Friday, January 31, 2014

Food Friday: Everyday I Write the (Cook) Book 1970s style

Last week I featured a  "homemade" version of a community cookbook. This week, I decided to feature another example.

This week's Food Friday recipe comes from Teacher's Pets from the staff at Berlyn Avenue School (1971-1972). There is no city indicated in the cookbook but it was purchased in Claremont, California and there is a Berlyn Avenue School in the nearby city of Ontario.

The cover of this book may have been made by the school children. It appears to be created from a paper grocery sack and then decorated with crayon and paint.

This is what the inside of the cover looks like.

As one would expect from this era the pages  have been duplicated using a mimeograph machine.

Today's recipe has two things I love, sauerkraut and chocolate, though I hadn't really considered putting them together.

Has anyone tried this cake before?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Duck Tongues. Two ways. Slow Simmer and Oven Braised



YES, ducks do have tongues
YES, people DO eat them and...
YES...i DID go there.

yet quite delicious

now i see why these are considered a bar-snack or dim sum nibble in the Asian culture.  once you give in and try one you'll find yourself with a pile of 20 or so bones that you've sucked clean.  aside from the "odd-bits" factor, they are quite unique and fun to eat.  i would say it's most similar to a chicken tail or "the Pope's Nose" as my colorful 108 year old Grandmother used to call it.
SO HERE WE GO....i cooked them two ways.  1/2 pound was slowly simmered in an Asian flavored duck stock and 1/2 was marinaded in sweet, spicy soy, ginger, star anise... then braised in the oven.  i think the slow simmer worked best for cooking, but the sauce from the braise was delicious for dipping.
next time i think i will combine the two somehow or maybe i'll try Chichi' Wang's version over at "The Nasty bits"
NOTE...this is a very "Americanized" version of duck tongues.  i do not have a wok, a pantry full of fabulous Chinese ingredients or the proper skills to throw together an authentic Asian-style duck tongues recipe, so this is what i came up with...AND IT WORKED.  i will definitely be having these again SOON.

inflation has hit the duck tongues market.  i remember when i first saw these about 2-3 years ago.  i had no idea what to do with them so i never bought them...too bad.  had i known they were this much FUN i would have purchased a bundle.  i think they were about 5.00$ a they are 16.99$ a pound must rinse

photo above is the cold water bath must do a short pre-boil
put about 7 thin slices of ginger in a pot of water, a good pinch of salt and enough water to totally cover the tongues.  bring the water to a boil and throw in the tongues.  let them boil for 2-3 minutes.  remove them, drain hot water and put them in a cold water bath to stop the cooking.

now you can cook them as you please.

1/4 cup soy
1 large T minced ginger
2 star anise
3 T brown sugar
1/2 T sambal chili garlic sauce
splash of shauxing wine
1 small scallion sliced
put tongues in marinade for 30-40 minutes.
strain tongues from marinade and put in oven safe dish.  save the marinade, but it must be boiled if you intend to use it as a sauce.

i poured some "Soy Vay" Hoisin Garlic Sauce over the tongues with a few crushed garlic cloves, a drizzle of sesame oil and added just a bit of stock so there was enough liquid to braise, but NOT boil.
(photo above is before adding the stock)
i had this in the oven, covered,  at 320 F for about 1/2 hour.  checked it at 1/2 hour.  they were still a bit chewy so i lowered to 300 F and continued for another 1/2 hour.
the end result was delicious, but i found that these tongues shrank just a bit...they were not as plump as the slow simmer batch. (example below)
slow simmer on left...marinade/braise right
2nd cooking method...

i was lucky enough to have some duck stock in my freezer.
find the recipe for Asian flavored duck stock HERE
i suppose you could use homemade chicken stock, but i wanted to get the full "duck" experience.
to the stock i added a couple of star anise, a few ginger pieces, a short stick of lemongrass (tied and slightly pounded), a little bit of garlic chili sauce and a chopped spring onion to the simmer.
bring to a boil and then to a very slow simmer.  check on them until they are done to your liking.  i wanted them fairly soft so they were in for about an hour.

they are delicious straight out of the pot.  serve with or without sauce, over noodles or deep fry to make them crispy good.  mine never made it to the fryer, but i will try this next time.
here's the weird part....
this is what you will find inside the duck tongue
the tip is flubbery and edible if cooked long enough, the flat part is hard cartilage and there is a pebble size bone at the very end.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fantastic pear cake

Pear cake

This cake has quickly become one of our favorites. I was introduced to it by Ruth, a food blogger from the UK who now lives in Sweden, and she has it from the ever-famous one-of-the-first food blogger Clotilde of Chocolate & Zucchini.

I've made it twice - once with the almonds and once without, and it's not much of a difference. I like almonds so I prefer them in, but if you're cooking for someone allergic, rest assured that the cake will turn out nicely anyway.

Clotilde's grandmother's pear cake
125 g butter
4 large pears
150 g sugar
2 eggs
60 g all-purpose flour
20 g ground almonds (optional)
1,5 tsp baking powder

Melt the butter and set aside. Butter a springform tin, about 24 centimeters. Peel and cut the pears into wedges, and arrange in the pan.

Beat the eggs and sugar until white and a little fluffy. Add the flour, almond and baking powder, and stir until combined. Add the butter. Pour this batter over the pears and bake at 180°C for about 40-45 minutes.

Let the cake cool a little. Invert onto a plate, and add any pieces of fruit that's stuck to the pan back onto the cake. Invert again, on a serving plate. The fruit should be on the bottom

Serve with lightly whipped cream, ideally with a dusting of ground cardamom. Oh, delicious!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hazelnut Mousse with Salted Hazelnuts


Here's the dessert I made for this year's 13-course dinner! My given flavor for this was hazelnut. so it was a no-brainer. Very easy to make, and more importantly, delicious.

The recipe comes from Roy Fares book Sweet.

Hazelnut Mousse with Salted Hazelnuts
8 small servings

50 g hazelnut nougat (I use one from Danish Odense)
50 g milk chocolate
200 ml cream (full-fat)
2 egg yolks
25 g water
25 g sugar

Salted hazelnuts:
2 tsp egg white
50 g toasted hazelnuts
pinch of flaky salt
1 tsp sugar

Melt nougat and milk chocolate together, I use the microwave but a water bath is also an option. Whip the cream until it holds firm peaks.
Place the egg yolks in a bowl.
Heat the sugar and water together in a small saucepan. When all the sugar is dissolved, add slowly to the bowl of egg yolks, while whisking vigorously. You want to use electrical beaters for this, or even an Kitchen-Aid. It should transform into a fairly firm foam.

Fold in the melted chocolate and then the whipped cream. Dollop into small serving glasses or bowls, and chill for at least an hour. (Overnight is fine.)

For the salted hazelnuts, you need to start with toasted  and skinned nuts. Fold the nuts together with a little bit of egg white, to make sure the salt and sugar sticks. Sprinkle with salt and sugar and bake at 200°C for about five minutes. Separate immediately. Place on the mousse just before serving.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Homemade Squirty Cheese

You may rightfully ask what could possess me to assay squirty cheese (aka easy cheese) at home, when the whole point is obviously convenience. I think it was the challenge. The Gods willed me to do it: a bag of sodium citrate arrived in the mail and I found a whipped cream dispenser replete with gas cartridges - I have no idea where it came from!

Here's how to. Heat a bottle of beer in a pot - a light beer, not too hoppy or it will overwhelm the cheese. Add a scant tablespoon of sodium citrate, a teaspoon of mustard powder, a teaspoon of raw sugar and 1/2 pound of finely grated cheese. I used good aged gouda. (That's why you should make it at home!) Let it melt, stirring all the time until smooth. Then pour this into two 8 ounce jars and keep shaking to keep emulsified. Chill in a bowl of ice water.

Then put one jarful into a whipped cream machine, and chill thoroughly. Keep testing until the cheese mixture is just the right consistency. Gently depress the nozzle on the canister or you will have cheese sprayed all over the kitchen, as I did. Eventually it will be just right, and squirty. I think a light white wine would probably work even better than beer. A touch of kirschwasser too. OK, next time it's Gruyere!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Spicy Mexican Braised Pig Snouts

NOSE to tail

i suppose you are only here if you are TRULY into nose to tail eating...OR if this purely fascinates or disgusts you.
maybe just a LOOKY-LOO ?

BUT think of it this way...


we need to think out of the box...away from the "chop"
i know here in So California there isn't a lot of enthusiasm, but
i'm trying to do my part...
piece by piece


i'm pretty good with "odd-bits", but this was a doozy.
i hate to say it, but the pre-boil stinks.  ooo boy, it's bad.  i mean it smells like a "pig sty"
not to worry...only the pre-boil smells.  it will go away.
it's always important to do a "pre-boil".
this is a skinny-dip in boiling water for 10-15 minutes.  since these are some odd bits, maybe someone did not take care of them as they would a prized tenderloin, so you need to pre-boil to remove any impurities, contaminates and what-nots...
cover your bits with water and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes.  remove from pot and toss the water.  clean your pot and start fresh.
ALSO...if there are any hairs that might have been missed, you can shave those off with a cheap razor or singe them off, as i do, with a brulee torch.

photo before going in oven

2-3 snouts
3/4-1 lb. of pork shoulder cut into large pieces
1-2 large white onion, sliced thick
8-10 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 small can chipotle in adobo sauce.
approx. 2 cups of homemade stock...i used turkey/chicken
cumin, coriander, mexican oregano, chili powder, pepper corns, fresh ground pepper and salt
liberally sprinkle your seasonings all over and inside the cavity of the snout and meat....
NOTE...there are no exact measurements here, just use your judgement.
pre-boil the snouts as mentioned above.
add thick sliced onions to the bottom of dutch oven.  i always use cast iron enamel.  stuff the inside of the snout with the chunks of pork shoulder.  arrange snouts as you wish.  i did it this way so the main part of the snout would not be submerged in the stock.  stick your crushed garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves and chipotle peppers and adobo sauce evenly throughout.  i used about 1/2 a can...the broth was SPICY!

put in a 320 oven for the first hour.  take it out and check it.  lower heat to 300 F for another hour.  at this point i used a baster to remove some of the stock/juices.  (save this extra broth, you might need to add some back in.)  i wanted a braise, NOT a boil.  the onions will release a lot of juice.  you want the top part of your goodies showing so they will get a nice brown, golden roasty look (as shown below).
baste a few times when you do your peeking.   ALSO, make sure there is still some liquid in the bottom.  i think for the last hour i left the lid "ajar".  put back in the oven for approximately 1 more hour, but check it again in 1/2 hour.  baste again.  they should be very fork tender, but not falling apart and disintegrating.
NOTE...if you really are interested and would like a little more info, please leave a comment with your questions.

this is what it looks like after approx.  3 hours.

straight out of the oven these are quite delicious.
melt in your mouth fatty gelatinous skin with a fine layer of meat  and chunks of "confit-style" pork shoulder cooked inside the fatty nose.  it's very hard to describe, but definitely a nose-to-tailers delight.

cut into bite size pieces and sear in a hot skillet
a little chopped white onion and cilantro
a squeeze of fresh lime with some pickled jalapeno.
wrap in a fresh corn tortilla

when in DOUBT...

i had no idea what on earth i was gonna do with 3 huge pig snouts.  there's no way anyone in this house would join me and as you can see they do not shrink much in the cooking.  i ended up making 2 small "Terrine de Snout" (gave one away) and froze a whole snout in the spicy viscous broth for future use.  if serving cold, your terrine might need more salt.  cold terrines usually need extra flavor.  do a taste test.  remember to put the tip of the snout down first if you want the shock value presentation shown in photos.
keep the shoulder meat tucked into the snout cavity and press the larger pieces of extra snout in and around the main piece.  pour a little broth into the terrine and press down to eliminate overflow.  put something flat over the top and weight it down.  i use a brick covered in tinfoil and a baggie.  put this in the fridge until it is set.  serve cold in thin slices with charcuterie OR cut off what you want and sear in a pan (it will break apart, but who cares?).  add to noodles, make tacos,  add to soup, fry it up and make snout chicharones?


Food Friday: Krispy Cheese Wafers

Community cookbooks come in all formats. While we tend to associate them with having a comb binding, sometimes they are very simply put together.

Recipes from Salem Church gives us few clues to the place that it originated. The handwritten title, typewritten recipes, and staples suggest that it is pre 1990. Unfortunately, the Salem United Methodist church did not label what city or state it is located.  The previous owner of the cookbook states she thinks she picked it up in Iowa in the 1970s.

Today's recipe is an interesting one. Most of us have had a  "traditional" Rice Krispy Treat with all of its sweet gooey goodness. Krispy Cheese Wafers uses the cereal in a more savory way.

Have you made a recipe using Rice Krispies that wasn't for the Rice Krispy Treat?

My thanks goes out to Lee Eltzroth for gifting me this and many other cookbooks. Please visit her great blog Hunting and Gathering.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mustard-Tarragon Pork Stew


Quick, simple and utterly delicious. Both my kids loved this - Titus was pretty sure the meat was chicken, and as he's in a super-picky phase, we didn't really set him straight on this matter. You certainly could cook this with chicken, if you were so inclined...

Mustard-Tarragon Pork Stew
serves 4

600 g pork tenderloin (or what I used, fläskytterfilé) in small dice
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp butter
100 ml white wine
2 tbsp concentrated veal stock
1-2 tsp dijon mustard
200 ml cream
1 tbsp flour
milk, as needed
salt, pepper
2 tsp dried tarragon
100 g grated cheese, I used Swedish prästost which is quite flavorful

Start by heating half the butter in a pot, and browning the pork. In a saucepan, heat the remaining butter and fry onion and garlic on medium-high temperature until softened. Add this to the pot with the meat.

In the saucepan, pour in the wine and the concentrated veal stock, and the mustard. Cook on high heat for a few minutes. Stir together the flour with the cream, and then add this to the pan. Season with salt, pepper and dried tarragon, and pour the sauce into the pot with the meat. Cook for a few minutes and make sure the meat is cooked through. Use milk to thin the sauce a little if you need to - and remember that the cheese will thicken it slightly.

Just before serving, stir in the cheese. Don't cook it any more at this point. Serve with rice and whatever vegetables you'd like. We had some butter-fried mushrooms, steamed broccoli and haricot verts.

The "Billionaire Burger", Foie Gras, Francois Payard and The Cosmopolitan

from Holstein's at THE COSMOPOLITAN

Kobe beef, a healthy slab O' FOIS GRAS sliding off gruyere cheese and onion marmalade.
oh...did i mention the TRUFFLE mayonnaise ?...


a side of FOIE GRAS

from  STK, at the Cosmopolitan
i suggest you get a side of FOIE GRAS on anything you order...
and get one TO-GO ! i did

it's illegal in California so i had it EVERY DAY...

i ordered the 7oz filet medallion...beautiful, like "butta"
with a side of foie gras, of course, and asparagus with orange-jalapeno sauce.
too bad i didn't have room for the soy glazed pork belly, the apple glazed kurobuta double pork chop or the foie & waffles.
next time...

absolute chocolate heaven
definitely worth a trip over to Caesar's Palace
YES, it was as good as it looks

Payard's Flourless Chocolate Cookie
 crunchy meringue on the outside with chewy dark chocolate walnut brownie inside.
i have made these many times (recipe HERE with a 2nd version HERE), but nothing was like having the real thing.  i must admit...mine are not  THIS good.

no...just another adventurous day in Vegas

HOLSTEIN' of ONE please...

my "solo" GET-AWAY
clean, crisp, modern chic, comfortable, surprisingly quiet, spectacular AND DELICIOUS !
i lucked out with some help from fabulous people and got a huge room with 2 plasmas, a kitchenette, Asian style bath and private balcony...
the Asian style bath was an absolute treat after a long day of walking and shopping
the Bellagio fountain show right outside my balcony
beautiful spa and fitness rooms...
a must after all the indulgent food adventures.

and finally, remember that "To-Go" side O' FOIE GRAS ?...
my farewell Sunday brunch...1/2 kobe burger (i couldn't possibly eat the whole thing), butter lettuce and popcorn.  i'll take these "left-overs" any day.
popcorn on a burger, yum...who knew?

AND the other 1/2 of that chocolate treat.
not a great photo, but you can see the oozing deliciousness on the inside.  YUM!

just ONE more day, just one more burger, one more trip to Payard's
AND... another side of foie.  please's another shot of that burger and perfectly seared plump foie gras !

Friday, January 17, 2014

Late round-up from my New York trip


How is it possible I haven't told you about all of this already? My trip was in November! However, when I got home, the holidays happened.. and it's been pretty intense. So better late than never, I suppose! Here's a quick round-up of all the foodie things me and Lena were up to this time.

 Before leaving, I had breakfast at Starbucks. Nothing says vacation like a Peppermint Mocha latte!

Quick but very fulfilling dinner at Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Blueberry Pancakes at Applebee's. Not the best we'd ever had, but perfectly good and a great breakfast before a full day of shopping. (Steer clear of the coffee though - horrible!)

So to get some caffeine that was actually drinkable... a frappuccino was in order.

Lunch at the outlets - a Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich.

And on the bus home, we smuggled in some mini Cinnabon buns. Oh, these were amazing.

Awesome barbecue at Hill Country Barbecue.

Incredibly tasty. We had beef ribs, turkey and.. shoulder, I think. Mac & Cheese ,an amazing corn pudding, and a really super cucumber salad. And lemonade, of course.

Breakfast at Doughnut Plant! Crème Brûlée doughnut is the best, but all of them are good. I had a peanut butter/banana cream, too. The coffee, sadly, sucked.

Shopping lunch at Rosa Mexicano! Next time, I think we'll just order a massive bowl of guacamole. Yum.

The Shake Shack! In November! Cold, you guys!

But that didn't deter us, we had peanut butter milkshakes and cheese fries.

Cold. Very cold.

Another breakfast, at Bouchon Bakery.

And for lunch, burgers at Burger Joint at Le Parker Meredien. A well-kept secret.. unless you know about it.

Fab burgers, And Oreo milkshakes!

And great atmosphere.

Our hotel was in Koreatown, so we were just down the street from Mandoo bar where we had dumplings...

and Chapchae, yummy noodles.

Starbucks at Macy's, for our last breakfast.

Bought the most adorable Rudolph mug at Starbucks. Of course, I bought a gazillion other things, too...