Saturday, December 11, 2010

Biscuit Donuts

My favorite morning sweet as a child was biscuit donuts. My mom would fry up a batch anytime a friend or cousin had spent the night. She would use a can of Pillsbury Buttermilk biscuits and a thimble to cut a whole into each one. Fried up quickly in a light oil, they need only a bit of powdered sugar to finish off these fried beauties. They also make a great Hannukah treat! The trick to making them light and airy is to keep the oil at a steady temp (375F) so that the middle is baking as the outside is browning.
There was a double sleepover at our house last night and I couldn't think of a better way to treat all four boys this morning!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Creamy Blue Jack Cheese Singles

Vickie McCorkendale (@CulinaryVixen)
11/5/10 2:41 PM
This is the strangest cheese I've seen in a long time and that is saying a LOT!

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

THK Chalkboard

Edythe loves the blackboard signs I create for the market each week. If I
could find a job writing with chalk, I'd do it. So much fun to be creative
in a temporary medium, each week, new art!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Too many FIGS!

Edythe's backyard has a beautiful fig tree which produces hundreds of big Turkish Brown figs each summer. Some are left on the tree, for wasps and rodents to feast upon. Many are used to create spiced whole figs, fig jam and fig newton bars for The Heritage Kitchen to sell at the market. Edythe hand picks each one of the hundreds of figs off her tree each summer and what aren't used for baking come to the market with her, where we give them to long time customers and sell, at a very reasonable price, to new ones!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Sister's Potato Salad

It becomes clear that you know how to cook when someone can give you a list of a few ingredients and you know just what to do to create a delicious dish from them.

Yesterday I asked my sister for her potato salad recipe, which I tried recently and really liked. It is basic, but sometimes that is just what hits the spot, or rounds out the plate.

If you cook often, her text to me should be good enough for you too:

Red potatoes, onion, mustard, mayo, lots of egg, salt, pepper and paprika on top

Make sure you cut the potatoes in small cubes not big.

Damn good potato salad...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Tale of Two Pizzas

We make homemade pizza about once a month, with two boys in the house it's an often requested dinner. However, my last attempt at pizza dough was a yeast disaster. I overheated the dough and killed the yeast. Last week I set out to calmly become friends with yeast and make a few beautiful homemade pizzas. I have come to rely on Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Pasta, Pizza & Calzone cookbook for a basic pizza dough recipe. She calls for kneading the dough 10-15 minutes. I measured out the ingredients and began kneading the first batch. I was kneading, and kneading, and kneading, then, I had an idea. Another favorite baking cookbook of mine is Suzanne Dunaway's No Need to Knead. We have had fabulous results with her techniques. And as my hands were beginning to cramp up, I decided, HEY, I'm not going to knead the second batch! So, I just mixed the ingredents all together into a ball and stopped there.
In the end, I preferred the no-knead pizza. The dough was easier to work with but still provided a lovely crunchy crust and held up to a lot of toppings (sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions).
The kneaded dough was turned into two mini-pizzas for the boys. They turned out crunchy as well, but I'd say with a little too much chew.
So if the difference between the two is minor, and in favor of the easier method, I say why knead if there is no need?

The No-Knead Pizza, The Winner!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Thai Tacos

A recent article in Food & Wine magazine discussed a culinary trend towards tacos. It had a few chef recipes for tacos with influences from various cultures around the world. I really expected to see an old favorite of mine in the article, but alas it wasn't there. So I searched around, on google, on my hard drive, in my archives, in my handwritten recipe file... but no luck, I simply have never written down my Thai Taco recipe.
While digging through the hand written recipe journal a sheet of paper fell out. It lists 40 simple week night dinner ideas. I really wanted to reach my goal of 50 dinners before listing them out in an article, but I never got there. Number two on the list of the Culinary Vixen's simple and tasty dinner ideas: Thai Tacos - circa 1995.

Culinary Vixen's Thai Tacos
Serves 4

1.5 lb Lean Ground Beef (or tofu, turkey, TVP)
4 garlic cloves
5 green onions
1 red bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
White Pepper to Taste
1 small head Nappa Cabbage
1 Cup mung bean sprouts
1 Carrot
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch Thai Basil (other basil can be substituted)
1/2 bunch mint
2 Tablespoon Thai Fish Sauce
2 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/3 Cup Salad Oil (Canola, Safflower, Sunflower, etc.)
juice of 1-2 limes
1 dozen Soft Taco Sized Flour Tortillas

Brown the beef in a large frying pan, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. Smash the garlic and chop finely. Slice the green onions, red pepper and jalapeno into small dice. When the beef is almost cooked, add the chopped garlic and vegetables. Simmer on low while you prepare the greens (about 20 minutes).

Wash the cabbage, sprouts and herbs. Peel the carrot. Cut the cabbage sideways into thin ribbons and then once or twice length ways to make bite sized pieces. Put the cabbage into a large salad bowl. Put the mung bean sprouts over the cabbage. Using a vegetable peeler, cut the carrot into ribbons over the sprouts. Coarsely chop the cilantro, basil and mint (leaves only) and sprinkle over the carrot.

Combine the fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, sesame oil, soy sauce and salad oil in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Put the lid on the jar and shake vigorously. Add some lime juice and season with soy sauce, sesame oil and lime juice to taste.

Heat a comal or frying pan. Warm the tortillas on each side.

Turn the heat off under the meat mixture. Pour 4 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce and 1 Tablespoon of Sesame Oil over the beef in the frying pan. Stir well. Taste and season with additional soy sauce and white pepper if desired.

Dress the salad with the dressing. Serve tortillas with meat and salad filling. Chopped chiles and lime wedges are great accompaniments.


Culinary Vixen

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Red Wine & Burritos in Ballmorhea, TX

I'm on a road trip from Manhattan Beach, Ca to Tampa, FL with my friend Michi. Today we stopped in Ballmorhea, TX to find lunch. It was the first market we had seen off Highway 10E in 100 miles. It was clean and neat inside. Somehow Michi knew they would have wine. I was doubtful and then blown away by the sparse but worldly collection of about 50 bottles available. I asked the clerk if the locals were wine lovers. He assured me that the local woman wine lover bought it in the box. He explained that he and his wife belonged to a few wine clubs and they don't drink them, they resell them in the store! I took a good look before selecting a 2006 Pillastro Primitivo from Puglia, Italy. Before leaving I made one more round through the store looking for something local to eat. I found some Beef Jerky made by The Lights Jerky Company of Alpine,TX. and was slightly encouraged. By the exit I hit paydirt, eight varieties of tiny homemade burritos, made by the proprietor's wife. We picked out our four favorites and the nine fingered lumbering proprietor was kind enough to warm them up and pack them to go. We ate the burritos for lunch on the road. Thick 8" tortillas filled with fresh ingredients and spicy sauces. The best was the green chile beef - fiery green jalapeno sauce, tender potatoes, slow cooked beef. We popped open the wine at the cheap motel we stooped in for the night. Its smooth berry-full flavor went a long way in healing our travel weary palates.
Sometimes really good things are found in really strange places.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ethnicities Change?

Always on the lookout for good sources for ethnic food ingredients, I was quick to find the Saigon Market in Lawndale soon after moving to Manhattan Beach. As the name implies the place specializes in Asian groceries. Six years ago I was drawn to the Thai, Indian and Vietnamese ingredients. The Asian specific produce (sour gourds and melons, green papayas, DURIAN!, fresh green herbs, etc.) continues to be another great reason to visit.
This week I took a trip to the Saigon Market only to find the addition of Peruvian specialties to the mix. Delicately speckled quail eggs were the first new ingredient I spotted. At the check out counter banana leaf packets tied in string were piled for sale. The woman behind me asked if they were rice or corn - "Corn and Chicken" the clerk answered. I picked up a few dozen of the eggs and one Peruvian tamale.
Last night I cracked (using a serrated knife to cut through the shell - learned that on CHOPPED!) a quail egg into my boys' Udon noodle soup dinner. They said it added a rich yummy flavor.
I gave the second dozen of eggs and the tamale to a Peruvian friend who stopped by last night. I was hoping they would give her and her mom a bit of comfort from their homeland.
The Saigon Market has incorporated one more interesting ethnic twist and I couldn't be happier about it!

Saigon Market
105705 South Hawthorne
Lawndale, CA 90260