Archive for ‘favorites’

May 20, 2016

Pan Seared Duck Breast + Duck Fat Potatoes

IMG_0782INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 duck breasts (~1 lb total)
  • salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Score duck skin in a criss-cross pattern, cutting deep without hitting the meat.
  2. Salt and pepper both sides generously.
  3. In a COLD skillet (cast iron is great for searing), and NO oil, place duck skin down. Turn heat up to medium. Fry for 5-10 minutes (gradually turn heat up to medium high) until fat is mostly rendered and skin becomes golden brown.
  4. Flip and fry another 3-5 minutes or until meat is slightly bouncy like the fat pads in your palm. Set aside and let meat rest for 5 min before cutting!

Easy? You betcha. I was too lazy to make a sauce so I used store bought mango chutney. Delicious. If you have a good source of fresh duck, this could save you time and money over a restaurant meal! At $13 a pound, this meal only cost us $7-8 bucks a person. Including sides. Total prep and cook time, half an hour tops. AND we didn’t have to get a babysitter! Baby’s room is right behind the kitchen. I’m sure he’s dreaming of duck fatty goodness right now.

Save your duck fat! I kept mine in a glass jar next to the stove. So much you can do with it.

IMG_0781DUCK FAT POTATOES:

  1. To time this right, prepare your potatoes first. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Cut in halves or threes, salt generously, add herbs and seasonings. (I used parsley and rosemary and some whole garlic heads).
  3. Use the first drippings from the duck fat rendering and pour over potatoes. Return pan over heat and keep cooking the duck. Meanwhile, toss potatoes to coat evenly. Roast in oven for 20 min or so, until golden brown.

Happy eating!

October 6, 2015

Pad Gra Pow

Here’s my version/attempt at a favorite Thai dish of mine. Honestly, mine comes out tasting like Chinese food. Maybe ’cause I added sesame oil in the end. Don’t add sesame oil. Otherwise very tasty and simple stir fry that’s very “下飯“ or “makes you down a lot of rice”. My picture isn’t as pretty ’cause it’s missing the bright red chilis. Baby does not like spicy so we had to do without.

pad gra prow

Mmmm…comfort food.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb ground pork/chicken/turkey/beef, whatever. I prefer pork.
  • 0.5 lb green beans (hericots are more tender) chopped into 1/2 cm length pieces
  • 2-3 large shallots, minced (about 0.5 cup)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (about 1.5 tbs)
  • 3 tbs fish sauce
  • 1.5 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1-2 tsp lime juice
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 pinches kaffir/makrut lime leaves, dried. 2 fresh leaves if you can find it
  • 5-7 thai chilies, sliced
  • handful of asian basil leaves
  • optional: sliced cucumbers
  • optional: fried egg

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat large wok/frying pan over med high heat until you can’t hold your hand over it for over 5 sec.
  2. Add 1-2 tbs high smoke point cooking oil (peanut, avocado, etc), when oil is just shimmering, add minced shallots, garlic, salt and stir until fragrant, ~1-2 min. Do not burn the garlic. Bad.
  3. Add ground meat and break it up with the spatula. Add all seasonings except basil. Mix well. When meat is juuuust barely cooked through, remove and set aside. Pour remaining meat juice back into the pan.
  4. Add chopped green beans, cover and let steam in meat juice (mmmm) 3-4 min or so or until just tender. Add meat back in and mix well. Scoop a little hole in the middle of the pan and add a bit of oil, fry basil, then mix everything together. Season to taste with soy sauce and lime juice if needed.
  5. Plate with sliced cucumbers, serve with rice.
  6. Optional: Top with fried egg
July 14, 2014

The Meatball Shop: Beef and Ricotta Meatballs

Tip on salting ground meat: 1 tsp kosher salt per pound.

Works out pretty well. Seeing as you can’t taste as you go…

Other random notes on meatballs: 

  1. Eggs are for binding
  2. Bread crumbs (and I am partial to panko) are for added tenderness. Crumbled unsalted saltine crackers work in a bind. In fact I prefer this when making meatloaf. Just make sure you get unsalted.
  3. Never over-mix meatballs and always use your hands, not a stand mixer. Over working meat makes it tough.
  4. Always serve with something green! A shock of green always looks pretty next to a simmering red bowl of meaty goodness. Plus it makes me feel better to have something light and healthy while eating a pound of carne.

meatball1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lb 85% lean ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1.5 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1.5 tbs dried parsley (or 1/2 packed cup of fresh chopped)
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp  crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 32 oz jar of tomato sauce
  • optional for serving: parmesan cheese, fresh greens, roasted carrots, roasted beets, sautéed mushrooms, or a large toasted roll with fresh greens and slices of cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix all ingredients (except tomato sauce) in a large mixing bowl with your hands. Do NOT over mix as this results in a tough, crumbly meatball.
  2. Preheat oven to 450F
  3. Line a large rectangular baking pan with aluminum foil and drizzle with oil. Spread oil evenly with a finger.
  4. Roll mixture with your hands into 1.5 inch diameter meatballs. Golfball size. Line meatballs up evenly on the baking pan, so that they are touching.
  5. Bake 20 minutes.
  6. While baking, heat up tomato sauce (or make from scratch if you’ve got the time) over medium low heat in a 3-5qt pot, covered, until heated through.
  7. Remove meatballs (it’ll be a greasy mess) one by one with tongs so as to not pick up the excess fat. Place in pot. Mix to coat in sauce. Cover and continue to heat through over low heat, 15-20 minutes. Mix meatballs periodically, gently, so you don’t break them up.
  8. Roast your veggies at this time while the oven is hot. Reduce oven heat to 425F, roast 20 minutes (works for carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, what have you).
  9. Serve over fresh greens and roasted veggies, or on a toasted hoagie with sliced cheese

meatball2

July 4, 2014

Steak Fajitas and Grilled Peaches

Happy Independence Day, y’all.

I’ve reaaallly been craving fajitas. Unfortunately, I don’t trust the yankees here in NY to make this TexMex favorite of mine. Or any TexMex, for that matter. The perfect opportunity to try it out myself arose this weekend, for R’s/America’s birthday shindig. Between the chaos in the kitchen and entertaining guests, I totally forgot to take pictures. I even made roasted corn!

And what’s more ‘merican than Mexican corn and fajitas?!? Yea, ok. To balance it out, I served grilled peaches and ice cream for dessert. That sounds pretty American, doesn’t it?

Some notes:

  1. Err on the side of undercook! You can always slap it back on the grill. You can’t UN cook a tough piece of meat, though.
  2. I do not have a grill. I used a cast iron griddle. The kind that spans two stove tops, with grill marks. This thing is the bomb. 30 bucks off Amazon.
  3. Skirt steak is fattier than hanger steak. Makes for juicier fajitas.
  4. Don’t use soap to wash cast iron. Use hot water and scrub scrub scrub… Learned this the hard way five years ago. Also, never leave cast iron in the sink… dry it off when you’re done by sticking it in the oven or over the stove for a few minutes.

FAJITAS

  • 2 lb skirt steak (or chicken)
  • 1 cup lime juice (make life easier for yourself. buy a bottle instead of squeezing limes)
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 8 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium onion, sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Marinate steak and veggies 4 hours – overnight.
  2. Heat skillet over medium high heat until smoking hot.
  3. Grill meat, 2-3 minutes per side. (I like to fold up the thinner sides a bit early so they don’t overcook)
  4. Remove and let meat rest for a few minutes while you start the next batch. This is essential as it allows the juices to redistribute into the meat. The meat also continues to cook while it rests.
  5. Slice on the diagonal, against the grain of the meat.
  6. Toss the veggies on to the grill. Cook until soft and onions become translucent.

GRILLED PEACHES

  • Ripe peaches, halved and pitted
  • olive oil
  • honey
  • cinnamon
  • brown sugar
  • vanilla/bourbon/whatever ice cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Brush flat side of peach half with oil.
  2. On a clean HOT grill/griddle, place peach, flat side down. 2-3 minutes. It should develop nice dark grill marks.
  3. Rotate 90 degrees, continue to grill 2-3 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, mix a pinch of cinnamon with a few tsps of brown sugar (remember, cinnamon is sstrooonng. a little goes a long way.)
  5. Flip peach over and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Cover with a heat resistant bowl. A metal mixing bowl that has no plastic/rubber on it will work. Or if you have a real grill, just close the lid. 10 minutes or until soft.
  6. Remove and place in serving bowl, drizzle with honey, then serve with ice cream.

 

 

March 9, 2014

Homemade Tostones

I’m in the mood for something summery..

afterlight

INGREDIENTS

  • green plantains (firm or tostones will be mushy and fall apart)
  • salt
  • frying oil (peanut, avocado, high smoke pt oil)
  • garlic, minced
  • lime
  • olive oil for dipping

Garlic and Lime Dipping Sauce: Mix minced garlic, olive oil, a squeeze of lime juice, and a generous pinch of salt. Can be made ahead of time to let garlic flavor infuse the oil.

Image

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Peel and cut plantain in 2 inch thick pieces.
  2. Heat sauce pan on medium high. Add oil until ~ 2 cm deep, heat until shimmering. Test by dipping a corner of a plantain in the oil. It should immediately start bubbling. If not, the oil’s too cold. If the oil is smoking, it’s too hot. When you swirl the pan, the oil should seem less viscous than when it was cold, almost a water-like consistency.
  3. Reduce heat to medium.
  4. Add plantains one by one and avoid crowding. Fry in batches. Flip when underside is golden brown ~ 3-5 min each side. Adjust heat as needed. If the oil is no longer bubbling rapidly, increase heat. If the oil is bubbling too fiercely, slowly add more oil, introducing it into the side of the pot and not directly over the plantains.
  5. Remove when golden brown, one by one. Place on paper towel lined cutting board so that the plantain is standing upright. With flat side of a large butcher knife or chef’s knife, pound until evenly thin (I prefer 0.5cm thickness). The back of a baking pan will do in a pinch for pounding. Just place the flat surface on top face of the plantain, and with your palm or underside of your fist, pound.
  6. Once all plantains are fried and pounded, reheat oil as in step 2. Return flattened plantains to oil, one by one and quickly fry each side until deep golden brown. ~ 1 min each side.
  7. Set aside and drain.

Tostones

December 3, 2013

Monkish à la Meunière + Celery Root Mash + Roasted Baby Carrots

monkfish1

I have recently discovered monkfish. White, tender flesh. Almost lobster-like. Versatile and mild flavor. It is a very ugly fish, but damn, it tastes good. 

PAN SEARED FISH à la Meunière

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 6 oz monkish fillets
  • lemon
  • flour
  • clarified butter*
  • unsalted butter (always buy unsalted)
  • salt
  • parsley

*over low heat, melt butter (cut in 1 inch blocks) until fully melted. Stir. Continue heating until it begins to bubble and foam. Once it stops foaming, turn off heat and strain over cheesecloth. Do this in bulk. Keep left overs in fridge for several months!

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Trim off any grey/ugly membranes from fish. Slice filets into even size pieces to allow for even cooking. 5×3, and about 2 inches thick is good.
  2. Optional: soak fish in milk ~ 30 min. Helps the browning process.
  3. Pat fish dry. Salt generously. Dredge fish in thin coat of flour.
  4. Heat frying pan over medium high heat, add a few tablespoons of clarified butter. Pan fry fish until brown on one side (white/cooked portion will creep up to past halfway the thickness). DO NOT push/nudge/peek under fish until it’s half way cooked! Once ready, it WILL release from the pan.
  5. Flip and brown other side for a few minutes until cooked through. Remember: cooked fish flakes. If it’s transparent and chewy, it’s still raw. (which is OK in some cases, like for salmon it is ok to have a slightly pink center.)
  6. IF YOU HAVE A PARTICULARLY THICK CUT: after the first side is done (white/cooked portion creeped up past half way the thickness of the fish), place in a 400F oven until no longer transparent. THEN pull the pan back out and flip the fish over to let it “kiss” the other side. once that browns, serve. MAKE SURE you have an OVEN PROOF pan before trying this.
  7. Set fish aside. Add another pat of regular unsalted butter (mmmm butter) and some fresh herbs of your choice, then a squeeze of lemon. Once melted, pour over fish.

CELERY ROOT MASH

  • 1 part celery root, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 parts russet potatoes (for a creamier mash) cut in 1 inch pieces
  • butter
  • milk
  • salt
  • herbs: chive, or parsley, or rosemary, what have you.

Put celery root pieces in a large pot. Bring to a boil, let it boil for about 5 minutes. Add potatoes. Boil another 20 minutes or until fork tender. Turn off heat. Strain. Put potatoes back in pot and turn heat back on medium. Let the liquid dry up. Mash. Add butter and milk to taste/consistency of preference.  Salt and season. You will always need more salt than you think… Potatoes always take a lot of salting.

ROASTED BABY CARROTS

Preheat oven to 420 F. Shave off skin of carrots, if you have little baby carrots, roast them whole. If you have larger ones, cut them in long diagonals. Toss in olive oil, salt, black pepper. Optional: a bit of curry powder, or a pinch of brown sugar, whatever you’d like to mix it up. Spread out on lined and greased baking pan. Roast for 20 minutes or until just charring at the ends.

monkfish 2

November 29, 2013

Nothing I’m more thankful for than Huevos Rancheros

huevos rancheros

It’s the morning after our Friendsgiving feast last night in Manhattan and feeling a bit homesick. One would think I’d want to curl up with a bowl of congee: light fare after a night of pigging out, food of my people and all. But nope. Jumped out of bed this morning with a inexplicably strong craving for huevos rancheros. R took one look at the heaping plate of chorizo, fried eggs, and warm tortillas and responded with “woa…bIG breakfast..”

You betcha.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 lb chorizo*, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ~ 3/4 can of diced tomatoes, in juice
  • 1/2 can black beans, with liquid
  • optional: 1/3 can of corn
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp chili powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 white corn tortillas (these dont get soggy as fast as flour)
  • cheese (cotija if you have it, or shredded mexican blend)

*NOT cured chorizo, but uncooked chorizo sausage. Note packaging instructions if you have to remove the casing. I keep it on unless it’s plastic…The type that comes in plastic casing tends to be the ground meat type that breaks up. Either is fine.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Slice avocados. Squeeze over lime juice to keep it from oxidizing/browning.
  2. Toast tortillas in a single layer in toaster oven until they poof up. Start this while you begin cooking, remember to check on it from time to time so you don’t burn them.
  3. Heat pot over medium high heat. Add a bit of cooking oil, and cook sliced chorizos until browned and cooked through on both sides. Stir as needed. Remove and set aside.
  4. In remaining chorizo grease, add chopped onions and bell peppers. Season with chili powder. Salt generously and stir until soft, ~3 minutes. Add garlic. Stir until fragrant, 1-2 min.
  5. Add back beans with liquid in the can (this will help thicken the sauce), canned tomato, (and corn if you like corn). Salt to taste. Cover pot and simmer while you fry eggs.
  6. Fry eggs. In a 8-10” frying pan, heat on high. When pan is just smoking hot (or eggs WILL stick), add oil. Let oil heat to a shimmer, then bring heat down to medium/medium high. Crack three eggs into pan, spaced evenly. If you don’t like super runny eggs, carefully shimmy your spatula underneath each egg, then flip and let the top side just kiss the pan. Turn off heat. Salt and pepper tops of eggs.
  7. Plate tortillas, spoon over lots of tomato-y bean salsa. Top with a runny fried egg. Top with cheese. Squeeze over some lime juice. Add avocado and chorizo to the sides (or keep adding it to your tower if you’re brave.)
  8. EAT.

huevos rancheros 1

Side Notes:

  • I love Tortilla Factory tortillas. I’ve said this many times before. I keep packages of it in my freezer at all times. Great chewy texture.
  • AVOCADOS:
    • Buying: avocados should be tender and give slightly when you press firmly on them (grip the whole thing in your hand, dont just poke it or youll bruise it). Skin should be dark, almost black, but NOT wrinkly or dimpled in any way. When buying avocados, I always get varying degrees of un-ripeness. ‘Cause you don’t eat five avocados in one day…. so get some that are a few days a way from ripening, that way they’ll be perfect when you finally get to it.
    • Cutting: I rock the knife from tip to end of one side, then back up to the tip on the other side (the pit will obviously prevent you from simply chopping it in half). Firmly chop down on the seed, twist the knife, then pull the pit out. Wrap the pit in a paper towel and gently pull it off the knife (be careful). Peel the skin off. If it is properly ripe, it will come off in sheets. Then slice and squeeze lime juice over it to keep from browning. IF the skin does NOT simply peel off (it’s probably not ripe enough), carefully slice with skin side down, then try to spoon out the slices. Messier, but will suffice.

huevos rancheros 2

November 26, 2013

Easy Berry Cobbler

photo 2

Adapted from a Betty Crocker recipe

Want cobbler in 20 minutes? This recipe could be a dangerous thing. I don’t even have flour at my apartment right now let alone baking powder. This recipe uses Bisquick mix and frozen berries. Meaning you can have fresh warm cobbler every night…

Makes 2 big servings. I bake these in a 4 cup, glass tupperware bowl (or the yellow Snapware). Perfect for saving leftovers (rare, but it happens).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries (raspberry blackberry blueberry)
  • 1/4 heaping cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1/2 tbs corn starch
  • 1/2 cup Bisquick mix
  • 3/4 tbs of butter, melted but not heated (nuke until mostly melted, then stir until fully melted)
  • 2 tbs whole milk (I use the half and half I keep in my fridge for coffee..)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 430F
  2. In a medium sized sauce pan, add berries, corn starch, sugar, water.
  3. Turn heat to medium and stir until sugar dissolves and berry mixture begins to congeal and thicken. Do not use high heat as it will burn. **Carefully dip in a clean spoon and taste! Adjust sugar as needed. If too sweet, add a squeeze of lemon juice. Note that the mixture should coat the back of the spoon and not run off. If it looks too watery, add more corn starch, a pinch at a time.
  4. When berries begin to bubble, let it boil for 1 minute then turn heat off and pour mixture into 4 cup baking dish.
  5. in a small mixing bowl, add Bisquick, lightly melted butter, and milk. stir until JUST combined into a dough. If it is still crumbly, add a dash more milk. DO NOT over mix.
  6. With a large flat spoon, plop small sections of dough into berry mixture.
  7. Place on flat baking pan (in case it bubbles over) and bake in oven for 15 minutes. Mixture will be bubbling and edges of the dough will have baked to a nice golden brown.
  8. Serve with ice cream or a dash of cold cream! Tastes good cold the next day, too.

Berry Cobbler

April 24, 2013

Ants up a Tree 螞蟻上樹: Spicy Pork Noodles

Mmmm…spicy. Super fast Sichuan Chinese noodle dish. Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 9.50.16 PM

A note on mung bean noodles: they come in different sizes and shapes, not unlike Italian pastas. I ran out of the thin skinny kind, which is traditionally used in this recipe. Personally, I rather like the thicker, more al dente texture of the thicker noodles. Random cultural lesson: in Taiwan, they call this chewy bite “Q”. Like mochi is Q. Or gummy bears are Q. Insert extra Q for added f.o.b factor: “these noodles are so QQ!”

Anyway. Mung bean noodles are awesome because they are made out of beans. And therefore gluten free! It’s got a brittle dry texture pre-soak. Stiff and slightly slimy post-soak. Wonderfully Q when cooked. Stole a picture of the thin kind from google:

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 10.02.27 PM

On to our recipe! Not including soak/marinating time, take 10 minutes max to cook. I heart me some fast stir fry.

INGREDIENTS: Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 9.47.20 PM

  • 3 batches of mung bean noodles
  • 1/4 lb ground pork
  • 1 tsp hot bean sauce
  • soy sauce
  • 1 slice fresh ginger, julienned  (or 1/2 tsp ground)
  • 2 stalks green onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • corn starch
  • cooking oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Soak mung bean noodles in cold water for 1 hour+. Drain and set aside. 
  2. Marinate pork in 1/2 tsp corn starch dissolved in 1 tbs soy sauce and ginger for 30min-1 hour. Discard ginger.
  3. Dissolve ~1 tsp+ corn starch in 1 cup of cold water and set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tbs oil in wok/large saute pan on high. When pan is smoking hot (smoKING), add meat. Using the edge of the spatula, break up the meat as small as you can. When evenly brown and cooked through, remove from heat and set aside. NOTE: I used a sharp pair of kitchen scissors to cut meat up even smaller after cooking.
  5. In remaining oil over medium high heat, fry garlic and green onion until fragrant ~ 1-2 min. Add ~3 more tbs soy sauce, HALF the corn starch mixture, and stir. When mixture starts to bubble, add meat back in and stir evenly.
  6. Add noodles. COVER and let it steam for 3-5 min. If not enough liquid to steam noodles, add more corn starch mixture. (this is not meant to be a soupy dish, just enough liquid to cook the noodles is fine). Remove from heat.
  7. Top with fresh chopped scallions and serve.

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 9.50.29 PM

April 24, 2013

Lemon Thyme Meatballs 2.0

Citrus-y meatballs, TAKE TWO! This time I managed to take photos before total consumption… lemon thyme meatball1

INGREDIENTS: (makes 16-17 meatballs)

  • 3/4 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or other hard, sharp cheese
  • ~1 tsp dry sage
  • ~1 tsp dried thyme
  • ~1 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 1 Meyer lemon
  • salt/pepper
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbs butter
  • <1 tsp corn starch

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Heat 1 tbs oil over high heat. Saute onions until just brown (5 min). Salt generously. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix meat, panko, cheese, cooled onions, seasoning, ~1.5-2 tsp kosher salt, several cranks of black pepper, zest from 1 lemon, and 1 egg. Mix with hands until just combined. Roll into racket ball sized meatballs.
  4. Bake meatballs in oven on a greased aluminum lined pan ~ 15 min or until cooked through. It’ll be browning slightly on the top.
  5. SAUCE: Melt butter in small sauce pan over medium heat. When completely melted, slowly add 1 tsp corn starch/flour. Stir continuously until evenly incorporated. Add white wine and reduce on med/high heat. When wine is mostly cooked off (you can smell it cook out) and 1/2 cup chicken stock slowly. Continue to stir and reduce liquid by half. Add a pinch more thyme and sage. Stir in more chicken stock if necessary to reach consistency of your liking. Reduce heat.
  6. Add meatballs into sauce. Toss to cover, serve.

photo 3