd Pie
adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Shepherd Pie from Gordon Ramsay’s Recipes

About 6 cups any kind of Mashed Potato

2 Tbl Olive Oil
1 lb Ground Lamb
1 Large Carrot (grated)
1 Large Onion (grated)
1 tbl Fresh Rosemary
1 tbl Fresh Thyme
4 cloves minced garlic
Worcestershire Sauce (several splashes)
1/2 can Tomato Puree or Paste
Red Wine (several glugs)
1/4C Chicken Stock

Stir meat as if your life depends on it for a few minutes so it’s nice and brown, and broken into very small pieces. Add your Rosemary, Thyme, and Garlic, then stir some more. Quickly add your Carrot, and Onion, stir a little longer. The idea at this point is to get everything to a minced consistency.

Add Worcestershire Sauce, stir, add Tomato Puree, stir, add Red Wine and sweat down for a minute or two. Add chicken stock and cook for 3 more minutes. I made mine without the stock because I didn’t notice it the first time I watched the show. You can add it, or leave it out.

Scoop your meat mixture into a deep casserole or other oven safe dish and then spoon the mash over the top. Spread the mash over the top of the mix with the bottom of the spoon and then sprinkle a generous portion of Parmesan cheese over the top. Poke the top with a fork several times to give it a peaked look and stick it in the oven at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes to brown the potatoes and set the pie. Serve it up and watch people melt! Oh I love Shepherd Pie!

Baked Shrimp with Tomatillos Recipe
Simply Recipes

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup
1-2 jalapeno chiles, seeded, minced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 lb tomatillos, chopped
1/2 cup clam juice OR 1/4 cup water*
1 lb shrimp, cleaned, deveined
1 cup Cotija queso seco cheese (can substitute feta) *I used Paneer because that is all I had.
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Lime juice
Black pepper

An oven-proof sauté pan or cast iron pan
*One time we made this we used tequila instead of clam juice, it was good too!
**Duh, *I* used the tequila

Heat oil in the pan you will use for baking. Add the onions and jalapeños, cook for 5 minutes on medium high until the onions begin to brown. Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Add the tomatillos, reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, until the tomatillos are cooked through, but still hold their shape. Sprinkle salt over the tomatillos as they are cooking.

If using clam juice, add to pan, turn up the heat and reduce by half. If using water, just add the 1/4 cup of water without reducing.

Add the cheese and shrimp. Cook in a preheated 425°F oven for 10 minutes.

Remove pan from the oven.
Right before serving, mix in the cilantro and sprinkle with lime juice and freshly ground black pepper.