Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Gluten-free EeatUP! One-year Anniversary!!

The Gluten-free EatUP celebrates its one-year anniversary! This pop-up market is dedicated to the food makers that serve people with celiac disease or who live with a diet that is free of gluten; GFEU is sponsored by Levine’s General Store. Mac ‘n’ cheese, grilled kimc-cheese sandwiches, vegan empanadas (Yum Pies)... hot-served and packaged savories, sweets, vegan kimchee and so much more. Glutenberg beer is available at the bar. Admision if free! Levine}s General Store will be raffling fabulous gift boxes! Bring your friends.

The Gluten-free EatUP!
Sunday, March 1 from 1 to 6PM
Freddy’s Bar in South Slope, Brooklyn

Monday, February 23, 2015

Recipe: Miso-hungry for Pork Chops

Skinny pork chops marinated in chickpea miso, whiskey and gochuchang over egg noodles topped with shaved bonito flakes

My chickpea miso is ready!! I’ve been so good about not diving into the jars— I’ve waited so patiently to harvest my one and two-year-old misos. As it aged it developed deep caramel tones and a very complex, smokey umami flavor. There are many brands available in Asian grocery stores, but I prefer to make my own for purity and proper fermentation method— rice koji, chickpeas and sea salt are the only ingredients in authentic miso. Some brands rush the aging process by over-blending and adding sugar and alcohol; some commercial brands are even frozen which is a huge NO NO. Chickpeas make a subtle, sweeter miso; it’s ideal for people who exclude soy from their diet. If you’re interested in learning more about this fermentation process, here are instructions for making miso on my blog: Making Miso 101.

Still Life with Miso: My chickpea miso, one and two year old batches (foreground and back)

So now that my miso is ready what do I do with it? Miso is one of my favorite ingredients— I use it in stews, soups, marinades and even peanut brittle candy. Here’s a simple pan-seared pork chops recipe using miso, whiskey and Korean chili paste as a marinade. 

Miso-whiskey Pork Chops
  • 5 small pork chops, thinly sliced to 1/2 inch
  • 1 tbsp miso, chickpea or soybean
  • 1 tsp Korean chili paste (gochuchang)
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp whiskey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp ginger root, freshly grated
  • 1/4 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp peanut or any high heat oil
Using a teaspoon, run miso through a fine sieve to refine any clumps. Prepare ginger with a microplane grater to get a fine grade. In a mixing bowl add all ingredients except for the chops and onion; mix until the brown sugar is dissolved. Toss pork chops and sliced onion with marinade, coating chops evenly. Place in a closed container and marinate in the refrigerator for at least four hours— overnight is ideal.

It’s fryin’ time! In the sink, place marinated pork chops on a slanted chopping board for 10 minutes to drain some of the liquid. Heat skillet on a high and add oil. Lower flame to medium when the oil reaches smoke point. A well-seasoned cast iron skillet would be ideal, but a non-stick pan with a thick bottom works well too. Sear chops for four to five minutes on each side or until they caramelize. Remove from pan and set aside to rest for five minutes before serving. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and Japanese katsuoboshi (shaved bonito flakes).

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Recipe: Korean-style Seared Duck Breast

Pan-seared duck breast rubbed with sea salt, black pepper and Hanguk Saffron— thinly sliced and served with kimchee!
Hanguk Saffron the Asian spice of life
There’s dak (duck) bulgogi, then there’s ori (duck) bulgogi. To avoid any culinary confusion... I made DUCK bulgogi. Pan-searing a duck breast filet is not hard to do at all, but there are some general guidelines to follow. Duck is poultry, just as chicken and turkey are, but the flesh is more comparable to a red meat animal. It’s cooked as beef or pork would be. Unlike red meat, duck is lower in saturated fats. Most of the ducks fat is in the skin, were as it’s marbled throughout a good cut of red meat. A younger duck will be more tender and flavorful than an older one.

Since duck is very fatty the first objective to making a moist, crisp breast is to render most of the fat and moisture from the skin before completely cooking it. Instead of marinating the best way to flavor this dish is to dry-rub with seasoning; I use my Hanguk Saffron, a powdered seasoning made from dehydrated kimchee (inset); in this recipe we’ll estimate the flavor with mixture of dry spices. If you have frozen duck breasts, let them thaw in the fridge for two or three days ahead of cooking. Never let it thaw out on the counter, it will toughen the meat. Wash duck breast and pat dry. One way to remove moisture (after washing) is to let it sit skin-side-up in the refrigerator for two to three hours before cooking. Estimated cooking time for this recipe is about 18-20 minutes.

You’ll need:
  • 2 duck breasts with skin, 9 to 10 oz each
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • large cast iron skillet or a thick-bottom non-stick pan
  • 3 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Dry-rub Mix
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Korean chili powder, fine grade
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
Dry-rub mix and cooking low and slow is the way to go for this dish.
Mix dry-rub spices in a small bowl, set aside. With a sharp knife, score the skin-side of both duck breasts making shallow diamond cuts; avoid cutting into the flesh. Salt liberally on both sides, then sprinkle with pepper. Sprinkle half the amount of the dry-rub mix on the meat side of both breasts. Heat a large cast iron skillet on a low flame and place the breasts in skin-side down. Allow to sear low-and-slow for four minutes, then lift to check that the skin is evenly crisping-up. Continue to sear for another 5 minutes and reposition in the pan to ensure that the skin evenly browns. You can use a spatter screen if it gets messy but do not cover with a lid.

The objective is to slowly remove the fat and moisture from the skin my searing on low heat. Starting with a medium or high flame would seal the fat in the skin, making the meat greasy. This process will release a good amount of fat, drain from the pan as needed. Duck fat is a good fat which is high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. You can freeze and save the fat for making confit or refine it to use as a cooking fat instead of lard.

Flip breasts over and sear the meat side for about 8 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches about 122°F, the flesh feels as firm as the tip of your nose when you press on it. Raise flame to medium heat, flip over skin-side down and sear for two more minutes. Is it done? Check by lancing the center of the best, if liquid runs clear, remove from heat and let it rest for 6 minutes before serving. The skin should be crisp and the meat should be firm but not over-cooked. To serve, cut diagonally against the grain of the meat and glaze each slice with sweet soy sauce and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds before plating.

And there you have it, a Korean spiced duck breast, pan-seared to perfection.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Recipe: Garlic Confit and Parsley Pesto

The garlic confit pesto is vegan— made with parlsey and ground almonds. Obviously the chicken paillard is not vegan.

Garlic confit— amber and gold treasure
Pesto is mostly known as the verdant, flavorful Genoese paste made with basil, garlic, grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and olive oil. There are many version throughout Italy that vary by region. Not all Italian pesto is green. Two of my favorite reds that (eponymous to their region) are Pesto alla Calabrese made with grilled red peppers, ricotta cheese and ground black pepper, and Pesto Rosso (alla) Siciliana made with sun-dried tomatoes and ground almonds.

Both are served over bruschetta a the Italian table. But there are variations of this condiment paste made world-wide: Argentinian Chimichurri made with cilantro and oregano; Chinese black bean sauce made with fermented black bean and red chili; Thai peanut sauce made with ground peanuts, sesame oil and fragrant spices. 

This vegan pesto recipe is made with garlic confit— garlic which is slowly poached in extra virgin olive oil until golden. It has a creamy soft texture and a slightly sweet flavor that is reminiscent of pine nuts, without the sharp, sulfurous overtone that is typical of crushed garlic. Click here for the recipe on my blog. Instead of basil and pine nuts this recipe calls for parsley, ground almonds and toasted sesame seeds. Since this is a vegan recipe I use nutritional yeast.

Garlic Confit and Parsley Pesto
You’'ll need a food processor for this recipe. Toast your raw almond and sesame seeds ahead of time and set them aside to cool. Wash parsley and air dry or run through a salad spinner. Use good quality extra virgin olive oil (aka EVOO for the food smarties), it makes all the difference. This pesto will keep refrigerated in an air-tight container for about three days. It’s best to make small batches, but if you make more you can freeze this pesto for future meals.

You’ll need:
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped and packed loosely
  • 1/4 cup garlic confit, plus 2 tbsp confit oil 
  • 3/4 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds, toasted
  • 2 1/2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
In a non-stick pan, set flame on medium-low and toast raw almonds until they have release some of their oil; try not to scorch them, set aside to cool. Toast sesame seeds until the start to pop, set aside to cool. Roughly chop parsley to break up large stems. Pulse almonds and sesame seeds in a food processor until they look like gritty sand. Now add all the remaining ingredients and blend until you have a smooth paste. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a soft spatula as needed. Transfer to a small bowl and serve immediately. You can serve it in a pasta dish or use as bruschetta.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Recipe: A Confit of Sesame-infused Garlic

Quesadilla made with cheddar and brie cheeses, caramelized onion with a generous shmeer of mashed garlic confit

Use a cast iron pan as a heat diffuser.
Savory, earthy with mild, sweet notes of pine nut— that’s the best way I can describe the complex flavor of garlic confit. The texture of each plump, golden clove is soft enough to spread. Confit (from the French) is a method preserving food by poaching it in oil (or fat) at temperature lower than frying (about 200°F), after which it is stored at a refrigerated temperature. This low-slow cooking renders out allicin, the sulfurous enzyme that gives garlic its pungent aroma and flavor— leaving the sweeter flavor compounds. I’m sure it’s as healthy as all-get-out, but I just love the way it tastes; it deepens the flavor of savory foods.

I first had this wonderful side dish a few years back when my friend Heather McCabe threw a mid-winter party. She baked fresh garlic cloves in extra-virgin olive oil in a covered cast iron dish. I’ve since adapted this recipe for the gas range. The key to this recipe is using fresh plump garlic cloves, good quality olive oil and most importantly low, constant heat. Even if you use a thick-bottom pot you’ll need to use a heat diffuser— or try this kitchen hack: use a cast iron pan instead. I found it delivers a even low heat over an open flame; an added bonus it that it also acts as a heat conductor for an induction burner. 

I cut elephant garlic in half to get an equal size with regular silver skin garlic. The cloves are poached in oil, not fried.

Sesame-infused Garlic Confit
Peel and wash your garlic cloves ahead of time and make sure they are dry before cooking. Select large plump, unblemished cloves of garlic of similar size— even sizes ensure even cooking. If you’re using a cast iron pan instead of a heat diffuser, pre-heat it on medium flame then lower flame for cooking.

TIP: Here’s a quick way to peel whole garlic without making a mess: trim off the hard base on each clove, place three or four cloves into a tall jar, cover and shake vigorously. The skins will have fallen off or come loose enough to peel easily. Discard the the skins or save them to make stock.

You’ll need:
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 cup whole garlic cloves, peeled and washed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp whole pepper corns
  • 1 1/2 tsp dark roasted sesame oil (not the light cold-pressed type)
  • a small covered pot
  • heat diffuser (or cast iron pan)
Place garlic cloves, bay leaf and pepper corns in small pot and add olive oil. With a heat diffuser (or cast iron pan) placed directly over the flame heat pot on medium heat until the oil just starts to bubble (one minute) then adjust flame to very low heat. This first step is important; the cloves should poach in oil, not fry. If oil starts to boil, remove pot from heat and cool down, then return to burner.

Cover and cook low and slow for about 35 to 40 minutes or until they are golden in color and fork-tender (larger batches may take up to an hour). Check to make sure that the oil does not boil and the garlic cloves are not burning. Add roasted sesame oil and remove from flame; set the pot aside uncovered and allow it to cool.

With a clean spoon carefully transfer garlic to a clean jar, then add the oil and other ingredients from the pot to the jar. Seal tightly and store in the refrigerated. You can eat it once it has cooled but I found it develops a more complex flavor and better texture after 24 hours. Garlic confit will keep for about 6 to 8 weeks in your refrigerator. Mix it with mayonnaise and use it as a sandwich spread or serve as a side dish at the table. On one favorite thing to make with garlic confit is pesto with parsley, ground almonds and a little salt; simply delicious Do not reuse the infused oil for making more confit, use is it to flavor other dishes instead.

Precious amber and gold— garlic confit will keep for 6 to 8 weeks in the refrigerator.