Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sticky Orange Bun

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Preserved Lemons - Recipes from Xmas

My son Miles and I made jars of Moroccan Preserved Lemons for family Christmas gifts this year. They are so easy and tasty I wanted to share this exotic treat with everyone.

Salt preserved lemons are a special ingredient used in Mediterranean cooking. The flesh of the fruit is not used, only the peel, which becomes very tender after sitting in salt and lemon juice for a few weeks.

We handed out these recipes with the lemons:

Preserved Lemons
2 dozen medium size fresh lemons
Sea salt
1 quart glass jar with lid
Slice each lemon in half. In a mixing bowl, toss the lemons generously with salt. Place half of the lemons in the quart jar. Juice the remaining lemons and pour into the jar. Fill the jar to the top. Secure the lid and let sit in a cool dry place for at least 3 days. The lemons, can set longer and will keep in the refrigerator.
Yield: 1 quart
Grilled chicken
with preserved lemon dressing and couscous salad
½ cup (125ml) chicken or vegetable stock
20g butter
½ cup (100g) couscous
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil salt and pepper
zest and juice of 1-2 lemons
4 small chicken breasts
2 quarters of preserved lemon, finely chopped
1 bunch mint, roughly chopped
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
130g bag mixed lettuce leaves
½ cup olives, roughly chopped
Place stock and butter in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in couscous. Cover and stand for 5 minutes.
Pre-heat char-grill, grill plate or large flat pan.
Combine garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and half of the lemon zest and juice in a large bowl. Lay chicken on a large plate and pour over a third of garlic and lemon oil; turn to coat in mixture.
Cook chicken for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through, turning halfway.
Meanwhile, add fluffed up couscous to remaining lemon oil mixture; toss to combine. Add preserved lemon, herbs, lettuce leaves and olives and toss gently.
Slice chicken thickly and serve on the couscous salad; drizzle with extra olive oil if desired.
Serving size: Serves 4
Preserved Lemon Dip
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons minced anchovies
2 tablespoons minced cornichons
2 tablespoons harissa paste
Peel from 1 preserved lemon, rinsed, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 cup olive oil
Whisk first 8 ingredients in large bowl. Gradually whisk in both oils. Chill at least 2 hours or up to 2 weeks. Rewhisk before serving.
Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 quarter preserved lemon peel freed of pulp and chopped fine
1 shallot or small mild onion chopped fine
4 - 5 Tablespoons of good olive oil
Put everything in a small jar with a tight lid and shake it well.
Moroccan Lamb Stew with Preserved Lemons
3 pounds boneless lamb stew meat, from the shoulder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch saffron threads
1 orange, zested and juiced
1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup water
1 cup pitted green Moroccan (or other) olives, chopped
Minced peel of 1 preserved lemon
Trim excess fat and gristle from meat and cut lamb into 1-inch cubes. Place meat in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix the cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and saffron; sprinkle over the meat and set aside.
On a cutting board, mince together the orange zest, cilantro leaves, garlic, and salt until you have a paste. Add to the meat along with the orange juice and stir well to coat. Cover the bowl and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
Transfer the mixture to a heavy pot, add the onions, tomatoes, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer (or bake in a preheated 350 degree oven) until the meat is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add olives preserved lemon to the pot. Cook about 10 minutes more, then serve.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Vegetables - Xmas 2008

Along with the cranberry sauce and chutney, the Hoopers requested vegetables. They love my vegetables. I love cooking vegetables. And the Hoopers are always kind in accepting whichever recipes I choose to explore each year.

I brought three vegetable dishes this year. My first choice was a cauliflower dish I discovered a few months ago. For the record, I am not a big cauliflower fan. I find it boring, tasteless, a pale sister to broccoli. But this recipe turned the bland into beautiful. The cauliflower head is sliced into thick slices, roasted in the oven and tossed with a lemon mustard butter sauce that is out of this world. The carmelization from the roasting combines beautifully with the sauce and this dish is a big hit in my book.

I love broccoli and enjoy finding new ways to prepare it that don't include butter, cream or cheese (because that is cheating, anything will taste great with enough butter, cream or cheese!). I found this recipe at Epicurious. It's a Mario Batali recipe and I wasn't sure it would be too exciting, but it is! The wine infuses the broccoli spears with a tangy goodness that is absolutely addicting.

I had to please the children at the party as well, so carrots were in order. (Can anyone tell my why children love orange and white food so much? My 10 year old spent at least 2 years of his life eating only only foods that were orange and white. Strange.) I cheated and used a bag of organic baby carrots and the texture of the final product always suffers when I do this. But hey, I was busy, it was Christmas Eve! I often do a orange glazed carrot recipe using marmalade and butter, sometimes garlic and ginger too. I kept it simple this year and just used the marmalade and a knob of butter in a large frying pan with a little bit of water. I simmered them slowly until they were tender voila. No recipe, just winged it.

Here are the recipes for the other two:
Cauliflower with Mustard Lemon Butter
1 large head of Cauliflower
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest finely grated
6 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly butter a rimmed baking sheet. Cut cauliflower in half, then cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices in single layer on prepared baking sheet; sprinkle with salt. Roast until cauliflower is slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in lemon juice, mustard, and lemon peel. Spoon mustard-lemon butter evenly over cauliflower and roast until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes longer.
Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm or at room temperature.

Broccoli with White Wine and Garlic

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 pounds broccoli, cut into spears
1 cup Frascati or other dry white wine
1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Grated zest of 1 orange
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil with the garlic over medium-high heat until just sizzling. Add the broccoli and cook, tossing frequently and gradually adding the wine to keep the garlic from browning until the stalks are tender 8 to 10 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and zests, and tossing well, taste and season with salt, serve immediately.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Flippant Culinary Style - Cranberry Sauces from Xmas 2008

This year was similar to many years past in that I was requested to bring vegetable dishes to the Christmas Eve Hooper dinner. One of the Hoopers put in a special request for my cranberry chutney. However, this simple request revealed a defect in my flippant culinary style. My passion is recipes, writing them, reading them, finding them. But not filing them. I hate filing. My motto when it comes to paperwork is: You know when it is time to file things when the item you were looking for was found in the 'to be filed' pile. Then, and only then do I even consider wasting my time stuffing paper into over crowded files.
This is the first time my office paperwork policy has tripped up my culinary world. I have no idea to which cranberry chutney recipe she refers. Bummer really, that I cannot keep track of such things. Each year I make what sounds good, looks good in a magazine, is sent to me by a friend, found on a website, referred to in a cookbook... whatever inspires me at the moment. I have no recipe loyalty, I make what I want each day. Once in a while I revisit favorite recipes, but in general, I'm always looking forward to something new. I don't have time to cut out, collate, collect, categorize, and certainly not FILE any recipe.

So, in an effort to fulfill the cranberry chutney request, I searched online and found two really nice recipes to bring to the Christmas Eve event. One I have used before, it's a recipe I heard on National Public Radio several years ago. It's a horseradish concoction that is excellent with roast beef.

The second cranberry recipe is simply one I found when I googled 'recipe, cranberry, chutney'. I liked the looks of it, the comments at the website were positive, so I used it. It received rave reviews by the Hoopers. It would be excellent on ice cream and went great with the turkey.

In an effort to keep track of things, and to be able to answer when someone asks: What was in that cranberry stuff you brought to the Hooper Christmas Eve Party last year?, here are the recipes.

Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish
1 bag whole raw cranberries, washed
1 small white onion, cut into large dice
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons horseradish from a jar
Put the cranberries and the onion into a food processor and pulse to a course puree. Add everything else and mix. The color will be shocking pink.
Keep refrigerated until ready to use. May be frozen and left a little slushy for a unique texture.
Makes 1-1/2 pints.
Spiced Cranberry Chutney with Apple
1 cup water
3/4 cup white sugar
1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
1 cup apples - peeled, cored and diced
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
In a medium saucepan bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Add the cranberries, apples, cider vinegar, raisins and spices. Bring to a boil, then simmer gently for 10 minutes stirring often.
Pour mixture into a mixing bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce. Cool to room temperature and serve or cover and refrigerate. Bring chutney to room temperature before serving.