Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cooking with Wood

Stopped by Verrill Farm today to pick up a few late fall veggies. Simmering on the wood stove in a very large cast iron skillet was a beef stew. Brought back memories for Ed who recalls his Mom cooking aboard their boat on a much smaller wood stove.  Brought back memories for me of New Hampshire farmhouses in winter.... Imagine replacing your stove with this.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Chicken (Ginger) Rice

This recipe was given to me by Dan ("for your blog") who along with Alex had variations of Chicken Rice during a trip to Vietnam a few years ago.  I did the prep for Dan and Alex a couple of times in Oregon but last night was the first time I made this myself.  It is going to become a frequent dinner.  When Dan gave me the recipe, he listed ingredients but not quantities. At first I thought that strange but as I made the Chicken Rice I found that unlike a cake or other recipe that requires exact measurement, this is a recipe very much to taste.. hotter, not so hot; sweeter, not so sweet; heavy on the ginger, light on the ginger.

Since Dan, Alex and I all go heavy on the ginger, I have added ginger to make the title more descriptive.  I have given the quantities I used, but vary according to personal tastes and the hotness of the peppers used.

Dan's recipe (the "traditional" version) Calls for chicken thighs to be boiled until done, set aside to cool and then soaked in ice water for one minute. The stock is reserved for the rice.  For a less fatty version, Dan bakes and Ed  grills chicken breasts.



Ingredients list [for 2 with leftover rice]

Chicken thighs for 4 [8 oz breast, 2 c chicken stock]
White rice [1 c jasmine]
Ginger [I used ~1.8 oz  - a little less than one-half of the whole ginger shown; 1- 1.5 oz would have been plenty]
Onion [4 oz]
Peppers [2 oz]
Vinegar [4 T rice vinegar]
Sugar [2 T]
[Soy sauce]


Finely chop the ginger, onions and peppers (ginger may be grated). [Put the vinegar and sugar in a small sauce pan and boil until sugar is dissolved]. Put rice, chicken stock, 2 T ginger and onion in rice cooker (or covered pan) and cook according to rice instructions. While rice is cooking bake or grill the chicken.

Mix peppers,vinegar and a surprisingly large amount of sugar in a ramekin, maybe some reserved stock. All to taste.  Serve chicken sliced into strips on top of rice. Use soy sauce [I added extra ginger] and pepper sauce for dipping.  [Just so Ed would "have more color on his plate" and a "salad", I garnished with grilled scallions, and a little bit of watercress and kale.  This dish, however, stands very well on its own and the peppers do add the requisite color.]

Yumm!  Thanks Dan and Alex!

Reviewed 5/13/17


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad/Roasted Brussels Sprouts


We are having a small, simple (but even simple is decadent in the world context) Thanksgiving this year. Six people and just a few dishes to go with the turkey.  I am making Roasted Almonds, Cranberry Ice and "something green".  Since Chris has already done a trial run on the pie he is making (Cranberry Linzertorte), I decided I should test my "green thing".   My one criteria is the "green" should be fresh and preferably local, not the token frozen peas of years past.  After finding local brussels sprouts, I cobbled together several recipes, and made a warm brussels sprouts salad tonight. Think it is going to work :-)

Ed, who likes brussels sprouts declared it one of the best salads ever, I, who am not crazy about this vegetable, thought the salad was very good.

Serves two; scale up accordingly.

Prepare the brussels sprouts removing any moldy outer leaves, trimming the stems, and slicing very thinly lengthwise. Weight, after trimming should be

8 oz brussels sprouts


Next,  make the dressing by whisking together in a small bowl:

1/2 t Dijon mustard
1 T wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
1 t fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 t dried thyme leaves
1 t lemon juice
zest from 1/2 lemon

Heat a skillet or wok until hot, add enough olive oil to thinly coat the bottom. Add the brussels sprouts and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until just barely tender.  Brussel sprouts will be lightly charred in spots. Remove from the heat and stir in about half the dressing.  Let cool to room temperature.  Serve with the remaining dressing on the side.

Also good plated on a small bed of arugula or thinly sliced chard.
If serving this way, add all the dressing when cooking.



December 2014:  ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS  Since I could still get local sprouts at Christmas time , I cooked the sliced and stir fried version  a few times over the holidays. Then Alex and Dan suggested they cook just plain roasted brussels sprouts.  They preheated the oven to 450 degrees F. Cut away any tough stems and removed any damaged/moldy outer leaves from the brussels sprouts. They then tossed the brussels sprouts in olive oil and salted them liberally using a coarse salt.  They baked for about 5 minutes --- some thought the brussels sprouts were on the "crisp" side and could have been cooked longer.  Check after 5 minutes, then remove from the oven or continue cooking until the sprouts are done you your taste.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Padron Peppers

Almost every time I go to Portland (OR), especially the Portland Farmers Market, I, often with the help of Alex and or Dan, discover a new veggie... Haiku TurnipsLobster Mushrooms, and Celeriac to mention a few.  This year was no different.  Alex, Dan and Henry spent the spring in Spain where Alex and Dan really enjoyed the tapas including padron peppers. When we visited Portland Farmers Market in early October, Dan purchased some padron peppers which he later roasted and served with a chilled Spanish white wine on the terrace. What a late summer treat! The peppers were so good that when I returned to Portland in late October and found them still in the Farmers Market I could not resist.  Alex and Dan vetoed the first basket I chose telling me the peppers are much better when they are small and we should check out a different vendor to get the smallest peppers.  When we got home, Dan showed me how to prepare them.

Ingredients: Padron peppers, olive oil, sea salt.

Wash and dry the peppers.  Heat a cast iron frying pan large enough to accommodate all of the peppers (or better a small batch of peppers) on one level. When the pan is hot, add enough olive oil to lightly coat the entire bottom of the pan.  When the olive oil is hot add the peppers.  I started just stirring the peppers as they cooked, but Dan pointed out that it is much better to turn each individual pepper as it blackens on one side. They blacked very fast towards the end of cooking and I belatedly discovered this would have been better done in smaller batches. When peppers are lightly blackened on both sides, remove to a serving platter,  salt generously and serve immediately.

Reviewed 5/14/17