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.

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Entries in lamb (4)

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Saturday
Mar312012

Braised Lamb Cheek Vol Au Vents with Creamed Mustard Greens and Gremolata

Mary had a little lamb. It was DELICIOUS

I’ve been going through my recipe files and trying to organize them into a cookbook for the iPad so that I have easy, portable access when I want to find something. This is all for my personal use, because most of my go-tos are recipes I’ve found online over the years, created by someone else and thrown into an email folder, never again to see the light of day. When I make a recipe and love it, it goes into a different folder and gets sent out to the recipe mailing list I’ve grown over the years. (Today, if you’re on that list, you get an update when I throw a new recipe up to Baketard, which is intended to replace that list.)

Digging through old files I found this recipe, which was one we made a while back when we had a friend coming to town. I was lucky enough to score some lamb cheeks at the farmers’ market, and this recipe was just pretty and fussy enough for me to want to give it a go. I mean, let’s be serious—who doesn’t love ANYTHING surrounded by a vol au vent of puff pastry? Looks fancy, but it is really easy to prepare. You just need to plan for some braising time.

If you can’t get lamb cheeks (and let’s be honest, they’re not easy to acquire), this recipe would also work well with shanks. The cooking time would need to be a little bit longer—just check the meat after 3 hours and see if it’s ready to fall off the bone. That’s what you’re going for here.

I’m looking forward to light, delicious spring foods soon. Right now, with our overcast skies and constant rain, I’m still craving this kind of grub.

Enjoy!

Braised Lamb Cheek Vol Au Vents with Creamed Mustard Greens and Gremolata

Adapted from a recipe by Michael Thurman, Martini House, St. Helena

Serves 6

6 4 oz. lamb cheeks

2 carrots, cut up

3 large onions, cut up

1 head garlic, minced

2 large cans chicken broth

1 bunch thyme

1 bay leaf

2 T black peppercorns

6 T whole mustard seed

Puff Pastry

Creamed Mustard Greens

4 bunches mustard greens

3 shallots thinly sliced

2 T butter

1 qt heavy cream

3 T whole grain mustard

2 T fresh ground

mustard seed

1 T fresh ground

nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

Gremolata

1 lemon

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

 

Lamb Cheeks

Season lamb cheeks with salt and pepper. Brown both sides on medium/high in 3 tablespoons vegetable oil. Set aside. Add 2 more tablespoons oil to pan, add vegetables, and sauté until golden brown. Transfer cheeks and vegetables to stock pot and cover with chicken broth.

Add thyme, garlic, and spices and bring to a boil. Cover with lid or foil and place in preheated 375 degree oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove cheeks from liquid and cover with plastic; set aside. Strain liquid and discard vegetables and herbs. Reserve braising liquid.

Creamed Mustard Greens

In 2 quart saucepan sweat shallots in melted butter until translucent. Add cream and whole grain mustard. Bring to a slow simmer on medium heat (cream will scald and boil over if too hot.) Reduce cream by half; set aside and keep warm. Skim any skin that continues to form and discard.

Bring 2 gallons of salted water to a boil and add mustard greens. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes (until tender) and remove and plunge into cold water. Remove greens and

squeeze out excess water. Place in food processor and puree while slowly adding cream mixture. When desired consistency is met add nutmeg and mustard seed. Set aside.

Gremolata

Combine garlic, lemon zest, and parsley in mixing bowl. Add olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Vol au Vent (Puff Pastry)

Puff Pastry sheets can be purchased in the freezer section of the grocery store. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Allow pastry to thaw for about 20 minutes. Cut into 2-inch squares and place on heavily buttered cookie sheet. In small bowl, whisk egg and milk together. Brush egg mixture lightly over pastry squares.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Once removed from oven, cut 1/2" x 1/2" in the middle of each pastry square, remove and set aside

Plating

Warm Vol au Vent in oven and place lamb cheeks in hot braising liquid until warmed through. Place pastry on middle of plate and fill with greens. Place cheek on the greens and spoon one tablespoon of gremolata on top of cheek. Garnish plate with any extra gremolata.

Friday
Jun032011

Lamb And Mint Meatballs with Gnocchi di Semola

Lamb Meatballs With Mint      

adapted from Andrew Feinberg, and taken from the New York Times Dining section.

We had this dish as an entrée with an Italian-themed dinner a few weeks ago, and it was a big hit. To be fair, I’ve made these lamb and mint meatballs for years (ever since spying them in the Dining section of the New York Times) and they are my favorite meatballs I’ve ever tasted, bar none. The only thing I modify in this recipe is increasing the garlic and chile flakes, because subtlety is lost in our house. (I’m sure my sophisticated humor gave you some insight into that.)

The gnocchi are a not really gnocchi as I’d thought of them before, but are more like savory, cheesy soufflé-like popover dough made with semolina flour. They puff up and rise in the oven and are absolutely delicious, but you need to pull them out and serve them quickly (Unlike that area under your eyes, they get less puffy with time). I found the recipe for these in a cookbook I am absolutely obsessed with right now (and which I found today won an IACP Judges’ Choice Award for this year). It comes from Cooking with Italian Grandmothers, by Jessica Theroux. I seriously want to cook every recipe in it, and the stories throughout the book will make you read it cover to cover.

Unfortunately, my ever-evolving-but-still-pathetic camera skills don’t do this dish justice, so give it a go in spite of that. I promise by next year at this time, I will have a better idea of which end of the camera to aim at what. In the mean time, suffer through the shots to get to the content. I wont steer you wrong. I promise!

Time: 2½ hours

For the sauce:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 28-ounce cans peeled plum tomatoes
¾ teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt

For the meatballs:
½ small baguette (6 ounces), crust trimmed
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ large Spanish onion, diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds ground lamb
1 pound ground pork
1½ cups grated pecorino Romano cheese, more for serving
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
¾ cup chopped fresh mint
1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1½ teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt
¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup dry red wine

For the crostini:
½ baguette, sliced on a bias
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.

  1. Prepare sauce: In an ovenproof pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm oil. Add onions and sauté until soft, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in tomatoes and salt and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer sauce, occasionally mashing tomatoes against side of pot with a wooden spoon, until they break down and sauce thickens, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  2. Pass sauce through coarsest disc of a food mill, or purée it until smooth in a food processor or blender. Return sauce to pot.
  3. 3. Prepare meatballs: Soak baguette in enough water to cover until soft and falling apart. Squeeze dry. In a very large skillet over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons oil. Add onions and sauté until translucent but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, stir well, and turn off heat. Let cool.
  4. Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, combine lamb, pork, cheese, parsley, mint, pepper, salt, red pepper flakes, onion mixture and bread. Using your hands, mix well. Form mixture into 1¾-inch meatballs.
  5. Add remaining oil to pan, and warm it over medium-high heat. Fry meatballs, turning on all sides, until well browned. Transfer meatballs to platters lined with paper towels.
  6. Add wine to skillet, and let it simmer for a few minutes, scraping up any browned bits stuck to bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Pour wine into tomato sauce and add meatballs. Cover pot and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Just before serving, heat broiler. Brush baguette slices with olive oil. Toast them under broiler until golden around edges, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Serve meatballs with sauce, crostini and extra cheese.

Yield: 6 servings.

Gnocchi di Semola (Semolina Flour Gnocchi)


For the Gnocchi:
1 quart milk
2-3 tsp salt
7 oz semolina flour (just over 1 cup)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp butter 
½ cup bread crumbs

  1. Heat the milk and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. When the milk starts to simmer, slowly sprinkle in the semolina flour, whisking constantly to make sure that lumps do not form. Once all the flout has been added, reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to whisk for 7 to 10 more minutes, until the batter has become thick and velvety.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in ½ cup of the parmesan, the eggs and the butter. Pour the batter into a large, shallow baking dish, spreading it out to make a layer of even thickness (roughly ½ an inch high). Set aside (in the fridge if there is room) for about an hour, to cool and become firm.
  3. Cut the semolina into gnocchi using the mouth of a glass about 2 inches wide, or a cookie cutter. Dip the glass into water between each press to prevent the dough from sticking. Lay the gnocchi on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet, making sure to leave at least ½ inch between them so that their edges can completely caramelize.
  4. Sprinkle the tops of the gnocchi with the remaining ½ cup parmesan and the bread crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees F until golden brown, slightly puffed and crispy around the edges, 30 to 40 minutes.