Silver Palate Chili

13 Nov

CHILI FOR A CROWD
SILVER PALATE

Yields 35-40

1 3/4 pound coarse chopped onions
1/2 cup best quality olive oil
2 pounds sweet Italian sausage meat, 8 pounds ground beef (chuck)
1 1/2 tablespoons ground black pepper
4-6 ounce cans tomato paste
3 tablespoons minced garlic
6 ounces ground cumin
4 ounces chili powder
1/2 cup prepared Silver Palate Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons of salt
4 tablespoons dry basil
4 tablespoons dry oregano
6 pounds drained weight Italian plum tomatoes
1/2 cup burgundy wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley
3-16 ounce cans dark red kidney beans (drained),
4 5.6 ounces pitted black olives

In a large deep pot wilt onions in olive oil. Add sausage meat and begin to brown. Add chopped ground beef and brown everything well. When meat is sufficiently brown skim off excess fat. Add black pepper, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, chili powder, Silver Palate Dijon Mustard, salt, basil, oregano, and stir well. Add the drained plum tomatoes, bourgundy, lemon juice, dill, parsley, and kidney beans. Stir gently and simmer for about 15 minutes more. Before serving stir in pitted black olives. Keep nice and hot. Optional garnish – Sour cream, onions, red peppers and/or cheese.

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Cooking in the movies

13 Nov

four seasons

We are on a weird nostalgic 1970s/80s California cooking and gourmet revolution kick. There’s a scene in Alan Alda’s The Four Seasons movie (1981) where the husbands in a group of married friends are cooking Chinese food for their wives at a cabin. They make a big show out of having packed proper woks, obsessively sourcing Asian eggplants and fresh ginger root. Rice noodle sticks explode into a cloud and the men are nearly smoked out of the kitchen trying to get the oil to a proper cooking temperature:

“The oil’s not hot enough. You cannot cook Chinese food properly unless the oil is 480 degrees. It’s a scientific fact.”

“Who said that, Einstein?”

“Newton. Isaac Newton, inventor of mu shu pork.”

The scene takes up only a few minutes of the movie but it has stuck with us all these years. Thanks daytime television. The group’s excitement and pleasure over their exotic creation of Chinese chicken salad, rice and eggplant makes us appreciate the exploding gourmet food trends and cooking craze of the 1970s and 80s. It makes us imagine the treasures to be found at Williams and Sonoma, New York’s Silver Palate, Berekely’s Chez Panisse, in the pages of Gourmet magazine, but especially inside Barbara Tropp’s China Moon Cafe:

STIR-FRIED SHRIMP WITH FENNEL, LEMON AND ANGEL-HAIR NOODLES

The shrimp and the marinade:

1 tablespoon egg white
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or quality dry Sherry
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 pound medium (25 to 30) shrimp, shelled and deveined

The sauce:
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
1/8 cup Chinese rice wine or quality dry Sherry
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Chinese chili sauce (Koon Yick Wah Kee brand recommended)
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water

The noodles:
1/3 pound Chinese egg noodles (or any thin, fresh pasta)
1 1/2 tablespoons chili oil
The minced zest from half a lemon

The vegetables:
3 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 small yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rings
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
1 cup 1/4-inch-thick slices fennel bulb
4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
4 teaspoons minced garlic
2 slim scallions, the green and the white part cut in very thin rounds
1/2 teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes
The julienned zest from half a lemon
2 teaspoons thinly sliced rings of hot fresh chili pepper, such as Fresno or Serrano (optional)
2 cups 1/2-inch-thick strips of Napa cabbage

The garnish: Fennel sprigs 2 scallions, the green and the white part cut in very thin rounds.

1. Mix together the ingredients for the marinade in a medium-sized bowl until thoroughly combined. Add the shrimp, toss so they are coated with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 8 to 36 hours.

2. Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients, except the cornstarch and water, in a large bowl and reserve. Whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and reserve.

3. Bring four cups of water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan over high heat, then remove from the heat and add the shrimp. Leave them in the hot water just until they turn pink, about 20 seconds. Drain and reserve.

4. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the noodles and stir to separate, then cook until al dente. Drain, run under cold water to cool them and drain well. Toss in a large bowl with the chili oil and the minced lemon zest. Reserve.

5. Heat one tablespoon of the peanut oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Stir-fry the onions just until they turn golden at the edges, about one-and-a-half minutes. Add the bell peppers and stir-fry until they become slightly limp, about two-and-a-half minutes. Add the fennel and stir until it begins to turn limp but is still crisp, about three-and-a-half minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a plate and return the skillet to the heat.

6. Add the additional oil to the skillet and, when the oil is nearly smoking, add the ginger, garlic, scallions and hot chili-pepper flakes and lower the heat to medium so they foam without browning. Cook just until they release their fragrance, about 30 seconds. Add the lemon zest and the hot pepper slices, stir, then add the Napa cabbage and stir-fry until it becomes glossy and is slightly cooked, about 30 seconds. Add the cooked noodles and stir-fry just until they are hot, about two minutes, then add the cooked vegetables and toss until all of the ingredients are mixed. Increase the heat to high and add the sauce mixture. Cover and bring to a boil, then add the shrimp and toss until they are incorporated into the mixture. When the mixture returns to a simmer, add the cornstarch mixture and stir, then cook just until the sauce becomes glossy and slightly thickened, about one minute. Transfer to a serving platter or bowl, garnish with the fennel sprigs and scallion rings and serve immediately.

Yield: Four servings as a main course.

Una’s Kale Salad

13 Nov

UNA KALE CAESAR SALAD

This kale concoction started as a garnish at Una. It’s been the number 1 seller at Una ever since.

Caesar dressing

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup olive oil

Kale salad

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more, if needed
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto, julienned
  • ½ cup panko crumbs
  • Maldon salt and black pepper
  • 2 bunches kale, leaves only, julienned
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 2 soft-boiled eggs, peeled and halved (optional)

Caesar dressing

Using a fork, crush garlic and anchovies against the inside of a large bowl. Add mustard, lemon juice and zest and olive oil and whisk until well emulsified. Pour the dressing into a glass jar and set aside.

Kale salad

Line a plate with paper towels. Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan on high. Add prosciutto and pan-fry until crispy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the paper towel — lined plate and set aside. Reduce the heat to low.

Add panko crumbs to the pan, adding a little oil if required, and toast until golden, about 2 minutes. Scrape the panko into a small bowl, season to taste with salt and set aside.

Place kale in a large bowl, pour in the dressing and toss well. Season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with Pecorino Romano, toasted panko and crispy prosciutto. Serve with the boiled eggs, if desired.

Serves 4.

Cooking with Joan Didion

13 Nov

Outtake: American writer Joan Didion prepares a meal in her Malibu kitchen

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PARSLEY SALAD 
Didion says this serves serves 35-40. I’m tempted to try it with kale and top it with toasted breadcrumbs like Una’s.
8 bunches Italian parsley
Blend 16 T olive oil with one head parsley until smooth
Blend in 4 T balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper
When ready to serve place parsley in 1 1/3 C grated parmesan in bowl, toss with dressing.

On March 27 2005 at 1:30 PM J & J have become just J. Joan had Q and Jerry and twenty seven others for Baked Ham, Alice Water’s coleslaw, and deviled eggs.

ALICE WATERS’ COLESLAW
1 medium cabbage (about 3 pounds), outer leaves removed
1 large jalapeno pepper
1/2 small red onion, cut in half through the stem, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 to 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Maldon or other sea salt or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper or more to taste
Large pinch of sugar or more to taste.

Quarter the cabbage through the core; cut out the core. Cut the quarters crosswise in half; finely shred, using a sharp knife. Place shredded cabbage in a very large bowl or pot (you will have about 5 1/2 quarts). Cut open the jalapeno, discard the seeds and dice it fine. Add diced jalapeno, onion and cilantro to the cabbage and toss to mix. Sprinkle with the lime juice, vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and sugar, and toss to coat.

Let slaw sit for 1 hour, tossing occasionally. Drain; taste and adjust seasonings. Wait another hour. Serve at room temperature.

Sunday Lunch April 8 2007. Joan and no J and no Q had twenty-two for chicken hash, yellow pepper, crab and mustard sauce, chocolates, brie.

DEVILED CRAB
For 1 pound of crabmeat:

Melt 4 T butter, sauté 1/4 tp 1/2 cup chopped celery and 3 chopped scallions. Stir in 1/2 t dry mustard, 1 T flour, cayenne and salt. Add 1 container heavy cream, thicken a bit, stir in crabmeat.

Pour into baking dish, finish with dried bread crumbs, Parmesan, and paprika. In oven 15 minutes, finish under broiler until brown.

 

 

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VODKA SAUCE
(for pound of pasta)

1 stick butter, 1 t red pepper flakes, 1 c vodka, 1 8-oz can tomato sauce, 1 tomato, 1 c heavy cream

 

PESTO
(for pound of pasta)
a cup and a half (about one ounce) of basil leaves, loosely packed
a handful of parsley leaves
1/8 ¼ cup pine nuts
several garlic cloves
a teaspoon of red pepper flakes
a quarter ½ cup olive oil

Blend together, gradually adding oil and then mixing in pepper flakes.

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Sausage gravy and biscuits

11 Oct

It may not be pretty, but a plate of biscuits swimming in sausage gravy is mighty fine.

As cozy as woolen socks on a winter morning or as life-bringing after an over-served summer night, it is pure southern comfort.

Go south and start with good biscuits, like Great Grandmother Ruth’s, taking care to use heavy cream and “not that slop from the supermarket:”

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Or head north with Grandma Nora’s:

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Just don’t let a feud errupt!

Our lazy gravy version is simple, as this dish should be. But we are icked out by the call for Bisquick mix. Surely a small amount of effort is justifiable.

1/2 lb Jimmy Dean sausage

2 tbsp flour

2 cups of milk

Crumble sausage and brown in a large skillet. Add flour and cook. Pour in milk and stir until the gravy thickens.

This New York Times version calls for twice as much sausage, so if you are partial to milky gravy, try the portions above. Some people add dashes of Worcestershire or a splash of morning coffee to give the gravy a less pallid colour.

Either way, keep things simple and you’ll agree: sausage gravy and biscuits are mighty fine.

 

1 pound bulk pork breakfast sausage (quality counts and skip the mild).

¼ cup all-purpose flour, or instant flour like Wondra

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

2½ cups whole milk

Salt to taste

ground sage to taste (optional)

ground fennel to taste (optional)

ground red pepper to taste

Set a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and cook the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until it is loose and no longer pink, approximately 10 minutes. Taste sausage and adjust seasonings — you may wish to add sage and fennel aggressively.

Sprinkle the flour and pepper over the sausage and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour has been absorbed by the fat and has gathered its flavors close, approximately 2 to 5 minutes.

Slowly stir in the milk and cook at a bare simmer until the gravy gets thick and the roux covers the back of a spoon. If it is too thick for your liking add more milk and stir. Check seasonings and serve over split or roughly crumbled biscuits.

 

No Peek Chicken

31 Jul

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In a word, this is delicious. Also a trip to sodium city. Yoy.

A typical pack of eight skinless, boneless chicken thighs fit perfectly in our oval Le Creuset.

We mixed half milk and water to the larger newsclipped recipe (March 1992), which omitted the oven temperature: it should be baked at 275-300F for two hours. We baked at 350F and it got a little crunchy!

Cowboy Cookies

22 Jul

Half batch of Governor’s Mansion cookies.  Excellent if you can rest dough in fridge for 24 hours.

12 tablespoons salted butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg (plus 1 egg yolk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups semisweeet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (used less)
1 cup pecans, chopped

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add in the sugars and mix well for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.
Add the egg and egg yolk and beat well.
Beat in the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder baking soda and cinnamon together.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until just combined.
Stir in the chocolate chips, oats, coconut, and pecans.
Scoop out 1/4 cup of the cookie dough and place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Space the cookies 3-inches apart.
Bake in the oven for 17 to 20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cookies remain on baking sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to baking rack to continue cooling.