(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

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.

Bachelor Night 02

Second night of the wife’s trip out of town. Usually at this point, I’d probably pull out the Jambalaya, but I was feeling a bit difficult. Like I should make something different. Movie theme seems to be Science Fiction Mind Trip.

Marinated some chicken breast strips with chile powder, garlic, Lemon, and olive oil.

Maybe something like Arroz con Pollo with beans?

But a green rice with a lot of parsley and Marjoram.

And Brown Rice.

The Vieux Carre is one of my favorite elaborate (by my standards) cocktails. 1 oz Rye Whiskey, 1 oz Cognac, 1 oz Sweet Vermouth, a generous teaspoon of Benedictine, dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters and a dash of Angostura Bitters. Twist a lemon zest over the drink and drop in. Built and stirred on the rocks, right? No bachelor drink should involve no more than one vessel.

I dunno, I found Source Code to be less compelling than Inception, even with the annoying presence of Leo di Pooplio in Inception. The ending of Source Code was just chicken shit, happy bullshit. Well, I have high hopes for tomorrow’s installment of the “wife’s out of town dumb movie trilogy”. We’re going for a “Sucker Punch”. I think it will be the best of the three.

Bachelor Night 01

A lot of people have recently been posting Dean Martin’s recipe for “Martin Burgers” on their sites, dug up by Letters of Note:

MARTIN BURGERS

1 lb. ground beef
2 oz. bourbon–chilled

Preheat a heavy frying pan and sprinkle bottom lightly with table salt. Mix meat, handling lightly, just enough to form into four patties. Grill over medium-high heat about 4 minutes on each side.

Pour chilled bourbon in chilled shot glass and serve meat and bourbon on a TV tray.

Well, obviously, we’re in California in the second decade of the 2000s, so we’ll need to mess with that a bit.

Start by slicing some heirloom tomatoes.

Follow your favorite recipe for burgers, mine involves bread crumbs, dry vermouth, spanish paprika, thyme, oregano, and extra virgin olive oil. Form your meat into patties. I like dividing a pound of burger meat into 3 patties. Heat a pan or start the grill.

Rent an appropriate movie. Preferably something about which your partner said, “That sounds dumb!” and about which you thought, “Yeah, that does sound kind of dumb, but cool!” I was thinking of Avatar, but it just seemed too woosy, and possibly too dumb, even for me.

Start cooking your burgers.

While they are cooking, add a tablespoon (or to taste) of rich simple syrup to a rocks glass. Squeeze a quarter size piece of orange peel into the syrup and drop into the glass. Add ice. Add 2 oz Bourbon and stir until well chilled.

Toast a bun or English Muffin. Spread one side with mayonnaise and the other with dijon mustard. Put some greens on the mayonnaise side and a slice or two of tomato. On top of this place the cooked burger. Cover top with mustard side, cut and enjoy. If you’re feeling particularly hungry, a baked potato is a nice accompaniment.

Pop in the video and enjoy.

Buck’s Fizz

As usual, I got home and did the prep for this evening’s dinner. This time, arborio rice with fresh porcini mushroom and smoked salmon.

Soak dry mushrooms. Brunoise of carrots and onions. Washed and sliced leeks. Sliced fresh porcini. Drain Mushrooms, reserving soaking liquid. Mince dried mushrooms. Crumble smoked salmon. Chop fresh herbs.

After getting that in the can, I filmed the week’s cocktail, the Buck’s Fizz.

Bucks Fizz
Use long tumbler.
1/4 Glass Orange Juice.
Fill with Champagne.

My plan was to:

Rinse glass with Miracle Mile Orange Bitters, pour bitters into mixing glass.

Make Buck’s Fizz in bitters rinsed glass.

Then make a real drink with orange bitters, like a Martini… Oh crap, I have no Dry Vermouth.

Well, make the unjustly ignored Jabberwock Cocktail instead, since I have Gin, Sherry, and Cocchi Americano.

Jabberwock Cocktail*
2 Dashes Orange Bitters. (Miracle Mile Orange Bitters)
1/3 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Junipero Gin)
1/3 Dry Sherry. (3/4 oz Manzanilla Sherry)
1/3 Caperitif. (3/4 oz Cocchi Americano or Lillet Blanc)
Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon (er, orange) peel on top.
* This will made you gyre and gamble in the wabe until brillig all right, all right.

So, Buck’s Fizz. Isn’t that just a Mimosa? Well, sometimes you’ll see Buck’s Fizz variations which include Cherry Heering, Orange Liqueur, Gin, or Grenadine and most Mimosas are equal parts orange juice and champagne, but, yep, at it’s most basic, The Buck’s Fizz is a fairly dry version of the Mimosa. Or the Mimosa is a Orange Juice heavy Buck’s Fizz.

Is there anything wrong with spiking your champagne with a little Vitamin C?

Always a mess. Clean up, upload photos and video.

Make the dressing for the tomato salad. Slice Tomatoes. Wash greens.

Put reserved mushroom soaking liquid over low heat and add additional chicken or vegetable stock. Heat 2 saute pans. In one large enough to hold your rice dish, add oil and 1 cup arborio rice. Heat until toasted and fragrant. Add carrot and onion brunoise, toss and cook until tender. Add chicken stock and cook until rice is nearly tender, adding more stock as necessary. While this is going on, saute your porcini mushrooms, when they have given up most of their liquid, add the leeks. Remove from heat and reserve. When rice is nearly tender, add the minced dried mushrooms, sauteed mixture, and herbs. Stir in some grated cheese, if you like, and the crumbled salmon. Top with a little more grated cheese and serve while warm. Toss salad and serve with warm crusty bread.

Music in the video is from the new Amon Tobin CD, “ISAM”.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Alabama Fizz

First, just a reminder that Sunday, June 26, 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.

Chicken, EdaMame, and Noodle Stir-Fry

“From “Fresh Flavor Fast,” by Everyday Food, from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living.”

Really, San Francisco Chronicle, a Stir-Fry, “from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living,” is the best you can do? Isn’t that sort of like making a French style recipe from Rick Bayless? A Creole recipe from Grant Achatz? A Mexican recipe from Sandra Lee?

Mrs. Flannestad was taken with the idea of an Edamame and noodle stir-fry, so I set about making this bland recipe a bit more interesting, without making it any less “Fast” or “Fresh”. I may also be a White Ghost, but I think I can push this dish a bit more in the direction of my concept of actual Chinese Food.

Revised Chicken, EdaMame, and Noodle Stir-Fry

INGREDIENTS:

Chicken Marinade
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Chinese Rice Wine
1 Tablespoon Water
dash Sesame Oil
1 teaspoon Corn Starch

Sauce
1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Chinese Rice Wine
2 Dashes Chinese Black Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Sesame Oil

1 Tablespoon Cornstarch combined dissolved with 1 Tablespoon of water

Minced Seasonings
1 Tablespoon Ginger, minced
1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Green Onions, minced

1 Tablespoon Hot Chile Bean Paste

1/2 Chicken Breast, trimmed and sliced
2 Baby Bok Choy heads, Washed and Sliced
1 package Eda Mame, thawed
1/2 package Udon Noodles
Cilantro, washed, stemmed and chopped
Peanut or other vegetable oil

Prep done, I started to get set up for the weekly video. If you look closely, you can see the marinating chicken in the upper left corner.

I was talking to Mrs. Flannestad about the recent videos and she was less than approving. She felt like I’d traded in what was cool about them for the same dumb talking head shit that everyone else who is making cocktail videos does. I see her point.

FIZZES.

Wow, the last big section of drinks. This has to be the Savoy Home Stretch: Fizzes. Coolers. Rickeys. Daisies. Fixes. Juleps. Smashes. Cobblers. Frappe. Punches. Cups!

Alabama Fizz
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon. (Juice 1/2 Lemon)
1/2 Tablespoonful Powdered Sugar. (Generous Teaspoon Caster Sugar)
1 Glass Dry Gin. (2 oz Plymouth Gin)
Shake well, strain into medium size glass and Fill with soda water. Add 2 sprigs of Fresh Mint.

As I was stripping the sprigs of mint to use as garnish, it occurred to me that I could throw the leaves into the mixing tin for a little extra mint zest in the drink. Shortly thereafter, I realized that the Alabama Fizz is pretty much exactly a South Side Cocktail.

As most of the Fizzes seem to come from Hugo Ensslin’s book and the South Side from Harry McElhone, I’m not sure who to exactly credit for the genius of this drink.

But, South Side Cocktail or Alabama Fizz, this is a delicious drink.

Music in the background is from the Harmonia album, “Tracks and Traces“.

Drink made, I set about to cooking dinner.

Revised Chicken, EdaMame, and Noodle Stir-Fry

METHOD:

Combine marinade with chicken, and toss to coat. Put on water to boil the udon noodles, while you do the rest of the prep. Cook until slightly underdone and rinse well. Set aside. Over medium heat, add 1 tsp peanut oil to your wok, and swirl to coat surface. When the peanut oil is heated until smoking, add 1/4 cup more oil to wok. Drain marinade from Chicken. When oil is smoking hot, add half the chicken to the oil and quickly cook. Remove chicken from oil and set aside. Heat oil again and add rest of chicken to cook. Remove chicken from oil, pour all but 1 tablespoon of oil from wok. Heat until smoking and add Minced Seasonings. Cook until fragrant and add Chile Bean Paste. Add Eda Mame and toss. Add Sauce and bring to a simmer. Add Chicken and simmer briefly. Add Bok Choy and when it is again hot, stir in corn starch slurry. Add noodles, toss to coat, and pour out onto serving plate. Sprinkle over Cilantro.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Fava Beans…

To be honest, late Winter and early Spring are about my favorite time to live here in San Francisco. The rains are over, the hills are green, and there’s tons of delicious produce. It is just hard to hold too many grudges against the universe this time of year.

One of my favorite late winter treats is fresh fava beans. Though whomever discovered the best way to prepare them was ambitious. Maybe not quite as ambitious as the first person who ate an Oyster or an Artichoke, but still, they’re kind of a lot of work. Not hard work, but slightly tedious work. First you have to get the beans out of their out of their fuzzy shells.

Then you have to blanch and peel the individual beans. Put the water on for your pasta and start shelling. By the time you finish getting the beans out of their shells, the water should be boiling. Drop the shelled beans into the pasta water for a minute or two. Prepare an ice bath. Pull the beans out of the water and drop into ice bath. Now for the fun part. Using a paring knife, slit the skin of the bean opposite the stem. Squeeze the stem end of the bean and pop the meat out of the bean. It may take some practice so the bean meat does not fly across the room. Repeat until all beans are peeled. Some beer and music will be necessary.

One of my favorite fava bean dishes is pretty simple: Fava Bean Pasta with Pancetta. Put on some water for pasta. Clean the beans (see above). Chop some onion, garlic, and fresh herbs (Marjoram or Mint are nice complements to the flavor of fava beans.) Chop some fairly thickly sliced Pancetta. Sweat the pancetta until it releases its tasty fat. Remove the pancetta from the pan and raise the heat. Add the garlic and cook briefly until fragrant. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add fava beans and return the pancetta to the pan, (a little crushed red chile if you like it spicy.) Add a splash of chicken stock (if you are being strictly Italian, Water). Cover and cook until the fava beans are tender. In the meantime, cook your pasta (Note: for some reason, after blanching fava beans, your water will turn an ugly green brown. As far as I know, this is harmless.) Pull the pasta from the water and add it to fava bean mixture. Add minced herbs and toss, loosening with pasta water if necessary. Top with freshly grated parmesan. Serve with crusty bread and, of course, a nice Chianti.

Pasta Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011

Wednesday is traditionally pasta and a bottle of wine night at the Flannestad Household, aka “Spaghetti Night”.

One of the dishes a coworker of mine made at Botticelli’s in Madison, Wisconsin was a pasta dish with Chicken Pieces, Chicken Stock and herbs. Ostensibly, a way to use up the chicken tenders leftover from butchering chicken breasts, I found it to be quite tasty and have been making variations on it for nigh on 20 years.

A few years ago I set about making a “green” version for St. Patrick’s day with a pureed sauce made from Dino Kale.

Tonight, I’m trying to use up some leftover grilled chicken thighs and legs from a grilling exercise a couple Saturdays ago.

Dino Kale (aka Tuscan Kale, Blue Kale, lacinato kale, and many other names) is one of my favorite greens. Actually, it’s about the only Kale I like, with great flavor and a not too long cooking time.

Stem, wash and chop the kale. Chop some mushrooms. Dice a Mirepoix and mince some fresh herbs. Saute mushrooms until tender, add mirepoix and saute until the onions are clear.

Deglaze the pan with Dry White Wine or White Vermouth. I like to use vermouth for deglazing pans, as it helps to go through bottles of White Vermouth faster. Happened to have Dolin Dry in the house at the time, which is a bit pricy for deglazing. Eric Seed likes to point out, Noilly Prat is actually preferred by the French for cooking. I have found Dolin Dry works equally well for cooking, it is just a lot more expensive. And, as Julia Child used to say, one for the pan, one for the cook. Or was that Graham Kerr?

After the wine has cooked down to a syrupy consistency, stir in a tablespoon or so of flour, cooking briefly over low heat. Stir in a cup of Chicken Stock, add the Chopped Kale, cover and cook until tender.

Enjoy a refreshing beverage and an appetizer while the Kale cooks. In this case a delightful, and quite pungent, washed rind cow’s milk cheese from Ireland. Purchased at Canyon Market it is called Ardrahan and comes to the US via Neal’s Yard.

Monty would also like some cheese, please! The stinkier the better!

Drop the pasta in boiling salted water, heat up some crusty bread, and stir some chopped chicken pieces and fresh herbs in to the dish. Open a bottle of wine and pour a glass for your sweetie and yourself. Check the salt level of the dish. Once the pasta cooked, remove it from the boiling water and stir it into the sauce. If the sauce is a little over reduced, include some of the pasta water.

If your lucky, you’ll hear the garage door open just as your plating this up, and your significant other will be greeted with a glass of wine and a delicious plate of Pasta with Kale and grilled chicken.

Pasta With Chard and Sausage

Pasta with Chard and Hot Italian Sausage

1 Hot Italian Sausage, par boiled, skinned and chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/2 White Onion, Chopped
1/2 bunch Rainbow Chard, washed and Chiffonaded
Stems from one bunch Rainbow Chard, Washed and Chopped
Crushed Red Chili Flakes
Dry Marjoram
Dry Thyme
1/2 Bay Leaf
1 Cup Pomi Strained Tomatoes
Fresh Marjoram
Olive Oil
Salt
Grated Parmesan
Pasta

Method: Heat water for pasta. Heat a large saute pan. Add Olive Oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When it is hot, add garlic and briefly toss until fragrant. Add Chard Stems, Onions, Red Chile Flakes, Dry Marjoram, Dry Thyme, and Bay Leaf. Reduce heat, cover, and cook until onions are clear. Add wine, reduce until syrupy. Add tomato, sausage, fresh Marjoram, and chard leaves. Adjust salt to taste. Drop Pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta and add to sauce, with some pasta water if the sauce is too reduced. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.

This is actually one of my favorite winter pasta dishes.