Friday, August 18, 2017

Chiles Rellenos

For me, there is no better signature dish then great Chiles Rellenos to bring Mexican cuisine to its rightful place. When served with a tomatillo sauce it is a marriage made in heaven.


Make a tomatillo sauce that is needed to serve these.

4 Large poblano chilies
Small brick of Monterey Jack cheese
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs, separated and beaten
Salt to season the flour
2 Tablespoons of lard and a cup of corn oil.
Chopped cilantro for garnish

Preheat oven to 450F. Roast chilies on cookie sheet until skin is brown and blistered on all sides. Keep oven door closed to retain heat after removing toasted chilies. Cool until you are able to touch peppers, and then peel off skin. Make a slit down one side of the pepper in preparation of stuffing with cheese. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, cut a slice of cheese shaped to fit each chile cavity. Leave seeds and stems on.

Cover a plate with tin foil. Put flour on the plate. Separate the eggs beat the yolks until pale. Wash whisk and dry thoroughly. Do not whisk the whites until ready to cook the rellenos.

Warm the tomatillo sauce on low. In a large frying pan, add oil, lard, and begin to heat. Whisk the whites to stiff peaks; mix half the whites into the yolks. The gentle fold in rest of whites. It is not necessary to make a uniform mixture. The oil should be hot. Dip two chilies in the flour and then, into the egg batter. Fry each chile not touching each other. Spoon the hot oil over the tops and edges. The turn over with 2 forks. Cook remaining chiles retaining the cooked rellenos warm on a paper towel covered plate in the warm oven. Spoon tomatillo sauce over plated rellenos and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Mexican Green Tomatillo Sauce



 I  use this sauce for serving Chile Rellenos. It brings out the flavor of that dish in a beautiful way.
                       
3 tomatillos, husks removed
½ Ripe tomatos
½ Spanish onion
1 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon lard
¼ Cup best chicken stock
Pinch Mexican oregano
1 Teaspoon sugar
Salt and black pepper to taste

Chop tomatillos, onions and fry on low in lard. When the onions clear, add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer 20 minutes. Puree to desired texture with a post blender. Reduce to thicken as sauce necessary. Correct the seasonings,

Monday, August 14, 2017

Yangzhou Fried Rice




 

Yangzhou (yang Jo) is city of east-central China east of Nanjing on the great Yangtze River. Yangzhou fried rice is a perhaps the most well known dish of the city of Yangzhou, in the Jiangsu province. The recipe was invented by Qing China's Yi Bingshou (1754–1815) and the dish was named Yangzhou fried rice since Yi was once magistrate of Yangzhou. This fried rice is one of the classic dishes served towards the end of the Chinese New Year banquet. It is lightly seasoned and devoid of soy sauce so that the rice stays white.

2 Tablespoons peanut oil

½ Cup bay shrimp

4 Cups cold leftover Jasmine white rice

½ Cup frozen peas

½ Cup diced Char Sui (Chinese-style grilled pork)



½ Cup thinly slices lap cheong Chinese sausage1

½ Cup chopped scallions plus more for garnish

½ Cup diced cremini mushrooms

3/4 Teaspoon salt

¼ Teaspoon white pepper

2 Beatened eggs cooked slowly in butter until just firm, chopped.


Place wok over high heat, add oil, stir fry sausage and Char Sui until aromatic. Add scallions and shrimp. When shrimp are orange add and stir fry rice and mushrooms. Toward the end, add frozen peas, and chopped pre-cooked egg to warm. Correct seasoning. Garnish with remaining scallions and serve.

Image from Epicurous

Notes:

1.       When buying lap cheong, look for those seasoned with sugar, rose water, rice wine and soy sauce.


 

Fake Food

Most Parmesan Cheese in America is fake as well as other “supposedly” Italian products especially most canned 'San Marzano' tomatoes. Chianti must be made in the Chianti region of Italy to be labeled as such, San Marzano tomatoes are special plum tomatoes that must be grown in Agro Sarnese-Nocerino. When they are canned, they come with a DOP emblem on the label, marking their authenticity. The real product is expensive as shipping cost is high, but the fakes are inferior and no bargain at all.





Your first clue should be price. If it is cheap then it is fake. The real products have a DOP marking to insure the real products are protected. Parmesan does not mean “parmigiano-reggiano”. The words Parmigiano-Reggiano embossed all over every square inch of the rind, as shown in the accompanying photos, must be evident.
  

San Marzano DOP Markings


 Great cooks require great ingredients but be wary, not all is as its seems. In my book and blog, I try to point out salient information for informed decisions.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Seckel Pear and Colston Bassett Stilton Cheese with Wine

Seckle Pear
An 18th-century Pennsylvania farmer (for whom it was named) is credited with introducing the Seckel pear. It is a small, rosy fruit with a sweet, spicy flavor. The Seckel's firm flesh makes it excellent for both cooking and canning. It's available late August through December. It is often called the sugar pear.
The Seckel pear is tremendously tasty and sweet and is the super-star of tasty pears.

Colston Bassett Blue Stilton is certainly one of the finest Blue Stilton you can buy. Known for its consistent high quality and the subtle salty twang brought on by the blue veining. Established in 1913, Colston Bassett has been producing one of England’s finest blue Stilton for a hundred years.
This is the simplest of deserts but certainly one of my favorites. When you taste a sweet, juicy, ripe pear or smell its aroma, it is easy to see why this fruit has been prized for thousands of years. Poets extol the pear’s flavor and beauty and artists celebrate its classic shape and brilliant colors.

Homer, a Greek poet from the eighth century BC, called pears a “gift of the gods,” and many cooks today agree. Pears are incredibly versatile. They are a welcome addition to entrees, breads, salads, appetizers and desserts and are delicious fresh or cooked in a variety of ways.
Colston Bassett Blue Stilton

Pears take on a new character when combined with cheese and wine. The flavor, scent, and texture of each pear variety enhances both wine and cheese flavors, which is why this classic trio holds a place of honor on tables around the world.


Wine choice is up to you: Suggested wine: Sauvignon blanc, Viognier, Gewurztraminer, emerald Riesling, fume blanc, Beaujolais Nouveau.





Lancashire Hotpot

Meat and potatoes are a classic combination, beloved for its rustic charm but also for its comforting heartiness. The British version of meat and potatoes called Lancashire Hotpot. This dish has everything that we crave: hearty potatoes with a golden crispy top, stewed beef in creamy gravy, and lots of onions and carrots.

2 Pounds lamb shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and sinew and cut into cubes
4 lambs kidneys, cleaned, trimmed, cut into quarters
1/4 Cup All-purpose flour
3 Ounces rendered lard plus more for brushing the potatoes
2 Large Spanish onions, sliced
1 Cup finely chopped celery
1 Large carrot, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
1 3/4 Cups chicken broth
8 Ounces sliced fresh Cremini mushrooms
2 Teaspoons dried herbs (sage, rosemary, and thyme)
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon Kitchen bouquet
2 Bay leaves
Salt
White and black Pepper
3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced


Preheat oven to 325°F. Oil casserole with olive oil. Heat the lard in a large frying pan.

Flour meat and shake off excess. Fry quickly on all sides until brown. Remove meat and line casserole.

Add a bit of additional lard, add sliced onions, chopped celery and carrot to pan and cook until onions begin to clear.

Place vegetables atop of meat.

Sprinkle remaining flour in frying pan and cook, stirring constantly until light brown.
Gradually pour in stock and stir until mixture comes to the boil. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper, herbs, bay leaves, Kitchen bouquet and Worcestershire sauce; simmering until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Correct the seasonings1 and pour over meat and vegetables.

Place overlapping slices of potato to carpet the meat and vegetables. Salt and pepper the potatoes. Cover casserole dish with lid and place in the preheated oven.

Cook for one hour and 40 minutes or  more until the meat is tender. Turn up the oven to 400 F. Remove lid, brush potatoes with lard then continue cooking until potatoes are golden browned. Serve hot.

Notes:

  1. Correct the seasoning could include a touch of vinegar, a teaspoon of sugar, more pepper (including red pepper), some port or Madeira. The gravy should jolly well taste great!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Chinese Sizzling Rice Soup

East Garden, Stockton Calif

3~4 Ounce baby shrimp
3~4 Ounce chicken breast (skinless and boneless) (cut into thin slices)
1 egg white, beaten
2 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Cup peanut oil (for frying)
1 Quart of homemade chicken bone stock made with onions, carrots, celery, ginger, and scallions
1 Ounce sliced cremini mushrooms, sautéed
1 Tablespoon water sliced chestnuts
1 Tablespoon sliced red radishes
1/3 Cup fresh snow peas
½ Large carrot, sliced thinly on diagonal, blanched
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon Shaohsing wine
1 Tablespoon Marin wine
2 Crispy oven-dried jasmine rice cakes1, fried

Mix the shrimp, chicken, egg white, and cornstarch. Let rest 10 minutes.

Bring chicken stock to a low simmer. In a very hot wok, quickly stir fry shrimp and chicken for 2 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Preheat a cup of peanut oil to 375 F in a pot, in preparation for frying the rice cakes.

Quickly stir fry mushroom, water chestnuts, snow peas, peas, carrots, Marin, salt and Shaohsing wine. Add cooked vegetables and shrimp/chicken to stock, simmer on low. Correct seasonings.

Fry two oven-dried rice cakes quickly on both sides in very hot peanut oil. These will puff up and cook in 10 seconds a side. Drain on paper towels, then, in the company of your diners, add rice to soup while still piping hot and sizzling.  Garnish with a bit of soy, diagonally-sliced scallion greens or garlic chives and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately,

Notes:
Rice cakes can be made weeks in advance and store in plastic bags until needed, Make steamed rice as normal, except use less water. Store rice in an open tray for an hour in the refrigerator, then collect and store in a covered bowl overnight. Roll out some rice ¼ thick on parchment paper. Use a wet inverted rice bowl to stamp out “rounds”. Dry these on parchment paper on a cookie sheet for an hour at 300 F in a convection oven. They must be "bone dry" before go into plastic else the will mildew. If you don't think they are dry enough, reduce the heat to 170 F and leave in oven another 30 minutes. Let air dry for 20 minutes before bagging.