Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bigos

I made bigos for my friend who lived in Eastern Europe for a long time. Her joy was unprecedented on a birthday.

 Here's the recipe which I'm glad to say is from my student in my politics of food class. To the Radich family: thank you.

Vegetarian version for MCT: click here.

*

I chose to do the food challenge where my mom recalled a food my great-grandmother used to make. My mom was born and raised in Poland, and moved to America when she was 14. Food is a big part of Polish culture. Most dishes are made from scratch and take some time to prepare. The dish we chose to make is called bigos, also known as hunter’s stew. This dish takes at least two days to prepare. It is most popular at the start of hunting season in the fall and into the winter. It is a hearty dish that is made with any or all types of game the hunter brings home. There is no one way to make this dish, but it is very common in all of Poland. Bigos is a dish that is found at any holiday celebrations and is made year round to use up left over meats. In Poland, my mom and uncle Kris lived with their parents, their cousins and their parents, and their grandparents. They had a huge house that my great-grandfather built on 10+ acres. My great-grandmother used to make bigos for the whole family all the time. Then when my grandma moved to America, followed by my mom a year later and uncle 5 years after her, she would make bigos for them. My mom called my uncle Kris to make sure she remembered how to make bigos.

Our recipe called for: 1 Full rack of pork ribs (~2lbs)

(Used a grass fed beef chuck roast and after three hours of sauteing, it was still unchewable. Did this cow run track? Then at the 6 hour mark, it was falling apart-CK).

1 ft long thick kielbasi link

 Water

 Salt

 Peppercorns

 Red pepper flakes (didn't put this in)

 Garlic powder (didn't put this in)

 3 bay leaves

 1.5 lbs sauerkraut (Good kraut is VERY important) (drained and soaked in water to lessen the vinegar taste)

1 small head of cabbage Handful of dried Polish mushrooms (Prawdziwki) (one portabella chopped worked)

 2 pieces of bacon (I admit, it was more like half a pound of bacon, and I sauteed the onion and apple in it).

1 small onion

2 beef cubes (didn't put this in)

3 prunes (yes, put this in). I also put in two peeled and diced apples and a cup of Malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina. Not too tannin-y.

Place pork ribs in a large pot and fill with water until pork is submerged. Season water with salt, peppercorns, one bay leaf, and red pepper flakes.

Bring to a boil, then let simmer on low heat for ~3 hours until pork is well-cooked. (I boiled it for 75 minutes, dumped half the broth and half the chuck into a Crockpot with everything else and then cooked it on high for two hours, low for four hours-CK).

Once cooked, remove the pork from the broth (turn of burner) and remove all bones and excess fat.

Place meat in a bowl and set aside. Take the sauerkraut and rinse thoroughly to reduce sourness; then, cut cabbage head into shreds. In separate pot saute bacon and diced onions. Add the kraut and shredded cabbage to the bacon and onions pot; then, pour the broth into this pot. Cook on med-high until boiling then turn to low. Add a handful of dried Polish mushrooms and two bay leaves. Cook on low heat for one hour. Add garlic powder and 2 beef cubes. Continue to cook on low for 1.5 hours. Add cooked pork and cut up kielbasi to the stew along with 3-4 more peppercorns and 3 crushed prunes. Cook on low for 2 hours. Allow to cool (overnight) then cook on low hear for 2 hours the next day. Stew will taste better and better with multiple slow cook sessions. Typically eaten on day 3. This was a long process, but it is convenient because you can walk away from it and do other things. My dad was hungry and impatient for dinner when I caught him eating the broth. He did not understand why I told him he couldn’t eat it. It was not even ready! My mom is very controlling in the kitchen, and would start doing things without telling me she was adding something or moving to the next step. She hovered over my shoulder every time I cut the cabbage or onions. She always wants her food to taste perfect so everything has to be done how she wants it; it is entertaining. Overall, it was a good time; I always enjoy cooking with my mom, no matter how particular she gets. This time though, I could tell she was getting nostalgic as she talked about Poland and her family.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Chard Polenta Bake


This is one of the rare things I pictured in my head and then made according to what was in my head.

The French lentil recipe is modified from someone else's, though it's a lot like my mother's tomato sauce just with some extra broth and lentils in it. 

PART 1

1 TABLESPOON OLIVE OIL
  • 1 CUP DICED YELLOW ONIONS
  • 1 CUP DICED CARROTS
  • 1 CUP DICED CELERY (optional)
  • 4 GARLIC CLOVES, MINCED
  • ONE 28-OUNCE CAN DICED TOMATOES
  • ONE 4-OUNCE CAN TOMATO PASTE
  • 1 14 CUP FRENCH GREEN LENTILS
  • 2 CUPS VEGETABLE BROTH
  • 1 BAY LEAF
  • 1 12 TEASPOONS MINCED FRESH ROSEMARY (Important)
  • 2 TEASPOONS FRESH THYME LEAVES
  • 2 TEASPOONS KOSHER SALT
  • 12 TEASPOON FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER



In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and paste with their juices, the lentils, broth, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a low boil, then lower to a simmer. Cover and simmer about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Watch to make sure it doesn’t burn. Cook uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.

PART 2:

Separately, make this polenta:

Ingredients
6 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Directions
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the butter, and stir until melted.

It’s that Giada lady’s.

Part 3:



Then, clean chard and cut it into strips.


Get a big pan. Put half the lentils in the bottom, then the raw chard leaves (2-3 leaves thick), then half the polenta, then the rest of the lentils, then the rest of the chard, then rest of polenta on top with a little fresh grated Parmesan or what have you. Bake it at 350 until the polenta looks crispy and golden. Mmmm.

La Phet

At Rangoon in Philadelphia they make an out of this world green tea-leaf salad. I've been on a budget lately so I've been thinking about how to make this at home. This recipe works great. I left out the shrimp and the soy crunchies.

This recipe is also really good looking: just take the best from this one and the one above. It has a lot of seeds (Livvy!) You don't need vinegar to make a great tasting LaPhet.


Hollyhock Dressing

I think someone saw this served at J's and called it Hippie Sauce. It's an oldie but goodie I had at the Insight Meditation Society in MA with sprouts, olives, carrots, lettuce and feta. Just leave the feta off obv for a vegan treat.

Once in January I was so down. So I made the above salad and then made hot OreIda potato french fries and put them on top. I'm not really wanting to eat that kind of stuff regularly so I made hot roasted fennel and potato and put the dressing on over arugula and it was great. Then in the summer I once made a salad of hot potatoes, fennel and chicken sausage then put it over a bed of arugula, avocado and tomato with cumin lime vinaigrette. Holy Moly. For such a vinaigrette, just put olive oil and lime juice, salt, peppper and cumin in a little bowl and whisk until it emulsifies. Same proportions as a lemon vinaigrette I bet.

Click here for Hollyhock Dressing recipe.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Chickpea Pancakes

Chickpea Crepes-from Shanna Compton, etc.

(adapted to be gluten/grain free from a recipe in Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan Brunch)

1-1/2 cups almond milk (or your fave nondairy milk, unsweetened) 
1/4 cup water
1 cup chickpea flour
1 tbs tapioca flour, cornstarch or arrowroot
1/2 tsp salt
cooking spray/oil

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. The batter will be thin. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat a crepe pan or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. The pan is ready when a few drops of water flicked on to it sizzle. Lightly spray or wipe the pan with oil.

Ladle 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup (depending on the size of your pan, and smaller is a bit easier). You may need to tilt the pan to help it spread evenly (but I did not find that necessary).

Cook until the top of the crepe is dry, the tiny bubbles have popped, and the edges are lightly brown and pulling away from the sides. 1-1/2-2 minutes, depending on the heat. Gently run a spatula around and under the sides of the crepe to loosen it, then carefully flip and cook the other side, 30 seconds or more. (Mine were thicker than hers and took a bit longer.) Slide onto a dinner plate and repeat.

These are good with fresh herbs blended in, or any other flavorings you like. But I kinda like to make them plain in case I want them with fruit and peanut butter, for breakfast! (That is so yum. Stack a few, spread peanut butter, reheat in microwave while you warm berries in a sauce pan. Drizzle berries over top of stack, cut into quarters. OMG.)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tatziki Sauce and Felafels


The traditional sauce for gyros is tzatziki (Greek name), or cacik (pronounced jajik) in Turkey. I've lived in both countries and the recipe is the same. This is a traditional recipe.
First, pick up a large container of plain yogurt, full fat, low fat, or fat free. They all work. Line a collander with plain white paper towels, dump the yogurt into the middle, top with a paper towel. Set the collander over a bowl to catch the whey and set it in the refrigerator to drain. The longer it drains, the thicker it will be. If you let it go long enough, you'll have yogurt-tart cream cheese!
Peel a cucumber, cut it in half, stem to blossom end. Scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon and discard. Grate cucumber, place it in a paper towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Place drained yogurt in a bowl, add the cucumber and two or three cloves of chopped/mashed garlic. I simply use a garlic press. Add a scant teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of good olive oil. Stir to blend and refrigerate for a couple of hours while the flavors merge. That's it! No mayonnaise, and for pity's sake, do NOT use sour cream! A local Greek restaurant does, and it's a travesty! Tzatziki will keep in the fridge for four days or so, but mine is always gone a lot quicker than that!
Oh, and fresh garlic has a nice bite. Garlic powder does not. I prefer the fresh. It's not unheard of to add a bit of dill weed or even spearmint. Or both. Fresh dill is better than dried. But the basic recipe is pretty close to universal in both Greece and Turkey. It's delicious!

(This is from a message board in which someone asked what the white sauce on a gyro was).


  • 1 3/4 cups , or 1 15.5 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed Cooked Dried Chickpeas
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup safflower or canola oil
  • For serving: pita bread, sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, romaine lettuce leaves, and store-bought tahini sauce.

DIRECTIONS

  1. STEP 1

    Place half of chickpeas in food processor and pulse a few times until chopped, transfer to a large bowl.
  2. STEP 2

    Place remaining chickpeas in food processor with garlic, onion, herbs, spices, baking soda, salt, and lemon juice. Pulse to a thick, chunky paste, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl with chopped chickpeas.
  3. STEP 3

    Add egg and sesame seeds to bowl and stir to combine. Cover and chill batter in fridge 30 minutes.
  4. STEP 4

    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil shimmers, drop heaping tablespoons of batter into skillet and gently press batter into 2-inch-round patties. Cook, turning once, until deep golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  5. STEP 5

    Serve falafel with pita bread, sliced tomatoes and red onion, romaine leaves, and store-bought tahini dressing.

    ALso, green felafels made with collards look good through I am unconvinced that it tastes like a true green felafel. http://minimalistbaker.com/better-than-restaurant-falafel-vegan-gluten-free/



Monday, August 26, 2013

Slow Cooker Recipes from Cooks Illustrated Make-Ahead book, which is wonderful

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

2T oil
3 medium onions minced
3 ribs celery chopped med
2 medium carrots, chopped med
6 med garlic cloves, minced
5 t cumin
.5 t red pepper flakes
salt
3 cups water
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound dried black beans (2 1/4 cups), picked over and rinsed
2 medium smoked ham hocks
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
Ground black pepper

Brown veggies with spices 10-15 min.

Put these in slow cooker with water, broth, beans, ham, bay leaves. Cook 8-10 hours on low.

Remove hocks and leaves. Puree 2 cups of coup in blender, then stir back in. Remove meat from hocks and return to pot. Stir in cilantro, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.


Slow Cooker Tuscan White Bean Soup

2 T oil
6oz pancetta minced
3 med onions minced
8 med garlice cloves minced
3 C water
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 lb dried cannellini (2.25 cups) picked over, rinsed, socked overnight, and drained
1 Parmesan rind (optional)
2 bay leaves
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 spring fresh rosemary
pepper
parmesan

Brown pancetta 10 min. Add onions garlic and salt until all is soft. (1/4 t salt)

Transfer the pancetta and onion mixture to the slow cooker insert and stire in the water, broth, beans, Parmesan ring (if using), bay leaves, and pepper flakes until evenly combined. Cover and cook on low until the beans are tender, 10 to 12 hours.

Add the rosemary sprig, cover, and continue until lightly fragrant, about 15 min longer. Remove bay leaves, rosemary and Parmesan rind. Salt and pepper.

Lentil and Chard Stew

2 T oil
3 onions minced
1 lb Swiss Chard, stems off, 1/4 inch pieces
6 med cloves garlic, minced
6 C veggie broth
1 lb carrots
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
12 oz portobello mushroom caps
7 oz brown or green lentils (1 cup) rinsed and picked over
2 bay leaves
1 T minced fresh thyme leaves.
1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed and minced
1T balsamic (optional! Aahhh!)
salt, pepper, olive oil

Heat oil in 12 inch non-stick pan until shimmering. Add onions, chard stems, garlic and 1/3 teaspoon salt and cook until veggies are soft and lightly browned 10-12 minutes

Transfer the onion mixture to slow cooker, add broth, carrots, tomato sauce, mushrooms, lentils, bay leaves, thyme and porcini mushrooms until evenly combined. Cover and cook on low until the soup is thickened and the lentils are tender, 8-10 hours.

Remove and discard bay leaves. Puree 2 C of soup in a blender until smooth, then stir back into slow cooker insert. Stir in the chard leaves, cover, and continue to cook until the leaves are wilted and tender 10-15 minutes longer. Stir in the vinegar (if you don't hate balsamic like I do).