Who's the Baketard?

Why Baketard? Love to cook, hate to bake. Despite having gone to cooking school and working in some top kitchens, I never learned the baking side of things. I'm building my baking and photography skills, while sharing recipes that rock my world in the mean time.

Sunday
Jun292014

Presidential Oaxacan Black Mole with Chile-Rubbed Ribeyes and Chile Fried Onions

I love mole. It’s truly one of those tasks that has to be a labor of love, because it takes an entire day to do it properly.  THIS particular recipe for black mole is one I read about a few years ago when Rick Bayless made it at the White House for President Obama. He mentioned how difficult it is to procure the chihuacle chiles and talked about the authenticity of using them.

Challenge accepted!

I scoured the web trying to find them. No luck. We went to Mexico with our lesbii for Christmas and I asked everywhere…nada. They’re native to a very small region in Oaxaca. Back to the internet. Zip. I blamed my husband David, because he’s the reason I can’t have nice things. That didn’t work either.

Finally, I found Michael Beary, the chef at Zocalito Latin Bistro in Aspen. He was mentioned in some articles  online and it turns out he also does mail order for hard to find ingredients. You can find chihuacles at his website, www.zocalito.com.

Here’s the deal with mole. Because it’s a pain in the ass to make, MULTIPLY the recipe. It freezes really well. In this case, I made it according to how many chihuacle chiles I bought. I ordered two packages, unsure how the weight would convert into actual chiles. Turns out two was a LOT so I ended up making a quadruple batch. Boo hoo, right? Too much mole. There are worse things.

As with all Bayless recipes, everything worked without exception. His instruction is always golden for me. The only note I’d add is that when you defrost and reheat the mole, it tends to be a bit on the dry side, so I end up adding chicken stock. I also added a tiny bit more piloncillo to taste.

When I made the large batch of this, I did it exactly as described in the recipe below, which I lifted from an article on Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/20/bayless-black-mole-recipe_n_583397.html ). Last night,we did a tex-mex theme at our place, so I did a chili-rub on some ribeyes, slapped them on the grill and served them over the mole with some chile-fried onions on top.  We served them with the Firecracker cole slaw from Dean Fearing’s new book, “The Texas Food Bible” and some Mexican street corn. For you cookbook hoarders, the inspiration for the chile rub and the onions came from Stephan Pyles' book, "New Tastes From Texas".

If you decide to give this a go, you won’t be sorry. You’ll just be bored. And irritated at the amount of dishes you have to do. And then bored again as you stir that damned pot….but hey, sometimes pot stirring is fun. Mole is also a perfect example of a dish where you can taste the time going into it—those layers of flavor add a depth and nuance making every minute worth it.

OAXACAN BLACK MOLE WITH BRAISED CHICKEN

Serves 8 (with about 10 cups of sauce, which will mean leftovers to make enchiladas or more chicken)

11 medium (about 5 1/2 ounces) dried mulato chiles

6 medium (about 2 ounces) dried chihualces chiles (see note in Variations and Improvisations below)

6 medium (about 2 ounces) dried pasilla chiles

1 dried chipotle chile (preferably the tan-brown chipotle meco)

1 corn tortilla, torn into small pieces

2 1/4-inch-thick slices of white onion

4 garlic cloves, unpeeled

About 2 cups rich-tasting lard or vegetable oil (for frying the chiles)

1/2 cup sesame seeds, plus a few extra for garnish

1/4 cup pecan halves

1/4 cup unskinned or Spanish peanuts

1/4 cup unskinned almonds

About 10 cups chicken broth (canned or homemade)

1 pound (2 medium-large or 6 to 8 plum) green tomatoes, roughly chopped

4 ounces (2 to 3 medium) tomatillos, husked, rinsed and roughly chopped

2 slices stale bread, toasted until very dark

1/4 teaspoon cloves, preferably freshly ground

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, preferably freshly ground Mexican canela

A scant teaspoon oregano, preferably Mexican

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 ripe banana

1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) finely chopped Mexican chocolate

2 or 3 avocado leaves (if you have them)

Salt, about 1 tablespoon depending on the saltiness of the broth

Sugar, about 1/4 cup (or a little more)

2 large (3 1/2- to 4-pound) chickens, cut into quarters

1. Getting started. Pull out the stems (and attached seed pods) from the chiles, tear them open and shake or scrape out the seeds, collecting them as you go.

Now, do something that will seem very odd: scoop the seeds into an ungreased medium-size (8- to 9-inch) skillet along with the torn-up tortilla, set over medium heat, turn on an exhaust fan, open a window and toast your seeds and tortilla, shaking the pan regularly, until thoroughly burned to charcoal black, about 15 minutes. (This is very important to the flavor and color of the mole.) Now, scrape them into a fine-mesh strainer and rinse for 30 seconds or so, then transfer to a blender.

Set an ungreased skillet or griddle over medium heat, lay on a piece of aluminum foil, and lay the onion slices and garlic cloves on that. Roast until soft and very dark (about 5 minutes on each side of the onion slices – peel it off the foil to turn it; about 15 minutes for the garlic – turn it frequently as it roasts). Cool the garlic a bit, peel it and combine with the onion in a large bowl.

While the onion and garlic are roasting, turn on the oven to 350 degrees (for toasting nuts), return the skillet to medium heat, measure in a scant 2 cups of the lard or oil (you'll need about 1/2-inch depth), and, when hot, begin frying the chiles a couple at a time: They'll unfurl quickly, then release their aroma and piquancy (keep that exhaust on and window open) and, after about 30 seconds, have lightened in color and be well toasted (they should be crisp when cool, but not burnt smelling). Drain them well, gather them into a large bowl, cover with hot tap water, and let rehydrate for 30 minutes, stirring regularly to ensure even soaking. Drain, reserving the soaking liquid.

While the chiles are soaking, toast the seeds and nuts. Spread the sesame seeds onto a baking sheet or ovenproof skillet, spread the pecans, peanuts and almonds onto another baking sheet or skillet, then set both into the oven. In about 12 minutes the sesame seeds will have toasted to a dark brown; the nuts will take slightly longer. Add all of them to the blender (reserving a few sesame seeds for garnish), along with 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth and blend to as smooth a puree as you can. Transfer to a small bowl.

Without rinsing the blender, combine the green tomatoes and tomatillos with another 1/2 cup of the broth and puree. Pour into another bowl. Again, without rinsing the blender, combine the roasted onion and garlic with the toasted bread, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, banana and 3/4 cup broth. Blend to a smooth puree and pour into a small bowl.

Finally, without rinsing the blender, scoop in half of the chiles, measure in 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid, blend to a smooth puree, then pour into another bowl. Repeat with the remaining chiles and another 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid.

2. From four purees to mole. In a very large (8- to 9-quart) pot (preferably a Dutch oven or Mexican cazuela), heat 3 tablespoons of the lard or oil (some of what you used for the chiles is fine) and set over medium-high heat. When very hot, add the tomato puree and stir and scrape (a flat-sided wooden spatula works well here) for 15 to 20 minutes until reduced, thick as tomato paste, and very dark (it'll be the color of cinnamon stick and may be sticking to the pot in places). Add the nut puree and continue the stirring and scraping until reduced, thick and dark again (this time it'll be the color of black olive paste), about 8 minutes. Then, as you guessed it, add the banana-spice puree and stir and scrape for another 7 or 8 minutes as the whole thing simmers back down to a thick mass about the same color it was before you added this one.

Add the chile puree, stir well and let reduce over medium-low heat until very thick and almost black, about 30 minutes, stirring regularly (but, thankfully, not constantly). Stir in the remaining 7 cups of broth, the chocolate and avocado leaves (if you have them), partially cover and simmer gently for about an hour, for all the flavors to come together. Season with salt and sugar (remembering that this is quite a sweet mole and that sugar helps balance the dark, toasty flavors). Remove the avocado leaves.

In batches in a loosely covered blender, puree the sauce until as smooth as possible, then pass through a medium-mesh strainer into a large bowl.

3. Finishing the dish. Return the mole to the same pot and heat it to a simmer. Nestle the leg-and-thigh quarters of the chicken into the bubbling black liquid, partially cover and time 15 minutes, then nestle in the breast quarters, partially cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until all the chicken is done.

With a slotted spoon, fish out the chicken pieces and transfer them to a large warm platter. Spoon a generous amount of the mole over and around them, sprinkle with the reserved sesame seeds and set triumphantly before your lucky guests.

Advance Preparation: The mole can be completed through Step 2 several days ahead (it gets better, in fact); cover and refrigerate. Completele Step 3 shortly before serving.

VARIATIONS AND IMPROVISATIONS: Chilhuacle chiles are very difficult to find unless you're in Oaxaca (even then they're sometimes hard to obtain). Without them you can make a very respectable black mole with 6 ounces (12 total) dried mulato chiles, 2 1/2 ounces (8 total) dried pasilla chiles and 1 ounce (4 total) dried guajillo chiles.

For the Chile-Rubbed Ribeyes and Red Chile Onion Rings:

(Yields 4 servings)

4 bigassed ribeyes (Bone-in if you want to serve huge, impressive man-steaks)

Spice Blend ( mix 1 cup ground chiles, 1 cup paprika, 1/3 cup sugar, salt and pepper to taste)

Canola Oil for Frying

3 onions, cut into rings

1 quart buttermilk, for soaking

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup paprika

1/2 cup chile powder

2 tbsp ground cumin seeds

salt to taste

cayenne powder to taste

For the steaks: Rub spice blend on both sides of ribeyes, place in the refrigerator and allow to marinate 8-12 hours. Remove an hour before grilling and allow to come to room temperature. Grill to desired doneness. We tend to pull them at about 120 degrees and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving.

For the onion rings: Pour enough canola oil in a large frying pan to come 3 to 4 inches up the side. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F or until lightly smoking. Place the onions in a large bowl and cover with buttermilk; let soak for 20 minutes. Combine the flour, paprika, chile powder and cumin in a medium bowl; mix thoroughly. Shake the excess milk off the onions and toss in the flour mixture until well coated. Fry in the hot canola oil until golden. Drain the rings on paper towels and season with salt and cayenne to taste. 

Ladle mole onto plate, place grilled ribeye on top, and scatter onion rings over that. We served this with margaritas and far, far too many bottles of a big red zinfandel. 

Enjoy!

 

 

Tuesday
Jan212014

Dan Dan Mien

I haven't shared a new recipe in an inexcusable amount of time. I don't have any new excuses, but I do have this: a FANTASTIC recipe for my favorite Sichuanese street food dish - Dan Dan Mien.

I've talked before about going to Chengdu to cook, hopeful that taking a two week cooking immersion would meet all of my gluttonous dreams. Before I left, I had a list of 15 Sichuan dishes I didn't want to come home without learning to make myself. I learned all of them but one (La Zi Ji, Chongqing Spicy Chicken), and that was due to a translation error when I explained what I wanted to the chef.  The dish at the top of my must-learn list was also the dish I most fell in love with from the street vendors we'd visit every day at lunch: Dan Dan Mien.

The recipe I learned to make at the school was unlike anything I'd had at Sichuan restaurants here. It didn't involve peanuts or sesame (There is a different noodle dish we learned to make which highlighted these ingredients). The meat was a garnish, not a big component like we see here. And it was hot. VERY hot. I came home and made this dish for friends. I made it for David and myself when we wanted some fiery comfort food. I made it for myself when I had a bad day at work and wanted to sit huddled in a corner, rocking back and forth. I always have a vat of homemade chile oil ready to go and I never tire of this dish. It's better than anything I've ever tried in any restaurant.....but as I've mentioned before, when I signed up for the classes I promised not to blog the recipes. I've honored that. This recipe is not that. This recipe is something I found on the LA Times website when I was searching for something completely different. And. It. ROCKS.

This recipe is from Sang Yoon of Lukshon (I've posted one of his recipes before, and it was one I'll make until they put me in the Home). His Dan Dan Mien is much more complex and the flavors more fully developed than the simple street dish I learned to make in China. I prepared it for our friends to eat during the football game last weekend when Seattle stomped the 49ers to go to the Super Bowl. Consensus was it that was even better than the more "authentic" version. The sesame sauce adds depth and complexity. The Sichuan flavor base...well....be warned: It is totally fucking hot. Set-your-lips-into-a-tingly-inferno hot. But the depth of flavor is amazing. If you don't like spicy food, stick with your Italian bolognese. If you can take it, try this Sichuan classic. I think it's one of my favorite dishes I've ever tried.

Some comments: Don't be too put off by the number of steps here. There isn't that much active work time, and the sauces come together relatively quickly. I doubled the sauce quantities because I know we'll be eating a lot of this for a while. All of the ingredients listed in this dish can be found in an Asian market. Prickly ash oil is sichuan peppercorn oil. Everything else should be pretty self-explanatory, but feel free to mail me if you're stuck on an ingredient. And ENJOY! 

Dan Dan Noodles

30 minutes. Serves 8

Oil

1 pound ground pork

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped ginger

2 to 4 cups Sichuan flavor base, to taste (recipe below)

Cornstarch slurry (2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons each cornstarch and water, mixed)

1/4 cup prickly ash oil

1/4 cup chile oil

2 cups dan dan sesame sauce (recipe below)

1 1/2 pounds wheat noodles, cooked

Black vinegar

Crushed peanuts for garnish

1. In a wok heated over high heat, add enough oil to lightly coat the base of the wok. Add the ground pork, chopped garlic and ginger, stirring until the pork is browned, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the Sichuan flavor base (add msore or less depending on desired texture and heat). Cook the base with the pork to marry the flavors, then add the cornstarch slurry. Return the heat to high, and cook until the liquid comes to a boil and thickens, stirring constantly.

3. Pour over the prickly ash oil and chile oil and remove from heat.

4. In each of 8 serving bowls, ladle one-fourth cup dandan sesame sauce. Divide the noodles evenly among the bowls. Spoon over the pork and drizzle over a little black vinegar to taste. Garnish with crushed peanuts and serve immediately.

Sichuan Flavor Base

30 minutes. Makes about 1 quart

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (6¼ ounces) chili bean sauce (doubanjiang)

2 tablespoons (1¼ ounces) hoisin sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons (1/3 ounce) ground red Sichuan peppercorns

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (3/8 ounce, or around 22 chiles) dried red chiles

1/2 cup (4 ounces) shaoxing wine

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) Chinese sweet soy sauce

3 tablespoons (1½ ounces) Chinkiang black vinegar

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (3½ ounces) chile oil

2 1/2 tablespoons (1¼ ounces) prickly ash oil

Peanut oil, as needed

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) finely minced ginger

1/2 cup (3 ounces) finely minced garlic

1 1/3 cups (10½ ounces) chicken broth

Cornstarch slurry (2 tablespoons each cornstarch and water combined)

3 1/2 tablespoons (1¼ ounces) fermented black beans

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper, or to taste

1 1/2 tablespoons (5/8 ounce) sugar, or to taste

1. In the bowl of a blender, combine the chili bean sauce, hoisin sauce, Sichuan peppercorns, red chiles, shaoxing wine, sweet soy sauce, Chinkiang black vinegar, chile oil and prickly ash oil. Blend to a smooth paste.

2. In a large sauté pan heated over medium heat, add enough peanut oil to coat the bottom of the pan and add the minced ginger and garlic. Sauté until aromatic. Add the mixture from the blender and stir well to combine with the garlic and ginger. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the raw flavor of the garlic and ginger is cooked out, about 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Whisk in the slurry and cook until the broth is thickened.

4. Stir the thickened chicken broth and black beans into the sauté pan. Season with the white pepper and sugar. The base will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week.

Dan Dan Sesame Sauce

35 minutes. Makes about 1 quart

Shallot-Chile Jam

3 tablespoons oil

1 pound shallots, peeled and sliced into very thin rounds

1/4 cup sugar

Powdered red chile, to taste

In a heavy-bottomed saute pan, combine the oil and shallots over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots soften and start to color, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the sugar and continue to cook until the shallots are caramelized, an additional 10 to 15 minutes. If the shallots begin to dry out, drizzle over a little water to moisten. Remove from heat and add a pinch of powdered red chile, or to taste; the final "jam" should be a mixture of sweet (from the shallots and sugar) and heat (from the chile).This makes about one-half cup jam.

Dan dan Sesame Base

1 tablespoon peanut oil

2 tablespoons (¾ ounce) minced garlic

1 teaspoon (¼ ounce) minced ginger

Heaping ¼ cup (2½ ounces) shallot-chile jam

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (3 ounces) shaoxing wine

Heaping ¾ cup (4¼ ounces) toasted peanuts

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5¾ ounces) sesame paste

1 tablespoon plus scant 1 teaspoon (5/8 ounce) dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon (½ ounce) light soy sauce

2 cups chicken broth

Ground white pepper

Salt

1. In a large sauté pan heated over medium-high heat, add the peanut oil, garlic, ginger and shallot-chile jam. Cook until aromatic and the mixture begins to form a fond (flavor base) at the bottom of the pan. Deglaze with the shaoxing wine, scraping the flavoring from the base of the pan, then pour the mixture into the bowl of a blender.

2. Puree the mixture with the peanuts, sesame paste, dark and light soy sauces and chicken broth (do not overfill the blender; this can be done in batches and combined).

3. Pour the sauce back into the sauté pan and simmer the sauce (careful not to boil or burn) for 10 to 15 minutes to cook out the raw garlic and ginger flavor. Season to taste with pepper and salt. The sauce will thicken as it cools; loosen with a little water before using. The sauce will keep for up to 1 week, covered and refrigerated.

 

Thursday
Sep192013

Sichuan Smoky Eggplant with Garlic (Huo Shao Qie Zi)

Again, I’ve been remiss in posting updates to Baketard when we’ve had new dishes I felt were keepers. I could blame work, a constant flow of houseguests this summer, some work and vacation travel, or my own damned laziness. I think you know which one of the above is to blame as well as I do. Hopefully this dish will help make it up to you. I am in LOVE with this cold appetizer.

I’ve posted a few items describing my latest trip to China and the time I spent at the Sichuan Culinary Institute in Chengdu, and I’ve put up a couple of recipes (with permission) while trying to honor the requests from the heads of the program not to publish what they teach at the school (Because if I did, why would anyone go and have that amazing experience for themselves). I completely respect their wishes.  This said, I still have some Chinese dishes to share. 

This summer, we have thrown a few Sichuan-themed dinner parties, taking what I learned during the program and adding in bits and pieces from cookbooks I’ve acquired abroad, notes from colleagues who are always willing to help me look up and translate cool dishes I’ve had when traveling, and of course, Fuchsia Dunlop’s published recipes. This eggplant dish is one of hers, and it’s a regular at our table. Cool, smoky, spicy, slightly sweet, creamy….it’s got it all, is relatively simple to make and I think it’s a stunning dish. I always double this recipe. Always.

The only modification I’ve made is to use Chinese thin-skinned eggplant (which require a greater number as they yield less flesh), and at the end I roughly chop the mixture rather than leaving them in strips. I also don’t bother with removing the seeds. If you do that with Chinese or Japanese eggplant, there isn’t much left over to work with.

Enjoy this one. It’s fantastic.

Ingredients:

2 eggplant (about 1 ¼ lb/600g)

2 tsp light soy sauce

2 tsp Chinkiang Vinegar

2 Tbsp chile oil with its sediment

1-2 tsp finely chopped garlic, to taste

½ tsp sesame seeds

2 Tbsp finely sliced spring onions

Instructions:

Prick each eggplant a couple of times with a fork, then lay them on a very low gas flame and allow them to soften and char, turning from time to time for even cooking (this can take up to an hour, so its best done when you have other chores in or near the kitchen).

When the skins have blackened and the flesh is soft and pulpy within, remove them from the stove and allow to cool.

Strip away the burned skin and tear the eggplant into strips, discarding the seeds as far as possible. Pile on a serving dish and pour or scatter over the other ingredients. Mix well before eating.

Click here for a link to the book: Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking

Monday
Jul292013

Grilled Pork and Chorizo Burgers

Summer! SUN! A real summer in Seattle. YAYYYYYYY!!

This summer has been gorgeous, which is something we have lamented not having the past few years in Seattle. Because of the great weather, ours has been a crazy calendar of get-togethers and cookouts, so I haven’t taken much time for actually typing in recipes for the blog. These burgers were so completely amazing, I couldn’t NOT share them.

Until now, I always thought the Lambgasm burgers were the best burgers I’ve ever tried. They’re great. They’re even amazing. These are better. They are adapted from Suzanne Goin's Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table, which is one of my favorite books in my cookbook collection. I can honestly say I've made over half the recipes in the book and haven't been disappointed with a single one!  (FYI, She has a new book coming out in the fall from her Wine Bar in LA, The A.O.C. Cookbook and you KNOW I've pre-ordered THAT action. If it's even half of what her original book is, it will be a keeper.

Ok, to the details--Adding the aromatics and bacon inside the burger is one thing, throwing in chorizo is another. Add the atomic romesco and homemade aioli takes it to the next level. To be fair, her recipe for romesco is pretty smooth and not too brutally hot, but I ran out of anchos and the only chiles in the house were a package I found of shredded, dried chiles from Hunan I’d brought back from an asia trip. I followed the instructions below for the romesco, subbing these in. The romesco still tasted like what I expected a romesco to be—it just had an afterburn which pretty much guaranteed we’d be sitting on a sno-cone for the next three days. We powered through anyway.

A few more modifications: 

I added caramelized onions as a topping, because HELLO—what’s better than caramelized onions?

Seriously, what is?

I also subbed in cheap grocery store potato buns for the brioche buns, because while I like brioche in many things, BRIOCHE BUNS ARE BULLSHIT. You end up with such a huge-assed bun, and everything else gets lost. Give me a butter-toasted cheapassed grocery store bun ANY day over the fussy, hoity-toidy brioche bun.

I used aged new Zealand cheddar, pecorino-romano, beer and sodium citrate to make Modernist Cuisine at Home processed cheese. Made with all cheese, but rubbery-melty-good like Velveeta. You can find recipes for this all over the place. While it’s not critical for this recipe, it rounded out all the flavors really well.

Finally, this recipe calls for 2 pounds of pork and a quarter pound of chorizo. Where the hell are you going to find a quarter pound of chorizo? I bought a package of ¾ pound and just threw it all in. It was delicious.

Suzanne Goin says to serve this with a vinegary coleslaw. We did it with a spicy potato salad and the Zucchini and Curried Breadcrumb Tian from last week’s NYT.

Sno-cone anyone?

Suzanne Goin’s Grilled Pork Burgers

Makes 6 burgers

For the burger:

  • ·         1 ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ·         3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
  • ·         ½ cup diced shallots
  • ·         1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ·         1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • ·         2 chiles de arbol, thinly sliced on the bias
  • ·         2 pounds ground pork
  • ·         ¼ pound fresh Mexican chorizo, casing removed
  • ·         3 ounces applewood-smoked bacon, finely diced
  • ·         2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ·         6 slices Manchego cheese
  • ·         6 brioche buns or other good burger buns
  • ·         Aioli (recipe follows)
  • ·         Romesco (recipe follows)
  • ·         2 ounces arugula
  • ·         Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a medium sauté pan, toast the cumin seeds over medium heat a few minutes until the seeds release their aroma and darken slightly. Pound the seeds in a mortar or spice grinder until coarsely ground.
  2. Return the pan to the stove over high heat for 1 minutes. Add the olive oil and shallots. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook for a few minutes, sitrring, once or twice, until the shallots start to soften. Add the garlic, thyme, cumin and sliced chile. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grindings of black peppery, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the shallots become translucent. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, use your hands to combine the ground pork, chorizo, bacon, shallot mixture, and parsley, being careful not to overmix the meat. Season with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Shape the meat into six 6-ounce patties. Chill in the refrigerator if not using right away.
  4. Light the grill 30 to 40 minutes before cooking and remove pork burgers from the refrigerator to come to room temperature (if you made them in advance).
  5. When the coals are broken down, red, and glowing, brush the pork burgers with olive oil and grill them 3 to 4 minutes on the first side, until they're nicely browned. Turn the burgers over, and place a piece of cheese on each one. Cook another 3 minutes or so, until the pork is cooked through. (It should still be slightly pink in the center.)
  6. Slice the buns in half, brush them with olive oil, and toast them on the grill, cut side down, for a minute or so, until they're lightly browned.
  7. Spread both sides of the buns and the aioli. Place a burger on the bottom half of each bun, and dollop with a generous amount of romesco. Place some arugula leaves on top, and finish with the top half of the bun.

For the aioli and the romesco:

  • ·         1 extra-large egg yolk
  • ·         ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • ·         ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ·         1 small clove garlic
  • ·         ¼ lemon, for juicing
  • ·         Pinch cayenne pepper
  • ·         Kosher salt
  • ·         5 ancho chiles
  • ·         2 tablespoons raw almonds
  • ·         2 tablespoons blanched hazelnuts
  • ·         1 ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ·         1 slice country bread, about 1-inch thick
  • ·         1/3 cup San Marzano canned tomatoes
  • ·         1 clove garlic, chopped
  • ·         1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ·         1/2 lemon, for juicing
  • ·         Kosher salt
  1. For the aioli: Place the yolk in a stainless steel bowl. Begin whisking in the grapeseed oil drop by drop. Once the mixture has thickened and emulsified, you can whisk in the remaining grapeseed and olive oils in a slow steady stream. If the mixture gets too thick, add a drop or two of water.
  2. Pound the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon salt with a mortar and pestle. Whisk the garlic paste into the aioli. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, a squeeze of lemon juice, and the cayenne. Taste for balance and seasoning. If the aioli seems thick and gloppy, thin it with a little water. In addition to thinning the aioli, this will also make it creamier.
  3. For romesco: Preheat the oven to 375° F. Remove and discard the stems and seeds from the chiles, and then soak them in warm water for 15 minutes to soften. Strain the chiles, and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Meanwhile, spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8 to 10 minutes, until they smell nutty and are golden brown.
  5. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and wait a minute. Fry the slice of bread on both sides until golden brown. Remove the bread from the pan and cool. Cut it into 1-inch cubes and set aside.
  6. Return the pan to the stove over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the chiles and sauté for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, until the tomato juices have evaporated and the tomato starts to color slightly. Turn off the heat, and leave the mixture in the pan.
  7. In a food processor, pulse together the toasted nuts, garlic, and fried bread until the bread and nuts are coarsely ground. Add the chile-tomato mixture and process for a minute more.
  8. With the machine running, slowly pour in the remaining 1 cup olive oil and process until you have a smooth purée. Don't worry, the romesco will "break" or separate into solids and oil; this is normal. Add the parsley, and season to taste with lemon juice and more salt if you like.
Wednesday
Jun122013

Shrimp Cakes from Lukshon

I've been dreadfully remiss about posting lately. Naturally, I have excuses:

1.) We were dieting. Who gives a shit about diet food? Besides, I only post recipes here which hit a 9 or 10 according to our palates. Diet food contains no pork, caramelized anything, palm sugar, fat, good carbs, etc. Why the hell would it go on my blog?

2.) We finished dieting and vacationed in Houston (I know, right) and then went for a friend's 40th to spend a week in New Orleans being gluttonous pigs. (More on that later...got some amazing recipes there)

3.) We got MARRIED. Well, we made legal what we committed to in a very large, formal ceremony ten years ago. Since it is finally legal in Washington State, we became legally wed with our best girlfriends who have been together more than 20 years.

4.) Huge re-org at work. All went fine, but blogging was the last thing on my mind.

5.) I was a lazyass.

There. Now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you about these shrimp cakes. I was reading about the new lineup for the upcoming season of Top Chef Masters, and was fascinated with Sang Yoon, the Chef at Lukshon in Los Angeles. The LA Times magazine had a great writeup on him including this recipe, which has all the Southeast Asian things I love in one small bite: Spicy, Sour, Salty, Sweet, FRIED!!!  We made it as a starter for an Asian-themed dinner last weekend and I couldn't get them on the plate fast enough for my gluttonous friends who were greedily shoveling them into their cavernous pieholes.

A couple of notes on modifications:  I formed these into balls and fried them in oil in my wok, as the photo I'd seen of these as they are served in the restaurant were in balls rather than cakes. I think they probably simplified the recipe for the garlic-breathing masses (I hate when they do that)!  Also, the recipe did not provide Chef Yoon's technique for the chile sauce with which these are typically served so I took the lazyassed approach and used a bottle of sweet thai chile sauce from the asian market.

These were so good, I'm making them again this weekend. You should too!

Shrimp Cakes
From: Lukshon chef-owner Sang Yoon.
Note: Yoon seves these with a sweet chile sauce (palm sugar, cilantro, Thai basil, chiles).
Makes: 1 serving, shared or not

2 pounds peeled and deveined white shrimp roughly chopped
1 1/2 ounces chopped ginger
1 ounce chopped garlic
3 finely chopped jalapenos (seeds removed)
2 ounces fish sauce
3 ounces Chinese light soy sauce
1 ounce lime juice
2 minced shallots
1 tablespoon ground coriander seed
1 tablespoon ground hot mustard powder
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 beaten egg
sea salt to taste
white pepper to taste
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
canola or grapeseed oil for frying

 

1. Add all the ingredients except the cilantro and frying oil to a food processor and blend until a coarse/chunky paste is formed.

 

2. Remove from food processor and allow the mixture to sit, covered in the refrigerator, for 1 hour.

 

3. Mix in chopped cilantro and form 2-ounce patties. Fry the patties in a hot skillet with neutral oil such as canola or grapeseed until light brown on both sides.

 

4. Once browned on both sides, the patties can be removed from the skillet and placed on a cookie sheet to finish cooking in a 300 degree oven for about 2 more minutes.