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Fajitas

19 Jan

La Parrilla’s Fajitas from LA Times
1 to 1 1/4 pounds skirt steak or rib eye steak

1 (8-ounce) bottle Italian dressing

4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch squares

Oil

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

2 poblano chiles, cut into strips

1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices

5 plum tomatoes, quartered

4 yellow chiles

4 green onions

1/2 small lemon

Tortillas

Salsa

Marinate steak overnight in dressing. When ready to cook, drain meat and cut into strips. Cook meat with bacon on large griddle or in heavy skillet 4 minutes, sprinkling with small amount oil. Season with Worcestershire and some of garlic salt while cooking.

Cook poblano chiles and onion alongside meat on griddle or in separate skillet for same amount of time, sprinkling with oil and remaining garlic salt. Add tomatoes to vegetables and cook about 2 minutes.

Place yellow chiles on griddle or in skillet and cook until brown in spots. Dip green onions in oil, place on griddle or in skillet and char lightly.

Combine meat and vegetables except green onions on sizzling hot griddle or on heated platter. Arrange green onions over top. Squeeze lemon juice over before serving. Accompany with tortillas and salsa. Makes 4 servings

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Retro Grey Cup

1 Nov

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Health burgers

23 Mar

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We clipped this from Bon Appetit’s RSVP section from a reader asking for a California restaurant’s recipe. Very 1980s, no?

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We toasted the nuts but made the mistake of pureeing the whole mess, resulting in a homogeneous mixture. Next time, we’ll stir chopped nuts and onion into the puréed chickpea, curry and parsley mix. In other words, we’ll follow the goddamned recipe as written. Sheesh!

NUTBURGERS

8 servings
3 15-oz cans garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed and mashed (we used 2 19 oz) or pureed
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 cup chopped almonds (toasted)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (toasted)
1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1 tsp curry power
1/2 tsp vegetable salt
1 egg, lightly beaten

oil for frying
sharp cheddar slices
8 pitas
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 avocados, finely diced
1/2 bunch green leaf lettuce, chopped (we used alfalfa sprouts)

Combine beans, onion, parsley, nuts, seeds, curry powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add egg and mix well. Form into eight 3 x 3/4 inch patties.
Pour oil into heavy large skillet to depth of 1/4 inch. Place over medium high heat. When oil is hot, add patties and fry until lightly browned, about four minutes. Turn and fry the other side for four minutes, topping with cheese while the other side cooks.
Drain patties on paper towel.
Lightly spread inside of pitas with mustard. Place patty in each, add tomato, avocado and lettuce. Spoon dressing over filling.

Update: frying was a disaster so the second time we baked them at 350F on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Success! They stayed intact.

Creamy Herbal Dressing
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup yogurt
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1/4 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp Worchestershire
1/4 tsp vegetable salt
combine in a processor or blender until smooth.

We spooned into a squeeze bottle.

Monterey Chicken

6 Mar

cookbookcherie.wordpress.com

There’s good reason Chili’s removed Monterey Chicken from its menu: with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy (and broccoli) it topped the scales at a whopping 3,000 calories. Yeesh.

We managed to recreate the delicious combination of smokey sweet grilled chicken with monterey jack cheese and bacon but showered it with juicy diced tomatoes and green onion. We served it with a side of roasted vegetables (mushrooms, broccoli and mixed peppers) so tasty on their own that they needed no embellishment. Pictured below: crispy smashed baby potatoes roasted with olive oil and fresh rosemary.

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Monterey Chicken

6 chicken thighs

1/2 cup barbecue sauce (We used Stubbs)

6 slices monterey jack cheese (we used deli counter slices)

1/2 lb applewood smoked bacon, baked on an elevated rack for 20 minutes at 375F, and blotted after cooking

container of grape tomatoes, diced

3 green onions, chopped

parsley or cilantro (if you have)

Grill chicken on medium heat, basting with barbecue sauce.

When done, turn heat on low and top chicken with cheese slices to melt. Remove from grill onto a warmed platter and immediately top with bacon (slices or crumbled – we put the bacon underneath the cheese the first time and learned it’s better on top). Scatter tomatoes and green onion and greens on top.

 

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HoJo’s barbecue sauce

21 Feb

True to our name, we are Saucy! And on a mission to monkey around with mid-century barbecue sauce recipes.

This one comes from someone who owns a kitchen copy of the Howard Johnson’s master chef’s kitchen cookbook “that were given to all the restaurants way back when. Various sources tell me it is the kitchen copy of plating and recipes that were used from about the years 1946 through the early sixties for various menu items before all the HJ’s started a more standardized menu in the mid/late 1960s and started also using the “commissary” for getting in prepackaged items for food preparation.”

Howard Johnson’s Bar-B-Q Sauce – 2 Quarts

1/2 can No. 10 tomatoes (a No. 10 can is 6 lbs 6 oz; 102 oz; or 2.89 kg (or about 12 cups) So recipe is calling for a bit more than six cups.

4 cloves garlic

1/2 onion

2 oz fat

10 oz Worcestershire Sauce

4 1/2 cups catsup

1 cup vinegar

1 qt water

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp celery salt

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne

4 drops tabasco sauce

Put tomatoes through a sieve. Chop garlic and onions and fry in fat. Mix Worcestershire sauce, catsup, vinegar and warm water together. Add black pepper, salt, celery salt, paprika, cayenne and tabasco sauce. Combine all ingredients and cook for 10 minutes.

Mark R & Uncle Phaedrus

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.

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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