Sunday, June 03, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Cannellinis with Chevre
When that awesome, huge package of chevre was hanging around our house, before we finished it off with Peter’s (delicious) bread on Monday, I shoved a spoonful into some hot beans that I had warmed on the stove and threw in some coriander and cumin. The cheese was so soft to begin with that it melted instantly and created a really nice, warm, comforting bowl of mush.
White Bean Dip
1 can Cannellini beans
1 roasted red pepper
lots of salt, pepper, and fresh herbs
a healthy sprinkling of breadcrumbs.
Put everything in the food processor and blend.
This one is from the amazing Gourmet Cookbook, which we swear by in Bed Stuy. There had been some talk about how to make hummus really creamy before, and I think the addition of the bread crumbs could be a help. It gave the dip plenty of body, and it really came out smooth without the addition of any fat. Not sure how it would work with chickpeas, which tend to be drier than cannelinis, but successful here, nonetheless.
Herb wise, I used a bunch of basil and parsley from the jungle that has become our front steps. Super easy and kinda pretty too.
Anyhow, I’m always looking for new bean-y things to try, especially if they involve a food processor, so feel free to suggest.
And I’m just gonna put it out there that Tagalongs may actually be better than Thin Mints.
The burgers I made this weekend turned out pretty well (pun intended...nice!). I think what made them turn out so well (again!) was the added sausage that Pete and I bought at the amazing Italian deli down 7th Ave. There's not much of a recipe, so just enjoy the pictures.
Also, with considerably less success, I tried to make sweet potato fries. While they were still tasty, they lacked the crispiness that I had been hoping for. Some people still ate them.
Monday, May 21, 2007
I envy Simon’s passion and patience—the way he lovingly cares for his collards and kale, infusing them with a precise blend of spices probably ground by hand, massaging every leaf clean, and cooking to perfection—but sometimes you don’t have the time or energy for all of that foreplay. I offer two quick green ideas as a counterpoint, a complement, a quickie to his honeymoon.
One For The Top Of The Stove...
Ok, so this is essentially a stripped down version of Simon’s, I admit it.
-Wash and chop into bite-sized pieces
-Heat a bit of olive oil in a large skillet (or pot, or wok, I don’t care). When it’s hot throw in some garlic. And yes, I love the pre-minced kind you buy at the store; it’s always ready for some action. Cook it all a bit.
-Throw in the greens, stems first if you aren’t as lazy as I am, and cook, stirring, over medium-high or so. I really couldn’t tell you how long it takes. They’ll wilt but stay bright green.
-While the leaves are wilting, grind some salt and pepper into the mix, plus a little heat if you choose (cayenne is nice). I like cumin in everything.
-When it’s done, turn off the heat and throw in some acid. Lemon juice works well, so does vinegar. ‘Tis all.
And One For The Bottom…
Roasted Kale is nearly orgasmic. Thank you, Michael Pollan.
-Wash, separate the stems from the leaves, and chop.
-Heat the oven to 450 degrees, the hotter the better.
-On a sheet pan, spread out the bite size leaves of the kale, spray lightly with olive oil and season. Salt and Pepper are, of course, essential, but again, add whatever the hell you want. I’m a sucker for red pepper flakes, as un-gourmet as they are.
-Stick it in the over and roast until crispy, and eat with your fingers. Only with your fingers. Nice with some vinegar thrown on top too.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Greens do not need a recipe. Accordingly, this rather exhaustive list is not so much a recipe as it is a set of notes. No measurements have been given, because none are (or should be) used. Greens should not be about an intensity of focus. Cooking them is really about throwing a bunch of stuff in a pot and letting it simmer until it is delicious. This is the essence of the recipe, and greens may be cooked as simply as that. If one wishes to incorporate these techniques into the cooking process, however, something that is already delicious will only get better.
When I made these greens for the brunch in March, I utilized several different approaches towards the cooking of greens, involving flavors and techniques from several different green-friendly cultures. The oil infusion is drawn out of the standard Indian approach towards spices. The liquid mix—tossing together wine, broth, and brown sugar—is second-generation American. The reservation of the pot likker was drawn from the south; and the uses that it is put to, found in the third installment to come, will be French and Portuguese.
Fusion is nothing new, of course (white guys with dreads and 3-inch ear plugs are collecting social-security right this moment), but greens are so direct, happy, and non-confrontational that they are a great opportunity to practice these techniques. This dish will always be satisfying, but when you get something just right it will let you know.
KITCHEN SINK GREENS
KITCHEN SINK GREENS
Notes on Equipment.
Large cooking device: This can be a pot, saucepan, or a dutch oven. Make this as big as you can.
A large bowl: You will want somewhere to put and move your heaps of greens. This should also be used for reserving the pot likker, so it should be large enough to handle…
A colander. A large mesh sieve will do as well.
Kale (get twice as much as you think you’ll need, as it cooks down)
Onion (1 onion per big bunch of kale or collards)
Garlic (as much as you like)
- 2 parts Tumeric
- 2 parts Cumin Powder
- 1 part Coriander Powder
- 1 part Garam Masala
- 1 part Cayenne Pepper
- 1 part Smoked Paprika
- ½ part Ginger Powder
- Red Wine
- Rice Vinegar
- Dry Vermouth
- Hot Sauce
- Vegetable broth
This recipe takes place through 4 steps: Prep, Infuse, Wilt, Simmer, Drain.
- Rinse the greens for grit: This can be done by hand, in a colander, or by waving them through a large bowl of water. Dry if you wish.
- Prep your workspace. Greens will take up a lot of space, so make sure to have an extremely large container to deposit them into. You will want a large bowl for the greens, a medium bowl for the stems, and a small trash bowl for the iffy bits.
- Strip the leaves from the stems. One easy way to do strip the leaves is to draw a paring knife along the stem on each side. With kale, it is often easy to pull the leaves from the stems in pieces.
- Chiffonade: Spread the leaves flat in a stack, like you’re about to roll a cigar. Roll them up, and tuck the edge under, where it will be held by the cutting board. Slice your tube o’ greens into thin strips. If you’re doing this with a flat-leaf green, cutting the tube at an angle will give you grade-school thunderbolts.
- Chop the Stems: Gather together a handful of the stems. Chop off the cruddy ends and discard. Chop the stems reasonably short, in 1/8th inch segments.
Onion and Garlic
- Cube the onion into 1/8th inch size: there’s a billion ways. Look out for future notes on my favorite onion techniques.
- Mess up the garlic: You have three options—press, mince, or mash. If you want mashed-up garlic and don’t have a press on hand, you can grind the garlic across the cutting board with the flat of the knife, dragging the spine of the knife against the cutting board.
- Throw all the powders together into a small cup or shot glass—they will all go in together.
- Crack the cinnamon in half, and leave it on hand. It’ll go in first.
- Mix everything in the liquids header together. Dissolve the brown sugar into it, and stir. The taste should be that of a balanced vinaigrette. Keep it in a glass (with a spout, if possible) on hand by the stove.
- If you are including the raisins, drop them in the liquid to plump.
1. Infusing Oil
- Heat your huge pot to medium. Add the butter and the ghee (the oil) in equal parts. Wait until they are liquid.
- Drop in the onions. Cook them until they begin to turn translucent, then scoop them out of the pan or scrape them out to the sides. You don’t need to be precise and get every one, but the oil needs to pool at the bottom of the pan free of onion. If there is little oil left, add some more to the pan.
- Drop in the cinnamon stick and the garlic. Once the smell of cinnamon wafts out of the pan,
- Throw in the spice powders. Stir vigorously to combine with the oil. Once the smells start coming up (10 to 30 seconds),
- Incorporate the onion back into the pan. Stir to coat the onion with the spice-ghee.
2. Wilting the Greens
- Take two generous handfuls of greens, and throw them into the pot. The pot should not overflow, but you should no longer be able to see the bottom
- Stir lazily, tossing the greens every minute or two, until the greens have turned bright and their volume has decreased.
- Pull them out of the pot, and repeat for another generous clump. If you’re feeling cavalier and you have a really big pot, don’t bother pulling them out—just add more greens.
- Once all the greens are wilted,
3. Cooking the Greens
- Throw all the greens back into the pot. Pour the liquid mixture in there.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for as long as you want. Add in salt and pepper to adjust the flavor. Taste often.
- You can pull the greens out early, when they have just turned a darker green and still have a bite to them—then the flavor will be light on the outside, with the distinctive greens bitterness. Or you can wait until they melt down soft and lose a little color—then you’ll have a full incorporation of flavors with a little less green presence.
4. Draining the Greens
- The greens should be cooking in a nice pool of liquid by then. This is the pot likker, and it is spectacular and amazing. Its got a significant portion of the nutrients of the greens, all the flavor of the spices, and a deep savoury richness to boot. The pot likker is half the reason to make greens this way, so make sure to reserve it.
- Put a colander over a wide pot or bowl. If you are using the same bowl that housed the raw greens, don’t forget to rinse it out.
- Put the assemblage in the sink (this may get messy).
- Pour the greens into the colander. Spill as little as possible. Check the level of pot likker. If the level is below the bottom of the colander, leave it in the bowl. If it comes above the bottom, place the colander on a wide plate or bowl with a lip.
- Let the greens drain for 2 minutes.
Greens are really meant to share the plate, so they will taste best when paired with protein and carbohydrate. Cheese and meat will mix well with them. Neutral carbohydrates will also appreciate them: think about grits or polenta, or thick hunks of bread. A poached egg will do wonders when cracked into a bed of these greens. Your mouth will love you.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Greens grow best during the winter. Way back when—back when the world was still tied to the seasons—this was a godsend; all that nutrition coming in a handy package, growing just when we needed it most. We may be able to get mangos in February, but even now greens seem a little miraculous. When all the produce we’re eating is shipped up from the southern hemisphere, we can still get greens fresh—even if they’re not always at the greenmarket stands, they’re growing out of the ground six stops out of grand central.
Greens tell us when they’re done by sight and smell and sound. But they’re durable cookers, too—we can forget about them for a while, and they’ll still come out pretty much fine. We can decide, like I usually do, to throw in something halfway through cooking that really should have gone in first, and they’ll roll with it. They even make their own gravy. Whatever made greens made them right.
Accordingly, greens are utilized in a legion of cuisines. The
In Part Two, a recipe of sorts appears.