Habeas Brulee » Savories http://habeasbrulee.com Sun, 17 Mar 2013 03:04:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.21 Rutabaga, Celery, Dill, & Smoked Chicken Soup http://habeasbrulee.com/2013/03/16/rutabaga-celery-dill-smoked-chicken-soup/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2013/03/16/rutabaga-celery-dill-smoked-chicken-soup/#comments Sun, 17 Mar 2013 03:04:28 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=817

Spring may be on its way, but it’s not here yet. It was snowing in Brooklyn today! Plenty of time left to hunker down with winter vegetable based soups while shivering our way through March.

(I’m on this big kick now where I make a pot of soup every weekend to eat for breakfast for the next week, because I don’t like oatmeal and bourbon and cornflakes (à la Humphrey Slocum) is not an always food.)

Also, rutabagas are delicious. Did you know that? They are rich and buttery and sweet and amazing. And beautiful here with crunchy salty smoky things mixed in.

Rutabaga, Celery, Dill, & Smoked Chicken Soup
(fairly dramatically adapted from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen)
1 3/4 lbs rutabagas (1 truly enormous one, or 2 merely large ones)
2-3 tbsp duck fat or lard or butter (I used half duck fat, half butter)
1 big pinch dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 medium leeks (sliced, white and pale green parts only)
4-6 C chicken stock
1 smoked chicken breast (honestly, a plain one is probably fine) (shredded)
1-2 big handfuls finely chopped fresh dill
1 bunch celery (the more leaves, the better)
1 child-sized handful salted capers (rinsed and coarsely chopped)
ground green peppercorns to taste (honestly, black pepper is probably fine) (lots!)
salt to taste

1. Peel the rutabagas (removing a thick peel, until you hit the nicely golden actual innards) and chop into 1/2″ cubes.

2. Slice the celery ribs into slices about 1/8″ thick and set aside. Chop up the celery leaves and set aside separately.

3. Melt the butter/lard/duck fat/whatevs in a large soup pot with the thyme and bay leaf, stir in the leeks, and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes.

4. Stir in the chopped rutabaga and 1 tsp salt and cook partially covered for about 5 minutes.

5. Add the stock and bring to a boil. (How much stock? Well, do you prefer your soups to lean towards thick and chunky or towards brothy? You can always stir in more stock later, so I tend to err on the low side to start.)

6. Reduce to a simmer, add the dill, and cook until the rutagas are approaching tender but not quite there yet (about 15 minutes).

7. Partially puree the soup (I like to use my immersion blender).

8. Stir in the sliced celery ribs, shredded chicken, and capers. Continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

9. Stir in the chopped celery leaves and season with salt and ground pepper (I use green, but black is surely fine) to taste. Lots of pepper! And really do taste it as you season it – remember that even though you rinsed them, the capers did add some salt already.

10. Eat for breakfast every morning for the next week, happily. A bit of paprika sizzled on top might be nice, but I never got around to trying because I was plenty happy as is.

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Chicken with Oyster Mushrooms, Portobellos, & Napa Cabbage http://habeasbrulee.com/2013/02/06/chicken-with-oyster-mushrooms-portobellos-napa-cabbage/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2013/02/06/chicken-with-oyster-mushrooms-portobellos-napa-cabbage/#comments Thu, 07 Feb 2013 03:45:40 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=771

I got the new Fuchsia Dunlop cookbook! Oh, come on, you know you’re jealous. It’s as delightful as the last few, but with more non-spicy recipes and simple home cooking. My celebrity crush on her remains undiminished.

As usual, even when testing a recipe from a new cookbook I couldn’t leave well enough alone. We made a larger batch, added the cabbage to increase the veg:meat ratio and the Sichuan peppercorn for a bit of tingle, increased the relative quantity of ginger, and made a few other tweaks here and there.

It feels a bit strange to stir-fry without any soy sauce at all, but I think that’s what allows all the flavors to come through so clearly and intensely, and the dish as a whole is wonderfully delicious.

Chicken with Oyster Mushrooms, Portobellos, & Napa Cabbage
(adapted from Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop)
3 skinless chicken breasts (~1.5 lbs without the bone), thinly sliced
~1 lb mushrooms (we used 2 big portobellos and 3 big oyster mushrooms), thinly sliced
1 small head garlic (about 6 large cloves), thinly sliced
about the same quantity ginger, thinly sliced
1 napa cabbage (a bit on the small side), cored, quartered, and sliced into ~1/4″ thick pieces
safflower oil (or any other neutral oil with a high smoke point)
2 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced
1 tsp salt
more salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
for the marinade
1 tsp salt
4 tsp Shaoxing rice wine (plus more for deglazing the wok, later on)
4 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorn

1. Prep all ingredients as described above.

2. Stir the chicken in with the marinade ingredients and set aside.

3. Heat your wok, then swirl in some oil. Stir-fry the sliced mushrooms – forget everything you know about stir-frying in small batches and crowd the pan, letting the mushrooms wilt down as their moisture boils away until all their water is gone and they saute in the oil that remains. Remove the mushrooms from the wok and set aside.

4. Let the wok heat up again, and swirl in some more oil. Stir-fry the shredded cabbage (again, just let it fill the wok -you’re more wilting than frying it, and that’s okay) until slightly softened and reduced to about half its previous volume. Remove the cabbage from the wok and set aside.

5. Spread chicken out in wok, ideally in a single layer. Leave it alone until it’s nicely browned on the bottom. Patience, darlings, patience.

6. Once the chicken is seared on the bottom, stir in the sliced garlic and ginger, then stir-fry until the chicken is fully cooked.

7. Deglaze with a good splash of Shaoxing rice wine and scrape up all that tasty stuff from the bottom of the wok.

8. Stir the mushrooms and cabbage back in, along with the sliced scallion greens and the additional 1 tsp salt.

9. Season to taste. (I definitely like to add more black pepper at this point, at least.)

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Mushroom Chicken Pie http://habeasbrulee.com/2013/01/09/mushroom-chicken-pie/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2013/01/09/mushroom-chicken-pie/#comments Thu, 10 Jan 2013 04:02:10 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=744

I hate mushrooms. The flavor is fine, but the texture grosses me out.

Wait, no, I only like expensive mushrooms. They have a different and much nicer texture. Morels, chanterelles, yum!

Wait, no, I also like mushrooms that have been finely chopped and sautéed with onions and/or shallots. That fixes up the texture, too.

Point being, this is my new perfect breakfast food. It’s ostensibly a pie, but it’s more like huge mound of meat-enhanced duxelles surrounded by a very thin layer of phyllo.

(My food blogging resolution this year is to be even more open to using terrible Hipstamatic photos rather than deny you tasty recipes when I lack the time to set up a nice photo shoot.)

Mushroom Chicken Pie
~2.5 lbs chicken thighs (or any poultry thighs, really)
~3lbs mixed mushrooms (we generally use chanterelles, portobellos, and shiitakes)
4-5 onions (same amount as the mushrooms, by volume)
phyllo dough
butter or oil
bread crumbs (optional – we generally don’t bother)
some truffle spread or olive tapenade (nice with, but still tasty without)
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (nice with, but still tasty without)

1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.

2. Heat a pan with a bit of oil in it, and sear the thighs. They don’t have to be cooked through, just nicely browned on both sides. When you remove the thighs, be sure to keep enough fat in the pan to brown the onions.

3. Pull the meat off the bones and set aside in a large bowl.

4. Coarsely chop the mushrooms and set aside.

5. Coarsely chop the onions.

6. Saute the onions in the remaining chicken fat in that pan you used earlier, until golden, adding butter or oil if necessary (it probably won’t be).

7. Stir in the mushrooms and saute (in multiple batches if necessary, but you DO want to crowd the pan). Again, add butter or oil if necessary. When the mushrooms stop releasing liquid, they are done.

8. In a food processor, finely chop (but do not puree) the mushrooms and onions (and truffle/olive stuff if you have any).

9. Stir the mushroom/onion mix (and thyme leaves if you have any) in with the chicken.

10. Spread 4 layers phyllo into a pie pan, brushing butter (or oil) on and (optional) sprinkling bread crumbs between each layer.

11. Pour the mushroom mixture into the pie pan over the phyllo, and cover with another 4 layers of phyllo, similarly layered with butter. Cut off any phyllo that hangs over the edge of the pie pan.

12. Stab a bunch of holes in the top crust.

13. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until golden.

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Pistachio Wasabi Beets http://habeasbrulee.com/2013/01/07/pistachio-wasabi-beets/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2013/01/07/pistachio-wasabi-beets/#comments Mon, 07 Jan 2013 05:29:33 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=725

This is another Dave invention, but of course. It’s sweet and spicy and we’ve made it a bunch of times over the past year, so it’s way past time for me to share it with you!

The spicy awesomeness of these beets comes from wasabi oil, which you can find locally if you live in a city with a large in Chinatown. If not, your alternatives are to order wasabi oil in Amazon (not the brand I have, but it’s probably about the same), or just use horseradish instead.

Pistachio Wasabi Beets
5 beets
1/2 C pistachios
3 tbsp sour cherry vinegar (red wine vinegar works fine, honestly)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp wasabi oil (or less if you’re not so into the spicy)
flaky sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 375 F.

2. Cover a baking sheet with tinfoil. Wrap each beet individually in tinfoil (put it in the middle, then scrunch the edges together at the top) and place on the baking sheet. No oil needed – they’ll roast fine on their own.

3. Roast the beets in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until tender when you poke a fork in.

4. Peel the beets, then cut into 1/2″ cubes.

5. Crush the pistachios, either by chopping coarsely or using a mortar and pestle.

5. Mix everything together and season to taste.

6. Sprinkle extra pistachios on top right before serving if you care about things looking pretty.

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Sichuan Chili Oil, and variety of cold-chicken-based lunches http://habeasbrulee.com/2012/12/12/a-variety-of-cold-chicken-based-summer-lunches/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2012/12/12/a-variety-of-cold-chicken-based-summer-lunches/#comments Wed, 12 Dec 2012 15:30:36 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=680

I was a major chicken salad kick this past summer, sort of. I mean, I hate mayonnaise, so my definition of chicken salad is more ‘shredded cold chicken with a bunch of really flavorful stuff mixed in’. But that works great for me!

Basically, I cook some chicken breasts on the bone, let them cool, then shred the meat. Stir in some set of add-ins, separate into pint containers for lunches for the rest of the week. I’m a protein junky, so this is basically exactly what I need when I find myself crashing in the middle of the day. Sure, technically there’s a microwave at the office, but it’s summer! I can’t possibly deal with that during the hot months.

Here are the best of the non-mayo chicken salad variations I made and ate over the summer:

- almond butter, fresh turmeric, lime juice, scallions, celery, toasted cashews

- Sichuan chili oil (recipe below), mint, fried shallots, toasted cashews, and fresh cucumber in a side tupper

- Sichuan chili oil (recipe below), kohlrabi, parsley, fried young garlic, toasted sliced almonds

- red onion, parsley, toasted walnuts, Spanish paprika, scallions, roasted red bell peppers, walnut oil, sherry vinegar

- fried summer squash (zucchini and pattypan) in lots of olive oil, fried young garlic, toasted partially smashed up hazelnuts, lots of black pepper

(Photo credit to my Mom, who recently got back from a vacation where she saw a lot of chickens running around on the beach.)

Sichuan Chili Oil
(from Fuschia Dunlop’s Land of Plenty)

1/2 C chile flakes (I generally use a combination of coarse Korean chili flakes and crushed facing heaven chiles, but you can use any kind you like, at whatever heat level you like)
2 C neutral oil (I use safflower oil, usually)


1. Put the chile flakes into a glass jar.

2. Heat the oil on the stove until it hits 225-250 F. (If you go over, just let it cool down to that range, no big deal.)

3. Pour it over the chile flakes and stir once or twice.

That’s it. It keeps basically forever, and tastes amazing on everything.

I store mine in the fridge, because I worry whenever vegetable matter is introduced into an anaerobic environment.

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Lemony Pea and Radish Salad with Mint http://habeasbrulee.com/2012/12/09/lemony-pea-and-radish-salad-with-mint/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2012/12/09/lemony-pea-and-radish-salad-with-mint/#comments Mon, 10 Dec 2012 02:46:10 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=693

Hi again! Sorry I’ve been missing for so long. I’ve had an extraordinary year, and mostly I just haven’t had a great setup for taking photos of all the wonderful food I’ve been cooking.

A friend scolded me and then mailed me a light box, with the condition that I use it to start posting my recipes here again for her to make. Um. Sorry, and thank you! It arrived two days ago, so please consider this my first grateful payment!

I am obsessed with this salad. It’s a pretty drastic adaptation from a recipe in one of the Ottolenghi cookbooks, which I’ve been obsessed with ever since I had the pleasure of eating at one of their locations when visiting London a few years ago. It’s vivid and intense and refreshing all at the same time.

In adapting it from the original, I removed green beans and baby chard (insufficiently crisp!), and added radishes (more crisp!) and lemon juice (more vivid!), and used mint (more refreshing!) instead of tarragon (insufficiently refreshing!).

Simple to make, and it simply wakes me up and makes me happy. Enjoy!

Lemony Pea and Radish Salad with Mint
(loosely adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi)

~12 thinly sliced radishes (the pink-skinned, round-ish ones) (1 bunch, hereabouts)
1 1/2 C snow peas, trimmed (snap off and discard the hard ends)
1 lb fresh or frozen green peas (honestly, I use one bag of the frozen ones)
2 tsp coriander seeds, roughly crushed
1 tsp mustard seeds
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp nigella seeds
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
zest from 1 lemon
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves (not quite finely, but not quite coarsely either)
coarse sea salt to taste
lemon juice to taste


1. Fill a medium-large pot with water and bring to a boil. Salt it as if you were making pasta.

2. Set up a large bowl with ice-cold water.

2. Once the water comes to a boil, blanch the snow peas for 1 minute, then remove and shock in the cold water to stop the cooking.

3. Refresh the cold water and water for the pot to return to a boil.

4. Blanch the peas for 20 seconds then again remove and shock in the cold water to stop the cooking.

5. Combine the peas and snow peas in a large bowl.

6. Sizzle the mustard and coriander seeds in the olive oil in a pan just until the seeds start to pop, then pour the oil and seeds over the beans. Stir.

7. Stir in all other ingredients EXCEPT the salt and lemon juice.

8. Season with salt and lemon juice to taste when serving. If you want to save the leftovers, do not season them – only season each serving as you eat it.

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East African Sweet Pea Soup http://habeasbrulee.com/2011/12/26/east-african-sweet-pea-soup/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2011/12/26/east-african-sweet-pea-soup/#comments Tue, 27 Dec 2011 04:00:14 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=616
East African Sweet Pea Soup
(adapted from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant: Ethnic and Regional Recipes from the Cooks at the Legendary Restaurant by the Moosewood Collective)

Hurry, hurry, you have to make this soup! I took a Hipstamatic photo just so I could post it for you all the sooner!

I adapted this from one of the fantastic Moosewood cookbooks, with just a few adjustments. I like to have extra meatiness and protein in my soups, so I use pork stock instead of water. Less liquid, too – I like my soups thick and hearty, not too watery – more like stews than soups, perhaps. I’m also opposed to puree soups, so I did a minimal immersion blender partial puree of this one before adding the peas, to retain some texture.

It’s absolutely delicious, and I think I’m about to go back for a third bowl…

2 C coarsely chopped onion (about 3 medium onions)
safflower or other neutral oil for frying
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp grated fresh peeled ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
3/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground clove
1/8 tsp cayenne
2 tomatoes, diced into 1/2″ cubes
1 sweet potato (approximately 2 C diced), diced into 1/2″ cubes
2 C pork stock
1/2 C water
1 lb frozen green peas

1. Saute the onions in a splash of oil over medium heat in a medium pot, until they just turn translucent.

2. Stir in the spices, salt, ginger, and garlic and saute for another minute or two, until very fragrant.

3. Stir in the diced tomatoes and sweet potato until coated with spices, then immediately stir in the pork stock and water to dissolve the spices and deglaze the pot.

4. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the sweet potato chunks are tender (about 20 minutes).

5. Partially puree. I like lots of chunks, so I just use an immersion blender to puree just enough to thicken the soup some.

6. Stir in the frozen peas and simmer just until everything is nice and hot again.

7. Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve.

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Malaysian Chicken Satay http://habeasbrulee.com/2011/06/21/malaysian-chicken-satay/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2011/06/21/malaysian-chicken-satay/#comments Tue, 21 Jun 2011 05:02:10 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=566

We had a big going-away barbecue for my brother Jordan, who is off to Ghana for the summer as of yesterday. How better to say goodbye than with cherries and satay and live music from all his fabulous musician friends?

It was a fantastic excuse to remake my favorite satay recipe, chicken marinated in a vibrant yellow concoction fragrant with lemongrass and turmeric and coriander, sharp and floral with galangal and ginger, and sweet with rich, dark brown palm sugar, and served Thai-style with chunks of fresh sweet pineapple on the end of each skewer.

I’m in love with this sauce, as you can see. I want to put it on everything now. Steak. Eggs. More chicken. Duck! Everything!

That’s my Dad, following my instructions with rolling eyes and good cheer, basting the skewers of satay with a smashed stalk of lemongrass as a brush, and oil that was steeped with lemongrass for half an hour or so before the grilling began. There is no better smell than lemongrass oil dripping onto the coals and the smoke bursting up around intensely spiced meat.

Have a great summer, Jordan! We miss you already! And in your honor, everyone else who reads this should go make and eat some of this bright, intense, tasty chicken satay!

2009: Saffron Turmeric Cake with Meyer Lemon Sorbet, Argan Oil Whipped Cream, Almond Brittle, and Thyme
2008: Chocolate-Whiskey Pudding Cake
2007: Strawberry Tarragon Sorbet
2006: Apricot Ketchup

Malaysian Chicken Satay
(adapted from Cradle of Flavor by James Oseland)
For the marinade:
1 tbsp coriander seeds (whole)
1/3 of a small star anise (more if you’re into anise, but I hate it, so this is just enough to add depth of flavor without tasting like licorice to me)
2 thick stalks lemongrass
3 shallots (about 110 grams), peeled and coarsely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1″ long piece of fresh (or frozen and thawed) galangal (approximately 40 grams), peeled and thinly sliced against the grain
2″ long piece of fresh ginger (approximately 30 grams), peeled and thinly sliced against the grain
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1/4 C palm sugar (approximately 50 grams), thinly sliced (or somehow made grind-able)
2 tbsp safflower [or other neutral] oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
For the satay:
3 lbs boneless chicken thighs
1 thick stalk lemongrass
1/4 C safflower [or other neutral] oil
1 fresh pineapple (1/3 or so is really enough, but you can eat the rest!)
a bag of thin bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least half an hour and drained

(Serves… well, I don’t know. I made a triple recipe for a big party where more and more people kept stopping by, but there was plenty of other food there, too.)

Set up the marinade:

1. Set up your food processor, and grind the coriander and star anise together in it. Try to get them into powder, but ultimately don’t drive yourself nuts over it at this stage.

2. Prep the lemongrass for the marinade by cutting off the hard bottom and the grassy green tops, leaving about 5-6 inches of usable lemongrass from each piece. Peel off the tough outer layers (usually there are two tough leaves wrapped around that yo don’t want) and discard those. Slice the remaining tastiness into thin rounds, the thinner the better.

3. Add the prepped lemongrass, galangal, ginger, garlic, shallots, turmeric, palm sugar, safflower oil, and salt into the food processor, and process until you have a fairly smooth thick sauce. I like to actually transfer it into my blender once it’s as close as the food processor can get it, and use the blender to get it even smoother. This works delightfully well.

4. Prep the chicken by removing the fat and such and cutting the meat into pieces approximately 1 inch wide by 2ish inches long by about 1/4 inch thick. Again, don’t drive yourself too nuts with this – it’s really not that big a deal.

5. Squish the chicken with the marinade such that all pieces are fully coated. Let it marinate at least an hour or two, and preferably overnight.

Prepare for imminent grilling:

6. While your skewers are soaking, cut up the pineapple into bite-sized chunks.

7. Prepare that last stalk of lemongrass for use as a basting brush by cutting off the hard end and then smashing the bottom with something heavy until it gets all bristly. Soak that bristly end in the basting oil to infuse while getting the rest of your prep work done.

8. Thread the chicken onto the skewers, adding a bite of pineapple in the middle and at the end of each skewer.

9. Grill! Baste each skewer with lemongrass oil (with the lemongrass brush!) as soon as it goes on the grill, and again after you flip it. You want the chicken just cooked through, with some nice char on the surface if you can get it. If you don’t feel like setting up the grill, you can cook these under the broiler, but they’re honestly nicer when grilled.

10. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

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Farmhouse Pork with Black Beans and Green Peppers (and Trotter Gear) http://habeasbrulee.com/2011/03/19/farmhouse-pork-with-black-beans-and-green-peppers-and-trotter-gear/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2011/03/19/farmhouse-pork-with-black-beans-and-green-peppers-and-trotter-gear/#comments Sun, 20 Mar 2011 02:08:05 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=517

God, look at those charred peppers! They’re the long, vaguely gnarly, kinda slender but not really, fairly spicy but not very, probably Italian ones I find at my local organic Korean grocery store. I love them with a deep and abiding love. Dave, however, is pretty sure that nightshades give him stomachaches, so I don’t get to cook with them very much lately.

He’s out of town for a conference this weekend, and I was trying to make up for missing him by cooking delicious foods that he can’t eat. This tasty, spicy, black bean sauce pork dish was perfect!

I find that I’m losing my interest in refined food lately. I don’t want to deal with the tiny dabs of sauces and careful presentations. My photography oomph is being taken over by marketing photos for my glass work, and I’m less interested in taking the time to arrange careful photos of my food. But I still love variety in my food, and I’m still particularly in love with Chinese cuisine. I actually just read Fuschia Dunlop’s memoir, and now I’m even more hopeful of managing to come to like more of the unfamiliarly textured foods I mostly shy away from nowadays.

But peasant food doesn’t have to be boring or bland. The peppers are vivid here in flavor as well as in heat. I raised the proportion of fermented black beans because I love their intensity, and I threw in an ice cube of the trotter gear I made with trotters and pig tails from Bobolink farm according to Fergus Henderson’s recipe, which calls for intense homemade chicken stock as a building block for building that tasty building block.

I’ve come to prefer peasant food, sure, but my peasant food is damn good.

2008: Kumquat Marmalade
2007: Chewy Maple Cookies
2006: Cocoa Nib and Currant Rugelach

Farmhouse Pork with Black Beans and Green Peppers (and Trotter Gear)
(adapted from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook by Fuschia Dunlop)
9 oz long Italian green hot frying peppers
2 oz pork belly
14 oz pork tenderloin
1 tsp shaoxing wine
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp fermented black beans, rinsed and coarsely chopped
corn starch
Optional: 1 ice cube worth of trotter gear (recipe below; needs to be made way in advance if you plan to use it here)

Thinly slice the meats against the grain and place into separate bowls.

Stir the sliced pork tenderloin (or other lean pork) with the soy sauces, shaoxing, and a good hefty sprinkling of corn starch, and set aside.

Cut off and discard the stems of the peppers, then slice them at an angle into oval-ish rounds about 1 1/4″ long and 1/4″ wide. Keep the seeds and ribs – as Dunlop aptly points out, this is a peasant dish! Man, I love peasant dishes.

Prep the garlic and black beans as described in the ingredients list.

Heat your wok until it is nearly smoking and feels like a radiator with your hand a couple inches above the bottom. Swirl in some oil, then stir-fry the peppers in batches as needed until they get a nice tasty bit of char to them. Pour them out into a bowl and set aside.

Wipe any pepper seeds remaining out of the wok and return it to the heat, swirling in some more oil.

Add the pork belly and stir-fry until it’s lightly browned (and not necessarily fully cooked), then stir in the garlic and black beans and fry for just a moment until they’re gorgeously fragrant.

Add the lean pork and stir-fry until mostly done, then return the green peppers to the wok and keep going until everything looks totally done.

Shove everything in the wok out up the sides, and toss an ice cube of trotter gear into the bottom to melt it. When it’s melted, stir everything else back down in with it until hot and melded, then remove from the heat and serve with lots of rice and perhaps some sort of nice, sweet-ish tofu as a second entree.

Trotter Gear
(adapted from Fergus Henderson)
3 trotters (pigs’ feet) (I threw in some pig tails, too)
2 red onions, halved
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 leeks, coarsely chopped
1 head garlic
2 bay leaves
12 black peppercorns
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup Madeira or other sweet wine
Chicken stock to cover (about 1 quart) (ideally the homemade good stuff)

If your trotters or tails are a bit bristly (and sometimes they are), shave them. A disposable razor works wonders, and it’s very straightforward. Sort of comfortably homey, even. No shaving cream, though, please.

Put all the solid ingredients into a pot. Pour in the madeira or wine, and then add enough chicken stock to cover all the stuff in there. (Homemade chicken stock really is best. We condense our chicken stock down to fit into our freezer and then often use it condensed, so this was some pretty intense stuff to begin with.)

Bring to an almost-boil, and then simmer for 3ish hours, until the trotters/tails are “very wobbly” and the meat is falling off the bone (or easily pierced by a chopstick, or whatever measure you tend to like for this sort of thing).

Take the trotters (and tails!) out of the pot and put on a cutting board. Strain the stock and set aside.

Pull all the meat, flesh, skin, tendons, and other wobbly bits off the bones. Discard the bones. If you missed any hairy bits, just pull those bits off and throw them away too. But keep all those weird, gross looking wobbly bits – they are the magic here.

Chop your meat and skin and wobbly bits and such sort of medium finely – not a superfine mince or something, but more along the lines of pieces around the size of a pinky fingernail that’s been trimmed down to the quick. (Not the pig’s. Yours.)

Stir your chopped up wobbly mess back into the stock.

Set up a few ice cube trays lined with plastic wrap, and portion out the wobbly-bit-filled stock into ice cubes of meaty goodness. Freeze. Once they’re frozen, store them in your freezer in a big ziplock bag of meaty chunks. Add them to fried rice, to finish other stir-fries and sauces, soups, what-have-you. Instant tasty umami injection!

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Black Pepper Tofu with Pork http://habeasbrulee.com/2011/03/07/black-pepper-tofu-with-pork/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2011/03/07/black-pepper-tofu-with-pork/#comments Mon, 07 Mar 2011 16:42:26 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=506

Dear people who live in or visit London,

Have you stopped by Ottolenghi yet? You should. It is a happy place that makes people happy. I spent about 2 hours fighting through insane crowds and delayed buses to get there during a London tube strike once (not counting the time spent flying across the pond and back, of course), and it was worth it. (Though to be fair, partially for the adventure and nearby chocolate shop.)

In other news, we made a modified version of Ottolenghii’s black pepper tofu, modified for us carnivores who keep Momofuku-style pickled chilies in our fridge, just in case. Though the black pepper is incredibly spicy all on its own, no chilies needed, which I’ve never experienced before playing with this recipe. And I’m really learning to love tofu in spicy dishes. It’s absolutely marvelous!

My apologies for the terrible photography. We made this dish while my mother was borrowing my good camera, so this is the iPhone Hipstamatic version of food blogging instead. It’s hardly ideal, but it’s better than failing to get my version of the recipe out to you.

2008: Shredded Burdock Root
2007: Lamb Kofta with Apricot Sauce

Black Pepper Tofu with Pork
(adapted from Ottolenghi)
800g (1.75 lbs) firm tofu
Corn starch, to dust the tofu
454g (1 lb) ground pork
3 tbsp sweet soy sauce
3 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
Safflower [or some other neutral] oil, for frying
65g (~4.5 tbsp) butter
12 small shallots (~350g), peeled and thinly sliced
12 garlic cloves, crushed and then minced
3 tbsp minced ginger
5 tbsp crushed (or very coarsely ground) black peppercorns
16 small, thin scallions, cut into segments 3cm (~1″) long
Optional garnish: sliced pickled chilies (recipe below)

1. Stir the pork in with the soy sauces and sugar and set aside.

2. Cut the tofu into cubes (3cm x 2cm, or about 1″ x 1/2″) and toss them in corn starch, shaking off the excess.

3. Heat your wok until it starts to smoke and feels like a radiator with your hand held a few inches above the bottom, then pour in enough oil to really coat the bottom in a thin pool. Fry the tofu in batches in the oil, turning the pieces as you go so that they’re golden and crispy on all sides. Once they are golden all around, and have a thin crust, transfer to a paper towel. It’s important to do this in batches, because if you overcrowd your pan the tofu will steam instead of frying and will never develop that wonderful crisp, dried texture.

4. Clean the oil and tofu bits out of your wok, then throw in the butter. Once the butter melts, add the shallots, garlic and ginger, and stir-fry until it’s all shiny and soft (should take about 15 minutes, but of course your mileage may vary).

5. Stir in pork once the shallots are soft.

6. Stir in the black pepper once the pork is pretty much cooked.

7. Stir in the tofu and keep going for just a minute until it’s thoroughly warmed up and coated in the sauce, then stir in the scallions and remove from heat.

8. Optionally, serve with sliced pickled chilies and a bit of their pickling liquid (recipe below). I really like the flavor and extra heat these offer. Though seriously, even without the extra pickled chili garnish, it was ridiculously spicy considering that all the heat came from just the black pepper, not chilies of any sort. Really tastily so. Serve with lots of rice.

Pickled chilies
(adapted from Momofuku)
1 C water, as hot as your tap can get (~120 degrees F in most American kitchens)
1/2 C rice wine vinegar
6 tbsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp kosher salt
4 C Thai birds-eye chilies (or other small (less than 2″ long) chilies)

Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt, stirring them until the sugar dissolves.

Wear gloves when handling chilies, please. Just rinse them off and remove any stems if you feel fussy. You can slice them however you like when you actually use them later on. I like using green Thai chilies, because I enjoy their flavor and the green ones are supposedly spicier than the red ones. Really, use whatever makes you happy, and it’ll turn out just fine.

Pack the chilies into some sort of fringe-friendly, long-term-storage-friendly container (tupperware or mason jars), and pour the brine over them to cover. Stick them in your fridge for at least a few days. They’ll last approximately forever, to make every day a happy spicy vinegary day.

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