Saturday, December 18, 2010

Turkey Tetrazzini

What lengths I will go to to get a turkey carcass for Turkey Tetrazzini with homemade semolina pasta!

Happily, this is such a flavorful preparation of a roasted turkey that we're making turkey breast just to have it on hand for  turkey sandwiches.

A smallish, young turkey breast rubbed with lots of my homemade garlic oil and stuffed with tender herbs from the garden. . .rosemary, thyme and oregano.  A light dusting of kosher salt. Roasted at 400 degrees for a half hour-reduced to 325 degrees for a final twenty minutes
Juicy, flavorful meat with a nice crust!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pork Tamales

Tamale Sauce

Deglazing the Seared Pork

I am a day away from stuffing my first tamales. One of the things that I have learned in this very short span of a few days is not that tamales are labor intensive-but that it's important to create the individual components in good order!

Far from being an expert, I received advice years ago from a Mexican friend who made the most delicious tamales. Her voice is inside my head and I am hopeful that I will create a great first batch!

My friend regularly made two types of tamales; a delicious pork tamale with a fiery sauce and a second type that was sweet and stuffed with bits of corn. I intend to tackle both.

I started my sauce with the final green tomatoes from the garden, added a bunch of garlic, cilantro, my own dried poblanos and dried fingerhot peppers. The tender pork butt chunks were simmered for two hours in the flavorful sauce and added another great dimension to the sauce.

Cooled Pork Ready to be Shredded

I have already shredded the pork, added fresh cilantro, garlic and 2 tbsp of the sauce to add to the tamales. Today, I bought frozen corn on the cob and will shuck it for the sweet tamales. I opted for that method to add the cob liquor and the sweet bits to the tamale dough.

In the morning I will soak the husks for two hours and finally stuff and steam the tamales. It's been a fun adventure! More photos to follow!
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Last of The Garden

Would you believe that I shot this photo only two weeks ago? Hard to imagine when I'm sitting here with layers of clothing fighting off the chill from freezing temps!

The plants are a memory and recently pulled from the raised beds-but not before making plans for my first attempt at homemade pork tamales with a green tomato and chile sauce. A noble end to a great garden!
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Happy Mistake!

It's an old story. . . I send hubby out with a shopping list filled with specific items to make a simple meal of vegetable soup and biscuits. He's a good shopper and I have no worries that he will return with every item on my list.

But! for some unknown reason he was feeling very independent and returned with a completely different bag of mixed vegetables , thinking I might prefer those instead!

He bought a small bag of potatos, carrots and celery. That's it.

Fortunately, (for him), I had a leftover roasted turkey carcass, ears of corn on the cob, fresh spinach and lots of tomatoes. I felt confident I could turn this into a worthwhile dinner. What I ended up with was one of those lucky "mistakes".

I made a Mexican vegetable soup with plenty of fresh spinach, tomato, and corn-and a tasty broth made from the turkey carcass and corn cobs.

Cumin, chili powder and chives made for a smoky, flavorful contrast to the sweet broth. I fried strips of flour tortilla and crumbled a salty cotija cheese for a perfect, steamy bowl of Mexican soup!
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sesame Leaves

I regularly stroll the isles of one of my favorite farmer's market hoping to discover ingredients I have never used in my cooking. Sesame leaves caught my attention several months ago and I purchased them not really knowing what I would do with them.

I've since learned that sesame leaves are popular in Korean cooking and valued for their mineral content. Good enough for me. Their ample size and pliable texture intriqued me and I soon learned I wasn't the first person who saw their potention as wraps! Into the cart they went!

With so many projects on my "to do" list, I left these in the refrigerator and promised myself I was going to stuff the pretty leaves and make some tasty rice stuffed-Asian wraps. It never happened! The pretty leaves dried and withered. I just didn't have the heart to throw them away.

90% of my leftover vegetables and fruits are reused in another form in my kitchen. Leafy greens and scallions are dried into flavorful blends to season stocks and soups. Fruits are used to make syrups for breakfast dishes and drinks in the bar. Adding the dried sesame leaves to a spice or herbal blend was a natural progression and one of the best I have stumbled upon in a long time. A perfect companion to my dried scallions

Now, I regularly buy up these pretty bundles to dry for broths and stocks. Minty, with a scent a little reminiscent of tea, I add my dried sesame leaves to anything where I might add file. (sassafrass). This week's show is a Seafood Courtboullion with Poached Seafood, flavored with dried sesame and saffron. Truly, this is one of the best broths I have ever made, and I only added the poached seafood out of a sense of obligation! The broth was a "stand-alone" success!
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Friday, December 3, 2010

Are Diamonds Really A Girl's Best Friend?

Or possibly a great cheesemonger?

Find a passionate cheesemonger and you'll discover a secret portal to the cheesemaking world!

Pictured here is my new best cheesemonger's cheese pick for me and I have to give it to Toni, this is an interesting cheese with a young history that is making cheese news. This is a Frumage Baladin from the Piedmont region of Italy. 

Complex with a creamy texture, I am sure many of you will appreciate the history of the company's desire to create a cheese using an all-vegetable rennet made from thistle flowers.  So far, my head says "mustard" but I wonder if that is because of the beer that is added.

I will continue to try to dicipher it's wonderfully familiar flavor! I find the somewhat silky texture very pleasing in my mouth That's half the fun of discovering a new cheese-especially when it sits on a crusty sliver of baquette!

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010