Archive for the 'food' Category
By Patrick on Sunday, March 24th, 2013
(photo: Village Voice)
There used to be an incredible Dominican restaurant in New York on 14th Street just west of Seventh Ave, called Sucelt Coffee Shop. It was a family-run hole in the wall serving up some of the most delicious food in the city. It closed about five years ago.
Sucelt had an incredible cubano sandwich, great beef empanadas, orange juice freshly squeezed to order in a squeezing machine in front of you and insanely cheap, all kinds of stews and beans, luscious sweet fried maduros (plantains), and a deeply complex and spicy homemade agrio de naranja (bitter orange salsa) sitting in plastic dispensers on the counter.
But my favorite was the chicken stew with rice and black beans, pictured above. I’ve been trying to reverse-engineer it at home. The new and much lauded Latin, Caribbean and Central American cookbook, Gran Cocina Latina, unfortunately does not contain a recipe. Instead I’ve had to troll blogs and online recipes for pollo guisado, with mixed results.
This chicken stew recipe, from Dominican Flavor, contains some of the odd instructions you get from non-professional recipe writers, such as “bring the oil to a boil.” What I got from following the instructions more or less to a T was the following:
It looked good and tasted good, but the meat was too dry, and it certainly wasn’t the same as the Sucelt recipe. Not enough tomato, no potato. The beans here were Rancho Gordo’s new negro de arbol variety, prepared the simple RG way, and certainly had the right blackness and depth of flavor.
Next up was another non-professional recipe, this time from the Burden Clothing website. The photo certainly looked right, but once again, the recipe suffered from various confusing inconsistencies: potatoes are pictured but not listed in the ingredients; the ingredient list is not in the order called for in the instructions; and there is much vagueness on levels of heat, cooking times, etc. Sometimes vagueness can be a virtue, because it encourages you to experiment more, and in fact this version of the dish came much closer to the ideal.
There were also distinct similarities to the first recipe, such as caramelizing white sugar in the oil before you brown the chicken, which made me think I was getting closer to the real thing. At the same time, it called for adding water to the oil, which maybe is what the first recipe assumed you were doing when it told you to “boil the oil.” Adding water and cooking with the lid closed of course results in steaming the meat, and the result was – no surprise – less dry.
The chicken was moist and falling off the bone, there was the distinct green bell pepper aroma in the stew, and the potatoes were perfect. The only problem was that it could have braised/steamed a bit longer, needed a bit more salt, and perhaps a bit more depth of flavor. It could possibly use chicken stock instead of water, or even a dash of Worcestershire sauce (which is apparently genuinely used in Dominican cuisine). I’ll be trying that next time.
The beans this time were Rancho Gordo’s midnight black beans. The bean recipe this time was Cuban, from Three Guys In Miami. (Black beans are more Cuban; Dominicans normally use red beans, but Sucelt gave you a choice of either one.) I can recommend this recipe unreservedly, though I think I want to use a blacker, denser bean than RG’s midnights next time. I subbed red pepper for green pepper.
By Patrick on Sunday, March 17th, 2013
Here are two vegetable dishes from Fuchsia Dunlop’s new book, Every Grain Of Rice. I’m linking to the British edition because that’s the one I own.
These are both fairly simple and don’t call for too many outlandish ingredients, but there’s one that is an absolute necessity: chilli bean paste from Pixian. Do not buy the standard brands like Lee Kum Kee, which are Cantonese and have a completely different flavor. Look for the word “Pixian” on the label, or the characters 郫县. Dunlop has written a mini-essay on this subject HERE.
The first is twice-cooked Swiss chard. The chard is blanched, stalks and leaves separately, and later stir-fried in the wok, hence twice-cooked. The seasonings include Pixian bean paste, garlic, ginger, fermented black beans, chopped celery, scallion and cilantro. This is a true vegetarian dish – vegan in fact.
The second dish includes a small amount of meat (1/5 lb ground beef), like many Chinese vegetable recipes. It’s simpler to make and focuses more on getting the right degree of wok-sear on the beef and the vegetable. It is “Send the rice down” chopped celery and minced beef, so called because you use it to send the rice down… the ingredients in this one also include Pixian bean paste, of course, plus ginger and Chinkiang (black) vinegar.
By Patrick on Saturday, March 9th, 2013
This Levantine chopped salad looks forward to summer. It’s essential to get the best ingredients – tomatoes at this time of year are particularly problematic, so I recommend getting the smallest, ripest ones you can find on the vine. If even those are mealy or tasteless, try getting a lot of grape tomatoes – they tend to have a fair amount of concentrated sour-sweetness at any time of year. It’s also important to try to get Lebanese-style mini-cucumbers. Full-size supermarket cucumbers are watery and tasteless.
Adapted from Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s Jerusalem.
1 cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt and 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs whole milk
3 stale pitas, torn into bite-size chunks
Plum, cherry or grape tomatoes to equal 3 large tomatoes in season, cut into 2/3-inch dice
3 large radishes, thinly sliced
3 Lebanese or mini-cucumbers, peeled and cut into 2/3-inch dice
2 scallions, thinly sliced (green and white parts)
2 tbs flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
2 tbs fresh mint leaves
1 tbs dried mint
2 cloves of garlic, crushed in a mortar and pestle or on the chopping board
3 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
2 tbs white wine vinegar
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs ground sumac, or more, to garnish
Whisk the yogurt and whole milk together in a bowl and leave in a cool place or in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours, or better yet, overnight, so that bubbles form on the surface. It’s a less sour version of a sort of homemade buttermilk.
Prepare all the ingredients about half an hour prior to serving.
Place the pita bread chunks in a bowl and cover with the buttermilk. Pile all the other ingredients on top except the sumac and mix well. Allow to sit for 10 minutes so that all the flavors combine.
Serve into bowls, drizzle extra olive oil on top, and sprinkle generously with ground sumac.
By Patrick on Sunday, January 20th, 2013
Another recipe from Naomi Duguid’s new Burma: Rivers of Flavor.
Tart garlic chicken, from the Shan region of Burma, may not look like much, but boy it packs a chickeny-lime wallop. It’s a simple hearty dish that is perfect for the winter cold season. The ingredient list is incredibly simple: chicken, garlic, ginger, long green chiles, cilantro and lime juice.
The broth picks up added richness from the hacked bones, but there’s not much else to it.
Served with kachin pounded beef with herbs again, a sort of salad made in a mortar & pestle and infused with Sichuan peppercorns from neighboring China. Plus Burmese tart-sweet chili garlic sauce on the side.
By Patrick on Saturday, January 19th, 2013
Key limes are in season right now and cheap. They are closer in size and rind thickness to Indian limes (confusingly often called lemons there) than our limes, which makes them perfect for pickling.
This recipe from Mahanandi takes only 2 weeks and is extremely easy. Don’t omit the fenugreek seeds (methi). I had some of the finished pickle last night and I’m not dead yet.
By Patrick on Sunday, January 13th, 2013
Adapted from various sources.
1/2 cup dried chickpeas, cooked (preferably in a pressure cooker), cooking liquid reserved
1/4 lb salt pork or pancetta
1/2 onion, finely chopped
celery greens, finely chopped
1 long stalk celery, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1-2 tbs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
4-5 leaves fresh sage, minced
3 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup orzo or other soup pasta like pastina
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, plus more for the table
freshly ground black pepper
Separate the fat from the salt pork or pancetta, and render. Meanwhile, dice the lean. Discard the cracklings.
Heat the rendered pork or pancetta fat in a large saucepan over a medium flame, and add the lean. After it colors all over (about a minute), add the celery greens, celery, carrot and rosemary and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and sage, and saute for another 2 minutes or so.
Add chickpeas, most of the parsley, orzo, and chickpea water to cover by about 1/2 inch, along with salt and pepper. If needed, add more water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Check during simmer and add more water if needed (though not in the last 5 minutes if possible). Add the grated cheese, stir in well, and serve in bowls with the rest of the parsley and more reggiano to add on top.
By Patrick on Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
This Kachin pounded beef salad with herbs comes from Naomi Duguid’s excellent new book, Burma: Rivers Of Flavor. The book is absolutely gorgeous and also contains a fantastic introduction to the cuisines of Burma. Kachin State in the northeast of the country borders China, and this dish contains Sichuan peppercorns two ways. It’s extremely easy to make (especially if you have a large stone mortar and pestle), and explodes with flavor. Would make an excellent accompaniment to a few cold beers.
The hot sauce on the side also comes from the book – tart and sweet chili-garlic sauce, and it’s one of the tastier hot sauces I’ve made recently.
By Patrick on Saturday, December 15th, 2012
Extremely easy recipe from the excellent Fried Neck Bones And Some Home Fries blog.
Seasonal too – one of the Seven Fishes For Seven Dishes meals served in Italy on Christmas Eve.
By Gerard on Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
(above : angry mob reacts to the news that at least two or 3 people didn’t even mention the Total Control 7″)
Around this time every year, your
overpaid overworked editor attempts to coax a list of favorite recordings, books, television programs, life events, etc. out of the label’s artist roster and our rock biz colleagues. In the past, the exercise has been an arduous process, fraught with nagging, teeth-gnashing and no shortage of reluctant participants. In more recent times, however, the serial oversharing epidemic that’s run rampant throughout all online activity has infected our bands and staff alike. The rhetorical question, “who fucking asked you?” cannot be applied in this instance, because they were all asked. For some historical perspective, here’s last year’s pile. Questions or comments about our lousy tastes and/or blatant omissions are welcome (but not necessarily appreciated). And away we go!
By Patrick on Sunday, December 9th, 2012
As temperatures drop around here, thoughts turn to goat. Goat chops, or to be precise, kid chops, are tender and can be patted dry, salted and brought to room temperature just like lamb loin chops. A quick 3-4 minutes per side under the broiler produces this succulence.
These chops were quite thick, so depending on how well done you like your goat, you should adjust your cooking time.