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Saffron, Blood Orange, Chicken, Fennel and Herb Salad February 23, 2014

Saffron, Blood Orange, Chicken and Herb Salad
Posted on February 23, 2014 by 

Fennel chicken salad blood orange

You are going to LOVE this. It is so good, full of herbs, honey, saffron and grilled chicken… flavor, flavor and more flavor! the original inspiration came from the fabulous cook book, Jerusalem. I added more herbs and changed the oranges to blood oranges.

This is easy. You can do it with blood oranges, regular oranges or tangerines. The honey, saffron and reduced orange pieces make for a fabulous sauce/dressing. This serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of your favorite honey
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 1 teaspoon of saffron threads
  • 2 TBS champagne vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups (or more to cover oranges) water
  • 2 chicken breast halves (boneless/skinless)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 TBS Sumac
  • 2 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 2 small fennel bulbs sliced thinly
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup mint leaves torn
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves chiffonade
  • 1 red chile thinly sliced
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees If using a grill, start it.
  • Trim and top the oranges. Cut one into wedges of 8ths with the skin on, remove the peel and make supremes on the other. Reserve the supremes for the salad.
  • Place the 8ths of orange into a saucepan with the honey, saffron, vinegar and water to cover the orange pieces.
  • Bring to a boil and then simmer for about an hour, till a thick syrup forms.

Blood orange and honey

  • Allow to cool slightly then put into a food processor and process till a thick syrup results. You may need to add a tiny bit more water.

Blood orange and honey food processor

  • Put the chicken on a grill pan or grill and sear till golden and char marks form (2-3 minutes per side, then put in the oven to finish, till interior measures 150 degrees and then remove and allow to cool.

DSC_0049

  • When cool enough, tear apart chicken into bite size pieces, add to a large bowl and then add the herbs, oranges, fennel, chiles, lemon juice and the orange syrup. Toss, add remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

DSC_0052

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Pastitsio: Greek Lasagna May 25, 2013

Pastitsio: Greek Lasagna

Posted on May 25, 2013 by 

Tight shot

This recipe is so good that I revisit it every few months. It makes a great centerpiece for a dinner party and the leftovers are better than the first night’s meal. The noodles are difficult to find, but I get them on Amazon.com, buying 6 bags at a time.

Greek Lasagna Pastitsio

When teaching others to make this dish, I have often joked that the word pastitsio (pa-STEE-tsee-oh) translates to “messy kitchen” in Greek. I was only kidding, but there is a hint of truth to that statement. The Greek word pastitsio derives from the Italian pasticcio, which loosely translates to a mess or a hodgepodge.

Three essential components make up this dish – pasta, meat filling, and a creamy bechamel sauce which are layered in a pan and baked to a golden brown. Each stage will require dirtying some pots and pans, but I think you will agree that the end result is well worth the clean up!

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 90 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 lbs. ground lamb
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 14 oz. can tomato puree or sauce
  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese (or Kefalotyri if available)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp. breadcrumbs plus 1/2 cup for topping if desired
  • 1 pkg. #2 Macaroni for Pastitsio (500g)- available at Greek or ethnic groceries.
  • 4 egg whites (reserve the yolks for bechamel sauce)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)

greek noodles

For the bechamel sauce:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 quart milk, warmed
  • 8 egg yolks, beaten lightly
  • 1/2  of a whole nutmeg, ground

Preparation:

This recipe will yield about 24 servings depending upon the size of your pieces. I use a lasagna pan that is 9 x 13 x 3 inches deep.

Begin with the Meat Filling:

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add ground lamb and cook over medium-high heat until pink color disappears, about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until they are translucent, about 5 minutes more.

Add wine, tomato sauce, parsley, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and pepper and allow sauce to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. While sauce is simmering put water on to boil for pasta.

Cook pasta noodles according to package directions and drain well. Rinse noodles in colander under cold water to cool them slightly.

Stir in 3 tbsp. breadcrumbs to meat sauce to absorb excess liquid and remove from heat.

Melt 1/2 cup butter in pasta pot and return cooked noodles to the pot. Stir in beaten egg whites and 1 cup of grated cheese and toss lightly, being careful not to break the noodles.

Brush the bottom and sides of the lasagna pan with olive oil. Layer the bottom with half the pasta noodles and press down so that they are somewhat flat.

Add the meat filling in an even layer to the pasta. Top with remaining pasta noodles and flatten top layer as best you can.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees while you prepare the bechamel sauce.

Bechamel Sauce:

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Using a whisk, add flour to melted butter whisking continuously to make a smooth paste or roux. Allow the flour/butter mixture to cook for a minute but do not allow it to brown.

Add warmed milk to mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Simmer over low heat until it thickens but does not boil.

Remove from heat and stir in beaten egg yolks. Add pinch of nutmeg. If sauce still needs to thicken, return to heat and cook over very low heat while continuing to stir.

Bechamel is thicker than gravy but not quite as thick as pudding. It should be somewhere in between. One way to tell if it is thick enough is to dip your wooden spoon in the sauce and draw your finger across the back of the spoon. If the sauce holds a visible line then it is thick enough.

DSC_0007

Pour the bechamel over the pasta noodles making sure to pour sauce down in to the corners as well. I even pull back th sides of the pasta to let some go down the sides. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs if desired.  Bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes or until the top is a nice golden color.

tight shot 2

 

Quinoa and Corn Chowder from Ecuador April 21, 2013

This fabulous recipe was inspired by the book The Latin Road Home by Jose Garces. The book explores the cuisines of Ecuador, Spain, Cuba and Mexico. This is one of the best cookbooks I have picked up in a while. In this recipe, I used fresh corn, but good frozen corn would work too. I also added some seasonings and chiles to the recipe. I make my own achiote paste, but you can buy it in Hispanic or Asian markets. Quinoa is an amazing chenopod, full of protein and fiber.

Quinoa and Corn Chowder

Crema de Quinoa de Zuleta; Quinoa Chowder with Sweet Corn

Ingredients:

2 cups Canola Oil for frying

2 small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into match sticks or cut on a spiral cutter 

Kosher Salt

2 Tbs unsalted butter

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil.

½ Spanish onion, finely chopped or TSTE dehydrated shallots reconstituted

6 cloves minced garlic or 2 Tablespoons TSTE Vik’s Garlic Fix 

1 Tbs achiote paste (click here for my recipe)

1 ½ cups quinoa (any color)

Kernels cut from 3 ears of corn or 1 cup of thawed and drained frozen white sweet corn

5 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup heavy cream

2 Tbs minced fresh parsley

4 roasted poblano chiles, seeds and membranes removed, then diced

2 Tbs minced fresh chives (or leave in 1 “ strips)

Sliced Avocado for serving (optional)

Method:

  • Fry the potato strips in 375 degree oil till crispy and drain, season with salt
  • Heat the butter and olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat, cook the onion and garlic till translucent, about 10 minutes.
  • Rinse and strain the quinoa
  • Stir in the achiote paste and cook for another 5 minutes
  • Stir in the quinoa and corn.  And cook, stirring often, till the quinoa is lightly toasted
  • Stir in the roasted poblano chiles

Add the cream and stock and bring to a light boil. Lower the heat to a light simmer,  uncovered till the quinoa is tender and the liquid has reduced by about one quarter, about 45 minutes.

Quinoa and Corn Chowder 2

To serve, fold in the parsley, and top with fried potatoes and chives. Garnish with avocado. This also goes perfectly with the Yuca Cheese Bread and Guava Chile Butter I posted last week.

yuca bread close up

 

Pepita Granola February 21, 2013

Granola 3

I have been making granola forever, it was probably one of the first foods I made in my adult life as a cook. Recently a friend mentioned liking granola and I was reminded of this concept including pepitas (pumpkin seeds) that I first tasted when I was in cooking school in Cuernavaca, Mexico. I made a huge batch so that I could share it. My favorite way to eat granola is on top of fresh Greek style yogurt with some fresh berries or fruit. This is very easy to make and far better than most store bought versions. I do not add dried fruit to the granola until serving as it tends to soften the granola, but this goes nicely with dried fruits as well as fresh. You can also store granola in the freezer to prevent softening.

This recipe was adapted from Calle Ocho in New York City.
granola 1
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

6 Cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups hemp seeds (available at health food stores)
2 Cups unsweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 cups green hulled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
3/4 cup local honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup maple sugar
sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon
pinch of salt

granola 2

Mix all in a very large bowl. Bake on baking sheets lined with parchment or silpat for 15minutes, remove from oven and stir well, then bake for another 10 minutes. If the granola is browned, remove from the oven. If it is not browned, stir and put in for another 5 minutes. When golden brown cool, then place in airtight containers.

 

 

Perfect French Fries January 31, 2013

Perfectly cooked fries

I love French fries. I am constantly seeking a way to make the best ones.  Sometimes I like them thin and crispy, sometimes thick and pillowy light inside (best done by roasting at a high temp, not fried at all). Most often like Goldilocks, I like them “just right.” That means that they are medium cut fries, a little crispy on the outside and soft on the outside, full of potato flavor, not the grease they were cooked in. I like fries cooked in duck fat, but that is not always something I have an abundance of. Here is the method, it is simple and only requires a large pot (best for keeping splatters contained) a deep thermometer used for frying  or cheese making, a spider (or other mesh spoon to retrieve your fries and some good quality canola oil.  The thermometer is the only thing you may need to go out and buy. Here is an example. You need this because you will need to control the temperature of the oil.

Ingredients:

Russet Potatoes, well washed

Canola Oil at least 3 ” deep

Smoked or Kosher Salt

Method:

  1. Cut the ends off of the potatoes and then the rounded edges. lay flat and cut into 1/2 ” strips. Place in salted water till finished cutting.
  2. Preheat the oil to 250 degrees.
  3. Use either a salad spinner or a dish cloth to completely dry the fries. Once the oil is ready place fries into the oil. You should not be crowding them, you may need to do this in batches.
  4. Cook until they start to look slightly golden, about 4 minutes, making sure that the oil temperature stays at 250.
  5. Carefully remove to a straining tray (cookie sheet or steam pan) with a rack.  I say carefully because the potatoes are very tender at this point and can easily tear.
  6. Bring the heat of the oil to 365 degrees.
  7. Add the potatoes in batches and allow to cook till they are perfectly golden with a subtle  bit of brown on the edges. Remove to the draining tray again and salt IMMEDIATELY. Serve right away with home made mayonnaise, BBQ sauce or ketchup.

Burger and fries

 

Champagne and Pomegranates in Hawaii February 14, 2011

Filed under: Drink,Greenwich Village,Hawaii,New York,Recipes — Devany @ 9:02 pm

I figured out this technique while making a romantic bubble bath for two on New Year’s Eve. It only works with really good champagne and you can do it with more or less arvils. When you sip, one or two pop into your mouth. This picture was taken at my Hawaiian Home, but it is equally good in Manhattan!

 

Crab Cakes May 28, 2010

Filed under: Food,Greenwich Village,Herbs,Photos,Recipes,Seafood — Devany @ 6:58 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Crab Cakes with Mango Mustard on a bed of Arugula Salad

I have loved crab cakes ever since I lived in coastal Beaufort, South Carolina. There, I would put traps out off of my dock, baited with chicken necks and haul in a bushelful whenever I did so. Then I would boil the sweet blue crabs on my outdoor stove and toss them on a picnic table covered with newspaper to pick and clean them. Today I am at the mercy of the fishmonger or in a pinch I will buy a can of quality lump crab. I made these crab cakes for dinner, but since there were only two of us dining, I made the remaining mixture into appetizer sized cakes and froze them. When I am in need of a quick appetizer I can thaw and sauté them in short order. I served the crab cakes over an arugula salad and with a side of Mango Mustard that my friend Janet gave me a recipe for. I also keep a tub of chipotle mayo (just put 2-3 chipotles in adobo in a food processor with a cup of fresh home made mayo & process till the chiles are totally incorporated) in the refrigerator and often use it or wasabi mayo with crab cakes.

Here is the really simple recipe… go for it!

Ingredients:

1# of good quality lump crab meat, cleaned

Zest from a Meyer Lemon (or Eureka if you can’t find a Meyer)

1/8 cup of fresh lemon juice (Meyer is preferred)

2 plump shallots, minced finely

1/4 cup of fresh minced herbs, in this case I used garlic chives, chives, chervil & flat leaf parsley

2 eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup Japanese Panko crumbs (I use the honey panko for this, but plain are fine too)

Lots of freshly grated black pepper and a pinch of salt

Method:

Stir all together and allow to sit for 15 minutes.

Form into cakes of any size.. for entree portions I make them about 3″ across, for appetizers about 1.5″ across. Place the cakes on waxed paper as you are forming them. They can be chilled in the refrigerator or frozen at this point, or cooked immediately.

In a large frying pan, gently melt 2/3 stick of butter. When the butter has melted, add the crab cakes, being careful not to crowd them. Let the cakes sauté  until you see a rim of golden crust forming at the bottom of the cakes. Do not try and turn them until they have formed this crust or they will stick to the bottom and fall apart.

Mango Mustard

Turn the cakes and allow them to brown on the other side. Remove to a rack to rest for a minute and then serve.

 

 
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