Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Crab-Stuffed Jalapeños

My little brother loves stuffed jalapenos. Almost every time we go to his house for dinner he grills some stuffed jalapenos with cream cheese. They always hit the spot and we usually end up grilling up seconds. I came across this recipe in my new issue of Saveur and thought it was a perfect recipe to try next time I had him over for dinner.

Stuffed Jalapeños
10–12 medium jalapeños
1 tbsp. canola oil, plus more for frying
1/4 lb. lump crab meat, picked through
to remove any bits of shell
3 tbsp. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro leaves
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley leaves
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp. plus 3/4 cup dried bread crumbs
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

1. Heat oven to broil; arrange a rack 6" from heating element. In a small bowl, toss jalapeños with 1 tbsp. oil. Transfer jalapeños to a foil-lined baking sheet; broil, turning several times, until blackened, about 12 minutes. Transfer jalapeños to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to let steam for 15 minutes. Peel the jalapeños. Working with 1 jalapeño at a time, cut a slit down the length of the pepper. Scoop out the seeds with a small spoon (handle carefully so that they stay intact). Set jalapeños aside.

2. With a fork, vigorously mix together crab, cream cheese, cilantro, parsley, shallots, 1 1/2 tbsp. bread crumbs, lime juice, and yolk in a bowl. Stuff each jalapeño with 1 heaping tbsp. of filling; transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining jalapeños. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Put remaining bread crumbs into a shallow dish. Put flour into another small dish. Whisk together milk and eggs in a bowl. Working with 1 jalapeño at a time, dredge jalapeño in flour, shaking off excess. Dip jalapeño in egg mixture, roll in bread crumbs, and transfer to a plate; set aside.

4. Pour oil to a depth of 2" into a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 325˚. Working in batches, add jalapeños and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Drain jalapeños on paper towels; sprinkle with salt.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings

If I lived in Portland, I would eat at PokPok once a week. This 2007 Oregonian Restaurant of the Year and a local favorite has some of the best Thai bites I've ever tried and at prices that cannot be beat.

When I travel, I do my research. So when I read about PokPok in Food and Wine and GQ in the same week, I knew this would have to be a spot we'd check out on our upcoming vacation. Six of us showed up for our reservation ready to eat anything and everything. The menu is comprised of small plates that are meant to be shared so the more people you go with the more you would get to try. And, trust me, you want to try all of it.

The star of the night was the Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings. In fact, we ended up ordering them twice since the first round disappeared within seconds. We got ours spicy and I would suggest you do too.

Thanks to the folks at F&W, I am able to share the recipe with you and make them for myself at home...yes!

Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings

  1. 1/2 cup Asian fish sauce
  2. 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  3. 4 garlic cloves, 2 crushed and 2 minced
  4. 3 pounds chicken wings, split at the drumettes
  5. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
  6. 1 cup cornstarch
  7. 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  8. 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  1. In a bowl, whisk the fish sauce, sugar and crushed garlic. Add the wings and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 3 hours, tossing the wings occasionally.
  2. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a small skillet. Add the minced garlic; cook over moderate heat until golden, 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
  3. In a large pot, heat 2 inches of oil to 350°. Pat the wings dry on paper towels; reserve the marinade. Put the cornstarch in a shallow bowl, add the wings and turn to coat. Fry the wings in batches until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels and transfer to a bowl.
  4. In a small saucepan, simmer the marinade over moderately high heat until syrupy, 5 minutes. Strain over the wings and toss. Top with the cilantro, mint and fried garlic and serve.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Cherry-Berry Pie

If you go to the Green City Market in Chicago (in my old hood, tear), chances are you have seen this pie in person. Paula Haney is an acclaimed pastry chef that left the big kitchens of some of the hottest restaurants to open Hoosier Mama Pie Company. This pie takes advantage of the luscious berries in season right now that can be found easily at farmers markets everywhere. If you can't get a pie from Paula's stand, try and make it at home using this recipe.

Cherry-Berry Pie

  1. 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, frozen
  2. 2 teaspoons salt
  3. 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes—9 tablespoons frozen, 5 tablespoons chilled
  4. 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar mixed with 6 tablespoons of ice water
  1. 1 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  2. 1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca
  3. Pinch of salt
  4. 2 cups pitted sweet cherries
  5. 3/4 pound raspberries (3 cups)
  6. 1/2 pound blueberries (1 1/2 cups)
  7. 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  8. 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  1. Make the Crust: In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt. Add the chilled butter and pulse until it’s the size of small peas. Add the frozen butter and pulse until it’s the size of small peas. Drizzle the vinegar mixture over the flour mixture. Pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently to form a smooth dough. Divide the dough in half and flatten into 2 disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disk of dough to a 12-inch round, 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to a 10-inch metal pie plate and freeze for 20 minutes. Roll out the remaining dough 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to a baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes.
  3. Make the Filling: In a small bowl, whisk 1 cup of sugar with the tapioca and salt. In another bowl, toss the cherries with the raspberries and blueberries. Sprinkle with the sugar mixture and toss gently.
  4. Mix the flour and the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar. Sprinkle in the crust; tap out the excess. Spoon the filling into the crust.
  5. Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut the remaining dough into 3/4-inch-wide strips. Arrange the strips across the pie in a lattice pattern. Trim the overhanging strips to 1/2 inch and press them to the crust. Pinch the rim between your fingers to flute it. Freeze the pie for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400°. Brush the cream over the lattice crust and rim and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 1 hour, or until the crust is richly browned and the filling starts to bubble. If necessary, cover the pie with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. Let cool on a rack until warm before serving.


Dry Creek Kitchen

Our 4th of July plans fell through at the last minute so we scrambled to come up with a vacation. It’s a good thing we live in California. Whether you go north, south or east, there are a million and one things to do in the most beautiful of places. We decided to road trip up to Mendocino and play the weekend by ear. We canoed down a river, visited local breweries and did wine tastings in Anderson Valley and Dry Creek. We ate on a budget and slept on a budget but we did splurge on a brunch at Dry Creek Kitchen in downtown Healdsburg.

Dry Creek Kitchen is a part of the Charlie Palmer Empire and is located right on the town square. We ate on the patio and enjoyed some killer Bloody Marys that are a house specialty. If you have never been to Healdsburg, you must go. It’s an adorable little town of just over 11,000 people with great restaurants and surrounding wineries. We love it here and strive to save up enough cash so we can acquire our own little slice of heaven and live up there someday. It seems like a great place to raise a family and enjoy the simple things in life. Plus, the weather is fantastic.

Dry Creek Kitchen does not charge corkage for local wines. This means that you can bring in a bottle of wine from your day of tasting and enjoy it over a nice, long meal for no extra charge. This is not a common practice of its neighboring Valley, Napa, which can upset guests. In addition, they source everything locally from meat to dairy to produce. Menu can be prefix or a la carte. Tasting menus also offer wine pairings that look spot-on and well thought out. Our steak and eggs and open face egg sandwich on brioche were spectacular but the service was the real star. Our (young) team of waiters were happy-go-lucky locals that loved their town and loved their job. All in all, a great experience and would highly recommend it.