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
Nov182012

Chilled Grapefruit-Caramel Meringue Pie

I haven’t posted on the blog in a while. It hasn’t only been because I’ve been a slacker, really! 

I was basically out of town the entire month of October. I went to Brazil for a conference and business trip (don’t even get me started on how amazing the food was, once I had some time on my own to go and find it) and then to Bangkok and China for the cooking adventure of a lifetime. Since returning home, I have been buried at work and honestly, I have so many photos and so much I could write about the trip to the Sichuan Culinary Institute, I haven’t known where to begin. I’ll try to jump into that this week, and share some of the recipes and experiences with the people who read this blog from time to time.

Yes, I’m speaking to both of you.

Since coming home, I’ve been trying out the Sichuan fare I learned on David and some of our friends, and to my delight, so far every recipe has been delicious. I’ve found little tweaks here and there, scribbled notes in the margins of my notebook on how I’d adjust the recipes in the future when I bite the bullet and make them for my mean, cruel, judgy Chinese girlfriends (you bitches know who you are), but overall have been completely thrilled.

Typically when I’m focusing so much on the savory courses, I cheat with dessert. Ala Mode Pies in Seattle delivers, (Did you hear me? THEY DELIVER. TO YOUR DOOR. SAME-DAY. Put down your bong for a moment and contemplate that) and their pies are out of this world. More than once I’ve had to call these guys at the last minute to have something amazing delivered, and they always come through. (My personal favorites, the apple and ginger pear pie and the coconut cream pie. Watch out, Tom Douglas—you have some competition here.)

This weekend I decided to man up and try one of the bajillions of dessert recipes I have found and saved in my cooking file. This recipe from Food and Wine Magazine caught my eye, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I breezed through the recipe while making my shopping list for the weekend and thought, “Even this baketarded idiot can pull this one off”, not thinking about the time factor. This isn’t a recipe you can pull off in a few hours. There’s not a ton of active work, but there are a lot of delays in between steps as you wait for components to cool and freeze. When you’re executing an ambitious menu and are as easily distracted OH LOOK! A BUTTERFLY!!! as I am, it’s not the ideal.  Turns out, it was completely worth it. This dessert looked great when it was completed, and I was fascinated by how quickly the meringue colored when using a brulee torch. It was magical for someone who had never done that before. I even had to call David into the kitchen to watch. The slightest touch of heat colored the meringue in broad brushstrokes, like painting on the computer.

I know, the real bakers out there are going, “Get over it, Mary, it’s meringue for fuck’s sake”. Yeah, yeah…I know. It was still cool.

You can adapt this with any citrus you like for the curd. I thought it was amazing with pink grapefruit juice as the base, but anything will work. You can also flavor the caramel with something like, oh I don’t know, marijuana butter if you want to add a little something special to finish off dinner. Allegedly.

Naturally, since it isn’t legal here until next month, I wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing. I just want both of you to have options, should you choose to take them.

Happy thanksgiving, kids. Next up, I promise some insights into cooking in Chengdu.

Chilled Grapefruit-Caramel Meringue Pie

Modified from FROM GRAPEFRUIT-CARAMEL MERINGUE PIE

PUBLISHED JANUARY 2006

Food and Wine Magazine. Recipe by Deborah Snyder.

ACTIVE: 1 HR

TOTAL TIME: 3 HRS PLUS 5 HR FREEZING

SERVINGS: 12

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh pink or Ruby Red grapefruit juice

Coarsely shredded zest of 3 pink or Ruby Red grapefruits (1/2 cup)

1 dozen large eggs, 6 eggs lightly beaten, 6 eggs separated

3/4 cup plus 1 1/3 cups sugar

2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened, plus 4 tablespoons melted

9 whole graham crackers

1/2 pound cream cheese, softened

Caramel Sauce (Recipe Below)

3/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:

1) Bring a medium saucepan filled with 2 inches of water to a simmer over moderate heat. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the grapefruit juice and zest with the 6 whole eggs, 6 egg yolks and 3/4 cup of the sugar. Set the bowl over the saucepan and cook, stirring frequently, until a thick curd forms, about 15 minutes; don't worry if the curd looks slightly curdled. Strain the curd through a fine sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the solids; discard the solids. Whisk the softened butter into the curd until blended. Place a sheet of plastic directly on the curd and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.

2) Meanwhile, in a food processor, crush the graham crackers; pour in the melted butter and pulse just to combine. Pat the crumbs over the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3) In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in 3/4 cup of the Caramel Sauce. In another medium bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Fold the heavy cream into the caramel cream cheese.

4) Spoon the grapefruit curd into the springform pan and tap gently to form an even layer. Spoon the caramel cream on top in a smooth, even layer. Drizzle the remaining 3/4 cup of Caramel Sauce all over the caramel cream and freeze until slightly set, about 1 hour.

5) Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan filled with 2 inches of water to a simmer. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, combine the 6 egg whites with the remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar, set the bowl over the simmering water and whisk over low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the bowl to the mixer fitted with a whisk and beat at medium-high speed until the whites are stiff and glossy, about 8 minutes. Spread the meringue over the caramel. Swirl decorative peaks in the meringue. Freeze the pie until firm, at least 4 hours.

6) Before serving, preheat the broiler and position a rack 8 inches from the heat. Broil the meringue just until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes, shifting the pan for even browning. Alternatively, brown the meringue with a propane torch. Carefully remove the ring and transfer the pie to a platter. Let stand in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.

MAKE AHEAD The pie can be prepared through Step 5 and frozen for up to 2 weeks. Cover once it's frozen solid.

Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1) In a medium saucepan, combine the butter with all three sugars and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook over moderately high heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the cream and boil for 2 minutes longer. Transfer the caramel sauce to a pitcher. Stir in the vanilla and salt and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours.

MAKE AHEAD The caramel can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Whisk to combine before serving.

 

 

Saturday
Oct062012

Queso Fundido with Chorizo

Cheese. I just love Cheese. Reaaaaaaaaaaally I do.  If you're not old enough to remember that Loony Tunes line, begone. We are unable to use cheese, say cheese or think of cheese without blurting out this line. I can't remember what I had for dinner last night, but ridiculous cartoon lines from childhood are seared into my memory forever.

What are the lines you can't get rid of?

This recipe is one of my favorite easy Tex-Mex beauties from Chef Stephan Pyles' book, New Texas Cuisine. It's one of three Tex-Mex books he has published, all of which play largely into our repertoire when we cater Southwestern or Mexican themed parties. His recipes work--every time--and this one has always been a hit. It doesn't hurt that you can assemble the main mass of cheeses well in advance of the party, sautee your chorizo (you want the ground, crumbly and spicy Mexican chorizo for this, not the harder, cured Spanish type), chiles and onions ahead of time and have them ready to go. You can throw these ingredients together after the initial melting of the queso base and blast 'em in the oven as instructed below right before your guests arrive (Unless you're a complete glutton and have decided to shove three quarters of a pound of cheese into your own piehole in one sitting, in which case I applaud and am slightly repulsed by you).

For the photo above, I doubled the recipe for a hungry crowd. And since it's hard to get just 4oz of chorizo, I bought a pound, increased the onions, chiles and spices accordingly, and piled that on to the melted cheese mound for the last few minutes in the oven. What's not to love about more meat? (Just don't. It's too easy).

It's not fancy. It's not my norm with all the Asian and Italian recipes I toss up to this blog, but I love Southwestern, Tex-Mex and true Mexican food, and while I was going through photos and recipes this morning this one caught my eye. Besides, you'll appreciate how all that cheese binds you up before you dig into the later courses of beans and spices. Trust me.

And I still want to hear the lines from childhood you can't get out of your head.

Queso Fundido With Chorizo

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 2 ounces chorizo sausage
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 4 ounces monterey jack cheese, cubed
  • 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 6 small flour tortillas
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place an 8 inch casserole in oven while preparing the fundido.
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat until slightly smoking. Add onion, garlic and pepper and cook for one minute stirring constantly.
  • Add chorizo and break up while coooking for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the casserole from oven. Spread the cheeses over hot bottom of dish. Return the dish to oven and bake until cheese is just melted, about five minutes.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle chorizo mixture over top. Return to oven and heat for about three minutes.
  • Serve with warmed tortillas.

 

Tuesday
Sep252012

Thai Galloping Horses - Ma Hor

Ok, kids…Ready for some of the most intriguing and delicious Thai food you’ve ever tried? This is one of those recipes where you completely control that delicate balance of hot/sour/salty/sweet for which Thai food is so well known.  And as an added serendipitous surprise, the recipe (called Ma Hor) is named after your mom! How could you NOT try it?

This recipe is modified (via Australian Gourmet Traveller--best cooking magazine in the world, IMHO) from David Thompson’s book, Thai Food (or Thai Cookery if you couldn’t wait to order the book when it was released in the US, and ordered it from Australia. It’s the same book either way). If you like Thai cuisine, both his Thai Food book and his Thai Street Food tome are the authoritative books on the subject. Supplement it with Chef McDang’s Principles of Thai Cookery and you’ve got the wide spectrum covered at a high level.

Ok, it can be a bitch to find quail if you don’t have an Asian grocery. Seattleites, I found it frozen at Uwajimaya for about 8 bucks for 4 semi-boneless quails. Yes, it’s a little bit of work to remove the meat from their tiny little bodies, but this dish is seriously worth the effort. If you can’t find quail or you’re a lazyass, you can substitute chicken thigh meat for the poultry in this recipe. If you’re going to do that because you’re a lazyass, you can also substitute a cup of Mrs. Butterworth’s mixed with a can of tuna for the fish sauce caramel, and a 7-11 package of corn nuts for the fried peanuts and shallots. And then you can fuck off. How dare you shortcut your mother's namesake dish?!?!?

Not kidding, this recipe was our hit of the summer. I’ve made it as an appetizer a few times and it instantly disappears from the serving plate every time. You can make the meat and caramel mixture (up through step 3 below) ahead of time and reheat it once you want to serve it on the pineapple slices. Just be sure to add the last half of the fried items and garnishes at the end (step 4) so they don’t get soggy. It’s how your mom would want it.

Ma hor (Galloping horses)

Serves 12

Cooking Time Prep time 40 mins, cook 20 mins (plus cooling)

2 tbsp peanut oil

150 gm each coarsely minced pork and minced quail (see note)

150 gm  peeled medium uncooked prawns, coarsely chopped

165 gm  crushed light palm sugar

125 ml (½ cup) fish sauce

80 gm each fried shallots and fried garlic (see note)

50 gm  roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely crushed

1  pineapple, quartered, core removed, thinly sliced

To serve:  julienned long red chilli, kaffir lime leaf and coriander leaves

Coriander and garlic paste

8 coriander roots, scrubbed

8 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

½ tsp white peppercorns

2 tbsp peanut oil

 

  1. Heat one-third of oil on the flat plate of a barbecue, cook pork until cooked through (2-3 minutes), season to taste, remove, drain on absorbent paper, set aside to cool. Repeat with quail and prawns, cooking separately.
  2. For coriander and garlic paste, pound coriander, garlic and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle to a fine paste. Heat oil in a frying pan over high heat, add paste and fry until fragrant (1-2 minutes).
  3. Add palm sugar and fish sauce to coriander and garlic paste, simmer until slightly thickened (4-5 minutes). Add pork, quail and prawns and stir until reduced (3-4 minutes). Stir through half of each of the fried shallots, fried garlic and peanuts and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Top pineapple slices with pork mixture, scatter with julienned chilli, lime leaf and coriander and serve with remaining fried shallots, fried garlic and peanuts.

Note You will need to order minced quail from your butcher. If it's unavailable, you can mince it yourself, or substitute coarsely minced chicken thigh. Fried shallots and fried garlic are available from Asian grocers.

Friday
Sep142012

Guo Kui - 锅盔 

I am obsessed with Chinese food. Especially “real” (authentic) Chinese food. Not that I don’t love the Americanized Chinese food, fried and covered in globby sauces bragging neon colors not found in nature. Come on, admit it, you like it. You don’t want to admit it, but you do. My friend Henry says, “Even bad Chinese food is better than no Chinese food at all.”  I completely agree.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in China over the years thanks to a job that has enabled me to manage business relationships in Southeast Asia. Of all the places I’ve been lucky enough to experience, China is the place that feeds my passion. I love visiting the big cities like Shanghai and Beijing. Seeing the Great Wall for the first time, shopping in the food and hawker markets, trying to bargain for the perfect souvenirs to take home—all of these are so different than what I had in my mind as my “normal.” I just couldn’t get enough. Getting outside of those cities to see daily life in more rural areas is absolutely stunning.

A few years back, David and I decided to take a trip with an Australian tour company called Intrepid Travel and explore the country for a few weeks. They had tours tailored for 4-star dining and foodies all the way down to “Roughing It” packages. These packages were significantly cheaper, guaranteed you “Chinese 4-star” hotels and had a higher physical rating. We opted for this both to save money and to experience as much of the real deal as we could. We’d never done an organized tour before and feared the visual we had in our heads of blue-haired grannies with oxygen tanks being carted from tacky tourist spot to tourist spot in an air-conditioned bus. The tour was NOTHING like we expected. We had the time of our lives and made some life-long friends. In spite of the hotels being a bit rougher than we expected, they were clean. We navigated the language barrier and had a good laugh staying in places where we were forewarned about getting a call at 10:30 p.m. from downstairs asking if we wanted “special massage.” Tempting as that is for some, we passed on the opportunity to have our Happy Ending.

One of my favorite stops was Xi’an, home of the famous Terra Cotta Warriors. The warriors are magnificent, but it was the street outside the Muslim mosque area that completely grabbed my attention. This was Chinese street food unlike anything I’d ever tried: Crispy pastries filled with lamb, Sichuan peppercorns, chiles and aromatics. Mutton soup with hard crumbs of bread soaking in and absorbing all that richness. Hand-made noodles in the most aromatic and comfort-food-happy broths. I was in heaven.

This past year, I had the opportunity to return to Xi’an for a work meeting and I was determined to learn to make some of the dishes I kept talking up to my friends and the team. I arranged for us to take a private dumpling and hand-pulled noodle making lesson at our hotel with the chefs from their main restaurant. I bargained my way behind the counter of one of the street food stalls to learn to make the dish I loved.

I bought every English-translated cookbook they had at the city’s main bookstore -- and a few Sichuan and Hunan cuisine books that weren’t translated. (The advantage of having a bunch of bossy Chinese women in your life is that they’ll gladly help with translations and will even MORE gleefully tell you how and why everything you are doing with the recipe is WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!!!!!) The problem is, there aren’t many English recipes for the street food dishes I loved the most. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know what my absolute favorite was called until I read about it in Fuchsia Dunlop’s memoir, “Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper,” chronicling her time at the Sichuan Culinary Institute in Chengdu. I’m re-reading the book now, because I’m heading there in a couple of weeks for an intensive two-week cooking course at the same school.

I mentioned this dish, “Guo Kui,” to a Chinese colleague who lives in Singapore and lamented that there are no English recipes out there for the version I remembered. He offered to check some Chinese language websites and sent a few links (with pictures) to me to see whether any of them linked up with my memory of the dish. One did, so I copied the recipe and sent a plea for help to my bossy ladies. My friend Kairu offered to assist and had her mother translate the recipe for us, taking great glee when her mother asked if I knew what it meant to “fluff meat.” No, really, it’s an English translation of a real cooking technique. “Bitch, please,” I replied with an instant eye-roll. “I know how to do BOTH versions of that expression.”

Last weekend we gave it a try, made a few tweaks and came up with a version pretty identical to that which I remember. There are many versions of Guo Kui in china. Some are thicker and doughier, served as a large heavy roll to accompany dishes. Some are cut and filled with braised meats or vegetables, making a “Chinese Hamburger.” This version is the one I remember most fondly though, and is the one Fuchsia Dunlop references in her book (I checked with her on twitter and she was kind enough to confirm). TRY this dish. It’s very simple and quite delicious and I guarantee you’ve never had anything like it before.  And if you like this type of food, don’t miss the opportunity to try more authentic Chinese cuisine from Fuchsia Dunlop’s other books. They’re some of the most used and most referenced books in my collection.

锅盔 Guo Kui  

Ingredients:

Flour – 2 cups, plus more for dusting/rolling

Water – 3/4 cup (may need a little more, depending on your dough)

Lamb, ground – 1 lb.

Sichuan Peppercorn Powder – 2 tsp

Garlic – Minced - 1-2 Tbsp

Ginger, minced – 1 Tbsp

Ground cumin – 2 tsp

Dried Hunan (if you can find them) Chiles, or red chile flakes – 1 Tbsp

Chile Oil – 2 tsp

Scallions – 1 bunch, green and light green parts, thinly sliced into rings--as thinly as you can slice them.

Salt – 1 tsp

Soy Sauce – 2 Tbsp

Peanut oil, for frying and as needed

Lard (optional), as needed

Instructions:

Finely chop ground lamb with a cleaver for 5 minutes (or if grinding your own, use the finest setting and then chop with a cleaver until uniform).Add sichuan peppercorn powder (you can make this by lightly toasting sichuan peppercorns in a hot dry pan for 2-3 minutes until they pop, and blitzing in a strong blender or food processor. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to avoid the hulls) minced garlic, ginger, cumin, chiles and chile oil, scallions, salt, soy sauce and a teaspoon peanut oil to the chopped lamb.

Mix well with chopsticks, and toss meat against the side of the bowl for 2-3 minutes to “fluff” it, and create a lighter texture. (If you’re unsure how to do this, ask your mom. I can guarantee she’s a champion meat-fluffer from WAY back).

Mix flour and water in a stand mixer with a dough attachment (My lazy white man way) or mix by hand. You want the dough to come together and it should be quite soft. We used just over 3/4 cup of water for 2 cups flour. Knead until very soft and pliable. Add another tablespoon oil (or if you want to be authentic, a tablespoon of lard. Trust me--the flavor is great), knead again until the fat is incorporated into the dough, place in a bowl and cover with a warm towel. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

Knead the dough one more time, roll into a log about 2 ½ inches thick and cut into segments. The segments should be about 2 1/2-inches around and about an inch thick.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees Farenheit.

Lightly flour or oil your work surface and roll the dough into a rough rectangular or tongue shape. Brush with oil or lard and about a tablespoon of the lamb mixture. Starting at the short end, roll the dough down the length of the “tongue” until you have a small rolled bundle. Turn the bundle on its end and press it down flat. Roll into a thin pancake. (Don’t sweat it if some of the meat breaks through. You can dust with a little flour and when you cook it there will be no problem).

 

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and once hot, add about 3 Tbsp cooking oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the guo kui one at a time, flipping the pancake after about 2 minutes. It should be lightly golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a rack and place in oven to crisp and drain for 3-5 minutes.

Serve guo kui on its own or if you’re a chile freak like we are, with some chile oil on the side.

Thursday
Sep062012

REC: Chinese Sizzling Cumin Lamb with Chile Pickled Long Beans

I love Chinese food. I don’t care if it’s Americanized Chinese General Tso (Hello—who doesn’t like that), fiery Hunanese cuisine (which we have to drive to Vancouver to get because there’s none to be found in Seattle), hot and numbing Sichuan fare—I love it all. The food I’ve had in China that was the most memorable, and that which I most wanted to imitate is Xinjiang style, specifically the food I’ve been lucky enough to try in Xi’an. We ate the SHIT out of that stuff.

With a strong Muslim influence, the foods in Xi’an are full of chiles, laced with Sichuan peppercorns, and you find a lot of goat and lamb. There is a street outside the mosque with the most amazing  and diverse street food I’ve ever eaten, and I looooves me some street food. I’ve been trying for years to imitate a snack I found there called Guo Kui (“Little Helmets”). A colleague forwarded me a recipe he found last week on a chinese website after listening to me bitch and moan about how there are no English recipes that seemed authentic to my taste memory of that food, and my friend Kairu pulled in her mother to help translate. Stay tuned on that one…we’re giving it a test run this weekend.

While researching Sichuan recipes in my fervor around a trip I’m taking to cook at the Sichuan Culinary Institute next month, I came across this recipe from Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco. Bowien is a rock star, and the food he puts out has a cult following. Reading the ingredients on this recipe, I had to give it a try. Let me tell you: It. Is. Spectacular. This is the flavor I remember from trips to china, and specifically the couple of times I’ve been in Xi’an. The gaminess of the lamb, a rich meaty broth, thick noodles and that gorgeous marriage of chiles, cumin, and Sichuan pepper. We went insane for this soup. You will too.

A couple of quick modifications: I added Sichuan peppercorns to this recipe, because I love their addition to this mixture and they are key to my memory of similar dishes. Second, I substituted in my favorite Udon noodles because they’re just amazingly delicious in soups. Other than that, I stuck with the program.

Oh, one more thing…the photo. I was lucky enough to spend yesterday afternoon with my friends Becky Selengut (and her disgusting “I camped all weekend with the lesberati” dirty feet) and the supremely talented photo goddess Clare Barboza. Becky and I had arranged with Clare to have a private photo lesson to teach us how to use the “big boy cameras” we bought last year. We love the photos we manage to get using these cameras, but neither of us know what the hell we’re doing. (Ok, she has more of a clue than I do, but that’s a REALLY low bar). We brought fruit, nuts and some cheeses to use as practice subject but I thought, “Fuck that…if I’m going to be with the pros, I’m bringing something I actually want to put on my blog”. I brought the soup components and Clare helped style and set up the shot, and stepped me through modifying the elements on the table and with the camera to create the darker, moodier type of photo that typically draws me in. Thank you, Clare!

Danny Bowien use lamb breast or lamb belly, sometimes even lamb ribs, but lamb shoulder works just as well. (Note from Marc: I used shank and then added the bones to the stock during the braising process to pull out every ounce of lamby goodness).

Chinese Sizzling Cumin Lamb with Chile Pickled Long Beans

4–6 SERVINGS

MODIFIED FROM RECIPE BY Danny Bowien Of Mission Chinese Food In San Francisco, Ca

Bon Appetit, MAY 2012

INGREDIENTS

LAMB

•          1 cup cumin seeds, toasted

•          1/2 cup coriander seeds, toasted

•          1/2 cup fennel seed, toasted

•          3 tablespoons kosher salt

•          1 tablespoon (packed) light brown sugar

•          3 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc nam)

•          1 tablespoon sesame oil (not toasted)

•          4 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes

•          1/4 cup vegetable oil

•          1 1/2 cups beer (Budweiser or any other pilsner works well)

•          4 cups beef or low-salt chicken broth

•          1 1/2 cups cola

•          1/4 cup soy sauce

•          1 yellow onion, burnt over an open flame, finely chopped

•          2 jalapeños, burnt over an open flame, finely chopped with seeds

•          2 fresh bay leaves

•          1 garlic clove, smashed

•          ¼ cup Sichuan peppercorns, lightly toasted in a hot, dry pan

ASSEMBLY

•          1/2 tablespoon olive oil plus more for brushing

•          Kosher salt

•          1 onion, thinly sliced

•          3 red jalapeños, thinly sliced with seeds

•          1 pound ramen noodles (Note from Marc: I used udon noodles)

•          1 bunch cilantro, tough stems removed

•          3 scallions, thinly sliced

•          2 tablespoons black vinegar

•          1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

•          1 green jalapeño, thinly sliced with seeds

•          Chili Pickled Long Beans (recipe below)

PREPARATION

LAMB

Pulse cumin, coriander, and fennel in a food processor until you have a rough grind. Combine half of spice mixture, salt, sugar, fish sauce, and sesame oil in a medium bowl; add lamb and toss to coat (reserve remaining spice mixture). Let lamb marinate at room temperature for at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours.

Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Working in batches, cook meat until brown, about 4 minutes per batch; transfer meat to a platter. Add beer; stir, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of pan. Simmer until liquid is reduced by a third, about 4 minutes. Return lamb to pot; add broth and next 7 ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until meat is very tender, 2–3 hours. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lamb to a baking sheet; reserve. Skim fat from braising liquid.

ASSEMBLY

Heat a griddle or large cast-iron skillet until it is very hot. Pat lamb pieces dry. Brush with oil and season with some of reserved spice mix. Working in batches, cook lamb, turning occasionally, until smoky and fragrant but not burnt, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer lamb to a large bowl. Toss onion and red jalapeños in a bowl with 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil. Add to griddle and cook until softened and charred in spots, about 3 minutes; add to bowl with lamb.

Bring lamb braising liquid to a simmer. Add noodles, simmer until just tender, about 1 minute. Add reserved meat, onions, and jalapeños.

Combine cilantro, scallions, vinegar, sesame seeds, ane green jalapeño in a large bowl. Season to taste with some of remaining spice mix; toss to coat. Divide lamb mixture among bowls. Top with the cilantro mixture. Serve Chili Pickled Long Beans on the side.

Chili Pickled Long Beans

MAKES 1 QUART

RECIPE BY Danny Bowien Of Mission Chinese Food In San Francisco, Ca

Bon Appetit, MAY 2012

INGREDIENTS

•          1 garlic clove, minced

•          2 cups soy sauce

•          1 cup black vinegar

•          1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)

•          1 fresh red Thai chile, thinly sliced with seeds

•          1 red fresno pepper or jalapeño chile, thinly sliced with seeds

•          1 jalapeño, thinly sliced with seeds

•          1 12-ounce bunch Chinese long beans, cut into 1/4-inch rounds (4 cups)

PREPARATION

Combine garlic, soy, vinegar, fish sauce, and chiles in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer; add long beans. Remove from heat, cover, and let cool completely.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Transfer to a container, cover, and chill.

 

 

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