Vietnamese Braised Baby Back Ribs

From The New York Times by David Tanis. Wonderful flavors in the super tender ribs.

2 medium shallots, finely chopped
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer layer removed, lightly smashed and very finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as Red Boat)
1 tablespoon hot chile paste (such as sambal oelek)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
1 tablespoon grated garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped or grated ginger
3 to 4 pounds baby back ribs
4 scallions, slivered or chopped, for garnish
Cilantro and mint sprigs, for garnish

Make the marinade: In a small bowl, put the shallots, lemongrass, soy sauce, fish sauce, chile paste, salt, sugar, five-spice powder, garlic and ginger. Mix well.
Put the meat in a deep baking dish or roasting pan and add marinade. Using your hands, coat ribs well. Let marinate, refrigerated, for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight, well wrapped. Bring back to room temperature before proceeding.
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Add 2 cups water to the pan, cover tightly with foil and place pan in oven. Cook for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees for 1 hour more. When done, the meat should be very tender, nearly but not quite falling off the bone. Remove cover and return to the oven for about 15 minutes until the ribs are nicely browned.
Remove ribs from pan. Pour pan juices into a saucepan and skim fat. Reduce over high heat until somewhat thickened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, divide ribs with a sharp knife and pile them onto a platter.
Serve family style with steamed rice and pan juices. Garnish with scallions, cilantro and mint sprigs.

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Al Forno’s Five Cheese Pasta

From Al Forno, the wonderful restaurant in Providence, RI. This is a delicious pasta that comes together very quickly. I usually make it in the morning of the day I am going to eat it and bake it for dinner. I use Parmesan cheese instead of the Pecorino but you can use whatever cheeses you like. I reduced a can of diced tomatoes with some tomato paste to get a thicker sauce to add to the cream, cheeses and pasta. **Note-I gave the leftovers of this to my neighbor, Hannah and she added the rest of the 16 oz. ricotta, chicken and peas and said it was delicious! I think it is a brilliant idea!

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup chopped canned tomatoes in heavy puree
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese, (1 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup coarsely shredded (1 1/2 ounces) Fontina cheese
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, (1 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1/4 pound thinly sliced mozzarella cheese
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for pasta water
6 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 pound penne rigate or conchiglie rigate
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, sliced thinly Heat oven to 500 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the pasta and butter. Stir well to combine. Drop the pasta into the boiling water and parboil for 4 minutes. Drain in a colander and add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl, tossing to combine. Divide the pasta mixture among six to eight shallow ceramic gratin dishes (1 1/2 to 2 cups in capacity) or place in a shallow (1-inch) layer in larger baking dishes. Dot with the butter, and bake until bubbly and brown on top, 7 to 10 minutes.

Pork Vindaloo

From my favorite Indian chef Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking book, this is a hot and sour curry from Goa on the west coast of India. The sauce is made with lots of wonderful spices and an onion broth that has a little vinegar in it. Some of the spices are a little rare but I have found a line in small green boxes called Spicely and they have every spice in small amounts! You could substitute beef or lamb instead of the pork if you wish. I serve it with basmati rice and a vegetable side dish, like the cabbage and carrots from my Indian feast post.

2 t. whole cumin seeds
2-3 hot dried red chilies
1 t. black peppercorns
1 t. cardamom seeds
3″ stick of cinnamon
1 1/2 t. whole black (or brown) mustard seed
1 t. fenugreek seeds
5 T. white wine vinegar
1 t. light brown sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
5 T. oil or ghee (I used grape seed oil)
1 1/3 c. water
2# boneless pork shoulder meat, cut into 1″ cubes
1″ cube of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
a small whole head of garlic, with cloves separated and peeled
1 T. ground coriander seeds
1/2 t. turmeric
Grind the top seven spices together in a spice or coffee grinder and put in a bowl. Add vinegar, salt and sugar-mix well and set aside.
In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium and fry onions, stirring frequently until bring and crisp. This takes some time but is essential to the dish! It took me almost one hour to brown the onions. Remove onions with a slotted spoon and put into a blender or food processor. Add 2-3 T of the water to blend and puree the onions. Add this puree to the spice mixture in the bowl. You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze.
While the onions are cooking, dry off the meat cubes and cut off any fat.
Put ginger and garlic in the blender and puree into a paste with 2-3 T. of the water, or more as needed.
Heat 5 T. oil in the pot again over medium high flame. Add the pork cubes, a few at a time and brown on all sides. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. After the pork is browned, add the garlic ginger paste, turn down heat to medium. Stir for a few seconds. Add coriander and turmeric, stirring well for a few minutes. Add the meat and vindaloo paste and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for on hour or until pork is tender. Stir a few times during cooking period.

Corn Risotto

From the NY Times. Our corn in CO is almost gone so I had to make this at least once this season! Making the corn stock from the cobs is so easy and adds great flavor. I love fresh marjoram on my corn risotto but my husband prefers basil so I garnish them separately. I am not sure that the softly whipped cream is necessary but it adds to the beauty and texture! I did not have a leek so I used shallots.


FOR THE CORN STOCK (OPTIONAL, YOU MAY USE CHICKEN STOCK):
2 corn cobs (kernels removed and reserved for risotto)
1 onion, cut into quarters
1 carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 celery rib, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
Dark green leaves from 1 leek (reserve white and light green parts for risotto)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
FOR THE RISOTTO:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 leek, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
6 cups hot corn stock or chicken stock
1 ½ cups raw corn kernels (from about 2 ears corn)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced chives (optional)

FOR THE STOCK:
Combine all ingredients with 6 cups water in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat so liquid is simmering; cover pot and let simmer for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Add enough water to bring liquid up to 6 cups.
FOR THE RISOTTO:
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a wide, high-sided sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add rice and cook, stirring, until grains look slightly translucent.
Pour in wine and cook, stirring, until it has all been absorbed, about 2 minutes.
Add a ladleful of hot corn stock to the rice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until rice has absorbed all of the stock. Continue cooking, adding ladlefuls of stock whenever rice mixture looks dry and stirring continuously. When half the stock has been added, stir in corn. Continue cooking until all of the stock is incorporated, corn is tender and rice is creamy and tender, about 30 to 40 minutes total.
Remove risotto from heat and stir in Parmesan and remaining tablespoon of butter. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream at high speed until it holds stiff peaks. Uncover risotto, stir vigorously and season to taste with salt and pepper. Immediately before serving, stir in the chives, if using, then gently fold in cream.

Loca’s Pork Green Chile

From Denver’s Work+Class restaurant, this is the best green chile recipe I have ever made! I skinned and seeded all of the peppers as there was no way I would be able to eat it with the heat from all of the chilies. The poblano peppers add so much depth to the recipe, both in flavor and texture.

10 fresh New Mexico or Anaheim green chiles, or 1 lb. thawed frozen New Mexico green chiles
5 poblano chiles
2 jalapeño chiles
6 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed well in warm water, then dried
1 large white onion, halved and peeled
About 6 tbsp. canola oil, divided
3 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1/2-in. cubes
6 garlic cloves, gently smashed and peeled
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves
About 1 tbsp. kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 qts. low-sodium or homemade chicken stock
1 bunch fresh cilantro with stems
6 fresh epazote leaves* (optional)
For topping:
2/3 cup each crumbled fresh goat cheese or queso fresco
very thinly sliced red radishes
toasted salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
chopped cilantro
Warm corn tortillas

Preheat a grill to medium heat (350° to 400°). Put chiles, tomatillos, and onion in a very large bowl. Drizzle with about 3 tbsp. oil and turn to coat well. Grill vegetables, covered, turning as needed, until softened and charred in spots, about 12 minutes. Let cool.
Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp. oil in a 6- to 8-qt. pot over medium-high heat. In three or four batches, brown pork pieces until golden brown, adding more oil as needed, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer pork with a slotted spoon to a bowl.
Stem chiles, but don’t peel or seed them **I highly recommend seeding them and peeling them as much as you can
Return pot to medium heat, add garlic, and cook until pale brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in cumin, coriander, oregano, 1 tsp. salt, and the pepper; let sizzle 1 minute. Stir in grilled vegetables and cook, uncovered and stirring occasion­ally, 5 to 8 minutes to blend flavors.
Add stock, cover pot, and bring to a boil; then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer 20 minutes, covered.
In batches, blend vegetables with their liquid, the cilantro, and epazote (if using) until almost smooth. Fill blender no more than half-full and cover blender top with a towel, since hot liquids can spurt up.
Pour green chile sauce back into pot, add pork, and simmer, covered, over low heat until pork is very tender, about 1 hour. Season with 2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste.
Ladle into bowls and top with goat cheese, radishes, pepitas, and chopped cilantro. Serve with tortillas.

Pasta with Pesto, Peas and Chicken

I like all of the flavors in this pasta-it is good hot, cold or room temperature. I use the pesto recipe from my August 10, 2015 recipe. You can use leftover chicken from a roast chicken dinner or buy a rotisserie chicken from the market. I think you could use any pasta but I chose small bowtie pasta as it is similar to the size of the shredded chicken.

1 recipe pesto, see above link
1 c. frozen peas
2 c. bowtie pasta
reserved pasta water
2 c. shredded chicken

Cook the pasta til al dente, add frozen peas for 20 seconds. Reserve about 1 c. of pasta water. Drain pasta and peas. Thin the pesto out with 1/2 c. of pasta water. Add pasta, peas and chicken. Season to taste.

Spice rubbed Spatchcocked Chicken

A wonderful recipe from Melissa Clark of the NY Times. I have made it four times this month. You can roast it or grill it and it is delicious. The meat is so tender. The key is to make the rub and cover the chicken on both sides and let it sit uncovered in the refrigerator 2-24+ hours.

1 chicken, 3 1/2 to 4 pounds, patted dry
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ancho or New Mexico chile powder
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
2 bay leaves, torn or cut into pieces
Lime or lemon wedges, for serving
Nutritional Information
PREPARATION
Spatchcock the chicken by using poultry shears or kitchen scissors (or a sharp knife) to cut along one side of the backbone until the chicken opens. If you like you can cut along the other side of the backbone and remove it, or leave it attached to roast with the rest of the bird. Open up the bird and place it so it lies flat, breast side up. Press hard onto the center of the breast until you feel a pop, and the breast lies more or less flat.
In a small bowl, mix together sugar, salt, chile powder, paprika, mustard powder, oregano, pepper, allspice and bay leaves. Smear the mixture all over the chicken. Lay chicken, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet (or plate) and refrigerate uncovered for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. If the chicken isn’t on a rimmed baking sheet, transfer it to one. Roast chicken until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pricked with a fork (an instant-read thermometer plunged into the thickest part of the breast will read 150), 40 to 50 minutes.
Remove from oven, cover bird with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with lime or lemon wedges on the side.

Chicken Marsala

I had forgotten how much I like chicken marsala. This recipe comes from Saveur and is delicious and easy! We had it with arugula but you could serve it with rice or pasta.

1 1⁄4 lb. chicken cutlets, pounded until 1⁄4″ thick, I used 2 boneless skinless breasts, pounded and sliced into cutlets
 Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
 1⁄3 cup plus 1 tbsp. flour
 5 tbsp. olive oil
 5 tbsp. unsalted butter
 8 oz. white button mushrooms, I used cremini, baby portabella mushrooms
 2 tbsp. minced shallots
 1 clove garlic, minced
 1⁄3 cup dry Marsala wine
 1⁄3 cup chicken stock or more to taste
1 t. dijon mustard
1 T. chopped fresh chives
 1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in 1⁄3 cup flour. Heat 2 tbsp. oil and 1 tbsp. butter in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add chicken, and cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate, and set aside. Add 2 tbsp. oil and 1 tbsp. butter, and then add mushrooms; cook until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate with chicken, and set aside.

Heat remaining oil in skillet, and then add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring, until soft, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1 tbsp. flour; cook for 2 minutes. Add Marsala and stock; cook, stirring and scraping bottom of pan until slightly thick, about 2 minutes. Return chicken and mushrooms to skillet, and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper; garnish with parsley, if you like.

Lamb Kofta

I am working my way through the new Tartine All Day cookbook and am so excited about all of the recipes that I have tried so far! I highly recommend this cookbook and think it is one of the best new cookbooks for sure! It is a book to be used and has so many great recipes! Upon receiving it, I went through the book and wrote down all of the recipes that I wanted to try. I made the lamb kofta and served it with what the author suggested-tzatziki and a fattoush salad. The plate could not have been prettier or more delicious! It is a manageable meal to serve for a party as you can do so much of the prep ahead of time. Lamb Kofta can be made and cooked on skewers or as patties, cooked in a skillet with olive oil.

1/4 c. quinoa
1/2 c. water
large pinch of sea salt
Rinse the quinoa very well, 3 or 4 times. Combine the quinoa, water and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Watch carefully! I burned my first batch! Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered for 15 minutes. Uncover and let cool.
1# ground lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. sea salt
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1/4 c. flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/8-1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1 T. chopped mint leaves
1 t. ras-el-hanout * I found this in the Spicely Organic little boxes of spices at WFds* see note below for substit.
1 t. red pepper flakes

8 bamboo or metal skewers
2 T. olive oil, for pan frying (optional)
In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, lamb, onion,cumin, salt, pepper, parsley, cinnamon and ras-el-hanout and red pepper flakes. Gently mix just until the spices are evenly distributed but take care not to overmix. Mixture can be made ahead and stored covered up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Shape the kofta around skewers to grill or shape into patties for pan frying. Divide the mixture into 8 portions.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Fry until browned and cooked through 6-10 minutes.
Grill skewers until browned and cooked (optional).

Baked Cod with Bouillabaisse Sauce and Green Olive Tapenade

A wonderful sauce that is delicious with cod but would also be great with chicken. And you can make it ahead! It is elegant and exotic with the flavors of fennel, pernod, saffron. The recipe is from the April, 2017 issue of Food and Wine. I did not have **fish bones for the recipe so I skipped that step and added the water with a vegetable bouillon cube to make up for the fish bone stock.

6 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided up in recipe
1 large fennel bulb, 1 #, trimmed and finely chopped
1 leek, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 t. saffron threads
2 T. Pernod or Pastis
3/4 c. dry white wine
3/4 c dry vermouth (**I used white wine as I did not have but will get for the next time)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in halved and smashed
1/2 t. cayenne
2 # white fish bones
2 t. lemon juice, plus more for drizzling
salt
4 six ounce cod fillets
Green Olive tapenade

1/4 c, pitted brined or oil cured green olives, finely chopped

2 T. rinsed and drained capers, finely chopped

2 T. finely chopped fresh parsley

1 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper

In a large enameled cast iron casserole, heat 2 T of the olive oil. Add the fennel, leek, onion, celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saffron and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the Pernod and cook over moderately high heat for 2 minutes. Add the wine and vermouth (**) and cook until the liquid is reduced by half about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cayenne and simmer over moderate heat until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat 2 T. olive oil in a large skillet, and add the fish bones, cooking over moderate heat until browned, turning once, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bones to the casserole with 2 cups of water ad simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, covered. Let the sauce cool slightly and remove the fish bones. You can puree the sauce at this point with an immersion blender or leave as is.

Combine all ingredients for olive tapenade and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the fish with salt and refrigerate uncovered for 30 minutes. Heat remaining 2 T. olive oil in a ovenproof skillet and cook the fish until browned, about 3 minutes on each side. Bake in the oven for 6-8 minutes until opaque and cooked through.

Ladle the sauce into four shallow serving bowls and top with each fish. Spoon the tapenade over the fish and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil.