Saturday, April 22, 2017

Steve’s Fabulous Steak Sauce

The color of this sauce is a dark chocolate brown and the flavor not only outstanding on meat but promotes the meat’s flavor marriage to beg red wines.  I use an immersion blender to process the sauce until very fine. If the destination includes small-necked bottles, you may want to consider a course strainer to remove any large bits, which may impede the pour ability. I think the exercise of making a sauce like this is a good one for any chef who may need more faith in their abilities. Achieving this sauce may seem almost magical. Originally, I was intending to mimic A1 Sauce, which is very good. Now, I much prefer this one.


If making a hot and mild version, consider doubling the recipe and split the sauce before adding all of the hot pepper. The sauce is so good that it goes quickly so consider doubling the recipe.

1 Chopped onion
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 Small can tomato paste
Start with 1 cup of water (add more and sauce cooks and to adjust thickness)
2/3 Cup orange juice
1 Teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce
1/8 Cup red wine vinegar
½ Cup brown sugar
1/3 Cup sugar or enough to correct the sweetness
½ Teaspoon of ground ginger to start (adjust to taste)
1/8 Cup lime juice (juice from two limes)
1/8 Teaspoon of ground cloves
1/8 Teaspoon of ground coriander seeds
½ Teaspoon of ground mustard
1½ Cup raisins
½ Cup orange honey
2 Cloves crushed chopped garlic
6-7 Tablespoons of tamarind paste1
1 Tablespoon ground orange rind
White pepper, black and red pepper to taste
Pinch of thyme
Salt to taste

Sauté 1 chopped onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook until onion is translucent. Add ginger and garlic. Cook 1 minute then combine tomato paste, raisins, tamarind paste, lime juice, vinegar, honey and water. Cook down, adding water as necessary, until well blended, about a half an hour. Using a hand-held post blender, blend all the ingredients finely.  Add water as necessary to thin the sauce as it thickens at this stage. Add all other ingredients and cook another 10-15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt, sugar, vinegar levels as necessary. When cool, pour the sauce into canning jars, tightly fit the lids, and sterilize the sealed jars in boiling water for an hour.  The sauce is now ready for long-term storage.  The flavor will deepen and further develop with age.

Note

1.        The paste of the tamarind in 1 pound blocks can be found in Asian markets offering Thai ingredients. Alternatively, use fresh tamarind pods, discard the outer pods, filaments, and seed pods. Softening these by boiling them in a bit of hot water wage makes the paste easier to work with.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hadaegh Ardeshir Persian Shiraz Salad

Many of the Persian dishes Hadaegh Ardeshir taught me are both simple and delightful. Shiraz, Iran is one of the most celebrated cities in the world of Islam. Shiraz City booms with sophistication and has been known as the heartland of Persian culture for over 2000 years. Located in the southeast of Iran, Shiraz city is the capital of Fars Province and has an estimated population of 1,500,000.
 
Shiraz considered to be the city of gardens, due to the
many gardens and fruit trees in the city.

Chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. Sometime herbs such as Persian mint are added. This is easy, refreshing, and goes well with practically anything.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Vin205 Chevre with Orange Honey served with Purple Sweet Potato Chips



Whip the goat cheese with a scant bit of whole cream until creamy. Mix in finely diced bits of chives. Pipe cheese onto a plate dotted with fried purple sweet-potato chips. (Purple sweet potatoes will maintain their coloring, and the flesh of Stokes Purple sweet potatoes will actually brighten!)

This is from a very interesting Bistro in Winston-Salem. See my review on Yelp: Official Yelp Event: Sip Sip Hooray At Vin205 Bistro

Monday, April 3, 2017

Steve's Best Ever Lemon Meringue Pie

Meringue bakes 20 minutes at 325 F.

If this pie was any better than it is I would have to kill myself. You have to pay attention making this pie. Take the phone off the hook.

The key to a heaped meringue with a vaulted dome is that the filling be hot right out of the oven when the Meringue top is assembled. The meringue then cooks from the top oven heat, and from the bottom, from the heat of the filling. I start the filling 10 -15 minutes before the crust shell is due from the oven. When the filling is in preparation, all the ingredients for the meringue need be pre-measured; the cornstarch for stabilization of the meringue is also already prepared. You will need a small pastry brush to anchor the meringue to the crust.

Prepare and measure out ingredients for meringue topping. Separate eggs and allow them to come to room temperature. Prepare and pre-bake a bottom piecrust first. Prepare stabilization mixture (see meringue below.) 15-20 Minutes into the baking of the crust, start the filling.

Prepare and pre-bake a 9 inch bottom piecrust, in a 325 F oven. Prick the crust with a fork all over. Cover the crust with tin foil, shinny side down. Fill pie with uncooked dry beans, rice or pie weights, especially the sides. Bake 20 minutes, carefully remove weights and foil, bake 5-10 minutes more until golden brown.

Filling:
Whisk thoroughly in a medium saucepan
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter below)

Whisk and blend with:
1 1/2 cups water
Start with 1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
4 teaspoons of finely chopped or grated lemon zest
Taste and add additional lemon until just quite tart.

Whisk in the yolks of 5 eggs until creamy. ((Keep the egg whites for the Meringue))  Add room temperature sweet butter (1/2 stick); cut up in small bits to aid blending.

Whisk continuously over medium heat to a simmer then cook 1 additional minute until the filling is thick. Pour the filling into the hot shell. If the meringue is not immediately available, cover with plastic wrap to prevent a crust layer from forming. The plastic wrap may later be removed when ready for meringue topping.

Starch Stabilized Meringue

Cornstarch mixture
Prepare this first, allowing ample time for this to cool.
In a small saucepan, mix one tablespoon each of cornstarch and sugar. Stir in 1/3 cup of water. Heat on medium, stirring continuously; allow thickening into a clear paste by allowing it to boil 15 seconds. Cover, cool, and set aside.

Combine 5 egg white, 1-teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon of Cream of tartar
Beat until soft peaks. Gradually add 1/2 cup of super fine sugar. Beat until stiff peaks but not until dry. Reduce speed to slow, adding a tablespoon at a time of Cornstarch mixture until all incorporated.  Beat on high for ten seconds. With a brush, brush some meringue all around edge of hot pie crust. Use a spatula; wipe some meringue all around edge of hot pie, the heap on balance of meringue, spoon with a large cake knife to a dome. Center in middle of oven. Bake 20 minutes at 325 or until golden peaks are done.

Notes:

  1. This pie can me made as a Key lime pie using Key Lime juice. The Key lime is an Asian citrus species generally smaller in diameter and has more seeds than the common lime. The Key lime is yellow when ripe but usually available green commercially. It is more tart and and has a slightly bitter flavor. A true adult plant can be successfully propagated from wet seeds taken from its fruit.
  2. Meyer lemons are sweeter and much less acidic tasting than regular lemons.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Basmati Rice Persian Style (Tahdig style)

Throughout the Middle East, this is the rice of choice. This is a very long grained variety. In Iran and Iraq, the rice can be as long as 1/2 inch. Rice is cooked differently in these Persian regions.

Washed Basmati rice is cooked in cold water in an open pot, adding hot water as necessary (¼ of an inch above the top of the rice is the water level) until the rice is just firm, about 10 minutes after the rice has reached boiling. Then, it is drained in a colander. A thick-bottomed large pot with a tight fitting lid is used. The pot is well oiled on the inside-bottom and lined with 1/8 thick slices of potato. (Be generous with the oil.) The rice is heaped in a cone on top the potatoes and a towel is wrapped around the outside of the rice. The lid is added. The rice is then placed on an even very low heat for an hour. The rice finishes cooking slowly. The excess liquid is absorbed by the towel. Once towel is removed, fluff rice with a fork.

Persian style Basmati rice, once cooked, is then flavored in a number of ways: Adding Persian dill, sumac leaves, cooked red Zabresks (Barberries) (similar to tiny Cranberries), baby lima beans are sometimes used. Additionally, saffron in dissolved in 3 tablespoons of hot water until its bright yellow and poured over a ½ cup of the cooked rice. The cooked rice immediately soaks this up, taking on the bright yellow of the saffron, without undue effects of the excess moisture. The bright yellow rice is then sprinkled over the other rice as a flavorful garnish. The Persians are particularly fond to the crisp potato layer on the bottom of the pot – many Persians consider it the best part of this dish. The guest are always served an ample portion of the crisp layer a top the rice.

An important cooking concept is indicated in this Persian recipe. The recipe makes use of a “sacrificial layer”. The concept may be extended or any number of cooking methods where that which is used in promotion of cooking could be discarded or selected for its separating or insulation properties.

Note:

  1. Tahdig (Persian: ته دیگ‎‎, tah "bottom" + dīg "pot") is a specialty of Iranian cuisine consisting of crisp rice taken from the bottom of the pot in which the rice (chelow) is cooked. It is traditionally served to guests at a meal. Ingredients commonly added to tahdig include yogurt and saffron, bread, potato and tomato. Variations of tahdig include placing thin vegetable slices  at the bottom of the pot, so they crisp up instead of the rice. Common vegetables include potato, carrots, and lettuce. Iranians also apply this crisping method to spaghetti as well, providing a hardened base. [ From Wikipedia]

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Chinese Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour1 Pork is perhaps the best-known Chinese-Cantonese dish. It is very popular because of the flavorsome sweet and sour sauce—the sweetness from sugar plus the tangy ketchup and sharp rice wine vinegar and with  crisp fried pork pieces. The green,optionally red bell peppers, and pineapple chunks and onions add flavor and color.

1 pound chopped pork (Boston butt)
1~2 Green bell pepper
Slices of carrot, blanched
1 whole large onion, chopped
1 can of Dole pineapple chunks, reserve pineapple juice
Peanut or corn oil
Soy sauce
3 tablespoons sherry or Shaoxing Rice Wine
1 clove chopped garlic
2 Tablespoons chopped ginger
2 Tablespoons catsup
1 cup of good chicken stock and some orange juice
2 Tablespoons sugar or 50-50 with brown sugar
3 Tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons corn starch
Red food coloring, optional
1 - 2 Tablespoons of ground California pod chilis

Marinate  chopped pork in refrigerator over night in  sherry, chopped garlic, crushed ginger and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Remove meat and set to drain then pat dry.

When at room temperature:

Heat 3 cups of oil to 375o F in a deep pot. Roll meat in corn starch. Cook five to eight pieces of meat at a time until brown and crisp. Remove with slotted spoon, drain on paper towels. Repeat until all meat cooked. Cover with a towel.

In a 2 quart sauce pan, combine 2 tablespoons of corn starch with 6 tablespoons of vinegar. Stir then add 1 cup of good chicken stock and 6 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of soy, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 - 2 tablespoons of ground California Pod Chilis, a pinch or two of cayenne pepper or white pepper to taste. Add reserve pineapple juice. Cook stirring until thick. Correct the seasoning. Set aside.

In your very hot wok, add 1 tablespoons of peanut oil, Stir fry onions and green peppers, a few thin wide diagonal slices of carrot. Add pineapple, hot sweet-sour sauce and all of the meat. Heat and serve on a oval plate.

Goes well with Thai jasmine rice. Garnish with cilantro and garlic chives.

Notes:

  1. Sweet and sour is a generic term that encompasses many styles of sauce, cuisine and cooking methods. Commonly used in China, it has been used in England since the Middle Ages, and remains popular in both Europe and America.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Hasselback Potatoes


Hasselback potatoes trace to Stockholm, Sweden, where the restaurant Hasselbacken first served them in the 1940s. Initially, the slices are closed but open as they cook where the edges become crisp and their center softens nicely.
http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/hasselback-potatoes/238803


Maris Pipers are the best potato for these, but any medium-sized, starchy  baking potato will also work. Flavorful olive oil is used or good sweet butter.

Hasselback Potatoes

2 medium Maris Piper baking potatoes
2 cloves garlic, sliced, (optional)
Extra virgin unfiltered first-cold pressed olive oil or clarified butter
Sea salt and white pepper
Rosemary, minced

If your potatoes insist on rolling around, shave off a small strip lengthwise so that they can sit on a flat bottom. Using a sharp knife, slice the potato thinly across, width-wise. To make things much easier, lay two pencil (or wooden spoon handles) either side of the potato as a knife-stop. Stuff thin slices of garlic (optionally) between the slices. Drizzle with olive oil or clarified melted butter. Bake for 20~30 minutes at 350 F. Add more butter or oil and sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt and white pepper. Continue to bake another for 20~30 minutes until the potato is cooked through and the edges are crispy.