Curry Chicken Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Chard

Probably not your Grandmother’s Chicken Soup, but nice all the same…

From Curry Chicken Soup with Sweet Potatoes

Curry Chicken Soup with Sweet Potatoes

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
Broth, see below.
Chicken meat, from broth below
Curry Powder, below
1 bunch Chard, stemmed and sliced thin.
Salt and Pepper, to taste.
Cucumber and Basil Raita, see below.

Add Potatoes to Chicken Broth and salt generously. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender. Puree soup with a hand blender, in a blender, or food processor. Return to pot, add chicken meat, Curry Powder, and Chard. Cook until Chard is tender. Check seasonings, and serve with a spoonful of Basil Raita in each bowl.

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.

Chicken Broth

1 Chicken, Quartered
1 inch piece Ginger, sliced thinly
1 Onion Chopped
1 Carrot, Sliced thinly
3 Garlic Cloves, Smashed
Water

Cover chicken and vegetables with 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, in my case 2 episodes of Samurai Champloo. Strain solids from Broth and return to heat.

Cucumber and Basil Raita

1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
Tops of 3 Green Onions, thinly sliced
2 TBSP Basil 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.

Dinner 07-11-2012

Very successful weeknight dinner, just putting it up so I don’t forget the dishes, mostly.

Roasted Bone in chicken breasts marinated in Lemon, Marjoram, and Thyme. Bulgur cooked in a weak chicken broth with Garlic, Bay Leaf, and Thyme. Finished with roasted pecans and pan drippings. Watermelon, Arugula, Roasted Pistachios, Feta, and Basil in a White Wine Vinegar and chile vinaigrette.

Pea Soup

This version of pea soup turned out quite well, so I am writing it down so I don’t forget.

Pea Soup

250g Dried Marrowfat Peas*

1 Piece Smoked Pork Hock
Bouquet Garni

1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
Dried Tarragon
1 Teaspoon Paprika
pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Butter
Dry White Wine or Vermouth
Salt and Pepper

Sour Cream

METHOD:

Sift peas for possible debris and rinse. Soak dried peas overnight in twice the amount water as peas. Pour peas and water into a pan and add the pork hock and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer until tender, (probably about 3 hours, depending on the age of the peas,) adding liquid as necessary.

Heat another large pan and saute the vegetables and spices in butter. Deglaze pan with Wine or Vermouth and remove from heat.

When peas are tender, remove pork hock and bouquet garni. Puree peas in a blender or food processor. Add pureed peas to vegetables and stir to combine. Remove any meat from hock, chop and add to soup. Bring to a simmer, adding more liquid if necessary. Check seasonings and add Salt and Pepper to taste. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and serve with crusty bread.

Makes about 2 quarts.

*Available at specialty shops catering to expatriates from the UK. Split peas would be OK, too, but not as flavorful.

St Valentine’s Day 2012

I was lucky enough to not be working this St Valentine’s Day, so Mrs. Flannestad and I splurged at one of our favorite restaurants in San Francisco, Commonwealth.

dungeness crab and hibiscus amuse.

Nice chunk of dungeness crab with a hibiscus sorbet to get things going.

celery root puree amuse.

A coffee cup of celery root puree.

oysters poached in their shell, turnip, bacon, nettle veloute.

Oysters were very good, but I won this course with the:

caviar, textures of potato, soft scrambled egg, fine herb salad.

This was the first real highlight of the meal.

scallops, jerusalem artichoke, leeks, sea urchin sabayon.

A great preparation, scallops were perfect.

foie gras, brioche french toast, rhubarb, grains of paradise.

I will have foie gras on my french toast from here on out, thank you very much.

winter citrus, beets, idiazabal cheese, frisee, hazelnut.

This was a really good salad, with the cheese in a couple forms, one spherical. The amazing thing, though, was the crazy wine pairing which was a crazy muscat from terue in the willamette valley of oregon. We both tasted the wine before having the food and thought it was madness, floral and bizarre. But it worked perfectly with the salad.

duck breast, cauliflower, verjus, shaved root vegetable, vadouvan jus.

Rats, Michele won this course with the duck.

black cod, brussel sprouts, black trumpets, pumpernickel emulsion.

My cod was cooked to perfection, but the “dirt”, while very tasty, was too crunchy. Reminded me of grape nuts.

Forgot to take a picture of the meyer lemon mousse, candied ginger crumble, frozen grapefruit!

s’mores, chocolate, cardamom marshmallow, burnt honey ice cream.

We’ve had this dessert before at Commonwealth, and we never tire of the burnt honey ice cream. It is deeelicious.

A great meal, fantastic staff, and a wonderful St Valentine’s Day. If you have the chance to dine there, and the above seem appealing, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Mushrooms and Pecans

Tasty enough that I am writing this down, so I don’t forget.

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Mushrooms and Pecans

2 Whole Pork Tenderloins
Tree Oyster Mushrooms
1 large Shallot, Chopped
Thyme
Sage
Breadcrumbs
Pecans, chopped
Butter
Dry Vermouth or White Wine
Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper

METHOD:

Pre-heat oven to 400.

Clean Oyster Mushrooms. Saute in Butter until lightly browned. Add Shallots to pan and continue sauteing until cooked. Deglaze pan with White Wine and stir in breadcrumbs, sage, thyme, and pecans. If necessary, moisten with chicken stock and additional butter. Check seasonings and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Cool stuffing mixture.

Make a Slit in the underside of each pork tenderloin and fill with Stuffing mixture. With the large ends opposite from each other, use twine to tie tenderloins together, stuffing sides together (see picture, below).

Roast in oven until temperature reaches your desired level of doneness.

Slice and serve with oven roasted potatoes, a vegetable side, and a nice wine.

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Mushrooms and Pecans

Reform Club

First, just a reminder that Sunday, September 25, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

One of the nice things about working in restaurants, is when you can go out and enjoy the fruits of your friends labors.

In this case, a popup in the Specchio space called Reform Club. The meal and beverage pairings below were done by Allyson Harvie (Citizen Cake, Ragazza), Becky Pezzullo (Undercover Supper, Bar Bambino), and Dion Jardine (Slanted Door, Heavens Dog). I don’t know Allyson or Becky very well, but I worked many, many nights with Dion when he was working at Heaven’s Dog.

corn soup, eggplant caponata,
tomato, basil, balsamic
(and pork)

Dry Gin, Blackberry puree, Sherry.

roasted fig salad,
ham, almonds, ricotta salata

Aged Rum, Lime, Ginger Syrup, Egg White.

mixed heritage pork roast: belly, sausage, loin,
mustard spätzle, braised chard, market fruit

baked gravenstein apple
cinnamon, raisins, butter, brown sugar
(and pork)
Paired with a Chenin Blanc from Chatueau Soucherie.

There may also have been shots of Angostura Bitters…

The next Reform Club Dinner is planned for October 16, with a menu and chef soon to be announced. Join the mailing list, follow the twitter, “like” them on facebook, read their tumblr, support my friends’ labor of love, and have some awesome food and drink!

Chicken Soup with Kale, Potatoes, and Sweet Corn

Sometimes you have to make your own damn chicken soup…

Chicken Soup with Kale, Potatoes, and Corn

INGREDIENTS:

1 Chicken Breast, Bone in
Chicken Stock

Olive Oil
3 slices bacon, diced
2 Tablespoons Flour

1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
dried Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Spanish Spicy Smoked Paprika
Dry White Wine (or Dry Vermouth)

1 bunch Russian Kale, leaves chopped
2 Baking potatoes, peeled and diced
2 ears Sweet Corn, shucked and kernels removed from cob
Fresh Sage leaves, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste

METHOD:

Place Chicken Breast in a pot large enough to hold it. Cover with Chicken stock, bring to a near simmer, reduce heat, and cook until done. Remove Chicken Breast from stock, debone, and dice meat. Reserve stock. In the bottom of a pot large enough to hold about 2 quarts of soup, brown bacon in olive oil. When crispy, remove bacon and reserve 2 tablespoons cooking oil. Return oil to pot, and saute onion, carrot, and celery until tender. Deglaze with White Wine and reduce until syrupy. Stir in flour and cook until fragrant. Slowly stir in Reserved Chicken Stock, stirring to prevent clumping. Bring to a simmer, when it gets close it should thicken. Add Kale Leaves, Thyme, and Paprikas. Bring back to a simmer. Add Potatoes and cook until almost done. Stir in sweet corn, sage leaves, and bacon. Check seasonings and when potatoes are tender, serve with crusty bread.

As usual this was an improvisation based on standard techniques and what was available at the grocery store but, Mrs. Flannestad liked this version so much she said I had to write it down.

Saturday Night Dinner March 12, 2011


Normally, Pollo alla Diavola is chicken marinated in lemon and copious black pepper. But, I was low on lemons, so I used a kind of “Frenchy” marinade of dijon mustard, herbs, vinegar, and copious black pepper.

Spatchcocked and Roasted Poulet Rouge, Pollo alla Diavola-ish
Roasted Asparagus with Black Trumpet “dirt” (for Dominique)
Roasted Fingerlings, cooked under roasting chicken

Problems: Black trumpets gave up too much water, some of the asparagus ended up mushy. In the future roast asparagus and mushrooms separately. One of the restaurants which used to be in the ferry building, cooked its potatoes under the roasting meats (A bit questionable from a food safety perspective.) I decided to try something similar with the potatoes here and cooked them underneath the broiling pan, so they would catch some of the chicken drippings. They cooked unevenly. In the future, I would par cook the potatoes before placing the chicken on top.

Joseph Swan 2007 Russian River Valley Mouvedre.

Lemon-Cardamom Tea Cake (from Knead Patisserie) with Balsamic marinated strawberries and ice cream.

Saturday Night Dinner, Feb 26, 2011

We’ve been big fans of Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher since our Wall Street Journal reading parents introduced us to them a number of years back.

Aside from being down to earth wine critics in a sea of pretension, they also have been the advocates of a tradition they call Open That Bottle Night. The idea being that a lot of times you need to get away from pointless hoarding of wine, it is often better drunk sooner, rather than later.

As part of the whole Open That Bottle ethos, they started organizing an annual “Open That Bottle Night” the last Saturday in February.


Dottie and John Share Their Thoughts on Open That Bottle Night

When we began writing our “Tastings” column for The Wall Street Journal in 1998, we tried to write an accessible column that answered the real questions that real people had about wine. Soon, we realized that the question we received most often was this: “I have a bottle of xxxx that I received from my grandfather (or saved from my wedding, or bought at a winery, etc.). When should I open it?” (The addendum was usually: “And how much is it worth?”) We told everyone the same thing: Open it this weekend and celebrate the memories. But we answered the same question so often that eventually we figured, jeez, let’s just set a date when we will all open that bottle together and celebrate the memories. We chose a Saturday in September 1999.

A few years ago, Mrs. Flannestad gave me their book, “Love by the Glass: Tasting Notes from a Marriage”, which is a wonderful memoir of a successful marriage accompanied with an appreciation for wine.

We always try to celebrate Open That Bottle Night a little, in the spirit of John and Dorothy, accompanying a bottle of wine we have been putting off opening with a tasty dinner.

Grilled 5 Dot Ribeyes. Red Wine and Black Trumpet Risotto. Rainbow Chard braised in a spicy tomato sauce.

This wine dates back to a trip Mrs. Flannestad took to the wine country with her parents, before we were married. In fact, it was on that visit to California that we told them we were going to be married!

What, you say they only do citrus supremes on Food Network? Nuh uh, we have them at Chez Flannestad! Tarocco Orange Supremes, to be exact.

One of the advantages to living in California is the occasional beautiful day in February, usually the first time we get out the grill for the first year. The short daylight, though, usually means grilling in the dark, which can be quite spectacular when working with Lump Mesquite.

Right, well the dinner turned out wonderfully, though I thought the steaks were cooked a bit beyond my “ideal”. Fortunately, Mrs. Flannestad enjoys hers a bit closer to “Medium”, so this pleased her. Learning to compromise is an important skill in a successful marriage!

Unfortunately, while the reminiscing over the bottle brought back happy memories of that trip to Napa 10 or 11 years ago, the wine itself was corked and mildewy tasting. After a bit of wishful thinking about whether the wine tasted better after “breathing”, we gave up. Yep, that’s a spoiled wine, all right.

Slight disappointment, but from John and Dorothy’s advice Mrs. Flannestad knew to be prepared for this possibility and had another wine picked out as backup!

Score!