Category Archives: Food Anecdotes

Sunday Dinner – Cocoa and Spice Slow-Roasted Pork with Onions (and some sides)

Music: On Melancholy Hill – Gorillaz

We held our annual Holiday party this last weekend.  The usual suspects attended with some new additions.  Next year I’m going to need more chairs! (or a bigger apartment?).  I spent some time with older Bon Appetit magazines and created a really lovely meal.   We made Cocoa and Spice Slow-Roasted Pork with Onions, Green beans with Pancetta and a Mushroom Potato Gratin.

What you’ll need for the spice rub:

1/2 tablespoon whole white peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt (preferably gray crystals
1 tablespoon plus 2 1/4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Stir peppercorns and coriander in small skillet over medium heat until spices are darker in color, about 5 minutes.

  • Transfer toasted spices to mortar and pestle and grind finely.

  • Place in small bowl; mix in remaining ingredients.

  • This can be made 1 week ahead.

What you’ll need for the Pork:

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds onions plus 2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 cup of  water
1 7-pound pork shoulder butt with bone
  • Preheat oven to 300°F.
  • Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.
  • Add onions and sage; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté 10 minutes.

  • Add water; cover and cook until onions are soft, about 15 minutes.
  • Uncover; continue to cook until onions are beginning to brown and water has evaporated, about 15 minutes.

  • Sprinkle spice rub on large sheet of foil. Roll pork in rub, pressing to coat (some of rub will be leftover). Set pork on rack in large roasting pan.

  • Top pork with 1/3 of onions; scatter remaining onions around pork in pan.

  • Roast pork and onions until onions are deep brown, stirring occasionally, about 3 hours.
  • Transfer onions from pan to medium bowl.
  • Flip pork and continue to roast pork until very tender and thermometer inserted into center registers 165°F, about 2 1/2 hours longer.

  • Transfer pork to platter. Keep onions aside and add to green beans.

Green Beans with Sage and Pancetta

What you’ll need:
2 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
10 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh sage
Fleur de sel
  • Line baking sheet with several layers of paper towels.
  • Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes depending on size of beans. Drain.
  • Spread beans out on paper towels.
  • Cut pancetta into small cubes.

  • Combine pancetta and 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet. Sauté over medium heat until pancetta is crisp, separating pieces with 2 forks, about 10 minutes.
  • Add sage and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to plate.
  • Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add beans and sauté until heated through, about 5 minutes.
  • Add pancetta mixture and toss to blend. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to large bowl.

From bonappetit.com

Potato-Mushroom Gratin

What you’ll need for the Gratin:
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt plus additional for mushrooms
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus additional for mushrooms
1 1/4 cups (or more) heavy whipping cream, divided
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces), divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
12 ounces fresh crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Brush 13x9x2-inch glass or oval ceramic baking dish with 2 tablespoons oil.
  • Cut potatoes into 1/8″ pieces.
  • Arrange 1/3 of potatoes, slightly overlapping, in dish.
  • Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour 1/3 cup cream over; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layering 1/3 of     potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/3 cup cream, and 1/4 cup cheese 2 more times.
  • Bake uncovered until potatoes are tender, adding cream by tablespoonfuls if dry, about 45 minutes.
  • Remove from oven; maintain oven temperature.
  • Sprinkle thyme and garlic slices over gratin.
  • Toss mushrooms in medium bowl with 3 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper.
  • Arrange mushroom slices atop gratin around edge of dish.
  • Drizzle with 1/4 cup cream; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese.
  • Continue to bake uncovered until mushrooms are tender and potato edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes longer.
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    Filed under cookbooks, Food Anecdotes, Pork, Recipes, Sides, Sunday Dinner

    Happy Halloween!

    from Brooklyn Plated.  We’re going on a culinary adventure through Ipswich and Salem MA this weekend.  We plan to take part in the witch trial reenactments – I can hardly contain my excitement.

    How great is that platter?? My friend Emily sent it to us for an anniversary gift, which falls around the same time as Plated’s anniversary too!

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    Filed under Food Anecdotes, General Rantings, Kitchen Things

    Oyster Crab

    Whatever is an oyster crab?  Once in a long while one discovers a tiny little crab living in an oyster. Due to ocean patterns and filtration systems, sometimes tiny crabs lodge themselves into other oyster shells.  They are affectionately called “lodgers”.  Apparently it is a rarity to find one. Recently, when home shucking some oysters, we found two! What better way to enjoy this delicacy than to fry it up and chomp on it. To explain in a bit more depth, we found this fun article from December 15, 1907 published in the New York Times.

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    Filed under Fish, Food Anecdotes, Recipes

    Reggie III Mushroom Stroganoff

    Music: Big Wave – Jenny and Johnny

    You know what I did this week?  I catered my first movie! It was lots of work in our tiny kitchen and I felt like a train conductor on the cooking line (that was terrible) but I think I liked it! I didn’t take lots of pictures because, as I mentioned, I was on a tight schedule. It was pretty satisfying knowing that 10 people somewhere in Queens were eating Plated food…and hopefully enjoying it. Did I mention they were all vegetarians?  Have you seen my posting on Duck Confit where we actually cook meat in duck fat? Needless to say, vegetarian cooking is a challenge. I made a lot of standards but a few new things…here was one:


    1 tablespoon butter
    2 large garlic cloves, chopped
    1 large onion, thinly sliced
    1 shallot
    2 pounds mushrooms, sliced (I used a combo of portabello, button and shitake)
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup brandy
    2 tsp. of thyme
    1 cup nonfat sour cream
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    12 ounces egg noodles
    • Melt butter in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high-heat.
    • Add onion and shallot and sauté for 10 minutes until soft.

    • Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
    • Wash the mushrooms with water. I know you aren’t really supposed to do this but the liquid that cooks off will help with this recipe.
    • Add mushrooms and sauté until tender and most liquid in pot evaporates, about 10 minutes.

     

    These pictures are terrible...

     

    • Reduce heat to medium. Add flour and stir 1 minute.
    • Add brandy and cook until mixture thickens, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. You’ll smell when the alcohol cooks off.
    • Add thyme
    • Mix in sour cream, then nutmeg. Season mushroom mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Add egg noodles to pot; toss to blend well and serve.

     

    I mean, wow.

     

    If you want to know more about the movie, visit Lambsgrove Productions and see their upcoming projects page.  There you can find a link for their trailer on Kickstarter.

    Also, I know we’ve been posting slowly lately but as the holiday season nears I know we’ll be entertaining more and more so look out for new recipes soon!

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    Filed under Duck, Food Anecdotes, Pasta, Recipes, Sauces

    Redhook Round-Up

    Yes, yes…we hear a lot about Redhook these days.  Pretty much every major magazine featured a piece on this neighborhood this summer…but you know what? this area deserves it…it’s this neat little gem nestled into the coziest corner of Brooklyn.  It’s filled with great shops and even better food and when I go there I feel like I am transported to a 19th century portside enclave complete with anchor garbage cans and nautically named locations.

    On Tuesdays you can find me helping out the lovely illustrator and shopkeeper, Jane Buck of Foxy and Winston.  You’ll recognize this place by the darling shop window full of onesies and cards – where occasionally you will find Hope… the cutest beagle ever, this is her favorite spot. One Tuesday in July, my pal Cia met me in Redhook and we did a tasting tour down Van Brunt street.  Here are some of the highlights!

    I started with lunch at Fort Defiance.  I ordered what I normally order there; the smoked salmon on multigrain bread with crème fraiche, cucumber and watercress (although they are known for their Muffaletta).

    We made our way to the Redhook Lobster Pound where we ordered one Connecticut style Lobster roll (warm with butter) and one Maine style Lobster Roll (cold with a little mayo).  Usually I’m all for Connecticut style (seeing as though I’m from there) but their Maine style sure is yummy.

    Since we were just steps from Baked we stopped in for a Chocolate Chip Cookie.  SERIOUSLY yummy.

    Even though we were pretty stuffed at this point we went to The Good Fork for some cocktails and their well known dumplings.  Annnnnd we slipped in a lovely grilled calamari salad as well.  Couldn’t hurt at this point!

    We finished the night with a twilight tasting of Domaine de Canton at Dry Dock.  It was a good day.

    I think we covered all the basics, besides IKEA and Fairway that is.  If you haven’t, I hope you can visit Redhook some day. It really is one of my favorite one stop neighborhoods in all of NYC.

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    Filed under Appetizer, Beverage, Food Anecdotes, Travel Spot

    Baked Long Island Clams

    Music: Acid Tongue – Jenny Lewis

    Growing up on the Great South Bay of Long Island, nothing defined my childhood more than the beach, the boat and the waterways of my home.  In the summers when I was young one of my favorite culinary adventures was to go clamming with my cousin off Squaw Island.  For anyone who does not know what Squaw Island is, well it is essentially a little mound of earth that is only visible during low tide about a ten-minute ride southwest from the Amityville Cut just past Snake Channel.  For anyone who doesn’t know where Snake Channel is, well it’s just west of the Tobay Beach marina.  Hang a right at The Four Corners and…OK, none of you know where any of this is but I can attest that is some of the most beautiful stretches of local beaches, marshes and bay I have ever seen.

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    Homemade Beer – Guest Blogger Bill Kiernan

    Music: The Yardbirds – I’m Not Talking (if you only understood the irony here!)

    Oh boy do we have a special treat today! Good pal and guest blogger, Bill Kiernan, has decided to share some of his secrets for homemade brewing.  He’s been doing this for a few years now out of his home in LI and recently, he made a batch to celebrate James’ birthday (We called it Jamesonian IPA).  Please enjoy his musings on home brewing and feel free to comment!

    _____

    On Long Island, the spring fumbles in this year and I find myself brewing an IPA for James’ birthday. Any excuse to brew is welcomed, and when it’s for a friend, well, insert mush. There are varieties to home brewing, from stove top with a big pot to developing a veritable nano brewery in your garage, I find myself safely wedged into a bracket of the “want to make a good beer” but do not wear my “beeriodic table of Alements” shirt while doing so.  I would prefer to allow you to establish a meaning of the previous analysis.

    Here, take a drink: an IPA is a pleasurable beer, especially during the spring and summer. India Pale Ale has unique histories, and one would say histories dependent on whom you speak with: read online and you will learn history of IPA rife with luck of shipwrecks and landlubbers loving the barrels of beer which washed upon shore (I guess I could liken this historical anomaly of human behavior to that first hit from a hypodermic needle that washed ashore on Rockaway); ask your local know it all craft beer distributor “so they made the IPA to survive the voyage from Britain to India?” and he’ll look at your forehead as though a piece of your brain were waving off the comment as an act of the ass rather than his constituents. Regardless, it’s a good beer, which is generally more bitter than a Pale Ale.  The degree of bitterness is measured in IBU’s which is a cute enough acronym for International Bittering Units, which is such a bold and forbooding measurement, it’s best left at IBU.

    The bitterness comes from hops, which are  beautiful cone like vine plants, which, forsooth, New York used to be a Mecca of. There are extensive varieties of hops and even more variety to what they can do to your beer. Depending on which hops you use and when you add them to your boil or your beer as you ferment it your beer could be more bitter than flavorful. Add a variety of hops closer to when you end your boil you get more aroma, typically. Let’s just say it can get pretty complicated. Throw in some toasted oats, orange peels, a sprig of lavender from the garden or some st. johns wort, who knows what could happen.  If you are going to do an all grain brew, as opposed to an “extract” set aside a good part of your day, prepare to smell like some hopped up feign, and double check your equipment.  All grain brewing is not as insane as studying neutrinos in Antarctica but it does require a bit of close analysis and attention.

    Start with the grain.

    For this IPA, we are using 9lbs of Pale 2 Row malt and 1lb of Carafoam malt.

    We are using 3.5 oz of Cascade variety hops and 1 oz of Amarillo variety hops.

    All your grains are milled together in such a way that the grain gets cracked but not pulverized.

    Heat up about five gallons of water to about 175 degrees. In what is called the mash tun, in this case a large cooler, slowly add your grain and scalding hot water from a difficult to manage gigantic six gallon pot of water. Ideally, your water will loose about 10 – 15 degrees in the transfer to the grain. You want your mixture to be apprx 150- 155 degrees.  You really are creating a mash, and at this temperature saccharization, which is a process that converts the starches in grain to fermentable sugars, occurs. Let it rest for an hour to 75 minutes.  The longer the time, the more sugars extracted. Meanwhile heat up another four gallons of water for the sparge. Yes, the sparge.

    Welcome back. When you open the cooler you will smell a rather sweet, malty goodness. You want to quckily raise the temperature to about 165 to wash more of the sugars out of the grain. So to do this, you will add that water, which is hopefully around 190 degrees. Check the temp and do your best to get around the strike temp of 165.  Now allow a couple of minutes to pass to allow the grain bed to settle again.

    Now take a small Pyrex or other such glass container and drain some of the beer out then pour is slowly and lightly bAck to the cooler. You are trying to create a flow that is free of grains.

    Then begin to drain the cooler into a pot which can hold approximately six gallons. You may get as much as 7 -8 gallons from your sparging, depending on how much water you needed to get the temp.

    The boil.

    If you have considerable amount you might boil it down some before you start your official boil time. But you should  essentially start with about five or so gallons and boil for approximately an hour.  So with this beer our hop schedule (the time we add hops) looks like this;.

    60 min add 1 oz of Cascade

    30 min add 1 oz of Cascade

    15 min add 1.5 oz of Cascade

    At burn out 1 oz of Amarillo

    You want to adhere to a schedule for the addition of hops because doing so will create the beer that you are aimming for. You can use a calculator to help you determine the all impressive IBU. For an IPA around the mid 70’s of IBUs  good. The hops added earliest are for bittering, whereas the later additions are for flavor and aroma.

    After you have boiled for an hour with the addition of your hops at scheduled times, it’s time to cool down. Most home brewers have a chiller which is really a copper coil that cool water runs through. You want to be sure that anything you put in your beer after you stop boiling has been sanitized.

    After your beer ha cooled down you want to aerate your beer, usually by pouring it back forth several times using the tub you will ferment in. Now simply add your yeast, sprinkling it on top, close up your fermenter (in this case a five gallon restaurant grade plastic tub with an air lock.  After several weeks the yeasts have eaten all the sugars and pooped out alcohol.

    Look, go to these websites for some more specific instructions. You can do this. http://www.homebrewinginstructions.com/

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