Pork, Kraut, and Cider

“What do you want for New Year’s Eve Dinner? Lobster? Beef Tenderloin?”

“Not really.”

“How about Pork Tenderloin stuffed with Prunes, herbs, and chestnuts?”

This is kind of a joke, as I’ve made two dinners recently have involved prune stuffing of various small animals.

But, hm, Pork sounds like a good choice, maybe something like Charcuterie Garni, but not so complicated?

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1/2 tsp juniper berries, 1/2 tsp caraway seed, 1/2 tsp aniseed ground and mixed with curing mixture of sugar and salt.

Smoked Salmon and Meyer Lemon Fromage Blanc

Smoked Salmon with Fromage Blanc mixed with meyer lemon zest, juice, and thyme.

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La Tur Cheese. So good!

Kraut Cider and Pork Chops

Brown the Pork Chops. Give the apples a slight head start in the oven with hard cider. When chops are browned, place in pan, cover with warmed kraut and cook until done.

Dinner

Dinner! Serve with some delicious hard cider and maybe roast winter squash.

Cider

Chinese Style Curried Chicken with Squash

There’s a specific kind of Chinese American comfort food which you will often find on a menu in San Francisco.

The Chinese version of “Curry” doesn’t really have much to do with the Indian version of same.

Basically, it is meat or tofu served in a curry powder flavored gravy thickened with corn starch.

Mrs Flannestad wanted stew and I wasn’t really feeling like American/European Stew.

Well, Curry is stew, isn’t it? I’ll adapt my Chicken Gumbo recipe and instead of flavoring the ‘gravy’ with ‘Creole Seasoning’, I’ll flavor it with Curry.

Cooking the Chicken

Cover a quartered chicken with water and add to the pot some roughly chopped garlic, onion, and ginger. Bring to a simmer, and reduce heat. Cook until the chicken is done. Cool enough to handle, and remove chicken from bones. Chop and reserve meat. Return bones, skin, and cartilage to liquid and continue cooking as time allows, at least an hour.

Aromatic Vegetables

Mince Garlic, Ginger, and Jalapeno chiles. Make Curry Powder*

Ghee

In a heavy pot, make a roux, about 1/4 cup vegetable oil (or Ghee) and 1/4 cup flour. Cook flour until it no longer smells like raw flour. Drain

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Chop a winter squash and set aside. Chop a Turnip and set aside. Chop some potatoes and set aside. Chop a large onion. Add Minced Garlic, Ginger and Chile to roux. Cook briefly, and add chopped onion. Cook until onion is clear and wilted. Strain solids from stock and pour into roux, stirring vigorously to avoid clumping. When it reaches a simmer, stir in curry powder and check salt level. Add chopped squash, turnips, and potatoes to liquid and cook until vegetables are just about tender. Stir in cooked chicken.

Stew

Check seasonings again and serve over rice and garnish with cilantro and yoghurt. It’s better the second day.

*Curry Powder

1 tsp Whole Coriander Seed
1 tsp Whole Cumin Seed
1 tsp Whole Fennel Seed
1 tsp Whole Fenugreek
1 tsp Whole Brown Mustard Seed
4 Whole Cloves
1 Small Stick Cinnamon, Broken
1/2 tsp White Peppercorns
1/2 tsp Black Peppercorns
3 Whole Chili de Arbol
1 tsp Ground Tumeric

Toast whole spices in a dry pan until fragrant. Grind in Coffee Mill or Spice Grinder. Add Tumeric.

Aristocratic Rice

Il Carnaroli Chef

A little unclear what makes rice ‘Aristocratic’. Am I the only one thinking of Sarah Silverman?

The box affirms, “…that CARNAROLI variety of rice is the gem of all the available varieties because of the PURENESS that it possess.”

And that, “FAMOUS INTERNATIONAL CHEFS favor the CARNAROLI variety of RICE because of its special nutritional and delicious nourishment it assures in all RISOTTO preparations.”

The package may not contain any, “BROKEN, CHALKY, or STAINED GRAINS,” but their English translations are another matter.

It does stay a bit more reliably toothsome than most Arborio I’ve cooked with. Is that an ‘aristocratic’ trait?

Thanksgiving, 2012

Some notes from this year’s Thanksgiving festivities.

Willie Bird Turkey

Regarding the Turkey, for the last couple years I bought heritage breed turkeys. While these were tasty, I found the cost/benefit for them didn’t really work out. They are very, very expensive for a Turkey that pretty much tastes like any other Turkey. So this year, I went with an Organic, free range, plain old, Willie Bird from Santa Rosa.

For all of my adult life, I have approached the turkey by separating the leg/thigh half from the breast and cooking them separately, a trick I learned from Julia Child’s The Way To Cook. For some, I guess there is a little disappointment in not presenting a whole bird to the table, but for me the benefit of being able to cook the dark and white meat separately has always outweighed that. It also significantly reduces the cooking time of both halves.

However, this year I took this a step further. Mrs. Flannestad found a recipe in Parade Magazine, of all places, from Mr Mario Batali:

Mario Batali’s Stuffed Turkey

Tacchino Ripieno — for non-Italians, that means turkey stuffed with chestnuts and prunes — is chef Mario Batali’s favorite way to cook turkey because, he says, it never comes out dry. It features a crisp-well-seasoned skin, can be baked in an hour, and may be cut straight through, just like a regular roast.

Turkey Breast stuffed with Prunes, Chestnuts, and pancetta! How could we NOT make this recipe?

I more or less followed the recipe, though I did buy a whole turkey and bone it out myself. What can I say, I like dark meat.

Boned Out Turkey Pieces

I found I really only needed about half the amount of stuffing which the recipe made. I also didn’t quite pay attention, that Mr Batali instructs you to separate the two breast lobes and stuff them separately. Stuffing the whole breast added a little time to the roasting. One big advantage to this recipe, is you can use most of the bones and giblets to make turkey stock before thanksgiving day and have it ready to go for gravy.

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For the Leg/Thighs, I took out the thigh bones and cured them overnight in a mix of sugar, salt, and ground porcini mushrooms. Then the next day, I stuffed the thigh cavities with some of the prune stuffing and tied them up.

For dressing, I bought a rustic sourdough loaf a couple days before and cut it into cubes. I sauteed maitake and cremini mushrooms and also some mirepoix. Then mixed them with the cubed bread, moistened with stock and cooked the leg/thighs on top of the dressing.

Sweet Potatoe Pecan Pie

This year’s pie came from Alton Brown: Sweet Potato Pie with Pecans The only liberty I took with Alton’s recipe was roasting the sweet potatoes and to use Goat Yoghurt, instead of cow.

Strange, how dogs seem more attracted to raw Turkey than cooked…

Monty, Paying Attention

Turkey Divan

One of the traditional day after thanksgiving meals in the Flannery house is always Turkey Divan.

Here is my version…

Turkey Divan

Turkey Divan
1 Bunch Broccoli, cut into spears, stem skinned and sliced
Roast Turkey, Sliced
Mornay Sauce*

METHOD: Preheat oven to 350F. Blanch or steam Broccoli and stem slices until nearly cooked. Line roasting pan with spears and stem pieces. Place roast turkey in the middle and cover with mornay sauce. Heat in oven until turkey is heated through. Serve with leftover dressing or mashed potatoes.

I know you can buy Mornay Sauce in packets, but it’s really one of those things you should know how to make, forms the basis of so many American classic casseroles, like Mac & Cheese and Turkey Tetrazzini.

*Mornay Sauce
1 Cup Milk (warmed)
1 Cup Turkey Stock (warmed)
2 Tablespoons Butter
2+ Tablespoons Flour
1 Cup Shredded Cheese
1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 pinch Cayenne Pepper
1 Bay Leaf
Salt

METHOD: Melt butter in small sauce pan. Whisk in flour to form stiff roux and cook over low heat until the flour is toasted smelling. Remove from heat. Whisk in Turkey Stock and Milk. Return to heat and warm quickly to a near simmer. When thick enough to coat the back of spoon, reduce heat. Stir in cheese and spices, adjusting salt level. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Girl Music Geeks

As anyone who has worked in food service will tell you, oft times you get pressed into service making Food and/or drinks for your significant other and their friends.

Mrs Flannestad has a group of friends who also are really into music, and they get together from time to time to listen to music or watch concert videos.

This time they came over to our house, so I made dinner.

Beets!

One of my favorite winter vegetables, Beets, are great, and tomatero farms had some that were so great looking at the Alemany Farmers’ Market Saturday that I couldn’t resist. Though, it is good to float them past the attendees to make sure no one has had bad experiences in the past. Like cilantro, people often have strong opinions about beets. My favorite way to deal with them is just to wash them, wrap them whole in foil, and throw them in the oven until they are cooked through. When they are done, it is very easy to rinse them under running water and just slide the outside skin off the beets.

Mirepoix

I wanted to make Israeli Cous Cous, but our local grocery doesn’t carry it, so I opted for a type of italian pasta called riso instead. It is about the size and shape of rice and can be braised, just like arborio rice.

Spatchcocked!

I can’t remember what magazine I got this chicken recipe from. It’s kind of a ‘wet rub’, not dissimilar to some Mexican preparations for grilling. You roughly chop an onion and a couple cloves of garlic. Throw them in a blender with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, salt, a couple tablespoons of vinegar, fresh Marjoram, and a generous helping of good paprika. I like to use a mix of regular and smoked paprika. Then rub this over your whole, or Spatchcocked, chicken and let it stand. Grill or roast in a hot oven. Super tasty and super easy.

Greens!

For the riso dish, you basically do it like risotto. Put some stock on a low heat. Toast the riso in a pan with olive oil. Add some mirepoix and saute. Add stock to just cover and continue to cook until it is al dente. I added some saffron to the stock and cooked some thinly sliced collard greens to add later.

Roasted Beets

When the beets are tender, and you have skinned them, you can do whatever you like with them. I tossed them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. I made a simple sauce of yoghurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, dill, and scallions to serve with them.

Roasted Chicken

The marinade does get a little dark, but it is super tasty, the onions become sweet and really tasty.

Dinner

Deglaze the roasting pan, add some flour and cook. Stir in some chicken stock and you’ve got pan gravy. Cut your chicken into serving pieces.

Dessert

I’ve been into fuyu persimmons lately, often serving them with salads. This time I opted for dessert. Before dinner, I tossed them with sugar and balsamic vinegar and left them to macerate. To serve, I put a shortbread cooking into a bowl, a spoonful of Cowgirl fromage blanc with a drizzle of San Francisco Beekeepers’ Mission Honey, and then added the persimmons with the juice that had accumulated. Super easy and super tasty.

Then we all popped some beers, sat down, and watched the new Jonathan Demme Neil Young concert film ‘Journeys’.

A great night of music geekery, food, and beer.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I can’t resist fall flavors.

When I read David Tanis’ article, A Taste of Fall in a Bottle of Hard Cider, I knew I would be making the accompanying recipe, (more or less,) Pork Chops with Apples and Cider.

“But now, with piles of new-crop apples at the greenmarket and a stand selling local handmade cider, too, dinner seems practically predestined. I’ll pan-fry boneless pork chops and serve them with butter-browned apples and a Normandy-style sauce made with cider and cream. And to drink, a chilled bottle of sparkling New York hard cider.”

Sutton Cellars Gravenstein Cider

Sutton Cellars Gravenstein Cider

Since we’re on the West Coast, I am using Sutton Cellars delicious Gravenstein Sonoma Apple Cider for this dish!

Rub the chops with the spice mix and allow to stand at room temperature.

Saute apples until tender.

Flour chops and brown on both sides.

Remove chopes and drain excess oil from pan. Add cider to deglaze pan. Reduce until syrupy. Add Chicken Stock and thicken slightly using corn, potato, or arrowroot starch. Check seasoning and strain out any undesirable solids. Return sauce to pan and add (IMHO not optional) Calvados. Cook off excess alcohol then add apples, chops, and fresh sage (I left out the cream in the original) and place in a hot oven until desired degree of doneness is achieved. I served the chops with some roasted winter squash and a braise of dino kale and abalone mushrooms.

You’re not going to make me get up, are you?

Bonus Monty picture!

(Not) Borscht

This week, it was me who was sick and needed chicken soup.

Well, sometimes you have to make your own chicken soup…

From Sep 27, 2012

Chicken Soup with Beets

1 Bunch of Beets, Skinned and Chopped. Stems and leaves reserved
6 Red Potatoes, skinned and Chopped.
Broth, see below.

1 TBSP Olive Oil
Beet Stems, finely diced.
1 Onion, finely diced.
1 Carrot, finely diced.
1 Celery Rib, finely diced.
1 tsp Whole Dry Marjoram.
1 tsp Whole Dry Thyme.
Dry Vermouth or dry white wine.

Beet Greens, Sliced finely.
Chicken meat, from broth below.
Salt and Pepper, to taste.

Cucumber and Dill Raita, see below.
Dill Sprigs.

Add Potatoes and Beets to Chicken Broth and salt generously. Bring to a simmer and cook until beets are tender. Puree soup with a hand blender, in a blender, or food processor, adding more chicken broth or water as necessary. Rinse the heavy cooking pot, or a separate one and heat. Add Olive oil and saute diced onions, celery, and beet stems with herbs until tender. Deglaze pan with Dry Vermouth. Add pureed soup to pot and add chicken meat and Beet Greens. Cook until Beet Greens are tender. Check seasonings, and serve with a spoonful of Raita in each bowl and top with a dill sprig.

Chicken Broth

1 Chicken, Quartered
1 Rib Celery, chopped
1 Onion Chopped
1 Carrot, Sliced thinly
3 Whole Cloves
1 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Whole Dry Thyme
Water

Cover chicken, vegetables, and spices with cold water and bring to a low simmer. Continue cooking over low heat until chicken is cooked through. Remove Chicken from water and reserve. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones and add bones and skin back to water. Continue cooking as time allows, at least an hour. Strain solids from Broth and return to heat.

Cucumber and Dill Raita

1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced.
Tops of 3 Green Onions, thinly sliced.
2 TBSP Dill Leaves, thinly sliced.
1 Cup Yoghurt.
Water.
Salt, to taste.

Toss Cucumber with salt and let stand in a colander for an hour or two. Rinse Cucumber and pat dry with towels. Chop Cucumber and combine with other ingredients. Thin slightly with water, add salt to taste and chill.

From Sep 27, 2012

Because I’m Evil

Let’s say you’ve had a delicious vegetarian meal.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

But, you know, maybe a little after dinner snack might be in order.

Maybe cook 4 or 5 pieces of bacon in a pan. Man that Neuske’s Cherry Wood bacon is awesome.

Remove the bacon and reserve.

Drain the excess drippings and halvesome ripe figs. Place the figs in the bacon drippings and cook until they are caramelized.

Arrange the bacon on plates.

Deglaze the figs with a little port wine and pour the whole on a plate with the bacon.

I dunno, a little vanilla or caramel ice cream wouldn’t be bad.

Or maybe it is kind of bad, but in a good way.

I leave it to your discretion.