Thursday, November 21, 2013

Kind of, sort of

I love Thanksgiving recipes as much as the next lady. I love the hue of a reddish-brown crisp smoked turkey skin. I could (check that: have) eaten an entire pan of cornbread-sausage stuffing. Pie? Give me lots, especially if it's pecan.

But there is a soft underbelly to the culinary beast that churns out autumnal recipe after autumnal recipe on every television show, blog, and perfect glossy magazine cover that quietly mocks reality from its perch astride the checkout aisle. And that is: recipes that have nothing at all to do with Thanksgiving. Because, face it, you need a break. In the midst of the harvest revelry, you need something to eat that is completely unrelated to the last Thursday of November.

Enter pad see ew.

Except, wait a minute. Asian dishes kind of, sort of, do have something to do with Thanksgiving. At least this year. Because this year, for the first time in nearly a century, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving overlap. And if there's one genre of food that I think of when I think of Jewish eating around the holidays, it's Asian. Who among us doesn't know a Jew who craves Chinese in December?

So if your Thanksgiving table will be adorned by a menurkey, perhaps you might want to find time in your eating schedule for this delicious mix of rice noodles, chicken, eggs, broccolini, and garlic. It is so freaking tasty. I mean, SO FREAKING TASTY.

Happy Thanksgivingukkah! 


Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

Like every single thing that America's Test Kitchen does, this recipe is perfection. Perfection.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut against the grain into 1/4-inch slices

1 t. baking soda
8 oz. rice noodles
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. oyster sauce
1 T. plus 2 t. soy sauce
2 T. packed dark brown sugar
1 T. white vinegar
1 t. molasses
1 t. fish sauce
4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
3 eggs
2 bunches broccolini (roughly 12 oz.), florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stalks cut on bias into 1/2-inch pieces

Prep the chicken: Combine the chicken with 2 T. water and baking soda in bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Rinse chicken in cold water and drain well.

Prep the rice noodles: Bring 6 c. water to a boil. Place noodles in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over noodles. Stir, then soak until noodles are almost tender, about 8 minutes, stirring once halfway through the soak. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well and toss with 2 t. vegetable oil.
Make the sauce: Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, molasses, and fish sauce together in a bowl.
Cook the garlic, chicken, and eggs: Heat 2 t. oil and garlic in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is deep golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add chicken and 2 T. of the sauce mixture, toss to coat, and spread the chicken into even layer in the pan. Cook, without stirring, until chicken begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. The trick here is to have the patience to allow the chicken to brown without turning it. You might be tempted to stir. Don't. Let the chicken sit there and develop fabulous color. Using tongs, flip chicken and cook, without stirring, until second side begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. 

Push chicken to one side of the skillet. Add 2 t. oil to cleared side of skillet. Add the eggs to the clearing. Using a rubber spatula, stir eggs gently and cook until set. Stir the eggs into chicken and continue to cook, breaking up large pieces of egg, until eggs are fully cooked, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer chicken mixture to a large bowl.

Cook the broccolini: Heat 2 t. oil in the now-empty skillet until smoking. Add broccolini and 2 T. of the sauce mixture and toss to coat. Cover the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove the lid and continue to cook until broccolini is crisp and very brown in spots, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Transfer broccolini to the bowl with the chicken mixture.

Cook the noodles in two batches: Heat 2 t. oil in the now-empty skillet until smoking. Add half the noodles and 2 T. of the sauce mixture and toss to coat. Cook until noodles start to brown in spots, about 2 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Transfer noodles to the bowl with the chicken mixture. Repeat with remaining 2 t. oil, remaining noodles, and the rest of the sauce mixture.

Mix it all together: When the second batch of noodles is cooked, add the contents of the bowl back to the skillet and toss to combine. Cook, without stirring, until everything is warmed through, 1 to 1½ minutes.

Commence devouring.

Serves 4, technically, but each and every time I make it Husband and I eat the whole thing in one sitting.


Previously, on A Stove With A House Around It:

One year ago: maple-stout bread
Two years ago: fig-walnut pie
Three years ago: apple and cheddar scones
Four years ago: caramelized onion and brie mashed potatoes
Five years ago: herb breadsticks

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Squash and dukkah for dinner

Here's what happened.

I had some dukkah, sitting in a jar, beckoning me daily from the counter top. I had made a batch for the season-end Hudson Farmers' Market potluck dinner, but, I'm not going to lie to you, Farmers' Market friends: I didn't bring the whole batch to the potluck. I purposely held back about half of it. Because I wanted to "share" some with Husband. But really I wanted it for myself. You, Farmers' Market friends, are OK with this, I am certain, as there were many other delicious things to eat that evening. The real loser here is Husband. But he is already a loser! We have established this.


Then just a few days later I was ambling through the grocery store -- chatting up the beer guy as I am wont to do, checking out various cheeses, wondering if I need to buy any baked goods (yes) -- when I spied a perilous pyramid of delicata squash, arrayed beautifully next to the rest of fall's bounty: jugs of local cider, apples in every shade of green and red, wee pumpkins. I bought them. The delicata squash. Because I couldn't not. They were lovely.

A few more days passed. The delicata squash decorated my kitchen counter, not my dinner plate, because I didn't know what I wanted to do with them. Roasting them is always a solid option, but I wanted a little more oomph. I desired a recipe that felt special -- something befitting the delicata's stripey good looks and seasonal charm.

Enter Deborah Madison and her book, Vegetable Literacy. I thought it would behoove me to see what her tome had to say about delicata squash. Guess what? Vegetable Literacy contains a recipe for delicata squash prepared with dukkah! I get irrationally thrilled when I come across a recipe that incorporates something that is otherwise languishing in my larder -- you can, therefore, imagine my elation at a dish that incorporates two such foodstuffs.

I said to Husband: you are having squash and dukkah for dinner.


Adapted from Vegetable Literacy, by Deborah Madison

Ms. Madison's book includes her own recipe for dukkah, but I fall back on my favorite standard.

2 Delicata squash, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds total, the skins left on
1 T. olive oil
Sea salt
1 clove garlic
1/2 c. Greek yogurt
3 T. tahini
1/4 c. dukkah 
1 T. fresh parsley, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice each squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds (I like to use my grapefruit spoon for this job). Slice each half into half rounds about 1/4 inch thick.

Toss the pieces with the oil and season with sea salt to taste, then arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Roast until the squash is tender and browned in some places, 20-25 minutes.

While the squash roasts, make the tahini-yogurt sauce. Mince the garlic, mixing it with about 1/4 t. of sea salt on the cutting board until the garlic and salt form a smooth paste. Stir the garlic mixture into the yogurt, then stir in the tahini. Taste, and add more salt if necessary.

When the squash is tender, remove it from the oven and toss it with the dukkah and parsley.

Serve alongside a generous dollop of the tahini-yogurt sauce.

Serves 4-6, as an appetizer or side.


Previously, on A Stove With A House Around It:

One year ago: maple-stout bread
Two years ago: fig-walnut pie
Three years ago: apple and cheddar scones
Four years ago: caramelized onion and brie mashed potatoes
Five years ago: cauliflower and fregula Sarda gratin

Friday, September 20, 2013

Inexorable march

I am a farmers' market junkie.

I amble about my local market every Saturday, feasting my eyes on lush tables of sweet-tart grapes, breathing in the intoxicating aroma of the best garlic you'll ever find, listening to the glorious sound of chicken sizzling on an electric griddle. I get a lot of ideas, and I buy a lot of things. With a recipe idea in my head, I breezily and confidently say things like, "I'll take 8 quarts of those blueberries and all the Green Zebra tomatoes you have." My goals are lofty: When I get home later, surely I will make a batch of blueberry butter while I whip up a green tomato panzanella with pickled shallots.
Then, as soon as I set foot outside the idyllic world of the market -- where all culinary things are possible and into which real life shall not pass -- I am jolted back to reality. Where children are crazed and husbands are stressed and the laundry pile is three bibs and a pair of running shorts shy of touching the ceiling.

Several days pass. Produce remains un-fruit-buttered and un-pickled. Panic sets in. I can't let all this gorgeousness go to waste! Commence marathon afternoon/evening of cooking. 

The next Saturday, it all happens again.

This week, I had an embarrassment of Sun Gold tomatoes from Hattie's Gardens. If you are unfamiliar with the majesty that is the Sun Gold tomato, let me tell you about it. It's a tiny little golden yellow-orange gem, a sweet nugget of concentrated sunshine and warm late summer afternoons. Sun Golds are glorious. My original plan, when I bought them, involved laboriously yet lovingly peeling each tiny sphere, packing them into wee quilted Ball jars, and canning them to save for a bleak February day. But the aforementioned bibs and running shorts were taking over my bedroom, mocking me with their unfoldedness. I -- shockingly -- never got around to the canning. And lo, a few nights ago I realized I had a glut of Sun Golds that were this close to being lost forever to the inexorable march of mold.

Enter this pasta dish: a celebration of the Sun Gold, cooked briefly with onion, garlic, and subtle hints of basil, thyme, tarragon, clove, and star anise. Perfection. If there are any Sun Golds left at your market, well, you know what to do.

Now excuse me while I figure out to do with all this rainbow chard.


Adapted from Bon Appetit

1 lb. spaghetti, fettuccine, or any long pasta you like 
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 sprigs basil
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig tarragon
1 star anise pod
1 clove
2 t. sherry vinegar
4 c. Sun Gold (or other cherry) tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente according to package directions. When the pasta is ready to drain, be sure to reserve some of the starchy cooking liquid.

While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and slightly browned, 6-8 minutes. Add garlic, basil, thyme, tarragon, star anise, and clove and cook, stirring often, until ingredients are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add vinegar and tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes release their juices and a sauce forms. Discard basil, thyme, tarragon, star anise, and clove (if you can find it in there). Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Bowl o' discarded flavor agents

Add drained pasta to the sauce, along with 1/2 c. of the pasta cooking liquid. Cook, tossing and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed to coat the pasta and make a nice sauce, about 2 minutes.

Serves 4.


Previously, on A Stove With A House Around It:

One year ago: tomato-water spaghetti
Two years ago: cinnamon-scented fried chicken
Three years ago: tomato and bread salad with ricotta
Four years ago: pasta della Bosca
Five years ago: roasted tomato marinara

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pretty much the best thing

I am kind of into the grill. And the smoker.

I have a love for charcoal and smoke that borders on the unnatural.

The other day, when I was watching the "Chopped" grill masters tournament, I was filled with an appropriate measure of rage because each round only included one woman. That's four women, total, in the whole tournament. As if grilling is a man's domain. Please.

Then there was the party I went to recently where I bent a friend's ear about smoking (food, not cigarettes.) He was probably sorry that he asked me what model smoker I have. He will probably avoid me at future gatherings. However, he did inspire me to want to smoke strawberries to use in homemade ice cream. One of the most brilliant ideas I've heard of late.

Just today I chastised my brother-in-law because he fears char.

So the concept of rubbing a brisket with coffee grounds, ancho chile, and salt, grilling it until charred (hi, Steve!), braising it with cinnamon, black pepper, onions, tomato, and garlic, then shredding and serving it in tacos, well, that is pretty much the best thing.

Light your chimney starter! Behold the machaca!


Adapted from Eric Williams of Cleveland's excellent Momocho restaurant

1/2 c. coffee, coarsely ground
4 T. ancho chile powder
1/2 c. kosher salt
5-lb. beef brisket, trimmed of most of the fat
2 c. red wine
20 oz. tomato juice
1/4 c. freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. garlic, chopped
2 T. freshly-cracked black pepper
1 T. cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 onion, cut into a few large pieces

For serving:
Corn tortillas
Red onion, sliced
The guacamole of your choice

In a medium bowl, combine the coffee, ancho powder, and salt. Rub the mixture onto the brisket, coating as evenly as possible.

Build a hot charcoal fire, in an even layer, in the bottom of the grill. (You could always use a gas grill, of course, but I love charcoal with all of my heart.) Place the brisket on the grill and sear, charring the meat in places. Do not fear the char!

Remove from the grill. If your 5 pounds of brisket isn't already in pieces (i.e., you started with one big mammoth piece of meat instead of several smaller cuts), cut the meat into three pieces. 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the meat into a large roasting pan. Add the remaining ingredients: red wine, tomato juice, lime juice, red wine vinegar, garlic, black pepper, cinnamon, bay, and onion. Add enough water to cover the brisket. Cover the pan with a lid or with a piece of aluminum foil.

Place in the oven and cook for 3-4 hours, until the meat is tender and falling apart. 

Remove the brisket from the braising liquid and allow to cool. Strain and reserve the braising liquid. When the meat is cool enough to handle, shred it into bite-size pieces. Place the reserved braising liquid in a saucepan and cook over a low heat until slightly reduced and thickened.

To serve: Char corn tortillas on the grill, or in a dry skillet on the stove. Place two tortillas together and fill with shredded beef, red onion, a dollop of guacamole, and a generous drizzle of the reduced braising liquid.

Makes enough machaca for several nights' worth of taco eating. Or, you could just shove the machaca in yo face, uncivilized-style, if nobody is looking. You're probably in your back yard, near your grill, so nobody is looking.


Previously, on A Stove With A House Around It:

One year ago: tomato-water spaghetti
Two years ago: dilly scapes
Three years ago: banana bread with coconut and pecans
Four years ago: red rice and young garlic pilaf
Five years ago: Ligurian lemon cake

Sunday, May 5, 2013

For those aforementioned people

I really, really like to throw things away. I am the anti-hoarder. The feeling I get from getting rid of things I don't need or use -- whether it means giving pants that don't fit me any longer to my skinny sister, or dropping off an old table to the Goodwill, or even the weekly pile that awaits our fabulous sanitation engineer -- is a real high.

Husband calls it my "trash stiffie." Used properly in a sentence: "Did you see the pile out at the curb today? You are totally gonna get a trash stiffie."

For the past few weeks I've had "ramps" scrawled hopefully on my grocery list. I didn't really expect to find them in any store -- ramps, for the uninitiated, are the wonderfully pungent wild leeks that enjoy a very short season and are most reliably sourced at the forest floor. People who love ramps, love ramps. They are a true sign of spring, peeking up through the detritus of last year's fallen leaves, green heralds of warmer days to come. Our neighbor city of Peninsula even hosts a ramp festival, for those aforementioned people who love ramps. If you want to find them, you best do a little foraging. Or you can get lucky at a local market. If you're lucky. But I wasn't expecting to be lucky this year.

Until last week, when I rounded the corner from the beer aisle at my local Heinen's and saw a pile of ramps, bundled together and arranged just so in a rustic, earthy heap.

I gasped. Audibly.

I believe this is what they call a "ramp stiffie." 


Adapted from Bon Appetit

The original recipe calls for pork sausage, which I am certain would be mighty tasty in this recipe, indeed. However, as Husband eschews pork (and I rarely eat it), I subbed spicy chicken sausage and it was every bit as savory and fabulous.

2 T. unsalted butter
1/2 lb. hot Italian sausages (pork, turkey, or chicken), casings removed
16 ramps, trimmed; bulbs and stems sliced, green tops thinly sliced (chiffonade)
1 c. arborio rice
1/2 c. white wine
3 c. (or more) chicken or turkey stock
1/2 c. Pecorino, grated, plus more for serving
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste

Place the butter in a Dutch oven, and melt it over moderate heat. Add the sausage, and cook until it begins to brown, breaking it up with the back of a spoon, 8-10 minutes. 

Add the sliced ramp bulbs and stems. Saute until almost tender, 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. 

Add 3 cups of the stock, one cup at a time, simmering until almost absorbed before the next addition and stirring often. After you've added the entire 3 cups of stock, cook the rice for an additional 18 minutes, stirring often, until the rice is just tender and the risotto is creamy. If, during this 18 minutes, the mixture begins to dry out, add more stock, a little at a time. (My mixture ended up taking about 4 1/2 cups of stock.)

Off the heat, mix in the green ramp tops and the Pecorino. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves 4. Technically.


Previously, on A Stove With A House Around It:

One year ago: tomato-water spaghetti
Two years ago: writing about Polish food for the Why CLE? blog
Three years ago: guacamole
Four years ago: honey biscuits
Five years ago: mole Poblano

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bread Baker's Apprentice: 22/43: pain de Campagne

Sometimes, playing catch-up after years of inactivity means you end up with two posts about The Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge, back to back. Taking my last post, on pain à l'Ancienne, and today's entry together, it's like this blog's equivalent of two for Tuesday. 

Kind of. 

Only instead of two Steve Miller Band classics, it's Reinhart breads. Frankly, I don't know which is more freaking awesome.

So this pain de Campagne was the last of the Bread Baker's breads that I baked pre-hiatus. I recall that it was very delicious, as are the vast majority of Reinhart's breads. When one makes the pain de Campagne, one has many shaping options. One can form it into boule, bâtard, baguette, even a scissor-cut épi. I decided to select the lovely fendu, a technique in which the baker uses a rod of some sort to press a deep crease down the length of the loaf.

All was well and good as I began shaping the soft, pliable dough.

The loaf looked beautiful as it began its final proof. 

But when I returned to the kitchen an hour later to bake the bread, the rustic and charming crease had risen right out of my pain de Campagne.

So I ended up with a fat, featureless loaf.  

You know what, though?

Fat, featureless loaves taste just as fabulous as their artisan-crafted kin. Toasted up with a knob of Irish salted butter, the pain de Campagne spoke of the pompatus of love.


The Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge asks that we do not share Reinhart's recipes. Which is not a big deal to you, dear reader, because you already own the book. Turn to page 195 and let me know if your fendu is more successful than mine.


Previously on A Stove With A House Around It:

One year ago: tomato-water spaghetti
Two years ago: sharing Babushka's homemade Polish fare over at Why CLE?
Three years ago: quinoa with caramelized onions
Four years ago: Jane Howard's phenomenal hot cross buns
Five years ago: ultimate soft and chewy chocolate chunk cookies

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bread Baker's Apprentice: 21/43: pain à l'Ancienne

The last time I wrote about The Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge (the seemingly never-ending quest to bake all 43 recipes, in order, from Peter Reinhart's most excellent The Bread Baker's Apprentice), it was May 14, 2011, and I was proclaiming the superior toast qualities of Reinhart's exuberantly-named multigrain bread extraordinaire.

A lot has changed since then.

On May 14, 2011, Australian singer Danii Minogue resigned as a judge on The X Factor. I mean, it's been almost two whole years since Dannii Minogue was a judge on The X Factor! Lady Gaga was a week away from releasing Born This Way. Captain Jack Sparrow was on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, in an issue that also included a preview of fall television pilots (Charlie's Angels, something called Good Christian Bitches). (Clearly, a Google search of the big arts and cultural news of May 2011 turns up, well, results that are anything but compelling.)

A review of my Facebook timeline from May 2011 shows that at that time I was busy drinking beers, taking care of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, visiting zoos with a small child, watching Roxette videos on YouTube, and discussing the Lisa Marie Presley cover of "Dirty Laundry" with anyone who would listen.

Eh, maybe that much hasn't changed.

So, it's been awhile since I've checked in with The Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge. It's also been awhile since I've checked in with Reinhart, for that matter, though I do make his light wheat bread relatively frequently. Though the months and years have escaped me, I have always wanted to finish the challenge. It's been nagging at me, a yeasty voice calling out of the dark recesses of my pantry's flour bin, beckoning me to finish what I started. Truth be told: I did bake a few more of the breads before my excessively long hiatus, but I never wrote about them. One of those breads was the pain à l'Ancienne. I didn't mean not to share it...

...but then I found myself up against the recipes in the book that utilize a wild yeast starter, which I did attempt. But my wild yeast starter failed spectacularly. I researched a few additional methods for getting such a starter going, but before I could get around to it...well, here I am. Older. Wiser. Wider. The mother of two children, not just one. And still wild yeast-less. 

I now vow to restart the challenge. Even if all of the other original bloggers who originally picked up the challenge back in May 2009 either finished long ago or similarly gave up, shipwrecked on the rocky shore of a failed wild yeast starter, well, I persevere. 

I am going to finish this, and I am going to eat some more awesome bread while doing so.


The Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge asks that we do not share Peter Reinhart's recipes. Do you have the book? You really should; I'm just saying. The pain à l'Ancienne recipe begins on page 191.


Previously, on A Stove With A House Around It:

One year ago: tomato-water spaghetti
Two years ago: writing about delicious Polish food over at the Why CLE? blog
Three years ago: quinoa with caramelized onions
Four years ago: fregula Sarda with roasted zucchini, ricotta salata, and olives
Five years ago: pasta e ceci alla Romana