Habeas Brulee » Side Dishes http://habeasbrulee.com Sun, 17 Mar 2013 03:04:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.21 Miso Almond Romanesco http://habeasbrulee.com/2009/01/23/miso-almond-romanesco/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2009/01/23/miso-almond-romanesco/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2009 13:51:47 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=297

Everyone loves romanesco, the green fractal cauliflower that has been appearing more and more in stores and greenmarkets in the area over the past few years. It’s gorgeous, in a geeky sort of way, and very tasty, especially when you let it get a good pan sear during the cooking process.

Don’t let the green fool you into thinking this counts as a nutritious vegetable, though. It’s mostly starch, and the sweet sauce in this recipe doesn’t exactly help on the health front. It is, however, addictively delicious.

Eating fractals is fun!

In other news, I went down to North Carolina this past weekend. There, I bought a drop spindle and taught myself to handspin yarn. Here’s my first yarn, in progress and on the spindle. It’s a merino/silk blend, done with navajo 3-ply, with curly locks twisted in for the fun of it.

I also got my very first shooting lesson, with a friend’s air rifle in his backyard. I’m not particularly fond of guns, in theory, but I am fond of learning new skills. And as another friend put it, I’m now entirely prepared for the collapse of civilization. I can shoot, I can spin, I can cure meat, and I can litigate.

I’m fairly pleased with myself – I hit the black on my very first target.

On the plane, I was doodling, and I created this rough little map of the directions from my apartment to my favorite dim sum place. I need to get a better scan of it, but here it is for now. Ping’s Seafood makes the best har chow (long shrimp noodles) ever.

The directions are of limited value, though, because Dave and I are actually apartment-hunting right now. We’re supposed to hear back today about the first place we applied for, so please keep your fingers crossed for us.

Anyways, onto the delicious fractal recipe!

2008: Broiled Yellowtail with Grapefruit Salsa
2007: Malaysian Beef Curry with Thick Onion Sauce (Daging Nasi Kandar)

Miso Almond Romanesco
2 medium heads romanesco, about 1200 grams total
1/8 C white miso
1 tsp Korean anchovy sauce
1 tsp Korean red pepper flakes
1 tbsp Vietnamese caramel sauce
1/4 C sliced almonds
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 tbsp unsalted butter

Cut the romanesco into individual florets, cutting the larger florets in half. Discard the stem and leaves.

Stir together the miso, anchovy sauce, red pepper flakes, caramel, and 1/8 C water until smooth.

In a wok, heat 2 tbsp butter on high until it melts and sizzles. Add the romanesco and saute until browned all over. Let it sear a bit; that will only make it taste better. Stir in the water and garlic and simmer until the water is nearly gone. Stir in the almonds and cook a minute more. Stir in the sauce and serve.

With a typical home wok, it is best to do this in two batches so your romanesco actually sears instead of merely steaming when you cook it.

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Chile Lime Sweet Potatoes with Spinach Clove Yogurt http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/11/17/chile-lime-sweet-potatoes-with-spinach-clove-yogurt/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/11/17/chile-lime-sweet-potatoes-with-spinach-clove-yogurt/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2008 20:02:41 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/11/17/chile-lime-sweet-potatoes-with-spinach-clove-yogurt/

I actually think it’ll be easier to get back to posting regularly once I use up all the drafts I have waiting to be posted. Seems a bit backwards, but it’s sort of like the way deadlines make it easier to get work done. (Good thing I am in a profession with an overabundance of deadlines.)

I’m a huge Madhur Jaffrey fan, and this was a combination of two of her recipes that I thought would work well together. If I were the sort to host a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at home, I’d consider serving this along with the turkey – I think it would go very well with that soft of feast. Luckily, I’m not – my family’s tradition is spending Thanksgiving having steak at Peter Luger’s in Brooklyn. Forget dry turkey and lots of cleanup, and bring in the luscious almost-bloody meat and chocolate Thanksgiving gelt and no room left for dessert at the end.

Actually, come to think of it, I’d eat this dish with steak, too. It’s sweet and spicy and tangy, hot and cold together, and even my yogurt and potato hating partner agreed that it was pretty good. And that’s an accomplishment.

Oh, by the way – do any of you know anything about event spaces in NYC? If so, please email me at habeasbruleeATgmailDOTcom. Wedding planning is a difficult conundrum, and I’d love to pick your brains if you’re familiar with interesting spaces in the city.

2007: Hungarian Sausage, Baby Bok Choy, and Sweet Potato Soup
2006: Töltött Káposzta (Stuffed Cabbage)

Both recipes here are adapted from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey.

Sri Lankan Sweet Potatoes with Cardamom and Chiles
2 very large sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2 lbs.)
3 whole dried hot red Indian chiles, broken into halves
2 whole cardamom pods
1 3″ cinnamon stick
20 fresh curry leaves
3 big onions, thinly sliced (about 1 1/4 lbs.)
Crushed hot red chiles to taste
Salt to taste (approximately 1 1/4 tsp finely ground)
At least 1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (and probably plenty more)
Safflower oil for frying

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into bite-sized chunks. Boil up a pot of water, salt it a bit, then add the sweet potatoes and boil for about 5 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain and set aside.

Put some safflower oil in a large pan over medium high heat. When hot, add the halved chiles and stir. Once they darken (which will happen fast), add the cardamom and cinnamon. Stir for a few seconds, then add the curry leaves. Stir for another few seconds, then add the onions.

Brown the onions to taste – not too dark, because the sweet potatoes add enough sweetness, but dark enough for good flavor.

Stir in the sweet potatoes, and stir fry for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the crushed chiles, salt, and lime juice. Lower the heat and continue to stir and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender enough to serve.

Remove the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick and adjust the seasonings before serving.

Yogurt with Spinach and Cloves
4 whole cardamom pods
1 1″ cinnamon stick
8 whole cloves
1 small onion, thinly sliced (about 2 oz.)
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, peeled and thoroughly crushed
10 oz. fresh spinach, trimmed, washed, drained, and coarsely chopped
2 C plain thick yogurt
Ground cayenne, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Safflower oil for frying
1 tbsp raw basmati rice

Put about 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. When very hot, add the cinnamon, cardamom, and 4 of the cloves. When they sizzle and expand (fast!), stir in the onion and fry until they just start to brown around the edges, about 3 minutes or so.

Stir in the garlic and ginger for a few seconds, then add the spinach and about 1/4 tsp finely ground salt.

Continue stirring and cooking for a few minutes, until the spinach is fully wilted and tender and tasty. Turn off the heat, and pick out the whole spices and discard them.

In a separate, dry pan, cook the raw rice over medium high heat until it turns reddish brown, stirring constantly. Let it cool, then grind it to a fine powder.

Put the yogurt in a large bowl and stir with a fork until creamy. Stir in 1/2 tsp finely ground salt, and black pepper and cayenne to taste. Stir in 1 1/2 tsp of the ground toasted rice powder. Stir in the spinach.

In a clean pan, heat 1 tsp oil over medium high heat. When hot, stir in the remaining 4 cloves until they sizzle and expand. Just before serving, remove the cloves and stir the clove oil into the yogurt.

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Shredded Burdock Root http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/03/07/shredded-burdock-root/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/03/07/shredded-burdock-root/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2008 15:22:00 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/03/07/shredded-burdock-root/

Yesterday morning, I took and passed the final exam for New York’s food protection certification. Not a difficult hurdle, but it’s nice to have that under my belt at last. If you’re at all interested in ever working in food preparation in New York, I suggest you go out and get the certification now, while it is still free. It has no expiration date! You can take the class online, and then you just have to spend an hour at 160 W. 100th St. to take the test. It will cost $105 in a few months, is why I suggest going for it now.

Yes, I do have a secret project in the works. I’m not quite ready to unveil it, but I’m almost there. Sure makes blogging difficult in the meantime, though!

So, here, let me distract you with tasty tasty burdock. Burdock root tastes like a sort of nutty artichoke, it’s really quite wonderful. Doesn’t look like much in the store, but it’s marvelous once you get it home and play with it.

This was mildly inspired by a cold Korean burdock dish I had as part of the banchan at Moim in Park Slope, and by a number of Japanese burdock (aka gobo) recipes I skimmed over while trying to figure out how to make what I had in mind.

Burdock prepared this way ends up crunchety, tasty, and just a little bit on the sweet and sharp side from the rice vinegar and sugar. It works really well with a number of dishes, but the first time we made it we ate it with a simple roast chicken with shallots that had been roasted in with the pan drippings, basmati rice that had been cooked with more grated burdock in, and fresh pea shoots. It was one of those really sublime quick weekday dinners.

Shredded Burdock Root
1/2 lb burdock root
Oil for frying
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp mirin
1 tsp japanese soy sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar
A drizzle of sesame oil

Lightly scrub the burdock root to clean it, but do not peel it, as the skin has much of the flavor. Shred it very thinly, using a box grater or benriner.

Add some oil to a pan and stir-fry the burdock at high heat for about 3 minutes, until crispy-ish.

Lower the heat to medium-low, add the rest of the ingredients (except the sesame oil), and continue cooking, stirring often, until all the liquid is gone.

Stir in a little drizzle of sesame oil at the end.

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Quick-Pickled Cucumbers with Chili Bean Sauce http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/02/24/quick-pickled-cucumbers-with-chili-bean-sauce/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/02/24/quick-pickled-cucumbers-with-chili-bean-sauce/#comments Sun, 24 Feb 2008 14:45:51 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/02/24/quick-pickled-cucumbers-with-chili-bean-sauce/

I’ve been focusing so much on heavy, rich winter dishes lately, it’s really time to switch gears and try something different. Something clean and fresh and light to clear the palate. So instead of a braise, why not a try a nice quick pickle to go with a simple dinner? Crunchy, salty, spicy, and satisfying, these quick pickled cucumbers add a nice kick to most any meal.

I grew up hating pickles, by which I meant those typically pickled cucumbers they give you with your sandwich at the deli. I still won’t eat them. Seems a bit strange, since I love both cucumbers and vinegar. But what I’ve slowly learned is that I do like other sorts of pickled fruits and vegetables – I started with a love of pickled ginger, and most recently I was utterly wowed by a jar of homemade pickled garlic seeds that a friend gave to me.

Quick pickles are a way of feeding that urge with a lighter touch, and without having to go to all the trouble of setting up the large pot of boiling water for home canning. It’s more like cucumber salad, really, which I also love. (In fact, I’d be hard pressed to tell you the difference between quick-pickled cucumbers and cucumber salad. Perhaps it has to do with the intensity of flavor? The way we categorize food in our minds is fascinating in itself.)

Around this time last year, we were making: Chicken and Rice, Curry Banana, Roots and Rhizomes Stew

Quick-Pickled Cucumbers with Chili Bean Sauce
(adapted from The Key to Chinese Cooking by Irene Kuo)
For the quick-pickling
2 firm cucumbers (a little over 1 lb)
2 1/2 tsp salt
For the sauce
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 heaping tsp chili bean paste (I use Lee Kum Kee brand Chili Bean Sauce (Toban Djan))
2 tsp sesame oil
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/8 tsp ground Szechuan peppercorns

Cut the ends off the cucumbers, then quarter then lengthwise. Cut out the seeds. Peel a line down the middle of each piece, the long way, for decoration. Then slice them into crescents about 1/8″ thick, or thinner if you prefer.

Stir the cucumber slices with the 2 1/2 tsp salt and leave them in a non-reactive bowl in the fridge to macerate for about an hour.

After the hour, rinse and drain the cucumber slices, and pat them dry. Stir the rest of the ingredients together, then stir the sauce in with the cucumber.

Serve cold, straight from the fridge.

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Red Cabbage with Chestnuts http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/02/20/red-cabbage-with-chestnuts/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/02/20/red-cabbage-with-chestnuts/#comments Wed, 20 Feb 2008 14:58:58 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/02/20/red-cabbage-with-chestnuts/

Here is an absolutely luscious, rich winter dish. I started off working with an Alice Waters recipe, but then I was inspired by Michael Ruhlman‘s love of veal stock to meat things up a bit to great effect.

Way I see it, he’s absolutely wrong in declaring veal stock to be “a selfless stock” – it does have a flavor of its own, and only seems neutral if it’s part of the baseline flavor profile of your culture. Maybe Ruhlman can’t taste veal stock, but I can. Though to be fair, I barely taste garlic and onions at this point because they are so ubiquitous in our cooking.

That said, Ruhlman was right about veal stock being a tasty tool to have in your arsenal. It elevated the cabbage and chestnuts here into something magnificent.

Around this time last year, we were making: Pink Grapefruit Ginger Cream Cookies

Red Cabbage with Chestnuts
(adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters)
1 lb cooked chestnuts (I like using the vacuum-packed ones)
1 small red cabbage
1/2 C white wine
duck fat for sauteing
Sherry vinegar to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Veal stock to taste

Chop the chestnuts into about 1/4″ dice. Saute in duck fat until golden brown, then set aside.

Core the cabbage, then chop into 1/4″ wide strips about 2-3″ long, as if for sauerkraut. Add a bit more duck fat to the pan and saute the cabbage until it starts to get soft.

Stir in the white wine, salt and pepper, and some sherry vinegar. Stir in the chestnuts.

Continue to saute until soft, adding a splash of veal stock whenever the pan starts to get dry.

Add more vinegar and salt and black pepper to taste.

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Broiled Yellowtail with Grapefruit Salsa http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/01/21/broiled-yellowtail-with-grapefruit-salsa/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/01/21/broiled-yellowtail-with-grapefruit-salsa/#comments Tue, 22 Jan 2008 03:05:49 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/01/21/broiled-yellowtail-with-grapefruit-salsa/

About two weeks ago, I received an email from Edelman Interactive, offering me a free promotional fish – a Kona Kampachi from Kona Blue. Given that I was under no obligation to blog about the fish at all, and I love fish, I accepted.

I was offered my choice of fillets or a whole fish, and took the whole fish, because meat on the bone always ends up more tender and flavorful. Also, fish are cute.

So, I emailed my partner, Dave, to let him know that we would be getting a free fish from the next week’s catch. He thought this was pretty hilarious:

“Note: Edelman is the PR firm for both Microsoft and Walmart. All they need is Exxon for the holy trinity! Actually they do have Shell, which is about the same.

“Oh, wait, they also represented the tobacco companies. Jesus, just about every evil corp on earth is on their list: the Mormons! AT&T! American Petroleum Institute! Diebold! the MPAA! PhRMA! Raytheon!

“Wow. I’m totally in favor of taking their free fish, and blogging about Edelman.”

The fish was supposed to arrive on Thursday, and Dave and I were looking forward to trying it out together on Thursday night. Unfortunately, FedEx was delayed and it did not arrive until Friday morning, when Dave was already out of town for the weekend, and I was already scheduled to leave for Virginia that afternoon.

There was no choice – I had to take the fish down to Virginia with me.

As soon as the fish arrived, I climbed out of my office window to put it out on my industrial balcony to keep it cold until it was time to go. (I deeply regret not taking a photo of it out there. Sorry about that.) And once I put out all the fires I could that day (as an attorney, that’s often my job), I loaded my 20 lb. box of ice and fishie onto a small handcart and took it down into the NYC subway system.

From there, we went to the Chinatown bus. I loaded the fish into the bottom luggage compartment, which I expected would keep it cooler than the heated seating area above.

When my fish and I got to my friend Ariana’s home in Virginia, and we finally opened up the box, this is what we saw. A whole fish. I’d expected it to be a cleaned and gutted fish, but no, it really was complete in its entirety.

He’s a cutie, isn’t he?

He and Ariana soon became best buddies.

She was a bit squeamish about the whole fish, but fascination won out until it was time to actually clean and gut him. I had to do that myself, for the first time in years and years. I went fishing a lot as a child, and learned to gut fish back then, but this was my first time cleaning a fish in my adult life without my father’s supervision.

Further down in this post, you’ll find fully illustrated instructions on how to clean and gut a fish.

In the meantime, though, you can enjoy these cute photos of Ariana with the fish instead.

The fish was gorgeous. After just a few days in transit from Hawaii to New York to Virginia after he was caught, he still smelled clean and fresh, and his tail was just beautiful.

And damned if he wasn’t the friendliest fellow we’d met in ages.

Talkative, too.

Ariana and I brainstormed fish recipes together. She’d done her research while I was on the bus, and had a few ideas to begin with. In the end, we decided to broil the fish very simply, and serve it with an easily thrown together grapefruit salsa.

The grapefruit salsa recipe is further down, and you’ll find it if you keep on reading. For the fish, all we did was fill the body cavity with some butter, some grated fresh ginger, and a bunch of scallions cut into 2″ long pieces (green parts only).

As Helen from Beyond Salmon suggests, we broiled the fish for 5 minutes on each side, then finished by baking it at 425 F for a total of 10 minutes per inch of thickness (including the 10 minutes broiling time). (So, for example, a fish that is 3″ thick would be broiled for 5 minutes on each side, then baked at 425 F for an additional 20 minutes.)

We served it with the grapefruit salsa and some simply roasted sweet potatoes.

It was absolutely delicious.

The ginger flavor had infused very nicely into the flesh while cooking, and it paired marvelously well with the grapefruit salsa.

As advertised, it was extremely mild and non-fishy, which Ariana in particular appreciated. I rather like oily flavorful fish (such as mackerel), but this was nice, too. It was very moist and tender, which in part was because it had been cooked on the bone, and in part because the Kona Kampachi has a fairly high fat content to begin with.

Ariana, her husband, and I had it for lunch on Saturday, and then we served the rest of the fish as party food to her guests that afternoon. There were at least 8 servings on that fish, and we enjoyed it entirely.

Each and every bite.

The fish was kitty-approved by Oz, king of kings.

We licked our fingers, and so did he.

Though to be fair, Oz is an equal opportunity fish lover.

And a mighty hunter, too.

Could you resist such a fluffy kitty, even with tasty fish on the line? I think not.

Around this time last year, we were making: Stewed Garlicky Black Bean Spare Ribs, Malaysian Beef Curry with Thick Onion Sauce (Daging Nasi Kandar)

Grapefruit Salsa
A handful of chopped red onion
2 huge red grapefruits (almost 3 lbs total)
1 green birdseye chile, thinly sliced, with about half the seeds removed
A handful and a half of cooked (or canned and drained) black beans
1/8 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Peel the grapefruit, and discard the peel, pith, and seeds. Coarsely chop the wedges of pulp which remain. Combine it with the other ingredients, and adjust the seasonings to taste.

Let it sit in your fridge for at least half an hour to allow the flavors to meld before serving.

How to Clean a Fish

First, cut off the fins just behind the head. If your fish has big inedible scales, you can remove them by running your knife against them, like petting a cat the wrong way. The Kona Kampachi was basically scale-free, so I skipped that step entirely.

Locate the gills, which are the red things shown in the photo below.

Remove them.

Check out the bottom of the fish. You’ll see the anus, and another set of fins.

Cut off the bottom fins. Cut a triangle around the anus and cut out a strip coming from it all the way up the gills – the point is to remove the anus entirely (because really, who wants to eat fish anus?) and slit the belly open from just behind the anus to the head. Once you’ve done that, it’s easy to just reach in with your hand and remove all the innards from the body cavity.

See the dark stuff around the spine in the photo above? Scrape it out. You may need a knife to get started, but mostly you should be able to do it with a spoon.

Last, rinse out the insides of your fish.

You want to get it pretty clean, because you’re going to stuff more tasty things inside there before cooking.

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Clementine Sunchoke Puree http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/12/05/clementine-sunchoke-puree/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/12/05/clementine-sunchoke-puree/#comments Wed, 05 Dec 2007 14:08:19 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/12/05/clementine-sunchoke-puree/

This puree was inspired by a dish we had at Alinea, during the most impressive meal I have ever been served. The dish that inspired us was lobster (butter-poached, I believe), served with lobster mousse, sunchoke puree, and sweet orange, all surrounded by the hyacinth aroma released by boiling water being poured over hyacinths in the bowl holding the smaller bowl of edible food. It was one of the most luxurious experiences I have ever had, and it entirely justified my weekend jaunt to Chicago for the sake of one meal at Alinea.

How can we bring the faintest suggestion of this wonderment back to our fundamentally time-pressed readers back home, we wondered. Well, not many people are going to cook lobster at home. That’s just uncommon, for some reason. (I suspect most people are reluctant to experiment on spendy foods, and also squeamish about killing their own meats.) Likewise, putting together a dish of hyacinth aroma isn’t very likely for most home cooks, intoxicating as it was. So, citrus and sunchokes remained.

Here is a pared down, but still completely delicious, ultra-simple side dish, pairing the lush simplicity of creamy sunchoke puree with the brightness of clementines, which I vastly prefer to oranges, anyways.

As for the garnish, well, all things are improved by homemade bacon.

Clementine Sunchoke Puree
1 1/2 lbs sunchokes (a/k/a jerusalem artichokes)
3 tbsp heavy cream
Juice of 1 clementine (approximately 1/4 C)
A pinch of clementine zest, plus more for garnish
1 tsp argan oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bacon to taste

Peel the sunchokes, chop them into 1 inch chunks, and simmer 10 minutes in salted water. Drain, then puree with all ingredients except argan oil and bacon.

Cut your bacon into little strips and fry it up. Remove it to drain on a paper towel covered plate.

Reheat the puree, and stir in the argan oil. Serve garnished with bacon and a pinch of zest.

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Cubed Radish Kimchi http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/11/29/cubed-radish-kimchi/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/11/29/cubed-radish-kimchi/#comments Fri, 30 Nov 2007 01:06:05 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/11/29/cubed-radish-kimchi/

For my first attempt at making this sweet, salty, spicy, satisfyingly crisp bite o’ banchan, I followed this recipe from one of my favorite Korean food blogs, Evil Jungle Prince. Unfortunately, it turned out to be way too fishy for me. (This may have something to do with my misreading the measurement for anchovy sauce as calling for tablespoons instead of teaspoons, but never mind that, and let us never speak of it again.)

Full of despair, I turned to the fine folks at the eGullet kimchi thread for advice. Properly comforted that I could safely reduce the amount of anchovy sauce without suffering fatal intestinal maelstroms as a result, I decided to try again.

I adjusted the proportions a bit more to my liking, and stole a few ideas from this other recipe (also from Evil Jungle Prince) as well.

Finally – success!

Korean food is my latest obsession. I ordered a cookbook, bookmarked a few blogs, and am going wild in the kitchen. I found a grocery store near my apartment that sells fabulously tasty homemade gochujang (red pepper paste) in little tupperware-ish tubs, and picked up everything else I need Han Ah Reum in K-town.

It’s a good thing Dave loves the cubed radish kimchi, and can tolerate my filling the fridge with things like tiny spicy salty sweet itsy bitsy anchovies for the munching.

Cubed Radish Kimchi
1 daikon radish (weighing approximately 1 1/2 lbs.)
Water and kosher salt for brining
2 tsp Korean fine chili pepper powder
1/2 bulb of garlic, finely grated
1 1/2″ fresh ginger, finely grated
4 tsp Korean anchovy sauce
1 1/2 tsp sugar
3 tsp Korean coarse chili pepper flakes
4 scallions, green parts only, sliced into 1″ lengths
1 1/2 tsp rice flour
3/8 C water

Fill a big non-reactive bowl (this means no metal!) with cool water and stir in a handful of kosher salt. Peel the radish and cut into 1″ cubes. Put the radish cubes into the brine and leave them there to soak for 20 minutes.

Make rice porridge by mixing the rice flour into the 3/8 C water and bringing it to a boil, at which point it will thicken, then removing it from the heat and setting it aside to cool to room temperature.

Sterilize a jar. (Yeah, this seems kinda silly, but all the recipes I’ve read suggest it, so why not?)

When the radish cubes are done brining, rinse them off with cool water. Mix in the Korean fine chili pepper powder.

Mix all the other ingredients into a paste, then mix them into the radish cubes, making sure that all the cubes are basically smeared all over with this stuff. This is tons of fun to do with bare hands.

Put the whole mess into a jar and screw on the lid. Leave it out at room temperature for about 40 hours, at which point it is ready for eating and should be kept in the fridge henceforth.

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Pork-Stuffed Leg of Lamb and Lamby Cranberry Beans http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/10/16/pork-stuffed-leg-of-lamb-and-lamby-cranberry-beans/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/10/16/pork-stuffed-leg-of-lamb-and-lamby-cranberry-beans/#comments Tue, 16 Oct 2007 11:49:54 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/10/16/pork-stuffed-leg-of-lamb-and-lamby-cranberry-beans/

This post actually contains two recipes: Roasted Leg of Lamb Stuffed With Pork, Chestnuts, and Morels and Lamby Cranberry Beans with Itsy Bitsy Potatoes.

Dave and I just took the Pork and Apples class taught by Aki and Alex of Ideas in Food. We really enjoyed it quite a lot. I’m mostly thrilled that I finally got to butcher a pig’s head!

(That’s a photo of my hands, taken by Aki.)

Anyways, point being, it got me thinking about how important it is to me to use as much of I can of whatever foodstuffs I buy. For instance, I always save bones and vegetables scraps in the freezer for stock. Every time we make bacon, we add the extra grease to a tin can kept in our freezer. Hell, we still have a ton of sour cherry pits in our freezer from last summer’s harvest on the off chance that we can figure out how to cook with the nuts and make an exfoliating soap from the shells. Not to mention our many frozen bags of shrimp shells and fish heads, which lie in wait of my next chowder craving.

So, the day after the class, when we were looking over the lamb available at the greenmarket, I insisted that we get a bone-in leg of lamb. Sure, it’s more work, but I was still in a butchering sort of mood, and I figured we could use the bone to make a lamb stock that we’d use to intensify the lambiness of the overall meal.

This worked out just beautifully.

When cooking this meal, everywhere one would normally use water, we used lamb stock instead. Lamby bulgur. Lamby morels. Lamby cranberry beans and itsy bitsy potatoes. My effort to avoid wastefulness made the whole meal richer, meatier, and more delicious.

Roasted Leg of Lamb Stuffed With Pork, Chestnuts, and Morels
For the marinade
2 lbs lamb leg (including bone)
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp bourbon (cooked until reduced in volume to 1 tbsp)
A sprinkle of nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the lamb stock
The bone from your leg of lamb
Whatever greens and such you have lying around
Whole black peppercorns
For the stuffing
1/2 lb ground pork
7 cooked chestnuts, chopped
1/4 oz dried morels, soaked in lamb stock to cover
1/4 C bulgur cooked like rice in 1/2 C lamb stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the sauce
The morel soaking liquid, strained
Whatever is left of the marinade
Drippings from the roasting leg
Flour to thicken
Sherry vinegar, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Prepare the marinade

Start the night before you plan on eating this meal.

Debone the lamb leg and set the bone aside. You’ll be using it soon enough. Butterfly the lamb leg, then mix it with the other marinade ingredients and stick it in the fridge to marinate overnight.

Create the lamb stock

Put the lamb bone that you took out of the leg into a small pot. Throw in some whole black peppercorns and whatever green leafy things and other clean vegetable trimmings you may have around. I’m secretly a Depression-era housewife, so I happened to have denuded corn cobs and turnip tops and greens in the freezer waiting around for just such an occasion. Add enough water to just cover the stuff in the pot. Bring to a simmer without boiling, and continue to simmer for as many hours as you can stand, until it tastes lamby enough for you.

Strain the stock and leave it in the fridge overnight. Skim off and discard the fat that has risen to the top the next day.

Make the filling

Reconstitute the morels by putting them in a small bowl with enough warm lamb stock to cover. Leave them alone for about half an hour. Remove them from the stock, rinse them, and cut them into thin slices. Strain the morel liquid and set it aside for now.

Cook the bulgur in lamb stock.

Mix all filling ingredients together.

Build and cook the roast

Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Take the lamb leg out of the marinade and lay it out flat on a baking sheet covered with two layers of aluminum foil. Cover it with a layer of filling. Roll it from the short end like a jelly roll, then tie it together with twine. Wrap entirely in one of the layers of aluminum foil.

Bake for about an hour and a half, or until done.

Create the sauce

Mix together the sauce ingredients in (you guessed it) a small saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens and smells lovely.

Serve with Lamby Cranberry Beans with Itsy Bitsy Potatoes (recipe below).

Lamby Cranberry Beans with Itsy Bitsy Potatoes
3/4 lb itsy bitsy potatoes
1 lb cranberry beans (in the pod)
Lamb stock
1 bay leaf
1 twig fresh rosemary
1 big shallot, minced
1 black cardamom pod
A sprinkle of cayenne
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Shell the cranberry beans and discard the pods.

Throw all ingredients (except for the potatoes) together in a small heavy-bottomed pot. Add enough lamb stock to cover the contents of the pot by about 1″. Simmer for about 20-25 minutes, then stir in the potatoes. Continue simmering for another 20-25 minutes, or until tender and done.

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Pasta with Red Lentils, Ginger, and Spinach http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/09/18/pasta-with-red-lentils-ginger-and-spinach/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/09/18/pasta-with-red-lentils-ginger-and-spinach/#comments Tue, 18 Sep 2007 12:24:50 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/09/18/pasta-with-red-lentils-ginger-and-spinach/

This is way, way too buttery to be considered healthy, but I do consider it delicious. Red lentils shining like jewels among the pasta, bursts of flavor from the spinach, and that’s all it takes to keep me happy.

It is surprisingly gingery! The ginger comes out as a floral flavor here, not particularly sharp. Just lovely.

This is the dish that has inspired people to offer to chip in towards groceries if only I’d consider packing lunches for them, too.

Pasta with Red Lentils, Ginger, and Spinach
(adapted from Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons)
1 lb dried durum semolina pasta
8 tbsp butter
2 very large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2″ ginger, cut into thin strips
1/2 tsp dried sage
3/4 C red lentils
1 C water
3 C fresh spinach, firmly packed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook the pasta, drain it, and set it aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until it just barely begins to brown and smell unbelievably tasty. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly.

Next, add the sage, lentils, and water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes or until done. Add more water if necessary.

Stir in the spinach and raise the heat slightly. Keep stirring until the spinach wilts. Stir in the pasta, salt, and black pepper, and cook until it is heated through.

Serve warm.

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