Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Know Your Vinaigrette

Oh the bajillions of things you can just throw together when you've got a good vinaigrette stocked in your fridge!  It is simple to make & easy to mix & match ingredients once you've got your ratios down.

Here is my basic recipe, in order of appearance:

You'll need a good size bowl, even for a somewhat small amount, & a whisk.

1/2 - 1 shallot minced
 Salt, sea or kosher (more than you think!)
approx 3 TBSP Vinegar
approx 1 TBSP Mustard (dijon is always best, in my opinion)
approx 1 TBSP Honey
atleast 1/2 cp Olive oil
squeeze of lemon
few grinds of Black Pepper

Get that Shallot in the bowl & pretty much coat it in Salt, remember you're adding lots more ingredients.  The Salt, & later the Vin/ Lemon, "cook" the Shallot.  This will actually make it easier on the belly.  Then add your Vinegar & give a stir.  Next incorporate the Mustard & the Honey, get it good & mixed.  Now to emulsify the Olive Oil!  I drizzled that shit in for years!  But honestly, now I just glug it in & give it some good elbow grease.  I'd say go a 1/4 cup at a time & really use that whisk & that surface area in the large-ish bowl.  Seriously, go to town with that whisk, its good for the constitution & it will enable emulsification like a charm.  The result should be pretty viscous.  A squeeze of Lemon will brighten the flavor & who doesn't love Black Pepper?

Some notes to troubleshoot...

Don't be afraid of Salt, it helps balance the Oil, it actually keeps it from tasting oily!  As will the acidic elements, which is why some fresh Lemon always works.  But forreals, if it tastes oily add a bit more Salt.  It will help bring those other flavors up.

A tasty cheat on the emulsification is to add more Mustard.  It will goo it up a bit quicker, but it will make it a Mustard Vinaigrette (which rules as well).  Also, Balsamic Vinegar is the best emulsifying vin for sure.

Once you've got it down start dreaming up combinations & other flavors to add!

Balsamic with Orange Zest   -  Lemony White Wine Vin (lemon zest)                   
Sherry Vin with fresh Thyme - or Sherry Vin & replace the honey with
                                                        Pomegranate Molasses

Also, you can use this Vinaigrette as a base for more complex dressings:

add a TBSP or so of Mayo, plus Garlic, Capers, Lemon Zest, Parm & Anchovies = Caesar!

Puree a Mango add to a  Lime-y vinaigrette with minced jalepeno... & make Fish Tacos!

Halve the Oil & add Tahini, Fresh Parsley & a dash of Tamari = Goddess Dressing!

Not to mention BBQ Sauces...

Simmer a Vinaigrette with some Tomatoes or Tomato Paste, Honey or Brown Sugar = Carolina Blonde!

Same idea with Apricot Jam, maybe some fresh Sage?!

Did someone say Bean Dip?

I think you get the idea...

Yum City.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Delish Soba Noodles w/ Chicken and Fresh Green Beans

So, I'm trying this gluten-free thing for a few weeks to see what happens, I am plagued by allergies of all kinds and skin problems, which supposedly can be helped by changing your diet…I have a list of foods I can never eat, but other than shellfish and nuts, I generally just try to avoid eating too much of everything on that list…anyhow, it's been kind of a stressful drag so far, but it's inspired me to cook…

here's something I made up last night:

1. Steam 1 skinless-boneless organic free range chicken breast (trying to cut back on tofu)…I think it took about 30 minutes, I cut it up into smaller pieces.

2. While you are doing that, boil water. Put a bunch of organic fresh green beans (or whatever kind of vegetable that might work) in the boiling water for about 2-3 minutes and remove.

3. Cook soba noodles. Make sure they are really 100% buckwheat if you are trying to avoid gluten. I keep screwing this part up.

4. Saute part of an onion in an iron skillet until it's translucent. Add garlic to taste. Make some kind of sauce. I used a few Tsp of low-sodium wheat-free tamari and added some sesame oil. Feel free to create kind of sauce you think sounds good, this was just the thing I tried first.

5. By this time your soba noodles are probably done. Add everything to the iron skillet and stir it around until it's covered in sauce. Ok it's time to eat!

You now have a delicious meal! I don't' know what to call it though. Ideas?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Home-made veggie sausages

I am a massive Delia Smith fan and this is just basically copy and pasting her "Cheese and Herb Sausages" recipe, which is one of my all-time favs. I've renamed them in the title because the recipe is super easily adapted to a vegan or meat version or whatever you fancy.

The original recipe goes as follows:

4 oz (110g) mature Cheddar, grated
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mixed herbs
5 oz (150g) fresh breadcrumbs (white or wholemeal)
1 medium onion, peeled and grated
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 large egg yolk
salt and freshly milled pepper

For coating and frying:
1 oz (25g) breadcrumbs
1 oz (25g) parmesan, grated
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons groundnut or other flavourless oil for cooking

Basically, you mix it all the sausage ingredients together and form sausages out of them. then you dip them in egg white and then in the breadcrumbs and parmesan. fry them at medium heat on all sides.

The trick in this recipe is the fresh breadcrumbs and grated onion. It is therefore important that you make breadcrumbs freshly yourself and that you do grate the onion. they are your base for shaping and taste. The eggs are leave-it or take-it in this recipe and not at all important.

All the other ingredients are replaceable and open to experiment. When I make these for vegans, I replace the cheese with some tofu and marmite. If I'm out of fresh herbs, I use dried ones. I have added grated carrot, mushroom paté or apple.

Delia advises to have them with fruit chutney but I usually have them for dinner with a lentil salad or something alike. I make them for kids parties a lot, too, as they are cheap as chips and easy to make in large quanities.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Team Natalie!

Hi punk recipe swappers,
I'm helping out the radical natalie cox as she fights an aggressive form of cancer called angiosarcoma. she's currently undergoing treatment at a natural oncology center in del mar, california. I've put together a quickie blog page where you can donate directly to her paypal account to help cover the costs of treatment, travel, and medications so she can focus on her family and health. Please go to www.teamnataliecox.blogspot.com, and also please re-post wherever you can!
sarah u.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pescado a la Veracruzana (Veracruz style fish)

I made this last night and it was delicious and easy as hell. I had some extra mushrooms and cooked potatoes so I added those and it made it slightly more Italian feeling but great. I just had the leftover sauce on my rice and beans for lunch and it was fantastic day 2, so you could make the sauce ahead and just use it to cook the fish in the next day (for a dinner party or something).

Pescado a la Veracruzana (Veracruz style fish)
4-6 servings

White-fleshed fish fillets -- 2 pounds (I would recommend Barramundi which is a sustainable substitute for snapper)
Limes, juice only -- 2
Salt -- 1 teaspoon
Oil -- 2 tablespoons
Onion, sliced -- 1
Garlic, minced -- 2-3 cloves
Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped -- 3 cups
Stock or water -- 1 cup
Green olives, pitted, chopped -- 1/3 cup (Mixed Spanish olives are a good choice)
Parsley, minced -- 3 tablespoons
Dried oregano -- 2 teaspoons
Chili Powder -- 1 teaspoon
Bay leaf -- 1
Capers rinsed -- 1 tablespoon
Pickled jalapeño peppers sliced into rounds -- 2-3 each
Cinnamon stick (optional) -- 1
Whole cloves (optional) -- 2-3
Salt and pepper -- to taste

Add the fish, lime juice and salt to a large bowl and marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.

While fish is marinating, heat the oil over medium flame in a large pot or skillet. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and continue sautéing for another minute.

Add remaining ingredients except for the fish, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes to meld flavors and reduce the sauce somewhat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the fish fillets and cover them with some of the sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until fish is cooked through, 8-12 minutes. Serve with rice.

Red snapper is the fish most commonly used for this dish, but any firm white fish fillet will do. In Mexico, the fish is sometimes left whole for this preparation.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

today's pear muffins

i had some pears that were a few days past the perfect eating time, so i decided to make pear muffins today.

this is what i did:

I roasted the pears based on a babycakes roasted apple recipe:

1 pound pears, diced into 1-inch cubes
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/8 cup lemon juice

i preheated the oven to 325 and prepared a cookie sheet by covering it with parchment paper
i mixed the 4 ingredients listed above until the pears were completely coated, then i spread them on the prepared cookie sheet and put it in the middle rack of the oven for 35 minutes. the result was so delicious, i might cook roasted pears or roasted apples as their own end-result someday, rather than as a first step for muffins.

meanwhile, i was missing some of the ingredients for the babycakes muffin recipe, but i did have a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, bean-free muffin mix by "The Cravings Place." i followed the instructions for their muffin mix - enough to make 16 muffins, but i added 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon allspice, 1/8 teaspoon ginger, and 1 tablespoon vanilla, and once the pears were done roasting, added those.

i cooked the muffins according to the muffin mix instructions, and with the addition of the pears, it produced 18 delicious muffins.