pickles for bánh mì: carrot, cucumber, rice vinegar, fish sauce, sugar.
To see the recipe for the bánh mì the I used these in, click here!
Shred a carrot or two. A mandolin will help here. Thinly slice some seedless cucumber. Pack the vegetables tightly into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. You could add a few slices of chili if you like, too.
In a bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, sugar and fish sauce diluted with about a third as much water as vinegar. Taste for seasoning, and then slowly pour the pickling liquid over the vegetables.
Let stand for a few hours at room temperature, or refrigerate overnight. Use while the vegetables are still crunchy and colorful.
obama’s first speech to congress dinner: penne, cranberry beans, beet greens, chard, garlic, rosemary, thyme, chile flakes, red wine vinegar, toasted breadcrumbs, parmigiano.
After rinsing them thoroughly, cover some dried cranberry beans with an inch or two of cold water. Soak for six hours or so. Make a lot; they’re good to have around.
Saute some finely chopped onion, carrot, and celery in olive oil in a dutch oven. Add a few smashed garlic cloves and cook a bit longer. Then add the following to the pot: the beans with their soaking water, a sprig of rosemary, a few sprigs of thyme, and a a couple bay leaves. Do not season yet.
Bring the whole mess to a boil, and boil hard for five minutes. Bring down to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook until the beans are tender but not falling apart, about an hour or two. Season with copious salt and simmer for another ten or twenty minutes. When the beans are done, strain them and reserve their liquor. Remove herb stems and bay leaves. Set aside.
Start cooking the penne rigate. Thoroughly clean some tender leafy greens, such as beet greens and swiss chard, which you’ve cut into strips. Add olive oil, chile flakes, and some chopped garlic to a large sauce pan, and then turn on the heat to medium. When the garlic is cooked but not colored, add the greens and the water that is clinging to them. Season. Turn the heat up to high, drizzle in some red wine vinegar, and cover for a minute or two until greens are mostly cooked.
Add a bunch of beans (with the vegetables and herbs that cling to them) to the pan, along with a good amount of the bean liquor. Season. Simmer for a minute or two. Add the cooked penne and a loose handful of toasted breadcrumbs (make your own!) to the pan and toss. Add more bean liquor if needed. Turn off heat and drizzle with your best olive oil. Serve with grated parmigiano and more breadcrumbs.
academy award night dinner part two: golden beet, avocado, skyr yogurt, dill, lime.
Preheat your oven to 400˚F. Trim and clean four medium-sized golden beets. Wrap each one tightly in aluminum foil, and roast them on pan in the oven until tender, about an hour. Once they’ve cooled enough to handle, peel the beets and cut them into bite-sized wedges. Season them with salt and the juice of a lime. Set aside.
Put about half a cup of strained yogurt in a bowl. I used some skyr, but greek yogurt would also work nicely. Add a lot of chopped dill to the yogurt, along with some salt, pepper and olive oil. Thin the mixture with some water until it has a nice saucey consistency. Set aside.
Cut two ripe avocados into bite-sized chunks and add them to the beets, Season with salt. Add some dressing to the avocado and beets, and gently fold the ingredients together. Serve.
academy award night dinner part one: bulgar, puy lentils, carrot, celery, hazelnuts, shallot, sherry vinegar. (inspired by an old gourmet)
For a very large batch, bring to a boil in a saucepan two cups of bulgar with with three cups of water water, salt and olive oil. Simmer, covered, until done. Put the cooked bulgar in a large bowl with a little more olive oil. Toss it around every once and a while until it reaches room temperature.
Meanwhile, in another pan, cover a cup of rinsed puy lentils with an inch or two of cold water, and add some mirepoix and a bay leaf to the pan. Do not season yet. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the lentils are tender. Strain lentils and remove the vegetables and bay leaf.
Meanwhile (yeah, that’s a double “meanwhile”) finely dice a shallot and cover it in sherry vinegar and season with a little salt. Small dice some carrot and celery and toast, peal, and smash up some hazelnuts.
Toss the shallots with their liquid with the lentils while they’re still a little warm. Once everything is at room temperature, toss together the lentils with the bulgar and the carrot and celery. Season to taste with salt, sherry vinegar, and more olive oil.
"honey, i think we need to go on a diet" dinner: israeli couscous, arugula, roasted red pepper, capers, anchovies, sun-dried tomato, lemon.
Update: A version of this recipe is featured on GradSpot.com! Check it out here.
Boil just under 2 cups of vegetable stock and/or water. Add a bay leaf, a clove of garlic, some herbs (I used thyme), and a few strips of lemon zest, and then stir in 1.5 cups of Israeli couscous. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Pour the couscous out onto a plate to cool, and remove the stuff you don’t want in your salad (garlic, bay leaf, etc.). Drizzle the pasta with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking and stir.
While the couscous is cooking, reconstitute some sun-dried tomatoes in a bit of boiling water. Once they are tender, mince them.
Once the couscous has cooled some, put it in a mixing bowl and add the following: roasted red pepper, cut into strips and marinated in a little balsamic vinegar; minced anchovies; rinsed capers; minced lemon zest; and the minced reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes. Season, stir, and let the ingredients mingle at room temperature for up to two hours.
Just before you want to eat, toss some baby arugula with live oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss the arugula with the other ingredients and serve.
Want some more protein? It’s really good with some olive-oil-packed tuna mixed in!
This soup is a revision of the one I made on January 15th, the recipe for which is here. I wanted to come up with a version that did not require you to braised half a pound of pork belly the day before in order to make it.
Preheat your oven to 350˚F. Peel and halve eight or twelve small yellow onions, leaving the root end intact. Cut each half into three wedges, each with some of the root attached so that the layers don’t fall apart. Cut up one peeled and cored grannysmith apple into wedges of similar size. Toss the onion and apple in fat (I used olive oil and bacon drippings), then arange them cut-side-up on a wire rack set in a sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt and sugar, and roast in the oven, turning the onion and apple wedges over once, until lightly browned and tender—about an hour or an hour and a half. Cut the inedible root ends off the onions.
Meanwhile, make some ersatz bacon broth, as follows. Cut up three or four slices of bacon into confetti-sized pieces and cook them until well rendered over medium-low heat in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add a quartered onion and some roughly chopped carrot and celery to the pot, and toss them in the bacon fat. Then add the following: several sprigs of thyme, a cinnamon stick, a bay leaf, three or four whole cloves, a pinch or two of whole fennel seeds, and 6 cups of cold water. Scrape the fond off of the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer until you’re ready to use it, at least an hour.
Strain the stock into a saucepan and place over high heat. Reduce by about half, and then add the onions and apples. Boil for another 15 minutes, or until the ratio of solid to liquid looks about right to make a thick puree. (You want relatively little liquid since there is a good amount of residual water in the roasted onions and apple.)
Puree the mixture with a few tablespoons of butter. Season. Put the puree back into the saucepan (after rinsing it out), and place it over low heat until ready to serve. (Don’t wait too long.)
For the garnish, cut several slices of bacon into lardon and cook them in a small skillet until rendered. Remove the bacon to a paper towel, pour off all but about two tablespoons of the bacon fat. Heat the remaining fat until very hot over high heat, and then add 5 to 10 small, halved shitake mushrooms to the pan. Brown well, tossing once, until cooked, seasoning near the end. (This goes very fast.) Serve the soup in a warm bowl garnished with the bacon, the mushrooms, and a few fresh thyme leaves. Don’t forget some crusty bread action!
superbowl friday lunch: everything bagel, roast pork loin [made by c], green apple, red cabbage, whole-grain mustard, cider vinegar.
While your bagel toasts, slice cabbage and apple in equal parts into fine batons and and put them together in a bowl. Add just a touch of cider vinegar and good olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
Thinly slice some cold, leftover roast pork loin. As much as you want.
Slather some good whole-grain french mustard (I like mustard labelled “a l’ancienne”) on the cut side of your bottom bagel-half. Layer the sliced meat atop the mustard. Grap a fist full of apple-cabbage slaw and place it atop the meat. Chomp.
relish: red onion, currants, balsamic vinegar, ginger, five spice, sugar.
Get a large well oiled pan wicked hot, until it starts to smoke. Add two large red onions, sliced an eighth of an inch thick, to the pan. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally (and more frequently as time goes on) until the onions are richly browned. Hold off seasoning the onions until they are caramelized.
Whisk together half a cup of cheap balsamic with a cup and a half of water and three or four tablespoons of sugar, and set aside. Add a third of a cup of dried currants, two tablespoons of grated ginger, and a teaspoon of five-spice powder to the pan along with a little more oil to coat the new ingredients. Mix around for a moment (taking care not to burn the ginger or the spices), and then pour in the vinegar mixture.
As the black waters bubble, scrape the fond off the bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer over medium high until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Taste for salt and sugar. Serve with whatever you want, but obviously you’ll want to serve it with pork!
baked beans: navy beans, homemade berkshire bacon, onion, clove, bay leaf, stout, maple syrup, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, dijon.
Cover a pound of dried navy beans in cool water and let them soak for 4 to 6 hours. Drain the beans, and then transfer them to a deep saucepan and cover with several inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then lower the heat and simmer for an hour, skimming the white foam off the top after 15 minutes. Drain the beans and reserve their liquor.
Preheat your oven to 325˚F. Transfer beans to a roasting pan, and nestle the following among the beans: a half pound of good slab bacon (fat-side scored and oriented upwards), a large onion (cut into half-inch wedges) two cloves, and two bay leaves. In a bowl, whisk together a bottle of stout (I used Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout.), a half cup of grade B maple syrup, a quarter cup of ketchup, three tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, two teaspoons dry mustard, and a teaspoon of salt. Pour this liquid over the beans, and put the pan in the oven.
After two hours, take the pan out and stir the beans around, exposing the pale ones underneath the browning crust. If the bacon is getting too dark, give it a flip. Put the pan back in the oven.
After another hour stir another two cups of bean liquor and another teaspoon of salt into the beans. Stir the beans, and then put them back in the oven.
After another hour and a half, whisk together the rest of the bean liquor (not to exceed two or three cups) with a teaspoon each of ketchup and dijon mustard. Pour this mixture over the beans and stir. Flip bacon if necessary, though you want to aim to get the fat side crispy at the end.
Bake until the beans are a deep mahogany and the liquid has reduced to a sludge, about another hour. You can serve the beans with bacon chunk(s) intact for a nice effect, or teach and cut the bacon up for even distribution. In any case, this is a meal in itself.
dinner for a cold night: chicken thighs [mustard, honey, lemon, paprika, bacon drippings], red cabbage [carrot, onion, caraway, stout, bacon drippings], potatoes.
In a metal or glass bowl, combine several heaping tablespoons of dijon mustard with the juice and zest of a lemon, a tablespoon or so of honey, a good drizzle of olive oil or bacon drippings (guess which one I used?), some paprika, and salt and pepper. Stir well, and then add four to six bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs to the bowl. Mix around with your hands until everything well-coated, then over and put in the refrigerator to marinade. I’d give it about an hour, but more or less won’t hurt you.
Preheat your oven to 375˚F. Remove the chicken thighs from their marinade (it’s good news if some marinade continues to cling to the chicken) and arrange them on a wire rack set in a sheet pan. Season both sided of each thigh with salt. Roast in the oven to an internal temperature of 165˚F.
Crack a nice stout. Take a swig or two. Go ahead, it’s been a long day and you deserve it. There it is. Ahhhhhh. Okay, now down to work.
Coarsely grate a couple of large carrots and thinly slice half of a large red cabbage and two or three onions. In a very large pan with a lid, heat up some bacon drippings and olive oil. Add the onions to the pan, season with salt, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage, carrots, and some caraway seeds to the pan, season, and continue to cook until the vegetables have given up their rigidity and have collapsed into the pan.
Turn the heat all the way up, and add whatever’s left of the bottle of stout to the pan. (I used Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout.) Bring to a simmer and then lower the heat and cook, covered, until everything has gone soft, about 10 minutes. If there is too much liquid left in the pan, turn up the heat and boil it off a bit.