M. Andrew Gordon

Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

Asparagus – raw and uncut but not unshaved

In Main Dish, Side Dishes on March 29, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Tonight’s recipe owes to a strange confluence of events and things in the pantry.  I had seen some recipes for raw asparagus salads and had been sufficiently intrigued about the prospects.  Having a bunch of asparagus in the refrigerator, I knew that I would try to make a salad with that.  But I didn’t have anything else which I planned to focus the meal on, so I went with the classic combination of eggs and asparagus, which seems to always have poached eggs and cooked asparagus or a frittata with asparagus.  But I imagined a fried egg, sunny-side up, with yolk oozing into the salad.

I had two-thirds of my meal figured out, or at least sketched out, and the final part decided itself the day before.  While browsing through my favorite produce shop yesterday, I came across purple yams and decided I should try them.  So I bought one, which as luck would have it, would be perfect for a side dish here.  I didn’t do anything fancy with the yam, just cut it up, dressed it with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and coriander and roasted it at 375°F for about 25 minutes.  I’ve got to say, I hope I can do some more cooking with the purple yam, which had a very nice sweetness to it, probably more so than the more common yellow sweet potato.

Shaving asparagus seems like a relatively easy thing to accomplish.  And perhaps it is.  But I have to say, it was more of a nuisance than I imagined.  I often use my vegetable peeler to shave carrots into a cole slaw.  I envisioned something similar with the asparagus but it never quite worked out as well.  For the dressing, I mixed together freshly squeezed lemon juice and riesling and let that boil, than I added some Dijon mustard and butter.  Salt and pepper finished the dressing.

Shaved Asparagus Salad with Eggs

  • 1 lb asparagus, shaved
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons Riesling or other fruity, white wine
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano
  1. Shave asparagus into a medium bowl.  In saucepan, combine lemon juice and Riesling.  Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half.
  2. Add Dijon and ½ tablespoon of butter to lemon-wine mixture.  Whisk until combined and let sauce cool.
  3. In large non-stick skillet, melt the remaining butter.  Carefully slide eggs into pan to keep the whites from running.  Let cook until whites are nearly set.  Remove from heat.
  4. Pour dressing over asparagus and toss to combine.  Transfer to plates, top with eggs, and sprinkle Pecorino Romano over eggs.  Garnish with freshly ground black pepper if desired.
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“Quick” Chicken Mole

In Main Dish on March 28, 2010 at 7:38 pm

A while back I got a call out on here to make a mole.  Now, since I had never made mole before, I figured it might be better to try my hand at an actual recipe rather than just fly by the seat of my pants as I so often do when I enter the kitchen.  In February, while planning a little dinner party in honor of myself (my birthday), I decided to make mole.  I scanned a few different recipes, familiarized myself with the basic ingredients – let me just say, there is nothing basic about mole or the many different recipes that exist – and settled on using Rick Bayless’ Classic Red Mole.  Mr. Bayless is a pretty well respected chef who has really brought traditional Mexican cuisine from the brink of lousy margaritas, overly cheesy enchiladas, and limp tacos.  But the recipe made a ¾ of a gallon, far more mole than I would probably need.  I halved the recipe and still wound up with more than I needed.  Using one of my favorite tips for freezing leftover sauces, stocks, or wine, I bought a couple new ice cube trays and divided the remaining mole between them.  Now, when I need some mole for something, I can pop out a cube or two or three and instant mole.  It’s kind of perfect, actually.

I’ve already made a chicken and bean rice with mole in it.  And, last weekend, I pulled out the mole trays and made some quick mole chicken.  Unfortunately, you can’t really follow this recipe unless you have mole already made.  But here’s what you do.

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Rinse and dry four chicken legs and thighs.  Give the legs a good pinch of black pepper and salt.  Roast for one hour.
  • Periodically while the legs are roasting, brush liberally with mole.  You’ll probably need about one cup.  Reserve a small amount for finishing the chicken.
  • After the hour, preheat the broiler.  Broil the chicken for a few minutes until the skin is golden, being careful not to burn the mole.
  • Let chicken cool, about 20 minutes.  Scrape the mole off and place in a 9X9 pan.  Remove the skin from the chicken and using your hands, pull the meat off the bones and place in the 9X9 pan.  Stir all meat into the sauce, and if necessary, use the reserved mole.  Cover and place in warm oven.
  • Heat tortillas in skillet and serve with mole chicken and a good salsa or citrus slaw.

S’more Bread Pudding

In Desserts on March 16, 2010 at 8:07 pm

When rain starts falling by multiple inches per day over several days, one of the first things I think to do is to cook.  This weekend was the perfect opportunity to spend time in the kitchen and I made homemade pasta, yeast-risen bread, an incredibly flavorful ragú, and s’more bread pudding.  Only the latter item, however, was a new recipe and thus fitting the criteria for being shown on Just Add Bacon.

Bread pudding is one of my favorite desserts but I do not really care for the traditional bread pudding that is full of raisins (though I do enjoy raisins).  Instead, I like the blank slate that crusty bread baked in a custard provides: I’ve made delicious coconut bread puddings; pumpkin and cranberry; apple and walnut.

The other thing about bread pudding, or what I call bread pudding, is that I’m not necessarily a fan of recipes that yield an almost molten pudding.  I like the bread to retain its shape, which is handy, because the only way to get that pudding-like consistency is to let the bread soak overnight.  My recipe calls for soaking for only a matter of minutes.  Maybe it isn’t traditional, but I like it and think it’s pretty delicious.

In this case, Lena and I had the leftover ingredients for S’mores and some leftover bread.  On Sunday I combined the two into what I think is my definitive s’more bread pudding.  The trick is to roll each piece of soaked bread in graham cracker crumbs, there by coating each piece in graham cracker.  Then you can just mix in chunks of marshmallow and chocolate.  The final flourish, which was Lena’s suggestion, was to add some peanut butter, which is practically second to bacon on the order of things that you can just add to any recipe!

S’more Bread Pudding – Yields 2 Servings

  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 cups chopped bread
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs, about 4 sheets
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup packed marshmallows, chopped
  • 1 bar chocolate, chopped
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of peanut butter

1.    Preheat oven to 350° F.  Use butter to grease a large ramekin or two 1 cup ramekins.

2.    Place crumbled graham crackers in large shallow bowl.  In mixing bowl, whisk eggs and milk to combine.  In small batches, dip bread chunks in milk mixture and then coat in graham crackers.  Place in empty mixing bowl.  Repeat until all bread has been dipped.

3.    Add marshmallows and chocolate to bread chunks.  Pour any remaining graham crackers into dish with bread.  Add peanut butter to remaining milk mixture and whisk to combine.

4.    Pour milk mixture over bread, chocolate, and marshmallows.  Stir to combine and pour into the prepared dishes.  Bake for 35 minutes.

Waffles…with pork?

In Main Dish, Side Dishes on March 7, 2010 at 10:30 am

The tenderloin in the recipe is pictured on the bottom; the top tenderloin had a less robust rub on it.

For the third installment of the James Bond Movie Night that my brother and his fiancée have been hosting, where we would be watching Goldfinger, I felt compelled to bring along something interesting.  But the movie provided few clues about food consumed during the movie (and it’s one of the few Ian Fleming novels I either haven’t read or just don’t currently own).  There is a scene toward the beginning where Bond, M, and Colonel Smithers discuss gold over some “very disappointing brandy” but I couldn’t remember what their meal looked like.  And there is a scene where our dear boy Auric and his chauffeur-assassin Odd Job stop in the Alps (or some other European mountain range) and eat some local fruit.  Beyond that, the only culinary cue might be Colonel Sanders and his famous fried chicken getting a little product placement in the scenes in Kentucky.  Fried chicken just wasn’t going to happen given the limited time between work and dinner.

So, with those lackluster clues to work on, I decided to just go crazy, utilizing some good American elements: winter squash, waffles, and barbecue.  It can’t be very often that those three things find themselves in one meal but what I envisioned is this: a buttercup squash puree being worked into a waffle set atop the remaining squash puree and topped with grilled pork tenderloin and smoked whipped cream.

Surprisingly, it all worked.  The waffle carries just a subtle squash flavor which is heightened by the squash puree; the pork was standing in for fried chicken, and the whipped cream ties the pork and waffle together, both in flavor and in texture.

Squash Puree

  • 1 buttercup squash, roasted
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

Squash-buttermilk Waffles

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • ½ cup squash puree

Smoked Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon liquid smoke

For squash:

Scoop out flesh and place in medium saucepan.  Add buttermilk, salt, and honey and heat over medium-low heat.  Stir frequently and use a potato masher to create a smooth consistency.  Set aside.

For pork:

  1. Light grill over medium-high heat.
  2. Combine all spices in bowl and pat over tenderloin, working into meat.  This can be done a day or two ahead of time.
  3. Cook tenderloin, turning to allow the exterior to brown about two to three minutes.  Move to slightly lower heat and cook for an additional twelve minutes.  Remove from heat and let rest.
  4. Slice tenderloin in about ½ inch slices.

For waffles:

  1. Heat waffle iron and preheat oven to lowest setting.
  2. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.  Stir or sift until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, melted butter, buttermilk, and squash.  Mix well.
  4. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until incorporated being careful not to overwork batter.  Let rest for five minutes.
  5. Cook waffles, about ½ cup of batter at a time, as per your waffle iron (I can’t help you here, sorry).
  6. When waffles cook, transfer them to oven to keep them from getting soggy.  Repeat with remaining batter.

For whipped cream:

In bowl of standing mixer, begin whipping cream at low speed.  Add maple syrup and liquid smoke.  Turn machine to medium and let run until peaks form in cream.  OR, combine all ingredients and use handheld mixer to whip cream.

Place ½ cup of squash puree on plate with waffle, top with a slice or two of pork and a dollop of the cream.  Drizzle with maple syrup, honey, or agave syrup as you see fit.