Thursday, July 19, 2012

Quiche Lorraine

Quiche the way I like it

This was one of the first things I learned to do really well in the kitchen.  Every time I make quiche, all those around me will descend like wolves on my glorious creation.  So many are intimidated by this recipe, but once you've made quiche over and over again as I have, it is such a beautiful thing to know you can have truly amazing quiche whenever you fancy it.  This here is my favorite quiche ever.  It is your quintessential quiche with leeks, gruyere, and bacon.  What more could one possible ask for?  I know.  A glass of sparking  French wine to go with.  Ahhhhhh.

My Mom's Pie Crust

5 ounces of flour
3 ounces of butter
3/4 ounce crisco
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 TBS sugar
2-3 TBS ice water

The Quiche

Lots of bacon
1 leek, very finely chopped (the whole thing, I do not spare a single part of the leek, it's all good)
1 TBS clarified butter
a splash of white wine
Salt and Pepper (to season the leeks)
1/2 ounce Gruyere, grated
2 ounces Emmentaler, grated
3/4 Cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
Salt, Pepper, and Nutmeg (to season the eggs)

Warm your carbon steel wok on medium over a gas flame.  Chop up your bacon into small bite size strips cutting against the stripes, making pieces about 1/4 wide and the wide of the bacon long.  Saute this bacon still it releases a good amount of fat, and has gone limp.  Now remove all the bacon from the wok.  Bring the wok to a steady medium high-ish heat.  Now working in a stage of 3 batches add the bacon back into the wok, allowing each batch to crisp and brown but not to burn.  Watch this the whole time. Remove each batch before adding the next one.  Have the crisp bacon plate be lined with paper towels.

Warm the butter in your cleaned out wok.  Once melted, add your chopped leek.  Season with a little salt, and a little pepper or nutmeg if you fancy.  Pop the lid on and allow this to sweat for a bit over low heat.  Now remove the lid, and splash in a bit of white wine.  Turn up the heat to medium and allow the  leeks to cook till very soft.  Set aside.

Take your quiche baking dish and oil it well.  This will help the crust to brown in the oven and to not stick as well.  Allow the crust to become quite cool in the fridge.  You can now roll out the whole pastry, or you can take bits of it, squish it about in the pan till the whole thing is covered in pastry.  Pop this into the freezer for about 4 to 10 minutes.  We just want it really cold, especially if you're like me and you just man handled the freekin' crust.  Now starting with Cheese put in alternating layers of cheese, bacon, and leeks. Now make the custard filling.  Whisk three eggs thoroughly and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg as though you were going to scramble the eggs.  Now pour in the cream while whisking.  Slowly pour this over the filling.  There should be a good 1/4 inch gap between the filling and the top of the pie crust. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until everything is golden brown.  Allow this to sit for 10 minutes before serving.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lettuce Wraps - east meets southeast Asian style

This is not in anyway a traditional Korean recipe. The Marinade itself is adapted from a Korean recipe, and I do believe in using the more superior Korean ingredients.  Korean sesame oil, soy sauce, sesame seeds, etc.  This is just how I like my lettuce wraps.  Korean grilled chicken, a mixture of Korean and S.E. Asian toppings and sauces. When it comes to Lettuce wraps it is totally personal.  I'd say, don't bother listening to someone else's method.  Just say, what kinda meat sounds good to you, what sorta veggies do you crave?  What dipping sauces turn your lettuce wrap into crack on veg?  Just make it the way you want it.

Korean Grilled Chicken

¼ Cup Korean Organic Soy Sauce 
2 TBS White Sugar
1 TBS Soju
1 TBS Honey
4 TBS Freshly Squeezed Pineapple Juice (Not from Concentrate), You can get this at Trader Joes
1 TBS of Korean Sesame Oil
1 TBS Korean Roasted Sesame Seeds
A good dash of Extra Bold Black Pepper
4 fat cloves of garlic
2 stalks of green onion
1 Inch of Ginger

First to make the marinade. Take a good cavernous vessel and proceed to add in the following ingredients:
The Soy Sauce
The Sugar
The Soju. That’s rice wine to you.
My Local Oregon Raw Honey. Mmmmmm.
The Freshly Squeezed Pineapple Juice. And don’t let me catch you using that canned stuff, and definitely not the stuff from concentrate! Bad. Very Bad.
And now for my ultimate favorite. The Korean Toasted Sesame Oil. I would bath in this. I would moisturize my whole body in this. Amber liquid gold this is. ‘Tis more beautiful than all the rubies and emeralds in the world. Although, I wouldn’t mind being given an emerald. I’d by very okay with that.
The Roasted Korean Sesame Seeds. Don’t just use any kind. Not Bulk. Not McCormick’s. It has to be Korean, it has to say roasted. This stuff is better than salt on your food. Yum.
Now take your beautifully green spring onions and fresh stinky garlic and
Mince ‘em up real fine.
Add 'em to your marinade.
Now my specially box of freshly rough ground Extra Bold black pepper. I highly recommend heading on over to Penzey’s to get a big 4 ounce bag of this stuff. It is the most aromatic, delicious black pepper I have ever cooked with. The smell, the scent, truly intoxicating. Add a big old fat pinch to your marinade.
And then add in you minced ginger, cuz you’ve been a total silly and forgot all about it. Mmm. ginger. The Lord really knew what he was doing when he invented this gorgeous rhizome.
Now Take your chicken thighs and prick them all over with a fork. I like to think this helps the marinade penetrate my meat as quickly as possible. It seems to help, so I’ve always done it.
Now bring these two together for a match made in heaven. The chicken and marinade that is.  Leave to marinate for as long as possible. Although, I’ve had excellent results in letting this marinate for the length of time it takes my coals to be ready. Now to the grill.
How beautiful a sight is that. Grill these baby's over a direct heat while watching closing. I use a tiny little guy, so I only need to fill up my chimney coal starter about half way. Make sure to create a spot for indirect heat as well. This will allow any chicken that is turning a little too dark on the outside to continue cooking on the inside.
Pop that lid on whilst the meat is cooking away. Make sure all holes are open to allow your fire to breath and the smoke to get all nice nice with the meat inside. Cook the chicken in total about 10 - 15 minutes, or until firm-ish to the touch and the juices run clear.  
The Feast. I like to put just about everything but the kitchen sink in my lettuce wraps. Once the chicken gets sliced real thin after resting a wee bit I like to pull out all my toppings. My suggested toppings (as seen in the picture) are:

Pre-shredded cabbage
My homemade Quick pickled carrots:
Julienne the carrots, toss in a sprinkle of salt, leave to drain 15 minutes, rinse and squeeze, add enough sugar to coat, and enough vinegar to balance out the sweet, taste as you go)
Thinly sliced red onion 
Basil leaves 
Sliced red bell pepper 
Grilled mushrooms, garlic, bell peppers, and green onions (toss in peanut oil, salt and pepper, grill or stir fry till they look yummy to you)
Choice of red leaf, iceberg, or butter lettuce (whatever you like, really)
My Homemade Vietnamese dipping sauce: 
Juice of a lime 
3 TBS white sugar 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
2 TBS fish sauce 
2 TBS white distilled vinegar
My homemade Korean garlic sauce: 
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 green onion, minced
salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 Cup Korean toasted sesame oil
My homemade Korean hot sauce: I can't remember how I made this. It contains the following:
hot pepper paste, sesame oil, soy sauce, sesame seeds, white distilled vinegar, minced garlic, black pepper, honey, mirin, sugar, white miso, etc. Just too much. It's real good though. I recommend starting with a basic Korean Lettuce wrap dipping sauce you find on line.

My gorgeous creation before I devour it.
Pretty much just put whatever you want into your freekin' lettuce wrap, drizzle on all three sauces.  And stuff your pie hole with this veggie engorged lettuce wrap from heaven.  Sooooo good.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ree's Asian Beef Stir Fry

Do you ever go to a website and look at the same recipe over and over again and then finally break down and get that really expensive ingredient that it calls for just so you can cook the recipe. No? Then I guess it's just me. If you haven't heard of the pioneer woman then you don't know what you're missing. She is the author of the most visually delectable cooking blog on the net; oh, and she's married to this really sexy cattle rancher. Because of this her beef connections are enviable. For the rest of us when we go to the butcher its a matter of deciding whether or not it is worthwhile to purchase the flank steak at 16 bucks a pound. Lately I've decided that it is worthwhile because of how much I'm saving on eating really good beef in a restaurant.

This recipe here is one of Ree's, a sweet spicy gingery stir fry brightened up with sweet snow peas. I altered the recipe a little to match my tastes as well as my intense attraction to fresh ginger. You will notice the huge increase in ginger, Ree used 1 tbs minced ginger for `1.5 pounds of flank steak, I used 2 tbs for 3/4 of a pound. I added some extra complex sweetness with the addition of honey and pineapple juice and different spices, namely cayenne and black pepper. For a deep savory Asian flavor I also added a little Korean sesame oil. And since I prefer sugar snaps to snow peas I used those instead. So really, now this recipe has become my own. When I see a recipe I'm not content to just follow the directions. I usually look at a recipe at decide that it's just a suggestion not a command.

.71 pounds of flank steak, slice on the diagonal against the grain, just like Ree said to do
1/4 cup of organic korean soy sauce
1.5 tbs cream sherry
2 tbs fresh ginger, minced
1 heaping tbs brown sugar
A good swirly squirt of honey
1 tbs fresh (not from concentrate) pineapple juice
A sprinkle of black pepper and cayenne
1 tbs cornstarch
1 -2 tsp of sesame oil (Korean)
A good pinch of red pepper flakes, crushed between your fingers
3 spring onions, cut ear horse style
4 ounces of sugar snap peas, strings removed

Add the ginger, soy sauce, sherry, sugar, honey, pineapple juice, black pepper, cayenne, and cornstarch to a medium sized bowl. Whisk till cornstarch is dissolved. Add in the beef. Add a good couple squirts of sesame oil on your beef. Mix all together. Leave a good half hour.

Heat a cast iron pan (cuz we're making stir fries Ree's way, not mine) with 2 tbs peanut oil on medium heat. Leave till wisps of smoke start to rise. Add in the sugar snap peas and fry till golden but still crisp. Remove and set aside.

Add in beef without the marinade. Turn of to medium high. Stir fry till the juice cook down and stick to the beef.

Add in the green onions and stir fry a little more.

Add in the sugar snap peas and the remaining marinade and the pepper flakes. Fry till a lovely color and the sauce in sticky. Serve with warm rice.