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.

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.

 

Sunday
Apr212013

Lamb Dolmas with Dill Zabaglione

Things have been pretty boring in the Baketard household the past few months. I mentioned in a previous post that we were cutting out the booze and most of the carbs for the new year, and for the most part we did—David and I completed our diet challenge with our trainer, Anna the Horrible. What does that mean?  Well, she will now be required to do a workout of OUR choosing for an hour while we watch from comfy yoga mats, eating fried chicken. Oh, and in addition to the gloating rights, we both lost between 25-30 lbs each in the process of doing this.  We can get back into our tube tops and hot pants for summer.

Surprisingly, the diet wasn’t too tough, and throwing a dinner party here and there to eat a few things we enjoy didn’t hurt.  I’ll post some of the healthy recipes we loved throughout the diet in a later post (I really did find/concoct some great stuff in SPITE of it being healthy), but in the mean time, let’s talk about one of the splurge dinners and one of my favorite do-ahead appetizers.

I love Dolmas. I’ve had good dolmas, I’ve had bad dolmas, and I’ve had middle of the road dolmas. This recipe makes the best fucking dolmas I’ve ever tasted.  It comes from Wayne Johnson, formerly of Andaluca and now Ray’s Boathouse in Seattle. Chef Johnson taught us to make this recipe years ago at a charity event called Cooking with Class, run by my friend Connie Adams. (You should check this out, because it’s a fun hands-on cooking event with wine pairings, a fun auction and it benefits a great cause where the proceeds go to benefit seniors in our community. Keep gramma off the streets! She’s not to be trusted). These dolmas blew us away then, and they continue to do the same today. Honestly, I made these as one of my dishes for my International Cuisine final in culinary school and they guaranteed me an A.

There’s no big complicated trick here. When I make these I line a half hotel pan with grape leaves, place the rolled dolmas inside and put another half pan on top, weighing it down as much as possible with cans of water (The weight helps with the absorption). You can use whatever pans/dishes you have as long as they’re stackable. The dolmas can be assembled and cooked a day ahead, and re-steamed briefly before serving. They’re fine at room temperature, but better warm.

The zabaglione needs to be made fairly close to the time you serve the dish, but it’s a quick process. These will seriously be the most kick ass dolmas you’ve ever eaten. Trust me. Would I lie to you?

Lamb Dolmas

Chef Wayne Johnson

Yield: 6 Servings

Ingredients:

Dolmas

▪1 Tablespoon olive oil

▪1 pound lamb, lean ground

▪1 pound onion, small dice

▪½ cup red bell pepper, small dice

▪1 cup basmati rice

▪2 teaspoons salt

▪1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

▪¾ cup tomato purée

▪2 Tablespoons currants

▪¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

▪2 Tablespoons craisins™

▪¼ cup Italian parsley, minced

▪2 Tablespoons oregano, minced

▪2 Tablespoons mint, minced

▪3 Tablespoons dill, minced

▪Grape leaves, as needed, rinsed & drained

▪½ cup lemon juice

▪3 cups chicken broth

▪6 sprigs thyme, for garnish

Zabaglione

▪4 egg yolks

▪2 Tablespoons lemon juice, fresh

▪6 Tablespoons chicken stock

▪½ cup olive oil

▪1 Tablespoon dill, fresh minced

▪¾ teaspoon salt, kosher

▪Pinch of white pepper finely ground

Instructions:

For Dolmas: Break up lamb with whisk for small and uniform pieces. In sauté pan over medium high heat cook lamb and onion in olive oil until well-browned. Add bell pepper, rice, salt and cayenne and sauté 2 more minutes.

Add tomato purée, currants, half the pine nuts, craisins, Italian parsley, oregano, mint and dill and heat through. Remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cool.

On work surface, arrange grape leaves, shiny side down. Place 1 ounce filling per leaf, roll up, folding sides in burrito-style. Dolmas must be rolled neatly and tightly to cook correctly.

Line deep casserole with small or torn grape leaves. Place in pan seam-side down. Fit snugly but not packed together. Line entire pan with Dolmas. Cover with additional grape leaves.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring lemon juice and chicken broth to boil, then pour over Dolmas. Weigh down Dolmas by placing small, perforated cooling rack upside down on top. Cover pan with foil sealed well. Bake 1 hour or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove foil. Let cool. Can be stored up to 5 days in airtight container in refrigerator.

For Zabaglione: Combine egg yolks, lemon juice and stock over double boiler. Whisk constantly over medium high heat until mixture is pale yellow, fluffy and thickened. Slowly add olive oil to incorporate. Whisk in dill, salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Zabaglione will last 4 hours at room temperature.

To Serve: Steam Dolmas 5 minutes or until hot. Place 3 Dolmas per plate, corners on top of each other at right angles. Sauce Zabaglione across Dolmas, covering each one. Sprinkle pine nuts across Dolmas, place dill sprigs in upper right corner of plate.

 

 

Sunday
Mar102013

Torta Della Nonna

Earlier this year, I talked about my cooking trip to Sichuan and the great friendships I made while studying there. One of my fellow students is a journalist, and he wrote a fantastic article for this morning’s Boston Globe. Another is a retired university professor living in China for a year with his wife (who is teaching at the University), and the third, a retired exec from a large international accounting firm. The latter came to Seattle last weekend to stay with us and meet David for the first time. His only instructions were, “Rather than going out to dinner, let’s cook together. You invite your c*ntiest gays, and I’ll do the same when you come to Florida in March”.

I can do that. Game. ON!

Since we spent two weeks cooking Chinese food together, and have both burned out our respective husbands with Sichuan fare since returning to the US, I decided to cook Italian for him.  With the exception of the appetizer tartlets I mentioned recently, every dish came from Nancy Silverton’s Mozza cookbook, with which I am completely OBSESSED. We have used this book in the past for our cookbook club, where every dish blew our minds.

For this occasion with my friend, we started with the tartlets, moved on to a beautiful take on a caprese salad with burrata, pesto, pine nuts and oven-roasted tomatoes, made a pasta dish with homemade sausage, herbs and fennel pollen, and taking the main stage, a stuffed quail agrodolce dish my friend Becky took over and rocked. (It’s always to have a chef friend over for a dinner party. Especially when they ALSO meet the aforementioned “c*nty gay” requirement). I'll be blogging about the quail dish for sure.  This night was one of those perfect dinner parties for a host, where every dish outshone the last,...culminating in this cheese-filled Torta. This is, for me, the most intricate dessert I’ve ever made successfully to the point I’d call it a “10”, other than that Pastel de Tres Leches cake, which was also a bitch to make.

No weird substitutions or anything here, since it is a dreaded baking recipe. I did find unbleached pastry flour but I had to look for a while to find it. I didn’t find the Italian leavening at either of the Italian delis in town, so I used the baking soda/powder mixture and it worked great. I had to search for honeycomb, but if you have a grocery store with a good cheese selection, they're likely to sell it. (For Seattleites, I got it at the University Village QFC). This dessert looks so impressive with the cheesecake topped with the individual cookies and honeycomb. It’s definitely one I will make again, but there’s a significant time investment here.

Cooling the torta and the cookies

This dinner party involved lots of Negronis, many bottles of red and white wine, and we served the last of my homemade Arancello with dessert. After many jokes, puns and jabs at one another to accompany the food and wine, everyone stumbled their happy asses home. As my friend swerved downstairs to the guest room, he gave the concession I was waiting to hear: “Your friends are WAY c*ntier than mine”.

Well done, people.

Well done.

Torta Della Nonna

From Mozza, by Nancy Silverton and Matt Molina

Ingredients

For the crust:

11/2 cups unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/4 teaspoon Italian leavening, such as Bench Mate, Pane Angel, or Rebecchi, or 1/8 teaspoon baking soda and 1/8 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of kosher salt

4 extra- large egg yolks

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (if not using Italian leavening)

All-purpose flour, for dusting

Unsalted butter, for the pan

1 extra- large egg white

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

For the filling:

10 ounces Philadelphia style cream cheese

1 cup mild- flavored fresh goat cheese, such as Coach Farms goat cheese

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all- purpose

flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 extra- large eggs

1 cup sugar

11/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For serving the tart:

Honeycomb

Two types of single- flower honeys, such as chestnut honey and wildflower honey

Cooking Directions

To make the crust, combine the flour, confectioners' sugar, butter, leavening, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and mix on low speed until the butter and dry ingredients form a coarse cornmeal consistency, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks and vanilla, if you are using it, and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Dust a flat work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Knead the dough for a few minutes until it comes together into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour and up to three days; or freeze it for up to two months. (Defrost the dough overnight in the refrigerator.)

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Dust a flat work surface with flour, cut the dough into chunks, and knead the dough on the countertop to soften it, until it is the texture of Play- Doh. Cut off a 1/3 cup portion (about 3.2 ounces) of dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and return it to the refrigerator.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, butter the inside of an 11- inch flan ring, and place the ring on the baking sheet. Remove the remaining dough from the refrigerator. Dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour and roll the dough out to 2 inches larger than the ring, and to a thickness of 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Gently fold the dough in quarters and place it on top of the flan ring, placing the point in the center and gently unfolding the dough so the ends are flopped over the ring. Gently push the dough down to fit inside the ring, pressing into the crease around the inside circumference so the dough fits snugly against the corners and sides. (Don't stretch the dough to fit or it will shrink during baking.) Dip the knuckle of your index finger in flour and use it to press the dough into the crease to create a straight edge, not sloping sides. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the flan ring to cut the dough. Pull off the trimmed dough and discard. Place the tart shell in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes and up to one day.

Remove the 1/3 cup of dough from the refrigerator and place it between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll it into an 8-inch circle about 1/16 inch thick. Place the dough sandwiched between the parchment paper on a baking sheet and put it in the freezer to chill until it is firm but not frozen, about 30 minutes.

Adjust the oven rack so it is in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 350ºF and line another separate baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove the sheet of dough that you rolled very thinly from the freezer, lay it on a flat work surface, remove the top sheet of parchment paper, and use the 8-inch ring to cut a circle out of the dough, working quickly so that it stays cold. Pull away and discard the scraps of dough around the circle and cut the circle into eight or ten equal wedges as you would a pie— however many servings you want the tart to make. Still working quickly, use a metal spatula to carefully lift the wedges one at a time and place them on the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each. Brush the wedges with the egg white. Scatter 2 tablespoons of the pine nuts over the wedges, dividing them evenly, and gently press the nuts into the wedges to make sure they adhere; reserve the remaining pine nuts for serving with the tart.

Bake the wedges until they're golden brown, about 8 minutes, rotating the pan in the middle of the baking time so the cookies brown evenly. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place it on a wire cooling rack until the wedges cool, and dust them lightly with powdered sugar.

To make the filling, combine the cream cheese, goat cheese, butter, and mascarpone in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until the ingredients are combined and the mixture is smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and salt, mix on low speed to incorporate, and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Combine the eggs and sugar in the bowl you mixed the cheeses in. (There's no need to wash the bowl.) Exchange the paddle attachment for the whisk attachment on your mixer and beat the eggs and sugar together until the eggs are thick and fluffy and the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat just to incorporate. Gently fold one- third of the egg mixture into the cheese, using the flat side of a spatula to smash the cheese and break up the density of the cheese with the egg. Add another third of the egg mixture, folding it in with a light hand so the eggs stay light and fluffy. Fold in the remaining egg mixture, mixing until the ingredients are combined but there are still visible lumps of cheese in the mix. (The filling can be made up to four days in advance. Transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate until you are ready to bake the tart.)

Remove the tart shell from the refrigerator and pour the filling into the shell to fill it 1/8 inch from the top. (You may not use all of it but you don't want to overfill the ring; discard the excess.) Place the baking sheet with the tart on it in the oven to bake for about 40 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time for even browning, until the filling is set and the top is golden brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and set it aside to cool slightly. Cut the tart into the same number of wedges that you cut cookie wedges. You can serve the tart warm, or set it aside to cool to room temperature. (To rewarm the tart, place the whole tart or individual slices on a baking sheet and put it in a 350ºF oven until it is warmed through; about 5 minutes for slices, about 15 minutes for a whole tart.)

Just before serving, place the cookie wedges on the tart with the outside edges of the cookies about 1 inch from the edge of the tart. Lift the flan ring off the tart. Use a large knife to cut between the cookies, creating even slices using the cookies as a guide. Use a metal spatula to carefully transfer each wedge to a dessert plate. Spoon 1 teaspoon of honeycomb on one side of each wedge. Spoon 1 teaspoon of each of the two honeys into circles about the size of silver dollars on either side of each wedge. Scatter a few of the reserved pine nuts in the center of each pool of honey, but not the honeycomb, and serve.

Thursday
Feb282013

Chile Verde

February in Seattle usually involves two things: Rain and Clouds. Oh, and more rain. It’s bleak, and it makes me want to stay home in bed, lazing around with my dogs. It provides the perfect excuse for comfort food, too.

THIS, my friends, is comfort food.

I spent last week at a business conference in Phoenix. While I hated to spend any money supporting the tourist industry of the state with the most batshit-crazy Governor, and in a city with the most racist Sheriff in the nation, I loved the conference (great opportunity to network and to see old friends from all over the world) and I ADORE Southwestern food.

We ate well: We had dinner at Jose Garces’ new restaurant, Distrito. He makes incredible modern Mexican fare, and every bite was perfection. Thanks to recommendations from many of my friends, we also arrived early one afternoon to try the pizza at Pizzeria Bianco. This place is known for a long wait, but it truly is the best pizza I think I’ve ever eaten. It’s worth enduring the line to get in. Finally, we ate at an old Southwestern restaurant and had traditional, fiery Carne Adovada with beans and rice. It burned my face off in a good way, and sent me home hungry for more southwestern fare.  Reading through Saveur on the plane, I stumbled across this recipe and it looked so great I made it as soon as I got home. Carne Adovada is next on my list.

This Chile Verde recipe has heat to it for sure, but not unbearably so. It’s absolutely delicious and I hope you like it as much as we did. I doubled the batch—but it didn’t last long. Great heat, killer comfort food, and the tomatillos fill your mouth with a nice fiery tang. Speaking of which, tell your mom "hey" for me...

Chile Verde

SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup canola oil

2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into ½" cubes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

½ cup flour

8 oz. ground breakfast sausage

2 tbsp. ground cumin

1 tbsp. green chile powder

1 dried pasilla chile, stemmed, seeded, and chopped

½ cup chopped scallions

12 tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and finely chopped

2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped

2 serrano chiles, stemmed and finely chopped

2 Anaheim chiles, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped

2 cups chicken stock

1 (15-oz.) can green enchilada sauce, such as Hatch

Hot sauce, for serving

Roughly torn cilantro leaves, to garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper; toss with flour. Working in batches, add pork to pan; cook until browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside. Add sausage; cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl with pork. Add cumin, chili powder, and pasilla; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add scallions, tomatillos, onions, serranos, Anaheim chiles, and bell pepper; cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Add reserved pork and sausage, stock, and enchilada sauce; cook until pork is tender, about 30 minutes. Garnish with cilantro; serve with hot sauce.