Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The beginning of the end and some sardines.


This is the road I take to get to a highway to get to work. It is beautiful. It always makes me happy. Funny part about it is that it always is the picture postcard of whatever season it is. For instance, the picture above is summer. In autumn the leaves are a shock of color. In winter the trees are bare with only snow covering them. Spring is the excitement of seeing leaves return to the trees.

Ok, enough with poetic thoughts. Lets talk about what I have been cooking.


My garden is starting to give up its vegetables. Soon it will be dead. It is the beginning of the end of summer. I hate to see my pool covered up. I will miss the smell of suntan lotion and bbq. See those banana peppers in that bowl? Which one is the banana pepper? You didn't just ask that did you? It is the thing that isn't the tomato or tomatillo green thing.


These peppers were grown for one dish that we make. It is Rick Bayless's Pot Roasted Pork with Yellow Chiles, Plantains and Piloncillo (Asado de Puerco con chile guero, platano y piloncillo).


I have posted this recipe before but will do so again because it is THAT good.


It really is a pretty easy recipe. We made it for friends and since we were kinda drinking really strong Margarita's I didn't get pictures.


Last week also consisted of some Sardines that I picked up at a Portuguese fish store.


Not my favorite the way that I made them.


Oh, and I also tried out the stupid egg trick of separating the yolk from the white with a bottle. It works people. Then again so does your hand. Crack yolk into hand and let goo drip between fingers. I got a kick out of how everyone thought this video was some kind of amazing.

Here is MY version of video of the same thing. Viral video THAT.


So it is the end of summer. My favorite farm stand will close for the winter and all my chickens will go inside or be butchered or whatever it is they do to them. I pretend they are mine in the summer. In the winter I don't wanna think about it.


Soon no more sitting around the table on the patio. Goodbye summer. Never appreciated you as much as I do since leaving California.

Pot Roasted Pork with Yellow Chiles, Plantains and Piloncillo
Asado de Puerco con chile guero, platano y piloncillo

Recipe from Season 5 of Mexico--One Plate at a Time

1 small cone (about 1 ounce) piloncillo
OR 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound (about 6 medium) fresh yellow chiles (I prefer hot Hungarian wax or banana peppers here)
A 2-pound boneless pork shoulder roast
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
One 18-inch section of banana leaf, hard spine cut off, plus an extra piece to line the serving platter
1 large (10-ounce) ripe plantain (it should be noticeably soft and yellow splotched with black), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 small red onion, sliced into rings 1/8 inch thick
2 limes, cut into wedges

Fill a microwaveable measuring cup with 3/4 cup water. Add the piloncillo (or brown sugar) and microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove and let stand until piloncillo dissolves, about 5 minutes. (The brown sugar will dissolve more quickly.)

Roast the chiles over an open flame or 4-inches below a preheated broiler until blackened and blistered all over. Place in a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel and let cool until handleable. One by one, clean the chiles: Cut off the stem-end, slit down the side from seed pod to point, and open out flat. Gently scrape out the seeds and discard. Flip the chile over and, scrape off the blistered skin. Cut the cleaned chile flesh into 1/2-inch slices.

In a large (7-quart) Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high. Brown the pork on all sides—it’ll take about 8 minutes—then remove it to a plate. Add the white onion to the pan and cook until richly browned, about 8 minutes. Scrape it into a bowl, set the pan aside.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. If a strip of the hard central rib is still attached to one side of the banana leaf, cut it off with scissors. Then use the leaf to line the unwashed Dutch oven (it will spill over the sides). Lay in the pork. Strew the onions over the pork, followed by chile strips and plantain. Drizzle everything with the piloncillo water. Fold the ends of the leaf in to cover the whole affair, secure the lid and bake until the pork is fork tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Line a warm serving platter with a fresh banana leaf. With the aid of two spatulas, transfer the pork to the platter. Use a pair of tongs to break it into small chunks.

Remove the banana leaves from the pan, scraping any clinging goodness back into the pan. If there is a lot of fat on top of the juices, spoon it off. Taste the juices and season highly with salt. Spoon everything in the pan over the pork. Garnish with red onion rings and lime wedges, and carry to the table, along with plenty of warm tortillas for making very delicious tacos.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kimchi and Kvetching?


Okkkkk. I am entitled to have a case of ennui. It isn't boredom. It is a sense of something in the air that is about to happen. Maybe it isn't ennui. Maybe it is something else. Maybe it is just the end of Summer. Don't get me wrong, I love Fall. It is unbearably beautiful here in Fall. I even love Winter. Snow still excites me. So, what is it? I am not sure. So maybe ennui isn't the right word. Maybe I have a case of "Saudade". Saudade is a Brazilian Portuguese word difficult to translate into English. It is a longing, missing or nostalgia, often bittersweet. Ok you say ennui and I say Saudade...lets call the whole thing off.


My friend Amanda schlepped this cabbage grown in her garden in Pennsylvania to Massachusetts. I had to do something wonderful with this mammoth cabbage. It was beautiful.


So, I honored this giant cabbage by making it into one of my favorite things in the world. Kimchi!


I found the recipe on Amy Kim's Kimchi Mom website. You need to check it out because I loved the story behind it. It is called Summer of ’69 Kimchi.


It came out fantastic.

What else have I been cooking?


Chinese plum sauce out of plums that Heather Atwood gifted me.


Maple Scones that I made for Heather when she came to visit me. I had never made scones before and these were awesome and easy. I got the recipe from Eating Out Loud

That is about it. I think I will go wander. Maybe write poetry. Maybe take a walk on Walden Pond (I live near Walden Pond and in reality it is dirty and kinda gross but there is a really cool bookstore run by the Thoreau Society there. It would make Thoreau puke to see them selling bumper stickers that say "Simplify Simplify Simplify" Oh well. I am not going there for real. For real I am gonna go do laundry and go grocery shopping. So much for having "Saudade" time

Maple Oat Scones
Alan Williams

For the Scones
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup oatmeal, finely ground
1/2 cup oatmeal, coarsely ground
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chilled butter
1 beaten egg
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 chopped pecans

Egg Wash
1 beaten egg
1 Tablespoon heavy cream

Maple Glaze
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar)
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon maple extract

In a large bowl, combine the scone dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter in until pieces are smaller than the size of peas. Stir in the chopped pecans.

In a small bowl, stir together the cream, egg, and maple syrup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. It is important that you do not over mix the mixture. Once the liquid is absorbed and the dough is coming together (only a little dry flour in bottom of bowl), then stop.

Remove dough from bowl and knead until it holds together. Pat the dough in to a 7″ circle that is 1 1/2″ thick and cut into 8 wedges. Use a spatula to carefully place scones onto a greased cookie sheet (I lined mine with parchment). Brush tops and sides with egg wash. Bake at 375F (190C) for 20 minutes.

While the scones bake, mix together the maple glaze ingredients in a small bowl. After baking, allow scones to cool on baking sheet. The scones should be completely cooled before attempting to glaze. Pour 1 tablespoon glaze on top of each scone, using the back of the tablespoon to spread it evenly over the top and down the sides.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lets go back in time...


I have been sick. I have had the stomach flu. I have not been eating anything worth mentioning. So, here is a glimpse into my old blog "Yarn!" from August 2006 This blog really was for my Yarn store customers. I lived in Alameda, CA. and yes I owned a yarn shop named Yarn! (yes, I really named it that and as the kids walked by on their way home from school they would yell "YARNNNNNNNN". I named it that because my mother said "You can't name it that" when I was joking and told her that was what I was going to call it. Here ya go...

Dr. Food and I decided to spend the weekend cooking. It was like old times. We picked out recipes from a cookbook that we bought in Canada. It is by a couple of people that own an Inn down the road from Sooke Harbor House (where we stayed). The cookbook is called "Flavours" We spent all day saturday making beef stock and forging for the food we needed. We cooked Sunday and had Tim and Annie over to help us eat it.



This is Mushroom, Ricotta and Sun-dried Tomato Strudel.

First Course:


Annie was in a hurry. This is Crab and Mascarpone Parfait.

Main course:


This is Mushroom Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Gorgonzola Onion Stuffing.

We also made Gratin of Fresh Greens


and then for dessert:


These are Gingersnaps with Mascarpone Filling.

There were about 3 bottles of wine in there as well with a Kir and champagne to start. Oh yeah we also finished off a dessert wine that we brought back from Canada with us.


So peoples, that is it. You can see my blogging back then was no better than it is now.
That is why I get paid the big bucks. What is that? What is my agents number? Get it from Sven my assistant.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pig Roast and Oysters and a Lamb recipe


We gathered our courage and planned another pig roast for August. You see, I had to prove to myself that I didn't attract hurricanes. Last year when we tried to do this a big one hit and our guest list of 50 was dwindled down to 10 of our hardiest friends.


So the Friday before this soiree, Dr. Food and I made our way to Adams farm to pick up our pig. Last year it was over 100lbs. This year it was under 100lbs. Made it much easier to pick up.

Look away now if you don't want to see the preparation. It is a dead pig people. In the meantime let me show you the cutest kid in the whole world. What? NO, it isn't because I am his Granny that I say this.


See? Cutest ever. Ok, I am giving you another chance to look away.

SHUT UP! I don't look like Aladdin. (NOT ONE WORD OUT OF YOU ABL! YOU know who I am talking to. Don't act like you don't read your mama's blog)

This is my Kate Hil look. She is my meat hero. (Waving to Kate).


The pig was ready to be prepared.


"Dexter" aka Dr. Food had his area all ready for the injection. I had made the marinade the day before. I also had made an adobo rub.


It really did come out great.


We were also going to have an Oyster tasting because many of us are members of the Oyster Century Club Our fearless Oyster leader, Jacqueline Church shipped 8 dozen assorted oysters to my house the day before. Matt brought 3 more dozen.

I mean we slurped through LOTS of oysters. David brought a Bonny doone Verjus de Cigare. Jacqueline brought an amazing Cucumber, shallot, rice wine, yuzu kosho mignonette.


Everyone was really into it. Even little William. I love that kid.


There were lots of kids here. I really flunked at getting pictures. Here are Jude and William (Cutie Patooties) saddling up Dakota to take her for a ride (NOT REALLY).


Here is David carving up El Piggy. Note the jaunty way he sports that glove.


Last but not least are these awesome pig cookies that Rebecca made. I love love love them.

Ok, you want a great recipe?


Jacqueline brought me some Chinese 5 Spice powder that smelled so good I had to make something with it.


Dr. Food had strongly suggested that we start using up some of the meat in our freezer. Ok, I can do that. We have lamb, goat, some of a cow. I chose lamb chops.


I found a recipe for Chinese Char Siu Grilled Lamb Chops and went with it.


I know I know... I took a bite of corn before I took the picture. I was hungry.

Chinese Char Siu Grilled Lamb Chops
Adapted from Bon App├ętit | May 2007

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine) or dry Sherry
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
18 rib lamb chops (about 3 pounds), well trimmed

2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon water

Whisk first 6 ingredients in small bowl. Transfer to large resealable plastic bag. Add lamb; seal bag and turn to coat. Marinate in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Drain lamb, leaving some marinade clinging. Grill lamb until slightly charred and cooked to desired doneness, about 21/2 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to platter.