October 27, 2005
tulgey wood
tulgeywoodcrop.jpgI created the tulgey wood for the drinks spread at the Alice party my fabulously creative friends threw a few months ago. It was definitely my favorite of the three cocktails we served. It's done in the style of a Manhattan, replacing the sweet vermouth with a concoction called Torani Amer. (I originally picked up the bottle to try the cocktail in the link - the Hoskins. It was gooood.) I think the Amer is deeper and darker than the vermouth, and the bitter orange lends a touch of mystery. I'd like to try this with some orange bitters - I used my house standard Angostura.

1.5 oz Jack Daniels
3/4 oz Torani Amer
dash or two of bitters
2 brandied cherries

Combine the first three ingredients over big chunks of fresh ice. Shake hard. Serve up, with a few brandied cherries. (Don't use maraschinos - the sweet syrup is all wrong here.) Burble.

Posted by shock on October 27, 2005
October 24, 2005
Spicy Beef With Corriander Relish
Another fabulous recipe from bills open kitchen: Spicy Beef with Corriander Relish. I actually made this for the meat entree the same night I pulled off the successful chickpea stew experiment. This was also the first time I tried grilling steak indoors in a new heavy iron grill pan and the results were perfection! Between this beef recipe and the chickpea stew, Bill Granger is now batting two for two in my kitchen.

(I don't know how I'm going to break it to meriko, but she's never getting her cookbook back...)

Spicy Beef With Corriander Relish
1/3 cup Shaoxing rice wine, or dry sherry
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 tablespoons bakers (superfine) sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 x 7 oz sirloin steaks

optional: to serve
7 oz snow peas
steamed rice

Place rice wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, suagr and sesame oil in a large bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the steaks then cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 2 hours, bringing to room temperature in the last 30 minutes.

Prepare the corriander relish while the steaks are marinating.

Preheat a frying pan or barbecue until hot. Sear the steaks for 2 minutes each side, by which time they'll be done if you like rare steak. Continue cooking over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes on each side for medium and 2 to 3 minutes a side for well done.

Remove the steaks from the pan and allow to rest for 5 minutes in a warm place. Optional plating: lightly blanch snow peas in boiling water then plunge into cold water and drain well. Slice each steak into 1/2 inch slices, top with a little relish and serve with steamed rice and snow peas. Serve with corriander relish.

Corriander Relish
1 cup chopped corriander
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 large red chilli, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon bakers (superfine) sugar
freshly ground black pepper

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

Serves 4.

Posted by rebecca on October 24, 2005
October 23, 2005
fregole, two ways
crabplated6web.jpg sausageplated2web.jpg*taptap* Is this thing on? It's been a bit - I've been travelling and working too much of late. (Hey, at least there was some travelling in there....) But tonight, back to creating something tasty and new for the Leckman-Borogove Sunday supper!

I found a package of fregole at Lucca a few weeks ago - it looks like my beloved Israeli couscous, but toasted up nice and dark. This stuff is Sardinian - and it looks like the traditional dish made with it is fully of clammy goodness. I spotted an article in my local that mentioned that the good folks over at Incanto cook it like risotto with crab; that sounded good to me. Nothing being that easy for a Leckman-Borogove supper, I put together two different fregole dishes for our dinner tonight - a crab, thyme & shallot fregole, and one with tomatoes, chantarelles, white beans, and sage. (Warning: do not try and feed to the littlest Leckman.)

Fregole with Crab: method
--Clean a crab. Make a simple stock with the shells, and reserve the meat.
--Mince 3-4 shallots. Pluck a few branches of thyme.
--Sauté the shallots in a little butter over medium heat until they just start to color. Toss in the thyme; let cook for a few moments until the leaves turn bright bright green.
--Add in a cup of fregole. Stir to coat with tasty butter and shallot. Add stock to just cover up. Bring to a simmer.
--Simmer for 20-25 minutes, adding stock as necessary to keep the fregole submerged. Taste reasonably often, starting around minute 15. Stop cooking when they are just past al dente, but still a bit springy when you chomp.
--Stir in some crab butter that has been hanging around your freezer. And the reserved crab meat.
--Squeeze a small lemon (or half a big one) into the pasta. (Do this a bit at a time, until you like the lemon level.) Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a green salad and a little coarse sea salt sprinkled over the top. Serves 2, with a bit leftover for lunch.

Fregole with Beans, Tomato, Mushrooms & Sage: method
I worked from Judy Rogers' method for cooking dried beans and then her method for Fagioli all'Uccelletto, from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook. She's smart, that Judy. (I just realized I made Fregole e Fagioli. Oh dear.)
For the tasty beans:
--Cook your white beans according to your favorite method. If you don't have one, go get the Zuni Cookbook now!
--Chop an onion & sauté it over medium in some olive oil. Let it carmelize a bit.
--Throw in a few handfuls of chopped chantarelles and 2-3 cloves of minced garlic. And a little salt, just because you want to taste the mushrooms in a minute. Let them cook. (Now is a good time to drop down and start cooking your fregole.)
--Add a tablespooon of chopped fresh sage. Stir it in. Taste the mushrooms again. (And maybe one more time, for good measure. And let Beca taste them, too.)
---Add around a half a cup of chopped tomatoes and a splash of veg stock. Bring back to a simmer. Add the beans and some of their cooking liquid. Taste again - you'll probably need more salt. Let simmer, gently, for 15 minutes or so. (Or until the fregole is done. We're pragmatic around here.)
For the fregole
--Sauté another chopped onion in some olive oi. Add fregole, and a nice dark veg stock, and cook as above in the crab recipe.
--When the fregole is done, stir in most of the beans and their sauce, gently. Try not to break up the beans.
--Spoon into a plate, and top with a few more of the beans and a little extra sauce.
--If you have a meat-eater around, cook off a nice lamb sausage. (We had one from Golden Gate Meat Markets; lamb sausage cured in red wine.) Slice it and arrange it on the plate atop the fregole.
--Serves 3, with some leftover for lunch.

Posted by shock on October 23, 2005
October 09, 2005
Chickpea Stew With Tomatoes

I live with one vegetarian and one all-organic (mostly veggie) toddler, but hot veggie entrees aren't really in my repertoire. Meriko loaned me what's become my new favorite cookbook, bills open kitchen by Bill Granger, and I dug into it for a veggie dish for tonight's regular Sunday Night Dinner date with the Borogoves. Chickpea stew with tomatoes and green chilli is what I landed on, but omitted the chillis in consideration for my baby's palate. I had never cooked chickpeas, never made veggie stew; from what I hear the results were pretty good!

Chickpea Stew With Tomatoes (And Green Chilli)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 or 2 green chillies, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup water
2 14 oz cans chickpeas, drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon tumeric (optional)
freshy ground black pepper
500 g cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
100 g (3 1/2 ounces) baby spinach leaves

Serve with: plain yogurt

Heat a large deep frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the oil, onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and salt. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft. Add the chickpeas, 1/4 cup water, cumin, tumeric and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, or until the water evaporates. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes to soften. Remove from the heat and taste for seasoning. Stir through the spinach and top with yogurt.

Serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side.

I also made a killer Spicy Beef with Corriander Relish also from the same book for the meat-eaters. I'll save that post for a rainy day. :>

Posted by rebecca on October 09, 2005