Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Friday, June 25, 2021
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
This is a kind of Japanese custard which people think requires some remarkably complex technique. It’s actually easier to make than a poached egg. Its appeal lies primarily in the soft creamy texture, especially when contrasted with crunchy or chewy garnishes. In flavor it can be as delicate or as intense as you like in the morning, and is entirely dependent on the strength of the stock you use. The key to success, I discovered after much travail, is adhering to a simple formula and precise timing and after that you can use any ingredients you like. Here is a relatively classic version, though garnished according to my personal whim.
1 jumbo egg
½ tsp mirin
½ tsp soy sauce
2 small pieces of lightly salted salmon
A few whisps of dill, Thin wedge of tomato, 1 shiitake mushroom, 1 tsp neutral oil
Meanwhile cook your mushroom in oil, and char the tomato too, then set aside.
Remove the teacup from the pot and let rest 3 minutes. Remove the tin foil and arrange the garnishes on top. Serve at once with a spoon while still warm.
Now here’s the best part, you can use absolutely any kind of stock and any garnishes you like. An intense mushroom stock was remarkable with sour cream and chives and a few sliced of truffle for extravagance. Chicken stock was incredible in custard form, especially contrasted with crunchy sweet corn fried in butter, with a few chewy chicken meatballs to garnish. A shellfish stock with shrimp would be so delightful too. I leave this to your imagination.
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Friday, January 15, 2021
Amaranth Sushi 1/15/2021
Some grains simply don’t stick together well enough to hold together in a rolled sushi, but amaranth is an exception. The nutty flavor also goes so nicely with the fish that it doesn’t need any further embellishment.
¾ c water
1/8 tsp salt
½ c amaranth
1 smoked trout filet
1 tbs mayonnaise
2 sheets of nori
Bring the water to the boil in a small pot with the salt. Add the amaranth and lower the heat. Simmer very gently for 20 minutes covered. Remove the lid and let the steam rise in the hot pot, stirring now and then, until the amaranth is completely dry and cool. Mix the trout and mayonnaise. Briefly pass the sheets of seaweed over an open flame for just a second so they are toasty and crisp. Divide the amaranth between the two sheets and make a thin layer. Place the trout in a thin line along the middle. Then place the whole thing in a sushi rolling mat, and roll up tightly, pressing it in with the edge of the mat rolled around it. Remove the whole roll, cut into 4 parts with a serrated bread knife, very gently so you don’t squish out the contents. Repeat with the other sheet. Makes 8 small pieces.
Sunday, December 27, 2020
Among the most ingenious ways to transform chickpea flour is to extrude it through a brass device used in India to make sev – a kind of fried noodle that goes into a variety of dishes. There are various other machines that will work just as well, a small hand-held noodle extruder, a ricer and even a cookie press with a perforated die. Here I have obviously desecrated a revered snack food, but it is so remarkably delicious, I implore you to try it.
- 1 c chickpea flour
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1/8 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- Water (less than ¼ cup)
- 2 inches of vegetable oil in a pan
- 1 ounce mozzarella
- 1 Roma tomato
- 2 tbs sour cream
- ¼ c fresh cilantro
- 1 tbs milk
- 1/8 tsp of salt
Mix the first 6 ingredients and add just enough water so it becomes a stiff dough. If necessary add a little more chickpea flour and form into a cylinder with your hands. Slide it into your press. There is no need to oil it, your hands, or anything. Now heat your oil in the pan. To test take a tiny bit of the dough and put it in the hot oil. See if it floats up. If it sinks and no bubbles form, it’s not hot enough, if it browns quickly, it’s too hot. Adjust heat accordingly. Then put the plunger in your extruder and turn the crank directly over the oil, filling the whole pan with noodles. With a pair of metal skewers, start turning them over. Cook on both sides about 5 minutes or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon or strainer and place on paper towels to cool.
Then arrange on a baking sheet covered with tin foil, sprinkle on the cheese and the tomato, chopped. Place in a toaster oven at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted. While that is heating, mix the sour cream, chopped cilantro and salt, thin with milk until it’s pourable. Take the nachos out of the oven a drizzle with the sour cream mixture. Be forwarned: it’s awfully messy, but there’s no other way to eat it but with your fingers.
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
“My grandma was the best cook ever!” says anyone who has ever been interested in cooking and eating. I say the same thing myself. For years I have been trying to replicate her recipes from memory. She died when I was 13, so it’s mostly guesswork. One of these is boyos – a kind of round roll with spinach and feta filling. There were also other fillings, like onion and egg, ground beef too. I recall vividly one day exclaiming how much I liked them, so whenever I saw her, she would have made dozens just for me, to put in the freezer and have for breakfast every day. In all honesty, they were a bit dense and since she was Mediterranean at heart, she poured olive oil on top. My father would become incensed; he liked them fine without oil, but she insisted.
After a little sleuthing I found that boyoz, as they are spelled in Turkey, are still made in the city of Izmir (Smyrna) where my grandmother’s family came from, and they are still associated with the Sephardic Jewish community. Of course the name is bollo – and they come originally from Spain. They are often unfilled in Turkey and are made of a pulled filo dough, light like a croissant. Nothing like my grandmother’s.
So with this recipe I thought about how much better they would be light and flaky, so I made a simple yeasted and laminated croissant-like dough with butter. I also used broccoli rabe instead of spinach, because the oxalic acid in the latter strips the enamel off my teeth and makes them feel chalky. And because rabe is the best vegetable on earth, period. Use a good creamy feta too, ideally from Bulgaria, but French feta can be great too.
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1/3 c water, plus a little more for kneading
6 tbs salted butter
1 bunch broccoli rabe
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
6 oz feta cheese
1 tsp each black and white sesame seeds
Mix the flour, salt, yeast and water and knead for about 10 minutes, keeping your hands wet with extra water (rather than dry with flour). Place pats of the cold butter on a sheet of plastic wrap and put another sheet on top. Roll it out into a thin square. Roll out the dough on a large wooden board, this time floured. Remove the top sheet of plastic from the butter and set it directly on the dough; then remove the other sheet. Fold the dough over the butter like a book and roll out. Repeat folding over and rolling out 4 or 5 times more, wrap the dough in the plastic and let rest in the fridge for an hour.
Chop the broccoli rabe, discarding the thick ends of the stems. Fry in the oil and season with salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring now and then, for about 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and place in a bowl to cool. Then crumble in the feta and add ¾ of the egg. Mix well. And set aside until the dough is finished resting in the fridge.
Roll out the dough on a floured board. Cut into four pieces. Place the filling in the center of each piece and fold over the sides, encasing the filling. Then turn them over, so the top is smooth. Brush with the remaining egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Then heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the boyos for 10 minutes and then lower the heat to 350 and cook another 20 minutes until browned. Eat them hot, for breakfast of course.