Thursday, June 25, 2009
As for the cabbage, I buy that frequently anyway and so was thrilled to get a beautiful, big ole Napa cabbage this week. I usually end up using half of it in Korean cabbage salad (see below); the rest gets shredded and put into Asian-style soups, lo mein, or fried rice. For a really fast soup, make some anchovy stock, add shredded or finely sliced Napa cabbage, and sliced fresh mushrooms (or dried ones, after soaking them in hot water). If you have some frozen dumplings, add those too. Instant dinner!
If you like to define cole slaw as a cabbage salad, then here are three different slaw recipes. They are very flexible and you will see that you can omit some ingredients, if you don't happen to have them on hand, and still have a tasty dish. All three can be made ahead of time, and while there's a fair bit of chopping and slicing involved, no heating is necessary - great for hot summer days (if only we would have some of those...).
We eat the Korean cabbage salad as a side dish in bibim bap, or with Korean barbeque (and sometimes with rice for breakfast). The Thai-style slaw is based on a green papaya salad and is great with Thai-style grilled chicken, which I'll get around to posting one day, or other grilled meats. Leftovers are really tasty eaten as a sort of salsa, with tortilla chips. Finally, the Citrus Cucumber relish is meant to be used as a condiment in fish tacos - a quick, easy summer meal that won't heat up your kitchen, especially if you grill the fish.
Napa Cabbage Salad
Adapted from Korean Cuisine by Young Sook Choi
1 lb Napa cabbage
¾ cup sliced Chinese chives (I think they are also called garlic chives)
½ teaspoon minced garlic clove
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon minced ginger root
2 tablespoons Korean red pepper powder
1 tablespoon Korean anchovy sauce (Thai fish sauce is a good substitute)
¾ tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Toasted sesame seeds
1. Wash and drain the cabbage. Cut or tear cabbage leaves lengthwise into two or three strips. [Note: I usually cut the pieces smaller than that, for easier eating].
2. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the cabbage and mix well to coat. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and eat!
Thai-Style Slaw with Chilies and Lime
Adapted from "Real Thai," by Nancie McDermott
6 fresh kii noo chilies, sliced, or 2 fresh serrano chilies thinly sliced, or any amount of fresh or dried hot chilies that you prefer
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
about 3 cups finely sliced or shredded Napa cabbage
9 green beans, end trimmed and cut into 2-inch peices
1 teaspoon palm sugar or sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 lime, quartered lengthwise
7 cherry tomatoes, quartered lengthwise (or ~1/2 cup red bell pepper, cut into thin slivers)
fresh cilantro leaves, as desired
1. On a cutting board, mince the garlic together with the salt, using the flat side of the knife to bash them together into a paste. Transfer the garlic to a large bowl and add the sugar and fish sauce and stir, Squeeze the juice from the lime into the bowl and stir, reserving the lime rinds.
2. Add the chilies, cabbage, green beans and tomatoes (or red bell pepper) and mix well. Add fresh cilantro, chopped, as desired or garnish with whole cilantro leaves. If desired, slice the squeezed lime thinly and add it to the bowl. Taste the "juice" in the bottom of the bowl and add salt, sugar, lime juice, or chilies as desired to balance the sweet, salty, sour and hot flavors to your liking.
Citrus Cucumber Relish
Adapted from "Mesa Mexicana," by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feninger
3 small "pickling" cucumbers, or 1 regular cucumber, ends trimmed and peeled
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
3 Roma tomatoes, cored and sliced into strips (or ~1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise)
1 cup shredded white cabbage (any cabbage will work, but since this post is about Napa, you should use Napa)
1-2 serrano or other chilies, stemmed, seeded if desired (to make the relish less spicy) and finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tabelspoons grapefruit juice (optional, though it's great if you have it)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1. Cut the cucumbers into thin slices, then into fine julienne strips. Place in a bowl and add the other ingredients. Mix well and let stand for 30 minutes or longer. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
To make fish or seafood tacos, grill, broil or bake fish or seafood (Mary Sue and Susan recommend lobster, crab, shrimp or salmon; I generally use a white fish like Tilapia or cod). Warm up small corn tortillas by wrapping in foil and placing in an oven set to 300 F. On each tortilla, place a small piece of lettuce, a bit of the fish or seafood, and ~ 2 tablespoons of the cucumber relish. Add any (or all) of the following: sliced ripe avocado, sour cream, sweet green peas, sliced radish, cilantro leaves, a squeeze of lime juice, a drizzle of olive oil. These are messy to eat but oh so good!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I've had this recipe for ~15 years, in a binder of full of recipes clipped from various cooking magazines. Unfortunately, I didn't make a note of the original source, but based on the style of font in the clipping I think it came from Gourmet magazine. The original recipe suggests serving these pancakes as a side dish with fried chicken, but we usually just eat them for breakfast with maple syrup. Leftover pancakes can be frozen.
Green Onion Pancakes
Source: Gourmet magazine, I think….
2/3 cup finely chopped scallions
1 recipe cornmeal pancake batter (see below), reducing the sugar from 2 tablespoons to 1 teaspoon
Bacon fat for frying [or you can use oil, but they are sooo much better with bacon grease!]
1. Stir the scallion into the pancake batter. Heat 1/8” depth of fat in a heavy skillet until hot, but not smoking. Fry tablespoons of the batter in batches for 1 minute or until the undersides are golden. Turn the pancakes, fry them for 1 minute more. Makes about 24 pancakes [I think it makes a bit more than that, I can’t remember though…]
Cornmeal pancake batter
1 cup cornmeal
½ cup all-purpose flour [can be whole wheat flour]
2 tablespoons sugar [can be omitted altogether, if you prefer less sweet pancakes]
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 ¼ cups buttermilk [buttermilk tastes the best but you can substitute ¾ cup plain yogurt plus ½ cup milk]
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1. Sift together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, buttermilk, and butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth. Let the batter stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Per cup of water: 1 small dried anchovy and 1 piece of dried dashima (kombu), about 1x2"
Place water, anchovies, and dashima in a pot. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove anchovies and dashima before using.
That's it. Now here's the backstory (there's always a backstory).
When we traveled to Seoul in 2006, I spent a fair amount of time browsing around markets and food halls. I took several pictures of impressive displays of things like this:
and like this:
without knowing what they were, or what they were for. Well, okay, the items in the first picture were obviously small silvery fish sorted into piles according to size, but what they were for was a mystery. Similarly, I surmised that the long black bar-like things in the second picture were seaweed, but had no idea how to cook it - or even get it into your car. (Some pieces were ~6 feet long - maybe the store staff sliced off sections for you?).
Fast forward a couple of years during which I acquired several Korean cookbooks. The piles of fish were probably anchovies, to be used with the seaweed to make anchovy stock (please correct me if I'm wrong, dear readers).
I love anchovy stock now and use it in lots of Asian-style dishes, not just Korean food. It's quicker to make than dashi (no soaking of bonito flakes required). It also works as a substitute for fish stock in Western-style recipes. The flavor is very light and not at all "seaweed-y" which is great for my hubby - something about the iodine in seaweed usually tastes too strong to him. He won't touch nori or the roasted seaweed (kim) that I buy for my son's snacks, but he likes anchovy broth just fine.
There are a lot of little variations on this recipe - some books tell you to pre-soak the seaweed, or to behead and gut the anchovies before cooking them. My palate is not so refined as to notice differences in the finished product, so I skip those steps. I am careful, however, to heed warnings of overcooking the anchovies and I only simmer the brother for 10 minutes. And if I happen to have a daikon radish on hand, I'll throw a slice of that in the broth, too.
Look for dried anchovies at an Asian market. The ones I bought are about 2" long; I store them in the fridge in a zip-top bag. The seaweed to use for this is kelp, known as dashima or kombu (the Japanese name for dashima). They sell it at Whole Foods as well as Asian markets.
And just what can you do with this little marvel? Other than make kimchee stew or brasied tofu, I use it in soup. I can make the stock while I'm prepping other ingredients (Napa cabbage, sliced daikon radish, etc...bit of foreshadowing here for this week's CSA post) and have a tasty meal ready in half an hour.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Winter Greens with Currants, Pine Nuts, and Brown Butter
2 to 3 T. brown butter
¼ hot water
6 c. hot water
6 c. shard leaves with a few stems
6 c. spinach leaves
1 T. olive oil
1 finely chopped garlic clove
¼ cup water
Salt and pepper
1 T toasted pine nuts
While the butter is cooking, soak the currants in hot water to plump. Separately , tear the kale and chard leaves from the stems, reserving a few of the chard stems. Discard the stems and any browned or yellowed spinach leaves. Wash all greens separately in a salad spinner. Thinly slice the chard stems.
Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the chard stems, garlic water and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Sauté for about a minute. Add the kale and sauté for another minute. Add the chard, ¼ t. salt, and a little more pepper. Toss the greens until just tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Lower the heat and add the brown butter, spinach, currants and pine nuts. Cook until the spinach is just wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Include the pan juices when serving.
She also had a simpler recipe for Wilted Spinach with Pine Nuts. You use olive oil instead of brown butter and include lemon juice. I might try that next.
Unlike Karen, I never tire of green vegetables cooked in olive oil and garlic – as long as it’s not the same green veggie over and over! One recipe I like for chard is Marcella Hazan’s Erbette Salate per la Piadina (sautéed greens for Piadina). Piadina is a roman flatbread that I confess I have yet to make. I serve the greens as a side. I won’t give the whole recipe here, but it’s basically a mix of par-cooked Swiss chard, broccoli rabe, and Savoy cabbage, then tossed in olive oil and garlic heated in a pan. You can substitute spinach for the chard (but don’t par cook it of course), and dandelion or other bitter field greens for the broccoli rabe.
And for the strawberries, I reprised a recipe I had during the Back to Basics course I recently took at the Cambridge School for Culinary Arts (that experience for a future blog): spread Nutella on a crepe, top with sliced strawberries, and roll them up in the crepe. Very easy, once you make the crepes. I found if I added butter to the non-stick pan, the batter globbed up instead of making a nice thin round. Looked more like a moth eaten doily! I think they might have added a little milk to the Nutella because mine didn’t seem to spread as easily. Also, you could macerate the strawberries first.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
You can use almost any types of greens in this, and almost any type of sausage. I had collards and turnip greens on hand from this weeks' CSA delivery. I put the collards in the pot first and let them wilt down before adding the turnip greens, since the collards take a bit longer to cook. As for sausage, I prefer smoked pork ones like kielbasa; chorizo and linguica are really good too. But any type of sausage would probably do - whatever you have on hand (or is on sale). If you get a low-fat variety, keep an eye on it during the browning step - it seems like lower-fat sausages burn more quickly (maybe the add extra sugar to the cure?). If you're in a hurry, you can skip the sausage-browning step altogether. It does add a lot of flavor, though, so I do it whenever I have time.
Leftovers make a great soup - cut the sausages and greens into bite-sized pieces. Add chicken stock (or a stock made from shrimp shells - YUM) and some cubed potatoes or white beans (aka cannellini), simmer until the potatoes are cooked and EAT.
Braised Greens with Smoked Sausages
Serves 2-4 people, depending on how hungry you are
a few tablespoons olive oil or bacon grease
1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 3-4" long pieces and sliced in half lengthwise
1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced thin
3-4 big cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed down with the side of a chef's knife or small plate (or minced, if you prefer)
a splash of vermouth
2 bunches of greens (collards, kale, turnip, mustard, etc), washed and coarsely chopped
1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot (8-quart) set over medium heat. Add the sausage pieces, cut side down, and cook until they are starting to brown. Flip them over and let brown a bit on the other side, keeping an eye on the drippings in the pot - you don't want them to burn.
2. Take the sausages out of the pot and set them on a plate. Add the sliced onion and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to soften. Add a splash of vermouth or water and stir to get up the good browned stuff.
3. Put the chopped greens in the pan and cover. Let them cook for a few minutes, then uncover the pot and stir to bring the greens from the bottom up on top. Cover and cook until all of the greens are wilted (5-10 minutes, total). If you have a lot of greens, you may need to add half of them, cook until wilted, and then add the other half.
4. Uncover the pot and lay the sausages back on top of the greens. Sprinkle with ground black pepper and simmer, covered, over medium-low heat until the greens are tender, another 10-20 minutes (taste the greens after 10 minutes to see if they are done to your liking. The stems of the collards should be tender). Taste for seasoning (I don't usually add salt, because the sausage is salty enough) and serve with some good crusty bread.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Then on Tuesday, a nice man came to our house and repainted our circa-1940's glazed-enamel kitchen sink. This was significant because Tuesday is also the day for our weekly veggie pickup. Usually I like to wash some of the greens right away - prewashing them gets a somewhat messy and time-consuming step out of the way, and most greens will be OK for a day or two if you dry them well before you store them in the fridge. On Tuesday, however, the whole kitchen was masked off to protect it from paint spray, and we were under strict instructions to refrain from using the sink for the next 10 hours: conditions not ideal for washing, let alone cooking, a big haul of leafy greens. Plus, my hubby had a business dinner, and I was too tired from the day too even think about cooking. No veggies, therefore, were consumed on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, my hubby jetted off on a three-day business trip, leaving me with a head of lettuce, a bunch of collard greens, a bunch of baby turnips, two wicked big bunches of bok choy, and two garlic scapes all to myself. (Well, okay, my son is here, but three-year-olds aren't generally known to be voracious veggie eaters). What to do?
What to do. The collards are pretty young, so a quick braise with some garlic and kielbasa should do nicely for them. I like sausage-and-greens dishes, because the leftovers keep well and when you think you can't eat them anymore, they can be sliced up and turned into soup (add some diced potatoes or cannellini beans). So that's on the menu for tomorrow night. The bok choy should be able to hold out until Friday when I'll stir-fry it with a Player To Be Named Later. Thanks to the trusty Internet I've just learned that garlic scapes can be stir-fried (and also, what the heck garlic scapes are). But how about those turnips? They were billed as "salad turnips," meaning that they can be eaten raw, such as sliced up in a salad. They still have their greens attached, so I'll add those to tomorrow night's collards and kielbasa. I sliced up a turnip to taste a sample and it reminded me of daikon radish, and that made me think of radish kimchee.
I love radish kimchee. Sometimes I buy it in a jar, but mostly I make it at home using a recipe from Korean Cuisine by Young Sook Choi (note: I bought this book in the English/Chinese version from Amazon, but currently only the Korean edition is listed. Caveat emptor). It's not really a fermented kimchee - it only sits out for a day - but it's easy, quick and oh so yummy. (Well, if you like spicy food). I usually serve it as a side dish when I make Korean food or any Asian-style barbequed meat for dinner. You can also use it as one of the veggie dishes in bibim bap. Or for a really fast dinner, cook some rice, add a fried egg and some radish (or any other, for that matter) kimchee. Sometimes I even eat it with a little leftover rice for breakfast. And, radish kimchee can be kept in the refrigerator for a week - and if you have any left by then, you can add a little anchovy broth to whip up a kimchee stew (or a modified radish soup, which I'll post someday). (And now I really need to write that post on anchovy broth!).
Since the salad turnips tasted so much like radishes, I decided to give this a whirl. I think it's pretty tasty. One note; I don't think there's a substitute for Korean red pepper powder; you can try it with other red chilies but I just don't think it'll be the same. Make space in your cupboard for some go chu ga ru (red pepper powder) and in your fridge for some go chu jang (Korean hot pepper paste; not used in this particular recipe but in many others that I love); with those two things, you can make a lot of really great food.
A warning: this stuff is pretty addictive. I've eaten about a third of the batch, just while I was writing up this post. So much for "preserving the harvest."
8-10 oz baby turnips (1 small bunch, about 7 2-3" baby turnips), washed but not peeled, sliced thin
1 scallion, chopped into small pieces (1/2" or less
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Korean red pepper powder
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced or finely grated fresh ginger (optional).
Mix everything together. Transfer into a sealed container and let it sit around at room temperature for a while (up to overnight). Keeps refrigerated for one week.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
More details, you say? OK, I'll spill, but be forewarned: this will read like one of those reviews I've poked fun at before (if I'm gonna give it, I guess I've gotta take it, too). Here's what happened: as predicted, I didn't use the fennel and basil called for in the original recipe. I didn't end up using the sorrel that I *thought* I would go with, either, because it turns out that that can of fire-roasted tomatoes in my cupboard also had roasted chilies in it. Hot chilies, not the mild green ones. I decided to skip the sauce-reducing step and served the whole thing in bowls...it came out kind of like a spicy fish stew. I should have added some smoked Spanish paprika, but thought of it too late.
I still had a bunch of chard in the fridge, so tonight I decided to try something out. This is very loosely based on a recipe for kimchee stew - not because it has kimchee in it, but because of the general method of preparation. I've mentioned before that I've been searching for a way to cook tofu so that my meat-and-potatoes-loving hubby will eat it. Both of us prefer the texture of firm tofu that's cooked gently in liquid, but if fried tofu is your idea of heaven then by all means, go ahead and fry it before you add the broth in this recipe. I need to write a separate post on anchovy broth, 'cause it's really simple to make and pretty good for you too, but that will have to wait and for now I leave you in suspense.
This came out really, really well. Manly meat-eating hubby even commented that he's starting to really like tofu. The Swiss chard was of the red variety, and it turned the broth a lovely shade of pink - made a very pretty contrast with the white tofu and green chard leaves. And it comes together fast: you can wash the chard during the first 2 steps of cooking, so dinner can be ready in 20 minutes. It's also, I daresay, a Ludicrously Healthy recipe. I'll definitely be making this again and trying out other types of greens as the season progresses.
Braised Tofu with Swiss Chard
Makes about 4 main-dish servings
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small or 1/2 large onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
1-3 cloves of garlic, minced (or pressed)
1 1/2 cups anchovy broth, chicken broth, or water
1 lb (drained weight) firm tofu, sliced into 2x3x1/2" pieces
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
a dash of hot pepper flakes (optional)
1 bunch Swiss chard, washed, stemmed, and leave torn into 2-3" sized pieces
1 scallion, chopped finely
ground pepper and possibly salt (I didn't think it needed any).
1. Heat the olive oil in a large (6-quart or bigger) stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and stir until the onion starts to soften, about 5 minutes.
2. Pour in the anchovy broth and bring it to a simmer. Lay the slices of tofu into the broth, and add the soy sauce, vinegar, and hot pepper flakes, if you're using them. Bring to a simmer and add the Swiss chard.
3. Cover and cook until the chard is wilted and tender, 5-10 minutes, depending on how large your chard leaves are (younger chard cooks faster). You may need to use a pair of tongs to turn the chard over if the pot is very full).
4. Uncover the pot, sprinkle on the chopped scallion and season with pepper (and salt, if you think it needs it). Serve in large bowls with a scoop of hot rice.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
What to do with this bounty? This question seemed especially important since it's likely that the same players will be featured in next week's share, so I need to be ready. My hubby likes to have a salad for lunch everyday so I wasn't too worried about using that up. And I make Korean food often enough that the recipe for sesame spinach (also known as spinach salad) has full occupancy in my brain (and better yet, uses up a lot of spinach). My son ate the entire quart of strawberries within a day, and I found a good recipe for rhubarb bread, so those two were taken care of, too.
But the Swiss chard...I love the taste of leafy greens, but I hit a cook's block (kind of like a writer's block, but in the kitchen) when it comes to remembering ways to cook them. One can eat only so much chard sauteed with garlic. Then I remembered this recipe that was published in the Boston Globe Magazine (who hopefully won't hunt me down and sue me since I credit them fully). As a service to my fellow CSA members (who are also challenged by chard) and myself (who is just plain forgetful) I'm reposting the recipe here.
I must disclose that I haven't made this recipe yet - I'm going to make it for dinner tomorrow night. I'm posting it now, though, because (1) I have made other, very similar recipes and I liked them a lot, so I'm brashly confident that it'll turn out okay (I'll probably skip the fennel 'cause I don't have any right now, and use sorrel instead of basil because that's what's in the garden), (2) this recipe was one of the winners in a "one-pot meals" cooking contest, and (3) there will be wine with dinner tomorrow night, which means I'll be too sleepy to post it after I eat it. Therefore, I will take the risk and post an untested recipe: eater beware.
Cod with Swiss Chard and Potatoes
Source: The Boston Globe, February 17, 2008
Serves 6 (note: can be scaled down to serve fewer people)
2 1 1/2-pound skinless cod fillets
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced and set aside in a bowl of water
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
6 cups coarsely chopped Swiss chard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chopped fresh basil (optional)
Rinse the cod, pat dry, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Squeeze the lemon over the fillets and set the fish aside.
In a large saute pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and fennel, season with salt and pepper, and cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in the tomatoes and simmer the mixture for about 5 minutes.
Remove the potato slices from the water, dry them on paper towels, and arrange them on top of the tomato mixture. Season with more salt and pepper, add the chicken broth, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
Lay the cod fillets on top of the potatoes and put the Swiss chard on top of the fish. Cover again and cook until the chard is wilted and the fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and divide the chard among 6 plates. Divide the fish into portions and place on top of the chard, then divide and arrange the potatoes around the fish.
Put the pan back on the heat, add the butter to the sauce, and stir to mix. Reduce for about 2 minutes, then adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add basil, if using, to the sauce, stir to mix, and spoon over the fish. Serve immediately.