Monday, August 31, 2009

Yo Umami


I have a problem. I get stuck on a rift and I can't get off of it. So, I blame my pal on Foodbuzz, Kathy for getting me started with this Umami kick. What is Umami? Go check it out.

So as I was researching (um...more like obsessing) on umami. I came across a recipe on Breakaway Cook's blog. I got Dr Food in on this. After he had read up on umami he started telling me how it is just naturally occurring MSG. He is the chemist so I just nod. So we make the recipe (go to Breakaway Cook's site to get it if you want. *I* am NOT in the mood to reprint it here).

The only thing we changed is the Palm syrup. Maybe THIS is what made it not umami like. We went to 3 asian stores and couldn't find Palm syrup so we took the Palm sugar that we had and made a syrup out of it. I dunno but this beef jerky tasted like just ok beef jerky to me.


This was halfway through the cooking. Even my pictures came out bad.

So, what am I making today? I am making Chicken soup from the secret recipe from the Culinary Institute (which isn't so secret if I could get it from a friend of mine that I think got it online). Oh yeah, I am also moving on to make umami Ketchup. I will let you know. If you hear a scream of disappointment you will know that umami concept and I are breaking up for good.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Something got me going on the idea to make Babka. It was a twitter thing. I was informed that "Jewish Food" was following me and when I looked who it was it took me to a page with a recipe for Babka. So being ever so SLIGHTLY ocd, I started obsessing on making a Babka. Add that to the fact that the Babka episode of Seinfeld was one of my favorites. Ok, but now I had to research Babka's. I couldn't just make the recipe that was there. I searched. I found. It was a terrific recipe that I found on Culinary Corner Cafe I am not sure if this is her recipe or not but it is killer.

Chocolate or Cinnamon Babka



1-1 1/2 C. water
2 T. yeast
Pinch of sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
2 drops almond extract
1 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 C. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/3 C. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/3 C. milk powder
1 C. unsalted butter or margarine - softened and cut into small pieces
6 C. unbleached all-purpose flour or half bread flour/half all-purpose

Chocolate Filling:

1-1 1/2 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 C. cocoa
1/2 C. sugar
3 T. unsalted butter or margarine

Cinnamon Filling:

1/4 C. unsalted butter or margarine
1 C. dark brown sugar
2 T. corn syrup or maple syrup
2-4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 C. chopped walnuts (optional)

Egg Wash:

1 egg, beaten
Sugar for sprinkling


1. In a large bowl, mix together water, yeast, and pinch of sugar. Allow to rest for five minutes to allow the yeast to swell.

2. Add eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, almond extract, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and milk powder.

3. Add the softened butter and flour to the mixture by folding it into the batter. Knead with a dough hook or by hand for about 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

4. Place dough in a well greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or cover the entire bowl with a plastic bag to ensure that it's thoroughly sealed. Allow to rise for about 45-90 minutes. (You can refrigerate this dough overnight, but you must allow it to return to room temperature before continuing.)

5. Divide dough into two equal parts. Cover with a towel and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

6. Butter two 9-inch springform cake pans or two loaf pans, or, if making only one large babka, butter a 10-inch bundt pan.

7. Roll dough into a 16x16 inch square on a lightly floured board.

8. Spread the filling of your choice over the entire surface.

9. Roll lengthwise into a large roll, then cut in half.

10. Place both halves in the prepared pan, beside each other (it doesn't matter if they are pressing against each other).

11. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

12. Place the pan(s) in a plastic bag and let rise until babke is flush or has risen over the top of the pan(s).

13. Repeat with other half of the dough.

14. Preheat over to 350 F.

15. Bake babka for 35-40 minutes (50-70 minutes for the one large babka) until medium brown.

16. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan before putting on a cooling rack.

To make the Chocolate Filling:

Place chocolate chips, cinnamon, cocoa, sugar, and butter in a food processor and grind into a loose paste.

To make the Cinnamon Filling:

Place the butter, sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon, and walnuts in a food processor and grind into a loose paste.


Made the dough


rolled out dough and spread the chocolate paste


Rolled it into a jelly roll


Cut into two pieces


Put into bundt pan (I made one large one)


Let rise in plastic bag


Bake and let cool for 15 minutes

So, this is the part that it went WRONG. Being the type of person I am (which means not all that patient and a bit neurotic) I decided that 10 minutes was good enough (ok, in all fairness I had to leave for a doctors appointment)

and this is what happens when you are impatient and frankly a crappy baker...


Your Babka deflates. That is what happended


Ok, so it is really ugly and it was a good thing I wasn't making it for guests. I have to tell you that it was the best tasting thing I have had in a long time. My neighbors agreed. I just cut off a slice for them and they had NO idea that it wasn't suppose to look like a strudel.

So before you go, just one more rant.

This is the Babka strudel before I "enhanced" the photo of what real food looks like


This is the strudel AFTER enhancement

What is with the trend in food photos on blogs to have the contrast and saturation played with until it doesn't look like food anymore. I am starting a new trend towards "I want to see what I am really going to be eating". I will have to make a badge for others to put on their food blogs. I will give lectures (which will only be a few lines like "Hey knock off the saturation it makes the food look like it is glowing in the dark") Ok enough I will stop now. I really need a job.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What I do when I am alone

Dr food went to Albany to a conference for a few days. Know what this means? It means that *I* cook for myself. Although my partner in food has almost the same taste that I do we do have different favorites. It has been tradition for me to make this dish for myself when he goes out of town. It is my comfort food.

I am not sure what you call it other than pasta with a fried egg on top. So I start out by boiling up some pasta


fry up some bacon


and then from there it is whatever strikes me. Last night it was some peas and freshly grated parmesan.


I also slosh some olive oil in the pan and sort of crisp up the pasta.


Oh yeah, and don't forget that fried egg!

It was a perfect meal. All that was missing was my buddy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Summer didn't work out the way I thought it would


I tried so hard to get this garden to work. I really thought that if I pretended hard enough that my backyard was California even though I am in Massachusetts, that everything would just work out fine and we would all get along. It didn't work out that way although we are still pretending and still playing the game.

I did pick a few heirloom tomatoes this morning. I also picked the blackeye peas to have for dinner


I love blackeye peas. Tasted them for the first time when I met Dr Food. I picked every last blackeye pea in the garden and will just use the little ones for snaps. Shelling them isn't so much fun.


So, I have no fancy recipe for these. I will stick them in a pot with water and a couple of big ole ham hocks and we will be set. Shhhh....I know this isn't really too sophisticated of a cooking post and somehow it seems so un PC to be eating this but once again, my best buddy in food crime and I will just close the shades so the neighbors can't peek in and see us.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dinner was good


I have had this recipe for "Asian Inspired Sloppy Joe" for years and years. It was from a usenet group Judy Bolton (someone I don't know) posted it and I am not sure where she got it from. It always sounded good to me and so I kept the recipe. So off the grocery store I went to get the ingredients. As I was standing in line the woman behind me looked at what I was buying and said "You like to cook, don't you?" I said that I certainly did and then realized she was basing this on the fact that I was buying a piece of lemongrass (which was the ONLY piece of lemongrass in the store) and goat cheese. Hmmm.

Here ya go:

Asian Inspired Sloppy Joe
Serves 4

8 oz lean ground beef (or any meat you would like)
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 small cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 to 1-1/2 tbl chopped fresh ginger
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed of the tough outer leaves, about 3 inches of edible inner core, thinly sliced
3 to 5 closes garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
kosher salt to taste
pinch of cumin
pinch of coriander
to 2 serrano chiles, finely chopped
1 1/2 tbl hoisin sauce
a drizzle of toasted sesame oil
4 hamburger buns
4 tbl chopped cilantro
3 green onions
Hot sauce such as Sriracha

In a heavy pan or wok, brown the beef with the onion, using a little vegetable oil if needed; add the cabbage and cook together, letting the meat brown in spots and the cabbage wilt. Stir in the ginger, lemongrass and garlic, and continue to cook. When mixture is browned and cooked through, sprinkle in sugar, soy sauce, salt, cumin, coriander and chiles. Then stir in the hoisin sauce and drizzle with sesame oil. Spoon the meat and cabbage mixture on the bottom half of each bun. Generously top with cilantro and green onions. Replace bun tops and serve with Sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste.

We ate these open faced because it would be too messy otherwise.

Hope you like it.

Homestyle Sloppy Joes on Foodista

Friday, August 21, 2009

I need a job

It is 100 degrees outside and the humidity feels like I am in the jungle. I still want to be cooking. I swear I need a job. A JOB.

So, I decided to make some things in case people stop by this weekend. People stopping by that would actually like what I cook are all sort of far California, but I can still dream that I will change ONE mind here in the hood with the stuff that I make. Not really banking on it though.

First off I made marinated goat cheese. Simple enough



Marinated Goat Cheese
12oz log soft goat cheese
1 C extra virgin olive oil
handful of peppercorns (try all colors mixed or use what you have)
1 tsp whole allspice berries
2 cloves garlic finely minced
2 tbl finely minced ginger
handful of chopped basil
handful f orange zest (I used 1 orange)

Cut the goat cheese into 1/2 slices or just break up into small chunks. In a small saucepan combine live oil, peppercorns, and allspice. In a small bowl combine garlic, ginger, basil and orange peel. Place saucepan ober meium high heat and cook until peppercorns begin to pop (about 2 minutes)

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the garlic mixture. After 5 seconds of stirring, pour the hot olive oil miture over the goat heese. Marinate in the refrig for at least 3 hours covered

The recipe can be completed to this point up to 1 week before serving.

Serve at room temperature.

I then marinated some olives. I don't really want to admit this but I will for the sake of food blogdom... Dr Food, close your eyes or move along there is nothing for you to see here....


When I lived in California, I paid someone to rip out the rosemary bush that took over our backyard. It took 3 men to pull it out.... Fast forward about 4 years and I am now in New England. No rosemary? I resorted to paying 2.59 for a clump of the ORGANIC rosemary from the grocery store. Give me a BREAK. ORGANIC? Nothing is going to kill this stuff so no one bothers to use insecticides. Then the they call it ORGANIC and rip off all the Californians who are probably the only people here that want the stuff.


Should we talk citrus? 1.00 a piece for a ORANGE. A friggin ORANGE that (god forgive me) I bought even though it came from Africa or somewhere far far away. I swear that I didn't know until I got home. Then again where did I THINK it would be from. No citrus? Argh. I did learn a trick from Sooke Harbour house in Canada. They cook with only what they grow (other than chocolate and coffee) and for citrus they use lemon or orange geranium. I did try to grow that here too but it didn't work out all that well for me. Ok, I don't have the greenest thumb.


Marinated Olives
adapted from "Food for Friends" by Sally Pasley Vargas

2C olives in brine
1/2 orange
1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
5 or 6 sprigs thyme
1tbl fresh rosemary
about 1 C olive oil

Drain olives and put in bowl.

Scrub rinds of orange and lemon. Zest into thin slivers. Add to bowl of olives

Combine the peppercorns and fennel in a mortar and gently crush to bruise. Add to olives

Rub the thyme between your hands over the bowl of olives. Then add the rosemary. Turn the olives to coat them with the seasonings. Transfer to clean pint jar. Add enough olive oil to cover the olives, cover the jar, and refrigerate.

The olives taste best after they have had a few days to absort the flavors of the herbs. They will keep refrigerated, for about 6 weeks. Olive oil often coagulates in the refrigerator, however, so allow the jar to come to room temperature before serving.

and then you have it... bordom.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ethiopian Dinner with friends

First off I have to say that Dr Food and I had an amazing lunch at my new favorite restaurant. It is the most inventive and tastiest food that I have had since I have left California.


We went in expecting Bah Mi which is my newest addiction. Lucky for us (or we wouldn't have tried all the other incredible stuff) they only serve Dim Sum on weekends. What we had:

Grilled corn on the cob with Siracha butter
Wok roasted lemongrass mussels
Tea smoked pork spare ribs
Garlicky and spicy chicken wings

We also tried 2 of the stuffed Bao. We had crispy pork belly and crispy duck...yummm.


You have to check this place out if you are in Boston

Myers + Chang
1145 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 542-5200

So it was onto the Ethiopian dinner. I had made the berbere and the ghee on Friday. Both of these are labor intensive. Berbere is a spice mixture (in this case paste) that is used in most dishes. Ghee is a flavored butter with all the butterfat removed.


recipe by Jeff Smith in "The Frugal Gourmet on our Immigrant Ancestors"

2 Tsp Cumin Seed
4 Whole Cloves
1/2 Tsp Cardamon Seeds
1/2 Tsp Black Peppercorns
1/4 Tsp Whole Allspice
1 Tsp Whole Fenugreek Seeds
1/2 Cup Dried Onion Flakes
3 Oz Red New Mexican Chiles -- Stemmed And Seeded
3 Small Dried Long Hot Red Chiles -- Seeded
1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 Tsp Freshly Ground Nutmeg
1/4 Tsp Ground Turmeric
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Salad Or Peanut Oil
1/2 Cup Dry Red Wine
Cayenne to taste

Yield: 1 1/4 cups

Mix together the cumin, cloves, cardamon, black peppercorns, allspice and fenugreek seeds. Place in a small frying pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until they release their fragrance, about 1-2 minutes. Do not burn or discolor the seeds. Cool completely.

Combine the toasted spices and all the other ingredients except the oil and wine in a spice grinder or electric coffee grinder in several batches (I use the coffee grinder) and grind to fine consistency. Place the spice blend in a bowl and add the oil and wine. Add cayenne to taste (Jeff starts with 1 tsp and adds more as necessary). Stir until thick and store in a covered plastic container in the refrigerator.

Whatever your feelings about the guy are I think that despite everything he has well written recipes. I think that he did his homework and from my research on Ethiopian recipes I found that what he had was pretty authentic.


Niter kebbeh (spiced butter oil)

2 pounds Butter, unsalted; cut into small pieces
1 Onion, small; chopped coars ely
3 tablespoon Garlic cloves; chopped fine
4 teaspoon Ginger root; chopped fine
1½ teaspoon Turmeric
1 Cardamon pod
1 Cinnamon stick; 1″
1 Cloves, whole
⅛ teaspoon Nutmeg, ground

In a heavy 5 quart saucepan, heat the butter over moderate heat, turning it about with a spoon to melt it slowly and completely without letting it brown. Then increase the heat and bring the butter to a boil. When the surface is completely covered with white foam, stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cardamon, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible point and simmer uncovered and undisturbed for 45 minutes, or until the milk solids on the bottom of the pan are a golden brown and the butter on top is transparent.

Slowly pour the clear liquid niter kebbeh into a bowl, straining it through a fine sieve lined with a linen towel or four layers of dampened cheesecloth. Discard the seasonings. If there are any solids left in the kebbeh, strain it again to prevent it from becoming rancid later.

Pour the kebbeh into a jar, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator or at room temperature until ready to use. Kebbeh will solidify when chilled. It can safely be kept, even at room temperature.

So we made lots of stuff. Of course we had to make Shiro. This is made with chickpea powder.

Made Collard greens


We also made

Ethiopian Lentils
The Frugal Gourmet on our Immigrant Ancestors-Jeff Smith

2 cups Dried lentils -- washed
6 cups Water
3/4 cup Anaheim green peppers -- seeded & chopped
2 cups Red onions -- chopped
1/4 cup Ghee
1 tablespoon Grated fresh ginger
2 each Garlic cloves -- crushed
1 tablespoon Berbere sauce
Pepper -- to taste
Boil the lentils in water for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid.

In a 4 qt pot, saute the peppers & onions in the ghee until the onions are tender. Add the lentils, 4 c of the reserved liquid & the remaining ingredients & bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, over low heat 35-40 mins, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

6 servings.

Doro Wat Chicken (Ethiopian)

The Frugal Gourmet on our Immigrant Ancestors-Jeff Smith

3 Lbs Frying Chicken Cut Into 8 Pieces
Juice Of One Lime
5 Cups Thinly Sliced Red Onions
1/2 Cup Spiced Butter
1/2 Cup Berbere Sauce
1/2 Cup Dry Red Wine
2 Cloves Garlic -- Crushed
2 Tsp Cayenne
1/2 Tsp Grated Fresh Ginger
1/2 Cup Water
Salt To Taste
4 Hard Boiled Eggs -- Peeled
1/2 Tsp freshly ground

Marinate the chicken pieces in the lime juice for hour. In a heavy saucepan saute the onions in 2 tbsp of the spiced butter. Cover the pot and cook the onions over low heat until they are very tender but not browned. Add the remaining butter to the pot along with the Berbere sauce, wine, garlic, cayenne and ginger. Add 1/2 cup of water and mix well. Bring to a simmer and add the chicken pieces. Cook, covered, for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is tender, adding more water as necessary to keep the sauce from drying out. When the chicken is tender, add salt to taste. Add the eggs and heat through. Top with the black pepper prior to serving.

We also made Lamb and Cardamom (Tibs)

Recipe By : The Frugal Gourmet on our Immigrant Ancestors, Jeff Smith

3 Cups Thinly Sliced Onions
1/2 Cup Spiced Butter
2 Lbs Lean Lamb -- Cut In 3/4″ Cubes
1/4 Cup Berbere Sauce
1/4 Tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tsp Freshly Ground Cardamon Seeds
1 Tsp Grated Fresh Ginger
2 Cloves Garlic -- Crushed
1/2 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Cup Dry Red Wine
1 Cup Water
Salt To Taste

Heat a large frying pan and saute the onion in 1 tbs of the butter, covered, until very tender. Use low heat so that the onion and butter are not browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Heat the pan again and brown the lamb over high heat with another tbsp of the butter. Set meat aside. Place the sauteed onions along with the remaining butter in a heavy 6 quart saucepan. add the Berbere sauce, cumin, cardamon, ginger, garlic, black pepper and wine. Bring to a simmer and add the lamb. Bring to a simmer again and add the water. Cook, covered, until the lamb is very tender, about 50 minutes, stirring several times. If the sauce is not thick enough, cook uncovered for a few minutes to reduce and thicken. Add salt to taste prior to serving.

I also made injera. I have mastered it but found out that I suck at making them on the Heritage grill that I bought . So I resorted to my pan that I always use. I will practice with the grill when I am not having friends to dinner.


We also made Shiro


Spicy Vegetarian Spread (infirfir shiro)
From "Flatbreads & Flavors" Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

1/4 C vegetable Oil
1 C chopped red onions (2 small)
2 tbs Berbere
3 C water
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
Seeds from 2 green cardamom pods (ground)
Aopproximately 1 C chickpea flour
1 tsp salt

Heat a heavy saucepan over high heat. Add the oil. When it is hot add the onions and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden.

Blend the spice paste with 1 C water, and add to the onions. Bring to a boil. Add the garlic, ginger, cardamom, and remaining 2 cups water, and bring back to a boil.

Lower the heat to medium, then sift the chickpea flouyr gradually into the boiling mixture, stirring constantly to prevent lumbs. The mixture will become increasingly thick and should finally have a thick, paste-like texture; if it starts to thicken quickly, add less than 1 full cup of chickpea flour, or add a little extra water. Stir in the salt and continue to cook for 3 to 5 minutes over medium low heat. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve hot or roo temperature.

Lots of pots on the fire...



So Kim went home for a second and surprised me with a traditional Ethiopian table cloth and napkins. I love love love them!
and then dinner was ready to serve!


and the reason it was all worth it was because when Habtamu came into the house he kept saying "Smells Good!" When Kim asked him what it smelled like he said "Home". That was all I needed to hear. The other reason was Debritu's smile. I love these kids more than anything.



Wait wait wait


Kim also made the traditional coffee which she roasted the beans herself and Popcorn!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fun and games with Okra

Mystery green that I forgot the name of so I can look it up

First off I am begging you to tell me what green this is. I went to a farm today and thought it would be fun to try out this new green. On the sign it said something about curry and I swore to myself that I would remember the name of what this is. Since my attention span is not as good as I would like to think it is I forgot the name. All I keep thinking in my head is "Miswa". When I go to look that up on google it is a noodle. Please tell me if you know what this green is and what I should do with it.

Indian mecca in the middle of nowhere

I went to a new Indian market today. The name of the market is Patel's and it is in Shrewsbury. I wanted to weep when I walked in and saw this market in the middle of "ethnic food wasteland". If you are looking for an amazing Indian market check it out

Patel Brothers,
405 Boston Turnpike,
Shrewsbury, MA 01545


I swear I could have spent the day in there if I weren't getting dirty looks, so I bought 3lbs of okra and they were having a deal on incense so I bought a 12 pack of Lemongrass stuff. Oh, and I also almost bought a brick of brown sugar that was wrapped in burlap but I thought it might throw Dr Food over the edge (I am sure that the incense won't go over that big since I still have a kilo of Nag Champa which is a whole other story).

So the story is that Dr. Food's uncle gave me a recipe when I was in Texas. It was for Dr. Food's favorite pickled okra. I swore to uncle that I would make it for Dr Food. So there you have it. Enter okra


I also promised another Texan guy some of these



Uncle Ralph's Pickled Okra

3lbs uncut and washed young okra
Celery leaves
6 small hot red peppers
Cloves of garlic
Large heads of dill and stems or 1/2 tsp dill seed per pint
1 qt water
1 pint white vinegar
1/2 C salt

Pack okra into hot pint jars (boil jars just as you would with any canning) with a few celery leaves, pod of pepper, clove of garlic and head of dill or dill seed in each jar.

Make brine of water, vinegar and salt. Heat to boiling. Pour over okra.

Process in boiling water bath by placing in a large kettle of boiling water to which a little cold water (about one cup) has been added to lower the temperature only slightly.

The kettle should have a rack to hold the jars off the bottom and be deep enough for the water to come over the jars one to two inches with a remaining head space of one to two inches. It should also have a tight fitting lid.

Process the okra for 20 minutes. Start to count processing time as soon as hot jars are placed in actively boiling water.

Remove jars and place on a rack to cool out of a draft. The next day after processing, remove rings. Wash and dry jars and store in cool place.

NOTE: The okra will be shriveled immediatel after removal from the water bath, but after several days will absorb the liquid and become plump once again.

So after all the okra stuff I made injera for my two favorite little kids.


Now I don't feel like cooking dinner. Maybe I can con Dr. Food into going for some sushi.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tamale dinner

Dr food and I decided to make tamales this weekend. The weather was cool and we had nothing to do. So, we started off early in the day forging for the ingredients. By noon we were hungry so we went to get some Pho at our favorite place in Worcester. The name of the place (but don't tell anyone one because I think it is getting too crowded here when we go) is Anh Thu Vietnamese Restaurant. When we were done there it was back home to cook.


We decided to make Green chili chicken tamales (a Diana Kennedy recipe) and a Pork butt in Colorado sauce Tamale (a Rick Bayless recipe). We also made green rice and cowboy beans (both Rick Bayless recipes).

Green Sauce


Red Sauce


Lots o lard


I should say that we had a virtual production line going on these things. We got the neighbors Cathy and Jeff over to help out and my nephew Paul was in town visiting. It was something to see. I didn't take pictures of the production because my crew was union and I would have had to pay them more if I took photos.

Then it was time from steaming


Voila.... little packages of beauty


and dinner was done


Recipe for the Green Poblano Rice (Arroz Verde al Poblano)
Rick Bayless

1 2/3 cups chicken broth
2 fresh poblano chiles, stems and seeds removed, and roughly chopped
12 sprigs cilantro (I used more)
Salt, about 1/2 teaspoon if using salted broth, 1 teaspoon if using unsalted or water
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
1 cup rice, preferably medium grain
1 small white onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
5 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped


The flavoring: In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the broth and chiles, bring to a boil, then partially cover and simmer gently over medium to medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the chiles are very soft. Pour the chile mixture into a food processor, add the cilantro (stems and all), and process to a smooth puree. Press through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl and stir in the salt.

The rice: Wipe the pan clean, add the oil and heat over medium. Add the rice and onion, and cook, stirring regularly, until the rice is chalky looking and the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook a minute longer.

Add the warm (or reheated) chile liquid to the hot rice pan, stir once, scrape down any rice kernels clinging to the side of the pan, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Uncover and check a grain of rice: It should be nearly cooked through. If the rice is just about ready, turn off the heat, re-cover and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes longer to complete the cooking. If the rice seems far from done, continue cooking for 5 minutes or so, retest, then turn off the heat and let stand a few minutes longer. Fluff with a fork, scoop into a warm serving dish, decorate with cilantro sprigs and it's ready to serve.

Advance preparation: The rice can be made several days ahead; turn out the fluffed rice onto a baking sheet to cool, transfer to a storage container, then cover and refrigerate. Reheat the rice in a steamer basket set over boiling water.

Variations and improvisations: An obvious variation is to use 3 or 4 long green (Anaheim) chiles, or to mix poblanos and long greens with hotter chiles like jalapeƱo, manzano or habanero. Grilled corn cut from 1 cob or 1 large grilled zucchini (cubed) are tasty vegetable add-ins. About 1 cup coarsely shredded roast (or barbecued) pork or smoked salmon, mixed in toward the end of cooking, will make green rice a full meal.

So today I decided to pickle cherries. I got the recipe from my cooking pal Cathy Gori I have to wait a month before I can drop one of these puppies in my manhattan.