Category Archives: Savory

Indigo Milk Caps

This one was no good, all buggy, but isn’t it shocking blue? The milk or latex these mushrooms exude is called smurf blood in jest. 

Believe it or not, this insanity colored mushroom is edible. I don’t know if I will be able to stomach it, but it is said to have a nutty peppery kick. With time the blue turns green. They turn scrambled eggs an eerie green. Lactarius indigo

A gorgeous mushroom undoubtedly. I need to summon the strength to sautée these guys up with some butter, salt and pepper. Wish me luck. 


They turned a murky aqua with cooking. Eric wouldn’t touch them. I have to admit I was a little bit skeeved out by the color. It’s human nature to be sketched out by food this color. It keeps us alive. Alas, there have been many dummies before me to make sure this guy is edible. 

Review:

It’s alright. I get nutty and mushroomy. I didn’t pick up any peppery, which is ironic, because I put pepper on them. They have a mild aftertaste, maybe slightly metallic? My general opinion is that they are totally edible, fairly tasty. Would I eat them again, yes. Would I seek them out to eat again? Meh, probably not. If I fed them to friends I’d make sure they were blindfolded or in a very dark room.

Advertisements

‘Udon it Again.

Because… I did a post about Udon before and…Who doesn’t love a good noodle related pun…huh?….???  Heh…Heh…

But seriously dinner was on point. A rich pork, shrimp, miso broth, with wood ears, shiitakes, straw mushrooms, scorched scallion, seared pork and shrimp dumplings I made last week in a fit of post work delerium, seared then thinly sliced fatty pork shoulder tossed in at the end & quickly seared fat scallops. 

Does someone want to gift me millions of dollars so I can fund my expensive food choices and never work again? Kay thanks, byeee! 


Suicide Bread

Today there was an unusually large amount of scrap dough after all our bread was made for the day, so our lead baker got creative:

He homogenized all the flavors of bread we have into one giant monster loaf….Suicide Loaf, like when you mix all the flavors of pop at the roller rink??? Anyone? Is it a Michigan thing? No?? Ok. 

I also tried branding it with a wire that I attempted to heat to red hot. You can kind of see it on the top left. The brand was pretty terrible, a lame spiral. I really want to get an actual cattle brand and try it out. 

My favorite part about this is the fact that the forced perspective makes me look like a toddler. I assure you, that although it was intentional, the bread was still pretty damn huge. Also, pretty tasty.


Marble Rye Scrap Bread

Sometimes you have left over dough, and rather than bin it, you swirl it all together and braid it, because it’s not like you are incredibly understaffed and exhausted. 


Then you patiently wait a night and bake it a nice golden brown, and then get your ass back to work. 


Pasta Salad Redeemed

Growing up, if there was a summer barbeque, it was inevitable that my Mom was going to make pasta salad, it was quick and easy, most people liked it and she had three kids, give the lady a break. As one of said children, it was my duty to whine about it and be ungrateful. Turns out, I wasn’t giving it a fair shake because of my long standing hatred of celery salt…One of the key ingredients in the seasoning packet she used. I feel like it was literally Italian Dressing and a packet or shaker of Ms. Dash…the bile is rising… I LOVE PASTA SALAD though, and it was my duty today to redeem it.

Yeah, they were a little dirty...its good for you.

Yeah, they were a little dirty…its good for you.

So! I started with a boiling pot of salted water. I cut some button mushrooms in half while I got my cast iron skillet roaring hot.

Mise en place for your vinaigrette. Parsley, Basil, Lemon Juice and Zest, Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Salt, Pepper

Mise en place for your vinaigrette. Parsley, Basil, Lemon Juice and Zest, Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Salt, Pepper

When it was smoky hot, I added a bit of olive oil and threw those filthy little things in the pan to sear. While those were browning up nicely, I minced up some parsley  and chiffonaded some basil. I also zested a whole lemon and  squeezed the juice into a large bowl with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Once the mushrooms were seared nicely, I tossed them hot into the vinaigrette.

Sear those mushrooms hard and toss them in a vinaigrette of lemon juice, zest, balsamic, olive oil, salt an pepper.

Sear those mushrooms hard and toss them in a vinaigrette of lemon juice, zest, balsamic, olive oil, salt an pepper.

By this time the boiling water was nice and boily, and I tossed my garlic scapes into the pot. Garlic scapes are lovely if you haven’t ever tried them before. They are surprisingly mild on the garlic. They are similar in texture to blanched asparagus, and they can get a bit woody at the ends so, make sure you trim them, and you will eventually be cutting them on a sharp bias.

Blanch a few Garlic Scapes and watch them brighten up.

Blanch a few Garlic Scapes and watch them brighten up.

Once they are nice and bright and a little softer (don’t kill them, they are little guys), pick them out of your water with tongs and run them under cold water until they are cool to the touch. This locks in the color so that they stay bright and pretty!

Then shock them with running cold water or icy water if you are fancy.

Then shock them with running cold water or icy water if you are fancy.

Once they are cool you can cut them on a sharp bias and add them to your growing heap in the bowl.

Scapes are so pretty!

Scapes are so pretty!

Now you can go ahead and use the very same boiling water to throw your rotini in. Look how resourceful I am!  I like rotini the most because it is a throwback to my Mom’s pasta salad. Props, D…

A medley of salty olives and capers.

A medley of salty olives and capers.

While you are waiting for the pasta, you can get out a melange of olives of any variety that you like, but please not canned black olivesblarf. If you have to pit them, chop them up a little and while you are at it, why not some capers or caper berries even???

Little salt bombs.

Little salt bombs.

This is starting to come together folks… Now, here is where I was a little worried, but I figured that my love of cauliflower would not lead me astray. I cut some big hunks of cauliflower up and got my pan nice and hot again.

Cauliflower is highly underutilized.

Cauliflower is highly underutilized.

Once again, I poured in some tasty olive oil and seared them crispy and brown. The squirrel wasn’t so sure about it, but I was like, “Shut up, Squirrel, leave this to the professionals…”

Seared Cauliflower, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Suspicious Squirrel Plate.

Seared Cauliflower, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Suspicious Squirrel Plate.

Ok, so I’ve been hitting the sauce Zissou-style. Only one though, I am a responsible adult here, people.

Mama likes to drink when she is cooking in a hot kitchen.

Mama likes to drink when she is cooking in a hot kitchen.

Now my pasta is ready, so I ran that under water until it was cool and tossed it in the bowl to start to get it’s mingle on.

Rotini time!

Rotini time!

I salted and peppered my seared cauliflower, and ran a knife over it a few times to make it more appropriately bite sized. I also decided at this point that the garlic scapes were really super mild and I am a woman who loves her garlic, so I minced up a fat clove and mixed it in.

Almost there!

Almost there!

Now I halved a bunch of lovely grape tomatoes. and tossed them in. Folks at this point, you have a LOVELY vegan salad that any person could get down with. Season it to your liking…don’t be afraid of a little salt. But, if you are a cheese and anything meaty-umami eater like me, go the extra mile, guys.

Try to make anchovies look good with an iPhone...I dare you. Also, Parmesan.

Try to make anchovies look good with an iPhone…I dare you. Also, Parmesan.

I added, three fillets of anchovies sliced thin, and a good 1/3-1/2ish cup of grated Parmesan Reggiano. I also chiffonaded more basil leaves and threw in a handful of pinenuts because I am fancy like that.

Finished Product! Sucess!

Finished Product! Sucess!

And folks that’s it. I am for once, looking forward to having pasta salad leftovers to eat for the next few days. I am not knocking Dawn. She is a great cook, and she taught me how to cook, but I think that she would agree that this is worlds apart. Now I just have to see what Eric thinks of it when he gets home from work!

 


Cherry-Chipotle chops!

20120330-203942.jpg

Terrible photo, but I made chops with a delicious cherry-chipotle white wine pan sauce. Super easy and amazing.

Rub the porkchops with cumin and salt. Sear them in a HOT pan on all sides. Deglaze with white wine, add about 2 T of rough chopped chipotles en adobo, and 2 T of cherry preserves (mine are a fancy version of Smuckers) and a nice heavy tablespoon of dijon. Turn off your pan (if you have a heavy pan to cook them in) and cover (if you don’t turn the heat down and let it cook for like 3 more minutes covered).


Cochinita Pibíl

I decided to dust off the keyboard for this tasty and traditional Yucatecan-Myan dish. Scouring my walk-in meat cooler, I was dismayed to find that I was fresh out of lechón, cochinita, or suckling pig as needed, and in even more of a dire need of a fire pit. Never fear though, I decided to improvise, as I am sure any clever Mayan would have in a pinch. I was, however, lucky enough to chance upon banana leaves-nature’s tinfoil, used by man for a millenia, to swaddle various meats, tamales, and many other delicacies while cooking. The flavors used while cooking cochinita are similar to al Pastor. They are heavy on the achiote (annatto) and the acid.  The acid tenderizes the meat, and the fattiness of the pork mellows the acid with time and slow cooking.

Traditionally, in the Yucatan, Seville Oranges are used. They are very bitter acidic. I was not bitter at all when I discovered they were not to be found. Instead, I decided to substitute oranges, limes and a little apple cider vinegar for my cause. I also minced some garlic, toasted and ground pepper, cloves, and cumin, and added some Mexican oregano to the mix. The other key ingredient was achiote or annatto paste. El Yucateco makes a lovely little brick in various sizes, with a happy little chef and a happy little cochinita on it. I broke that up into smaller pieces, and then I added all of the ingredients to my blender cup. BuZzZzzzzZZ! Then that is it! On to the meats, the delicious meats….

The first time around, I did not choose the right meat, rather, my store didn’t have the meat I wanted available. I think that I got mostly loin or something really lean. Since traditionally, it is made with the whole pig, you have to consider that there would be a fair deal of fat with it, even if it is just delicious and tender baby piglet fat. The next time, I vowed to set things right with a fatty cut like pork butt, and kept my promise with much better results.

I doused the pork in the marinade and let it chill out for a while.

I tore the banana leaves,which I found in the freezer section of my Mexican Grocery Store, into pieces that fit the baking dish that I used. I alternated directions between layers.

I added the pork, and tossed in a dozen or so bay leaves into the banana leaf bundle.

I tucked the cochinita into bed by folding each layer into the other.

I finished using the left over scraps to tuck underneath the whole bundle. It looked so beautiful, I wanted to cradle it in my arms like a new-born babe.

Instead, I placed it in a 300° F oven and baked it for about 4 hours (or more, if you can bare it). At one point, I was concerned about the leaves getting too dry, so I poured some warm water over the leaves. In the end,  I dont think it really mattered.

While the pork was cooking away, I pickled some red onion cut in a very fine Julienne. I just squeezed a lime, added a dash of apple cider vinegar, and a heavy pinch of salt. Normally, I would have also made an Habanero salsa for the cochinita, but I had just made Chile de Arból salsa, and I wanted to be thrifty.

I have since made an Habanero salsa with a happy result. I toasted about 4-5 Habanero and 5-6 big garlic cloves still in their papers in a hot skillet until charred. I deveined and seeded the Habaneros with gloves since I had some lying around. I also peeled and rough chopped the garlic. I added about 3/4 of a cup of the same mix of lime, orange and vinegar-mix to taste with a little bit of salt.  I blended it just enough to break up the big chunks. It is totally worth it, if you are debating whether or not to spring for it, and so simple.

When I was sure that the meat was fally-aparty-good, I took my little bundle of joy out of the oven. Then I unwrapped it and took a horrible picture of it….

This was the point that I realized the meat was way too lean. It had a similar texture to shredded chicken breast. If that is what you are into, by all means go for it, but I wanted something a little more flavorful and fatty. I’m not here to judge.

I finished the whole thing toasting off some delicious corn tortillas on a hot dry skillet, filling them with the cochinita, the salsa, the onions and a few cilantro leaves. Perfection.